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Posted on Tue, Oct 25, 2011 : 9:27 p.m.

Some Michigan football players say they'll read John U. Bacon's 'Three and Out'

By Nick Baumgardner


Former Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez is shown in one of his happier moments in Michigan Stadium, making his way to the student section after a 67-65, triple-overtime win over Illinois in 2010. Some of Rodriguez's former players said Tuesday they will likely read the book 'Three and Out' about his time as head coach. file photo

Die hard Michigan football fans were able to take their first look inside the Rich Rodriguez coaching era Tuesday with the release of John U. Bacon's book, "Three and Out."

As for the players themselves? They have other things on their minds, notably a homecoming game against Purdue on Saturday (noon, ESPN2).

But will they read Bacon's widely-talked-about peek inside Michigan's football program?

"I remember him coming in here and having all access and stuff, so I'll probably have to check it out," Michigan junior receiver Roy Roundtree said. "I'll probably read it, since I know I'll probably be in there."

Bacon, an Ann Arbor-based freelance writer, author, blogger and instructor, had virtually unrestricted access to the program during Rodriguez's three controversial seasons at Michigan.

He sat in on team meetings, film studies, practices and locker room situations.

While Roundtree said he intends to find himself a copy, Michigan junior defensive end Craig Roh indicated that Bacon's book was the furthest thing from his mind.

"I've just been concentrating on Purdue," Roh said.

Michigan fifth-year senior defensive lineman Will Heininger said he's already read "a few pages" of the book, and intends to finish it when he gets time.

Heininger said he has no issue with the book, and leafing through its pages won't bring back any bad memories he'd like to forget.

"I want to see what professor Bacon has to say," Heininger said. "It's interesting to read someone's account of a life you lived. So it'll be interesting to read it.

"(But) to pay too much attention to it, I don't have time for that right now. I'm more interested (in the book) as a human being."

Borges trying to forget failed 4th down at MSU

Michigan offensive coordinator Al Borges didn't spend too much time discussing the Wolverines' loss at Michigan State during media availability on Tuesday, but did offer some insight into the team's failed late fourth-and-inches play-action pass attempt.

"We didn't execute it. We don't design plays for the quarterback to get blindsided," said Borges, who met with the media for the first time since the 28-14 loss in East Lansing. "I'm trying to move on to Purdue, and that (play) I'm trying to forget."

Borges went on to compliment Michigan State's defensive effort, saying the Spartans were a big part of Michigan's issues.

"Defensively, they are the best team we've played so far," he said. "But some of the things we did were avoidable, let's put it that way. We made some errors and we could have done a better job.

"But Michigan State certainly has a formidable defense."

Mattison: More physicality needed defensively

Following the Michigan State loss, Michigan junior safety Jordan Kovacs said he felt the Spartan offense was simply more physical than the Wolverine defense.

"They pounded us, they beat us up," Kovacs remarked firmly.

Michigan defensive coordinator Greg Mattison wasn't as blunt with his assessment Tuesday, but didn't exactly disagree either.

"Football is a very, very tough game and in any game you're not successful at -- especially at Michigan -- it's maybe because you didn't play as physical as you should have," he said. "There's an attitude and there's a way you have to play here, with the teams we play, that you better be physical."

Mattison said the performance against MSU wasn't a wake-up call for his defense, because they aren't good enough to expect one yet.

"I hope they don't think that they've arrived, and I know that's not the case," he said. "It's more of a reinforcement that you have to do (certain) things, to be a successful defense.

"It doesn't matter if you're the greatest player in the world or if you're average, wherever you are in there, you've got to go through the proper techniques.

Slow starters no longer

Borges had fun with the media Tuesday when asked why Michigan has scored during its first possession over the last four weeks after starting sluggish during the season's opening three weeks.

"Everybody asked me earlier, 'How come you're such a slow starting offense?'" Borges said. "And remember what I told you? I told you, traditionally, offensively we've been a fast starting team when I've coordinated.

"For some reason we weren't, but now we're starting to get it a little more."

Borges said the better starts to games has to do with an improved comfort level within the system. He also added that he typically scripts 15 to 17 plays to begin each game.

