Last week when U-M SID Bruce Madej called into WTKA 1050AM to douse the rumor of a potential deal in the works to sack Rodriguez in favor of lighter NCAA sanctions, he half-jokingly wondered if there are people out there thinking, “Well it’s been three days, how can we hit Rich again?’”

Ugh.  Turn over the egg timer.

Via a tweet from Mark Snyder of the Freep, former DB Morgan Trent is one of the NFL players profiled in the book Draft Season, which chronicles the story of four mid-round draft picks from 2009.  Bengals.com provided a book summary and noted a claim by Trent that Lloyd Carr told him that prior to the draft, Rodriguez trashed Trent “to every NFL scout he could”":

At the end of the book, Deren describes the scene with Lloyd Carr, the former Michigan head coach that recruited him to Ann Arbor, breaking the news to Trent that current head coach Rich Rodriguez did him no favors.

“Rodriguez had bad-mouthed him to every NFL scout he could,” Deren writes. “Rodriguez claimed that Morgan was lazy, he had an attitude problem and he was a big reason the Wolverines finished with a 3-9 record…”

Trent admits the words were “jarring,” and they were hard to understand given that he was so serious about his career that he actually moved in with his brother and sister-in-law and their two small children while going to Michigan.

But Trent was also worried about what Carr thought about his words showing up in the book.  He talks to him, not Rodriguez.

“I really like Coach Carr. He’s been very good to me,” Morgan says. “I think at first he was wondering, but I let him know it didn’t put him in a bad light. I would never do something like that to Lloyd. He’s great.”

So if you follow this, Trent’s effectively saying that Carr was aware that this was going in the book and didn’t stop him.   They have no comment or quote from Rodriguez.

Thankfully Bengals secondary coach Kevin Coyle provided some perspective on this, admitting he didn’t directly speak to Rodriguez before the draft (which seems odd to me) and reminding us that there are two sides to every story:

“When there is a coaching transition and the team ends up not having success, you have to step back and try to decipher what the truth really is,” Coyle says. “There was a lot of heat on those people and there was some pointing of blame.  Plus, the players were somewhat chagrined, so you had to look at everything.”

So a couple things here.  First, I’m struggling to find a motivation for Rodriguez to trash Trent unless you believe RR truly is a big prick.  What does he have to gain by dumping on a player to scouts – what, to help explain a crappy season to guys in the NFL?   Doesn’t add up. At best I can see Rodriguez, when asked, being honest in his assessment and maybe about an incident or two that put Trent in a bad light.  Beyond that, it would seem to only boost Rodriguez and the reputation of Barwis and crew to get more players drafted and to have success in the NFL, even if they were only around for a year.

I’m not sure what to make of the Carr stuff, and I guess I’d like to hear from him specifically what he heard and what he told Trent, or better yet, hear this corroborated by a few NFL scouts.   I’m sure a lot of scouts called both Rodriguez and Carr to get the skinny on Trent, and those scouts probably shared information with the coaches.

As far as Carr allegedly spilling the beans about Rodriguez badmouthing Trent to Trent -  I guess I’ll say that in a perfect world Carr and Rodriguez would meet at Coach and Four every day to talk football, kinda like those guys in Hoosiers.  But that doesn’t happen and nowhere is it required that all Michigan coaches (past, present and future) be pals.

[Ed 5/10 –>  I heard some people this morning on WTKA 1050AM asking for Lloyd Carr to  apologize.  For what?  If you piece this together, we’re talking about a  (1) writer who wrote about something he heard from (2) Trent, who relayed something about something he was told by (3) Carr, about something Carr apparently heard from another  (4) scout or team about what (5) Rodriguez allegedly said to a  (6) scout or team about Trent, which Rodriguez now denies.  What?  I’d like to know, did the writer walk through this line and try to validate any of the story?  ]

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As an aside, Geoff Hobson wrote the piece for Bengals.com and included this:

“What was really hard for me was coming into the draft after being on a team with a bad record,” he says of the worst record in Michigan history.

Come on, man.  Don’t make me do this again.

15 Comments

  1. “First, I’m struggling to find a motivation for Rodriguez to trash Trent unless you believe RR truly is a big prick.”

    I don’t think he’s “trashing” Trent. NFL teams asked for an honest assessment, he gave an honest assessment. Isn’t that part of his job? What motivation does he have to lie? None. Then he’s obviously telling the truth. You think a guy who’s trying to put a program back on the map is going to lie because of some petty grudge? And even if that were the case, why would he have a grudge if Trent had indeed put in all the work?

    Occam’s razor says Rodriguez was telling the truth. Of course, since the Michigan fanbase has single-handedly kept the tin foil hat industry in business lately, everything’s going to get blown out of proportion, then snowball, etc.

  2. @Tim
    “Rodriguez had bad-mouthed him to every NFL scout he could” — that’s the quote from Bengals.com, that’s what I was reacting to, & that’s trashing. Like I said, it doesn’t add up to me.

    On the snowballing etc., correct, but that’s even more reason to have a balanced discussion as opposed to:

    Wow. Fairly alarming stuff about one of your own players, no?

  3. @Greg – MVictors
    “Badmouth” might be how Trent phrased it, “accuratemouth” is probably a little closer to the truth.

  4. @Tim
    Well done. Still, “every NFL scout he could” suggests that Rodriguez couldn’t wait for the phone to ring so he could pile on your man Trent. That doesn’t make sense unless again, you think RR is PrickRod.

