Michigan Wolverines Must Get Back on Track

Russ HartleyContributor IOctober 12, 2009

ANN ARBOR, MI - SEPTEMBER 19:  Quarterback Denard Robinson #16 of the Michigan Wolverines throws a pass against the Eastern Michigan Eagles at Michigan Stadium on September 19, 2009 in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  Michigan won 45-17.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

Michigan sat in the pink lockers last Saturday when the team traveled to No. 12 Iowa for the prime time game.

Rich Rodriguez and the Wolverines knew the importance of this game, as they were coming off a 26-20 loss to Michigan State. Michigan started the season 4-0 but has lost its last two games.

Against Iowa, Michigan started the game with a pick-six by defender D. Warren. Stanzi threw a poor pass and the Hawkeyes were down early.

Freshman Tate Forcier came out for the next drive, only to throw an interception. Forcier had a disappointing game throwing poor passes, falling on scrambles, and fumbling the football in key possessions.

Despite the Wolverines' poor performance, the boys in blue found themselves down only nine points late in the fourth quarter.

Rich Rodriguez took Forcier out and replaced him with Denard "Shoelace" Robinson under center. Denard marched down the field to give Michigan a touchdown, making it a one possession game.

The Wolverine defense stopped Iowa on the next drive, forcing a punt.

Tate Forcier has had three fourth quarter comeback performances this season, but did not take the field late on Saturday. Some say he had concussion-like symptoms, but no confirmation has been made.

With 1:30 left in the game, one would think you would put in your throwing quarterback, but not Rich Rod. Coach Rodriguez stuck with the scrambler, Denard Robinson.

We have learned so far this season, and again last Saturday, that that's all Denard is: a scrambler. Robinson came into the game and threw a few short passes before getting picked off, and giving Iowa its sixth win of the season.

I have been behind the Rich Rod Era, and still am. But the last two weeks have had me questioning his play calls.

Flashback to last week, when Michigan took on the Spartans: On a fourth-and-one play, Rich Rodriguez called a fake punt to the punter, Zoltan Mesko. Mesko would have had to run about 16 yards just to get a first down.

I have never seen a coach with such confidence in his punter's ability to run the ball. To make things worse, Michigan was backed up in its own territory and gave the Spartans great field position and a potential score.

Michigan (4-2) will take on Delaware State next week, with hopes of getting its fifth win and getting back on track. If the Wolverines proceed to reach their potential, they can still have a very successful season, but to make it clear: they are not back, yet.

The normal Michigan team beats MSU and Iowa and would be 6-0 right now. One thing is for sure, they are getting better. They already have more wins than last year and should definitely make a bowl game.

The Wolverines still have a few tough games left (Penn St. and Ohio St.), but should still end by impressing the maize and blue fans, and continuing on their way to becoming the "normal" Michigan team: a powerhouse.