Finally Letting Go/End Of An Idea

Submitted by EZMIKEP on January 3rd, 2011 at 3:54 AM

While I was in Fort Lauderdale in December 2005 I had spent an hour looking for a decent sports bar that had the Alamo Bowl. My hotel room's television decided that it wasn't going to cooperate with this one simple request of mine and forced me out the door. I hadn't missed a Bowl game since I was a child and this wasn't going to be the first.

I finally found one and it had a few Nebraska fans huddled around the only screen showing the game. I was by myself and the next few hours weren't much fun. It wasn't just the loss. I listened to these guys tell me how we were no longer relevant and how we were headed into obscurity just like they were. They kept saying the same thing a lot of Michigan fans had been saying for quite some time. We need a change. Fresh air. Someone with more motivational skill and to quit relying on the We Are Michigan arrogance. That our name and history will only get us so far. One quote stood out because it was as if I was having a deja vu moment with someone from back home. "Lloyd Carr is a good coach. A good man from what it seems. But good coaches will always get beat by great coaches."

These guys weren't being dicks. They were fans rooting for their team and being honest when we started talking football during the game. They even bought me drinks. What made the time suck was that they were right. I knew they were right. I had been denying this for awhile because I always looked at things like they were cyclical and in the back of my head always thought, "Oh we'll turn it around.."

But it was deeper than that. We had gotten behind and truly lost ourselves in that aura of arrogance as a fanbase. Michigan as a football program was living off of old money and not making investments in the future. I could see the trainwreck coming. I never envisioned or predicted it to get to this place, but I knew it wasn't going to be pretty. So I just lied to myself .

Then 2006 came and it played tricks on my heart. One last hurrah before the mighty fall. We all had a chance to watch and witness 11 weeks of what I still feel is the greatest college football team ever to have never won anything. Our football teams equivalent of the Fab 5. They beat team after team after team. All leading up to the biggest game on the national stage against our rival ever. 

On November 13th I had bought tickets off of ebay, the most I had ever spent to go to any sporting event in my life so I could make the trip to Columbus and be a part of Michigan history first hand. On November 17th I received my tickets, just shy of an hour after hearing about Bo's death. 

The next 4 games said it all. Out coached. Unprepared. Underachievers. Lagging behind even further from the pack of college football's elite. 

Lloyd was burned out way before this and we had no plan. Greg Schiano turned us down twice. Greg fucking Schiano. Nobody with any credentials wanted the pressure of the job it seemed. We took our name for granted. But we all wanted change. Ohio State was kicking our ass. The rest of relevant college football outside of our little Big 10 world was also kicking our ass.

Beating MSU for most of a decade and winning a lot of Big 10 games made us content that we were still as successful as the rest of the elite but it was all an illusion. We were falling behind. 1997 was a long way away. Many fans knew this and were asking for change. Some of us were craving it! Then along comes Rich Rodriguez. Smart, football genius, young, but a bit wet behind the ears in his knowledge of the school he contacted about a job. 

He came to bring us into another era. The same way other innovators and motivators had done before at Michigan. You had been asking for this for so many years now and Rich Rodriguez came in to be the one to give it to us. 

Except when he got here a circus ensued instead. An outright debacle in the grandest fashion. People from within the very university we cheer for, its own alumni started something out of nothing before a game was ever played under the new regime. The seed planted. The media played it up. Our rivals relished it all. The michigan fan base ate it up. The masses rolled with every punch and instead of football you got WWE theatre. 

I am not going to beat on too many dead horses here. They are all blood and mashed guts now. After reading this site for the last 4+ years it's probably just liquid. Most all of it has been said by every blogger on MGO in a million different ways. But I will rehash a few obvious points that have brought me to some conclusions about this whole state of affairs. 

Rich Rodriguez is a good coach. He will be a good coach when he leaves here. He will win big somewhere else. But here it isn't going to work, ever. Here are some caps -EVER EVER- The ship sailed on that in September 2008. I just didn't realize it until this past few days.

