Blog Entry

Rodriguez talks draft, college football, and more

Posted on: April 22, 2011 4:31 pm
Posted by Eye on College Football and Eye on Football

The CBS Sports Network is in the middle of their Inside College Football: Draft Special, a series running on the CBS Sports Network in the evening leading up to the NFL Draft. The show is hosted by Adam Zucker, and includes guest analyst Rich Rodriguez. Our television counterparts arranged for Rodriguez to spend some time talking to the Eye on College Football and Eye on Football bloggers. Here were some highlights from the call.

What he would be doing right now if he was in coaching

Rich Rodriguez: This is a time right after spring practice ends where you have all your exit interviews with your players. It's the final meeting before the end of the semester where you talk about everything. Talk about academics, what their plans are and all that. Usually as a head coach you meet with every single guy, and there's 100-some guys on a team, those meetings could take a whole week. That's one thing I missed because I really enjoyed those meetings. For me that was a get to know you even better deal, even for the guys who have been in the program 3 or 4 years. Then normally in May, for a head coach it's either a fundraising month or doing a lot of tape evaluating of future prospects in the offseason.

On differences in evaluating players coming into college and coming into the NFL

RR: There are certainly a lot of parallels between evaluating a high school guy on film and a college guy, I think the difference is you can get a lot more information and a lot more film on a college guy. A lot of times you've seen them play 2, 3, or 4 years. You've seen the results of workouts, you can work them out yourself, you can get a more thorough evaluation of the players. Obviously you need to because you are going to pay the guys.

On making the jump from the spread college offense to the NFL

RR: I think it's so overstated from a standpoint of this guy played in a spread in college so he's going to have a bigger adjustment. If you look at the success of guys in the last several years, I think it's irrelevant whether they came from spread system or pro-style. I mean Sam Bradford was the first pick in the draft, he played in a spread system and he did pretty well;. Colt McCoy played, Tim Tebow also played as a rookie, and they all came from spread systems. I think it's more rather how coachable a guy is, how quickly he can learn. Even if you come from a pro-style in college, you still are going to have to learn when you get to the NFL. You have to learn the terminology, the speed of the game; in my opinion if you are in the right kind of spread and get coached up it can actually help make the transition easier because you have to make quick, active decisions. The best quarterback in the NFL makes quick, accurate decisions. It's not so much whether he can take a three-step or a five-step drop under center.

On Blaine Gabbert

RR: I have not interviewed Blaine, but everything we hear from the coaching staff, from the guys who have talked to him in the interviews - he's very sharp guy. In that system he was in they ran a lot of no-back, and you have to make a lot of quick decisions, scan the field, use your eyes the right way. Everything I've seen of him on film and what I've heard from people who've talked to him he's a sharp guy in that regard. He probably is the maybe the most ready right now, even though he comes from a spread offense. He's still got a process a learn, but I don't think there is any question in my mind that he's going to be able to make it. You just hope that an organization doesn't throw him in there for the first day. Especially with everything right now; there is no rookie minicamp, no OTA's, so guys will have to learn even quicker without a lot of information. Makes it even more important that you have guys that are sharp and can learn pretty quick.

Adjustments for quarterbacks from college to NFL

RR: The speed of the game is going to be the biggest adjustment, and the windows that you can throw in. When you go from high school to college that window becomes smaller and quicker, when you go from college to pros the windows you can throw become tighter and you have to make a quicker decision. I think learning the terminology is the first thing, the second thing is understanding how fast, how timely you have to be with your throws. Whether you are coming from a pro-style or a spread style there's still that understanding.

Conversations with NFL personnel regarding players coming out

RR: There's a lot of guys you get to know in the 25 years - 18 of being a head coach - you get a certain comfort level with scouts and NFL coaches and I've always enjoyed that part of the process. I know some college coaches don't want the guys around practice, think they can be a distraction. I've always welcomed it because I think its obviously in like with the kids' goals. You get a scout watching practice, even during the season, I always thought it would add a little pep in their step. I've enjoyed in 25 years of talking to those guys getting a feel for what they want. At Michigan you always get a couple of them. Probably had the least amount of guys in the last three years than in the history of the school just because of the transition and having a lot of young players. Whether it was at Michigan, or West Virginia, or as an assistant at Clemson or Tulane, or even back in my days of Glenville State I've always had guys come over. They can watch the talent part on film, they can watch the talent part when they practice. Usually what they want to know is "is this guy coachable? Is this a good guy? Is this a guy that will be a positive to the organization?" I love talking about it because I've always had the guys that I thought were positive people that would be an attribute or asset to an organization.

Expectations of Pat White when he was entering the NFL

RR: He may not be an every down quarterback, but I thought Pat could be really good in the role of a specialized quarterback doing some what people call "Wildcat." I also thought he could play some receiver and do some returning, and I still think he could have. But you know he took a big hit, and that kind of probably made him re-evaluate things and think about baseball. But he was a phenomenal college player. Sometimes we can get misguided into thinking that players in college, their goal is prepping for the NFL. I think the goal in college is to be as good a college player as you can be. If you do that, I think that prepares you for the NFL. Pat was a phenomenal college player, as good as any I've seen or been around. I think he could have had a role in the NFL, but you know it's very very competitive. If you get dinged up or banged up a little bit, you kind of re-evaluate what you want to do.

