The Michigan Fan of the new millennium is a scared one. Scared of a type of failure that was thought of as impossible in our lifetimes. Five loss seasons? Never heard of it. Losing seasons? Not a chance. But they came. Multiple times. So much crow eaten. So much fall after the pride. A rigid program with stable lineage in leadership gave way to inconsistency. New schemes, usually the polar opposites of the previous year's, implemented with trepidation and confusion. No continuity. Zone blocking or man blocking? Spread or pro-style? These are the times that try men's souls.
If it was easy to stay, everybody would be a champion.
Though we made so many mistakes, from the hiring of Rich Rod to the lack of support he received, Brady's good guy routine with no accountability, mishandling of recruiting classes, and apologizing to the enemy, and Brandon's general dumpster fire of a career at the helm of the athletic department that culminated with shitty toned emails to fans...even though we were all complicit in it, we received a gift. One with the old fashioned heart and bravado of Bo, the new age wit and social media skills of a Santa Clara startup, and an NFL pedigree just an older brother shy of a Lombardi trophy. And we received this gift because we created it. He's ours. Spawned by Jack. Molded by Bo. Here to stay.
On February 3rd, Coach Harbaugh created an awards show to introduce the latest class of Michigan Football recruits. It was excessive, egregious, and damn spectacular. The Signing of the Stars. His guys. That day, they would share a stage with Tom Brady, Desmond Howard, Derek Jeter, and Rick Flair. Seven months later, they would see Jeter again...and retired GOAT Charles Woodson. That would be enough pageantry for any program's home opener, but those two legends played second fiddle as the team walked out to the 50 with Michael Jordan in tow. Captain Michael Jordan.
Michigan was the beneficiary of a ridiculous amount of pre-season hype. Despite not having a runaway starting QB emerge from camp, despite some questions on a young and shuffling O-Line, and a despite fielding a linebacker core that could only be counted as legitimate when Jabril Peppers gets designated as one...the returning starters, leadership from upperclassmen, and year two of Harbaugh had the Wolverines in a more than a few mock Final Fours.
On Saturday, they were finally allowed to show if all the talk was legitimate, to show what "iron sharpening iron" had created. Sure, Hawaii limped in to the Big House, jet lagged, over-matched, and generally inept. But Michigan beat them like they were jet-lagged, over-matched, and generally inept, posting a 63-3 victory over the Bows, the largest margin for Michigan over an opponent since 1975. And I promise you Harbaugh knows that, wrote it in his personal journal, and will try to beat it in the future.
But as the game progressed, it became very clear that the only thing burning faster than the gas warming up Hawaii's bus back to the airport were redshirts. The Stars of signing with the stars are not the future. The Stars are now. 17 true freshman saw the field. Some came later as the blowout became such, but many were first off the bench in the rotation, leapfrogging their sophomore, junior, and senior counterparts, adding an aspect of depth that we could not have anticipated, and showing a level of talent that will push (and in some cases replace) the incumbents.
My preseason "hot take" was that Smith wouldn't be the leading rusher on the team this year when it was all said and done. Ty Isaac, Kareem Walker, Kingston Davis, Chris Evans...I felt one of them would emerge as the breakout back. Smith has that Chris Howard / Chris Floyd feel to him, and we need some more speed and shifty-ness. Enter Evans, who lived up to the submarine leaks.
Looking forward to seeing "all the other things he can do."
Speight was great after that first throw. Had a handful of really nice passes, and he seems to be able to be that game manager we need him to be, though we will have to see how he handles getting knocked around at a later date since he was barely brushed up against in his little over a half of work.
Solid fill in by Bredeson at guard with Braden being injured. That meant Newsome got the start by default in week one at left tackle. Loved seeing Onwenu get some O-Line time in the 3rd quarter as well. Biggest dude on the any field he enters, and he's 18 years old. And McDoom was the fastest frosh-to-fan favorite ever, grabbing some great catches to the harmonious bellows of McDoooooooooom from the student section.
Pretty exciting day for an absolute, no-doubt manhandling. Transitive property states that if the future is bright and the future is now, then NOW IS BRIGHT. On to the next one.