This is probably going to be brief (edit: guess not), but we'll see where it goes. They say that opinions are like assholes, everybody has one, and if you've spent any time on the internet or turned on a television in the past few days, I think you might come to the conclusion that everybody has at least two, which makes for a weird situation, at least biologically.
Brady Hoke is a Michigan Man, a guy that molds young men, a guy that knows the histories and traditions of Michigan Football, and a guy that believes in the idea that we can and will win because we are Michigan. He likely does one thing every week in practice that has nothing to do with the next game, but is preparing us for Ohio State. He never wears red. I've heard from people close to him that he's known for outdrinking his staff, and I once attended a practice where the wad of skoal lodged into his front lip was as big as I have ever seen. That's why that one side of his mouth has a little stroke-like deadness to it at pressers...because 10 minutes earlier it was blown up like a balloon. He's a man's man, your average everyday tough fat uncle. He loves. He hugs. He wrestles Greg Mattison. He coaches...albeit poorly at this level. He's emotional and passionate, and in the right non-media setting, he says all the right things. He will fire you up and make you believe, and that no doubt is the reason he is such a great recruiter. He's probably great in a job interview. Unfortunately, he arrived here in a time machine from 1999, and he is neither prepared nor aware of the way the world around him works. Kids are different. If you ignore social media, you are doomed to fall victim to it. Mistakes are magnified, spread like wildfire, and they require immediate and truthful responses. Apologies work man! Bullshit does not. "I don't know" does not. You can coach within the walls of Schembechler Hall, but you cannot hide behind them.
If Brady had showed some competence or candor prior to Saturday, particularly with the media, the Shane Morris situation would have been much less serious. If Brady had acted swiftly and responded to the issue with vigor, anger, or public self deprecation, it would have been much less serious. If Brady was molding football players into game winners when he wasn't too busy molding men into the next great generation of fathers, it would have been much less serious.
I find it hard to believe that Brady maliciously put a possibly concussed player back in the game. I think he didn't know, and that's probably as bad or worse. He didn't see the hit. He doesn't wear a headset. As we wait for the magical medical documents we were promised at the presser, we don't know for sure yet what happened to Shane Morris, why he stumbled into his lineman after getting speared, or if he had a concussion. The problem is, our Coach says he doesn't know either. Ignorance is bliss I guess. That's one happy fat bastard.
But this is not about Shane Morris's scrambled noggin. In fact, this whole situation with Shane is taking away from the fact that the Gophers just handed us our ass at home in front of about 90,000 people. The team is ill prepared, unmotivated, and folds at the first sign of adversity. The stadium gets progressively more empty as each week passes. Aside from the allure of night game number three, there is nothing to look forward to. If you're (stupid) like me, and you go to the away games, the MSU and OSU trips are looking about as appealing as a warm glass of the sweat wrung out of Brady Hoke's underwear. There is not a recovery option here. "But if we win out" is not on the table. 2014 is over in September, snatched rudely from a fan base that has already been waiting too long to return to above-the-mean, let alone prominence. Reflecting back to App State, I said at the start of the season that Michigan Football died in 2007. It seems now they've hired a band of rogue orderlies to dig up and hump the corpse. We're at that point where that douche in the cube next to you that has never seen a game and doesn't know Harbaugh from blue balls is knocking on the divider and asking "What the fuck?!?"
And then there's Dave Brandon, whose resume does not need to be gone over again. What do we do with him, and when? Brandon or no Brandon has no effect on the on-field performance. But if a lame duck Brady has to be axed, we obviously don't want DB around to pick up the pieces and make our next move, right? "Whatever" is the proper response here I think. Akin to "what about the recruits?" when it comes to firing Brady, it just doesn't matter anymore. The timing of their inevitable exits should be inconsequential at this point.
As I stare at my twitter feed looking for something, anything that might be some semblance of news, some start to the closure, I wonder if I'm just impatient or spoiled. Worse things have happened to better, well, at least similar programs. But time marches on and we become more and more disconnected from a team we never expected to be hard to love. Nearly 40 years of greatness, and sometimes even excellence. We are not conditioned for this, and it's a test of fandom I guess. It's become difficult folks, and that's for me...a guy that used to pretend to be Jim Harbaugh (but chubbier) snapping the ball playing tackle football on the cement floor of my parents basement at 8 years old, a guy that wept in the stands for Kordell to Westbrook, and again for Woodson down the sideline. A guy that has been in attendance at every game, wherever and whenever it has been, for fifteen years, and most home games for several years prior to that, and that started a website dedicated to drinking and eating before every one of those games. I reside less than a mile from the 50 yard line. This is my life, or at least a really significant part of it. There were times when I pointed and laughed at those of you that take it less seriously because you didn't get to feel the level of joy I got to feel when things went well. Now I envy most of you, for being able to turn it off, to realize it's just a game, and because you don't have to feel this pain. The scariest part is that the pain is starting to go away. There is something much more powerful than The Michigan Difference, and that's The Michigan Indifference.
I have always lived under the assumption that there are people that are smarter than me making the decisions...people that know what I know and more, but have the donation dollars to back it up. These are the policy makers. The money talks. I hope I'm right about that. I hope somebody somewhere is doing something. Making plans, lists of coaches, lists of AD prospects, figuring out what it might take to get one of the Harbaugh brothers to come home and save us from ourselves. Saban, Narduzzi, Miles, or somebody I'm not even thinking about. The home run. The uniter. THE coach. The splash that will make people forget about the last 7 years. I hope you are out there, anonymous rich guy that reads Mgoblog in the morning and makes ten million dollar deals at night. Do something.
GO BLUE! See you in Piscataway.
To say it was an improvement would be an understatement, as all football...everywhere...and at any time past or present is an improvement over what made its way out on to the field the previous two weeks. However, to say it was good would be a gratuitous overstatement.
A couple of team moves seemed to work, as a reshuffled offensive line seemed to be slightly more effective, and Devin Funchess has obviously found a home at the receiver position. Gardner was great at handoffs, and the addition of Funchess allowed his eyes to unlock from the Desmond Howard's legends jersey that he'd been burning a hole in since last November. He also didn't make many good throws. From my vantage point, he was bailed out by Funchess two or three times on balls that could have or should have been picked. There was a lot of Henne-to-Braylon-style (later perfected by Denard) underthrows where our guy came back for the ball quicker than the Gopher D could react to a shitty pass...resulting in long, undeserved (but appreciated!) completions. We couldn't seem to come up with that kill shot, either in the form of a score to put it out of reach, or a sustained drive to run out the clock. Make no mistake, the game was not put away until very late, despite what seemed like 100 chances to do so. Defensively we were just ok, not dominating. Mobile quarterbacks, even when not that mobile, still cause problems here...and I got news for you, they always will. We also seem to be susceptible to long passes, or several consecutive medium range ones. I feel like they come in spurts...like entire drives where someone is wide open on every throw. But in defense of the defense, we seem to make just enough timely stops to stall drives and/or force field goals.
Anyway, it was a decent win against a team that is not good and that was without their coach who IMHO needs to change his career...or at least his role. In getting to East Lansing undefeated news, Penn State just lost to Indiana by 20, so either that's great because they suck or that's bad because they're going to be pissed this weekend. Then Indiana visits (Tailgate Theme Alert: White Trash) and, um, did I mention they just beat Penn State by 20?
Bottom line, this level of play probably gets us by Penn State, Indiana, and maybe Iowa. We need to play better than this to get by MSU, NW, Nebraska, and OSU. Reverting to Akron or UCONN play levels will result in a loss regardless of how hapless the opponent will be.
See y'all in Happy Valley. Go Blue!