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17 Dec 2007

Audibles Special: Rich Rodriguez to Michigan

compiled by Doug Farrar

Today's Audibles at the Line ended up with a long conversation about the hiring of Rich Rodriguez at Michigan... since that's a very different discussion than the discussion of Week 15's NFL games, we thought we would give this its own space...

Ned Macey: I'm not a college football expert, but if you had a choice between Rich Rodriguez, Les Miles, and Greg Schiano, wouldn't you rather have Rodriguez?

Sean McCormick: Short answer? No. How many pro prospects does Michigan turn out? How many does West Virginia? That offense and defense are strictly college junk. I would hate to see Michigan start running that awful spread quarterback option offense.

Aaron Schatz: Not to mention Cam Cameron. What the hell was going on with that rumor?

Russell Levine: For X's and O's, I prefer Rodriguez to both Miles and Schiano.

For "best fit for the program," Miles probably gets the edge because he understands Michigan and what it means to coach there, and he'd never want another job. Rodriguez just left his alma mater, so who's to say how important Michigan is to him? Although you could look at that the other way too -- that he just left his alma mater because it's Michigan and it's a better job, period.

Stuart, the fact that college offenses run schemes that look nothing like the NFL is one of the reasons I find the college game so much more interesting. I love what Rodriguez has done with his offenses -- and they haven't always been so run-heavy.

I think Rodriguez is a top-10 coach, maybe top-5. This was a fantastic hire by Michigan.

Aaron Schatz: I'm with Russell. Rich Rodriguez's job is not to run a system that prepares players for the NFL. His job is to win college football games.

Russell Levine: And I would add that I don't know a single college football fan who cares how many NFL prospects his team turns out. Sure, we root for our guys in the NFL, but all we care about is winning in college. If I recall correctly, Rodriguez has not only had dozens of college coaches visiting him each offseason to learn some of his offense, but also some NFL coaches as well.

Sean McCormick: Sure, but there are two things that you have to consider. The first is that it is easy to win college games. Michigan or any other major college program is going to win eight or nine games without trying, so you're talking about a variable of two or three wins per season. The second thing you need to consider is that generally speaking, when these fraudulent college schemes go up against teams loaded with NFL talent, they get beat down in a very serious way. Presumably, Michigan's goal is to win championships, not to win championships in years when they can avoid USC or LSU or what have you.

Russell Levine: Gonna have to disagree on that last part. Last year's national champs beat down a team completely stuffed with high-round NFL talent by running nearly the exact same offense that Rodriguez ran.

Sean McCormick: True, but I think it was the exception, not the rule. LSU-Oklahoma, USC-Oklahoma, LSU-Ohio State (to be seen nationwide real soon) are, I think, more the norm. And that Florida defense was loaded with NFL players. There's that.

David Lewin: I have to strongly disagree with you, Sean. The spread option, when run with the right talent, is the best offense in college football today. In the past, spread teams have lost to pro-style teams like USC and Oklahoma because USC and Oklahoma were far better. Now that great spread coaches like Urban Meyer and Rodriguez have made it to the big time, I expect we will see that last year was not a fluke, and big-time spread option programs will win their share (or more) of titles. Just because Hawaii, Houston, BYU, Texas Tech and the like haven't won national titles doesn't Michigan and Florida can't.

Sean McCormick: I don't see it, David. There is a reason why you can't run the spread option in the NFL, and it's the same reason why West Virginia wouldn't have been able to run it against LSU: They would get their quarterback taken off on a stretcher. And both West Virginia and Oregon showed all too clearly what happens when you take the feature quarterback out of the offense and replace him with a guy without the same athleticism.

I just think that running an offense (or defense) with no NFL viability is a big mistake for a top college program. The best recruiting tool a coach can have is being able to point to a long list of players he sent on to the pros. And NFL teams are going to be increasingly unhappy about drafting players high, giving them $50 million and then teaching them the fundamentals of the game.

Ned Macey: I may be a little confused about what the spread option is (seems like a million teams have some element), but I'm pretty sure the Buckeyes are not running anything Rich Rodriguez would recognize with Todd Boeckman at quarterback. I think a closer fit would be Oregon, which just beat a USC team loaded with NFL talent on defense. An innovative offensive mind is an innovative offensive mind, and I'm glad Rodriguez is coming to Michigan.

