First Things First
Slow. Exciting. Confusing. Frightening. That was the Northwestern game on Saturday. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a game quite like this one. Interceptions, bizarre fumbles, head-scratching coaching moves (from Northwestern), a blocked field goal; it truly was unique. I’m still not quite sure if that’s a good or a bad thing, but I was entertained in the least.
As far as Michigan is concerned, it’s a little hard to draw any conclusions from this game. Northwestern has to be one of the worst teams in college football (certainly in the Power Five conferences), so it’s tough to get excited by a close win. Still, the team kept fighting and the defense played really well. Jake Ryan and Frank Clark came to play and showed the talent they have. It will be sad to see those guys graduate, and they will be hard to replace. The defense as a whole was stingy and tough. They look good.
The offense is…well, they sort of are what they are at this point. I have a sneaking suspicion they’ll show up differently against Ohio State and take care of Maryland, but that’s just a guess–most of the data we have would indicate otherwise. A lot of people like to criticize, or think that a simple fix would be the answer to their problems; that’s almost never the case, especially in football. They play hard, I know they prepare hard–the results just haven’t been there. Let’s hope they get it rolling in the next two games. They have to for us to have any chance at knocking off OSU.
I love Coach Hoke and I support him. Of course I am biased because I played for him, so you won’t find me calling for his head. Would I have a different perspective if I hadn’t gone through the program? Of course. I understand why fans are upset and want a change. All I’m saying is let’s see how this season plays out. Yes, we have been on a decline the past three seasons and at this point the Sugar Bowl is a distant memory. In all honesty, even I can’t figure out why–these past two years have shocked me as much as anyone.
Still, no one is doing any favors to the program by calling for Hoke to be fired immediately or heaping on unnecessary negativity. Recruits are dropping like flies because they pay attention to these things and regardless of if Coach Hoke stays or goes, that hurts our program. It’s a tough line to walk because I get why people voice their frustrations (they should), but it also doesn’t help when you treat a coach like he’s a dead man walking. As with most things, it’s easier to say this in retrospect.
So what do I want? I just want us to win. That’s what we all want. Some people are always going to be unrealistic trolls, but 99% of the fan base just wants to see a winner. Let’s hold off and evaluate this team as a whole after the season. I know there hasn’t been much evidence for hope of an improvement recently, but you never know with this sport. What if we beat Ohio State by two touchdowns? Stranger things have happened.
Of course a new coach sounds exciting. They’re like a brand new shiny object (oooh! ahhh!). But let me tell you, having gone through it firsthand: coaching transitions are hard. It’s not a reason to hold off on a change, but there will be transfers. There will be a culture change. Yes, even if you bring in a “Michigan Man” (ugh!). It’s hard on the players, coaches, and everyone involved with the program. So I don’t think you’ll see the immediate gratification most fans expect. The Sugar Bowl was an anomaly. We had a bunch of really talented, experienced players who were just plain ballers. Very few coaching transitions happen with that type of talent and experience around.
Still, we all know some type of rebuilding has to take place. I think Coach Hoke is the man for that job despite popular opinion. He really does adapt and change his methods based on his current team and recent results. He knows how to evolve and grow. The product hasn’t been what anyone has envisioned, but he and his staff are constantly finding things to do better. Are there questions? Yes. Let’s let the team answer those in the last two games (and hopefully a bowl). 7-5 with a win over Ohio State looks a lot different than 6-6 or 5-7.
This week’s song is a tune with a strong “real” hip hop lean–there’s a lot of rapping, but be sure to listen to the whole track because there’s a cool switch up at the end. I usually prefer to let the music do the talking, so enjoy! Got a lot of different songs with a range of styles coming in the future.
If you liked it, here’s another one.