Rumors, Lies and A Printing Press

I don't care what Michael Rosenberg says, or what the sport-talk radio says, or what ESPN says. This so-called "investigation" by the Detroit Free Press is nothing more than a witch-hunt. The editors at the Free Press should have shelved this story as soon as it hit their desk. This article was the result of a Free Press writer being approached by a few student-athletes, making uninformed statements, and publishing this story as fact. This is exactly why newspapers and sportswriters are going away faster than you can say blogger.

Sometimes, a college program honestly breaks a rule. They offer a recruit money. They look the other way when a players gets arrested. Whatever. Those rules are hard-fast and can not be broken without consequence. But there are some rules, such as making a team practice longer than the NCAA allows, which can be argued, is a slightly lesser infraction. It is widely suggested that most, it not all successful FBS program bend this rule. When a team bends or breaks one of the lesser rules, usually it goes unreported. And why is this? Because, if it is a high profile program, like Michigan, you're successful enough to not have anyone really care about the smaller rules. And that's one of the luxuries of having a successful program. How else do you think Sir Teflon (Jim Tressel) has been able to stay squeaky clean with guys like Troy Smith taking money from boosters, and Maurice Clarett breaking just about every rule the NCAA has?

It all boils down to success. If you win, your enemies leave you alone. If you're the head coach at Michigan and hand the alumni their first losing season in 40+ out.

This is why the voracity of the claim made by Michael Rosenberg in his article holds very little water. It's been pretty well documented that Rosenberg is not a fan of Rich Rodriguez. And that's fine. Not everyone has to love him. But it just seems so convenient that a guy with such contempt is handed a group of current and former players who are so willing to just throw the program under the bus, a week before the opening game of Rodriguez's 2nd season.

If Rodriguez goes 7-5 or even 6-6 in his first year, do you think this article gets published?

Look, its as simple as this. Rosenberg has an ax to grind. That much we know. Rosenberg also doesn't really understand the whole concept of what a countable hour of of actual team time is. He also needs a little help with his that he didn't do any of it.

One of the first things you do as a reporter, if you're going to publish something as explosive as you make some phone calls to former WVU players to see if Rodriguez/Barwis might have done something similar in Morgantown just a couple seasons ago. It's called a "trend" can help you suggest a pattern. You also find out what kind of off-season conditioning and in-season practice schedules are like for similar schools.

And I never even went to reporting school!

Did Rosenberg make some phone calls or check his facts against similar programs? He didn't report any. What does that tell you?

It's a good thing he didn't put this quote from Chad Henne in his article citing the NCAA's 20-hour time limit for in-season team activities...
"Twenty hours is a very, very small portion of what you do, especially if you’re a quarterback at a high-profile school," Henne said. "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."
 About the players who came forward...
"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 feel that I need to see names from Rosenberg of the players with whom he spoke with. Something about "anonymous sources" that just gives away all of his credibility.

Of course, this is just purely the stance of MBN. I do other things for a living. So I do not pretend to know everything about Michigan football and how the program is run. But I do know crap when I smell it, and this article is nothing more.

This will only remain a story for as long as bloggers and/or the mainstream media talk about. In 5 days, we start playing football. That's usually about the time all this off-season crap goes away.

For a complete recap of everything related to this issue from a guy who does this for a living...look no further than mgoblog. Brian is a talented guy...and he's on his game about this topic. The folks over at mgoblog also edited the useful sound bites from today's Monday presser...

Here's the full video of the presser courtesy of  BTN posted by Sean at Michigan Sports Center...

And finally, Dave over at Maize-n-Brew has posted one of the best takes on this whole disaster that I've read so far. 

This is all I have to say about this issue. It is game week. We have a HUGE game against Western Michigan at 3:30 on Saturday...and you better believe that I want nothing more than to get back to the business of being a great football program. I believe that Rodriguez, his staff and these players are fully capable to winning football games, and doing it the right way.

So with that...on with the season!

