Very well said my friend. Take it from somebody who has lived near Morgantown and has been around the program; Rodriguez knows what he's doing. He's made mistakes, but it's life. This team will surprise a lot of people in the fall, and as a fanbase we just have to get behind them and give it 100%. When it comes down to the game, you can throw away the 4-star rankings, the golden-arm competitions, and rivals and scout. It's about the coaches, and the players. See y'all in September eh?
Let's put the past where it belongs ... in the past
Dis-claimer: I wrote this as a reponse to all the pessimism that was coming out in the last week or so and finally decided to post it. Well, I also had to wait until I had enough points to post as well. We'll see if I still do later.
Is it possible that we, not all of us, but some of us, are so consumed with what has passed that we cannot see the forest for the trees? Could the incredible, unimaginable, almost unthinkable things that happened last season, in the fading shadows of the beginning of the 2007 season, scar the landscape that is Michigan Football, so much so that we can no longer see what “can be” and only see what is otherwise referred to as “the worst-case scenario”?
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Before the Appalachian State disaster and the Oregon shellacking, to the fanbase, Michigan was a perennial top-5-10 team. After that season, a little hope still flickered as Lloyd Carr’s swan song was a gigantic victory over the mighty SEC. But then came the retirement, coaching search that seemingly went awry. And with it, another thunderous stone fell from the foundation of the greatest program in the country.
A new coach, a new philosophy and a new direction tried to brighten the landscape as they tried to burn off the haze left over from what had gone on for decades. There was hope, enthusiasm and an age-old trust in what had always been there, a defense that could be counted to keep the team in the game, give the offense a chance to learn, grow and hopefully by the end of the season regain some if not all of the respect tarnished by the opening of the previous season.
But, as we all know, football is a game of four quarters, and offense, defense and special teams. In 2008, our Wolverines never gained control over any one of those pieces, much less all of them together. As the season went on, more stones from the foundation seemed to crumble, if not the first quarter, the second quarter was the downfall. If not the first half, it was the second half. If the offense played well, the defense struggled or the defense kept us in the game and the offense couldn’t get out of its own way. And in some cases, the offense shined through the murky waters of repeated special teams disasters only to come up short because the defense never seemed to get off the field.
The cupboard was bare. Make no mistake, it was. Not because no one recruited. Not because “everyone” left. Not because the …………………
In 2007 the unbelievable happened and in 2008 the unthinkable happened. Now as the 2009 season is coming around the corner, we are trying to find reasons to be optimistic, but the damage done over the last two seasons has almost everyone believing that Michigan will have to be lucky to win, rather than making its own luck and controlling its destiny, by doing what Michigan has always done…playing Michigan Football. Yes, we will have a true freshman quarterback playing this season regardless of the name and number he will be a freshman. And yes, the DC is new for the second season in a row. And the defense is not chock full of household names that make you tingle with excitement or salivate over the number of sacks or INTs that they would undoubtedly rack up.
Despite what has happened in the past, and it IS the past, the 2009 version of the Michigan Wolverines has the same opportunity as so many other Michigan squads, to play with the passion, heart and strength that every other great Michigan team had. There will be some disappointments this season I’m sure, but the potential and the possibilities for this season are maybe greater than any in recent memory.
Don’t let the slow, methodical ways of the past cloud your vision. Our coach is the father of the modern spread. If there is anyone who can get these young men ready to execute and unleash the power of this offense on the Big11Ten conference it’s Rich Rodriguez.
Consider these factors in a bubble for just a moment; the entire offensive line is coming back, the running backs are healthy and in their second year under the new system The defense is young, but very hungry led by a proven leader. The defense WILL be faster! We have the greatest punter on the planet, the defensive coordinator actually has many years of experience building championship defenses. And possibly the best news of all, the QB knows how to run the spread AND he can throw. On top of all that, the offense is built and run by the guys who know it better than anyone else and have made it work EVERYWHERE they go.
Now if you take those factors and insert them into the history, tradition and bigger-than-life spectacle that is Michigan Football. Combine that with the largest crowd anywhere that will be MUCH LOUDER than every before, thanks to the new additions and more enthusiasm, with eight home games, three of them against huge rivals, and leave out what has happened in the past, that has no real bearing on the future, and this could be a great season.
