Rich Rod article on SB Nation

Submitted by Decatur Jack on May 24th, 2017 at 6:23 PM


Bill Connelly's preview of Arizona, titled,

The Arizona Wildcats are checking every box on the Program Collapse Checklist

Rodriguez fired Jeff Casteel. Greg Byrne (who hired RR) left to be the AD at Alabama. Rodriguez just went 3-9 in his 5th season at Arizona.

It's not looking good for the ol' Rich Rod.


Duval Wolverine

May 24th, 2017 at 6:31 PM ^

I think the biggest thing with Rich Rod is his recruiting is good awful!  Pair that with a system (spread) that is common place now in the college game, its easy for teams to prepare for.


May 24th, 2017 at 7:34 PM ^

There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that Alabama would not have turned it around with RR. Previous to Saban, Mike Shula was 26-23 in four seasons. Previous to that was 2 years of Dennis Franchione, the Mike Price fiasco and NCAA sanctions. Saban brought immediate credibility and an NFL pedigree that drew interest from top-flight recruits.

RR would have "modernized" the offense in Tuscaloosa, but RR's history of recruiting at Michigan says that even with a top flight program and resources, RR goes for "his guys." My guess is that the results for Alabama would have been near identical as they were at Michigan. 

I'm not a dump on RR guy, there's plenty of people around here that are happy to fill that role. That said, Rich's sample size is pretty big at this point. Tigers don't change their stripes.


May 24th, 2017 at 8:15 PM ^

Not to be an elitist, but I think he would have had more success at Alabama due to more relaxed academic standards compared to Michigan. Do get me wrong, Alabama is a good school, but the academic standards are not as high there. As a result he could have possibly recruited better athletes without having to worry about academic ineligibility. So before you guys say look at Arizona, they don't have the football legacy of Alabama. So you cant really compare his recruiting at Arizona to what he could have done at bama.


May 24th, 2017 at 10:20 PM ^

1. I think you're right, he would have recruited better. Michigan's academic standards aside, blatant cheating aside, Alabama can draw a lot of athletes.

2. I think he was on the forefront of the spread, but we've seen that he is fundamentally limited as a head coach, and that the upgrade in players would have turned him into more of a 9-3 / 8-4 type guy with maaaybe one season where they competed for a conference title. 

3. He would have been on the hotseat after his second season and perhaps fired just as quickly as at Michigan; certainly by the end of 2010 (four years if he takes the Bama position). 

Alabama has natural assets that mean that the right coach can win huge there. Those conditions also exist, basically in perpetuity, at Texas and USC and Ohio State and perhaps Florida. But the wrong coach can still lose big, and Rich Rod would have sooner or later.

They did one thing absolutely right; they identified Nick Saban as the right guy after some false starts, they hired him, and they've kept him happy. 


May 25th, 2017 at 5:06 PM ^

They don't exist at Florida because there was never one historic team that dominated there like there was in California, Texas, and Ohio. In the cases of Ohio and Texas, schools in neighboring states (Michigan and Oklahoma) have been the closest things to competition those programs have had. 

By the time Florida experienced the demographic boom that has made it the third largest state in the country, there was no dominant program. No Florida team won a national title until 1983, and then their big three schools won 11 national titles in the next 30 years. Florida, FSU, and Miami all rose more or less at the same time and have more or less paralleled each other along the way. And instead of just a single Michigan or Oklahoma (and the myriad of smaller programs that have periodically built powerhouses on California talent, like Washington and Colorado), every team in the country raids Florida for recruits because times have changed and all recruiting is national.


May 24th, 2017 at 8:15 PM ^

Not to be an elitist, but I think he would have had more success at Alabama due to more relaxed academic standards compared to Michigan. Do get me wrong, Alabama is a good school, but the academic standards are not as high there. As a result he could have possibly recruited better athletes without having to worry about academic ineligibility. So before you guys say look at Arizona, they don't have the football legacy of Alabama. So you cant really compare his recruiting at Arizona to what he could have done at bama.