Michigan's Bigger Issue

I always believe that in the 2 weeks before the season starts, as a fan, you don't want to hear peep out of fall camp. College programs shift into season-mode. They go into media lock-down. No meaningful news gets reported, because programs like Michigan keep the press as far away from practice as they can. If the media/blogs report anything other than fluff, it usually means something is wrong. Usually, it's an injury to a key player that will break the silence.

In this case, the bad news is much, much worse.

ESPN's Big Ten blogger Adam Rittenberg weighed in on the allegations made my former and current Michigan football players that coaches made the voluntary off-season workouts mandatory. Also, in-season practices lasted much longer than the time allotted by the NCAA.

Adam writes that the allegations are serious, but not as serious as who made them, and why.

Let's be honest here. We'd be naive to think that many, if not all FBS colleges practice much more than the official time allowed by NCAA rules. And while these off-season workouts are "voluntary" many former WVU Rodriguez players have been quoted, "The workouts are not mandatory...but neither is playing time".

But what is unique about Michigan's situation is the fact that we have such a new coaching staff, and we've experienced so much attrition in the short time that Rodriguez has been here. Having a coach that works his players harder than they've ever worked before is not such a bad thing. Rodriguez and S&C coach Mike Barwis are well known for their tough conditioning and extreme work ethic. Having a team that is much better conditioned than the opposition is a huge advantage. But the problem is when that team has players who are compelled to speak out against their coaches because of the effort and hours they have to put in.

Put it simply...NCAA violations like this happen at every school. Adam Rittenberg says, you never hear about it for two reasons.

1. The NCAA-mandated time limits for practices and workouts aren't exceeded in excess.

2. Players aren't motivated enough to speak out against their coaches and trainers.

This is the bigger issue, I think. Of course we don't know exactly which players came forward to the Detroit Free Press. They did so anonymously. What concerns me the most is that not only was it former players...but current players as well.

You could blame the Detroit Free Press' writers Michael Rosenberg and Mark Snyder, but it was the Michigan players that came to them, not vice-versa. Much different from the Ann Arbor News' witch-hunt of academic violations by the Lloyd Carr administration from a year ago.

There is no end in sight for issues like this. It's likely that Michigan will receive some attention from the NCAA, but probably not enough to garner any sanctions. Michigan's football program has never had an NCAA sanction imposed. The only thing that this kind of accusation can do is drive apart the program further than it already is. More friction will be created between players and coaches. And with less than a week from Rodriguez's 2nd season at Michigan, this is the worst thing that could happen to this team.

Michigan Possibly Broke NCAA Rules

It was first reported in an article on Saturday on the Detroit Free Press website by writers Michael Rosenberg and Mark Snyder that since Rich Rodriguez has been at Michigan, he has consistently violated the NCAA's rules regarding off-season and in-season workouts and time allowed to be spent with athletes in training sessions.

ESPN news services have weighed in on the wire story. Many more will soon, I'm sure.

The claims in the Free Press story are that Michigan's off-season workout schedules for players far exceed the time allowed by the NCAA.  The following is from the ESPN article.
Several Michigan football players claim the program regularly violates NCAA rules limiting how much time they can spend on training and practice sessions, according to a published report.

Players from the 2008 and 2009 teams told the Detroit Free Press for a story published on the newspaper's Web site on Saturday that the amount of time they spend on football activities during the season and in the offseason greatly exceeds the limits. The players spoke to the newspaper on condition of anonymity because they feared repercussions from coaches.
Rodriguez's official statement was released today by Judy Van Horn, the university's compliance director.
"We know the practice and offseason rules, and we stay within the guidelines. We follow the rules and have always been completely committed to being compliant with all NCAA rules."
We don't have much yet in terms of fall-out from this article. Much more to come of this, no question. But for now, we'd like to just get as much information out there and let you decide for yourself.

ESPN's Adam Rittenberg weighs in.

If This Doesn't Get You Hyped for 2009...

...not much else will.

Found via a great post @ Maize & Brew

Props to YouTuber 34GOBLUE34 for throwing this little collection of highlights together. Very well done.

Rest well Maize & Blue Nation. Game week begins Sunday. How awesome is it to be able to say that!

