Rodriguez says first spring practice at Michigan was typical

Updated: March 15, 2008, 7:24 PM ET
Associated Press

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The coach walked onto the field wearing the familiar navy cap with a maize 'M' on the front, but that was about all that looked the same Saturday at Michigan Wolverines's first spring practice.

Rich Rodriguez began introducing his spread-option system. The coach hired away from West Virginia has fans hoping he can breathe life into an offense many found stale and predictable. He sees plenty of work ahead.

"It was ugly at times and I was encouraged at times," Rodriguez said after the session. "Typical first practice."

The Wolverines ended last season 9-4 and ranked No. 18 after defeating Florida in the Capital One Bowl. Lloyd Carr said before the game he was retiring after 13 seasons.

Rodriguez accepted the job shortly after West Virginia lost its regular-season finale to Pittsburgh and cost itself a shot at a BCS championship game berth.

The coach didn't just have football on his mind Saturday. Attorneys for the coach and his former employer learned Friday they're expected in a West Virginia court April 3 concerning a lawsuit WVU filed in December.

The university wants Rodriguez to pay a $4 million buyout of his old contract. Rodriguez contends he signed that agreement under false pretenses.

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press