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Posted on Wed, Aug 12, 2009 : 8:10 p.m.

Rich Rodriguez on Michigan football: 'We've got a long way to go to get some national respect back'

By Dave Birkett

Rich Rodriguez isn’t the optimist responsible for the lone vote Michigan received in the top 25 football coaches poll.

And Rodriguez isn’t saying whether the Wolverines, coming off a 3-9 season, are worthy of that honor.

“We got to deserve it,” Rodriguez said Wednesday after practice. “My team, I’ve got confidence in our guys, I think they did a great job (this off-season). But until we play a game, until at least they get a few weeks of practice, I won’t really know where we’re at.”

Three practices into fall camp and two days before the pads come out, Rodriguez is generally pleased with what he’s seen so far.

Missed assignments are down, more of the defensive playbook is in than anticipated, and the young quarterbacks continue to make strides. What that means in football terms, though, remains to be seen.

Rodriguez said he’s talked with his team about the public perception that Michigan is poised for another disappointing season and acknowledges that’s motivation for this year.

“A lot of it is just projection and talks, so whether you’re on the high end or the low end, you still got to prove it on the field,” Rodriguez said. “But there’s no question we’ve brought it up. We’ve got a long way to go to get some national respect back, but I understand it, too. There’s nobody in the room that said, ‘Geez, why did that happen?’ We know why it happened. Now we got to fix it.”

For a video of Rodriguez on Wednesday, click here.

Dave Birkett covers the University of Michigan football team for He can be reached at



Mon, Aug 17, 2009 : 1:49 p.m.

Respect? Remember how Martin & Colman went about hiring Rick-Rod in the 1st place...and the millions payoff, etc. That's where the respect went...


Thu, Aug 13, 2009 : 7:48 p.m.

For a team that has won ONE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP in 60+ YEARS, I'd say that U-M gets plenty of respect. At least from themselves, anyway.


Thu, Aug 13, 2009 : 7:22 p.m.

Dave and Treetown, I agree that it would be nice to have a break from Notre Dame. Its just that they are under contract through 2031: Bill Martin has generally shown his unwillingness to schedule home and homes (though I'm still scratching my head at the UConn home and home). I'd love to have rotating major opponents, but I'm resigned to the fact that as long as Martin is AD, it's nothing more than a pipe dream.


Thu, Aug 13, 2009 : 1:03 p.m.

Yeah, the Notre Dame thing is getting a bit tired. Once every three years would be ok. The two years between the football games the hoops teams can play each other so the fans at each university can maintain their disdane for each other. The other thing is if we lose to a big boy early, it shouldn't hurt as much as losing later in the season. Although, we have seen the opposite happen in recent years. If we would have bounced back after that Utah their success would have been Michigan's too.

Dave Birkett

Thu, Aug 13, 2009 : 11:01 a.m.

Valid comparison, Michigan-UConn to Florida-Indiana. UConn's been better of late, but it's the same perception. And perception rules in college football. I'd like to see Michigan get out of scheduling Notre Dame every year and mix in a USC, Texas, Florida, Miami... whoever. Then you throw in another, lesser BSC opponent (like a UConn) and two MAC or mid-major teams. Rotating in the big boys is the key though. Those games will always generate publicity while Michigan-ND can get stale nationally when one program is down.


Thu, Aug 13, 2009 : 10:56 a.m.

I think it should be an SEC team. Even if we lose the strength of their conference will help our ranking later in the year. It would be great to have the "old ball coach" in our stadium. with respect U-Conn and a team out east, Boston college would have been a better pick. Scheduling U-Conn is like Florida scheduling Indiana.


Thu, Aug 13, 2009 : 9:12 a.m.

I don't think anyone called Utah a cupcake? Yes, they had a good team last year, but they certainly were no Texas or USC...not even close. Not to mention, when that game was scheduled Michigan had no idea that UTAH, of all schools would have that good of a team.


Thu, Aug 13, 2009 : 9:12 a.m.

U of M not ready for any more competition than they already have. 6-7 wins max this season with loses to MSU, ILL, ND, OSU,Wisc and PSU


Thu, Aug 13, 2009 : 8:49 a.m.

Utah? I don't remember them being a cakewalk.


Thu, Aug 13, 2009 : 8:26 a.m.

I agree with treetown. At least OSU is scheduling teams like Texas and USC. Michigan's closest attempt at a solid challenging non-conference game was Oregon two years ago...which didn't turn out so great. I still think Michigan needs to keep scheduling tough opponents - regardless if they win or lose. How about a Texas or Texas Tech or Cal or Arkansas (especially with a Mallet match up) or West Virginia.


Thu, Aug 13, 2009 : 7:48 a.m.

With all due respect Rich, you are MICHIGAN! You shouldn't have to earn National Respect, look at this football teams history. The respect for the program is there, lets not talk about being second rate, lets keep quiet and let winning do the talking. I have never seen such a lack of pride from a Michigan Football coach.


Thu, Aug 13, 2009 : 6:24 a.m.

WMU beat Illinois last year, so they must be OK. That's what will make it extra gratifying when we mop up the Big House with them on 9-5. WMU will be the toughest team we play from Michigan this year. EMU and MSU will be easy wins.


Wed, Aug 12, 2009 : 11:18 p.m.

Quote: "If we want respect than why is the BCS team opener in 2010 U-Conn" UM plays Notre Dame every year. That gives them three rivalry games (ND, MSU, and OSU) and one game with PSU, who should be a perennial contender for a few years. Since OSU has gotten to three NC games this millenium playing one tough team and three cupcakes for their noncon schedule each season, why should UM do anything differently? UM's schedule is tough enough. Besides, it's not like Florida, LSU, OK, USC, or TX are scheduling more than one tough noncon game to go with their cupcakes, either, even though Florida has to play a rivalry game against FSU every year. When UM beats ND, PSU, and OSU in the same year, they will get plenty of respect. Most of all, though, they will get respect when they win a BCS bowl game or a National Championship.


Wed, Aug 12, 2009 : 9:28 p.m.

Who cares about 2010 right now? Wins will get us respect, and that's got to start this year. I care more about Western at the moment. As for everyone worrying about UConn in 2010, I guarantee you that if Michigan goes undefeated including a win over UConn, they will have all the respect they need.


Wed, Aug 12, 2009 : 8:44 p.m.

If we want respect than why is the BCS team opener in 2010 U-Conn