Toney Clemons, Morgan Trent, & Chad Henne Comment on Allegations

By · Sunday, August 30, 2009 · 8:07 PM |  Share | 12 Comments 

Two former Michigan players who played for Rich Rodriguez have commented on the record about the allegations U-M is facing.

One of them, Toney Clemons, left the team earlier this year and transferred to Colorado, citing that he wanted to play in a different offense.  He spoke to ESPN’s Joe Schad, and his comments did not do Michigan any favors.

“The allegations are true,” Clemons said. “Nothing is fabricated or exaggerated in that story. I was there on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. or 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. depending on if guys needed treatment. You were there daylight to nighttime.”

“On Sunday, it was lifting, film, dinner and practice,” Clemons told Schad. “I usually got out around 10:20. I truly don’t want to be associated with the program back there. But I am going to help benefit my teammates back there by speaking and giving testimony.”

Helping which teammates, Toney?  Sure, you’re helping the few current players who spoke to the Free Press and don’t like how much time they have to spend on football, and I’m sure there are others who feel the same way but didn’t speak out.  But what about the rest (majority) of the team?  Do you think people like Brandon Minor and Brandon Graham, who are seniors and want to win this season, appreciate you making this situation even worse for Michigan?  I doubt it.  By now the damage is already done from the report itself, but the more former players like Clemons come out and go beyond simply confirming that the story is true, the worse this situation gets for Michigan.

Another former player, Morgan Trent, who didn’t transfer but simply graduated, spoke to Angelique Chengelis today on the record.

“Yes, we were there all day it seemed sometimes,” said Trent, a former Michigan cornerback now in his first season with the Cincinnati Bengals. “But if you expect to win, that’s the sacrifice you make. I was a senior (last season under Rodriguez) — I just wanted to win, that’s all.”

Chad Henne, who played his last game before Rich Rodriguez took over, spoke to Dave Birkett and echoed similar feelings, saying that putting in more than 20 hours was necessary to become a better player.

“Twenty hours is a very, very small portion of what you do, especially if you’re a quarterback at a high-profile school,” Henne, now with the Miami Dolphins, said in a phone interview Sunday. “Twenty hours isn’t enough for you. You have to be in there by yourself, studying film, no coaches around, and doing it on your own. That’s where the leadership comes in and that’s where, if you want to get better and play better, you have to do it on your own.”

Henne went on to say that while he wasn’t obligated to be there all that extra time, the hours really were already racked up enough just by practicing.  He also shared his thoughts on the players who spoke out to the media.

“I really think whoever’s saying it really doesn’t want to be there,” Henne said. “If they’re saying that then they’re not really worried about the team, they’re not worried about what they’re going to do during their season and they’re kind of just giving themselves up. That’s just negative talk right there. So whoever it is just really doesn’t care about the team, I would say.

“If they’re complaining about that, then they don’t want to be the best they can be and that’s their own fault.”

I couldn’t agree more.


  1. Voice of Reason says:

    I think Henne’s point is well taken along with other former athletes. You have the required time that you put in, however, if you really want to get better you put in extra time on your own. Coaches and players who want to win, go that extra mile and the culture is that they expect their people to do the same. No top program simply wants to be “good enough,” they want to be the best. That requires more time and more effort, while still balancing it with their school work.

    Those who don’t want to win should leave (and most have). The top schools have players that go above and beyond their required time, on their own.

    It is the same with regular students who want to master their subject matter academically, they put in that extra time.

  2. Justin says:

    Toney Clemons is trying to make it so that players currently in the system don’t have to feel obligated to go the these “mandatory” practices. There’s obviously something going wrong with the football team and it needs to be addressed.

  3. Charlie says:

    This entire allegations episode is bringing out the sick nature of Michigan fans. You are chastising Toney for basically confirming what is in essence a violation of rules. You know Michigan is still violating the rules even if they weren’t revealed by the players right? There is no “right” whatsoever by Michigan in this case, keeping it a secret doesn’t make it any more acceptable. And no, just because Wolverine fans have alleged that all other schools break the same rules, it does not make it any more right for Michigan. I’m sorry, but it seems losing and losing alot have made Michigan fans a) desperate, b) angry and c) willing to crucify anyone who is in essence bringing light to a program steered in the wrong direction. It is kind of funny to see Michigan fans who were once all high on themselves descend so low into an SEC type obsession with winning.

