[Ed. Bumped up – I wrote this on MVictors just after I heard Bo passed away 10 years ago on November 17, 2006]
NOVEMBER 17 – What an empty feeling here at noon on the Friday before the biggest game that may ever be played against Ohio State and Michigan. I just heard on WTKA 1050 am that we lost the man that single handedly restored Michigan Football to its rightful place.

I had the pleasure to be in school for Bo’s final season. He is and was the heart and soul of Michigan football, and his legacy will reign in Ann Arbor forever.

I actually heard Bo live on WTKA this morning giving his thoughts on the game…he sounded a little rough. I remember thinking ‘Wow, Bo is getting old’. I understand he was in his car on the way to the taping. He collapsed at the TV station minutes later.

For whatever reason, coincidence I assume, perhaps it was stressful on him, he collapsed again during the taping of his TV show. This is pretty shocking, and the timing of this is really crazy, and this turned this into a really sad days for college football.

For those of you outside the football program. Yes, Bo Schembechler was still an active part of the team and the program. Look no further than this week’s Sports Illustrated:

The Football Complex..is named Schembechler Hall, where 77-year-old Bo keeps an office and occasionally pokes his head into metting rooms.

So where does this leave the game? Well, the game will be played. Michigan will play their asses off. Carr won’t give a rah-rah ‘Do it for Bo’ speech, he might remind them about the legacy that Bo leaves, and have them remember why they chose to be part of this program, and perhaps Carr will ask them to remember the time each of them had with Coach Bo. The players will understand and they will play like champions, win or lose.

A favorite memory of mine? When Bo was part of the Tigers organization and everyone was bitter at Bo and blamed him for firing legendary radio man Ernie Harwell (which Bo denied to his death that this was his doing). One of my roommates defended Bo and instead turned the attention on Harwell, of whom he called “An Old Coot”. Rogie, this was an instant classic.

Another great memory and he’ll leave this forever: When he first started at Michigan, players were quitting the team in droves, complaining about the workouts Bo put them through, Schembechler made a promise. He hung a sign in the locker room that read Those Who Stay Will be Champions.” After one game this year I saw an ex-player with a hat that simply read “We Stayed”. I love it.

Here’s an encounter I had with the legend not too long ago, inspiring this post:
Seeing Bo Schembechler

So I went over to the Columbus’ 97.1 The Fan website to find the audio of Rich Rodriguez’s call today, and stumbled on this.  Jamie Morris, Michigan football legend, WTKA Sunday radio host and most importantly an official within the U-M athletic department spoke to the Columbus host (Bruce Hooley…Chris Spielman was away) about the upcoming Ohio State game, but also answered a few questions about Rodriguez and Jim Harbaugh.

My frustration with Morris on WTKA is that he’s been such a company man towing the company line on WTKA, that it’s prevented him from offering actual opinions.  But give this is listen as Morris gets candid.

I don’t know if this is just Jamie measuring his words, but he didn’t exactly serve up a wild endorsement of Rodriguez and admitted that Harbaugh would be welcomed back to U-M if he were the Michigan football coach at some point beyond RR’s tenure.  It’s not so much what he said, but that Morris never says anything remotely beyond the company line.

Give this a listen, it gets interesting about 3 minutes in:

[display_podcast]

.

Notes/Quotes:

  • For starters, he referred to Harbaugh as “Jimmy” instead of “traitor”.
  • Hooley asked for a general sense of the radio caller support for Rodriguez.  Morris: “I think we’re at a 50/50 split now…”
  • When asked about whether he’d support anybody as coach (as a Michigan man), and whether he supports this Michigan coach.   Morris pauses and says, “I believe in Michigan.”  He added, “I’m in favor of him.  I believe in Rich Rodriguez and I believe in Michigan.  So I’m lining up behind him and I’m going to go with him and I’m going to believe in him and I’m looking for a big Michigan victory.”
  • Morris is asked about whether the former players support Rodriguez.  Morris: “You know what? The guys respect the position.  A lot of guys that I played with, the guys I talk to..they played for Bo Schembechler so they respect that position.”
  • Then there was this:

Hooley: “Do you think if Michigan loses the game Saturday, do you see any way Rich is not there next year?” 