When you want something. Especially when someone is trying to give it to you when nobody else will, smile and say thanks even if you didn't get it neatly packaged or exactly the way you wanted it. Don't screw it up by complaining about the trivial shit. 

Rich Rodriguez deserved better than what was given to him. A big portion of the Michigan Football fanbase got what they deserved. I think that karma always has a way of showing its ugly head in every aspect in life and looking back at it all I can't say that this isn't one of those examples.

In all reality, did anyone of you that rooted against this guy ever expect him to succeed? How can you win with a giant cloud of shit hanging over your head every second of the day for 3 years? How can you succeed when recruiting, the lifeblood of any major program is impacted the way Michigan Football's has. How do you get to the next level when you have a hole the size of a moon crater in talent and bad luck as long as I-94 tagging along for the ride saddled with all that negative unnecessary bullshit created by some the very people you are trying to work for? 

You don't. He hasn't. You cannot make a marriage work if the other person isn't willing to work too. You can't even correct small mistakes if you aren't given an straightforward shot at it. You can say everything you want to about his epic fail, but if we are honest and really look in the mirror we all know that these are not ordinary circumstances and to judge fairly you have to critique with the entire story in mind. This isn't just X's & O's, execution and on field coaching ability. 

Ignorance. Nepotism. Cronyism. They all found a way into Michigan football in a way that has left a black eye on us. If you don't think so then I believe you to be foolish and as many outside of our own fanbase perceive-arrogant. But regardless of how I feel about Rich, I no longer want him as the coach of Michigan.

 My support for Rich Rodriguez is no longer there. I want him gone. Yesterday. It is time to move on and I think the writing is and has been on the wall that he will be within the next few days. I used to think that he should get a 4th year no matter what. But even that is gone from my mind. What is a 4th year going to do. Even if he wins 10 games it won't be considered real success to the majority. Because the Majority of the Michigan fanbase doesn't like him and never will. Rich needs to move on for the betterment of his family, his future success and simply because he is wasting his time here.

So I think it is time to do something to save Michigan Football before we become completely irrelevant. I sure hope Jim Harbaugh is coming here. Because I think he is the only guy that can make this work right now. Because sadly if Jim Harbaugh comes to town unlike Rich Rodriguez he'll be treated like a god. The press will praise him. The average fans will all shut up whining. The dirty cloud of negativity will magically lift and he can do the job without this raging storm right outside his window. 

I never thought Jim Harbaugh was a bad coach or that he would fail at Michigan. I just thought we already had a good coach and it wasn't fair that we didn't give our full support to the him. But since things are what they are, as a fan of gigantic proportions I am all about anything that betters the football team I have been watching my entire life. In my heart I now know Rodriguez is not that guy. But if Jim Harbaugh isn't available it doesn't matter who coaches in my opinion, the tables will be stacked against them. Hello spiral.. I hope if we get lucky and Harbaugh is announced as Michigan's next head football coach this week that he has us in mind for the long term because he is going to have to do what Bo did in the late 60's. Take a floundering/fractured program and build it back up. And that is going to take awhile. Hopefully by that time if Michigan hires outside of it's own we have learned our lessons and give the next man who comes from outside the support they need. Going through this once was enough. 

Lastly I will say that I did learn something from this experience. I think as a fan I am a better one than I was pre-2008. I learned a lot about life through this. Through football. I'll always support the team and the school forever. But I lost respect for a very large chunk of the people who call themselves fans of Michigan football. 

Hopefully time and some magical wins heal all.

Go Blue Forever


Blue since birth

January 3rd, 2011 at 4:23 AM ^

Excellent post.

I agree with every word and couldn't have said it better.

... Well, I'm not sure if Harbaugh is the only guy who can turn things arround. But I have a hard time thinking of any other likely options who could instantly change the mood surrounding the program like he could.


