When you go for a run the mind wanders.
The Illinois game sucked. That's clear. The talk around here has died down as Purdue looms large in under 40 hours, but there really have been way too many "Fire Rodriguez" insinuations for my liking.
Let's go back to August. After reading Hail to The Victors 2009, I was mortified of everything on the defense. Only 5 returning starters, only 2 seniors in the 2-deep, period.
The D-line seemed to be Graham, Martin, and the great unknown. Well, Graham's been great. Martin and Van Bergen have been serviceable. Roh has been good for a true freshman, and there is actually depth (BWC, Sagesse, Banks, Heininger) that is returning.
The LBs? Ergh.
But look at the defensive backfield, and look at the dominoes that have fallen with this unit:
(1) Turner qualifies 10 days late and is forced to redshirt;
(2) Witty DOESN'T qualify; and
(3) Cissoko has his fall from grace.
Had the coaching staff had Turner and Witty from the start of camp, I don't think it's far-fetched that one of them would have been in line for early season snaps, which would have helped with depth as the year progressed. This proved vital since Cissoko essentially was lost by the second half of the Indiana game. This caused the insertion of JT Floyd (Turner's speed would probably been a little better against Sparty, yes?), the eventual switch by Woolfolk, Jordan Kovacs starting, and Michael Williams flipping safety positions the week of the Iowa game.
Before the season started, most of the fanbase was worried about Cissoko being able to handle the starting job (remember the Gross Isle arrest? ha) Turns out, the triple negbang of Turner, Witty and Cissoko left this team in a serious bind that they've been trying to paper over since August 20th.
Given THE ENTIRE PICTURE, I think Rodriguez, and GERG in particular, has done a quite excellent job in keeping a team, without 3 of the top 5 guys it had pencilled into the CB rotation in August, above .500 into November.
Keep the faith, Michigan fans. I think this year GERG is proving that he can scheme well, he just needs an infusion of defensive backfield talent. Witty (who is rumored to have qualified), Avery, Talbott, C. Johnson, M. Robinson, hopefully Buck Christian, and one or two others are on the way.