The Best of Three and Out, Blockquoted

Jason Priestas's picture
April 18, 2012 at 1:04a
 Rich Rodriguez and the Michigan Wolverines in the Crucible of College Football

M Man, our resident Wolverine expert, already published the definitive review of Three and Out: Rich Rodriguez and the Michigan Wolverines in the Crucible of College Football, John U. Bacon's behind-the-scenes look at Rich Rodriguez's short tenure in Ann Arbor.

His review is fair, thorough and informative. If you didn't get a chance to read it, you should really make time to do so. Oh, and if you're looking for a good read, pick the book up. You'll get the dirty on the Machiavellian atmosphere on "The Hill" as well as learn a lot about Michigan and Big Ten history along the way.

There's really not much I can add to his review, but I did finally have a chance to squeeze the book in1 and thought I'd share some of the passages I highlighted when reading it.

Part opposition research, part just plain interesting facts, my Kindle notes are yours.

Their FAVORITE SONG is Probably Ripped Off (P. 15)

Either way, Elbel worked with amazing efficiency—perhaps because he seems to have lifted the renowned melody of “The Victors’” from “The Spirit of Liberty,” which his friend George Rosenberg had copyrighted seven months earlier.

The Victors, the song you grew up hating, is not original (fast-forward to the 1:40 mark of the embedded "The Spirit of Liberty March"). It's safe to go ahead and add "intellectual property thief" to the long list of characteristics that define the Michigan Man.

Bo Schembechler May Have Thought the Helmets Were Ugly, Too (P. 22)

Although Schembechler made an ill-advised crack during an early speech about changing the team’s funny-looking helmets (he maintained it was a joke, though others aren’t so certain), he quickly received the help of Canham, Bob Ufer, and his predecessor, Bump Elliott. He learned Michigan’s gospel and how to preach it.

While Michigan Men are still debating whether or not Bo was joking, I'm going to go ahead and assume that he wanted to change the helmets but had the common sense to play his way out of the situation. They are pretty ugly.

You and Rich Rodriguez shared the same seat on the Demon Drop (p. 28)

For their honeymoon, all [Rich and Rita Rodriguez] could afford was Cedar Point for one night, but they remember it fondly.

It's easy to think HURR-DURR RICH RODRIGUEZ WENT TO CEDAR POINT FOR HIS HONEYMOON, but it's impossible to read this book without coming away liking the guy. Ipso facto, honeymoons at Cedar Point are now considered charming. Also, this is the first of many documented instances of Rodriguez's stomach dropping in the state of Ohio.

Lloyd Carr is crazy (p. 42)

Each week he went through the game program and circled everything he didn’t like—right down to an ad for Velveeta cheese featuring former Ohio State quarterback turned ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit—and told the sports information people to make sure it was pulled by the next week. Inside the department, such stories earned him the nickname "Paranoid Lloyd."

I got nothing.

Rodriguez Was a Trash Talker (p. 114-115)

When the tape finished, Rodriguez said, "They don’t like us. Weis has popped his mouth off and a few of their players have, too. That’s fine. They talk about the Golden Dome and Touchdown Jesus and all those national championship banners. That’s fine, too. But let me tell you right now: It wouldn’t matter if the pope himself came down and blessed every one of them. From what I know, the pope doesn’t coach football!"


Rodriguez finished with a classic coaching tactic: the assumptive victory. "I visualize walking across the field after we kick their asses and shaking the fat boy’s hand and saying, 'We can’t wait to see you again in 365 days.'"

Told you that you'd grow to like the guy.

Rodriguez the Sailor (p. 263)

In the coaches' room, Rodriguez said, to no one in particular, "They’re running the same goddamn play twenty times in a row and we can’t fuckin’ stop 'em. Fuck me!"

This outburst came after Michigan had turned a three point halftime deficit into a 45-24 beatdown in Madison, handing the Wolverines their sixth-straight loss of the 2009 season.

Rodriguez used a lot of colorful language and you'll recall some pointed to his language as what Justin Boren was referring to when he mentioned the erosion of family values within the program.

I also found it interesting that Rodriguez would use language like this at practice in front of his children, as they attended most of them.

Carr let his players skip class during rivalry weeks (p. 266)

"This week, we will give Ohio State our undivided attention. This is all you’ll be thinking about this week, except for classes—and as you know, we expect you to attend." The last bit was a reference to Carr’s policy of letting the players skip class during rivalry weeks. By Rodriguez’s second year, they knew not to ask him anymore about that.

