It wasn’t the greatest season in the storied history of Michigan Football.
Losses to instate rival Michigan State and Iowa, prevented the Michigan Wolverines from winning the Big Ten title and returning to the glory of the Rose Bowl.
But it may have been the most surprising and joyous season since the Wolverines went undefeated and the won the 1998 National Championship.
A year ago the program was floundering, having been spanked in the Gator Bowl losing to Mississippi State by a score of 52-14.
It seems like a million years ago.
Prior to the game, Brady Hoke was rumored to be on the short list to take over if Rich Rodriguez was fired.
I couldn’t believe it. Now after an unbelievable year, that saw the Wolverines finish 11-2 I wonder how I ever doubted him.
From day 1 he said and did all the right things.
He won over a jaded group of players many of whom were fiercely loyal to the outgoing coaching staff.
He preached the gospel of being a Michigan Man, of being responsibility to your teammates and honor.
He brought back former Wolverine Coach Greg Mattison to be defensive coordinator to resurrect a moribund defense that was among the worst in the nation. Last season former Buckeye and TV commentator Chris Speilman called the players on Michigan defense guys “…who would be nice little subs at Indiana.” This season a defense made up primarily of the same players returned to playing Michigan football terrorized opponents.
The Michigan Wolverines capped an amazing turnaround season with a 23-20 (OT) BCS Sugar Bowl Victory over Virginia Tech.
Those who stay will be Champions!
Bo would be proud.
What a ride.
By Andy Andersen
Brady Hoke’s debut as the Head Football Coach of the Michigan Wolverines was twice interrupted by thunderstorms and heavy rains. There were also some uncooperative Western Michigan Broncos when the game was on, at least in the first half.
During the second lightening delay, the threat of strong winds, hail, much lightening, and cloudbursts, extended the game delay until 7:30 PM. Before that, the game was cancelled at 1:27 of the third quarter, at 7:10PM. How about 137 degrees F on the field at the start of the game?
A football game had never been cancelled previously in Wolverine history. It was unbearably hot on the field, and stands, for most of the game, until the rains came. The score at the time of cancellation was 34 to 10, and became the final. There is no question that cancelation was the appropriate thing to do, for team and fans.
The Broncos were a tough nut to crack in the first half. They led 7-0 at the end of the first quarter. It seemed that maybe Michigan’s defense was as inept as last year’s defense. In the end that did not prove to be true.
Another football season is fast looming larger for the Wolverines, their 132nd.
Another new season, repleat with new coaches, new defensive and offensive schemes, and to compound the imponderables, it is also the advent of the now split in two twelve team Big Ten with Legends and Leaders divisions, a championship title game, and a new adversary in the formidable Nebraska Huskers.
Obviously first year Head Coach Brady Hoke faces real challenges in his first go round as the head Wolverine football cheese. Serious challenges. Recent Swiss cheese Wolverine defenses were aggravated by recruiting defiencies which in turn diminished the defensive talent pool. This, with other problems, resulted in a last place defensive finish in the team’s previous season. There was a problem implementing schemes, and inexperience. Special team debacles were at times a catastrophe.