For those of us who suffered under the malaise of Mike Debord for years, the arrival of Rich Rodriguez made us giddy. Rich represented something alien to the Michigan faithful: relentless innovation. Lloydball, while having brought good things to Ann Arbor (especially early in his reign), was Jurassic football headed to the tar pits. Early in his career, the new mammalian style of football was still gestating and Lloydball parlayed Michigan talent into wins.
It is curious that Tresselball, which was one step up the evolutionary ladder (birdlike?) from Lloydball, is now faced with the same tar pit that sucked down Lloyd and other practitioners of old school football. It is one reason I don’t fear MSU – Tresselball in green and white is still endangered.
But not JoePa. He remains tar-resistant, although he almost got sucked under between 2000 and 2004. Some would argue he has evolved. I would argue that this dinosaur has an unbreakable appointment with the pit, and tomorrow’s game will showcase this.
Tomorrow we have innovation against execution. How I would cringe when USC players would laughingly tell reporters that Michigan did exactly what they expected; Michigan always did, and expected to out-execute you. How I yearned for unpredictability. Execution was still required, but unpredictability/innovation + execution trumps execution alone every time.
I say tomorrow is RichRod’s finest day as a head coach. All the signs are there – an extra week to prepare, a healthy team, home field, good match-ups, and, for the first time: the full playbook.
Here’s my opportunity to look stupid: Michigan 38, Penn State 21.