May 24th, 2017 at 10:23 PM ^

however I think when he came to Michigan he bought into the slow slodgy B1G players myth and that he could just recruit 5'10" guys that could outrun B1G defenses. I think he learned quickly that those small players would get overpowered by physical B1G teams.

I'm not so sure he would've recruited the same way at Bama with the SEC's reputation for speed and with the abundance and combination of speed and size in the southeast recruiting hotbed.

Just my 2 cents.


May 24th, 2017 at 11:28 PM ^

I'm mystified by a belief in the concept that RR has any awareness outside of his own tiny circle of innovation (the zone-read run-first spread quarterback).

He made his career on that work. He doesn't adjust for opponents. He doesn't adjust for his own personnel. He doesn't even seem to notice defense.

Details like recruiting differently based on conference or team-building just don't interest him. He's like a Tecmo Bowl player who just discovered Bo Jackson.

He would have had the same results in the SEC. It's such a shame Alabama didn't grab him first.

We are back

May 24th, 2017 at 7:49 PM ^

Alabama would still be mediocre, Les Miles and Urban Meyer would still be coaching in the SEC, I wonder who would have went to OSU? Maybe beating a Non Meyer OSU keeps Hoke his job? What a mind fuck


May 24th, 2017 at 8:05 PM ^

Les Miles comes to Michigan. Rich Rod wrecks Alabama. The south becomes outraged and declares a second civil war. The north needs oil for the war so they support strongmen in the middle east and the Arab Spring never happens. Because the Arab Spring never happened, Isis never exists.


May 24th, 2017 at 8:44 PM ^

Interesting take. This reminds me of how Steve Bartman caused the fall of Michigan Football

-2003 NLCS: Bartman interferes with foul ball in stands. Florida Marlins advance to WS instead of Cubs.

-Because the Marlins and Dolphins shared the same stadium, the infield dirt diamond stayed in Sun Life Stadium for an extra couple weeks. Against the Patriots, Olindo Mare misses two game winning field goals because he slipped on the dirt twice. Dolphins miss the playoffs by one game and Dave Wannstedt is fired.

-Pitt hires Wannstedt. In 2007, they upset #2 WVU in the last game of the season as a 30 point underdog. LSU goes to the National Championship instead and wins.

If WVU goes instead, Rich Rod never leaves and Les Miles comes to Michigan.


May 25th, 2017 at 10:03 AM ^

Bama boosters buy everyone the coaches really want and let everyone else fight over who's left.  RR would have won National Championships there, just as Saban has.  He could have won one in Ann Arbor during Denard's senior year.

Oh, well. For now, he is going to be seen as a classic underachiever by many.  But he could walk away tomorrow and have enough money to never have to work again.  That isn't a bad life...


May 25th, 2017 at 4:55 PM ^

He probably would have... Bama was not really that bad off when they fired Shula. They had gone 10-2 the year before his firing and it was as much about sanctions as it was about his performance. Saban only needed one year to turn things around. 

Rich would have been a much better cultural fit at Alabama and his recruiting heartlands would have been much closer at hand. I think he would have reeled off a good, not Sabanesque, run before defenses caught up to his offensive system and that he might still be there... albeit on the hot seat perennially. 


May 26th, 2017 at 1:18 PM ^

neither of you read the freaking article. It actually suggests that the odds are stacked high against any AZ coach, that the program has suffered some bad luck, that the team was especially hard-hit by injuries last year. It says that the team is on track for 8-9 wins this year! And we're using this to bash RichRod. 

Piling on is fun, but let's try to keep it bounded by a few facts here or there. 


May 24th, 2017 at 6:44 PM ^

The conference is only getting stronger, it appears (Oregon, SC, Washington), and not learning from past shortcomings. I hope he does well ... he seems like a good man.


May 24th, 2017 at 8:56 PM ^

He's toast. Coming off a 3 win season and this year projected to finish dead last in PAC12 South. Same division with USC (enough said), a very good Utah program, Colorado on the come up, UCLA (trending down with More but an attractive job), and the school with the domestically renowned hottest girls in the country (Arizona State). 

Recruiting rankings under RR:

2017: 44th

2016: 50th

2015: 43rd

2014: 30th

2013: 44th

Meaning his first year with Seniors after a full 4 year recruiting cycle....lead to 3 wins, and this year doesn't look much better. His recruiting has been absolute garbage for 10 years. 

