Thursday, March 27, 2008

Don't Let the Door Hit You

Justin Boren, junior G/C to be, has left the Michigan football team. Jeremy Ciulla and Alex Mitchell are also offensive linemen that have left the team since Lloyd Carr retired and Rich Rodriguez was hired.

Apparently, Justin has his reasons.

"Michigan football was a family, built on mutual respect and support for each other from Coach Carr on down. We knew it took the entire family, a team effort, and we all worked together. I have great trouble accepting that those family values have eroded in just a few months. That same helmet, that I was raised on and proudly claimed for the last two years, now brings a completely different emotion to me, one that interferes with practicing and playing my best and mentally preparing for what is required.

Two weeks ago, Justin was complaining about how hard it was adapting to the new offense...

The toughest thing, Boren said, is getting comfortable with the lightning-quick pace of the no-huddle attack relied upon by Rodriguez and offensive coordinator Calvin Magee.

"You've gotta be in damn good shape," he said. "This no-huddle is hard."

All this reminds me of a few tidbits from John U. Bacon's book

The player interviews were nothing compared to the shock they got once we started working January. The rap on these guys around the league was that they were soft. And man, that's a terrible thing to hear. You can call one of my teams slow, short and weak with terrible coaching--but don't ever tell me my team is soft. We were going to fix that, too. As soon as I arrived, we set up a rather--shall we say--demanding off-season regimen...

We lost a few players during the winter workouts, but not many. I'm sure they figured we couldn't possibly run as much during spring ball--and they were right. In spring ball, we focused on hitting--every day, every session, full pads--and that's when guys really started dropping. In the middle of one of these sessions, when guys were dropping ten pounds of sweat blocking and tackling, you could see some of them look longingly at that damn track. It suddenly seemed like an oasis. Things got so hard that I had to put up that famous sing, "THOSE WHO STAY WILL BE CHAMPIONS." If you toughed it out, you'd be rewarded. I gave my word. Well, not everyone stayed, of course. We probably lost twenty or thirty guys. Some of them came to my office to quite face-to-face, and some just disappeared, never to be seen again.

I was prepared for some attrition. I can honestly say we did not lose a guy who really could have helped us. I didn't lose any sleep over anyone who quit that spring.

Does any of that sound a little similar to what Rich Rodriguez had to say about Boren leaving?

"Justin Boren has decided not to play," Rodriguez said. "I don't know if we'll have any more (attrition), but we're forging ahead with guys that play for Michigan."
Seems to me that Rich Rodriguez is working the team harder than they've ever been worked before and some players aren't up to it. Best of luck to them wherever they go, but the team will be much stronger for it in the end.