Reanimating Michigan Football
With the young players already in Ann Arbor, and more on the horizon, the Wolverines this season have a credible shot at a Big Ten championship--their first since 2004.
Just how zombiefied was Michigan under Rodriguez? In three seasons, he won only 25 percent of his Big Ten games, the worst record in the team's history, and exactly one against a quality opponent (Wisconsin in 2008). His signature spread offense put up prodigious numbers--but his constantly morphing defense gave up even more. In 2010, Rich Rod's last year, Michigan averaged thirty-three points per game. Opponents averaged more than thirty-five.
The journey back has turned largely on the improvement of the defense. At the end of the 2010 season, athletic director Dave Brandon did more than fire Rodriguez and hire Hoke. He also approved a college-record compensation--starting at $750,000--to land former Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator Greg Mattison.