Where Do the Wolverines Go From Here?
We find ourselves at a 2-7 start. Even the disasters from the Appalachian State and Oregon Ducks games cannot compare to the anguish, sadness, and disparity that is spreading across the Michigan Wolverine nation this fall.
The Wolverines, with a severe lack of true leadership, look like a group of disorganized children playing in the backyard. Steven Threet is no Chad Henne; John Ferrara is no Jake Long.
Rumors of recruits rescinding their commitments swirl around the team as Head Coach Rich Rodriguez continues to push his philosophy week after week—loss after loss.
When does it end? Where does a 2-7 team, that won't be able to have a winning record or be able to attend a bowl game, go?
Good ol' Bo Schembechler once said, "When your team is winning, be ready to be tough, because winning can make you soft. On the other hand, when your team is losing, stick by them. Keep believing."
Wolverine nation became soft. Former Michigan coach Lloyd Carr ran a great program and is one of the greatest men to ever leave his mark on the college football world. Whether or not his time was up, he is now gone. Rodriguez came, and many say he carried his attitude and and adversity with him.
Few can truly understand the severity of the situation in Ann Arbor. As fans, it's easy to point the finger.
"He's a bad coach."
"Are you kidding? I could catch that pass!"
"Why is he (the) quarterback?"
For the players and coaching staff, it is so much worse. Regardless of what they say, many players have not bought into the new philosophies of Rodriguez and his staff. And they cannot be blamed for that, Lloyd Carr ran a different program and was, well, a different person.
For freshmen, it might be even more difficult. They look to the seniors who are confused, disoriented, and dismayed, and that cannot help their confidence or help build trust in their coach.
Enough has been said about Michigan "fitting square pegs into round holes." Enough. The spread offense is no simple, gimmicky trick offense that many claim it is. It is difficult enough to learn plays as a freshmen, but when your upperclassmen teammates are learning them for the first time as well, it doesn't make things any easier.
Players don't always fit the system. Yes, a good coach should always adjust his team to their best abilities. Maybe Rodriguez hasn't done that enough. Call him stubborn, call him a jerk, say he's ruining the chances of his seniors to make the NFL draft. But when you have a redshirt freshmen who can't throw at QB, an inexperienced line, and youth all around, nothing is really what it seems.
Defensively, it comes down to many things. Players might just be outplayed, or Scott Schafer's schemes don't work. Whatever it is, it will get better with time. Honestly, the Wolverines defense wasn't all that impressive last year, and this year, we are just seeing more of our faults exposed.
Morgan Trent is so talented, yet is so often burned. Stevie Brown is brilliant on special teams but struggles with his zone reads. Boubacar Cissoko possess immense raw talent and will someday bloom into a stronger corner.
Maybe's it time the system was recycled. Terrance Taylor, Tim Jamison, Brandon Harrison are undoubtedly great players, and there is no doubt that they are giving all they have, but Michigan is just out of luck. That's it.
The cupboard is not bare, but not quite as talented as we thought. With time, the players will understand their coaches more, and the same will work in reverse. Michigan is not yet a team, this much is obvious. A team is not made of individuals, but of players who can work together, like cogs in a machine.
This will come with time. In a world filled with instant gratification we as fans must wait.
You really think it's any better for a 19-year-old kid living his dream?
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