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Friday, December 09, 2011

We're not together anymore, Rich. This is getting awkward

Yesterday, Rich Rodriguez did a radio interview on The Huge Show on WBBL out of Grand Rapids.  I know: why is the new head coach of Arizona doing radio interviews in Grand Rapids, Michigan, rather than scouring God's earth for a decent defensive coordinator to join him in Tucson?  Good question.  But I digress.  Anyway, during the interview (which you can listen to here on MVictors), Rodriguez was asked the following about Michigan:

"Do you think if you were still the coach this team would have been 10-2 this year?"

"Yep.  At least."  (laughs) "But that's again being confident and a lot of things going the right way, and certainly we had to make a few changes, needed alterations and had to play better defensively." [emphasis added]

Look, I don't want to beat a dead horse here but if you're gonna say that, then pardon me while I get my whip. Okay, got it.  Thus...

You're out of your fucking mind.  I'm just happy Michigan didn't have to go through a 4th year of The Dark Period to prove it.  I'm glad we didn't have to watch another squad not only not improve during the course of a season, but get worse as the weeks wore on.  I'm thankful to not have seen a great offense get stuck in the mud each time it played a team with a pulse.

I'm glad that's all behind us.

Rodriguez's answer perfectly illustrates exactly why -- outside the obvious W's and L's -- that I was relieved after Michigan pulled the plug when it did.  When it came to the losing, that wasn't his fault due to -- get ready for the list -- injuries, "bare cupboards," everyone not "pulling in the same direction, whether it's coaches and players and administrators," etc. etc. etc. INSERT ANOTHER EXCUSE HERE.

And now that Michigan is coming off the first 10-win season by a rookie coach in A2 since Fielding H. Yost in 1901, one that not even the most optimistic fan could've hoped for?  Naturally, Rodriguez could have done just as well.  At least.

No, that's not confidence, that's hubris.  That's a man who hasn't learned from his mistakes like he claimed he has.  That's a coach I'm glad is no longer leading our team.

So what should Rich Rod have said to the interviewer's question?

How about something along the lines of, "I don't want to get into that.  It serves no purpose.  I'm the head football coach at Arizona now, not Michigan anymore.  But since I coached most of those guys, I'm happy for them, proud of them and wish them the best.  They and the current staff did a tremendous job this season."  

It's called the high road.  With no subtext to deflect blame.  No wink-wink to make sure folks "know" what "really" happened.

Instead, once again, Rodriguez sounds like an old lover who says he's moved on but then takes every opportunity to talk about why the relationship didn't work out and, more importantly, doing so via thinly veiled barbs explaining why the break-up wasn't his fault.

Contrast that with Brady Hoke's words.

When he was first hired, Hoke was asked about his expectations for the upcoming season.  Now, it would have been very easy and understandable for him to say something about lowering expectations due to a new coach with new assistants coming in with new schemes, new plays and new ideas.  He could have pointed out he was taking over the worst defense in the history of Michigan football.  He could have asked for time saying Vince Lombardi couldn't make that much of an impact in one year.  He could have said a lot of things like that.

But he didn't.

Instead, if you recall, Hoke said that the expectation is for Michigan to win the Big Ten championship.  He said that's always the expectation at Michigan.  And he stated that if they didn't do that, then he and his assistants will have failed the players.

When Michigan lost the MSU game played in the tornado scene from The Wizard of Oz, he could have shouted from the rooftops about how Michigan was robbed due to MSU's thuggish play.  But he made no excuses.

And at the end of his inaugural 10-2 season which led to a BCS bowl berth, was Hoke basking in his success or pointing out how well he did?  Quite the contrary.  Hoke said his team didn't win the B1G and thus they still had a lot of work to do.

Rodriguez also mentioned in this interview (and others) that Michigan's players this season were "his guys."  Really?  Weren't contributors this season such as Hemingway, Herron, Huyge, Molk and Wolfolk all 5th year seniors who were recruited by and thus played a season for Carr?  And, correct me if I'm wrong, weren't players like Demens, Floyd, Koger, Martin and Moore 4th year seniors who were initially recruited by Carr but still signed with Michigan when Rodriguez took over?

