"The University of Illinois is also in turmoil. The university sports an Interim Chancellor, an Interim Athletic Director, and an Interim Football Coach; the game will be played at Soldier Field, making this an Illini Interim Home Game."
Dear Michigan Fan,
I write to you right before the kickoff of the 2010-2011, my words might not be the ones you want to hear but have to be said anyways.
Thank you for being faithful to my cause, thank you for being there 110,000 strong at every home game, thank you for traveling for 10 hours to see me play away. Thank you for crying when I lose and for partying all around town when I win. We have many memories together, good and bad, whether it be Bo’s speeches, the comeback against Iowa in 1997, A-Train’s fumble against NorthWestern or Phillip Brabbs’ field goal against Washington. They are all moments that make our relationship stronger and that make us bond the way we have bonded in the past and the way we will keep on bonding in the future. What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.
Friend, you have been angry at me recently and I don’t really know why? is it because there are less W’s? If so is our relationship one of self-interest? I truly thought you loved me for my inner soul and not for materialistic and cosmetic things, I thought you love me for what i mean to do and not just what I succeed at doing.
Well, don’t blame anything on the coach or the players, the university or yourself, there is nothing wrong, the spirit of this team is still there, I know it. Did you see Threet running against Wisconsin in 2008, did you know that he is actually a pocket passer!! Did you see Tate trying and trying and trying last year, did you see Rich crying? Did you see that Notre Dame game, or the attempt to comeback against MSU or Iowa? Yes we do not always succeed, but it will come back, sooner or later, so don’t give up on me not today or tomorrow. Win or lose we are all Wolverines at heart, feisty and fighting till the end.
Don’t worry about that missed tackle today, and don’t worry about that broken protection, none are intentional and in return I will give you much more glory in the future, just give me a real chance to prove it and cheer for that team as much as you can.
As for the coach, give him a chance, he really needs you and his players need him, so if anything lets all stand united against all those who doubt us and lets prove forever that we are all Maize and Blue and not just Wal-Mart Wolverines! And no matter what happens today next week or in November stand by me.
Go Blue and Hail to the Victors,
The Heart and Soul of the Michigan Football Team
With UConn knocking on our door and with the with the wolverines preparing for another big debut, I cannot but think that our current record is 0-0 and the sky is the limit. Yes, I do believe that probabilities kick into action at this stage, but that in no way means we should look at the cup as half empty rather than half full.
Michigan has a chance and its a pretty good one this year, these kids have proved that it is possible to make something out of nothing and the 2008 team is the embodiment of that. I live in Jordan, that is a 13 hour flight from Ann Arbor, I thought I wanted to go watch a game to see who this new coach is, and how he will lead our team, and I did, I decided to watch his first Big 10 opener, THE Wisconsin game!!
Michigan was down big in the first half, I was sitting next to my friend’s dad, who bleeds and lives for the Maize and Blue, he looks at me and says “Nasser, should we just leave?”, I could never leave a Michigan game, I have to wait for that final whistle, so my answer was, “sir, we stay, and we see history either way, either Michigan has its worst loss ever or it has it biggest comeback ever, either way we’re watching history in the making!” So we stayed and we watched and we won, and we cried and I will always thank the likes of Threet, Mathews, Brandon Graham, McGuffie, and off course Rich Rod for that memory. The true hope that I had going into that game was to see the wolverines win, but really, you remember what that team was made of, freshmen, transfers and walk-ons. I’m not even sure we had enough scholarship players to field a team. But who cares, those players played their hearts out and won. In 2009, I saw these things in many of the new players, Tate wanted to win so bad, Robinson works so hard to make it, those DBs bleed Maize and Blue and the same applies to everyone else on this team. They signed up for a roller-coaster ride and they are having the time of their lives.
I’m not the ultimate optimist, but I’d love to be, but the real reason I am writing this is to bring up an important point. Rich Rod is bringing out the best in Michigan ( I know what a lot of people will say, Winning is what is best at Michigan!!) But Michigan really is about heart, about pushing the limits and making miracles happen, yes we might lose a game or 2 or 9 in the process, but that should in no way shoot down our pride and the pride of a great great program. And should in no way belittle a coach who really is putting his heart and soul into this job.
