Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Heisman Trophy winner Desmond Howard wanted a Michigan Man

Desmond Howard, the 1991 Heisman Trophy winning wide receiver of the Wolverines, seems to be having issues with the hiring of Coach Rodriguez. Howard, who was on the search committee, was recently quoted as saying, "Well I think only time will tell if it was a good hire. The saddest part of the whole situation is that a Michigan Man never got offered the job. That doesn't sit well with any former players."

I took a fair amount of flak for my previous post ("Buyer's remorse") as some people saw it as unfairly criticizing Coach Rodriguez without giving him a chance. It's kind of cool that a Heisman Trophy winner who was on the search committee came out publicly a few days later and leveled the same criticisms I made in my post. He has just a little more credence than I carry. As Desmond said, Coach Rodriguez has no choice but to be successful and we wish him all the luck in the world as we would like nothing more than for Michigan to go undefeated next year. However, I think the reality is that Michigan is in for some tough sledding next season. I could even tolerate that if I found the man leading the program to be more honorable (e.g., Lloyd Carr). However, Coach Rod does not even have integrity going for him. I hope Bill Martin knew what he was doing when he hired this guy. Go Blue!

Labels: ,

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Buyer's remorse

It has been just over a month since Michigan announced the hiring of Rich Rodriguez as the 18th Head Football Coach in Michigan history. In the past month, Coach Rod fired the entire coaching staff save one (Fred Jackson); Coach Rod became embroiled in a very bitter and public spat with his former school WVU over his $4 million buy-out clause and allegations of "shredded files"; players with eligibility have left the program in droves including Ryan Mallett, Mario Manningham, Adrian Arrington and Alex Mitchell; and Coach Rod's recruiting season has been uneven thus far. Uh, is it too late to return Coach Rod to West Virginia University? I think I must have my receipt around here somewhere.

The coaching search was a debacle from the moment A.D. Bill Martin botched the courtship of LSU's Les Miles. Personally, I did not want Miles to be the next coach but I did not like how Miles' candidacy was (mis)handled. The coaching "search" only went downhill from there. It was nothing short of a disaster. Michigan was a laughingstock. President Mary Sue Coleman had to step in and assist A.D. Martin in landing a big name (i.e., Rodriguez) to staunch the bleeding as Michigan was getting killed. The problem is that in the rush to bring in a hot, young coach (Rodriguez is only 44 years old), Michigan sacrificed bringing in the right guy for the program. Michigan was so desperate to "stop the bleeding" it was willing to overpay for a coach (any coach) who was considered a young, hot commodity. In bringing in Rodriguez, we got a young, innovative coach. We also have a person of questionable integrity and character now leading the football program. It did not have to be this way.

Michigan had the perfect internal candidate in Ron English. Young (39 years old) and highly respected, Coach English had been with the program for five years serving as the Defensive Coordinator for the past two seasons. Coach "E" is a man of great integrity and high character as he demonstrated during his tenure at Michigan. Coach English would have made changes but likely would have kept many of the prior members of the Michigan coaching staff. Coach English would have blended the old with the new. He would have been able to move the football program forward while building on the strength of the traditions of the past. The wholesale changes made by Coach Rodriguez means things will be very different next year but it does not mean they will be better. In fact, they will likely be worse. However, under Coach English, the program would be in better shape now and in the future. A.D. Bill Martin did a great disservice by creating an environment where the hiring of an internal candidate would be viewed as "settling" and not in the best interests of the program. In fact, staying inside (as it turns out) would have been far preferable to the outside hire that was made. It's all water under the bridge but sometimes as I watch Coach Rod's soap opera I wistfully wonder what might have been if Michigan had hired Coach English instead. Go Blue!

Labels: ,

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Coach Carr: A look back

There is a profile of Coach Carr in today's News-Herald Newspaper. Carr, a 1963 graduate of Riverview Community High School (RCHS), discussed his beginnings, his ascent to the top job of Michigan Football, and his emotional farewell game. We miss you already Coach Carr! Articles, such as the one Mitch Albom did in today's Detroit Free Press re: Coach Rod, make you realize what we had in Coach Carr. I think people will miss Coach Carr next season more than they think will. Go Blue!


