Thought I'd start a new thread about this since the original article has been expanded to cover more of the interview.
This quote in particular caught my eye.
"Everybody's got their own theory of it. My personal theory -- and this is talking to people that were there before I got there -- is that when Bo Schembechler passed away that driving force to get everybody pulling in the same direction may have gone with him. I think there were some battles that were being fought even before I took the job," he said.
I think Rodriguez is partly right here. There was too much skepticism and negativity directed toward Rodriguez from the moment he was hired, and there were too many whispers about various factions close to the program trying to undermine him throughout his entire tenure. If Bo were around, he never would have allowed the rifts and divisions to develop the way they did. Everybody would have supported Rodriguez because Bo would have demanded it.
Having said that, Rodriguez wasn't fired because there were people who never accepted him, he was fired because he didn't win. It's as simple as that. If he had won, the divisions would have evaporated and he would have ended up redefining Michigan Football. It wasn't the drama that made him hire and fire Scott Shafer, it wasn't the drama that made him hire Greg Robinson, it wasn't the drama that made him implement the 3-3-5, it wasn't the drama that made him waste time and manpower recruiting Demar Dorsey, it wasn't the drama that made him force a 6'5" slow kid and a walk-on to run the spread option, and it wasn't the drama that made him neglect special teams to the point where we only made 4 field goals the entire season. No one forced him to make any of the poor decisions that led to his demise.
But on the whole, it was a classy interview. He spoke highly of the position, he didn't take shots at anyone, and his criticism of Brandon is a fair one. The timing of the decision didn't benefit anyone. I still think he's a stand-up guy and I'd love to see him land a good job somewhere next season. I hope he'll learn from his mistakes. He'll always be a part of our history, and the Rich Rodriguez era will forever stand out as the brief period during which Michigan Football unfathomably stepped outside of its comfort zone and tried, but failed, to reinvent itself.