Tag:Jim Harbaugh
Posted on: January 4, 2011 11:29 am
 

RichRod to meet with AD Tuesday afternoon

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Given all the speculation about Stanford head coach Jim Harbaugh leaving the school for another job, possibly for the same position at his alma mater Michigan, you have to wonder if Rich Rodriguez tuned in to any of the Orange Bowl last night.  Maybe he was in his office with an empty box.  Every time Stanford scored, he put something in the box, preparing for the departure many people seem to think is a foregone conclusion at this point.

The only variable in the equation in the eyes of most has been when Rodriguez will be informed his services are no longer needed in Ann Arbor.  Well, that decision could come on Tuesday.  Rodriguez is scheduled to meet with Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon on Tuesday afternoon.
Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon will meet with embattled coach Rich Rodriguez early this afternoon to discuss his future with the Wolverines football program, according to two people with knowledge of the meetings.
It’s not the only meeting expected today.
Members of the football team will attend a 7 p.m. meeting tonight to learn the fate of their head coach.

Which, in my opinion, means that Rodriguez is going to get fired this afternoon.  I've long felt that were he to be fired, it wouldn't be until after the Orange Bowl since Harbaugh is likely going to be Michigan's top choice.  Even if reports say that Harbaugh's not as interested in the job as many thought he would be.

Should it not be Harbaugh, then the smart money would be on San Diego State head coach Brady Hoke.
Posted on: January 4, 2011 10:09 am
Edited on: January 4, 2011 10:09 am
 

Harbaugh 'highly unlikely' to go to Michigan?

Posted by Jerry Hinnen
 
At this point, it's the worst-case scenario for Michigan and Wolverine athletic director Dave Brandon: let Rich Rodriguez twist in the wind for a month in the hopes of potentially landing Jim Harbaugh, watch Rodriguez's team get buried -- again -- in their bowl game, see recruits (and huge swaths of the fanbase) jump ship as the bulk of the free world assumes RichRod is a fired coach walking, watch Harbaugh destroy Virginia Tech in Stanford's bowl game as an indication of what the Wolverines would ge getting ... and then, finally, after all that, have Harbaugh tell his alma mater he's not interested after all.

But that's exactly the scenario Detroit Free-Press columnist Michael Rosenberg has laid out for the Wolverines, reporting that a source "with direct knowledge of Harbaugh’s thinking" has told him that the Orange Bowl champion is "highly unlikely" to accept an offer to become the new Michigan head man:
Harbaugh plans to decide this week whether he wants to take a job in the NFL. If he stays in college coaching, he has decided he will stay at Stanford, where he has built a potential powerhouse. It would take an extreme change of heart for Harbaugh to end up in Ann Arbor, according to the person, who did not want to be identified because Rich Rodriguez is still U-M’s coach.
If you're Stanford, it's time to do some cartwheels, since the assumption for nearly the entire bowl season has been that if Michigan didn't poach him away, some NFL suitor would. For the Cardinal to still be a serious option for Harbaugh at this late stage would be something of a victory in and of itself.

But if you're Michigan, well, whatever the opposite of a cartwheel is (pantomiming bashing one's own head with a hammer?), it's time to do that. If Rosenberg's source is accurate, the Wolverines are left in an almost untenable position; they either let Rodriguez coach (and recruit, or, more accurately, fail to recruit) another year with the guillotine publicly perched over his head, or they enter into a full-on coaching search with lots of other attractive candidates already spoken for and less than a month to go until Signing Day.

By waiting until after the bowl games, Brandon has essentially put all his eggs into Harbaugh's basket. If Harbaugh returns that basket with a note saying "thanks, but no thanks," Rodriguez's rocky tenure might only be the start of the Wolverines' misery.

Posted on: January 3, 2011 12:21 pm
Edited on: January 3, 2011 12:36 pm
 

CBS Bowl Bonanza: Discover Orange Bowl

Posted by Chip Patterson

The Basics: Virginia Tech and Stanford meet in the Discover Orange Bowl on Monday night in Miami at 8:30 p.m. EST.

