Who’s got the time? Not coaches

Published 11:20 pm Thursday, September 4, 2008

Sometimes coaches just cannot live up to expectations. Ask Auburn offensive coordinator Tony Franklin or new Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez.

Granted, the Tigers’ opener against Louisiana Monroe last Saturday was only his first game on the Plains, but he quickly became the next in a long line of offensive coordinators to be booed by a Jordan Hare Stadium crowd.

Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez shares his pain. Only months after leaving a West Virginia team he transformed into a national power, the Wolverines fell to the Urban Meyer-less Utah Utes at the “Big House,” earning their second consecutive loss in a home opener. Former coach Lloyd Carr’s chair may no longer be a little toasty, but the flame has been lit under Rodriguez’s seat.

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What lesson can fans of both teams take away from last weekend’s games? New coaches — particularly those using new schemes — require time and recruiting to be effective.

Rodriguez went from a 3-8 season in 2001 to three consecutive 11-win seasons between 2005 and 2007.

When Franklin arrived at Troy in 2006, the Trojans scored only 175 points the year before. They scored 296 that year, and 408 the next year.

Well I guess that kind of blows the give them time argument out of the water.

But actually, it doesn’t. The Tigers have harped on the running game since Tommy Tuberville arrived in 1999. They have recruited for a balanced offense, and lived on the game-managing quarterback. He’s not flashy, he’s not necessarily a playmaker. He just gets the job done.

Like Rodriguez, Franklin just may have to be given the time to get the right personnel for his system. Unfortunately, time is not a luxury that is often afforded in college football.

Moving on though. Last week was emblematic of why I love the first week of college football.

May I see a show of hands please?

Who picked East Carolina to upset Virginia Tech last week? Who thought the Meyer-less Utah Utes would waltz into the “Big House” and hand Michigan its second-straight opening day loss?

I have no doubt a lot of Alabama fans predicted the win over Clemson. But raise your hands if you thought the margin of victory would be more than three touchdowns?

Who thought Louisiana Tech would upset Mississippi St…well, I had a hunch that one would happen. I just cannot have high expectations for an SEC team coached by the same man that lost to Division 1-AA Maine.

Which brings me to Arkansas — even with failed NFL head coach Bobby Petrino at the helm — eeking out a 28-24 win over Western Illinois in the final seconds.

And finally, the topper of the week one upset in my book. Drum roll please.

Can you believe Arkansas State marched into College Station, Texas and beat Texas A&M 18-14.