Aaron Schatz: I'm not sure I see the recruitment problem. There's certainly no issue recruiting defensive players, since your offensive scheme does not affect them. I don't think there's much of an issue for running backs. I'm not sure if the offensive line blocking is tremendously different or not. Certainly a wide receiver would be more NFL-ready at a school that passed more on offense, but a team like Wisconsin with an old-school I-formation running attack really doesn't pass any more than a spread option team. That leaves the quarterback, but look, if you are a guy like Pat White or Tim Tebow, maybe at the age of 18 you already realize that you are going to end up as a wide receiver when you hit the pros, and you want to spend the next three years winning games.

Russell Levine: I agree. Rodriguez will increase Michigan's ability to recruit, because he's high profile and viewed as a hot, modern coach. Plus, any kid that goes to Michigan knows they're going to be on TV more than any program not named Notre Dame. That still counts for an awful lot when selling a school. The nation's most sought-after player this year is a spread-option quarterback who just added Michigan to his list of schools.

Plus, don't assume that the spread Michigan runs will look like the spread West Virginia has run the past few years. WVA is pass-heavy because Rodriguez had Pat White and Steve Slaton and not so much at wide receiver. But he threw the ball a ton at some of his other coaching stops. Shaun King was the NCAA pass efficiency leader when Rodriguez was the OC at Tulane. He'll adapt the scheme to his personnel. I fully expect to see 6-foot-7, 260-pound Ryan Mallett at quarterback in the spread next fall.

David Lewin: I agree. The pass oriented spread offense that Michigan is going to run if Mallett starts probably won't be leaps and bounds different from the pass oriented spread offense the Patriots run.

Urban Meyer ran his spread against that vaunted LSU defense you mentioned and they came away with a 28-24 loss and Tim Tebow in tact, so I'd say it went fine. Oregon beat USC, the second most NFL-ready defense, 24-17 running the spread option and as discussed Oregon is probably are not quite at Michigan's level in terms of overall talent. Yes, Dixon got hurt later in the year, but John David Booty got hurt, Matt Flynn got hurt, and Chad Henne got hurt too. I don't see any reason to believe that QB injuries are prevented by a pro- style offenses.

Also, it's not like big-time programs haven't won with the option before. Nebraska was a top tier program for long time with a very un- NFL style offense, and I suspect they would still be having success with it had they so chosen. There is a huge supply of high school athletes (mostly black) who are told they can't play quarterback at next level and only get recruited to play something else by the big boys. They often end up going to the only school that will let them play QB and that's how you end up with a guy like Armanti Edwards at a place like Appalachian State. Michigan should land a large portion of the best dual threat QBs because they know they won't be treated like a square peg.

Plus you had Vince Young at Texas, Troy Smith at Ohio State... I think it would be fair to say that the last two BCS champs, and last year's runner-up, ran something similar to what we will see from Rodriguez at Michigan.

Posted by: Doug Farrar on 17 Dec 2007

41 comments, Last at 20 Dec 2007, 8:59pm by young curmudgeon

Comments

1
by Eric P (not verified) :: Mon, 12/17/2007 - 1:39pm

That's nice and all, but where's the REAL Audibles?

2
by A. Diggity (not verified) :: Mon, 12/17/2007 - 1:40pm

Funnily, I actually read the article as soon as it appeared, so no First (or the concommitant backlash) for me.

3
by RMGreen (not verified) :: Mon, 12/17/2007 - 1:47pm

I'm with Eric. 'Specials' are all well and good, but where's the real thing?

4
by B (not verified) :: Mon, 12/17/2007 - 1:57pm

All article will be provided on time, or your money back.

5
by Disco Stu (not verified) :: Mon, 12/17/2007 - 1:58pm

What are the dominos that will fall now? Who goes to WVa? How desirable a job is WVa anyway?

