Does Bill Callahan = Rich Rodriguez?

Submitted by caup on November 22nd, 2010 at 9:57 AM

From Wikipedia:

Soon after being fired by the Raiders, Callahan was hired at Nebraska. This would mark the first time in 31 years (since the hiring of Tom Osborne in 1973) that the Cornhuskers would be led by a head coach with no direct ties to the university either as a player or an assistant coach.

In his first season at Nebraska (2004) he had introduced the West Coast offense to a program that had traditionally relied on a strong running attack.

While Nebraska's defense struggled during Callahan's tenure, numerous offensive school records were set.


2004 Nebraska 5–6 3–5 3rd (North)      
2005 Nebraska 8–4 4–4 T–2nd (North) W Alamo 24 24
2006 Nebraska 9–5 6–2 1st (North) L Cotton    
2007 Nebraska 5–7 2–6 T–5th (North)      

Callahan was fired from Nebraska in 2007 after going 5-7, the program's worst record in more than 45 years.

My take?  NO, this is not a valid comparison.  The only similarity is a 10,000-foot-altitude view that both coaches brought record-setting, dynamic offenses to traditonal powerhouse programs but mitigated that success by having truly awful defenses that stayed broken too long.   That is where the similarities end, though.



November 22nd, 2010 at 10:14 AM ^


This comparison is Callahan. Callahan actually managed two winning seasons and an overall winning conference record in his first three years.

Rodriguez blows.



November 22nd, 2010 at 10:26 AM ^

Barring a monumental upset, and if OSU takes it to UM as UW did, (as difficult this is for me to accept as a supporter of RR) then it is time for a change. Without question, the offense has improved but the offense is far from consistent or overpowering. As many of us agree, most of the blame lies on the defense, with its youth, injuries, etc. However, schematically, there is much to be desired and that rests on the coaches. If Greg Robinson is unable to make changes (at least at half-time), then it falls on RR to correct this glaring problem, no matter how busy he is running the offense. In short, a large part of coaching is making adjustments, and neither RR or GR has done an acceptable job in this regard.

I say, take a chance with trying to get Harbaugh. Sure we'll lose recruits, and some may transfer. But this is a proven guy who will get us over the hump that Lloyd Carr couldn't  - and that's what we wanted in RR but...



November 22nd, 2010 at 10:51 AM ^

Interesting...I thought this board liked factual evidence to back up arguments. The OP posted (and I reframed) Callahan's accomplishments at Nebraska vs. Rodriguez's at UM which are FACTS. Further, I factually pointed out that Callahan's performance was SUPERIOR to RR's in his first three years.

Was it the "Rodriguez blows" comment that drew your collective ire? Cause everything else was, you know, a fact. Or do we only like facts that make us feel warm and fuzzy rather than those that point out that our current coach was an epic fail of a hire?


November 22nd, 2010 at 10:57 AM ^

Look, many fans (myself included, to some extent) believe that RR is not the guy to get it done at Michigan.  Not a popular opinion on this blog, but still one that is valid.

The OP raised a fair comparison between RR and Callahan.  In the first part of your post, you disputed that comparison and then offered 2 valid reasons for your disagreement.  By the way, good points.

But, you followed it by simply saying "Rodriguiez blows."  What does this add to the dialogue?  Does RR actually blow?  But by then making a personal attack on RR like "he blows" you water down your own point. 

Just saying.


November 22nd, 2010 at 5:20 PM ^

Here's how I see the coaching debate:

We basically have two options:

#1) Rich Rod is brought back...IF...he agrees to letting Brandon and Moeller appoint him a new defensive coordinator, and that defensive coordinator is allowed to hire two of his own defensive assistants (because RR has proven, twice, that he is incapable of putting together a competent defensive staff).  The RR assistants lost will be Robinson, Braithwaite, and probably Tall (Gibson becomes full time special teams coach - something else we desperately need - and recruiting coordinator).  The defensive staff could potentially look something like this...Mike Trgovac (for example) DC/DL coach, "Trgovac's hire" LB coach, "Trgovac's hire" DB coach.


