It was announced today that Rich Rodriguez has signed a five-year, $9.55 million contract to become the next head coach at the University of Arizona. While many have shown a pessimistic attitude towards this move, I, along with Arizona, am very optimistic that RichRod will bring lots of success to Tucson.
The University of Arizona made the right call in selecting Rodriguez as its next head coach, and here's why...
During his career, RichRod has established himself as one of the premier recruiters in the entire country. Despite the scarce in-state talent while he was at West Virginia, Rodriguez was able to go outside the state and sign some very good football players.
Moreover, at Michigan he was able to not only sign great talent outside of the state, but keep the best players in-state as well.
RichRod did find some trouble, however, in finding the players that would actually qualify academically, for UM is a very prestigious school (example: Demar Dorsey), but he would never have that problem at Arizona. Now I am not saying that UA is a bad school, but it is much easier to get into than Michigan.
Furthermore, RichRod can build a pipeline to the neighboring, hotbed recruiting state, California. Arizona is not a bad state at all when it comes to recruiting as well, for it produced one of the top 2012 offensive tackle prospects, Andrus Peat.
I think RichRod will come in and have immediate success on the recruiting trail and will have to do so for years to come to rebuild this program completely.
No, I am not saying Rodriguez will do well because of defense, for he'll still be terrible at it, but it won't matter as much in the Pac-12.
At West Virginia, RichRod's defenses were never good, but the offense was so successful, as well as opposing offenses not being very good, that his defensive weaknesses were overshadowed. Oregon proved that you can be very successful in the Pac-12 with just offense, and that is just what RichRod will do.
If Rodriguez can bring in a good coordinator and develop a bend-but-not-break defensive mentality, then his teams will always be amongst the top in the conference.
Like him or hate him, there is no denying that Rich Rodriguez has one of the greatest offensive minds in the game.
His failures at Michigan were never due to the offense underperforming, for it was always the defense's fault. He brings in a wide-open spread attack that utilizes its athleticism and playmaking ability very effectively.
Yes, Arizona will probably give up 30 to 35 points per game, but there is no reason that RichRod can't get his Wildcats to go out and score 40. This hire brings in an attack that may be able to rival Oregon's in a few years.
Arizona will most likely bring back 12 to 14 starters but will lose its star quarterback, Nick Foles. Despite losing its uber-productive signal-caller, Arizona gets transfer QB Tom Savage to take over the reins.
Despite not being the prototypical QB in a RichRod system, Savage ran a 4.7 in high school, so he is above average when it comes to mobility. Savage will also be the best passer RichRod has ever coached, and I'm sure Rodriguez will develop more than a few wrinkles to cater to his strengths.
Moreover, Arizona's offensive skill players will be very productive in his system, for they are all quick and can really burn defenses.
Despite having a few quality teams in Stanford, Oregon and USC, the Pac-12 only has four teams with winning conference records right now, and one of those teams is UCLA. Moreover, Arizona is in the Pac-12 South, so there is no guarantee that it will play Oregon or Stanford each year.
There is no reason to believe that within a few years Arizona can't be one of the top three teams in the Pac-12 year in and year out.