The good news is that my pride is intact. I fared pretty well in my bowl pick ‘em contest when LSU trounced the Buckeyes in the Championship game. (note to self: geaux back and erase any trace of support for the Tigers) The bad news is that I think University of Michigan is going to regret not hiring Les Miles. He has the passion needed to restore some of U of M’s image and bring some fire back into the program.
Maybe this is why Lloyd Carr never liked Miles. Carr is so reserved. Sure he’ll get a little feisty on the sideline if a defender misses a tackle and allows the runner to gain 40 yards. Or if the ref call pass interference on the defense when the receiver wasn’t even touched. But Carr and newly hired West Virginia coach Bill Stewart share that aw, shucks, good guy vibe. That’s not to say that I’m knocking either of them. I am thrilled to death that Bill Stewart will get to coach the Mountaineers. I have long held the belief that nice guys can finish first. But typically, they have to discover their mean side a bit before that’s going to happen. Lloyd Carr couldn’t reflect more positively on the school if he were Bo Schembechler himself. He’s a classy guy and he ran a clean program. And that’s important. But it lacked any pizzaz, any fire. And that’s what Miles brings to the Bayou and I think we’re missing out.
It’s too early for me to decide if Rich Rodriguez was the right hire. It’s true that Bill Stewart did a hell of a good job coaching WV in their bowl game, but let’s not kid ourselves. That was Rodriguez’s team that won. However, right now it doesn’t even look like U of M knows who their quarterback is, as Ryan Mallett is gone. I’m sure they’ll recruit someone, but that someone won’t be Patrick White. Now that kid is special. He is truly a threat with his arm and his legs. I know he won’t make it in the NFL as a quarterback, but I think he’ll come out as a wide receiver, a la Antwaan Randle El, and make a nice career for himself. Never-the-less, he won’t be at U of M. Truthfully, I don’t even know who was #3 on the Wolverines depth chart this year at QB. Whoever you are, you’re about to have the chance to start! Mallett had talent but also had an attitude and I’m not sad that he’s gone. He reportedly wouldn’t have fit well into Rodriguez’s spread offense so it’s not a huge loss. Props to my dad for predicting this early on during the 2007 season. But that should be priority #1 for Rodriguez; find a QB that makes your system look as good as White did.
Not only is Michigan losing both of their QB’s, they’re losing seniors Mike Hart, Jake Long and Shawn Crable and they’re potentially losing juniors Mario Manningham and Adrian Arrington. Oh, and Rodriguez’s first move at U of M? Firing all of the incumbent staff save for the running back’s coach. I’m not saying it was the wrong move, but I’m also not thinking that he falls asleep each night reading Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People. Once Richie Rich hires his new staff and sets out to solve that QB quandary, I might be able to evaluate his tenure a little better. I don’t think he was a bad hire; certainly a better fit than some of the names still being tossed around like Terry Bowden. And I, unlike some, don’t begrudge Rodriguez for leaving West Va for this opportunity. There aren’t too many opportunities bigger than coaching in the Big House. I just can’t help but wonder if Miles was Michigan’s perfect mate and they missed out by not stealing him away from the swamp.