Meandering through the maize (and blue): Rich Rodriguez wants a preseason in college football
University of Michigan football coach Rich Rodriguez wouldn’t mind seeing Grand Valley State on his schedule. Or Alma.
But not as another gimme game. Rather, he'd like one of them to serve as an exhibition opponent to help his team prepare for the regular season.
Rodriguez said he supports a preseason in college football and even raised the idea before at the annual coaches convention.
“I brought it up a couple years ago and everybody said, ‘Yeah, that sounds good,’ and then it just faded into oblivion,” Rodriguez said. “And then we talked about spring games against somebody else, and I thought that’d be good. Imagine the crowd we’d have at the Big House if we had a spring game against somebody here, not charge them. I think it’d be fun.
“I don’t know if we’ll go that way or not, but I think it’s something to (look at).”
Admittedly, little thought has gone into either proposal, and while the plan surely would encounter resistance from those concerned with elongating the season, Rodriguez has a middle-ground solution: Allow teams to practice against each other for a few days each fall as was common in the old NFL.
“Just practice against them just so you have different bodies against them and increase that competitiveness,” Rodriguez said. “I’d love to do it. That’s what’s so amazing. For our guys, they get four weeks of camp, no exhibition games, no going against somebody else and they got to perform at a high level. I’m not making excuses, but in the NFL you’ve got four exhibition games, you’ve got teams coming in to practice against and all that kind of stuff.
“That’s why (we) try to teach our guys the importance of every practice, the importance of every play and competing because our time goes like this and next thing you know we got to get ready to play against a team on Sept. 5.”
While you’re considering that thought, here’s a few stories that caught my eye this morning:
â€¢ One-time Michigan signal caller Ryan Mallett had a pretty good day in a scrimmage at his new U, throwing for 310 yards and five touchdowns while working mostly against Arkansas’ first-team defense. He’s in line to start for the Razorbacks this year.
â€¢ Reports have been mixed about the health of Purdue running back Jaycen Taylor's knee. Taylor tore his ACL last year and underwent a second procedure in the offseason. He says he's almost 100 percent now.
â€¢ Finally, not Big Ten related, but The Wizard of Odds details the rise and fall of a prominent Auburn booster. Every program has one.
Dave Birkett covers the University of Michigan football team for AnnArbor.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org