Before I get rolling here, I just want to send out get well wishes for one of our regular tailgaters, Craig, who is in a battle that we all pray he can win. We're thinking about you buddy...get well soon.
At some point (and that point is usually in the off-season when there is 8 months to go before anything really happens) reality doesn't matter anymore. Perception rules. I just watched the first 15 minutes of the half-hour long College Football Live on ESPN, and every one of those minutes was dedicated to Greg Mattison. We hire a defensive coordinator, and the sports world comes to a screeching halt. Which in short thwarts the cynicism residing in the title of my previous post. Like the 15 year long Notre Dame collapse has shown us, relevance is relative. We are Michigan. Our three year fall from grace was a story, but the story now is Michigan (pardon the ND speak) returning to glory. And even though we've shown absolutely no sign of improvement anywhere other than the press conference room, they are lining up to be the first to tell you Michigan is back. I heard the host of College Football Live actually mention the top 25.
Yep, it was all positives today. Bob Davie spoke on behalf of Mattison, and used a term I've heard 3 or 4 times regarding this hire, "home run." Jesse Palmer called him a master recruiter. Jesse said that if a defensive recruit is trying to decide between Michigan, Notre Dame, and Ohio State...Michigan will send in Mattison...he's the closer. ESPN went to Angelique on the phone, where she said the hire legitimized Brady's staff, especially in the eyes of the current players, who have been a bit uneasy about the parade of Ball State and San Diego State coaches that Hoke had brought in thus far.
And all of that...it's good. Even if it's not actually good, it's still good. Because they're saying it's good. So recruits see that and believe that it's good. And the momentum builds. And good things start to happen for real. Got all that?
So why am I not all giddy? I dunno. I guess it still feels "old guard" to me. A lot of people point to Mattison's '95 and '96 Michigan defenses, which dominated the Big Ten and dismantled the Buckeyes in two of the most glorious upset victories outside of November 22, 1969. Perhaps more importantly those defenses were a building block for the 1997 defense, which was, um, the 1997 defense...stuff of lore. And that's great, don't get me wrong. But that was 15 years ago. Not that he's been sitting on a couch somewhere since then...his resume speaks for itself. I just need to know...2 or 3 years from now, when some new guys are in place and this defense has a little talent, are we going to be able to stop a mobile quarterback?
Ugh. I'm not where I want to be. I'm so bipolar with this whole thing. Time. Need more time.
All of that being said, we do have some things getting done around here. The bulk of the staff is in place, and it seems to be about what we thought it would be...maybe even a little better than we thought given we poached the Raven's defensive coordinator. Denard is staying, and it's tough not to take that as a positive, no matter what his role may be, or how he fits into Borges's pro-style gulf coast (huh?) offense. Fred Jackson has been asked back, so we should be all set with our recruitment of Sam McGuffie. Oh wait, that was a different coaching change. Anyway, there's a recruiting class to be salvaged, so we'll see what Hokemania and Greg "The Closer" Mattison can do in the next couple weeks.
And as always, GO BLUE!