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Rich Rod reveals regrets

YE OLDE notebook:

  • I was scanning Twitter the other day and saw a tweet from writer and TV analyst Seth Davis.
  • "It's a shame West Va couldn't keep Rich Rod when Michigan called," said it. "He's a native son who should have retired there."

    Later he added, "No one's blameless but school dropped the ball."

    Which provoked one word from here: Huh? Why wasn't Davis also commenting on the release of "Transformers," Nancy Pelosi's rise to speaker of the House or Jennifer Hudson's supporting role in "Dream Girls" - also all 2007 events.

    Finally, I understood that Davis has an Internet show - and his guest this week was Arizona and ex-WVU-Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez.

    The interview was far-reaching, but Rodriguez, the Grant Town native, did toss out a few interesting quotes. Davis asked Rodriguez to recount his departure from West Virginia and opened the door for him to "clarify" an item.

    "I heard people say, 'Well, you must have been looking for this job. This Michigan thing was going in the works before the [2007] season was over,'" Rodriguez said. "That is absolutely not true. I didn't talk to them even a week after the season. It was a week and a half after the season. I got a call and said, geez, maybe I should take this call.

    "And I still wasn't going to take the job if I thought the administration at the time at West Virginia had the same vision as I did on growing the program."

    Rodriguez's choice of clarification was mildly surprising because few in the Mountain State - with the exception of the silly Rich-threw-the-Pitt-game-on-purpose conspiracy theorists - believe anything differently. Rodriguez had major disagreements with then-athletic director Ed Pastilong and deputy AD Mike Parsons. The coach received a call in the midst of those disagreements. He split. Period.

    The most overwhelming criticism of Rodriguez was the way he split. From the way the coach gave Pastilong notice (via a letter delivered by a grad assistant) to the way Mountaineer fans found out (not by a press conference, but by way of the Gazette's Dave Hickman) to the way Rodriguez battled WVU in a lawsuit, his departure remains the prominent beef.

    On that, Rodriguez commented to Davis - at least as it pertains to Mountaineer fans.

    "If I could do one thing over

    again," Rodriguez said, "I would have a press conference at West Virginia and explain some of these things. I was kinda told to not do that by my next employer. They said to move on. ... But I owed that to West Virginia.

    "I think it would have cleared a lot of things up ... It was a great [Michigan coaching] opportunity and you might not like it, but at least I've given the up-front thing.

    "I was told [by Michigan officials] to take the high road. Sometimes the high road is not always the best. It's the level road and talking to the people. I called a few people who supported the program and gave them the heads-up, but there were so many others who supported the program."

    Yes. Yes, there were. But perhaps - finally - Rodriguez is starting to understand the beef.

  • Rodriguez's name, of course, has been resurrected in some Mountain State quarters because of Dana Holgorsen's yearlong plunge in popularity. Would WVU fans take Rich Rod back?
  • I'll pass on even mildly speculating on it because there's no way that will happen. Rodriguez has a great gig in Arizona. WVU would owe Holgorsen a mint if it cut him loose now. And no Mountaineer athletic director would crawl that far out on a limb. (For the record, by the way, Rodriguez is 26-29 since leaving WVU.)

    So let's deal with something here, back on the farm, as Holgorsen continues his attempt to rebuild. As part of that attempt, he's fishing the junior college ranks.

    And one of WVU's most recent commitments is from offensive lineman Sylvester Townes, a 6-foot-6, 285-pound, three-star player at Coahoma Community College in Clarksdale, Miss.

    On Tuesday, I reached out to Coahoma offensive coordinator Kendric Travis for the skinny on the big man.

    "He's a pretty solid player," Travis said. "He has a lot of upside, a lot of room to grow. He has technique issues, but he's a great kid and a hard worker. He wants to be great."

    Travis said others to offer were Florida International, Kentucky, Memphis and Middle Tennessee, but Texas Tech and South Florida were also recruiting the tackle. (Tech, WVU's football opponent this week, has a commitment from Coahoma defensive tackle Keland McElrath, another three-star guy.)

    "Physically, I can see Sylvester being 6-6, 300 to 310 pounds," Travis said. "I can see him being straight up and down. He has a lot of room to grow, physically and in the weight room."

    Travis said he received a call from one of his former coaches at Germantown High near Memphis, and went to check out the prospect.

    "When he stood up, I went, 'My Lord,'" Travis said. "At the time he was 6-5 and 250 to 260. I saw the upside."

    Townes is expected to finish his work at Coahoma, sign with WVU in December and be in Morgantown in January. He'll have three years to play two.

    "He's our left tackle," Travis said. "He's pretty good, but has technique issues. He's hasn't been able to work on football constantly until this past year. My hat's off to him for putting in the work and hitting the weight room."

  • And finally ...
  • Charleston will host quite a host on Nov. 16.

    John Kruk, the former Major League all-star and current ESPN analyst, will visit his birthplace to host - are you ready for this? - the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame induction ceremony at the Culture Center theater.

    Music Hall rep Michael Lipton said he met Kruk in Morgantown, where they, well, batted the idea back and forth. Soon, the deal was done.

    Kruk, who was born in Charleston but raised in Keyser, will help induct names like Ada "Brick Top" Smith, Tim O'Brien, Peter Marshall (yes, the Huntington native sang as well as hosted "Hollywood Squares"), Eleanor Steber, South Charleston's Wayne Moss and the Swan Silvertones.

    Lipton said there's a slim chance Sen. Joe Manchin could be the other co-host.

    Which would make a heck of a pairing.

    Reach Mitch Vingle at 304-348-4827, mitchvingle@wvgazette.com or follow him at twitter.com/MitchVingle.

     

           

     


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