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Posted on Sat, Jan 1, 2011 : 7:29 p.m.

The fall of Rich Rodriguez and Michigan football is hard to process

By Pete Bigelow


Michigan football coach Rich Rodriguez answers questions Saturday after the Gator Bowl.

Melanie Maxwell |

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - He wasn’t Les Miles, and in retrospect, that was his first mistake.

Rich Rodriguez arrived at Michigan amid a crisis. Michigan football fans clamored for the popular LSU head coach three years ago. When he didn’t materialize, Rodriguez inherited a rift that never healed.

He’ll leave amid another crisis, this one of his own creation.

A humiliating loss in the Gator Bowl on Saturday made sure of that. After a month of preparation, the Michigan football team turned in a 52-14 stinker against Mississippi State.

There was the worst-case scenario for the Wolverines, and then there was what occurred Saturday.

Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon, earlier this year, had spoken of evaluating the program not on a specific number of wins, but on the direction it pointed toward the end of the season. A 48-28 loss to Wisconsin at home. A 37-7 loss to Ohio State, the team’s seventh consecutive defeat against its chief rival. The worst bowl loss in school history. A 15-22 record in three seasons.

There’s no question on the direction. It’s a matter of time before Brandon makes a coaching change. That’s inevitable now.

The only question: How did this all go so very wrong for Rich Rodriguez and Michigan? It is hard to fathom. There were small signs in the beginning - the lingering yearning for a Michigan Man among a large segment of the fan base and the protracted buyout from West Virginia.

But in the beginning, those were easily overlooked because Rodriguez was a bold hire for a program that perhaps had grown a bit too predictable under Lloyd Carr - and predictable meant nine or 10 wins and a January bowl game.

At 44, Rodriguez represented the future. He could have made a career in Ann Arbor, rooting an imprint in the program the same way Bo Schembechler did 40 years earlier.

He was the guy who had invented the spread offense, the guy who turned down Alabama only one year earlier. He was the guy who could do no wrong. Until he arrived at Michigan. There, he stepped into trouble at every turn. Giving away the No. 1 jersey was certainly a forgivable footnote. Earning the once-pristine program its first major NCAA rules violations was another matter.

Bragging that the team had achieved its highest collective GPA when that wasn’t the case, an honest mistake of not vetting information.

Offering an emotional plea for his job during the team’s senior banquet, a premeditated act committed by a good man reduced to desperate measures - which happened to be set to a Josh Groban soundtrack. There was more: A quarterback who pled guilty to conspiracy to sell cocaine, a troubled recruit with a troubled past ultimately denied admission at Michigan, a real estate investment gone bad.

Last but not least, there was the on-field performance.

On Rodriguez’s watch, Michigan lost to Toledo, missed a bowl for the first time in 33 years, suffered the first losing season since the 1960s and employed revolving-door defensive philosophies.

He never beat Ohio State. He never beat Michigan State.

Rich Rodriguez has been a genuine and personable guy throughout the entire debacle, never afraid to be himself. There is no joy in watching him endure a month of questions about his job.

He is a pretty good coach, too, an innovator who sees things on the offensive side of the ball that other coaches do not. He will succeed elsewhere.

But it is clear now that success will be elsewhere, and not at Michigan.

If there was any doubt before Saturday, Mississippi State made sure of it Saturday. The Bulldogs pushed an undersized defense all over the field, and shut down the Wolverines offense after the first quarter. Cowbells clanged as Rodriguez walked into the tunnel, bringing a decibel-piercing end to the season. Afterward, quarterback Denard Robinson tried to explain what went wrong.

“We just didn’t execute,” said Robinson, echoing a familiar refrain. “We just didn’t play Michigan football.”

Yes, they did. And that was the problem.

Pete Bigelow covers the Michigan football team for He can be reached at (734) 623-2551, via e-mail at and followed on Twitter @PeterCBigelow.



Tue, Jan 4, 2011 : 9:38 a.m.

Rich Rodriguez broke the sacred rule, he blames everyone else for his actions. Therefore, he needs to go since he will never take responsibility. Even my 4 year old knows better.


Sun, Jan 2, 2011 : 9:26 p.m.

Look what happened to UConn--- they got beat by Michigan-- play great the rest of the season and make it to a BCS bowl--- and then they get stomped. What works in the east won't work in the Big ten (or in other parts of the country). I do beleave that RR would be successful had He had time to learn a new way of doing things ( mostly on D ) but the UM fan base is not that forgiving.


Sun, Jan 2, 2011 : 8:04 p.m.

One is a direct result of the other.NOTHING about Rod fit in Ann Arbor and the results showed that Pay the coal miner off.Get rid of him.Start again.If Brandon doesn't want to do the job get rid of him And that's about it for this past season and for the desent into the Valley of Darkness BLUE BRAINS. No tears that's just the way it is.


Sun, Jan 2, 2011 : 7:47 p.m.

az "The KoolAiders can continue to live in RR FantasyLand" Either that is the same place as Mamby Pamby Land, or they are very close to each other.


Sun, Jan 2, 2011 : 6:19 p.m.

