Monday, December 17, 2007

In Rod We Trust

Bill Martin welcomed Rich Rodriquez to the Michigan Family on this notorious day. I must say that my overall feelings in regard to Rich have developed tremendously in the past 24 hours.

My first reaction:
Dammit, that’s not Michigan football. That’s fool’s ball. What do you mean you have a spread hurry-up offense with an option and 5 men lined up to catch the ball? You mean you LIKE it when the quarterback runs?? Have you seen Mallet? He’s as mobile as a log. Bo would turn over in his grave if he saw this style of play. It’s going to be a season of interceptions, fumbles, and mistakes.

After thinking about it:
• He is one of the best coaches in the country.
• He knows how to win.
• He is genuine, passionate, and understands the importance of tradition.
• Yes, it’s risky. I commend Martin for this decision, though. At the end of the day, Martin is a businessman, and successful businessmen take big risks and win big.
• His name has attracted the top recruit in the country, Terrelle Pryor (which could be bad for Mallet).
• He said all the right things during the press conference, and he convinced me. Bill Martin and company knew exactly what people like me were worried about and he hit on every one. He described Rich verbatim as:
  • A man with strong character who truly cares about his players and treats them as family.

  • An innovative coach who would enhance Michigan’s standing at the winningest program in the history of college football.

  • A team player who would be a great University citizen.

When Rich spoke to us, he convinced me in a way that Les Miles never did. I said that Miles reminded me of a car salesman: disingenuous and trying too hard. Rodriquez is genuine and will earn the trust of the Michigan community.

• Yes, we will endure growing pains. We may see a lot of turnovers our first year, but Rodriquez is here to stay and we will grow accustomed to change. Change is not a bad thing, which leads me to my next point:

Tradition is a beautiful thing, and we love it at Michigan. However, if Michigan were content with the status quo then Fielding Yost would have never built our Big House grand enough for the world to admire.

Tradition is not reason enough to keep things the way they are when there is evidence that change could be better. When Canham renovated the Big House in order to hold 107,501, change proved to be appropriate. People will similarly look back and praise Martin for bringing in Rich Rodriquez from West Virginia. Innovation and risk revolutionize the game, and Michigan has always been at the forefront of that.

Fielding Yost was an innovator of college football, creating offenses that literally scored a “Point a Minute”. Rich Rodriguez is the coach who developed the spread option offense. New and exciting change should be welcomed and is possible to maintain alongside a proud and rich tradition.

In Rod We Trust.

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