OT: RR Introductory Zona Press Conference

Submitted by MichTits on November 22nd, 2011 at 2:41 PM

Interesting to see how he is handling his introductory press conference, and if he has learned from any of his PR mistakes in the past. 

Has made me wince a couple times with some of what he says, but overall he's come directly out and addressed the former players to let them know they are all welcome back.  He clearly doesn't know much about UofA tradition, but did say "I'm not just gonna coach Arizona football, I'm going to live it."

Also mentions that he is frustrated to watch all of Michigan's success this year, because he wishes that he was the one coaching them.  He is proud of all of the players though, because he cares about them and they are his guys.

Overall, I think he's doing a fair job.



Mr. Yost

November 22nd, 2011 at 9:51 PM ^

Kind of my job...not to speed interview. But I just went to check and see if they needed anything. That took 5 seconds, and then I had to introduce myself and I did so by saying I was a Michigan fan. So we chatted for like I said a couple minutes and he went back inside the booth.

You just get the feeling he truly believes he had something special coming this year. I'd have to agree to disagree because I never saw that offense do anything vs. a real defense.

I've seen him in interview talk about how proud and how well they played vs. Illinois. That tells me he just doesn't get it. 3 OTs vs. ILLI-FREAKING-NOIS!?! 60-something points?! At home!? No way. I was proud of THIS YEARS team for how they went down there and handled business.

Talk about Malzahn all you want. He had the best player in college football and a QB who was big enough to withstand the hits of the SEC. Same with Tebow. Denard can't be compared to either of those guys.

However, if you put Denard out in the Pac-12 in November on Rich Rod's Arizona team, I'm sure you get something that'll look like Oregon. Those leagues, climates, style of play, everything is different. Stanford, Cal, Washington and USC may play like the B1G, everyone else...not so much. Other than Washington, who isn't that good...you're not going to have to go deal with weather in those games for the most part. Other than USC, you're not going to have to deal with a physical OSU, Wisky, MSU, PSU, Nebraska (now Michigan) style defense. It's different. Period.

Anyway, back to the story...like I said, part of me feels bad for the guy. Part of me wishes he'd just get over himself and realize that he could've done something to help his cause. Hiring a defensive coordinator and letting him do his thing with HIS staff would've been start. Learning the B1G. Having a smoother transition so you don't dig yourself into such a whole. If Michigan goes 6-6, 7-5, 8-4...Rich Rod might still be here.

All in all, I wish him the best...I'm just not worried about him. Because as much as I wanted to agree that he got the raw deal...the fact that he doesn't believe he did anything bothers me just as much to the point where I'm like "f-it...Rich who?"


November 22nd, 2011 at 4:41 PM ^

how does your defensive coordinator effect your offensive success in November? Oregon/WVU/Florida/Auburn never played a game in cold weather? Are you telling me the B1G defenses are just that superior to everyone else in college football that this is the only conference in the country that the spread doesn't work? 

I appreciate healthy skepticism but this is getting ridiculous. Because RR failed the spread doesn't work in the B1G, that's law. Ok...


November 22nd, 2011 at 5:16 PM ^

To your points:

1. Your defense effects the offense a lot and vice versa. If you have to go 80 yards on every drive you have a much lower percent chance at scoring (i.e. D stops for field position, 3 and outs make the opposing defense tired, having the other team play keep away limits offensive rythm, etc)

2. Oregon/WVU/Florida/Auburn: have played games in bad weather, but I doubt they play as many poor weather games as most Big Ten teams do. 

  • Oregon: November average temps is between highs of 52 and lows of 38 degrees with 7.72 inches of precipitation for the month. Wind is 7.4 mph for Nov.
  • WVU: November average temps is between highs of 54 and lows of 34 degrees with 3.57 inches of precipitation for the month. Wind is 6.0 mph for Nov. (used Charleston data)
  • Florida: November average temps is between highs of 74 and lows of 51 with 2.06 inches of precipitation for the month. Wind is 6.2 mph for Nov. 
  • Auburn: November average temps is between highs of 67 and lows of 41 with 4.74 inches of precipitation for the month. Wind is 7.2 mph for Nov. (used Birmingham data)
  • ANN ARBOR: average temps is between highs of 48 and lows of 33 with 3.09 inches of precipitation for the month. Wind is 11.2 mph for Nov (used Detroit data)

*Weather.com and the NCDC

3. I'm not saying this is a conference where the spread doesnt work, but I am saying that Big Ten defenses are typically more stingy than Big East and Pac 12 defenses. SEC is a great conference with great defenses, but I believe its easier to run an offense in better conditions and in warmer weather. 

