Coming Up Short
OK, listen. I've watched the game now in the friendly confines of my living room. The truth hurts, and I somewhat agree with Tuba. Laying blame is something we all look to do when faced with an unfathomable defeat. Let me tell you where I think it lies...
#1 Gameplan: For the first time in my 10-year, Riverview-biased, Lloyd-loving career, I can tell you this...we we're outcoached in large facets of the game. Perhaps not outcoached completely, as Mike Belotti made some TERRIBLE calls towards the end of the game. But not recognizing earlier that the Ducks were basically in goal-line defense is not excusable. Or was the staff afraid to turn it over to John Navarre and the passing game so early in the game? Do they also beleive what everyone else seems to already know?
Defensively we were on the field for the entire first quarter. And sure, we can blame the offense for putting them right back out there after they made a stop. But the offense didn't allow Oregon to sustain a Michigan-like nine minute drive to start the game.
#2 Heart and Homefield: I made a statement this week that Michigan on most occasions is the more talented team. They just need to find what motivates them to come away with a victory. This is the reason that you don't often see Michigan lose to the same team in consecutive years. This is the reason we stuck it to Notre Dame. This is the reason that they should stick it to Iowa. But a weeks worth of "Michigan tends to lose these west coast road trips" and "Michigan is going to have trouble in Autzen Stadium" and "Oregon is the Ohio State of the Pac-10" must not have been enough. Flat out...the Ducks wanted it more. I mean, these whackos drove a man-sized duck out onto the field in a motorcycle, with all the grace and tradition of a bad Disney movie. Then they systematically bullied the greatest team in college football history into submission. They forced a team loaded with talent to put the game into the hands of its least explosive and talented skill player.
#3 John Navarre: Yeah, it's his fault if you want to pick a player. You will see someday when these young receivers get balls thrown to them in stride. It will be an amazing sight. The passes John threw were not just telegraphed, not just off target, they were also horribly thrown balls. There were 12 ducks on the field on that 4th and 7 play that ended the game. The eleven wearing green and yellow, and the one wearing pigskin that clanked almost sideways off of Braylon Edwards's injured hand.
I'm not sure that the Wolverines can, but I know we can. The tailgate is ON for Saturday, and the theme is....drumroll please... Oktoberfest. So get your mugs ready for some dark beer, sausage, kraut, and cheese. But take some speed, because we're playing Indiana. Let's hope it won't take Johnny Wangler to Anthony Carter to get it done.
Coming Up Short