Resiliency: How Michigan Turned It Around

Ryan BlanchfieldAnalyst IOctober 24, 2007


Coaches lose sleep just thinking about the word.

"Quit" separates the mentally tough teams from the mentally weak ones.

Several teams have already succumbed to quitting this year.

The Nebraska Huskers are 4-4 and on a three-game losing streak and hope is almost lost in Lincoln. Notre Dame is 1-7 and getting worse.

Two weeks into the season, Michigan looked like they were on the same track. But, unlike Nebraska and Notre Dame, Michigan used those first two games as motivation.

The Wolverines are now 6-2, in the top 25, and one of the favorites to win the Big 10.

The turning point may have been the win Mike Hart guaranteed after a loss to Oregon—a 38-0 drilling of the hapless Irish.

Since that blowout, Michigan has beaten Penn State (6-2), Purdue (6-2), and Illinois (5-3) Champaign, might I add.

A big part of the success is the improvement of Ron English's defense. The Wolverines gave up 34 and 39 points to Appalachian State and Oregon. Since then, they haven't surrendered more than 22.Icon

Offensively, I used to think Michigan was the Mike Hart show.

I was wrong.

There's no denying that Hart's having an outstanding year, but last week he watched from the sidelines in street clothes as backup Carlos Brown took 25 carries for 113 yards at Illinois.

Mario Manningham also caught nine passes from Chad Henne for 109 yards and two scores.

That said, Hart is obviously the senior leader on this offense, with fantastic numbers. He has 12 TDs (tied for eighth in NCAA) and 1,078 yards (fourth in NCAA).

People were starting to count the Wolverines out after Week Two, but THEY DIDN'T QUIT.

Lloyd Carr's team still has two tests left: Wisconsin and Ohio State.

The two early losses still linger in the background, but I think this team's emotional drive will lead them to a strong finish—and maybe even a Big 10 title.