6
by dryheat (not verified) :: Mon, 12/17/2007 - 2:03pm

Does anybody else think this is not necessarily a good move for Rodriguez? BCS berths are more easily accomplished at WVU than Michigan, and Lord knows the microscope he's going to find himself under now. I probably would have leveraged the UM offer into a new lucrative contract at Morgantown, assuming money is the reason he left.

7
by Costa (not verified) :: Mon, 12/17/2007 - 2:04pm

It hasn't been figured out yet, but I imagine that one of these days some team will institute some form of the spread option offense in a successful manner. The team would require both a QB and backup QB that fits the profile for one thing. That's one aspect that held it back after a semi-successful start in Atlanta. When Mike Vick got hurt, they couldn't run it anymore with Schaub in there and it was just forgotten at some point.

8
by Costa (not verified) :: Mon, 12/17/2007 - 2:05pm

"It hasn’t been figured out yet, but I imagine that one of these days some team will institute some form of the spread option offense in a successful manner."

Clarification: I'm talking about in the NFL here, of course. :P

9
by lionsbob (not verified) :: Mon, 12/17/2007 - 2:20pm

#6
The Big East is tougher then the Big Ten this year and perhaps will be as tough the next couple of seasons as well. Rodriguez probably saw Illinois (running that damn spread offense) and the Zookster in the Rose Bowl and figured it cannot be that hard.

I think Mallett is gone, that is just me. I think he transfers if Michigan gets Pryor.

How is Florida the exception? Texas ran a similar offense the year before as well. You are going to see more teams run the spread in college then ever before this coming up season and I will am willing to bet that you will see almost half the SEC schools run it in 2008 Auburn hired Troy's OC who ran a spread offense, Alabama is transitioning to a spread, LSU might run it more with Perriloux next season-though they were beginning to run the Pistol offense this season, Florida already runs it, Ole Miss is probably going to start Texas transfer Jevean Snead this coming up season, Vanderbilt sort of runs one as well. Now they may not run the exact same offense as Meyer or Rodriguez, but the QB is going to be running with the ball in his hand out of the shotgun a lot more. How often did we hear: "They are running the Tebow package" or its ilk this season.

10
by peachy (not verified) :: Mon, 12/17/2007 - 2:22pm

Hey, why didn't you guys ever tell us before that 'Sean McCormick' is an alias for Lloyd Carr?

11
by lionsbob (not verified) :: Mon, 12/17/2007 - 2:23pm

The one thing I will worry about in regards to Rodriguez is the higher academic standards in the Big Ten compared to the Big East. Noel Devine is not going to qualify in the Big Ten. Rodriguez was never an exceptionally recruiter to begin with and now he has to worry about his players being able to read at least chapter books.

12
by Yinka Double Dare (not verified) :: Mon, 12/17/2007 - 2:25pm

"David Lewin: I agree. The pass oriented spread offense that Michigan is going to run if Mallett starts probably won’t be leaps and bounds different from the pass oriented spread offense the Patriots run."

DING DING DING, we have a winner. So many people (particularly Ohio State and Michigan State partisans) have assumed that Michigan is screwed next year because Mallett isn't a speed QB, forgetting that Rodriguez has run the pass-happy spread before and Mallett ran the shotgun spread in high school.

The real reason Michigan could have issues is their two best receivers could be gone, Jake Long is gone, and their defense could be dicey. It's not because of Mallett running a spread offense; if anything, he'll be much more comfortable running the shotgun spread than he was under center this year, where he repeated fumbled snaps.

13
by dryheat (not verified) :: Mon, 12/17/2007 - 2:30pm

Well Michigan certainly has relatively high academic standards (not that exceptions aren't made for the "right" recruit), as does Northwestern, and...um.....who?

I don't think that academic standards have ever been high in Columbus, Lansing, Iowa City, State College, St. Paul, etc.

Isn't that like using North Carlina, Boston College, and Duke to pimp the high academic standards of Florida State, Georgia Tech, and Clemson?

14
by lionsbob (not verified) :: Mon, 12/17/2007 - 2:32pm

Oh and Sean, Rich Rodriguez has some game tape to show you of their last 2 bowl games, especially the 2005 Sugar Bowl.

