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Varsity Blue

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More defending Ron English

After my post last week, I don't think very many people were convinced that Ron English will be a great head coach. Despite possessing many of the qualities that a head coach needs (recruiting, aggressive, media savvy, and dare I say it?: black), while lacking many a coordinator must (X and O proficiency, talent development), people disagreed. A fair amount of them have cited the fact that they believe English is more of a "friend" rather than someone who will "enforce" his players.

My anecdotal evidence to the contrary is as follows:
As many of you know (though some may not), I am the general manager of the University of Michigan student television station, WOLV-TV, as well as the producer of the football show, aptly named "Varsity Blue." This places me in the unique position of not being an actual member of the mainstream media, while still having some of the privileges of said group. (For the record, I consider Daily writers to be actual MSM members).

Last year was the Year of Infinite Lack of Pain Prior to November 18. During the YILPPN18, I traveled to three Michigan away games (Notre Dame - which I still consider one of the best days of my life, Penn State, and Ohio State - which I did not attend as a media member). This story takes place on October 14, 2006 in State College, Pennsylvania. My companions on the Penn State trip were Paul, VB "writer," and Danny, my current roommate. Since both of these gentlemen are inadequate at filming from the field, I was entrusted (by myself) to take care of these duties.

At halftime, Michigan clung to a 10-3 lead. Despite the fact that Michigan's defense had held Penn State to a single field goal, defensive coordinator Ron English was far from pleased. On Penn State's lone scoring drive, they traveled from their own 14 yard line to Michigan's 5. On my trip from the (cold) field to the (warm) press box, I had to take an elevator. This is primarily due to the "erector set" nature of Beaver Stadium.

On the trip from the field to the elevator, I walked into a ground-level tunnel (shut off from access to the public), and through the underbelly of Beaver Stadium, towards a shaft that was surrounded by nothing but struts and supports. Nothing, that is, except a press room.

Apparently, Penn State's visitor locker room is lacking in meeting areas, because the press room was being used by Michigan for a defensive meeting. The door was cracked, and as I walked by, a coach or grad assistant, was lecturing the team, in near monotone, on what they needed to improve. Upon completion of his speech, he ceded the door to an as-yet-not-present Ron English. The instant Random Coach #1 was finished, Ron English burst into the room.

"All right you stupid motherfuckers, listen up," was the way Coach E started his halftime speech. RC#1 realized the door was still open at this time, and saw that I was outside, enthralled by what I was witnessing. Unfortunately, my education was far less important than the integrity of The Fort, but the point was made.

I almost never consider myself an insider, but in this particular subject I do. People who only see Ron English interact with his player in the public forum are missing out. They may think he tries to play the soft "friend" role, but that isn't necessarily the case: when he needs to, English can be intense not only to his opponents, but to his own players as well. English is a motivator at heart.

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“More defending Ron English”

  1. Blogger Maize Says:

    People on the outside, the internet know it alls, really don't know jack shiite about how the team is run and what the coaches are like. I don't either but I do have some understanding that what we see as fans is just the tip of the iceberg.

    I had doubts that RE would be considered for a replacement after the first two loses but now things are different. I do think he would make a great headcoach at UM (Carty at A2 News disagrees).

    And if RE was so buddy buddy with his players and isn't able to coach them, then why in the heck did Carr keep him around. Why did Carr plead for him not to go to the pros when he could have? Carr is no dummy. He knew and knows that RE can coach and get his players to step up.

  2. Blogger Tim Says:


    I think it's important to note the difference between the coordinator-player and the HC-player relationships. Those allegedly "in the know" say RE is too buddy-buddy with the players for a head coach, but that this relationship works for a coordinator.

    From what I've seen, Ron English can be fiery (we've seen it on the sidelines), so I have no doubt he could be an intense dictator type head coach if he needed to.

    Also, I haven't seen Lloyd Carr looking like an enforcer out there the past couple years, either. And yes, that includes 2006.

  3. Blogger Maize Says:


    I agree with your comment about behavior of a DC vs a HC. I might be totally wrong to assume this, but my guess is that RE understands the nuances of how one needs to act depending on the position. I assume he wants to win like everyone else and will adjust his coaching style to fit the job description.

    I just believe too many fantasy football coaches on the internet seem to think they know exactly how RE will coach and are paralyzed by the fact that he is just going to be another Lloyd Carr with darker pigmentation.

    The fact is no HC who comes in will be guaranteed success at UM.

  4. Anonymous ramosa Says:

    simply put, you don't promote people who underachieve. english has underachieved as the defensive coordinator, so he should NOT be promoted to head coach. the same goes for debord, who underachieved as the offensive coordinator. UM needs change.