Sunday, January 13, 2008

Back to the Future

The Schembechler-era (1969-2007) is over. The Rodriguez-era (2007-20??) has begun. Despite the fact that there were two head football coaches that followed Bo [Gary Moeller (1990-1994) and Lloyd Carr (1995-2007)], most observers count the past 18 years as part of the Schembechler years as both men were assistants under Bo and continued the Bo way of doing things. However, the hiring of Coach Rodriguez -an outsider- has brought an end to the Schembechler reign. This is the first time Michigan has gone outside the program for a hire since the hiring of Bo Schembechler himself prior to the 1969 season. In fact, there are many parallels that can be drawn to Bo's first days as Michigan Head Coach and Coach Rod's first days at the helm of the Wolverines. There are also some important distinctions.

When Bo was hired by A.D. Don Canham in December, 1968, he had been the Head Coach at Miami (Ohio) University for the previous six years amassing a 40-17-3 record. Bo replaced Bump Elliott who had coached the Wolverines for 10 seasons. The Wolverines were coming off a humiliating loss to Ohio State by the score of 50-14 that had ended Michigan's season. Ohio State went on to win the National Championship that season. When Bo came on as Head Coach, Bump Elliott was moved up into the Athletic Dept. as an Associate Athletic Director. Bo thought to be successful he needed to have his own people with him so he brought six assistants from Miami University. Bo retained two assistants (George Mans & Frank Maloney) that had been on the Michigan staff and Bo brought in one assistant (Louie Lee) from the outside.

Bo held his first team meeting in January, 1969. Bo decided to set the tone right from the beginning. He wrote that his entire focus was to beat Ohio State. Back then, the Michigan Football program had fallen on hard times. Bo has written that when Don Canham took over the athletic department from Fritz Crisler in 1968, the year before he hired Bo, Canham inherited a $250,000 debt, a half-empty football stadium, and facilities that were about to collapse. Bo noted that Michigan had won just one Big Ten title in the previous 18 years. That was all about to change. One of the first things Bo did to set the tone was to mandate the players' living arrangements. "From now on," Bo said, "everyone is going to live in the city of Ann Arbor. Freshmen and sophomores are going to live in the dormitories, upperclassmen will live in apartments near campus, and married students will live in university married housing." After the initial meeting was over, Bo concluded he had accomplished his goal. Bo wrote, "I wasn't there to tell them how great they were. I was there to change the tone of that team. From the looks on their faces after I finished, you'd have to say I succeeded. "

When Coach Rod was hired by A.D. Bill Martin in December, 2007, he had been the Head Coach at West Virginia University for the previous seven seasons amassing a 60-26 record. Coach Rod replaced Lloyd Carr who had coached the Wolverines for 13 seasons. The Wolverines were coming off another tough loss to Ohio State (fourth in a row). Ohio State went on to play in the BCS National Championship title game. When Coach Rod came on as Head Coach, Lloyd Carr moved up into administration in the Athletic Dept. as an Associate Athletic Director. Coach Rod thought to be successful he needed to have his own people with him so he brought six assistants from West Virginia University. He retained one assistant (Fred Jackson) that had been on the Michigan staff and he brought in two assistants (Scott Shafer and Jay Hopson) from the outside.

Coach Rod held his first team meeting on Monday, January 7, 2008. Coach Rod is bringing a new scheme (the spread offense) into the program and he wants the players to sign on to the (radical) changes that are being made. Coach Rod is taking over a program that has won 8 Big Ten titles and a National Championship in the 18 seasons since Bo stepped down after the 1989 season. Additionally, the program has had 200+ consecutive home games of 100,000 or more fans in attendance. Nevertheless, Coach Rod wants to implement change. He wants to do things his way to keep the program moving forward. During his first week, he revolutionized the weight room. During the week of January 7th, Coach Rod held two team meetings and he let the players know that he and the assistant coaches would be dropping by the players' residences to check on them and their living situations. Regarding his players embracing his program, Coach Rod was quoted in The Free Press as saying, "They're all either fully committed or they're not committed at all. There ain't no halfway." I would say that Coach Rodriguez, like Bo before him, is setting a tone. Go Blue!

