Observations of Coach Rodriquez' First Year at Michigan
Observations on Coach Rod's First Year at Michigan-December 17, 2007 to December 31, 2008
1-Lloyd Carr resigned on November 19, 2007 following 13 seasons as head coach, but ending an era from 1969-2007 at Michigan that included a national championship in 1997, 21 Big Ten titles and a record 33 bowl games in a row (1976-2008) with Coaches Schembechler, Moeller and Carr. In Carr's final game, he engineered an upset over higher ranked Florida and their Heisman winner, Tim Tebow on January 1, 2008 and earned the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year. Carr was hired by Schembechler in 1980 after working as Moeller's assistant at Illinois in 1978 and 1979.
That was a tough act to follow for Coach Rod; however, a 3-9 season was not what Michigan fans anticipated, expected nor were satisfied with. We all know the talent left by Carr could have resulted in at least a 6-6 season, and a bowl game. So, from a win-loss standpoint, it was less than fans, players, coaches and alumni expected. For example, Carr's recruiting classes for 2004 and 2005 were nationally ranked in the Top 5 and his classes for 2006 and 2007 were ranked in the Top 10.
2-Relationships under Coach Rod have been a big problem. He has had new recruits and a new coach added during his short tenure leave his supervision, and the Michigan football program.
List of Transfers/Decommitments/Resignations
Decommits/Transfers/Resignations School/Status

Babb, Zion

Barnes, Jordan

Beaver, Shavodrick

Boren, Justin

Butler, Carson

Transfer to ???

Oklahoma State


Ohio State

Green Bay Packers-undrafted free agent, cut, Detroit Lions

Campbell, Will

Chambers, Artis

Ciulla, Jeremy


Transfer to Ball State

Wasn't asked back for 5th year

Clemons, Toney

Evans, Marell

Feagin, Justin

Transfer to Colorado

Transfer to ???

Dismissed from Team

Fera, Anthony

Graves, Pearlie

Helmuth, Vince

Hill, Taylor

Penn State

Texas Tech

Transfer to ???

Kent State

Horn, Avery

Jones, DeQuinta

Kates, Jason

Transfer to ???


Transfer to ???

Mallett, Ryan

McGuffie, Sam

McNeal, Bryce




Mitchell, Alex Wasn't asked back for 5th year
Newsome, Kevin Penn State

O'Neill, Dann

Patilla, Quinton

Peace, DeWayne

Western Michigan

Grand Valley


Shafer, Scott

Slocum, Marques

Threet, Steven

Resigned, DC at Syracuse

Grades/Conflict with Coach Rod

Arizona State

Wermers, Kurt

Wienke, John

Transfer to Ball State/Academically Ineligible


Wilson, Christian

Witherspoon, Marcus

North Carolina


Coach Rod's 1st recruiting class of 25 players has had 5 recruits leave the team to transfer (Hill, Witherspoon, O'Neill, Wermers and McGuffie) with one recruit dismissed from the team (Feagin) for disciplinary reasons, at least four players disciplined as a result of criminal charges and/or convictions (Cissoko, Grady, Milano and Stonum) while and at least two other recruits have publicly discussed transfer possibilities (Cox and Smith). Let us not forget the record of 11 decommitments (Barnes, Beaver, Campbell, Fera, Graves, Jones, McNeal, Newsome, Peace, Wienke and Wilson) with one recommitment (Campbell), and the transfers of 10 players recruited by Coach Carr and staff (Babb, Boren, Chambers, Clemons, Evans, Helmuth, Horn, Kates, Mallett and Threet) including a coaching change (Shafer). Players who were on the Spring 2009 roster that didn't report for Fall, 2009 include: Elias Kos, Lawrence Perry and Jim Potemba. Other players who have left the team prior to exhausting their eligibility include Butler, Ciulla, Mitchell and Slocum. Who is next?
2009 Decommitments
Defections Don't Faze Coach Rod
Helmuth, Evans latest to leave
3-Legal issues have been a big problem! On July 9, 2008 shortly before the season was about to begin, Coach Rod settled the lawsuit filed against him by West Virginia, and Michigan agreed to pay $2.5 million of his $4 million dollar buyout. He is obligated to finish the buyout by January, 2010. These legal issues clouded a successful start because he chose to litigate rather than settle, and fueled the West Virginia animosity towards him when he left. He had to address the "smear campaign" on January 17, 2008. He could have avoided much of the negativity by settling things early on. He didn't even sign the contract offered to him until October 24, 2008, after 10 months after being introduced as the new head coach at Michigan and after 8 games were played into the season which also led to speculation he may leave Michigan to take a job at Clemson. There was similar speculation in 2006 when he almost left West Virginia to take the Alabama head coaching job, and that did not endear him to West Virginia fans either. Many of these things are his responsibility and could have been avoided had he made different decisions to avoid the negative publicity.
4-Recruiting has suffered under Coach Rod. Michigan has historically built its football program with top recruits in Michigan, Ohio and Illinois. He has been out recruited in his home state by Dantonio from Michigan State for in-state talent; 9 of the Spartans 17 commitments are from Michigan compared to only 3 of 20 for the Wolverines. Dantonio has 6 of the Top 10 in Michigan. Also, Dantonio has no decommitments as compared to 9 decommitments from Rodriquez. Two of the top ten Michigan recruits are heading to Ohio State, and one of those two publicly criticized Coach Rod for ignoring Michigan talent. He hasn't recruited well in Ohio with Tressel out-recruiting him, and gaining support for recruits to go somewhere other than Michigan. We have commitments of 3 players in Ohio out of their top 50. In Illinois, Coach Zook is retaining much of the talent there, and we only have one recruit committed from Illinois. Our chief rivals, Ohio State, Notre Dame and Michigan State are out recruiting us in Michigan, Ohio and Illinois as well as nationally. We are currently ranked #3 in the Big Ten by Scout in recruiting, and we could finish as low as #5 in the Big Ten behind Ohio State, Penn State, Illinois and Michigan State. We are now losing players to Tulsa and Central Florida that we have never lost in previous years. At this writing, we have 18 commitments, and 8 de-commitments. Coach Rod has also been criticized for stealing other school's commitments (a.k.a. "snake oil" commitments).
Snake Oil commitments
Commitment Decommitment School

