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Posted on Sun, May 16, 2010 : 2:06 p.m.

Michigan football coach Rich Rodriguez talks expansion, injuries

By Dave Birkett

Michigan football coach Rich Rodriguez will be in Chicago on Monday for the annual spring Big Ten Conference meetings, and like everyone else he’s anxious to learn where the conference stands in expansion.

“That would probably be the hottest topic for us coaches,” Rodriguez said Sunday at the Champions for Children’s Hearts golf outing. “I don’t think we’re going to have a lot of say in that. I think it’s probably just going to get us informed, see where we’re at.”

The Big Ten is considering adding one, three or five teams, but it’s unlikely anything will be decided this week.

Rodriguez said he’s kept tabs on the almost daily rumors of who will or won’t join the conference. Rutgers, Notre Dame, Missouri and Nebraska were reportedly offered spots in the league last week, and Pittsburgh and Syracuse have been speculated upon heavily as potential new additions.

“I think it’s interesting,” Rodriguez said. “I think it’s all pretty exciting because from a league standpoint we’re dealing from a position of strength. We’re in a great situation right now, and it looks like it’ll be even better.”

By adding additional teams - likely two years away at the earliest - the Big Ten can split into two divisions and host a conference championship football game.

Rodriguez said that would allow the Big Ten to play into December and stay in the national conscience longer.

“I think it’s pretty exciting to have a championship game, if that’s what direction we go,” Rodriguez said. “But if we don’t go and we stay where we’re at, I’m pretty happy there, too.”

Big Ten basketball coaches are scheduled to meet Monday, with football coaches and athletic directors gathering Tuesday-Wednesday.

Along with expansion, scheduling, officiating and other legislative issues are expected to be on the agenda.

Injury update Rodriguez said Michigan escaped spring practice with only one serious injury, backup defensive lineman Will Heininger’s torn ACL.

Heininger had surgery at the end of spring practice and is ahead of his rehab, Rodriguez said.

“We’re hoping to have him back by midseason,” Rodriguez said.

Center David Molk, coming off a torn ACL, should be cleared for team activities by the start of fall camp.

“I don’t know where he’s at running wise or anything like that, but I saw him the other day, he walked by the office, and he looks great,” Rodriguez said. “I think he was anxious to do more in the spring but obviously for precautionary reasons we held him out but I think he’ll be 100 percent certainly for August stuff.”

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.


Sean T.

Tue, May 18, 2010 : 6:43 p.m.

Portage, point taken and I agree with you but having another losing season is serious to me! It may be very low on the priority list of life but in my College Football world, it's numero uno. The Speed of the SEC is over-hyped because on every top program, in every major conference is comparable at the skill positions. There is no excuse for RR as far as talent and scheme because other coaches have done it.....even in our own conference! Our "Little Brother" has went to 3 straight bowls with a former Big East coach. Ron Zook, despite his recent follies has put Illinois in a Rose Bowl and showed improvement in his first three years in the conference. These coaches have used the players of the previous regime and showed some improvement. We have been historically better than these programs and should've never have fallen as low as we have because contrary to belief the cupboard wasn't bare. RR had some talent to start with but didn't want to compromise some of his scheme to accomodate his players and use their talents. Even Minnesota's coach did that along with changing numerous coordinators. Some have predicted 9-3 last year and now many have said it will be 8-4. If we win less than seven games or does not make a Bowl then what will be the next step? Should we fire him or allow another chance?


Mon, May 17, 2010 : 6:56 p.m.

Sean T relax son this is just entertainment the figure of speech, Florida of the North was meant as a faster team than the 10 is used to. As far as he's got ---- I think we all have those SeanT. These blogs are meant as fun their not referred to Vegas for use on lines just for fun boys and girls just fun. I enjoy these blogs as entertainment I take none of this or statements to heart and if any of you do well sorry for you this stuff means 0 however, it's a differant story once the ball is snapped and that really is the only way we can judge our Wolves.

Robbie Webb

Mon, May 17, 2010 : 9:56 a.m.

People who think we'll have another losing record is kidding themsleves and blinded by frustration with the past two seasons. Rich Rodriguez is a great coach and I agree Gatling64, this is the year that will tell if he's a Michigan caliber coach. There were major issues in 08 and 09 that were factors in our record. And although we are still very young, there is no reason why we shouldn't go bowling with at least an 8-4 record.


Mon, May 17, 2010 : 9:13 a.m.

RR had to re-organize a passing team into a running ome.Don't forget we only had 70 schollies last year nad virtually no depth.The injury to Molk was devistating.Mooseman tried but he couldn't snap the ball.We musy have had 15 bad snaps many which went for big losses and the loss of Moosemen from his guard position mucked up the continuity of the whole line.Plus we had cripples all over the place :forcier, brown minor etc.The "D" simply lacked players.RR had to play walkons. This year will tell if RR can coach as he has none of the problems of last year.The 20 man redshirt class and the talented freshmen shold make for a solid team from now on..


Sun, May 16, 2010 : 11:32 p.m.

move outs the way...dead man walkin!

Sean T.

Sun, May 16, 2010 : 11:15 p.m.

