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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Pro/Con: Is Arizona’s hire of Rich Rodriguez a good choice?

PRO: RichRod is the right move for Arizona

Rich Rodriguez is exactly what the Arizona football program needs.

He’s a big-name coach with a high ceiling and without a dangerously low floor. With Rodriguez’s spread-option offensive system, the Wildcats are going to be a threat to beat anybody on any given day.

But that’s not where the good news ends. Rodriguez should be able to win seven or eight games a season in his sleep. If RichRod does that for four seasons, he’ll be best coach that Arizona’s ever had.

Sure, critics will point to Rodriguez’s failure at Michigan as a reason why he isn’t the right man for the job. Well the 48-year-old won 60 games at West Virginia and came out with at least a share of four Big East titles.

And this part shouldn’t be news to anybody: Arizona has a hell of a lot more in common with WVU than with Michigan, one of the most storied programs in America.

Rodriguez’s high-flying offensive system will be right at home in the Pac-12. Stout defenses aren’t a staple in the conference like high-flying offenses, and Pete Carroll is the only defensive-minded coach to have success in the conference in a long time.

Now Arizona’s 30th head football coach, Rodriguez is taking over a program that’s been on the verge of success for three years. He’s experienced the highest level of scrutiny a coach can face, and after that, coaching in Tucson won’t be anything more than a walk in the park.

– Alex Williams is assistant sports editor. He can be reached at

CON: Rodriguez too big of a risk for football

The Wildcats were looking for a home run hire, and by getting a big name in Rich Rodriguez, they certainly took a big swing.

The problem is that they could have whiffed.

With Rodriguez comes a three-year span at Michigan that saw major NCAA violations under Rodriguez’s watch after he went against NCAA rules regarding limited practice time. Furthermore, former players alleged that he and his staff were verbally abusive.

That should be concerning for an Arizona team that already had one tantrum-throwing coach in Mike Stoops, who got through eight years without any public criticism of how he treated his players.

Stoops wasn’t one to be shy about getting into his players’ faces, but there were no mass complaints a la the John Mackovic era before him, where players marched to the school’s president to complain about his coaching tactics. Could that happen again with Rodriguez?

And on the football field, it’s also a risky move for UA athletic director Greg Byrne. Rodriguez is known for his offensive genius, but that’s hardly different from the past few years at Arizona, where a spread offense has put points on the board without trouble. Defense hasn’t been at a premium, especially this year, and Rodriguez’s track record in that regard includes obscure defensive philosophies that were part of the reason he failed in Ann Arbor, Mich.

Sure, Rodriguez should be able to get the Wildcats seven or eight wins every season in a Pac-12 South Division that through its first season has looked plain bad.

But how much of a step forward is that from the previous three years?

– Kevin Zimmerman is the sports editor. He can be reached at

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