spoiler alert: i linked this
But man. That was a fantastic football game.
The things that impressed me the most (thoroughly subjective, and nowhere near the level of analysis readers of this site are used to, for what it's worth): Tate Forcier is a goddam general on the field. Skinny arms and all. His poise is almost uncanny. It reminds me of Muad'dib's little sister in the Dune books: springing from the womb fully intelligent and aware. Ready to bend circumstances to her will. Today young Tate showed that, indeed, age ain't nothing but a number. And I can't imagine how good he'll get over the next four years.
Denard Robinson is faster than anybody I've ever seen wearing maize and blue. He's like, SEC fast, the kind of fast that doesn't get run down by safeties, the kind of fast that makes me keep my eyes glued to every second of offensive possession because I don't want to miss the next rip.
Our defense…looked good! More specifically, our guys were making tackles more consistently than anytime I can remember, reaching back into fin de siècle Carr years. They were making hits, and making them stick. And it was a pleasure to behold.
And the crowd. It was obviously big, but it was also almost rabid in pitch. Maybe it's the new press boxes, but whatever. It was loud, it was energetic, and it was clearly and comprehensively behind this team. All of a sudden, I realized that I was watching my team again. The team that makes me look forward to Next Saturday each and every week during this glorious time of year.
Blah, blah. We're back. Redemption is palpable. The ninjas are loose. Can't wait for next week.
The home opener is over and the Wolverines have won the first home opener since 2006 we've waited 3 years for this moment and it's finally here! 1-0! It's a huge win and great boost for coach Rodriguez and the Wolverines but it's always awesome winning the first game of the year. Michigan deffinetly looked MUCH different from the team we saw against Utah in last year's home opener and this win officially burries the fears and memories of last year's 3-9 season so it looks like 2009 could be an awesome year for Michigan football. Tate Forcier looked awesome in his debeut as a Wolverine and he did not dissapoint. 175 yards in the air two TDs and how about Denard D-ROB Robinson with some impressive carries and a TD for himself on his debeut also. Sheridan also stepped in and unfortunetly threw a pick (was dreading that) but in the end it didn't do any harm as the Michigan defense played like an iron curtain and shut down Hiller and the Broncos offense. I'm really amazed by the athleticism by Tate Forcier this guy is the real deal, he can run, throw, scramble and even throw and run under pressure in the pocket.
But now that the home opener is done it is officially ND week and it will be a tough one this coming saturday Michigan's defense is going to have to play just like they did in this game maybe even a little tighter. Clausen looked pretty damn good today against Nevada but screw the Irish's win this is a Michigan blog and the attention should remain on Michigan. One thing I saw that I didn't like against the Broncos was the penalties on Michigan. Warren has to be a little more careful when it comes to man to man coverage and make sure he is not holding on to the wide reciever. Way too many penalties in the second half on the Wolverines and they have to be much more disciplined against ND this Saturday. But the way they played today really opened my eyes and I truly believe if they can play as aggressive as they did today against Western they can beat ND and pull of the upset. On a lighter side I'm deffinetly more comfortable right now as Michigan fan than a suckeyes fan would! Ready for USC,OSU? They are going to get thrashed. Great game from our Wolverines and looking forward to another big win in the Big House this Saturday! GO BLUE!
BTW: HAPPY LABOR DAY The day when you can tell your boss KISS MY ASS!
It was the Minnesota game. Our family had decided to see this one in person, as it wasn't too far away. Good choice, as it turned out: a rare win. One reason I will remember it: my little daughter, barely old enough to understand what was going on around her, was offered a Golden Gopher necklace by some nice old Minnesota fan. The girl wouldn't touch the thing. "Wrong colors!" she yelled at the befuddled old dude. My heart swelled.
The game went about as well as a game could go last year. The offense was moving the ball, chewing up yardage with one long run after the other. The defense looked competent, aggressive, even good (a new twist for the year: a good defense!). On the day the team would rack up over 400 yards of offense. We celebrated loudly with all the other Michigan fans tucked away in the corner of the Metrodome. That's another thing I'll remember: the camaraderie of the Wolverine fans. Even in that down year (perhaps because of that down year?), there was a palpable sense of togetherness. One guy even complimented my ratty old M hat, weather-worn and falling apart from too many years of outdoor usage. "Awesome hat," he said. I was pretty sure he wasn't being facetious.
