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Posted on Thu, Nov 18, 2010 : 7:05 a.m.

Rich Rodriguez must beat Badgers or Buckeyes, says Drew Sharp; In BCS there is no reward for sportsmanship and more

By Kaleb Roedel


Michigan head coach Rich Rodriguez waves as he and his son Rhett make their way onto the field during warm-ups at Ross-Ade Stadium last Saturday.

Melanie Maxwell I

Playing the role -- one could argue -- of "rain" to the Michigan football team's "parade", Drew Sharp of the Detroit Free Press writes, "the number that should matter most to Michigan in its definition of football improvement isn't seven.

"It's one."

He continues, "The Wolverines have only one win against the top half of the Big Ten during Rich Rodriguez's three years. They're 1-11 against Ohio State, Wisconsin, Iowa, Penn State and Michigan State."





Fri, Nov 19, 2010 : 12:24 p.m.

RudeJude -- I would be willing to bet everything I own that Michigan exceeded practice time limits under the Bo, Mo and Carr regimes. There is no way a collegiate football team could be as successful as Michigan for so long without knowing how to side-step landmines. This is Michigan's first outside hire since Bo. Mo and Lloyd were internal hires so yeah, of course they didn't have a contract with another school! RR ditched his WVU contract for a MUCH better job. I would've done the exact same thing and not even think twice about it.


Fri, Nov 19, 2010 : 10:25 a.m.

RudeJude, You are desplaying a classic example of the man who blames the other guy when his wife cheats. You are not blaming Michigan for pursuing RR but blaming RR for taking the job. News flash. If you wife cheats on you, it's just as much her fault as it is the other guy.


Fri, Nov 19, 2010 : 10:21 a.m.

RudeJude If you really believe that they did not partake in activities that would have received NCAA violations had they been caught, than thats fine. While I sitting here in reality, I'm jealous of your bubble. If Michigan was not will to pay for those contract violations than why did they pursue him? He was under contract when he was pursued. Michigan: "RR, will you be our new coach?" RR: "I'm under a 5 year contract with a 5 million dollar buy-out." Michigan: "We make millions from our football program, we can b=pay that for you." I'm sure the conversations went something like the above.


Fri, Nov 19, 2010 : 10:02 a.m.

@ PU MSU My argument does not hold water? Here's a question: What do you, Bo, Lloyd and I have in common? Answer: Our actions never led Michigan football to be put under three-years probation. Did the university ever bailout Bo or Lloyd by paying their penalties for breaking contracts? Move on to the next flaw? Let's just move on to the next coach. Go Blue


Fri, Nov 19, 2010 : 8:26 a.m.

Good morning everyone. Heatbreak, Great post. Things should have been handled differently. When asked by ESPN if he had any regrets about leaving WV, he relied no, but would go back and change some things on how he left if he could. We all make mistakes or wish we could co back and change soemthing in our past. The difference between us and RR was that he had national spotlight on him in his mistake. 3 and out, I am not blaming Llyod Carr. I loved Lloyd. I am simply pointing out facts that occurred as they have a direct impact on today. There was a lack of depth in the defensive backfield. I don't know how to say it any clearer. The teams performance is not Llyod's fault. Winning is not as simple as making a car move. You step on the gas and the car goes. Football is much more complex and you must take into account a number of factors. The lack of depth is the defensive backfield is one of those factors. It's that simple. RudeJude, RR is no more corrupt than you or I, Llyod or the great Bo. Your argument does not hold water, sorry. Move onto the next flaw.


Thu, Nov 18, 2010 : 8:26 p.m.

Truebluefan Are you implying that Michigan owes its 40 years of success to cheating? And you say you're a Michigan fan? Just because we were never caught, doesn't imply that we were cheating either, but that seems to be the assumption you'd like to make. It seems like the Pro-Rich people are more than willing to accept a corrupt coach. Now it all makes sense. Wow. Like you said... "Just win baby." - whatever the cost. Go Blue


Thu, Nov 18, 2010 : 6:50 p.m.

