Thursday, January 04, 2007

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.

Go Blue!


At 1:23 PM, Anonymous andrew said...

do you (or anyone else) know at this point if UM is filling that 10/6 by week? I would assume so and that it would likely be at home against a lower tier team. but then... 8 home games and 4 roadies? wow, that IS a schedule to love.

At 3:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Agree with every thing except im not so sure about the secondary but we'll see. And about the schedule. Everything looks great except Wisconsin in Camp Randell, the week before OSU, and proably at night. Can you say trap game

At 5:14 PM, Blogger Maize n Brew Dave said...

I know this will sound like blasphemy, but I'd almost schedule a game after OSU if the Big Ten will allow it (and they won't). It was pretty obvious the layoff KILLED us againt USC. I hate playing after thanksgiving, but not playing is putting the Big Ten at a disadvantage.

More on that tomorrow....

At 8:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Somewhere up there you forgot to mention that Troy Smith's eligibility has run out.

At 5:38 AM, Anonymous Trent said...

I agree with most of your optimism for next year. Everything except at CB. All CBs have entered "the LeSeuer Zone" with me. One or more of them may turn out to be servicable, but not until they continually prove it will I not feel extremely nervous. Our best hope is a true frosh coming in and playing, except he hasn't even committed yet. Yuck.

Also, I believe that English has confirmed Mouton's move to LB and Harrison will only have 2 years left. Look for Steve Brown to challenge at safety, though. He could be a good one.

At 9:48 AM, Blogger Maize n Brew Dave said...


Thanks for the update. I wasn't sure if Mouton had managed to keep his weight down or not. I was hoping he had. Duly noted.

I'm still crossing my fingers at corner. Ronald Johnson would make a huge impact if he decides on Michigan. Donovan Warren would be a nice catch too, but he's a Cali boy with three cali offers (Cal, USC, and UCLA). We'll have to wait and see with him. Mike Williams is 5-11 but rated very high despite it. It's between us and Notre Dame. After him, the picking starts to get thin at CB.

All this does is remind you that Jai Eugene's decision to return to LSU last year was a huge kick in the crotch.

Keep your fingers crossed.

At 2:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes but Morgan Trent doesn't even seem to try to play defense, seriously!!!! Two more years with him, he should be benched and replaced with a recruit.

At 8:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Great 15 reasons for hope. Thanks for reminding me of what a great season it was until the very end.

I would add a 16th: We didn't finish 7-5. How soon we have forgotten.

My biggest concern for 2007: Why are we so frigging slow to make offensive adjustments in the game?
Subpoint: Why are we the only team in the country that can't throw a quick slant pattern to our exceptional receivers?

Keep up the great blogging.


At 9:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Playing after Thanksgiving is not blasphemous at all - given the current state of college FB - it's becoming a must.

Michigan DID get screwed for not playing after Thanksgiving. That b.s. with the Gators winning the SEC championship did hurt them in an "out of sight, out of mind" sense.

We have to face reality - the Big Ten is not the Ivy League - we have traditions of course, but we also have to be realistic - if we are to compete at the highest levels of college FB we have to play the game by the BCS' rules. Sucks, I know.

I guess another alternative is to try and get ND to join the Big Ten and create a super-conference with two divisions and a championship game like you see in the Big XII, SEC, and ACC - however, given the sweetheart deal ND has with NBC and the BCS that is highly unlikely.


also in complete agreement - one of the reasons why LC keeps losing to the best coaches in the college game and IMHO not the man to get Michigan over the national title hump.

At 12:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another few points to take away from this year as well:

As ChicagoBlue said, we're not 7-5. We finished 11-2. To further that point, we lost to OSU and USC. People tend to sacrifice small household pets, huntable game, and/or nextdoor neighbors to reach that record. More wins, fewer pagan rituals. It's a good thing.

Also, people harp on the fact we can't change gameplans or tactics. Yes, we'd all like to see a team that can morph and adjust like some evil supercomputer that makes us cackle with glee. The offensive side of that will come. We already have the defensive side of that coin: Ron English remembers what you did to him this year, and will make cold, calculating adjustments to his evil master plan.

We also have 3 more years of Zoltan.

Finally, a small measure of hope has been restored overall, whether we want to admit it or not. We've seen what this organization is capable of. No, we're not consistantly dominating, but if we were, then we wouldn't be the fans we pride ourselves to be. Historically, we've always wanted more, not less. We want more regular season wins, more national titles, more bowl championships, and more worthy opponents. We don't want less coaches, less challenges, less rivalries, and less humillity.

If you want less, then you hate the children, the American Flag, and Chevy's line of SUVs, and you should go to hell and burn.

the walrus


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