*Note: Photo of Coach Schembechler from collection of Bentley Historical Library, U-M.
*Note 2: Photo of Coach Rodriguez standing on sidelines during 2008 Capital One Bowl by REINHOLD MATAY/AP Photo

Labels: ,

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Should Carlos Brown switch to QB?

With the departure of Chad Henne (graduation) and Ryan Mallett (pro-style offense), Michigan has two remaining scholarship quarterbacks (i.e., Steven Threet & David Cone) and a walk-on (i.e., Nick Sheridan). It has been reported that Coach Rodriguez plans to add at least a pair of quarterbacks to the roster although he typically likes to carry five (5) scholarship quarterbacks. In discussions of Michigan's quarterback situation, an interesting name has popped up: Carlos Brown. Brown (So. in 2007) was a dual threat QB in high school. In his senior year at Heard County (Ga.) High School, Brown played both running back and quarterback. He completed 27-of-52 passes for 541 yards and 7 passing touchdowns while running for 1,512 yards and scoring 21 rushing touchdowns on 135 carries.

Brown has worked out at three different positions in two years while at Michigan. Brown came to Michigan as a running back in January, 2006 (as an early enrolee), practiced some at quarterback as a freshman, switched to cornerback in 2007 Spring Practice, almost left the program, and then switched back to running back by the end of Spring Practice after Kevin Grady got hurt and was out for the 2007 season. Brown (who wears jersey #23) is extremely talented but has yet to break out like he had hoped. His situation is eerily reminiscent of that of another supremely talented player who wore #23 for the Wolverines: Jim Betts. Betts arrived to Michigan as a freshman in 1967 back when Bump Elliott was the Head Coach. Back then true freshmen were not allowed to play. Betts had played quarterback in high school at Benedictine High School (Cleveland, OH). Betts practiced as a quarterback in 1967 as a freshman but he was switched to running back in 1968. During the 1968 season, Betts was switched to wide receiver where he wound up catching 4 passes for 29 yards that season. Betts had played 3 positions in his first two seasons at Michigan but he got a new lease on life when a new head coach (Bo Schembechler) took over the team prior to his junior year of 1969. Coach Schembechler promptly switched Betts back to the quarterback spot for his junior season and Betts became a fantastic back-up to starter Don Moorhead.

Michigan's current roster of scholarship quarterbacks (Steven Threet and David Cone) are prototypical drop-back passers. Depending how successful Coach Rodriguez is in recruiting dual threat prep quarterbacks over the next few weeks, switching Brown to QB for his junior season may be a viable option. Brown, like Pat White at WVU, has tremendous speed and the spread offense seems tailor made for Brown's skills. Coach Rodriguez emphasizes that the QB has to be able to make quick reads, hit holes, and throw well. Brown may well decide a switch to QB is in order. The arrival of Coach Rodriguez and the spread offense could give him a new lease on life. Go Blue!
*Note: Top Photo of Carlos Brown (23) from 2006 Media Day by JOHN T. GREILICK/The Detroit News
*Note 2: Bottom Photo of Jim Betts (23) from TK Legacy Michigan Signature Series Card.

Labels: ,

QB David Cone- The Rodney Dangerfield of the M Football Team

QB David Cone gets no respect. Cone, who was a So./Fr. during the 2007 season, is a pro-style quarterback that was considered a find by QB Coach Scot Loeffler. Cone (6'6", 214 lbs.) participated in one of Coach Loeffler summer quarterback camps in 2005 and Coach Loeffler was so impressed with Cone's accuracy and command that Michigan decided to offer Cone a scholarship. Cone officially signed his commitment in February, 2006 and he joined the team in time for fall practice in August, 2006. During his prep career, Cone led Statesboro (Ga.) High School to three consecutive Class AAAA state championship games including a perfect 15-0 record and a state championship during his senior year.