RudeJude -- your beliefs about Michigan are noble but I agree with P U MSU, they are not based in reality. Prior to RR, if Michigan never violated the strict practice time and coaching rules, do you really believe that we would have fared nearly as well over the past 40 years? Just because we were never caught, doesn't imply that we were clean.


Thu, Nov 18, 2010 : 6:38 p.m.

Well, 1-11 is an alarming stat, no doubt. Hypothetically speaking, if Michigan wins 4 out of those 5 games over the next two years thereby putting their record at 9-11, do you think people will be screaming "OMG unacceptable!!" because we still have a losing record? Of course not. Just win baby.

3 And Out

Thu, Nov 18, 2010 : 6:23 p.m.

@PUMSU, when will you guys stop blaming Lloyd Carr, 3 years after he left? (a valid question not a personal attack).... Drew Sharp is normally dull, but he makes some very good points with this article. Michigan simply has NOT beaten a good BT team under RR (unless you count the Wisc. win in 08 with CARR's players BTW, and Wisky quickly faded and had a bad year after that so they werent that good to begin with)... all we are saying is...when will Michigan beat a good BT team? does it take 4-5 years to get to the first level of the BT? Are you content with this team currently in 6th place and probably set the drop the next 2 and finish in 7th or worse? When will RR get the responsibility for this debacle? All valid questions.


Thu, Nov 18, 2010 : 5:50 p.m.

I wish would stop linking to stories from other papers and stop writing articles based on other stories and write your own. Get out, develop sources, and get the info first hand.

Sean T.

Thu, Nov 18, 2010 : 4:35 p.m.

Wow, well said Heartbreak. That was a very thoughtful post.


Thu, Nov 18, 2010 : 4:30 p.m.

@PU: Of course RR would have to leave WVU to come to M. It's HOW he left--almost like discovered by accident. And I'm telling you--he owed WVU a lot more than having them find out by accident. he owed his team the respect and courtesy for a face-to-face meeting before meeting the press; He owed his president the same. He owed WVU a lot for giving him his first shot at the big time (no jokes here). He owed WVU a lot more than calling Pryor before telling his team. In fact, if he had any ethics, he would have told Pryor to still go to WVU even though RR was leaving, because you should recruit the player to the school, and not to only the coach. And then he had the audacity to sue over a contract buy-out that he himself signed months before reneging. All of that is what offended me when they signed him. (And this was 12 months after publicly turning down the Bama job over loyalty issues to his school. If RR was only interested in the "big job", Bama is bigger than Michigan in terms of other things in the state, competing sports, etc). It's not about system. I could care less about system. I care about coaching the talent that's there and coaching fundamentals. Does Pat Fitzgerald seriously have better talent than most other schools in the country? Yet, he is a winning coach. Because he coaches them up well. Same with Ferentz and Beilema.


Thu, Nov 18, 2010 : 3:14 p.m.

RudeJude, I had no intention of insulting you. If you took it as if I was attacking you or insulting you, I'm sorry. With that said, there is a not a good coach in the country who is not under contract. Using your reasoning, any coach Michigan would bring in would be without character because they would have to breach their current contract to become their coach. I think I agree with you in that the coaching system is a flawed system. It seems that every spring we see a lawsuit or talk of a coach breaking a contract. It's the way the system works. It doesn't suggest a lack of character. My concessions with the NCAA violation do not suggest that I have a lack of character. I am simple not going to chastise someone for getting a speeding ticket.


Thu, Nov 18, 2010 : 2:57 p.m.

