“The Pass” Defending Coach Rodriguez
After hearing all the arguments both ways and having some driving time in the Suburban to think about it, I think I am willing to defend Coach Rodriguez on the decision to call the pass play that led to interception late in the half. A couple of lines of thought sway me in this regard.
What is worse: the coach who gambles and calls the risky play, knowing by this time in the game it is likely that on this day, his freshman QB will not be able to execute the play; or the freshman QB who botches the throw? If he makes the throw and it results in a long yardage reception we all think he is a genius and the QB is on the verge of breaking out [maybe]. If it fails he is the goat.
I wonder if it about cultivating a mindset. Coach Rodriguez has a plan, a certain way he wants to play, a certain mindset he wants his team to be in. The only way to shift from one mindset [run, run, run, just don’t fumble, wind out the clock and play it safe] to a totally new mindset [attack, attack, attack, push, win…it ain’t worth winning if you can’t win big]. You have to make a complete paradigm shift and you can’t look back, especially when half your crew was recruited to play in the old paradigm. How do you send that message? Even if we fail, even if we come away with egg on our face, even if I look bad, we are going to play my new way, end of story.
I also think that Coach Rodriguez is big on his players, on actually coaching them and developing them. I think I remember him saying at one time that one of the things high on his list for recruits is not purported athletic ability, but their teachability and coachability. Will they let me develop them into the players that we can win with? So you push a kid. You trust a kid. If he is the QB you keep the offence simple enough to manage, but you press him to the limits and make him do everything you want him to do, including late half risky passes. You make him stretch himself, even if he falls short. After all Michigan football is all about the young men...right...or is this Nick Saban's Alabama?
I am postulating the mind of the coach and may be totally out to lunch, but everything Coach Rodriguez has show us thus far makes me think it is not far off the mark. I just think that Coach is too smart a man, too conscious of what his team and his freshman QB is capable of, not to have at least suspected the play would turn out badly. Ergo, it was an intentional learning/evaluation situation.
As for the fans wanting run, run, run, in my church leadership tenure, I encountered again and again where people would vote for changing an existing program or an old way of doing things and then when the change was enacted they would start wining and moaning if there were any teething problems. “This is not what I voted for.” “If this is what its going to be like, we would be better off going back to what was.” Change is painful. Get over it. Period. Let me say it again: change is painful. Get over it. Coach Rodriguez has done this before and knows what needs to be done. If anything, this, as much as the spread offence, has become his calling card. He has done it in the past. He is doing it now. Change is painful, deal with it.
Why I Want USC to Beat the Buckeyes This Coming Saturday
On an ordinary day if I did not have an allegiance to either of the teams playing, it would seem that you would pick Big Ten over all the others. Frankly, I think too much is made of this whole Big Ten or SEC or Pac Ten pride thing. In the case of the Buckeyes, I cheered Florida on when they beat them both times, in football and basketball.
Just think, if OSU beats USC people might have a reason to lay some regaining of respectability for the Big Ten at the feet of OSU, however small that gain. And being the selfish type, I want that glory to come to us, the Maize and Blue. I want people looking at the Big Ten to see Michigan again rising high and leading the way as the others in the conference rise with us, yet clearly in the position of following our lead. The only way that this can happen is if OSU keeps falling on their faces and choking on the big game as they have done in the last two years [even though Tressel’s BCS record is 3-2, if I remember correctly]. Then Michigan can step in and lead the conference back to glory with OSU clearly looking up to us to show them the way…and that is why I want OSU to lose Saturday.