RUMBLINGS (or, RAMBLINGS?) OF THE UNKNOWN WOLVERINE....
Seeing as I'm the newest guy on the block, let me introduce myself. I'm JOHN R, better known as, The Unknown Wolverine. We'll get acquainted more in the coming weeks/days/months. For now, you just need to know that, if you cut me, I will bleed MAIZE 'n' BLUE all over you like slime on Nickelodeon.
That's just for starters.
I have been a season-ticket holder at Michigan in two different stints, for nearly 20 years. I go to games, rain or shine, snow or sleet, cold or hot. Weather does not deter me from going to Michigan Stadium. It never has, and it never will.
I grew up watching Michigan on TV when they started televising games and listening to them on the radio when not shown. My mother got me hooked on Michigan. She was a Wolverine fan and a Detroit Tiger fan. One would be on the TV, the other on the radio.
More often than not, they would get turned off right around the same time if they were on together, because of a dumb play or grand slam, usually prefaced with a colorful metaphor as she turned the radio and/or TV off.
Bo came to Ann Arbor in 1969, and nobody expected things to improve, really. When Michigan beat the Buckeyes that November, well....the world changed. My world, anyways.
Bo retired, and Mo took over. Mo, IMHO, was a tremendous coach, and would have had a long and storied career at the helm, had it not been for one serious lapse of judgment on a night where alcohol was involved. Very unfortunate for him, his family and the team. Very sad day for all of the Michigan Faithful, when the head coach has a public meltdown that ends with his arrest. We lost a great one with Moeller.
But we kept the kids he brought in. And they were something special. That man could recruit.
Lloyd Carr took over as head coach, and the winning continues. A National Championship, Heisman Trophy winners, Big Ten titles, Bowl wins....then, things waned. Losing games we should have won, losing recruits, losing stature....but, most of all, losing to OHIO STATE, which hurts the worst. Losing to Sparty is bad enough....but OSU?? Nope. Not here.
Somewhere in all of this, Bill Martin took the reins as AD. Never liked this guy, and I liked how he did things even less.
I have very mixed feelings about Lloyd Carr's departure. He got pushed out. You don't win enough here, you don't keep the job. There is a level of ARROGANCE at Michigan, and anyone who denies it is either is blind as hell, or refuses to acknowledge it (meaning, they're more arrogant than I'm referring to already, LOL). This is MICHIGAN, for cripe's sake, WE DO NOT lose to Ohio State, MSU, Notre Dame, et al. We WIN here.
When Lloyd left, he assisted Justin Boren in getting his transfer to Ohio State.
"WHAAAAT??? A WOLVERINE TRANSFERS TO THE BUCKEYES???"
Yep. Lloyd Carr could literally have driven this kid to Columbus, for all I know. May just as well have done that, too. I don't know.
All I know is that when Boren got to OSU, he immediately started badmouthing Michigan. And hasn't been shut up since. (How do you shut up a Buckeye? Beat him. The larger the margin, the better.)
Then, RichRod came to town. Arrogance doubles. Now, we have a coach (who, for the record, I was quite thrilled about coming in here to bring MODERN FOOTBALL to Michigan...I just couldn't believe the mess surrounding his arrival, as well as his tenure here) from the Big East, who recruited well in the SEC, played (AND BEAT) SEC teams, was the big stick who came up with this highly-vaulted SPREAD OFFENSE....and we looked forward to even more wins, being the talk of the conference, being able to literally run over Buckeyes and Spartans and Hoosiers, at will. Oh my!!
Uh....didn't work out that way. Three years of turmoil, embarrassment and scandal, for the first time EVER, at Michigan.
I don't care what you say. Rich Rodriguez is a class guy, who tried his best, and who just did not fit here, couldn't grasp the "big picture" about Michigan's storied history and never got a fair shake. I'm not convinced his firing was NOT the right move, as I think that overall, it had to be done. The defense here was atrocious, if not nearly non-existent....the offense was very potent, to be sure. But, the TEAM was not up to the standard that Michigan expects itself to be, let alone all of us.
