When Something Is Born

Submitted by Swayze Howell Sheen on November 20th, 2009 at 1:22 AM

One play. For all of you who think that the only thing that matters
is the win-loss record, the end result, the final score; for all of
you calling for the end to this new Era before it's even begun;
for all of you mired in the media's negativity: think only on this.
One play. One play, here and there, and everything would be

Overtime against Michigan State. 4-0 record hanging in the balance.
A miraculous comeback bid gets us to overtime. And then, one play:
Tate misses a read and keeps the ball, when he should have handed
it to Minor. The handoff would likely have led to a touchdown. The
touchdown, so disheartening to MSU, and spirit-lifting to our defense,
might have been enough to get them to the win. One play. One missed
opportunity. And we are 4-1 and not 5-0.

Last drive against Iowa. Denard having just led the team downfield
to close the gap to two. The ball in our hands, and enough time to
move it and try for the winning field goal. Denard rolling out and
Odoms breaking free right in front of him 15 yards downfield. If
he gets the ball he's into Iowa territory with plenty of time on the
clock. If he gets it we have a good shot at a field goal. If he gets
it, we are a Jason Olesnavage kick from 6-0 (assuming the MSU win too).
But he doesn't get it. Denard targets further downfield, and drops it
into the hands of an Iowa defender. One play. And now we're 4-2.

At Illinois. A long pass to Roundtree. If Roundtree just zigs at the
end of the run, cuts away from the approaching safety, the tackle
is nearly impossible to make. Touchdown, 20-7, and Illinois imploding
like they have many times this year. One play. One missed cut. And
one more loss.

One play can kill. These "one plays" have combined to kill this season,
turn a fall full of hope and promise of a new and better Michigan into a
winter of concern, dismay, and even enmity, filled with worries about
who we are and where we are headed.

But one play can birth something too. An extra cut on a kickoff
return that transforms a typical 10-yarder into a game-changing touchdown.
A block that breaks the running back free to rampage through the
secondary. A tackle that saves a touchdown. A kick that sneaks
inside the post instead of bouncing off of it. A pass not an inch too
high or an inch too low, and thus a first down and not an interception.
One play can do all that.

We don't need a miracle on Saturday. We don't need OSU to play their
worst.  We don't need a perfect game from our Boys in Blue. We don't
the smartest game plan we've ever had. We don't need the weather to be
just right.

What we need is much simpler: One play.

One play to save a season.

One play to define a new program.

One play.

Will we get that One Play? 

The Mind says no, but the Gut says yes. And today,
and tomorrow, and frankly, forever, I choose to listen
to the Gut.

Prediction for the game: Michigan 23, OSU 21.

Get that One Play for us, and GO BLUE!


SoCal Blue

November 20th, 2009 at 1:56 AM ^

it feels like we have been walking the tightrope all year.. Hopefully the pain of the last few is the price the team had to pay, for the ultimate satisfaction of winning this weekend.


November 20th, 2009 at 2:06 AM ^

is the sign of youth. The announcers talked about it during the entire WISC game -- last year they lost close games, this year they're winning close games. A year of maturity and experience makes a big difference to a team, and when you look at how young this team is, it seems pretty obvious -- at least to me.

Maturity is the route to that one play.


November 20th, 2009 at 3:03 AM ^

But...at Illinois, it's a bit of a stretch to say that Roundtree gettign run down cost us the game - we lost by 25, not by 7. I'm not sure I buy the argument that we could have averted all of that 25 point onslaught simply by punching in an extra touchdown.

...As far as MSU goes...I think we were lucky to go to overtime with them, but whatever. Even if Tate throws that for an incomplete, we're still facing 4th down. And, as you saw from our defensive "stand," we weren't particularly enthusiastic about tackling. So in other words, I'm not convinced we win that game if MSU didn't get the INT.

Also, we did get "that one play" against ND 0 - a few times. First, Stonum made the "extra cut" to turn a 10 yard return into a TD. Then Charlie decided it would be a good idea to throw the ball, rather than running out the clock.

So I agree that there are instances were one play can make a huge difference, but I'm not sure we're to the point where we are only one play away from a totally different season. Your chain of causation is tenuous, at best.

Oh, and you could also add the extra point against Purdue to your post, if you wanted to. Kick the extra points and win in overtime - seems pretty like a sure thing.

matty blue

November 20th, 2009 at 8:36 AM ^

...i absolutely disagree on the illinois game.

forget the fact that our offense lost some of its mojo from that moment on - illinois is a team full of quit. ron zook is not a guy that can pull a team back from the edge. they go down 20-7 and 90% of those guys are watching the cheerleaders.


November 20th, 2009 at 2:54 AM ^

Very similar to last year in the number of "close" games we've had. However as already pointed out, we got our "one" play against Notre Dame and you could probably point to "one" play that won us the IU game too.

So if we are +2 and -3 for a "net" of -1 in the karma department as far as I'm concerned. Maybe we are due for "one" more...


November 20th, 2009 at 6:10 AM ^

Instead of one play, i'd rather have one starter. David Molk at MSU, Iowa and Purdue. He's worth a few conversions at least, and I think he was a huge loss in the middle of the season.

Colt McBaby Jesus

November 20th, 2009 at 12:10 PM ^

I think Tate's shoulder is a great point. I've noticed they have hardly thrown any deep balls since he go hurt. Granted, they hadn't thrown many before he was hurt, but we didn't need to. I just think that's played a bigger role in the offense getting stopped. If you take away the deep ball the safety's can play up and focus on stopping the run and screens.


November 20th, 2009 at 7:51 AM ^

I have had the same thoughts with regards to Carr.
1) Michigan blocks the kick in the rosebowl vs. Texas (shazor said it grazed his hand)
2) Michigan goes for it on 4th abd 4 vs. Osu in 2005 at the osu 37 instead of punting, or makes one play on osu's last drive

3) Michigan makes one more play vs. Osu in 2006....