Cone redshirted his freshman season (2006) at Michigan as QB Chad Henne was the designated starter and Jason Forcier was his back-up. Cone was impressive in the 2007 Spring Game and saw some (limited) action this past season playing as the #3 QB behind Sr. Chad Henne and all-world Fr. Ryan Mallett. Cone saw mop-up duty in two games and completed the only pass he threw for 21 yards. Despite his impressive background and his strong performance in the limited opportunity he has been given, Cone has been discounted (or worse) in discussions regarding Michigan's quarterback situation for 2008. Although much remains to be seen regarding the Wolverines QB situation (Coach Rodriguez has been quoted as saying he wants to bring in at least two scholarship quarterbacks), I think people should be rest assured that Cone is a talented player. He may or may not beat out Steve Threet on the depth chart but it will be more competitive than people think. People discount Cone too quickly because of his lean frame. However, there was a reason Loeffler had Coach Carr extend him a scholarship back in 2006. Cone is competitive, tough, and has an accurate arm. Fans should not be so quick to discount Cone because of his looks. Go Blue!
*Note: Photo of David Cone (12) and Nick Sheridan (8) from 2007 Spring Game by mzgoblue.


Friday, January 11, 2008

Change is not always for the better

In reviewing the bios of the new Defensive Coaching staff, it struck me that change is not always for the better. Although the new staff seems competent enough, each position coach is less accomplished than their 2007 counterpart. Following is a brief look position-by-position:

Defensive Coordinator: Ron English (2007) vs. Scott Shafer (2008)

Ron English (39 years old) has been the dynamic Defensive Coordinator for the Wolverines for the past two seasons. He served as the secondary coach for Michigan for three years prior to taking over the defense in 2006. Coach English became the first coach in NCAA history to have two defensive backs earn consensus All-America honors in the same season, since the organization began incorporating both an offensive and defensive team in 1965, as cornerback Marlin Jackson and safety Ernest Shazor earned the recognition following the 2004 season. Coach English is a highly respected coach and he was hired by Louisville to serve as their Defensive Coordinator next season. Coach English is a fiery motivator who always got the best out of his Wolverine defenders during his five-year stint on the Michigan staff.

Scott Shafer (41 years old) was a first-year Defensive Coordinator for Stanford in 2007. Immediately prior to that, he had served as the Def. Coordinator at Western Michigan for two seasons (2005-2006). He also has served as the Def. Coordinator at Northern Illinois (2000-2003). Shafer seems like a rising star in the coaching ranks but he does not measure up to the superstar status already earned by Coach English. The hiring of Shafer may pass muster with the fans discombulated by the breadth of the regime change that has taken place but there is no way this hire would have been deemed acceptable during the Coach Carr-era. The Wolverines seem to be taking a chance on Shafer when they already had one of the best in the game in Ron English.

Secondary: Vance Bedford (2007) vs. Tony Gibson (2008)

Coach Bedford was Michigan's secondary coach during the National Championship season of 1997 and he rejoined the staff last year as the secondary coach after having served the previous two seasons (2005-2006) as the Defensive Coordinator at Oklahoma State. As a player, Bedford had been a four-year starter at cornerback at the University of Texas. Comparatively, his replacement, Tony Gibson, played football at Glenville State College. Gibson later went on to coach the defensive backs at WVU which he did from 2001-2007. Although Gibson played for Coach Rodriguez in college and has coached with him for many years, Gibson's "experience" pales in comparison to that of Bedford who, it should be noted, also coached the secondary for the Chicago Bears from 1999-2004.

