Can State Take Advantage of UM's Risky Moves?

With UM's sacking of their entire coaching staff, MSU has a golden opportunity to level playing field by forging strong bond with area high school coaches and gain an edge in recruiting.

EAST LANSING - Changes in the coaching staff at the University of Michigan take place about once every other decade.

The legendary Bo Schembechler's success brought about a stability that few programs enjoy and along with that, domination in the recruiting battles with rival schools, including Notre Dame, Michigan State and Ohio State.

But the announcement that Lloyd Carr would step down coupled with all the uncertainty that followed in UM's search for a successor may have created a perception that the stability UM has enjoyed is fracturing.

The hire of former West Virginia head coach Rich Rodriguez and the surprising announcement today that he would not retain any of Carr's former staff has made the situation seem even less stable.

Unless Rodriguez changes his mind and retains at least a few of UM's former coaches, the strong ties they've forged with area high school coaches and recruits is gone.

Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio has downplayed the whole situation at UM, stating his reaction to Rodriguez's hire was that "We are Michigan State."

Courtesy of BigTen Network

That, no doubt, is a wise approach, but you can be sure Dantonio knows exactly what's going on in Ann Arbor.

The question is, can MSU take advantage of the breach in what should have been a bridge between the incoming and outgoing coaching staff to make hay in the recruiting process?

There are a few UM recruits who appear uncertain despite their public remarks and rightly so, will the new staff honor the previous staffs offers or will they rescind some, and if so, which ones?

Brandon Moore, TE, Trotwood-Madison: Moore said it's always been his dream to play at Michigan, but he was not recruited by the incoming UM staff at WVU. Will they honor his commitment or will they look in a different direction? MSU's staff has been strong in Ohio including at Trotwood-Madison. Could they convince Moore to take a look or would they even elect to try?

Nick Perry, DE, Detroit King: The Spartans hold a slight lead over several other programs including Miami, USC and ironically, Perry was at least a little bit interested in West Virginia. But how would his talents translate in the "Odd Stack" defense that Rodriguez runs? With just three down linemen, Perry could see himself double-teamed repeatedly.

It would seem that Perry could smoothly transition into the role Jonal Saint-Dic played this offseason with tremendous results for a player of his physical talent. His MHSAA record thirty-six quarterback sack would look pretty good in Green-and-White.

A commitment from Perry could tilt a few uncommitted prospects to take a long look at the Spartans.

Mike Martin, DT, Detroit Catholic Central: Martin was one of the few players who admitted that he would be willing to look around due to the uncertainty at Michigan. Ironically, O'Neill told's Allen Trieu that he was planning to visit West Virginia, but now that Rodriguez is in Ann Arbor, he's "not going to take anymore." A player as saavy as Martin is will likely want to make sure he has options.

Boubacar Cissoko, CB, Detroit Cass Tech: The Cass Tech coaching staff wasn't at all happy about the decision to see the entire assistant coaching staff sacked by Rodriguez, but as of this writing, Cissoko, who's never really warmed up to Michigan State, was planning a visit to Penn State. How about an unofficial visit to MSU?

More importantly than any one recruit, it's the relationships that can be forged at this time, that'll be more important to Michigan State, not just now, but in future recruiting battles with Michigan that are inevitable.

The hire of a coach like Rodriguez who runs a spread option at a school like Michigan, who's been a traditional style offense is risky? The move to fire the entire established UM staff is risky?

Michigan made the move to hire an "innovative" coach like Rodriguez due in large part to their failure against Ohio State, but could the move backfire and cause a switch in power in state?

That's what all Spartans fans are hoping.

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