"He makes it really easy on you as a coach because he has tremendous football instincts," Michigan tight ends coach Jay Harbaugh said. "Things come really naturally to him. He doesn't have to see things too many times. He has a good sense for how things should look and feel, and he's a tough, physical guy."
To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be in his final year of eligibility, hold at least a 3.2 grade-point average and "have outstanding football ability as a first team player or significant contributor and have demonstrated strong leadership and citizenship."
"That was one of those plays that was real contact courage," Harbaugh said of Chesson’s block. "He just went and made a real, hearty block. I was happy to see that. Darboh is doing the same thing, and Ways is doing the same thing at a higher level than most receivers you’re ever going to find."
"The Wildcats' endzone might as well be the moon; sure it is possible to go there, and it's been done in the past, but opposing teams are wondering if they have the manpower and the short-sleeved white button-down shirts to engineer a way there and how are they going to convince the government to give them the resources to try in this economy."
10/31/2009 – Michigan 13, Illinois 38 – 5-4, 1-4 Big Ten
To paint with broad strokes, I probably don't have much in common with 6'3", 290 pound black guys from Miami who think it's a good idea to play for Ron Zook. Our worlds are unlikely to intersect at a Lil Wayne show or the Ann Arbor Film Festival. Cory Liuget has probably never thought to himself "that reminds me of a Morrissey song." Of late, I think that all the time.
But at around 6:30 on October 31st, 2009, we both felt like we had been punched in the dong. In Liuget's case, this is because he had been punched in the dong:
In my case, and probably in yours, you had not actually been punched in the dong unless you had decided at some point that going outside with your buddies and punching each other in the dongs was preferable to watch the metaphorical dong-punching that started when Roy Roundtree's knee hit the ground at the one yard line and has not, to my knowledge, stopped. If you managed to miss this play and its aftermath because you were outside getting punched in the dong, congratulations: this is the one and only time when your decision-making skills will ever be regarded above average. Punch yourself in the dong in celebration.
Liuget got off easy. He was wearing a cup. My soul-dong has no cup, and it's taken a mighty battering in the last couple of years. Weary, bepunched, bruised, bepunched some more, the soul-dong cries out: why, gods who dictate which ghostly shadow genitalia get the full America's Funniest Home Videos treatment, have you chosen these dongs for maximum severe extreme punishment?
In the end, it doesn't matter. It just hurts when you don't move carefully.
You probably think I'm done with this riff on dong-punching. You get the dashes and the topic changes and then the topic comes back around to the previous item by the end of the column, with maybe some more dashes indicating where you should be prepared to shift thoughts. This, surely, is where a sentence can go by without the author mentioning someone getting punched in the dong.
No: the dongs. They are punched. This is what Michigan football has been since about the instant Drew Henson decided to take millions of dollars from the Yankees: the constant struggle to get your dong punched in new and interesting ways. Super-recruit quarterback leaves before senior year: kapow. New, wholly obscure Ohio State coach from I-AA is the anti-Cooper: tiger PUNCH. 2005: E. Honda hundred-hand-slaps your jibbly bits. 2006: more of a Tekken unblockable thunderfist with a huge-long windup that you think is going to be awesome until you fail to dodge the full testicle-crushing force of the blow and end up flat against the wall. 2007: Jack Bauer finds the bomb, finds it's a ridiculously tiny nuclear device, and decides to screw with you by placing it in the appropriate place before the Horror. 2008: A hundred E. Hondas hundred-hand-slapping your scrotum for three straight months.
2009 can be seen above: SURPRISE! You, Corey Liuget, think your dong is unthreatened late in a game you've turned into a blowout. You are wrong, and E. Honda shows up 75% through the damn thing just to give you dangly punishment.
As per usual.
Here we are, gingerly attempting to sit down without having any part of our anatomy brush up against other parts of our anatomy. Things just got raw, yo. Every place on the internet that didn't immediately repeal the first amendment(!!!) is burning.
