Michigan Coach Rich Rodriguez Comments on Rivarly

Michigan Coach Rich Rodriguez Comments on Rivarly
Rich Rodriguez

Michigan Coach Rich Rodriguez Comments on Rivarly

Jim Tressel made the Michigan game a priority when he arrived in Columbus back in 2001. But Michigan Head Coach Rich Rodriguez is focused on his team’s transition and doesn’t see one rivalry game being more important than the other two.

By Steve Patterson

Three Rivals for Michigan

    Ohio State Head Coach Jim Tressel came to Ohio State with the intent of making the Michigan game a game to prepare for all season and to count down the days until the Game each year. Rich Rodriguez is of a different opinion. “Obviously you don't coach or live in Michigan without understanding the rivalry games, and we're a little unique from the standpoint that Big Ten rivalries to our fans obviously are Ohio State, Michigan State and Notre Dame. You hear about them all the time. I still have on my desk from the first day I got the job a "Beat Ohio State" button, so not like I needed to be reminded about that.”

All Games Count

    Comparing the Ohio State game to Michigan State and Notre Dame might seem odd to Ohio State fans by Coach Rodriguez doesn’t believe in treating the games any different. “But I do think it's fun. I'm not a coach that has a countdown to a particular game other than the game that's next, but there's nothing wrong with that. I think some folks think it's a great motivator.”

The Carr to Rodriguez Transition

    He did acknowledge that Michigan is in a transition period moving from a more Pro formation system to the West Virginia wide open offensive plan. “I've been focused on what's the next day and what's the day after that so I try not to get too far ahead, especially now I think everybody understands we have so much work to do and change in the systems, and the transition, if you look too far ahead, you'll stumble your way early getting the right stuff. It's a process we're in.”

Wolverine Fans want to Beat Ohio State

    Some fans of Michigan understand the rivalry, Coach Rodriguez discusses. “I want to enjoy the process and our players understand the process. Do I understand the rivalry? You have to be deaf not to hear about it every day, and our players hear about it every day. I think it's funny. It's obvious we've got some work to do, Ohio State has had tremendous success in the last several years, and Jim has done and the staff have done a great job and they're a top five team. They've been in the top five for several years now, but those are easy games as coaches when you're getting ready to play that week that's an easy game to it use for a team motivator because they hear about it all the time. I hear fans say well, Coach, if you just win one game, it's the Ohio State game, we'll be happy.”

    But he feels the game is not a do or die situation for his new team. “I don't believe that; I'm not going to be happy. I'll be happy with that one but not the other ones, so we talk about it, but nothing in particular significant for just one team all the time. Our guys hear about it.”

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