Hoke for Tomorrow Still Believes

Submitted by Lordfoul on September 2nd, 2012 at 10:43 AM




“It's lack of faith that makes people afraid of meeting challenges, and I believed in myself.”
-Muhammad Ali
I turned off the TV after Bellamy's first career pass attempt/interception and made my way quietly upstairs to bed.  The rest of the family (wife, 5yo son, 1yo daughter) had long since decided that a good night's sleep was a better option than watching Michigan get smeared across the turf in Texas.  I didn't feel any bitter emotions really, mostly concern for the collective knees of Taylor Lewan, Blake Countess, and Brandon Moore.  I guess the Rich Rod years knocked all of the conceited sense of entitlement out of me for real.
When I woke up this morning the results of last night's game weren't the first thing on my mind either - something that truly surprised me.  A loss like that used to leave me sick to my stomach for several days at least.  My first recollection of the game was of rewinding and replaying the seeming destruction of Lewan's right knee, and of my concern for both what it might mean for his career and for Michigan's season.  The degree to which Michigan had been curb-stomped really didn't register.  There is a lot of football yet to be played after all, and Michigan will not face another team of that caliber.
Learn from yesterday...
Losing the game was, I'm sure, totally expected by most Michigan fans.  Losing in that fashion was humbling though, and served to show us how far Michigan must improve to get back among the elite teams in the country.  The hard truth is that if these two teams met 100 times, Michigan no doubt loses 95 of them (maybe a bit better with a healthy Countess).  It isn't just that Alabama has superior talent though, the matchup of their strengths vs Michigan's weaknesses could hardly have been worse.  Overall, Michigan probably has a better showing against most any team in the Top 10.
Michigan never folded though.  The defense kept at it despite being completely out-manned along the front, and made some impressive plays even late in the game. Vincent (Devin) Smith kept running hard against steep odds, finally tip-toeing down the sideline for at least one impressive run for a first down.  And Denard... he was tougher than we could have ever hoped for.  He sacrificed his body after a bad pick* and played the next series with Herbie trying to convince us that something was seriously wrong with his shoulder.  He did obvious bad things to his lower back trying in vain to stretch for a first down, then came back on the field again.  Denard is going to really hurt this morning, but no one can question his toughness.
*Is it legal BTW for a defensive back to throw a receiver out of bounds like that?
Live for Today…
Even though the game was a brutal beat-down, there are some moments to celebrate:
  • Campbell - The big guy looked decent, even quick on his sack.  He will look even better against the rest of the schedule.
  • Gallon - The little guy had a big game, going for over 100 yards receiving and would have had more had Tacopants not been mirroring his routes.
  • Gardner - More than at any point before, I think we saw his athleticism in this game.  Cleaner routes would have opened him up for several more receptions; the tools are clearly there.  
  • Norfleet - This guy will be special on kick returns.  Seemed to almost always on the verge of breaking it with his speed.  
  • Denard - Again, the dude never quit.  He only completed 11 of 26 passes, but looked more fundamentally sound than last year IMO.  It made me sad to see him not smiling.
Hope for Tomorrow
Michigan was overmatched, period.  They went and played the best and were shown where they stand.  This game does not erase the faith I have in this staff and this team though.  Brady Hoke never lost his cool despite the embarrassing results of the game. He will have this team back up and playing well next week, guaranteed.  At least the Air Force squad should look tiny in comparison, and if Countess is being out it shouldn't be as big of a problem against the triple-option.
And even if the injuries prove serious, Michigan can still win the BIG Championship. Don't give up on these guys because they aren't going to give up on themselves.
Update:  The loss of Countess for the season is a big blow, but at least Michigan has capable backups.  Avery looked bad against Bama, but so did just about everybody else. We have seen Avery look capable in the past at least, and maybe he and T.Rich can push one another.  Luckily the BIG is not exactly deep at receiver this year.
Hoping for a full recovery for Blake and a very deep and experienced CB position in 2013.


Buzz Your Girlfriend

September 2nd, 2012 at 10:54 AM ^

Over the last 5 years and three different regimes, for some reason it seems our team can not get up for the big games. They didn't look as prepared as they should have been and unfortunately only one team last night had the "first game jitters." I am, however, very happy that this performance came out now, to make the players work even harder, than say, vs. MSU the last 3 years.



September 2nd, 2012 at 11:56 AM ^

Did Michigan "get up" for Florida in the 2008 Capitol One Bowl?

Did UM get up for the ND game in 2009, 2010, or 2011?

Did UM get up for Ohio State in 2011? Or Nebraska, for that matter?

Did UM get up for the Sugar Bowl last season?

Being outmatched talent-wise is not the same thing as failing to get up for a game.


September 2nd, 2012 at 11:40 AM ^

I'm really glad they scheduled this game. We got handled and really cant muster many excuses. We were without two badly-needed players but there needs to be greater leadership among the players in the offseason to make sure everyone feels accountable. We lost a key starter in Countess but that's not bad luck, that's another team playing way more physical than us.

At least now we know what our goals look like. When Hoke says he wants to "hear football", we will know what that means way more than the other teams on our schedule - save for (not coincidentally) Michigan State. If Hoke really is as good of a coach as we think, we will only get better for having played this game.


September 2nd, 2012 at 12:49 PM ^

I was also suprised the defense did not back down and I am proud to be a michigan wolverine fan! Tt shows our coach has Integrity making the decision to sit down fitz. I think once denard is more comfortable with throwing and our o line give him time and our recievers run good routes and catch the ball we will have a good big ten season! Hopefully Lewan and countess are ok !

micheal honcho

September 2nd, 2012 at 1:15 PM ^

1. Allow 8-12 juco transfers on your team

2. give medicals to the 12 guys you replaced with those jucos

3. oversign and grey shirt the poor saps who arent the creme of the crop

4. Dont even consider suspending your starting RB for a DWI, instead just win at all costs and forget the pretentiousness of college football. Saban see's it as NFL light.