I've been watching the same stuff everyone has for 1.5 years and here's where I am: it's blindingly obvious that some portion of the suck is Rodriguez's doing. After that huge reversal of fortune you have to back down from any previous stances you have about the program, its progress, and etc etc etc. That is a game-changing event. That game turned "Rich Rodriguez flames out in three years" at Michigan from a laughable notion to a possible one. Distantly possible, but possible.
I'm not sure what the suck is and how much can be laid on the current coaching staff. The Shafer hire was a poor one. Past that, the last couple years have featured four quarterbacks that were either freshmen or walk-ons, a disaster of an offensive line, and a defense that actually saw two walk-ons start against Illinois because they were preferable to the alternatives. I don't know if that's Jay Hopson's fault or just crappy luck that you're starting a guy who would never see the field because the options behind him are so poor.
I still think we aren't anywhere near the point at which we can chuck out Rodriguez's stellar previous track record. That is not an accident. The previous coaching staff was responsible for The Horror and was attempting to position Mike DeBord as a legitimate in-house candidate, so it's not like the vast program-killing screwup that is the defensive recruiting is an huge outlier in judgment.
On the 70-yard touchdown that put Illinois in the lead for good, two players were largely responsible: Leach got dragged out of position expecting a stretch and Kovacs took what he thought was a good angle but was not because he is a freshman walk-on. There are a lot of problems with the program that no one could deal with.
Rodriguez will be back next year with a mandate to get to a mediocre bowl, and he'll be under pressure to produce a serious team in year four. My confidence that he'll do that is waning. There's not much that would improve the situation; as we've seen the last two years, program continuity is a huge factor in any football team's success. Firing Rodriguez before he's thoroughly proven he can't make it work here is going to make the previous suffering in vain.
That's where I am. If you're elsewhere, fine, I can understand that after the huge reversal the past couple weeks. Before the 2008 season I dug out that picture of Bo and Canham and Bump Elliot and placed the fanbase in the center of it:
We are all Don Canham now. Rich Rodriguez comes in with a wildly successful pedigree but promises to finally tear down the culture of Bo’s program, to replace it with something uncertain. This has caused apprehension in some, joy in others, and disdain verging on hatred in a select group.
The program risks changing into something people drift away from because it has drifted from them, or, worse, something that you only wish you could drift away from. It also promises fireworks and fun and victory and a feeling that’s something other than that thing we’ve felt so much before. Other fanbases go through this every five or ten or fifteen years; for us it’s been 40.
I could welcome it, I guess, or celebrate it, or proclaim inevitable dominion over the land. But I don’t feel like it. Nor do I feel like fretting over imaginary scandals future. Like Canham, I just hope it works.
I still hope it works. It's getting harder to think it will. Next year will tell the tale.
Michigan should prepare for an Ortmann suspension. Omameh is probably the guy who draws in, but he's been practicing at right tackle. Ricky Barnum is the nominal backup left tackle if the Baby Seal U game is an indication, but I don't think he's left tackle material; the real backups at tackle are redshirting.
Michigan's losing their composure, yes, and it's clear there's a cultural divide on the team between guys like Odoms, who know from rough, and Carr holdovers who still seem pissed that this is what they got when it's not what they signed up for.
Holy hell: turnovers. I'd mentioned this before but here's a useful diary post from Enjoy Life on Rodriguez's turnover history. It's ridiculous:
Aside from the ugly first year, West Virginia had a positive turnover margin every year of Rodriguez's reign, with double-digit years four out of six tries. It's not the system, and it's not the weather as it applies to the system—it gets cold and rainy in West Virginia, too. It's freshman quarterbacks and terrible defense.
Also holy hell: what a disaster Mike Patrick is. One: if our starting center was actually named "Mossman" he would a superhero capable of enmeshing opponents in his velcro-like grasp and Michigan's offensive line wouldn't fail to pass block against a terrible team that had no pass rush coming into the game. This was not an error. He and equally idiotic Craig James called him "Mossman" at least six times.
Two: you just knew as soon as the goal line stand happened that the rest of the game would be Patrick and James going Favre on Terry Hawthorne tracking down Roundtree, and this they did, often failing to even describe the play in front of them in favor of yet more rapturous praise for Hawthorne. They should find whatever pasture they've put Maguire in and put Patrick in it, too. And then shoot it into space. It will be like the Little Prince!
