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Published: Sunday, 11/8/2009

Hope confronts Rodriguez

BY RYAN AUTULLO
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
Purdue's David Pender (9) and Dan Dierking (25) celebrate after recovering an onside kick. Purdue's David Pender (9) and Dan Dierking (25) celebrate after recovering an onside kick.
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ANN ARBOR - Rich Rodriguez' feeble popularity in West Lafayette, Ind., did not diminish after Purdue changed coaches over the offseason.

It actually intensified.

Labeled a "snake oil salesman" by former Purdue coach Joe Tiller, Rodriguez is a snitch in the opinion of new coach Danny Hope.

Pleasantries were not shared when the coaches met at midfield after the Boilermakers 38-36 win yesterday at the Big House.

Hope, according to Rodriguez, accused Rodriguez of assisting in the suspension of PU guard Zach Reckman earlier this year. Hope may have a point. After UM's Jonas Mouton was suspended for punching a Notre Dame player, a bitter Rodriguez vowed to seek out other "non-football" related acts committed by Big Ten players and bring them to the attention of league officials. Rodriguez mentioned that he witnessed a player on TV shoving his forearm into the back of an opponent's helmet. That incident, as well as the date of its occurrence, matches what Reckman was accused of doing Sept. 19 against Northern Illinois.

"I was a little disappointed after the game that their coach brought the lineman over like I was the reason his lineman got suspended for that one game," Rodriguez said. "He brought him over and said, thanks. I don't know where that came from. I talked to him on the phone and told him it wasn't me. I didn't have anything to do with that young man getting suspended for that one game."

Rodriguez' comments were unsolicited and were in response to an off-topic question about UM's diminishing bowl game prospects.

Hope didn't have much to say about the interaction.

"As far as I'm concerned, our conversation will remain between Coach Rodriguez and me," Hope said. "We'll leave it at that."

CIRCLED GAME: UM redshirt freshman Roy Roundtree was determined to play well yesterday, facing the team he originally verbally committed to play for out of high school. Roundtree did not disappoint, submitting the finest game of the year by a Wolverine receiver. He caught six passes for 60 yards in the first half and finished with 10 receptions for 126 yards, both of which are season bests for the Wolverines. Roundtree, who entered the day with six catches for 136 yards and a touchdown, broke a tackle by safety Torri Williams at the 12-yard line for a 43-yard score in the second quarter.

Roundtree said he had this game circled on his calendar, then backtracked and said he circles every game on his calendar.

"I was practicing all week to just prepare myself well for Purdue," Roundtree said. "I felt I was giving it my all."

Roundtree of Trotwood, Ohio, was at the center of Tiller's reference of Rodriguez as a "snake oil salesman." Rodriguez drew ire from a few Big Ten coaches when he began recruiting other team's verbal commitments upon his arrival in Ann Arbor. Such practice is not illegal but is apparently in violation of a gentlemen's agreement between the league's coaches.



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