So yes, another year comes and goes and no bowl game for the Michigan Wolverines. Thousands and thousands of us loyal alum and students are left to ponder an embarrassing finish to a frustrating season. During the meltdown of the second half of the season I found myself planning alternate activities for part, or even all of those once worshiped Saturdays. Losing to Ohio State for the 6th year in a row didn't even seem to bother me. What the heck is going on?
The two freshman quarterbacks got off to great starts but once Conference defenses dialed in on the predictability and coaching of these players, the losses started piling up. The Rodriguez conditioning program was to yield a never-tiring team who would rise up and outlast other teams in the second half of its games. If anything, the team faded badly in the the third and fourth quarters.
Tate Forcier, for all his heart, seems to wait just long enough on his run options to allow defenders to catch him by the ankles. When he does escape, he likes to throw on the run. While this worked well for him in high school, teams began to step more aggressively into passing lanes as the season wore on and his interception totals rose dramatically. Play calling for Denard Robinson was just plain awful. Every team knew the run was coming and, as good as this kid is, he was unable to consistently run past defenders who might as well have been in the (no) huddle with him. The worst part is the kid didn't even get to work on his passing game which could have really set up a devastating run option.
The Michigan defense didn't improve much, if any, over the previous year despite the hype of the conditioning. It was coached poorly and undermanned at key positions. When they got bored talking about Brandon Graham all the time, announcers were left to talk about Jordan Kovacs as if the walk on was some kind of super star. He was always "around" the play but rarely made one, especially when it counted. Just an ordinary player on a very ordinary defense.
As for the coaching, the only thing worse than the coaching of the offense was, you guessed it, the leadership and direction on the defensive side of the ball. Coach Rod will look to make changes on defense but he should also be looking in the mirror to make some more.
The recruiting class was amongst the best in the nation and it will surely need to be. I'm hoping we see a lot more of Denard Robinson next year to go with that recruiting class and bring some respect and credibility back to the Big House. Patience is wearing thin in Ann Arbor.
Sad when you wear a Michigan uniform and you can't even go bowling.