Why To Watch: Many fans have complained about the level of play in the games thus far in the bowl season. If you enjoyed the thrill of the Rose Bowl, you can expect a similar battle in Sun Life Stadium on Monday. After losing to Oregon in Autzen Stadium, the Cardinal took matters into their own hands to prove themselves as the best one-loss team in the nation. Heisman runner-up Andrew Luck led Stanford as they won the last seven games of their schedule by an average margin of 22.0 points.

Virginia Tech has been on quite the tear themselves, having won 11 straight after starting the season 0-2. The Hokies fell to Boise State and James Madison in a five day span that caused many to write the Hokies off in 2010. When Virginia Tech picked themselves up, they stormed into conference play with a "refuse to lose" attitude that carried them all the way to their fourth ACC Championship since joining the conference in 2004. Whether it was coming back from a 17 point halftime deficit at N.C. State or knocking off Georgia Tech with a fourth quarter kickoff return TD, the Hokies have displayed a resiliency in each game that is representative of their season.

As far as personnel goes, the game could end up being a duel between two of college football's hottest quarterbacks. Luck, likely the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft, has been phenomenal all season and will look to finish strong what will likely be his last season at Stanford. Virginia Tech has been led by ACC Player of the Year Tyrod Taylor, who has overcome multiple injuries throughout his career to thrive in his final season in Blacksburg. Taylor entered with expectations of the next Michael Vick, but it has not been until 2010 when those comparisons have really felt accurate. Both quarterbacks are as dangerous with their legs as they are with their arms, and it should make for a thrilling back and forth between the two teams.

Keys to victory for Stanford: Establish the running game early, and use it to dictate the pace of the game. So much focus is put on Luck's ability to spread the ball out to several receivers, running back Stepfan Taylor is often overlooked as one of the most consistent aspects to the Cardinal offense. Averaging just over 85 yards per game, and ranking second in the Pac-10 with 15 touchdowns, Stanford can utilize Taylor to control the game - particularly if the Hokies are forced to focus heavily on defending the pass. Getting penetration into the Virginia Tech backfield will be crucial for Stanford as well, forcing Tyrod Taylor to make decisions on the run out of the pocket. Taylor is at his best when he has protection to hang in the pocket and then take off up the middle, Stanford should focus on forcing him to the sidelines where he has less room to make people miss in the open field.

Keys to victory for Virginia Tech: The Hokies have to play a complete game against Stanford. The Cardinal are so talented on both sides of the ball, not to mention well-coached and tough as nails. There will be no opportunities to take a play off and certainly no second chances for Virginia Tech. This is a winnable game for the Hokies, but they must be as close to mistake-free as possible. Stanford didn't blow out all of their opponents this year, but they did a great job of wearing down their opponents. It would be incredibly unoriginal for me to reference "Beamer Ball," but if the Hokies can get a big play out of their special teams unit it could be the deciding factor in a gritty matchup that could come down to the final minutes.

The Orange Bowl is like: One of the "other" Summer Blockbusters. You know those summers when Hollywood trots out a series of big budget movies? Well the Orange Bowl is like the Memorial Day release. It's not going to get the July 4th treatment or anything like that, but it certainly will set the tone for the rest of the summer season. The Orange Bowl has the potential to be one of those memorable games, so getcha popcorn ready.
Posted on: December 27, 2010 12:57 pm
 

Harbaugh: 'I haven't even discussed' new contract

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Way back on December 6, we wrote of the contract extension offered by Stanford to Jim Harbaugh that "if he balks [at signing it], it's going to be the clearest sign possible that he's going to want to hear what [Michigan] (or NFL Team X) has to say."

It's now December 27, and not only has Harbaugh not signed the extension, he claims he hasn't even bothered to look at it :
“I haven’t even discussed it,” he told [the San Jose Mercury News] today.

That comment would seem to contradict what athletic director Bob Bowlsby said three weeks ago — that “Jim has indicated he plans to accept it.”

When I relayed Bowlsby’s comment to Harbaugh, he said: “Maybe he misspoke.”

If you are Bowlsby or Stanford, there is only one response to that: Ouch.

