Justin Boren Speaks, Considering Transferring to OSU

By · Thursday, March 27, 2008 · 5:48 PM |  Share | 25 Comments 

Departing offensive lineman Justin Boren broke his silence on why he left the Michigan team, and some of the things he said were quite troubling.

“I regret leaving behind my friends and teammates, but I need to stand up for what I know is right,” Boren said in a statement released Wednesday afternoon. “I wore the winged helmet with pride, whether we won or lost, whether things were going well or times were tough.

“Michigan football was a family, built on mutual respect and support for each other from (former) Coach (Lloyd) Carr on down. We knew it took the entire family, a team effort, and we all worked together. I have great trouble accepting that those family values have eroded in just a few months. That same helmet, that I was raised on and proudly claimed for the last two years, now brings a completely different emotion to me, one that interferes with practicing and playing my best and mentally preparing for what is required.

“That I am unable to perform under these circumstances at the level I expect of myself, and my teammates and Michigan fans deserve, is why I have made the decision to leave. To those of you outside the program, the loyal Michigan fans and alumni, I know you will have trouble understanding, but I do want to thank you for your years of support. I wish my teammates the best and will always be proud to have been a part of Michigan football over the past two years.”

I really wish Boren would have been more specific in what he said. How exactly have family values “eroded” over the last few months? Better yet, why did Boren feel the need to write a prepared statement at all? All that was necessary to say is that he didn’t agree with the future direction of the program and didn’t fit in the new system. Why he felt that he had to throw the entire program under the bus is beyond me.

Since Boren did leave the specifics behind what he said out, allow me to speculate a little bit. The Lloyd Carr era produced many great teams and great players. There’s no doubt about that. Carr was a good coach and an even better person. However, in the last few years it was becoming evident that something was missing with this program. I don’t want to criticize Carr too much, but this so-called family atmosphere was not all positive by any means. Michigan teams started to become soft and some players just didn’t seem to have that extra edge needed to make this a team that opponents were afraid of.

In the last year of the Carr era specifically, the softness of this team was shown on and off the field in many ways. On the field, it was brought to the surface when Michigan lost to Appalachian State in its season opener. You can talk all day about the spread and a running quarterback, but all in all that team was not mentally or physically prepared to play football. That on the field result happened because of how some coaches treated the players off the field. Rumors even before last season were circulating about how offseason workouts no longer were taken all that seriously by many players, and overall, the team was lacking a strong work ethic. I am not saying every single player was like that as that would be completely false. I am, however, saying that many players seemed to feel like giving 100% during every practice and every game wasn’t needed.

It is the responsibility of the coaches to make sure their players are working hard, especially during practice. I can understand the occasional times when a player just simply needs to take a break, but past rumors have suggested that some coaches have been very lenient during workouts or even practices. That all helped to contribute to the soft attitude that we have seen in the last few years, and I have no doubt that every player is experiencing culture shock with this new coaching staff.

If the practices and workouts now are too much work or are too hard for some players, then I have no problem with them leaving. It’s their right if they feel that way. I also have no problem with a player leaving if he doesn’t agree with the new system or feels like he doesn’t fit in it. Again, go ahead and leave if you feel that way. I do have have a problem with a player leaving and then throwing the program under the bus. There is no need to throw out ambiguous negative statements toward the new coaches, unless specific details are provided to back up what is being said.

This all goes back to why Boren felt it was necessary to say anything in the first place. Personally, I think it was to deflect criticism he would receive for what some think is simply quitting the team because practice got too hard. We probably won’t ever know the exact reason, but as of right now, that seems to be the common conclusion by many people close to the program. If Boren had just left the team and said nothing at all, I guarantee he would have been criticized far less than he is right now. His comments have obviously angered a lot of people, and they were just so ambiguous that they left the door open for loads of negativity pointed in Michigan’s direction.

Boren’s comments aren’t the only reason people are beginning to really get upset with him as it appears there is a good chance he will transfer to Ohio State. When it was confirmed that he was leaving the team, rumors started to pop up that he was headed to Columbus, and now they are beyond the rumor stage.

