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Thursday, August 02, 2007

The most notable thing that came out of Mike Hart's mouth, and there were many of them, seems to have gone completely unnoticed by the media at large, who bunkered down and relayed Carr's traditional answer to questions of retirement:

"To the best of my knowledge, I'm healthy," said Carr, entering his 13th season as Michigan's head coach. "I don't think there's anything to that. At some point, we're going to all retire and there's always an appropriate time to speak to that issue." ...

"I heard that three or four years ago," Carr said. "I did have a birthday Monday. The older you get, the tougher it gets. Or the tougher you get. One or the other."
This led to a flurry of articles titled much like the above-cited Detroit News piece:
Carr again tackles rumors

Michigan coach, 62, disputes health concerns, says he has no timetable for when he'll retire.
The Free Press put up a Rosenberg column from before the Rose Bowl: "Carr Enjoying Himself Too Much To Retire." The AP had a more neutral article, but one that still focused on Carr's non-denials. But Hart let something slip in the process of demolishing Jim Harbaugh:

I meant to clip it shorter, but the Forcier slam is so relevant I let it go. Anyway, nestled in there: "He could of went... coached at San Diego State [sic], coached at Stanford for a year, and come here." Emphasis mine; [sic] because it was plain old San Diego, not SDSU. Hart tacitly acknowledges Carr's likely retirement in an unguarded moment that's probably more accurate than the vague lack of plans suggested above. Carr may not be retiring for sure, but he's leaning towards it.

(Sidenote: The AP article citing Hart's comments changes his quote!
"There’s always a coaching ladder. He coached at San Diego and could have spent a (few) years at Stanford and maybe come to Michigan."
That "year" wasn't plural, you filthy press liars.)

Whenever this stuff comes up I cast my mind back to an interview I saw on local TV before the Ohio State game. I don't remember precisely who it was... maybe Eli Zaret, maybe that guy named "Bernie" whose last name I don't remember, but whoever the sportscaster was apparently managed to get an exclusive heart-to-heart interview with Carr by agreeing that said interview would take place on a golf course. And in this interview he was asked about the prospect of impending retirement. Carr was vague, but said he had a plan, and smiled, and seemed like a man ready to ride off into the sunset. Certain events could change his plan, but if there's an opportunity for him to go out on a good note -- beat OSU, win a BCS game -- I am confident he'll take it.

And then there's the rest of it. Pure smackdown. I addressed this earlier, when it came out; a brief recap:
  • When Harbaugh asserts that the football players at Michigan don't end up in astrophysics, he's right.
  • I don't have a problem with this. When your school is harder than Notre Dame, football players tend to cluster in the easier majors. This is because they are working a full-time year-round job in addition to being in school: duh. In addition, many football players come from bad high schools and are not admitted for their intelligence but rather their physical ability. Can we stop pretending that a random liberal arts degree is more useful to these players than their status as Michigan football players? We all want them to graduate, to show that they can function in the world well enough to get a degree, but they're learning more about how to succeed in the world by participating in a highly regimented athletics program than by writing a paper on Foucault.
  • When Harbaugh followed that up with:
    They’re adulated when they’re playing, but when they get out, the people who adulated them won’t hire them.
    ...he crossed the line. Anyone who went to or watched the Bo memorial knows that there's a tremendous bond between Bo's players, the university itself, and its massive alumni community. Implying that Michigan just discards these guys to fend for themselves after screwing them for four years is obviously, patently untrue.
  • This isn't entirely surprising since Harbaugh has always had trouble not saying idiotic things in public: see Carrol contremps #1 and #2, Ohio State guarantee, etc. It was cute when he was just trying to get Stanford some pub; tearing down the university that got you to the NFL is a douche move.
So, yeah, Hart and Carr were right to respond to Harbaugh's assertions harshly. Maybe "I wish he never went to Michigan" goes a bit too far, but, whatever. Harbaugh's shown himself a hypocrite with the Forcier transfer and is either ripping on his teammates from 20 years ago or the current players at Michigan, who he has no knowledge of. As soon as those words came out of his mouth every Notre Dame and Ohio State recruiter had forwarded them to every recruit considering Michigan. He clearly cares nothing for the fate of the program after being passed over for the quarterback coaching job, and more damning yet he's sticking to his guns. From the Jamie Morris article:

"I said, 'Jim, here's my question for you -- do you really believe the comments you said, or are you saying them to make you look good?' " said Morris, who works in the Michigan athletic development department.

"He said, 'I believe them.' And I said, 'Would you have said it if (former Michigan coach) Bo (Schembechler) was alive?' He said, 'That's not the point.' And I said, 'That's exactly the point. You didn't hurt Michigan, you hurt your coach, and you hurt the guys you played with. These are the teammates you turned your back on.' "

Morris said Harbaugh became upset.

"We said, 'We're not friends anymore,' " Morris said. " 'You lose my number, I lose yours.' "

Harbaugh also stuck to his assertion that Pete Carroll would be in the NFL next year. We'll see how that works out.

So, for the record, I have no respect left for Harbaugh either. The only person he's looking out for is himself, and in doing so he's harming the program that put him in a position to lose by 80 to USC this fall. I assume the reason is that he's just not that bright and doesn't realize how offensive his comments are -- he continues to poke the grizzly bear of college football with a stick despite being armed only with a pocket knife, albeit one with a really friggin' great SAT score -- and that he might come around and apologize at some future date. If so, fine. We're okay. But he's teetering on the edge. He's...

Better check yourself, tuna! I'm sick of not searing you enough or searing you too much!

Elsewhere: MVictors says "over the line"; marks it zero. Autumn Thunder does its inimitable thing. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, where I stole the audio from, has 6 full minutes of Hart speaking plus Henne and Carr Long interviews.