15
by lionsbob (not verified) :: Mon, 12/17/2007 - 2:35pm

#13

No, the standards are higher then the Big East-you got guys who could not qualify at Flordia State (like Devine) going to WVU. South Florida and Louisville has guys that could not qualify at Alabama. I am not talking about Duke higher standards, I am talking about they have lower standards then Florida State or Alabama in the Big East.

16
by Sean McCormick :: Mon, 12/17/2007 - 2:44pm

Ah, but does he have any tape of the Pitt game or the Oregon-Arizona game to show what the offense looks like when you have to put in Brady Leaf?

17
by lionsbob (not verified) :: Mon, 12/17/2007 - 2:47pm

Jarrett Brown is not terrible, he is not as explosive as Pat White, but he ran for over 300 yards in limited play. Oregon is simply a case of playing an offense that best fits your star QB. I am not even sure if Oregon is going run the same offense in 2008

18
by Yinka Double Dare (not verified) :: Mon, 12/17/2007 - 2:59pm

16: Um, don't most offenses suffer as a general rule when the starter gets hurt? He's the starter for a reason. Most schools don't have a Leak/Tebow situation.

It's moot anyway -- if Mallett doesn't transfer and particularly if Pryor goes elsewhere, they'll run a pass-oriented spread. Mallett isn't a speed guy, but he's easily more mobile than Navarre or Henne, that much was clear from watching this season. If Pryor come to Michigan, he'll either redshirt the first year (he's expressed a willingness to do so already) and then they'll have a junior/freshman Leak/Tebow-style system, or they'll implement both elements right away. Seeing as the last two SEC champs have done something similar with two QBs, I don't see a problem.

19
by peachy (not verified) :: Mon, 12/17/2007 - 2:59pm

Most teams are going to struggle if they lose a top-tier QB and have to plug in a backup, regardless of what system they run (Mallett was rather less than brilliant replacing Henne, yes?)

20
by Eddo (not verified) :: Mon, 12/17/2007 - 3:05pm

13: The Big Ten does indeed have higher academic standards than the Big East. I remember a few years ago, when there were discussions of who could fit in as a twelfth Big Ten team (Notre Dame being too small), Cincinnati was named as the best fit sizewise and athletics-wise, but had way too lax academic standards.

21
by Sean McCormick :: Mon, 12/17/2007 - 3:32pm

Yes, most teams struggle when they put in a backup, but there is a difference between struggling and completely imploding, which is what happened to both WVU and Oregon. It's the same risk that Atlanta always ran with designing an offense to fit Vick, because if he got hurt (which was always a good possibility), they simply weren't going to have an offense to run with the backup.

22
by Alaska Jack (not verified) :: Mon, 12/17/2007 - 3:46pm

Sean -

It is indeed the conventional wisdom that running a spread or Run & Shoot type offense in the pros will get your QB killed. It is my contention that the conventional offense is wrong.

First, there is empirical evidence. In the NFL, Run & Shoot QBs were injured at no greater a rate than QBs in conventional offenses.

[Side note: They were actually injured LESS frequently, but I am willing to write that off to random chance. As far as I can remember, the only major injury suffered by a R&S QB was to Chris Miller, and he was injured on a freak incident where he wasn't even touched.]

Besides the empirical numbers, I have a theory. At the risk of violating FO etiquette, I am going to quote myself from a long-ago thread:

... And, in a way, this makes sense to me. If I’m an OC, then of course I’m worried about my QBs health throughout the whole season. But as a DC, I don’t care about the other team’s *season*; I only care about *this game*. And even if your blitz-the-QB strategy gets you a lot of sacks, the odds of *injuring* a QB during any particular game just aren’t that good. Now contrast that with the fact that blitzing a R&S team is a very high-risk strategy; you’re basically conceding the fact that at least one WR is going to be wide open -- it’s just a matter of the QB being able to find him in time. You give up two or three quick touchdowns that way, you’re going to be re-thinking that strategy pretty quick.

Put another way, if I played all 16 games against the same R&S team, I might blitz every play. I’d probably lose that game, but it would be worth it if I could knock the QB out for the season. But the fact is, I *don’t* play that team all 16 games, and I’m not willing to sacrifice one loss so that *other* teams can reap the benefits.