Linebackers: Steve Szabo (2007) vs. Jay Hopson (2008)

Szabo was on the Michigan staff for two seasons and has coached football for 39 years. He joined the Wolverines in 2006 after having spent the previous twelve seasons coaching in the NFL. Szabo coached the linebackers for the New England Patriots in 2003 when they went all the way to the Super Bowl. On the other hand, Jay Hopson spent the past three seasons as the Defensive Coordinator and middle linebackers coach at Southern Mississippi. Hopson may be an up-and-comer (hopefully) but he has nothing on the veteran Szabo.

Defensive Line: Steve Stripling (2007) vs. Bruce Tall (2008)

Stripling was on the Michigan staff for three seasons and he coached in the Big Ten for 22 years. Immediately prior to his joining the Wolverines' staff, Stripling had coached the defensive line at MSU for two seasons. His 2008 counterpart, Bruce Tall, is another of Coach Rodriguez long-time buddies. Tall has spent the past five seasons as the Mountaineers spur and bandit safeties coach (2003-2007). Tall's "experience" is no match for Stripling's vast knowledge of the Big Ten trench warfare.

Change means things are different. It does not necessarily mean things will improve. Sometimes it means things will be worse.


Coach Rod discusses the spread offense

Coach Rod on ESPN explaining the spread offense back when he coached Pat White at WVU. Man, this system is going to be different from anything we've seen in a long time at Michigan. Go Blue!

Hitting the skids

In all the hullaballoo (is that a word?) regarding the changeover in coaching staff, one change in the football administrative staff has been overlooked. Apparently, Recruiting Assistant Gene Skidmore (a native of Wyandotte, MI) is no longer on staff. Although his boss, Recruiting Coordinator Chris Singletary was rehired it appears that Skidmore was quietly replaced by one of Coach Rodriguez' West Virginia guys by the name of Michael Parrish. Parrish was given the title of Recruiting/Operations Assistant. His bio indicates that he is joining the Michigan staff after a two-year stint with Rodriguez at West Virginia (2006-07). Parrish worked as an Administrative Graduate Assistant after earning his bachelor's degree in business administration from WVU.

Skidmore (or "Skids" as he was affectionately known) worked for four (4) years as the Recruiting Assistant for the Michigan Football program. Prior to that, he worked as an intern in the University's Athletic Media Relations Office. Skidmore's wife Ana (Gjesdal) is a former Michigan cross country and track athlete. The loss of Skidmore's experience will be felt as the coaching staff hits the recruiting trail Sunday in a last push before Feb. 6th signing day to bring in a class of 25 players. "Skids" will be sorely missed around Schembechler Hall. Go Blue!

Profiling the Defensive Coaching Staff

With the announcement today that Stanford Defensive Coordinator Scott Shafer has been named as Michigan's new Defensive Coordinator, the Wolverines defensive coaching assignments are now complete. Here is a list of the coaches with a brief profile of each one from MGoBlue.com:

Quite familiar with the Big Ten and Midwest, Shafer (41 years old) joins the Michigan staff after spending the 2007 season as defensive coordinator at Stanford. Prior to joining the Cardinal program, Shafer was the defensive coordinator/defensive backs coach at Western Michigan (2005-06). He coached the defensive backs at Illinois in 2004 and began his coaching career as a graduate coach for former U-M assistant coach Bill Mallory at Indiana (1991-92). Shafer spent eight seasons at Northern Illinois, coordinating the defense from 2000-03 and served as the defensive backs mentor his entire stint with the Huskies (1996-2003). In addition, Shafer coached the defensive backs at Rhode Island for three seasons (1993-95). Shafer played quarterback at Ohio University in 1985 and then completed his collegiate career at Baldwin-Wallace. He earned his bachelor's degree in education from Baldwin-Wallace in 1990 and collected his master's degree in education from Indiana in 1993. A native of Painesville, Ohio, Shafer and his wife, Missy, have one son, Wolfgang, and a daughter, Elsa.