Barnum, Ricky

Floyd, J.T.

Hill, Taylor




Omameh, Patrick

Roundtree, Randy



Shaw, Michael

Stokes, Je'Ron

Penn State


Coach Rod failed to gain the commitment of Terrell Pryor in 2008 and Kevin Newsome in 2009 to engineer his spread offense. The only place he is recruiting well is in Florida with Coach Frey laying all the groundwork for success there. We have had more de-commitments than ever before losing Jordan Barnes, Shadrovick Beaver, Anthony Fera, Bryce McNeal, Kevin Newsome, DeWayne Peace, etc.
Team Rivals Scout Commitments Ones Coach Rod wanted, but couldn't secure commitments
Ohio State 2 1 24 Jackson/Fragel/Bell/Berry/Hall/Fellows/Simon/etc.
Penn State 23 9 25 Newsome/Fera/Gress/etc.
Michigan 7 13 20 Barnes/Beaver/McNeal/Peace/etc.
Notre Dame 21 20 17 Evans/Martin/Watt/Bullard/etc.
Illinois 29 32 21 Drummond/Carradine/Buckner/etc.
Michigan State 19 36 14 Sims/Baker/Treadwell/Norman/etc.
Minnesota 41 42 18
Wisconsin 38 48 19
Purdue 63 59 18
Indiana 55 64 15
Iowa 67 72 12
Northwestern 58 73 17
Notice that two of the three commitments are quarterbacks who choose not to engineer Coach Rod's spread offense. One would also think that top wide receivers in the nation would be flocking to Michigan to participate in such a potent offense; however, the opposite is true. None of the top 40 wide receivers rated by Scout with 4 or 5 star ratings have committed to Michigan. Rivals had only one 4 star prospect commit to Michigan, Cameron Gordon, out of 45 who are listed as 4 or 5 star prospects. Why are so many quarterbacks and wide receivers reluctant to come to Michigan, and be a part of Coach Rod's spread offense???
Mic McCabe's Michigan Top 50: MSU gets 7 of Top 10 and 10 of Top 20; Michigan gets 2 of Top 10 and 4 of Top 20
Lemming: MSU could have better class than Michigan--First time in 20 years
5-Team leadership has been lacking under Coach Rod! We had one incident of vocal leadership this year at halftime of the Wisconsin game by Terrence Taylor, and we won that game in the second half. Other than that, we have not had great team leadership by coaches or by players.
6-New traditions have permeated his first year. Weekly captains, a new strength & conditioning program under Coach Barwis, the Wolverine walk, etc. Some of these new traditions are good while others are questionable. The weekly captain idea has its merits; however, the 128 year tradition of naming captains prior to the season is a tradition that, in my opinion, should not have been changed. How familiar is Coach Rod with Michigan traditions, and does he care?
7-Public relations have been a problem under Coach Rod. We all appreciate the openness during press conferences on many issues rather than the years of Carr, Moeller and Schembechler keeping secrets on player injuries and other issues. Unfortunately, there is also a price to pay for openness, and that is a higher level of scrutiny from reporters, plus rumor and perception problems with fans.
There are always going to be discipline incidents like the Stonum and Grady DUI charges and Milano aggravated assault charge; however, team camraderie and chemistry have been damaged by the lack of consideration of public relation issues by Coach Rod.
The good news is that Jim Carty will be writing fewer negative stories about Michigan football in the Ann Arbor News since he's in law school at Toledo.
8-Defensive coaching schemes have failed under Coach Rod. He is not a defensive coach, and takes a "hands off" approach to his defense. Then, it is obvious by the resignation of Coach Shafer with the "tongue in cheek" comments about taking blame for the demise of Michigan football, Coach Rod blames the defensive problems on others while not taking responsibility or accountability himself. It doesn't matter whether we use a 3-3-5 or 4-3-4 scheme to stop runnning and/or passing games, the bottom line is our defense is terrible and not respected any more. Was there an agreement not to criticize Michigan? Is Coach Rod "thin-skinned?" Shafer's interview after the Illinois game where he admitted he was outcoached may have led to his demise as defensive coordinator as well as the Purdue debacle.
