Utah. Gorgeous little stadium with a view that rivals even Husky in Seattle. Great bunch of "nice-guy" fans. Football knowledge? Notsomuch. Bearded weirdo next to me thought the game was ending at the end of the third quarter. The intricacies of time outs, replays, and penalties seem to be lost on them. I heard a good amount of questions that are typically reserved for that-young-drunk-freshman-chick's first game.
Oh well, it's better to be an uninformed winner I suppose.
The Wolverines fell 24-17 in the opener, and in many ways it felt like we were lucky to be that close, even though we were probably just a couple of corrected mistakes away from winning. Weird. The first iteration of the Wolverines under Harbaugh looked a lot like the last iteration of the Wolverines under Hoke. So the eye test was undoubtedly disappointing. But the hope I was full of is not dead. And that's a result of the unbelievable patience I have developed since Bo died...combined with the fact that I have no choice.
I was happy to give RichRod a pass on his inaugural year with the bare stable he inherited from the end of the Carr era. And in turn, one of my reasons for optimism for this season was the personnel. Quick turnarounds require talent, and this group is far from pedestrian on paper. We were told the recruiting classes that made up this team were solid, right? I just assumed that a Harbaugh kick in the ass would fix all that ailed these underachievers.
But watching them yesterday the weaknesses were apparent. We're missing athletes. There's not a player that touches the ball on offense that exudes excitement. The attributes that can't be taught, even by our "savior," are missing right now.
That's not to say someone won't emerge. As time passes, depending on the level of success, I think this team will be invaded by youth. And the answer we're looking for might be there. I think there will be a point this year, maybe several, where we criticize coach for not playing (insert relatively unknown young roster member here) sooner.
Ruddock is clearly here to play that Griese game manager role. That seemed to backfire in game one. I'm pretty sure Shane is not the answer, but if it's a risk reward situation, I'm all for risk. And if that risk brings in Shane or someone further down the depth chart, I've got no problem with that. Same for any of the other skill positions. Ate too many donuts while being coddled by Brady? There's a hungrier kid behind you that might get your spot, so either get tough, get better, or get out of the way so we can have a bigger recruiting class. If I am to criticize, I would say I'm disappointed that there are not more underclassmen already on the top of the depth chart, which is either a function of poor evaluation or upperclassmen loyalty, neither of which I have time for.
My expectation is development, and to beat one of the two asshats at home. I believe the former will happen, and I hope somebody will come out of that that can help the latter happen.
We head home now, to welcome Coach back to the Big House under a little less fanfare than we would have had he pulled this out. And that's probably ok.
See you next week. Noon kick. Bring craft beer. Go BLUE!