Any regrets in hindsight jumping from West Virginia to Michigan

RR: You know that's a fair question, and I've been asked that before. I think it's easy to go back now and say, "Gee, made a mistake." And you can say that now because of hindsight. But at the time, some of the things I was looking to do and the opportunity that was there you kind of make the move. The frustrating part for us was that we thought we battled through the tougher times to get it to this point where we had a lot of the team coming back and we thought we were getting ready to take off, but you know hindsight is always easier to look back and say, "it was a mistake." Because we did have a good thing going at West Virginia, and we really enjoyed it. As you look back at it, wasn't the best move. Easy to say now.

Getting back into coaching

RR: We played the Gator Bowl, then when we were let go in January there wasn't a lot of coaching jobs that were available. I still love coaching, I'm open to another opportunity, but we'll see. Here, that window looks like it's closed, but if something comes open after this season, and it seems like it may be a good opportunity for me and someone is interested I'm sure I'll look into it.

If the spread has "peaked"

RR: Everything is cyclical, but I think the spread is not easily defined. I'm sure you've heard coaches say this before, there isn't one kind, just like there is not one pro-style. Even though a west coast offense is pretty much a west coast offense. When you see the spread now, you know us and other teams that were using it -- Oklahoma State, other - we're still using tight ends and fullbacks they were just in the shotgun a lot, using a lot of no-huddle. I think the spread has taken so many different forms on that it's kind of here to stay. You know you see a spread team use tight ends and maybe a fullback in the shotgun, you saw it with Green Bay in the Super Bowl. I think it's constantly evolving, I think even though they still call it a spread it's not like a "run n' shoot" type of spread. It's taken on so many forms and it's evolved in so many ways I think it's probably here to stay. In the NFL there is so much talk about pro-style but there's as many or more teams in the NFL that get in a shotgun. It's not easily defined, and that's probably why it's going to stay around a while.

Running the ball in the spread

RR: There's a difference between the spread at Oregon, Auburn, some of the ones we did, and then a so-called spread in the NFL. There's a lot more running involved, and I think that's two-fold: In the NFL your guys are so much faster on the front 7, they can chase things down. I think in college you can have a little more variety, guys can be a little more creative and run a different type of run scheme than you would in the NFL. I think at some point in the NFL I wouldn't be surprised if someone starts taking a third quarterback and making him be a quarterback that can run and throw a little bit, use him in all different ways.

On coaching in the NFL

RR: I haven't thought about it much until recently. Seems like college coaches are going to the NFL, and NFL coaches are coming back to college, so those lines have been blurred a little bit as far as working. It's still working with young men and helping them achieve their goals and being around football. I had never really thought about it much until recently, and now I've always been about "What are we going to do to win a national championship." But these last couple months have given me time to evaluate and it may be kind of fun with the right organization and the right people it probably would be pretty enjoyable to coach. But I really haven't researched it much or looked into it too much but I may have some time to do that now.

On his relationship with scouting services

RR: All these individual scouting services that were popping up- you know one DVD, three or four guys, we never got involved with that. There were a few scouting services that covered a whole state, or covered a whole region, and you paid a couple thousand dollars to get information and DVDs - we used to use them. But they weren't really big in our process. We relied more on high school coaches, film, and our assistant coaches to do the evaluating. You know a guy that's shopping one or two people around and asking for six to ten grand to get one DVD on him, there's something shaky anytime that comes up. We used to use scouting services that have a lot of tapes and a lot of information on occasion. Nowadays you don't even have to do that because you can get a lot of film off the internet. Whether it's on YouTube or one of the recruiting sites on the internet, you really don't need that to evaluate your prospects.

On any changes he would implement NCAA-wide for the game of football

RR: They need to have more coaches involved in helping them with the organization. It almost seems to me there's compliance officers of the NCAA, and then there's the coaches over here. It's almost like there's a mistrust amongst coaches and we need to communicate better. I think coaches need to get in the middle of it and say, "This is what's going on, let's help clean the game up." There are some issues that need to get cleaned up, but it's better than it was 20 years ago. It's more transparent. I think that's why the issues are coming up. There's frustration with some of the things that coaches are getting in trouble for, and that's different than paying a player or getting a competitive advantage. I think that's where the coaches can say "This is what's happening out here, and this is truly giving a competitive advantage." Whether it's in recruiting or what have you. Until that happens, I think there's always going to be some frustrations out there.

For more from Rodriguez and the Inside College Football: Draft Special gang, check out the schedule below. All times eastern, contact your local cable provider for information on the CBS Sports Network.

  • Monday, April 25 (9:00-10:00 PM, ET) – Where college football’s brightest stars such as Cam Newton (Auburn), Nick Fairley (Auburn), Patrick Peterson (LSU) and AJ Green (Georgia) will be selected in the Draft, their NFL potential and how the teams they left behind replace them.

