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Ohio State coach Jim Tressel, whose staff visited Rodriguez in West Virginia a few years ago to learn about his scheme, has no doubt the Wolverines will eventually find a groove on offense.
"Everyone in the country that's been around coaching would agree that Rich Rodriguez has been one of the most creative and really one of the founders of the spread-style attack," Tressel said. "You know that he's building one building block on top of the next."
Michigan's defense has been disappointing, giving up 28 points a game to rank 10th in the conference, and woes on special teams have led to some of the setbacks that have stunned a school, program and fan base.
Rodriguez has kept his composure for the most part in public, where his every word is dissected, but he has lost it at times privately.
He ranted and raved at his players, without lashing out at individuals, in particular after losses at Notre Dame and Penn State.
"What made him so mad after those games was that some people weren't running hard enough to make plays even when the game was on the line," defensive tackle Terrance Taylor recalled. "The fight wasn't there within some guys and that obviously bothered him a lot. I was frustrated about it, too."
Rodriguez, though, is not about to hide from a challenge or critics.
Instead, he'll just keep picking away at the to-do lists on his index cards to restore Michigan to a national power.
"Some of these problems can be solved quickly," said Rodriguez, thumbing through the 5-by-8 inch cards. "Some will take years, like having quality depth at every position so that the first, second and third guys are so good you could play them all.
"We're not there yet, but we've got a plan to get there."
Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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