Michigan Defensive Coordinator Resigns
December 16, 2008 7:00 pm EST
Following a season in which the University of Michigan football team allowed the most points in school history, defensive coordinator Scott Shafer has resigned. The university announced the resignation in a news release Tuesday afternoon. A Michigan athletic department spokesman said Rodriguez was out of town recruiting and would not comment further Tuesday about Shafer's departure.
The move was no surprise given Shafer's absence from recruiting events the past two weekends in Ann Arbor, and the performance of Michigan's defense throughout 2008. Since they returned eight starters, the defense was expected to be the Wolverines' strong suit. Instead, it became another problem, along with a low-scoring offense and mistake-prone special teams during Michigan's 3-9 campaign.
The Wolverines ranked 10th in the Big Ten in scoring defense at 28.9 points per game, ranked ninth in passing defense and ranked ninth in total defense. They also tied for last in the conference in turnovers forced. In Big Ten play, Michigan gave up more than 40 points on four occasions, including 42 to Ohio State, 45 to Illinois, 46 to Penn State and 48 to Purdue. Illinois, Penn State and Purdue had never before scored that many points against the Wolverines.
Shafer, who also worked with Michigan's cornerbacks, came to Ann Arbor after spending last year as the defensive coordinator at Stanford and the two seasons prior to that as the coordinator at Western Michigan.
In 2006, he was nominated for the Broyles Award as the nation's top assistant. His Western Michigan unit set a Mid-American Conference record that season for fewest rushing yards allowed per game and led the NCAA in sacks.
There were no such superlatives for Michigan's defense this year, which will be led in 2009 by someone else. The news release said that "Rodriguez will evaluate his staff and review all possibilities before deciding upon a new defensive coordinator."
Two of the team's other defensive assistants - Bruce Tall and Tony Gibson - followed Rodriguez to Michigan from West Virginia, and have coordinator experience, albeit at a lower level of football. Tall, now the defensive line coach, was a coordinator at Ohio Wesleyan, Northeastern and Harvard. Gibson coordinated West Virginia Tech's defense for two seasons. He is currently Michigan's secondary coach.
Perhaps the most likely choice for coordinator from the current staff is linebackers coach Jay Hopson, who coordinated the Southern Mississippi defense from 2005-07. In each of those three seasons, Southern Mississippi led Conference USA in scoring defense.
Wolverine Mike Milano Suspended
October 15, 2008 8:30 pm EST
Michigan Wolverines football player Mike Milano has been indefinitely suspended after being investigated for an alleged assault on a Wolverines hockey player during the weekend. The university's department of public safety is investigating an alleged aggravated assault on Michigan hockey player Steve Kampfer that took place at approximately 2:25 am Sunday in Ann Arbor. The incident report states that the victim was taken to University Hospital.
Police identified the alleged attacker as a 22-year-old male from Ohio. Milano, 22, hails from Rocky River, Ohio. A 5-foot-7, 193-pound walk-on running back who spent two years on Michigan's wrestling team, Milano appeared in two games last season but has yet to play this year. Michigan football coach Rich Rodriguez and the athletic department will not comment while the investigation is ongoing.
1700 Days and Counting
July 18, 2008 12:00 pm EST
It has now been 1,700 days since the last time Michigan managed a win against the Buckeyes. This is longer than a presidential term! An OSU victory in 2008 would insure this number will go well over 2,000.
It is Finally Time for Rodriguez to Pay West Virginia
July 9, 2008 2:00 pm EST
Current Michigan Coach Rich Rodriguez has finally settled with his former employers at West Virginia University. It has been reported that he will be required to pay the $4 million buyout from his contract as a coach at WVU. It appears that he will have to pay $1.5 million and UM will pay the other $2.5 million.
Wolverine Running Back Arrested for Drinking and Driving
July 7, 2008 7:00 pm EST
According to AP reports, Michigan running back Kevin Grady was arrested early Wednesday morning and will be arraigned next week on a misdemeanor drunken driving charge. Kent County Jail records show that the 22-year-old was released on a $5,000 personal recognizance bond. Grady is to be arraigned July 9th in the Grand Rapids suburb of Wyoming.
He's a graduate of East Grand Rapids High School, where he set state scoring and rushing records. Grady missed all of the 2007 season due to a knee injury sustained during spring drills. Wolverines coach Rich Rodriguez said in a statement that the matter will be handled internally after he meets with Grady and reviews the details.