Candidates for Defensive Coordinator School/Team
Hobson, Jay Michigan
Tucker, Mel Cleveland Browns
Williams, Gregg Jacksonville Jaguars
Johnson, Pepper New England Patriots
Hudson, Greg East Carolina
Steele, Kevin Alabama
McNeill, Ruffin Texas Tech
Wommack, Dave Georgia Tech
Orlando, Todd Connecticut
Brown, Steve Kentucky
Bumpas, Dick TCU
Fowler, Bruce Vanderbilt
Greg Robinson named Defensive Coordinator on January 20, 2009
Rodriquez in no hurry
Seto takes DC at USC
Ferentz to Cleveland Browns?
Orgeron to Tennessee
Walker to New Mexico State
Chavis to LSU
Steele to Clemson
Big East Defensive Coordinators to Head Jobs?
Rhodes to Iowa State
Rocky Long to San Diego State
Rumor Mill
Coaching Carousel 2009
Coaching Carousel 2008
9-Offensive coaching schemes have failed under Coach Rod. His stubborn insistence on implementing his "spread offense" his way rather than adapt his offense to available players has resulted in one of the worst offenses in the nation in 2008. Although Coach Rod has been a successful offensive coach at Tulane, Clemson and West Virginia with his offensive coordinator, Calvin Magee; they have not proven their competence at Michigan to date.
10-Rodriquez is 45, and approaching his second year a head coach at Michigan. We all wish him the best including a successful second season leading the Michigan football program. I don't believe in the motto created by "blind" Michigan football fans choosing to create support with "In Rod We Trust." When people make excuse after excuse for someone, and continue to offer explanations for problems and mistakes, that is called "enabling." If Coach Rod is to be successful at Michigan, he'll need to earn his success rather than have excuses made for him when success is lacking. It is nice that Rick Leach, Desmond Howard and other former Michigan players support him, but in the end his success will be earned rather than wanting and hoping for his success.
Former Michigan Coaches/Players-Possible Future Coaches
Former Player/Coach Current School/Team Area of Coaching
Anderson, Erick n/a n/a
Anderson, Kurt Eastern Michigan Tight Ends
Austin, Teryl Arizona Cardinals Defensive Backs
Bedford, Vance Florida Defensive Backs
Brown, Corwin Notre Dame Defensive Coordinator
Cameron, Cam Baltimore Ravens Offensive Coordinator
Campbell, Erik Iowa Wide Receivers
Cartwright, Kit Winnepeg Blue Bombers n/a
DeBord, Mike Seattle Seahawks Offensive Line
Elliot, Bob San Diego State Defensive Coordinator
Elston, Mike Cincinnati Tight Ends
English, Ron Eastern Michigan Head Coach
Fisher, Jim Ashland Tight Ends
Goodwin, Harold Pittsburgh Steelers Offensive Line
Hankwitz, Mike Northwestern Defensive Coordinator
Harbaugh, Jim Stanford Head Coach
Harbaugh, John Baltimore Ravens Head Coach
Heater, Chuck Florida Defensive Coordinator
Herrmann, Jim New York Jets Linebackers
Hoke, Brady San Diego State Head Coach
Holloway, Mike Ohio Wesleyan Head Coach
Ingram, Jerald New York Giants Running Backs
Jackson, Fred Michigan Running Backs
Loeffler, Scot Detroit Lions Quarterbacks
Mallory, Curt Illinois Defensive Backs
Mallory, Doug LSU Defensive Backs
Mallory, Mike New Orleans Saints Special Teams
Malone, Terry New Orleans Saints Tight Ends
Mattison, Greg Baltimore Ravens Linebackers
McNulty, John Rutgers Offensive Coordinator
Miles, Les LSU Head Coach
Moeller, Andy Baltimore Ravens Offensive Line
Morrison, Steve Western Michigan Defensive Coordinator
Parrish, Stan Ball State Head Coach
Ray, Marcus Central Michigan Graduate Assistant
Shafer, Scott Syracuse Defensive Coordinator
Sheridan, Bill New York Giants Linebackers
Stobart, Chuck Ohio State Retired
Stripling, Steve Central Michigan Defensive Line
Szabo, Steve Colgate Linebackers
Trgovac, Mike Carolina Panthers Defensive Coordinator
Uzelac, Elliott St. Joseph HS Head Coach
Vanderlinden, Ron Penn State Linebackers
Wheatley, Tyrone Eastern Michigan Running Backs