This morning former U-M QB Rick Leach dialed up WTKA’s Michigan Insider with Sam Webb and Ira Weintraub to sound off about the report that Rodriguez backed off the claim that the team hit the highest GPA in team history.  Leach painted it as another attempt by the media to discredit Rodriguez, another “example of people with an axe to grind.”

But then Leach took aim at former coach Lloyd Carr, saying “I’ve had it,” asking folks to investigate where and with whom Carr sat at the Iowa game (translation: Carr sat with Iowa people and wore one of those corncob hats).

cob

Per Leach, with this act, “our ex-coach flipped a huge middle finger” at Rodriguez.

Further, Leach implied that if and when folks dig around they’ll find that trail of the negative press on Rodriguez and this team will lead back to Carr.

Here’s the audio of the call, thanks to WTKA:

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Quick take on the Iowa thing –> I don’t have a problem with Carr being at the Iowa game in a suite with Iowa people.  I’m pretty sure when folks like Mary Sue Coleman visit other teams, like Michigan State, they are the guests of their peers across the sideline.  Do they have a Michigan suite at Iowa and at other schools?  Where are Carr and 84-year-old Bump Elliott supposed to sit – in the stands with Brian?  I believe Carr and Ferentz are chummy and that’s fine; Bump was athletic director at Iowa for like 20 years, and Carr assistant Soup Campbell is now on the Iowa staff.  [Ed. and per Craig Ross, friend of Carr, it was a personal invite from Campbell's camp.]  Do you think Carr was rooting for the Hawkeyes?  Come on.  Big deal.

And a big FWIW, Rodriguez and Ferentz seems to be hamming it up before the game if I read the ABC footage properly meaning they probably do have tea and crumpets now and again.

Update: Former Michigan FB/TE Aaron Shea called up WTKA Friday to defend Carr and get mean with Leach.  Audio here.

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Related:
Leachapalooza: The Best of Rick Leach (WTKA 12/9/08)
Carr Reacts to Leach comments (kind of) December 2008

27 Comments

  1. Thank you Greg for your sober take on this. I know that we’re conditioned to hate the other side, but let’s face facts, there has to be some basic courtesy among the schools of a conference. Coaches become friends because they’re in the same line of work and because they have things that they can learn from each other, it doesn’t mean that you don’t want to beat the other team just because your buddy is coaching on the other sideline.

    The saddest part of this whole thing is that so much of this is that Lloyd Carr is in an exceptionally untenable situation for him. It’s very clear that he wants to give Rodriguez distance and space to do his own thing, and I think that’s the right way to go about it, but it also means that people begin to presume that silence is a lack of support. Maybe Carr doesn’t like Rodriguez, but we don’t know that. The only people who know that are Carr and Rodriguez and until one of them states publicly that this is this and that is that, it’s all speculation and rumor.

    For the off the deep end part of Leach’s rant, he is right that the media is turning the GPA thing into a negative. I feel bad for Rodriguez because he did genuinely set a goal based on what he thought would be reliable intelligence from people who would be expected to know it. So when they exceeded that goal, I think he had a right to be proud of that. The problem with that idea is that it can be perceived by some as a slap in the fact to “Professor” Carr. As if the former high school teacher could not motivate his students to hit the books, but Coach Rod can come in and get everyone to have a better GPA. It stinks because it is what we would hope for as fans, student-athletes striving to achieve on both ends of that phrase and now, because of a lack of precision by someone providing Coach Rod the information, it becomes another thing and a thing.

    (Sorry that was long winded…)

  2. Where has Rick Leach been all these years? Now that we have a new coach, Rick gets himself in the press more in the past 2 years than he did in the past 20 years. Other than for his family problems and going AWOL from baseball teams. Coach Carr has something that Rick needs to acquire – class.

  3. I listened with great interest to Ira and Brian Cook defend Lloyd Carr’s deafening silence regarding Rich Rod. These guys who spend their life watching who sneezes in the football program don’t want to aknowledge it’s a problem. Lloyd Carr didn’t exactly move to Sun City or The Villages when he retired. He still has an office in the football building and may still be paid by the University. He is a defacto part of the program. Bill Martin needs to step up and and prepare a statement for Carr that he does in fact four square support the program. Don’t you think Tressel and Dantonio are telling recruits that the former head coach is not sure about the program? I know WTKA fears the wrath of Bill Martin (see Dave Shand), but this issue does nothing but hurt the program. It needs to be addressed.