Morris: “[long pause] You know that’s tough.  You know what?  I think what people want is Michigan football.  They want hard fought plays.  They want a team that goes out there and that performs at the highest level and give everything they got, win or lose.  And then you just let the chips fall where they may.”

Hooley: “Do you think that’s what they’re getting now?”

Morris: “Well…[pause]…not all the time Bruce.  I don’t think so but I’ll tell you what..”

Hooley: “It’s hard to say that when they are 1-6 in the Big Ten I’m sure.”

Morris: “Right.  It’s tough.  But you know what?  Are they getting better?  Yes.  Do I see them getting better?  Yes.  But I’m not your typical fan.  I’m not the guy that’s going to be watching for the long plays and everything.  I’m watching the guys up front; I’m seeing what they’re doing.   I know what we have and I know what these guys are capable of doing.”

Morris:  “Jim Harbaugh is the head football coach for Stanford.  If we were to go a different direction and Jim Harbaugh becomes the Michigan coach, he’d be a welcome addition.  But right now, it’s Rich Rodriguez.  It’s Rich Rodriguez right now and that’s who we’re behind.  So, if you want to talk about Jim Harbaugh, I think Jim Harbaugh’s doing a wonderful job at Stanford and like you say, he’s beat USC two out of the three years he’s been there, which is great.  Makes great for the resume.  But until Rich Rodriguez is fired, or he resigns or whatever, I’m not going to talk about Jim Harbaugh being in the Michigan family as the head football coach, but he was a great quarterback here.”

Hooley:  “If Rich was fired, would Harbaugh be a popular choice?”

Morris: “Oh, without a doubt.  Sure.  He’d be dynamic, he’d do the things like you said…Jim’s a go-getter.  But like I said, Jim Harbaugh’s worried about making it to the Rose Bowl from the Pac 10 side.”

Interesting comments from J-Mo.  The biggest thing that got me, maybe shocked me, was hesitation and in the end, non-response when asked about the possibility of RR not returning.  If nothing else, it looks his feud with Harbaugh (Morris in 2007 “He used to have a contact here at the Athletic Department, but obviously he doesn’t anymore.”) is over.

16. January 2009 · Comments Off on The Vague Anxiety and Bill Frieder · Categories: Archive 2009, Blue Books, Bo Schembechler, History, Hoops, Recruits · Tags: , , , , , ,

MVictors: Blue Books

Michigan's Bill Frieder
Rumeal Robinson’s comments this week (which imply that many members of the 1989 championship team had a little extra help) provide an opportunity to take a look back at enigmatic former coach Bill Frieder. I was a young lad in the 1980s but there always a sense that Frieder was an odd bird for sure, perhaps even the kind of guy that would bend the rules. That’s that alpha and omega of my recollection, so thankfully I have a copy Craig Ross’s tome, Obscene Diaries of a Michigan Fan, published in 2006.

If you enjoy the tone, feel and prose of blogs like mgoblog and even this site, I suggest you get a copy of this book. I had a chance to meet Ross, a local attorney, author and raconteur, for lunch in December. I’m a good way through it and it’s fabulous. Ross takes a good portion of chapter four in discussing cheating in college hoops in general, and takes a look at Johnny Orr, Bill Frieder, Ed Martin and Steve Fisher through this lens.