Three: this is not Patrick's fault but after a couple games on ABC that were beautifully directed, this one missed a half-dozen plays.
Mike Williams had edge responsibility time and again against Illinois and blew it when he wasn't getting blocked into the bench. He was spectacularly bad, just as he was against Iowa. I find it hard to believe Vlad Emilien is worse, and since he's played on special teams recently he's not getting a redshirt. Wonder if we see him a little bit more the rest of the season.
It's really obvious why they moved Woolfolk to safety in spring now. What a terrible feeling it must have been to watch these guys play in spring practice and know you were going to die in the fall.
Kovacs makes sense because there are literally no scholarship options at his spot other than Emilien and project true freshmen, but what is with Leach getting on the field in front of Fitzgerald or Demens? I'd say it's a failure to develop talent on the part of Hopson, but he's also the guy coaching Leach. All I know is that it's very bad when you have major recruits (Fitzgerald was just outside top 100 lists and Adam Patterson was a top-50 player) idling behind walk-ons.
What happened to Shaw? Undisclosed injury?
The offensive line's pass blocking is the biggest problem with the offense right now. Every week I go into UFR expecting that Forcier will have all these terrible scrambles and there's maybe one or two instances where it was optional. In all other cases, someone is bearing down on him. The line is getting crushed in the protection metric. I hope this is an effect of losing Molk more than anything else; also, Michigan doesn't have any options other than freshmen behind the starters now.
I got emails from people asking why they couldn't post stuff on the blog. How do you attempt to post something on the blog without reading the single paragraph post at the top of it that says you can't post? And should this be taken as evidence that the people in question should not be allowed to post anyway?
LVSC's initial opening line for the game: M –7. Vegas loled and set it at 3.5. But… hey… 3.5 point favorites! WOO MOTOR CITY.
I know a lot of people don't like excuses, but if they call the PI on Matthews in the end zone we are probably up 17-7 to start the half and on the 4th down Minor was short of the goalline, but if you look at the tape closely the ball was already out when his elbow came down so technically the call should have been a td for Schilling. It is hard to see because the ball is still close to Minor's body, but you can see the ball is not secured as his body comes to the ground. At 24-7 I'm convinced Zook pulls the plug on Juice and we probably smoke em and the posts on these boards are completely different.
We're still not a good team, but I'm fascinated how the tiniest things during a game could change the whole game and peoples perception about the last 18 months.
1) From the replay I saw, it looked like he was down way before the ball came out.
2) A fumble on 4th down recovered by any offensive player other than the fumbler is dead at the spot or at the spot of the fumble, whichever is further back. So even if he does fumble it before he's down, if it's recovered by anyone other than Minor it's a dead ball at the spot of the fumble, Illinois takes over.
I agree, this just seemed to be the day when the Illinois offense woke up and played like everyone expected them to at the start of the year. It sucks that it happened against us but that's sports sometimes.
Now we face a must-win game against Purdue to get bowl eligible. As bad as that sounds we only have to look 60 miles away to another program that everyone views as being on the upswing in MSU. They've got a probable win against Western, a probable loss to PSU, and Purdue. If they beat Purdue they get to 6-6, same as us -and in a year where they get to skip OSU.
In a season where OSU spits the bit as hard against Purdue as UM did on Saturday and where the league's lone Natty Title contender needed the luckiest sequence of plays over 1.5 quarters to win at home against a program with 14 losing seasons in the last 15 years, we're going to jump off ledges because our team that was 3-9 last year that we all hoped would get 7 wins lost to a shitty team?
Wow. Didnt see that coming.
This isnt a game changer. Just another reality check.
I like most if us, like and respect jamiemac. But jamie, you said approximately the same thing two weeks ago after Brian's "this team is bad" post, which happened before PSU and Illinois if I remember correctly. You response then was (paraphrasing) "Brian, lighten up." It turned out Brian was right then, and I fear he is right now.
"Before I could pull the trigger, I was hit by lightning, and bitten by a cobra."