Point is, it's not "Rodriguez's team" any more than it's "Carr's team."  It's Brady Hoke's team.  It's Brady's team and he deserves the credit.

So good luck in Arizona, Rich.  Really.  Everybody says you're a nice guy.  And the past has proven you're a good football coach.  It just didn't work out in A2.  Shit happens.

But if you have moved on as you claim, then please stop talking about it.  And no, nobody wants to hear, "Well they asked me about it!  I didn't bring it up."  Fair enough.  So in an effort to solve that problem, here's a crazy idea: stop doing interviews with Michigan-based media outlets for awhile.  Because, going back to the old relationship example, you're gonna end looking like the dude who keeps hanging out with the mutual friend who lives down the hall on your ex's floor in her dorm. And that doesn't look good.

I'm just sayin'.

According to Rich Rod's telling of the story, the bare cupboards
were the fault of the previous homeowner.


JamesD'Troy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JamesD'Troy said...

What a douche. I always knew there was something 'low-rent' about RichRod. Still, he will do well in Tuscon as the expectations are so low. That and after seven seasons of dealing with Barney Rubble and his tantrums, fans will look upon RichRod as a paragon of reason.

Also, not to hijack this post, but I am just a wee bit curious about the MZone's take on this possible scenario;

The UCLA Ruins believe that they'll hire former Atlanta Falcons coach Jim Mora jr. as their HC and as their DC...

get ready for it...

Jim Tressel.

Seriously, there are all sorts of rumors about Tressel sightings in Westwood. Link: http://mbd.scout.com/mb.aspx?s=12&f=1738&t=8407964

It's likely these sightings and rumors are BS but...the Ruins are kind of desperate. Really, really freakin' desperate. The kind of desperation that makes dating Lindsay Lohan and marrying Kim Kardashian seem like a good idea.
I could actually envision that the Ruins might do this sort of thing.

If Tressel ends up as a Ruin, I'm beginning to believe there might be something to this 2012 Mayan apocalypse thingy.

BaggyPantsDevil said...

Oh Yost, if you had just read "Three and Out," you'd truly understand just how badly Rich Rodriquez was undermined at Michigan.


Could not agree more with you on this.

Although, you forgot to mention how we had to watch each opponent put up it's best offensive numbers against Michigan (even otherwise hapless offenses) or how Michigan was essentially unable to kick field goals for an entire season or how we had to watch Denard Robinson get knocked out of multiple games because the offense rested entirely on his shoulders and he was desperately trying to keep pace with the scoring of Michigan's opponents.

He may have gotten fired after only three years because he was not deemed a true "Michigan Man"--something we should all be grateful for--but he lost games--too many games--because he has significan and fundamental flaws as a head coach.

BaggyPantsDevil said...

And, in a different vein, I wonder if Michigan can get some sort of restraining order against RR?

Following the relationship analogy, RR is kind of stalking Michigan, he constantly shows up at the same places--in spite of needing to be elsewhere--he is driving by her house and creeping around her window while she's having sex--and multiple orgasms--with her new boyfriend.

And then claiming she was still his.


Steve said...

I damn near came out of my chair when I saw this interview on ESPN and he said those were "his guys" and he basically said that knew that was going to happen!!!


Baltimorean said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Baltimorean said...

Please let's focus on this team and not obsess over our previous coach. I know a lot of people hate him but piling on because he wasn't tactful and took some credit for what (mostly) players he recruited (yes I know seniors and 5th years and such) did. We talked about Weis winning with Willingham's players early on at ND but apparently it doesn't apply here. Whatever, and I agree that Hoke is a much better coach so let's get that out there.