Here’s a few selections from chapter four when he examines Bill Frieder. [Ed note: To avoid a full reprint of several pages I’ve omitted some of the work, so I risk not fully conveying Ross’s story or point, so I encourage you to get a copy]:

Until Frieder, I am fairly confident Michigan ran an honest program. Or perhaps more accurately, according to people who were around the program and show know, there seemed to be nothing or very little untoward going on. Once Frieder became the head coach, Michigan started to win it share of recruiting wars, and there was always some vague anxiety among Michigan fans that maybe things were not all they should have been. [Ross goes into a variety of recruits that Frieder lured to U-M]

About a page later:

Many people have connected Frieder’s oddball brilliance–his analytical ability, his claimed success at the gaming tables, the fact that he was a night owl and looked like a complete slob–with a lack of ethics. With the above conditions as underpinnings, the well-publicized rift between Schembechler and Frieder was an impetus toward believing the worst about Bill. While Don Canham always liked Frieder, Bo made it plain he thought the guy was a flake and, in his dress and demeanor, not a “Michigan man.” (Clue: This is ironic, since Bill has an undergraduate degree and an MBA from Michigan. Bo’s degree is from Miami of Ohio…)

Later, next page:

I have talked to Frieder on a few occasions. More significantly, I have talked to those who knew Frieder quite well, and were around the program on a day-to-day basis when Frieder was the coach. Everyone I spoke to agrees that Frieder would take full advantage of the rules. And the vast majority agree he was paranoid about not crossing the line. It is true that others are not so sure, and this includes certain friends.

Continuing:

[Former legendary AD Don] Canham, for certain, saw nothing untoward in Frieder’s regime as coach. But when Frieder took the Arizona State job, I believe there was a collective sigh of relief from many Michigan fans, since there was a general, public distrust of Frieder. And when the Steve Fisher-led Wolverines won their first NCAA championship with Frieder’s team, the relief turned to exaltation.

The Obscene Diaries of a Michigan Fan by Craig Ross

If you caught the pregame for the New England vs. Buffalo game on CBS today you may have noticed a shiny blue ring on color man Dan Dierdorf’s finger. Here it is:

Dan Dierdorf's ring

My first thought wondered if this was a 1969 Michigan Big Ten championship ring for the former All-American offensive tackle. After a few Google searches I couldn’t find an example of a ’69 ring. Certainly if the ring had a stone it’d be blue, but that doesn’t exactly narrow it down.

The other obvious choice would be a Pro Football Hall of Fame ring which very possible, here are a couple examples:

Dan Dierdorf's ring

I’m guessing it is either his HOF ring as a player as the 2008 recipient of the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Pete Rozelle Radio-Television Award. And no, I really don’t care that much what a dude is wearing on his finger but give me a break man, the Lions are about to go 0-16 and there isn’t a lot of M pre-bowl hype to discuss.

13. December 2008 · Comments Off on Leachapalooza: The Best of Rick Leach (WTKA 12/9) · Categories: Archive 2008, Bo Schembechler, Fans, History, Lloyd Carr, Media, Ohio State

I waded through the audio of Rick Leach in studio at WTKA 1050AM this week and boiled it down to a eleven noteworthy clips, each about a minute, give or take. You can download all the clips here for your 2009 road trip and tailgate mixtapes.

Here you go. Be patient, the clips need to download for you to hear them. Oh, and is it me, or does Leach have a borderline WWE voice?

On the Les Miles hire and some of the “garbage” that went on:

When Don Nehlen called Leach and what that meant to him:

Contrasting Michael Rosenberg’s perspective, on how Bo would support Rodriguez:

Click here for the rest of the clips: More »

13. November 2008 · Comments Off on Blue Books: Bo’s Winless Season · Categories: Archive 2008, Blue Books, Bo Schembechler, History · Tags: , , , ,

MVictors: Blue Books

Thanks to the profileration of sports media folks in Haiti can tell you that Michigan’s going to end up with its first losing season since 1967, a couple years removed from Bo Schembechler’s arrival on campus in 1969. Bo started the streak and only dipped to .500 once, in 1984 when Jim Harbaugh was hurt and they lost to #1 BYU in the Holiday Bowl.

But Bo wasn’t foreign to tough seasons in his professional life before leading Miami, OH and Michigan. In fact, he lived through the worst season you can possibly have during his time as an assistant in Northwestern.

With the Wildcats heading into town Saturday this version of Blue Books pulls an excerpt from John U. Bacon‘s tome Bo’s Lasting Lessons, this selection from Chapter 2: Seek Mentors, Not Money:

I learned an awful lot from Ara in my first year at Northwestern, but I learned a heckuva lot more from him that second season, when we lost ’em all. And what I learned was how a real leader leads when things aren’t going his way.