5 Radical Big Ten Predictions

It's that wonderful time of year when every fan has on those rose-colored glasses about their teams shot at a great season. I mean, every team is undefeated right now. Practices are going strong (unless you're Justin Boren), teams are looking good, and coaches are saying all the right things about progress and conditioning. The media machine and bloggers, including me, are all glowing about how 8, 9, 10, 12 wins are not only possible, but almost a guarantee.

Ah,'s August in college football-land.

So what better time than for us to make some radical...nay...incredibly crazy-stupid predictions for Michigan and some teams in the Big Ten. I'm absolutely terrible at making predictions, but I figure if I make enough stupid ones, I should be able to nail one or two of them.

1) Michigan will be 4-0 at the end of September.
Sure, those rose-colored glasses fit me quite well. How can this happen? Well, let's say we beat WMU in week 1. ND comes calling in week 2, we play unusually well against ND at home...and we'll have momentum from being 1-0 for the first time in 3 I'll call that a victory.

We have EMU and Indiana in weeks 3 and 4...they should be pushovers. Blam! 4-0!

2) tOSU will beat USC on Sept. 12th.
I'm going to be in my friend's wedding on that day. Many if not all of all of his other groomsmen are either tOSU grads or just fans-by-association. No way I stand next to those fellas all day and then have the unusual fortune of being able to rub another tOSU loss to USC in their face. The college football Gods don't love me that much.

3) Michigan State will end September 1-3.
Montana State as the opener will not be able to prepare little brother for Central Michigan the next week. CMU may be a MAC team, but they might just be the best of the rest in 2009. Call them Hawaii or Utah or Boise State...CMU is going to go the distance this season. At Notre Dame and at Wisconsin to wrap up the month sucks for sparty.

4) Penn State loses all of their away games.
They only play 4 games away from the Beav this Illinois, Michigan, NU, and little brother. All three teams have the potential to have a successful season. I'm not convinced that Penn State has the firepower to light up the conference they way they did last year. If they come unraveled early, say against Iowa at home on 9/26, that could spell doom for their ability to pick up the shattered pieces of another season of "almost". Their non-conf schedule is a complete one will test them enough for a tougher than usual Big Ten slate.

5) Bret Bielema totally loses it during a post-game presser.
This one is just purely for me. I think this guy is due for a meltdown. Dantonio is seemingly the most likely candidate to light up a reporter after a tough loss...but Bielema seems like he just buries his anger way down deep...just waiting for the right time to unleash it on some unsuspecting beat writer.

Michigan's QB Situation

Okay, deep breath.

There is a crazy ton of posts and news out there about Michigan's media day and what it all means. Rodriguez, the QB situation, Denard Robinson's shoes, reporters illegible handwriting, etc...

So where are we right now and what does it all mean?

By the way, props to MVictors for some great coverage from press day. Nice work.

We don't have such great access to the program here at MBN, we get the news the same way you do. But that surely doesn't stop us from posting our thoughts. For this post, we'll dive into the QB situation, since that seems to be the topic of choice these days.

                          Photo courtesy of MVictors (obviously)

MVictor's priceless caption of this photo:
Rodriguez surely wants the command of the system like #8, the arm and confidence of #5, the feet of #16 and the mad rapping skills of #17, the smile of #20.
Rodriguez was emphatic that Sheridan, Forcier and Robinson would all get a shot at the starting gig. All three have traits that he likes. No one has pulled away from the pack in terms of overall ability to lead this offense. It might be week 3 or 4 before we know who will be the leader of this team. Or not.

Let's look at each potential starting QB, and their pros and cons. We'll go by class (college class, not how fancy they are).

#8 Nick Sheridan

Height: 6-1
Weight: 212
Class: Jr./So.
Hometown: Saline, MI

Starter in 4 games in 2008, he's the only QB of the bunch that has seen actual game time.  He completed 63-of-137 passes for 613 yards and two touchdowns last season seeing action in 8 of Michigan's 12 contests.