Patrick and James were awful. They talked for 5 minutes about Halloween costumes while the game was going on. They didn't say a word about what was happening on the field, just costumes. Vincent Smith had a great run where he was hit 5 yards in the backfield and ended up almost getting a first down. Not a single comment. Terrible.
They were indeed awful. And in the state of mind I was in, everything they said made me want to jump through the screen and strangle them. Especially the halloween costume talk when the camera was on them while a play was being run. As Brian noted, they continually called Moosman 'Mossma'. They also called Roy Roundtree 'Ray'. Even before the goal line stand, they were slanted towards Illinois, and after the goal line stand it just got unbearable.
Bo wanted the program to be run subject to the "Winning with Integrity" philosophy, but I guess that doesn't apply when you are losing. They better have something new up their sleeves for OSU, but I'm not holding my breath.
There was no integrity on Ortmann's part. As Brian pointed out, he's probably looking at a game suspension, so he's not Mr. Innocent (even if the giblets were jingling in his face). If you don't think this isn't fodder for the rest of the Big Ten and college football (and rightfully so), I think you're kidding yourselves. If you can't beat em (no pun intended), tag em. If he's a stand up guy, Ortmann should have been bigger than that kind of crap. They should have pounded 93 into submission on the next series. The worst part (and I'm as guilty as anyone for posting on it) may be that there's not much to talk about after that game other than the bag tag. The only gratifiying thing to come out of the game is that they tagged a guy???? Ortmann should be having 6:00 AM sessions with RichRod at the Big House, a la Carr. Could have been a 15 yard penalty if it was seen, not that it would have mattered. He's got to stay disciplined. They all do. Agree with another poster that TWIS might be well deserved for UM this week.
I still don't see how "integrity" has anything to do with it.
Perhaps you're just misusing the term - perhaps your using it in place of "class," or "honor" or something. But a lack of integrity (== dishonesty), doesn't fit here. The tag was pure heat-of-the-moment reaction - if you think it was premeditated, you're delusional. Whether the retaliation was appropriate for the infraction... probably not in a black-and-white world, but still subjective based on the colors you're wearing.
Whatever the case, I promise you that had that jackass pushed his pelvis in the face of one of Bo's players, the outcome would have been very similar. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that Dan Dierdorf would have ripped that guy's manhood off completely.
Are you referring to Ortmann's (apparent) jab as a lack of integrity... after 350lbs of jackass attempts for force his manhood down Mark's throat? Ortmann is, perhaps, one of the most stand-up guys on the team.
I eagerly await a defense to your suggestion of dishonesty.
I normally find myself agreeing with Brian, but regarding Patrick and James: I think they are WAY better than Millen and McDonough, who are ahead of them in the ABC rotation. I'd much rather hear Patrick/James than those guys.
Millen before the PSU game: "I think Tate Forcier is the best QB in the Big Ten." McDonough: (paraphrasing) "I might be inclined to agree." I thought to myself right after that comment that this was a bad omen
"Before I could pull the trigger, I was hit by lightning, and bitten by a cobra."
I was watching the game on Saturday and I couldn't even get angry, or frustrated, or pissed. All I could muster was sadness. I want to be frustrated, but that would mean I have expectations for the defense beyond playing soft coverage and missing at least one tackle a sequence.
Where do we go from here is simple, finish the season, hopefully get some extra practice time from a bowl bid, and work on next year and hope it goes better the next time around. But really, this is how I've felt since Iowa, so maybe that's just being ahead of the curve.
While I usually agree with Brian's sentiment after losses, I take issue with the level of dismay found here. At the beginning of the season, people expected this team to go anywhere from 6-6 to 8-4, with 7-5 being the most common.
Right now, the team is 5-4 after losing the only game this season that the team "should" have won (and even that is a stretch considering just paper Illinois has been to UM's rock over the years). Sure, beating ND was a nice upset, but beyond that the team has played exactly as people expected at the beginning of the year.
The defense has been horrible, and the offense has been erratic with two freshmen QBs, a dinged-up feature back (Minor), injuries on the line, and a mediocre WR core. Outside of the two QBs and a couple of flame-outs on defense, I do not see RR having much control over these factors that led to such a bad team. And for all those who point to his second year at WVU as the expected uptick in results, let's not act like they were world-beaters. They beat two ranked teams, one being a Hokie squad that finished 3-4 in the Big East and a Pitt team whose only win over a ranked opponent was to the aforementioned Hokies. It was a team that was crushed by good teams and generally won close games against mediocre teams.
