At a Crossroads

2009 Michigan Wolverines football team

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As many of my loyal readers know, I am a diehard University of Michigan football fan.  I have been as long as I have followed sports.  even as a lifelong resident of Connecticut I have been to four games at the Big House.  A good portion of my wardrobe has either yellow or blue in it.  There are two days all year that I count down to: the 1st day of spring training and the 1st Wolverine game of the season.  My friends and family understand my love for the school and their football team.  It is almost always used to describe who I am.  I am always proud to show off my true colors. I sit here this Sunday morning though: embarrassed.

I am embarrassed in losing seven straight to the hated Buckeyes.  I am red-in-the-face about the way this team has lost.  Two of the past three have been record-setting bad; 2008 and 2010 were the two most lop-sided in the history of this great rivalry.  Ohio St. went out yesterday to ridicule the Wolverines and they did just that.  There has never been a bigger gulf in talent and pride between the two schools then there is at this moment.  Everyone who has any ties to this program, whether it is as fans, alumni, former players and coaches, current players and coaches, the schools faculty, administration and students have all become Buckeye Bitches.  This is the lowest I have ever felt as a Michigan fan.

What needs to change?  A whole helluva lot.  Lets be honest here: it doesn’t matter what this team does the other 11 games of the year, our season is defined by the OSU game.  Say what you want but they are better in every single aspect of the game right now.  OSU is bigger, faster and stronger.  The coaches are better and the fans are better.  Can Michigan get back to that level?  There is no doubt in my mind but there needs to be a major change in everything.

Of course it all starts and ends with the head coach.  I have been the biggest supporter of Rich Rod there is.  I bought into what he was doing.  I believed in his offense.  I trusted his hires and the way he trained these kids but something ain’t working right.  The offense is there but it can’t compete against the big boys with this current set of players.  I love Denard but he is just too small.  I like the skillplayers potential but they are al too small.  This is the Big Ten.  You need bigger and stronger kids.  Coach Rod’s spread offense can work (look at Texas, Okla. OSU, Florida, etc.) but you need better players.  That falls on the coaching staff.  Michigan need to get back into the top-ten in recruiting again and I am concerned that this group of coaches doesn’t have the moxie to get the big-time recruits.  Being from Michigan gets you in the living room, but you gotta sell it and frankly these coaches are getting nothing.

As much as it pains me to say this, I think it is time for the coaching staff to go.  Now, I am not talking about a complete upheaval in philosophy.  The spread offense is the future of football so you can find coaches who can work with the talent that is here.  Hell, there is a freshman QB who is a Vince Young 2.0 just sitting there in Devon Gardner.  You can bring in an offensive coordinator who can work with them.  You need a new defensive coordinator who can recruit great talent and coach the hell out of them.  Finally you need a head coach that can lead, inspire, motivate, plan, recruit, discipline and turn things around.  You need a hard-nosed old school guy who can also relate to the new school type players.  I have just the guy too.  A coach who every year seems to make something out of nothing.  A coach who gets every last drop of talent out of his players.  A coach who has guided his team through some of the worst things you can imagine and they always come through the other side looking better than ever.  A guy who can recruit with the best of them even though he always doesn’t have the resources of a big school.  I am talking about Randy Edsall, the UConn head coach.

He has worked wonders in Storrs and I can only imagine what he can do at a true football school like Michigan.  Okay, I know he isn’t a Michigan man like a Les Miles or Jim Harbough but he knows winning football.  Notre Dame wanted him last year and he turned them down.  Now may the time to snatch him up.  He is set to lead an over-achieving Huskies team to a BCS bowl (with one more win).  Something un-heard of a few years back.  He has raised the expectations at UConn from just winning to regularly heading to a bowl game and challenging for a Big East title.  He is routinely pumping out NFL-quality talent.  In fact he has put more kids in the NFL the past three years than Michigan has.

The time to strike is now though.  Surely the University of Miami will be knocking on Edsalls door.  I think he can be the coach to lead the Maize and Blue back to the top of college football.  I am not just spouting off either.  I have been a season ticket holder for UConn football the past thre years.  I have seen 1st hand how this program has grown.  Even with average freshman classes every year, he gets the most out of them.  I can only imagine what he could do with a Michigan logo on his chest.  He is fiery and caring.  Tough and gentile.  A great leader of young men who would make any Michigan fan proud to say he is our head coach.  He hasn’t had a hint of controversy.  He is as pure as it gets in college football.  He actually kind of reminds me of a young Jim Tressel which lets be honest is exactly what this program needs (ugh, just got nauseous typing that but it is true.)

So as I sit here the day after another brutal OSU beat down and an inspiring UConn victory everything is getting clearer.  The time for a change is now.  The Michigan football team is at a crossroads in its long and distinguished history.  What way is the most successful college football program going to go?  The day of reckoning is upon them.  The time for change is now.  Lets get this team back to the top of the college football mountain, the throne that is rightfully theirs.

As always Hail to the Victors and Lets Go Blue!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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5 Responses to “At a Crossroads”

  1. Nikki, quickly fill up a tub with cold water. Throw extra ice in if need be. I think your boy is overheating.

  2. I too, am a die hard UM fan that now lives in CT. Born and raised in Michigan, did an internship at UM, and moved out east from Ann Arbor. I’ve seen Michigan football live and up close for most of my life. Now living here in CT, I’ve seen the UConn team progress under Randy Edsall, but it is a HUGE reach to think he would ever be successful at Michigan.

    Rodriguez has shown that the Big East is not nearly as competitive as the Big Ten and you can’t translate the benchmark for progress. Edsall would have NO recruiting advantage such as a legacy coach like alums Harbaugh and Miles, and he has no idea about the wear and tear from the size and speed it takes to play in the Big Ten week in and week out. As you know, he did it once this year at Michigan and got beat down by one of the worst Michigan teams (defensively and special teams) in recent history and you think HE would be the one to turn the program around? I would be shocked if anyone in A2 thought Edsall would be a viable candidate.

    That said, I do agree with the other part of your sentiment: Rodriguez needs to go, and it’s not because of the Defense as much as the nightmare that is Special Teams. That debacle is a direct result from poor recruiting. How does a storied program like Michigan not have an elite kicker? Soccer players should be line up from hear to Kalamazoo to kick for the Maize and Blue. I think that horrible oversight (which turned the loss to the buckeyes into an embarrassment) is what should be the last straw.

    • First, thanks for reading and responding. Always nice to hear from another Michigan fan. I do think Edsell would be a good fit because of the way he coaches and recruites. He is a hard nose defense and special teams guy. He could leave the offense up to another spread coach so no personel change there. He would need to surround himself with great coaches, much like the Vest at OSU. Edsell can coach young men up and gets the most out of their ability. I get that it is a huge step up in football, but it seems his way translates better than Rich Rod’s way. I don’t think Miles or Harbaugh are coming, if they do it is a major coup and would be the ideal choices. I am simply looking at coaches who may be ready for that kind of jump. Again, thanks for reading and GO BLUE!!!!!!!

  3. […] At a Crossroads November 2010 4 comments 4 […]

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