15 Post Rose Bowl Reasons Not To Jump In Front Of A Bus
In the wake of the semi-homicidal/suicidal postings on the Michigan message boards and the general malaise that seems to be hovering over the Michigan fan base, I think some positive reinforcement is in order to calm everyone down.
To wit, I present:
15 Post Rose Bowl Reasons Not To Jump In Front Of A Bus
1. Mike Hart is Returning - Yes, he did have a sub-Mike Hart game in the Rose Bowl. That doesn't change what he means to this team. He is the 415 cubic inch engine that drives the 59 DeSoto that is the Michigan offense. For those of you looking for a more invigorating analogy, Mike is both the Heart and Soul of this team. He makes us all want to believe that anything is possible. Michigan and Hart were supposed to do nothing this year. Instead, he finished 5th in the Heisman voting, likely where Michigan will finish the year as well. We get one more year of Mike Hart, the man-child with the boyish face and the devil in his legs. The broad press smile and the evil scowl as he runs over another opponent. He's returning, and so should our faith.
2. Chad Henne is Returning - If Hart is the Heart and Soul, then Henne is the Brain and Central Nervous System. The only true brain freeze Chad had this year was his ill-advised pass to a USC defensive lineman early in the 3rd Quarter of the Rose Bowl. Until that time, Chad had been everything you could possibily wish from a quarterback. On the year Chad tossed 22 TD's and only 8 INTs, throwing for over 2500 yards. While he regressed his sophomore season, he grew in leaps and bounds this season maturing into a fine field general that is the best returning quarterback in the country save the possible exception of David Booty. Shake your head and disagree if you want, the fact that Chad was sacked five (5, cinco, canc, a fin) before he coughed up the ball and was under more pressure than the elastic in Charlie Wies' sansabelt slacks all game is impressive. Chad's as good a quarterback as Michigan has seen in some time. As a senior I expect he'll be even better.
3. Jake Long is Returning - One of the best returning linemen in country. Period. Full stop. Jake is a sun blocking Left Tackle who will keep Henne upright next season just as he did this. Making things even better is now he's coming back with something to prove. That his last game, arguably not his best, was an anomoly, something to be forgotten and ignored. When a man of his size and demeanor comes back pissed off, look for good things in the run and passing games.
4. Safety Help is On The Way - Don't forget about Jonas Mouton at safety. He was the No. 45 recruit in the country a year ago and one of Michigan's biggest recruiting coups. He's fast and mean and has four years of eligibility left. Also on the way is four star safety Jerimy Finch. One of the best safety recruits in the country. Fast as a hummingbird's wings and angry as a bull that's been kicked in the crotch. He's part ball hawk and part steamroller. Expect him starting by mid-season.
5. This Was Only Ron English's First Year - That's right. Year 1. He took a miserable defense from Jim Herrmann and turned it into one of the nation's best. He took players he didn't recruit and molded them in his own image. Think about it. As DB coach he helped to recruit defensive players. Now he's the main atraction. As the year wore on people saw his schemes and adapted. Now English will have to adapt and adjust. Add another wrinkle to the already creased face of the Michigan defense. And he will. He will also recruit fast, angry players that fit his defense. Finch came to Michigan because of Ron English. More premier defensive players will too. Next year, though Michigan lost more than its share of players, expect Michigan to be even more aggressive on defense as both the playbook and the players adapt to their new master.
6. Mario Manningham Is Only a Junior Next Year - The best deep threat in the Big Ten is back and he's wearing Maize & Blue. He battled injuries all season and still lead the team in TD receptions despite missing 3 games and playing sparingly in another. Mannigham will continue to grow as a receiver as long as he wants to. Like the rest of this team I expect him to take the Rose Bowl loss personally and work on the things that limited him this year. Next year expect Mannigham to blossom into a more complete receiver, not just a deep ball man, but a quicker, through the middle pass catcher that will keep defenses guessing.
7. Our Returning Secondary Saw Lots Of Action This Year - Okay, this is a stretch, but it's worth mentioning. Morgan Trent and Charles Stewart both have two more years, Brandon Harrison and Johnny Sears have three. It's my hope that a year of getting torched will have taught them something. It would be hard to imagine them getting worse, though I said that about Notre Dame's backfield this year too.
8. Most of the Offensive Line Returns - Unless I'm wrong, Adam Kraus has a year left. The Big Shill will take over at Right Tackle. If there's one place Michigan has some depth, it's at the Offsensive line. Justin Boren has three years left, and Alex Mitchell, despite a tough season is only going to get better. Recruiting looks solid too as Michigan has garnered a commitment from Dave Molk, the No. 2 Center in this year's recruiting class. Things aren't as bad as the Rose Bowl made it seem. Next year's line will be stronger.
9. Anchors For The Defense Line and Line Backing Corps Return - Terrance Taylor despite his immense size will only be a junior next year, Shawn Crable despite the prospect of lots and lots of money returned to finish his degree, and there is still the posibility of Alan Branch returning (though that looks less and less likely [HT: MB]). Still, there are a number of excellent players behind them that are returning and Michigan's recruiting efforts are not being wasted. Ryan Van Bergen committed at DE and Brandon Herron committed at SLB. Things aren't as bleak as they seem.
10. Adrian Arrington is Back - Michigan returns yet another deep threat, and this time one with a few moves inside the hash marks. Arrington will be next year's version of Steve Breaston in the offense. The possession guy, except one that can also go deep and catch the ball. Don't underestimate the importance of his return.
11. This Was DeBord's First Year Back - And Michigan was at or near the top of several all important offensive categories, including rushing attempts, rushing yards, and wins. While DeBord's game plan against USC was abysmal, the other 12 games he was damn near brilliant. Yes Michigan didn't blow out crappy teams by running up the score, but in the games that mattered (save USC) Michigan always put up enough points to win. Erase USC from your memory and evaluate the season as a whole. The offense was pretty damn good. Henne progressed, Manningham matured, Hart was awesome, and Arrington finally made use of his immense talent. Those are some impressive feathers for any coach's cap. Cut Mike some slack. He ran a pretty good offense this year.
12. Rome Wasn't Built In a Day - We canned EVERYONE last year. The defensive coaching staff is brand new and so is most of the offensive staff. Relax. Have a muffin. Breathe. They get more than a year before we start looking for a wall to line them up against.
13. Next Years Schedule - Please. Look at it. Kiss it. Make sweet love to it. It is your friend.
14. Michigan Will OWNZOR the Big Ten - Look at the conference top to bottom. PSU and Wisconsin pose the only real threats, save of course OSU's defense.
15. The Basketball Team Won A Game! - That's right! We're 1-0 in conference! We beat Illinois! Woo! Lester Abram scored 25 and is finally back from his injuries. The freshman are playing like seniors. Next year's recruiting class is one of the best in the country. Get excited! Woo! Basketball! Why have you not brought Ekpe Udoh meats and cheeses!? He is your new King!
Anyway. I hope this helps.