Transcript: Rich Rod Speaks at Cap One

The day before Rich Rodriguez was scheduled to take the helm of the Michigan program, he took the time to field questions from reporters about his systems, how the current crop of players (and specifically Ryan Mallett) fit into them, where things stand with his staff, and much much more.

Question: Rich can you talk about maybe what you will watch today and how you look at this game?

Rich Rodriguez: “Yeah, I am basically just a fan today. I will do a little bit of evaluating. I was able to watch a couple of practices. Coach Carr let me come by and see some of the guys a little bit. I tried to stay in the background. I didn’t want to be a distraction and be a focus for this. Because this certainly is not my bowl game and so I am here with the family more as a fan and rooting on the Wolverines.”

Question: You going to coach in your head at all?

Rich Rodriguez: “No, naw. I brought my hat to wear in case it rains. I am just going to watch. I am probably going to sit in the stands with my family in the first half and maybe go down on the field for second half.”

Question: Is this at all uncomfortable for you when it is Lloyd’s team?

Rich Rodriguez: “Yeah it would if I tried to intrude that is why I am not going to try and intrude. Again, I am just going to stay completely out of it. I was over at the hotel and saw a couple of guys last night, but I purposely stayed away because this is Lloyd’s team, this is his last game and I am sure that the guys will play hard for him.”

Question: Do you know the fight song yet?

Rich Rodriguez: “Oh yeah. I got it on my ring tone on my phone. I don’t want to sing it right now. My wife has been signing it all morning and my kids have it on their ring tones, so they are excited.”

Question: Is your staff completed yet?

Rich Rodriguez: “Not completely. I have obviously some in mind. When all the bowl games are over, I will completely it, probably within the week.”

Question: Will Fred (Jackson) be the only guy that is coming back?

Rich Rodriguez: “That has yet to be determined.”

Question: So it is still a possibility that you could add another guy?

Rich Rodriguez: “Still a possibility, but again, to be fair to everyone, I met with all the guys. They were very good and very professional about it and obviously, I am very loyal to the staff that I had West Virginia. There are several of them coming with me and several others possibilities from other schools.”

Question: Has your only dialogue with Lloyd been that first day when you guys talked near the office or have you had more since then?

Rich Rodriguez: “No. We have had several conversations before that and a couple of conversations after that. Again, I have not talked to him since they have been down here, but that has been on purpose.”

Question: Did you attend practice?

Rich Rodriguez: “Yes, attended practice for a couple of days. I met with all the staff, both the position coaches and support staff. Met with every one of them for a brief time before I left and went a little house hunting as well.”

Question: Are you going back tonight or going into the office tomorrow or when you going?

Rich Rodriguez: “I am going to go back tomorrow, pack up, and then either Thursday afternoon or Friday, I will be in Ann Arbor for good.”

Question: How soon will you have one on ones sit downs with the players?

Rich Rodriguez: “Next week.”

Question: Obviously there NFL decisions that they have to make quickly. Are those guys you going to talk to quicker?

Rich Rodriguez: “Yeah I have already talked to a couple of guys that have put in the paperwork to see where they will be evaluated, already gotten called back. Talked to those guys individually before then and we will talk to them again next week.”

Question: Has there been any trepidation on how they fit into your offense?

Rich Rodriguez: “No I don’t think so. I mean there is a lot of anxiety any time there is a transition. I think this is understandable. I have been through this before. I think if the guys give us a chance, give the staff a chance. I think there is more of the unknown, particularly when you bring a lot of new coaches in. Well they are like do we have to prove ourselves all over again. I think that is always the case anyways. The response we have gotten so far has been really positive. I am looking forward to really next week when I get one on one with a lot of the guys.”

Question: Ryan Mallett has been pretty open about not sure that he is a fit. What would you say to him?

Rich Rodriguez: “Well I have talked to Ryan twice about it and told him that our offense system can really fit different skilled players on offense, whether you are a drop back guy or a multipurpose quarterback that can run and throw. He has got to see it. If he doesn’t, then that is his decision. We certainly hope he stays around. I think he is a talented young man who has got a lot of ability and we can fit our system to the best quarterback. But again the best guys will play and he will have to make the decision himself with what is best.”

Question: Are you sensing an excitement in your recruiting base with now your staff is going to Michigan?

Rich Rodriguez: “Yeah, you know we were off the recruiting things for a few days, waiting for the NCAA to clear us for a compliance standpoint. But now that we are back on it, Coach Gibson and myself, and really Fred Jackson have been doing most of the recruiting and there is a lot of excitement. Obviously, there is some anxiety from the recruits already that have committed that, do you know us, do you know how we fit and we have talked to them several times.”

Question: Given that there are already verbal commitments and you guys are honoring those, how many scholarships do you have left in this class?

Rich Rodriguez: “The plan was to get 23 beforehand, but I suspect we will probably sign a full class of 25, before it is all said and done.”

Question: Why did you pick Fred (Jackson). What appealed to you there?

Rich Rodriguez: “Well I knew about him a little bit beforehand and obviously his reputation as a recruiter and a position coach. He was highly recommended from several people and after a couple of interviews with him, I felt really comfortable with that. They got great coaches everywhere in the program, but a lot of it is the right fit. Maybe a guy would be a great coach to hire, but I have already got a guy to fit into the spot. In the transition, it helps to have guys that understand the system, the way you do things. Again my loyalties to my coaches at West Virginia, several of them are probably going to be joining me because of that loyalty that I have to them and them to me.”