According to Rodriguez, Nick's biggest asset is his ability to run pretty much the entire playbook right now. He's a second year QB in the Rodriguez system, which usually means the kid can move. Against Minnesota last year, he actually looked like a spread-style QB. He moved well with the ball, made plays when he had to, and delivered the ball with precision to open receivers. It was a small breath of fresh air to Michigan fans drowning in a season of hopelessness.

Rodriguez has stated that Nick has shown some great development since coming back from a leg injury that kept him out of spring ball.

As a first year starter, Nick showed that he wasn't quite ready to handle the spread very effectively. Freshman QB transfer Steven Threet stepped in a got most of the snaps  in 2008. This could be a case of just learning the system a little slower that Threet did.

When Sheridan made mistakes in 2008, it didn't seem like it was a lack of overall throwing/running ability, but just not grasping the concept of managing a game and running an offense that he wasn't fully aware of. To his credit, most of the offensive skill players really didn't grasp the concept of the spread/option either...which can only make a QB look worse.

#5 Tate Forcier

Height: 6-1
Weight: 188
Class: Fr./Fr.
Hometown: San Diego, CA

A product of a high school which ran a spread/option similar to that of Michigan's, Tate Forcier is a QB groomed to be in this system. In high school he completed 529-of-760 passes (69.6 pct.) for 7,448 yards and 61 touchdowns in his career. He also rushed the ball 231 times for 2,049 yards and scored 24 TDs.

He's the younger brother of former Michigan backup QB Jason Forcier, and Chris Forcier, player at UCLA. He was a 4-star prospect according to both Rivals and Scout recruiting sites. And the 14th best QB in the nation according to Scout.

Tate enrolled back in January, and since Nick Sheridan suffered a broken leg early this spring, Tate received pretty much the bulk of snaps with the first squad in spring camp. He's had time to work with the other members of the offense/coaches to learn the system better, and has had plenty of time to be molded by Barwis in the weight room.

He's a freshman. He has yet to take a meaningful snap in a game. Sure he got to see a half-full Big House in the spring game, but he was wearing a red jersey and was never touched by the defense.

Aside from what anyone tells you, there is no substitute for actual game action. Rodriguez knows that, so he's being careful not to just hand him the starting gig on a silver platter. Sure I think Tate has a modest leg up on the other two, but at this point...there's no way to be sure until the ball is snapped on September 5th.

#16 Denard Robinson

Height: 6-0
Weight: 185
Class: Fr./Fr.
Hometown: Deerfield Beach, FL

Aside from a great smile, the kid can run. He clocked a 40-time of 4.32 seconds. He can bench 315, squat 400. In high school he completed 262-of-576 attempts for 4,784 yards and 44 touchdowns as a three-year starter at quarterback. He also carried 217 times for 1,132 yards and 13 touchdowns. He was a 4-star recruit rated by Rivals and Scout. Listed as an "athlete" rather than a QB, he was the #14 overall athlete according to Rivals, and #8 athlete according to Scout.

He's also the closest think to Pat White Michigan has. And that's a huge plus for Robinson. Free Press sportswriter Michael Rosenberg, love him (anyone?) or hate him, really thinks that Robinson could be the one to watch this fall. And I would have to agree. He's the wild-card. But a wild-card with a huge that Michigan, at least the new-and-improved spread/option Michigan, desperately needs.

Really the biggest and only con that I can think of for Denard Robinson is that he's so fresh with the system. Not only a freshman, but he enrolled over the summer. A full 7 months after Tate Forcier got to campus. But in a way, that could end up being a plus. Denard didn't have the spotlight on him in the spring game the way that Forcier did. He's a relatively unknown for almost all Michigan fans...and Michigan opponents.

But freshman QBs can and will make mistakes. Its just a fact of life. But if Denard can enter a game for a few series, and provide a different look for the defense and keep them guessing while he flies by them with his foot speed, then he will be much more of an asset for this offense than if he were the starter by himself.

