I'm disappointed that this will be a tough year and more than likely, winning season streak and bowl streak go by the wayside. However, losing what we did on offense, installing a new system without the appropriate personnel, and being thin at the o-line, this was all pretty predictable.
Teams that may be lacking talent, but possessing experience and leadership win some games they shouldn't. Teams with talent, lacking experience make mistakes and lose games that they shouldn't. UM should have won the game today, but they made unforced errors. (I will allow the Grady fumble and the 2 INTs as forced errors, dropping kickoffs and fumbling in the backfield I would consider unforced and do not credit these to ND.) RR was correct in that this team is not good enough to play poorly and win.
I think that we all hoped that this team would win some tough games, have a few positive surprises on the offensive side of the ball, get stronger as the year went by and be anchored by a very strong defense. The offense has been about what should be expected given the above considerations. The defense has not been horrible IMO, but has been disappointing given most expectations.
All and all, this year will be (and already has been) tough. I do feel that regardless of the competition, the offense has improved measurably each week. I do feel that Threet is the guy and despite his fumbling problems today, he has improved as well. (I don't recall Tacopants in the game today.) I am concerned because his knee injury today seemed to be suggestive of a meniscal tear. My hope is that he continues to improve to the point that next year we will be able to gradually work in the QB that ultimately better fits this system. I think Mcguffie is going to be special.
I have faith in RR's system and his ability to coach. I hope this translates into continued improvement. If this happens and we can shore up some problems on defense, I hope we will win more games than we all currently expect. This was the first game on the road for many inexperienced players in tough conditions. It showed and we lost a game that we should have won. This is just the beginning. Despite the fact that we all feel that we have been "fed up with losing" the last few years, overall as a fanbase we have been pretty spoiled. I look at the offense and think that with some improved O-line play(ers) and a QB who is a run threat, we will be awesome. It just won't happen that way this year.
It seems that some people on these boards are losing it. Although I had to open my bottle of Knob Creek after the second fumbled kickoff return in the first quarter, I will give some positives I saw from the game:
- We moved the ball on the ground consistently. Unfortunately, turnovers (two in the red zone) kept us from scoring points, but I thought the O-Line looked better than last week. I consider week to week improvement from this group a plust, win or lose.
- The Notre Dame offense consisted of two big plays. Granted nobody wants to give up big plays, but they did not consistently move the ball against our D even if Morgan Trent didn't have his best game. However, we did seem to miss some tackles. Maybe this was due to poor footing in the rain? I'd have to watch the game again.
- Threet looked much improved from last week, putting balls in catachable places for receivers. This is what was missing from the Miami game. I thought he made some big steps today which bodes well for the rest of the season.
- Clausen's line for the game 10-21, 147, 2td, 2 ints. If anybody tells me thats Clausen's line before the game, i predict a win.
- I don't think we're hitting the fade routes the way the coaching staff wantt to. Our receivers don't seem to hold their vertical route very well and the qb's aren't leading them to their outside shoulder. This is usually a timing issue that should be correcting with more practice. We did however hit a couple comebacks and throw the ball well otherwise.
- Carson Butler in the red zone has got to sit and get his head around faster on that pick in the red zone. That was a catchable ball delivered on time and should have been caught.
- Obviously turnovers cost us today. Wet conditions with freshman on the field is a recipe for fumbles. This comes with experience, and is correctable.
Overall, I think people have to be encouraged going into the big ten schedule. I think we can still win seven games and get to a bowl game. I expected the worst today, and I saw improvement despite turnovers. That may be me being a homer, but I am optimistic about the rest of our schedule.