Question: Is one of the coaches Calvin Magee?

Rich Rodriguez: “Yes.”

Question: Will your system work immediately?

Rich Rodriguez: “It helps with certain players. I think it is probably sometimes too much is made of schemes. Obviously, we are excited about our scheme, it has worked well in the past, but if you got good players that execute, in any scheme, you will have success. I will have a better understanding after spring practice. You know evaluating a couple of bowl practices and watching this game probably not going to give me the answer will these guys fit in this system. We will adapt. I like winning too much not to adapt a little bit to our personal. Eventually you get 3 or 4 years of recruiting you get guys that are perfect for what you want to do. But in the short term, we think that we probably have to adapt a little bit so that we can win immediately. Now that being said, it is going to be a tough transition that always is. I have been through this several times and the first year is the toughest and not only from a scheme standpoint, but also from a mentality standpoint and tempo standpoint how we run things.”

Question: What about the notion that the spread won’t work in the Big Ten?

Rich Rodriguez: “I think that is all been gone. I think people have been saying that for years. It looks like Illinois has had some success with it. I think Ohio State has had success with it. They ran the spread a few years ago. To me it is more about players executing than a certain system.”

Question: Now you said you were going to be a fan today, but would this be the weirdest football game you have every attended?

Rich Rodriguez: “Not really. I did the same thing seven years ago at West Virginia. I took over for my coach Don Nehlen and went to that game and that was the last time I went to a game as a fan and I hope this is the last time I go to a college game as a fan as well.”

Question: Did hey win?

Rich Rodriguez: “Yes they did. It was fun.”

Question: Are you hoping that the buyout situation works out quickly?

Rich Rodriguez: “I would hope so. I would hope so. I was obviously disappointed to read in the paper and see on the news that I was getting sued. I don’t think that is normal protocol, I didn’t think. Imagine my shock watching the game in the hotel with my family and my name comes across that ticker, getting sued for 4 million that wasn’t a good night (laughing).”

Question: How difficult is it dealing with the hard feelings back in WV?

Rich Rodriguez: “It has been difficult. It has been a little disappointing obviously because of the scope…a lot of folks have been terrific, the players have been terrific, a lot of the big boosters and supporters have been terrific. It has been a little disappointing in some of the things with the administration and some of the fans. The fans are just venting at times, but the scope of the I guess animosity has caught me a little off guard, but heck I am in a great place.”

Question: What did your lawyer say when you called him up and said what is with this suit?

Rich Rodriguez: “He was as surprised as I was. I had to hire me an attorney because I am not smart enough to fight that. A lot of that hopefully all of that will be resolved in the future.”

Question: How many days recruiting do you anticipate spending between now and signing day?

Rich Rodriguez: “Well once we are allowed on the road; we are in a dead period right now, but once we are allowed in the contact period, I will be on every day.”

Question: Do you feel that your appearance here will take away from Coach Carr’s finale?

Rich Rodriguez: “Yeah and that is the reason I have laid down. It will kick off in a minute or 2 because I do want the focus to be on Coach Carr and the guys. Again, this is not my bowl, I have not earned this position. I appreciate the interest in being the new coach and all that, but this should be about Coach Carr and what he has brought in his 13 years at Michigan and I know he has worked very hard to try to win this ballgame, but his legacy is set and I am here just to support him and the team.”

Question: How much do you think he will be involved in any transition?

Rich Rodriguez: “He has been very helpful. Again, I talked to him briefly a couple of times when I was on campus last week and he was very open and told me I could do whatever I wanted. But again, I do not want to get in the middle of this. I want Coach Carr to enjoy his finale and I think he has done that.”

Question: Can you give us some insight into your relationship with Coach Meyer?

Rich Rodriguez: “Yeah, Urban and I go way back. We have been friends for a long time before both of us were head coaches at the division 1 level. He actually called me as soon as he got the Bowling Green job and talked about installing the spread offense. He has had great success. Urban is an outstanding coach; he is good people.”

Question: With all the success that you and Urban have had with the spread do you find more competition when looking for dual threat quarterbacks on the recruiting trail?

Rich Rodriguez: “Yeah, but a lot of people are looking for those guys now. Even some of the teams that don’t traditional run the spread, they are selling these guys on they will change their offense if you come here. We try to go around with history saying that we have always done it. But you know we have had drop back guys that we have had success with. Nowadays if you can have a guy that does both, it gives you an extra dimension offensively.”

Question: When did it first occur to you? How did it begin its beginning?

Rich Rodriguez: “1991 at Glennville State College but there was about this many people who came to the game. It was kind of our little experimental laboratory and over the years we developed it and a lot of people have got a version of it. One spread is not like another spread. Again, it is more about good players and good system that execute. To me the appealing part to being at the University of Michigan is we think that we can recruit nationally for guys that not only will help us on the field, but understand the importance of a quality degree.”

Question: Did you talk at all to Coach Carr about stopping the spread?

Rich Rodriguez: “No. No. They got great coaches. We didn’t talk about x’s and o’s. We talked a little bit about the university, a little bit about staff and a little about what my limited role would be in this situation.”

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