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Thursday Morning Brews: Leaves on the ground

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After a difficult loss, Michigan Football looks within and ratchets up the intensity

NCAA Football: Michigan State at Michigan Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Thursday, folks. Welcome to Morning Brews. I assume that the Midwest and most other places in the country are further into fall than the Mid-Atlantic is right now (it was 86 here on Tuesday). That means that for most of you the trees are changing colors and you may already be finding a leaf or two under your feet on that morning walk into work. It also means that the stakes in college football are getting higher by the week as teams get further into conference play.

After Tuesday’s tome of an article, we’re back to a more traditional iteration of the Brews. This morning we’re talking about changes the football team is making in practice this week, and whether they will restore fan confidence. After all, the team had some deficiencies, but didn’t look so bad ‘till the sun went down last Saturday. We also have a little bit of news from other Michigan sports this morning, including Men’s Basketball announcing the date of their open practice. Believe it or not, winter sports are right around the corner.

As usual, I’ve incorporated references to a song in this morning’s Brews. If you think you can guess it, fire away down in the comments.

Let’s get to it:

Forging twisted blue steel, the Harbaugh way

For fans and sportswriters around the team, these few days since the loss to Michigan State have had a different feel to them. Social media and the message boards have been beset by those who are rightly concerned about the state of the offense. Newspapers and blogs have been saturated by analysis of what went wrong and who is to blame. The team has heard the criticism loud and clear from fans and writers alike; whether it’s thirty notes in the mailbox or Harbaugh’s less-than-friendly press conference this past Monday.

Coach Harbaugh said the things you would expect coaches to say. “I want to . . . look at the film, I want to learn from it . . .,” and, “As a coach you go through it, and uh, you look at where you can make corrections and where you can make improvements.” But there has been a question of whether that was just coach speak to get him through the press availability or whether there would actually be changes made to how the team prepares each week. Well, during the press availability after practice on Tuesday, Chris Evans told us that it is indeed the latter.

It appears that the intensity in practice has been ratcheted up this week. Evans told the gaggle of reporters on Tuesday that ball security has been a focus for RBs, TEs, FBs, and WRs, and that any fumble now means you leave the drill and start running. At one point he joked (I think) that, “even the trainers were holding the Gatorade tighter,” lest they fumble the bottles and have to start running too.

But even more than just increased intensity and focus on ball security, it appears that the team is coming together - using Saturday’s adversity and subsequent criticism to bring them closer together; to form what Harbaugh may refer to as ‘twisted blue steel’ or what Bo talked about when he said, “No man is more important than the team. No coach is more important than the team. The Team. The Team. The Team.”

Khaleke Hudson said that, “Everything is on the team.” In the video at the top of the article, Grant Perry said, “I think our team is going to come back strong.” Josh Metellus said, “We got this, we got this. . . . Yeah, I’m confident.” In order for fans to become confident again, this team will have to bounce back quickly. This Saturday the Wolverines have a road test against Indiana, who have played Michigan tough these past few years. After that comes a prime time matchup on the road against AP Top-5 Penn State.

How confident are you in the rest of the regular season? Where do you think the Wolverines will finish? Weigh in with the poll below and down in the comments.

Poll

What record will Michigan finish with this year

This poll is closed

  • 9%
    11-1
    (79 votes)
  • 18%
    10-2
    (145 votes)
  • 35%
    9-3
    (281 votes)
  • 31%
    8-4
    (255 votes)
  • 4%
    7-5 or below
    (37 votes)
797 votes total Vote Now

As you may recall from an edition of the Brews from this past Spring, Michigan Baseball had a record-breaking draft class after last season. The Wolverines saw 11 players selected in the MLB draft, which topped the previous program record of eight players. It was tied for the largest draft class in the country with Texas. For those of you who know baseball and follow prospect development, you will know that it usually takes years for a player to work their way up through to the majors - if they make it at all. Nonetheless, many of Michigan’s players had solid years in the lower levels of the minors that are populated almost entirely by recent draftees. For information of specific players and their performance, check out the story above.

Men’s Soccer broke into the Top-25 earlier this week, but unfortunately dropped a game to the No. 7 Fighting Irish on Tuesday. Notre Dame opened the scoring in the 56th minute, and Michigan sophomore Robbie Mertz equalized in the 66th minute. Alas, the Irish pulled ahead for good in the 82nd minute and then added a third goal on a penalty in the 90th minute. Men’s Soccer is now 7-4-2 (4-1-1) on the year and will be back in action this Saturday.

The basketball season is fast approaching, and the Men’s team will hold their open practice a little under two weeks from now on Tuesday October 24th. Fans will be able to watch the team practice for about an hour before a meet and greet with players and coaches from the Men’s and Women’s teams. For more information, check out the link in the Tweet above.