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Posted on Sun, Aug 30, 2009 : 3:44 p.m.

Chad Henne: Players complaining about Michigan football team's off-season program 'don't want to be the best'

By Dave Birkett

Chad Henne doesn’t know what it's like to practice under Rich Rodriguez, but the former Michigan quarterback does know what it takes to play major college football, and he said it can’t be done in a 20-hour week.

“Twenty hours is a very, very small portion of what you do, especially if you’re a quarterback at a high-profile school,” Henne, now with the Miami Dolphins, said in a phone interview Sunday. “Twenty hours isn’t enough for you. You have to be in there by yourself, studying film, no coaches around, and doing it on your own. That’s where the leadership comes in and that’s where, if you want to get better and play better, you have to do it on your own.”

Several current and former Michigan players told the Detroit Free Press in a story published Saturday they were required to work out and practice more than NCAA regulations allow.

In season, players can participate in up to 20 hours a week of football-related activities. Out of season, they get eight.

Players can exceed those limits so long as they're not forced to by coaches. Henne, who played under Lloyd Carr, said most put in extra time.

“I tried to be there as much as I could,” he said. “If I wasn’t in class, I’d be down there studying film and trying to get the gameplan ahead of time just so I’m prepared for that week and that game.”

Was he obligated to be there by coaches?

"Nah," Henne said. "That’s the players. They have to know, 20 hours, you’re never going to be 20 hours limited. You think about it, you get done with class, you start practice around 2:30 for meetings or whatever, then you go through practice, you get done at 7. So that’s four-and-a-half hours. There’s no way - you’re going to use up 20 hours easily in practice.”

As for the anonymous players who complained, Henne suggested some might have ulterior motives.

“I really think whoever’s saying it really doesn’t want to be there,” Henne said. “If they’re saying that then they’re not really worried about the team, they’re not worried about what they’re going to do during their season and they’re kind of just giving themselves up. That’s just negative talk right there. So whoever it is just really doesn’t care about the team, I would say.

“If they’re complaining about that, then they don’t want to be the best they can be and that’s their own fault.”



Wed, Sep 2, 2009 : 10:29 a.m.

Shame on Rosenberg - Well done Chad Henne! What about we all make a statement and cancel our subscriptions to the Free Press? Perhaps that would get their attention better than a sladerous story about hard work and dedication!


Tue, Sep 1, 2009 : 7:11 p.m.

I don't believe in the "everybody does it" school of thought. But I will nod to "many people do it sometimes". I'll wait for the outcome of inquiries, and I'm pleased that the University has jumped on this. Like most Michigan grads I'm proud of the fact that we don't condone inappropriate actions when they come to light. Seems from what I've been reading that the key is going to be the distinction between "voluntary" and "mandatory". If the coaches *told* players to do things that exceed the allowed time I'm for dealing strongly with it. But if, as people like Chad Henne have commented, players put in extra time to try to be their best, I don't see that as a violation (as I understand the rules). Just as one person mentioned, I used to study until 1 to 3 am every night while I was in Engineering school. And hold a couple of jobs to support myself and my wife and to pay for school. So I respect players who put in the hours they need to excel, and probably additional hours to handle the non-athletic portions of their lives. In other contexts we call this mastering one's time management. And it's seen as a strength. I'll wait to see what comes of this, but either way Rich better produce or move on down the road. He had excellent results at his last job and I believe that great coaches win more than they could be expected to, whatever the situation. So I'm looking to see us quit losing to teams that we should be beating the hell out of. And get back to the top level.


Tue, Sep 1, 2009 : 6:44 a.m.

It's good of Chad to step up, Michigan's current team leaders need to do so as well. This accusation is a challenge that could unify or divide these players. They have an interstate team coming to town in 4 days, I'm guessing the Bronco's are hungry, focussed and unified in their goal.


Mon, Aug 31, 2009 : 10:21 a.m.

Yes. And Lloyd should have limited John Navarre's snaps to, say, zero and had Jermaine Gonzalez be the QB for all those teams. Then we would have won that Rose Bowl that Navarre floundered away, Lloyd would have realized the enormity and utility of a mobile QB, he himself would have developed the "Lloyd spread" attack, and NONE of this other stuff would have ever happened.

Ann Arbor Resident

Mon, Aug 31, 2009 : 10:02 a.m.

Let's limit how much a CEO or Universtiy President can work because we think it is best for them and their family....


Mon, Aug 31, 2009 : 8:40 a.m.

Let's just pay these pro's what they deserve...they'll need it in their older years as walking victims of numerous micro closed head injuries and their early Ahlzheimers sets in....I say minimum wage...what did they pay the Roman Gladiators?

