Mike Lantry, 1972
The internet responds! Much of it is stupid.
I love the internet, especially in times of trouble for opponents. And this, my friends, is a time of trouble for Michigan opponents. Ask anyone who isn't facing down the spectre regular six-touchdown buttwhippings*, like Florida fans or Bruce Feldman...
If I'm a Michigan fan, I'm ecstatic knowing the Wolverines have just landed Rich Rodriguez. I'd rather have him over any of the guys who had been linked to UM job.
...or Dan Shanoff...
Coach Rod represents the absolute best-case scenario for Michigan fans -- the absolute best coach available.
...or the cavalcade of swoon linked the past few days. They will all tell you the obvious thing: hiring a guy who's gone to BCS games two of the last three years, won his conference four of the last five years, and has gone 32-6 the past three years is a pretty good idea.
HORRIBLE hire for Michigan, HORRIBLE hire for WV... Absolute GREAT hire for the rest of the big 10. UM should start wearing purple and black. They will be the new Northwestern. One great year followed by a ton of sub 500 years. This is a GREAT day to hate Michigan
A fellow Spartan plays Reasonable Cop, disagreeing like so:
I don't think RR will bring glory back to UM, but I'm not drunk enough on kool-aide to think he'll take them any further down than 4th place in the conference
Black Shoe Diaries is moderately negative...
As far as Michigan goes, I think they will regret this decision in a few years. He has a history of being an opportunist. While at West Virginia he strung along secret negotiations with Alabama and was even rumored to have an agreement in principle. But he decided to stay in West Virginia anyway, but his wandering eye turned off a lot of the West Virginia faithful. Now it's reasonable to assume that Rodriguez won't be looking at other college head coaching jobs. He's at Michigan now. There aren't many other more attractive jobs out there that would warrant another move. But what if he has some success and the NFL comes calling? Is he committed to Michigan for life? Or is he going to be persuaded to listen to every offer that comes along? ...
What happens if Rodriguez starts ignoring cherished time-honored traditions? What happens if he fails speak of Bo Schembechler and Fielding Yost as if they were saints? What happens when he loses to Ohio State and says "Win some. Lose some" in his post game press conference?
While the first paragraph may be something of a concern -- he's certainly more likely to bolt than Les Miles would be -- Michigan is a terminal job in college football and NFL teams are unlikely to leap at an opportunity to hire a guy who relies so heavily on running quarterbacks unless Michigan just owns the opposition, and... uh... okay. I'm willing to take that change. As for the rest of it: what happens if Rodriguez slaps himself in a press conference after losing to Illinois? I agree that if it turns out Michigan has hired a lunatic, it will be bad for the program. It's not something to fret about until we hear he's slapped Tyrelle Pryor.
But it's the BSD commenters who crack me up:
RichRod had a good thing going at WVU, and now he's leaving that behind for the Michigan microscope? Sounds like a bad idea to me. Didn't WVU bend over backwards for him too with facilities upgrades to keep him there last offseason? Had RichRod already emotionally taken the scUM job when his 'Neers lost to Pitt? Interesting indeed.
Leaving a good thing for the big-time too early, sound familiar Chucky Weis?
Indeed, a Michigan program that hasn't fired a coach for on-field performance matters in 40 years is truly a roiling pressure-cooker of a situation. And truly, seven years as a head coach at a top 25 program is not enough of an apprenticeship period. And a proven college head coach is the exact equivalent of hiring a morbidly obese sociopath who's never so much as picked up a whistle as a head coach.
Ohio State fans are generally dismissive (Eleven Warriors does call it a "good hire"), but there were, by my count, exactly two coaches Michigan could hire that would create even the slightest blip on OSU's radar: Urban Meyer and Jim Tressel. Neither was thought to be available.
The Nation seems split between knocking down Rodriguez' accomplishments and playing up the "Mallett has no legs" issue...
Ferentz would have been a much better choice. Why Michigan chose a coach that specializes in a scheme thats completely incompatible with their current personnel is beyond me.
... and saying "crap":
Michigan has outdone all ND coach searches (basketball and football) since November 1986.
It's not all batty out there, kids. Boiled Sports:
I don't know if Michigan will be great next season...but they will soon. That dude can coach. ...
