Monday, December 17, 2007

Viva La Revolution!!

After almost a month of stumbling, public rejections, message board panic attacks, and a weird mating dance with a certain SEC West coach, Sailor Bill Martin and his first mate Mary Sue Coleman managed to back their way into a top five coach, Rich Rodriguez of West Virginia.
-My initial reaction: shock, excitement and relief that the whole search process is finally over, and the new era of Michigan football can go forward. I can finally get some work done, because I don't have to check the message boards and blogs every fifteen minutes to see the latest rumor from "insiders" who were just as in the dark as we were. I'm still pinching myself to see if this is real. Rich Rod is a better coach than each of the guys we were rumored to have talked to previously. Outside of Stoops, Meyer, Carroll, and Tressel, he is probably the hottest coaching commodity out there. He is young, has extensive head coaching experience, and is know as on the great offensive innovators in coaching today. We were able to pry him away from his alma mater without paying him a ridiculous SEC-type salary ($2.4 / year).
-After listening to his press conference, there is no doubting that he is a complete 180 from the last 40 years. He is warm, personable, accessible to fans, and will keep press conferences light and funny. He seemed to indicate that there will be some open practices in the spring, something that Carr would never even consider. Perhaps there might even be a real spring game. Of course he brings an offense that will look totally different than Carr's tradition pro set. He has run both pass heavy and run heavy spread offenses in the past, and has said he will adept to the personnel here. The guess is that the offense will be more pass and less run the next couple of years, until they get decent running QB in here after Mallet graduates.
-It sounds like he will bringing a lot of his own assistants with him, which means favorite whipping boys Andy Moeller, Mike Debord and Mike Gittleson will probably be leaving.
-Despite my excitement at the hire, I do feel a little melancholy that it was not Les Miles. Although Miles is clearly not in Rich Rod's league as an offensive coach, his very strong emotional connection to Michigan would have been very special to watch. Whereas Rodriguez was very matter of fact in his press conference, saying he had to learn about Michigan's tradition, Miles would have had everyone in tears at his press conference. I feel like a high school kid who asks the prettiest girl in the school to the prom, figuring the worst she can do is say no. When she says yes, he is amazed and thrilled, but feels bad for his next door neighbor who he has know forever and had said she would go to the prom with him if he couldn't find a date.
-I do wonder where Les Miles goes from here. Clearly Miles wanted the job. The fan base and alumni wanted him. There were reports that he had tried to contact Bill Martin and Mary Sue Coleman over the weekend, looking for one more chance to plead his case. On the radio after the press conference, Detroit News writer, Angelique Chengelis, who is generally well connected to Lloyd Carr, said that she thought that the infamous meeting Miles had with Martin and Coleman consisted of Miles trying to convince them to offer him the job. She also stated that she didn't think he was ever going to be offered the job. Reading between the line, you can surmise that Lloyd Carr probably stood in the way of Miles and the job. So now, having been rejected by Michigan, Miles has to go back to LSU, knowing that he won't get another shot at the job, and knowing that his opponents in the SEC are whispering in every recruit's ear that Miles wanted to leave LSU, but that Michigan didn't want him. As competitive as the SEC is, that might be just enough for his program to get off track and end up 7-5 or 8-4, instead of 10-2 or 11-1.

-Over one hundred years ago, an offensive genius from a little town in West Virginia and turned a football program that was little more than an intermural program into the greatest tradtion in college football. Here's hoping that Rich Rod can be half as successful at Meeechingan as Coach Yost.