A lot of Michigan fans were born to wear maize and blue. They came home from the hospital in block M socks and winged knitted stocking caps. They spent Saturdays at grandpa's house, learning how to pump their little arms into the air and sing along after a Michigan touchdown, learning how to belt out creative obsceneties after a Michigan turnover. Some of us weren't that lucky. We had to settle for becoming Michigan fans later in life, say for example, when we were looking at educational opportunities and realized a giant towers above all others when it comes to combining education and football, and her name is Michigan.
Those born into it have experienced things I have not. Indeed, they are the fortunate ones when it comes to the Wolverine rushing attack. They have seen it all when it comes to Michigan running back styles - Power, elusiveness and extraordinary speed. Those who happen to be my age have seen running backs I have not - Lytle, Morris, Boles, Wheatley, Biakabatuka, among others. They've seen real wiggle and real speed, often in the same package. I have not.
Perhaps until now. Don't get me wrong, I have been fortunate enough to witness some incredible Michigan RB's. Chris Howard, Anthony Thomas, Chris Perry and Mike Hart have each wowed me at some point or another. All ran with great determination and power, punishing defenders and eeking out the tough yards. Perry obviously possessed much better than average elusiveness and first step explosiveness. As for Hart, about the only thing I can say other that "wow" is, can you imagine if he had take-it-to-the-house, morgan-trent-you speed?
Which leads me to my point. It seems that, based upon on the Fall practice reports, we johnny-come-latelys may finally get an opportunity to see what it looks like when a winged-helmet half back gets a step on the corner and runs away from everyone. And given the big play potential of the spread coupled with the sheer numbers of guys who seem capable of going the distance on the roster, we may get to see it repeatedly, and from different ball carriers.
I know we are all terrified at some level given the youth of this team, the entirely new scheme, and the uncertainty at QB. But at the same time, whether we admit it or not, I'm guessing we are equally excited at the possibility that is this stable of running backs. Granted, if there's one thing I've learned over the past decade, it's that practice reports and $5 will get you a grande latte at the local Starbucks. They don't necessarily translate to anything come game day. But one thing seems to be certain. We have 3 or 4 guys playing RB that, if given a step into space, are capable of changing a game in seconds.
In the end, it's that fact that helps me sleep at night.