I even bought a WVU hat because of my like for Rodriguez; and I've never disliked UM...so I'm happy that the Wolverines got a good guy. I'm sad that he'll be kicking Purdue's ass regularly, but it's a good hire none-the-less.
Rich Rodriguez is a much better hire than Les Miles would've been. The Michigan fans can continue to bitch all season long about the sailing loving Bill Martin, but there is no one else out there better for the Maize 'n Blue than this hire. Ann Arbor is going to be intimidating once again.
He pwn3d the Big East, winning 4 of the last 5 titles a
nd 3 coach of the year awards. His teams run the spread option better than just about anyone. In other words, this ain't your father's Michigan offense anymore, and Florida (and, increasingly, Illinois) has taught us all the basic math of Wacko Ninja Offense + Top-Notch Talent = Carnage.
*(Ohio State fans excepted, of course, as they are not actually staring said prospect down.)
"This was an unexpected situation, but given the fact that K'Len's family has moved to Mississippi during the summer we fully understand the choice K'Len had to make for himself," coach John Beilein said Wednesday in a statement. "We will continue to offer any support that he will need now and in the future."
This is probably not so good, since Morris seemed to buy into Beilein's system when he arrived and might have developed into a contributor down the road; with '08 recruiting virtually over no suitable replacement is likely to arrive until '09.
Late today; sorry. Amuse yourself with Rodriguez:
Right, if you were panicking about the WVU boards erupting in a mess of "RR may return!!!," you can stop panicking:
A West Virginia University athletics spokesman says Rich Rodriguez's resignation as football coach is effective at midnight Tuesday instead of Jan. 3.
WVU football spokesman Mike Montoro confirmed the change late Tuesday but said he did not know why the effective date was moved forward.
If you weren't, good job.
Right, that other sport.
John Beilein's picked up a commit recently and stands to get another one soon. The commit is UD-Jesuit forward Jordan Morgan, a 6'8" power forward who's a three star recruit not currently listed in anyone's top 150.
The pending recruit is Arizona freshman Laval Lucas-Perry, who's set on transferring and will get his release from the Wildcats. Lucas-Perry was scheduled to decide between Wake Forest and Michigan, but...
The Arizona transfer, a 6-foot-3 guard, on Tuesday cancelled a visit to Wake Forest. ...
"I would say this is a good sign for Michigan, that's for sure," Laval Perry told The Detroit News about his son's cancelled visit.
Lucas-Perry would be eligible next January as a mid-year departure. (Via the Diag.)
Though he was listed as a point guard by recruiting services (which had him at the tail end of their top 150s), Lucas-Perry is more of an undersized shooting guard, reputed to be an accurate three point shooter. He was averaging about ten minutes a game at Arizona.
Here's a student newspaper article on him from Arizona. Highlight video:
Coach's reaction upon his departure:
O'Neill said he didn't try to persuade Lucas-Perry to stay, but "I didn't want him to leave. I would have loved to see him stay. He's a great kid and a good student. He's a good player.'' Lucas-Perry, from Grand Blanc, Mich., has appeared in five of the team's eight games, averaging 4.0 points and 9.8 minutes
Lucas-Perry fills the departed Kendrick Price's scholarship slot; Michigan still has two scholarships to give in the '09 class.
It's back. Sort of.
This space lost track of recruiting news during the rollercoaster ride of the coaching search; now that things are resolved and the program has a direction again we can focus on college football slightly sleazy underworld with a clear conscience, or at least the faith that whatever we're doing isn't going to be completely invalidated in two weeks.
Instead of an incremental change/update like was usual in the offseason and, to a lesser extent, during the season, we require a total reset as a reminder.
Probably not that much except a more diverse approach to quarterback recruiting and perhaps an increased emphasis on picking up little darty guys like Steve Breaston, Darius Reynaud, and Cameron Saddler. Offensive linemen still have to block. Receivers still have to catch. Defenders still have to tackle.
Rodriguez did mention his intention to bring the 3-3-5 stack to Michigan when it was appropriate, but Michigan is no stranger to sort of personnel grouping, at least situationally. (I remain unclear on what, exactly, the stack entails and how it manages to be a decent run defense; this is an area for offseason study.) With the prevalence of spread offenses this year, Michigan spent large swathes of the season in a nickel package with a designated "nickelback" who might be a "hero" or "bandit" to other programs. The scheme might change a bit, but the recruiting is unlikely to shift much. We'll still recruit Detroit DE Nick Perry, but he's probably going to be Detroit LB Nick Perry. Etc.