I guess my point is that nothing positive comes from over-analyzing this game. This team has had a horrible defense all year, and Saturday Juice Williams was able to exploit it. Illinois has a good offense on paper, and all week long the concern was that talented offenses sometimes find horrible weeks to show up. Look at Minnesota this week - the last 3 weeks combined they scored 27 points. Saturday? 42. Stuff happens, and while it sucks to be on the receiving end, that's life.
The offense is light-years ahead of where it was last year, and will return the vast majority of the players next year, with more seasoning and a larger playbook. The defense will lose Graham, Brown, and maybe Warren, but they at least return a DC and guys like Roh, Martin, and Campbell on the line along with some redshirts in the secondary. While I doubt the defense will improve as much as the offense did the next year under RR, GERG should have them playing a little better or, at the very least, have a year to fashion a scheme that covers up its inequities better.
Maybe it is the optimist in me, but bitching about the coach after less than 2 years helps no one, and only feeds the controversy and bad vibe surrounding this program. I am not saying people need to be blind to the failings of the team, but buying stock in Ann Arbor Torch and Pitchfork isn't helping the situation either. Neg me if you want, but 5-4 with losses @MSU, @Illinois, @Iowa and home to PSU doesn't look as bad as to me as we are acting right now, blowout or not.
but the offense, at this point in the season, is not "light years" ahead of where it was last year. In fact, I would argue that after a fast start, they are in approximately the same place... which is obviously not a particularly good place. There are many reasons for this and great diaries explaining them all, but at the end of the day this is still RR's team and we look like crap at this juncture.
For the 8 billionth time, here's hoping we beat Purdue and find some way to turn this ship around.
"out of these tunnels will come the meanest, toughest sonsabitches ever to put on pads"
Last year's offense was 109th overall; this year, they are 39th. I understand the consternation, and maybe "light years" is a bit strong, but certainly vastly improved from last year. Plus, this year at least is one the team can grow on, since outside of Brown, Minor and Mathews most of the major pieces will be back next year. Last year, you saw Sheridan and Threet struggle and you realized that it would happen again next year, only this time with freshmen. Next year Tate will be a year farther along in the offense and the playbook should expand. DR, who is effectively a RB this year, will be a real dual threat next year with a greater understanding of the offense. Guys like Shaw and Smith should be able to replace the production of Brown and Minor somewhat, and guys like Drake should provide even more depth as freshmen. A healthy Molk will be back along with some added depth from the recent OL hauls, and Wr-palooza in recruiting should hopefully pay some dividends. I may be bullish on the offense this year, and I'm sure the defense will continue to be below average, but there are still 3 winnable games on the schedule, including two home contests. Call me crazy, but I don't see this team continuing to slide.
Leave it to Brian to adequately express how I feel right now and on Saturday. This was as disappointing a loss to me right now as any I've watched-- including 2002 Iowa and 1998 Syracuse. This even approaches THE HORROR on some levels, b/c even thought I knew we're supposed to beat Appy St, they did run the spread, they were defending national champs, and we had a D with significant holes- I still chalk that one up to Bill Martin/Lloyd's scheduling. But this one hurts, b/c it shakes the foundation that I had in RichRod. I now need to see a Purdue victory, and at least competitiveness in Wiscy and Ohio St to justify moving forward with this revolution. Otherwise, next year is a 12 game job interview and firing is a distinct possibility.
"So I come out of Ohio Stadium after we beat the Buckeyes, and right there on the hood of my friend's car, some one took a dump, in the shape of an 'O'. no shit. Oh, sorry, bad pun."
dealing with the pain and embarrassment, emasculation
I hate my life. That sucked. It's depressing to think about. Let me tell you about female friends, or at least the ones you're not trying to sleep with. They put up with your brooding, at least until a certain point. If they love you because you somehow duped them into thinking you're a good, lovable man, then they will act like your sisters. We men absolutely need male friends (see I Love You, Man, 2008), but sometimes we need that female friend to whom we can expose ourselves as real pussies, like when a boss or a girl has made you feel inadequate. Obviously, this type of situation doesn't apply to me because I'm too busy having a very large scrotum, so it's a purely hypothetical case for me. I'm just speaking to the overall 21-century male experience.
