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Former Michigan Football Coach Rich Rodriguez: 'We Saw The Light At The End Of The Tunnel'

Rich Rodriguez opted not to speak with the media when he was relieved of his duties as Michigan's head football coach. But with a month of distance between the firing and a stint as an analyst for CBS College Sports for Wednesday's coverage of national signing day, Rodriguez talked to the Associated Press about the end of his tenure at Michigan.

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As you might expect, Rodriguez thought he and his staff were turning things around and just needed more time to finish the job.

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From the AP:

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"We saw the light at the end of the tunnel," he said Tuesday in a 30-minute interview with The Associated Press.

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"Heck, we had 24 starters coming back, and the player of the year in the league — he's a sophomore and still learning. Recruiting, we thought it was going really well even with all the drama."

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Rodriguez was also asked about being left to hang for more than a month, between the Ohio State game and the Gator Bowl.

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"Whatever I say in that regard is probably going to sound self-serving," Rodriguez said. "Would it have been better for the staff to know a month ahead? No question about it. When jobs come open in the college level they come open in December.

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"And had I been able to get on somewhere, that could have happened, too. I may have been able to get another head coaching job then."

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Regardless of what you think about Rodriguez, the man has a valid point here. Waiting to make a change prevented Rodriguez (and his assistants) from pursuing the openings at schools like Miami and Maryland. Had he been available, would Rodriguez have been hired over Al Golden or Randy Esdall? (Not to mention the wait likely hurt Dave Brandon's chances of landing his top candidate to replace Rodriguez.)

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There's plenty more to read from Rodriguez's interview with Ralph D. Russo, including his thoughts on the NCAA violations, the opposing factions in the Michigan football culture, and how soon he'll coach again.