Drama.. and more.

Thoughts on Rodriguez and the Offseason Drama

This summer I was told that Michigan fans including myself shouldn't trust new Wolverines head coach Rich Rodriguez. Even though this was the perspective of a tOSU Buckeye fan, I still listened thoroughly and allowed them to state their case. Their main argument as to why I shouldn't be a big fan of Rodriguez was mostly related to the way he left his alma mater and his football team at West Virginia.

I responded by admitting that despite his loyalty and devotion to the Mountaineer program, business is business and opportunities such as the Michigan head coaching job only come along once in a great while. The reality is that Rodriguez was bound to leave WVU at some point because he is relatively young and his coaching philosophy is definitely among one of the most innovative in college football. It is obvious that Rodriguez found something in the Michigan job that he didn't see when Alabama came along knocking last offseason. Believe me; it wasn't all about the money because Alabama was prepared to offer him a hefty contract.

Perhaps Rodriguez was intrigued by the possibilities in Ann Arbor and continuing the great tradition that has been occurring for well over a century. I'm not trying to knock WVU, but Rodriguez will be given broader access to talent by recruiting for a place such as Michigan. If his system translates according to plan, he could achieve a great amount of success.

Rodriguez basically built the WVU program and made it a national power when it was in the shadows of mediocrity. Yes, it is a shame when eras come to an end or when someone moves on, but Rodriguez did not leave WVU just to spite the Mountaineer program and its fanbase. As I stated earlier, football is not only a sport, but it is a business in some aspects… a very competitive one at that. If Rodriguez chooses to leave the Michigan program at some point, I would not wish any type of ill will upon him (like Mountaineer fans). People have to admit that for every Joe Paterno and Bobby Bowden there is also a Nick Saban or Urban Meyer. Some coaches just want a greater challenge or want to compete on a different stage.

But, wait…. There is more!!!

There was actually more drama in Ann Arbor during the offseason, however, I will not discuss the WVU buyout fiasco. The matter has been settled…

The loss of recruit Terrell Pryor was well covered and documented , especially since he picked tOSU over Michigan, but it didn't really surprise me. From my understanding, even before Rodriguez took the job, Pryor was heavily leaning towards the Buckeyes. Will it hurt the Wolverines in 08'? Maybe… only time will tell. If Steven Threet ends up disappointing then it may have hurt the Wolverines THIS season. However, Rodriguez has done a hell of a job recruiting QB's for the 09' season, so the future appears bright. Pryor may be a talented player, but I was not a big fan of his "larger than the game" press conference in order to prolong his commitment. It just seemed like he didn't have a team first mentality. Plus, when I heard him refer to his new team as "The University of Ohio State", I wasn't impressed… he also mumbled it as if he were rapping like $0.50. Anyway, I wish Pryor the best (except against Michigan) and maybe he'll learn how to pronounce… "The Ohio State University."

The topic of family values was also brought up during the offseason. Well, the supposed erosion of family values to be more specific. Former offensive lineman Justin Boren apparently could not hack it once Rodriguez and his staff took over. I don't really need to explain this in great detail. Boren was mentioned a few times last season during Lloyd Carr's press conferences as being a player that was failing to adapt or constantly struggling. Boren sounded like a loafer to me. This is what I believe…. Rodriguez and his staff (probably Barwis) hammered Boren repeatedly and he still couldn't adapt. After the coaching staff laid on some colorful words of constructive criticism, Boren basically gave up. Plain and simple, he quit on the team because there was no more leniency or an expanded learning curve. Result: Boren transferred to the Buckeyes. Good riddance, Justin. I personally do not think this particular loss will hurt the Wolverines at all this season. Sure, he was a veteran, but he was still making freshmen mistakes last season as a sophomore. Trust me, if Lloyd complained about him, I can only imagine what Rodriguez and Barwis thought of his performance and work ethic.

It certainly has been an interesting offseason in Ann Arbor and it has been full of drama and controversy, but the season looms and a new era is beginning. I don't expect anything to tame down during the upcoming season. Rodriguez and the Michigan football program will continue to receive a great deal of coverage, be it good or bad.

By Daune


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