But let's stop obsessing with what RR says or does when he recounts his time at Michigan or what M is doing. Just because he opens his mouth doesn't mean we have to go all apes**t about it. Honestly, the post and the comments sounds like everyone feels just as upset about him as he is about M.

Do what you want him to do- let it go, people. Michigan has moved past, you should too.

Bigasshammm said...

My only problem with this article.

They weren't RR's kids, or Carrs, or even Hoke's. They're Michigan's kids. They stayed, they won, they've proven their loyalty.

Michigan is more than 1 coach.

Yost said...


I hear you. And if it was the middle of the season, that's probably what would have happened. But two weeks after the end of the regular season and with the Sugar a month out, that's gonna get focused on. Especially when RR goes on Michigan radio to say what he said.

Yost said...

Well said, BAH.

Dennis said...


I'm not sure how you really feel about this.


I've heard Tressel and UCLA rumors as well, but I don't see him as a DC. I also don't see him as anything other than a Head Coach, too much of a control freak. There is also talk about him with the Colts, since he is doing that review gig. I'm not sure how that would work.

Dennis said...


Something for your Va Tech KYF that does not involve campus shootings. Not to imply you would make light of the shootings, I know you are way better than that.

phil said...

Let me state the following facts:

In 1993, the University of Arizona had its first 10-win season and beat the University of Miami Hurricanes in the Fiesta Bowl by a score of 29–0. In 1998, the team posted a school-record 12–1 season and made the Holiday Bowl in which it defeated the Nebraska Cornhuskers. At that same time RR, although not connected to the University of Arizona at the time, did have an interest in college football. I'm sure there must be a connection between him and the winning season that Arizona had at that time. Let's ask him.

Unknown said...

First a little background. Im a MICHIGAN FAN. Born in MICHIGAN, Mom played in MICHIGAN BAND and raised me a MICHIGAN MAN. I even named my daughter Julianne Arbor.

I grew up in Arizona went to ASU and now live in Tucson so Im kinda in the middle of all this.

I like RR and think he will do a great job at Arizona and get them to the Rose Bowl something they have never done. As an ASU fan Im not too happy about that.

I like Brady Hoke and while he was not my first choice (Your dead to me Jimmy Harbaugh) he has done a great job and has us headed in the right direction. I love that he says we still have work to do. He wants to take us all the way.

Am I the only one that likes them both?

Is that allowed? I hate the split in the fan base and agree we need to all look forward not back.

Now if ASU could just find a damn coach. :)

Baltimorean said...


I like them both too. I think RR is a good coach, he just wasn't a good fit for Michigan. Sometimes really talented people don't have the right personality or makeup for certain jobs. I hope he is successful because I would feel bad thinking my school completely destroyed this guy's career. I hope he does well at AZ and I think he will. Not Pete Carroll/Urban Meyer/Nick Saban well, but pretty well.

OTOH I love what Hoke has done, bringing in brilliant coordinators and letting them do what they do best- run offenses and defenses. He is a great recruiter, delegator, and has a clear understanding of what makes Michigan unique. I was as skeptical as anyone when he was hired (I made some pretty sour predictions when he was hired that have been uniformally and happily destroyed).

So yes, you can like whoever you want. Hopefully ASU won't pull the next offer they send out!

surrounded in columbus said...

who's Rich Rodriguez? and isn't Lloyd Carr dead already?

James said...

I remember that right after we hired RR, a WVU fan on some message board said something like, "Get ready to hear that no loss is ever RR's fault." I thought it was sour grapes, but he was right. RR has a real problem accepting responsibility and moving on. He just keeps on digging deeper holes for himself with his excuses for everything. I'm glad he's no longer our problem.

Ramona said...

Good stuff Yost - if this was his deer-in-the-headlights reponse to a tactless reporter question, far better for him to have something different ready to say next time. He doubtless wants credit for having recruited some good players, can't forget he gave us Denard Robinson. The mantle of the HC job at Michigan was too heavy for him.. he should have more success at AZ. Having said that tho, as you said, stop gazing up at her dorm window, time to move on...