Overall Thoughts:
What Sheridan has in experience, Forcier has in balanced running/throwing ability, Robinson has in explosiveness. Or, at least that's what it seems from the outside. According to QB coach Rod Smith, not so much.
"I wouldn't label any of them with that," he said. "Tate probably comes from more of a passing background. He might be a little bit more refined technique-wise. But to say one kid can run and one kid can throw, I'll tell you what: Both kids can run, and both of them can throw."
From a Michigan fan's perspective, this is probably the best situation we could have asked for. We went from having two mediocre QB's in '08, to having three legitimate QB contenders in '09. All three express very different, but very valuable assets.

My certainty is that no one will be named the only starter by 9/5. Tate will likely start the game, but all three will play...maybe even equally. But hopefully by the start of Big Ten play, we will have knocked our rotation down to at least 2 guys. If Forcier can show he can manage the offense, he will likely be the man. But I expect...and somehow hope that Robinson steps up to be the playmaker he is advertised as. For Sheridan, a role of mentor and QB player/coach would be a nice position for him to step into. A competent backup with a full grasp of the offense is a great role for Sheridan to play.

Michigan Fan Day 2009

My fotos from fan day:

All in all, a great event. Luckily, the rain held out while I was there. The lines for autographs were long, but fans seemed to be enjoying themselves anyway. I did not participate in the autograph sessions, but did try to get around to see as many of the players as I could. And I would have to say, the players seemed to be loving the attention.

Of course we also got inside the new field house...which is amazing. Aside from the size, the field-turf was perfect, and the large windows on all sides really give the space a nice look and feel. No question when a recruit walks into that facility, their eyes must just light up.

Its really awesome to see the new field house as well as the additions to the stadium. All of the designs for the new buildings are great. The brick looks really good. Nice to see the architects designed and built these building to last.

This event has sure become a huge success in only it's second year. The turnout was amazing, and all of the players and coaches seemed to be having a great time. Its events like this that make the Justin Boren comments about Michigan not having a family atmosphere just moronic.

Bizzaro World

I am sitting in my home in suburban Detroit. It's August 22nd. It's 65 degrees. I am listening to Guns N' Roses November Rain from their album, Use Your Illusion Part I.

And then I see this on ESPN dot com...

So, according to Dr. Lou, all you need to do is have all 11 starters return on offense, including 3 RB's, and have a relatively easy schedule...and you'll get to play for the national title.

Well, Dr., Michigan has 10 starters returning on offense, including 3 RB's. Can you assume that September 12th at Michigan is going to be slightly tougher than you say it is? How well has ND played at Michigan in recent years? 2005 was the first win ND has had in Ann Arbor since their last victory in 1993. And 2005 was a terrible year for Michigan.

I'm sorry, ND might be decent this season...but their trip to the Big House will be slightly closer than the good doctor thinks.

Two Weeks Tomorrow

 We are alive and well here at MBN studios...just busy that's all.

Reminder: This Sunday is Fan Day. It will run from 1-3PM. Fans will be able to get up-close and personal with the players and coaches. And for $5, you'll be able to purchase an "All in for Michigan" maize towel. This is, presumably, to be used at all times...especially on "key plays" when most fans would jingle their keys in attempts to intimidate the opposing offense with the loud roar of rattling metal. The best part is, the $5 goes to the C.S. Mott Children's hospital.

Hopefully in the next couple weeks we will be able to get you about as hyped as we can for the beginning of the 2009 season. For now, just a short post and video dump will have to suffice. Enjoy the 1998 Rose Bowl, courtesy of Wolverine Historian.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Incoming: Talbot Bros.

This is one of those instances when news breaks over the weekend, and I am just getting word of it on Monday morning. Typically I turn off computers and my internet life on the weekend. My daily weekday routine is very involved with computers and the internet, that by the weekend, all I want to do is not look at a computer screen...especially in the warmer months when I can do more outside.

So anywho...Michigan received it's 17th and 18th verbal commitments over the weekend from Terry and Terrance Talbot. The two brothers, not twins, hail from Huber Heights, OH.

Terry Talbot:

Terry is a 3-star defensive tackle according to Rivals and Scout. The 6-4, 265-pound senior received offers from little brother, NC State, UCLA, Wisconsin, Arkansas, Cincinnati, UConn, Illinois and Kentucky. Word is he was also very close to receiving an offer from tOSU as well. Too late!

