Tuesday, September 1st, 2009...11:15 pm

Michigan Football: Oh Vey!

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I was planning on writing a preview/projection type blog post on the 2009 Michigan Football season. It was going to be optimistically lush and chronicle the Space Emperor’s quest for the Ray Guy Award (best college punter), Nick Sheridan’s second year poise and improved klutzability, Shoelace Robinson’s kicks and point guard turned slot receiver Kelvin Grady challenging Martavious Odoms for first string shlemiel at the flanker position.

Before I could lay down my whole megillah, the Detroit Free Press (are they even a newspaper anymore?) decides they want to publish a hatchet job on UM — a shanda fur die goy. When I first heard about this whole shtunk and all the dreck I wanted to blame Dick Rod. Heck, I have blamed him for every other crappy thing that has happened to the program since he rode his wagon into town 20 months ago. But the more I’ve learned the last few days the more this smells of NOR.

I’m willing to wager that every major college program practices just as much as Michigan. One pisher who has transferred coming forward with any kind of negative sentiment surely does not warrant a thorough investigation, ESPN news conferences and the insane tumult that this story has received. My guess (and I usually have a decent pulse on the NCAA) is that this blows over in the next few weeks and Michigan gives itself a light slap on the wrist and adheres strictly to the practice rules in the future. The NCAA doesn’t want to open up this can of borscht as it’s virtually impossible to differentiate between voluntary and mandatory practices.

So let’s hope and assume that this current hullabaloo disappears as quickly as Justin Feagin’s shipment of cocaine. My friend and life long Michigan friend Ben wrote to me that he’s “hoping this in the long run 5, 10, 20 years from now is only a blip on the radar, he will be our ron zook between spurrier and meyer or mike walsh between gene stallings and nick saban”. I agree. If only Rich Rod is our Elijiah Ingram in between Erick Barkley and Marcus Hatten.

Where does this leave the Wolverine Football program heading into 2009?

Talentless. I’m not exactly sure how this happened but the nebbish talent pool on this season’s team rivals a DPhiE date party. Michigan has three legit above-average Big Ten starters on this team – Brandon Minor, Donavon Warren and Brandon Graham. The rest of the players are a collection of backups and shleps, none of who would have sniffed the field in the first seven years of this decade. My buddy Vant was all ferdrayt because he wanted to buy a jersey but didn’t know what player’s number to get. I don’t blame him. It’s tough to get excited to rock Renaldo Sagesse, Boubacar Cissoko or Obi Exeh threads.

The weird part is that Michigan has had a top 15 recruiting class in each of the last five years. Early departures, transfers, state law, and the erosion of family values have prevented many decently ranked recruits from staying enrolled in Ann Arbor longer than acclaimed film director Zach Sherman stint in A-squared. The most inexplicable travesty is the inability to trot out a capable quarterback. It was bad that we lost out on Terrelle Pryor to Ohio State. Michigan is actually going into the season opener planning to play all three shmegegges. Nick Sheridan is back with his shmedrick arm, along side QB Force Tres and Shoelace Robinson. Ay Gavalt!

I really don’t want to get too much into evaluating Rodriguez because I’ve said or written it all already. I don’t like him and I’m counting down the days until he is gone. He might be a decent coach and is certainly a real macher. He did a good job at West Virginia – give him kudos for keeping Pac Man and Chris Henry out of prison and there mishegoss in check. It’s just that he’s not the right guy for Michigan. He came into the program with lots of chutzpah and made it clear he wants to run a program his way and doesn’t want to be bothered with the history and tradition of a place like Michigan (He tried to turn their road uniforms into yellow shmattas). That’s certain to be an issue at a school in which the history and tradition is almost as important as winning.

My buddy Da Bwetty took it one step further. “Players recruited by Lloyd and his staff were met with a guy who knew no more about the Michigan program than a freshman girl who traded her ticket away for a salad at Mr. Greeks. Instead of Cinderalla Man and a fatherly figure the players got a rule-bender and his UFC fitness program. Rodriguez may be a good coach, he may be more passionate about football than anyone we could imagine, but the West Virginia way is not the Michigan way, its that simple.”

I’m not sure why Michigan would hire a zhlub who blatantly doesn’t fit into their value system (let alone tradition, style of play, or recruiting methods). Leave it to some gold old Midwesterners to be shmoozed by a slick talking, sun burned West Virginian gonif.

From the highlights of Monday’s press conference, it seems like Rodriguez is starting to feel fershlugina (although that could very well be shtick). He was back to being a hok a chanik during this interview on ESPN this morning on First Take. I imagine one negative story on top of another starts to bare down on a program. But I have no rachmones for Rodriguez’s tsoriss. And boy, have there been some negative stories coming out of A2. Here is a timeline.

9/1 – Rodriguez sued over condo project
8/29 – U-M players allege program broke NCAA rules
8/23 – Michigan eyes quarterback shuffle
8/11 – Rodriguez defends his checks on recruits
8/10 – The story behind Michigan’s dismissal of Feagin
7/16 – Michigan’s Wermers transfers, rips RichRod’s staff
1/23 – Rodriguez cost Michigan $6.6 million last year
1/21 – Barwis reportedly owes West Virginia dough

12/15 – Michigan Wolverines season recap
12/12 -McGuffie reportedly will leave Michigan
11/22 – Final: Ohio State 42, Michigan 7
6/30 – Garrison: Rodriguez ‘very distraught’ in private meeting before he resigned
3/26 – Boren says he left Michigan because ‘family values have eroded’
1/17 – Rodriguez accuses WVU of staging ‘smear campaign’
1/8 – Manningham, Arrington likely to skip senior years; Mallett may transfer

12/27 – West Virginia sues, seeking $4 million buyout in Rodriguez’s contract

The Matzah Ball Soup Is Half Full
I hate to be a total kvetcher and it’s always easier to plotz, especially when the going is rougher than a winter’s walk across campus to the Frieze building. So I’ll channel my inner Roy and come up with some happy thoughts.

Michigan’s first four games are manageable and even if they can’t handle the Irish at the Big House there is still a good chance they can start the season 3-1. Hopefully, all that extra practice pays off and the team actually knows what it’s doing this season with one year of the spread offense under its belt. One of the QB klutzes steps up to bring some stability behind center and shows glimmers of hope for the future. The young guys play well enough to keep it interesting all season. Minor stays healthy and breaks out to be the best back in the Big Ten. Michigan manages to hover around .500 in conference play….I give up. What a luftmensh I am! This team sucks!!!!

It used to be dreams of a perfect season and running naked down Vaughn screaming out my allegiance to Philip Brabbs. This season might be my least anticipated college football season since the pre Marvin Graves days (I was a die-hard Syracuse fan growing up). Gornisht helfn.

Rewind back to my senior year of high school. After I was rejected from my top eight nerd colleges and decided to go to Michigan I figured that at the least I’d be able to shep naches for the football team for the rest of my life. Rich Rod is ruining that.

Gai kakhen afenyam Putz Rod. Essen brek drek.