Five years from now, whether Rich Rodriguez is still the head coach at the University of Michigan, will his hire be considered a mistake?
Before the majority of Michigan fans say yes, let me be in the minority and try my best to defend Michigan's hire of Rich Rodriguez.
The last time Michigan beat Ohio State was seven years ago at the Big House, to earn a Big Ten championship and a spot in the Rose Bowl.
The University of Michigan was obviously sick of losing to the hated Buckeyes of Ohio State. And so they decided to hire a coach with a type of offense that has proven difficult to defend. Especially when a team doesn't have the experience going up against it.
College Football is a sport that has certainly evolved in recent years. No longer is it necessary to have a pro-style offense to win games at the college level.
The institution of spread offenses and gimmicks such as the wildcat have proven to be extremely difficult to defend.
The hire of Rich Rodriguez was not well-received, taking into account Michigan wanting Les Miles and him turning down the job. In addition, when a person is not your first choice, it takes some getting used to.
Meaning there has to be some kind of adjustment period for the university and its fans. Unfortunately for Rodriguez, Wolverines fans are still getting used to it.
And let's not forget those who never tried to get used to it: the people who did not like him as the Michigan coach from the beginning.
The fact of the matter is when Michigan hired Rich Rodriguez they understood that big changes would come along with it. One of the most frustrating things in sports is when a team is too scared and complacent to make a change when it is needed.
Lloyd Carr's time in Ann Arbor had run its course and it was time for a change. Michigan not only made a change by hiring a new coach, but they took it one step further.
They decided to change the whole look of the team by giving Rich Rodriguez the job. Why not give the spread offense a chance, especially since Rich Rodriguez has had so much success at West Virginia?
Sure, it was different and it would take some getting used to, but different is always good. It shows progress and a willingness to keep up with the times. Also what is considered normal at Michigan was simply not working for the Wolverines.
No Big Ten titles and only one bowl win against Florida in the Capital One Bowl since 2003. Which happens to be the last time Michigan beat Ohio State.
Michigan should not be penalized for making the bold move in hiring Rich Rodriguez because if Michigan were to perfect the spread offense, the hope and belief is that they will have long-term dominance over Ohio State, and that the Wolverines would contend for a national title every year.
I mean how great would it be if Rich Rodriguez could bring a QB the likes of Pat White to Ann Arbor? We would all be really excited.
Now granted, even if Rodriguez builds a great team in Ann Arbor, it will look so weird to see Michigan line up in the shotgun time and time again.
Still though, what really matters is that Michigan turns the football program around and in a couple of years contends for a BCS championship.
At this moment, I would not call the Rich Rod hire a mistake; it has just been a disappointment.
Not a complete disappointment just yet, but dangerously close. We have to see how Michigan does in Rich Rodriguez's third year.
Make no mistake about it; if Michigan does not do well this year, it is on Rich Rodriguez's shoulders, not the university's.
Rodriguez and his staff are the ones responsible for recruiting the talent that fits his offense, not Michigan.
The only role that Michigan plays in Rodriguez's recruiting is that he is using the Michigan name to convince players to play for him.
My point is this: If Rich Rodriguez were to lead Michigan to another sub par year he will be let go from his duties as the Michigan coach.
If it doesn't work out like it hasn't up to this point, it will be a disappointment, not a mistake, by the university in hiring him.
Again, I must stress what had been working for Michigan before was not working that well anymore. Michigan wanted to try something new to change their fortunes on the football field. They should not be blamed for that.
They hired the best man available at the time after Les Miles turned them down. What else were they supposed to do? But Michigan fans, look at the season as a win-win situation.
If Michigan does well this season and gets to a bowl game, that will be great. It will show progress from the team. Signs that they are heading in the right direction.
On the other hand, if they have another bad year, Rodriguez will be gone. Surely then the next head coach at Michigan will undoubtedly be a Michigan man.
Who will try to win the Michigan way.
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