I'm sick of reading newspapers, I'm sick of watching the news. I know Michigan is better than this. McGuffie gives us great hope, but that's not enough. That game was filled of bad calls, bad fumbles and I don't even want to talk about the rest. I don't know what to say, someone is not getting our players jacked up for these games. This is MICHIGAN - NOTRE DAME. WE TAUGHT THEM HOW TO PLAY FOOTBALL! I am not saying that we should never lose, it's a game and losing happens, that's fine. I can't believe how many mistakes we made, the only thing we have to hope for is Sam McGuffie, and thank god for him. And that's not even right, we have so much talent (and so many cool fuckin names) that every single player that we talk about on this blog is just Dangerous, there isn't another fuckin word. I've seen so many Mchigan fans lose hope, because they are so accustomed to winning slash not losing, but I don't think that matters as much as we think. We don't recruit dirty (yet) and we are in a transitioning year. Let's watch as Sam McGuffie and Michael Shaw develop into great leaders and players and turn a mediocre Michigan team into the greatness they can be. It's kind of like Tom Brady, you never know the greatness some of these kids will achieve until they finish, so lets ditch our win now philosophhy and let these kids develop and turn into greatness. I HATE the USC Fight song they just keep playnig it, it's so fucking annoying, if it was a living thing I would murder it. Sorry, I'm sure you would too, it's just the truth. Go Blue. Forever, We will win 7 games this season, NO MATTER WHAT. Nothing Less.
Thoughts on the Notre Dame Game
1. If there was any doubt about whether the bowl game streak would end, I think we received an emphatic answer today. After briefly looking at the rest of the schedule I think that we will finish with 4 wins.
2. Sam McGuffie is a tough runner, and I really like Stonum.
3. I hope that Carson Butler is suspended for swinging at the Notre Dame team, because that kind of crap has no place in the game.
4. How is Stevie Brown still playing?
5. Mesko looked much better today, as did the O Line.
6. Notre Dame is much improved, but the fact that this was still a ballgame in the third quarter does not say much for them. MSU will clobber them.
7. Our QBs are poor, but I would make Threet the starter for the rest of the year.
8. Our front seven did not step up today.
9. How is it that Carlos Brown is not more of a factor in this offense? He is a home run threat.
10. This spread offense really seems to bog down in the red zone, and I think that we are way too predictable there. When we went to the I-Formation it was obvious that we were going to run up the gut.
This story really made me proud to be a Michigan fan. Last year I went to evey road game and I was embarrassed of the rest of the Big Ten. Even Northwestern fans made asses of themself. I know Michigan fans arent perfect, and sometimes we stoop down to the level of our competition when it comes to trash talking, but as we see every year, there is a line that we know not to cross. The fans of the school down south continue to cross that line.
I am absolutely for being proud of your school and despising your competitor's team, but especially on a day like 9/11 where we are reminded that we really are all one, I can be proud to call myself a Michigan Wolverine becasue we are the Leaders and the Best, and we win and lose with class.
Utah visitors: Hats off to Michigan fans
Posted by Jim Carty | The Ann Arbor News September 11, 2008 09:33AM
to the editor don't seem to attract a lot of attention online, but we
had three in this week's Ann Arbor News that I thought were noteworthy,
particularly because negative fan experiences seem to get a lot more
attention than positive ones. All were from Utah visitors in town for
the season opener against Michigan two weeks ago.
All three offered deeply felt and - and in some cases seemingly
surprised - kudos in regard to how Utah fans were treated by Michigan
First, from Sarah Shepard Scott of Salt Lake City:
On Aug. 30 my family and I embarked on a long, hot climb to
the little "red" section in the rafters of Michigan Stadium. There we
would join a relatively small, albeit loyal, group of Utah fans.
I was nervous because we were trekking through a solid background
of blue and gold, over 100,000 strong, and they were pumped for the
season-opening game. With me were my 11-year-old son and my 77-year-old
Roughly four hours later, in rafter temperature of plus 100 degrees
and hermetically sealed to our neighbors, Utahns were rewarded with an
improbable outcome. Way up above, their fans made their way down again
through the sea of blue and gold, warily. But instead of bitter remarks
and sullen looks, Utahns were largely met with congratulations,
handshakes and good humor. The brave smiles and goodwill of everyone
from exiting fans to bus drivers and local business owners were
compelling, and observed by many.