He is not intentionally losing and he’s not stupid that he doesn't know the formula for winning, its just that everything that could go wrong did go wrong. Think about it, he takes over and a bunch of players leave the team, including a future Heisman candidate at QB, an All-American OL, a bunch of great receivers and an All-Star graduating class. Michigan was going to walk into rebuilding mode regardless of a change of coach, add to that the extra player attrition and are left with something that resembles a 1-AA team, I’m pretty sure that if we would’ve played App State again in 2008, that with the players we had on the team they would have actually had a better poll of talent, and THAT was Rich Rod’s inheritance.
So as to stay focused on what is to come, and more hopeful than many, I go back to that Wisconsin game and believe with every little beat in my heart that Michigan today can still be a miracle team and Rich Rod can bring out the heart in those players. In no way can I boldly predict whether or not Michigan will win today, next week or in November, but I will tell you this, I am pretty sure those players and that coaching staff will die just for a W, and those my friends are the true Michigan men.
Hail to the Victors and GO BLUE
http://nmajali.deviantart.com/gallery/#/d1n6brq (Players celebrating after the final whistle)
Not sure why this bothers me but it does: Will Tate's nameplate be "Forcier" this year or "T Forcier" like last season? It bugged the hell out of me last year for some reason and if memory serves me correctly, he had T Forcier due to his brother being on the original fall roster. Anyone know what he had on his nameplate at fan day?
As I sit at my computer and relentlessly check the board for new topics and all things Michigan, I thought I would start a thread with a positive tone rather than the dong-punching rubbish of the past week.
There is plenty of speculation as to whether Denard will become the starter this season. What is not in question is the fact that he is one of the fastest players on the team, and that he has the potential to take it to the house every time he touches the ball.
I wonder how many times we will hear a call similar to this after Denard shows his defense shredding skills:
"If you look real close there's a jock strap on the field and it belongs to (insert defender's name here)." -Matt Millen
Starter or not, having a full year under his belt will make DRob a better all around player, and an exciting piece of the puzzle in 2010. Go Blue.
Dr Saturday has an article in which he makes his hyper-specific predictions about the Big 10 this year. The stuff directly relevant to Michigan:
* After posting dreadful –12 and –10 turnover margins the last two years with wholly inexperienced quarterback platoons, Michigan will roughly break even on the giveaway/takeaway scale, bumping overall scoring to more than 30 points per game despite failing to decide on incumbent Tate Forcier or spring star Denard Robinson as the full-time quarterback.
* The Wolverines will break even on the season, as well, coming in at 6-6 after giving Ohio State a run for its money in the regular season finale, sneaking into a lower-tier bowl game and (barely) saving Rich Rodriguez's job into 2011.
I am not a man. I began as one, but now I am becoming more than a man, as you will witness.
– Francis Dolarhyde, Red Dragon
After the Iowa game last year, my nervous system instantaneously rushed to the precipice of meltdown every time Denard Robinson stepped onto the field. Mixing equal parts of anxiety and exhilaration yields a volatile cocktail. There were times when I couldn’t stand up because I was so nervous; only once or twice but, regardless of frequency, that ain’t right. Trembling calves, bated breath, dilated pupils, thumping heart. Then, a money Chewbacca impression; happy or sad, the reaction was the same. I can’t have been the only one.
There was good reason for such a strong pavlovian response. It seemed as though the outcome of a play with Robinson under center was the random result of the flip of a coin—tails: utter disaster, heads: spectacular success, on edge: just another play. Denard threw interceptions at a nauseating 13% rate on 31 passes. However, he also scored touchdowns 7% of the time on 100 total touches. Forcier only produced TDs a little over 3% of the time. Think about that for a second, Forcier had 399 touches last year and scored 13 TDs…Denard, theoretically, could’ve had 28. Those numbers are ridiculous to quote because Denard touched the ball so infrequently last year, but it isn’t fair to quote his turnovers without also quoting his TDs.
Anyway, eight months later we are faced with another batch of the cocktail, this time with a twist. A full offseason and a spring practice session have apparently yielded a thrilling prospect, Denard can throw. Maybe we can actually stomach the elixir and keep it down. That prospect sparks at least two questions. The first, how much could he have realistically improved? I mean, there’s improvement, and then there’s being good; the latter is not guaranteed. The second question is, who do you play, Tate or Denard? In this diary I hope to rigorously estimate an answer to the first question and hopelessly flail at the second.