After taking a few weeks off of writing for personal reasons (had my first kid) as well as a much-needed break from the constant Rich Rodriguez speculation, I feel like today may be my last day to weigh-in on a few topics as well as get some news out on a few non-Rodriguez items in the Michigan program.
**Note** I cannot stress enough the fact that 70% of what follows is hear-say and comes from second and third-hand accounts.
Happy trails Demetrius Hart
Top Florida RB recruit Dee Hart announced Sunday that he will be changing his verbal commitment from Michigan to Alabama. A lot of us saw this coming a few weeks ago, and this should come as no surprise to those who follow such matters; Alabama proved that it was, in fact, only a couple of plays away from playing in the national championship game against Michigan State, and Michigan dropped a big fat smelly deuce in the Gator Bowl against Mississippi State.
While I'm disappointed at losing what could be a premier back, I can't say that I can blame Hart for his decommitment.
There's a lot of rumors swirling around the inter-webs, but most of the stuff I've heard leans toward Jim Harbaugh becoming the next Michigan head coach as early as Wednesday, according to an un-named player from the Carr/RR era (Brandon Graham?). Put as much faith into that as you would like, but my feeling is why would a former player know something the rest of us don't?
I think that's the most unsettling thing about this scenario. Dave Brandon has been entirely mum on the situation, which doesn't bode well for Rich Rod. Up until this point, Brandon has been vehemently supportive of Rich Rod, and one would have to think that if Brandon was going to keep his coach, he would remain as outspokenly supportive as he was before the season began.
Of course, Harbaugh has other suitors and has reportedly been offered by both the San Fransisco 49er's and the Denver Broncos. Regardless of the decision that he makes, Harbaugh's employment situation shouldn't be resolved until mid-day Wednesday at the earliest.
And if not Harbaugh?
I think the obvious pick here is to stick with Rodriguez and can Greg Robinson. That being said, third-party personnel are reporting that certain Michigan coaches were saying "goodbye" yesterday—possibly the obvious Greg Robinson firing that should be the bare-minimum for this off-season.
In the event that Rich Rod is indeed fired and Jim Harbaugh doesn't come to Michigan, there are some other names that have been tossed around because, honestly, a coaching change doesn't begin in January.
Brady Hoke: HC San Diego State. 2010 Record: 9-4.
My thoughts: I'm not a big fan of this pick. Hoke has Michigan connections but the fact that he is 47-50 as a head coach and 34-38 in the MAC as the coach of Ball State. While I do think he deserves congratulations on a good 2010 season, I don't think he has the coaching pedigree that Michigan is looking for in this circumstance.
Pat Fitzgerald: HC Northwestern. 2010 Record: 7-6.
My thoughts: I can see where people are going with this, and I don't think I would be entirely upset about seeing Fitzgerald come to Michigan. He's doing well at Northwestern, a school not known for its football prowess, and runs an offense similar enough to Michigan's that Denard Robinson and Tate Forcier would probably stick around for.
Brent Venebles: DC/AHC Oklahoma. 2010 Record 12-2.
My thoughts: This is, in my opinion, the sexiest non-Harbaugh pick out there. He's proven that he can get things done on defense and has learned from one of the best minds in college football, Bob Stoops, whom he coached with at Kansas State.
Gary Patterson: HC TCU. 2010 Record 13-0.
My thoughts: This one just kind of feels like people grasping at straws. The only thing that would draw him to Michigan would be money, since TCU is fixing to move to AQ conference in 2012.
As I stated previously, Michigan fans probably aren't going to know anything until Wednesday mid-day at the earliest. If I were a betting man, I'd have my money on Rich Rod getting canned and one of the aforementioned coaches not named Harbaugh taking over. I just keep thinking back to 2007, and the comments that Harbaugh made about his Alma-Mater that makes me think he doesn't want to come back.