4. I didn't say anything about RR failing means the spread doenst work in the Big Ten...so nice try



November 22nd, 2011 at 5:23 PM ^

4. to be fair to you, I didn't think you meant to say that. I'm just tired of the awful arguments that it can't work in the B1G. Are the circumstances different than in other conferences, sure. But for anyone to assert out and out that it can't work is one of the dumbest things I've ever read and its perpetuated, a lot. 


November 22nd, 2011 at 5:30 PM ^

under what train of logic does the relative success of "run fast holding the ball" and "be a pocket statue who either throws deep or hands off to a slow but big guy" depend on the temperature?

If anything, it's passing that gets affected most by bad weather. RR's spread (and Chip Kelly's spread) are all about the run game.


November 22nd, 2011 at 5:43 PM ^

Our stingy B1G defenses have done so well against the spread in non-conference games.

Me: I think the spread can be adapted to the B1G, and B1G defenses can adapt to the spread. Rich never got a chance to get his offense fully installed, and yes that is in a big part because he totally blew it on defense.

The meme that "ha ha, bring it Ohio, the spread won't work in the B1G" is bravado or naivety at best. It's a matter of finding and recruiting the right athletes (i.e, big and fast), and building a strong defense to go along with it. Rich Rodriguez didn't do the former in time, and didn't do the latter at all. Urban Meyer has done both and won two national championships.

coastal blue

November 22nd, 2011 at 5:28 PM ^

that destroys the field, the whole climate deal is ridiculous. 

The most important factors in a system are talent and experience. This was the first year since 2007 that Michigan could say they have both across the board. That's why it was somewhat pathetic listening to everyone say "Oh man, I really hope we even get 7 wins this year, then I'll be happy." This team was always better than that. 

Clarence Beeks

November 22nd, 2011 at 4:42 PM ^

To be fair, I'm pretty certain that the point he was getting at was that the offense that RR runs, historically, has substantial difficulty in cold weather and against stronger than average defenses (although, really, most offenses would).  The bigger problem for him, which is now pretty much rectified by going to Arizona, is that his offense really has struggled in cold weather situations.  No idea why, and maybe it's just coincidence, but a number of instances stand out in my mind, both at WVU and Michigan.


November 22nd, 2011 at 4:57 PM ^

You remember 1 game against Pitt when Pat White broke his hand and the last few years when we played OSU with a JV team.

WV lit up Georgia and Oklahoma in bowl games.  Mich moved the ball well in bad weather games with RR here, but didn't score as well because ya know freshmen, horrid defense etc...

You know who doesn't move the ball well against good defenses in bad weather?   Pretty much everyone. 


Clarence Beeks

November 22nd, 2011 at 5:17 PM ^

"You remember 1 game against Pitt when Pat White broke his hand and the last few years when we played OSU with a JV team."

Thanks for trying to tell me what I remember, but you're wrong.  I watched a lot of WVU games during RR's tenure there (lived in Pittsburgh; friends at WVU; actually liked RR before he came to Michigan (and still do); etc.).  I'm completely comfortable in saying that I watched way more than you did.

"WV lit up Georgia and Oklahoma in bowl games."

Two problems with this: (1) both games were indoors and (2) Rodriguez was not the coach of WVU for the Oklahoma Fiesta Bowl game.

"Mich moved the ball well in bad weather games with RR here."

Maybe you missed last year's Purdue game?

Clarence Beeks

November 22nd, 2011 at 5:24 PM ^

I was being sarcastic in that comment. Apparently that didn't come through...

Let's go a different direction with this one: name me one game where Michigan, under Rodriguez, moved the ball well in poor weather conditions.  Shouldn't be hard, since you're apparently going to defend Ziff72's claim that "Mich moved the ball well in bad weather games with RR here."  Just one will do.


November 22nd, 2011 at 5:35 PM ^

I did not pick up on the sarcasm, my bad.


I was just making the point that any offense will struggle in bad weather...to use Purdue last year as the reason this offense sucks in November is pretty weak sauce. 

we were blessed with pretty good weather all November last year. 

We're both supporters of the spread system, RR did a lot wrong at M but running the spread system had nothing to do with it. 


