The Times West Virginian

Bob Herzel

May 10, 2008

COLUMN: No. 1 jersey an issue at Michigan

MORGANTOWN — For a sports writer in this neck of the woods, Rich Rodriguez has become the gift that keeps on giving.

This is the slow time of the year around here, finals week, graduation, a time when a sports columnist has to wrack his brain — or what’s left of it after dealing with the likes of Pacman Jones and Chris Henry — to come up with a story idea.

Not this year.

Rich Rodriguez has seen to that.

It’s like they say about the weather. Don’t like it? Wait a minute; it will change.

Don’t have anything to write about? Wait a minute; Rodriguez will come up with something.

You may recall that when Rodriguez coached at West Virginia, very little from the past was left untouched. He needed new uniforms, a smoking helmet, a new offense, a new defense, a new introduction into the stadium.

If they huddled in the past, he didn’t huddle. He had a new offense, a new defense.

He controlled everything, except the line of scrimmage against Pitt.

Now he’s at Michigan and nothing’s changed with him, although you expect everything to change with Michigan.

It has begun already as he has already begun messing with tradition and, in the process, teed off not only one of the school’s all-time great players, but one who is the anti-Pac-Man.

Rich Rodriguez has given the revered No. 1 jersey to a defensive back, after almost three decades of it belonging to a wide receiver.

Braylon Edwards, now with the Cleveland Browns and a man who has established a $500,000 scholarship fund for what he thought would be the receivers who carried on the No. 1 tradition, is upset.

There aren’t many athletes around like Braylon Edwards. He followed in his father’s footsteps at Michigan and, when given the big money that comes with being a No. 1 — there’s that number again — draft pick of the Cleveland Browns, he put it to good use.

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Bob Herzel
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