Monday, July 28, 2008
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
Cursed up a storm
Fifth-year senior cornerback Morgan Trent is one of Michigan's about 20 "apostles," or team leaders.
Apostles' are team's new leaders
CHICAGO - The Michigan foot-
ball team's captains have tradition-
ally been announced before the
But Wolverine coach Rich Rodri-
guez will appoint captains on a
0 game-by-game basis. The players
will select the year's captains after
He elaborated on Michigan's
plan for leadership Thursday.
"Apostles," a group of players from
each class, were selected by their
teammates as leaders and mentors,
a system he brought from West
Rodriguez met with the apostles
for a barbecue atchis home in Saline
on Wednesday before leaving for
Big Ten Media Days.
At West Virginia, about10 to 12 of
Rodriguez's athletes were apostles
each year. There are about 20 Wol-
verines in this year's group, includ-
ing fifth-year senior tight end Mike
Massey, fifth-year senior defensive
end Tim Jamison, fifth-year senior
cornerback Morgan Trent and red-
shirt freshman quarterback Steven
"A freshman or sophomore
might see something I don't see,
and he can pull one guy to the side
and encourage him and get on him
hard," Jamison said. "If it was only
two, you wouldn't see everything
on the team. I feel like it's going to
- Courtney Ratkowiak
For an expanded version of this
article, see www.michigandaily.com.
Michigan football coach
Rich Rodriguez stood
ed by reporters in the hallway out-
side the interview room at Big Ten
with his back
wall - lter-
ally and figu-
tin Boren left DAN
the Wolver- FELDMAN
ines in March
and said the program's "family val-
ues" had eroded, many questioned
the new coachingstaff's language
during practice. But just as that
discussionbegan to die down
locally, Rodriguez went to Big Ten
Media Days, where reporters from
around the Midwest and the rest
of the nation asked about the foul
language in practice.
"I think that's overrated,"
Rodriguez said. "I don't know
where all that came from. Sure,
when there are times they're
upset, when coaches are upset
sometimes there's some salty lan-
guage. But some of them don't do
it, use it at all. Some of them doing
it occasionally, but it's not like a
tirade all the time. So I don't know
what y'all think, hear or believe,
but it's not like that."
I don't know why Rodriguez
gave that response. Maybe his def-
inition of what a large amount of
screaming and swearing is differs
from most. Maybe he got defen-
sive because most the media's
questions were abouthis lawsuit
or family values.
Whatever his reason, itwas a
mistake to downplay how much
screaming and swearing goes on at
his practices for one simple reason.
It's not true.
Rodriguez, who not only prides
himself on being very honest with
the media, rightly or wrongly has
an image problem. And a slip-up
like this, while minor if it remains
isolated (especially if it's due to a
difference in perception), further
undermines his credibility.
I'm not saying the coaching
staff's swearing is a problem. In
fact, I don't think it's a big deal at
all. But Rodriguez misleading the
public about it is.
The local media was introduced
to the new language by offensive
line coach Greg Frey's "fuck"-
laced tirade at redshirt junior
David Moosman after the center
snapped the ball over the quar-
terback's head during the Wolver-
ines' first spring practice. And that
was duringthe first 30 minutes
of the practice the media got to
watch. I can't imagine the coaches
got any friendlier after that.
The same controversy hap-
pened at West Virginia in 2001
when Rodriguez took over for Don
Nehlen, who would "kill them with
kindness," according to Dennis
Brown, an assistant under Nehlen.
"The coaches we hadbefore
them, they swear and all that, but
it wasn't an all-day, consistent
thing," said Corey McIntyre, who
was a senior runningback at West
Virginia in 2001 and now plays for
the Atlanta Falcons. "Just going
and just yell, yell, yell, yell."
In that firstyear at West Vir-
ginia, the Mountaineers were 3-7
on their way to finishing 3-8, and
the coaching staff had come under
fire for their language.
"I talked to the coaches - and
looked at myself - in the area of
language," Rodriguez told the
Charleston Gazette at the time.
"Sometimes our language has not
been the best. But it's been better
since I talked to the staff. And it's
been better from me inthe last
six or seven weeks. But we're still
going to coach hard."
And it happened at Clemson
in 2000 when Rodriguez was the
offensive coordinator there. Tiger
coach Tommy Bowden tried to
limit his assistants' swearing, and
Rodriguez said he had trouble
finding replacement words.
At both West Virginia and
Clemson, Rodriguez admitted to
swearing a lot. He didn't down-
play it, and that's fine. This is foot-
ball. Yelling and swearing aren't
foreign concepts. He doesn't have
to hide it.
Tim Jamison, a fifth-year
senior defensive end for the Wol-
verines, said all of the assistants
yell a lot. He also said Rodriguez
doesn't try to identify which play-
ers would be more motivatedby
positive encouragement than
harsh yelling. The coach makes
the players adjust to his style.
"That's how you want it,"
Jamison said. "You don't want a
coach babying one person more
than the other person. So I like it."
Me, too. So why didn't your
coach admit it?
- Dan Feldman can be reached
Hoyer: Hart wouldn't have made little
brother' comments if he was returning
CHICAGO - Holding a 10-point
lead, the Michigan State football
team was seven minutes away
from snapping a seven-game losing
streak against arch-rival Michigan
But the Wolverines came back
to win 28-24, leaving the Spartans
heartbroken yet again. Then senior
Michigan running back Mike Hart
piled on, comparing the Spartans
to his little brother. The two teams
play again Oct. 25, and Hart's com-
ments are still fresh in some Michi-
gan State players' minds.
"I think you kind of do have to
take it personally because, obvi-
ously, he's not back," Michigan
State quarterback Brian Hoyer said.
"I mean, it's good for him. He can
make those comments because he
was leaving. There was no need for
him to say something like that, so
you have to take it personally.
"I wouldn't say something like
that if I was going to have to play
those guys next year because you
don't want people gunning for you."
Hoyer said he wouldn't be think-
ing about the comments during the
game, but would use them as moti-
vation beforehand in practices and
Before Hart's comments, Michi-
gan State coach Mark Dantonio
installed a countdown clock in
the Spartans' facility, a move that
drew a lot of attention. But he said
he thought the attention was mis-
placed. He said it didn't always
count down to just the Michigan
game. Sometimes it counted down
to other key dates. He plans to use
it in a similar manner again this
"It'll be a Michigan thing at
times," Dantonio said.
- Dan Feldman
For an expanded version of this
article, see www.michigandaily.com.