  4. I know for a fact from sources inside the athletice department that RR has left messages for LC inviting him to practice and LC hasn’t even had the common courtesy to return RR’s calls.

    LC needs to grow up a little, and get over the fact that DeBord didn’t get the job. He claimed in his retirement press conference that he wanted to do what is best for Michigan. Personally, I think he only wants to do what is best for him.

  5. James F. Epperson

    I’d think that the last thing the new coach would want is the previous coach hanging around practice, especially this early in the new coach’s tenure, when over half the kids were recruited by the previous staff.

  6. If Bo were alive, he would tell Carr to straighten up and act like a Michigan man. Sadly, he’s not here to provide leadership anymore. It’s up to other people who have been in the program to try and step into that void and try to provide some of the leadership that Bo would. Who is better than Rick Leach, who didn’t have NFL talent, but was probably the best leader that Bo ever had at the QB position.

    I am glad that Rick Leach is standing up for Michigan. I just wish Lloyd Carr would start doing the same instead of trying to help sabotage RR’s tenure.

    When I heard about this and wondered for maybe a half second why Leach was angry, a question immediately popped into my mind:
    Would Bo Schembechler have EVER sat with the competition, especially during an important game?

    I think we all know the answer to that.

  7. Not DeBord, Ron English. That’s where all the outside stink over RichRod is from. @Cliff Keen

  8. Slick Rod very publicly and very erroneously claimed that his team had the highest GPA in decades…lucky for him that someone was willing to lie for him, and say that the cumulative GPAs aren’t available (anyone that has worked anywhere near an AD office knows what a sham that is).

    Now all of a sudden, Rodriguez is a “Michigan Man” and Lloyd Carr isn’t. Oy vey. We’re not even half way into year 2, and the media is talking about moral victories, and the only former player that has anything positive to say about Slick Rod is notorious for substance abuse.

    In short, we’ve traded the moral high ground for moral victories…traded victories and bowl games for NCAA investigations and false claims…traded organized team charity events for illegal organized practices…and for the 3rd year in a row, next September, the hopes of Big Blue will ride on the shoulders of a true freshman.

  9. It’s an interesting situation. I think Craig Ross (follow the link in the post) summarized Carr’s position pretty well. My advice:

    For Leach, the support of Rich Rod is admirable and came at a time when he really needed it, and really, when the fans needed it. But the attacks on Carr in the public forum are creating rifts amongst the fanbase and losing some credibility for #7. He needs to cool it.

    For Carr (and I’m a “Carr guy”) he’s earned the right to be silent about Rodriguez. And let’s say he’s not crazy about everything Rich Rod has done. BUT – given the circumstances of the poor season and now, of Leach’s attacks, the continued silence has become a beast of its own and is now causing problems. I’d suggest he reconsider this tact and come out with a vanilla statement in support of RR and the program.

  10. Carr talked to some Iowa fans?

    Well, that certainly cancels the national championship he brought to Michigan.

    Cripes, lighten up, people.

  11. Michigan would’ve won if Lloyd was hanging out with Michigan supporters.

  12. @Warren
    I have to say, Rick’s a pretty good guy. I know him personally, and he *is* a nice guy, but I think he might be taking this kind of far. To be honest, his opinions expressed here are pretty radical. I don’t think Carr being in the box is a big deal, especially since Lloyd Carr is no longer our head coach. So what if he is associating with people from the opponents’ school? To me, I think it’s like two lawyers on opposing sides of a case: they aren’t buddies during the case. They can be at each others’ throats all they like, but as soon as court is adjourned, they might be best friends. Mr. Leach, I respect you, but this is just too much.

  13. Simply put this is not nor ever was Coach Car’s team nor is it Coach Rodriguez’s team this is Michigan’s team. It is time for Coach Carr to step up and do every thing he can to help this team or leave the University Of Michigan he owes that to people who supported him all those years and gave him the best job in America.

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  15. I think Rick Leach has touched on something that was quite obvious to me. I think the rift may not be between Carr and RichRod. I think it may be between Carr and Martin. I think Carr retired at the absolutely worst time he could pick – right at the end of the season; headed full bore into recruiting season (oh, after the quite time for the recruits to mull the leaving of the guy who was recruiting them), and finally Carr knowing he was leaving the cupboard loaded with young, untested players that would not just fit into any offense. He saw the changing landscape of college football, and he knew that whoever replaced him would probably bring an offense that at least embraced some of the spread attach. He had to know. I would argue Martin “encouraged” his retirement and that ticked him off, and he has not let that go.