Boren, a Pickerington North graduate who started for the Wolverines as a sophomore last season, released a statement in which he criticized the atmosphere under new coach Rich Rodriguez. Boren’s father, Mike, a former Michigan captain and linebacker, supported his son’s decision.

“Ohio State would be a good fit for Justin, and that’s why he’s not at Michigan anymore, because Michigan is not the right fit for him,” said Mike Boren, who played under Bo Schembechler in the early 1980s.

“I have not talked to Ohio State and I’m not sure about their situation. … But would he go to Ohio State? Yes. The only two schools he seriously considered three years ago were Ohio State and Michigan, and he almost went to Ohio State even then.”

If Boren actually ended up transferring to Ohio State, he would quickly become one of the most hated players involved in this rivalry. To leave Michigan is one thing. And to make the comments he did is pretty bad too. But to transfer to Ohio State would take things to a whole new level, especially since he would be paying his own way due to Big Ten rules about transferring in-conference. I don’t know if he will become a Buckeye or not, but if he does, the hate directed towards him really will be unprecedented.


  1. Anonymous says:

    Hey Sean, that was a great synopsis on the Boren issue.
    The thing that is troubling to me is not knowing whats’s
    going on or if I ever will. Anyway we shall see on and off the field
    in the future won’t we.
    Go Blue!!!!!!


  2. Anonymous says:

    If he goes to O$U, we then know the reason Boren left UM was not due to softness. I am sure O$U has just as tough practices.

    I think it has to do with the blocking schemes not being the same as what is done in the NFL, so staying at UM would hurt his stock as their blocking techniques are different. One thing I heard is that Boren was turned off by how much the new staff swears during practice.

    I am sure Boren was intentionally vague to prevent a back and forth argument that would be all over the news. I am sure he did not list specifics to protect his former teammates.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Good riddance Justin Moron! Michigan Football is not for the fool hearted. Yeah, I was disappointed the Lloyd Carr retired but it’s time to move on. Not abandon this family you speak of. Bottom line you?re a quitter!!

  4. Anonymous says:

    As far as blocking schemes, I don’t buy that. Many schools Florida, Florida State, Hawaii (just to name a few) all run a variation of the spread and have lineman in the NFL. If anything it is more of an asset as teams prefer more mobile and athletic linemen now.

  5. Anonymous says:

    What has Boren done for Michigan in his career? Oh yeah nice blocking against App State Justin. At least you were part of the worst defeat in college football history EVER.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Anon 7:11,

    I do not disagree with you that there are O-lineman in the NFL from colleges that run the spread. However, Boren’s stock MAY take a hit had he stayed at UM due to the different blocking schemes. NFL scouts will be studying Boren’s college film as well as attending games, and they will try to determine if he can block at the next level. If he is using blocking schemes that are used in the NFL, (ones found in a pro style offense), that O-lineman will have an advantage over an O-Lineman that does different blocking techniques. This would mean the spread O-lineman needs to learn new techniques that fit the NFL teams’ offensive system.

    On the other hand, the O-lineman who is blocking in the pro style offense will be using similar blocking techniques, so the scouts can SEE how well the lineman blocks in their system. The scouts will have tangible footage to see how well they block in a pro offense, instead of imagining how well they would block in a pro style offense.

    Boren would be drafted, but lower as NFL teams would not use up a high level draft pick on an O-lineman with the huge question: Boren was excellent blocking in a spread, can he learn how to block a pro style offense?

  7. Anonymous says:

    The most troubling part of all this is that he is trying to bash the program on his way out. It makes it look as though he is trying to cover up or divert the attention from himself. Of course we may never know the truth, but class would dictate that he keep his issues to himself.

    Also, the pros look for the best athlete to sign. They will teach their prospects how to block no matter what system they are coming from. Athletes from the smaller schools also get signed, and normally they become a project that takes a year or so to develop.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Boren is really gambling if he has a desire to play in the Nfl. He loses out on this year because of eligibility and still has to learn a new system. Plus what impact does landing Pryor have on the OSU offense as his skills are better suited for a spread rather than pro offense as he is not a pure passer.

  9. Anonymous says:



  10. Anonymous says:



  11. Anonymous says:

    Anon 1:47,

    I now understand what you are saying.