His offense is stale and everyone knows it, he is still running all the same plays he ran at Michigan with no variation, and the defense finished 119th out of 128 teams in PPG last year (shocker). 

There was a time when he was a great offensive innovator, and was allowed to recruit any degenerate he wanted to play at WVU (Pac Man, Chris Henry, etc..). Things changed, he didn't. His next gig should probably be at an FCS school or doing TV, it's over. 


May 24th, 2017 at 9:02 PM ^

I actually think it's getting weaker, at least in the P12 South:

USC (probably rising)
Utah (probably falling, lost almost as many NFL players as Michigan)
Colorado (probably falling)
UCLA (probably falling)
Arizona State (falling)

Washington (rising)
Stanford (same)
Washington State (same)
Oregon State (probably rising, but that's not saying much)
Oregon (jury is out)
Cal (jury is out)

Not saying RR will turn things around, but if there is a year to do this would be it since USC is really the only team in the South that looks to be improved next year.


May 24th, 2017 at 10:12 PM ^

To quote POTUS,




USC is most definitely back after the sanctions and if you paid any attention to recruiting, Colorado and Utah are very solid programs.  ASU is simply a more stable program, now with some consistency winning over many years and UCLA has more talent than Arizona.

It wasn't a fluke that RR failed last year - its a reflection of the program and lack of talent.


May 25th, 2017 at 12:54 PM ^

RR beat ASU last year 56-39. Colorado and Utah do not recruit at a high level and both lost a ton of players. UCLA has more talent across the board but they are trending down and have to go to Tucson. Not saying they will, but there is definitely a chance for Arizona to have a successful season this year.


May 24th, 2017 at 9:35 PM ^

Never let it be said that the average MGoBlogger does not have a sense of history and a long memory. Now, whether or not those things in individuals are wholly accurate is another matter, but such is the risk when you have the highly engaged portion of a fanbase concentrated on a site. 


May 25th, 2017 at 8:58 AM ^

Speaking as an avid RichRod supporter (back in his early Michigan period, anyway), I think the Arizona years have given us a clear picture of him. He's had five years to do his thing with good support from the school and the fans. Excepting one relatively glorious year, he hasn't done very well even when you adjust for a tougher-than-average Pac 12 job.

Extending from lhglrkwg's point, I'm amazed that, after all these years, people still believe:

  • His players were too small.
  • They weren't tough enough.
  • He messed up a team (2008) that was capable of double-digit wins.
  • In just one year (2009 recruiting class) he singlehandedly allowed Dantonio to "take over the state" and that alone accounted for all the years of Sparty's prosperity. (Sorry, this is not a straw-man argument.)
  • He's an inherently bad person.
  • His stretching violations were legitmately MAJOR(!!!).

Why bother with those when you can cite a stale offensive mind, lack of attention to defense (particularly the defensive line), a poor eye for talent at most positions, an apparent obsession with finding guys who could be slot ninjas (based on the numbers of WRs and DBs he puts in his classes), pi$$-poor situational awareness (based on his read of the UMich culture), etc.? I'll never understand ...

snarling wolverine

May 25th, 2017 at 9:34 AM ^

He messed up a team (2008) that was capable of double-digit wins.

That's a straw man. No one would argue that. I think that team was capable of winning 6-7 games (still a rebuilding year, by our standards), though, so I do fault him for going 3-9. We returned a lot of defensive starters, and were expected to be very strong on that side of the ball, but RichRod's staff badly mismanaged it.

As for him being an "inherently bad person," I don't know, but for whatever reason, RichRod made a lot of enemies at both West Virginia (his alma mater, no less) and Michigan.  Maybe it was all bad luck - or perhaps he bears some responsibility for that.  In hindsight, the fact that his departure from WVU was so ugly probably was a bad omen.

blue in dc

May 24th, 2017 at 7:26 PM ^

And it generally favors one side of the argument - meant as reply to IHGLRKWG below, One winning conference record in his last eight seasons is pretty objectively not good.