Let's see: three rivals, 15 weeks of classes during fall quarter... Who wouldn't want to play for a coach that let you skip 20% of our classes?

Mark Dantonio is who you think he is (p. 361)

"Coach Dantonio," he said, extending his hand, "I just want to wish you a speedy recovery and welcome you to Michigan Stadium." Dantonio brushed his hand away. "Get the hell outta here."

That's Michigan State Mark Dantonio talking to a crowd control volunteer at Michigan Stadium.

Imagine the Kenny Powers shower scene in the pilot of Eastbound and Down (p. 366)

When Rodriguez took his postgame shower a few minutes later, it sounded like he might suffer from a rare strain of Tourette's. "Fuckin' defense! Fuckin' long snapper! Fuckin' LIFE!"

That's the head coach, shortly after dropping his first game of the 2010 season, in ugly fashion, to Little Brother.

Cool story, officer (p. 405)

In the second half, the Buckeyes scored on their first three possessions to post a 37–7 score, and it would have been worse if Coach Tressel had not shown some mercy in the fourth quarter. The Buckeyes’ infamous fans, of course, showed a little less mercy, yelling and screaming profanities throughout the game. In the words of a U-M police officer assigned to guard the players, "If I was given a free pass to shoot Ohio State fans today, I’d have run out of bullets."

Note to self: Don't get pulled over in Ann Arbor.

Meanwhile, Taylor Lewan lives in a parallel universe (p. 405)

"Let's don’t act like they beat us!" Lewan told his teammates back in the locker room. "They didn’t. We beat ourselves. We had ’em! We outplayed ’em!"

Remember, this is right after losing to the Buckeyes 37-7.

We were tantalizingly close to getting footage of Rodriguez's Groban Moment (p. 415)

The rumor mill had Fox Sports offering $50,000 for the film and another outlet $100,000. Dave Brandon—a world-class whiz at damage control, who had handled the NCAA investigation so masterfully—quickly quashed that problem by telling the film crew that if they did so, they’d never work for Michigan again...

If I had been aware of a bidding war for the video footage of Rodriguez urging the banquet crowd to sing along to Josh Groban's "You Raise Me Up", we would have held a fundraiser a year earlier.


Comments Show All Comments

ArTbkward's picture

You are 100% correct in saying that it's impossible to read this book and not come away liking Rodriguez.  I hope he does well at Arizona.  May he be to scUM as Bill Belichick was to the Browns.

I also appreciated the fact that the book mentioned that Tressel, no surprise, was nothing but pleasant and cordial to Rodriguez.  I also found the part where Bacon works out with Barwis and the team to be particularly fascinating.

Sadly, the Demon Drop no longer resides at Cedar Point.

We should strive to keep thy name, of fair repute and spotless fame...

(Also, I'm not a dude)

ebbandflow's picture

Except Bill Belichick is liked only by Patriot fans and his mother, and his mother isn't completely sold on him yet.

ArTbkward's picture

And by Urban Meyer

We should strive to keep thy name, of fair repute and spotless fame...

(Also, I'm not a dude)

M Man's picture

Ditto Rich Rodriguez.

"...if you hire Rich Rodriguez, you're getting one of the five greatest minds in college football..."  ~ Urban Meyer

Maestro's picture

Loved the Demon Drop. R.I.P.

vacuuming sucks

Doc's picture

Since when did they get rid of the Demon Drop?  It has been three years since I've been there.


I liked the points.  I'm sure there are other funny parts in there as well.  RR was in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Good luck in AZ.

CJDPHoS Member

The Official DDS of 11W

M Man's picture

Hey I thought you guys had a spring game to keep you out of trouble this weekend!

Several random things:

