Alabama fans should be thankful about Rich Rod

Sometimes in life you just get lucky. Rich Rodriguez stayed at West Virginia instead of taking the Alabama job—Alabama fans should be thankful. Really thankful.

There is little doubt that Rich Rod was a great coach at WVU. So what changed? The size of the program.

Michigan is big.

It matters.

Kind of like Alabama football.

But there is more to it that Rich Rod’s early failures. (The Michigan defense is inept, and when not crying, Rodriguez has seemed clueless as to how to fix it.) The deeper problem is that Rodriguez cannot manage a major program. The spotlight seems to bother him. He either cannot balance the time demands, or does not have the personality for it. (Sometimes great people just cannot draw boundaries; hopefully, he can turn it around because by all accounts he is a good guy.)

Many Wolverine fans point to talent problems as a reason or excuse, and hold out hope that Rich Rod will one day have the personnel to revive the program.

However, this is why Alabama fans should be thankful. Apparently, Rich Rod recruits like Charlie Weis; that is to say, Rich Rod recruits like Tommy Tuberville. (And those are nice ways of saying, Rich Rod doesn’t recruit.)

According to this piece from Smart Football:
“Notre Dame has officially offered one of my linebackers, but no one from Notre Dame has ever spoken to the kid nor has anyone from Notre Dame ever returned any of my calls. To put it context: Will Muschamp [of Texas] returned my call, Brent Venables [of Oklahoma] returned my call, Bud Foster [of Virginia Tech] returned my call, [Michael] Barrow [of Miami] returned my call, Nick Saban returned my call, and yet no one from Notre Dame has ever returned my call. . . .
“. . . Then you take programs like Cincinnati with Brian Kelly and the guy who recruits our area, Jeff Quinn [Cincinnati’s offensive coordinator]. They are completely different. They pursue a personal relationship. He sends me a text telling us good luck this Friday, he knows who we play (and he might just be reading it online but still he made the effort), he calls asking how things are going, how the kid is doing, he knows the kid’s mother, grand parent’s, sister’s name, etc. He even calls me every few weeks. Now, I know he isn’t really interested in talking to me and that it’s all about my player but still it makes a difference. Ohio State, Alabama, Virginia Tech, and others all recruit about the same way as Cincinnati. Pittsburgh, West Virginia, Michigan . . . they recruit like Notre Dame.”

That should make Alabama fans thankful. There is no way to compete in the SEC with a coach like that. The only way to keep up with Urban Meyer, Mark Richt, Steve Spurrier and Les Miles is to find the best possible athletes and recruit them.

And recruit them.

And recruit them.

And recruit them.

You recruit them faster. You recruit them relentlessly. And if you aren’t recruiting them, then you don’t have the discipline to run a major program.

This by itself would have made Rich Rodriguez a disaster at Alabama. Coaching isn’t only about X’s & O’s. And it isn’t only about the players. Coaching is the art of holding people throughout the program accountable; you must make your players, assistants and support personnel work together toward a common goal. It requires the right personality, and the right work ethic.

It is one more reason for Alabama fans to be thankful this holiday season.


Add Yours
  1. 1

    It’s an Institutional Problem. Charlie and the Priests think that the “Name” is enough and they will come.
    Wrong. It is a Business. That is why Charlie will be unemployed with the usual big stash.
    What a Country. Get paid millions for not being worth a damn. Makes a Fan insist on performance based contracts for Coaches. Shit Cuz. Now that would be funny ……

  2. 2

    I think Charlie has done a good job recruiting offensive players. I didn’t get into the deeper offense/defense issue afflicting Notre Dame because I wanted to focus more on Rich Rod since he almost landed at the Capstone.

    Colin Cowherd has defended Weis because he asserts great defensive players aren’t (in general) as intelligent as offensive players. He posits this has hurt Notre Dame’s defense. It is an interesting theory.

    However, I think you can field good defenses even if you don’t land the greatest players. And furthermore, Notre Dame does have relaxed standards for football players–so, some of his argument is flawed.

    The one thing I would say about this is that simply, if you have a disadvantage, then you have to work harder than everyone else. It doesn’t sound like Weis is working harder on the recruiting trail.

  3. 4
    E.G. White

    I would think anyone would have anything better to do than listen to the Colon Cowturd. And his defensive theory is pure bullshit! Everybody ‘should’ know that the SECs famous defenses are so great because in the south we put the best athletes on defense versus the rest of the country on offense. Nearly all of our defense played both ways in high school. Some of them tremendous offensive stars such as Javier, Dre’ K, BJ Scott to name a few. Some of our offensive players were outstanding defensive stars in high school, such as Julio and Maze and BJ Scott to name a few. Are these athletes smart enough to star on the offense, now stupid because they play defense? Cowturd is a moron. There are tons of 4 and 5 star intelligent defense ready athletes out there for Nostra Damous to field a team with a top defense. Screw the excuses! RTR!

