- Dave Brandon officially took over as Michigan’s new athletic director on Monday. He did some interviews (including one for the FOX Business Network) as a result and discussed various things, including Rich Rodriguez. Unfortunately Brandon will be asked a lot about Rodriguez until football season clears up that situation one way or another, but for now Brandon is maintaining his stance that Rodriguez is “our coach for this season.”
- Rodriguez was recently interviewed by the Toledo Blade.
- Bill Martin did an interview about his last days in his usual office.
- DeShawn Sims made the All-Big Ten second team and Manny Harris made the All-Big Ten third team.
- Since the NIT is no longer a realistic option for the basketball team, my assumption was that Michigan would play in the CBI. As it turns out, that won’t be happening, either, because Michigan isn’t interested. At first I was thinking that Michigan wasn’t interested simply because it’s the CBI (sort of like turning down a low-level bowl game because you think you’re too good for it), but Dave Birkett made a good point on Twitter about how U-M would have to pay for a home game and probably wouldn’t even come close to drawing enough fans to make it worthwhile. He’s probably right, because although I would consider going to an NIT game, I don’t think I’d even bother if it was the CBI. It’s tough enough to get excited over anything but the NCAA tournament to begin with, so it shouldn’t be surprising that the CBI is just not at all appealing to me.
- John Beilein was not too happy with the physical play that was allowed during Sunday’s game against Michigan State. I understand where he’s coming from, but fair or foul, that is just Big Ten basketball.
- It’s hard to believe, but Selection Sunday is coming up later this week. It seems like just yesterday I was at Crisler Arena celebrating Michigan’s inclusion in the tournament. Unless there is a miracle in the Big Ten tournament there won’t be much to celebrate about for Michigan fans this year, but as you get ready to fill out your bracket, check out some NCAA Tournament Projections and Predictions from Doc’s Sports.
- Chris Brown was selected to the CCHA All-Rookie Team.
- WolverineHistorian uploaded a new three–part video of the 2004 Michigan/Michigan State game.
- In addition to approving the Crisler Arena renovation, the U-M Board of Regents also approved the hiring of Dave Brandon as the new athletic director.
- Marty Bodnar had left Michigan for a new job in his hometown, but he quickly resigned and is now back in Ann Arbor again working as the associate athletic director of ticketing and marketing.
- Michigan’s new wrestling facility now has a name: the Bahna Wrestling Center.
- MVictors interviewed Sam Webb.
- The Red Cedar Message Board unearthed Michigan State’s trademark application for a new Spartan helmet logo, leading to much speculation and discussion. A day later Michigan State confirmed that it is getting a new logo, causing the RCMB and essentially MSU’s entire fan base to melt down. The new logo isn’t exactly all that good looking, and I’d definitely say it is a downgrade over the current one. To make matters worse, Nike supposedly is behind the new logo, which is merely part of a “new comprehensive brand and graphic identity project.” One source likened the project to what Nike has done with Oregon, causing the meltdown and backlash over this news to go to a new level. Facebook groups against the new logo have popped up and have already grown to more than ten thousand members, and chants are already being led (by Sparty, no less) in favor of the current logo.
To say that Michigan State fans have exploded over this whole situation is an understatement, and I can certainly understand where they’re coming from. Just imagine the collective meltdown that would happen if adidas tried to change Michigan’s home football jersey or the winged helmet. There’s no doubt we would melt down, although I don’t know if we could top the meltdown currently going on in Spartan nation. It truly is on another level than anything I have seen before over a logo. I mean, when the Lions revealed their new logo last year there was some backlash, but it was very limited and generally fans liked the changes. For MSU, though, it seems like every poll about the logo results in somewhere around 90% of the voters being against the change.
From a marketing standpoint the change to the Lions’ logo made sense. The Lions needed to do something to generate added revenue, and you can bet quite a few fans went out and bought merchandise with the new logo on it. I’m sure many MSU fans will do the same thing, but considering just how strongly opposed most people are to the new logo, I really don’t see the sales boom being that large. In fact, many fans have commented that they will go out of their way to avoid purchasing anything with the new logo. I imagine over time people will warm up to the changes, but I still don’t think it will be worth it from a revenue standpoint. On top of that, I don’t get the thinking behind messing with your brand. It’s things like this that prevent tradition, just like changing uniforms every few years like Michigan State has seemingly always done. I’m certainly no marketing major, but this move just doesn’t seem to make a whole lot of sense to me.
