Greg Paulus... Rich Rod... really? Look, I understand Michigan has the scholarship available. I get that Michigan has no depth at QB. I get that Paulus threw for close to 12,000 yards and 150 TD's at Christian Brothers Academy, but that was in 2004, wasn't it?
What we know for sure: Greg Paulus visited Michigan Football spring practice last Tuesday (4/7). Paulus did not conduct an official workout, rather had a lengthy conversation with the Michigan coaches, namely Rich Rod. From all accounts, everything went well.
What G-Paul says: Rich Rod has given him the opportunity to play football at Michigan next fall. A scholarship has been offered and Paulus will have the chance to compete for the starting QB job.
What Tate & others say: Forcier told the Michigan Daily that the Michigan coaches told him that Paulus had not received an offer. In addition, I was told by a reliable source that an offer to G-Paul has not been made (as of Thursday morning). Now this doesn't mean that Paulus won't receive an offer this weekend or next week, but as of now no offer to G-Paul.
My Take: Plain and simple, I don't like it. The circus around Rich Rod only continues exactly at the time when it seemed the Wolverine fan base was starting to rally around him, with an estimated 50,000 attending the Spring Game last Saturday and a QB in Tate Forcier off to a great start. My concerns over G-Paul are as follows. First, the physical challenges. Paulus has not played football for 4 years. Sure, he was great in high school but that was against mediocre opponents in northern New York. He's only 6'1, 170 lb., that's smaller than Tate. Even G-Paul's high school coach questioned how successful he could be in a spread offense on the college level, specifically at a place like Michigan. Second, timing. Even if the NCAA grants G-Paul eligibility (which is another issue in it of itself), he will at most only receive one year. Paulus has missed all of spring practice and will basically be in the same camp as Denard Robinson in learning the complex Michigan spread offense in a short amount of time. Third, stunting the growth and alienating Tate Forcier. While Tate is far from a sure thing, I'm fairly confident in his abilities after watching his performance in the Spring Game last Saturday, 11-13, 130 yds that included a 60yd play-action TD pass to Roy Roundtree. Some of the initial quotes by Tate on the Paulus saga are understandable. How would you feel if you were the top QB in Spring and then suddenly, out of the blue, you would have to compete for the job with a guy who hadn't thrown a football in 5 years? Look, Paulus is the same guy who was mediocre at Duke, losing his starting point guard job his senior year to Nolan Smith and Elliot Williams. No thanks.
To me, this seems like a short-term fix when Rich Rod should be thinking about the the long-term. Is Michigan really better off going 8-4 with Paulus for 1 year, as opposed to Tate going 7-5 or 6-6 in his 1st of 4 years in '09? If G-Paul is willing to come to Michigan as the 3rd string, yes 3rd behind Forcier and Robinson, then fine, but if not join the Packers. Overall, I have always felt that Rich Rod was never a great fit for Michigan. His margin of error will always be thin, especially when compared with Lloyd Carr. It won't be as easy for Rich to get away with a 7-5 or 8-4 season in the years ahead. Frankly, Rich Rod should have made a gradual shift to the spread offense, playing to the strengths of the talent remaining on the team. Isn't that what great coaches do best? Instead, a huge roster turnover happened with transfers in Mallett and Threet, amongst others. His judgments have been highly questionable thus far: selecting Shafer and Robinson as defensive coordinators and picking Sheridan over Threet to start vs. Utah in the opener last year. My biggest fear now... Billy Gillespie. Yes, the former Kentucky basketball coach. Gillespie is a great coach but failed to fit in properly or live up to expectations in Lexington, causing his firing after 2 years. I have no doubt that Rich Rod is a great coach and has recruited great players, but a 6-6 or (god forbid!) a 5-7 season in 2009 and I'll really begin to doubt whether he's the right fit in Ann Arbor.