If RR Learned Anything From His Time At Michigan, He Will...

Submitted by ATLWolverine on November 21st, 2011 at 10:00 PM

Congratulations to Rich Rodriguez for getting a new HC position at Arizona!

3 And Out outlined a lot of ways that Rodriguez could have taken several simple steps to minimize his pain at Michigan, but that he was simply too green behind the ears to know. He was an insider at WVU and Tulane, and therefore didn't know how to handle himself as an outside coming into a big-time program.

If RR has learned anything from his time at Michigan, what will he do? I'm curious what you all think. From what I gathered from Bacon's book and my own observation:

- Get a solid defensive coordinator, and then immediately follow that up with Barwis and the rest of his ideal staff.

- Begin recruiting his QB of the future immediately.

- Make sure there are no traditions that he could possibly be trampling.

- Clean out all of the old guard in the Athletic Department that he can, from the compliance officers to the PR folks. No leaks. No drama. No one who compares him to Stoops. His people, everywhere.

- Ingratiate himself with boosters and local fans. Never visiting M Club meetings until the year he was fired was a serious tactical error; even the people that liked him didn't have access to him.

- Build a political base of support with the President, Regents, etc. Golf rounds with AZ bigwigs should be as important as visiting recruits' homes. He needs to generate goodwill and survivability from Day 1.

- Never, ever speak off the cuff in front of the press. Give Belichik-style deadpan answers and never touch any question dealing with off-field questions.


What do ya'll think? Anything further he should do to set himself up to have a long and succesful run at Arizona?



November 21st, 2011 at 10:41 PM ^

1. An iron-clad guarantee of five years with a huge buyout fee if he is terminated for any reason.

2.  Ex-coach doesn't get office down the hall from which to sabotage his program.

3.  No "transparency," limited press access:  "Fort Rodriguez."

4.   Hire a great DC and get the bleep out of the way.



November 21st, 2011 at 10:53 PM ^

5. Tell asshole ex-players of the University to shut the hell up.
<br>6. Don't listen to administrators who are only worried about covering their own asses.
<br>7. Embrace organizations made up of the real fans of the University.

steve sharik

November 22nd, 2011 at 10:41 AM ^

...you just called the following players "shit?":

  • Denard Robinson
  • Tay Odoms
  • Roy Roundtree
  • Fitz Toussaint
  • Vince Smith
  • Kevin Koger
  • Taylor Lewan
  • Mike Schofield
  • Will Campbell
  • Kenny Demens
  • Jake Ryan
  • Desmond Morgan
  • Thomas Gordon
  • Blake Countess
  • JT Floyd
  • Brendan Gibbons
  • Will Hagerup
  • and everyone else I didn't name who isn't a senior


November 21st, 2011 at 10:53 PM ^

Clean out all of the old guard in the Athletic Department that he can, from the compliance officers to the PR folks.

No - that was what caused so much of the trouble in the first place. It's not hard to figure out what caused the rift between Carr and RR. Carr called him up, advising him to take the job and, we can safely assume, urged RR to give his assistants a look. RR got the job, and then the assistants waited for hours in the hallway for positions that were already filled. Carr felt betrayed. The assistants were bitter. The players, recruited and coached by those assistants, were discouraged. And things snowballed.

What RR needs to do is establish good relations with his predecessors. Keep a few of the old staff members aboard, even if it's for just one year. Make the transition smooth, instead of the sudden band-aid-ripping procedure it was here.


November 21st, 2011 at 11:50 PM ^

that was irrelevant; why would RichRod care if Ron English was fuming at him across the street?

The problem was that he left so many people in the department who were constantly leaking things (see: practice irregularities) and who held grudges about Rodriguez cleaning house. Either you clean house all the way or you leave things untouched; you don't fire most of the department and then leave behind a few people whose friends and acquaintances were all kicked to the curb.

That's all I'm saying.


November 22nd, 2011 at 1:07 AM ^

Agreed. And its not like Arizona has been so successful over the last few years that any coaches have made it 100% neccessary to keep them around. If anything he should poach Lubick the recruiting cordinator at ASU who was a huge component of the landing all the talent at Ole Miss that Houston Nutt rode to a few Cotton Bowl appearances, or the WR coach at that landed 5...5! guys from Long Beach Poly this year.


November 22nd, 2011 at 10:45 AM ^

Because when Ron English is fuming across the street, people like Braylon will say things in public (Lloyd Carr's University of Michigan).  Or you'll have things like Breaston tweeting "We're the best Big East Team in the B10".  

The assistants themselves can't hurt you, but the formers players (who the fanbase reveres) can definitely hurt you.  Look at how reassuring it was to have Tom Brady talking about the positive influence Hoke had on him (Woodson talked up Hoke as well).  Contrast that with either silence or negative comments on RR.  

You definitely have to keep the former assistants happy.  You can clean house, but you can't clean the record books/memories people have.


November 22nd, 2011 at 11:13 AM ^

perhaps keeping one guy like a Fred Jackson would be fine, but I don't think it was Ron English and other people on the outside looking in that did the most damage. It was really the people still in the program who undermined him, leaked documents, spoke to the Freep, etc. that really hurt RR.

There are ways to keep alumni happy that don't involve keeping all or even any of your predecessor's staff.


November 21st, 2011 at 11:53 PM ^

Completely disagree. Much of Carr's staff felt they deserved promotions with Carr's retirement. Ron English in particular thought he should be the HC. It would have been poison.

Besides, Stoops didn't retire, he got canned in the middle of the season. Didn't see Hoke keeping RR's staff around when he came in...


November 21st, 2011 at 11:07 PM ^

he has better options at QB in his first year, and work very hard to make sure he isn't counting on two Fr. his second.  No matter how talented they are.