Rich Rodriguez was not a good fit for the Michigan program. This is the winningest team in CFB. They are a Pro Set offense with a strong defense loaded with physical athletes. That's the pedigree. What Rich Rod wants to do is put a round peg in a square hole. It affects recruiting. When a program has athletes like Brady, Woodson, Long, Harbaugh, and Woodley in it...that means an NFL machine. If Michigan is to move forward with the same winning ways it enjoyed from its past, it must get a coach who brings the Michigan way back to Ann Arbor and says adios to RichRod.


Sun, Jan 2, 2011 : 5:56 p.m.

Where did my post go??? I am simply tring to help with this coaching feasico that you guys have. The coach that you need will be available at the end of 2011 and he is another great coach from the Big East by the name of Bill Stewart. I know you guys love them Big East Coaches. Give Rich one more year and then give Bill a Holla. You want be disappointed i promise.


Sun, Jan 2, 2011 : 3:27 p.m.

Well, in my opinion, it all starts with Bump Elliott. Because he built up a great magnificent team who had the misfortune of getting barely beaten by OSU 50-14, Bo was able to squeak by for the next 21 years--all on Bump's talent pool. And of course, Mo and LC rode on his coattails. Actually, I think it's all Bump's fault that RR failed. The talent pool that Bump left finally ran out--if only Bump had been given a few years to continue that. Moreso--if only JoePa had accepted Canham's offer, we would not even be worrying about a coaching change for another 40 years or so. So let's blame Joe Paterno for this whole thing. Now, how happy do you think Justin Boren is? Traded 3 years of horrible coaching and results for 3 B10 rings (think of all that money he could earn), three sets of golden pants (lotsa money), and 2 all Big Ten teams. Good for him, and sorry for him that he had to put up with all that abuse from "Michigan fans". And bad for Michigan that we lost him and his 2 younger brothers from the Michigan family.


Sun, Jan 2, 2011 : 3:05 p.m.

By the way, if a new coach comes in a puts together a tough, hard nosed, 4-3 defense will they also be taking the "credit for the work that RR did?" In RR FantasyLand, yes. In reality, not a chance. I'm sure Bo Pelini is somehow taking all of the credit for the work that Bill Callahan did at Nebraska as well...and Brian Kelley will soon be taking credit for all of Charlie Weiss' hard work, too. HA!


Sun, Jan 2, 2011 : 2:43 p.m.

ne_pa, The KoolAid crowd doesn't live in reality. Objective results mean nothing. In fact, Michigan football means nothing to them. The only thing that matters is RR. They would rather throw LC, Bo, or any number of people who built this program and won titles here in defense of their 'king' who has done nothing. They say he has "done nothing wrong." What has he done right? Nothing. His defense and special teams are awful, and his offense can't score against the big boys. UM was stuffed cold in the red zone and on fourth down yesterday more times than I can remember. The KoolAiders can continue to live in RR FantasyLand...the good thing is that it will be moving to a new location by the end of the week. Go Blue!


Sun, Jan 2, 2011 : 2:34 p.m.

macabre, I agree with your assessment that the supposedly 'stale' programs that only win 9-10 games a year are also the same ones that occassionally pick up National Titles along the way. That's why I was never down on Carr or the program when he was here because I always felt we were a bounce here or there away from winning it all. We were always close. Heck, look no further than '06 when UM was only 3 points away from beating OSU on the road and playing for the NC. RR, on the other hand, is a few bounces away from being 2-10 and light years aways from anything resembling a B10 title, let alone a NC. So, while I don't expect the new coach, whoever it may be, to come in and collect B10 and National titles on a yearly basis, I do expect him to come in and make Michigan tough, physical, and capable of competing with the best again. Then, with maybe the right bounce at the right time, perhaps even put them in line for the occassional NC. That's far better than RR would ever have been capable of here and would put us back on par with the nation's best.


Sun, Jan 2, 2011 : 12:47 p.m.

By the way, Brandon did not attend the post game press conference, as reported in the San Francisco Chronicle on Jan 1: "Brandon, took the unusual step of skipping Rodriguez's postgame press conference, his first absence of the season." I also read that Brandon gave away his tickets to RR's wife to sit in the AD's box during the game. Brandon sat elsewhere in another box during the game. Clearly, he distanced himself from RR during and after the game in Jax.


Sun, Jan 2, 2011 : 12:19 p.m.

The only way RR was successful elsewhere and will be again is if he gets a defensive coordinator who knows how to recruit and function as the head coach of all other facets of the game except offense while RR runs the plays and assumes figurehead title of 'head coach' and makes the most money. Ironically, when LC left, RR had all of what he needed in Ron English as DC, but English wasn't a crony so he had to be eliminated to make room for one, therin sealing RR's eventual fate at U-M.


Sun, Jan 2, 2011 : 12:03 p.m.