Ara treated the staff as though we were winning every game. He never gave the slightest inclination that we were the problem. He not once blamed any assistant or any player for any loss we suffered that year. NOT ONCE.

I’m not saying there wasn’t some bitching among the players. When you’re losing every game, every player thinks he deserves more playing time. But I promise you this: There was a whole lot less bitching on that team than I’ve heard on teams that won half their games–and there was absolutely no, but no, bickering among the coaches.

The result? Put this down: Ara Parseghian lost every game that year, but the next year his team went 5-4–Northwestern’s first winning season in eight years.

Bo's Lasting Lessons

Glad to hear that HBO’s documentary on the Michigan-Ohio State rivalry is now available on DVD. You can get a copy here from Amazon.com or head over to your local Borders.

I really enjoyed it; here’s my review from last November (with a few tweaks):

———————————————-

With the hype building for Saturday it was a great night to watch the premiere of HBO’s first documentary dedicated to sports: The Rivalry. Initial review by those that at pre-screening event was that it was slanted toward the Buckeyes and didn’t mention Lloyd Carr. I went in with an open mind:

– The content definitely slanted toward the Buckeye side of the house. I’d say the last half of the piece was 80% focused on Ohio State fans and Woody Hayes.
– Overall it was well done. While they didn’t have any mention/picture/video of Lloyd Carr, they didn’t exactly spend a lot of time on Tressel. But the Carr omission was a little weird. I mean, they showed footage of John Cooper and a lot of Earle Bruce, but and didn’t mention Carr?

– The quotes from Bo were great. They talked about the gold pants that each OSU coaches and players gets if they beat Michigan (and later show up on eBay). One thing that never occurred to me is that Bo himself owns some of those pants due to his time coaching under Hayes in Columbus. As he looked behind him to make sure know one was listening Schembechler whispered, “I have several of those pants myself, I don’t mention that around here.”
– Along with snubbing Carr, they snubbed the 1964 Michigan Rose Bowl team, Bump Elliott, Jim Conley and Chuck ‘Barry’ Dehlin’s great team.
– The footage from the 1950 ‘snow bowl’ game in Columbus was outstanding. Definitely check it out. The teams punted 45 times.
– It turns out ‘Muck Fichigan’ has been with us quite a while. They showed some sort of parade following the 1968 game in Columbus that featured a wooden sign spray painted with those famous words. It showed up later in the 70s and right up to last year on hats, shirts and signs that were seen throughout the documentary.
– Speaking of F-words, that Bo Biafra from the Dead Schembechlers was awful. He added an ‘F Michigan’ except he actually said it. Way to go buddy – on film forever dropping f-bombs about Michigan. [Ed: And Yes, Desmond dropped F-bombs too. This was played out on my original post. I said this and still feel this way: “yes Desmond dropped 2 f’s describing his famous punt return. While I would have preferred a different choice of words desmond gets a pass. Why? He’s a player, he was describing a particular incident (in the game, mind you!) and a member of the media (last point can be debated).”]
– They showed a strip of film showing the real ‘Those Who Stay Will be Champions” sign, which I’ve never actually seen. It’s unspectacular but still pretty cool. Just a plain old sign. Here’s what they showed:

Those Who Stay Will Be Champions Bo Schembechler

– Just a general question: Is there anyone famous from Ohio State? They had interviews some comedian, that loser from the Dead Schembechlers, a writer from the Dispatch…then all coaches and players.
– I laughed a few times. They did point out that Michigan fans think of Buckeyes as author John Bacon explained, “slightly redneckish” and didn’t do much to defend that characterization of the Ohio fans. As Bacon uttered that legendary description the HBO producers panned to a BuckNut walking by with a mullet and a Daniel Boone fur cap. Great stuff.
– The piece closed with a nice (but brief) tribute to Bo and Woody, and included some superb pictures inside Michigan stadium.

