Mailbag question: Former players talking about current program


Posted at 8:00am — 4/16/2010

Mailbag question: Former players talking about current program


What does GBMW think of Dhani Jone’s comments on Jim Rome the other night and also Amani Toomer’s comments concerning Coach Rod?

Are these remarks warranted? Are people just too much of a kool-aid drinker to think that former players should not be happy right now? Are these former players upset with Coach Rod or just plain do not like him?

What is GBMW take on this whole deal?

Greg T.


Thanks for the question.

First off, people can listen to both comments themselves and form their own opinion on this matter. Sometimes it is better to hear it for yourself firsthand, rather than just read what a person said or how somebody took comments and manipulated opinion or context to fit a news story. We believe these comments, especially Dhani’s comments, were not as bad as some people claim.

Dhani Jones: Dhani on Jim Rome Show he talks about Michigan at the 6:37 mark.

Amani Toomer: Amani on ESPN Radio he talks about Michigan at the 14:00 mark.

And now on to what we, the GBMW staff take out of the comments discussed above. Although maybe simplistic, there seem to be a couple of issues underlying the “perceived discontent.”

First, collectively the Michigan fan base seems to have increased sensitivity the past couple of years, fueled by past events, and are showing frustration from the 8-16 overall record the last two years and going a shocking 3-15 in the Big Ten conference under Coach Rod at Michigan.

It does not matter as a coach who you are or where you coach, results like those listed above will get you grief no matter if coaching at Mount Union (Division III School in Ohio) or a place like Michigan. When fans are used to winning, there will be a greater upset with losing, especially to teams the fanbase believes (right or wrong) should never beat Michigan under any condition.

If a team is winning games and getting good press coverage, most fans and former players will like what the program is doing. When things are not going so well, a group of fans will support the team, players, and coaches unconditionally. Another polar group will start the negative, frequent downhill cycle by questioning results and then demanding change.

Again going on polar viewpoints, some former players think the program has slipped the past couple of years, while others are looking to the future and being positive, the same polarity fans are engaging in.

If readers think “we” the fans are frustrated, just think how the players, coaches, and, yes, even the former players feel right now, because if anything they probably hear about anything negative just as much, if not more, than the fans do, especially if a player is still playing in the NFL.

There is nothing inherently wrong with alum holding the head coach’s feet to the fire. Remember, these former players helped build the tradition; they bled, fought, and sweated for their team.

Former players for the most part love their school and want to see it achieve success. The one thing most of these former players are now visualizing is a struggling program and a coach that came in and changed many things in a program that remains steeped in tradition and unspoken ways of doing things. Good or bad, most of these players are looking at the results on the field and have concluded that some of the changes were too drastic or the overall direction is in error. Their way (preference) may well be the way things were done while they were at Michigan, which essentially was the Bo way, a tradition since passed on to others.

Amani Toomer is a different story. He took Coach Carr to task multiple times, indicating a trend for negativity. The thing that seems funny is that when Toomer addressed Coach Carr in this manner, not many people brought it up or made it a big deal. But, we say again, Michigan fans are now more sensitive than before. Maybe it has to do with losing, maybe it has to do with Michigan getting so much bad press, or maybe some just do not like their head coach attacked.

Dhani Jones is trying to get a career started in the media. Nothing gets a media guy noticed more so than an instant story. Criticism of Michigan and Coach Rodriguez is now instant news.

Both of these former players have “some” merit in their comments. But again they can have an opinion just as GBMW can have its own, or the people that read this blog. For the most part these former players are actually not as tuned in to the program as most Internet fans that follow every waking moment with their team.

Here are a few of their comments:

Dhani said, “He is at his wits end” as far as how the past two seasons have went and “he needs a sit down with him” which could easily mean he would like to know the direction of the program that Coach Rod is going and what it will take to turn the program around. It is reasonable to state that most Michigan fans are at their wits end after the last two seasons.

Amani said, “Not sure the spread has worked well in the Big Ten especially the Coach Rod quarterback read option” and of course you need to take this with a grain of salt because some teams do not run the read option as their base offense, while teams like Ohio State, Purdue, Northwestern, Michigan State, etc. use a spread, but different from what Coach Rod is doing at Michigan.

Coach Rod has said this about the negative comments and how to improve:
“Just playing better and winning games — that helps a lot of it -— and continuing down our path of building what we hope is the best program in America.” He believes they will be good this year and recently told coaches at his clinic that now is the time to win and the time for excuses to end. The players reiterated that as well and are looking to improve this year.

So, in summary, do we believe these comments? Nope, but again people are allowed to express their opinion. As stated in responses recently on this blogsite, we would prefer former players, current players, coaches, etc. to keep this kind of stuff behind closed doors and not add fuel to the fire

Winning creates the biggest flame and the hottest fire among any fanbase.

Written by GBMW Staff

Go Blue — Wear Maize!