Perspective, Again and Again
Picking up the pieces after a disappointing Saturday is getting old and is all too common. I keep rationalizing what is happening to this Michigan team, and the Michigan football program at large. Using perspective as my friend. It’s hardly fun anymore.
First, Saturday night. Doesn’t it have to be coaching at this point? Denard’s great. The offense is fine. I have no complaints about the offensive performance on Saturday night. Maybe some beef with a couple play calls – like running Vincent Smith up the middle from the I formation on 3rd and 1. On defense though, it’s really, really hard at this point to say that the coaches are doing all they can do with the talent at hand. I don’t think I can buy that anymore. The coaches aren’t putting their guys in position to make plays. The coaches aren’t making the right adjustments to adapt to a play that is gashing you, time after time. It’s one of the most frustrating things to watch in the history of Michigan football.
In the past, my stance has always given Greg Robinson a bit of a pass. I can’t do that any longer, until I see progress. Progress means improvement over time. Improvement over time is not happening for this Michigan defense. It’s that simple. At this point, Michigan cannot afford to not put the ball in the end zone on offense more than a couple times per game. Michigan can only match their opposition scoring opportunity for scoring opportunity – and then hope to get a turnover or two along the way to then outscore the other team on the field.
Rich Rodriguez. If Michigan can eke out a win at Purdue, without turning their offensive unit into all-stars for a day, then Michigan might squeeze into a bowl game. If the defense cannot play better, Michigan can only win one more ball game – and that would be against Purdue. I’ll see an argument against that, but I don’t get how it can be justified at this point. Maybe Michigan catches Illinois or Wisconsin on an off day. I’d enjoy seeing that, instead of Michigan giving every team they play their best-played game of the season, perhaps Michigan gets someone’s seemingly worst shot.
I typically enjoy the board over at Mgoblog, but this is right about when I can barely stand to see what’s new over there. Right now the latest topic is a thread about who the best candidates to replace Rich Rodriguez are – I just don’t feel like participating. Feels like a waste of time to me. Rich Rodriguez is the coach of a 5-3 Michigan team, that has lost three games in a row.
I believe Rich Rodriguez should be Michigan’s coach in 2011 – regardless of how this season ends. If Michigan had a pulse on defense – they win Saturday night. I don’t think Greg Robinson is the answer at defensive coordinator – and I do think RR should catch some heat for the GR hire, but RR should stay.
I’ll be totally irrational. Did you see RR try and fire up the defense before the 4th quarter started? He was in dudes’ faces, yelling, screaming, trying to do everything in his power to get them excited and fired up. I like seeing that. That guy has some serious fire within him. Greg Robinson doesn’t – or has failed to show it. GR has failed to say two words to the media about the shortcomings of his defense. Come on dude – let’s hear something out of you.
Alright, perspective time. Michigan has huge problems on defense. Enormous problems. Problems that maybe an offseason, another recruiting class, spring practice, and fall practice can maybe help. Maybe the four remaining teams somehow don’t perform at a high level – or MIchigan’s D catches some breaks, but it ain’t getting any better from here on out.
I look forward to Michigan games like hardcore. All week, all Saturday, I’m geekin’ about the game to come on at 8:00. So, damn it sucks when they play like shit and get worked over by a team that isn’t very good. I need a place to channel that negative energy, a way to rationalize and make the loss feel better and sound better in my head. In dire times, like the latter portion of last season and now, I remember how I felt over the course of Lloyd Carr’s final few seasons at the helm. I couldn’t stand the 4 and 5 loss seasons. I hated the underachieving Michigan teams of Lloyd Carr’s time.
I am okay with taking lumps again this year – for the shot at being an elite program year in and year out. If you are familiar with the youth on the roster – and therefore the youth on the field – then I think that you too can rationalize that, while it totally blows losing and practically not competing at an average level of play in the Big Ten, more positives outweigh negatives. I’m not David Brandon, nor would I want to be right now, but I believe he too will see that the pros outweigh the cons regarding his head coach’s future at Michigan.
On a side note: Dammit Denard barely missed another 200/200 game.