Ann Arbor Resident

Mon, Aug 31, 2009 : 6:50 a.m.

Most college athletes are in college to try to get to the next level and to have a successful professional career. Most other students are here to get to the next level and to end up with a sucessful career in their chosen profession. Lets's limit how much athletes can practice at their "major sport". Too much of one thing is not "good for them" and "WE (NCAA)" know best. Let's limit how many hours the engineering student can spend at the library (have you ever been at the engineering library late at night to see the 2am pizza deliveries?), how many hours the grad student can spend in the lab (show me a grad student that works less than 60 hours a week and is not in the lab 7 days a week) and how many hours the intern can spend in the ermergency room. While we are at it, let's give everyone 6 weeks of vacation a year! Wait, do we live in Eurpoe now? Let's give Rosenberg the award he is seeking and then maybe he will go away. He missed out on the Kilpatrick story that gave his colleagues honors. He needs this to become whole.

Tony Dearing

Mon, Aug 31, 2009 : 6:29 a.m.

A comment was removed because of a personal attack.


Mon, Aug 31, 2009 : 4:58 a.m.

Someone made this good point in a comment on another blog re: what's voluntary and what's not. When your boss tells you he's having a party, but attendance is strictly voluntary. When your wife asks you if you want to go to her sister's wedding "only if you want to." Yeah, technically it's voluntary. But so is your boss's decision to give you a raise and your wife's decision to give you "something else." So everybody needs to settle down and not let the Free Press's shoddy ambush journalism prematurely smear RR. Btw, somebody should do some investigative journalism of this Rosenberg guy. Seems like he writes with an agenda against Michigan-- which, I'm sure, he doesn't understand is unprofessional. Some Michigan man probably punctured his blow-up doll sometime in the past and he never got over it.


Mon, Aug 31, 2009 : 4:41 a.m.

My take: On one side we're seeing an apparent "movement' based on resentments against UofM (recently displayed by all the second-tier colleges in the state) and sports journalists wanting to (a) make a name for themselves, (b) join the pile-on against Coach Rodriguez and UofM. On the other side: (almost as bad) are the unquestioning "fans" who will support UofM and Rich Rod beyond rationality. Somewhere in the middle - is where we should all be on this particular "revelation." For one thing: the hours (and kind) of conditioning to achieve athletic excellence are: really, really a large number. I know for example that the off-season limits set by NCAA are ridiculously low. Even a non-athlete like myself (at age 64) needs 9 hours a week to just "stay in shape" to perform adequately at cycling (my pursuit in old age). Seventh through twelfth grades: I was (mostly) a shot putter - and anchor on the 220 x 880 relay. Did is sit on my butt and still set the school shot put record: not on your life. My parents would get angry because I would (regularly) stagger in 90 minutes late for supper. I had my own weight room in the basement, a shot put circle (concrete) in the vacant lot behind our house. Did I put in 20 hours per week on workouts? Darned well better believe I did! Did that affect my academic performance? Sure as heck, it did. Tough life, life is tough - so toughen up. Like Chad Henne said, those who don't want to excel will find "reasons" to excuse themselves. Which is okay - IF they don't use character assassination and blame coaches, teachers, whoever is handy and vulnerable. But wait: there's a fact of physical conditioning which (really) Coach Rodriguez and his conditioning coach do NOT seem to know about! That is: after each period of exertion, there must be a period of 'recovery.' Just ask the established sports medicine people, they'll confirm that. These recovery periods can be from a few hours to 24 hours - but they MUST be provided it an athlete's body is to become stronger! The body needs time to recharge and rebuild - that's the whole idea behind regimented conditioning. So - as when the Wolverines are required to do heavy conditioning the day following a game: Rodrguez's regimen is actually harmful! There is no such thing as a 7 day a week workout schedule - period. Not if it's legitimate. That much I know. So - for that kind of "mistake" - Coach Rodriguez AND Coach Barwis should be penalized in some way - by officials of NCAA or Big Ten or both. But - NEVER should the football team be penalized for the actions of their coaches. There's NO need for partisans blasting away at each other: the question is straightforward and the determination of "if" and "how much" should be left to the NCAA and the Big Ten officials. In the end - this "snitching" and journalistic hype will probably benefit Michigan's football program. The NCAA and Big Ten officials know: to keep fan interest and preserve college football as a Big Money enterprise; they'll have to be realistic in their determinations about Rodriguez and his program.


Mon, Aug 31, 2009 : 1:44 a.m.

That comment was intended to Charley Sullivan, not kingky. Excuse me!


Mon, Aug 31, 2009 : 1:42 a.m.

That comment was directed towards Charley Sulliven. Please excuse me kingky!


