First of all, where's Bill Martin?  I think we're still paying him, right?  Regardless, Dave Brandon (are we paying 2 AD's?) led the presser today that ultimately revealed a notice from the NCAA that contained ticky-tack violations, and no surprises beyond our internal investigation.   It seemed to outline a loosely managed paper trail that blurred the lines of what "stretching" is and when it is or isn't ok to punish an athlete. 

How many feel good stories were there about 6am summer stadium laps under Lloyd?  Braylon.  Arrington.  Askew.  Just to name a few.

Complete and utter bullshit.

In an anonymous survey I conducted with my own common sense, I concluded that every other team in the country blurred the same lines.  The difference between Michigan and everybody else?  Rosenberg's hard-on for a local pulitzer.

More later.  Maybe.

Update:  Violations allege Michigan went over the 20 hour allotted practice time by 20 October of 2008.  I think the investigators just wanted to come to Zingerman's.

Rodriguez Inks Class of 27

LOI's are in for 27 new Wolverines.  Biggest class ever.  15 of them play defense.  Warm bodies = less starting walk-ons.  I'm not a big fan of starting walk-ons, so, ya, successful class.

The prize of the 15 would-be defenders?  Demar Dorsey, who saved the day and wiped a little egg off of our faces after perceived lock CA-S Sean Parker LOI'ed to UW at 9am.  Dorsey, at #12 overall and the #2 safety according to ESPN, is the highest rated recruit in Michigan's class.  He is also the highest rated recruit to sign with ANY Big Ten team.  In the words of Rittenburg, "a big, big score for Rich Rodriguez."

I don't know what it is, but I really like the looks of this class on paper...and youtube.  Nothing too gaudy.  Simple guys with a specific skill set made for a complex system.  Against everything I believe in, I've google-stalked the lot of them, watched some highlights, read some coach quotes...  Yes, following recruiting makes you less of a man, and there's a whole lotta folks that should be turning in their man cards tomorrow...we crashed MGoBlog before noon.

Devin Gardner leads the offensive side of the group, and he is already eating Blimpy Burger with 6 other early arrivals on campus.  The class includes a couple of running backs, just in case that surgery doesn't go well for Vincent Smith.  And it's always good to snatch another rabbit chaser from Pahokee...we did that with DT Richard Ash.  Also of note, the lone inked offensive lineman's last name is Pace.  These things just seem to add up for me.

The 3pm presser didn't go so well though.  Coach thought that for some reason he'd get some softball questions, handshakes, and congratulations from the media after landing Dorsey.  Instead, Dorsey's "checkered" high school past was brought up.  Demar was acquitted for a couple of felonies back in high school.  Rodriguez said he checked him out and said that everything was ok.  Guess who else checked him out?  Pretty much every other coach of a major program in the country.  Of those coaches, how many would have turned down a letter of intent from the #12 player in the nation?  ZERO.  Either way, Coach wasn't ready for it.  He probably should have been.  He should know better by now.  He should know that there can be no good until good comes on Saturdays with regularity.

Instead of being able to celebrate his second full class as a coach at Michigan, he instead had to defend a player that was found INNOCENT in a Florida court, and that won't set foot on the practice field until August.  There's a big price to pay in Ann Arbor for only mustering 8 wins in two seasons...and Rich Rodriguez has his wallet open.  This man can do no right until this team wins.  It's a policy that is tough to like, a bitch to endure...yet hard to argue with.

Welcome fellas...and GO BLUE!


More bad news for a thin defense, as Cissoko is out at Michigan, becoming the 7th loss from the class of 2008 which was mostly a product of the previous regime.  This news, along with the 2007 class, which had unceremonious exits of Mallet, Tony Clemons, and Marell Evans (among others) means that the cupboards are WAY more bare than you know.  Which, if nothing else, means that my plea for patience with Coach from Monday is not a's really your only option.

The fact that Coach is not keeping problems around, no matter how many stars they had on rivals, and no matter how thin we are at the position where the problem resides, is a good sign for those that are interested in keeping the tradition of creating a group of men that are leaders on and off the field.  In short, he is not Dantonio, who reinstated Glenn Winston basically minutes after he was released from prison.