We may have been a few plays from being 8-4 but we were also a few plays from being 3-9! And another thing is to hear the statement that Michigan will be "The Florida" of the north. That seems so sad in a couple of ways but I guess having our own identity isn't important anymore. Also, Michigan's offense is different from Florida's because it is made for passers who can run not runner's who try to pass. Florida believes in having Mammoth-size O-linemen and a functional pro-style defense. Because when you're serious about winning championships you have to be able to compete in the toughest of games. You can't win big games trying to come from behind against the likes of MSU, who actually let us back in the game because they have a porous secondary and no pass-rush. How about the Purdue game? Let's be serious, we got out-played by a team far less talented than us and they didn't even have a legitimate star on either side of the ball. If it wasn't for Tate Forcier we probably would've lost to Notre Dame in which we won by a prayer. And let's not forget the Indiana game where the Refs sealed the game for us by making a bad call......because quite frankly the Hoosiers were gaining momentum again and we proved that we couldn't stop the from scoring. Like many of you I used to think that we must be improving because of the close game with Iowa until I looked at the Hawkeye's schedule and saw that they also had close games with Arkansas St, Northern Iowa, MSU and Indiana. They played poorly throughout the whole season but managed to pull it out because of their Head Man/Ferentz who did an exceptional job coaching his players which were not 5 stars and he has never had a "Top 20" in his career. My point is I want RR to win but there hasn't been any reason to think that he'll get it done in AA. And there's nothing about his character that insinuates "He's got Balls"! If he gets less than 7 wins will you still support him staying another year?

Terry Star21

Sun, May 16, 2010 : 11:07 p.m.

RichRod..."I think it's pretty exiting to have a Championship game",.... what he really meant...'I think it'll be pretty exiting to give the Michigan Faithful a Big Ten Championship every year, while msu and osu fight for a Bowl'.

Robbie Webb

Sun, May 16, 2010 : 8 p.m.

And as far as the violations go, it's really not as big of a deal as people are making it. Look at coaches like Urban Meyer, or USC's current investigation which is leaps and bounds worse than Michigan's. The ONLY reason Rich is being nailed by critics is because of a 8-16 record. But again, as I explained above, there are reasons for it. And I understand fan's frustrations. But no one is perfect. Everyone makes mistakes. You can't expect everyone who walks into Michigan to be perfect. Once Michigan gets it together this year, all of this will be water under the bridge and no one will care.

Robbie Webb

Sun, May 16, 2010 : 7:55 p.m.

Dude, Michigan will not have another losing season. That being a lock is all but official.You have to realize all that was at hand the first two seasons and what went wrong. Coaching is not one of those reasons. First and foremost, this team is young, and I mean really young. Even this year we have 12 seniors, which is evident that most of our experienced veterans left after Carr's last game, which means Rich Rodriguez almost literally had to start from scratch. Last season it was a defensive problem, not offense. Even with a 5-7 record, we still were number #3 in scoring offense. Offense made mistakes at times, but that's to be expected, especially with young guys on the field. All in all, they put points on the board. Games like Iowa, MSU, and Purdue were all close losses and a defensive stop away from at least an 8-4 season. As far as defense goes, the secondary will be much improved and we finally have some depth and true talent to work with, and I'm not speaking of Demar Dorsey, as he may not qualify. Marvin Robinson, Josh Furman, and Cullen Christian are all highly praised and ranked individuals. The offensive line also was a main concern as we were young and arguably our best lineman along with Schilling, Molk, was injured and it all starts with the line on offense. Forcier got banged up, Minor was banged up for alot of the season. You have to put yourself in Rich Rod's shoes, any coach who had to start the way he did would have struggled, anyone. I'm not one to predict a record before the season starts, but it's very safe to say we are bowling this year. No doubt.


Sun, May 16, 2010 : 7:40 p.m.

Sorry Robbie, but Michigan already admitted to the violations. They are entering the penalty phase, which should be done by August. It'll be a hand slap, but factor it in with all of the other joy RR brings to the table and it will be impossible to keep this guy after another losing season.

Robbie Webb

Sun, May 16, 2010 : 5:49 p.m.

Detroitrocks, Michigan has yet to be proven guilty and even if they are, we are not looking at hard punishments. USC probably isn't going to get probation and their situation is much worse and he has not run the program through the mud either. And nobowlforblue, Rich Rod is not going anywhere. ''Blind optimism'' is inaccurate.


Sun, May 16, 2010 : 4:27 p.m.

One other thing, I considered every team Mich. played in the big ten an arch rival including, Notre Dame and USC.


Sun, May 16, 2010 : 4:24 p.m.

I agree with Portage, I think Rodriguez should have a nice long career at Michigan. Im on the band wagon, Extend that contract!


Sun, May 16, 2010 : 4:12 p.m.

I like RR I think I'm going to keep him as the Wolves coach. Guys got balls and I think he's going to create the Florida of the North. RR has a style that reads, if your not sitting on the edge then your just taking up space. I do appreciate Bo and company but man I went to a lot of those wins in Michigan stadium and I never new whether to leave the stadium a happy fan or a thoroughly bored fan. After moving to the Ca. desert I attended a lot of USC games and after leaving those wins there was no doubt it was exciting. I know RR is going to put the excitement back in the wins. Better year this year but watch out starting next year, no boys and girls we're going to keep RR as head coach done deal I've made up my mind.


Sun, May 16, 2010 : 3:57 p.m.

Detroitrocks Couldn't agree more. The blind optimism of an 8 win season is almost funny but really sad as 8 wins will still be at least 3 less than their arch rival OSU. RR must go.


Sun, May 16, 2010 : 3:15 p.m.

Sorry RR, but between putting Michigan on probation, dragging the institution through the mud, and soon to be 3 straight losing seasons, you won't be around to see it happen.