Try this one on: “Every great mistake has a halfway moment, a split second when it can be recalled and perhaps remedied.” (Pearl S. Buck)
The “halfway moment.” Once you stop and think about this notion, it will stick with you. Think about it. Life is not a question of avoiding mistakes; life is responding appropriately to developing (or fully committed) mistakes. You will find yourself applying this “Halfway Point” clock-measurement to everything before you — the numerous tiny moments of daily decisions which fill your own life, or that of others, and even to the private but constant, and ostensibly idle, but somehow meaningful, daydream-flip through past deeds, events, and acquaintances which secretly occupies so much of your days.
Here’s my fear: Brandon may have already passed that Coaching-Search ‘Halfway Point’ toward a significant mistake.
I’ve been puzzled by Brandon’s course over the six weeks since the Nov. 27 OSU debacle, and his insistence that he has some self-defined, but all-important, “process.” And I have hoped that there was, somewhere, concealed from public view, some wisdom driving Brandon’s reliance on this vaunted process.
Unfortunately, events this past week tell you: NOT. Brandon’s fumbling around. He’s playing the part. He has no gut. He has no finite moral or pragmatic governor. This “I have a process” incantation is the mark of one who is stabbing in the dark — and events this week have, unfortunately, shown us how much damage Brandon has already generated with his “process.” Here’s why:
January is to college coaching what Ramadan is to Muslims. It’s the time you get down on your knees and pray toward the Mecca recruiting gods five times a day. Time is of the recruiting essence. Coaches flying all over the country. Cells phone and text messages light up the sky. Tracking all recruits in a centralized bunker of a War Room. Deadline: February Second “Signing Day.” It is (unlike Ramadan) loony, and without foundation in morality or faith. It is what it is, dictated by the NCAA.
And Brandon is showing his colors. He is showing signs he may be a functionary. Someone who took Intro to Business, read “The Greening of America” for some Speech course out on North Campus, and went to a Saturday “Diversity Seminar” at Forsythe Junior High in Ann Arbor, for UM college credit, where Campy Russell got up and talked alot about his uncle and how he’d helped him succeed at Pontiac Central– for which Brandon had to write a Soc 221 paper on “What I Know Now is True.”
So here’s Brandon sitting down with RR, last Tuesday, pushing across the table at RR a stapled bunch of paper: “Rich, here’s my ‘Coaching Evaluation Form’ that I had Joe Parker do up.”
Let’s stop here. Here is the week’s central question: What in the world could Brandon have been meeting with RR for three hours about? This is NOT a circumstance where the CEO flies in from Omaha to review in detail the performance of a middle manager he’s known only vaguely, and has seen in person only once before. RR is a coach with whom Brandon has worked daily; Brandon hasn’t been shy about showing up on the sidelines and at practice [did we HAVE to get an AD who loves the limelight so much?] RR’s work-product is hardly a secret. It’s all on tape, TV. It’s TOO much detail. Brandon knew everything he needed to know six weeks ago. After OSU, the Gator Bowl was of miniscule relevance; at best, I suppose Brandon’s strung-out “process” might’ve anticipated that the Gator Bowl might have been RR’s one last “Hail Mary” pass — though it turned out to be just one more fumble.
Canham or Bo would’ve sat down with RR and said what any common-sense guy would say: “Hey, Rich, you and I both know — this ain’t what Michigan expects, right?” THAT’S ALL. Nothing else.
It’s looking more and more like Brandon really is MNoClue. He’s frittered away valuable Recruiting-Ramadan time. This is awful. He needs to be called to account. He announces on Jan 5 that he is “starting a national search.” ?? Is he nuts? — “Starting?” By Dec. 1, he should’ve contacted at least 20 different AD’s across the country — to ask them whether he had permission to speak to their coaches about an opening. He should have had it all set up, so that he could then – on Jan. 2 — move through an already-defined andwell-prioritized list of candidates, ranked in order, to set up interviews, and/or to make offers. Instead, it’s looking like he may have passed the half-way point toward possibly making a big mistake, as the recruits fall by the wayside.
Possibly making a big mistake. Now – if he pulls Jon Gruden, or Chip Kelley out of a Rabbit-hat — then I take it all back. Good god, I hope Brandon is smarter than he looks. Cause the coach-search pizza so far is devoid of flavor.