Hopefully by now everyone has come back from their existential crisis over Alabama turning us into a nice pulpy drink.
It is also time to stop whining about referees, play-calling (Hoke said it best: we couldn't establish the line of scrimmage), and individual performances (Denard can't bathe in magical dilithium dust before every game he plays).
It is time to look at a few of the bright spots: bubble screens did occur, Denard connected on the long ball to wide-open receivers (instead of double-covered Hemingways), Will Campbell will be a solid-to-good player this year, and Vincent Smith kept us calm.
Yes, you heard me right, Vincent Smith. I know he only gained 33 yards. But when it came down to it, Fitz got in trouble, Rawls was either hurt or not ready for the big-time yet, and the rest of the options were true or redshirt freshmen the coaches weren't ready to throw into the fire. So who stepped up to play running back against the most physical defense we'll face all year? 5'5" Vincent Smith. Vincent Smith who was recruited to play jitter-bug back in the wide-open Rich Rodriguez offense. Vincent Smith who tore his ACL playing when he was already injured against Ohio State. Vincent Smith who has been Denard's lead blocker on so many quarterback ISOs. Vincent Smith who has chopped down blitzing 240 lb linebackers play after play and year after year. Vincent Smith who has to know his odds of making the NFL are slim and still puts his body on the line as a senior in every play of every practice and game. Vincent Smith who, when Brady Hoke was looking more lost than I've ever seen him, was too busy to notice because he was putting up fingerguns to let the Alabama future NFL LBs know that they'd be chopped down on their blitz just like so many before them.
Vincent Smith will never work his way into our collective conscious the same way as Anthony Thomas, Tim Biakabatuka, or Mike Hart. He's not the same type of make you remember where you were when you saw him make the catch like Desmond Howard or Charles Woodson. But if they had a way to measure "heart", he'd end up in consideration for a Legend's patch. I don't know if it's just something in the Pahokee mud, but Martavious Odoms had the same fire, flying past Denard on the missed end around of his first collegiate snap to crack a 300 lb. defensive tackle at full speed without allowing his brain to realize the physical reprecussions of what he was doing. I've never heard Vincent Smith complain. I've never heard him talk about himself. All he does is what he's asked to do, with no fear, and no ego. If anyone ever asks me what a Michigan Man is, I'll start talking about Vincent Smith.