- Although Scott Shafer technically resigned, there was some speculation that he was forced out by Rich Rodriguez. That doesn’t seem the least bit unlikely given the circumstances, but Rodriguez and Shafer just weren’t on the same page and both knew a change was needed.
Rodriguez announced it as a resignation today, and Shafer did not dispute that.
“Yes, it is accurate,” Shafer said this afternoon. “We just had a mutual decision. We had different thoughts on the way we did things. [...]
The two coaches had differing philosophies from the start as Shafer believed in a base 4-3 defense and Michigan began the season with that before morphing into Rodriguez’s traditional 3-3-5 format late in the season.
“That’s kind of the reason the decision was made,” Shafer said about their differences. “It’s one of those deals throughout the whole deal (we debated.) We came up with that decision that it was time to go our own ways. It just didn’t fit as simple as that is. I wish Michigan all the success in the future.”
On top of those comments, Shafer made another statement that certainly raised an eyebrow.
“Bottom line is, I take full responsibility for the demise of the Michigan program,” Shafer, 41, said by phone Tuesday afternoon. “I accept all the responsibility.”
I’m not exactly sure how to interpret this comment and probably would need to hear the audio of it to do so. Regardless, Shafer either made the comment to raise the point that he was the scapegoat for this season or because he really feels that way. Given his personality, I think the latter is probably the case. If it is, Shafer really shouldn’t be so hard on himself. Although the defense is a big reason why Michigan went 3-9, Shafer certainly wasn’t responsible for the offense’s struggles, the lack of talent, the inability to not fumble returns, and the many other issues the team had.
- MGoBlog put together a list of potential candidates to replace Scott Shafer as Michigan’s defensive coordinator. I expect Jay Hopson, the current linebackers coach and former Southern Miss defensive coordinator, to be promoted. That move would keep some continuity with the staff, which is always important when you’re still in a transitional period. If Hopson doesn’t get promoted, I wouldn’t be surprised if Jeff Casteel came over from West Virginia. After a year with Bill Stewart, he may wise up and realize that he is on a sinking ship, leading him to make the move to Michigan.
- As far as who I hope is the new defensive coordinator, I wish Michigan would give Rich Rodriguez a blank check and let him go hire a premier name. That is unlikely for a variety of reasons, so I guess I would be fine with Hopson being promoted if that happens. He is a solid recruiter in the south and his Southern Miss defenses were pretty good.
- Former Michigan football player Rondell Biggs was acquitted of a felony possession of steroids charge.
- John Beilein is “feeling better,” but he is still being monitored on a day-to-day basis. I wouldn’t expect to know if he will coach Michigan on Saturday until we get closer to the game.
- A formal proposal for a basketball practice facility is not on the agenda for Thursday’s U-M Regents meeting. My guess is that a proposal will be presented to the regents sometime in early 2009. It is important that the athletic department shows that it is committed to the basketball program, and there is no better way of doing that than by getting the details of a practice facility finalized.
- Michigan basketball players aren’t really worrying too much about not being ranked, which makes sense considering rankings don’t mean a whole lot right now. As C.J. Lee pointed out, “It’s where you end up at the end of the season.”
- The Free Press caught up with Brandon Graham’s high school coach, who shed light on Graham’s decision to return to Michigan for his senior season.
- Stephany Skrba was named the Big Ten Women’s Basketball Player of the Week.
- Braylon Edwards thinks he is “unappreciated” by Browns fans because he went to Michigan.
- One-time Michigan commit Kevin Newsome verballed to Penn State on Wednesday. He is the second recruit to decommit from Michigan to Penn State. Kicker Anthony Fera did the same thing, except he instantly switched from U-M to PSU.
- Joe Paterno, who turns 82 on December 21, received a three-year contract extension yesterday.
- Buffalo head coach Turner Gill also received an extension, meaning he will not be taking a job elsewhere.