In later conversations, it was clear that the post-game behavior of
Michigan fans made more than a few of us visitors reflect on what we
had witnessed. While we remained happy for our team, those reflections
gave us all pause. Most of us saw that Michigan's loss revealed its
greatest strength - a supportive community.
While confidence in their long-term success and pride in the history
of a standout program likely buoyed Michigan fans as they demonstrated
grace in the face of disappointment, it was a rare sight nonetheless.
And, for those of us in smaller houses, it was inspiring.
A second latter came from Doug Cahoon of Cottonwood Heights, Utah:
I was one of the lucky ones from Utah who attended the game Aug. 30, with my oldest son.
Other football fans could learn a lesson from Michigan and their fan
base. My family and I were spit on at a UCLA game and I was hit in the
back of the head by an elderly man's cane at a BYU game. I have been
taunted by San Diego State and UNLV in their respective stadiums. The
experience to and in the Big House was very different.
Before the game started, the Michigan Band marched down to the end
of the field where they welcomed us with the Utah fight song and a very
sincere welcome over the PA system. As Utah did well early in the game
I was embarrassed over the taunting some of the 3,500 Utah fans did
towards the 105,000 Michigan fans. But there was little response from
Michigan fans. Then back to the airport where the young attendant at
the car rental sincerely said, "We appreciate you guys (Utes) taking it
easy on us and letting us make it a close game." Thanks Michigan, you
showed my son and me how real fans with class act.
And, finally, a third from Patrick J. Healey of Holladay, Utah:
I just got back from visiting your stadium and your fair state. I wanted to make three quick comments.
• Thank you for being so hospitable! Five friends came to watch the
game and cheer on our team. The fans in Section 15 were very generous
and showed good sportsmanship. Sad to say some of the Utah fans I could
not say likewise; for them I apologize. It was a good experience.
• You need to cut some slack to your players and coaches. Yes, they
were befuddled by our defense because our defense has been playing this
scheme and practicing with a team that has been playing the spread for
years. Other than some questionable calls, our team hurt themselves
more on miscues and penalties.
• Six years ago we lost to Arizona in a similar game and went on to
win the rest of the games that season. Give your team a real chance
before tearing them down.
Thanks for the kindnesses shown and I hope someday you will come
visit us and that we can show you as much Western hospitality as you
showed us of Midwestern hospitality. You have the best fans I've ever
met in any stadium.
Great job by all three Utes fans to take time to highlight the positive.
And in return, we offer a little advice to the good people of Utah:
Midwestern hospitality, while generally similar to what you enjoyed
here in Ann Arbor, is not universal. Any doubts about that will be
erased by your first game in Columbus, Ohio.
I own too many books. I read…a lot. But I learned the lesson a long time ago that books are heavy, and when you have to move them, 35+ boxes of books is a lot of boxes. Movers charge by the pound. So I now only buy “important” books, i.e. the kinds of books that can only be found in university libraries or literary reviews. As a result, I use my local library…a lot. Sometimes that means waiting for books. I am currently second on the waiting list for Steven Erickson’s new book in his series, The Malazan Book of the Fallen. After catching up on my magazine reading, I was left with nothing to read. So I hopped online and started trolling my local library catalogue. And here in London, Ontario, what do I find? None other than the Bo Schembechler/Mitch Albom book: BO. (Warner: New York), 1989. It arrived at my local branch yesterday and from page one it was nothing less that fabulous. He tells story after story after story.
What I loved most about this book were the two chapters that highlight the 1969 season and the 10 Year War. Bo’s stories about his first season at Michigan were fantastic and the parallels to this year with Coach Rodriguez jump out at you again and again.
