Soon after Rich Rodriguez’s tenure in Ann Arbor was over, the Wolverines turned to a man named Brady Hoke to take over their program. Hoke has become famous for several things over the three years he’s been at the University of Michigan; everything from never wearing sleeves to rarely eating meals before games, but none more than his famous quote when asked if Michigan was still an elite job in the nation.
“This is Michigan, for God’s sake,” Hoke said. That is when Michigan men and women knew that the right man was hired for the job at the time.
Now let’s fast forward 3 years, is this the same Michigan team that Hoke envisioned winning the Big Ten? The same team that was destined to take down OSU? Is this team good enough to even produce positive rushing yards?
I’m not sure how to answer those questions, simply because I’ve seen many different versions of this team this year, and I’m not sure which one shows up each week. Many players have produced at a high level this year – Jeremy Gallon, Blake Countess to name a few – but more have not. So it leaves me wondering, Is this really Michigan?
That I can answer confidently. No.
This team has been exposed and has been bested two weeks in a row, one on the road to Michigan State, and a heartbreaker at home to Nebraska late in the game. No, this is not Michigan, and I think we can all agree on that. It’s been rough to watch recently, but it has shown me one thing; the team has a lot to build off of, and grow as a unit, and become that Michigan team that many have expected from them in recent years.
If the OL finds a way to mesh late in the year and head into the winter and spring workouts with some momentum and continuity, they have a shot to bring smash-mouth football back to Ann Arbor. A lot of it is on the offensive line, who has left Devin Gardner on the turf more than a few times this season, but if they can work out the kinks of the line, the offense can really take off.
Secondly, the recruiting class they have coming in for 2014 is elite and about as good as a class that we will see in the Brady Hoke era in Ann Arbor. A class highlighted by CB Jabrill Peppers, LB Michael Ferns, QB Wilton Speight and possibly the #1 player in the country Da’Shawn Hand by weeks end. If they can continue to bring in 4 and 5 star caliber players, there is no reason why this team cannot succeed.
So this team is not dead, and far from it. I have a lot of confidence in Coach Hoke, and Greg Mattison to right the ship, but it may be costly. Many are saying coaches Al Borges and Funk should be gone by then end of the season due to the poor offensive play calling and poor production from the offensive line.
It’s been a while since we’ve seen that style of football in Michigan, but many have been dying to see it return. There’s been many different opinions on how it could be fixed, some saying OC Al Borges should be axed, others suggest change running backs and mix up the offensive line, but one this is for sure, it needs to be fixed and fixed quickly.