- The Only Colors’ thoughts on the new logo are certainly interesting, and I have to agree about the point regarding the movie 300. The first year MSU used all of the tie-ins with 300 was fine, but they have beat it to death since then. It’s beyond cheesy, yet it seems like the new logo was actually influenced quite a bit by the movie. Seriously, MSU needs to get over it already. I know, the movie involved Spartans and gave MSU the chance to use cheesy clips throughout games, but MSU’s athletic department needs to move on and forget about that movie. Like I said, it’s just cheesy at this point.
- Personally I like The Wolverine Blog’s idea for MSU’s new logo more than anything else I’ve seen.
- You can click here for Michigan’s press release on the hiring of Dave Brandon and here for statements on the hiring from current Michigan coaches, Lloyd Carr, Bill Martin, Steve Hutchinson, and Jeff Backus. Hutchinson and Backus both are involved with C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, which Brandon has worked with as one of the heads of the fundraising campaign.
- Brandon’s first connection to the University of Michigan was when he came to Ann Arbor, initially as a quarterback, and played defensive end for Bo Schembechler from 1971-73.
- In more recent times Brandon’s main connection to Michigan switched from being a former athlete to serving on the Board of Regents, which he did from 1998-2006. Also, Brandon has been connected to Michigan via C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, as alluded to above. He and Carr co-chair the fundraising committee for the new hospital.
- Business-wise, Brandon is best known as the CEO of Domino’s Pizza, but he was involved in a countless number of other companies and projects as well.
- Brandon has also been active in politics recently. He served as the campaign chair for Dick DeVos during the 2006 Michigan gubernatorial race, and more recently he was being mentioned as a possible choice for the Republican nominee in the next Michigan gubernatorial election.
- As a thank you to the U-M medical staff for saving their twin sons in 1980 (they had a rare blood disorder), the Brandon family donated $4 million to the Michigan Difference campaign in 2006.
- Brandon’s salary at Michigan will be $560,000. In addition, he will receive deferred compensation each year worth $100,000. Brandon made $3.2 million from Domino’s in 2008, so you can tell that his love for Michigan had quite a bit to do with him taking the athletic director job.
- Although Brandon shared that he intends to be the athletic director for the next ten years, his initial “appointment” will last for five years and will officially begin on March 8. Bill Martin doesn’t actually retire until September 4, so he will become a consultant when Brandon takes over the job.
- Jerry Jones threw his support behind Brandon when he was a finalist for the job of NFL Commissioner. Brandon ended up pulling out of the race, though.
- AnnArbor.com has a video interview with Brandon.
- Also at AnnArbor.com is a list of interesting tidbits about Brandon. Two of the tidbits included on the list are that he was a national finalist in the Punt, Pass, and Kick competition as a 13-year-old and that he had dinner with Bo Schembechler the night before Bo died.
- Crain’s Detroit Business has a regular interview with Brandon. (One of the things mentioned in the interview is that Domino’s will not become the official pizza of Michigan because Brandon wants to avoid what would be viewed as a definite conflict of interest.)
- Adam Rittenberg took a look at what Brandon had to say about the football program and more specifically Rich Rodriguez. Brandon didn’t really say anything worthwhile about Rodriguez, but he really didn’t have to. The fact of the matter is that if Michigan wins Rodriguez will be in good shape. If Michigan doesn’t win then I think you can figure out what will happen on your own.
- A recap of Brandon’s introductory conference call can be found over at mgoblog.
- The Michigan Daily interviewed Mary Sue Coleman about the search process and the hire.
- MVictors has a couple pictures of Brandon from his playing days at Michigan.
- Just in case you were wondering about who is replacing Brandon at Domino’s, his successor is J. Patrick Doyle.
Michigan has found a new athletic director, and it is none other than Dave Brandon, the CEO and Chairman of Domino’s Pizza, a former U-M Regent, and a one-time football player at Michigan for Bo Schembechler. Brandon seemed like the favorite to get the job from the moment the search began because he is a successful businessman and because he has very strong ties to Michigan. In that sense, he was the most well-rounded candidate, so it’s not surprise that he ended up getting the job.
I will have more on this hire and more on Brandon in the coming days, but my initial reaction is that this was a good move by Michigan. Brandon definitely has the business credentials for the athletic director job, and his ties to Michigan are a definite positive. He has been around college athletics as a player, as a U-M Regent, and now he will get to take it in from the perspective of athletic director.
- Michigan running backs coach Fred Jackson is planning on returning to Michigan next season, according to AnnArbor.com. There were some rumblings that he would be leaving Michigan, possibly for an NFL job, but as of right now he is set to say in Ann Arbor as U-M’s running backs coach.
- Adrian Witty has qualified and will be coming to Michigan in January.
- According to Vincent Smith, Tate Forcier and Denard Robinson aren’t thinking about transferring or anything like that.
