Why Rich Rodriguez Doesn’t Exude Confidence but I’m Optimistic About Michigan Football Anyway08.30.10
I’ve supported Rich Rodriguez as Michigan’s head coach since he was hired in 2008 and I still do after all the strife and all the losses we’ve endured for the the past two seasons.
He’s going into his third and most likely decisive year where his job is on the line if you talk to any of the fans. For those who haven’t liked his hiring since the get-go, even going 9-3 and beating Ohio State wouldn’t be enough to win them over — although, it probably would satiate them for a little bit longer.
Personally, I’m hoping for 8-4 and wins over Notre Dame, Michigan State, and Ohio State. A tall order, I admit, but I think it’s all well within the realm of likelihood — even if OSU is ranked number two in the preseason AP poll.
Despite giving Rodriguez the leeway to build the program his way, after suffering a couple, rough rebuilding seasons, I can see how hard it is for others to get behind the guy. And his soundbites don’t exactly instill confidence in the fans.
“We made progress last year, but the problem was we had so many dang turnovers toward the end of the year,” Rodriguez says. “We had too many turnovers and negative-yardage plays. Hopefully we’ll get better.“
“I know eventually what we’ll have, but in the first game or two, with all of the nerves out there and all that kind of stuff, big Johnny (Falk) will probably have to bring a couple extra pairs of pants in case they make a little mess,” said Rodriguez, referring to the team’s equipment manager.
“We have a pretty good idea already in how our rotation is going to be with the quarterbacks,” Rodriguez told reporters Monday. “But it’s going to be a feel thing. I’m not going to say this guy is going to play 20 plays and this guy is going to play 15 plays. It’s going to be a feel thing and we’ll get them all ready.”
“Every day I come in and wonder, ‘OK, who’s going to separate themselves?‘” Rodriguez said Wednesday after practice. “So that’s been an ongoing process. With three guys, this is probably as unique a situation I’ve been in.
“It may seem frustrating and everybody wants to know (who will start), but as long as they get better every day and eliminate the mistakes tomorrow that they had today or yesterday, then we’ll be OK. That’s the big thing. We don’t want to keep making the same mistakes, and they haven’t been for the most part, but there are some days they do better than others.”
Not exactly what you want to hear from the head coach just days before the kickoff of the 2010 season.
Michigan hasn’t had a bona fide QB1 since Chad Henne graduated after the 2007-2008 season, leaving the big question: who will be taking the snaps? And when the coach, having had two, full recruiting years under his belt, still can’t make a decision on who will be leading the team down the field on offense less than a week before the first game, it doesn’t exactly exude confidence.
When it comes to the quarterback position, three pretty decent players doesn’t not one great player make. Actually, that’s never the case, but at least when it comes to other positions like linebacker, wide receiver, or running back, you can fill in by committee without changing much in the way of the game plan — but, when the director of the offense keeps changing, the challenge would be in maintaining consistency throughout the group.
Perhaps he has a plan and feels confidence in his signal callers to the point that they all could lead the time and win. I don’t know. But I do know that I’m truly optimistic for this season. I can’t wait for this Saturday’s game against Connecticut. Maybe our three quarterbacks will all gel into some never-before-seen, three-headed QB behemoth. (Like I said: I’m optimistic.) And our top recruits on defense will jump into their new roles and play well beyond their years. And we’ll hit that 8-4 mark and go back to a bowl game.
And we’ll finally beat the Buckeyes for the first time since 2003.
I’ve never coached a team of any kind, but I imagine installing a brand-new system into a program with a bunch of inexperienced players that weren’t recruited for your schemes would come with a fairly long learning curve. I’ve been patient with RichRod this whole time and I remain so to this day.
Because at the end of it all, it’s Michigan Football! The maize and blue. And while it’s easy to sit here and say that I’d have done things differently and that we should have hired so-and-so instead and we should never have switched to the spread offense, I’d rather just get behind the school and the team that I’ve loved for so many years and look forward to getting back to our winning ways rather than waste my time wallowing in the losses of the past couple years.
It’s gotta turn around at some point. It might as well be now.
Image courtesy of Anthony Gattine’s Flickr Photostream