that is nice bonus change
There were many things missing this season of Michigan Football in 2008. Maybe not all at once, but they were missing. The details have been drilled upon ad nauseum on this and other sites. From consistency to talent, from speed to fundamentals, from execution to skill. Yes this has been a season of holes and the inability to fill them.
One of the most defining absences of the season has been harped on in many ways, by many factions. The media and fans jumped on the ‘captains for each game’ theory of the coach. No captaincy voting until the season ends. And as a result, or maybe some strange almost concocted by-product, leadership, seemed to be lacking, if not non-existent.
So many times during the season, many of us seemed to be thinking, if only we had a leader in the lockerroom. Someone to call a players-only meeting to right the ship. It never happened. At times the team looked like a rudderless ship being tossed around by the waves of a storm. And make no mistake, this season was a storm, a perfect storm, if you will. It was a perfect storm of transition, inexperience, injuries and lack of leadership. (No, not coaching leadership).
The final crushing wave of that storm hit Saturday in Columbus, as the disciplined, talented, and upperclass-laden Buckeyes did what others had done this season, but with a much more resounding wallup than the Wolverines had faced all year. As the cold winds of November blustered over the boys in blue after the final whistle sounded, and the inevitable questions of what happened and what will happen in the future came again and again. The first piece of the puzzle, one of the most important pieces of a championship building foundation, was laid in the lockerroom of the beaten abd battered Wolverines.
A leader was born. A tough, undaunted leader that leads by example. A leader that has one of the most important qualities that all leaders MUST have. HEART! A leader doesn’t have to bark obscenities or be the loudest in the room. A leader has to have heart and be willing to lay it all on the line every play, every game.
Brandon Minor has been the first to emerge as one of those leaders.
“You can’t really blame Rich Rod because everybody on the team did not buy in like they’re supposed to. We have a couple of guys not going hard,” he said. “We’ll correct that most definitely. That ain’t going to happen on my watch as a senior.”
Someone has finally stepped up and is willing to take responsibility for this team from the inside. This is what Rich Rodriguez has been talking about when he refers to building a program. He wasn’t knocking Lloyd Carr or the Michigan Tradition. He knew in the Spring there was no foundation for this team. He knew there needed to be leadership from the inside that could rally the troops when the inexperience and immaturity of 18 and 19-year old kids showed in the heat of battle. Rodriguez knew he needed a leader on the sideline to keep the players in the game when things went badly, to right the ship.
That lack of leadership was all to often exposed as the team admittedly ‘relaxed’ when it got a lead or didn’t know how to come together when things started to unravel. Maybe, just maybe, Brandon Minor will be the start of that internal leadership. His comments after the game, after the worst loss to OSU since Dr. Strange Hayes put 50 on Michigan, weren’t sadness, or lamenting about what could have been. They were about the future, about what WILL happen in Ann Arbor.
Let 2009 start today. Minor is the first leader and there will be more and with Rich’s first recruiting class, more will come. Let’s look to the bright future with endless possibilities for this team and this storied program. Let it begin today! Those Who Stay Will Be Champions.
So I haven't had time to do my usual Looking Back, Hats Off!!!, Looking Forward posts for a few weeks now. Life just got too complex and I didn't have convenient internet access for a while and blah, blah, blah... Of course I would have gone the extra mile to make the posts if this team was even a tiny bit interesting to me anymore, but sadly, it is not. We officially suck worse than I could have ever imagined. Our offense sucks, our defense sucks (and shouldn't), much of our special teams suck, and Zoltan is our shining light. Not very compelling.
So I have decided to not try to start posting again now that my hiatus is at an end. I have the time and the access but it just kills me to write about this depressing team. I didn't even make the trip to the bar to watch the game today (I have no digital package anymore, sadly.). I worked on my car and got it running great again, then tore around the country roads in it while Michigan was apparently giving the game away yet again. I was glad when I saw the score that I didn't waste my time watching the game. I never thought I could feel that way about it, but there it is.
So here I am looking only forward. No "Hats Off!!!" or "Looking Back", what is the point? So with that in mind, here is what I am looking forward to next year:
- A new defensive coordinator. I was very worried about Shafer when we hired him. His resume seemed weak by Michigan standards. It now seems apparent that he was not ready to be a big-time DC and would have made maybe a better position coach at this level. I really expect him to be the goat that gets the axe to appease the rabid alumni masses after this season.
- An honest-to-goodness mobile QB. I am expecting it to be Tate, but if the Beav is better then that is fine too. Just so long as the QB can run dammit, and be somewhat accurate with the pass when needed. Threet has been much better than I expected but is far short of what we need. If he could be accurate as a passer then he would be fine, but he can't. I really hope that RR won't platoon Tate and the Beav too much ala Threet/Sheridan. Just go with one please.
- An improved OL PLEASE! We have some solid young talent that I hope can gel quickly next year. My biggest concern for next season is that the OL still won't be ready. A mobile QB will definately help this IMO.
- Sam McGuffie 2.0. I still believe this guy will be a stud. Bring him back this year only if he is 100% healthy (He is hurt, isn't he? I am so out of the loop but I heard he didn't make the trip to Purdue). With a few more pounds and more conditioning from Barwis, look our for McGuff next year.
- A healthy team with another year of Barwis sculpting. Injuries sure haven't helped this team out this year. Let's see what Barwis can do about it next year.
I won't be posting anymore this season but of course will be lurking and commenting when the mood strikes. I love it here and I love hearing all of your opinions and rants. Keep up the good work everybody and keep you chins up. Michigan will be good again soon I think, and if nothing else, at least this season showed that MGoBlog is great no matter how the team is doing.