The news goes from bad to worse for the Michigan Wolverines. Following an embarrassing 41-14 loss to the Alabama Crimson Tide on Saturday, the team will be without cornerback Blake Countess for the rest of the season.
UPDATE: Monday, September 3 at 10 a.m. ET by Adam Wells
Michigan's worst fears have been confirmed, as the team's official Twitter account reported that Countess suffered a torn ACL:
Blake Countess will miss the remainder of the 2012 season with a torn ACL suffered in last Saturday's game against Alabama.— Michigan Football (@umichfootball) September 3, 2012
The Wolverines did not need bad news after what happened on Saturday night, but football is often an unforgiving game. It will give us a chance to see just how far along Brady Hoke's rebuilding effort really is.
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Countess suffered a knee injury during the game and will return as a red-shirt sophomore in 2013, according to a report from MGoBlog.com:
A source close to the team has told me Blake Countess has torn ligaments in his knee and is done for the year.
Countess will get a medical redshirt and be a redshirt sophomore next year...
Countess was a breakout star for the Wolverines last season. His presence in the defensive backfield gave the team a stabilizing force that it hadn't had in years. This allowed the team to go from being one of the worst defensive units in 2010 to at least being capable of holding its own.
Which defense will the 2012 Michigan Wolverines more closely resemble?
In his absence, Michigan will have to plug holes and hope that someone is able to step up his performance in order to prevent the team from losing too much production.
If you want to find to a silver lining, the fact that Michigan plays in the Big Ten could be just that. Since the Wolverines won't have to go up against a lot of high-octane, air-it-out offensive teams, they can get by without Countess.
That said, having a player of Countess' caliber there to cut the field in half surely makes life much easier for everyone.
Head coach Brady Hoke did a remarkable job of turning this defense around last season. He is going to have a tougher time this season without the services of his top defensive back.