#2) Jim Harbaugh is brought in as the new head coach.



#1) For keeping RR.  His offense is great, his defense sucks.  If Harbaugh comes in, he's going to have to revamp both the offense and the defense.  If RR is kept, and a new defensive staff is brought in, only the defense needs to be revamped.  Plus, RR is under contract for another year, and his buyout is pricey.  And, of course, Harbaugh angered Lloyd and friends with his academics comments four years ago.

#2) For hiring Harbaugh (my choice).  #1) RR's offense isn't that great.  It's actually flat out SUCKED against good teams.  We were down 24-0 to Wisc, 31-10 to PSU, 35-7 to Iowa, and 31-10 to MSU.  Most of the points he's scored against good teams have been scored in garbage time (against prevent defenses).  #2) Do we really want a coach who can't be trusted to hire his own defensive assistants?  #3) Recruiting.  The real reason people were excited about hiring RR was this - his offense at WVU was so great, with 2 and 3 stars, if he comes to Michigan, and starts racking up 4 and 5 star recruits, it's going to be unstoppable.  Well, that has not happened.  Rich Rod continues to recruit like he's at WVU.  And it's sort of a catch-22 situation that might never end.  He can't land talented recruits (especially defensively) until his team starts to go to BCS games, and he can't go to BCS games until he starts to land big time recruits.  Jim Harbaugh, on the other hand, is one of the best recruiters in the entire nation and would really be able to jump start things here.  #4) MICHIGAN MAN.  RichRod simply doesn't portray Michigan values.  If Bo was still alive, he'd be slapping the sh!t out of him after all of these excuse-filled press conferences.  "We're too young, we've had too many injuries, Vince Lombardi couldn't win with this kind of talent, etc...etc...etc...".  Rich Rod has yet to man up and accept any responsibility whatsoever.  He just blames it all on his players!?  How about..."I need to do a better job recruiting, I need to do a better job preparing young players and backups, I need to do a better job putting together effective schemes, It ultimately all comes back to me."  That's exactly what Bo/Moeller/Lloyd would have said.  Never in a million years would they have blamed the players publicly.  Never in a million years should a coach blame his players like RR has done time and time again.  #5) Jim Harbaugh's just a better coach, in every aspect.  We can't think short-term here.  We need to be thinking about 5-10 years down the line.  Sure, RR might be a better coach for this team NEXT season.  But we need to be thinking long term here.  #6) Everything Harbaugh said about our academics was TRUE, and Lloyd hates everybody anyways - that's why he was asked to leave the athletic department (and I have a very reputable source that verifies that).

#7) And I'm making this seperate because it's so important - It's NOW OR NEVER FOR HARBAUGH.  He's going to be getting some major offers this off-season (NFL, Georgia, etc.).  He almost took the KANSAS job last season, for crying out loud.  He IS going to be leaving Stanford after this season.  And once he signs a major deal with a major program, he's no longer going to be interested in us.   So...if RR ends up not working out (which is very likely) and Harbaugh is no longer interested...who in the he!! are we going to hire!?  Miles/Ferentz/Schiano already turned us down.  English!?  DeBord!?  Hoke!?  Trgovac!?  These are, honestly, going to be our best options if Harbaugh's not interested.  In which case, we'll be COMPLETELY SCREWED.

Indiana Blue

November 22nd, 2010 at 11:47 AM ^

we loved it during the 90's !!!   

I hate Tressel and OSU ... but when he was announced as HC, his one comment was about the Michigan game.  The Michigan game to him is THE game every year (just as Woody believed). 

Making the last game of the year THE game to focus on means you play and practice all season for this game.  Regardless of your record, this is the game you've been waiting for, practicing for, playing for .....   This is how Tressel views this game.  OSU has no other rivalry game ... just Michigan !

Yet we have fans and coaches say that we have multiple rivalry games ... ND, MSU & OSU.  Well, fuck ND (we shouldn't play them every year anyway  -  hurts us can only help them ... that's a lose / win scenario).  MSU  -  stuck with litte brother cause of the conference split  -  but rivalry ?  No way !  OSU needs to be revered as our ONLY rivalry game and our focus  -  just the way Bo did.

