After another painstaking loss to lowly Illinois on Saturday, the question is again buzzing around Ann Arbor.
Should Rich Rodriguez be the head coach at the University of Michigan?
The answer now is yes.
The answer after three more losses this season?
It could be a much different one.
Michigan has been graced throughout the years with some legendary coaches. Replacing successful coach after successful coach is no easy task.
Lloyd Carr and Bo Schembechler are two of the great college coaches and Rich Rodriguez has a tall order trying to fill the shoes of two "Michigan" men.
Following up a disaster 2008 with another lackluster season in Maize and Blue could spell the beginning of the end of the Rodriguez regime.
Michigan fans aren't used to losing and aren't usually that patient either. One loss is usually bad enough and weekly defeats begin to take a toll.
Add the NCAA allegations, the changed traditions at Michigan, and all the other hoopla and it gives Bill Martin and the athletic department all the more reason to ax the coach as he leaves the university.
That brings up another point.
Martin isn't leaving his post until Sept. 2010 and if Rodriguez is given the pink slip before then, the task of finding his replacement would definitely need to be sped up. This could possibly give him at least one more year.
Which in turn, could give him enough time to turn around the Michigan program and put the team down the right track.
It is easy to point fingers and blame the head coach, however, his job completely changing the Michigan program needs to be taken into account. Two years probably isn't enough time to evaluate what he could do.
Next year, a lot of the youngsters will have a year under their belt and they'll be better prepared for the level of talent that the Big Ten possesses.
The defense will have another year to learn Greg Robinson's complex system and the offense will have even more talent pouring into the spread. The program is still an elite and one that will be thought of highly even when losses are moving the team down in the standings.
Many boosters have declared the Rodriguez hiring the wrong one from the start. Former Wolverines have decided that it'll never work and it's almost like the situation Notre Dame's Charlie Weis is in.
Give the man a chance.
Carr seems to think Rodriguez has what it takes. Martin and the rest of the hiring committee went up and down a distinguished list of candidates before deciding on the rising coach from West Virginia.
He must be the right guy.
Rodriguez needs to stay amidst the turmoil that is currently surrounding the Wolverines.
Besides, whether or not Michigan wins any other game the rest of the season, if Rodriguez can get his team up for the Buckeyes at the end of November, the season will probably be seen by many as a success.
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