January 3rd, 2011 at 4:39 AM ^

Thank you for an excellent summary of what many of us feel about the situation.  In Tibetan Buddhism it is said: "May you live in interesting times.", and we True Blue Michigan fans have had a taste of that - with more to come.   I am not sure if JH is the only answer to this problem, but he may very well be the best answer.  As you implied this would embolden the very ones who have contributed so much to the demise of RR.  So be it.  We have all learned a lot about humility over the past three years so swallowing the hubris of that nettlesome sect of the fan base may be part of the price we pay for a return to glory on the field.

Thanks again...... Go Blue Whatever


January 3rd, 2011 at 5:19 AM ^

It's just a complicated situation that could be viewed and explained in so many different ways. We can just say that everyone was at fault and move on. I think the Orange Bowl is going to be watched extra closely by all the fans of maize and blue. Come to think of it, they might even be watching it down in Columbus and in East Lansing. They might need diapers, though.


January 3rd, 2011 at 5:33 AM ^

"People from within the very university we cheer for, its own alumni started something out of nothing before a game was ever played under the new regime". I think this may be a little overstated. I don't recall a single person or article hating in rod before the game. Maybe cautious optimism about the spread, etc but all the negativity was related to the bizarre wvu exit.

I think the negativism started when he let mallet go as if it were no big deal. And then the losses came. Michigan fans are not used to losing seasons. Let along losing 9 games in epic fashion. No coach, I don't care if it was rich rod, Lloyd, Bo or harbaugh. You fail that epicially in year one you are going to have people questioning the coach


January 3rd, 2011 at 10:07 AM ^

There was a large, vocal contingent of alumni and fans that opposed his hiring from the outset and never game him a chance to prove himself.  Whether it be because he was not a "Michigan Man" or that he brought in his own staff or whatever, he was never given a fair chance by many influential alumni/fans.


January 3rd, 2011 at 5:43 AM ^

is the players.   It really sucks how much they believe in RR and how hard they've worked for three years to be able to win the championship under him. 


January 3rd, 2011 at 6:30 AM ^

how can anyone say he didn't have a chance. /s

Remember when we paid that kid's dad $200,000.00? Oh, wait, I mean when we stretched too much? Right in the middle of defending ourselves against that, Jim Harbaugh made his public statements about Michigan's academics. Until I can understand that, I won't be happy with JH. I won't be happy if he is in California, and I sure as hell won't be happy if he is in A2.


January 3rd, 2011 at 6:39 AM ^

You covered it very well.  After all that has transpired, I have a very difficult time hanging it all on one coach being the answer.  Many of us did that in Rich.  I can't come up with one coach other than Harbaugh that I "trust" enough to fix what is fractured.  Of course, I don't know any of these coaches personally or professionally either. 

The shift that will take place over the next several months and seasons will feel much the same and much different than the last three years.   If it all goes as we hope and expect, then it will be much different and JH will be come seen as another iteration of Bo.  If he stays for only a few years and jumps to the NFL, or things don't go as anticipated we could be right back here again in several years.

Frankly, I don't see the latter happening.  He may not stay 15 years, but if he stays long enough to right the ship and put a unique, but familiar stamp on this program then he should be in a position to "hand" the program off to someone who will be a good stewart and leader for many years to come.

No matter what, we are blue and we will continue to be.

Go Blue!  Go Stanford.


January 3rd, 2011 at 7:11 AM ^

Perhaps the anti-RR crowd had better insight into RichRod than I had. 

I still think he is a good coach, but not a good enough manager.  He did not have good enough assistants.  

What makes Jo Pa successful at Penn State? 

High-caliber teams require more than just a head coach. 

The work load is huge, and must be delegated.  Every coach has to be excellent.

Brandon & Harbaugh need to build a football coaching school in this program.

Just like in out and hire the best young coaching talent, build a program to teach them how to coach the details, and mold them into the best young coaches in the country. 

Then when you lose a coach, you have a replacement on the shelf.