November 22nd, 2011 at 5:35 PM ^

Correlation does not equal causation. Please explain precisely why the RR running spread would be less effective than a pro-set offense in poor weather.

Or to put it more directly, if it's cold, wet, and windy, would you rather have Chad Henne or Denard Robinson taking snaps?

We did poorly in November last year. The weather was worse in November. We also played better defenses. Which do you think was the more important factor?

Clarence Beeks

November 22nd, 2011 at 10:06 PM ^

No idea why.  I'm not comparing the effectiveness of the spread versus the pro-style offense.  My point was about RR's offense versus any other offense, spreads included.  Maybe it's a coaching thing, I have no idea; just an observation, but for what ever reason, his teams always seemed to be impacted by adverse weather conditions more than other teams.

In my opinion, the Denard versus Henne question is actually a tough one.


November 22nd, 2011 at 10:57 PM ^

ND 08  With Threet and Mcguffie at the controls in a rain storm we went up and down the field.  Turnovers killed us.

The point stands that people who don't like the spread bring up big games where a defense stuffed them never admitting the fact that a traditional offense or any offense would probably struggle.

I like when people point to LSU stopping Oregon.   Well Oregon put up a lot of points and yards on LSU.  Much more than Alabama did.  The only 2 teams that evne sniffed  a decent offensive performance against LSU were Oregon(run spread) and WV(pass spread)

Clarence Beeks

November 22nd, 2011 at 11:37 PM ^

You minimize probably the most important part: "Turnovers killed us."  Sure, they moved the ball well in that game, and several others with similar conditions, but is that not part of his offense struggling in poor weather conditions?  I mean, unless I'm missing something, what we started talking about here wasn't whether or not the offense could move the ball, but whether or not the offense has struggled (relatively more than other offenses) in poorer weather conditions.  The causes might be different from game to game, but they are problems nonetheless.

Clarence Beeks

November 22nd, 2011 at 5:20 PM ^

And just so you don't waste your time, because I saw you make this argument in response to someone else, I actually like Rodriguez and the spread option offense.  My comments here are only about the offense that Rodriguez runs; not about the spread option in general.  I just wanted to be clear about that.

micheal honcho

November 22nd, 2011 at 4:56 PM ^

OK, I'll bite. Hey guess what, those offenses have elements of the RR spread & shred, as do about 50 others you could mention. However, none of them run the QB anything even near to what RR's system does.

Pat White-191 carries

Pat White-197 carries

Denard Robinson-235 carries

Show me a Chip Kelly or Gus Malzahn offense with a QB shouldering that load, expecially a particularly undersized one playing in a conference full of NFL talent.

Did I miss something or did a USC team full of freshmen & sophmores on D just beat Chip? Do you think he'll stand a chance when those are juniors & seniors at USC?

Get me Les MIles on the phone so I can ask him if he'd rather face Oregon again or Alabama, he's not escared of their trickety offense.


November 22nd, 2011 at 5:04 PM ^

Yeah Gus Malzhan would never have his QB run that much. 


Cam Newton

Have you ever heard of a kid named Tebow?

Listen you have no idea what you are talking about.  Who would Miles like to face?  You have no idea.  I don't think he wants any part of Oregon again.  They moved the ball much better than Alabama did.  Does Alabama have a better team?  Maybe.  They also have like 20 NFL players to Oregon's 5 so what are you saying?

As for USC.  They have been embarrassed by Oregon the last few years with much more experienced teams.  They win 1 of 3 on a missed FG and now all of a sudden the spread doesn't work?

Just say you like power football over option football.  Both work just fine if you get the right kids.  This argument is stupid.




micheal honcho

November 22nd, 2011 at 5:22 PM ^

Cam was a freak, you have him on your team you run him as much as allows, Tebow played in RR/Urban Meyer's system and ran a ton. You didnt mention Meyer in you original post.

Point is, I like power football because, all other things equal, its the best. See NFL for supporting data.

Now, I've likened the spread to the winged-T that run in hundreds of high schools across the country because they both do the following things well

1. exploit the inexperience of the defensive players

2. allow lesser/smaller offensive linemen to be effective

3. Are easy to teach players that you're only going to have for a couple years

4. Keep defensive coordinators playing a guessing game

This is all great and admirable stuff, and if Michigan wants to relegate itself to an also ran, not capable of getting top talent then they should run a system that give them a schematic advantage, however if Michigan wants to compete with the perrenial best of the best(USC, OSU, LSU) who have NFL talent on board and run NFL based systems, then Michigan had better get NFL bound players and coach them as such.