    That is just my take. I think Rick Leach is making a valid point. Why are there still Michigan people out there who don’t want to see Michigan succeed?

    So, with that, I agree with uferfan1 who says it is Michigan’s team. And I think RR is part of Michigan now, and we should be behind him 100%.

  16. Listen to what Rick is saying !

    He is correct, in that there are RATS in the M sports department. They have been sabotaging RR since the first day. The freep take these creeps crap a gospel and exploit it to do gotcha journalism. These so called Michigan men are anything but. What they are is warped frustrated old fools who cannot take the change.

    RR will produce and they will fade away. I give RR a lot of credit for keeping focus and not doing tit for tat with these slime balls.
    Wish BO was hear to kick their arse.

    I got a message for Loyd , Dillon said it best “get out of the way if you can’t lend a hand because the times they are a changing.

  17. Right. Coach Carr is sabotaging the University of Michigan football program. What planet are you people from? I’m sure he’s doing plenty behind the scenes to support the program. What could he possibly say publicly that would (a) not sound contrived, (b) change people’s views of state/direction of the program or (c) result in victories on the football field? Coach Carr has never been one to draw public attention to himself – why should he start now?

    Coach Rod is the leader of this program and he will be judged by the success of the team on and off the field. He’s a big boy and I’m sure he can deal with the adversity that comes with being head coach here. It wouldn’t surprise me if he doesn’t want Coach Carr to say anything publicly. Hopefully he’ll be here a long time and he won’t always have a former coach to lean on to make life easier for him.

    Go Blue.

  18. @Rick

    Personally, I think you’re giving Bill Martin more credit than he may deserve. Martin may be a great accountant but he pretty much sucks as a person and everything else.

    IIRC, it was Martin who basically gave Carr a “blank check” regarding his tenure at Michigan. It was Martin who basically allowed Carr to renegotiate his contract (which is a public document as well) to benefit any impending retirement.

    Thanks for the PSLs Mr. Martin… The Law School and “down in front” alum now have a vice grip on the best seats in the house.

    It was also Martin who was a no-show at the Rose Bowl.

    It was also Martin who single-handedly fouled up the Les Miles national embarrassment. Was or would have been the right candidate for the job? That’s a topic for another thread, but any way you slice it, Martin was less than professional and hardly conducted himself of that of a “Michigan Man”.

    I could go on and on… hopefully you get my point.

  19. Mary Sue Coleman, where have I heard that name before? Hmm, oh yeah, Michigan hired her away from Iowa. I bet Carr was trying to entice more personnel away! That must be it. Stop it, Michigan! I see a pattern. My buddy went to Iowa Medical School and then to Michigan for Residency! A good friend is now living outside Detroit!

    Very clever of Leach to try to confuse us with this cover story.

  20. This is really very simple. When Bo’s time had passed he didn’t stick his nose in, but he did put his hand in. i.e. would make himself visible for recruits and the like.

  21. What a bunch of low-rent, paranoid, counterproductive BS. Rick Leach should be embarrassed; those of you fixating on internal conspiracies and betrayals sound like the sports equivalents of McCarthyites. In terms of what Bo would think if he were alive, the only thing I’d guess is that he would’ve kicked a boot up the current coach’s ass for getting misty-eyed in a press conference because he thought reporters were picking on him.

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  23. Coach Carr is an ambassador of Michigan, Rich Rod has come under fire recently, and Lloyd has said nothing. For him to sit in Iowa’s box definitely means something. It was not just a case of sitting in a friend’s box.

    Coach Carr has been around the media long enough to understand how this act would be portrayed.

  24. I know for a fact that when LC asked RR about his game plan for the MSU game last year, RR told LC that it was none of his business, it was RR’s program now.

  25. Blah, blah, blah, blah….

    Here’s hoping that Michigan loses three in a row to Ohio State, your coach is fired, and I can go back to ignoring the all-time winningest program in NCAA football.

    And you guys can all be together supporting your team.

    PS IF my Mountaineers should ever face UM with your current coach (I hope not), I have located the perfect, aptly named tailgate beer, a (very good, BTW) Scotch Ale brewed in Grand Rapids.

    Dirty Bastard.

  26. Rich takes it in the butt.

  27. People come off bad in the internet echo chamber.

    Obviously, Coach Carr wants Michigan to win. I am pretty sure Rick Leach does too. Enough. Coach Carr is allowed to visit with friends in an Iowa Suite at the Hawkeye Football Stadium. Losing apparently makes everything harder. it’s even harder for former Michigan Coaches to go to an away game!

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