Terry is a welcome addition to the class of 2010, as we are always (especially now), looking for quality DT personnel.

Terrance Talbot:

Unlike his brother, Terrance is not a DT...or even close to it. Terrance will line up in the defensive most likely the cornerback position. He is 5-10, 172. His inflated rivals 40 time is 4.47 seconds. So at least on paper, he's fast. Rivals lists him as a 3-star, while Scout has him with just 1-star. But I have to think there is some discrepancy there with schools like Michigan, little brother, Wisconsin, Clemson and Illinois offering Terrance a scholarship.

It's pretty cool that Michigan can offer and then grab two brothers like this. Imagine having both brothers on the field maybe 2-3 years from now. Very nice additions to the 2010 recruiting class. This goes a long way in proving that Rodriguez is fostering a "family" atmosphere. Hey-oh!

Because I Feel Like It

Michigan versus tOSU
November 22, 1997

Part One:

Part Two:

The blue in our victory ribbons may fade,
trophies may become tarnished,
the gleam of our medals lose luster.

But the emotional experiences of joy and elation,
heartaches and disappointments,
can never be shared by others.

-Fritz Crisler, 1948

Michigan's Practice Photos, Locker Room Video

I'm a day late in bringing these to you...but it's worth it. Michigan is sporting some damn fine new practice uni's for 2009. Offense is in white, defense in blue.

Photos courtesy of the Detroit Free Press:


Equipment manager Jon Falk talks to reporters about Michigan's new locker room inside the new field house:


Saturday night at MBN offices:

At some point over the weekend...probably on Saturday, MBN welcomed it's 100,000th unique visitor to our humble blog! Well, at least the 100,000th since we started counting sometime in early 2008. It ain't much...but to me it's something worth celebrating.

This post also marks our 450th so far. Thanks to all you readers for helping keep the dream alive.

The Justin Feagin Chronicles

It was reported by us that former Michigan QB/turned slot WR Justin Feagin who announced his intention to transfer a few weeks ago, would transfer to Appalachian State...of all places. Well, some new stuff has come to light in the past couple days that have ended any such transfers.

An investigation by The Detroit Free Press has uncovered some new information about Feagin and his dealings with some shady characters during his first year on campus. Turns out Feagin had some run-ins with the law even before he came to Ann Arbor...for admitedly dealing drugs and being arrested twice for battery and trespassing. According to the Freep article, Rodriguez knew about this before he was enrolled.

Two things really bother me about this. First of all, is there anyone else enrolled at Michigan as an undergrad who had openly admitted to drug trafficking, had a criminal record for battery and trespassing...and still been allowed to enroll? And secondly, is this the type of player that we should be expecting at Michigan under the Rodriguez administration?

However, back to the story...

...via the Freep article...
Feagin said he had not sold drugs in Michigan. But fellow student T.J. Burke, who had met Feagin through Michigan walk-on receiver Ricky Reyes, told police “it was common knowledge that Feagin sold marijuana” and that Feagin “hung out at our house lots of times smoking pot.”

In Feagin’s first semester on campus, he and Burke hatched a plan for a cocaine deal.

“I was talking to him one day about how broke I was and somehow this idea came forward,” Burke told police. “I had heard about Feagin possibly making deals for people but never witnessed anything firsthand.”

Feagin told investigators that “when I first started going to (Burke’s) house he had three big jars of weed up in his room. … One day T.J. was talking to me about some illegal stuff. He was under a lot of pressure because of his financial problems.

“I told him that I knew someone who could get him some cocaine. A few days later he asked me if I had talked to the person yet. I called right then and set up a deal.”

Feagin arranged to send $600 to a friend in Florida, whom he identified only as “Tragic.” In exchange, “Tragic” would send an ounce of cocaine to Ann Arbor.
The story goes on from there...but you get the point. Feagin was not exactly a model citizen...or a model student athlete. No question he had to go.

But due to the new information dug up by the Free Press, Feagin's admittance into Appalachian State has since been revoked.

