Since the news of the allegations of violations at U-M under Rich Rodriguez came out, there have been SOOO many opinions...both pro-RR & anti-RR. I tried to stay "neutral" until everything was revealed but allowed my personal feelings toward RR to dictate my thoughts & opinions. I was not happy when RR was hired as U-M football coach...Les Miles was my main choice...& expressed my displeasure every chance I could. The way the 2008 season went, 3-9, only reinforced those "negative feelings" toward RR.
I came into 2009 with a clearer mind, more excitement for the 2009 season than I can remember & a willingness to see what RR could do this year. That enthusiasm was seriously dampened when the Free Press article came out & hit the news waves. All the bad feelings toward RR came out, again, and I allowed myself to get caught up in the whirlwind of emotion. I wondered what kind of "agenda" the Free Press could have, to write a "hatchet story" on RR...just because they don't want him as Michigan coach? I didn't want RR either but wouldn't, intentionally, write an "unbalanced" story that questions a person's values, integrity and love for his players. I also wondered why CURRENT players would "badmouth" the program, behind their back?
After viewing the news conference, hearing comments from WTKA (a Michigan sports radio station), hearing statements from OSU that are backing Michigan (who would've thought, LOL?), hearing players coming to RR's defense & hearing Rick Leach's comments & 110% support for Rich Rod, the coaches & U-M football, I humbly admit to "jumping the gun" and allowing my personal feelings to cloud my judgment.
While I might never be a "fan" of Rich Rodriguez, I can't question his wanting to win or total loyalty to Michigan. The truth is that if you want to win, compete & become an elite program, you must put the extra work in...and I'm sure that everybody in major college football exceeds those time limits!! I've heard stories of how emotional & intense RR is...hey, Bo was as intense as anybody & I'm sure he cussed up a storm!! I never went to Michigan but am as intense about U-M football as any student who ever went to Ann Arbor and cuss like a lunatic on any fall Saturday, when Michigan plays!!
On top of all that, it must be said that West Virginia...who has NO love for RR...according to radio stations, has never claimed any illegalities or questions about their program when Rich Rod was there!! As I mentioned, RR might not have been my 1st choice as coach but I SUPPORT Michigan football 120% and always will! My biggest concern is that there might be friction among the team, because of the allegations, and my hope is that the seniors...especially, Brandon Graham...take control of the locker room & set things straight! Call a players-only meeting & get everything out in the open and don't allow this to become a distraction in the 2009 season! I only hope that this whole experience strengthens the team's resolve & rallies them together for one purpose...WIN!!
I'm putting this whole story behind me now & focusing on the season opener v Western Michigan & a chance for "Redemption" & "Return to Tradition" in 2009! ALL IN FOR MICHIGAN & GO, BLUE!!!