- Although nothing is official, Donovan Warren is apparently planning on coming back for his senior season. Things could obviously change, but I don’t think Warren’s stock right now is as high as it could be, leading me to believe he will return.
- Stephen Ross, the owner of the Miami Dolphins and a big U-M donor, thinks Rich Rodriguez deserves more time and that “it will all work out.”
- There is no new information on the sexual assault investigation other than that the alleged incident happened at Chi Psi, a fraternity on campus.
- Michigan Stadium is going to get new FieldTurf after next year’s spring game. The current field was installed back in 2003, and I was noticing earlier this year that it was looking a little worn down. If you compare how it looked in 2003 to how it looked this past season, you can see the difference just by examining the maize block “M” at midfield. The “M” is no longer bright maize but instead has a shade of black to it due to the rubber. Although the field is still in good shape for the most part, I’m guessing Michigan figured that it might as well spruce up everything for when the renovation is complete.
- Michigan’s search for a new athletic director will be aided by Spencer Stuart, a search firm, and an advisory committee that includes John Beilein.
- I don’t think I can sum up my feelings about people who sold their tickets to Ohio State fans any better than the Wolverine Liberation Army already did. It was absolutely disgusting to see so much scarlet in the stadium. I mean, I know it was bad two years ago, but this was even worse, especially once OSU had the game in check and the “O-H-I-O” chants started. I realize that OSU fans travels well and the ticket office didn’t exactly make it tough for them to get tickets to the game, but still, quite a few season-ticket holders gave their seats to Buckeyes, and for that all I can really say is screw you.
Sure, tickets for the OSU game can make you a good amount of money and the team wasn’t exactly doing well coming into the game, but anybody who sold their tickets to OSU fans really ought to have them revoked. Even if you can’t attend the game, is it really that tough to find a Michigan fan who would want the tickets? It’s not every day that someone is presented with a chance to go to a Michigan-OSU game, so if you are going to sell them, put in some extra effort and make sure they go to a Michigan fan.
- Angelique Chengelis wrote a great article that recounted her memories of Michigan’s now-former press box. The press box was set to start coming down on Monday, and eventually seatbacks will be in its place. The new press box, which is going to be much more modern and much nicer in general, will replace it officially starting next September.
I personally spent one game in the old press box back in 2006, and it was definitely a unique experience. Being so used to watching the game from my usual seats, I gained a new perspective by taking in an easy win over Central Michigan from the press box. What was really interesting about the whole experience was that that game included the only weather delay in Michigan Stadium’s history. The timing couldn’t have been better for me, because while the crowd was running for cover and getting soaked by the rain, I was sitting back and relaxing up in the press box. Like Chengelis said in her article, it has a special feeling of history and tradition, but I can tell you from my one afternoon in the press box that it definitely needs to be replaced by something more modern and more spacious, which is exactly what the new one will be.
- MVictors has a bunch of pictures and videos from down on the field before Saturday’s game, including a shot of Brandon Graham walking out onto the field with his mom and dad.
- Cornerback recruit Cullen Christian is going to announce his college decision today at 6:30 p.m., and based on his reaction to visiting Michigan this past weekend, I would expect him to verbal to the Wolverines.
- Tony Jefferson, ESPN’s top athlete recruit in the nation, really enjoyed his Michigan visit.
- Maize & Blog has an interview with Michigan commit Kenny Wilkins.
- Former Michigan basketball player Chris Hunter has been called up to the NBA’s Golden State Warriors.
- Despite persistent rumors that Urban Meyer might go to Notre Dame when Charlie Weis is inevitably fired, Meyer again denied that he will leave Florida.
- Jimmy Clausen was involved in some sort of altercation early Sunday morning that left him with two black eyes. According to Joe Schad, Clausen was allegedly sucker-punched by a fan, but it seems like there are different versions of what happened out there and not everything is adding up.
- Members of the Michigan State football team were allegedly involved in a nasty-sounding brawl.
Last week a little rumor about Tate Forcier not starting against Wisconsin turned into a big story that was all for naught. Forcier ended up starting, and although Denard Robinson was technically in the starting lineup as well, he wasn’t at quarterback. All week people, myself included, gossiped about why Forcier wasn’t going to start, and that rumor became its own story. Somehow all of this morphed into a separate rumor that Forcier was planning on transferring after getting into it with Rich Rodriguez, which also turned out to be false.
Let’s start with what actually led to the rumor about Forcier getting benched and why he actually got into an argument with Rodriguez.
Forcier said he didn’t expect to start Saturday after he missed study table earlier in the week, and he and Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez got into a disagreement over “practice.”