It wouldn't hurt for him to understand the Pac-12 is big boy football just like the big ten.  You need big young men in the trenches.


November 21st, 2011 at 11:18 PM ^

recruit, recruit, recruit. He needs to get at least one AC who knows how to recruit the region and then hit it hard. Arizona has a very patient fanbase that is willing to put an investment into becoming a perennial winner. He needs to accelerate that process and prove he can beat ASU. 


November 21st, 2011 at 11:57 PM ^

In a nutshell: disrupt the status quo as little as possible. Don't piss of people unless you really need to.

Important: If you can get a 3-star recruit from your backyard, take that guy instead of replacing him with an equally generic 3-star from some village in Florida nobody has ever heard of. Local media, high school coaches, and fans in general love seeing a hometown hero make it big. Conversely, nobody except MGoBlog readers get excited when local kids are frozen out by the new head coach in favor of the OMGZHESOFASTANDHEGOTDREADSWHOCARESIFHECANTREAD import from halfway across the country.


November 22nd, 2011 at 12:33 AM ^

...reference Bacon's book for every way that he and his assistants got screwed at Michigan, and establish a "No Bullshit Policy" to ensure it doesn't happen again. 


November 22nd, 2011 at 12:47 AM ^

He should not assume that "what he needed to do at Michigan" is "what he needs to do at Arizona." His biggest problem here came down to assuming UM was exactly like WVU and the same things were important and the same mindset would work. Treating Arizona like Michigan would be the same mistake. He should go let an Arizona alum tell him what to do, not mgoblog.


November 22nd, 2011 at 1:41 AM ^

I'll root for him since he's an ex-UM coach, but he's a mess.  All the excuses aside about deck stacked against him at UM, RR flat out doesn't know defense.  He is a glorified offensive coordinator at best.  Not once in three years did he evidence any competence in defensive decisionmaking.  From firing Schafer to hiring the giant senile mess that was Gerg, to sticking with the 3-5-5, to moving Willie C to offense, to moving Roh to LB, etc., etc., etc.  Only thing I credit him for on D is discovering Kovacs.

Even on offense, for all his creative genius, his schemes feature QB runs which mean QBs getting banged up, which means starting QBs more likely on the bench.  Then add that his spread peewee program is a turn off to recruits looking to transition to the NFL - another problem there.

What is worse, Arizona doesn't have the recruting pull UM has.  RR will go to Az, and if he does all the right things (most importantly getting a competent D coord and getting out of his way) then at best he gets AZ to 8 win seasons.  More likely, they'll remain a middling 6-7 win team.

No one rooted for, or defended him as much as me to my friends, but in hindsight, glad he's gone.  Wish him the best.  I'll always root for him.

Gorgeous Borges

November 22nd, 2011 at 1:50 AM ^

 Arizona isn't much worse of a place to recruit from than West Virginia was when Rich Rod got there. I don't really have any doubt that he can make his offense work there with the talent that he'll get.

What I'm not sure of is how he'll succeed there on the defensive side of the ball. It has become clear from the immense improvement this season that Rich Rod's staff was phenomenally incompetent at coaching defense. But you don't need phenomenal talent to have a good defense. Look at Michigan State and Illinois.

Ben from SF

November 22nd, 2011 at 1:47 AM ^

Rich Rod's to do list:

1. Invite Lute Olson, Steve Kerr, Dick Tomey, Chuck Cecil, and Tedy Bruschi to stand with him during the introduction ceremony.

2. Mention "Bear Down Arizona" and "Desert Swarm" in every sentence in his introduction speech.

3. Convince Rocky Long, Hoke's DC at SDSU and a 3-3-5 guru, to come to Tucson to be his DC.

4. Hand out free passes to "Barwis Methods" to all the key alumni donors (Robert Sarver, especially...).

5. Call Rob Bolden and his dad, who may be eligible to play right away next year.

6. Review Rick Neuheisel's staff at UCLA.  Hire the best recruiters.

7. Hire a PR professional to write all his speeches from now on

8. Ignore all calls from Greg Robinson and Tony Gibson.


November 22nd, 2011 at 2:28 AM ^

Went to grad school with an Arizona alumnus, and for what it is worth, he is not very excited about RichRod. He was hoping for Mike Leach, because he believes Leach can win without top recruits, which he believes Arizona will never get going against USC, Oregon, etc.

From talking to him the Arizona fan base was a little unrealistic in their expectations for a new coach (they actually thought they had a chance at Urban). RichRod seems like damaged goods in his view, and he seems to think a lot of the Arizona fans think so too. I actually think this is good for RR, he is a good coach and being seen as a mediocre coach, will give him the opportunity to impress everyone with his ability. Also being at a school where basketball is the focus should give him more time. I think if he just shows improvement, even if it is incremental he will have time. They certainly had a long fuse with Stoops.

When I asked him what RR would have to do to be considered a great choice, he said make it to the Rose Bowl. I guess Arizona has never made it to the Rose Bowl , and it would be like a national championship to them.


November 22nd, 2011 at 9:11 AM ^

...Not have Tony Gibson on staff.  Ugh tire fire secondary.

...Hire a strong DC and listen to him.

Hopefully Holgo and Casteel keep fighting, so at the end of the season AU can go pick up Casteel and let him build RR's defense.


November 22nd, 2011 at 10:32 AM ^

....separate himself from Stoops by remaining calm on the sidelines.  People tired of his over the top man-on-fire act (beware, Brian Kelly).  RR hasn't had those type of sideline meltdowns, but he can get a little whiny out there....my advice would be for him to man up and remain stoic, even in adverse situations.