Rodriguez: Spring game at the Big House, no 3-3-5
Michigan head coach Rich Rodriguez confirmed yesterday that the Wolverines were planning to hold a spring game at Michigan Stadium in April. He also talked about the search for a defensive coordinator, his preferred base defense and more …
Rodriguez shared several thoughts with Michigan professor and author John U. Bacon on Bacon's local radio show. Among them … that the Big House renovations wouldn't prevent a spring game this year.
"It looks like we'll be able to get a spring game in Michigan Stadium April 11," he shared.
The Wolverines played their final spring scrimmage in miserable weather at Saline High School last year.
On the defensive coordinator search and base defense he'd like to play, Rodriguez said he's still looking for the right guy … to run a 4-3 base with odd-man front looks at times.
"The process is very early right now," said Rodriguez. "I've talked to some guys on the phone, gathering information on things. I've talked to guys on the current staff. I'm going to take time with it, not going to rush into what I want to do defensively.
"The coordinator is a concern whether it's in house or out of house, and I also want to make sure to leave all doors open. The national coaches convention is next week, there will be 5,000-plus coaches. I'll see guys there. There are still bowl games and NFL games to be played. I want to leave all options open for the for best fit not only for the University of Michigan, but for what we have our team, recruiting and our current staff."
Today's offenses dictate that defense be multiple, he noted.
"You can't just be a 3-4 guy or a 4-3 guy. At West Virginia we ran a 3-3-5 base, which was a little different. We'll maintain here the 4-3, 3-4 principle," he insisted. "We did a lot of 3-4 stuff in our second- and third-down packages this year, and we'll continue to do more four-man and odd front.
"I know what I want to do philosophically, but I don't want to change everything because of what we have on our team and what we've recruited so far. Our full-time defensive coaches, Jay Hopson, Tony Gibson and Bruce Tall … I've coached with Bruce and Tony for several years, Jay this past year but I've known him for several years … all have been college coordinators, so they've got a lot of experience in the 4-3 and 3-4 packages. They get along great, they are good people and they are going to be involved in which direction we want to go."
• On recruiting: "The recruiting part most of it is very enjoyable. I love the home visits, I love going to the schools, having them on campus all those things. I love building the relationships.
"The hard part about recruiting is what you can't control. There will be rumors on the internet that aren't even close to being true, or people will do negative recruiting and say things about your school or staff. That's the part that's frustrating.
"[The Internet] has changed it quite a bit. It's not all bad, at least more information is available for prospects and their families to research. The bad thing is the rumor mill about recruiting. Sometimes kids or parents take it to heart what's being said or written. A lot of recruiting sites do a great job, at least present solid information. The rumor mills are things you have to deal with, but society today, and as a coach and parent you have to be ready for it."
• On recruiting and the seven early enrollees: "We're excited about the way recruiting is going; it's going very, very well. But the true measure will be in two or three years after they've had a chance to develop and learn the system.
"You have to put some perspective on guys after you sign them that it was a fun process, a difficult process in some respects, but you still have to realize they will be freshmen in college … even though you might be built up as the next Herschel Walker or Tom Brady, you have to earn your stripes.
"We don't make them [enroll early], but if they graduate early and want to move on, it's the right fit, I think it's a good situation. They get a head start on the degree, ahead on the winter strength program and spring practice."