(image swiped from The Wizard Of Odds)
At one point during 2008’s disastrous 3-9 campaign, University Of Michigan footbal coach Rich Rodriguez told the assembled media hordes in Ann Arbor that he was sometimes tempted to tell his critics to “get a life”. Interviewed today by the Detroit News’ Angelique S. Chengelis, the former West Virginia educator now professes he “didn’t pay much attention” to such abuse.
Q . Michigan, as you know, isn’t used to a 3-9 season and no bowl. Were fans tough on you?
A . Not in person. There probably were a lot of things said out there and there may have been things written. Most of the fans I’ve talked to know we’re working on it. That’s the only thing I’ve said — be patient. Be patient because I think you’ll like what you see eventually. Hopefully it will be sooner than later, so hang in there with us.
Q . A lot of things you’ve said have been dissected …
A . There were a lot of things taken out of context. I’m not naÃ¯ve enough to think anybody is happy with what went on in the past, but the only thing we’ve focused on is, here’s what we’ve got to do to get our program to where we’re competing for championships.
Q . Was the cupboard bare when you got to Michigan?
A . No, and I never said (that, and) you never heard any of the coaches say that.
Q . But it was inferred.
A . We were certainly inexperienced offensively, and that was obvious we didn’t have a lot of guys who had played a lot. The reason wasn’t because they didn’t have any talent, but there had been a whole lot of talent in front of them (that graduated). Last year, you didn’t know truly what you had until you played some games with the guys.
Q . Has any of the negative (comments) after leaving West Virginia and then having a 3-9 season hurt you?
A . Oh, yeah. If a coach says he’s totally immune to criticism, he’s lying. You want to make everybody happy, but you realize you can’t. It’s a humbling profession, and I’ve gotten humbled many times before, and I’ll get humbled many times in the future.
The criticism on the football part doesn’t hurt nearly as much as the criticism on the integrity part. That part completely bothers you.
Q . Michigan has 15 verbal commitments for 2010, including only two from Michigan. Michigan State’s six commitments are all from Michigan. Is it fair to say MSU has dominated in-state recruiting?
A . To judge on that and give a perception that one school is dominating the state … I don’t know how much validity there is to that. I know the last couple years, the recruiting classes we’ve got, what we’ve felt are the best players in the state. Our primary focus in recruiting starts in Michigan and expands in other areas of the Midwest and then south.
Q . But there seems to be the perception that Michigan State is taking over the state in recruiting
A . Last I checked, Mike Martin and Will Campbell were playing for Michigan.
Depending on your agenda, whoever you talk to, whatever their agenda is will lead the conversation. I feel pretty good about our reputation in state.