- Alaska Jack

23
by peachy (not verified) :: Mon, 12/17/2007 - 3:51pm

You could make precisely the same criticism of a team that runs a more "conventional" pro-style offence with a drop-back starter and has to plug in a running QB when he goes down - the flaw isn't in the system chosen, it is in not recruiting to fit the system. You don't to have look further than Florida to see a team that runs the spread option, and has a number two with precisely the same size and skillset as the starter.

I think the principal difficulty is that you still see the spread from the perspective of the late '90s, when it became popular as a way to compensate for inferior talent. But since then the spread has been become a way to magnify talent for teams that have as much as anyone.

24
by oljb (not verified) :: Mon, 12/17/2007 - 6:55pm

As a WVU fan, my two cents:

I sincerely hope that Rodriguez struggles his first couple of years and gets fired from Michigan, which may be the unfortunate course Beilein currently finds himself on.
I give credit to both of those two coaches for elevating their respective WVU teams out of the doldrums, and I really don't have any animosity towards Beilein for leaving. But jesus, both coaches in a span of less than a year? I don't think it's unreasonable for me to hope that Michigan never wins another game. I also hope Pryor realizes how lame it was for Rich to recruit him to the University of Coach Rod instead of the school that employed him.

In terms of the realistic implications of Rodriguez coaching in Michigan- I imagine he'll do well. As has been stated, he's been pretty flexible in terms of preserving the strengths of his version of the spread and applying it to both pass-heavy and run-heavy options. I also don't buy the fact that he chokes in big games as a rule-- I think it's clear now that West Virginia's receivers, with the exception of Reynaud, are not high enough quality, and that finally bit us in the ass against Pitt. In terms of yards, I think Pitt was one of the top ten defenses this year, and running into the cover-zero against a good defense only results in points if your runner can break through all the extra tackles. With WVU's personnel, that usually happened, but not against Pitt. I think with balanced talent, if Michigan has it, you won't see the same kind of limited play-calling you saw in the Brawl.

So, to summarize, I think Rod will do well at Michigan, and I'm unhappy about the fact that I think he'll succeed. Also, I hope West Virginia gets some other bastard of a mercenary to take over. Maybe Nick Saban will play the role for Rodriguez that Huggins did for Beilein.

25
by Alaska Jack (not verified) :: Mon, 12/17/2007 - 7:05pm

Oops, I just realized that in my first sentence in 22 above, I said "...the conventional offense is wrong." I meant "the conventional *wisdom* is wrong."

I blame society for my inarticulateness. Curse you George Bush!

- Alaska Jack

26
by paul (not verified) :: Mon, 12/17/2007 - 7:24pm

Just a public service announcement:
Sean McCormick, you are a moron. No, really. Your examples demonstrate you know absolutely nothing about college football. Oklahoma, USC and Ohio State do not and have not run the spread option. Why argue so vehemently with guys (esp Russell) who follow the college game very closely.

27
by Costa (not verified) :: Mon, 12/17/2007 - 7:39pm

Just another public service announcement:
Anytime you start an argument with a narrow-minded statement such as "Person XYZ, you are a moron", you immediately forfeit any credibility or right to be taken seriously.

Next time, try calmly stating your opinion coupled with facts to back it up and let that speak for itself, rather than resorting to childish name-calling.

28
by cottonfever (not verified) :: Mon, 12/17/2007 - 8:12pm

Paul:

I second Costa's post. Your name-calling is completely uncalled for. In addition, your comprehension skills are severely lacking- Try re-reading what Sean said before you spew out any more embarrassing statements. Good-god!

29
by mmm... sacrilicious (not verified) :: Mon, 12/17/2007 - 8:22pm

As a Michigan fan, I am thrilled for three reasons:

First, I have been bored with Michigan's offensive scheme since I went to my first game back in 1991. No more.

Second, no more infuriating reach blocking on predictable run plays.

Third, Ryan Mallett will never have to attempt to take another snap from center.

