I just posted the following on another board speculating about coaching changes, and figured it might be useful to people here. It's addressed to non-Michigan readership so little of it will be news to you. It's my take. Do with it what you will - hopefully some piece of it helps you in a discussion with an irrational hater.
1. I don't really buy the reasoning that the change in scheme was too much to take in one season and RR was too bull-headed to succeed. First, he doesn't have any one "scheme" - he's been tinkering with it for two decades and it changes every year. RR ran a pretty basic scheme his first year at UM anyway; CFB players are by and large not dumb and can handle a few basic assignments for a season.
1(b). I don't want to sound like I am blaming the players but a blind look at the 2008 Michigan roster would leave any reasonable CFB analyst not expecting a lot. Very little experience anywhere on the field, two virgin quarterbacks and a stable of runners and receivers who were career backups, and huge holes on defense. They could have lined up in the I in 2008 and not done much better, AND lost a year of time to get experience in the RR scheme.
Does that mean Lloyd Carr "left the cupboard bare?" Not really, he simply had four-year starters at tailback, quarterback and tackle, and suffered injury and other losses to players that left gaps in the depth chart. Departures during the coaching change further hurt the team - the starting receivers bolted to the NFL, and QB Ryan Mallett never liked being at Michigan and confirmed his exit after Carr retired (to address conspiracy theories Carr stepped down, he was not pushed out or fired). Lineman Justin Boren, son of a Michigan player, left for Ohio State after RR told him he wasn't guaranteed a starting spot (Boren objected to the conditioning workload) and RR rebuffed his family's attempt to get his brother a guaranteed legacy scholarship. THAT's the "family values" story Boren has been peddling. Are we to blame RR for not catering to a lazy, entitled player?
2. The fact is that Michigan's program has been in a slow but confirmed decline since 2000, confirmed by games against Ohio State and USC but partially obscured by the general weakness of the rest of the Big Ten, and Carr's motivational ability. In particular Michigan went stale on defense and was never able to get back to the hustling, dominant units of 1997-99. They've had horrific luck with injuries to the secondary as well and could never figure out how to defend running spread QBs.
3. Rodriguez has changed a lot of things since he's the head coach and part of being a HC is doing things your way. That being said, he's been under the gun from the day he was hired, and it's not fair. I can't imagine a coach who's had to deal with more hostility to his mere presence - from WVU fans, from UM people who wanted to hire Les Miles, from former players running their mouths, from the Free Press which launched a nutty hit piece on the program.
His "get a life" comment was totally misquoted - he told fans who were making death threats to get a life, and the press morons reported it as "Rodriguez downplays importance of Ohio State game."
I also think he has suffered from Bo Schembechler being dead - Bo made it a point to give loud public statements of support for Lloyd Carr, and with him in the picture RR's transition would have been much quieter.
The people who complained RR was not a "Michigan man" or didn't keep coaches from Carr need to get a clue. Bo had spent his entire career in Ohio before he was hired. Most of his assistants were from Ohio; he didn't keep anybody from the previous staff when he came in. Such is the right of the head coach.
3(b). There is a segment of Michigan's fanbase that IS spoiled - they expect winning seasons and now that they are not getting them they have fingered the coach.
4. I do want to address the practice time NCAA violations. It's a long, complicated case, but basically Rodriguez actually had nothing to do with it. In all seriousness Michigan was dinged for having coaches help with twenty-minute stretching periods in workouts, which are normally not counted against the limits but because these coaches were involved do. I am not making this up. This stemmed from quality control shortcomings in the athletic department - two lazy, do-nothing functionaries who were there for a decade never clarified the NCAA rules on these coaches. The Freep's allegation of wanton disregard for time limits has been completely debunked.
5. Don't take me for a Pollyanna; RR is on the hot seat for sure. A flameout will get him canned, but a winning season will buy him another year. Beat Ohio State and he'll be welcomed. They made a lot of progress last season. We'll all know this November where his ceiling is.