Monday, December 17, 2007

My Hero

I had no posts this weekend because I was off visiting in-laws in north Alabama. Plus, you know, there's not that much to say anymore. But the week is now fresh and much is happening.

Thank you Rich Rodriguez. Thank you for ending this farce and letting us all get back to the business at hand, which is trying to read the minds and analyze the psyches of 18-19 year old athletes picking a school.

I like Rich Rodriguez as a coach. His track record is beyond criticism at this point. This is a man who took Tulane to an undefeated record, and made West Virginia a football power. He is, at that level then, a miracle worker. But Michigan is a different kind of job. Unlike with places like Tulane and West Virginia, Michigan has a lot of people attached to the program who think they're just as qualified to run a team as anyone in the country.

And I'm not just talking about the coaches.

Michigan has Tradition with a capital T, which can be a good and a bad thing. It's a good thing because good players want to play for Michigan. Good assistants want to coach at Michigan. Good donors want to give money to Michigan.

It's a bad thing because a lot of those people don't want you to change the strategies that made Michigan the power it is and has been, even if it's not keeping up with the times. Think about how the Bama team has occasionally been held back by forces that did not want to change the 3-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust strategy that Bear Bryant rode to great success. I'm not a fly in the wall at Michigan booster meetings, but I'd sure like to be. Are they going to be excited about bringing a spread option game to the Midwest?

On the flip side, does Rich Rodriguez have the flexibility as a coach to adjust to the players that Michigan has? Michigan does not have a fleet-footed athletic quarterback at the ready. It has a tall, strong-armed Sasquatch of a sophomore quarterback returning next season in Ryan Mallett. This kid has all the makings of the next Jamarcus Russell, which is a very good thing, but Jamarcus could not have played like Pat White and should never be asked to. Can Rich Rodriguez achieve a level of comfort with a pocket passer while he waits for his recruiting classes to build his team the way he really wants it?

I'm not going to speculate out loud on the answer, but I will say that it is ALWAYS dangerous for a successful program to change coaches. A really good coach and a storied program don't always come together to make football magic. See Franchione, Dennis and Texas A&M. You just don't know how it's all going to work, and the biggest name is not always the best fit.

Also this week, LSU begins practice for the BCSNCG, and recruiting continues unabated. Today, 5-star Kansas linebacker Arthur Brown makes his decision known. LSU is in the final group, and Brown has been very closed-mouthed about where he's going. We haven't gotten the usual signals we get. Smart money is on... well, the smart money's sitting this one out. It would be something of a surprise if he picked LSU, but not a shock. Linebacker is a position where a young player could come in and compete for playing time right away at LSU, and then compete for championships. I don't know if it will happen, and I'm not making any kind of guesses, but Arthur-Brown-to-LSU makes a certain amount of sense.

If he commits to us, I'll certainly have more to say about it tomorrow.


gerry dorsey said...

i say rich rod made a mistake. its an easier road to a national title in morgantown than ann arbor. if you stay at your alum, which has very little history, they build a statue of you outside the stadium when you retire. at michigan, you're just another dude. however, i understand your (and the rest of lsu nation's) excitement.

Poseur said...

Coaches are an egotistical lot. Rodriguez doesn't want the tag that he's scared of the big kid's table apparently, and he's going to one of the biggest jobs in college football. I can't say taking the Michigan job is ever a mistake. It's one of the top ten programs in history. that's a hard thing to turn down, especially since they have proven to be very reluctant to fire coaches.

I would like to say that Michigan has perhaps the best blogs in the M-Zone and mgoblog, but they started taking ridiculous shots at Les Miles. Look, the reason Miles kept calling press conferences is because the media kept making it a story. It would have been worse to be silent. I don't think any of Michigan's acts were inapproproate, they were trying to get a big-name coach and Miles was an obvious candidate, but the media (ESPN in particular) kept the Miles-to-Michigan story alive long after it was a dead issue. I do blame ESPN for that, and I tend to be ESPN-agnostic unlike a lot of LSU fans who somehow think ESPN is out to get us. They aren't.

I do think Michigan droppd the ball and lucked into Rodriguez. They had Miles and couldn't seal the deal, apparently because they got a case of buyer's remorse. They didn't make the same mistake twice and locked up the biggest name available. And they didn't drag their feet this time and ponied up the cash on demand.

Joshua said...

They really effed up trying to get Miles. And then, they're just lucky to find said big name coach who was falling out of love with his AD. Right time, right place. It's not as if they pried this guy away, for whatever that's worth.

Joshua said...

They really effed up trying to get Miles. And then, they're just lucky to find said big name coach who was falling out of love with his AD. Right time, right place. It's not as if they pried this guy away, for whatever that's worth.