Regardless of whether you thought that RR was the right hire or not back in 2008, the real lesson to be learned here is that a bad process often leads to bad results. Everyone in the UM Athletic Dept. must have known for some time that Carr was approaching the end of his coaching career. That Martin and Carr had not worked out a succession plan (or at least an orderly process to find a successor) is a blight on both men's legacies. The issue of "losing" a recruiting class during a coaching transition is both overblown and avoidable. A program will not succeed or fail based on one recruiting class, whether great or poor. On the other hand, you can preserve recruiting continuity by designating a successor (the so-called "coach-in-waiting") in advance, although that is not a sure thing either, see Texas. Anyhow, given Dave Brandon's big-time corporate background and the clear possibility/likelihood of a coaching change this year, I have no doubt that an orderly (and evidently, confidential) succession process has been implemented, regardless of whether it results in Harbaugh becoming the next HC, or not.


Sun, Jan 2, 2011 : 11:55 a.m.

I've been a lawyer for 33 years in Chicago and I've seen doctors, lawyers, teachers, businessmen and women, laborers, and average Joes arrested for DUI. I know that good people make mistakes. Disparaging Harbaugh because he was arrested for a DUI doesn't reflect on his coaching ability. At least he wasn't arrested for felony domestic violence. Jesus said "He who is without sin, cast the first stone." Rightmind 250, are you that sinless person? I think I'll judge Jimmy H. on his coaching ability, not on a DUI arrest. Besides, we don't even know if there was a conviction. An arrest is merely an accusation. Since when do we judge people based on accusations, and not conviction?


Sun, Jan 2, 2011 : 11:44 a.m.

It's time for all the Wolverine brethren to go through a "cleansing". Too many ignored the pleas from transferring players who complained that Rich Rod wasn't doing things the "Michigan way". What were ALL of their complaints? It's time to get everything out in the open and then to move on. Too many ignored the words of highly respected former Wolverine player Jim Harbaugh who was chastised when he dared accuse the Wolverines of abandoning academic standards. How many among us scorned Harbaugh for those words? He was right. The transferring players were right. It reminds me of when Jose Canseco wrote that book exposing the steroid controversy. He was vilified by the entire baseball and sports media establishment. Likewise, Harbaugh was made to be the bad guy by the Rich Rod apologists. The real story here isn't the failure of the Rich Rodriguez coaching era. It's the failure of Michigan fans to stand up and demand that integrity and academics be of paramount importance and be more important than winning football games. When the smoke began to appear the Wolverine faithful remained in denial. When the smoke began to grow, many still remained loyal to Captain Rodriguez. When the flames led to an NCAA investigation and sanctions, when football records of ineptitude began to pile up, some STILL remained loyal to Rich. I'm all for loyalty, but going down with a sinking ship is not loyalty. For the rest of your lives, strive to do what IS best instead of just pretending that what's being done is actually best when it clearly is not.


Sun, Jan 2, 2011 : 11:09 a.m.

Got to love the hardcore Koolaid drinkers. Even in the face of stark reality, they make a conscious decision to ignore it. Let's see, in Tater's first paragraph, he blames; LC (bare cupboard), the kids on the roster (lazy players), dumb kids (non qualitifer), and Luck; rather than lay ANY blame at the feet of RichRod. All that occured in a single, short, paragraph. It's so ridiculous that its hilarious. Here's the fantasy world of the koolaid drinkers: He's done nothing wrong (results don't matter); shady politics will do him in (results don't matter); 2008 was doomed by Carr (no accountablity); Harbaugh's record is identical (which considering where each started is very damning, but they don't see that); Future coaches will build on the success of RichRod (I can't wait for more of this). These all would seem to be significant breaks from reality. Then again, my 3 year old likes to play pretend with her imaginary friends, so maybe it's not that bad, really. I wish the RichRod fans well. I hope that you maintain your passion for RichRod's team at whatever may be his future stop. He'll need the support, just like any coach. Good luck in your future endevours.


Sun, Jan 2, 2011 : 11:05 a.m.

any place that hires him better prepare for the negative attention in spring 2011 when WVU/ NCAA process should be completed.


Sun, Jan 2, 2011 : 10:17 a.m.

RR is a half-trick pony (no defensive trick at all.) He's also slimey, and specializes in verbal abuse of players. And how many times do we have to listen to his endless post-game innuendos about kids "not executing", etc -- blaming others -- when any other M coach would just say, "It's my job, my fault." And he lied through his teeth to the NCAA (while Brandon and Coleman sat there with lame poker faces at the hearing in Seattle.) His major problem?: people around him knew he was a liar and anything but a stand-up guy. The program crumbled around his own moral collapse.


Sun, Jan 2, 2011 : 10:07 a.m.

Is that press conference after the Gator Bowl available somewhere online? I've looked around and can't find it. Anyone have a link?


Sun, Jan 2, 2011 : 10:03 a.m.

@elizabeth, No need to feel bad for a multi-millionaire. RR will walk away with $2.5 mil and laugh all the way to the bank. He'll end up in another multi-mil job somewhere else, no doubt; a MAC team would be a good fit. These guys always have connections and spin doctors around them. RR's agent sold Bill Martin down the river three years ago, and I'm sure RR's agent will figure out a way to spin this firing as not RR's fault. Someone else will buy it and he'll coach again. After all the havoc RR has wreaked on the MI football program, he's been highly paid, and will be highly paid off. He could retire tomorrow as a wealthy man and never look back.


