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Updated Nov 23, 2011 - 8:51 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

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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