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Please try again later. The book was good! But as a Wolverine fan it made me want to cry or punch a wall. RR's tenure at Michigan was a disaster, but RichRod didn't do it alone.
'Three and Out' book excerpt
Bacon did a great job. After reading it I felt some sympathy for the coach, but most of his problems at UM and with the fan base were self-inflicted. I wanted more about the individual players who "bought all in" and those who bailed, but that would probably violate the privacy of some of those players.
Bacon's book could be used in a leadership class or business management class to show how, despite the best of intentions, having the wrong person using an inadequate selection process selecting the wrong person for the wrong place can produce so many mistakes that the cascade effect craters a successful program. Must read for college football fans. One person found this helpful 2 people found this helpful. I'm a Michigan alum and a football fan who was left hugely disappointed by the RichRod Error, so Three and Out was a must-read for me.
I didn't start out as a RichRod hater; I was actually excited about his record and his successes with the spread offense. I thought his hiring was exactly what Michigan needed to extricate itself from the too-predictable and too-slow offense that it had been running. But my initial enthusiasm drained away as Michigan suffered the three worst years in its long football history and it became apparent that RichRod and Michigan were a poor marriage.
John Bacon's book is remarkable on several levels: Bacon does an excellent job at conveying the intensity and emotion that surround a major college football program -- especially one under the gun the way Michigan was during the RichRod era. For that alone, the book is just wonderful. And Rich Rodriguez appears to be both candid and an honorable man. He was certainly remarkably trusting to let a reporter have the kind of in-depth and extensive access that Bacon had to put this book together. So many college coaches inflate their importance and become secretive control freaks, mistakenly believing that their jobs involve something akin to national security.
Rich Rodriguez, whatever his faults, comes across as decent, honest and refreshingly free of such imperial grandiosity. During the long period in which he was being savaged in the press, it was hard to tell exactly what kind of person Rich Rodriguez was. Three and Out shines a bright and mostly positive light on him.
If there's a weakness to the book, it's Bacon's obvious fondness for his subject, which leads him to underplay Rodriguez's missteps and weaknesses. Bacon acknowledges that Rodriguez made few efforts to ingratiate himself with the fraternity of former Michigan football players and the wider world of fans raging from the fanatic to more casual casual fans like myself.
He also admits that Rodriguez's ignorance and apparent disregard for Michigan traditions also cost him dearly with those groups, and that it wasn't until too much damage had been done that he tried belatedly to repair those relations. Furthermore, he also notes that Rodriguez had a virtual tin ear for public statements, and that he frequently said things that made him look foolish, naive or worse.
But the biggest failing in Three and Out is in letting RichRod off the hook for his coaching weaknesses, especially on defense. Bacon subscribes to the theory that the previous coach, Lloyd Carr, had left the cupboard bare of decent players. There's still a dispute as to the strength of that claim, but even if you grant its premise, it still doesn't explain why, for three years, Michigan tacklers still lacked proper tackling technique, or why, during his three years, the defense's efficiency and overall rating deteriorated each year. Nor does it explain why, despite Rodriguez's emphasis on strength and conditioning, his teams were often competitive in the first half and blown out in the second half.
In my view, you can't blame the players for the coaching, which was one reason why Rodriguez had to go. While Three and Out has some weaknesses, it's still a great look at the Michigan football program during the time of its greatest adversity. This is a wonderful book, full of insight and very well written. I think it should be required reading for anyone who follows UM Football.
It just goes to show that a lot more goes on than what we read in the headlines during any given football season. After Rodriguez failed to produce in his first three years I was happy to see him go. But after reading Bacon's account of what really happened I can only sympathize with his situation. It is truly shameful how he was treated at the UM and I am somewhat embarrassed to say that was my school. For what its worth, my own take on the program's demise is that the loss to App State in was the beginning of the end. That loss was on Carr's watch. And one of the ironies of this riveting story is how Carr has been put on a pedestal by UM alums and football people.
After reading Bacon's book, let me just say that I don't think Carr is a very gracious, or nice person and he is much to blame for Michigan football's current woes. If Michigan wants to get its football program back they need to clean house. But it all starts at the top, with the President of the University for that is the office that oversees the Athletic Dept.
Bacon also makes this clear in his account and lays some of the blame for the Rodriguez debacle on President Coleman.
