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Friday, March 28, 2008

Since every email I've gotten in the last few days is titled "Boren" or "Justin Boren"...

Not really. Well, maybe. I don't know, really. But certain things become clear as Borens continue to talk to people in the paper. One: dad isn't that bright.

“We wanted to have this go away quietly..."
This is best accomplished by publicly bemoaning the erosion of family values in the program. (Insiders indicate that Rodriguez had an odd policy where a player could not practice unless he brought a used, preferably fur-covered condom to Oosterban.)

Two: they're looking out for number one.
"...but we didn’t want people to think he’s a quitter or couldn’t handle the system.”
So there you go. Sell out the program because you're worried about the public perception. Congratulations. The public perception has changed from "that's weird and disturbing" to "oh, they're just assholes." (Perception, mind you. I have no evidence to suggest that Justin Boren is an asshole except for the fact that he's enormous and plays football. His dad, on the other hand... I think it's clear that all the stuff in the media is the product of the supposed adult; Justin probably just wants to go somewhere and play.)

It sucks that Boren hated the new staff so much he wanted to transfer, and that's his prerogative. A multi-day campaign of offense against the University when the only statement it issued on the matter was a factual "Boren has left the program" is grounds for excommunication. Stone the witches!

The difference. This, from a Notre Dame blog, is too perfect:
Clearly, Rich Rodriguez is an Unmitigated Jerk

Why else would people keep leaving the Micigan (sucks!) program?

I’m enjoying the tears with an Allagash White. Join us, wont you?

In three brief lines they've encapsulated everything about internet Notre Dame fandom that is hilarious and deranged. You've got the juvenile name alteration, the "I am drinking, this is what I am drinking, I am so cool" name drop, and, of course, the walleyed inability to perceive anything wrong with a 3-9 program. Clearly, one player who bothered to stay for spring practice deciding he's going to leave is unshakable evidence. It's way better evidence than, say, four midseason transfers of kids you recruited during your third year with the program. Keep on reachin' for the stars.

There is one point incidentally made here that troubles: the looming specter of Weis-like incompetence hovers over the departure, blotting out the sun. True sophomore starting guards do not generally transfer away from what one presumes is a short jaunt to the NFL.

What Rodriguez has that Weis does not is a track record of head coaching excellence spanning seven years at West Virginia in which his used, preferably furry condom policy turned a bunch of overlooked recruits into a two-BCS-bowl winning juggernaut of confusion, speed, and knives. Until such time as Rodriguez has failed to reproduce that success at Michigan he has scoreboard against all critics that predict his failure.

There is obviously a chance that Michigan has chosen... poorly and that Rodriguez will see his coaching career end in a brief, damp squeak. This is a nonzero risk, especially with the culture shock he is bringing to the program. There is always a nonzero risk. Michigan has minimized that as much as possible by acquiring a wildly successful college coach.

This is not his first rodeo.

Ohio State, 2001. This was Jim Tressel's first year, during which they went 7-5, and only got to 7-5 because John Navarre turned in the worst half of football by a Michigan quarterback since... uh... probably 1984 or something. Since them, Tressel has had some modicum of success.

Something good. Brief excerpts from a few different "Boren" titled emails:
Please tell me things are going to get better for UM football.
Can you please write a post about some good news?
Needless to say, I'm terrified. What if Michigan only wins like 3 games next year, a la Weis-e-coyote? The horror (as you would say).
A reader to the rescue:
Hey Brian,

I just wanted to say something about the whole Justin Boren situation. Now I understand that a lot of "Michigan Men" are freaking out about this, or have turned bitter towards this kid, but let me explain how getting rid of these kids that aren't committed to the "new" Michigan regime will benefit us in the long run.

From 2004-2007 I worked for the BYU football team. Gary Crowton was the head coach at BYU when I started working there. Gary Crowton is a really nice guy and a pretty good offensive coach, but he wasn't a very good head coach. His problem was that he was too much of a "player's coach" meaning that he let the kids run the team. The offense loafed around during practice and didn't work hard. Crowton's DC was a young guy named Bronco Mendenhal who believe that you can compensate for lesser talent by working harder than your opponent. So the team was split, the offensive players were lazy, while the defense was hard working and intense. Not only did the defense work harder, they cared a lot more about the game and team.

After the season ended Gary Crowton was fired and BYU hired Bronco Mendenhal as the new head coach. Within a week of announcing Mendenhal as head coach, a handful of players decided to transfer because they didn't like Bronco's "style". Bronco worked his players harder in the offseason than they had ever worked before. When spring practices began 15 players had either transfered or quit the team...15!!!!! Once again they didn't like how Bronco was working them too hard. Bronco's intent was to get rid of all the players that didn't want to be there. He needed and wanted players who would commit 100% to the program and the system. Once he got rid of those players, the team quickly came together and fought for each other. They all knew that everyone was working just as hard as everyone else.

Now I do understant that there is a huge talent disparity between BYU and Michigan, but the results for BYU has been better than expecte. They have gone 11-2 each of the past two years. I attribute their success to Bronco's hard nosed no-nonsense approach with his players. He did not lose any sleep crying over the transfer of the #1 QB prospect in America Ben Olson (UCLA), but focused on his team and prepared his team no matter who was playing. I see RR doing the exact same thing. Michigan needs players who are going to work hard and be 100% committed to his system and work ethic. This transition has been relatively smooth compaired to other coaching changes around the country. We must remember that Michigan hasn't gone through this process for almost 40 years and we all know how that turned out. Go Blue!!

Scott Springer
Carr, for all his positives, had started checking out the past few years. You could tell. More of the burden of leadership fell to the coordinators, one of whom had already proven he can take an above average MAC program and turn it into a zombie gerbil apocalypse. The results were obvious on the field, and off of it. 2008 is going to be a detox year, but things will improve.