Gibson is the lone member of the staff to play for and coach with Rodriguez. Gibson has worked with the secondary at West Virginia since being hired in 2001, tutoring the cornerbacks and free safeties. He was named recruiting coordinator in January 2007. Prior to coaching at WVU, Gibson coached special teams, defensive backs and served as recruiting coordinator at Cumberland University (1997-98) and was defensive coordinator and assistant head coach at West Virginia Tech (1999-2000). Gibson played for Rodriguez at Glenville State College (1991-1994). He was the defensive backs and kickoff team coach for Rodriguez at Glenville State in 1996. Gibson and his wife, Kerry, have two children, Cody and Ashton.

Hopson spent the past three seasons as the defensive coordinator and middle linebackers coach at Southern Mississippi. He spent two three-year stints with the Golden Eagles, the first as defensive backs coach (2001-03) and the past three seasons coordinating the defense (2005-07). He was the defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach at his alma mater, Mississippi, during the 2004 season. Hopson was the defensive backs coach at Marshall University for five seasons (1996-2000) prior to joining the Southern Mississippi staff for the first time. He also worked as a graduate assistant at Florida (1995), Louisiana State (1994) and Tulane (1992) and was the defensive backs coach at Delta State in 1993. Hopson and his wife, Michelle, have two daughters, Virginia and Hannah.

A native of Shaker Heights, Ohio, Tall joins the Michigan staff after spending the past five seasons as the Mountaineers spur and bandit safeties coach (2003-07). He is quite familiar with the Midwest and the state of Michigan, having served as defensive line coach at Western Michigan in 2002. From 1998-2001, Tall was defensive coordinator and linebackers coach at Harvard. He was also the defensive coordinator and linebackers coach at Northeastern (1993-97). Tall was an assistant coach at Cornell (1985-86) and worked two stints at his alma mater, Ohio Wesleyan. He is a 1982 graduate of Ohio Wesleyan with a bachelor's degree in health and physical education. He received the 2001 Assistant Coach of the Year award from the Gridiron Club of Greater Boston and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the All-American Football Foundation. Tall and his wife, Karmen, have three children, Braythan, Karsyn and Kallyn.

Go Blue!


Don't despair, the cupboard is (allegedly) not bare

The Free Press did a profile today on Steven Threet the Michigan freshman who may be the Wolverines' starting QB next season. Threet (6'5", 228) is from Adrian (MI) High School and was the #12 prep player in the State of Michigan in the 2007 class. He graduated from high school early and enrolled at Georgia Tech in January, 2007. He participated in spring practice but was unable to secure the starting QB position. After the two coaches who recruited Threet left Georgia Tech for other schools, Threet decided to transfer. He transferred to Michigan before the start of the 2007 season and joined the team but had to sit out because of the NCAA transfer rules. He used his redshirt year and he still has four (4) years of eligibility remaining to play for the Wolverines. Go Blue!

*Note: Photo of Steven Threet from his high school days at Adrian High School by RASHAUN RUCKER/Detroit Free Press


Defensive Coordinator named; defensive coaching assignments made

Stanford Defensive Coordinator Scott Shafer has been named Michigan's new Defensive Coordinator. With the naming of Schafer as the Defensive Coordinator, Coach Rodriguez was able to make the rest of the defensive coaching assignments which are as follows: Tony Gibson (assistant head coach/secondary); Jay Hopson (linebackers); and Bruce Tall (defensive line). Go Blue!