Overall, I’d have to say well done but the criticism you’ve heard already is valid. They could have killed two birds by including a segment on Lloyd Carr and the past 10 years or so. I look forward to the next installment from HBO – The Notre Dame vs. Michigan rivalry.


On November 20, 1976, Bo Schembechler and his Michigan Wolverines were about to continue their Ten Year War with Ohio State coach Woody Hayes, this time down in the snake pit Columbus. Bo was prepared all season to battle his mentor and rival, but he wasn’t alone. As the game approached that November, Michigan man, letterman and broadcaster Bob Ufer prepared a special message to the old coach from Columbus he called Dr. Strangehayes…it was this poem:



“Ohio Came To Bury Michigan, All Wrapped In Maize And Blue
The Words Were Said, The Prayers Were Read And Everybody Cried
But When They Closed The Coffin, There Was Someone Else Inside!

The Bucks Came To Bury The Wolverines – But Michigan Wasn’t Dead,
And When The Game Was Over, It Was Someone Else Instead.

Twenty-Two Michigan Wolverines Put On The Gloves Of Gray,
And As Cavender Played “The Victors”, They Laid Woody Hayes Away!”

As the game approached, Bob Ufer’s wife built a makeshift coffin out of a shoebox and a doll to represent the Woody burial. Ufer showed the box to his friend and engineer Jack Decou who fashioned an actual wooden coffin for his buddy, and it showed up on eBay this week:

#4 ranked Michigan defeated Hayes and #8 Ohio State that day 22-0. When Ufer died of cancer in 1981, the family gave the coffin back to Decou and yadda, yadda, yadda, it ended up on eBay.

This is quite an item and assuming the background in the auction is correct, a true one-of-a-kind piece of Michigan history. Ufer’s legacy at Michigan is quite secure; his business and family are still a force around town. And folks around Ann Arbor may have noticed that WTKA 1050AM is replaying entire Bob Ufer-broadcast games from 12-3 every Sunday during the 2008 season.

The coffin is a little bit creepy, given that Woody Hayes is actually dead now of course, but if you can shake off those willies you’ve got a chance to own a pretty cool item. Bidding started at $9.98, here’s the full auction. Shipping is $22 and you may want to send it directly to your place of business (good luck explaining to your wife why you paid $300 for a coffin and a doll).

23. October 2008 · Comments Off on eBay Watch: Woody says, “Don’t give this to Bo!” · Categories: Archive 2008, Bo Schembechler, Books, eBay Watch, Ohio State

The next edition of eBay Watch once again looks over at Mastro Auctions for another cool item, this time an autographed copy of Woody Hayes’ 1969 tome, ‘Hot Line to Victory‘. It’s just one item in a collection of old programs and other goodies, but this is the standout item to me. Here’s the full auction.

Woody's Book

There are many autographed copies of Hot Line out there, but this one has a special note inside:

Woody's Book

If you can’t make it out it reads:

To Gene Ryan
From John W. Printer [not sure what that means]

Be sure not to pass any of this information on to Bo!
Regards,
Woody Hayes

I wish I knew who Gene Ryan is and whether he truly had some ties to Bo Schembechler, but either way this pretty cool. Michael Rosenberg talked a bit about Hot Line to Victory in his great book, War As They Knew It. In it he Rosenberg describes the Woody’s tome as a “football textbook” and added, “the book was intended for the general public–Hayes wanted to share strategy and tactics with anybody who would listen.”

While we don’t know who Gene Ryan is (yet), we do know that Woody’s comments not surprisingly were in jest. Obviously Bo could have grabbed a copy off the shelf himself, but Woody made it easy. According to Rosenberg’s book, in June 1970 Hayes sent a copy of Hot Line to his protege’ and included a personal note to “a truly great coach and friend, Bo Schembechler”.

The final segment of my four part interview with former WTKA morning show host Dave Shand. In Part I, we discussed what Shand is up to these days, his lawsuit with Bill Martin and his thoughts on the current morning crew at WTKA. In Part II, we looked at Jim Carty and the Ann Arbors News series on academics and athletics. Part III discussed Red Berenson, the future of the hockey program, and we got some of Shand’s candid feelings on how the University handled the Ed Martin mess.

