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More on Rich Rodriguez
Monday, 2007 December 17 - 9:14 pm
First of all, I'm already tired of the phrases "RR in AA" and "In Rod We Trust". We're in dire need of a less hackneyed nickname or catch phrase.

At this morning's press conference, Rodriguez was appropriately reverential towards Michigan's history and traditions. Remember when I listed the things I wanted to see in a Michigan coach? Let's see how Rodriguez stacks up.

Someone who understands the importance of Michigan tradition. Um, half a point for Rodriguez here. He says, "I'm studying, I know a little bit about the tradition. I'm studying it, following it, will know it very well in a short period of time."

Someone who is committed to upholding the class and integrity of the program. Full point. Quote: "I know everybody who is involved in this great university knows that they do things here the right way, and we will do things here the right way and we will want to deserve to win." Amen.

Someone who understands college athletes, and who can build relationships with them. Check. "I'm big on the [players'] names. I don't know y'all's names, but I'm big on them knowing my name and knowing their families' names, and those of us that follow West Virginia, we are a big family atmosphere. Some people say it and some people live it; we prefer to live it."

Someone who understands the depth of the Michigan/Ohio State rivalry. Half point. "I understand it. It's obviously one of the greatest rivalries in college football. Michigan is unique, and director Martin told me this, you have three rivalries ... you have Michigan State, Ohio State and Notre Dame. That's unique. Most programs maybe have only one or two." Someone get this guy a copy of the HBO special on the M-OSU rivalry. It's bigger than he thinks it is, and that fact will get hammered down his throat. Two words for you, Rich: John Cooper. There's a guy who did not appreciate the depth of this rivalry.

Someone who knows how to use players with superior talent. Full point; he's worked with quality players and knows how to adjust his schemes to his talent. Maybe he hasn't worked with Michigan-level talent before, but he clearly understands football players.

Someone who understands how to coach speed. Full point, and a bonus point.

Here's something interesting... the emerging theory is that the big draw for Rodriguez is that the football program has the full support of the administration, especially financially. "When I asked a few questions about 'What about this or what about that,' or even the things that I thought maybe we should have, it was never a question. 'Yes, we'll do it, or we're doing it.' And that's pretty neat to hear." Michigan pours a lot of money and attention into the football program; I think Rodriguez found WVU's effort lacking.

Last thing: at one point, I said I didn't want to see a spread offense at Michigan. I can be convinced otherwise. What I miss from the Bo Schembechler era was the way we pummeled opponents into submission with superior strength and determination. I thought I missed the strength, but what I'm realizing now is that I really missed the pummeling. As long as we pummel, I will be happy.
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