Michigan Starting Lineman Quits the Team
March 26, 2008 2:30 pm EST
The experience levels in Ann Arbor continue to drop for the coming season. Michigan football coach Rich Rodriguez says offensive lineman Justin Boren has left the team. He told reporters at a news conference tonight about Boren's decision but declined to discuss specifics. Boren, who came to Michigan from Pickerington, Ohio, was to be one of two returning starters on the Wolverines' offensive line. Boren has not been reached for comment since the story broke. The junior from Pickerington, Ohio, was expected to start at left guard or center after starting every game last season for the Wolverines.
Mountaineer Madness Traced to Michigan
January 9, 2008 2:30 pm EST
News out of Morgantown just keeps getting more and more strange around the football program. West Virginia officials are wondering if assistant coaches aren’t all that Rich Rodriguez took with him to Michigan. They believe he may also have destroyed all or most of the paperwork files relating to every player on the current Mountaineer roster and virtually all of the activities conducted by the program over the past seven years. Soon after returning to work after the Fiesta Bowl a little more than a week ago, the staff at the Puskar Center found that most of the files — including all of the player files — that had been stored in Rodriguez’s private office were missing. In addition, all of the players’ strength and conditioning files in the weight room were gone.
According to the source, the files in Rodriguez’s office that are now missing included everything from records regarding summer camps — financial and otherwise — to data on boosters, recruiting and most everything related to activities within the program during Rodriguez’s seven years at WVU. Most disturbing, though, is the absence of all of the players’ personal files, which included, among other things, contact information, scholarship money awarded, class attendance records and records on personal conduct and community service, be it positive or negative.
West Virginia athletic director Ed Pastilong did not return a message seeking comment Monday night. Neither could Rodriguez be reached for comment.
The files went missing sometime between when Rodriguez resigned on December 16th and the time the team and staff returned from the Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 3. It could have happened as early as the first days following Rodriguez’s resignation because his old office was largely ignored by the support staff and the coaching staff between the time he left and Dec. 26, when the team and support staff all went to Arizona for the Fiesta Bowl.
According to multiple sources, several people in the Puskar Center reported seeing Rodriguez and at least one member of his inner circle, video coordinator Dusty Rutledge, in Rodriguez’s private office shredding paperwork on Dec. 18. That’s the day he returned to clean out his office after being introduced as the Michigan coach at a press conference in Ann Arbor the day before. At the time, those who say they witnessed it either did not know what was being destroyed or paid it little attention to it until the files were discovered missing more than two weeks later.
While the files in Rodriguez’s office held a wide range of information, those that were discovered missing from the weight room office were more specific. Those included every aspect of strength and conditioning progress made by players under former strength and conditioning coordinator Mike Barwis, who along with most of his immediate staff followed Rodriguez to Michigan after the Fiesta Bowl. Those files included the progression made by each player in every specific area, from bench-press totals to 40-yard dash times. The files even included pictures of the players at different points in their careers.
While a source within the athletic department said the department itself wasn’t launching any type of investigation into the missing files — “Our plate is pretty full right now with trying to put together a staff and everything else,’’ the source said, “and we don’t have time to deal with [stuff] like this right now.’’ — it has apparently drawn the interest of the university’s legal counsel.
WVU lawyers are in the process of trying to recover $4 million from Rodriguez as a condition of breaking his contract with six years remaining to become the coach at Michigan. While Rodriguez has maintained that West Virginia breached the contract by not fulfilling all of its terms — an argument the university denies — the school filed suit in Monongalia County Circuit Court last month detailing what it claims are breaches by Rodriguez above and beyond simply breaking the contract. Those include calling recruits to tell them of his decision to switch schools before he told his own team. It certainly would not help Rodriguez’s case if the school can prove that he also destroyed what WVU officials consider state files on his way out.
Mallett to Transfer, Pryor to Sign Next?
January 9, 2008 2:30 pm EST
The AP wire is running the story that Ryan Mallett has left the Michigan football program. Can this be the opening where Terrelle Pryor decides to go to Michigan? The former Texas Class 4A offensive player of the year may end up at Tennessee, which is considering hiring former Michigan offensive coordinator Mike DeBord and quarterbacks coach Scott Loeffler.
As soon as Lloyd Carr retired and Rich Rodriguez was hired, Mallett's days seemed numbered because of Rodriguez's spread offense that has featured mobile quarterbacks. Mallett played in 11 games as a freshman, filling in for Chad Henne when he was injured. He was 61-of-141 for 892 yards with seven touchdown passes and five interceptions.
Later reports are also indicating that Adrian Arrington may be leaving for the NFL.