Now, I know this all sounds like I have stolen all the kool-aid and downed it like a freshman who has never seen a beer-bong before, but in my 44 years on this planet and season ticket holder, I have seen many incredible things happen inside the hole “that Yost dug, Schembechler filled and Canham paid for”. There is promise, opportunity and an awful lot of desire being crafted by RichRod and company. I for one, think great things will happen and many of us will be very, very surprised this season.
As a footnote, I understand the concern, and even pessimism going into this season, but I just can’t believe that this program will struggle the way Nebraska, Notre Dame and others have.
The offseason is too long and Sept. 5 is too far away.
kudos to you. as a side note I thought it was more like, "the hole that Yost dug, somebody paid for, Canham carpeted and Schembechler fills up every cotton picking Saturday in the Fall."
I didn't feel like pulling out the ole Ufer records to find it. I guess I just remembered the Yost and Canham part and my brained filled in the Schembechler part. Thanks for the kudos as well.
"The hole that Yost dug, Crisler paid for, Canham carpeted and Schembechler fills up every cotton-picking Saturday in the fall."
That's it! I will throw in my all time favorite Ufer.
" 2 tight ends and a balanced line, Huckleby deep, Davis close, Ricky the peach Leach under center, the ball resting 18 yards in, from this, the western sideline."
Those words have the same effect on me that a Gregorian Chant might have on a monk.
it's pretty clear you haven't seen our 2 deep at each safety position. and LBer.
I'd advise you to continue that mode of operation.
our weakest link on defense last season. I think Shafer did nothing to protect them either. One thing that Lloyd and English did was to try and hide the weakest part of the defense. I figure GERG and company will find a way to use the speed we have back there and become a more aggressive yet smarter defense; i.e. better angles and better positions to take those angles. I'm looking forward to seeing Woolfolk and Vlad back there as well as Stevie in his new role.
I think Shafer did nothing to protect them either.
i think the overwhelming zone and soft coverage last year were the protection.
Woodson left. I can't think of a time when Morgan Trent any other corner played up tight on a receiver, they always seemed to play 8-12 yards off the line. But, theat is what you have to do when you don't have speed on the outside.
This reminds me of a scene from The Lion King...
the offense. Line, RBs, and mediocre QB (outstanding for a freshman) = a solid offense. The problem is defense where we are essentially rebuilding from a poor baseline. There is talent and good coaching, so the defense may even out by game 6 or 7. Before that watch out.
But despair would misplaced. The games will be exciting because of the offense and the promise it will bring. Having suffered through last year, each first down and each TD will be awesome. At the end of the year, when we beat OSU (compare 2001 in reverse) to get into a bowl game it will be miraculous. I hope.
Anything Ufer gets me going. The spirit of that man will haunt me (in a good way) forever. Just like a fan, he lived and died with every snap.
My favorite is his pre-Rose Bowl speech, with classics like; "I will always remember and never forget..." "Men there are 60 minutes of football and a lifetime to remember..."
I get chills just thinking about it. Man! This season can't get here soon enough.
I think some people are pessimistic b/c some of us (for some reason) were overly optimistic going into last year and got our feelings hurt. I can’t say I’m pessimistic or optimistic b/c every time I think of a reason to be pessimistic I find something to be optimistic about and vice versa. Some of your points are the same one’s I have on why we should be good. In reality we don’t know what to expect, but it seems caution is the theme this year b/c of our recent luck.
I didn't believe Carty's assessment of how bad the QB situation was. I just thought UM is UM and would have someone on the roster who was capable of stepping up. How was I to know that Threetidan would make Chris Zurbrugg look like Joe Montana?
Anyway, I am still seen as over-optimistic. I don't think too many people are predicting a win total higher than the nine that I feel they will get this year. And I agree with refoveo that too many people have forgotten just who we are talking about here.
When UM rights the ship this year, most of those who are currently pessimistic will say they "knew it all along." Those currently predicting five, six, or seven wins will say they predicted eight, nine, or ten.
Except, of course, those here on mgoblog, who will faithfully stand by their predictions.
I was definitely over-optimistic last year and I think that many, many on this blog were. All you have to do is go back to the preseason posts from last year.
Anytime I think of the nickname "Dual Threet" I both cringe and laugh.
I would just like to add a tidbit about the negativity surrounding the attrition.