Go Blue !

kind of a big deal

November 22nd, 2010 at 11:59 AM ^

Agreed on your comment about the 90's.  The one thing with OSU in the Cooper years though is that they won just about every game except the Michigan game.  RR can't say the same with his sub-par Big Ten record.

Would love to flip the script Saturday, but I think it would take a miracle...

Chadillac Grillz

November 22nd, 2010 at 12:56 PM ^

Sry I'm not writing OSU down as a loss yet. The rivalry isn't dead nor is this game. Wisconsin was a nightmare opponent for us match up wise (and a lot of teams). Their offense can score almost every time they have the ball. Osu not so much.

I watched the Game last year and I think people who say that game wasn't competitive are way off base, when the score was 10-7 Michigan in the third quarter an the final was 21-10 with both teams having nearly equal yards (318-309).

Admittedly we committed 5 TOs and that was the biggest difference in the outcome.. but that 2009 game was competitive and I think this year's game will be also. So you see the rivalry is competitive in the sense that the two teams on the field will play a competitive game, and anyone who acts like it's just no fun or it's a given that OSU will "dominate us" is just repeating more BS. 

Honestly, OSU is a very good team thats about one bad chess move from being where we were under Lloyd Carr. I think OSU wins this game because it's in C-bus, but in Ann Arbor I think we'd beat em.


November 22nd, 2010 at 10:03 AM ^

any idea what special plays or tricks we may be pulling out this weekend vs osu?

tate and denard lined up together in the backfield?

vinopal lining up on the D-line?


November 22nd, 2010 at 11:24 AM ^

Really?  You must get pumped every time you tell someone the sky is blue.

I'm admittedly being overly dramatic, but the OP is really jumping the gun with this statement.  Callahan's story is written at Nebraska.  Maybe Michigan backslides next year, and it becomes a valid topic.  Maybe Michigan goes 9-3 and its entirely off base.  Coach Rod is still making his legacy at Michigan.  To make this a topic of discussion now is a year or more too soon.


November 22nd, 2010 at 10:05 AM ^

When are we going to stop throwing other coaches' records up and saying "Look guys, this looks like Rich Rod!!" What exactly does this accomplish? Nothing. None of these situations have anything to do with ours. At all. I don't see how you can even begin to think some correlation can be drawn. It's silly and i wish it would just stop.


November 22nd, 2010 at 10:10 AM ^

The record isn't that comparable --Callahan had a much better year 2 which made the fan-base optimistic about the future; 2005's bowl win and 2006 made most fans forget about his first year.  "Wait 'til next year" was heard all over Lincoln in the winter of 2007.  It was the 2007 collapse that doomed him.  RichRod hasn't had any comparable success and has been on the hot seat for 3 years. 

But his "fit" at the University is very similar. He too experienced a lot of media-frenzy in Lincoln and the fans never seemed to warm up to him.  Also, an "offensive" genious that came in and completely revamped the offense with "his type of players"-- played no defense-- and when he was fired left a slew of skill players that didn't work in any other system and a 3 year re-re-building project for the next coach.  If RR is let go then your comparison unfortunately is very very real in this respect.

10-3 next year is the only way RichRod will quash any Bill Callahan comparisons. 


November 22nd, 2010 at 10:14 AM ^

Callahan had no head coaching experience at either the college or professional level, hadn't even coached in college for about a decade, and inherited a 9-3 team with quite a bit of talent.  Yes, their struggles are similar in terms of having trouble defensively with their new schools, but RR has shown an accumen and ability to win in college that Callahan could only dream of.


November 22nd, 2010 at 10:28 AM ^

Callahan had no head coaching experience at either the college or professional level[.]

I don't disagree with your overall point, but Callahan was the head coach of the Oakland Raiders prior to the Nebraksa job, and took them to the Super Bowl in 2002.  Of course after that he totally lost his team (including Charles Woodson), but that's neither here nor there.