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Westsider Rider

Monday, September 12, 2005

Another Year, Another Early Season Loss

Considering what happened on Saturday I still had a great weekend. I flew out to Michigan on the Thursday night red eye and got there early Friday morning. Got to 610 S. Division and crashed for a few hours before getting a call from the alumni from the Church on Church that everyone was meeting up at around 11 or so. Went to Dominick’s and had a few pitchers before heading out to Charley’s for some more drinking. After that rolled with Steve Bob Tom down to the soccer field to catch the second half of the soccer game along with meeting up with the original 610 S. Division guys. Was too tired to go out drinking again and wanted to save up my strength for the game so just stayed at the house the rest of the night until Nate and Bill showed up. Crashed pretty late only to be woken up early to start tailgating for the game. Saw even more people I hadn’t seen in a while during the tailgate before we headed down to Crisler to take in some of the open practice.

After the game I was so upset had to go grab an 8 ball, a 40 oz of Olde English for those that don’t know, and pound that down and watched the S. Carolina – Georgia game. With all the line we expected at Rick’s got some Panchero’s at 8 and went down there to watch the Texas – Ohio St. game which was unbelievable. Drank plenty there and then went back to Falk and Marchena’s new place which was very nice. Just passed out there and woke up Sunday morning to hang out and watch football before I had to head to the airport. Aside from the game it was a great weekend seeing everyone, a lot of people I hadn’t seen in a couple of years, I’ll be back for Ohio State so hopefully more people can make it out then.

After some time to think about it, I’ve got so many thoughts running through my head regarding this game, this team and the state of this program. I don’t even know where to begin, this post will probably just be random ramblings and it probably won’t make any sense.

Let’s start with the game, if you had told me before the game that we were only going to allow 17 points, I would’ve told you we’re covering and then some, minimum 27 points for us, probably even more except for the fact that John Navarre showed up to play QB for us and not Chad Henne. I haven’t gotten a chance to look at the tape and not sure if I can even put myself through that kind of torture but Henne had so many batted balls, locked in on a single receiver so many times, I couldn’t believe it. Breaston needs to step it up as he has not made any plays this year. Mario Manningham had a TD, maybe he needs to be out on the field more. Antonio Bass still hasn’t played, wonder if/when he will play. I put most of this game on the players, as without watching the tape I can’t think of many instances where playcalling was a problem, it was more with Henne and his execution. The only play I question is the 2nd QB sneak where we fumbled, although replay should have never been brought into question once the play was ruled 2nd down. The first sneak I understand we got the play down there maybe to catch ND off guard just sneak it in. The second one made no sense as we have the human bowling ball in Kevin Grady in the backfield and if cannot hand off the RB and get half a freakin yard we don’t deserve to win the game anyways. I was sitting in the second row on the opposite 15-20 yd line and on the goal line interception I could easily see down the other end how Henne locked in on Ecker and how Zbikowski was easily going to make that pick. I have heard that Gutierrez may be getting a chance this week but I wonder if anyone else thinks that Henne could lose his job to Gutierrez this season, not likely, but after a performance like that I think it needs to be looked at.

The Defense looked awful that first drive I thought ND would put up 40+ points and we were going to be in for a shootout. But afterwards they made some adjustments and played much better than I expected in the 2nd half. I never thought I’d say our offense cost us a game this year but they did. But it wasn’t a great performance by the D, they still missed tackles in the backfield, allowed Darius Walker to get outside more than a few times and could not put much pressure on Brady Quinn a lot of the time. Quinn had way too much time a lot of the time and all those 3rd and longs that they were able to convert are unacceptable.

This team I’m not sure what is going to happen. After the game I was extremely frustrated, as all Michigan fans were at what had transpired during the game. I was angry, sad, and everything in between as we have once again lost a non-conference game in September to an inferior opponent. It happens every fucking year and I don’t know how much longer I can take of it. With the way we look after two weeks I can easily see this as a 7-4 team although that is the worst case scenario which will probably not happen. Considering a lot of the “experts” out there call this offense the best O at Michigan in a long time, some say even ever, it is ridiculous to see us only put up 10 points on ND. We are ranked as one of the best in the nation at every offensive position breakdown from preseason previews, I used to think along the lines of some who believe we have the best collection of offensive talent outside of USC but I don’t know what to say after this pitiful performance. I still think we lose 2 games in conference, if not more and expect an 8-3 season, if that’s good enough for an Outback Bowl appearance we will keep our consecutive New Year’s Day Bowl streak alive, if not we’ll head to the Alamo Bowl or whatever Bowl that invites us.

Finally onto the state of our program, once again we have not yet finished September and have suffered a loss. Once again we have suffered a loss to a team that should have no business hanging close with us. As long as Coach Carr and this regime is in place this will happen every year. Don’t get me wrong I think Coach Carr does a great job in recruiting, running a clean program and representing our school but when it comes to coaching I do not think he is up there with the elite coaches in college football. No other program does less with more than Michigan, that title used to go to Mack Brown and Texas but it seems like they are actually starting to do something with their talent now. Maybe I’m being more harsh than it really is because I’m so upset with what happened over the weekend, if anyone has any comments on this please chime in, but this is how I see it currently. This brings us to the main question that Michigan fans ask each other when this is brought up:

Would you rather be consistent like we are year in and year out a perennial top 15 team that always hovers around the 8-4 to 10-2 type years or would you take a USC/Oklahoma type fall where they went 7-5 to 4-7 type years for a couple years only to regroup and come back to compete for the national championship for a few years?

And to this question I have no answer yet, would you rather be USC where they had those rough years during the Paul Hackett era, only to resurrect the program and become what they are now or would you continue to accept being Michigan the way they are. Ideally I would like to be where we’re at and actually make a run at the national championship every few years but I guess I can’t have it both ways.

The main point of all this is we underachieve year in and year out. If you look at all the players we have on NFL rosters and see how they perform there yet they didn’t perform that great in college it amazes me. Think back to the year we had 5 picks in the first 30 some odd picks of the NFL draft and that team only made it to the Citrus Bowl and beat Auburn. That should not happen, any other elite coach would have us in the hunt for the MNC every single year. I’m still extremely disgusted by what happened over the weekend and I don’t know when I’m going to get out of this funk, it sure as hell isn’t going to be next week when should easily beat EMU, maybe if we can beat Wisconsin I will feel better about this team but the way they have been putting up points with the emergence of Brian Calhoun, who knows what will happen that night at Camp Randall.
Considering how much talent we bring in year in and year out there is no reason for us to blow any of these games at any time.

Don’t get me wrong, no matter what happens I will love my school and my team until the end. As disgusted as I am at our performance it still brings me pride to know that I am a graduate of the finest institution of higher learning around the University of Michigan. It still brought me chills to see the Go Blue Banner go up and the team run through the tunnel to touch the banner as the band plays The Victors. It brought me back to my first game ever at Michigan the 1999 battle with Notre Dame and Michigan is just a special place as many people who have had the privilege of attending the school will say. I really hope we can fix a lot of these problems and turn this season around but no matter what happens I will proudly sing The Victors and yell Go Blue!


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