Basically, the loss hurt my genitalia so that I could experience what it is you mere mortal men call "inadequacy." It forced me to express such despair and sadness that a female friend felt that I needed a hug. But not one just from her, but from her boyfriend as well. In this case, however, they work as a team. She's not really into sports, but he is a dude so he can explain my despair to her because deep down inside, it hurts him to see a fellow sports fan in pain, unless he is a fan of a rival, in which case he is a douche.
The boyfriend/husband who you're friends with. If you're like me, you got close to his gf/wife because of him and not the other way around, so there's nothing really strange going on yet you still feel the need to prove that your relationship with his gf is purely platonic, even though his gf is a heaven-sent wingwoman and is responsible for at least half of your sex life, including that cute bridesmaid in the gorgeously revealing dress whom the woman-friend got you to go home with from her own wedding to male friend, not before you and bedmate-to-be are both hugged by the officiating rabbi who is way too drunk to realize that what you're both about to do ain't exactly a mitzvah. Yes, taken female friends are definitely so much better than your homely single female friends whom you worry secretly love you and die a little bit inside when they hear about your shenanigans.
The point is, kids, women are lousy drivers but they still manage to make good friends, especially when your manhood has been stripped away by some she-devil or the team that you sacrifice so much for, and can be invaluable wingpeople, but only if they love you enough in a purely platonic way.....even if you did hook up that one time and promised never to speak about it again. THE END.
Ann Arbor is a classy broad.
"Get off my plane!" - Ricky Stanzi, Air Force One 2
Have you people learned nothing from being sports fans? The point of all this is that there is no point. All we are is dust in the wind and stuff like that. A piece of me died the moment that App St blocked what should have been a game-(and season- but not reputation-)saving FG.
It should have been painfully clear from the moment Tony Gonzalez had that miracle catch against us in 2005 that all my love affair with Michigan football would ever bring me was heartache and broken dreams. And goddamn if it hasn't been worth it, because I continue to love and hate every moment of it. Because for every meltdown-inducing moment, there is that instant of absolute elation that results from a last-second TD, walk-off homerun, clutch interception, or just winning the big game, as well as all the fond memories of watching your team with your friends.
Shit, I think I'm turning into Ellipses Man. I guess that's what losing to Illinois has done to me. (For the record, a lot of this is joking around, but that game really did suck.)
Oh yeah, and no threesome. Threesome with 2 guys runs too much of a risk of your swords crossing. Plus it's kinda gay.
Ann Arbor is a classy broad.
"Get off my plane!" - Ricky Stanzi, Air Force One 2
Thank you Brian. You summed up what I, and most here are now feeling. Notice I didn't say thinking because after a mother-fucker of a dong punch like that thinking isn't possible until the swelling goes down.
All season long I've hung my hopes on the team getting better. I wasn't wrapped up in W's and L's and honestly just hoped to get to 6 wins and make a bowl regardless of how bad. The first 4 games didn't make me overconfident in that I thought we were a great team. Those games did however lower the floor from which I was judging whether this team is getting better or not.
MSU and Iowa, even though they were losses, felt strangely good. We didn't get blown out and this team of freshman and sophomores proved that they were capable of playing with real B10 teams. That's probably what makes the last 2 games suck more. Losing to Illinois, without a doubt the worst team in the B10, showed that maybe M is going backwards and not at a slow rate.
You're the first one that I've read that says it's OK to question RR. The rest of the big name posters have strongly opposed this. I don't want RR fired, but maybe some pressure will transfer to position coaches.
I do have to say that I'm not fond of RR's emotional outbursts and I don't think that a freshman that just screwed up on the field benefits from an asschewing on TV immediately after. The kid knows, we know, and his team knows. If the kid doesn't know he has no business being on the field. I've learned in my experience in coaching that some players respond to a arm around the shoulder and others need a kick in the ass, but either should always be done away from the public.