30
by aster (not verified) :: Mon, 12/17/2007 - 8:37pm

As an Oregon fan, just to reply to lionsbob and Sean's comments on the offense:

lionsbob, It wasn't just a matter of designing an offense best suited to your star QB's skill set. Oregon brought in offensive coord Chip Kelly (formerly of New Hampshire) last year specifically to run the spread, and if recruiting is any indicator will be using that offense for the forseeable future.

And Sean, Brady Leaf was probably more like the 3rd string QB behind Nathan Costa, who is far more athletic but unfortunately tore his ACL and MCL in practice earlier this season. Leaf also played that Arizona game on a sprained ankle. By Oregon's final regular season game we were down to our 5th string QB, not to mention missing our top 2 receivers - I'd guess even the most "NFL-style" offense would struggle under those conditions.

31
by Alaska Jack (not verified) :: Mon, 12/17/2007 - 8:59pm

Paul -

Your smack-talking ability is clearly ranked too high because of your obvious Tourette's syndrome. A monkey banging away on a keyboard is way better than this. Pleez chk ur meds -> dose x 2? or x .5?.

- Alaska Jack

32
by lionsbob (not verified) :: Tue, 12/18/2007 - 1:20am

#30

Thanks for the info, I did not know who replaced Crowton. I did know Oregon was bitten by the injury bug on offense.

#24
It sounds like your AD wants to stay away from the Sabans of the coaching world.

and with coaches leaving for other schools, just think of poor Casey Weldon who was fired after 2 seasons at his high school alma mater in Flordia (23-5 record, went to 2 state championships) because God told the School administrators to.

33
by Dennis (not verified) :: Tue, 12/18/2007 - 12:40pm

For “best fit for the program,” Miles probably gets the edge because he understands Michigan and what it means to coach there, and he’d never want another job. Rodriguez just left his alma mater, so who’s to say how important Michigan is to him? Although you could look at that the other way too — that he just left his alma mater because it’s Michigan and it’s a better job, period.

That alma mater stuff is way overrated. Charlie Weis "knows what it means" to coach at ND and he's made it clear he never wants another job, and that's really worked out well for them.

If you put any stock in the alma mater thing, then you have to go with the second option. Rodriguez was so excited about the opportunity that he left his alma mater to take the job. There's no reason to think he doesn't "know what it means" to coach at Michigan.

34
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Tue, 12/18/2007 - 3:13pm

And today I read that Rodriguez is planning to fight West Virginia on the fact that his contract states that should he leave of his own accord, he owes a $4 million buyout payment.

This isn't going to go well. Michigan, be warned.

35
by Dan (not verified) :: Tue, 12/18/2007 - 3:24pm

#11 - Great point. Rodriguez has had some guys with character issues in the past as well (Pac-Man Jones, Chris Henry) that will not fly under the radar if it happens at Michigan.

But with everyone sitting here talking about the change in offensive system, shouldn't we also mention the possible change in defensive systems. West Virginia runs the 3-3-5 stack. While that is less likely to be brought to Michigan, it is what he is familiar with and uses.

36
by Sid (not verified) :: Tue, 12/18/2007 - 7:49pm

Ned Macey: I may be a little confused about what the spread option is (seems like a million teams have some element), but I’m pretty sure the Buckeyes are not running anything Rich Rodriguez would recognize with Todd Boeckman at quarterback. I think a closer fit would be Oregon, which just beat a USC team loaded with NFL talent on defense.

This is confusing. He's saying Ohio State is not running the spread option? OK, we know that. A closer fit to what? What the spread option is?

37
by Will B. (not verified) :: Tue, 12/18/2007 - 8:32pm

I think the Ohio State confusion comes from some people talking about Ohio State the last two years with Troy Smith at QB (when they definitely ran the spread option), and Ohio State this year when they went back to a traditional I formation. The good coaches will adapt their style to their personnel, of which your QB is by far the most important piece on offense at the college level.

38
by zlionsfan (not verified) :: Tue, 12/18/2007 - 8:48pm

I think it's a great hire for Michigan, especially considering the whole sailboat incident. I also think it's a great move for Rodriguez right now. Michigan is still considered to be one of the better jobs in college football, and it doesn't come open very often.