Oregon is a flash in the pan at this point, no NC's, a few good years and have yet to beat a quality SEC team(unlike Lloyd who owned their asses).


November 22nd, 2011 at 11:05 PM ^

Was Bo wrong when he ran the option?  Lou Holtz?   Barry Switzer?  I can't believe Tom Osborne was able to overcome that schematic disadvantage against  Miami and Florida to win back to back titles.  Florida, Oklahoma, Auburn flash in the pans running that sissy spread.

Any coach will tell you an option atack will work at any level beacuse it is simple math.  

LSU runs option, Alabama is in the pistol.

Not sure how else to tell you but you are wrong.  

Power football is great.  I grew up on it and I love it, but to argue against the spread at this point is to say the world is flat.  Both schemes work well if taught well.



November 22nd, 2011 at 5:15 PM ^

Cam Newton had more rushing attempts than both of those players you've listed last year. 

I'm sure if you asked RR if he wanted a 6'5 240lb 4.5 40 running manbeast as his QB instead of a 6'0 200lb guy he'd take it. 

You're right, it was all USCs defense smothering that gimmicky offense that Chip runs out there. They held them to a paltry 474 yards. 


2 Turnovers, blocked punt, miss FG. 

Oregon's offensive capabilities had nothing to do with their loss. 

Your argument doesn't make sense. 


November 22nd, 2011 at 4:13 PM ^

I agree with almost everything that you note.

RR is a guy who really does love his players, and really does feel that he got a raw deal.

On the raw deal thing, I don't see how he can feel that way, given that in his 3 years here, he won 3,5 and 7 games, got blown out by OSU all three years, lost to MSU all three years, only won a handful of B10 games in total over three years, and capped his time with a blowout embarassment (despite having those 16 extra practices and a healthy team) in the Gator. 

On an objective basis, setting aside all of the noise, he did not perform up to expectations - not even close - and he was fired for it. 

As to the whole "get it" thing, I agree - he just doesn't get it, and he never will.  Watching this presser confirmed it.  Watching RR say that he will emphasize the ASU rivalry every day, that he will "live ASU football" and that he will learn all of their traditions, to me at least, came off as him saying "I should have said these things at Michigan, so I will say them here, because saying them and playing into the whole rivalry, tradition thing will show that I get it and showing that I get it is important."  ASU is not Michigan - I don;t know shit about Arizona, but are they as into their traditions?  Is the ASU rivalry a big deal like the OSU rivalry is to us?

Whatever, I am sorry for getting on my soap box, but I just needed to vent.  All of the attention being paid to RR during OSU week brought back my "please fire this guy . . . I am so happy he is gone" feelings.  Again, sorry.


November 22nd, 2011 at 5:01 PM ^

totally not relevant to Michigan like pervs at PSU instead, or it's Tuesday, what are your drinking.

Seriously, Rich Rod being hired somewhere else is relevant. So is the Urban Meyer developments down in Columbus. While I agree that discussion about Ohio versus other common opponents, and other analyses about The Game is more appropriate for this week, most of that kind of content doesn't get posted in MGoBoard, and this topic drives clicks.

We already did all the Bo reminiscing last week. The pressers have been pretty bland. (With the press asking questions like Hoke was hired yesterday - maybe there is more national press that haven't been around during the season?)

So relax, and don't click on the Rich Rodriguez threads if you would prefer to focus on what to have at tailgates, etc.


November 22nd, 2011 at 5:26 PM ^

So, if RR talks about rivalries, he's just doing it to appease the fanbase and "doesn't get it". If he doesn't talk about rivalries, he doesn't understand what's important to the fanbase and "doesn't get it". Way to set up a no-win scenario there.

Look, if you just don't like the guy that's totally fine. He rubbed you the wrong way. It happens. But say that. Don't couch your personal dislike in the nebulous concept of "getting it" whatever that means.

RR thinks he got a raw deal because he told Mary Sue and Bill Martin going in that things were going to take 3-4 years and would be rough before that time. But he got zero support through the bad times and cut loose after three years. He thought Michigan would be a first-class place where he could expect class treatment and only the best for his players and coaches, but it wasn't - he was sniped at at every step for faults real and imagined, and still got zero support from the AD. He knew he needed a good DC, but Martin was tight with the purse-strings. He had to take the fall for the bad blood with WVU because Mary Sue and Bill Martin put a gag order on him (because they didn't want to risk their own skins). Then, on the way out, DB intentionally fires him too late for him to land a good job and then doesn't give him a Gator Bowl ring, just to rub it in a little more.