Sometimes, attrition is a good thing. To establish a culture of competition and accountability in a new setting, oftentimes you need to eliminate the players who do not want to put in the time. There are plenty of options for these coaches, even at QB. If one guy doesn't want to put in the effort, someone else will. That's the beauty of being at a place that attracts high demand from prospects.
Just as a point of reference, look at the basketball team. Similar situation, but even more attrition. Let's talk about the guys who DIDN'T leave. Obviously they turned out okay. If you have faith in the system (spread offense), then you shouldn't be worried about attrition because if you have enough players who buy into the system, the system will work.
If you do not believe in the spread offense, then I don't know what to say. This is the system in place. You achieve nothing by picking at the margins.
Aside from all of the predictions-- some will be right, some will be wrong-- What is our goal?
Win 'em all!
As a fan I have no mind set but that we will beat the stuffing out of everyone we face. We are Michigan.
I could predict that we will lose... what value is there in this mentality? I get to say I told you so... and be pissed about the result... my feeble brain can't take that kind of stress.
I don't understand the mentality that plans on losses (why play?). All of the energy and effort of the team goes into winning. That's why we're the Victors.
If you set middling goals and expectations, you will get middling results- unless you get lucky. If you set your bar at the top and achieve your goals you are "The Leaders and Best."
There is a difference between what you hope and cheer for as a fan and what you expect as an analyst. We know that you are rooting for Michigan on a weekly basis, but would you gamble on them every week?
I quit betting on Michigan games several years ago... aside from having a hard time with objectivity in the matter I decided to avoid the double whammy of losing the game and a bet. (And there are plenty of other opportunities to gamble if I'm so inclined).
So, yes, I would gamble on them every week, but I don't.
You make a good point about being an analyst vs. a fan. It's all a matter of perspective.
With the exception of part of the 2006 season, IMO Michigan had slipped to a top 15-20 program annually...there just wasnt the consistancy from about 00-on and many big losses combined with narrow wins over patsies, some poor years, meltdowns. Michigan was still a good program in 07, but was not a top 5-10 annually at that point.
Ah, hope springs eternal, always on cue.
expectations last year. They turned out to be about as reasonable as expecting a bear not to shit in the woods. I thought we would get about 7 wins last year, so take my predictions for what they're worth (absolutely nothing).
What I do see this year is that every one of our games is winnable. Is it probable that we will win every game, not likely, but is it possible? I think so. There isn't one team on the schedule that I see as an absolute loss. The talent we have coupled with the talent of our opposing teams is such that some games may seem unlikely to be won, but none that would be a certain loss. Especially when you factor in the heated rivalries that exist between UM and some of the more difficult teams on our schedule this year. Those rivalries often yield an upset and we would be considered the "underdog" in each of them this year.
I hope this year proves to provide many upsets where our rivalries are concerned. It would bode well for us.
For my prediction I would say we go either 8-4 or 7-5 with a bowl bid. I won't make predictions on any games but that is where I think we end up. I would just love to see us pound OSU this year (and by pound I mean simply beat).
Either way I think there are many reasons for optimism this year and I can't wait to see it all unfold.
And I'm looking way past the end of the work-week, way past the end of the month
To that glorious day
It's coming. And I'm glad to say I'll be in the stands when Old Glory is hoisted up on Sept. 5 and every home game thereafter.
It's my last season as a student at M. I have seen many things in my six years here so far --including our last victory over the Valley Apes-- and I tell you, if after 2005 you told me I would see worse sights in the Big House than Minnesota planting their flag on our field during homecoming, or losing to the Bucks when we had the game IN THE BAG, I would have probably slapped you. But well, we know what happened. And yes, it's all in the past; where it belongs!
Because going forward I know great things are coming. I don't expect this season to be as grand as 2006 but hell, it's going to be good! And I will always get to say I saw the dawn of the new era of Michigan football -- through the trials and miserable weather and miserable games, I stood and cheered. And will continue to do so; my optimism hasn't diminished in the least. Our renewed dominance is coming, like a tidal wave, unstoppable, awesome and terrifying to behold. It's a wave best viewed from the crest, and to be there you simply had to have been there the whole while, when the wave was just a ripple.
Thank you for this post, for keeping the flame strong! GO BLUE!