    Anon 12:17

  12. phillip says:

    Sean – I think you need to ban anonymous posts. This is ridiculous.

  13. Big Blue says:

    Phil, if you do not like anonymous posts, then don’t read them! (I am assuming you can read.) Even if people leave their name, it is still anonymous as any name could be put down.

    As long as the anonymous posts add to the conversation, I have no problem with them. The flaming posts from tosu and msu fans are the ones that should be deleted.

    On a positive note: UM is playing MSU for the right to go to the Final Four!!!! (Women’s basketball NIT)

  14. Anonymous says:

    Ohio State rules! Not only did we get Pryor, now we are going to get your best offensive lineman. No one wants to play in that stupid spread offense. Michigan is going to become a bottom feeder of the Big Ten within two years.

  15. Big Blue says:

    Our national rankings for recruiting differs with your conclusion, bucknut idiot. In my opinion, a top ten class would indicate that many top athletes want to play in our new system.

    Oh, how did your defense stand up against this type of system??? (If memory serves me correctly, Illinois and LSU embarrassed your slow, unathletic defense!! Expect more of the same come November!!!)

  16. Anonymous says:

    All I can say is:

    Tressel 6, Carr 1
    Tressel 2, Rodriguez 0

    Tressel’s glorious legacy continues. Go Bucks! Michigan SUCKS!

  17. Big Blue says:

    How is Tressel’s record again Lloyd Carr relevant??? He is no longer head coach at UM. As long as we’re posing irrelevant data, then
    Carr: 5
    John Cooper: 1
    Wasn’t he like 2-10 against UM?

    As for Tressel’s record against RR, that was at WVU and UM is completely better than WVU.

  18. Big Blue says:

    How about this bucknut?

    Bowl games:
    SEC: 9
    osu: 0

    LOL!! OSU sucks!!

    I would like to hear you try to spin this stat as well as my previous post!!

  19. Anonymous says:

    Anon 1:47 AM,

    Your point of the draft levels and rounds were well taken from the very beginning, however, my point was is and forever will be, that the pro teams will always make a point to identify and sign good lineman regardless of the system that they come from. They will make a point to teach them their prefered techniques. This is what we have been told by a coach who coaches on the pro level.

    The players who are the higher risk are taken or signed late and they don’t get the same money, we know that is the trade off. Boren may have hurt himself by making this move, I agree, but he’ll be signed by somebody, somewhere, sometime.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Anon 1:17 pm,

    We completely agree then.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Question for anyone: Will the NCAA allow 1-A football and basketball teams to have summer practices? If so under what conditions?


  22. Big Blue says:

    Anyone correct me if I’m wrong, but the team can have “informal” practices with the S&C coordinator who then would report to RR. I am fairly certain that RR and the coaches can’t have any direct contact with the players.

    Generally, what is done is the players get in shape with the S&C’s work-out plan, and it also is a time when the QBs and WRs work on their timing, as far as routes go.

    So to summarize, many players stay on campus and workout and work on timing issues, but it is all informal, without RR or the coaches running the practices. (That is why it is important to have leaders that kick the butts of the other players when they decide to slack off.) Last year, it was Hart and Long. This year, someone needs to step it up.)

    The same is true with basketball.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Thanks Blue!

  24. Spivan says:

    It was pretty crappy how he left. To be honest though, I would be a bit hesitent to play for scUM this year. RR may be a good coach, but it takes awhile to get a new system in place, especially with they way talent changes at the college level. Not to mention all the off the field issues he dragged up there with him.

    Blue… You can’t really talk about tOSU’s “unathletic defense” when they held your entire team to 91 yards in November.

    New year, new game. Wait till then, then everyone start talking crap, till then, its kinda useless…

  25. Anonymous says:

    It might just be a style of constanly being on players with curse words and belittleling language. Ask a few players, I bet you find that this is fact. That said, these guys are semi pro (for all intent and purposes) most of these kids can handle that. But if you ask me, I would bet anything on it that the staff just has a more mean spirited and aggressive attitude towards the players. And that is what I think he means by non family environment.

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