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Posted on Sun, May 16, 2010 : 6:21 p.m.

Former Michigan players unhappy with losing, hoping for a turnaround in 2010

By Dave Birkett

Marlin Jackson has taken some ribbing from his NFL teammates over Michigan’s 8-16 record the last two years. It’s been good-natured and fun-loving, but hard to swallow nonetheless.

“I don’t know where we’re headed,” Jackson said. “I don’t want to say, but I just don’t know where we’re headed. What it looks like right now, don’t like it, I just can say that.”

Jackson was one of about 40 former Michigan football players and coaches who took part in the Champions for Children’s Hearts golf outing Sunday.

The charity event helped raise more than $1 million for Mott Hospital and has become Michigan’s unofficial football reunion.


Former Michigan football players Braylon Edwards and David Terrell horse around during the Champions for Children's Hearts golf scramble fundraiser at Michigan Golf Course on Sunday afternoon.

Melanie Maxwell |

With the Wolverines coming off their first back-to-back losing seasons since 1962-63, Jackson wasn’t alone in expressing trepidation about the direction of the program under third-year coach Rich Rodriguez.

“I’m not going to lie, it’s tough,” said Brian Griese, the quarterback of Michigan’s 1997 national championship team. “For any Michigan person, when you’re down, we’re all down and that’s the thing about this place is, at least from my standpoint, I’m not going to talk bad about anybody. It’s a family and we win together, we lose together and I’m going to support them ‘til the end.”

Griese, an analyst for ESPN, said he’s hopeful better days are ahead and pointed to a handful of positives, including the play of quarterback Denard Robinson this spring.

“I think he’s a great kid,” Griese said. “I think he has all the talent in the world. I think he throws the ball better than people give him credit for. I expect a lot of growth. There’s a lot of youth on the team and it can only go up.”

Former Michigan running back Tim Biakabutuka predicted “tradition (will) prevail” and the Wolverines will return to their winning ways.

“You’re hoping for the best,” Biakabutuka said. “There’s been a lot of positives. We’ve got a great facility, the stadium has been upgraded. All of those things are going to recruit good players.

“Coach Rodriguez came in from the Big East and it’s a different style of football in the Big Ten. The adjustment he has to go through, I think that’s maybe the growing pain of the Big Ten. It’s a more physical game.”

Like Biakabutuka, kicker Jay Feely said he’s followed Michigan’s struggles from afar the last two years.

“I think everybody who went here does that because they love Michigan, and we want to see it get back to its rightful place being in competition for the national championship every year,” Feely said. “I’m hopeful that they can take the steps this year. The time is now to perform. This is the third year in Rich Rodriguez’s tenure and they should know the systems and they should be able to have recruited the right players and now they should be able to get back to winning.”

Does Feely foresee that happening this fall?

“I don’t know, and I don’t think anybody knows,” he said. “I don’t think (athletic director) Dave Brandon knows. They have 12 seniors and that’s going to hurt them not having that leadership from a strong senior class, but there’s no excuses now.”

Mike Rothstein contributed to this report.

Dave Birkett covers University of Michigan football for He can be reached by phone at 734-623-2552 or by e-mail at Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.


Robbie Webb

Thu, May 20, 2010 : 1:32 p.m.

They will get their wish. It takes time. The only reason we've been getting beat is because the others are more experienced. And you can't say we are, especailly with the very small senior classes we've had.


Wed, May 19, 2010 : 8:57 p.m.

Groland is right and this team is already in deep trouble. As Robbie points out the Big Ten likes to the run the football and that will be the death of Michigan this fall. And it will happen in the most "backward" conference, the one that "needs to enter the new millenium". How ironic is it that the team that is supposed to take the Big Ten into a new era will be beaten by old school football? I hope the former Mich players get their wish and the team returns to its winning ways, but it doesn't look good.

Robbie Webb

Wed, May 19, 2010 : 1:18 p.m.