Sun, Jan 2, 2011 : 9:52 a.m.

We have a close friend from WV who commented that RR is a "Man without a country". His single biggest mistake in leaving WV was that he called, then recruit, Terrell Pryror before he told his WV players that he was leaving for UM. Then he tried to weasel out of a contract that he signed less than 6 months earlier. This man deserves no pity. Because he lied and turned his back on many WV, life-long friends, his parents are left with constant embarassment. No doubt, some other desperate school will hire him and he will not look back.

average joe

Sun, Jan 2, 2011 : 9:52 a.m.

Tater- The "in-bred coaching tree"you referred to, what was their record the previous 40 years??, & how many consecutive bowl games did they attend before RR came along??


Sun, Jan 2, 2011 : 9:48 a.m.

Brandon your job is simple. Hire a coach with a record of succeess as a head coach (at some level, remember where Tressel came from), a man of integrity (lives up to his contracts), works hard and who speaks english. I'd also check with some of his former players (word is the Stanford guys would love to see their coach in Ann Arbor)...most of the WVA team was happy when RR went away..


Sun, Jan 2, 2011 : 9:44 a.m.

When he first arrived here.. we were all very suuportive.We took the loses in stride, and made excusses for them.. he is a new coach with ayoung team. give him a year or so.. well now it has been 3 seasons and no better. When he came here we all wondered how this "non-Michigan" man was going to do.. he had some very large shoes to fill and he obviously he put those shoes in the closet, they were disgarded like yesterdays trash. I know as a fan.. and yes I bleed blue.. I have given up going to our annual game.. I have done the Big House tours, I have been to fan day.. all in a effort to support the Maze and Blue.. But this year.. I did none of those things! Very sad.. that as a fan that I can say.. I can not even watch the games.. due to the mounting dissapointment of the losing team! Rich New when he came to this program that he had standards that he must meet, and what kinda coach plays Josh Grovin at a team Banquet? Obviuosly not a michigan man!


Sun, Jan 2, 2011 : 9:41 a.m.

tater's post puts an unrealistic spin on another bad season. And with regard to the supposed "grief" received from press and fans, $2.5 million will go a long way toward counteracting the imagined negative effects. Brandon must resist the temptation to believe things will get better. After three years, this team is not competitive with the top half of the conference. Things are not getting better. Change is needed.


Sun, Jan 2, 2011 : 9:38 a.m.

I just don't see how Brandon could possibly keep Rich Rodriguez after this fiasco. He is a good Big East or ACC coach, but is simply NOT a Big Ten coach. Bringing about sanctions to the UM was really unforgiveable. It's time to move on--and that doesn't mean that we absolutely have to have Jim Harbaugh though he would be my first pick. Still, let's not forget that former AD Don Canham had a penchant for picking unknowns to head several programs--unknowns who ended up becoming fantastic coaches who led their programs to great levels of success. The most important thing is that we get a footbal coach who understands--and implements--what it takes to win in the Big Ten.


Sun, Jan 2, 2011 : 12:39 a.m.

I played for Bo on his first team at Michigan in 1969. If you wish to check this out, I was #58. When Bo first came to Michigan in Jan., 1969, he told us that defense was the most important part of the game. "If the other team can't score, they can't win." RichRod was so in love with his spread offense that he neglected the defense. He's the HC and responsible for the whole program, not just the offense. When RR took over in 2008, he had 7 returning starters from a pretty good defense. He was determined to install his 3-3-5 defense and turned a potentially great defense into crap. If you've watched closely the past 3 years, every time Michigan played the 4-3-4 defense, they stopped the run and put pressure on the QB. Unfortunately, the coaches would abandon that defense and primarily play the 3-3-5. I did not see the 4-3-4 defense at all today. That, to me, is reason enough to fire RR. I've said in the past that he's turned Michigan into Illinois or Indiana. Forget that. he's turned them into a Big East team. One of the rationals I've heard to keep RR is that we'll lose recruits, and possibly Denard Robinson. My answer to that is Denard signed with Michigan, not RR. The same with recruits. If they're more loyal to RR than Michigan, then let them go. We don't need them. We'll be fine without them. Bo was a great man, and a great coach with integrity. He built a program with integrity and winning that lasted for 40 years. It lasted until Bill Martin decided that Bo should no longer be an influence on Michigan football.


Sat, Jan 1, 2011 : 10:33 p.m.

@JS Why would you think that it couldn't turn around? It happens all the time, for an example, look at the Illinois. Same players there and yet the team did a 180 on defense. I think the question you want is "How will it turn around?". To me, the answer is simple, fundamentals. The kids we have are talented, but they are undisciplined and obviously haven't been taught the next level of fundamentals. They don't tackle properly, they don't understand how a zone D works, they take poor penalites because they are out of position, they take bad pursuit angles, etc., etc. All of this is correctable, given a coaching staff that understands its mission and realize it's not just about scheme. We'll be back next season.


