Michigan football practice started yesterday in Ann Arbor. There are literally dozens of stories detailing the highlights, including the competition for the starting QB spot. Personally I do not think there is going to be much of a competition. Barring injury, if Tate Forcier is not the starting QB when the season starts, I will be shocked beyond recognition. For the record, I also like the look of the new practice jerseys.
One thing that is going to linger over the season -- and Rich Rodriguez for a long time is the recruiting and departure of Justin Feagin. I have read the Detroit Free Press story and the entire Police Report.
This is a sad and stupid story.
From the outside, it looks like RR handled the situation in the appropriate way : dismissing the kid the instant he heard the details of the failed cocaine plot. However, there will be many that will point to this incident as further proof that RR lacks the moral character for the job. No matter what happens from this point forward, he will be open to questions regarding the "type of kid" he recruits.
A couple of observations on the Feagin story. Yes, he was a last minute add to fill a critical need after we lost out on a higher profile guy. But you can not automatically assume that RR turned a blind-eye to character issues in a panic. Justin Feagin was recruited by RR at West Virginia. He had an eye on the kid for a while.
I find it interesting that people are claiming that RR and the coaches should have known about Feagin's home-town legal problems. How is it that Rivals or Scout did not know about these issues ? We live in an era where recruit information and rumors flow faster than a Glenville Tarblooder sprinter. If none of the dedicated services that focuses on high school football recruiting did not uncover these, how is that we expect RR and staff to know ?
In a previous professional life, I spent some time dealing with minors and legal system. The rules and data you have available for adults does not apply. Arrests and judgements against minors are not public records, you can't just go to the police station or internet and pull up information. Any legal issues that Feagin had in Florida were likely "sealed" cases because of his age. Unless the kid himself disclosed the problems to a recruiter, there is no way to know.
The statement of "common knowledge" regarding Feagin's budding marijuana business is also going to linger. If I had to bet, this will be the slam we hear over and over again from our green and scarlet friends. Again the assumption that RR and staff "should have known" is the key. Considering there are about 100 kids on the team, I don't assume that the coaches know everything that goes on off the football field.
When I was in college I knew I guy that operated a pretty healthy grow-op in his dorm and later his apartment. It was "common knowledge" to those that were looking to smoke pot. He was never busted, eventually graduated and went on to a real job. One can only assume that "common knowledge" amongst students did not translate into common knowledge to people in positions of authority (like coaches).
Again, the stink of this situation is going to linger for a long time. I have no doubt that we will be ridiculed for the erosion of family values. My advice to any Michigan fan looking to respond: DON'T.
The stupidity of the Justin Feagin story happened. There is nothing you can do to make it go away. It is ours. We need to move on, win a few games, and the smoke will eventually clear.