The Rich Rodriguez era at Michigan ended today. The only remaining question is precisely which day next week we will learn officially that he has been fired.
What hurt was not merely the fact of the loss, but the way it happened. With five weeks to prepare, Rodgiuez did not roll out any offensive or defensive surprises. Everything Michigan did, Mississippi State was ready for.
Compare this to Lloyd Carr’s last game, in which Chad Henne ran an offense we had never seen before, and the Wolverines shocked the favored Florida Gators. When you’re the underdog, coaching your final (or likely final) game, and have a month to plan, what exactly are you waiting for? If you have any ideas, what do you have to lose by trying them?
I am not the first person to point out that Dave Brandon probably had his mind already made up. Rodriguez’s 37th game, win or lose, was never going to tell us a whole lot that the first 36 didn’t. One would have to be awfully naive, not to believe that the so-called “evaluation” was already 99 percent done. The argument that Rodriguez deserves a fourth season is at least tenable, although I think its adherents are in the minority right now. The argument that this game was going to decide his fate never held water.
But to the extent Brandon needed air cover to defend his decision, this game certainly provided plenty of it. Even with more preparation time than for any opponent except UConn, the game was practically an instant replay of most of the team’s other losses, minus the second-half comebacks that made a few of them look more respectable than they really were.
Michigan’s won–lost record may have improved marginally in each season of Rodriguez’s tenure. But during a given season, Michigan has tended to regress. Even the vaunted offense, clearly the team’s strength, was held scoreless for three out of four quarters by both Ohio State and Mississippi State. In its final eight outings, the offense played a “complete game” only once: the triple-overtime thriller vs. Illinois. The team was not merely beaten, but thrashed, in its final three games.
I was never one of the so-called “haters.” Three years ago, I thought that Rich Rodriguez was a premium hire. He was a winner wherever he went, and I believed he would win in Ann Arbor. I remain perplexed as to why he has not done better. But there is a reasonable body of evidence that when you are taking over a program that is already a national powerhouse, as Michigan was when Lloyd Carr retired, you shouldn’t be turning in three consecutive seasons that are worse than any of the prior twenty-three.
Well, it's been a crazy, frustrating and at times wild ride under Rich Rod. But you know what, it just isn't meant to be here. He's a good coach. I firmly believe that. But there is just too much working against him. From poor recruiting and development late in the Carr era, players not buying in and transfering, the local media working against him because he's not a "Michigan Man," to just plain bad luck. I'm still a RR supporter, but it's time to move on. It's just not working out here. There have been signs of progress, sure. There haven't been enough of them, IMO. I'm ready to move on. I'm ready to see RR move on so that maybe he can get a fresh start and just get this pressure off of him for the first time in 3 years. I want Harbaugh here at any cost. Hopefully, one day we can see JH square off against RR in a BCS bowl. Anyways, I'm done talking now. I'm hang up and listen, and as always, GO BLUE.
So rumor has it that RR may be heading to Maryland. This is most likely the case if he were to get fired from Michigan. I can't see RR leaving Michigan for Maryland if DB gives him a vote of confidence, but we'll see.
Sorry if this has already been posted, haven't seen it on the board.
I don't know if this has ever been posted on here, but I just ran across it and thought I would share it. A little long, but great speech!
Oh and someone please take the audio off this and use it for a UM season highlight video. It would be perfect. Because we are CHAMPIONS
I don't mean to come off as a braggart here, but I thought you all might be interested in the holiday e-letter that I received from my new friend, Coach Rodriguez, and the entire Michigan football family. He sent me the below message last night to express his appreciation of my support of the program and to personally wish me a happy holiday season.
December 21, 2010
Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!
I would like to take the time to thank you for all your cards, letters and emails of support throughout the past year. I appreciate them all very much.
On behalf of the players and staff, Happy Holidays to you and all the best in the coming year.
Have a great holiday!
Rich Rodriguezand the Michigan Football Family
I guess its safe to assume that I will be getting lots of free tickets next year! So I got that going for me, which is nice.