Sat, Jan 1, 2011 : 10:33 p.m.

@JS Why would you think that it couldn't turn around? It happens all the time, for an example, look at the Illinois. Same players there and yet the team did a 180 on defense. I think the question you want is "How will it turn around?". To me, the answer is simple, fundamentals. The kids we have are talented, but they are undisciplined and obviously haven't been taught the next level of fundamentals. They don't tackle properly, they don't understand how a zone D works, they take poor penalites because they are out of position, they take bad pursuit angles, etc., etc. All of this is correctable, given a coaching staff that understands its mission and realize it's not just about scheme. We'll be back next season.

Jon Saalberg

Sat, Jan 1, 2011 : 10:10 p.m.

It's not the NFL, so UM cannot get rid of the players, so they get rid of the coach. Then what? You still have the same defensive players who put forward the worst performance in UM history. It does not seem likely that putting forward a new defensive strategy is going to suddenly make UM's defense better - it unfortunately may take a couple more years, until a mostly new group of defenders arrive, before UM performs any better. As for the offense, it seems like smoke and mirrors - if you look at the entire season, in big games, the offense was hardly better than the defense.


Sat, Jan 1, 2011 : 10:09 p.m.

Head coaches get the big bucks because of the pressures of the job, the demands placed on them to win, and the "risk" associated with failure. It's hard to feel sorry for a guy who earned big money to bring a program back....and failed....and somehow expects another chance. Embarrassment is the only thing he's brought to the team. If he were truly a leader, he'd resign instead of getting canned. But that won't happen because he no doubt has a golden parachute in his contract. He'll leave with a hefty paycheck.....laughing all the way to the bank. No need to feel sorry for this guy. Or any head coach for that matter.

Macabre Sunset

Sat, Jan 1, 2011 : 9:54 p.m.

It's the programs that are "stale" and win ten games every year that end up collecting the occasional national championship. Rodriguez was a poor hire because he couldn't coach to the talent on the roster. He forced an offensive system that doesn't work against elite defenses. He paid little attention to the defense. These are flaws that should have been illuminated during the interview process.


Sat, Jan 1, 2011 : 9:50 p.m.

I actually hoped they'd get rid of him after the first year, knowing he was the wrong pick. I did think LC should retire but I hoped the replacement was Miles or somebody familiar with M football. I just Callihan all over Rodriguez (as in bad coach, bad fit). I compared it to how coke got rid of "New coke" even though it was expensive. I wish I could pick stocks as well :)


Sat, Jan 1, 2011 : 9:48 p.m.

ok. thanks guys. i was not aware of that crap. hmmmm....RR is a joke. hire anyone and i will be happy

3 And Out

Sat, Jan 1, 2011 : 9:45 p.m.

UMFanatic...that coke-deal-QB was Justin Feagin who RR recruited to our school.


Sat, Jan 1, 2011 : 9:45 p.m.

That would be the recruiting coup that was Justin Feagin. The one true RichRod contribution to that first class.


Sat, Jan 1, 2011 : 9:41 p.m.

HeartBreak We needed a young'ish HC with a winning track record who was ready to step up to the big time. Les was my first choice. He was my first choice when he was still at Ok State. (I was one of the folks looking for LC to retire.) But after Les, then it was Rich, Petersen @ Boise, and if we wanted to take a real flier, Harbaugh. I had hopes for Rich when he was first hired, but as with you, the house cleaning of the coaches was troubling. As I said, my real concerns came when he showed no respect for the kids that were on the team at the time. I kept thing, "WTH is he doing? How do you turn away the talent that's on this team?". Well, we've seen the results. I wish nothing but the best for Rich in his future endevours, but it's time for Michigan football to get back on track.


Sat, Jan 1, 2011 : 9:37 p.m.

A quarterback who pled guilty to conspiracy to sell cocaine. when and who was that??


Sat, Jan 1, 2011 : 9:18 p.m.

Thanks 3 And Out. I enjoy your posts as well. SolarBlue & GoblueinNE_PA... Indeed the glass is half full (and will be completely full in the near future) and the future is bright with the upcoming coaching change. OSU, MSU, Wiscy,... are soon going to be worried about UM once again.


Sat, Jan 1, 2011 : 9:18 p.m.

The man was never a good fit from the start - who can forget watch Lloyd Carr's last game - that pasting of Florida with Rodriguez on the sidelines and the announcers point out the Rodriguez HAD to be saying, 'You mean I get this team?' And he comes in and everything has to go his way - Isn't there a story that when Bo had his first lunch with the media/alumni he made some crack about 'got to get rid of those helmets'? Well Bo caught on fast and this guy never EVER got it But do not forget the real culprit - that idiot Bill Martin who botched the entire hiring process - just what did he see in this guy I have never understood - What would have made my day would have been if Brandon had walked on the field in the Ohio St game and fired him at halftime - Now the media is trying to say the Denard won't come back or Harbaugh won't use Denard - that would be bad but when you consider that you might be trading Denard and picking up a defense and maybe special teams - that's a trade I could live for - End our nightmare and get this overwith - Truly if Rodriguez had the makings of a Michigan man in him, he would quit to save the program


Sat, Jan 1, 2011 : 9:17 p.m.

