Spartan Nation 2009 Scouting Report: University of Michigan
Biggest Game: October 3, 2009 at Michigan State
Predicted record: 5-7 (2-6)
Projected Big Ten standing: 8th
Returning Starters: 15; OFFENSE10, DEFENSE 5, Lettermen return 51
Head Coach: Rich Rodriguez 2nd Season at UM Last Season: 3-9 Lifetime: 63-65
Top assistant: DC Greg Robinson
Number of Players on the All Spartan Nation Big Ten Team: Two DE Brandon Graham and RB Brandon Minor.
Analysis: I am fortunate to have traveled to West Virginia and got to know M Rod before he took over at UM. I understand the tenacity of the rivalry I certainly embrace it. I donâ€™t understand the hate that has been directed his way.
At the time I asked him about Mark Dantonio who was coaching at Cincinnati. He had nothing but praise for him both as a coach and a person. He and his wife are gracious and kind people who wonâ€™t be changed by the â€œCultureâ€ at UM. They are who they are and I admire them for that.
Some have chosen because of a blind hatred of UM to hate him based on Internet rumor and personal attack. I have chosen to dislike UM as a rival, but not dislike a man who I found personally to be hospitable and gracious. I certainly havenâ€™t agreed with all his decisions, but looking back at my life (and if you were honest with yourself about your life, you) I havenâ€™t always agreed with mine.
He came into the UM situation and was blunt to them that he was going to go full speed ahead into implementing his system. Something that the UM administration wanted and endorsed from the get go. He was ripped for it, but they knew what they were getting. He knew that there would be rough times and he didnâ€™t waver. There were several changes at UM that he was blamed for that he wasnâ€™t even aware of. Some of you will email and accuse me of becoming a UM slappy, but that certainly isnâ€™t true. I donâ€™t however make it a practice to wish ill will on good people.
He came into a tough situation. There is the UM insiders that wanted Les Miles and didnâ€™t get him. Those same insiders donâ€™t like the change from the UM way of football and havenâ€™t helped him. The rank and file fan likes his system and roots for him. I have heard separately from two different people who are VERY close to the program that if he doesnâ€™t get to a bowl game NOT NAMED Motor City Bowl that he may not be back.
As with all things in college sports now, dollars talk. UM has spent MILLIONS renovating the Big Hole and with them moving in next year, they canâ€™t afford a mutiny with that many dollars tied up in renovation and expansion. If the fan base turns and it gets ugly his tenure may be short.
He will have a freshman QB and although they will score some points, the defense was decimated. I disagree with his decision to remove the DC who has a scapegoat, but so be it.
This will be a tough season in Ann Arbor if my prediction comes true. I have them predicted to lose to MSU, Notre Dame and Ohio State again. If they lose to MSU, in what I am calling their biggest game, that would give (what I have been clamoring for) MSU wins and two straight seasons, and finally the Spartans will have turned this back into a real rivalry from the UM perspective.
The Wolverines lacked toughness and killer instinct last season and when punched in the gut, folded like a cheap skate at a poker table. M Rod was not pleased with that and toughness is something that they tried to implement from day one.
Again, I see this as a rough season for M Rod, but if he can survive until year three, I see the team making great strides. As a Spartan fan (removing my respect for M Rod) it will be fun to once again watch them struggle. It is nice to finally see the infighting and turmoil be in Ann Arbor and not here at home.
1.Western Michigan WIN
2.Notre Dame LOSS
3.Eastern Michigan WIN
5.at Michigan State LOSS
6.at Iowa LOSS
7.Delaware State WIN
8.Penn State LOSS
9.at Illinois LOSS
11.at Wisconsin LOSS
12.Ohio State LOSS