The misunderstanding was resolved, Forcier said, and he made up his missed academic time.
“What happened, happened,” Forcier said. Fellow freshman quarterback Denard Robinson “took a lot of reps throughout the week. I actually expected him to start, but Coach Rod threw me out there, and I made the most of it.
“We just got into a little bit of an argument, but me and Coach Rod are fine. Me and all the coaches are actually fine.”
The origin over the rumor of Forcier not starting actually was probably Forcier himself for what he said on Facebook. It took on a life of its own from there, though, and many people started throwing around the possibility that Forcier was going to transfer based only on a status message about how he had a terrible day. Yeah, not so much.
From Pat Forde’s Twitter page:
Just got the definitive answer to Tate Forcier transfer rumors: “No!” That’s a text from Tate.
Tate Forcier’s dad on transfer rumors: “ludicrous.” He said, “I’m not a fan of transferring. It didn’t serve us very well before.”
“We like the coaches,” Forcier’s dad told me today. “
Now that that’s out of the way, let’s address some other rumors that have been spreading lately.
A popular one in recent weeks has been that Devin Gardner is going to decommit from Michigan and go to Florida instead. Is there any truth to that? Once again, not so much.
QB Devin Gardner told me tonight that the Florida rumors going around are not true. Everyone take a collective sigh of relief.
In case you still aren’t convinced, there is a story in the Sporting News about how Gardner is still solid with Michigan.
The last major rumor out there is the biggest one of all: Rich Rodriguez is going to be fired. Michael Wilbon is just one of the people out there spreading this rumor, which seems odd considering both the athletic director and president have come out and put their support behind Rodriguez. Sure, people have come out and supported coaches right before they fired them, but it’s a different situation at Michigan. The only way I can see Rodriguez being fired after this season is if the NCAA investigation turns up serious violations, which doesn’t exactly seem likely based on the nature of the allegations. Further, somebody like Michael Wilbon is not going to know if Rodriguez is going to be fired at the end of the season. It’s not like there is a Fort Schembechler anymore, especially with the athletic department leaking stuff out, but something like a firing in this context isn’t going to be picked up by someone like Wilbon first. If anything, people would find out about it from a status update on Facebook. Besides, as we learned during the coaching search, it’s tough to trust anybody affiliated with ESPN.
- You can add a bruised shoulder to the lengthy list of injuries Brandon Minor has suffered this season. He also aggravated his high ankle sprain in the Purdue game, an injury that just doesn’t seem to want to go away.
- Carlos Brown barely played against Purdue because he was absent from practice last week due to knee tendinitis.
- Martavious Odoms is still listed as day-to-day, but his injury isn’t healing as quickly as originally anticipated.
- A bruised back kept Junior Hemingway limited against Purdue.
- Tate Forcier twisted his knee on Saturday.
- Rich Rodriguez took issue with Purdue coach Danny Hope’s actions after Saturday’s game. Hope shook Rodriguez’s hand and then introduced him to Zack Reckman, the player who was suspended earlier this season for throwing a punch against Northern Illinois. Hope said something along the lines of, “Thanks, Coach. Really appreciate what you did.” Hope was insinuating that Rodriguez was responsible for getting Reckman suspended, because after the Eastern Michigan game Rodriguez said this, referring to the fact that Jonas Mouton was suspended for punching a Notre Dame player:
“As a coach you say, ‘OK, the precedent will be set,’ and that’s why I say we’ll look at every act,” Rodriguez said at the time. “And, in fact, it’s funny you say that, I saw a Big Ten game, in the locker room as we were leaving, highlights, and it was the end of the game and a guy jumped on someone on the last play of the game and did a little of this right here (gave an opponent a forearm). Now is that a non-football act? It probably is, so that may be turned in and see what happens.”
I find it very comical that Hope felt Rodriguez was responsible for the suspension. News flash: Reckman, who punched an opponent, was responsible for getting suspended, not Rodriguez. Considering there was so much made over Jonas Mouton getting suspended the week before, you can bet that Reckman would have been suspended regardless of whether or not Rodriguez said anything. And what’s even more comical is that Rodriguez didn’t even mention a specific player, a specific team, or a specific game when he made his comments about the precedent being set. Hope’s need to bitch about it in the postgame handshake the way he did just comes off as a really childish thing to do. Regardless of what was said, Reckman still punched an opposing player. It seems like Hope was trying to shift responsibility from his player to someone that had nothing to do with what happened.
In the grand scheme of things this whole incident was no big deal, but you can bet that everybody will be watching future postgame handshakes between Rodriguez and Hope.