Wrapping things up, we turn to the Rodriguez hire. We talk about the hiring process, the deal that was allegedly struck in Toledo, the ensuing lawsuit, and finally, we get Shand’s thought on what Rodriguez’s system will bring on the field.

Achtung! Shand uses some spicy language in this one (again). FWIW.

MVictors: Michigan landed a big name football coach in Rich Rodriguez. You’ve got a lawsuit with Bill Martin right now and he of course it was Martin who spearheaded the coaching search. What were your thoughts as you watched the coaching search unfold?:

Shand: [laughing] It was a complete clusterfuck. It was an absolute disaster. And Bill Martin’s excuses, ‘I was at sea’ or whatever, I have no idea, he couldn’t contact Les Miles because he didn’t get permission from the athletic director. Bill Martin lied, he absolutely lied. Because the next time he was trying to hire somebody [Schiano] he contacted him directly. Obviously he didn’t want to hire Les Miles which is fine. If you don’t want to hire somebody, just come out and say, “You know what? I know there’s a lot of pressure to hire Les Miles. I’m not interested in hiring Les Miles.” Don’t go through this whole charade.

This is a typical example of the arrogance of Bill Martin. In that he thought he could get away with it. Ok, we’ve got a $4 million buy-out, but we’re going to litigate them down and we’re not going to have to pay the four million bucks. It turns out West Virginia was pissed off enough and they weren’t going to litigate it down; they weren’t going to settle the case.

So it cost Michigan, they say $2.5 million. But I’ve heard, through back sources, that Rich Rodriguez did not realize that the $2.5 million that Michigan is paying on his behalf is taxable, so Rodriquez is going to have to pay taxes on that. Plus there’s the million and a half out of his own pocket. I’ve also heard from some very credible sources that Michigan’s paid the whole nine yards. Michigan has paid the entire $4 million to West Virginia, Michigan has paid $750,000 of West Virginia’s legal fees, a million dollars of their own legal fees, and has paid taxes on the $4 million it paid on his behalf which is all taxable income, so Rich Rodriguez, instead of the four million dollar coach, he’s become the eight million dollar coach. Anybody want to take a look at that?

MVictors: From the perspective of a lawyer, were you surprised that they pushed to try to reduce the buy-out?

Shand: If you had asked one hundred contract lawyers about his defense to their claim, as far as the $4 million buy-out, one hundred contract lawyers would have said he had no chance.

MVictors: The lay person would look at John Beilein’s situation and note that he got it reduced, so why couldn’t Rodriguez?

Shand: And [Beilein] negotiated; he said, “This is where I want to go. What will it cost me for me to pay you guys to get out of this deal?” And then they negotiated a deal. Rich Rodriguez didn’t do that. He went straight to litigation going, “I ain’t paying fuck all.” And West Virginia said, “What do you mean you’re not paying fuck all? We had a liquidated damages clause in your contact which is enforceable. You can’t tell us your not paying fuck all.” And that was the position that they had. Well, they were dead wrong and they paid every single penny plus all their legal fees. Probably should have just negotiated it down and it would have cost them, say, $3 million. That was just really stupid.

MVictors: From a legal perspective, as University officals, what authority did Martin and Mary Sue Coleman have to step into that meeting in Toledo and make a deal with Rodriguez? And Michigan settled with West Virginia right before Martin and Colemany were to be deposed, do you think they were afraid of having to reveal details of the meeting in Toledo?

Shand: There’s so many avenues you could go down here. I think there were a lot of things that were said there and a lot of promises that were made…that they did not have the authority to make. You can not make multi-million dollar promises to pay on somebody else’s behalf without the Board of Regents approving those promises. They would have to say, which is typical in any public body, “We have to go back to our bosses, which is the board of regents, and present them with what we have tentatively agreed on and get their approval on this”. Apparently none of that went on. They were just two cowboys out there goin, “Oh yeah, we can pay $2.5 million, we can do all this stuff..” That’s not their money. That’s money that belongs to the people of the state of Michigan– this is a public university. And that money doesn’t get to be thrown around willy-nilly without the Board of Regents, which is a duly elected body in the state of Michigan, approving it. I have no idea where they got off doing what they were doing. I was stunned.

