During his Monday Press Conference, Coach Rod railed against the lack of mental toughness displayed by the Wolverines. He indicated that he and his staff would have to do a better job coaching so that the team would not play "soft". Coach Rod stated,
"Right now, I hope our guys all feel we have something to prove each time we play. You should do that anyway, whether you're undefeated or no matter what your record is. You should go out there with something to prove. Hopefully, our guys have that mentality that they have something to prove each and every time you tee it up in practice and in the games. Games should be the fun part.
"We've got to adopt that same philosophy in practice. That they feel every play in practice they should have something to prove. That's part of the problem. We've got to get that mentality.
"That's not just us. Everybody across the country, that's a natural thing. I've told that to the team. What I've discovered is we're not mentally. This is not an indictment of our guys or on our team.
"I said what I figured out is we're like just about every other college football team in America. They need to be motivated to give their best each and every day on the field and off the field, in the classroom and on the field.
"Some guys are self-motivated. You don't have to tell them. They're going to try as hard as they can in the classroom, and they're going to try as hard on every single play. There aren't a lot of that kind, most of them need help. That's what coaches are there for. That's what we're here for, and that's what we're going to do." (emphasis added)
For all the talk about how Coach Carr ran a Country Club and that Coach Rod was going to usher in an era of "toughness" with Mike Barwis, it is interesting to see that the current Wolverines are being criticized for being "soft." It's not that the current Wolverines are not in excellent shape, it's that they are not playing at peak levels of performance. That speaks to the players level of motivation. Coach Carr (like Coach Schembechler before him) was a legendary motivator. Whether it was on the field or in the classroom, Coach Carr was unrivaled by modern coaches in his ability to motivate his team.
Coach Carr's players would run through a wall for him. He knew how to get the best out of his players. Even when times were at there toughest last season when the Wolverines started 0-2, Michigan responded to Coach Carr's challenge and ripped off eight consecutive wins putting them in contention for the Big 10 title. Conversely, Coach Rod is screaming his foul-mouthed head off at this year's team with little effect. He is not a particularly good motivator and it shows. Hopefully, for the good of the program, Coach Rod can improve his coaching style so he can help the team reach (or exceed) its potential just as Coach Carr did during his extremely successful 13-year run as Head Coach. Go Blue!