There was a single play that stood out for me to this day. In this season full of mediocrity, what I saw filled me with a kind of hope, perhaps not for now, but for the future. It was on one of the longest runs of the day, by Minor (I actually don't even recall, it may have been Shaw). As he sprinted downfield and all eyes were on him, somehow I found myself watching what the other players were doing during this small miracle of a play.
My eyes came to rest on Martavious Odoms. 5' 8" if that, all of 170 lbs. But here was this little man, sprinting downfield, actually ahead of the play, blocking one Gopher after the other, creating more room, hustling, working, trying. In this miserable season, in this one exception of a game, here was a player who was putting all of himself out there, who at least for that one singular moment exemplified what Michigan football was trying to become. In a year, for him, that was mired by fumble after fumble, loss upon loss, along came something that I had been looking for the entire year.
A Michigan Man.
Go Martavious, and Go Blue.
p.s. that video is goddamn awesome.
On to today's game ... I have no f*cking clue what's going to happen. I believe the team will look waaaaaay better than at any time last year, and the offense is sure to look pretty capable against the WMU defense.
On the other hand .... the defense (*gulp*). I really thought that the "Weapon of Choice" video was awesome. Great music, a freshman QB who looked like Heisman material before he'd even played his first official game, hot-handed receivers ... wow. But, am I the only one who saw the elephant in the room, i.e. the defense (or complete lack thereof)?
Those guys didn't look like they could catch a cold. I know, I know ... Not necessarily starters, and it was spring, and the sun was in their eyes, etc., etc.. But, you'd think that more than one of them had seen playing time in the '08 season. If, on balance, they're really THAT bad .... yikes.
What does this portend for today's game? It means that the front seven had better be able to spend so much time in the WMU backfield that they can count the threads on Hiller's jersey by the end of the day. Otherwise, Hiller will shred the DBs. That could be the deciding factor of the game. Fortunately, if there is a strength on UM's defense, its a couple of guys on the D-line and maybe one or two at LB. We'll see.
It also means that the offense had better
HANG ONTO THE GODDAMNED BALL
(Sorry, Brian, that was a stroke of genius and I felt compelled to borrow it)
What worries me is that if WMU's D is as bad as everyone says, UM will be able to move the ball at will, opening the possibility of quick scoring drives that don't eat time off the clock. That puts the ball back into Hiller's hands, which scares the $hit out of me. It's pretty likely that the WMU game plan will count on possession passing and plenty of rushing ... In order to keep the ball out of Tate's mitts. You can bet that WMU is as nervous about its possible lack of a competent defense as we are.
So, if I net it all out: all the other analysis I've read, my own paranoia, the number of days since I got lucky, (I'm married -- easy guess on your part) ..... UM 31, WMU 28.
One is Desmond’s tsumani comment during the ESPN Tulsa/Tulane half time show. Take away: While Desmond may be honest, Desmond is not doing Michigan any favors. Like mom said, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”
Second is Reese Davis’s comments during the same half time show. Davis pissed me off at first talking about the workouts, the controversies and how RR was not a popular choice. Davis then flipped it on me and pointed out it is primarily a faction, specifically in the M Club, who do not like RR and mostly because he wasn’t from inside the program. Like one of the earlier Mgoblog entries, Davis pointed out Alabama’s problems the infighting caused as factions tried to get ‘their right man’ in place. After all the strife, Alabama finally got it through their heads the infighting wasn’t helping and the Alabama program got the right man period in Nick Saban. Then Davis pointed out RR’s pedigree suggests he is the right man period. He just needs the opportunity. Hat tip to Mr. Davis with a heartfelt thanks.
Third, I wonder the real reason why the M Club faction does not support RR. Is it because he came from a different background and does not fit into their society (smoking jackets anyone and is this the Michigan arrogance I’ve been hearing about?)? Is it because some of the wives do not like Mrs. RR? Don’t underestimate the power of the wife. Or is it simply because he is not an insider? I ask them, who, from inside the program, should Mr. Martin have hired? Les Miles was unavailable and, as I understand it, did not have Carr’s support. Was there anyone else worthy?
Fourth, if RR would be fired at the end of the season, who should be hired? Carrol? Saban? Meyer? What top tier coach is available? What coach from within the program is top tier?
