Can 2009 team be a 2006 team?

Submitted by R_mahorn1974 on April 21st, 2009 at 3:13 PM

For those who didnt know, we started the 2006 season 11-0. So you may be thinking, NO WAY can this happen. But, did you know that 2006 team was supposed to be 5th in the CONFERENCE? Noone expected to start 11-0.

Thought of this when late last night the #1 vs #2 game was on t.v. I seen Tim Jaminson playing, greg mathews, taylor, MORGAN TRENT, etc.

We also had Lamar woodley, but this season we have Brandon Graham. We had Shawn crable, but this season we have Obi Ezeh. We had Morgan Trent, but this season we have Boubcar Cissoko/Donovan Warren. We had Mike Hart, but this season we have 3 senior RBs. We had Breaston(sr) and Manningham, but now we have ALOT of Wrs.

Yes your going to think im crazy on this, but thats because you know the 2006 team started 11-0, you dont know that about the 2009 team.

Remember, this 2006 team was preseason ranked 5th in big ten.

Comments

lhglrkwg

April 21st, 2009 at 3:22 PM ^

looking back on the 03 and 04 classes who were juniors and seniors in 06, they were significantly more talent loaded than our current juniors and seniors who were the classes of 06 and 07

Ernis

April 21st, 2009 at 3:27 PM ^

Doubtful, it stood. You forgot a few key guys in 06: Alan Branch, Terrance Taylor, Prescott Burgess, Jamar Adams, Jake Long, Tyler Ecker

If the OL, QB and defense as a whole vastly exceed expectations, then yeah I suppose we could end up with similar success as in 06. Not likely, bud

West Texas Blue

April 21st, 2009 at 3:26 PM ^

Man, you are so going to be disappointed this year...

In 2006, we had a 3rd year starter at QB. Our offensive system had been installed many, many years back. The defense was composed mostly of juniors and seniors. We actually had depth at DT and our LB was actually competent. We finished 7-5 the year before due to injuries and poor S&C, not because of a new offensive system or changes in defensive philosophy. We had Jake Long at LT. The list goes on and on...

jmblue

April 21st, 2009 at 3:27 PM ^

I don't remember us being picked so low going into 2006. I know that we had a much more experienced team - on offense, defense and special teams - than we do now.

PurpleStuff

April 21st, 2009 at 3:37 PM ^

I think we were ranked somewhere in the mid to high teens (pretty low by UM standards/expectations). The win in South Bend over a hyped up ND team and the usual early season upsets shot us up the rankings pretty quickly, but going in the expectations were pretty low.

PurpleStuff

April 21st, 2009 at 3:33 PM ^

I think the pundits regularly whiff on predicting Michigan's success. I had no idea why we were ranked in the top-5 going into 2007 after losing a ton of top notch talent on defense. Conversely, I had high expectations going into 2006 (despite low ranking) because we had so much talent/experience coming back on defense. I remember friends scoffing at me when I said we had a "good chance" to beat Notre Dame and then Henne/Manningham and the defense plowed their anoos in South Bend.

While I think we'll be dramatically improved this year, 11-0 and #2 in the nation type success seems far fetched.

Also, nobody mentioned Leon Hall off that 2006 defense (only a first round draft pick).

Ernis

April 21st, 2009 at 3:51 PM ^

I purposefully left out Hall because, as I watched the games that year, he didn't impress me much. Though, looking back, he was the best corner we've had since. Should've mentioned him, for sure. Good call.

As for media misfiring, I think there is, at least, a causal connection with our team being hyped up and subsequently failing. The hype gets in players' heads; the converse is probably also true. If you look at The Horror, for example, you will see a team that "knew" they were going to be too hot to handle and got owned by a very good, but very beatable team. As soon as I saw Hart on the cover of SI, I knew we were in trouble.

jmblue

April 21st, 2009 at 4:02 PM ^

I don't think Henne, Hart and Long came back just to bask in their own praise. I think our struggles had a lot more to do with Hart being out for the half the game (during which time our offense ground to a halt, as it usually did when he was out) and our defense playing like a new unit that had lost a majority of its starters. Had Hart been available for four quarters, we would have won; I don't think that's debateable.

Ernis

April 21st, 2009 at 4:35 PM ^

I'm looking into it too much, but watching the game I saw a team that wasn't running at 100% effort. That's just how it appeared, though, in person.

