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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

That's a nice headstone. I feel like singing. LSU's AD continues to whistle past the graveyard, but as he does so he's saying some nice things about Les:

“I don’t think this is a real money issue, No. 1,” Bertman said. “This guy’s more family-oriented and more community-minded and — this is my word — nobler than most of the coaches that I’ve dealt with.

“I think that this guy wants to come to work every day and feel comfortable. I think the people that he wants to come to work every day and feel comfortable with are on his side 100 percent of the time.”
Standard AD-speak, perhaps.

Odds. These are always sucker bets, but an oddsmaker's view on the next Michigan coach:
Les Miles, LSU coach -- 2/1
Kirk Ferentz, Iowa coach -- 9/2
Mike Trgovac, Carolina Panthers defensive coordinator -- 5/1
Brian Kelly, Cincinnati coach and former Central Michigan and Grand Valley coach -- 6/1
Ron English, U-M defensive coordinator -- 6/1
Bret Bielema, Wisconsin coach -- 7/1
Bobby Petrino, Atlanta Falcons coach -- 10/1
Jon Gruden, Tampa Bay Bucs coach -- 10/1
Jim Harbaugh, Stanford coach and U-M alum -- 10/1
Bill Cowher, ex-Pittsburgh Steelers coach -- 15/1

Field (all others) -- 2/1
The credence you give this should drop precipitously as you scan down the list and find Bret Bielema (AFAIK the only reason anyone ever mentions him is that Dienhart keeps pushing him as a candidate) and Harbaugh, but for whatever it's worth. Since there's no Debord, I declare it worth one million dollars.

Right, speaking of... a Detroit News article on how Michigan will interview the coordinators has some downright laughable stuff from Debord on his term at Central:
"The way I defend that is, I will say this: We went in there, we put a culture together just like Michigan, we were, it's nothing against the kids, but we weren't as talented as we wanted to be," DeBord said. "When they won the championship, those were with sophomores, juniors and seniors that our staff had recruited. We had taken a program that was at the bottom of the conference, and we elevated it recruiting-wise to go win the conference championship.

"I know what the record is, but I also do know where we started and what ended up happening and what is still happening."

Maybe this would be slightly plausible if Debord had been forced out at CMU, but he did not. He packed up his 12-34 record and quit, quit like a little girl whose piano lessons are too hard. CMU's AD and president on Debord:
University President Michael Rao said he believed one of the reasons for DeBord’s resignation was his dislike for many of the public relations functions of the job.

He kept talking about how he didn’t like the lunches and the public relations,” Rao said. “It was really getting to him. I was kind of surprised.” ...

Rao said he had two 30-minute conversations with DeBord prior to his resignation, in which DeBord expressed the exact sentiments.

“He said the losses over time were really getting to him,” Rao said. “He also talked about whether he really wanted to be a head coach. He felt an assistant coach role was probably more of a fit for him.” ...

Athletics director Herb Deromedi also met with DeBord multiple times before the resignation.

“He came to us and told us that he would resign,” Deromedi said. “What we attempted to do is to meet with him and ask him to reconsider. We had met at his home several times, but he was fairly certain.”

Mike Debord packed up his stuff and went home because he couldn't handle the PR and the losing. A few years later he "put a culture together just like Michigan," which is true if the reporter omitted "specifically, their offense against Ohio State" but completely ridiculous otherwise. The one silver lining in this turd sandwich of a season is getting this guy the hell away from Michigan's football program.

Dienhart what? Latest from Tom Dienhart:
Another factor: The Michigan assistant coaches have guaranteed deals, which means the new coach might be forced to work with the current staff. Will that be a deal-breaker for some candidates?
Yes, the assistant coaches have guaranteed deals. The guarantee, however, is that they will be paid in 2008, not that they will work for Michigan. It might be a bit expensive to shuffle the staff out wholesale, but if a new coach wants most of the guys out the door there's no reason it won't happen. The most likely scenario is that a few staff members are retained (Campbell and Stripling seem the most likely, maybe Loeffler and English), but only a few.

Not news, but there's an article. Jim Harbaugh has a realistic perspective on his prospects for the Michigan job:
"As far as the opening they have, the Michigan people will do a great job in selecting someone to carry on that tradition," Harbaugh said. "It's not going to be me. I am happy where I am."
As mentioned before: next.

Additionally evasive. Brian Kelly does not sound like a man married to Cincinnati:
Would Kelly be interested?

"From my standpoint, it's similar to all the questions relative to the bowl games," Kelly said Monday during the Big East's weekly coaches' conference call. "Our focus is on Syracuse. That's the most important thing. Any speculation relative to bowls and jobs, we've got plenty of time for that after the Syracuse game (Saturday).

"The focus for me and my football team is going to be on getting nine wins for the first time since the 1950s. Job speculation and all those things, we've got plenty of time to do that after this weekend."
If Ferentz Miles falls through, he would be an excellent fallback plan.

Recruiting stuff. Dann O'Neill reiterates his Michigan commit...
"My decision hasn't changed. Not one bit," O'Neill said Monday evening, the same day Carr held a press conference announcing that he would step down as the Wolverines' head coach after 13 seasons in charge. "Michigan is still the right fit for me, a school that I've always wanted to go to. They're my dream school and that hasn't changed." another article; he sounds completely solid. He also has some news on another OL commit:
"Elliot Mealer (an offensive lineman from Wauseon, Ohio) is one guy that I stay in contact with quite a bit, and he's staying put too," O'Neill said. "Actually, I don't think anyone is changing their mind. Everyone is still on board."
The Free Press has a more negative quote from Boubacar Cissoko:
“I was kind of surprised,” Cissoko said of Carr's retirement. “I was looking forward to playing for him. I got to weigh my options, take my visits and see who the next coach going to be and go from there.”

Cissoko, who's 5-feet-8, 171 pounds, said he would try to set up visits to Tennessee, Illinois and Penn State to start the week after Thanksgiving. He said he still was leaning toward attending U-M, but he wanted a backup plan in case he wasn't wanted or he wasn't fond of the coaching hire.

“Bring in a new coach and a new staff.….they might kick you to the curb, so that's something you got to look after,” Cissoko said.
Same article from Toledo's Kevin Koger:
“Just pick a guy that's all about winning, because all I want to do is win,” said Toledo Whitmer tight end Kevin Koger, who insisted he still was firmly committed to U-M.
(Via MATW.)

Realistically, we won't know who's committed and who isn't until we know which assistants are being retained. If English stays that would help.

One guy who seems a major threat to bolt: Sam McGuffie. Facts about Sam:
  • McGuffie's mom said she wanted him to go to A&M on national TV.
  • M RB coach Fred Jackson was really, really high on him early and his close relationship with McGuffie was a major reason for his commitment.
  • Jackson recruits Louisiana and is likely to be one of the primary sources of all the "Loose Morals" talk. Meanwhile, current LSU RBs coach Larry Porter has been with Miles since Oklahoma State and appears to be a killer recruiter. Last year he hauled in a bumper crop of Texans and Lousianans, including five-star coup Terrance Tolliver. Other than Mike Debord, Jackson is the assistant least likely to be retained by Miles.
  • As a slight, Caucasian running back, McGuffie might justifiably be a little more paranoid about getting shuffled to the bench by a coaching staff that doesn't believe in him.
I hate to say this, but McGuffie is 50-50 at best.

Etc.: Michigan Athletic Department hits on LSU blog -- woo?; Michigan junior dies from cancer. :(