In his mind, and I'd say this isn't terribly unrealistic, he probably believes he came in and was exactly who he told everyone he was going to be - and yet he was never backed up by his bosses, depite being vilified for being the coach they hired him to be.

Yeah he lost, and that's what matters most to the average fan, but we all know there was a lot more to it than that, places where he really was treated poorly.


November 22nd, 2011 at 4:21 PM ^

I don't think we would have been 9-2 heading into The Game under Rich Rod, but that's because of the defense, not the offense. When Casteel decided to stay at WVU, it exposed Rodriguez's cluelessness about defense. Even if he fired GERG, there's no way he would have hired a DC of Mattison's caliber and allowed him to do his job without constantly meddling with the scheme. And his position coaches were also part of the problem (especially Gibson, as has been discussed extensively on this site).

But aside from that, I never thought he was anything but a class act and a stand-up guy. I hope he's learned from his mistakes. I'll definitely be rooting for him to succeed at UA. 


November 23rd, 2011 at 11:20 AM ^

unfortunately it doesn't sound like he's going to leave the defense alone:

“I like to run the odd front because it gives you versatility, but even the 3-3-5 now has morphed into a 3-4. I’m going to try to hire the best defensive coordinator I can, and if his schemes and philosophy can match some of the parameters I give him, then we’ll do that...I’m not married, so to speak, to a 3-3-5.”



November 22nd, 2011 at 3:12 PM ^

I think you have a great read on his psyche, but your questions about scheme have been beat to death.  Haven't Oregon, Florida, Auburn etc. been enough to prove that the spread can work? 

1. Spread works

2. It works in bad weather

3. Ball control is a byproduct of good offense/defense not a game strategy.

Also Van Bergen is quoted in Brian's UVF as saying this team had something going that people on the outside could not see and they didn't want that to be ruined regardless of who the coach was.  So you may not think RR could have got them to 9-10 wins but the players on the team did.


November 22nd, 2011 at 8:51 PM ^

But the paucity of coaching acumen on the defensive staff tells me that their hopes were based more on blind faith than reality. True believers will hold on even when it is obvious to a blind person that things are not working.
<br>A rational being can see that Rich's program would not have succeeded with the egregious defense that he had. His special teams were also awful. Being bad at two-thirds of the game does not augur well for future success.


November 22nd, 2011 at 3:31 PM ^

Wow.  This was like a press conference to save his job at Michigan, not to get a job at Arizona....90 percent of what he spoke of was to address previous criticisms. 

  • Recruit in-state, great HS programs and coaches in AZ
  • Keep the alums involved, they are welcome to be part of the program "but can't call the plays"
  • Rivalry game vs. UofA most important
  • Wonderful ex-coaches that are not going to be forgotten
  • Doesn't know the traditions yet, but promises to learn them soon

For all of his supporters who didn't think these were valid criticisms, I'm not saying you were wrong, but Rich must have thought they held water because he made them the focal point of his introduction. 


November 22nd, 2011 at 6:17 PM ^

I think he's a sincere guy and that the he took the criticism to heart.  Which, to me, means the criticisms were very fair.  I hear a guy who believes what he is saying in his UofA introduction....and he'll probably do a much better job of uniting their fanbase as a result of learning his lesson that a head coach is much more than an offensive coordinator, he has to be a figurehead for something which involves many more people than just the athletes he has any given year. 

lexus larry

November 22nd, 2011 at 3:53 PM ^

with you and Ziff below.

Sadly, too many in the "Michigan Football Family" - ex-players, alums, ex-coaches, admins, columnists, fans - insisted that because THEY didn't read/hear those things that RR was saying to the team, he must not have believed them, or didn't know them, or whatever.

Including a 90 second interaction with our former coach. 

That guy doesn't get it, and seemingly, never did, right?


November 22nd, 2011 at 4:53 PM ^

It's a 60/40 split on talk radio here in the Grand Canyon State.  It's actually the ASU fans who seem to think it's a good hire (and want Leach or another big name to fire back at UofA) while the UofA fans are skeptical because of his failure at Michigan and the NCAA violations.