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Updated Nov 23, 2011 - 1:51 pm

ESPN NCAA analyst says Rodriguez hire is a 'home run'

Arizona's hiring of Rich Rodriguez has been met with plenty of applause from the national media, with many saying the Old Pueblo is a much better fit for the coach than Ann Arbor.

Baggage included, the prevailing thought is Rodriguez will succeed where others have not. A guest on Arizona Sports 620's Burns and Gambo, ESPN NCAA analyst Mark May said it is as "home run hire."

"If you look at the coaching landscape right now, if you want to get a hot coach with a great resume, who's out there," he asked. "Rich Rodriguez."

Rodriguez brings a career 120-84-2 record into Tucson, but followed a wildly successful seven-year stint in West Virginia with a pretty disappointing three-year run in Michigan. That didn't scare off Arizona, and May thinks it's a good thing.

"People say, ‘Well, he did a bad job at Michigan,' he said. "His offense always led the Big Ten or they were first and second in total yardage or scoring in the Big- 10, it was his defense that was the problem."

No kidding.

Michigan ranked among the worst in the country on the defensive side of the football during Rodriguez's tenure, and he went through two defensive coordinators in three seasons.

So even though Rodriguez's teams can score points with the best of them, they will still have to find a way to stop the other team. Hiring the right defensive coordinator will be key, and May has a suggestion.

"Go find Randy Shannon, the former coach at Miami," he said. "One, it gives you an imprint in South Florida, recruiting. Two, the guy did a great job as a head coach and was a master at defense.

"He's a defensive coordinator and can recruit that side of the ball. So basically I would hire a guy like that and say ‘this is your defense, you run it; I'm going to concentrate on the offense.'"


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