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Posted on Wed, Feb 3, 2010 : 7:06 p.m.

Michigan football staff battled negativity of losing seasons, NCAA investigation on recruiting trail

By Dave Birkett


Michigan football coach Rich Rodriguez said one Big Ten team used negative recruiting talk against the Wolverines and that back-to-back losing seasons was something to overcome, too. (Photo: Lon Horwedel |

Michigan football coach Rich Rodriguez said he battled “quite a bit” of negative recruiting from one Big Ten school this year, but opposing coaches didn’t use the ongoing NCAA investigation into alleged practice time violations “as much as I thought.”

“It did” come up some, Rodriguez said. “We figured that some people would ask questions or try to use that in a negative vein, but it really wasn’t an issue at all.”

Rodriguez wouldn’t identify what school negatively recruited against Michigan, but he said - unprompted - it wasn’t Ohio State.

“There’s only one school I think in our league that we thought was negative recruiting quite a bit,” he said. “Most of the rest of the of them didn’t The farther you go south … there’s a little bit more negative recruiting.”

Michigan signed 27 players in what was a consensus top-20 class Wednesday, though ranked Michigan 20th, it’s lowest overall mark since rankings began in 2002.

Rodriguez said he did find it more difficult to recruit coming off back-to-back losing seasons. Michigan is 8-16 in his two years as coach.

“It’s tougher than it was if you were winning a national championship, there’s no question,” Rodriguez said. “If you’re on this end, we’ve gotten a little better, so you see progress. But I think you also can see opportunity.”

As for the NCAA investigation, Rodriguez said he wasn’t apprised of what was discussed at a closed-door Board of Regents meeting Wednesday to reportedly focused on the probe.

“We’re all interested in” where the investigation stands, he said. “We’ll all know in due time. They’ll let us know in due time what’s going on and everything like that.”

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, Feb 4, 2010 : 6:56 p.m.

It seems to me the negativity is justified


Thu, Feb 4, 2010 : 5:42 p.m.

Negative recruiting - if I had to guess I'd say it's either Purdue or Illinois. Michigan battles these teams for the talented southern kids. There is a bit of a track record with Danny Hope (and previously Joe Tiller). Purdue and Illinois need negative recruiting to sway talented recruits from the more successful B10 schools.


Thu, Feb 4, 2010 : 4:19 p.m.

The title of this article should be amended to say, "Michigan football staff battled negativity of losing seasons, the agendas of unprepared self-aggrandizing sports columnists, NCAA investigation on recruiting trail" Don't you think, Dave?


Thu, Feb 4, 2010 : 12:32 p.m.

Typical bad-mouthing Ann Arbor News story. They mention Michigan was ranked 20th by Rivals, there lowest ranking since 2002 but do not mention their 12th place ranking with Scout or their 14th place ranking with Tom Lemming. Birkett is becoming very predictable is his scorn for the University of Michigan! PS: WVU's highest ranking was 38th.

Lorain Steelmen

Thu, Feb 4, 2010 : 10:47 a.m.

I'm not surprized by all the negative comments, both on the recruiting trail, and here on the various posting boards. This kind of garbage gets repeated in the Freep, by hacks such as Drew 'MSU' Sharp. As for Danny Hope, the guy is simply a jerk, so he may well be trying to make life difficult for the UM coaching staff. Most recruiting evaluation services rank this class as second in the league, and while time will tell the validity of that assessment, I wish the team well over the upcoming season. The hard work of the coaches and players, must continue, but I am optomistic that we will see a much improved team this fall. Let's welcome a great group of student athletes to the best school in the country! We wish them much success, both on the field, and in the classroom! Go Blue!


Thu, Feb 4, 2010 : 9:10 a.m.

Given the exchange between Hope from Purdue and RR, i would think that Purdue was the team. Also, i didn't think it would be the buckeyes seeing how Cullen Christian and Jonathan Hankins were the only 2 recruits offered by both schools.


