This just in: former Michigan players who played under coaches Lloyd Carr and Bo Schembechler did not care for the Rich Rodriguez regime. Really, really, really did not care for it.
Exhibit Q (since we've long since blown past exhibits A through P) arrived yesterday at the Black Coaches and Administrators convention in Tampa, as former Wolverine great and current ESPN analyst Desmond Howard couldn't resist taking a dig when discussing current players' "sense of entitlement":
"The way these coaches recruit these kids, they make them feel like they're the cat's meow, that the program can't move forward without them at the school," Howard said. "When you recruit them that hard, then you gas them up on who they are. You give that guy a sense of entitlement.Not surprisingly, Howard's calling-out of Michigan's best player caused something of a stir back in Ann Arbor, so much so that Howard took to Twitter to defend himself:
"I was told by a giant, Bo Schembechler, that no one man is bigger than the program. Not even (Schembechler). He was larger than life. For me to sit there and this guy tells me nobody's bigger than Michigan, that's all he had to say..."
"I'll give you a perfect example: Michigan fires coach Rich Rodriguez," said Howard, who starred at Michigan from 1989-91. "All the noise in Ann Arbor is, 'Is Denard Robinson going to stay or leave?' I'm like, 'Hey, if the kid wants to go, don't let the door hit you on the way out. You looked fantastic for five games against nobody. That's what you did.' I'm not going to deny his talents, but, 'You ain't won nothing in Ann Arbor, son! Not so much we need to worry about if you're going to be here next year or not.'"
If we're giving Howard the benefit of the doubt here, you can almost see what he meant with his statements: that the panic amongst Michigan fans and media over whether Robinson would transfer or not is the kind of player-bigger-than-the-program attitude that could lead to "entitlement." (Howard of course specifically blamed coaches and their recruiting efforts for this problem in his statements, rather than the "fans/media," but remember that we're trying to give him the benefit of the doubt for a moment.)
But even if we assume that's the understandable thing Howard meant, that's not what he said. What he said was that Robinson "looked fantastic for five games against nobody," "ain't won nothing," and shouldn't have "let the door hit [him] on the way out" if he'd wanted a transfer. Which are some ... curious ... things to say, for any number of reasons:
- No, Michigan did not win a championship last season. But that was hardly Robinson's fault, what with the him racking up the nation's second-most total offense, more rushing yards than any other quarterback in FBS history, and the Big Ten offensive Player of the Year Award. It seems a safe assumption that if Michigan's defense hadn't been a neverending black hole of incompetence from which no hope could escape, the Wolverines would have won more than "nothing."
- We're not Michigan fans, but we're dubious nevertheless that defeating Notre Dame in South Bend counts as defeating "nobody" and winning "nothing" in Ann Arbor. (Andohbytheway: Robinson generated a school-record 502 yards of offense in that game and scored the winning touchdown with 27 seconds left.)
- Hoke might not believe Robinson is bigger than the program, but that didn't stop him from effusively praising Robinson in his introductory press conference or openly campaigning for him to remain in the program. There's little doubt Hoke felt the "need to worry" over Robinson's return.