There were undoubtedly other reasons, as well, I agree with that. But you can't blame a loss on one player being out half the time. It's thoroughly a team game.

I wasn't saying that the seniors came back with intent to self-glorify, I just think that their confidence was a bit over-inflated by the hype and they let their guard down... which ultimately is something the coaches need to keep in check imo.

jmblue

April 21st, 2009 at 4:39 PM ^

Yeah, it's a team game and all, but we scored 32 points in the two quarters when Hart was playing, and zero in the two when he wasn't. We ended up losing by two. I don't dispute that some guys seemed to be going through the motions, but that's true in a lot of early-season games against (seemingly) minor opposition. I think it was also true for a lot of guys in the 2006 opener (an ugly win over Vanderbilt). Had Hart played four quarters, App State likely would have been just another ugly win.

jwfsouthpaw

April 21st, 2009 at 11:03 PM ^

Didn't Georgia lose to Vanderbilt that year at home? The 27-7 win may not have been pretty, but Vanderbilt's only touchdown (again, if I remember correctly) came on a trick play.

The score may not have been convincing, but that game set the tone for the season defensively. Vanderbilt hardly sniffed Michigan territory in that game.

mabrsu

April 21st, 2009 at 3:38 PM ^

When we were going into that season there was a huge buzz around all of these boards that this was going to be a special team in 2006. We were talking about how the DL could be the best ever if Jamison stays healthy and steps up. We had unreal leadership in henne, woodley, long, and hart. It was those leaders that turned around the team. It was a flawless off season that year. We didnt hear about walk on LBers and non existent safety play like we do now.

MH20

April 21st, 2009 at 3:38 PM ^

We were #13 (coaches) going into the ND game in 2006. We beat Vandy (#15) and CMU (#13) to open the season, but neither game was particularly impressive.

This year's team won't be #15 to begin the season. I couldn't believe that the coaches ranked us #24 to start the '08 season.

UMxWolverines

April 21st, 2009 at 3:49 PM ^

Does anyone think Michigan has "no shot" at the Big Ten title next year? I mean, I'm not expecting it, but do you think it's impossible? If they get on a hot streak the first 5 games, who knows...?

Logan88

April 21st, 2009 at 3:56 PM ^

You can't see it but my hand is raised (if you CAN see my raised hand...stop stalking me!). UM has NO CHANCE to win the Big 10 in 2009. NONE.

2010...eh,maybe...but more likely 2011 before UM is really rolling again.

Edit: Btw, I REALLY hope that I am wrong on this issue.

Maize and Blue…

April 21st, 2009 at 4:59 PM ^

I have a hard time thinking NO chance, but lets look at the three teams W. Texas Blue has listed as top contenders- OSU, Illini, and PSU.
If OSU loses Pryor they are TOAST! The backup transferred and I believe they took a late flyer on a 3 star. New secondary, RB, an WRs. LB and Oline depleted. I know they reload, but the possibility for a fall is definitely there.
PSU has Clark and Royster back, but lost all their WRs. I believe they are alo rebuilding Oline and lost Maybin. Projected starter at LB N. Bowman may be going to jail for violating probation (smoking weed).
Illini starts with Juice and Benn, but they were only 5-7 last year. Big 10 schedule starts @ OSU, PSU @ home.
I think it would be a tremendous stretch to win the Big 10 this year, but anything is possible. Next year the Maize and Blue should definitely be in contention. This year lets shoot for 7 or 8 wins.

WolvinLA

April 21st, 2009 at 5:25 PM ^

I'm not putting much money on us winning the Big Ten this year either, but you can't say we have NO CHANCE. There is no dominant team in the conference this year, and it could be one of those years where the conference champ has 2 losses. Could we make it through our B10 schedule with only 2 losses? I think that's possible. As was said above, even the favorites in the conference have plenty of weaknesses, and if they beat each other up and we pull out a big game or two, we can do it.

Again, not exactly likely, but certainly possible.

willywill9

April 30th, 2009 at 12:32 AM ^

Little things = holding onto the football, ability to complete passes consistently, experience etc.

I think your point is, there are talented individuals on the team, but our offense (although it showed a few flashes of what it will be) was wildly unproductive. The reason it was unproductive was because of "the little things."

Let me add though, I share the same optimism that we'll be better than most think we'll be.