Thu, Feb 4, 2010 : 8:23 a.m.

josh One of the MSU players charged in the last incident had 2 outstanding arrest warrents in Fla when he came to MSU. This is a little different than "being charged and acquitted" In the eye of the law, Dorsey has a clean record. He deserves the opportunity to be successful just like every other person in this country.


Thu, Feb 4, 2010 : 8:05 a.m.

Hey Buzz due all of us a "solid" and take English 101 over the summer. You read like a backwoods yokel from West Virginia. Wait one minute DickRod is that you?


Thu, Feb 4, 2010 : 2:09 a.m.

This the kind of thing that makes it hard for coaches to concentrate and try to please the fans. They r being very patient and r tryn to keep their cool. I think its either Illinois or purdue, cuz Ferentz is a classy guy to be honset and another guy i really am impressed with is Tressel, he is also a classy guy even we r Rivals to death. Im positive RR is the same especially when he gets the group of monkeys off his back. He was classy a WV, he will be at UM. I dont agree with Birkett for the most part but i think he cant report stuff on MSU on an Ann Arbor site cuz they are not in Ann Arbor. I think RR has alot on his mind, he was harshly criticized when he came to Ann Arbor so i feel bad. Lloyd didnt go through that. Not many coaches go though that especially when ur at the winningest program in College football. GIVE HIM A BREAK U NAY SAYERS!!!. i know u guys haven't said anything bout him so i thank u guys. So yeah that for u UM/RR haters after my blog. I think the investigation is crap cuz they were anonymous players who couldnt run RR system. RR may have lost the papers cuz he's probably the busiest coach. Hopefully in future he wont lose em cuz it will cause another investigation and it will put more monkeys on his back. Good Job RR on handling this stuff, dont listen to the critics, stick to ur guns and ul own. GO BLUE!!!!!!


Thu, Feb 4, 2010 : 12:03 a.m.

And why justify the question by mentioning The Suckeyes("it wasn't Ohio State")? Are we that afraid of the bucknuts that we have to "clear their name" by saying it wasn't them!People,where is the rivalry(we don't have to clear up anything about the Worthless Nuts).I don't care how many times they beat us.Hell,that should fire us up more!But no,RR has to clear their name.Make nice so as not to piss them off.Screw O-State(Purdue too.That coach has a bone to pick w/RR and Rich acts like he's afraid of him.Man up RR!Wolverine Nation has got your back.)But we have to get that Nasty attitude back against "That Other team" below Gods Country and it starts this season when we beat their buttes at The Slipper,I mean,Shoe.Lets GO BLUE!!!


Wed, Feb 3, 2010 : 8:57 p.m.

Frank, I think we would all be wise to stop with the MSU criminals talk since we just signed a recruit who had previously been charged with 2 felonies. Just makes a look like hypocrites.


Wed, Feb 3, 2010 : 8:38 p.m.

If I had to guess which school was going at Rich Rod, I'd think it was Purdue. They are the one with the axe to grind.


Wed, Feb 3, 2010 : 8:35 p.m.

Probably Illinois since Zook was an SEC guy and just slippery in general. That Ferentz was one of Carr's favorites to replace him means he's probably very classy. And Dantonio couldn't throw stones since he's dealing with a pretty ugly story up in EL. Plus he seems pretty honorable. Purdue might still be reeling from the Roundtree incident, but with a new coaching staff, I still have to believe it's Illinois.


Wed, Feb 3, 2010 : 8:23 p.m.

Surprised that you didn't report that some intrepid reporter from made an obnoxious fool of himself. Lest I remind you, your school (MSU) could field an entire recruiting class from the police blotter. Guess you want to spread some of your manure around here to cover the stench from East Lansing.


Wed, Feb 3, 2010 : 8:14 p.m.

For some reason I bet the big ten school that is bashing Michigan is Iowa!! Any thoughts??


Wed, Feb 3, 2010 : 8:12 p.m.

Hey Dave. How about you do some investigating and figure out which school it was that was negativity recruiting. Go ask the players. Get the inside scoop and please let us know!