- Rodriguez’s explanation for going for it on fourth down instead of kicking a field goal in the final quarter of the Purdue game was that he was concerned that the defense wasn’t going to make a stop.
- Here is an interesting stat from the game notes section on MGoBlue:
With his 55-yard kick return in the first quarter, sophomore receiver Darryl Stonum broke the U-M single-season record for kick returns and return yardage. He wrapped the game with 30 returns on the season for 803 yards, passing Steve Breaston in both categories. In 2004, Breaston tallied 689 yards on 28 returns.
The fact that Stonum has already had 30 returns in only 10 games says an awful lot about how bad the defense is, but he has definitely been a bright spot this year on special teams. Stonum is currently averaging about 2.1 yards a return more than Breaston, which is pretty amazing considering how great of a returner Breaston was.
- Wisconsin running back John Clay should play on Saturday. He left the Indiana game on Saturday at halftime with “signs of having a concussion.”
- In a recent interview on WJR, Dave Brandon was asked about the Michigan athletic director job, and his answer was basically that he likes the job he currently has with Domino’s, but he would be willing to listen if Michigan came calling.
- Another picture of the uniform Ohio State is going to wear against Michigan later this month has leaked out, and boy is it ugly. What’s even worse is the fact that the uniform is supposed to honor OSU’s 1954 team, yet it doesn’t even accurately represent the uniforms worn back then. That’s mainly because it is part of Nike’s “Pro Combat Uniforms” series, which is just one big combination of stupid-looking jerseys, pants, and helmets. This is exactly why I’m glad Michigan switched to adidas.
- Miami’s sweep of Michigan in hockey this past weekend was the first time the Wolverines were swept at Yost since 2001.
- Zack Novak is the first Michigan basketball player in the Ross School of Business since Chris Hunter.
- When thinking about potential candidates to replace Bill Martin, one name that many people immediately thought of was Lloyd Carr. I’m not a fan of the idea of Carr becoming AD, but that is a non-issue, because Carr doesn’t have any interest in the job.
“I am not a candidate,” Carr said.
Brian of mgoblog put together the best list of potential candidates I’ve seen so far. Based on his research, it seems like Oregon State’s Bob De Carolis is the most qualified person for the job.
- Jonathan Chait gave his take on what the most important quality should be in Michigan’s new AD, and he said that keeping Rich Rodriguez happy is really the only important one. His point is that whomever is hired to be the new AD, that person must be all in for Rodriguez. I can’t disagree with that, because the last thing Michigan needs is an athletic director who is not 100% behind Rodriguez.
- AnnArbor.com has a timeline breaking down Bill Martin’s tenure at Michigan.
- David Molk is going to return to the starting lineup on Saturday.
- Saturday’s game is designated as a Maize Out, but considering there is a chance of rain and temperatures are supposed to be in the 40s, I doubt it will be a very successful one.
- This week’s BlogPoll is out, and I was Mr. Numb Existence. I also finished 5th in the Mr. Manic-Depressive category, which measures how much your poll changes from week to week.
- All Michigan fans have to be enjoying what has been transpiring in Columbus in the past week. Not only did Ohio State lose to Purdue, but ever since then quite a few people have been criticizing Terrelle Pryor, who has been struggling in OSU’s offense. One person who has come to Pryor’s defense is his high school coach, who basically said the problem is Jim Tressel and the offense the Buckeyes are running. Even better, Pryor’s coach went on to say this:
“There is no question that Rich Rodriguez’s offense, for example, would be more apt to suit Terrelle’s skills,” Reitz said. “But Ohio State sold him on the idea that they would prepare him for the NFL and that they don’t run ‘zone-read’ in the NFL. Jim Tressel is a great coach. But I can tell you there is more to Terrelle Pryor than what we’ve been seeing.”
Rich Rodriguez should show that quote to every mobile quarterback that is ever recruited by both Michigan and Ohio State (assuming Jim Tressel is still there). I remember that one of the reasons Pryor originally picked OSU was because he thought Tressel’s offense would better prepare him for the NFL, but if he can’t even use all of his athleticism in the Buckeyes’ offense, what’s the point? I’ve heard so much about how Tressel adapts his offense to his quarterback, but I certainly haven’t seen that with Pryor.
- The Grady brothers were interviewed by the Big Ten Network.
- There will be an open basketball practice at Crisler Arena from noon to 2:00 p.m. on Saturday. If you want to kill some time before the football game, this would be a good way to do it.
- The SEC has suspended the officials who worked last week’s Florida-Arkansas game. It’s good to see that the conference actually did something, because the officials made a couple of awful calls that benefited Florida.
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