*Note: Photo of new Defensive Coordinator Scott Shafer from Stanfordphoto.com


Thursday, January 10, 2008

Ryan Mallett "forced out"-Transfers from Michigan

It is official. Ryan Mallett is withdrawing from Michigan and will be enrolling at a new school to play football. Per NCAA rules, he will have to sit out a year before he will be eligible to play at his new school. Mallett is leaving Michigan just one year after he arrived as an early enrollee in January, 2007. He had an eventful freshman year and he saw considerable action this past season due to extensive injuries incurred by starter Chad Henne. Mallett played in eleven (11) games and completed 61 of 141 passes (43.3%) for 892 yards, 7 touchdowns with 5 interceptions. Michigan won all three games (Notre Dame, Penn State & Northwestern) that Mallett started in 2007 and he was the heir apparent to assume the starting QB position for next season. However, with the arrival of Coach Rodriguez and the implementation of the "spread offense", Mallett's destiny suddenly changed.
Coach Rodriguez apparently spoke with Ryan Mallett on three separate occasions regarding Mallett's future with the Wolverines. Coach Rodriguez spoke with Mallett twice by phone and once face-to-face but apparently the conversations were too one-sided for Mallett's taste. "I really didn't get to ask a lot of questions," Mallett said. "I have a lot of respect for what he's done, but for me to be successful right now, I have to go somewhere else."
When Mallett came out of high school last year, he was rated the #2 prep quarterback in the nation behind only Jimmy Clausen. It appears that Coach Rodriguez did a poor job of "re-recruiting" Mallett. The Michigan faithful are trying to look on the bright side of Mallett's departure as they figure it is now more likely that Coach Rodriguez will be able to bring in Terrelle Pryor who is one of the top prep recruits in the nation this year. However, Pryor is also still considering Ohio State, Florida, Penn State, and Oregon. It is obviously essential that Coach Rodriguez sign Pryor to Michigan. Unfortunately, it is far from a sure thing that Pryor will commit to Michigan. It seems to me that when Coach Rodriguez already had on the team one of the top quarterbacks in the nation in Ryan Mallett that it was imperative for Coach Rodriguez to have done everything he could to keep him. Coach Rodriguez' efforts at retaining Mallett appear half-hearted and uninspired. As a result, Coach Rodriguez is now scrambling to bring a talented (albeit younger and more inexperienced) quarterback onto the team. If his recruiting effort of Pryor turns out to be as successful as his re-recruitment of Mallett, then Coach Rodriguez may have to resort next season to playing Steven Threet, David Cone or Nick Sheridan. Go Blue!
*Note: Photo of Ryan Mallett (15) from 9/22/07 game vs. Penn State by KIRTHMON F. DOZIER/Detroit Free Press


Tuesday, January 08, 2008

New look staff

Coach Rodriguez announced his first coaching staff for the Wolverine football program. Coach Rodriguez has filled eight of the 9 full-time coaching positions on the staff as well as both graduate assistant coaching coaching spots. Six of Coach Rodriguez' assistant coaches and five support staff personnel from West Virginia University have joined him in Ann Arbor. In addition, Rodriguez hired former Southern Mississippi defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Jay Hopson as a defensive assistant at a position yet to be determined. Coach Rodriguez expects to finish designating staff assignments by Friday. Rodriguez has yet to hire a defensive coordinator, the ninth and last vacancy on the staff, and also has two defensive assistants for positions that are yet to be determined. Rodriguez said his two defensive assistants could be in the running for the coordinator job or he could go outside the program to find someone else. Once Rodriguez's staff is complete, he will assign each staff member a geographic area in which to recruit. The entire staff plans to recruit a full class of 25 and hit the road Sunday, once the NCAA's "dead period" is over. Also, it is worth noting that Coach Rodriguez retained Michigan's entire video, equipment, medical and clerical staffs. Go Blue!


Ryan Mallett

Ryan Mallett will either be Michigan's starter next year or he will be at another school. I hope he stays. Here is a video a fan of his put together. Go Blue!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Behind the scenes of Coach Carr's last days as Coach

The Associated Press got an all access pass behind the scenes with Coach Carr in the days leading up to the Capital One Bowl. Read about it here. It gives a good glimpse into events fans usually do not get to read about. Go Blue!