Of course, you won't hear about how Rich Rod made the right decision by removing a player that was missing class, missing workouts, and missing study table.  The precedent has been set with the media, as the Feagin story resulted only in the perception of Michigan having recruited a drug dealer, with no props for his immediate dismissal.  And Kurt Wermer's bashing of the staff on his way out significantly outweighed the fact that the idiot was academically ineligible before he "left."

This week, you'll likely only hear that Michigan has another player that is transferring.  But that is not the truth.  He was "fired" before he "resigned."  I only hope he has the stones to own up to it for the sake of this program...that way Snyder can bury it on the back page if he has time to write while assisting the NCAA with the workout investigation.  Just remember folks, the story of Michigan getting back to being Michigan isn't nearly as sexy as Michigan in turmoil, Michigan failing to regain their dominance, or Michigan falling off the college football map.  They want us to lose.  They want Rich Rod to fail.  They want us to fail.  And you, yes YOU, can either stand there and take it, read it and believe it...or you can fight for THIS TEAM.

"This team" means "this staff."  The two are not mutually exclusive.  So the question is...are you really ALL IN?

The Thin Line Between Love and Hate Should Be Thicker

The bulk of the Michigan faithful stayed around longer than I expected them to, no doubt clinging to the hope that Tate might have another rabbit left in that winged hat.  The one redeeming quality of losses of this nature?  When games are over just a couple of minutes into the second half, you have a couple of hours to wallow around in it, to make your peace with it before it's actually done.  It's cathartic to have to sit in a cold light rain and see two small, white-clad sections of the stadium exchange their "WE ARE"s and "PENN STATE"s.  I sat there, wondering how this could have happened...not the 35-10 drubbing, but how I let my expectations change so rapidly after that 4-0 start.  More amazing is how I never let them fade after barely nipping Indiana, then falling to MSU and Iowa.

There's something that everyone needs to understand.  This is not a very good or even good football team.  This is an average football team.  They're too young, too inexperienced, and too thin at nearly every defensive position.  But being average means that this is certainly not a bad football team, and it is a country mile ahead of where they were last year.  Being average means we can beat teams like Notre Dame, we can blow out teams from the MAC, and we can be competitive with the best this league has to offer.  Being average also means that we can have our ass handed to us on occasion.  Saturday was such an occasion.

Immediately following the loss, those that cheered the new coach after the 4-0 start, and admitted they were wrong for their snap judgment after last season, quickly went back to wanting the return of Lloyd-ball.   The haters who had been patiently waiting for...and even wanting a loss like this dusted off their soapboxes.  Suddenly the piped in music was hurting their ears, the spread offense became a passing fad, and *gasp* Rich Rod yelled at one of his coaches on the sideline indicating obviously that this whole house is about to come crumbling down.

Someone really needs to shut this whole internet thing down, or at least gag Drew Sharp.

These knee jerk reactions from game to game and this over-analysis of a season, a program and a coaching staff based on a single contest is getting really ridiculous.  It was ridiculous when it we were 4-0 and had just beaten an Indiana team that we convinced ourselves was good, and it's ridiculous when we're 5-3 and we just lost to a Penn State team that we had convinced ourselves was not so good.  You see, the thing is, Indiana is not so good, and Penn State is good...I think.  So that makes things confusing, beyond your understanding, and if nothing else it should widen that thin line between praising Rich Rod for a turnaround and anointing Tate Forcier as the next coming of Christ, and wanting Rich Rod to step down and say that you can't wait for Devin Gardner to get here.  Come to grips with the fact that you just don't know, that you can't predict the future.  There's a pretty big damn difference between 5-7 and 9-3, and there's a pretty big damn difference between "Rich Rod is the man for this job" and "Rich Rod should be fired."

We all need to spend some more time finding that gray area, exercising patience, and waiting to make broad analysis of the direction of the program until the season has ended.  Bonus points if you wait until after 2010.