Sunday - July 13, 2008
Rodriguez and Bad Press
I wrote this in another forum, in response to one or two West Virginia fans and some others going on at lengths about Michigan's buyer's remorse at having hired the slimeball Rich Rodriguez, but I thought it might be appropriate in a more general sense, as a response to the bizarre idea that's spread through various non-Michigan fan forums that Michigan has some early concerns about Rodriguez's behavior, and ethics. I don't usually try to speak for the entire Michigan fan base, but ...
I think a lot of people outside Michigan have this notion that Rodriguez's honeymoon is over, that Michigan fans are somehow wary of what they've gotten into, that the administration may be upset ...
None of that is really true.
There haven't been any concerns about his recruiting, not the kinds of kids he's pursuing or how he is pursuing them.
There have been no real concerns about his ethics.
No one except Rosenberg (of The Detroit Free Press) has raised questions about his "serial job searching" or whatever Rosenberg called it. If he stays at Michigan and is successful for 10 years, great. If he has a good run and gets an NFL offer and leaves, then that's the risk you take in hiring a good coach.
There really has been one concern raised at all about Rodriguez locally that has gained any kind of traction with the fans and insiders, and that is with respect to language. Rodriguez, and more so a couple of his assistants, apparently swear like soldiers on leave. But you know what, Bo swore too, and no one minded it.
Are the players hating it? Well, from the reports coming out of practices, the best word to describe the players' attitude in spring/summer would be 'giddy'.
Of course some kids don't like it. One of those kids was Justin Boren, who apparently not only dislike the language but also hated the running. Even under Carr's less intense program, Boren reportedly had 'opted out' of some of the more intense workouts and Carr had let him get away with that. Rodriguez stopped that special treatment. Boren started complaining vocally during the running drills, and the OL coach and S&C coach let him have it repeatedly in front of everyone. Boren went to Rodriguez to complain and Rodriguez wasn't sympathetic.
Was the language insulting? It probably was. The staff is developing a reputation for making examples in front of everyone of players, especially veterans, who are not giving full effort. Without going into too much detail, there was lots of evidence that the players were not being held accountable for their effort and dedication in the later years under Carr, and that Rodriguez is giving them a crash course in consequences.
We've lost one player so far, and for a new coach that's so much different than the old, that's not really troubling.