  • First of all, nice writeup Jason.  We gotta have a beer sometime.  As you know, I was buying last November; but you'll get another invite.
  • Oh yeah, Rodriguez got screwed.  The Detroit Free Press is like a character unto itself in this novel.  Evil.  A singularly more malicious media presence than anything you guys had to deal with in the winter of your discontent '10-'11.
  • Notre Dame.  Our trashtalking with Notre Dame is a lot more hateful than with you guys.  The rivalry doesn't compare, of course.  But we HATE that school.  Ohio State is a chess match.  Notre Dame is a gang fight.
  • Carr and skipping classes:  Very hotly disputed.  Carr has really bristled about this one (and there is a lot else in the book he could have bristled about).  Carr-era players saying it just isn't true.  John U. Bacon (who will talk to anybody and answer all questions about the book, unlike most of the other players involved) stands by what he wrote.  Otherwise, no big deal.
  • I told John myself, that if I had been his editor, I'd probably have pulled the story about "running out of bullets" in Ohio Stadium (no word on whether they were silver bullets).
  • With specific regard to you guys, it was a bit unusual to me the way that John treated the Justin Boren/transfer story.  John wrote a simple declarative sentence (can't recall the page) that the real reason that Justin transferred was because Zach didn't get a Michigan scholarship offer.  I am convinced it is a true and accurate declaration, but I also think it merits a lot more explanation.  Remember that John did have to pare down more than a thousand pages of manuscript to the final book-length.
  • Re: purloined music.  I happen to think The Victors is the finest college fight song (march) ever written.  I am not, uh, neutral on the subject.  I am also a great admirer of Carmen Ohio, which is my personal favorite "alma mater" (non-march) of any that I know of.  The tune for Carmen Ohio (and the lyrics for Carmen Ohio area as good as they get) isn't simply a borrowed-but-altered version of another; it is a pure copy of an old Methodist hymn that I've sung many times in church.  (Hymn #158; "Come, Christians Join to Sing".)

And this.  You guys did a coaching change your own damn way, and it seems to me that Ohio State was several orders of magnitude different from Michigan in dealing with Urban Meyer as the new guy.  I honestly don't even know what to say about it.  The story hasn't been written yet, but I have a feeling that Ohio State isn't going to be naval-gazing about "factions" and the feelings of ex-players, whispers in administrative hallways, and columns in the Dispatch.

hodge's picture

Hell, even our national anthem is a straight rip off of "To Anacreon in Heaven," though which started as a London social club's song, was at the time Key wrote his famous poem a Colonial drinking song.

While I will admit "The Victors" is a good tune, I've never understood the love for Notre Dame's fight song--boring if you ask me.  I believe there are actually two high schools in Ohio that use "The Victors" as their fight song, as well. 

Nick's picture

One of my schools used Northwesterns :/

hodge's picture

Mine used LSU's, but our sister school used Northwestern's.  You go to Hilliard Davidson by chance?

ArTbkward's picture

My HS used Notre Dame's so it always sounds strange to me to hear ND play it as I associate it with HS.  I was in the band and learned it on three instruments so it will forever be engrained in my mind.

We should strive to keep thy name, of fair repute and spotless fame...

(Also, I'm not a dude)

William's picture

I'd say USC's Tribute to Troy is tops in my mind. 

M Man's picture

Any fan of any Big Ten school that has been to a Rose Bowl with USC knows, and hates, that song.  I would swear under oath that they played it the whole game, whether or not there was a play on the field.  At least it seemed so.  Thanks for the link.  I never knew the correct name for the tune.  I always thought it was "That Goddam USC Music." 

Doc's picture

That's funny AACC Man, because I never knew your fight song was "Hail to the Victors".  I jsut thought it was called "That Shitty Michigan Song".  Live and learn I guess ;)

CJDPHoS Member

The Official DDS of 11W

M Man's picture

In Ann Arbor, it is known as "The Victors."  In Columbus, the locals know it as "they scored again."

Joe Beale's picture

I agree that USC's fight song is one of the most loathsome in all of CFB. In fact, I consider it second only to Oklahoma's "Land Grab March" (or whatever it's called) for pure repulsiveness.

ArTbkward's picture

Are you certain about Carmen using the same music as that hymn?  I had never heard that so I looked up the sheet music and I can see they have similarities, although they are definitely not the same.

Carmen sheet music

Come, Christians Join to Sing sheet music

For instance, Carmen is written with 3 sharps and frequently uses the dotted quarter/eighth note sequence.  The hymn is written with four flats and uses nothing other than quarter, half and whole notes.

Edit: Wikipedia, and Ohio State, credits to music to being a "Spanish Hymn or Spanish Chant". Perhaps, Come, Christians Join to sing is based off the same spanish hymn?

We should strive to keep thy name, of fair repute and spotless fame...

(Also, I'm not a dude)

hodge's picture

They seem eerily familiar to me.  And they both do follow "Spanish melodies."  It would appear Carmen is a bit more embellished on the eighth note flourishes as compared to "Come, Chirstians Join to Sing," but try visualizing it in cut time.  Sure, Carmen's melody goes eighth-to-quarter note as opposed to straight eighths, but the similarity--at least to me--is striking.

By the way, I'll always salute a fellow bandie, cheers!

M Man's picture

Come, Christians Join to sing is based off the same spanish hymn?

Yes; both based off the same traditional hymn.  You see "Spanish Hymn" in most of the hymnals.  It is a great tune; a superb choice for repurposing as an alma mater.