Rich Rodriguez Makes Mistake With Defense When Consistency Is Key

Jeff ContizanoCorrespondent IDecember 19, 2008

I'll be the first one to admit I'm a strong Rich Rodriguez proponent. I was excited when the news first came out that he was coming to Ann Arbor.

I had watched West Virginia shred the mighty Oklahoma Sooners in the Fiesta Bowl, and I couldn't wait until Michigan would do the same to Ohio State.

The season came and went, and we all know what happened. But this offseason, when the rebuilding and improvements would be most important, Rodriguez admitted to another major mistake.

Scott Shafer was not a bad hire. Many analysts and experts accredited him as being a crafty, knowledgeable coordinator. That wasn't the issue.

Rodriguez wanted the 3-3-5 at Michigan. He wanted Casteel to follow him, but for some reason he didn't. So Rodriguez, with his staff (all of whom knew the 3-3-5), hired Shafer.

Many Michigan fans didn't see the real difference in their philosophies until the Purdue game. Rodriguez wanted the 3-3-5 stack put into place, and Shafer finally obliged. The result? Michigan got shelled by a kid who had been playing running back for most of the season.

Now after the season ended, Michigan finished with a dismal defense (at least for Michigan standards). The result? Scott Shafer's resignation.

Shafer even went far enough to take the blame for all of Michigan's problems. All of them. Because Shafer somehow caused Michigan's young players to fumble, right? And Scott Shafer made Stevie Brown play terrible at safety, right?

Regardless, Michigan needs consistency. They will be moving on to their third defensive coordinator in three years, something that rarely, if ever, happens in Ann Arbor. Whether or not it's Paul Rhoads, or John Chavis, or Jeff Casteel running the defense, these players need to know that their coach will be there for more than one year.

As for now, we'll just have to wait and see who's next in line at defensive coordinator.