IF all those had happened 1) Herrman would not have been let go 2) Carr has more say on who is the next head coach/maybe it is Herrman......thus the coaching transition would have been smoother....


November 20th, 2009 at 9:58 AM ^

I'm with Matty Blue on this one.

"Smoother" would have meant more years of an outdated program. Instead of last year's implosion, we would have gotten a five-year descent that would have ended up in the same place. It is better to have gotten it out of the way in one year and rebuild as a modern program.

In the Victors, three of the most relevant words are "leaders and best." The football program was neither under Carr for his last four or five years. Leaders don't do things the same way they were done twenty years ago while the rest of the world passes them by.

In RR, we have an innovator. Sure, defenses have caught up with the spread somewhat, but don't think for a second that he isn't capable of adding new tweaks and wrinkles when he has appropriate personnel.


November 20th, 2009 at 7:30 PM ^

Hey man I'm not trying to be a D - - - but when we didn't go for it on 4th and 4 thats not the result of someone failing to make a play that is the result of Carr's terrible decision to punt. The theme of this post is that we assume the right play was called and that the players failed to execute. This is a key distinction and sounds as one of the major tenants that RichRod haters do not understand.


November 20th, 2009 at 7:53 AM ^

were very pivotal in that game. Previous commenters have noted that the second-string Illinois QB was warming up on the sidelines right at the time of that failed drive, and was apparently going to come in after what seemed like a sure Michigan TD. IF we score to go up 20-7 and IF Juice is replaced, then I'm very skeptical that Illinois would be able to put up the number of points on us that they were able to do with Juice at the helm.


November 20th, 2009 at 7:53 AM ^

Many have said "Carr never had a losing season"....but boy he came REAL close in 2005. Michigan went 7-5, but two of those wins came in overtime, and a third on that last play vs. PSU.....


November 20th, 2009 at 7:56 AM ^

With him on the field, our offense was very productive. As soon as he went down, we started to struggle noticeably. The Indiana game was the harbinger of trouble on offense for me.

matty blue

November 20th, 2009 at 8:42 AM ^

olesnavage's missed extra point vs. purdue...

not only did it change the end game strategy somewhat, but it also took away some of the momentum we'd just gotten back...we took a punch in the mouth, got up, then lost it again. i think purdue fed off it.


November 20th, 2009 at 8:44 AM ^

Amen brother. I am someone who never quits on Michigan. In good times and in bad, I always believe we can win, I always believe we can pull it out. This weekend is no different. Rodriguez "gets it" and the players "get it".
I can't be at the game this weekend but I gave my tickets to someone who will cheer for Micihgan wheter they are up 20 or down 20. The last thing I want all the great recruits in for the game to hear is a stadium full of fickle fans. Go Blue! Today, tomorrow, and always.


November 20th, 2009 at 9:48 AM ^

if only the rest of that suckfest could have had one ounce of the heart and depth of that scene it may have had a lot of potential. But that is Stone, fleeting moments of genious (Tracks of my tears scene-Platoon, Closing statement-JFK) surrounded by hours of suck. Tragic. Well I have officially went on an OT rant with no advanced warning, my bad.


November 20th, 2009 at 9:25 AM ^

there seems to be a point when one team gets a play that turns to to be an emotional pivot point, you feel the game swing and the momentum shift.

but the game has to be close for this to happen. It didnt happen vs penn st for example. Our offense needs to come out in sync tomorrow (!!!!!!), they need to provide that spark for the defense.

That's just like my opinion, man.


November 20th, 2009 at 9:50 AM ^

...this is probably a win-win type situation. We are a team loaded with inexperience at all skill positions on offense and a defense suffering from attrition.

We have every excuse to lose this one but I'm with you: my gut is telling me otherwise. Expect the worst-hope for the best kinda deal...but never lose that hope. I always wondered what it was like to witness the 1969 game - we gotta believe!


November 20th, 2009 at 10:50 AM ^

To the team? Loved it. Got me fired up. I am sure I will wake up at 1 am just so I don't oversleep to leave at 5:30 to get up there to watch the game. I know the guys can do it. We need the Big House rocking to help them out. I will be doing plenty of yelling every time little bucky has the ball.

Go Blue!!!!


November 20th, 2009 at 1:54 PM ^

Being at the 1969 game was one of the great experiences of a lifetime. Bo was able to get it done in a year, because Bump Elliott had left him a lot of good players. Rich Rodriguez did not have that luxury, but he has done (my opinion) a good job with what he was left, has the team on the right track and has continued to foster the values important to me as an alum by being a player's coach who is bound and determined to make his players succeed in all aspects of college athletics, including academics. While the Freep tried to undermine his accomplishments regarding last year's academic performance by the team, the fact remains that last year's team did very well academically. He seems to be carrying high academic goals forward, as we often hear of players getting into trouble for not attending study halls or classes. All of his efforts will help make our players successful in life, and that should be the primary goal. I want to win (every single game and especially tomorrow's game), but if the team comes out and plays its heart out, I will be satisfied and proud of them and the coaches. Go Blue! In Rod I Trust.


November 20th, 2009 at 3:58 PM ^

I will support Michigan and love what it stands for no matter we win or lose. But when we win I will mouth off to every slutnut I see for the next year. GO Blue!!!!!!!!!


November 20th, 2009 at 7:32 PM ^

Hey man, this is a great post, clearly something you put effort into. However, don't you think that this has a limited effect based on the fact that your handle is "Coach Schiano?" Your handle alone seems to imply you think we have the wrong coach. Do you think this is an unreasonable conclusion for other readers to come to?