Section 1

January 3rd, 2011 at 7:09 AM ^

Coach Rodriguez had a difficult job, with unreasonable expectations.

Then, his job was made very much more difficult; even artifice was employed by some to make the job all the more difficult.

And now, for all of that, Coach Rodriguez must be fired.

Got it.  Go Blue.


January 3rd, 2011 at 8:08 AM ^

You and I disagreed vehemently in an earlier thread, but your statement is exactly right. It isn't fair to Rich Rodriguez. It sucks, particularly when those whom he meant to serve didn't exactly act like so-called "Leaders and Best".

I admire his determination not to quit on the U-M, to be a "Michigan Man". It has seemed to me for a long time that he has displayed those qualities far better, and understood the term with more clarity, than those who have attempted -- from Day 1 -- to tear him down, and take the entire program with him. He was never given a chance to succeed, and his W-L record and the other swirling controversies (some of them manufactured out of whole cloth by the same people who have tried to get him fired all along -- I'm looking at you, Michael Rosenberg) have just made it that much tougher.

Something tells me, though, that no one will ever be good enough for these people. Not Jim Harbaugh, not any living human. They will always be compared to people's faulty memories of a dead coach.


January 3rd, 2011 at 12:16 PM ^

RRod isn't being fired, as seems likely, because the University won't tolerate 9-3, 10-2 type seasons.  He is being fired because he's 15-22 with no significant victories and only improvement from bad to not so bad.  I wholly supported shaking things up 3 years ago, but let's face it, he hasn't delivered.


January 3rd, 2011 at 7:22 AM ^

These are my feelings exactly. The environment has been such that no new coach could succeed. People better change their attitudes or the next coach will face the exact same problem. Michigan football is supposed to be fun! This should have been a fun season, watching Denard and the crazy offense like we've never seen in Ann Arbor. But no. The negativity prevailed. The defense sucked. The running backs weren't good enough. Special teams sucked. 7-5 (at the time) wasn't good enough. Each complaint is valid but the glass is always half-empty and that is and has been a recipe for failure. The so-called "fans" have been parasites on this season and I'm glad it's over. I hope they get their way just so they'll shut up. But it won't end. Their beloved next coach won't be good enough and they'll start complaining eventually. Sh-t, they already are with their fears that he'll leave for the NFL some day.


January 3rd, 2011 at 8:37 AM ^

First of all the OP's piece is right on the money.

As for this awesome, crazy offense - I am not so convinced. It hasn't worked against the more competitive opponents - even a crippled Penn State - and I beleive that has to do with balance (lack of an running back threat, and a passing game that is here today, gone tomorrow).

Maybe another year fixes it, but I am not so sure. That is a maybe / risk ...


January 3rd, 2011 at 9:46 AM ^

I agree with you about the stalls in the bigger games, but I had a lot of fun watching the offense when it was hitting on all cylinders.  I personally believe that the defensive failures forced Rodriguez's hand on the offensive side of the ball.  The bowl game is a perfect example - he was forced to call passing plays much more than he wanted, I'm sure.  His offense requires balance to be effective and coming from behind and being forced to throw too much dooms the offense, I believe.  It was sad to watch and I really felt for Rodriguez and the team.  Somehow, I am still able to limit the blame on Rodriguez for the defensive failures, still focusing on the extreme lack of experience in the secondary.  Maybe I'm just going down with the ship, but I still don't think that fact can be stressed enough.  And I believe the defensive failures doomed the defense in games where they had to play from behind or at least with so much pressure to score to keep pace with the other team.


January 3rd, 2011 at 5:46 PM ^

The environment has been such that no new coach that posted the worst record in school history could succeed.

Fixed it for you.  We are not exactly talking about Lloyd Carr being criticized despite winning 75% of his games here.