GoBlueNE-PA, The only way I would despair is if RR comes back.


Sat, Jan 1, 2011 : 9:15 p.m.

@NE PA: I am surprised to hear that you supported his hiring. Though I did not support his hiring from day one (nor Schiano by the way), I figured he'd be smart enough to keep some assistants from LC around if for nothing else, for continuity in a football program and conference that he knew nothing about. It is his right to coach how he wants, to have assistants who he wants, but when he got rid of everybody except Jackson, that just astounded me and i think speaks of his arrogance and naivite. He could have used the knowledge and assistance in navigating foreign land for him. One name that comes to mind is Soup Campbell who moved on to Iowa. Also, Ron English (though that may have made conflict inevitable since he was also a head coach candidate though probably only as courtesy). That decision making--to jettison the entire Michigan connection and continuity--I think was an omen of things to come. I'm actually surprised that Falk survived the cuts. Somewhere Bill Martin is laughing and Carr is crying.


Sat, Jan 1, 2011 : 9:04 p.m.

I'll admit that RichRod was on my short list of replacements for LC, but he lost me when he made no effort, IMO, to keep the talent that was available after the Cap One Bowl. When it became apparent that he'd rather go into his first season w/NO QB rather than the top notch QB we had simply because his system was that inflexible, I got very worried. It went down hill from there, very fast. The future looks bright folks, don't despair. The kids we have right now have talent, they just lack coaching. Whomever we hire, as long as he can teach fundamentals, motivate the players, and truly lead them, we'll be in good shape very quickly.


Sat, Jan 1, 2011 : 9:03 p.m.

I feel bad for Rich Rod. He seems like a nice guy that has given it his best in a hard situation, but it just didn't work out. It is time to accept it and move on. Above all, I feel bad for the players who have undoubtedly worked very hard and whose football careers may now be put in jeopardy. The happy ending to the story will be if Michigan gets a new coach that fits better with the school and starts the program on a quick road to recovery. I hope that another program, maybe not a BCS program, will be willing to hire RR and that he will lead them to success. As for the guys on the team... who knows? If Dave Brandon keeps Rich Rod and next season is anything like this season, I think Michigan will be in the market for a new coach and a new AD.


Sat, Jan 1, 2011 : 9 p.m.

I never agreed with the hiring to begin with and always wanted to see either Harbaugh, Miles or Brian Kelly, but the old AD Bill Martin screwed up so badly that we had no choice other then to hire RR. We need to do what is right and correct this horrible mistake before irreparable damage is done our alma mater.

Just Blue

Sat, Jan 1, 2011 : 8:59 p.m.

After 3 years of losses, humiliations, trampling on traditions, recruiting nightmares, coaching ineptitude, public whining, misleading proclomations,lack of character and lack of guts its time for the genius of WV to take his act and his minions somewhere far,far away and leave the University of Michigan to real Michigan Men to restore its honor and integrity which he so recklessly squandered.


Sat, Jan 1, 2011 : 8:57 p.m.

can you imagine if Brandon keeps RR and he goes 0-2 or 1-3 to start the season. OMG, the boobirds from the stands would be defeaning. Usually firings dont happen midseason, so Brandon would have to endure another 2 mths of press abuse. This would be dreadful, I say he is gone for sure based on this shalacking and no signs AT ALL of any improvement in any phase of the game since going 5-0 to start season. Getting crushed on a neutral field WOW.

Solar Blue

Sat, Jan 1, 2011 : 8:56 p.m.

I see a coaching change more in the manner of the glass being half full, rather than half empty. Craig James, one of the commentators today brought up a point that many RichRod supporters have said that I reject. The idea that a coaching change means "you are starting all over again". This was true with the change to RichRod...he gladly ran off people that he believed did not fit his system (Mallet comes to mind). In year 1, the Wolverines did not have the talent to fit his system - but he stubbornly went full out with it. A new coach wouldn't necessarily do the same thing. Whether Harbaugh or Hoke (or other), a more intelligent coach would work with the existing talent in a transitional mode until they had the players to run "their system". I believe that this would be the case. Besides, a new philosophy and attitude on defense with the existing players (almost all coming back) is sure to be an improvement. One final point, signing day is still almost a month away. An energetic, positive coach representing the U of M with passion will "win over" some recruits that are not currently verbally committed to Michigan. GO BLUE!!

3 And Out

Sat, Jan 1, 2011 : 8:49 p.m.

missionbrazil...another brilliant post from you, thank you. You support all of your opinions with pure data and facts. Props to ya!

3 And Out

Sat, Jan 1, 2011 : 8:48 p.m.

Something to keep an eye on: If Rich Rod is not fired on Monday....then the chances of Harbs coming in, would be very good since no doubt that Brandon would want to give Harbs a chance to coach his bowl game without any unnecessary distractions first. Credit Jim Harbaugh for seeing his team through the entire season and bowl game before possibly leaving his program for another job. That is a true man of character to not turn his back on his men before the job is done! Go Blue!


