So I'm back for another foray into enemy territory. I was pleasantly surprised by the (mostly) respectful reception of my diary on Shavodrick Beaver's de-commitment, so here's another. The just plain craziness of this Paulus business - and the uproar about it that's evident anywhere Michigan fans gather online - seems a propitious occasion for it.
DISCLAIMER: I'm a Buckeye fan, but one who tries to hate y'all in a friendly, rational way, if that makes any sense. I'm not here to talk shit. There are lots of reasons for this, but I'll just give you one: I'm old enough that my immersion in the rivalry started about halfway through the 10 Years' War. The worm has turned a few times since then, and if I throw "Five in a row" at any of you, I should expect a "2-10-1" to hit me in the mush. Actually, I'll give you two: this is your place, and it would be bad form for me to come in and piss all over the place.
That said, to business. I'll take the three things from the title in order.
MEH: So what? There's no question that depth at the position is a concern for Michigan right now, so ANY viable option at all that can be added - especially one that burns only one year of a scholarship in a year when a scholarship is available - is a good option. As long as you're not looking to him to save your team's season, you'd be crazy NOT to take him.
OR MAYBE GOOD: This gets back a little bit to a few of the points I made in the Beaver diary - it's entirely possible that Paulus will be able to compete with, and maybe even beat out, everybody else for the starting job this fall, because nobody has any GOOD reason right now to think that Forcier or Robinson (or Paulus, for that matter) will be able to lead your offense to success this Fall. All anybody KNOWS right now is that Sheridan = DEATH. This should be obvious to everybody no matter WHAT Forcier looked like last Saturday, given the no-QB-contact, injury-depleted-and-unsettled-personnel-on-defense nature of Spring football. Paulus was an extremely highly ranked QB prospect four years ago, and it just might be that four years of life and high-level athletic competition may have better equipped him for success than a kid eight months removed from high school. Even if that's not the case, worries about "Calista" (sorry - had to get at least one dig in) Forcier's current physical ability to survive D-1 football for a full season are seemingly well-founded, and there really cannot be any question that Paulus, sight-unseen on a college football field, would be a better backup option than DEATH (again, it must be emphasized that nothing at all can be KNOWN about Robinson's ability to succeed as Michigan's QB at this point, so he really can't be a part of anyone's calculations on this point, other than as another warm body). And if Forcier gets hurt and Robinson isn't up to the job as a freshman, then maybe Paulus CAN save your season in a way that DEATH or Cone cannot - it seems pretty clear at this point that winning the games y'all "should" win this Fall is going to depend on offensive competence, since it doesn't look like your defense is going to be all that great. So Paulus in Maize and Blue is maybe a very good thing.
BUT THE OPTICS ARE TERRIBLE: There's a lot of psychoanalyzing of Forcier's comments on this situation that I won't address or engage in, but it seems clear that he was pretty much blindsided by the whole thing, and that does not at all speak well of the coaching staff's handling of this. They had to know that some d-bag reporter would buttonhole and badger Tate as soon as the story got out and should have coached the kid up on what to say. I suppose it's possible that they did just that and Tate fucked it up, but it doesn't read that way. The concerns some of you have about the "Those Who Stay..." believers on the team resenting this kind of stuff are probably at least half right, and if I'm even half right about that then that's a problem. The last thing to say about this is that you don't have to be a Wolverine-hater to see that (even considering the meh/maybe good points I made above) this foofaraw only strengthens the perception that Michigan is a program so desperate and so much in disarray right now, that they're willing to take a QB that FUCKING DUKE's coach refused to even consider. Note that I'm not saying that this perception is correct - in fact, I think that it is not - but that it is real nonetheless. This cannot be a good thing - perception matters in big-time college football. As a Buckeye fan, I ought to know.
In the end, I think that this business is likely to be an energy-sapping distraction right on through the preseason (assuming Paulus does in fact join the team, and to a lesser but still significant degree even if he doesn't), and possibly on into the season. The silver lining, of course, is that if any of the meh/maybe good points I made above are true, then it won't matter once the real games start. I guess you're all gonna need a high tolerance for drama.