  • Tuesday, April 26 (10:30-11:30 PM, ET) – Provides a look at some lower-round projected prospects who could make an immediate impact in the League.

  • Wednesday, April 27 (9:00-10:00 PM, ET) – Examines how the Draft will impact college football’s projected Top 10 teams for 2011, as well as which teams and conferences best supply NFL talent.


Since: Apr 25, 2011
Posted on: April 26, 2011 11:43 am

Rodriguez talks draft, college football, and more

"miatamich" - That's very big of you.  You found a TYPO - a mistaken apostrophe.  That's YOUR criticism of my long comment?  Brilliant! 

Let's look at your comment.  You said "...RR would've had done anything..."  My God!  Is that English?  Also, "there's two sides off the ball"?  I must say that your comment gave me a good laugh (it gave everyone in this forum a good laugh).  You should learn to speak English before criticizing someone for a TYPO!!!

As for improving the Michigan defense - you apparently don't follow Michigan recruiting.  RichRod had a great incoming freshman class (both DEFENSE and Offense) and he was losing virtually nobody.  There's no way the Defense would not have been better.

I can suggest a good grammar book if you want.

Since: Nov 17, 2007
Posted on: April 26, 2011 10:25 am

Rodriguez talks draft, college football, and more

What makes you think RR would've had done anything to improve the defense in 2011? I agree he's an offensive genius, but there's two sides off the ball.
If one looks carefully, one sees that Rodriguez was NOT an offense genius. He came up with a unique offensive scheme, true enough, but an offensive genius would not have done the square peg in the round hole as he did at UM. He would have, in stead, maximized the effectiveness of the players on hand.

Since: Aug 10, 2008
Posted on: April 26, 2011 9:19 am

Rodriguez talks draft, college football, and more

You graduated Michigan, yet you can't spell "want's" correctly? What makes you think RR would've had done anything to improve the defense in 2011? I agree he's an offensive genius, but there's two sides off the ball.

Since: Nov 17, 2007
Posted on: April 25, 2011 9:48 pm

Rodriguez talks draft, college football, and more

Going to UM a promotion?

Of course it is. Just ask the arrogant UM fans.

It is such a promotion, Jim Tressel is considering upscaling his career by taking the HC job at UM.

You all remember how long the line was back in December, 2007? DikRod had to sprint real fast to get to the head of that line!


Since: Apr 25, 2011
Posted on: April 25, 2011 7:12 pm

Rodriguez talks draft, college football, and more


Since: Apr 25, 2011
Posted on: April 25, 2011 4:54 pm

Rodriguez talks draft, college football, and more

Did you read the damn article?  He NEVER said that Michigan was NOT a "promotion" (as you call it).  He said he had a good thing going at WVU and MAYBE he should have stayed.  He stressed that that's with 20/20 hindsight and implied that without hindsight, he'd have made the same decision to take the Michigan "promotion."

You people are all ready to beat up on this guy because he tried to bring a more exciting and winning style of football to Michigan and the Big Ten.  The OLD MEN at Michigan would rather keep the status quo (Bo to Lloyd football).  Now we're back to having a Michigan man who's big goal is not to win the National Championship - just the Big Ten.  He want's to be the next Bo Schembechler.  Do you know how many National Championships Bo won in his 20+ years?  ZERO.  Do you know how many Rose Bowls he won?  TWO!  I'll take RichRod ANYDAY. 

Jeff - University of Michigan
B.A. 1978
M.B.A. 1980

I'm guessing I went to more Michigan football games than any of you and the most exciting Michigan football I've ever seen was last year.  Yes the defense stunk, but RichRod had one more year to fix that.  He had a great recruiting class coming this year.  Now we'll never know.  Wherever you are Rich, BEST OF LUCK and I'll be rooting for your next team.

Since: Apr 25, 2011
Posted on: April 25, 2011 4:40 pm

Rodriguez talks draft, college football, and more

Urban Meyer turned his back, Nick Saban turned his back (on a Michigan team: MSU, not to mention LSU and others), BRADY HOKE turned his back on San Diego St. to replace RichRod.  Good God.  If a better job comes along, you take it whether you're a football coach, a baseball player, a Formula One driver, an accountant or a plumber.  Try being honest in your comments.

Since: Oct 8, 2010
Posted on: April 25, 2011 12:10 pm

Rodriguez talks draft, college football, and more

Agree Juggernaut. Rich Rodriguez was clear and very direct in his responses.

Since: Jun 26, 2009
Posted on: April 25, 2011 12:22 am

Rodriguez talks draft, college football, and more

Coming from a pitt fan, I was sad to see Rich leave. we needed some stability in the Big East. If WVU and Pitt cannot keep coaches that graduated from their schools, than the entire Big East is in trouble.  I was sad to see Dave W go, we hire Coach Graham. i think he will be good, but if he is, than what.  He will be gone. 

Since: Aug 4, 2009
Posted on: April 24, 2011 8:54 pm

Rodriguez talks draft, college football, and more

the guy turned his back on wvu!! don't care too much for him, michigan, or wvu. all 3 lost IMO and i love it!!

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