Groland, yes he brought us a championship, but that's Michigan's only championship in 50+ years. The old Michigan playbook doesn't work against teams like Alabama and Florida, ask OSU. The only reason we beat Florida is because we ran the spread that particular game. And altough Carr didn't have a losing season, Michigan still hasn't wont many championships recently by any means. The big ten has not stepped into the new millenia, which is why our conference has not won a national title recently because the big ten prides itself on just running the ball. OSU in 2002 was the last team to win a championship, then before that Michigan in 1997, and the last one before that was in 1970 by OSU. Now you tell me if that's successful or not. Sure, the big ten has done well in bowl games in general, but I'm talking about titles and what Michigan is known for, which is domination and winning titles. I'm all for the two losing seasons, not happy with them, but I'm all for them because I know we're heading in the right direction.


Wed, May 19, 2010 : 11:39 a.m.

One other thing, I wish people would stop dissing Carr. Loyd Carr brought us a national championship, and several contenders. he never had a loosing season. The players I knew all respected him. He was a class act. I don't think you can say the same about Rodriquez.


Wed, May 19, 2010 : 11:30 a.m.

The wild optimists here have blinders on. How about a realistic analysis of what this team is capable of. Terry Star at 13-0 "everyone wishes they were us". Please, there are many other programs out there with history and tradition. This kind of thinking gets you into deep trouble and is exemplified by folks who have never lived anywhere else. Tate Forcier has issues, Denard will make mistakes, the defense is still questionable. The team will be lucky to have a winning record, never mind 13-0.

Robbie Webb

Tue, May 18, 2010 : 9:45 p.m.

Jaxon 5, based on what? I'll wait.


Tue, May 18, 2010 : 9 p.m.

Tom Hagan... I hope 5-7 can be achieved this year. It's the absolute best they can do. I think 3-9 is more likely. It would be great if the former Michigan players get the turnaround they hope for.

Baghdad Rod

Mon, May 17, 2010 : 10:14 p.m.

Everything is Fine! Evil Carr left Cupboard Bare! All Weapons of Mass Destruction went off to NFL or other School! Coach Rod needs more time to get His Weapons in and Barwis to work in to Fighting Shape! Coach Rod is in Charge of the Michigan Football Nation!


Mon, May 17, 2010 : 9:12 p.m.

how long is harbaugh signed to Stanford?I dont like two faced Miles.


Mon, May 17, 2010 : 9 p.m.

I must have missed it.When were we in competition for the national championship every year?Except for 1997 I remember having 2 to 4 losses most of the time

Terry Star21

Mon, May 17, 2010 : 8:43 p.m.

@ Shane... you sure are right about excitement, and not just coaches... anyone that came to any home game in the last 2 years, cheered our King and his men all the way as if we were in the National Championship game... thats Michigan Football. I'm not excited about expansion, notre dame won't join, TEXAS won't because they don't want to be beaten by Michigan every coming year and lose credibility. It will hurt the future lower tier B10 teams like msu and osu from getting to a bowl game. When Michigan wins every year, critics will complain they got the 'easy' division! Since 1879, UM has had the best, most intelligent football fans, but more recently since the mid-seventies, the Big House has had rousting sellouts of fans supporting UM every game, every play.... It's most certainly has been a good three centuries to be a Meeeeeechigan Football Faithful. Michigan FB - 13-0.......... Everyone else wishes they were us.


Mon, May 17, 2010 : 6:36 p.m.

I have never been so excited about a coaching staff. We all knew the cupboard was bare after lloyd left, thankfully we got a great man in RichRod to turn it around. 2010 will be better and 2011 will be really exciting.

Robbie Webb

Mon, May 17, 2010 : 11:28 a.m.

Ram, I can't wait to see what you have to say when we win eight or more games, which wont be a problem. And TX, Michigan had alot of things going on in 08 and 09. App. State was Carr's squad. Another losing season? Serious? Wrong, Uconn - MSU will be wins, that's 6-0 right there, so that gets rid of the losing season argument. And even if thigns went bad, Purdue and Illinois are wins as well, which will make it 8-4 at least. Can't compare this squad to last years, it's leaps and bounds better in terms of depth and exprience.


Mon, May 17, 2010 : 11:07 a.m.