January 3rd, 2011 at 8:32 AM ^

After a lot of thought, I have come to the same conclusions as you but could not have expressed it as well.  Thank you for taking time to express. clearly, what many believe.  Rich Rodriguez is a good man who has brought a lot of very nice young men to our alma mater to play their hearts out for our school.  I have always thought him a good man, and I have always been proud of our players.  But, I, too, have come to the conclusion that he will never be given a fair chance and that a fourth year would have no positive impact.


January 3rd, 2011 at 8:38 AM ^

Nice work,  EZMIKEP.  I'm not convinced that RichRod would have been able, even in favorable circumstances, to lead the Wolverines to prosperity, but it seems clear that he was dealt a mediocre (at best) hand of cards at multiple levels (worst QB selection in the modern era, Les Miles Fan Club, Mike "Family Values" Boren, little Rosey, MAJOR {huh, huh} violations, shallow upperclass talent pool).  It would be nice if his detractors (who have made more than a few decent points) would acknowledge that.

Rufus X

January 3rd, 2011 at 8:49 AM ^

... but I assume mean the worst QB selection int he modern era would have otherwise  included Ryan Mallet, and you're referring to Justin "All Big 10" Boren.  Do you think RR had every heard the phrase "Those who stay will be champions" before his first tour of the Stadium locker room?   


January 3rd, 2011 at 9:55 AM ^

I don't think it's possible to clearly assign responsibility for those departures, but I'll take a stab at it (with comments):

* Boren >>> 10:90 (I'll place 10% on RichRod, who, as a new coach, had to decide if he wanted to let himself get bullied by a belligerent MICHIGAN MAN so that the guy's brat, depending on which story you believe, could get either a legacy scholarship {little brat} or preferential Mr. Plow treatment {big brat}.  I believe that caving would have set a bad precedent.)

* Mallett >>> 35:65 (We really need more information here.  Was Ryan really homesick?  Did he really always want to be a Hog but shied away from competition with Mustain?  Was he a poor fit on the team?  None of those sound great to me, and I can imagine a scenario where he could be RichRod's QB, but I can see where the coach would want a mobile QB to run his offense.)

Rufus X

January 3rd, 2011 at 12:51 PM ^

You nor I will ever know the motivations of these two guys.   But I (perhaps wrongly) filed your post under the "Lloyd left the cupboard bare" excuse/tripe/drivel which absolutely steams me.  You can't have it both ways - if Lloyd really left the cupboard bare then our offense shoud suck as badly as our defense right now.  RR has stocked the offense with great talent ("his guys", why has he been incapable of doing so on defense and specials?   If you actually look at the roster, there was probably more talent left to RR on D than on O, but he hasn't done anything... and I mean ANYTHING positive on defense in 3 years.  Why would we imagine he would start now?


January 3rd, 2011 at 5:29 PM ^

Why do we assume Boren was a crybaby?  We never heard a peep about him being a problem child when Carr was here, and he seems to have flourished at OSU.  When two of the most successful coaches in recent conference history can make it work with him and a much less successful coach can't, why do we assume the less-successful coach was in the right?

Rufus X

January 3rd, 2011 at 8:46 AM ^

I can't say I 100% agree with you, but your passion and thoughtfulness is appreciated.  The theme, though, is indisputeable - RR is a good coach; maybe a great one.  But it was a bad fit here.  Not because the offense won't work in the Big Twelveleventen (of course it will), but because his personality was a bad fit with the Michigan culture.  We can argue whether that culture is counterproductive, or annoying, or arrogant, or whatever, but we can't argue that it exists.  Regardless of whether we LIKE the culture, or agree with it, you cannot IGNORE it when hiring the next guy.  Which is why Martin gagged on the biggest decision of his tenure, and why the blame for the current state of affairs must rest 90% with him, and only 10% with the coach himself.  And it's why Harbaugh is the obvious fit - he gets it. 

I've met Harbaugh a couple times at some UM functions, and talked to him.  I'm telling anyone who is unsure if he's the right guy or not - he is.  He is old enough to understand and embrace the Bo legacy and the significance of Bo v. Woody, and at the same time young enough to understand that college football, as currenty constructed, is can no longer be exclusively about Bo v Woody. 