He brought his entire staff with him from Miami [Not That Miami]. Upon arriving and seeing the facilities and locker rooms Bo’s first response to his staff was,
“Men, we are going to make a few changes here.” 
He treated the players like dogs. In the racially charged 60’s everyone got the same treatment. They were all equal…they were all dogs.
Up to that point, spring practice was a series of light workouts. They started two-a-days in the spring. He cursed, he yelled and he kicked them in the butt. When Dan Dierdorf first introduced himself to Bo, he extended a hand and politely offered his name, and in return Bo grabbed a fistful of his midsection and promptly told him, “You are fat.”  Turn that boy over to Barwis. Eeeeeeee.
Soon Bo had them doing drills, screaming at them so much that Dierdorf ended up telling a reporter,
“The track team runs less than us. And their coach isn’t as mean.” 
He tells the story of how, during this pre-season, the coaches came up with the now famous slogan, “Those Who Stay Will Be Champions.” Some did not stay. And someone wrote in marker on Bo’s sign, which he paid for out of his own pocket, “And those who quit will be doctors, lawyers, and captains of industry.” He then names the player who is now a lawyer and finishes off with:
“Didn’t think I knew, did you, John? You owe me $150.” 
He says this about that 1969 team:
“Of all the Wolverines I’ve ever had, they had the most right to resent me; after all they didn’t pick me, they got stuck with me. And I killed them. I ran them ragged. I made them suffer every day of that first maddening season. Somehow, they believed in me. They stayed.” 
What Bo did that first season was key off on the Michigan-Ohio game. Bo against his former coach and mentor. Bo figured that gunning for Ohio State would carry his team through all the bumps and hurdles that would come. After beating Iowa 51-6 that year in the second to last game, in the locker room the team did not celebrate, instead a slow, rising chant started among them, “BEAT THE BUCKS, BEAT THE BUCKS…” The coaches joined in, and the scene go so intense that Bo screamed to one of his assistants, “That !@#$% Ohio State better be good—or we’ll kill them.” 
Against a team that was labeled “The Greatest Team of the Century” and favoured to win by 17, Michigan was up 24-12 by the half and in the locker room there is Jim Young, the defensive coordinator pounding on the chalk board, “They will not score again!”  They didn’t.
Those who stayed were champions.
In the light of the Justin Boren departure and the whole “Family values” thing, another story grabbed me. Bo recounted the time when the team was grumbling a lot behind Bo’s back about practices being too tough. One of the instigators was captain Andy Cannavino.
Bo pulled Cannavino into his office and gave him this speech, by the end of which Andy was in tears:
“Now let me tell you something. When you were back there in Cleveland, at St. Joseph’s High School, Ohio State, where your daddy went to school, didn’t even offer you a scholarship. We brought you to the University of Michigan. The coaching staff made you an All-Big Ten player. Your team mates elected you captain of the team. And you have the audacity to criticize Michigan Football? How dare you?
“I’d like to stand you up before all those guys who played here in the past, all those guys who won championships, went to bowl games, did all the things you want to do in college football, and I want you to tell them that your practices are too hard, that they’re hitting too much, that you spend too much time watching film! And you know what they’re going to tell you? Grow up! Grow up and be a man! And if you won’t, then get the hell out of Michigan football!
“Cannavino, we have one problem on this team, and only one problem on this team, and that is you! And until you change, we will never win. You are the captain of this team. What you say, especially the other players and especially the young ones will listen to. How can you possibly ruin this team by criticizing the leadership here? You are the problem. Understand me? You are the problem! 
With tears streaming down his cheeks, the young man left, and the Michigan defense, from that point forward, did not allow a touchdown in 24 consecutive quarters, eventually beating Washington in the Rose Bowl.
Who cares if this is not the best piece of literature ever written, I think next time I am in the MDen, I am going to buy this book and a couple more of Bo’s because these are “important” works. Bo is a great read, especially this year of all years. I highly recommend it.