Rich Rodriguez Hired As New Arizona Football Coach

Former Michigan football coach Rich Rodriguez, who was fired in January, is headed to Arizona to become the Wildcats' new head coach.

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Rich Rodriguez Hired As Arizona's New Head Football Coach

In a matter of hours, a rumor about Rich Rodriguez being hired by Arizona quickly became official news. The rumor first popped up on Football Scoop, and then ESPN's Joe Schad mentioned that Rodriguez was a strong candidate for the vacancy. CBS Sports' Bruce Feldman then said to expect the move to become official within the next 48 hours.

As it turns out, the move developed much quicker than 48 hours. Shortly after the news leaked out, Arizona athletic director Greg Byrne tweeted a photo of himself with the Rodriguez family. Rich, his son and his daughter all have Arizona hats on in the picture, and Byrne's tweet said Rodriguez is the "new Arizona football coach."

Rodriguez will be taking over a program that hasn't seen much success in its history. It is a much different situation than the one Rodriguez entered at Michigan, and I expect his tenure with the Wildcats to go much more smoothly than his time in Ann Arbor. It's unlikely he will have to deal with all of the off-the-field distractions that derailed his tenure at Michigan, and chances are he won't have to deal with in-fighting within the Arizona athletic department like he did in Ann Arbor.

The key to Rodriguez's time in Arizona will be who he hires as his defensive coordinator and if he keeps his hands off the defense. Rodriguez has proven that his offense can become very explosive if given time to develop, but Rodriguez can't make the same mistakes with his defense as he did at Michigan. He needs to hire a solid defensive coordinator and let him have a say in his assistants and system rather than force something like he did in Ann Arbor. That was ultimately what cost him his job with the Wolverines, but on the bright side, it was a good learning experience.

In any case, it will be interesting to see how Rodriguez does at Arizona, and I think it's safe to say suddenly quite a few Michigan fans have an interest in Arizona football.

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