In Rod we Trust

Monday, December 17, 2007

If you listen, you can actually hear Wolverine nation exhale. After weeks of painful, embarassing, and ham-handed searching, Bill Martin finally did it. He found someone who was willing to coach the men's varsity football team at the University of Michigan.

Rich Rodriguez, welcome to the fold.

Rodriguez was 60-26 in his 7 years at West Virginia. He is known as one of the earliest authors of the spread option, and is apparently viewed in coaching circles as one of the best X's and O's minds in football. He can recruit. He can even *gasp* speak to the media. Sure it cost a few extra million dollars to pry him away from West Virginia. It was worth it.

However, it's easy to see growing pains ahead. Rodriguez may be a great coach, but I wonder how he will fit in at Michigan.

  • His defenses were less than stellar. That won't fly in Ann Arbor, and it doesn't bode well for the Big Ten.
  • He is going to implement an offense based on the ability of a mobile quarterback to read a defense. Have you seen Ryan Mallett?
  • He has a history of allowing some players of... um... 'questionable moral stature' onto the field. That REALLY won't fly with Lloyd, Bill Martin, or most of the alums.

But the biggest change will be the cultural shift. Michigan Football has basically had one administration since 1968. Hell, several pages of the playbook haven't changed in decades. What happens the first time an option pitch hits the turf? Will the alumni flip out and cry for the old days of Student Body Left? Or when the latest prized QB recruit gets hurt trying to turn the corner? New and scary things may happen in the Big House (though HOPEFULLY not as scary as App State)

But, all things considered, this is a really good hire for Michigan. They get a big name coach with BCS-conference success. Michigan probably won't lose any recruits over this change(PLEEEEEEEEEEEASE still come to Ann Arbor, Sam McGuffie. Please. Pretty please...). In fact, right after the announcement was made, uber-recruit Terrelle Pryor announced that Michigan was now on his short list. That's a good sign.


Smitty 11:10 AM  

As a sadly-committed Sparty, I was *really* hoping U of M would screw this up and give us a chance.

That said, who knows how this cultural shift will affect U of M's overall game. Maybe Sparty under Dantonio will actually be...competitive against the Wolverines.

Bob "Chief Beer Advocate" 11:12 AM  

As all here probably know, I know nothing of football, so I will just hijack this post for a sec to compliment, B Mac on the fine assortment of beers he brought to a little engagement on Friday.

I arrived a little earlier and brought the MBC assortment pack. It was gobbled up quickly in place of our gracious host’s assortment of Rolling Rock. B Mac arrived just in time to provide reinforcements in the form of a second assortment pack, just as mine ran out.

It was as if we planned it, but no. Great minds DO just think alike.

Andy 1:32 PM  

Just watched ½ the press conference with Martin and Rodriguez. I am fairly excited about Rich Rodriguez.

He said a lot of things.

He admitted that he knew little about Michigan history. But he showed that he wanted to learn. He said he bought a Shembechler book and is reading it on the plane back to Morgantown. He also greatly praised Lloyd Carr. All of that will endure him to the UM fans.

He said that he will be bringing some coaches, keeping some coaches, and bringing in some coaches from the outside. He brought with him his offensive coordinator and his secondary/recruiting coach, which means that good old Mike DeBord (UM O Coordinator) may be on the hot seat. That should be interesting.

He talked about W Va with distinction, but in essence said that Michigan was the job he wanted. Not Alabama. Not anything else. That was also nice to hear.

He said that he would run the spread, but the spread is dependent on the pieces that he has. He said that in the past he has used the pass game when he has a great Q and WR’s. And that he has greatly used the run when he has assets. This should make UM backers happy – we will still run. In fact, the Michigan O should be very happy, except Ryan Mallett. I hope that Mallett is made happy in that he is still the go-to guy. But he will be the only wild card. But, I read on ESPN, that Rodriguez has been recruiting a great QB from PA, and that the QB has just put Michigan on his list. That would be nice for the future.

Oh, and he knows the rivalries. He said that UM-OSU is one of the greatest, and that Michigan is unique in that it has 3 rivals – OSU, MSU, ND. This makes everyone happy. Although he also said that we are everyone’s rivals…which is also true.

I don’t know if Rodriguez will coach W Va in the bowl game. He equivocated. He said if he was a distraction, then he wouldn’t. But it seemed like he wants to. I guess we’ll see.

So, I say thumbs up as we usher in the Rich Rodriguez era into Michigan lore.

Smitty 2:19 PM  

He said a lot of things

That was the most profound and succinct synopsis of a press conference I've ever heard.

steves 6:07 PM  

He seems like a talented guy. Maybe he could clean house and get rid of Andy Moeller. You would think that after his dad's issues with alcohol contributed to his losing his job, he would be a little more cautious.

Rickey Henderson 4:07 PM  

Enjoy your rod in good health.

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