  4. Bruce says:

    First off, I don’t care that other programs do it. We are Meeeechigan! We are above other programs. Second, it doesn’t matter if the workouts were voluntary or mandatory. We all know they were mandatory if you wanted playing time. Finally, I’d like to know what Lloyd Carr thinks about this. He was a too conservative coach but atleast he wasn’t a lier or cheat. Is coach Rod taking these workouts too far in Carr’s opinion? I think this all boils down to one question. Do we accept “bending” the rules to win more games?

  5. Rob says:

    The current problem with this situation is winning. If he had won last year, none of this would be mentioned. If these allegations turn out to be true, but hopefully not, what is everyone complaining about. Everyone is crucifying RR, and talking about the integrity of the program. REALLY????? How is he doing this? By settling for Mediocrity like Lloyd (4 losses a year and a losing record to OSU). He is trying to bring Michigan back to national prominence, by demanding excellence from his players. How else do you expect to beat Ohio State or any upper tier team in the near future. Its not like RR is violating the recruiting process, talking bad about other universities or paying players to come to AA. He is expecting Excellence from everyone on the team and the Effort that goes with it. If the current players who stayed couldn’t handle it, why did they have the highest GPA in the last 20 years?? How do you lose Integrity in that? It actually shows character.

    It takes a strict General (not dictator), to whip his troops into shape and take pride in what they do. Rodriguez is doing this and that is why the weakest links have left and are talking trash. They don’t want that Excellence on the football field that the other players are putting in. This is how Michigan will win again and rise to the challenge in the near future.

    I say again, ” Integrity, REALLY???” RR isn’t trying to lose integrity(more like earn back the respect of Michigan and Big Ten football), but if his haters want a Lame Duck coach to just come in and average 7 wins a year, be my guest. Give RR at least 4 years. When he starts winning, all of these supposed haters will shut up pretty quick!!

    GO BLUE!!!

  6. Paul says:

    Charlie, what makes you so sure the program did anything wrong? All we have now is an allegation, and a fairly poorly sourced one at that.

    I’m not saying Tony Clemons should be chastised if he indeed is telling the truth. And I agree that some fans assume that any charge leveled against the program by a former player must be the result of malice. But it doesn’t make any more sense to assume the program or Coach Rodriguez is wrong based on what we now know.

    The Free Press article is pretty dicey as reporting goes. It never quotes from the regulations it claims are being violated — a strange omission since the regulations define “mandatory” differently from common usage. It does, however, rely on quotes from players who were bragging about their workouts during Media Day. Those players were not trying to separate mandatory from individual workouts; they were simply engaging in proud puffery about how hard they worked. Moreover, the article didn’t even claim to seek players who might have a different account of the situation — it simply took the words of a group of mostly former players at face value.

    If the article is right, we’ll know soon enough. But let’s not condemn the program until we have something better to go on.

  7. TheTruth says:

    I take it that the workouts are the reason Tony left then. That’s funny, I figured it was because he wasn’t going to play much this year. We already know that players who have left the program don’t like whats going on. Until I see a current player speak up on this (and not the freshman who were taken out of context) I will be focusing on what I always do this time of the year. That’s right, it’s time for some Michigan football and nothing can ruin that for me. It’s time to go to war this season.

  8. ST says:

    I think Mike Forcier and Chad Henne’s comments sum this situation up.

    For those who want to smash RR on this, what kind of time do you think players at Ohio St., Oklahoma, USC, and Florida put in?

    I don’t like the way things are moving in College Football either, with the arms race concerning facilities and budgets, the money grubbing BCS, the selling of conference home games, the unnecessary hype surrounding recruits, and the unrealistic expectations put on coaches and programs, everything seems to be a snowball effect.

    On the other hand, if you want to win, and win big in the modern world of college football, then people will have to turn a bit of a blind eye to this stuff. The rules are vague for a reason, if the NCAA wanted to flat out put a stop to this, amongst many other issues in the sport, they would be sure to clarify the rules and remove the vagueness in the language.

