Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Unfortunate Reality Of College Football

As fall practice began this week, much of the focus was on Justin Feagin being dismissed by Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez because of legal woes, and Glenn Winston being reinstated by Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio after serving a jail sentence.
Most college football programs, if you examine it, have had off-field trouble like this.
Michigan has had problems in the past with players. Michigan State even more. The list is long at both schools the last 25 years. They are not alone on college football’s landscape.
People tend to blame coaches. Rich Rodriguez did coach Pac Mac Jones and Chris Henry, two of the NFL’s most notorious bad boys, at West Virginia. So I guess there will be skepticism about his recruiting. Is it up to Michigan’s standards? Then again, honestly, Michigan’s off-field character and academic standards haven’t been that high when it comes to football. Generally, if you can play, you can get in, unless the case is extreme. And in fairness to Michigan, it never seems to bother anyone on signing day, and their class is annually ranked in the Top 10.
I was surprised Winston has not been suspended for a game or two. He did sit out some last season, but it does like there is a bottom line here.
Coaches and administrators always seem to talk about the need to support the athlete at times like this, and perhaps there is genuine sincerity behind MSU’s actions regarding Winston.
But it’s difficult not to cast a cynical eye toward MSU on this, and not think about the Spartans need for a kick returner, and that Winston is a really good returnman.
And I have trouble believing Rodriguez didn’t have an inkling about Feagin’s troubled past. Seemed more like it was late in the recruiting process last year, the Wolverines weren’t going to land Terrelle Pryor, and Rodriguez needed a multi-dimensional QB.

Random Thoughts

- I didn’t think the Tigers loss to the Red Sox Monday was a moral victory. Just the opposite. The Red Sox are ripe for the picking. When it was 5-5, after that kind of rally, the Tigers should have won the game. They didn’t show much of a killer instinct and they blew a golden opportunity to separate themselves from the White Sox.

- While hindsight is always 20-20, managing a baseball team is a bottom line proposition. So, yes, the criticism being leveled at Tigers manager Jim Leyland for not pinch hitting for Adam Everett during the eighth inning Monday is justified.



Anonymous Anonymous said...


Agreed about the decision to stick with Everett in that situation. However, just to play devil's advocate, the choices on the bench at that point were not spectacular. Raburn is hitting .234 since the break, Santiago is hitting .176, and Leyland said he would not pinch hit Avila because he will need to be kept for a potential injury situation to Laird while he's starting. Plus, Avila is a rookie, and that was the key offensive situation for the ballgame. The situation itself speaks to the lack of depth on the Tigers bench.

On a side note, the bullpen did not impress me. I keep waiting for Zach Minor to get through an outing without giving up a key run, and it hasn't happened. Giving up the game-tying run in the bottom of the 7th was inexcusable considering he is the one who started the inning. Like Leyland said, someone needs to start getting some big outs other than Seay, Lyon, and Rodney. Perry has gotten it done as well, but it's not enough.


4:29 PM 
Blogger Fred Brill said...

Wow, I am stunned by the reaction to last nights game - clearly the most reaction of any game this year to date.

And I can understand why - for the first time on the road the Tigers fought back for five runs to tie it up - I trhought that broke the bats spell. But people are ready to run Everette out of town. But nobody down on Jackson for the rocky start.

I thought I saw more promise than disappointment last night - I watched on TV and listened to the radio guys - yes they did overstate the optimism - but after the game I thought the sky got lighter over Detroit as the torches came out and the mobs started forming.

I was stunned more by the reaction than I was by the outcome of the game.

7:18 PM 
Anonymous Michael C said...

I actually thought the Monday loss was a "good" loss, relatively speaking. We got down early by a few runs and usually when that happens it seems like they almost give up. But the offense battled and fought their way back to tie up the game against a better team on the road. That's a good sign to me, not a bad one.

Also I usually don't harp on Leland, but this loss is more on him than anyone else I think. In my opinion he made two really bad mistakes (and I thought this at the time, before the bad results came). The first was having Miner pitch in key innings late in a close game. The second was not pitch hitting for Everett. No hindsight needed, as I was screaming at the TV. :p

I never get why Leland doesn't pitch hit for Everett or Laird more often late in close games. Hell, I was thinking maybe he should've had someone hit for Everett in the prior inning when there was a guy on base down by two runs. Also the Tigers do have an extra emergency catcher in Inge.

2:58 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Raburn has had two, huge walk-off hits this season, Santiago is left-handed. Agree about Avila. Had to keep catcher in reserve in close game.

5:48 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Fred Brill,
I was on 97.1, The Ticket after Monday's game - and there were a lot of people who felt like you. Others were mad at Leyland for not hitting for Everett. I thought when it was 5-5, the Tigers should have won. The Red Sox aren't very confident right now. Felt like Tigers let them off the hook.

5:50 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Michael C,
If Leyland had to do it over again, he would have pinch hit for Everett in that situation. Wasn't his best move. He is usually a lot more ahead of the curve. He was behind it on this one.

5:51 PM 

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home