Read his lips and worry

Sometimes you see something really small that leads you to a much bigger conclusion.

It happened with me today watching Rich Rodriguez on the sideline during the Michigan-Ohio State game.

Rodriguez might prove to be a great recruiter and his style of offense may be well-conceived once he gets the right talent. I'm not passing judgment on those aspects. To get a fair assessment of whether he can be a winning coach at Michigan will take more than two years.

But he will never, I repeat never, be a smart sideline coach. And if he ever does get Michigan back into the national picture, he's going to make a huge blunder. I say that confidently based on one thing he did in today's game. It was that telling.

Rodriguez said something on the sideline that shows such an unbelievable lack of comprehension of football that he's too far lost to ever be saved. It's not possible. I mean that wholeheartedly.

Michigan trailed 21-10 with 10:17 left in the game. Ohio State had the ball fourth-and-1 on its own 15-yard line.

The camera panned to Roridguez. Anyone could clearly read his lips. "WATCH THE FAKE!" The camera panned away. And then it went back on Rodriguez. And he yelled it again. "WATCH THE FAKE!"

The possibility of Ohio State faking a punt in that situation was about as great as Sarah Palin becoming a spokeswoman for the Green Party.

Instead of yelling "watch the fake" Rodriguez should have been reminding his players of the exact opposite. Something like, "Don't worry about a fake. Whatever you do, don't jump offside."

I'm not getting on a coach here for failing to do something somewhat sophisticated. It was more than that. It showed an absolutely alarming lack of understanding of something really simple.

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