Anyway thanks for the post and tell your English profs they did a good job.
It happened...and there was great hope and rejoicing.
I do have to say that I'm not fond of RR's emotional outbursts and I don't think that a freshman that just screwed up on the field benefits from an asschewing on TV immediately after.
I think that's a very underrated issue of concern about RR's leadership style. Chewing a kid out during a game on national TV is like your dad yelling at you at a dinner party in front of all the guests.
I agree to an extent, but I think people freak out too much about the yelling. Coaches do that all the time, and while I'm not a fan of mercilessly belittling a college kid, I don't think that is the case. RR was doing the same thing to the guys when they were winning, but it doesn't draw the ire of fans until the team loses. He sometimes chewed out guys on WVU when that team was going to BCS bowls, and Carr had his moments when Navarre or Manningham did something dumb. Until he starts calling kids out in the media or physically beating on guys, I do not think people should read that much into it.
I agree with your sentiment, but we shouldn't read too much into this loss. It was a team and QB that has given UM trouble for a couple of years (and even in 2007 when the team largely held him in check, he was terrifying and had a couple of instances where he nearly broke long runs). When UM beat ND early in the season, the general sentiment was be happy but don't read too much into the win because nobody knew how good ND was - and it has born out that they are a flawed team that always plays close games. I say, apply the same reserve now - Illinois has looked bad almost all year, but after being pummeled by OSU and PSU in consecutive weeks, they have at least looked passable the past few weeks against the likes of MSU, Purdue, and Indiana. UM is a 6-6, 7-5 team that, based on some luck and maturity, could be anywhere from 4-8 to 9-3. Kind of like most middling teams (i.e. MSU) - some years they catch a few breaks and make a News Years Day bowl; other years they have tough losses and finish 3-9.
I do see a maturation in this team, and while RR deserves some heat for some of his play-calling, he can only do so much with the pieces he has. At some point the Carr excuses will end, but right now I think this team is playing about as well as it can given its components.
Trying to remember the pre-season expectations is a good coping mechanism but it does not, nor should it, excuse questionable play and or coaching. After 4-0 expectations rightfully changed. Expectations changed TOO much, that is for sure, but after 4-0, watching a team crumble as it did on Saturday is disturbing. This is more about means than end. Sure a 6-6 finish was expected at the beginning of the year but how you get to that destination matters. Even in August, while people would have accepted 6-6 I'm sure they wouldn't have been as understanding if you would've told them that 4-0 turned to 6-6 b/c the team regressed in all aspects. The record isn't the problem, it is the way the team is losing, breaking down in the most fundamental of ways.
Totally agree. And if this team finishes 7-5 with a win over Wiscy or OSU, will it be any different than if they had beaten Illinois. Right now, I'm just hoping this team goes to a bowl game; I could care less who they beat and lost to along the way.
Great post. My question about the freshman wall: why does the talk only seem limited to quarterbacks? It seems a lot of our younger players have hit the proverbial wall, especially after the loss to Penn State. But have they quit? Have the seniors?
In the end, I think RR's tenure at UM could be defined by the next three games. If they lose them all, the demons of this year are coming back with a hideous vengeance. But if they drop turds in all three games, I'm worried about the offseason for RR. Not to be overdramatic, but we really need the bowl game this year.
Notre Dame had eight, nine years of true mediocrity, but that began with one and two years of mediocrity. Purdue game is HUGE.
They KNOW they have to win this week against Purdue so they will be TIGHT and MISTAKE PRONE again this week. I give them NO shot at Wisconsin and only a small shot at home against Ohio State. I hate to be like this and to think like this, but . . . The Purdue QB is not nearly as bad as Wisconsin made him look, he has good RBs and WRs and we now have proof positive (i.e. Illinois) that the best thing in all the world for a struggling offense is to see the winged helmets on defense.
I am shaken to the core here fellas and agree completely with Brian that the light is not at all at the end of the tunnel and we can and should ask NOW whether Rich is the right guy.
"Better to have died as a small boy than to fumble this football" -- John Heisman