Because it's highly doubtful that -- even if Bowlsby was exaggerating when he claimed that Harbaugh was close to accepting the extension -- that Harbaugh isn't even aware of what Stanford is offering. The contract is out there, and whether he's "discussed" it or not, Harbaugh knows it. He's just not interested in putting his name on it just yet.

It's entirely possible he still does at some later date, of course. But with not one but two possible-bordering-on-probable landing places for Harbaugh should he decide to bolt, in both his alma mater at Michigan and now the vacant San Francisco 49ers head coaching job, it's clearer than ever that Harbaugh's in no hurry to limit his options now.

For the time being, Bowlsby and the Cardinal are just going to have to grin about their Orange Bowl berth and bear it. The rumor mill is going to be circling The Farm for a while.
Posted on: December 15, 2010 5:29 pm
 

Mullen's ego too large for Miami?

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Now that Miami has finally hired Al Golden to take over for Randy Shannon, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald took to wondering why Golden was the man Miami finally settled on.  Not a crazy question to ask considering the names that came up at times during the coaching search.  Guys like Jon Gruden, Bo Pelini and Jim Harbaugh.

Well, according to one member of the school's board of trustees, the simple fact was that no big name coaches seemed interested in leaving their current jobs for Miami.  Though, according to that same trustee, when it came to Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen, it wasn't his lack of interest as much as his giant ego.
A high-level trustee fully aware of how the search was done said, ``We were not going to get a star, and it wasn't a money thing. Why would [marquee coaches] leave any of their great programs'' to take another college job? ``Florida didn't get one either. We hired the best person that wasn't in the top 20.''
The trustee said UM inquired about Stanford's Jim Harbaugh, who wasn't interested, and said Jon Gruden never seemed serious about taking the job. Chris Peterson(sic) gave UM no indication he wanted to leave Boise State. UM thought Nebraska's Bo Pelini had some interest, but he changed his mind. And UM was turned off by Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen's big ego, with one trustee saying he acts like he invented the game.

I know, it's shocking to hear that a coach who has experienced success doing his job might have an ego.  Still, the most shocking thing about this -- if it's true -- is that Miami would take offense to a coach's arrogance.

Miami is the same school that employed Jimmy Johnson, isn't it?  It's the school that walked off the airplane at the 1987 Fiesta Bowl in fatigues and, for most intents and purposes, defined swagger in the world of college football.

That's the school that has now decided a coach may have been a bit too full of himself?  Interesting.
Posted on: December 11, 2010 11:43 am
 

Brady Hoke would leave San Diego for Michigan

Posted by Tom Fornelli

San Diego State head coach Brady Hoke was mentioned quite a bit as a candidate for the Minnesota job before the school decided to hire Northern Illinois' Jerry Kill.  Hoke had interviewed with Minnesota AD Joel Maturi in San Diego at the job before deciding to stay in southern California and sign a two-year contract extension at the school.  Though just because Hoke signed an extension, that doesn't mean there isn't one job he would leave the school for this winter if it became available to him.

Even his school president knows that.  SDSU President Stephen Weber says that if the job at Michigan came open, he's almost certain that Hoke would leave his school for Ann Arbor if the job was offered to him.  And he's happy about it.

“If he were offered the opportunity, I have got to believe there is no way we can compete with that,” Weber told the San Diego Union-Tribune. “And I kind of like the fact we have a coach who (would be) in play for a place like the University of Michigan. C’mon, this is a good thing.”

Weber says he's known this since he hired Hoke.  He said during the interview he asked Hoke how he saw San Diego State fitting into his career arc, and Hoke told him that the arc ended at Michigan.

Of course, whether that Michigan job comes open or not, we don't know yet, as Michigan AD Dave Brandon has said he's going to wait until after the bowl game to make a decision on Rich Rodriguez.  Plus, there's the question of whether or not Jim Harbaugh would be interested in taking the job, because you have to think that he would be the school's first choice.
Posted on: December 6, 2010 12:43 pm
Edited on: December 6, 2010 12:43 pm
 

Stanford offers Harbaugh raise; will he accept?