But this brings me back to my point about the quality of individual that Michigan should allow to enroll, or play for the football team. There is no question that without certain abilities on the football field/basketball court/ice rink/baseball diamond/etc...certain individuals would not be given the chance to get an education from the University of Michigan. This is true of almost every college and university in America. And whether this is right or wrong is way above this humble blog's jurisdiction.

But what does bother me is that Feagin was brought in as a QB in Rodriguez's first recruiting class. After it was clear that Terrelle Pryor was going to The University of Ohio State, Feagin was supposed to come in and contend for the starting role. Whether it was a desperation move by Rodriguez to get a guy geared more toward his style of offense than Threet or Sheridan...and Feagin was the last warm body on the recruiting board is not quite clear. But it irks me that such a shady character, with a checkered past of arrests and drug problems could make it into this program and infect it the way he did.

Hopefully this is just a random case of desperate recruiting gone awry, and is not an indication of how this program is being run.

Vada Murray

Not too often, we stray from the friendly confines of what's going on with the current Michigan squad. Today marks the start of fall practice and the first time the entire team has assembled with coaches since the end of last season. And while this is certainly a great time to look forward to the future of Michigan football, we're going to delve into the not-so-recent past.

This post is inspired from a similar post today from Brian at mgoblog. I don't make it a common practice to lift ideas from other blogs, but I just felt I needed to post the story of Vada.

Vada Murray was a defensive back for Michigan in the late 80's/early 90's. After graduation, he became a police officer for the Ann Arbor police. He's been on the force for 17 years.

In October of last year, he felt a strange lump on his rib cage. He was set to have the benign lump removed surgically...a minimally evasive operation. Once inside his chest, doctors discovered Vada had Stage 3b lung cancer. At the time of his diagnosis, he was 41 years of age and had never smoked.

There is no time frame for this particular type of diagnosis. There is no cure and operations are useless at this point. All that is left for Vada is chemotherapy, living as healthy as possible, and having a positive outlook.

Vada's wife Sarah keeps a blog about her husband's battle with cancer. Saturday's post was not good news.
Unfortunately, we learned yesterday that the chemo is not working.  There has been further growth of Vada's tumors.  He begins a new form of chemotherapy on Monday.

Many people have asked how Vada is doing.  He is tired.  We are 24 hours into receiving the news that his chemo is not working.  He is having a hard time.

As for me, I would say the same.  I am very scared.

As always, we look to you - our family, friends, neighbors, corworkers, acquaintances - for arms to catch us when we feel like we're falling down, and strong legs to help us move forward.

I encourage anyone who feels they want to help to just visit their blog and sign the guestbook. They do read it. At this stage, that is all we can do for them.

Fall Camp Starts Tomorrow

That's right folks...the 2009 season is starting. To get you hyped for the season, a new video will be posted each day at for the 30 days leading up to gameday on September 5th.

And in case you've been just as detached as I have about Michigan football this past's some more headlines for you to chew on.

Watch Lists!
Brandon Minor has been named to the Doak Walker Award watch list. (top RB)
Brandon Graham has been named to the Ted Hendricks Award watch list. (top DE)
Super-star punter Zoltan Mesko has been added to the Ray Guy Award watch list. (top punter)

Michigan receives 1 vote in the coaches top 25 poll.
And since the coaches poll, and the AP poll for that matter have zero accountability...we'll never know which coach out there sees Michigan as a top 25 team. MY guess is it was Dantonio.

Do you like HD video? Do you like Michigan football? Did you like Michigan's beat down of Tim Tebow and Florida in the 2008 Capital One Bowl? Then click play on the video below, or head on over to YouTube and set your face to stun. First half below...second half here.

Apparently the Detroit Free Press has drunken the Big Ten expansion Kool-Aide and has posted a slide show of the top 10 team they think could, for whatever reason, join the conference. Not only don't I think a new team will join the conference, but I feel chances are much better that a team will leave the conference before they add one. Which team? Who knows.

Former Michigan QB turned slot receiver Justin Feagin finally announced where he'll transfer to...Appalachian State. Via the Diag. Thanks for that Justin. That's really great.