@ PU MSU Insult me and make assumptions about me, go for it. You're just cementing your image as a win-at-any-cost sports fan. While I agree with you that much of college football has become about money, I always believed this is what made Michigan different. Go into Ohio Stadium and you will see advertisement for Kroger and various other businesses, but Michigan Stadium, on the other hand, still holds the tradition of not advertising within the stadium. While I would never argue Michigan has not cashed in on being Michigan and the success of its atheletics, it has put up a good fight staving off outside influences. If Michigan ends up heading down that path of selling out, it will be because of people who make concessions, like yourself. I believe we make the reality that we live in. If you decide your values are flexible or, worse, disposable, then that becomes an acceptable part of your reality. I, then, understand why you're happy with Michigan's current coach. I'm not. We all make mistakes, but, using your example, the few times I have received a speeding ticket, I can say that I've never attempted to squirm my way out of paying them. I paid them without question. I never pleaded with a higher authority to pay it for me, much like Rich pleaded to Michigan to pay his contractual obligations to West Virginia. And don't you consider the position of Head Coach at the University of Michigan to be a position held solely for people who represent "The Leaders and the Best"? If the head coach lacks character and values, how can we expect him to build character and values into his players? Is the head coach going to be perfect? Of course not, but he should have enough character not to squirm out of contracts, nor flat-out cheat, like Rich did. @ D21 Thanks, man. I love Michigan a lot, probably too much. I cannot understand the amount of support this coach has received considering the way he has led the team on and off the field. I can understand the fanaticism of supporting your team, and even the coach, as long as he isn't cheating, violating NCAA rules and ruining the team's solid reputation. That the people supporting this Coach Rod are labeling those who criticize him, "non-fans" is hilarious. It is so backward. They support his exciting offense and are willing to ignore the rest. Though I think you are right that Rich is not a fit in regards to his character, I'm thinking Dave Brandon will bring him back next year and keep him on a short leash. If Rich is the King, Dave Brandon is the Emperor, so I feel confident that this is the end of Rich's shennanigans. My biggest concern is what dirt the West Virginia NCAA case will dig up, and how that will affect Michigan. They'd better be ready to spend six-figures on lawyer fees! Whatever happens...let's beat Wisconsin! Go Blue


Thu, Nov 18, 2010 : 2:25 p.m.

Heartbreak, Bad fit? Yes. You know that I was against bringing RR here in the first place. But, I am against cutting bait right now. Your mentions of other great coaches come with an astrik. When they had injuries or attrition, they had depth to fill the holes. This is not the case with RR. The lack of depth was a result of the hiring and injuries, I agree. I can't sit here and blame Ryan Mallet or Boren from transfering. But I can't sit here and blame the coach. I will put blame on the guy who hired him in the first place. It was a bad fit to begin with. He was REQUIRED to leave WV in order to have the job. It's a great job and I cannot blame him. He has had success at other programs. With back to back BCS games at West Virgina. You don't just forget how to coach. I'll give you the NCAA infractions. But realize that there is a difference between paying players and practicing too long. Just as there is a difference in speeding (a civil infraction) and selling drugs (a felony). Bad fit - Yes. Cut bait - No. Starting over 15 underclassman. First year quarterback. Graduating 4 relevant players. He will be back and we should all expect more from the team next year. I know I will.


Thu, Nov 18, 2010 : 1:32 p.m.

So if I go and write a bunch of jargon that has no credibility and is designed only to provoke people, make people mad and rile them up, and is uninformed and ill-researched, and if I sit down and write it in ten minutes with bad grammar and little or no editing, will link to my writing as well? Because that is the equivalent of linking to a Drew Sharp article.


Thu, Nov 18, 2010 : 12:16 p.m.

RudeJude, Good postings as usual. It is always comical to see the kool aid drinkers and those win at all costs "fans" spewing forth so many illogical ways to defend "King" Rich (credited by Theo212 whose alter ego obviously is Stephen Colbert.) I am not so sure as to what AD Brandon plans to do next but if he keeps the "Bo" doctrine close to his heart then RR will be axed after this season. RR simply ain't a good fit with UM. Theo212, you have been permanently banned from our Maize n Blue Circle of Honor. What a shame to see your body and mind controlled by RR.


Thu, Nov 18, 2010 : 11:46 a.m.

Teebob RudeJude, Why am I willing to accept it. Because the next coach that comes in will do that same thing. I can tell that none of you are athletes. Its the way things work. Wake up. Michigan football is a multi-million dollar business. Why do people turn their heads when the next big recruit rolls up in a Escalade. Its not just Michigan football, its the business of college football in general. Keep living in your bubble and demand to live by each and every rule. I will continue to live in reality. The sad thing is, you are guilty along with everyone else in breaking rules. Have you ever driven down the road going 30 in the 25? It is human nature. Yet, it is totally out of line if it happens out in the public by a football team. Give me a break.