I cannot WAIT to see what Terry Starr has to see after another LOSING season


Mon, May 17, 2010 : 10:57 a.m.

@ Webb- App.State and Toledo were at "your house", too, and how'd that work for ya? UM better worry about UConn, ND, MSU, OSU, Wisconsin, Iowa, and any other Div 1 school. It will be such a letdown in Nov. when all UM fans realize another bowl season on the couch!

Robbie Webb

Mon, May 17, 2010 : 9:43 a.m.

Nobowl, Michigan can beat Uconn and Notre Dame. And Iowa and Wisconsin are at our house this time. We almost beat Iowa at Iowa last year and our team this year will be much better this year. We beat Wisconsin in 08 with the team that is no where near as good as our squad now. And OSU is a toss up. We would have beat them last year if it wasn't for so many turnovers on Forcier's part.


Mon, May 17, 2010 : 9:15 a.m.

Talk is talk. RR needs produce and until they hit the field this fall that is still in question. Predictions go in both directions and it is anyones guess what will really happen.


Mon, May 17, 2010 : 6:45 a.m.

8 or 9 wins this year is dreaming. Michigan will have their hands full against Conn, and Brian Kelly will out coach RR for a win. There's no hope against the Big 3 OSU, Iowa and Wisc and it's 30-57 against PSU, Mich State. Past players know the drill and have every right to be concerned.

Sean T.

Sun, May 16, 2010 : 11:22 p.m.

I have seen nothing that would insinuate 9 wins. We're realistically, hopeful at making the Motor City Bowl. That's with overall improvement of the entire team!


Sun, May 16, 2010 : 11:17 p.m.

"Its a more physical game" (Big Ten) But Richy has his finesse offense and confused and finesse defense. For once, Richy should put his ego aside and listen. But... as we all know, he down with the ship Richy boy. Hopefully it will all be over after this 5-7 upcoming season.

Terry Star21

Sun, May 16, 2010 : 10:56 p.m.

Marlin Jackson says, 'I just don't know'...I'm no bettor, Brian Greese says, ' It's a family and we all win together'. Tim Biakabutuka says, 'Tradition will prevail', Jay Freely says, 'Now is the time...', it'll be tooth and nail. RichRod, our King will persevere and run the Big Ten table, To all the Michigan Faithful - thank you for being so ready and able. Michigan Football - 13-0....msu fires coach, pryor walks.

Robbie Webb

Sun, May 16, 2010 : 9:18 p.m.

Jaxon, this team has the ability they didn't have the past two years to win eight or more.


Sun, May 16, 2010 : 9:10 p.m.

az...wake up - you're dreaming. This team won 4* games last year and only 3 the year before. 8 or 9 wins is not a guarantee, it is a dream. * Delaware State does not count as a win in any true fan's book.

Robbie Webb

Sun, May 16, 2010 : 9:05 p.m.

Peg, Rich Rod isn't going anywhere.

peg dash fab

Sun, May 16, 2010 : 9:02 p.m.

les miles' contract is up in 2012, right?


Sun, May 16, 2010 : 9 p.m.

Unless one of those "eight or nine wins" is against OSU, it will not quiet the critics, at least not this one. Michigan will win 8 or 9, guaranteed...but I don't foresee them contending for a NC or against Tressel at OSU as long as RR is the coach. It's a mismatch.


Sun, May 16, 2010 : 8:27 p.m.

For heaven's sake, have we not yet had enough interviewing of former players to see what they think about the situation? It's not rocket science. Michigan football has had a couple down years. Coaches, alums, current players, former players, students, and every other fan category you can name is not happy about it. DUH. Please, enough of the quotes of former players. Not only is it divisive, it has gotten, quite frankly, boring. Enough. Move on.


Sun, May 16, 2010 : 8:03 p.m.

As an alumnus and huge fan I fell the same. Time to turn this thing around. No excuses wanted. Also no more back to back loses to sparty. That is a joke. Time to win five stright against the big tens brawlers.


Sun, May 16, 2010 : 5:32 p.m.

Good Luck.