|Soooo, how's things?|
"Had we performed better during the season, it wouldn't be an issue," Brandon told The Detroit News on Monday, referring to Rodriguez's job security. "People are concerned and they're unhappy with the way the season unfolded and particularly the way the season closed, and I understand that.Not that anyone should be surprised by any of this, but the methodical way in which Brandon conducts the business of making decisions, he's definitely saying much less than what he's actually doing. Read between the lines and you'll see he's not saying anything like "I stand behind my coach" anymore. Now the tone has shifted to "I understand your concerns, and I agree with you".
"No true Michigan fan is happy with where we ended up in the Big Ten and how the season unfolded, particularly the end."
"I said when I got this job our expectations are very high," Brandon said. "We want to compete for championships, we want to be among the best, and we clearly did not do that this year. I'm not happy about that, the coaches aren't happy about that, the players aren't happy, the fans aren't happy — nobody is happy with where we ended up this year."
"The team has the opportunity to practice 15 days and prepare for a bowl game, which they've earned the right to," Brandon said. "I have so consistently stated what my process is, how I do this, and what is in the best interest of the program. That's what I do, and that's what I'm going to do. All of this desire for information sooner, all this speculation is fueling curiosity — it doesn't change how I'm doing my job.
"Back when we were 5-0, I said (this would be the evaluation process), along the way, I've said it, after exciting wins I've said it. This is how I'm going to do my job. I have not equivocated on that at all. Just because people out there are stirring the pot, that's not going to deter what I'm going to do."
I can only imagine how many phone calls Brandon must be getting about this. But I do have to add myself to the list of folks out there who wonder why he's waiting for after the bowl game to make a decision, or at least saying that anyway. And I think the simple answer to that is, he's using this time to arrange the pieces of the puzzle that fit the way he wants them to. A decision should be announced well ahead of the bowl game.
All of this talk about waiting until the Rodriguez buyout becomes cheaper on Jan 1 is nonsense to me. It does no one any good to delay a move until then. The sooner something happens, the easier a transition will be.
Personally, I think he wants someone in-place ready to go the day Rodriguez leaves. No coaching search needed.
I think Harbaugh is not just the leading candidate...as he should be, but maybe the only candidate. He's done a marvelous job at Stanford. But clearly, he's ready for the next step. Any NFL owner would be happy to have him. But there's really only one college that Harbaugh would consider...and that's Michigan. Some damage control will be needed because of Harbaugh's recent comments about his alma mater, and Mary Sue Coleman might need to be persuaded...but I think some of that might already be going on.
The biggest question to me now isn't whether Rodriguez stays or is fired, but rather if Harbaugh coaches the Stanford bowl game or not. If Rodriguez goes, offensive coordinator and assistant head-coach Calvin Magee likely coaches the bowl for Michigan before heading out to parts unknown. That leaves the door open for Harbaugh to do as he pleases before parting ways with the Cardinals.
Again, let me reiterate that I have no idea what's really going on. Part of this is just me thinking out loud with a keyboard. All we know is what Dave Brandon tells us. He's saying all the right things, and I still think the Michigan program is in good hands no matter which decision Brandon makes. I fully support him and hope that it's sooner rather than later before more definitive news is broken. I think its in everyone's interest that a decision gets made, and we can all move on.