Michigan Football Deserves Better

Jo MamaContributor IDecember 9, 2010

SOUTH BEND, IN - SEPTEMBER 11: Head coach Rich Rodriguez of the Michigan Wolverines yells at an assistant coach during a game against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Notre Dame Stadium on September 11, 2010 in South Bend, Indiana. Michigan defeated Notre Dame 28-24. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

I’ve read and watched many articles, blogs, TV specials and newsletters in regards to the current state of the Michigan football team and nothing I’ve heard has given me any faith that Rich Rodriguez can turn this thing around. 

As an ardent supporter of this program for over 20 years, I’ve seen the ebb and flow of a big time college football program.  From Bo to Gary to Lloyd, the one constant was that we won.  Sure there were lapses, the seven win season in 2005 is etched in my brain along with the way that season ended (about 20 laterals in the Alamo Bowl loss to Nebraska).  But again, in 2006 we bounce back, rattle off 11 wins in a row, and rise to No. 2, in the nation only to lose a heartbreaker in Columbus on the eve of Bo’s death, followed by a manhandling from a USC squad that resembled a NFL team.  Aside from the SC debacle, we were competitive. 

Which brings me to the Rich Rodriguez era. 

Forget the lawsuits, forget the extra practices, forget all the baggage he brought to Ann Arbor from Morgantown.  We don’t have to dwell on any of it.  Everything is forgiven as long as we’re winning, right?  Well the fact of the matter is, we’re not and I don’t see that changing.

Since the Rich Rodriguez era began in 2008, our once storied program has gone 3-9, 5-7 and finally, 7-5.  I understand math and actually scored pretty well in fourth grade arithmetic.   I know that five is better than three and that seven is better than five, so he’s improving each year, right? With what Lloyd left us at the end of the 2007 season it’s a wonder he won any games at all that year. 

Do you know how many times I’ve heard the “cupboard was bare” excuse? 

But fine, I’m even willing to accept that sorry defense to an otherwise pathetic season.  What boils my blood is that silly adjective I can’t seem to get out of my mind, particularly after the OSU debacle this year, is competitiveness.  To me, the word in football parlance means you’re “in” every game.  Your team is prepared, they react well to what the opposition is doing and in dire cases, you make massive adjustments at the half and come out firing. 

Not once in the Rich Rodriguez era have I seen this and that is unacceptable.  How do you let a walk-on QB with a plethora of injuries to almost five starters still pass for 250 yards and look like a Heisman candidate?  How do you let a team you know is going to run the ball torch your defense for six TD’s and almost 600 yards on the ground?  These are just a few things that have been bothering me and we’re only talking about this year. 

The fact of the matter is with Rich Rodriguez at the helm we are not competitive.  It was never more apparent than in this year’s OSU game.  A friend and I were talking about what adjustments he could make to have a fighting chance of winning this game.  We had none.  Sure there are injuries to some key players, I understand that. 

But isn’t recruiting, depth charts and dealing with injuries part of a head coach’s job?  The fact of the matter is he gets paid a lot of money to field a competitive team, foresee injuries and adjust.  In his three years here he has not one signature win, a win you can hang your hat on and say something like, “See, that’s why we hired him!”  Not one in over 30 games.  Additionally, our defense shows no signs of improvement, blame Greg Robinson all you like but Rich is the one insisting he run the gimmicky 3-3-5. 

No D-coordinator in the nation is going to fight a battle against a thick headed head coach already on the hot seat.  It’s career suicide.  So get a new D-coordinator, hire more Mike Barwis’, pretend that your offense will carry the rest of the team.  We all know what’s coming: another subpar season.  For those of you who think he’s winning 9 games next year, great, I appreciate your optimism.  But unless he’s beating MSU, PSU, Iowa and of course OSU, I won’t be happy.