I'm sure Richrod will succeed elsewhere.  Just not here.  And it's not his fault, but he has to go.  With one caveat - if Brandon doesn't land Harbaugh and have the deal done already, he needs to keep Richrod for one more year, make him hire a real DC, fully realizing he will probably never get Harbaugh at that point.. 


January 3rd, 2011 at 12:24 PM ^

Right now much of the talk when it comes to CC revolves around the notion that there will be a CC and then devolves into a discussion about whether it is this guy or that guy and the pros and cons. If DB can't get the specific person he wants then he might just say "I've thoroughly reviewed the FB program and right now RR is our coach and is under contract for the next 2 years"...and then introduce RR to discuss changes in the staff starting with a new DC.  I don't see DB letting RR go without the specific person he wants already sewn up. That there is still a lot of talk floating around JH makes it far from a done deal - OR - he has the best security so far on information. Part of me perversely wouldn't mind seeing RR come back and having a junior Denard Robinson and a veteran offensive line - should be something to see.

One last aside: in the summer, if there are defensive transfer from junior colleges (I know that is a long shot historically at the UM) then DB is really trying whomever is the HC at that point get better real fast.

steve sharik

January 3rd, 2011 at 8:53 AM ^

You've captured the situation so well.

Unfortunately, I think if you believe the things you said about why what has happened, then I don't see how you can conclude you're still a fan of Michigan Football.

Rich Rodriguez is a good coach. He will be a good coach when he leaves here. He will win big somewhere else. But here it isn't going to work, ever.

If this is true, as I believe it is, then the problem isn't Rich Rodriguez, it's Michigan Football.

Ignorance. Nepotism. Cronyism. They all found a way into Michigan football in a way that has left a black eye on us. If you don't think so then I believe you to be foolish and as many outside of our own fanbase perceive-arrogant.

Again, I agree 100%.  And these values have won.  They got what they wanted.  Those that threw up obtacles and stopped Rich from doing what he does, have won.  Is that what we want?  Is that what we value?  I thought that Michigan (the University, not the football program) was bigger than all of them.

And does not the University of Michigan represent honor and integrity?  Does it represent undermining, backstabbing, and sabotage?  Because that, in my opinion, is what has de-railed the Rich Rodriguez era at Michigan.

And if we, as fans, alumni, employees, devotees give in to this kind of behavior, this kind of manipulation, this kind of value system, then we have lost.

I will be keenly interested in how Rich Rodriguez does after he leaves here.  He definitely made mistakes here, and if he goes somewhere else and struggles as a head coach, I will conclude he wasn't right for Michigan.

If, however as you suggest, he goes on to win big somewhere else, and do what he did before he came here, then I cannot support a football program and an environment that behaves like a bunch of whining cry-babies that doesn't support its coach when it doesn't get what it wants.  I will give up all my gear, I will never go to another game, and I will no longer root for Michigan, because they will not be worthy.  They won't be the "Leaders and Best" because leaders and "the best" don't operate this way.  I will no longer be a supporter of Michigan Football because it will be a lie.


January 3rd, 2011 at 9:03 AM ^

While the details may not be 100% accurate (and maybe they are), your thoughts equal mine.

I don't think that Rodriguez got a fair shake.  Nor did he "shock the world".  

The only thing I would like to add is that nasty "Parity" word.  It is a different era.  Michigan's number one requirement for a coach should be his ability to recruit.  Michigan has traditionally had to recruit from everywhere - and will continue to.  Great players can make a pretty good X's and O's coach look great.

I wish the Rodriguez family nothing but the best - they deserve to be somewhere that they are respected and are happy.  Thanks for your best efforts, Rich!


January 3rd, 2011 at 9:08 AM ^

I entirely agree with you that Rich Rodriguez wasn’t a good “cultural fit” at Michigan, and to some extent he was undone by circumstances beyond his control.