Riverview boy makes good

Coach Carr grew up in the Downriver community of Riverview and graduated from Riverview Community High School (RCHS) where he had played football under the legendary Ernie Mayoros. Coach Carr quarterbacked the Riverview Pirates to a State Championship in 1962. It was in the 'View that Coach Carr learned the life lessons that he would later impart to his players when he became Head Coach of the Wolverines. Coach Carr retired yesterday from Michigan with the third most wins of any football coach in school history. Yet, more important to Coach Carr than his wins (122) or his 1997 National Championship, is the number of players he impacted on a personal level during his thirteen (13) years at the helm of the Wolverines. Coach Carr is a tremendous credit to the University and his impact on his players will be felt for years to come. To think it all started in little old Riverview. Go Blue!
*Note: Top picture of Coach Carr (left) in Riverview letter sweater w/ friend Jessie Jenkins; Picture at right: High School Graduation photo of Coach Carr w/ his mom.


Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Lloyd Carr Tribute

Lloyd Carr tribute shown on Michigan Replay as first posted by MichiganSportsCenter. Go Blue!

Michigan gets emotional bowl win for retiring Coach

With clutch performances on both sides of the ball, the Wolverines delivered a bowl win over the heavily-favored Florida Gators in Coach Carr's last game. The game was emotionally charged and the Wolverines were clearly amped up and giving it everything they had on behalf of their retiring coach. Michigan's offensive stars all came up big as Mike Hart (32 att., 129 yds., 2 tds.), Adrian Arrington (9 rec., 153 yds., 2 tds.), and Mario Mannigham (5 rec., 78 yds., 1 td). all reached the end zone. However, the biggest performance was turned in by game MVP Chad Henne who was 25-39 for 373 yds., 3 tds. and 2 ints. The Michigan defense also played well, despite yielding 35 points, as it held Florida to 2 of 11 third down conversions and made key stops in the final minutes. It all added up to Michigan's first bowl win in the past five games and a great sendoff to Coach Carr. Video of Coach Carr's locker room speech after the game can be found on the Big Ten Network site. Go Blue!

*Note: Photo of Coach Carr addressing a victorious Michigan locker room as Head Coach for one final time by JOHN T. GREILICK/The Detroit News


Coach Rodriguez takes the reigns tomorrow

Tomorrow, Coach Rich Rodriguez officially takes over as the Head Coach of the Michigan Football team. During the press conference on December 17, 2007 during which he was introduced as the 18th head coach in Michigan Football history, Coach Rodriguez said the following in his opening comments:

"And I'm studying, I know a little bit about the tradition. I'm studying it, following it, will know it very well in a short period of time, and I'm also excited about following a legend. I followed a legend at West Virginia University in Don Nehlen, which many of you know, who I played for, has great respect and pride in this great university, and I'm following another one in Lloyd Carr. And everybody knows about the legend of Bo Schembechler; I actually got his book last night from the mayor of Toledo, who is a big U-M fan, so I'm going to read that on the way home."

I don't know how much Coach Rodriguez got through the book but if nothing else I hope he read this chapter about Coach Schembechler's first days as the Michigan Football Coach. This chapter is entitled "Setting the tone" and Bo stated his entire focus was to beat Ohio State (the defending National Champions). As a review of the chapter reveals, Bo set the tone for the team from the very first team meeting in January, 1969. Now- 39 years later- Coach Rodriguez will be repeating history. Even if he did not have time to digest the entire book yet or all of Michigan's many traditions, Coach Rodriguez would be wise to follow Bo's lesson and set the tone for the team right from the first team meeting that will be taking place next week. Go Blue!

*Note: Photo of Coach Rodriguez on sidelines during Capital One Bowl by REINHOLD MATAY/AP Photo


Michigan wins Capital One Bowl: Highlights

Coach Carr goes out with a big victory!

Michigan 41 #12 Florida 35

Playing inspired football, the Wolverines sent Coach Carr off into retirement with a bowl victory in an exciting back and forth contest over a talented Florida Gators squad. Following are the event recap, boxscore, postgame notes, the player participation chart and quotes. Much analysis to follow when I'm done mourning the end of the Lloyd Carr-era. Thanks Coach Carr!!! Go Blue!

*Note: Photo of Coach Carr getting carried off the field by Doug Benc/Getty Images

Labels: ,