Mon, Aug 31, 2009 : 1:33 a.m.

Kingky, with all due respect, my comment about the EMU Ladies EMU Crew team was a random sarcastic statement. Comparing EMU Ladies Crew and Michigan Football is naieve, stupid, and way off base. My comments were intended to show that we live in a society where people like Michael Rosenberg make their living on attacking a vulnerable and popular subject like Coach Rich Rodriguez in a time that is easy to do so. Furthermroe, I believe that this story would not have been written if Michigan would have been 9-3 instead of 3-9 in 2008. Face it, Coach Rodriguez is a hot topic in the media! He is a "sexy" subject to many Michigan fans who never seem to be pleased, especially to the same fans that cried about Lloyd Carr all of those years. I am sick of all the crap! I am sick of the witch hunt! Most of all, I am sick of Michael Rosenberg!


Sun, Aug 30, 2009 : 11:03 p.m.

I cant take it! People calling for RR's head for wanting his players to be the best they can be? Anybody on here realize that 26 players under Urban Meyer have been arrested in the last 36 months....get a grip folks.


Sun, Aug 30, 2009 : 11:01 p.m.

OK Henne: How about those players that don't have the respect and responsibility you had. Of course you worked for it, and we all know to be truly good, one has to put in an extraordinary amount of time. How about those guys that got dumped on? That gave and gave and really didn't get the opportunities that you did? Did you think it was fair what happened to Gutz? I really think you making some comments on Rich Rod's dilemma is really not your place, even though you pointed that out. It sounds like Rich Rod went too far, and he's been caught. As a leader I'd hope that you could see past your previous role as a U of M QB and think of someone else's situation.


Sun, Aug 30, 2009 : 10:49 p.m.

Folks, I all makes perfect sense. The attitude and actions of former players like Terrance Taylor explains why Michigan hasn't beaten TOSU in the last 5 years and why App State embarrassed us in the Big House. I guess there were guys (besides Henne?) under Carr's regime who didn't feel like they had to expend extra effort to be great. M really did stand for mediocre. What did the 2008 players expect? They had to transform from fat and slow to trim and quick in order to execute the spread option.


Sun, Aug 30, 2009 : 10:28 p.m.

I see 2 camps here--the "screw the Free Press/Rosenberg and Snyder" vs. the "defend Rich Rod and all that is right" camps. It's an interesting debate, but I think it's misguided. My take on it is that his fitness or 'rightness' for the program has little to do with actual wins and losses but more to do with his fitness for the job. Though he lost to Toledo, Purdue, and many others, what bothers me personally is how he dragged the University into his lawsuit against WVU (even though he just signed his contract months before reneging on his deal); how he makes it sound like there was nothing here before he came personnel-wise; how he doesn't seem to get the tradition of putting the University first over the football program (even when we all know the coach is much bigger than the U president in the public stage). Lloyd Carr was great at doing this, and frankly, so was Bo. And when it came down to it, he simply did not have his players prepared to play last year except against Minnesota and for a quarter against PSU. I admit, maybe I have been unfair in my past judgments against him, but I just have felt from the get-go that Rodriguez is about Rod and that makes me feel quite skittish. As far as Henne's comments: Of course, it takes work to be an elite anything--athlete, scientist, lawyer, whatever. But there are ways of doing that within the rules, and from the depiction in the Freep, it does not sound like those rules were followed closely enough. At Michigan, with as prominent as football is, there should not even be a question or a doubt about crossing that line. Not even close. and that's the biggest shame of all. Forget Vendettas from Rosenberg or whatever. Let's look at the conduct, and that's where I just feel sick over this. And Rodriguez gives off an air that his way is far superior to the old way. Well, the old way was not perfect--continually lost to OSU, USC, texas, etc; but it won with respect for the opponent and always showed up to games (well, almost always). With Rodriguez's comments, it sounds like he is saying that the old regime did not know squat, and that is tarnishing a winning tradition, proving an outsider's perspective.


Sun, Aug 30, 2009 : 10:20 p.m.

A lot of people are taking these rumors as verified fact and jumping to all sorts of conclusions.... and all that does is stir the pot. The reality of the situation is that none of us actually know what really has transpired within the UofM football program, and all we can do is hope for the best outcome of this ongoing (yeah, it's disappointing too) investigation.


Sun, Aug 30, 2009 : 9:38 p.m.

wow...what a bunch of pansies. I'm really beginning to think the former Michigan practices were a cakewalk, before RR came on the scene. The fact so many players seem to be whining about preparing just shows the general lack of hard work ethic that is ever fading in this country. Too many athletes have an Allen Iverson mentality - "practice?"


Sun, Aug 30, 2009 : 9:27 p.m.

