What kind of effect will Rich Rodriguez, Michigan's new football coach, have on the Big Ten?
Very positive. Rodriguez will bring in a spread option offense that will be a change-of-pace for Michigan and will attract a different breed of athlete to Ann Arbor.
For example, he will bring in a different type of quarterback, perhaps a Terrelle Pryor instead of a Ryan Mallett, someone with great athleticism, like Pat White at West Virginia or Juice Williams at Illinois.
Pryor is a priority. Rodriguez recruited the senior from Jeannette, Pa., for West Virginia. But Pryor, who liked Rodriguez a lot, appeared to be more interested in Ohio State. Now Michigan is in the mix.
The spread offense is the latest glamour offense in college football, as the T-formation, split-T, wishbone and double wing before it. It has been effective wherever it has been introduced...Florida, West Virginia, even Northwestern.
One of Rodriguez' first steps was to rehire Fred Jackson, who was former coach Lloyd Carr's running backs coach and an excellent recruiter. Jackson will help to bring great athletes to Michigan to implement the new offense.
That's one of the reasons why Tuscola quarterback John Wienke decided to de-commit from Michigan and opt for Iowa. He is a Mallett-type, pro-style quarterback, tall and strong but immobile. He doesn't fit into Rodriguez' new offensive scheme.
Most of all, Rodriguez brings an injection of fresh blood to the stodgy and wrinkled Big Ten, which has fallen behind the SEC, Pac-10 and Big 12 among the dominant football conferences in the nation. His arrival, along with the emergence of Ron Zook at Illinois, could signal the beginning of a new era.