I’m an M grad, BSE (Aerospace) 80. I’m over 50 and support RR (I point out my age as there seems to be an assumption in some of the other entries that only the ‘young’ support RR). Maybe because I was an RR fan before the hire and liked watching WVU play. Maybe because I remember attending ruthless Bo games in the late 70s (3 years with Leach and 2 years of Wangler&co). Bo did not hesitate to run up the score and use it to intimidate the next opponents. Maybe because I’d grown tired of gentleman Lloyd’s more conservative approach and attempts to not humiliate an opponent…which came back to bite us on several occasions.
I get tired of hearing about RR changing the culture along with how he is not from within the program. Yes, RR has changed the culture, but from Carr not Bo. While from Bo’s lineage, Carr was hugely different from Bo. Yet Bo is the one who has been nearly deified by the M faithful. Does the M Club faction remember Bo from the 70’s or just the Bo after coaching, after the Tigers, after the semi retirement in the Athletic Department? RR is an aggressive competitor and, I feel, is the Bo of this era. RR is like the refreshing change Bo was after Bump Elliot.
So, finally, my bottle is empty (tasty by the way) and the last thing I am contemplating is tomorrow’s game. For those able to attend, I’m envious. Do us proud! And here is to RR opening up a can of whoop-ass on Western forcing the penises-with-ears in the M Club faction to just shut up and support our current program.
To borrow a phrase that has jumped the shark in the last year: I loves me some Michigan Football.
Anyhoo, there's been plenty said about the anti-RR crowd among the alumni, AD, fans, etc. Maybe I'm paranoid, but might it not be possible that Lloyd Carr is among the most virulent of the lot? After all, he and Roseypalm were "close" (probably not in the Biblical sense). Someone must have given the Life cereal kid the story idea. I'm sure he didn't just dream it up out of whole cloth. Mikey isn't that clever -- he even borrowed an email I sent him once as the origin of a column he wrote about the Lions last season, (though he gave me proper credit in his story -- I guess he gets a minor prop for not plagiarizing).
Even if Lloyd didn't commit a cardinal sin in this case, I still have a commodious problem with him: he had a golden opportunity to say, "If you claim to be a fan of Michigan Athletics, then its time to put away the sour, grinchy frowns and cheer for the Maize and Blue with every ounce of your being. Your team needs you." He didn't. Deafening silence. Now, I'll allow (for the moment) that UM's lawyers put the lid on most any statements not made by the Bill and Mary Sue, but c'mon -- not a PEEP? That doesn't sound like the characteristic of a "Michigan Man" to me.
He, and the rest of the Grinches, need to remember a few historical facts about "their" program. Consider:
- One Fielding Yost hailed from the "hollers" of West Virginia. His accent was so thick that he couldn't say, "Michigan" ... That's right, comrades, he is the origin of the beloved malapropism, "Meechigan!"
- Michigan's greatest dynasties happened when the program broke with "tradition". Starting with Yost, then Crisler, then Schembechler. Each new era heralded key innovations in the game and some of the greatest teams in school history.
- Even Bo had an inauspicious start. The headline in the Detroit papers was, "BO WHO?" Alumni howled. No matter that the first and second choices said, "No". Nor that it was Joe Paterno who suggested to Don Canham, (after flatly turning the job down) about an unknown coach at the University of Miami (OH).
- Bo didn't give a shit whether people - who had little to no knowledge of what it took to build a championship program - liked his approach to the program. He had helped Woody build the program at Ohio State, and had no intention of doing it any other way. That half of the squad quit from the roster in his first year made no difference, either.
In the interest of full disclosure, I was not a particular fan of Coach Rod until Monday. Though I still believe his complete dismissal of everything and everyone that had come before (save Fred Jackson) was over-kill, and is probably a big part of why he struggles to be supported by some "fans", its really not materially different than what Bo did, nor Crisler before him.
Win or lose tomorrow, I will remain a fan of the Michigan Wolverines, and cheer my heart out for that team until my last breath. I will also cheer for Rich Rodriguez until he is the coach no longer, no matter if it is next season or the next decade. This is Our Team. And, in the spirit of what every Head Football Coach of the University of Michigan has believed, including Coach Rod:
This is about the TEAM, the TEAM, the TEAM.