Usually, I would hold off on posting something like this, choosing instead to savor the sweat tears of sad pandas before moving on. Celebrate the victory over PSU before relishing Mich1gAAn’s failures.
But, I seem to have some extra salt, and they have open wounds, so here you go.
First, a bit of perspective. scUM is our rival. I loathe them. However- I also have a lot of respect for their program, it’s what makes The Game great. When Bo died, I felt a sense of loss- He and Woody made my youth enjoyable, and shaped my appreciation of college sports.
I’m in the “I love it when they lose, but would rather see us embarrass a valiant foe than put crippled rodent out of it’s misery” camp. The Game should always be like 2006.
That being said- I do not respect Rich Rodriguez. I think he was a candidate UM settled for, I think his schemes will not work against teams that actually play defense, I don’t trust his ability to recruit student athletes that will represent the University of Michigan or the Big Ten well.
In another life I talk more about this and my believe that the title of “coach” is one of the most sacred things in a young adult’s life. I’m not sure the man at Michigan’s helm understands that.
Case in point: In last week’s WtW, I reminded you of the wonderful relationship RR has with the Big Ten officials, particularly with suspensions of athletes. If you remember, following TTUN’s win against Notre Ame, Jonas Mouton committed a foul that, upon further review, the conference decided was worthy of a one game suspension (note- the conference made that decision, not the player. I’m looking at you Urban- unless someone gouges my eyes, that is). Rich Rodriguez’s response was, essentially, “If your going to do that to one of my guys, I’m going to make sure that others are going down as well”.
“I will tell you my conversation with the commissioner, we will watch every Big Ten game very closely and every non-football act, a six-inch jab or anything that is not called for in the game of football, we’re going to ask that that person gets the same type of punishment that Jonas Mouton got,” Rodriguez said. “I’m sure the league would do that.”
But Rodriguez, since he feels precedent has now been set by the Big Ten, seems to be going on the offensive. From the way he spoke in his post-game press conference, it sounds like he’s going to be looking out for things like punches and armbars and extracurricular elbows.
“It’s funny you say that because I saw a Big Ten game in the locker room,” Rodriguez said. “In some highlights, and it was the end of the game, and a guy jumped on someone at the last play of the game and did a little of this right here (making a motion with his elbow and forearm).
“Is that a non-football act? It probably is. So that may be turned in. We’ll see what happens.”
The following week, Purdue’s Zach Reckman was suspended for this:
“I was a little disappointed that after the game their coach seemed to bring the lineman over like I was the reason that his lineman got suspended for that one game,” Rodriguez told reporters in Ann Arbor. “I don’t know where that came from. I talked to him on the phone and told him that wasn’t me that — this is way back when. I didn’t have anything to do with that young man getting suspended for that one game.”
To be fair, he’s right. If the athlete broke a rule, and if the conference consistently sanctioned these types of things, then it’s the athlete’s fault and not that of some outside third party.
But… and you knew there’d be one… Last week there was significant concern that UM starting Offensive Lineman Mark Ortmann punched a Illini defender in the business, as it were. The video (since removed above) is inconclusive,
Replays did not show where or if the punch landed – Ortmann’s helmet was in the way – but Liuget complained to an official after the play and walked hunched over to the Illinois sideline.
Nonetheless, you’d think a classy guy like Rodriguez would want to be above board with this situation, even though the conference didn’t find enough evidence to suspend Ortmann. And, Rodriguez responded as appropriate: He made him a captain.
Stay classy, Mich1gAAn fans… he’s all yours.