ANN ARBOR - Rich Rodriguez said Monday morning that Saturday's home game against Purdue is “not life or death” but noted a victory - which would be University of Michigan's sixth to claim bowl eligibility - would be a positive step in the redeveloping of the program.
Rodriguez spent most of his weekly press conference defending the state of his program rather than speaking specifically about Purdue. UM lost its fourth straight Big Ten game Saturday at Illinois, falling to 5-4 (1-4).
Rodriguez said he had hoped more of the team's younger defensive players would be ready for lengthy action by this point of the season. He also defended his intense demeanor during games, saying his in-game personality doesn't result in his players performing tightly.
Rodriguez also said he sensed issues within the program once he arrived to Ann Arbor that prevented immediate success. Asked to clarify what he meant by that, Rodriguez told the assembled media he'd explain after the season.