  5. I don’t know Lloyd Carr. I don’t know Rich Rodriguez. What I do know is I heard a radio interview not too long ago with a WV beat writer (for a Pittsburgh paper) who, when asked about Bill Stewart’s worthiness as a head coach, basically said when the cameras were off, Rich Rod was one of the biggest jerks you’d ever meet. He did say, however, he thought Rich Rod was a pretty good coach but the players probably liked Stewart better. So yes, I believe Rich Rod could have said something negative about Trent (although I am skeptical about him blaming the season on him). But I seem to recall Pete Carroll saying something about Mark Sanchez not being ready for the NFL, too. I think for the sake of credibility head coaches have to be brutally honest to NFL scouts.

  6. @wolverron
    Some coaches probably treat the calls from scouts if they’re a reference on a resume, focusing on the strengths while perhaps citing a couple areas for growth. Others are probably more by the book, giving a scouting report. It wouldn’t shock me if Carr was more the players advocate on these calls and Rich Rod more by the book. Carr probably heard from another scout about Rich Rod pointing out some concerns and told Trent.

  7. I don’t give much credence to individual rumors such as this one, but there is a lot of smoke around Rich Rodriguez; it’s getting hard to believe that there isn’t some fire. Is it coincidence that all these different sources report these things? Do Michael Rosenberg, Mark Snyder, the author of this recent book, Morgan Trent, other former players, and other reporters all conspire? And who can be blamed for the embarrassing WVU and real estate lawsuits? Who made RR do business with a booster banned for recruiting violations at a school where RR used to coach?

    Awhile ago I started writing a post on a Det News article, in which they asked top local high school recruits about their recruiting experiences. Nobody had anything negative to say about any program that recruited them, except U of M. Here are two examples:

    * “Why not U-M? The coaches know. I was favoring Michigan. It was like
    Michigan and Michigan State was neck and neck. Then things happened and
    they fell off. U-M was in my top five but not at the end.”

    * “Worst recruiting experience: It was probably Michigan. It was all
    right but it wasn’t what I thought it would be. It didn’t seem like they
    were trying hard to get me. I guess they thought since I was from
    Michigan they’d get me.”

    There were several more. The article is here, but unfortunately is now behind a paywall:
    http://www.detnews.com/article/20100201/SPORTS05/2010336/1131/

    Are the high school kids and Detroit News also in on the conspiracy? It may become frustrating to deal with the constant problems and criticism, but it’s getting hard to believe that the problem always lies with the messenger.

    I hope it all works out for Coach Rod and he should be treated fairly, but I think we need to be realistic about the situation and we need to remember that, if there is ‘fire’, it can do real harm to the kids in the program and to the University. They will suffer the consequences of our blind loyalty.

    guanxi

  8. James F. Epperson

    With a situation like this, it is difficult to figure out what really happened. This is my theory:

    (a) RR was critical of Trent, and some of this criticism was conveyed to scouts.
    (b) Carr learned of this, and told Trent (which, IMO, he should not have done).
    (c) Trent morphed “criticism” into “trashing.”

  9. @James F. Epperson
    Something like that probably happened, I agree. But the degree, tone and intent of the criticism isn’t clear, nor how it was conveyed to Carr and in turn to Trent. I’m with you on your point in (b), if Carr heard something he shouldn’t have said anything to Trent.

  10. James F. Epperson

    @Greg – MVictors
    It is possible—total speculation now—that Carr told Trent as a “teaching moment” kind of thing: This is something you need to address and fix, etc., but because Morgan doesn’t like RR, he blew it up into “RR trashed me.”

  11. What Carr should do is at least say something. He has sat by and not said one word while his employer is getting trashed in the papers every week.

    He just needs to say that he supports RR and thinks he’s the right coach for the job. If he doesn’t believe this, then he should talk to Brandon and RR and fix this feud.

  12. Honestly trent wasn’t a very good corner, i watched him get beat a million times, he had a hard time covering anybody. The sad thing is he would be the best corner on the team right now. Michigan’s defense is a joke, i been a fan for over 20 years and havent see a defense this bad take the field. Warren leaves early and didnt even get drafted, haha what a joke. Everybody makes a huge deal about the offense but we arent going to get back to respectable record until we fix the D. Sad thing is even if u get rid of rich, its going to be another 4 years to turn things back around, so hopefully rich can turn things around and get michigan heading back in the right direction. I cant handle another underachieving year.

  13. I’m sure there were many recruiting visits that were under-whelming to some prospective players. Yet you can’t ignore this fact: there were many recruiting visits that were impressive enough to get the recruits that we did. Sounds like a lot of sour grapes to me. I don’t think the Detroit papers are all conspiring against Michigan, but for a long time they’ve been critical about Michigan’s lack of heavily recruiting the state and personally, I don’t blame the school for not going after a lot of in-state “talent”.

  14. @wolverron: The article interviewed the top 11 high school players in MI, all of whom were recruited by and attended major programs, in state and out. If it’s sour grapes, why don’t they criticize other schools besides UM?

  15. @guanxi: Last time I checked Devin Gardner (I’m going to assume he was in the top 11), Ricardo Miller, Jeremy Jackson (I know this one was a gimme) and Austin White were pretty highly ranked players from the state of Michigan. I’m sure there were some recruiting battles lost to the other schools, yet I also think the coaching staff didn’t think as highly of these players as the Detroit papers (and the players themselves) did in terms of what Rich Rod is trying to build. Consequently they probably didn’t get the red carpet treatment they thought they deserved or expected, hence the sour grapes. I’m not saying these are bad players or kids, but as a college football fan you probably know how recruits see themselves these days (press conferences, YouTune videos, etc.). I’m sure we have our share of prima donnas on this team as well. And like you, the Rich Rod era has made me nervous (so far) in regards to the stability and fortunes of Michigan football. I was hoping for a smoother transition but maybe I was too optimistic.