We have reached the Infinity War portion of the program. Butt-puckering, stomach-turning dread with rolling credits buffered only by your buddy whispering to you that “the next one is already in production.” Doom and gloom is what’s out there folks, not much else. We are searching for answers and excuses two games into the season…and we WON THAT ARMY GAME.
Perhaps it’s just my untrained eye (though many a trained eye seem to concur) that sees so much talent go un-utilized. It’s tough to argue that Michigan is faster, taller, and stronger at wide receiver than any defensive secondary in the country that might try to defend them. In the heat of the battle on Saturday, Michigan was getting only modest yards-per-carry from a freshman running back created in a lab using genetic material from Chris Perry and Mike Hart — because Army stacked the box. They dared us to throw. We didn’t. They dared us to run outside. We didn’t. We ran our heads into the proverbial brick wall over and over and over….and we WON THAT ARMY GAME. A seemingly unlimited number of dimensions to this new offense and we played more one-dimensional than Army, who runs the same play every single time they snap the ball. Further evoking the feeling of an afternoon chewing razor blades, fumble-itis carried over to game two and is now for sure “a thing.” Meaning Shea thinks about not fumbling instead of thinking about something else more essential like reading the defense or making an accurate pass. Side note: that one fumble that flipped nonchalantly out of his hand really pissed me off….and we WON THAT ARMY GAME.
So let’s go over some common excuses for flirting with a one-possession game against MTSU and being taken to 2OT with Army
1) We are saving playbook pages for other games. OK, I get it. Let’s not show our hand in September when the money is made in November. But is there some massive season long plan for installation of offense? If so, can we pull things ahead a bit when WE ARE ABOUT TO LOSE? I want to know how this works, and who decides when it’s time to pick up the bat phone and roll over some cupcakes. Are we treating these games like practice? Because we were a strong gust of wind from practicing ourselves right out of the college football playoff. Another side note: Yes, I am aware that we are not going to the college football playoff.
2) Shea has a rib injury. I can sympathize with that. However, we’ve been sold/told that Shea’s absolutely a baller in practice: adapted quickly to the new system, a coach on the field, etc, etc. Reality is he’s just good, with maybe flashes of great. And that’s a big upgrade from recent history so no judgement here, but when he’s hurt maybe he’s just OK? But then why no Dylan? Does Dylan secretly suck in practice the way Shea is secretly magical in practice? We ran an offense predicated on a READ with an OPTION to give it to Charbonnet. It didn’t take a genius to figure out that giving to Charbonnet wasn’t optional, it was mandatory. Imagine if Army ran their option but gave it to the same dude in the same hole. That shit doesn’t work, even against Army…and we WON THAT ARMY GAME. We weren't throwing anyway, so save Shea’s ribs and bring in a quarterback that can take a hit for the day, and that is arguably a better runner anyway.
3) When (Injured Player) comes back we’ll be better. Looks like Hayes’s surprise POY campaign came to an abrupt end, so Runyan’s return may help things, but line play in general left a little something to be desired on Saturday. Word on the street is that it’s made Shea skittish, and I’m having Speight/Peters/Okorn flashbacks. O-Line ruined all those dudes. It would suck if poor pass protection left Shea unable to shake off his gun-shy-ness once his baby backs healed. DPJ is also going to come back at some point, which I feel is just a wash on offense. Michigan does miss him returning punts though. D-Line has some fellas returning, which we will need in Madison. So overall, yes, there’s some expected improvements coming by way of returning players, but probably not enough to make an OT win magically transform into a comfortable blow out.
4) The teams we played were good. There are a lot of teams Michigan would have lost to on 8/31 with the way they played. There are probably even more they would have lost to on 9/7. Sure, you can make a case that MTSU and Army are better than Tulsa and Western, but how about Cincinnati? or Syracuse? USF? FAU? Anyway, we’re probably never going to find out how good Army is due to their terribly easy schedule (though if they lose, we’ll know they suck I guess), and we’ll see how MTSU fares against Duke and Iowa. Probably won’t matter, by then we’ll all be overreacting to a win/loss at Madison.
I shared this on Facebook, but man, no matter what colors your lenses are, this doesn’t look great:
6 of 7 in points allowed. 6 of 7 in points scored. We appreciate you Rutgers.
Thank you, next. After initially being annoyed with the ND game jammed in the middle of the B1G slate, I am now ecstatic at the prospect of an early BYE before heading to Mad-town. Wisky has a BYE too, but good luck to them in their efforts trying to scheme against the offensive pile of horse shit we’ve provided in our first two games. Of course, we might just bring that pile of shit to Camp Randall, in which case, I’ll be back at Essen House by halftime.
Michigan has bottomed out early on many a season, some of those have featured valiant recoveries in the Big Ten slate, some have not. The fact that we are talking about recovery from being 2-0 is odd, but I don’t know if I have ever felt so close to the bottom without a loss. That being said, two weeks is a mighty long time, and if one of the debunked narratives above proves to not be bunk (or be bunk, not sure how that works grammatically), maybe we’ll see a turning point, maybe we’ll see something different, maybe we will be pleasantly surprised. If nothing else, the first two weeks have dialed back the lofty expectations, which makes for a more pleasant season, doesn’t it? Perhaps Sarah Harbaugh will float down from the sky in full Captain Marvel gear and save us all Endgame style.
Either way, see you all in Madison for a boot or two. Go Blue!