MVictors: This of course is all alleged. We know West Virginia’s lawyer said it was agreed to in the meeting, but we don’t have anyone else saying that.
Shand:
Well, we don’t have Mary Sue Coleman’s deposition because..[laughs]..she wasn’t deposed.

MVictors: What are your thoughts on the hiring of Rodriguez, forgetting about the hiring process and lawsuit, etc.?:
Shand:
I loved the hire. I think Michigan’s needed a change for a long time. I love Lloyd. Bo helped recruit me here to Michigan. I know Gary [Moeller]. Melanie Moeller, Gary’s granddaughter, is my daughter’s best friend. But I thought it was going to be a breath of fresh air. I was pleased with the hiring. Mike Barwis from what I hear from all the hockey guys that are dealing with him say he’s just a horse. A lot of the hockey guys before going to pro training camps have been working with him, it’s radical, it’s different and they really think it’s helped them. I love everything he’s doing.

Rich Rodriguez is going through the same process that Red was going through when he got here. Red had a thing in his head about how his was going to play. High tempo, high speed, high execution level with constant pressure and you’re going 100 miles an hour for sixty minutes. If you can hang with us, fine. If you can’t hang with us we’re going to blow your friggin’ doors off. That’s the way he wanted to play. He took the job in 1984 and he comes to the University of Michigan and what does he have? A bunch of plow horses. He has no talent to work with. It took him four, five years to get enough of the guys for his vision. He literally had to sweep out four years of guys that were plow horses.

You can’t play Red’s system if you can’t fly. Finally when he got a whole team in of guys that could fucking skate, from first second first minute, to the last minute of 60 minutes, we’re goin’, and we’re going 100 miles an hour. And we went 37-3, and 38-2, and 35-4 but it took him that long. Rich Rodriguez doesn’t have any players that can play his system. Maybe Carlos Brown. Maybe Martavious Odoms. They’ve got a couple of them and they don’t have a quarterback. And the defense doesn’t have the presence yet to know how to fly. He’s got a bunch of 4.6 guys back there and he wants a bunch of 4.2 guys back there.

Michigan’s always been known for starting fast and finishing slow. Now they’re starting slow and finishing fast. And I’d rather have finishing fast because that means we’re getting to the right conditioning level. Next year, there going to get to a new level.

MVictors: Are Michigan fans going to wait two to three years?
Shand:
They’re going to be pissed [laughing]. But they have to have the one thing that Michigan fans don’t have and that’s patience. This is a totally different way of playing the game. We could have kept a Lloyd Carr and kept Mallett and Justin Boren, and we could have gone 10-2, 9-3 or whatever, playing traditional Michigan football. Are you going to have a chance to compete on the national stage? The answer is no. Rich Rodriguez gives you a chance to compete on the national stage, but you’re going to have to wait 3-4 years to see what his vision is. I think he’s the right guy.

I always admire the ability of Michigan fans to blow smoke up their own ass. Sorry folks, we’ve only had one national championship in 50 years. Have we been consistently above mediocre? Absolutely. I think Rich Rodriguez gives them a chance to be exceptional. Rich Rodriguez had West Virginia one game away from having his team in the national championship. We’d had one shot at that was 1997. And it’s West Virginia! You’ve got dumbfuck hillbillies with no teeth and one nut. At least we’ve got a chance to recruit better student athletes here.

—————————————————–

Here’s links to all four parts of the interview:
Part I: What he’s up to, the lawsuit with Bill Martin, more.
Part II: Jim Carty and the News Series
Part III: Coach Red and the Fab Five
Part IV: The Rodriguez hire


Blue Ice: The Story of Michigan Hockey