PurpleStuff

April 21st, 2009 at 4:02 PM ^

With the conference as down as it is going to be next year, I think it is impossible to say UM has "no shot" to win the conference. I think with the schedule, 8-9 wins should be the reasonable goal (this team is infinitely better than last year's squad, especially considering that the defense mailed it in at the end of the year). I don't see anybody in the conference running away with things and contending for a national title. Hell, the 2007 team (underachieving and plagued by injuries throughout the year) was playing OSU with a trip to the Rose Bowl on the line.

While I'm definitely not expecting a conference title (lack of experience/depth on defense being the main reason), I also don't think it is impossible (considering the competition next year).

R_mahorn1974

April 21st, 2009 at 8:59 PM ^

You dont know that. Mike Martin is NASTY, William Campbell is only a freshman, but he will approve EVERY game. If we pick up for his lackness, he'll be ready to go in November. Obi Ezeh will be a bitch. Sageese will be big too.

bluebloodedfan

April 21st, 2009 at 4:36 PM ^

I wish it were different. I just can not see them peforming so well. If they get 6 or 7 games this year, next year they will be back. Because the one thing we lacked this year was the extra practice time that a bowl would have alloted us to learn the system last year. Experience is the key here. They still need tons of it. But I look for them to rebound next year.

Anonymosity

April 21st, 2009 at 4:37 PM ^

The 2006 team had a dominant, veteran defense. What players on the 2009 defense inspire any confidence? Brandon Graham, maybe Donovan Warren, and... um... drawing a blank here.

Stevie Brown? No. Obi Ezeh? No. Freshmen or other first-time starters? No.

I think people are overlooking just how potentially bad this year's defense could be. The offense has enough talent that is should at least be mediocre even with an average freshman season from White Jesus, and should be a solid upgrade from 2008, but the defense... If the defense even improves from last year, I'd consider that a success.

PurpleStuff

April 21st, 2009 at 4:55 PM ^

The defense doesn't really lose anybody of note other than Taylor (and I think that loss can be negated somewhat by a switch to the 3-whateveryouputbehindthem defense). Most of the problem last year, in my opinion, came from effort and mindset rather than ability. They performed incredibly against teams like Utah (who won a BCS bowl) and Wisconsin but I think that frustration with the offense, fatigue, and maybe some "buying in" issues got the best of them later in the year.

There are serious depth issues and I'm not saying this will be a 2006 caliber D (which let's not forget was one of the best statistical defenses in college football history), but I think there's enough talent there to be decent if the starters stay relatively healthy (AA in Graham, decent talent/motor in Van Bergen & Martin, Ezeh & Mouton w/ tons of productive experience, two good corners in healthy Warren & Cissoko).

victors2000

April 21st, 2009 at 5:01 PM ^

guys you haven't mentioned.
Mike Martin- He was pretty solid last year, he will be more dominant this year.
William Campbell- He will be in better shape by the fall and no one can doubt he has talent.
Boo Cissoko- a talent that is past getting his feet wet.
Justin Turner- No, he is even officially on campus but he will be playing and he's pretty talented.

Add those guys with the Brandon and Donovan and you have a nucleus with the potential to improve overall defense significantly. I'm not saying this year will be as good as '06 but we do have key players. Of course this is all e-talk, but I think the D will be competent, and based on the style offense we play against, dominant.

los barcos

April 21st, 2009 at 8:05 PM ^

i agree...say what you want about how bad our defense was last year, i think a lot of it was the three and outs. you just cant keep the other team off the scoreboard when your defense is on the field for 60+% of the games. i think we can all agree the offense this year will be significantly better.

talent wise, its not like we're depleted. most of these guys still have potential. as long as they still injury free (which, i know is a big IF) they should be at least respectable.

victors2000

April 21st, 2009 at 4:49 PM ^

is that he doesn't play like a freshman. He's been in enough of a spread in high school at Scripts Ranch so that he isn't going to be like Threet/Sheridan when it comes to starting. Also, it's commonly known he's had a QB coach for awhile. He's confident. He'll play the position with the success of at least a sophomore, in my opinion. Offensively, if he stays healthy, we'll be set. Defensively...we simply can't be that bad again, can we? Besides, many of our defensive woes were directly related to our offensive woes.
There is a good outside chance we have a successful season, and I quantify that as an 8 win season, with a possibility of having a magical one, similar to the '06 campaign. It was the ineptness of the QB play last year that lead to many of our loses. Tate will make mistakes, but not the quantity or quality, if I may use that word, of last year.

Oh, how many days to that first game!? Go Blue!!!