Thu, Nov 18, 2010 : 11:18 a.m.

Sharp is a race-baiter. The only thing that surprises me about his most recent comments regarding RR is that he hasn't twisted this into an affirmative action/quota/entitlement rant. Sharp can never be taken seriously as he seems to be filled with nothing but hate.


Thu, Nov 18, 2010 : 11:11 a.m.

Having read Drew's article? What exactly did he say that was wrong? Since when did UM fans accept going 1-11 against the top tier of the Big Ten? If people accept that, then UM is no longer the "leaders and the best". 1-11? Stop and think about that folks, that means he would have to basically go undefeated for the next three years against those teams to be.500 against top Big Ten teams. That is not going to happen. Maybe Drew had listened to all the dribble over the years from UM fans about how great UM is, and actually thought the UM fans believed it. It is obvious they don't... because they have accepted mediocrity from RR.


Thu, Nov 18, 2010 : 10:56 a.m.

@ PU MSU "I'll be honest with you, I am probably being selfish here because I want to win. I think that we would be more sucessful on the football field if RR was to return. Am I willing to overlook these "violations" for wins? Yep." Thank you for your honesty. It's sad to see some Michigan fans fall to your level, where the sacrifice of integrity and the willingness to overlook cheating are tolerable compromises made in hopes of winning. Considering this after taking a look at the last three seasons records, the irony will slap you in the face. The leaders and best never compromise or cheat to win. Michigan wins with integrity. The True Blue realize this. I wish some of the rest of you were among them. Hail to the True Blue The rest might as well go cheer for Wisconsin Go Blue


Thu, Nov 18, 2010 : 10:54 a.m.

@PU You and I have had some good discussions at other times. I don't hate on Drew Sharp the way some do, though I think he is a naysayer in general. His op-ed today though is right on. Michigan has not been competitive with the top tier of the B10 by a long shot, since RR took over (or maybe even in LC's last year), but it worsened under RR. The only game we won was a comeback unlikely win in Threet's year as QB--the man who people say couldn't QB. Otherwise, we have been blown out of the water. It is that disparity, after years of consistent success that bothers me. No matter who Bo, Mo, LC had returning, whether or not they had injuries, they were consistently competitive. Once in a while, LC's teams got blown out (Oregon, Syracuse, OSU once or twice), but generally they competed. They were usually ready to play. That is no accident, and reflects well on the program and the coaches. No other program in America during that time was as consistent, though 5-6 teams won more games. But RR somehow has taken this consistency, including guys he inherited who had a tradition and expectation to win, and screwed it up. Then he has not fixed it, and constantly makes excuses aimed elsewhere (i.e. the players). Mack Brown has at least won big time--including a championship, a championship loss, and that is why I think people will excuse his underperformance this year--but if it gets repeated next year, wait till you hear the UT fans call for his head. Add to all that, the violations, the way RR left his team and alma mater in the lurch, the lawsuits, the off-the-field drama---it all stinks of "bad fit". And the longer you keep that "bad fit" together, the more it lingers and becomes part of the now losing culture (or at least non-championship culture).


Thu, Nov 18, 2010 : 10:53 a.m.

p u msu, I am sure you are willing to overlook anything to win. Hopefully Mr. Brandon is not, but I am not quite sure. Nobody forced the NCAA to do anything. They investigated Michigan because it is their job to investigate wrong doings. Just like it is the newspaper's job to report what they find. The NCAA did their job. The newspaper did their job. Why can't richrod do his job? As for Texas, why don't you check Mack Brown's record at Texas. He has proven himself, he got it done. He is the one that gets the pass this year because he earned it. Do you think he will get a pass for three years of not beating the top competition he faces? I don't think so fella. blue marker, the voice of reason, are you kidding me? I don't see how you can cover for the guy that did the wrong and be mad at the fella that reported what he was told. I am confused. But, I do agree that if Michigan wins, it will close the gap on the fan base. If richrod would have won the first two years, there would be no gap. GO BLUE!!!! Beat wisconsin


Thu, Nov 18, 2010 : 10:43 a.m.