IL QB John Wienke is definitely gone, having decommitted in favor of Iowa over the weekend.
MI CB Boubacar Cissoko claims he is still committed but also claims he is down to a final two of Penn State and Michigan; he'll visit PSU the weekend of January 11th. It seems like Ron English will not return, so he might be a battle. PA H-back Christian Wilson had started to look around and is understandably concerned about his role in Rodriguez' offense; hopefully some Owen Schmitt highlights...
...will set him back on the path of righteousness. (Might not want to show this one to your mom, though.) As mentioned this morning
Various recruiting sites and local newspapers have gotten hold of most of the rest the class; everyone seems to be more or less solid. The Free Press got Kenny Demens, Brandon Moore, and Dann O'Neill on the record as still committed and have indirect indications from those three that McGuffie, Wilson, JB Fitzgerald, and Mike Martin are on board, though the McGuffie thing remains a question as mentioned above. There's also a Grand Haven Tribune article on O'Neill's conversation with Rodriguez:
"We actually just chatted, getting to know each other," O'Neill said. "I thought that was impressive. Most coaches would call and talk business. He called to find out who I am. He said he wanted to get to know me and my family, and wanted me to get to know his family."
Bill Kurelic has been in contact with IN OL Kurt Wermers; he remains a firm commit.
There might be some wiggle when and if certain position coaches get replaced, but as of right now the only casualty is Wienke and that list is unlikely to grow by more than one or two players. Potential casualties are more likely on the offensive line and at linebacker.
Well, that Terrelle Pryor guy. Pryor is this year's consensus #1 QB recruit and has drawn comparisons to Vince Young for three years. (He's also a top-25 basketball recruit, a small forward.) When Rodriguez left for Michigan, Pryor might have been the first guy to know. Pryor called up Bob Lichtenfels, told him the news, and said "put Michigan on my list." Some low-level internet buzz suggests he's not just interested, but likely to commit.
There's also OH WR/DB DJ Woods, a guy who badly wanted offers from Ohio State and/or Michigan earlier in the year. When he didn't get those, he committed to Nebraska, only to watch Bill Callahan and company implode and leave. He then switched his commitment to West Virginia, only to see Rodriguez leave. Michigan has now offered him and intends on pursuing him heavily; he seems a good bet to end up here.
A wide array of prospects committed elsewhere during Michigan's monthlong coaching search. Many of them were thought to be longshots, but a fair number seemed good possibilities before the turmoil:
- PA WRs Jonathan Baldwin and Cameron Saddler committed to Pitt (Baldwin then donned a stupid-looking hat), as did PA TE Hubie Graham. Graham was a longshot, but the other two seemed to have high interest in Michigan at one point. West Virginia was thought to be a strong contender for Saddler and the spread offense is one in which his talents will be maximized, so Rodriguez will probably take a run at him despite the commitment.
- PA DE Shayne Hale dropped Michigan and is apparently leaning to Pitt. Given this reaction upon Rodriguez's hiring, he's probably not rushing to put on a winged helmet:
"I was still considering West Virginia, so this is a big shocker," Hale said. "Personally, I didn't expect him to be leaving. He was telling everyone that he was going to be there for a while and that he wasn't going anywhere. This makes him look like he lied."
Four-star safety Spencer Adams took an official visit to Clemson last weekend.
"I'd definitely give the visit to Clemson a 9.5," he said. "It's Clemson and North Carolina, with Florida and Michigan trailing. I have my last visit to NC State on Jan. 18, and then I'll make my decision sometime in January."
Maybe the Rodriguez hire will change things, but as of now he's a longshot.
What's the upshot?
Michigan's done a good job of holding together its existing class. Uncommitted recruits, on the other hand, have dropped Michigan left and right, leaving Rodriguez with a good base but little opportunity to bring in more highly rated guys with the obvious exception of Pryor. We'll know more in a couple weeks when the dead period ends and Michigan's recruiting priorities re-assert themselves. The most likely outcome of the next couple months: Michigan picks up a bunch of three-stars and sleepers to fill out a class that ends up less than great, with Pryor being an enormous swing between a to
p ten class and a top twenty one.
More specifics as things become clear; I'm going to hold off on changes to the board for a week or two.