Where do I begin? I don’t even know what to say.
Watching the Michigan – Nebraska game was one of the most painful experiences I’ve had in a while. That says something considering what happened in East Lansing a week ago. The most painful thing to watch was our team’s lack of spirit. It was like they were dead inside. The Michigan State experience was obviously much more devastating than the score.
One week after having a negative 48 rushing yards and 168 total yards in the 29-6 beat down by Michigan State, Michigan’s high-octane offense seemed to have run out of gas. The Wolverines only had 60 yards of offense in the first half against the Cornhuskers, including minus 10 yards on the ground. What happened in East Lansing was at least somewhat understandable, considering MSU’s excellent defense. Nebraska has a terrible defense. This defeat in our house was inexcusable.
A mounting concern over Hoke and Borge’s coaching decisions permeates social media. I’m not a coach, but there is a problem. We have excellent players and we’re not winning. It was obvious that the team really didn’t care anymore. I am guessing the mindset was, “We can’t win the B1G Ten so what does it matter?” It also seems to me that changing that mindset is the coaching staff’s responsibility. Now while the onus falls on the coaching staff, I wonder if that’s a reasonable expectation.
Devin Gardner was lacking passion, focus, and leadership. The cameras caught him on the sideline laughing after the 2nd three-and-out in the beginning of the game. That is not a message that needs to come from the quarterback of a team. There is nothing funny about not getting a first down in your first two possessions, against one of the lesser defenses in the nation.
The offensive line was horrible—again. Is this going to ever be fixed? There was no running game—again. Touissant hasn’t been productive in a long time, and he doesn’t block well when he’s not running the ball, compounding the problem. They need to fix this problem. I don’t know what the answer is, but I do know the definition of insanity is trying the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome.
And here’s another concern. I see the football players all over social media posting about this, and that right before the game. The last time I saw that was during Rich Rod’s final year. This raises the question, “Where is their focus?” It was not like that the year they won the Sugar Bowl, Hoke brought such hope with him; where has that hope gone? And more imporatanly, why did it leave?
Also, the fans: they were booing the team. That is egregious, and certainly not going to help the ailing morale of the team. When a team is down, they need their fan support the most. I don’t care what was happening on the field, booing the team is not acceptable. However, I do understand their sentiment. This is Rich Rod all over again. It took Notre Dame 20 years to return to relevance after they endured a coach like Rich Rodriguez. Are Michigan fans willing to wait 20 years to be relevant again? I think we all know the answer to that.
So what do we do, as non-team members to support the team? We can’t continue to live on yesterday’s glory; it’s embarrassing to have to resort to that. We all know that the cheerleader in me takes refuge in that. But even I have to abandon “the winningest team in college football” when we’re not winning.
I hate to think what the Nebraska score would have been like if they weren’t so injury riddled. I’m a Michigan graduate and an alumni cheerleader, I will never not love the Michigan Wolverines. I will always watch every game. I will always cheer for them no matter what. And I think that is what we all have to do.
I also think we have to be realist. Michigan is not back yet. There is tremendous room for improvement. I know that improvement will come, or there will be consequences for the coaching staff. Dave Brandon is a very successful businessman, and successful businessmen don’t achieve that status by being casual or lenient. I also believe that Brady Hoke is a good football coach. He will figure it out in my opinion, but he needs to fix it and ix it quickly. Michigan needs to win their final three games. After what we’ve seen in the last two weeks, that doesn’t seem likely.
However, I say it is very likely, because we are champions, and champions don’t give up. I still believe and so should you. Barring a miracle, we will not win the B1G Ten. However, a 3-game winning streak capped off by a victory over Ohio State will heal what ails us now. So let’s just focus on that. The issue at hand is not Penn State, not Michigan State, and not Nebraska. The issue at hand is beating Northwestern next week. That’s what we need to set our sights on—cheering the Wolverines on to victory over the Wildcats. Hail!
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