Mattison high on Beyer, Clark

Michigan coach Brady Hoke said Monday that freshman linebacker Brennen Beyer and freshman defensive lineman Frank Clark could see more playing time moving forward.

On Tuesday, Mattison agreed.

"They've seen real flashes in practice," he said. "But that little mistake a coach jumps a guy (for) on the practice field could cost you a game (on Saturday). So you have to make sure that they're reliable.

"The guys that have played are going to play. ... But (redshirt freshman linebacker) Jake Ryan played 61 plays (against MSU). And I blame myself for that. Brennen was ready to get some reps, but we were getting three and outs and getting off the field. ... But if you can find a guy to go in for five plays to give a guy a break (it's good)."

Odds and ends

Mattison wouldn't say there's a position battle going on between freshman cornerback Blake Countess and senior cornerback Troy Woolfolk, instead calling it more an instance of Countess improving and earning more playing time. "You'd love to rotate guys a little more," Mattison said. "Blake has shown he can do some things, but he's got to continue to play at the level we want him to." ... Sticking with defensive backs, Mattison said Michigan's secondary has to be more physical against blocking wide receivers in order to shore up some of its perimeter defensive issues. "When a wide receiver tries to block you, that's an insult," he said. "You can't just shadow him, you have to go through him." ... Mattison said he's not concerned about defending two different Purdue quarterbacks on Saturday, explaining that both Caleb TerBush and Robert Marve are similar players that run the same offense.

Nick Baumgardner covers Michigan sports for He can be reached at 734-623-2514, by email at and followed on Twitter @nickbaumgardner.


rusty shackelford

Wed, Oct 26, 2011 : 7:36 p.m.

There's something about using a nickname with a middle initial that's so unseemly, like flying a kite at night.


Wed, Oct 26, 2011 : 7:11 p.m.

I really tired of these Michigan State fans this past 2 weeks. With the recruits we have coming in I hope they know Michigan will return to dominance over them. Hoke comes across as unintelligent sometimes but I think hes actually very crafty he knows how to work the media and seems very open minded. He isn't afraid to run Rodriguez's offense because it's was best for D Rob. I think they will run more pro style when Devin Garner starts in 2013 and even more pro style when Shane Morris or Russ Belllomy takes over in 2014. His hirng of Greg Mattison was pure genious, Mattison is a good coach and a legendary recruiter, I think the next 10 years we will have the best defense in the Big Ten. The only team that will have as much talent as Michigan the next 10 years is Ohio State, I hope they don't hire Urban Meyer...


Wed, Oct 26, 2011 : 6:45 p.m.

I read the book yesterday from cover to cover, very enlightning about College football Brian Kelly and Mark Dantonio are portrayed as Jerks...


Wed, Oct 26, 2011 : 6:43 p.m.

Alabama- 49 Michigan State -7 If they do get to A Bcs Bowl Game and play an SEC team they will get blown out again, only my Wolverines have a winning record against the SEC Go Blue!!!!


Wed, Oct 26, 2011 : 6:26 p.m.

As I said elsewhere, I'll wait to borrow the book from the library. Had Bacon waited to roll this out at least AFTER the end of this season, I'd probably give him my cash. At this point though he's looking for maximum payback by stoking the controversy and building book sales. It is in his financial interest to do this, and in my interest for the recovery of the program to not buy the book at least for now.


Wed, Oct 26, 2011 : 6:06 p.m.

I can't find anyone who has a bad thing to say about John Bacon, except that he may have hurt a few feelings in this book. What happened from 2008-2010 was unhealthy on multiple fronts. How better to avoid it again than to learn from it? Sunlight is the best disinfectant. My copy from Amazon arrived yesterday and I'm reading it this weekend.


Wed, Oct 26, 2011 : 4:37 p.m.

We should have kept Rodriguez and hired Nick Saban as Co head coach. Rodriguez runs the offense , Saban the defense. We would get alll the top recruits in America, we would be so good the other teams wouldn't even show up. The way our offense is right now we won't gain a single yard against Alabama next year, the SEC is far ahead of the Big Ten. I'm worried

Terry Star21

Wed, Oct 26, 2011 : 5:21 p.m.

