Year 2 (not 3) in the RR system

Submitted by doxa on August 17th, 2010 at 11:39 AM

This is year two in the Rich Rodriguez system at Michigan!?!


Year 1:  1990 Glenville State 1–7–1

Year 2:  1991 Glenville State 4–5–1

Year 3:  1992 Glenville State 6–4


Year 1:  2001 West Virginia 3–8

Year 2:  2002 West Virginia 9–4

Year 3:  2003 West Virginia 8–5


Year 1:  2008 Michigan 3–9

Year 2:  2009 Michigan 5–7

Year 3:  2010 Michigan ?


Here’s my question, does the first year at Michigan count for Rich Rodriguez (I know it counts in the record books, but is it fair)?  I find it highly unfair to hold a guy accountable for coaching a team completely inadequate for his system (see the quarterback situation).  OUR AD hired a coach to bring in a new system, new attitude, and new way of doing business (if Bill didn’t understand the massive change he was brining in, then that’s a Michigan problem, not RR).  With such a massive transition, I find it unrealistic to hold the first year against RR.  The guy had to come in and change more than an offense, he had to change an entire culture.  With that as a foundation, I view this as the second year in the RR system, because the 2009 campaign was his first with quarterbacks designed for his system, a new conditioning philosophy, and a new culture around the program.

Is this a fair p.o.v., or am I being soft on RR?

Your comments, critiques and even smart-ass remarks are expected…



August 17th, 2010 at 11:54 AM ^

Could we all please stop the "RichRod needs to win 8 games this year, or 7 games and a win vs OSU, or 6 games but wins vs Purdue and the score of the OSU game has to be within 2 TDs, or...." What if every single person on the starting offense and defense goes down with injury? Then can he win 4 games and keep his job? I can take a lot on these boards, but the "do this or else" crowd really needs to quiet down until the season is under way. God the season can't get here quick enough.


August 17th, 2010 at 12:18 PM ^

Agreed.  I would say that all these "requirements" being put forth aren't what Brandon is thinking, but what the poster is thinking.

If RichRod doesn't get 8 wins or 7 with an OSU victory, would YOU want him fired?

That's a bit of a rhetorical question.  I know those type of questions are getting old.


August 17th, 2010 at 12:24 PM ^

Personally, I'd like Rodriguez to stay for 2011, unless our team totally tanks this year or there's a major off-the-field incident. I just don't think he's had enough time to build a program, and firing him after this year would be a big mistake considering the potential for a great year in 2011.


August 17th, 2010 at 12:33 PM ^

Alright that's it. I know the last two years have been rough and I know the "We're Michigan" thing is played out, but the bottom line is that Rodriguez was brought in to compete for national championships.  If he can't manage a winning season in 3 tries, it might be time to move in a different direction. Lots of coaches come in to situations and have success immediately. Maybe we hire a different spread guy and he uses the personnel more effectively. Maybe we hire a coach who doesn't have a set offensive strategy and he comes in and has immediate success, I don't know.  But as incorrect as the "it's all RR's fault, top 10 recruiting classes" meme is, the whole "no matter what he deserves 2011" meme is equally stupid. 


August 17th, 2010 at 12:58 PM ^

At the same time, do you really want to see him come in and compete with an entire team of his recruits who are at most true juniors? Hell, half of his recruits still have 3 years of eligibility left, so do you really want to bring a guy in and tell him that a large portion of your judgement comes from players who didn't even commit to you? What coach is going to look at a Michigan Athletic Department that is so impatient that they are willing to axe a coach after 3 years and say "hmmm, that seems like a great situation - hopefully I can succeed quickly"


August 17th, 2010 at 1:03 PM ^

A different spread guy? RR is the leading innovator in the spread offense. This is a proven system that WILL work. RR has the ability to taper his offense to what the defense gives him and what players he has-- we saw that in The Mathlete's diary a la Shaun King's v. Pat White's tendencies.

What are you going to do? Bring in another spread coach to reap all the benefits his first couple years here and then everything hits the fan(Charlie Weis had his best seasons with Tyron Willingham's recruits)? I think everyone would agree on this board that the defense has a lot more holes than the offense, and RR was brought in for the spread. Give the D some time to grow. People need to be calm and just quit all this damn speculation. Those who stay will be champions.


August 17th, 2010 at 1:17 PM ^

Well the defense if RR's responsibility as the head coach so if the defense is so terrible that he can't manage a winning season in 3 tries that's really his fault. I don't even know why I'm arguing this since I think we'll put up 35+ points a game and win 8 games this year, but this whole none of this is RR's fault and we need to give him 10 years to implement his system mentality is annoying. 


