Michigan athletic director David Brandon has repeatedly stated that he wants to see progress from Rich Rodriguez and the Michigan football team. Last season Michigan lost to Big Ten rival Ohio State by eleven, and following a thirty point blowout this year it's hard to make a case that progress has been made. The combined score of the three losses in the Rodriguez era is 100-24. You could watch grass grow and see more progress than Rodriguez has made in his three seasons as head coach. For Michigan alumni and fans, going 7-5 and qualifying for a second tier bowl game does not count as progress.
Rodriguez supporters cite an exciting offense as a sign of progress, and blame a poor defense and attrition as reasons for the recent struggles. Some fans feel Rodriguez just needs more time to get things turned around, yet Urban Myer and Jim Tressel both won national titles in their second seasons and Nick Saban won a title in his third. With a 6-18 record in three Big Ten seasons it does not seem like Michigan is headed in the right direction.
Yes, the offense is exciting and fun to watch at times. Denard Robinson has the ability to make electrifying plays, but can an offense largely built around one player provide long term success in the Big Ten? Rodriguez and the spread offense have seemed like a poor fit from the start in a conference built on being tough and physical. The defense has allowed the most points in Michigan football history. Special teams are atrocious, as evidenced by kicking the fewest field goals in division one football. Fielding an exciting offense is not enough to get the job done in the Big Ten. Michigan lost by double digits to every big, tough, physical team it played this year and only managed a meager seven points against the Buckeye's third ranked defense. Robinson set the single season rushing record for a quarterback and it was still not good enough to even come close to beating their primary rivals.
Jim Harbaugh, former Michigan quarterback and current coach at Stanford remains the primary candidate to replace Rodriguez. Harbaugh has shown the capability to turn a program around, taking the Stanford Cardinal from 1-11 before his hiring to 11-1 in his fourth season as head coach. Harbaugh's physical style, disciplined demeanor, and pro offense seem a perfect fit for the Wolverines and the rugged Big Ten. If anyone can turn things around at Michigan it is "captain comeback" Jim Harbaugh. Michigan needs to make the coaching change before Harbaugh takes another position and the program continues its recent decline. With a recruiting class currently ranked number twenty-seven on rivals and a seventh place finish in the Big Ten, it seems that progress is on the distant horizon unless changes are made soon. - Dr. David Silver
Dr. David Silver uses his skills as a practicing optometrist to see things clearly as it pertains to the world of football. A University of Michigan graduate, David can be found rooting for the Big Blue on Saturdays and the Dolphins on Sundays.
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