Via Adam Rittenberg's Big Ten blog (that thing is really handy, btw) come a link to a Rich Rodriguez interview with today's Wall Street Journal. A few highlights:
WSJ: One comment made this off season that seemed to sting you a lot was Justin Boren's suggestion that your coaching style does not breed "family values." Why did you respond so passionately?
Mr. Rodriguez: I hate to bring it up because it rubbed me in such the wrong way. This is my 15th year as a head coach and anybody who has worked with me or played with me knows that statement is just off base. We think there is no one who is going to have a closer, family-type unit than our football program.
WSJ: How are you approaching the Ohio State rivalry? You haven't been overly vocal about it to date, unless I'm completely mistaken.
Mr. Rodriguez: It's not that I'll ever dismiss the rivalry. It's the greatest rivalry in college sports. I hear about it every day and I know they've won a lot of games against us. But Ohio State has won a lot of games in general in the past few years…I don't have the time right here in August to worry about Ohio State. I've got to one, worry about Michigan. And then in a couple weeks worry about Utah.
WSJ: How do you keep the players focused on Utah, and not let their minds wander to Notre Dame, Michigan State, or Ohio State, especially given what happened last year against Appalachian State?
Mr. Rodriguez: We just need to realize we're not good enough to go out there and mess around against anybody. Utah is no exception.
WSJ: How quickly can this team compete for conference and national championships?
Mr. Rodriguez: I don't know. Because we have so many questions to answer, until we play a few games I won't know how some of these guys are going to respond. But I do think if their attitude is right, our goal every year will always be to compete for the Big Ten championship and win a bowl game. And if we get talented enough, and deep enough and lucky enough, and play for it all, then that's the ultimate goal. But right now, our first goal is to compete for the conference championship.
I'm pretty sure that's the first time I've ever seem him referred to as "Mr. Rodriguez", though I guess I shouldn't expect anything else from the WSJ. "Coach Rodriguez" would not have been up to their journalistic standards, I guess.
I like RichRod's attitude about the upcoming season. I know the "one game at a time" attitude is incredibly cliche, but he seems to be taking it very seriously. I expect Michigan to be very prepared for the Utah game, and the players to be fully convinced that while they can beat anybody, they can lose to anybody as well.