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Posted on Tue, Nov 3, 2009 : 1:45 p.m.

Rich Rodriguez on turnovers, recruiting junior college players and quarterback injuries

By Dave Birkett

A day after asking fans to be patient with the building process, Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez said he doesn’t get the sense anyone is panicking over his team’s four-game Big Ten losing streak.

“I’m not walking around the streets and conducting a poll or anything like that,” Rodriguez said. “We just come to work every day and do all we can to build this program to where everybody wants it.

"But the fans have been very supportive, our administration has been supportive. To have patience is a tough thing nowadays because everybody wants it right now. But the sense I get is everybody is disappointed like we are in the last couple weeks, but at the same time they know what we’re trying to do and what we’re trying to build here.”


Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez, left, may target a junior college player or two during recruiting, but says it's generally difficult to get juco players' credits to transfer to Michigan.

Lon Horwedel |

Michigan (5-4, 1-4) has dropped its last four games against Football Bowl Subdivision opponents, including a 38-13 loss to Illinois last week.

The Wolverines need to win one of their last three games - against Purdue this week, at Wisconsin or home against Ohio State - to qualify for a bowl after missing the postseason last year for the first time since 1974.

More notes from Tuesday’s Big Ten teleconference

• Rodriguez said he’d like to sign “a junior-college guy or two at certain positions,” but that isn’t likely to happen because of Michigan’s admission policies.

“There’s not a lot of transferrable credits for junior-college guys to come in here,” Rodriguez said. “Sometimes people look at that as a quicker fix. That’s not going to really be an option for us just because of the academic differences.”

• Rodriguez disputed the notion that his spread-option offense puts quarterbacks more in harm’s way than other systems.

“I think when you’re a younger guy and you’re 180 pounds and you hadn’t had a chance to get a couple years in the weight room and a couple years of maturity and growth, I think you’re more likely to get banged around,” Rodriguez said. “But other quarterbacks when we were in the system played entire years without missing a snap. So I don’t think it’s the system.”

Michigan quarterback Tate Forcier, a true freshman, has battled a concussion and shoulder injury this year. Forcier and backup Denard Robinson have combined for 139 rushing attempts, more than all but two running backs in the Big Ten (Wisconsin’s John Clay and Purdue’s Ralph Bolden).

Northwestern’s Mike Kafka (112), Illinois’ Juice Williams (111) and Ohio State’s Terrelle Pryor (101) are the other quarterbacks in conference with more than 100 carries.

• What’s the one thing Michigan needs to do to get back on track?

“The thing that strikes out the most is simply the turnover situation,” Rodriguez said. “Offensively we’ve had a few in the last couple games and defensively we haven’t gotten any in three straight games. So that’s the simplest thing to do that is one, take care of the football ourselves and somehow defensively try to create some turnovers or when those turnover opportunities are there make the most of them.”

• Illinois coach Ron Zook said he didn’t notice the incident between defensive tackle Corey Liuget and Michigan left tackle Mark Ortmann while watching coach’s film Sunday, but he has seen replays since.

Zook did not answer directly when asked if he thought Ortmann punched Liuget.

“That’s out of my hands,” he said. “They’ll do the things that they deem necessary to do.”

• Purdue coach Danny Hope on Michigan: “They’re like our team in some ways. They’ve had a few turnovers and had a few plays that have negated their chances to win in some big games. But I think they’re a very good football team in every phase of the football team. They’re very talented, they play hard and they’ve got a great scheme and a great package.”

Dave Birkett covers University of Michigan football for He can be reached by phone at 734-623-2552 or by e-mail at Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.



Thu, Nov 5, 2009 : 12:16 a.m.

