Can Rich Rodriguez Win Without Pat White?

J Pat DyerAnalyst IDecember 19, 2007

Rich Rodriguez forgot his family jewel.

The former West Virginia coach football team cleaned the cabinet before left he for Michigan. He took his offensive coordinator. He took his backfield coach, who doubles as his head of recruiting.

He even has designs on every prep star eyeing WVU as a college home—the prize being a speedy 6'6", 225-pound QB out of southwest Pennsylvania named Terrelle Pryor.

But for all that, the coach left the most important piece of the puzzle in Morgantown.

You see, Rodriguez may be the genius behind the spread offense, but quarterback Patrick White is the engine that makes it run.

Rodriguez went to West Virginia’s blur in a blue jersey whenever the team was in trouble. Without White, Rodriguez has a .600 win percentage. With him, Coach Rod’s sitting at .700—and on his way to Ann Arbor.

By my count, Patrick White is 30-2 in his college career when 100 percent healthy. One loss came as a freshman, when he shared QB duties. The other came when Steve Slaton was totally useless, due to a wrist injury, in last year's Louisville game.

I'm not going to predict the future. I am, however, looking forward to finally seeing if the wins at WVU were the product of Rodriguez’s genius or a very special quarterback.

I do think Rodriguez will have success at Michigan. But he won’t be the Big Ten dynamo the Wolverines expect. He won’t even enjoy the success Lloyd Carr did when he won 76 percent of his games—but that's not Rodriguez's biggest problem.

On the contrary, Rodriguez's problem is that Jim Tressel wins 83 percent of his games at Ohio State. That's quite a standard to live up to.

Especially when you forgot your precious White diamond back at your old stomping grounds.

J Pat