I believe RichRod is in for next year for Denard-retention, the overall offense and to hold onto prized recruits (particularly Dee Hart). I also suspect (perhaps hope is more appropriate) that David Brandon will ensure that the defensive staff will be gone, a new DC will be brought on-board and will be allowed to hand-pick his staff and run his own show (e.g. a defense designed to actually STOP opponents).


Thu, Nov 18, 2010 : 10:29 a.m.

RudeJude, I respect your comment. Some fans are more black and white than I am. While I disagree with your opinion, I cannont say you are worng or that other fans do not have the same feelings as you. The violations are a problems. I understand the tradition at Michigan and the standards we have set for ourselves. On the other hand I read and studied up on the violations. Someone close to the situation has told me that the NCAA was pleasently suprised with how tight of a ship the Michigan football program actually was. The NCAA knows that these type of practicing "violations" occur at nearly every program. They do not have the resources nor manpower to control it. They were forced (for lack of a better word) to investigate Michigan based Michigan's own Drew Sharp and his "great" investigative reporting. I'll be honest with you, I am probably being selfish here because I want to win. I think that we would be more sucessful on the football field if RR was to return. Am I willing to overlook these "violations" for wins? Yep.


Thu, Nov 18, 2010 : 10:17 a.m.

I come to this blog for my "official" information about Michigan football so I don't have to go to the Free Press and perhaps accidentally come across one of Drew Sharp's mindless and inflammatory columns. The man has been hating on Michigan for years, for no other reasons I can tell other than to make people mad and perhaps now get clicks on the site., you should not be promoting that nonsense.

Blue Marker

Thu, Nov 18, 2010 : 10 a.m.

P U MSU, Thanks for being the voice of reason. Plenty of people said 7-5 at the start of the season and voil, here we are. That said, I believe a bowl win would be huge and help close the gap in the fan base.


Thu, Nov 18, 2010 : 9:52 a.m.

@ PU MSU Keeping this short because I'm at work, as frustrating as the losing has been, I figured it would take potentially five years to turn things around. If it weren't for the NCAA violations and penalties, I would agree he deserves one more season. That said, considering two-thirds of the team is in shambles, the defense having worsened over the Saint's tenure, any real Michigan fan should express concern. For me, the moment Michigan self-penalized, and then later, was put on probation by the NCAA, was enough to fire the man. He had the rules explained to him on several occasions and played dumb, pretending he never heard them. He used graduate assistance inappropriately, as proxy coaches. Obviously, the "kool-aid" drinkers happily wave these off as "not a big deal," but any actions that led to Michigan being put on probation and penalized IS a big deal, enough to say sayonara to Coach Rod. Here's hoping for the upset on Saturday! Go Blue (The Team)


Thu, Nov 18, 2010 : 9:46 a.m.

This is from ESPN 2007 recruiting class notes. Fans didn't care much for the Wolverines' 2006 class, but the 2007 class should please the masses. WR Junior Hemingway (Conway, S.C.) does not get enough credit for his abilities -- watch out for him. QB Ryan Mallett (Texarkana, Texas/Texas) might have the most upside of any quarterback Michigan has had during Lloyd Carr's days in Ann Arbor, including his days as an assistant. Where are the cornerbacks, though? I sware I didnt add the last line.


Thu, Nov 18, 2010 : 9:38 a.m.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Sharp says nothing that a green, high school sports writer couldn't come up with. We all know the record as painful as it is. That seems to be why Sharp loves to bring it up. It can't be for journalism's sake. No one likes how long this transition has been. But, like it or not, that's the road Michigan put itself on when they decided to transition from a pro-style offense to the Rodriguez spread. We had the wrong kind of players across the board on offense, and a defense that was well on it's way to the bottom of the Big Ten by fall 2008. In retrospect was that the right decision? Maybe not. But things won't get any better by "switching horses in the middle of the stream." If Michigan DID decide to change coaches after this year, after all the transfers, decommitments, and disruption in coaching changes, it will be at least 3 more years of frustrating seasons. The other choice is stay the course and fix what can be fixed between now and next year. Take your pick.