You're looking for the 'Arts and Entertainment' page.

Lorain Steelmen

Wed, Oct 26, 2011 : 4:16 p.m.

I think we ALL need to move on. The book is fine, and Bacon has a right to print the truth. Like ALL organizations, the U has a wide spectrum of personalites and agendas. Sorry gang, but that's just reality. The kids have a right to read it. IT is HISTORY. But it does NOT have anything to do with this team, and their drive to win title #43. As ususual, the kids have gotten it right, regarding perspectives and priorities. This week is PURDUE week, and nothing else matters. Too bad the so-called adults on here, aren't that far along. Martin, Carr, and Rodriguez, can't help these kids beat Purdue, nor can they prevent them, from winning either. Go Blue!


Wed, Oct 26, 2011 : 2:44 p.m.

A lot of commenters seem to have strong opinions on Bacon's book already. Have you folks already read it? (I mean, aside from the meager excerpts which don't give out enough info to judge it on.)

Terry Star21

Wed, Oct 26, 2011 : 5:22 p.m.

Yes, I found it in the 'Fiction' department at the book store yesterday.


Wed, Oct 26, 2011 : 2:29 p.m.

This books seems to be pretty inconvenient and irritating, to those simple minded enough to place 100% of the blame on Rodriguez for the past three years. Lloyd Carr is a petulant egomaniac, deal.


Wed, Oct 26, 2011 : 9:31 a.m.

Borges really blew it on that 4th and 1 calll... Is there anyway we could sneak Rodriguez into the booth on Saturdays and let him run the offense?

Blu n Tpa

Wed, Oct 26, 2011 : 12:37 p.m.

I think we have had enough, no, more than enough, about the WCiMFH this week. I'm glad that Michigan is back to the point where one questionable call is open for debate. In the last 3 years, it was the whole defense, the whole special teams, and the offense during Big Ten games that cried out for attention.. Oh, yeah. 57-44-6, Michigan's playing the BT part of it's schedule now. The WCiMFH shouldn't be anywhere NEAR Michigan stadium for these games. 6-18-0. (Maybe that should be your moniker)


Wed, Oct 26, 2011 : 9:29 a.m.

Our offense reallly sucks this year except when we run the spread... Everytime we go into that I formation crap, we get stuffed for a 2 yard loss, that is so boring... Maybe we can bring in Rodriguez as a consultant so Denard can complete a few passes?

Terry Star21

Wed, Oct 26, 2011 : 5:25 p.m.

Hello Theo, how have you been ?


Wed, Oct 26, 2011 : 6:58 a.m.

RE: "It's (the book "Three And Out") distracting, irrelevant and quite frankly discouraging for the program." I'll second that and add that "discouraging for the program" is an understatement (probably intentional). Discouraging to Michigan's program: as in (1) showing the world what a dunce former AD Bill Martin was (is). (2) showing the world what a childish, selfish guy Lloyd Carr really is. (3) showing the world how incompetence can devastate even the best organizations, including college football programs. [that's "incompetence" - spelled, "R-i-c-h-R-o-d] Yeah, this book is worth reading if: (a) you want to have a protracted fit of anger, (b) you want to know - in depth- why Michigan has a reputation for being obnoxiously arrogant. I just want to love Michigan - the institution and the football team. But knowing how much of the truth is in this book from first-hand observation makes it not at all fun to read. Last thing about it: no reviewer or anyone in sports media is disputing one word of Bacon's book - this work may seem like a defense of RR but it's also an important 'history lesson' for all interested parties. RR still looks like a failure to me, even after reading the book. As for Michigan's present status: lets just hope that what we hope is true really is true. Beating the next three teams on the schedule is still "Job One." Go Blue!


Wed, Oct 26, 2011 : 6:57 a.m.

Right on Mick! It's a free country, read what they want. It's not Hoke and the present coaches and AD who will be embarrassed by the book. It's not going to distract the players or the coaches. So what if a few old "Michigan men" look like jerks. History is a good thing to know. It will help the current administration, coaches, and a few fat headed alumni act with more integrity. Cheers to those who love Michigan football and like a good read. Some of us can chew bubble gum and walk at the same time.