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

That Stanford finished fourth in the final BCS standings, grabbing a lucrative automatic berth to the big-money bowls, is already a tremendous accomplishment. It's all the more tremendous, however, when you remember where the Cardinal were when Jim Harbaugh was hired: coming off of a 1-11, last-place season under Walt Harris, his two year reign of error coming on the heels of the equally disastrous three-year, 10-23  Buddy Teevens era. Stanford had gone five years without a winning record or bowl berth, and after years of poor recruiting, had become simply overmatched against Pac-10 competition.

It's taken Harbaugh only four seasons -- each better than the last -- to position the Cardinal as perennial Pac-10 contenders, becoming the hottest name in college coaching in the process. There's never been any doubt that Stanford would have to offer him a substantial raise to keep him in the fold. So, yep, it didn't take long for Stanford to offer him a substantial raise :
"We have a proposal in front of Jim and he's indicated he plans to accept it," [Stanford athletic director] Bowlsby said Sunday. "He's got this year and four more on his contract. I expect that he will be our coach in the foreseeable future."
Whether anyone else expects the same will depend on whether or not an NFL team makes an overture to Harbaugh, or, even more importantly, Michigan decides to dismiss Rich Rodriguez. With Wolverine athletic director Dave Brandon having stated he would not make a decision on Rodriguez until after the bowl, his alma mater may be placing Harbaugh in an awkward position; the 28 days between now and the Orange Bowl would be a long time for Bowlsby's new contract to sit on the table.

There wouldn't really be anything other than money -- money Michigan even might pay for him -- to keep Harbaugh from signing his new extension and departing for Ann Arbor anyway. But Harbaugh's reputation as a straight-shooter would seem to preclude him from that kind of bait-and-switch; if he signs the extension, he'll almost certainly be in Palo Alto next season. If he balks, it's going to be the clearest sign possible that he's going to want to hear what Brandon (or NFL Team X) has to say.

The ball, as the saying goes, is entirely in his court.


Posted on: December 3, 2010 6:57 am
 

Rich Rodriguez still wants to coach at Michigan

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Michigan held its annual banquet tonight, and while we were all tragically spared the awkwardness of Stanford coach (and potential next Michigan coach) Jim Harbaugh attending to celebrate the 25th anniversary of his Rose Bowl win at Michigan, the banquet provided its own special memories all the same.

As one might imagine, the chief headline-maker tonight was Rich Rodriguez, who was forced to speak on behalf of the team without knowing if he'd oversee another season at the helm of the Wolverines. Yes, he's at least got one more game with the team, as Michigan's headed to a bowl and AD Dave Brandon has insisted that RichRod's job will not be evaluated until the end of the year. But past that, who knows? Not even Brandon knows, in all likelihood, so it's certainly not worth listening to anybody who claims to have the answers already.

So it was up to Rodriguez to make his case for staying in Ann Arbor one last (socially acceptable) time, and while his decision to hold hands with his wife during a Josh Groban song probably came off as more awkward than anything else, his commitment to the program was never left unsaid.

"My name is Rich Rodriguez," he said at the end of the banquet. "I'm honored to be the head football coach at the University of Michigan. I hope you realize that I truly want to be a Michigan man. Thank you."

Now, a pedant would make hay out of the fact that Rodriguez said that he merely wants to be a "Michigan man" and not that he already is one, but rather than using that as proof that RichRod's not a good fit in Ann Arbor, we'll just point out that it's nice to see that he at least acknowledges that the title of "Michigan man" isn't self-appointed -- especially by someone who's spent three seasons with the program. Is that provincialism? Sure, but that's what just about every major college football program thrives on already, so at least RichRod's heart is ostensibly in the right place.

At the same time, whether Rodriguez plays inspirational songs in front of reporters or feels it necessary to deem himself a "Michigan man" or not probably pales in comparison to whether he fires Greg Robinson as defensive coordinator or not. PR campaigns matter only so much, especially when any regular Michigan fan can see RichRod's 15-21 record at Ann Arbor. The wins need to happen soon, and if the Wolverines can't win their bowl game this year, "next September" might not be soon enough for Michigan brass -- regardless of how much emotion Rodriguez showed at a team function tonight.

 
 
 
 
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