I myself have no real connections to Michigan. I am not from Michigan, rather the east coast. I did not attend Michigan: I just recently graduated from a small liberal arts university in the south. In fact I will be attending my first ever Michigan game September 12. I am a fan simply for the sheer fact that my older brother grew up a fan. Maybe it was the Fab Five that sold him or the heroics of Elvis to Desmond. But I've been a fan ever since I can remember. I love Michigan football; more than my New York Yankees, more than my Pittsburgh Steelers. And what I know for certain is that I Believe In Michigan. I believe in our tradition, I believe in our coaches, and I believe in the young men who take the field every saturday of the fall season.
I believe in Rich Rodriguez and what he and his entire staff is doing for our program. I am confident that he has complied with all the regulations set forth by the NCAA. I have close friends who play Division 1 football who agree that in season (summer-fall) their days are incredibly long. They echoed Chad Henne's sentiments about the amount of hard work it takes to be part of a successful Division 1 program, and that alot of "extra hours" must be logged by the individual if they want to succeed or bear the fruits of their labor if you will. Naturally players are "punished" for not participating in optional work outs and captains practices. The punishment comes from the lack of reps, the lack of conditioning, lack of knowledge of the playbook, etc. They don't play simply because they didn't put in that extra work and the guy in front of him did, he earned his place, and for his committment and self-motivation he is the better player. The best players will play. Rodriguez didn't just come here after 20 plus years of coaching football, decide not to follow the rules, and run a proud program into the ground. This has all been a series of unfortunate events.
I believe in guys like Chad Henne and Mark Ortmann and Obi Ezeh. Michigan Men. Henne never played a down for Coach Rod, yet he was there in his defense. Ortmann and Ezeh, recruited by Lloyd Carr, has bought into Rodriguez and his staff. They too came to the defense of their coach. Brandin Hawthorne and Je'Ron Stokes, two freshman recruited by the new staff, were taken advantage of and misquoted, and are pist about it. Parents of the players have come to the defense of the coaching staff.
Justin Boren and Kurt Wermers left uncerimoniously. They are not Michigan Men; never have been, never will be. They did not buy into the coaching staff, they did not buy into the program. The program is something bigger than the coaching staff. Michigan football is greater than any individual, any group of individuals. Michael Rosenberg is not a Michigan Man. A saboteur maybe. From the start of the Rich Rod era, this man has man has made evident the fact that he wasn't in his corner. He has been on a personal crusade to get Rodriguez out and belittle his credentials. Much has been made about his article, and I don't even want to get into the fray. But I will say this: I believe this is a weak attempt by a non-believer to try and throw this team off. I feel that is Rosenberg's way throw a wrench into this season, create more turmoil, and ultimately sabotage the Rodriguez era. Call me crazy, or a conspiracy theorist, but that's the vibe I am getting. Perfect timing in what is supposed to be a new season and a fresh start. I trust that this staff has done everything they had to do.
What Rosenberg will never touch on is that Rodriguez and his staff are molding these players into young men, into leaders, and into high minded individuals. They play as a team and they play for eachother. The experience they garnered from the hardships of last season they will carry with them through life. They will use it to conquer their next challenge. 3-9 may have been the best thing for this team and for us as fans. Let's face it, as Michigan fans we've been spoiled, and it lends to the notion that we're a bit self-entitled. We should take last years experience as well and make ourselves better for it.
There are three people in regards to this recent event. The first group will sit back, hold no judgments until the facts are clearly presented, then form an opinion on that. The second will continuously bash Rodriguez. They will say he should have been fired after last year; he doesn't care about Michigan or its proud tradition. They will say that he's here to run the program into the ground and that he's only looking for the next big pay check. To that I say: Unless he's taking over for Urban Meyer or Pete Carroll, he ain't getting it. It doesn't get bigger than Michigan. They will say he has no family values and he recruits questionable character. These people can talk a big game when things go bad, and then feel entitled to drink the champagne when we win. It's inevitable.
But then there is the last group. The group that believes in what is being done at Michigan. That understands football. That realizes that it must be broken down, before it can be built back up. That knows the personel isn't quite there yet, but its coming. That realizes the amount of hard work these players and coaches put in Sunday through Friday. And knows that come Saturday, these guys will play their hearts out and play with pride. They believe in Rich Rodriguez and Mike Barwis, and Calvin MaGee, and Greg Robinson and the rest of the coaching staff. They believe that Brandon Graham will lead this team because he had unfinished business. They believe that Brandon Minor will push himself and his teammates to be the best because he is so disgusted by what went on last year. They believe that this team will rally around two freshman quarterbacks because they offer the best chance to win. They believe that this team will win when they deserve to win, and that that time is now.
I believe that these recent events will make this team and the Michigan family stronger and more resilient. I believe that Rich Rodriguez will take us to the other level, and he will do so with all his power while complying with NCAA rules. I am 100% unconditionally behind him. I believe that Coach Carr's recruits will bridge the gap between the old and the new, and that Coach Rod's recruits are really going to help us turn the corner. I believe that Michigan will soon become feared by their oppenents, and that the Spread is soon going to fire on all cylinders. I believe that we are privileged to be Michigan fans, and I will always be proud to call myself so. I firmly believe that those who stay will be champions.
I believe in Michigan football. I will always believe in Michigan Football.