The Big Bo Era (Bo, Mo, & Lloyd) ended at Michigan 3 years ago. The Rodriguez Era began. The Pro Power Set era was over; it had shown signs of fading. The Spread offense was in, brought by the master. Out with the old; in with the new.
Coach Rodriguez had been a success everywhere before. There would be no transition.
The change would be installed immediately. It was Rich Rod’s way or the highway. 25 players chose the highway. Even the weight lifting equipment was tossed.
He would run the spread, even if he lacked a quarterback to do it. He would run the spread without an offensive line. Offense was his forte.
Defense would be an issue; the secondary was weak and porous, and several star defensive linemen and linebackers had moved on to the pros. Recruiting had lagged a little the past few years of Coach Carr, but this was Michigan after all – the winningist program in college football history. Defense wouldn’t matter, because the explosive offense would rack up the points. It was time for the change. The baton would be passed seamlessly.
The predictions for success were made by those of us suffering from excessive exuberance. I predicted perhaps an 8-4 record. We were all wrong with the exception of Kirk Herbstreit, the ESPN broadcaster and former Ohio State quarterback. He predicted 3-9 or 4-8.
We scoffed at the Cassandra, but he spoke the truth.
He predicts 8-4 this year, and I will plagiarize his prophesy this time.
Coach Rodriguez went 3-9, losing to Toledo, 5-7, and 7-6. He lost three times each to Michigan State and Ohio State (by blowouts). The defense got progressively worse, setting records for futility. Denard Robinson may be an incredible QB, but you can’t score if you don’t get the ball. Wisconsin blew Michigan away last year, not throwing one pass in the second half because Michigan’s once fabled and feared defense could not stop the Badgers running game. The Coach recruited quickness out of Florida, almost all on offense.
Rich Rod was the wrong coach for Michigan – the fit wasn’t there.
Brady Hoke, perhaps the second coming of Bo, has arrived as the new head coach. He has brought with him two of the most respected defensive and offensive coordinators, Greg Mattison and Al Borges, in football.
This may not be a season of miracle. The defensive line and linebackers are suspect and the team lacks depth, especially on defense, but Notre Dame, Nebraska, and Ohio State play in Ann Arbor. The team is probably 2 years away from becoming a contender, but the Wolverines could start out 6-0, facing Western Michigan, Notre Dame, Eastern Michigan, San Diego State, Minnesota, and Northwestern, followed by Michigan State, Purdue, Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska, and Ohio State. The 5 toughest games should be Notre Dame, Michigan State, Iowa, Nebraska, and Ohio State. One win out of those five game should yield an 8-4 record.
A win against Ohio State would signal the second coming of Bo.