So there you have it—Team Michigan.
This fantasy NFL team that will have a high octane offense, an incredibly stingy defense and an efficient special teams unit. My team can easily beat any pro team you can make from your school, which leads to this question:
How could it be that so many Michigan players perform so well at the pro level, yet have so much trouble performing while at the school?
Answer: coaching. Bad play calling and scheme issues can make even the best of players look very bad.
However, once you go to the pros, the best of best will be coaching you. If you're slow, they'll enhance your speed. If you're weak, they'll make you stronger. If you don't know something, you will know it by the time your first season comes to an end.
My theory as to why Michigan players are so good at the pro level is obvious—Michigan scouts don't recruit dummies. They recruit the brightest and smartest football players coming out of high school.
So if these men don't make it to the pros, they are almost certain to succeed in life. That was the true meaning of Bo Schembechler's motto, "Those who stay will be champions". He meant both on and off the field.
Bo never showed much interest in players with low GPAs, attitude problems or poor work ethics. He loved players who worked just as hard on their moral values and in the classrooms as they worked on the practice field.
His coaching philosophy, passed on to Moeller, then to Lloyd Carr, has turned out many players with a head for the game and a willingness to lead by example. Once the NFL's strength and conditioning coaches got their hands on these "head smart" players, the rest became history.
Because Bo was well aware of the intelligence level of his players, he never blamed them for any loss. He accepted full responsibility for it and he encouraged those who'd followed him to do the same.
So it all boils down to this—if you really want to believe that the UM coaches are NOT responsible for how the team plays, fine. Go for it, I won't stop you. I just want to let you know three things...
1. 24 former Michigan players have played in this season's playoffs; four of them will play in Super Bowl XLIV (Marlin Jackson, Mike Hart, Adrian Arrington and Jonathan Goodwin).
2. 31 former Michigan players have at least one Super Bowl ring.
3. Four former Wolverines were selected to the NFL's All Decade Team (Tom Brady, Charles Woodson, Steve Hutchinson and Ty Law).
The numbers don't lie; it's not the players.
Good luck to all 27 members of this year's recruiting class.
Just do yourselves a favor. Make sure that no member of "team coaches" are behind you anytime a bus passes by. Food for thought.