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The Art of No Story: The Toledo Blade Tries to Make Something of Nothing

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Even though these is no news out there on where former Michigan quarterback Steven Threet is going, that won't stop the normally reliable Toledo Blade from writing something stupid.

Before you follow this link, let me warn you. This is just crap. This is pile on Rodriguez. This is something bad is under the surface, really. But don't look too closely at what we wrote because we don't have a clue what we're talking about. Let me summarize: Oh noes. Threet forced out. No love from coaches. Dreams crushed by evil coach. Just so you know what kind of crap we're talking about, observe:

It wasn't some simple writing on the wall that caused Michigan quarterback Steven Threet to transfer.

More like a mural, and Rich Rodriguez was holding the paint brush.

Now, before we go any further, this is not suggesting that Rodriguez forced or encouraged Threet to leave UM. Background conversations after Threet's announcement Sunday night don't draw such conclusions. (emphasis mine.)

Quick. Read my disclaimer before I bash the coach without support! Weeeee!

Before we go any further, let's getting something clear. Steven Threet was not a good QB last year. He was a very bad one.  The stats gathered by Maize n Blue Nation bear this point out. But crap like this, without citation or quote is lazy journalism:

But for Threet, who was literally born a Wolverines fan, to decide to transfer for the second time in three years after declaring a month ago he had no such intentions, it had to be painfully obvious to him that his career at UM was all but finished. So obvious that Threet was no longer blinded by his lifelong love for the Wolverines - a love that might've shielded him from ominous early signs about his future.

Wha.... bu... so stup... geh....


HT: Mgo. via

This is so goddamn stupid I don't know where to begin. Threet was never initially on the Michigan radar when he came out of high school as a 4 star recruit from Adrian, Michigan. After not receiving an offer from Michigan, who had all-world recruit Ryan Mallett in the fold, Threet chose Georgia Tech and enrolled for spring semester. Unfortunately for Threet, the coaches recruiting him left, leaving him without the protective umbrella of those who had a vested interest in his success. As spring ball progressed, it became apparent Threet would not be the opening day starter and he chose to transfer. Michigan was a good, but illogical, place. Threet would have to battle 5 star uber-recruit Ryan Mallett for the starting job. There were loads of other opportunities out there that didn't come with an anointed, can't miss quarterback. But Threet came here anyway, and of his own free will on the premise that he could "beat out" Mallett.

As luck would have it, fate dropped the keys to the Michigan raodster into his lap. Carr retired after a disastrous start to the 2007 season ended in a 2008 Citrus Bowl win. Rich Rodriguez was hired, most of the coaching staff that had marginally recruited Threet left, as did Ryan Mallett. Threet was the heir apparent. No other QB to beat except a walk-on with a noodle for an arm. It was a new system, but Threet was an Elite 11 QB with a strong arm. He'd run the spread in High School. He had some decent wheels. He should have been the starter. A kid that wasn't recruited by his boyhood dream team was suddenly its starting quarterback.

But, as things turned out, he wasn't.

He was beat out by the walk-on. Beat out by a guy without a single D-1 offer. When Threet played, he was at best marginal. His accuracy was spotty even in the pocket. His reads seldom progressed past the second stage. His command of the offense never really materialized. He was a freshman running a complex offense that not only called for him to throw the ball on the roll out, but run with it occasionally. Unfortunately for Michigan and Threet, he didn't do either particularly well. As a result, Threet was not assured a starting position. He was heading into this year like any other player on a 3-9 team, competing for a job. And, as timing would have it, Threet left before that competition even began.

What drives me nuts about the Blade's article is that somehow Threet's decision was forced by Rodriguez.

Rodriguez dropped hints throughout the season that Threet wasn't necessarily in his plans for quarterback in 2009, and lately has barely even mentioned Threet's name when the topic was broached.

Even worse, though, was Rodriguez leaving Threet home for UM's season finale at Ohio State. Threet was hurt and unable to play, true, but he also was the starting quarterback for eight games and an obvious leader.

Normally in those situations, the injured players make the trip, much like Threet did for a road game at Minnesota and right tackle Stephen Schilling did against the Buckeyes. But Threet was left home with no real explanation from Rodriguez.

Throw in the unabashed fawning over UM's two quarterback recruits - Tate Forcier and Denard Robinson - and it suddenly becomes clear what Threet saw in store for himself.

(steam pours from ears)

I'll address these paragraphs in order. First, when a quarterback has a 50% completion rating, a 9/7 TD/INT ratio, has shown me can't throw on the run, can't throw the intermediate route, and isn't progressing during games, what the hell is the coach supposed to do? If a quarterback is progressing in ways that are not obvious to the casual observer some praise will flow. But If Rodriguez said, "man, Steven was great today. Never mind that 40% completion percentage and all those picks, he had a great game." Something tells me the media and fans would've hauled his ass off to the funny farm in a straight jacket. Threet wasn't that good. He was better than Sheridan. But he wasn't that good. So what in hell was Rodriguez supposed to say?

Second and third, "Threet was left home with no real explanation from Rodriguez." Where's your cite for this? Who told you? Did Threet? Or are you just making this up for a compelling tag line? Players get left home from time to time. They get to travel from time to time. OSU wasn't one of them. The alternative was to have Threet on the sideline, physically impaired to the point of uselessness, with everyone on earth calling for him to be in the game. If Threet was physically capable of playing I blieve he would've made the trip. But having him there made no sense game wise, little sense "leadership" wise, and would've caused more than a couple of "why didn't he play Threet?" headlines. The way the season was going, that's a coaches decision that makes a lot of sense to me.

Fourth, the assertion that the "unabashed fawning over UM's two quarterback recruits - Tate Forcier and Denard Robinson" forced Threet out the door is utter crap. Threet came here to compete against Ryan Mallett, a QB rated as the fourth best prospect in the country. These guys aren't even five star recruits. Further, after a 3-9 season isn't it normal to expect a fan base to look to the future until it's present reminds the fan base that it's actually pretty good? When a team is struggling the most popular guy on the team is the back up quarterback. I found myself asking out loud, "Why isn't David Cone getting a shot" when I know the answer is "he is really that bad."

What Threet had in store for himself was competition. Pure and simple. He had to beat out good competition for the job. He had to show people he was as good as he marketed himself. But he has instead chosen to transfer. Again.

The Toledo Blade is suggesting that a Coach looking out for his program's future by recruiting talented players at a position of need is unfair to Steven Threet. They are trying to turn the decision of a 19 year-old kid to leave a football program into a heart wrenching "he grew up a block away and his parents have to sell their season tickets" gut turner. They are trying to assess blame, in a blameless game, against a coach without evidence or support. 

A Coach has a duty to look out for his program's present and future. If it comes out that Rodriguez forced the kid out the door, then its a story. But there isn't. There are no cites. There are no quotes. There is just supposition and bad writing. In short, there is no story.

Drew Sharp is calling to congratulate you.

Threet Related links:

Dr. Saturday looks at the impact on 2009. The Michigan Daily says Threet handled himself with class and dignity after a difficult year. Dan Feldman also points out that regardless of where Threet ends up "Because he already transferred once, Threet will have to sit out next season no matter the level of his new school." There are rumors flying around that Threet is enroute to North Dakota State University, courtesy of Bisonville.