Thu, Nov 18, 2010 : 9:30 a.m.

RudeJude, RR was hired to implement his spread and adopted a pro-style personal. It was a unfortunate hire to begin with. Now that his personal is finally in place you want to run him out of town? That does not make sence to me. To disagree with the hire - yes i understand that. To ask him to leave after finally getting personal to run the system, where we only graduate 4 stating players - this makes no sence. Beating #7 Wisconsin or #9 OSU would be an upset. The talent on this team is just not ready to win those games. (In a non-upset manner). No one, who lives in reality, is expecting RR and the team to win these next two games. Stealing one would be great, but if the games happen to play out like they should, we will lose. You are right in saying that being competitive in the games is important. "Well how can you just expect to lose?" I live in reality. We start over 15 underclassmen. The quarterback, the most important player on the field, is a first-year starter. There is a ton of attrition on the defensive side of the ball. These are things that happen, and they are a part of reality. They go into the winning equation. Do you think that Mack Brown is a bad coach? One of the winningest coaches in college football, yet he finds himself with a first-year starting quarterback and a 4-5 record. I suggest you take your fandom out of the equation when judging this team and look at all of the surrounding factors. You would be much happier. I challenge you to actually read the final report of the NCAA findings. The "kool-aide drinkers" are saying the violations are not a big deal because, well, they do not seem like a big deal. It not like they were running 8 hour practices or anything. If you were an athlete, did you ever have "voluntary" summer workouts? These are against the rules but occur everywhere. I mean everywhere. What is troubling is not the violations, but the way they came out. Disgruntled transfers and graduates.


Thu, Nov 18, 2010 : 9:29 a.m.

@ Theo Let me know when five (or 50) crystal balls can rewrite history so our Saint Rich never cheats and taints Michigan's history, and I will be right there with you like I was before the truth came out. As exciting as it would be to watch Michigan kiss the crystal, it wouldn't feel right to me knowing a cheater led them there. The moniker "Non-Michigan fans" seems more appropriate for people like yourself, those cheering for Saint Rich and his methods rather than the Team itself. I root for Michigan, the team, not the man being paid seven-figures to coach them. It's "Go Blue," not "Go Rich," unless it's said as a command for him to leave. In that case...Go Rich, Go as fast as you can! Go Blue


Thu, Nov 18, 2010 : 8:53 a.m.

It's more like Michigan must look competitive against the next two opponents. That will be a victory in itself for a lot of fans, sadly. While it stings to see the 1-11 record of michigan's against the upper crust of the Big Ten, all Michigan has to do is stay competitive in the next two and reach a bowl game, which the latter is assuredly going to happen with the last two wins. Should the miracle happen and Michigan wins out the rest of the season, the Kool-aid drinkers would probably canonize the ol' ball coach and name him Saint Rich. This would, after all, be his third miracle. The first miracle being that he had his contractual penalties from his West Viriginia days miraculously covered by UofM, the second miracle being that his coaching-by-proxy cheating (Read "A simple misunderstanding over the rules" by the Kool-aid drinkers) was masterfully confused and distorted into a lesser charge by Michigan's expert team of lawyers. Now that I think about it, maybe he has already performed his third miracle: Coach Rod has been a disaster on the field and an even bigger one off, cheating and embarrassing Michigan, bringing the program into a three-year probation, marking Michigan's worst era in its history, and, miraculously, he still has the support of some fans. Oh, heavens, it's a miracle! Saint Rich will be the saint of football-related swindlers and con artists. I'm just hoping that should Rich reach sainthood, that any future miracles take place by the rules, on the field and not in the courtroom's of the NCAA or otherwise. Please can this guy already. Bring in a coach with integrity. Go Blue


Thu, Nov 18, 2010 : 8:38 a.m.

Drew Sharp is a terrible writer. Every article he does about RR is the same thing. "RR must win against [insert whichever team we're playing] otherwise he'll be fired." Sharp has been trying to get RR canned from the day he was hired.

Steve Pepple

Thu, Nov 18, 2010 : 8:20 a.m.

A comment was removed because of name-calling.