But the alumni and the broader Michigan community don’t coach the players, and they don’t call the plays. The Michigan team was not well coached on defense and special teams, and Rodriguez has to take some of the blame for that. Even allowing for the obvious talent deficit, with freshmen and sophomores starting at positions where there were no juniors or seniors, the team was not well coached.

The offense, which was supposed to be Michigan’s strength, was held scoreless for eight of its last twelve quarters, including the whole second halves of both the Ohio State and Mississippi State games. With a whole month to prepare for the Gator Bowl, Michigan ran its vanilla offense, without even trying to surprise the Bulldogs with a wrinkle or two.

So yeah, the boosters and backstabbers let Rich Rodriguez down. But most of them would have turned around pretty quickly if he had won, or at not lost quite as ugly. Rich owns this debacle too.

Mitch Cumstein

January 3rd, 2011 at 11:49 PM ^

While I understand where the OP is coming from (well documented excuses/reasons and defenses of RR on this blog), I feel like he/she lets RR off the hook for his own failures as a coach a little too much.  He isn't completely blameless, and as he has said himself he is a "big boy", he knew the risks and responsibilities when he signed up and ended up playing a poor hand poorly.


January 3rd, 2011 at 9:14 AM ^

Great read, but I think many of us understimate the power of the WIN. If we start winning games, no matter who is at the helm, 90% of this bullshit goes away. I don't buy that RR won't work here even if we win.

If we beat MSU (that MSU) next year and win 10 games, things get MUCH better. God willing if we beat tOSU?!?? You can't tell me that people are still calling for his head. Not true.

You play to win the game. It's that simple.

If JH is best suited to do that, let's go JH! If RR is best suited to do that, let's go RR!


January 3rd, 2011 at 9:28 AM ^

but it would be unfair to try to take credit for your work.  Excellent post.  As others have commented, this pretty much sums up what a large portion of the M fanbase -- including me -- thinks. 

I just don't get it.  Bo wasn't a "Michigan Man" when he came to Michigan.  He was born and raised in Ohio; played for Woody Hayes at Miami and assisted him at Ohio State -- Ohio State for god's sake! Woody Hayes for god's sake!; and coached Miami before he came to Michigan.  Sounds like an "Ohio Man" to me, maybe even an "Ohio State Man."  Yet he became the prototype of the "Michigan Man."  I don't see why someone born and raised in West Virginia, who played football -- for a Bo protege -- and coached at WVU, was disqualified from the beginning from becoming a "Michigan Man."  If there were any justice in the world (apart from Justice Hayes), there would be a special circle of hell for the Mike Rosenbergs of the world; it would be a room painted scarlet and gray, Dantonio would continually gives lectures about "zero tolerance" and how to mold young men, and there would be no Zingerman's or Bell's, just Natty Light and whatever else passes for good culture in E. Lansing and Columbus.  Maybe RichRod wasn't the right guy, but a big F-U to all those who prevented us from legitimately finding out.

I sure hope that, if RichRod is fired, we have an actual succession plan in place, not a crapshoot like last time. Did no one expect Lloyd to ever retire?  Seems like it.

I gotta stop now.  I'm losing my zen.  Can't break the New Year's resolution so early.


January 3rd, 2011 at 10:08 AM ^

In the vacuum after a 40 year continuum, who ever came in from the outside was bound to be rejected. Les Miles was it, and he wasn't selected for dubious ethical reasons apparently. Jim Harbaugh was not on the radar yet.

So there was no obvious successor, and (after a season that had us loose the Horror, and then loose a bunch of starters to the NFL) most coaches out there -- even Schiano -- were smart enough to realism the risk of stepping into the breech. Rich took the risk. (He has cajones.)

Bottom line though is, sometimes in a leadership change, it takes one or two fall guys to get the stakeholders desperate enough to line up behind someone new.