Sat, Jan 1, 2011 : 8:48 p.m.

guys there's an old saying, hire somebody as good or better than the person who just left. While, I agree that RR has worn out his welcome, who do we get that would put this program back in the top ten. If Harbaugh is not the answer then who would come to Michigan that is a big name that has proven themselves on the DI level competing against the big boys, Not the WAC, Mountain West, Big East, Acc give me a name that will get me exicted, My point is if its not Harbaugh then what good is it to let RR go and rush again for another coach. Also, whos to say Harbaugh doesnt bolt for the NFL in 3 years anyway, this is all assuming he is even interested in coming here or Brandon is interested in offering. I was still supporting RR until the missed FG in the 3rd Q. To have a mth to prepare and still not be able to kick a midranged FG is ludicris. I cant see the Def. being much better next. Yes i get the injuries more maturity for the freshman, I can see us going 10-2 and beating Wis, MSU, OSU, Iowa, PSU, ND 4 of those 5 no way. Boy the the Big Ten get its lunch ate today or what.


Sat, Jan 1, 2011 : 8:44 p.m.

Amen, AZ. And i emphasize bad fit from day one, which I have maintained since the press first brought up his name. Interesting question: for those RR supporters, are they going to continue to follow him or are they going to return to michigan and be as supportive of a replacement? Another set of questions: Would RR be successful in another major conference or would he only succeed in the Big Least? What about the ACC? Could he be successful in a previously successful program (like at Michigan) or can he only come in to a complete mess and rebuild? I have my own answers, but would like to hear from others.


Sat, Jan 1, 2011 : 8:42 p.m.

Portage... you are supporting a guy who has a record that is FAR worse than the other HC's you are criticizing (the ones that made you suffer so much in the 40 years before RR). Plus RR has given us our first NCAA violations ever. Does that make any sense? Bo, Moeller, and LC have a total winning percentage of.781 overall and.854 in the BT, 21 BT championships, 1 NC, and 15 bowl wins. RR's losing percentage is.405 overall and a pitiful.250 in the BT, and now he has crowned his losing achievements at UM with our worst bowl loss ever. That is totally irrational. Besides RR's family and yours, where are all of these RR fans now? They are all bailing on him and waiting for a new HC.


Sat, Jan 1, 2011 : 8:37 p.m.

There have been problems since day 1. I was hesitant from the start just due to the fact that, as heartbreak said, he backed out of a brand new contract with his ALMA MATER, no less, to come to Michigan. He bailed on his team before a BCS bowl game. Whatever his reasons for it, it left a bad taste for me. I was still willing to give him a chance, if for no other reason than he was the coach of my beloved Wolverines (and alma mater). It was clear to me there were problems with the 3-9 season, especially the loss to Toledo which no amount of 'bare cupboard' or other excuses could explain away. Despite that awful season, I was STILL willing to give him a chance. Then the NCAA investigation came down. Ugh! It was getting harder, but then the NCAA had not ruled yet, so I was still willing and hoping that the NCAA would say RR and UM was innocent of the charges. Then UM started 4-0. Hope! Then it all crumbled from there. UM lost 7 of it's last 8 games, and most of them were not even close. They got destroyed by a 3-9 Illinois team, and lost to a 5-7 Purdue team at home. They were completely non-competitive in most games. Then the sanctions were verified (albeit one was reduced from the original charge) and UM was put on three years probation. I was done. I predicted 8-4 this season, not because I thought UM was going to be so much better, but because I thought they had a weak schedule with UConn being overrated and ND having a first year coach. I was right on all of the games, except for MSU, which RR managed to lose to for a third straight time. I had low expectations for UM this season (I thought), but UM fell short of even that. RR needs to go, not only because he can't compete with the heavyweights of the B10 (or the middleweights of the SEC, apparently), but because of all of the other baggage he brings. He may be a nice enough guy, but he is a terrible fit for UM. For those that love him, that's okay. He will land on his feet somewhere and will be perfectly fine. Even more importantly for UM fans, UM will also land on it's feet after this and be stronger for it. Let's move on and get this over with for both RR and UM. Go Blue!

3 And Out

Sat, Jan 1, 2011 : 8:36 p.m.

BTW...just to the 33 straight bowl games before Rich Rod ended that streak...we almost NEVER got "clobbered" in fact I can only think of the 2001 game vs. Tenn that was a clobbering...we were competitive in nearly every bowl game and we won quite a few as well. But again...keep spinning and making excuses TRUE Men of character do NOT tear down others to build their guy up. Perhaps you should read this again and let it sink in.

3 And Out

Sat, Jan 1, 2011 : 8:34 p.m.

lol ok PL...whatever...the "man of character" who dissed his alma mater for the big bucks, had violations at his alma mater plus at Michigan... defaulted on 2 real estate deals refusing to pay back loans that HE personally guaranteed... recruited marginal kids who cant qualify academically...refuses to accept responsibility for any of the mess that he created with our program. if that is a "man of character" lol...well then Im a combination of Ghandi and Mother Theresa in comparison. Keep making excuses for your boy though. Its pathetic.


