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Michigan Wolverines: After Loss To Utes, Block M Stands For Mediocrity


 

(September 19, 2014 - Source: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images North America)
(September 19, 2014 – Source: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images North America)

 

The University of Michigan has more wins than any other college football program. So it was shocking to say the least, when in 2007, the Wolverines started out 0-2.


Those losses included one of the biggest upsets in collegiate sports history when Appalachian State defeated 5th-ranked Michigan, and a spanking by Oregon. Fans were disgusted by the humiliation and were calling for coach Lloyd Carr’s head. The consistent good–not great–seasons eventually forced Carr to “retire” in January 2008 after leading the Wolverines to ten seasons of at least nine wins during his 13-year tenure as head coach.

Overall, Carr finished with a 122-40 record and never had less than seven victories. U-M was also co-national champions in 1997 with Nebraska. In other words, nine wins was a mediocre and disappointing season.

Brady Hoke was hired in 2011, replacing the embattled Rich Rodriguez. All of their problems were supposed to go away. Hoke was part of the coaching staff during their glorious co-national champions team in 1997. Hoke believed in a pro-style offense with physical offensive and defensive lines. Furthermore, Hoke was a Michigan Man, a man who understood what it meant to be part of the Wolverine tradition, unlike Rodriguez.

After all, this is Michigan for God’s sake.

Michigan fell to 2-2 on the season after losing to Utah 26-10 on Saturday and similar sounds echoed throughout the Big House, sounds all too familiar in Ann Arbor over the past seven years: boos and stunned silence. The sounds are warranted, as Michigan stumbles into Big Ten play with three consecutive uninspiring efforts, including one that saw the team failing to score a point for the first time since the Reagan administration.

Saturday’s contest also saw Michigan failing to score an offensive touchdown for the second time in only four games. This is Michigan.

Michigan’s running game was non-existent on Saturday, but has shown considerate improvement from last year’s record-setting total for negative plays. What hasn’t progressed is the success of the offensive and defensive lines, something that helped Michigan total more than 900 wins during their proud history. The offensive line broke down several times, blocking assignments were missed, and their lack of experience showed.

The defensive line was able to put some pressure with the pass rush, but Mattison’s refusal to blitz often gave the Utes plenty of time to march down the field. This is Michigan.

Hoke was seen yelling at defensive coordinator Greg Mattison after the team was penalized for sideline interference. Mattison, who considers Hoke as one of his best friends, was visibly frustrated with the team’s overall performance. The defense has been the only shining part of this team, as they have yet to allow 300 yards of offense in one game. Wouldn’t you be frustrated if your program, a national brand, was 4-8 in their last 12 games?

Wouldn’t you be frustrated if your three biggest rivals are nationally ranked? This is Michigan.

As a result of the early season struggles and the lack of productivity, the seat under Brady Hoke’s coaching security is getting warmer by the minute. It feels like eons ago that Michigan defeated Virginia Tech in the Sugar Bowl. Since that game, Michigan is only four games over the .500 mark at 19-15. This is Michigan.

Ever since Carr backed out of the head coaching role, Michigan has only 43 victories, reaching the “mediocre” 9-wins mark one time in six full seasons. Rice University has two double-digit win seasons during that time. To put in perspective how average Michigan has been, 55 of the 119 FBS programs (during that time) won more games, including powerhouses like Arkansas State and Hoke’s former school, Ball State.

The Wolverines are tied 56th in wins with Toledo and Louisiana-Lafeyette from 2008 to now. This is Michigan.

Social media wasn’t shy about making their feelings known following the loss to Utah. The “#FireHoke” and “#FireBrandon” (referring to athletic director Dave Brandon) were commonly used throughout angry tweets on Twitter, some of which used profanity to express their frustrations.

The season isn’t the only fall that is looming in Ann Arbor. Michigan’s football program has become one of the nation’s laughing stocks. This is Michigan.

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Robert D. Cobb
Founder, Publisher and CEO of INSCMagazine. Works have appeared and featured in places such as Forbes, Huffington Post, ESPN and NBC Sports to name a few. Follow me on Twitter at @RobCobb_INSC, email me at [email protected]

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