August 17th, 2010 at 2:43 PM ^

So you are in the mindset that true freshmen and sophomores should be leading our defense?  People forget that the 07 defense was just the start of the horrid defenses in 08 and 09. Yes, 08 and 09 were some of the worst defenses in the history of UM football....but 2007 was in the top 5 worst defenses also.  We gave up at least 34 points 4 times in 07 - and this is the defense that RichRod inherited.  Schaefer we all know was not the right hire and RichRod gets the blame for that.  But you can't just say "defense has been horrible, has to be RichRod. He only cares about offense. Rabble rabble." It just isn't true. The guys that should have been leading the defense the last two years (juniors and seniors) were either gone before RichRod got there, didn't live up to the hype, or were so against RichRod that it was probably better they went pro early. I didn't even mention the secondary that Lloyd forgot to recruit his last 2 or 3 years. Does Rich get some blame? Yes. Did he take over one of the worst defenses (statistically) in the last 40 years? Yes.


August 17th, 2010 at 4:02 PM ^

Did I ever say RichRod only cares about offense? He is the head coach and I'm sorry he doesn't go blameless when he fields the two worst defenses in school history.  Is Lloyd partly to blame for that? Sure, but it's been 3 years now. If Rodriguez can't find a way to field a winning team in 3 years, it's time to move on in my opinion.  I feel most level-headed individuals would feel the same way(Brian for one)


August 17th, 2010 at 6:01 PM ^

You didn't read anything in my post other than a sarcastic remark about RichRod only caring about offense, did you? I would think most level-headed individuals would read Misopogon's decimated defense and then look at the defensive 2 deep last year that had 5 walk ons, 2 of whom started most of the year, and notice that had very little to do with RichRod and more to do with lack of talent due to transfers and poor defensive recruiting at the end of Lloyd's tenure. I will ask again, are you in the mindset that walk-ons and true freshmen/sophomores should make up a majority of your defense?


August 17th, 2010 at 6:16 PM ^

Alright let's get this clear. I'm not saying that RR is totally at fault for the past two years because "ZOMG Top 10 Recruiting classes". I am saying that as the Head Coach he bears some responsibility for the past two years(probably not a large amount but still he bears some). From this point out(now that it's his 3rd year in the program), it's all his responsibility from this point on.  If he does have a winning season in his THIRD year with the program, I (and almost all level headed fans) think it might be time to move on.


August 17th, 2010 at 12:23 PM ^

If a bowl game wasn't attached to a certain number of wins, I think this would be right. However, if we miss a bowl game for a 3rd straight year, Brandon is going to have to do something or else they are going to start losing donations and ticket holders.

In a reasonable world where entire teams don't get injured at the same time, Dave Brandon's assessment is going to lead to RR getting fired if he doesn't win 8 games or so. I don't think he has that number in his head right now, but if you look at the schedule, any lower than that and you are losing to teams that you shouldn't be losing to in your 3rd year. Going 2-6 in the Big 10 or 4-4 with losses against UConn and ND isn't going to get him a 4th year.


August 17th, 2010 at 12:58 PM ^

I'm just looking at who we would have to lose to. OSU, Wisconsin, (LOL lucky) Iowa, (a bad) PSU, and one more. MSU? Purdue? ND? UConn? If we win the bowl game we get 8 wins, which I think makes up for the bad loss. If we lose, we just lost to another middle of the pack team and people aren't going to be happy.


August 17th, 2010 at 11:46 AM ^

Well, the question would be whether the team RR had in his first year here comparable in terms of its inadequacy to run the spread to the teams he had in his first year at WVU or Glenville State?

I'd guess no, that the teams at WVU and Glenville State were probably at least slightly more suited to him, but I'm not sure. I know people have looked it up and posted it before, but I'm too lazy to search for it right now. 


August 17th, 2010 at 12:11 PM ^

I also wonder if WVU faced the additional challenge of "buy-in" attrition. Most of the guys who came to Michigan before Rich Rod had a specific style of play in mind and multiple options available to them (Boren, Mallet, Clemons, etc.). I don't think that is/was the case a WVU.

Regardless, I agree with the point above. It doesn't matter. He needs to win.

Mitch Cumstein

August 17th, 2010 at 11:46 AM ^

I don't know a lot about that team, but it seems to me they probably had similar problems.  I mean, I personally think it should count.  If it doesn't then when his record gets better you can't say that he improved from the year 1 record of 3-8.  Also, he had that entire year to start installing his system and recruiting for it.  Its not like he did absolutely nothing productive that year and just started in 2009.  I don't necessarily hold the record "against" him, but I think it should count towards his legacy.


August 17th, 2010 at 1:12 PM ^

It's not like all the teams he was coaching before were spread teams.  And the programs were coming off worse runs than Michigan was. Some little factors may differ in his favor (WV at least, had someone who could be a QB for him on the roster), but there are probably just as many that worked against him.  For all the "Michigan was so bad" stuff...most jobs you take over were in a lot worse shape than Michigan. That's why the job was open. 