I agree, if it is not Harbaugh, short of retaining Rich, there is a very high likelihood we are just hiring the next fall guy ...

The stakes are very high for Dave Brandon right now.


January 3rd, 2011 at 2:02 PM ^

Who ever replaces Rodriguez will suffer some of the same pressures because major changes always come with pain. 

I'm optimistic, however, for one reason:  Brandon seems by all indications to be a politically saavy executive and will choose a coach who is also well tuned in to our pain.  I don't think Rodriguez felt our pain, nor was able to convey to the fans, alumni, & media that he "got it" the way Tressell "got it" about Ohio State's pain (couldn't beat us with highly-rated teams!!!).  Tressell came into a tough situation and with one hatlftime talk at a basketball game, seemed to win over any doubters. 

Think back to our transition and ask yourself it there was a moment, any moment, when Rodriguez showed that he felt our pain, our frustration at losing big games to our biggest rivals, and was going make it his biggest priority to fix it?  I can't think of a moment like that.  I wish I could.  I think a number of fans turned against Rodriguez because he seemed deaf to the frustration they felt. 

Whether we hire Harbaugh or someone else, I'm optimistic that Brandon will bring us a coach that tells us that he feels our pain--and will make it is number one priority to heal it. 


January 3rd, 2011 at 10:10 PM ^

I agree....the "Michigan Man" statement is a joke.  Do you think Florida was wondering if Urban Meyer was a "Florida Man" when they hired him? No...they wanted a good coach, he had the full support of the entire university and he won two national titles.  That being said RR did not win and it is understandable why he may be moving on.  It didn't work out and it may be the best for both parties to part ways. 

Now that many "fans" are going to get what they want, will things improve? Only if Harbaugh takes over.  Anybody else will struggle IMHO and we could be looking at the same situation in a couple years.  That being said, I am not Nostradamus and I want Michigan to win as much as anybody else on this blog but barring JH coming, the next coach will step into a toxic situation.


January 3rd, 2011 at 10:00 AM ^

I'm a 60-yr-old nutcase, sitting here in honolulu at 4:30 in the morning, thinking about our situation. Might it be that with the demographic change of large michigan/midwest populations migrating to all points south, and given the depressed economies of the big industrial cities, we are left with smaller pools of talent in our underfunded h.s. football programs, we simply cannot recuit top 5 classes consistently? We must resort to recruiting from the larger pools in Texas, California, Florida were we can only hope for sloppy seconds as all the elite 5 stars go to their home state schools as life time fans, fullfilling childhood dreams. "Leaders and Best" is over. Even with Harbaugh, the best we can achieve would be Big 10 relevance and Bowl losses (That's all Bo could do.) sucks.


January 3rd, 2011 at 10:03 AM ^

I don't think that our sense of being the Leaders and Best has to end or that we need a "reality check."  I just think that its a matter of adjusting expectations.  I know everyone hate to discuss the sense of entitlement and maybe thats not what Michigan fans had.  I know, for myself, I was lulled into an expectation of at least 7-8 win seasons and a bowl game (since that's all I knew until 2008). 

The first two years under Rodriguez were a shock to the system and I now seem more clearly the landscape of college football and how difficult it is to do what was done the past 35 years of my life.  Now, this year, Rodriguez lived up to my new expectations and people are calling for him to be fired.  It just doesn't sit right with me.


January 3rd, 2011 at 10:20 AM ^

in part. it doesn't sit right with me either. we signed a 5 year contract and what i learned from Michigan is that we keep our word. RR did accomplish this year what was hoped for. I also agree with the diarist, EZMIKEP above. Let it go.

I, too, learned from the past 3 years how difficult it is to stay on top of the college football world year after year. everything has to click perfectly. It was a good ride.

Adjusting expectations? Top tier Big 10 team would be realistic. (In a few more years). beating Wis, MSU, Osu, more often than not is what we must strive for.

NC's ... dream away.