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Rich Rodriguez compares Michigan's struggles to Hurricane Katrina

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rich-rodriguez-hurricane-katrina.JPGUniversity of Michigan football coach Rich Rodriguez's team lost seven of their final eight games and missed out on a bowl for a second straight year. Add that to an August report and subsequent investigation that the second-year coach and his staff had a habit of exceeding NCAA time restrictions on practices and workouts, and you have a tumultuous year.

So tumultuous, in fact, that Rodriguez used the following analogy at a speech in lovely Livonia last night:

"It's really kind of ironic that the New Orleans Saints overcame the hurricane a few years back," Rodriguez said, referring to Hurricane Katrina, which damaged large sections of the Gulf Coast in 2005. "I used to live and coach in New Orleans for a couple years, and I know how devastated that city is and how they overcome and rebuild the stadium and rebuild the program.

"And we've had a few hurricanes of our own. We had a big hurricane in August, and it kind of hit us like a ton of bricks. But you had 120 young men and a bunch of people on the staff that said this is not going to tear our program apart.

Probably not the best comparison he could have drawn, but surely he didn't mean to offend anyone. But, you never know how these things are going to play out in our world.

Harmless lapse or blatantly offensive?

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Dear Sirs,

First let me say that I am a die hard Michigan Fan. My father played for Michigan 1947-50. I grew up going to all the games and although accepted, attended the US Naval Academy instead. My mother, brother and both sisters attended, I am an alumnus by financial means only and my oldest daughter has applied to U of M's School of Art and Design for 2010.

I fully support the efforts of Coach Rich Rodriguez.

The painful fact that most Michigan fans don't want to admit, that even in the "Bo" days, the program was average at best. 7-5, 8-4, 9-3, then get your butt kicked in a bowl game.

Lloyd Carr did less with more talent than any other coach in America. Yes they produced a lot of professionals, but is that the goal. The '07 Team, Coach Carr's last team, had 33% of that roster MAKE NFL rosters. That team went 9-4, with hallmark loses against the likes of Appalachian St, Oregon, Ohio St etc.

The fact is that Coach Carr left the program 14 scholarship athletes UNDER it's maximum. That's over half a recruiting class. Michigan fans say fire Coach Rodriguez. Fine do it. How many of the current young players would leave? Approximately 86 of the 122 scholarship positions are held by Freshman, Redshirt Freshman, Sophomore, and Redshirt Sophomores. If only 10 of the current athletes left, and I think that it would be far greater than that, whoever the incoming coach was, he would be saddled with such unrealistic goals, now being more than 1 full recruiting year behind and now with all the unrealistic expectations of winning placed upon him with again a depleted talent pool.

Coach Rodriguez has 1 recruiting class under his belt and in 1 years time brought an offense from one that could not get a first down last year to one that led the Big Ten for most of the year, laden with Freshmen and Sophomore players at the skill positions.

On defense Coach Rodriguez has been forced to artificially try and develop depth through the use of redshirts. The incoming class looks promising, it's a big recruiting weekend this weekend. It looks like a strong finish defensively in regards to recruits, especially with the uncertainty down at Notre Dame.

Bo was brought in after the unpopular firing of Coach Elliot who went 8-2 the year he was fired. It was unpopular and the ONLY thing that saved him was that he was able to win that first year in some critical games.

Coach Rodriguez's first year should be credited to Coach Carr. Threet and Sheridan would NEVER have taken a snap at Michigan or any other Divison I program under normal circumstances.

Fans say that he rushed his system in, that he should have played to the players strengths that he had on the roster. My rebuttal would be, name 1 coach at any level that didn't upon taking a job immediately and completely inject his system and personality into the program. To think that Coach Rodriguez would do otherwise would again be ignorant.

Michigan has been playing games with 18 and 19 year old kids against predominantly 22 and 23 year old kids. What a dream come true for those other schools. It will turn and it will turn quickly. Michigan fans just need to pull their head out of their posterior regions and admit that the good old days just weren't all that good.

Big Ten football is NOT respected in general around the country, by the powers of the other conferences. Big Ten bowl eligible teams will once again travel to far away places and once again most likely, display dismal performances to highlight the extremely uninteresting style of football played in the conference in general.

The culture at Michigan is changing. Those who went to the game saw great games other than 2. The record could have been a lot better than it was, and it will get a lot better quickly.

No coach can change a program yet a mediocre culture of football with one recruiting class.

The job had been offered to two people prior to Coach Rodriguez, so it wasn't like people were banging down the door to take this job in the first place. Want to really make the job unattractive, fire Coach Rodriguez.

The expectations are HUGE at Michigan. The contract needs to be allowed to run it's course. The kids will show up next year 15-25 lb heavier, a year's experience under their belts, red-shirts off, and a rich talent pool than this year.

Michigan fans need to realize that the program was NOT one envied by the rest of the country, but I think if they back off Coach Rodriguez and let him do his job, all indications are that it will be and quickly.

Tom Allis

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