Guys, our goal is to win the B1G and see where it goes from there. Its is always going to be a crapshoot involving a ton of luck and circumstances to go further. 

Anyone who wants Nick Satan and his methods to be in charge of our program and damn the torpedo's win at all costs is NOT a Michigan man.

We lost to what would be probably the 20th best team in the NFL. Their team probably has 25 baby daddy's on it who have absolutely NO intention of EVER getting much less using their college degree. They are virtually semi pro and anyone who does not see that is blind.

My cousin graduated from Bama last year and gave me a simple yet brutally obvious observation from the campus. He's never see such hot tutors spending such long hours(read party's, resteraunts etc) with their "students" and never seen them dissappear so obviously when baby momma's are visiting campus.

This might sound racist. I can assure you its not. My cousin is african american(from Kenya originally) and just see's what he see's.

We must continue to be better than to resort to the lowest measures in order to pursue some MNC or whatever. By doing so it makes our occasional victories in the face of these disadvantages 10X more meaningfull and by any measure more satisfying. Keep up the good work Coach Hoke. I support winning but not selling our soul to do so.

One Inch Woody…

September 2nd, 2012 at 1:14 PM ^

I was very reassured by this game.

By next week, depending on how we play vs. Air Force, I would say we are the best team in the Big 10.

We know Bielama likes to run up the score, yet UW was almost stymied by the team they were playing (some cupcake). Michigan State's offense looks pathetic besides Le'veon Bell, who is a man. Their receivers made even LESS plays against the likes of Boise State than our receivers did against Dee Milliner, Sunseri, Lester, and Clinton-Dix. 

You have to admit, our D-line was not making many mistakes. They were just overpowered. Couple that with the amazing technique of Bama's line with all of their combination blocks, and really you have to think, how did anyone believe we had a chance in the first place? Bama's line looked better than even some NFL offensive lines! And that's not just because we were making them look good - they played perfect. 

Gardner was able to beat Dee Milliner. DEE MILLINER the best corner in college football. Multiple times, and with his speed too. When we get to the Big 10 part of the schedule, there is not a single defense that can stop Gardner. Gallon and Roundtree looked good too.

So in short, we are probably the best team in the Big 10 right now and it's not embarrassing to lose to the likes of Alabama. Alabama will most likely massacre the SEC and return to the BCS. Thankfully we won't have to face them in the Rose Bowl.

Generic MGoBlogger

September 2nd, 2012 at 1:23 PM ^

Thanks for this optimism that is obviously lacking after the horrific night last night.  I still think that even after last night we can find positives in what you just stated but also in the fact that we still have the most positive, upbeat, and most adaptive coach in the nation in Mr. Brady Hoke who will iron out the the problems on both lines.  This outcome was meant to happen because it will remind Team 133 that even being humbled by Alabama by 27 points, THIS IS STILL MICHIGAN.  Let us put behind this loss and find the positives of the rest of the season.  GO BLUE and beat Air Force.

Puget Sound Blue

September 2nd, 2012 at 1:57 PM ^

We wouldn't be here on MGoBlog if we didn't. It's just that we're still processing this loss, because it not only showed just how good Alabama is, but how far U-M has to go to compete at that level. That's a hard lesson to learn when we all want so much to believe that U-M is an elite team. But they're not right now.

I still think this team has a good chance at a reasonably successful season: a winning record and a bowl game. Possibly the Big Ten championship, but there are considerable roadblocks in the way of that. Our expectations, given the talent we have now, are just going to have to be more modest than perhaps we would have liked.


September 2nd, 2012 at 2:54 PM ^

than the score suggested.  The bubble screens, several stout defensive stops, even the passing game once Drob calmed down.  There are at least 2-3 more passes that would've been complete against any other defense (either jarred loose or broken up) and plenty more that probably will go differently because we'll be able to get seperation against weaker secondaries.

I just really hope that no one sufferred any severe injuries.  We could really use Countess, Lewan, Moore, etc for a run at the Big 10 Championship.  I think we'll be alright the next couple weeks without em, but their injuries might not let us walk out of South Bend with a win.  But with the bye week and everything there's a good chance they'll be back before the teeth of the Big 10 schedule.


September 2nd, 2012 at 4:08 PM ^

During a lot of the game, it just seemed like they were just beating us a little bit in every matchup every play. It wasn't that we were that vastly overplayed, it was the consistancy of it. Every yard was a struggle. Hoke clearly has taught the team how to fight though. Great post


September 2nd, 2012 at 7:06 PM ^

Then, I was nervous, but sure we would bounce right back.  I lapsed into delusion, before reaching a quite acceptance.  

I then realized that I was at a wedding reception, and my wife wanted to dance with me.  In a somewhat NSFW way.  Then we went home and [redacted].

I woke up realising  things:

     1.  There are more important things than football

     2.  We have things to be proud of and to build on.

     3.  We will make it to the top.  I have faith in our coaches and program.

     4.  I love this team.

     5.  My wife is a hot and naughty.


September 3rd, 2012 at 10:48 AM ^

I thought I saw BWC break a couple double teams in that game, which is promising. There's a lot to improve on and a lot of work to get to that level. It was supposed to be a 'measuring stick' game, just most didn't believe(or want to believe) we were that low on the stick in comparison to bama.

Any big ten team would have gotten whipped down there...I think we still got a solid chance to bounce back and win the big ten.