    I am sure Rosenberg?s feels that he is just doing his due diligence as a reporter, but let?s be clear here, if you have been following his writing over the past year and a half, he has not had any positive things to say about the program since RR replaced Carr. I?m not trying to justify any wrong doing if it happened, but let?s also consider the source. Just do some research, Rosenberg has carried a definite negative attitude towards UM?s football program ever since Carr was not allowed to personally name his replacement.

  9. andrew says:

    My problem with the allegations is that they are all very vague, even Clemons’ comments. Yes, we know the time is in the vein of “not mandatory, but really mandatory”. The questions I’d like to see answers to, which I believe the internal investigation will ask, are what are the exact timelines on these 11-12 hour Sundays (or any other day, for that matter); are coaches (besides a trainer) ever present; how much of this time is initiated and led by players; and what is the coaching staff’s official schedule. Until these questions are answered, these allegations are fraught with innuendo and not fact. I believe Rosenberg could have done a much more thorough job along the lines of the AA News series on academics.

  10. Jess says:

    We all want Michigan to win, we enjoy watching that. But in Ann Arbor, winning isn’t enough…it will need to be done with Tradition and Integrity. The problem here is not the allegations, but that there ARE allegations. What is going on inside the locker room that makes teamates speak out against the team? RR’s issue is how he let this happen. Head coach is in charge of the chemistry of the TEAM. RR has left an unpleasant trail of leaving WV ($4MM), a horiffic first season (jamming the only system you know into the wrong talent, attrition, losing season, lose to OSU and no bowl), and now NCAA allegations. Win or lose on Saturday, I’m embarrassed for RR and our TEAM. Lloyd had a successful tenure…both with the W-L and the tradition, integrity and ‘class’ that he brought to this program, expecially after the Moeller incident….but we all wanted to see more excitment on Sat….bring on the Spread (I coach it and I love it, IF YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TALENT!!!) I want RR to be successful, I want more exciting Saturdays, I want to win again, but not at the cost of the tradtions of Michigan Football. I don’t care that RR is not a Mich man, neither was Bo….I want to like RR, but he needs to clean up his act, stop the antics of blaming coaches and players on the sidelines, and start building a program from the ground up build on the tradition…with the talent that he has, and then we will be successful….not win EVERY game…but win most, have integrity and tradition, be fun to watch, follow and love….it’s what we all want, but it’s on the shoulders of RR, and this is another scare that he can’t afford.
    Go blue!

  11. Dave says:

    This whole issue shows the folly of trying to regulate training/practice hours. It’s impossible and unwise. I am 100% positive that all highly competitive college football programs do not honor arbitrary limtis on training. How do you set arbitrary limits on training? Why don’t they do the same thing for academics? Ultimately, the hours are determined by results. If players follow a certain regimen and achieve good results on the field and elsewhere (classroom, life in general), then players will continue to choose that program. If not, they will go elsewhere. In any endeavor, there is an optimum level of commitment. Too little commitment is obviously detrimental and too much commitment eventually becomes problematic and counterproductive as well. I highly doubt that any bureaucracy (such as the NCAA, government, etc) is qualified to determine the appropriate level of commitment. So this “scandal” seems to be a bit ridiculous. It seems appropriate to determine if coaching staff used inappropriate or unsafe measures or punishment. Any investigation should keep in mind the welfare of the players – their desire for athletic excellence and their health and safety. It also should aim for fairness and look at all top programs. But the inept, corrupt and monopolistic NCAA which puts its own interests above the players will probably not do so.

  12. Brent says:

    This whole allegation is pathetic. All Rosenberg has is a bunch of ex-players and some freshman who were taken out of context. It reeks of poor journalism, until I see some definitive proof which Rosenberg should have gotten before he released his “piece” I’m not buying this for a minute. Show me a picture of a coach at a scrimmage that he’s not allowed to, prove RR and company told you you HAD to do it with some audio evidence, etc. It’s sad that a bunch of slackers who don’t want to put in the extra time have to reduce themselves to this and ruin it for the guys who want to put in the extra time to become better players. This isn’t some fly by night school, this is Michigan, not everyone gets to play here. You want to work the bare minimum, fine, accept a free ride to some other school. You want to play on Sundays making millions, you better be prepared to work longer than 20 hours a week, if not then be the best waterboy on the team working your bare minimum while someone else works harder to earn their roster spot and makes their pro career a reality while you graduate and be an office manager or insurance agent.

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