Sat, Jan 1, 2011 : 8:27 p.m.

Some unkind things here said by some fans. The fact of the matter is that RR has a strong fan base I will say stronger than some of you armchair QB's think. I think RR will be coaching at Mich. next year becuase I think Mr.Brandon is a good judge of character. Are we disappointed at the current situation of course but no more disappointed than I was spending all that money the last 40 years going to bowl games and watching us get clobbered with a few exceptions. I think the big 10's record this bowl season speaks for itself and I think given time with RR we'll be competitive in the big games. There is a chance RR will be coaching elsewhere but I can live with that just fine as long as we don't go back to that old style I think you folks remember, beat up the 10 and lose the bowl unless thats what you RR haters want.


Sat, Jan 1, 2011 : 8:19 p.m.

I have followed Michigan football for close to 50 years and definately the last 3 years have been the very worst. Please throw this bum out of Michigan or drop out of the Big 10 and see if some local high schools will play you as you are no longer college level.

3 And Out

Sat, Jan 1, 2011 : 8:15 p.m.

BTW...the 'premeditated' fake emotional appeal at the banquet was a DIRECT slap in the face to Brandon. Anyone who has ever worked in a corporate environment knows that it is a stupid idea to upstage the boss in public when he has already told you about how you will be evaluated. RRs grandstanding was an attempt to circumvent the hierarchy and Brandon no doubt hated that cheap ploy.

3 And Out

Sat, Jan 1, 2011 : 8:12 p.m.

Pete? You still have RR's back.... no one cared that he was no Les Miles.... RR came in all blusterry with his guy Barwis talking about shaping up the Michigan program...ran out all the talent, was unable to recruit suitable replacements for 'his system' and he is NOT a very good HEAD coach overall....and his staff was terrible. Why make more excuses for the guy? It is all his fault. Dont worry he was compensated more than fairly for his failure. BTW if he is such an "innovator" why did his offense fail terribly in the Big Ten all 3 years? Answer... the only "innovation" that RR and his team did was to build up his perceived value and turn it in to a big contract at Michigan. That certainly was an innovative screwjob.


Sat, Jan 1, 2011 : 8:03 p.m.

Run the bum out of town!


Sat, Jan 1, 2011 : 7:58 p.m.

Very good overview, Pete, of a sad 3 years for Michigan. The light at the end of the tunnel should come soon, however. Maybe on Tuesday.


Sat, Jan 1, 2011 : 7:50 p.m.

You can't hire a coach at Michigan who is unfamiliar with the Big ten, with the players, with the Ohio State rivalry, with the Michigan State rivalry. You can't hire a coach who arrogantly thinks he knows better than 125 or so years of football history (most of which were championship caliber though not all). You can't hire a coach who is not accountable. Who claims loyalty to his alma mater (in 2007 January) but reneges on a newly signed contract only months later. Who does not make his team better. Face it, Pete: There may have been divided nation, but he was the wrong hire from day one. A bad fit for any variety of reasons. Like Callihan at Nebraska. Like John L Smith or Charlie Weis or Mohrnigweg (sp?) etc. And he did nothing to help himself ever, especially with the lawsuits which were embarrassing to Michigan and the violations. He was the most un-Bo-like coach they could have hired. Not from results but from character and behavior. Bo would NEVER have embarrassed his university or his players. And at Michigan, that is the mortal sin.


Sat, Jan 1, 2011 : 7:50 p.m.

Pete, good review of all that went wrong. I would add the inflexibility and stubbornness with regard to sticking to an offensive system in 2008 that didn't fit the players as contributors to the high loss count that year. I still think it didn't have to go that way. Then, I think 2009 and 2010 represented a complete disregard for defense. I say that even though there was an attempt to correct the defense when GRob was hired in 2009. I'm sure RR would say he did all he could by making these adjustments and that Mich does not have the level of personnel that Mich fans thinks it has. To me, that's throwing the players right under the bus. The whole thing was just bad, bad, bad. Time to change.


Sat, Jan 1, 2011 : 7:49 p.m.

Pete, Good article and glad u are coming around as it isn't about the wins nor losses but about the overall integrity of RR which still leaves some to be desired. RR is more suited to be an offensive coordinator than as a head coach. Who do you feel UM should hire next?


Sat, Jan 1, 2011 : 7:47 p.m.

I don't really care who they hire next, as long as that coach runs a defense with more than six men in the box.


Sat, Jan 1, 2011 : 7:38 p.m.

i was a supporter but it's clear from the start that this wasn't going to work here.good luck and bring on harbaugh


Sat, Jan 1, 2011 : 7:35 p.m.

Rich Rod aka king amongst the unknowledgable or dellusional aka as crybaby was wrong from the start and has done nothing but embarrass the university. How does a coach forget about defense and special teams especially at a tradition rich program like Michigan????? It's time for a change and it can't happen fast enough. ciao RR