Excerpt: 'Three and Out''
In short, if you follow Michigan football and care deeply about the program, read this book. Kindle Edition Verified Purchase. If you have a passion for college football, this book is for you. It's well written with a ton of insight.
You'll be surprised, and enjoy, the brief Michigan football history at the beginning. Whether he brushed by him, shoved him, or grabbed his shirt depends on who's telling the story. But no one disputes that, later that day, the student related the incident to a fellow security guard, who told him of a similar incident earlier in the season.
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The two students decided to file reports with U-M chief of police Ken Magee. As one regent told me, Magee might consider you a close friend, "but if one of his officers gives you a parking ticket, you're paying the full amount. The by-the-book Magee processed the complaint the way he would any other. Although no charges were ultimately filed, four days later, on Wednesday, the university sent out a press release announcing Martin's retirement.
Whether the reports had any impact on the announcement is difficult to say, though the timing -- midweek and midseason -- seemed unusual. Martin has maintained throughout, however, that he planned to retire with the opening of the skyboxes in , and there certainly is a logic to that. Martin's already limited power to guide and protect Rodriguez would be all but eliminated, and whoever followed Martin would be less committed to a beleaguered coach whom he hadn't hired.
For Rodriguez, it was just more snow on the rooftop, threatening to cave it in. And it was against this backdrop that Martin, whose support for Rodriguez had always been sincere, sat down the very next day to a previously arranged lunch at the Michigan Union with Rodriguez and former Michigan coach Lloyd Carr. All three walked up State Street together, with horns honking the whole way up the hill, and fans shouting their names.
When they made their way up the steps to the Union, Martin recalled, Denard Robinson happened to be walking out. Carr had never met him, so they had a brief chat. At lunch, they sat next to former Purdue quarterback Mark Herrmann, whose daughter was considering Michigan.
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Otherwise, Martin says, "there was a lot of small talk, and some football talk. Although stilted, it would be the longest conversation between the two since Carr called Rodriguez in December of to sell him on the job. After the chilly pleasantries were dispensed with, Carr sent the first volley. The catalyst for this was undoubtedly Rick Leach's public lambasting of Carr on the radio that week for sitting with Iowa's coaches and dignitaries -- people Carr had known for years -- in an Iowa stadium luxury box, instead of sticking with the Michigan contingent.
Leach, who had no more media training than Rodriguez or Martin, quickly suffered a backlash. Rick Leach speaks for himself. Rodriguez ticked off all the reasons Carr shouldn't feel any threat from him, including Carr's five Big Ten titles and Michigan's first national championship in a half century.
What Michigan football needed now, Rodriguez said, was Carr's unambiguous support. The suggestion was that, if there were moles in the department, Carr most likely knew who they were, and Rodriguez would appreciate it if Carr told them to knock it off. As Rodriguez recalled, Carr remained silent at that, too. Walking back down the hill to their offices, Martin asked Rodriguez, "Why don't you ask him to talk to your team before the Penn State game?
This little exchange might be more telling than the strained conversation over lunch. It displayed the blind spots of both men. Martin was naive enough to think Rodrigues would have no problem asking Carr to speak to his team after that ice-cold lunch, and that the clearly reticent Carr would accept. Likewise, Rodriguez failed to take advantage of what the Michigan family could do for him by declining to invite respected and supportive Michigan Men to address his team. The latter echoed Rodriguez's refusal to visit the M-Club for their Monday luncheons during the season, too, which every coach had done going back to Bo Schembechler's early days.
The club's members are not, as a rule, the big money donors or power brokers -- the VIPs tended to live in the suburbs or on the coasts -- but their passion and loyalty were unequaled, and they served as opinion leaders for the Michigan community. It was, in many ways, an ideal setting for a new coach: Further, it would give Rodriguez, an effective public speaker and a genuinely likable guy, a platform to earn some brownie points with the faithful.
Here was the help he could have used, in a format in which he could excel. Yet Rodriguez typically sent Dusty Rutledge in his stead. When a patron asked Rutledge why Rodriguez rarely came, he said, "Would you rather have him here or recruiting next year's class? Ultimately you could argue getting even one blue chipper outweighed a season of speeches, but it robbed Rodriguez of the support he would need when the Detroit Free Press story hit.
Related Three and Out: Rich Rodriguez and the Michigan Wolverines in the Crucible of College Football
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