The Rich Rodriguez Firing

I wanted to wait a few days to see if Michigan was going to make the mistake of firing their head coach, and they did.  Setting them back another two years before they can finally beat Ohio State and maybe not lose by forty to an SEC team in a meaningless bowl game.

I was a huge fan of Rodriguez at West Virginia and I still think he’s a great coach.  Many people forget that Alabama was interested in hiring Rodriguez so Michigan didn’t really make a hiring mistake, he was the Jim Harbaugh of three years ago.  Michigan needs to have some patience when they bring in a new coach with a completely different coaching philosophy.  They went from a pro-style offense to the spread and from a 4-3 defense to a 3-3-5 multiple stack defense.  When changing over from those completely different types of offenses and defenses the expectations shouldn’t have been high to start with for at least the first two years.  Michigan should have at least held on to Rich Rod for one more year to see if he can improve his defense, because the offense had no problems scoring this year when early Heisman candidate Denard Robinson was healthy.  The “analysts” on Sportscenter all had Robinson winning the Heisman in week three of the college football season, edging out Cam Newton.  Just from that we know Rodriguez can recruit and recruit well.  I don’t know what Michigan expected bringing in an offensive minded coach.  If they had given him another one or two years they could have brought in someone else besides Greg Williams and changed up the defense back to the 4-3 that better suits the slow Big Ten.

Michigan expected too much in too little time but I also think Rodriguez should have stayed at West Virginia where he was worshiped.  When he got to Michigan he didn’t have the alumni support and one booster said “they would be performing this search again in four years.”  Rodriguez was in the Big East, arguably the worst conference in college football (UCONN was a 17 point underdog to Oklahoma in their BCS bowl game this year) and he didn’t have to play Ohio State every year.  Like his first year at Michigan Rich Rod only won three games at West Virginia, but the next year went 9-4.  These numbers aren’t shocking considering the lack of competition in the Big East.  Rodriguez should’ve went to a school where he wasn’t set up to fail or stayed in Morgantown.  I partially blame him for his poor job and firing at Michigan.  He should have waited to see if there was an opening with better personnel around to run his offense and defense so he could win right now, instead of three seasons later.

I know that West Virginia and Michigan are two completely different types of programs, one has the most wins in NCAA football history while the other is in the Big East, but the pressures and expectations are much lower at West Virginia.  I’m sure Rodriguez won’t have much of a problem finding a new job since he is an offensive genius (credited for inventing the zone read run play) but this time he should wait and take more time to see if he can actually be successful and not completely leave a team that trusted him for the next big thing like he did at West Virginia.


About nrestivo

Graduate of the University of Tennessee. Freelance writer at Complex Magazine in New York City, learning from some of the best. Tweet me @nrestivo
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