Sunday, November 07, 2010

A Better Offense/Defense

If you've been around the Michigan fan neighborhoods of the internet, you know that thanks to Brian's 2008 season "highlight" video was set to Rilo Kiley's "A Better Son/Daughter" and, in doing so, its lyrics became like a shibboleth among the Michigan football faithful. You could quote a snippet and know where they were going and why they were quoting it. We had hoped that the lyrics would only refer to that one season, but here we are, another season, and goodly part of a third later, and we're still coming back to it.

Somehow, in the insanity of a triple overtime game that saw Michigan score 67 points, give up 65 points, and win the game, ultimately, on a defensive stop by Michigan, all I could come back to when I drove home was the voice of Jenny Lewis.

And sometimes when you're on
You're really f*cking on
And your friends they sing along
And they love you

The first five games of this year need little recap. They showed the cracks in the Michigan defense, but ultimately, it was simply watching Denard Robinson run the offensive machine that Michigan had become and a fast start that left questions, because we had seen this movie before.

But the lows are so extreme
That the good seems f*cking cheap
And it teases you for weeks in its absence

And then you had the lost October of Michigan State, Iowa, and Penn State. Only a bye week prevented October from being any darker than it was. The Penn State game put an emphatic cap on the fact that Michigan had no defense to speak of, and any explanation, reasoning, logic, or exception you could make wouldn't float. Michigan could not stop anyone, their only chance to get bowl eligible was literally to outscore one of the remaining four Big Ten teams on their schedule. The first chance they would have at that was Illinois, who was coming in to the game with a defense that rated among the Top 20 statistically in the country. It looked very likely that Michigan was going to crater.

But you'll fight and you'll make it through
You'll fake it if you have to
And you'll show up for work with a smile

On Thursday, the murky chapter of Michigan, the NCAA, the Detroit Free Press, and knowing how much time you spent stretching, came to an end. The storm had passed and Michigan could come out of the storm cellar and survey the damage. To Michigan's credit, they pretty much got their penalties right when they self-imposed them. David Brandon said that Michigan had debated two years of probation versus three and went with two (I will always suspect Michigan went with the lower number to allow the NCAA to add the third year and look like it had "done something" rather than just say "Yes, Michigan, you're right, I don't even know why we had to be here.") and everyone spoke of moving on and focusing on the field. Let's play hard on Saturday and see what happens.

And you'll be better
And you'll be smarter

Like a 75 yard bomb on the first offensive play of the game, yeah.

And more grown up

Like Craig Roh back to playing his hand on the ground after making the request to the coaches personally.

And a better daughter or son
And a real good friend

Like Roy Roundtree and Darryl Stonum and Junior Hemingway all saying essentially that they don't care about who gets the ball, as long as when they get it, they do something with it.  And then Roy Roundtree going out and having a better day (yardage wise) than any Michigan reciever...ever.

And you'll be awake
You'll be alert

OK, this would NOT be allowing someone, say Mikel Leshoure to get WIDE FREAKING OPEN on THE SAME WHEEL ROUTE...TWICE! 

You'll be positive though it hurts.

Sorry.  But seriously...
Wheel route!  Wheel route!

And you'll laugh and embrace all your friends

When Michigan brought the blitz and Nathan Scheelhaase went down, throwing a pass that went nowhere, I realized that Michigan had just won the game, had become bowl eligible, and actually ended the narrative that this year is not last year. I realized that there were just people around us hugging, because well, it meant that much.

And you'll be a real good listener
You'll be honest
You'll be brave

I don't know if Rich Rodriguez will get another year. I do not know if he should get another year. It's not my call to make and I am glad I don't have to make it. But I do know that for a man who does know that his job is on the line, to keep his starting quarterback on the bench in the second half because he was exhibiting symptoms similar to those of a concussion, well, that was honest and brave. It's a sign of the current state of affairs in football that we need to praise a coach for doing what should not even be a question, but thank you coach for making the right call, knowing it was going to hard to explain to people if things ended with an L.

You'll be handsome and you'll be beautiful
You'll be happy

In the end, we're happy. It may not be handsome yet. It may not be beautiful yet. But we're making progress. As we look around us and we see the carnage among the "traditional powers", we're getting back to where we want to be. One step at a time.


Joe said...

Well said. Co-sign 100%.

Dark Blue said...

Perfect, absolutely perfect. MIIIIICH