Let's be honest...the offense was going to suck no matter who was the coach, but the defense could have been decent (not great, but not historically bad...well, at least till last year), but we had the most screwed up defensive coaching situation I've ever seen. And that hire was on Rich.  And as Brian has said, if something deep sixes him at Michigan, it'll probably be due to not having a good enough defense, and having to switch DCs after one year.

Todd Plate's n…

August 17th, 2010 at 11:46 AM ^

In our case, it is hard to say the entire team is in year this or that, having so many young guys contribute last year.  Our QBs are in year 2, but the bulk of the guys in the trenches are in year 3 of the system and more importantly the S&C program. 





August 17th, 2010 at 11:48 AM ^

RR went from having no quarterback in his first season to having 2 true freshmen QBs in his second.  I don't see how anybody can win with that.

As far as I'm concerned, this is RR's first season (where I'm holding him accountable, at least).


August 17th, 2010 at 12:01 PM ^

His first full class of recruits will not even be upperclassmen until next year and, due to self imposed sanctions, he is operating at a significant disadvantage with fewer coaching assistants than everyone else this year and reduced practice time both this year and next. Clearly, the first year we should count is 2012 (unless, of course, we win big this year and/or next, in which case RR should have the option of counting either or both of those years if he feels doing so would be the fair thing to do).


August 17th, 2010 at 1:07 PM ^

I thought you were serious too.  And it's not really your fault. It's just that such an argument doesn't seem that out of bounds on this Board. I've seen more out there defenses than "well, not that we've gotten ourselves on probation, he needs more time." Sigh.


August 17th, 2010 at 1:03 PM ^

I actually think it's less that you suck at sarcasm, and more that some of the attempts to defend RR or paint him as some mad genius have reached almost Weisian proportions.  So no matter how ridiculous the sarcasm, it's getting a little tough to tell the difference.  I don't think RR needs nor wants knee jerk defenses or excuses.  Let the man stand or fall on his own merits.


August 17th, 2010 at 1:16 PM ^

A small percentage of the posters must expect him to coach for Paterno like years.  Because if you're hoping to be good in say year 5 (which really, may not be the popular opinion...but HAS been said here...) well, if he coaches a Lloyd like time span, a third of his career is a loss....or even a Bo range, a quarter.  Hard to imagine him having that great an overall standing, if he doesn't win multiple national championships. 

I think being respectable this year, winning bigger next year (Big Ten title type stuff), and rolling after that isn't that harsh a timeline.


August 17th, 2010 at 12:05 PM ^

No offense to the OP, but any statement along the lines of "QBs suited for his system" opens up RichRod to the ridiculous (if never-ending) charge of "He should have adapted his offense to the available talent!"  This, of course, blatantly ignores the level of *any* talent at that position in '08.  (As always, no personal attack on Threet/Sheridan is intended here.)


August 17th, 2010 at 2:17 PM ^

I'm not sure how saying, "I find it highly unfair to hold a guy accountable for coaching a team completely inadequate for his system (see the quarterback situation)" opens up RR to the charge you suggest.  My comments defend his from such a, as you note, "ridiculous" charge. 


August 17th, 2010 at 11:53 AM ^

Sorry, it's year three.  There's a reason that EVERY team Rod has coached has had a terrible first season.  Did he have QB's here that were worse fits for the system than his previous stops?  Yes.  But if he has one is the team any better?  Maybe, and I stress maybe, by one game at best.  Give him time and I think we'll have a juggernaut going here.  But this is definately the third year in the system.


August 17th, 2010 at 11:53 AM ^

But I also think he's gotta win more games. (I'm a full RR supporter and I see lots of wins this year, and even more next year... but we need some now as well)


August 17th, 2010 at 11:55 AM ^

Year One's Offense == I give him a "pass" because of the horrific lack of talent on the Oline and at QB, plus it being a completely new system.

Year One's Defense == He takes this one right on the chin. While we were lacking in some depth, we had enough talent to at LEAST make some noise. There is no reason we should have gone away from having 4 dlinemen on the field at any given point, given the talent that was there (TT, BG, Will Johnson, MM). Not saying that we should have been all world, but we should have had some better numbers on the field then we did.

Either way, it IS in the record books. However, I would expect to see a "Year 2" style jump, equal to that of the other programs he has been a part of coaching, as we finally have the same QBsfor a second year, and they have talent to the run the system... be it in different ways.


August 17th, 2010 at 11:59 AM ^

No. No free passes in CFB. Year 1 counts.

Secondly, I would like to point out that Martin did NOT intentionally set about to make some grand thematic change in the culture/play style of UM. Ferentz and Schiano were both offered the job before RRod but turned the job down. They were much closer to "old UM" in philosophy and we would have probably had far fewer "growing pains" during the transition from Carr to Ferentz/Schiano.