The bottom line here is that voluntary workouts in any program are not truely voluntary. Anyone who has ever participated in organized sports knows when a voluntary practice is set up, those that are there will always get preference because it shows their level of dedication to the program and team. If you wanted to play you better be there unless you were some kind of rare talent that couldn't be kept of the field.


Sun, Aug 30, 2009 : 9:20 p.m.

Matt...Like you know the truth to this issue right...right


Sun, Aug 30, 2009 : 9:18 p.m.

Matt, now your judge and jury, I'm impressed


Sun, Aug 30, 2009 : 9:14 p.m.

Regardless RichRod broke the rules....he should be punished..


Sun, Aug 30, 2009 : 9:12 p.m.

None of us want to be patient about the resetting of the football team but the time spent by the athletic department finding a coach should bear fruit and, yes, you are going to have disgruntled people on all fronts until they have a winning season. No one is more impatient than myself as a life long Michigan fan but we have to be patient and supportive! Some people act like we hired Michael Jackson's doctor here! We have to give it a chance!!


Sun, Aug 30, 2009 : 8:37 p.m.

PEOPLE! Chad has stated exactly what the problem is! The extra time must be ON THEIR OWN. This time was mandated by RichRod. This is a complete disregard for the rules, and an embarrassment to the university. The search for a new coach should begin immediately.


Sun, Aug 30, 2009 : 7:16 p.m.

I never played organized football so I probably don't have a clue on the hours involved - but common sense would tell me you'd have to put in more than 20 hours if you want to play for a "big league" program or any school. I had a Son involved in baseball at the high school level and he was baseball and physical strength involved - as well being a straight A student - 24/7! Was he required to do so - no and many kids didn't - but to take it from the middle level high school to a big program like UofM you'd better be one of those that are at it 24/7. Sports - just like studying its hard work and if you're at a school as big across the nation as University of Michigan you would have to expect that if you wanted to be an elite athlete and/or student you'd disappoint yourself more than anyone for not putting forth the effort. Thankfully my Son studied hard as it gets harder "to qualify" in sports at each level - there's only so many spots available across the country and the talent pool is large. If you live and breathe strength and brains and find the right motivator/mentor your personal level of success increases dramatically. Let's give these kids and this program a chance to succeed! Go Blue!


Sun, Aug 30, 2009 : 6:59 p.m.

Exactly what does Chad know about the requirements for "being the best"?

Alan Goldsmith

Sun, Aug 30, 2009 : 6:04 p.m.

"Chad Henne doesnt know what it's like to practice under Rich Rodriguez..."

Charley Sullivan

Sun, Aug 30, 2009 : 6 p.m.

Sorry, that should read, "please notE the if"

Charley Sullivan

Sun, Aug 30, 2009 : 5:58 p.m.

jb82: I started the women's rowing team at EMU, and coached it to its highest regional finishes. We never, ever, not once, went over the 20 hour per week limits in season, or the 8 hours out. If athletes chose to train on their own or in small groups outside that, that was, of course, their option, but I never knew who was doing what or when, I didn't track it, etc. I'm fairly certain that the two coaches since me, both of whom I know, have also not exceeded those limits, either on paper, or in the spirit of the rules. I've been scratching my head all day about how if (please not the if) the U-M football team was present on Sundays in season for between 10-12 hours, that could possibly happen within the rules. But I'd look forward to seeing an accounting of that time.

Macabre Sunset

Sun, Aug 30, 2009 : 5:05 p.m.

Spoken like a man who never quarterbacked a win over Ohio State, and isn't even the best quarterback named Chad on his new team.


Sun, Aug 30, 2009 : 4:52 p.m.

I thought all the malcontents left when Henne and Hart left.


Sun, Aug 30, 2009 : 4:24 p.m.

I completely agree with Henne...there still seem to be some malcontents in the program and some that left last season. That said, it doesn't change the fact that this could lead to some serious penalties for the Michigan program depending on what the NCAA wants to do. I really don't want to see this spiral into something that will turn the Michigan program into second rate status for 10 years like our basketball team just finally climbed out of. Let's hope this doesn't amount to something huge and we can reset our focus on playing some football.


Sun, Aug 30, 2009 : 4:21 p.m.

Finally a view from the other side. Thanks Chad for telling it like it is. One point to Ann for posting this story. You're still way in the red of course, but there may still be hope, little hope, but still - Hope.


Sun, Aug 30, 2009 : 4:10 p.m.

Thank you Chad! This punk Rosenberg from the Free Press has had it out for Coach Rodriguez ever since he has taken the job. This story to me is not a issue and every program from Football to the girls crew team at EMU puts more hours than the NCAA "permits".