alternate headline: man does job
OT: Rich Rodriguez lands mobile QB from TX plus 3 good LBs (PLEASE DELETE WITH MALICE AFORETHOUGHT THANKS)
After nailing down his new staff last week, former UM coach Rodriguez appears to have secured 3 decent LB commits to Arizona, plus a backup QB for returning Matt Scott.
The new quarterback recruit for Arizona is unranked mobile QB Javelle Allen from TX. Offers from Indiana, Ark State, NM State and Utah State not that exciting, but he does looks like another everybody-says-he-should-be-playing-DB someplace-gamebreaker that Rodriguez has been famous for these past several years.
Arizona's days at 11th in PAC-12 league rushing are probably over.
Am I the only one who had a sour taste in his mouth after listening to Desmond Howard's remarks at the football bust last night? Howard went out of his way to comment on the Rodriguez era, clearly indicating that Rodriguez was a mistake -- he seemed to want to compare the hiring of Rodriguez to New Coke.
Now I was ambivalent about the whole spread option thing myself. I know a lot of well-meaning people were frustrated with RichRod, and Hoke's successes leave them feeling vindicated. But if we're being fair I think we have to agree that Rodriguez got some tough breaks (The Freep Jihad) and more to the point, the football bust is a time to celebrate this year, not dwell on the past. Desmond Howard has ample opportunity to criticize prior coaches and it is his right to do so, but last night was not the time or the place.
I was looking at the Arizona Wildcats football page to see how they spin their new staff's tenure at Michigan. So far RR has hired MaGee, Gibson, Dews, and Smith who were all at WVU and UM. They list RR's Wolverine record as 15-22, which is correct. However, they make no mention of the 2011 Gator Bowl. For the assistants they actually list the bowl history of each and each list omits the 2011 Gator Bowl. John Bacon also claimed the coaching staff received no rings for the Gator Bowl, contrary to custom.
Did the 2011 Gator Bowl really happen? Did Dave Brandon create an alternate reality future so that he could avoid the higher buyout AND avoid buying jewelry?
What is going on here?
In addition to a potential game with Arizona (if yesterday's gossip is true), we could potentially see RichRod go up against Ron English (as the coach of ASU) in that state, according to speculation here:
Good for English -- he has come a long way at EMU.
New Arizona head football coach Rich Rodriguez received an interesting welcome from the city's weekly newspaper. The story can be found here.
The article claims that:
Rodriguez's record is terrible—when it comes to ethics, if not on the football field. At West Virginia University, he skipped town for greener pastures shortly after signing a new contract. His December 2007 departure was so ugly that he didn't even bother to coach his team in their January 2008 bowl game. West Virginia wound up suing Rodriguez for breach of contract—and eventually got all the money it sought in a settlement.
What did Rodriguez do at his next stop, the University of Michigan? He violated several major NCAA rules. When players came forward to discuss the violations—which included Rodriguez and his staff making players practice longer than the rules allow—he denied he was in the wrong. "We go by the rules," Rodriguez said.
Later, the university admitted to the rules violations.
Now, after those disgraceful activities, he's the new UA football coach, with a five-year, $9.55 million contract—with incentives beyond that.
In making this hire, UA athletic director Greg Byrne proved the above point: At the UA, money and winning are apparently more important than academics, fairness and ethics.
For anyone who has sniffed Three and Out, this letter from the editor seems especially absurd. It really demonstrates the power of the media over the masses--and the power of the media within itself. It's a shame that Rodriguez is being welcomed in this fashion. Most of us know him as the coach who lost big at Michigan, but we also know him as a good guy who cared greatly about his players.
Yesterday the hoops team outclassed a very athletic Memphis squad -- a win due in no small part to John Beilein's superior coaching and preparation. Meanwhile, the football team has put together two solid November wins for the first time in forever, including a thrashing of Nebraska. Going into The Game, this is the best we've felt about our chances to beat the damn Buckeyes in five years.
Which leads me to ask: When was the last time we felt this good about the current and future state of both revenue sports programs at U-M?
I was a Rich Rodriguez fan; I believed he was the breath of fresh air U-M football needed after The Horror and the general decline of the late-Carr era. It didn't work out -- no reason to rehash all that here. But after seeing:
- the way the football team has grown this year;
- the great incoming recruiting class;
- the unbelievable job Hoke and Mattison have done w/the defense; and
- the overall performance against Nebraska
I think few would deny U-M football is on the right path again.
Meanwhile, Beilein has just landed arguably the biggest U-M basketball recruit since Webber in Mitch McGary (plus GRobIII and Nick Stauskas -- not a bad way to round out a recruiting class!). He's answered the one question people had about him coming from W. Virginia -- whether he could recruit on an elite level. And if the current team performs up to expectations, Beilein will have gotten Michigan to the Big Dance in 3 of the past 4 seasons.
Best of all, neither Hoke nor Beilein is a flight risk the way, say, Harbaugh would've been.
I honestly can't remember the last time I felt so good about both the present and future of both programs at the same time. My only thought is fall of 2006, when Carr was having his last great season and the hoops team seemed to be heading at least vaguely in the right direction. (But by that point it was clear Amaker could not put together a coherent offense; meanwhile, Carr was certain to retire soon and the identity of his successor was unclear.)
But as of November 22, 2011, it's great to be a Michigan Wolverine -- and looks to be so well into the future!
p.s. - a sad aside -- I just read the news about Leon Hall tearing his Achilles last week. Damn. He might never be the same player again. But as Ross Tucker at ESPN writes, Hall's decision to sign his big contract extension before the season (rather than risk waiting to cash in after becoming a free agent) was a hell of a smart move in hindsight.