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Rich Rodriguez and the Ghost of Expectations Past

Scene: It's nearing midnight in Schembechler Hall. A tired Rich Rodriguez tugs on his baseball cap, trying to get comfortable as he clicks the reverse button on his remote and tries to figure out what, if anything, his quarterback was thinking. Suddenly, the overhead lights start to flicker. A low rumbling echoes off his walls and a ghostly aparition slowly passes through his wall and approaches Rodriguez' desk.

Far from startled, Rodriguez faces the appirition, leans back in his chair and tosses his remote on his desk in disgust.

Rodriguez: What the hell do you want?

Ghost: Richard...... Richaaaaard........ I am the ghost of expectations past..... Richaaaa

Rodriguez: Cut the crap Fred. I've got four more hours of video to go through and recruiting calls to make in the morning. What do you want?

Fred: Jeeze, Rich. Can't a guy have any fun?

Rodriguez: Fun? Listen asshole, last time you showed up I lost two running backs in the same game. The time before that Mike Williams started walking into walls. And I'm pretty sure I heard you wandering around last Friday. Every time I see or hear you I start losing players like a blind guy loses socks doing his laundry.

Fred: Going deep into the backcountry metaphor bag, huh Rich?

Rodriguez: Get to the point, and while we're at it stop making my lights flicker. I'd prefer not to have a siezure.

Fred: Fine.

/lights stop flickering/

Fred: Sheesh. You'd think the head coach of the winningest program in college football history would have can lighting rather overhead florescents like some programmer on North Campus. /slight smile crosses Fred's ghostly face/

Rodriguez: /Obviously preturbed/ So you're the one that "lost" my remodeling requests.

Fred: Guilty as charged.

Rodriguez: Will you please get to the point.

Fred: Alright, alright. I want you to win your next 5 games, by convincing margins, or I will continue to haunt you every week and funnel made up stories to Rosenberg. I want you to win in spite of everything I'm doing to you.  

Rodriguez: I'd also like a toilet made out of gold and my own space shuttle. How the hell am I supposed to win these games, let alone by convincing margins, when you keep injuring my best players? I mean, for christ's sake, you took out Denard Robinson, David Molk, and Mike Martin in the same goddamn game. How is that helpful?

Fred: It's a shame Troy Woolfolk wasn't able to play or I might have done him in too.

Rodriguez: /eyebrows arches in surprise/ You mean it wasn't you?

Fred: Oh, hell no. I stay as far away from the secondary as I can. That's Kuthu's territory. She staked that out centuries ago, you should've seen what she did to Ferentz's runningbacks when he pissed her off. You know what's going on at Florida? Now that the last Zio.... er... Tebow's gone, she can return to Gainesville, and oooooh has she ever. You think there's any way in hell Mississippi State beats the Gators at home without her intervention? No way. Lloyd made his deal with Kuthu years back, got his MNC and then he... well... you had to pay the piper.

Rodriguez: That's just great. /throws hat on the desk, places head in hands/ Boubacar Cissoko?

Fred: Kuthu.

Rodriguez: Jared Van Slyke?

Fred: Kuthu.

Rodriguez: Wait, Mike Williams was a safety.

Fred: Nope. When you moved him to spur he was in my territory.

Rodriguez: What the hell is wrong with you? I thought you were a Michigan fan. What kind of ghost are you? I'd rather have the dead psychopath from Poltergiest roaming the halls than have you wandering around here, at least I'd have a clue what he was up to.

Fred: Richard, you say such mean things. You know how much I love Michigan football and how important it is to me that Michigan does well.

Rodriguez: /sarcastically/ Really.

Fred: Really. I mean that.

Rodriguez: uh-huh. /picks up remote and goes back to film study/

/television falls off it's mountings and shatters on the floor/

Rodriguez: Goddammit Fred! Stop doing that. That's the eigth TV you've broken. It's a good thing you've been ruining Brandon's day recently or they'd think I was smuggling TV's out of here.

Fred: Hmmmmmm....

Rodriguez: Stop it.

Fred: Alright, fine. I won't have you arrested for stealing electronics.

Rodriguez: How generous of you. Can we please get back to the point. I've got work to do and I'd like to see my family at some point this month.

Fred: Look Rich. We have high standards in the Michigan after life. When things don't go as we like, well... we get involved.

Rodriguez: By smiting the very program you supposedly love?

Fred: Exactly, only by making things worse can we make them better.

Rodriguez: What? How does that work?

Fred: Rich, we're a pessimistic lot. Even when things were going great we expected things to go through the tubes. It's just how we are. And Lloyd did everything he could to reinforce that. But, as you now know, he had a little side deal going with Kuthu. You just inheritted the bill.

Rodriguez: Great. Let's get back to you. I'll ask again, how does injuring every vital player on Michigan's roster make things better? What about Demar Dorsey? Did you keep him out too?

Fred: Dorsey's on you, Rich. So are Kinard and all the other kids that didn't qualify. Recruit kids that make the grade.

Rodriguez: Fine. Answer my first question.

Fred: Come on, Rich. Can't you see that by taking away every veteran lineman, receiver, running back, and highly touted quarterback on your roster I paved the way for your spread attack this year. By forcing you to play Obi Ezeh I made you realize that you need to recruit linebackers. Can't you see that?

Rodriguez: So you're the one that makes him look like he knows what he's doing on the practice field and then turns him into a harp seal during games!? Oh thank, god. I thought I was losing my mind.... wait, how did any of that help Michigan? We went 3-9 in 2008, 1-7 in conference and now we're 5-2 with a slew of injuries. Your logic makes no sense!

Fred: It is what it is Rich. Despite no depth on defense, we expect you to field a top ten defense. Despite a first year starter, we expect the offense never to punt. That is our position.

Rodriguez: I can deal with that, but how does injuring everyone play into that!?

Fred: Well... I gotta confess. I'm a little bored.

Rodriguez: WHAT!?

Fred: Nothing. Anyway, you've got our mandate. Make it happen.

Rodriguez: This is the exact opposite of logic.

Fred: You're finally figuring out what it means to be a Michigan fan.

/ceiling collapses/