Beilein is not getting fired for a while. The standards for men's basketball at Michigan are considerably lower than for football. At best, that sport would rank a distant third, I'd imagine (football, hockey). That's one reason Amaker stayed for so long with so little success.

I have read in other places (okay, mgoblog) that Rodriguez was simply adapting to circumstances. WVU was willing to let him take chances on sketchy players, so he did. UM will not be, so he won't. He ran pass-heavy offenses when the QB wasn't a runner and balanced or run-heavy offenses when the QB was.

And it's worth noting that spread offenses can turn out NFL-quality QBs. In fact, you don't even have to leave the conference to find one: ask the Saints how their spread-offense QB turned out in the pros. (And if Rodriguez intends to install a defense anything like the one in West Lafayette, I think it'll be just fine at producing NFL-caliber defenders. There are 14 former Boilers currently on NFL roster, 22 total, almost all of whom were recruited by Tiller and his staff.)

If anything, Florida should be an argument that the spread offense will work fine at Michigan, yes? I think it's a mistake to assume that, say, Hawaii's offense wouldn't work in the Big Ten. Yes, Purdue's offense struggles against better teams, but it's being run with Purdue's players. I think it's safe to assume that Rodriguez and company will be able to draw better recruits to Ann Arbor, and thus to assume that the same offense (if it is similar) will work better in Ann Arbor.

39
by Mikey Benny (not verified) :: Wed, 12/19/2007 - 6:52pm

Let me just make one point here.

Don Nehlen, RR's predecessor, won one (1) conference championship in 20 years, never won a single national championship, had a horrendous bowl record, and averaged a 7-5 record over 20 years. He was never in the hot seat and is still LOVED in West Virginia. He has a major road named after him in Morgantown.

Contrast that to Michigan, where Rodriguez will be run out of town if he dares to go 11-1 for 3 straight years with the losses coming to Ohio State.

WVU has the best low-maintenance fans in the country. They don't expect much from the Mountaineers, but support them en masse, rain or shine.

Furthermore, WVU is his alma mater. He could have become the Bobby Bowden or Joe Paterno of his alma mater, of the university in whose shadow he was literally raised from childhood. Although I can sort of understand, I think it was a truly foolish move on his part. That's just because of my personal values I suppose; if he wins 5 NCs at Michigan, I will still think he made the wrong decision. There's something to be said for being able to go back home where you went to college, and become a legend where you grew up and played football. How many would kill for that opportunity? Really, I ask you, the reader, to honestly think about what Rodriguez gave up on a personal level. What in the world could be worth it?

Michigan is supposedly a "better" job. It's more prestigious to be certain, but prestige doesn't bring happiness. Just ask Spurrier, Saban, Petrino or anyone else who were making millions in great situations because they wanted to make a couple million more, and gain a supposedly brighter spotlight in a bigger pond.

The grass is not always greener, my friends. Rich Rodriguez was living most people's dreams, had something incredible going, and gave it up. I hope it ends up being worth it for him. Even if he comes to love, adoration, and championships at Michigan, I still believe this was an unnecessary risk for him and his family.

I'll close by saying that I do realize it's his life and his decision. This is just my two cents. With that, I'll step down off my soapbox.

40
by bear goggles (not verified) :: Thu, 12/20/2007 - 3:26pm

While the spread option may well accomodate 2 types of quarterbacks, it is also clear that it is not easy to switch from one where the quarterback is a major threat to one where he is not in mid-stream. See: Ducks, Oregon, although as noted by others, they were more or less out of receivers by the Arizona game.

Because of this, it seems essential to have a back-up or 2 who can run the same style of spread option. Now as more teams adopt this offense, it may become harder to find the Pat Whites and Dennis Dixons and Tim Tebows of the world to run them. Granted, this is just a theory, but it seems to me that if a major part of your offense is the quarterback run, you're hosed when you lose that threat, because that's so much of what you practice.

41
by young curmudgeon (not verified) :: Thu, 12/20/2007 - 8:59pm

Re 11: hello, lionsbob. I'm Maurice Clarett. Let's get together and talk about academic standards and sketchy players in the Big 10. Give me a call.