RR has to examine all the possibilities of team building. That is an important part of every coaches job. I'm sure if he could find a Juco student or a 1-AA student who was talented and smart, he would consider making an offer. I have seen several 1-AA kids who flew in under the radar and were not offered a 1-A scholarship but would be good enough to play at UM. I think a 1-AA player could start the year he transfers? Anyway leave the coach alone. Your nit picking and whining is counter productive and will not change anything! Mary Sue and the new AD will make a change when they think the time is right. We are all frustrated and concerned at this point, however it is what it is! GO BLUE ALWAYS! Dan From Georgia


Wed, Nov 4, 2009 : 9:56 a.m.

U-M recruiting jucos - how much more evidence do you need that this program is in the crapper?


Tue, Nov 3, 2009 : 11:44 p.m.

When you're being given "the business" by non-Wolverine fans, just remind them that,. "Hey, we're a basketball school". It seems to work......


Tue, Nov 3, 2009 : 9:40 p.m.

Country road take me home..........


Tue, Nov 3, 2009 : 9:11 p.m.

The team needs to realize they are not the best in the nation, not the best in the Big Ten and not the best in the State. They need to come to grips with that reality. On the other hand, that doesn't mean they should give up on the possibility of winning more games. It all starts with Purdue. If they can beat Purdue, who knows what might happen next. This is college football after all. They've proven they can win; they just need to convince themselves they can do it again. Then, they need to play the game and see it through, instead of throwing in the towel like they did at Illinois. Even though they're not the best, they can still win.


Tue, Nov 3, 2009 : 7:57 p.m.

Hopefully there will be no panic against Purdue this week. We need this game to get to a bowl. The fact that it's at home, against a team coming off a 3-9 season with a first year coach...this is a game that Michigan should win. It's a great opportunity for RR to prove that he can overcome adversity and keep his team from further snowballing into nothingness as they did last year and appear to be doing this year. These last 3 games are huge for him and how he handles it will go a long way in determining if he is worthy to wear the M. No excuses, get it done.


Tue, Nov 3, 2009 : 6:56 p.m.

RR did not point to bringing in JC players to fix anything. He simply indicated there are a few JC players in the country he would be interested in looking at, but at the same time admitted it probably would not be a viable option due to the higher academic standards at UM. So how do you knuckle heads translate that into RR panicing and looking at JC players to turn things around.


Tue, Nov 3, 2009 : 5:46 p.m.

So if theo is so anti lloyd, then theo doesnt care to acknowledge lloyd's coaching the team to the national championship? Lloyd's time ran out at the end, but where is proof that rich can get it done. He couldn't even beat a down pitt team to reach the nc game. What exactly has he won that should make us doubters of rich believe he has the ability to produce champions?

Macabre Sunset

Tue, Nov 3, 2009 : 5:03 p.m.

Gotta laugh at the Danny Hope comment. He has his Belichick down cold.


Tue, Nov 3, 2009 : 4:23 p.m.

Why do people call RR THE KING?


Tue, Nov 3, 2009 : 4:12 p.m.

In the past JUCO players (the few U-M brought in) haven't worked out well. I think Austin Panter was the last one. It's certainly not the answer. So, for now, RR better order a couple extra cases of snake oil (in honor of playing Purdue this week), and hit the recruiting trail hard.


Tue, Nov 3, 2009 : 3:39 p.m.

Keep the Pacmans and Chris Henrys away from UM!


Tue, Nov 3, 2009 : 3:33 p.m.

Hopefully Purdue won't run it up in the second half when the wheels come off the Michigan defense. Maybe the Lions can get exclusive rights to U-M players. They will fit in nicely with the 'missed tackle - blown assignment' scheme that the Lions execute so well.....


Tue, Nov 3, 2009 : 2:44 p.m.

I think we need to calm down a little and not hang on every quote that comes out of RR's mouth. Most of the time people are responding to a specific question then that quote gets taken out of context. During yesterday's press conference RR was asked specifically about the junior college thing and said that they look at all options when recruiting but it is hard to transfer credits to Michigan. Then you see this story and it looks like it is something he is actively pursuing to fix the team. Let's take these quotes with a grain of salt.