Rich Rodriguez: It was 'hard to watch' Denard Robinson, Michigan football last season
Melanie Maxwell | AnnArbor.com
The former Michigan football coach went deep into Florida and was able to snag the Deerfield Beach star, largely because Robinson himself wanted to play quarterback.
Under Rodriguez, he went on to set an NCAA record for rushing yards by a quarterback in 2010, his first season as a starter. Then, Rodriguez was fired.
Rodriguez watched as Michigan proceeded to go 11-2 and win the Sugar Bowl with first-year coach Brady Hoke. That was difficult for him, he said in a story published Wednesday by CBSSports.com.
"I would have liked to walk in with the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year coming back," he said in the story. "It was one of those things that was hard to watch."
Rodriguez went 15-22 in his three-year tenure at Michigan, the worst career winning percentage in program history. But there also were signs in his final year that things were turning around, most notably the maturation of Robinson.
"Even with some of the issues, Michigan may not have wanted to believe that they had," Rodriguez said. "We thought we fixed them. We just didn't get to enjoy them after they all got fixed."
Robinson's numbers dipped in his first year with Hoke and offensive coordinator Al Borges, but the offense improved overall. It scored 33.4 points per game, up from 32.8 in 2010.
When CBS mentioned Michigan is trending toward a more pro-style approach, Rodriguez replied: "I've always said: 'Let Denard be Denard.' They've got to do what they've got to do."