Wednesday, January 5, 2011

5 Reasons Why Rich Rodriguez Failed At Michigan

Rich Rodriguez was fired from Michigan compiling a 15-22 record in three seasons, but an 0-6 mark against Ohio State and Michigan State.

Here are the five major reasons why Rich Rod failed in Ann Arbor.

5. The Defense Never Helped Him
The best defense Michigan had under Rodriguez was his first when they had their worst offense. Each year since Big Blue has been worse culminating in a unit that ranked north of 100 in FBS this season.

I thought the Greg Robinson hire would turn things around, but it is obvious he doesn't have the players and can't coach the ones he does very well. And speaking of those players, what the heck has happened to Michigan's recruiting on defense the last few years?

4. Michigan/Midwest Economy Has Caused A Population Shift
Lets be honest, Michigan's decline began shortly after a 42-39 loss in Columbus in 2006 ending an otherwise undefeated season. But the economy in the state of Michigan had been taking it in the shorts for 10 plus years draining the population base.

The Wolverines have also raided northern Ohio for talent, but that state's population was suffering too and the Buckeyes were doing a much better job sealing off the state borders under Jim Tressel. The last two UM Heisman winners, Charles Woodson and Desmond Howard were both from Ohio.

So you have a smaller recruiting base in your own state with in state competition from Michigan State, a smaller recruiting base in Ohio with a tougher sell, and an overall talent drain in Illinois and Pennsylvania where you also recruited heavily.

3. He Had To Completely Remake The Offense
Rodriguez inherited Nick Sheridan and Steven Threatt as his QBs and both were ill suited to run his offense. The next season he was able to recruit Tate Forcier and Denard Robinson but also had to play both as true freshman.

Now that both are sophomores you saw the improvement year over year in the offense, but it has taken three years to get there because the first two were essentially lost due to the philosophy shift.

2. He Didn't Get Terrelle Pryor
The story is that Rich Rod called Pryor, then one of the nation's top recruits, to tell him the news of his departure from West Virginia before telling his Mountaineer team. But the Pennsylvania native ultimately decided to attend Ohio State, Michigan's arch rival.

Watching Pryor for three years now it is obvious he would have been much better suited for the Wolverines offense.

1. He Never Had The Fanbase/Alumni Behind Him

I contend that there were very influential Michigan boosters who had it out for Rodriguez very shortly after his arrival and have been working against his success the last three years.

Why exactly is only known to Michigan insiders, but I firmly believe this group was set on having Rodriguez dismissed. I think this group was involved in the "extra practice time" scandal coaxing current and former players who were not playing under Rich Rod to come forward with information.

Newsflash to the NCAA: every FBS school worth its salt "practices" more than 20 hours per week.

But the seeds against the head coach were set and maybe those same boosters were influencing recruits and current players to look elsewhere and the talent dropped assuring losses.

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