Wed, Oct 26, 2011 : 4:59 a.m.

Bacon has a lot of fat in it and is not very good for you. But damn it goes great with eggs!!! maybe I'll start eating more sausage and ham in dispute of this books angle.


Wed, Oct 26, 2011 : 4:49 a.m.

This is a free country and the players should be able to read whatever they want. However, I do hope that maybe they'll decide to read it after the season because of their studies and the team. I'm so sick of the previous coach and all the articles and stories and books and...... Go Blue!!!

1st Down

Wed, Oct 26, 2011 : 4:39 a.m.

btw... has anyone in the media noticed that Coach Hoke and Coach Mattison have our defense ranked in the top 20 in College football...after the DEBACLE that Rich Rodriguez and his staff of lackeys put our defense through for 3 straight seasons... or are you media types more interested in prostituting Bacons book for your headlines and internet clicks? Yah...thats what we thought.

Blu n Tpa

Wed, Oct 26, 2011 : 12:29 p.m.

OK. I stayed out of this the other day because it's counterproductive and Michigan is in the middle of a turnaround football season with a new coaching staff. If someone wants to write a book about the last 3 years of Michigan football, under the Worst Coach in Michigan Football History (WCiMFH), that's fine with me. What I won't stand for is "John Bacon" posting that "the same people who never once missed a chance to lambaste ...character over the last 3 years instead of supporting the student-athletes" is directed at people who ALWAYS supported Michigan players. I dare you "Mr. Bacon" to find one example where those who disagreed with the last guy "undermined the best interests of those student-athletes." Where? When? and How do you support that statement? We have all read RVB's quote and feel his angst over not having past players being there for his teams. Are they there now? When one or two guys don't show up that can be person choice. But when groups of people, like most of the past players of Michigan football, don't feel welcome, then there's another source of conflict. What's changed at Michigan over the last 10 months that makes past players feel the need to come back? It's either the WCiMFH is gone or that Coach Hoke is here. You, "Mr. Bacon", can draw your own conclusions. TiM, again Go Blue!

1st Down

Wed, Oct 26, 2011 : 4:36 a.m.

Great... now Bacon's bull is poluting the team as it tries to rebound from the RR Mess. Thanks Mr. Bacon for supporting your god..Mr RR and continuing to destroy Michigan Football in the process. Is it worth it to you Bacon $$? lies and accusations just smear you dont complain that people hate you for what you wrote.

Terry Star21

Wed, Oct 26, 2011 : 5:32 p.m.

Good job 1st down...I like you're first reply person - "Bacon has completely thrown his career away...selling his soul'..... so true. Non-believers can find this book at the Fiction Department in the bookstore, or Arts and Entertainment' section.


Wed, Oct 26, 2011 : 5:20 p.m.

Have you read it? If so, what exactly are the lies? If you have not read it you are irresponsible for alleging something you don't know.


Wed, Oct 26, 2011 : 11:59 a.m.

Give it up. If you haven't noticed, very few are supporting your opinion.


Wed, Oct 26, 2011 : 3:55 a.m.

While I agree that the players shouldn't let the book be a distraction I don't see anything wrong with them reading it after the season is done or between the regular season and the bowl game. Like Heininger said, it should be interesting to see someone elses account of something you lived. As fans, we can have opinions but we don't have the right to tell the players they shouldn't read the book.

Terry Star21

Wed, Oct 26, 2011 : 2:30 a.m.

I agree Matt, the Football Faithful and the players need to stay focused on the present and future. I have no problems with others reading this 'three-year nightmare', as it will surely be interesting and shocking - a good read for the uninformed. MgoBlueForTiM...............staying focused on the present and future.........

Matt Patercsak

Wed, Oct 26, 2011 : 1:44 a.m.

I don't think the players should read this book. It's distracting, irrelevant and quite frankly discouraging for the program. They need to stay focused on the task at hand. read your textbooks and playbooks, not this.