  4. 5
    Auburn is a joke the fan formerly known as Ballplay Indian

    I wsh he had taken the job. Spurrier would have been just as good. Why couldnt they take the dadgum job ? !?!?!

  5. 6
    Say what?????????

    By all accounts Rodriguez is a good idea?

    Uh, unless his own accounts are the only ones that count that would be about the most untrue thing ever written.

    Even the dwindling number of people who think he’s a decent football coach pretty much uniformly agree he is a world class asshole.

  6. 7
    Auburn is a joke the fan formerly known as Ballplay Indian

    Im an Auburn fan…Thats why I wish he had taken the job. He will turn it around next year IMO. If you look at the teams he had at W.V. you cant say he is a bad coach. It takes a long time to turn a big 10 team into a spread option team. He prettty much had to start from scratch. Your basic big ten team is about as opposite as you can get to a spread team personell wise.

  7. 9

    in order for rodriquez to be successful (a national championship caliber program) at michigan running the spread he must recruit the type athletes meyer has at florida. or saban has at alabama.

    i don’t think he’s good enough to convince that caliber player to play in the cold of ann arbor michigan in a second rate conference like the big (can’t count to eleven) ten.

    if michigan’s smart, they’ll can him for harbaugh while they can still get him cheap. (and before lsu does!)

  8. 10
    alex hamilton

    Capstone, you should wash your mouth out with soap if you say that Colin Cowherd is able to postulate a coherent, plausible argument.

    I drive a lot and I would rather listen to a three month old podcast of Finebaum on the iPhone over anything that Cowturd, (as the good Mr. White eloquently said) has to say. Colin Cowherd is just another ESPN tool that likes to hear himself talk. And, for the record I’m shocked that he spent time talking about Notre Dame. He usually wastes a minimum of 20 minutes espousing USC propaganda.

    And am I the only one that remembers how he was such a dick to CNS?

    Here’s a thought for Colin Cowherd….

    Defensive players aren’t that smart? Right. Tell that to Myron Rolle, Kevin Carter, Troy Polamalu, DeMeco Ryans and Tom Landry.

    What Cowturd is doing is making an excuse for Notre Dame and Charlie Weis. The issue for Notre Dame is that they want to be a contender for national championships, yet they refuse to allow championship caliber talent to attend Notre Dame.

    Notre Dame could recruit better players if they reduced their admission standards. This, after all, is what Paul Horning was trying to say several years ago, only he was too stupid to choose his words. Hmm. Maybe if he had been a liberal arts major at Bama he would know how to make a point without sticking his foot in his mouth. Alas, it’s fun to see Notre Dame mired in mediocrity. They deserve it.

    Cowherd is the typical liberal. Liberals love to villify stereotypes until they want to use them to make a point. Cowherd needs to be reminded that ESPN would be better, but it can’t recruit real on-air talent for the mid-day radio show because most talk show hosts from LA have their head up their ass.

  9. 11

    You’re absolutely right. If the academic standards at Notre Dame were lowered — they could get some big time recruits in there — some of these colleges need to realize that a lot of the 4 and 5 star recruits — let’s face it — are there to play football and football only. There main goal is to also get to the next level. Hell — I’ll go out on a limb and say EVEN IF VANDERBILT lowered their standards — they wouldn’t be the doormat of the SEC EAST every year — they would actually be able to recruit in their own state as well as GA and even AL. Oh well — they’ll figure it out one day — or then again — maybe I don’t want them to figure it out — all those yankee suckasses will vote Notre Dame so high in the polls — it will have your head spinning.

  10. 12

    This story is inconsistent on RR’s recruiting with every other parent, coach and player account of it. Honestly, a high school coach from Ohio smearing Michigan’s head coach… 2 and 2 make 4.

    And I really think that Michigan’s troubles are ending. The defense looks to be similarly inept, but hopefully some more experience shines through with nine returning starters. As for the offense, two and three year starters are going to be fully immersed in the offense and maybe the offense will do better without a walk-on or true freshman at quarterback.

    Nobody thinks that Rodriguez is an asshole.

    Every single person with an influence in the program has repeatedly supported him. The President, AD, and major boosters have issued multiple statements of support.

    Michigan is notoriously slow to fire anyone, their previous basketball coach made it six years without making the NCAA’s, even when it appeared after year four that it would not get done.

    Rodriguez is being smeared by local journalists, the allegations of violations have been proven false (yet the national media does not or will not pick up on it.)

    Rodriguez recruits “athletes” from Florida such as freshman Denard Robinson who was recruited and signed late in the process, head-to-head with Florida, among numerous players. The running theme is that Michigan is not recruiting local in-state players, instead recruiting more players with “SEC speed” from Florida and Texas. One poster has it dead on, the Big Ten and Michigan need to play more of its great recruits on defense, but apparently it’s not happening.

    Michigan will be successful if Rodriguez has multiple three and four year starters in 2011. The question is if they’ll be patient enough.

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