While Michigan managed to eliminate one of LSU’s bigger National Championship distractions, their hire of West Virgina’s Rich Rodriguez leaves the Mountaineers a tad Falcon-esque. That said, if there are any howls of protest, they cannot be heard over the near-orgasmic cries of joy delivered by Jake of Motown Sports Revival.
The addition of Rodriguez spells the end for Michigan football as any of us has ever known it. Rodriguez will undoubtedly slowly implement the spread offense into the program. The day after Ryan Mallet graduates, expect Michigan to resemble Florida or West Virginia offensively. Rodriguez is lauded for his ability to attack defenses at their weak points which is something œM fans have been clamoring after for years. Don Nehlen–Rodriguez™s mentor and former college coach–said, “His offense is a no-huddle, get-after-you-real-fast, different-tempos offense. They attack you where you should be attacked.”
Rodriguez has turned the WVU program into a relative powerhouse without the aid of top-tier recruiting classes. His defenses don™t get much credit but were very effective this season ranking 7th in the nation in points allowed per game and 4th in the nation in yards allowed per game. I™ll be interested to see which coaches he brings with him from WVU, which coaches he keeps from the previous UM staff, and whether he brings in coaches from around the country. There is already speculation that he will be bringing his Strength and Conditioning Coach from WVU with him which would be a huge upgrade for the program.
When the Michigan/Rodriguez speculation started to heat up on Friday, I was skeptical as to why Rodriguez would come to Michigan”or more specifically, why he would leave West Virginia. Rodriguez at WVU is like John Calipari at Memphis if Calipari was a Memphis-alum. Rodriguez had built a powerful program in a mid-tier conference. He was making a good salary and very likely could have gotten more money if he wanted it. Most importantly, he was coaching at his alma mater. Michigan is a great job. But, it seemed like Rodriguez would have to walk away from a lot to take it. However, it is highly likely that Rodriguez™s connection–albeit a distant one–to the Michigan program had everything to do with why Martin was willing to offer Rodriguez despite more than a few concerns and why Rodriguez left his alma mater to come to Michigan. Rodriguez coached and played under Don Nehlen. Nehlen coached for Bo Schembechler at Michigan in the late 70s. This angle was never explored by anyone in the media or blogopshere previous to the hire as far as I know. I don™t think it™s merely a coincidence, though. Nehlen went on to say of Rodriguez™s decision, “I think it’s tremendous. There are very few Michigans. When you coach at West Virginia, you walk on water in West Virginia. But when you coach at Michigan, you walk on water, period. There’s a difference. Some people around here don’t want to believe that.” Martin had to overlook a number of well-known concerns regarding Rodriguez including some questionable recruits he brought to WVU. It™s likely that Rodriguez™s 2nd degree lineage to UM was all Martin needed.