When the NCAA stepped in with sanctions, that sounded the death knell on RichRod's future here. It is completely unacceptable for this to happen at Michigan. Not one time in over 130 years has it happened to this program. This alone was justification for his firing, in my opinion.
Now, we endured a little bit of a circus here for the past couple of weeks, courtesy of Dave Brandon and his handling of RichRod's firing, and suddenly needing to replace him before all the recruits Michigan was hoping to land started singing fight songs of other schools. So, who's it gonna be? Harbaugh? NFL. Who can blame him? Not me. I'd have LOVED to have been in that stadium first time he was introduced by Howard, "And now, in his FIRST SEASON as head coach, JIM HARBAUGH!!"
I can just imagine that roar. Gives me chills just thinkin' about it. The true, iconic Michigan Hero comes home. The only guy with the 'nads ever to GUARANTEE A WIN against Ohio State, who then went out and did it, now the head coach here.
Tressel would surely tremble and pee his pants at the mere thought of facing off against Jim Harbaugh.
Not gonna happen.
Well, Les Miles has a $1.25 million buyout in his contract....certainly, HE would take the job. Les Miles, another proven Michigan Man, has won the Big Game, terrorized the SEC's Bad Boys year after year, has defenses in the top 15 every season....come on, Dave, bring him home!!
Nope. Turned the job down - twice. DAMN!!
Anticipation builds, then turns to guarded optimism and outright skepticism....then, on Tuesday, Jan. 11, the news comes in....I was driving in my car down I-75 from downtown Detroit back home when I first heard it on the radio....
"Michigan has a new head coach, and his name is BRADY HOKE!"
"NOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" I screamed, as a panic wave rushed over me........"NOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" Tell me this isn't real. Tell me we didn't bring a guy in here who BARELY has a better record than RichRod, percentage-wise, as head coach!
[NOTE: I apologize for the length of time it's taken me to get to this point; but, you folks out there don't know me from Adam. It was necessary for you to know where my heart lies, how deep that ol' Maize 'n' Blue river runs inside of me. You had to learn who it is you're dealing with....a certifiable, Ufer-crazed, dyed-in-the-Wolverine NUT. Ask anyone who knows me. Now you know, and our story can continue....]
Well, let's take a look at what Coach Hoke has done in the week-and-a-day he's been here.
He convinced Denard Robinson to remain here. That one is worth 500 points, kids. Robinson could have flown the coop to Auburn without even bothering to pack, after Cam Newton announced his entering the NFL draft....but, Denard proved he is, without a doubt, a true Michigan Man.
THOSE WHO STAY WILL BE CHAMPIONS.
Indeed they will be. Denard is my hero right now. (Well, to be honest, he's been my hero ever since he committed to Michigan, LOL.)
There have been a couple of hires to the coaching staff, too, that have been positives, most notably Greg Mattison, former UM defensive coach extraordinaire, as Defensive Coordinator.
WOW. You got a guy to come back to Michigan from the BALTIMORE RAVENS, just about the baddest D in the NFL???
OK, coach. You're two for two. You've got my attention.
For being the most vocal and intense CHEERLEADER that the University of Michigan has ever seen, well, you got the heart, alright. You have the entire 1997 National Championship team singin' your praises, you have former coaches and players raving that YOU ARE, INDEED, THE REAL DEAL, the guy to do it all, to turn it around, get the team focused, and get Michigan BACK TO WINNING again....
Coach Hoke ain't no joke. This guy may very well be THE MAN. Let's see how he does with recruiting, Feb. 2 and beyond. Let's see who's coming to Ann Arbor. Let's see who gets hired next.
Let's get behind Coach Hoke....ALL IN FOR MICHIGAN....everyone, all the time....from here on out.
Let's watch the future of Michigan grow right before our eyes. Let's live it, and see it unfold, one move, one player, one coach at a time.
Go get 'em, Coach Hoke. Tear it up.
You have got my undivided attention.
As well as my unyielding support.
Til next time....
The Unknown Wolverine