Happy Monday, Wolverine faithful. How are we?
Saturday’s 49-11 loss to the Wisconsin Badgers was about as enjoyable as a flat tire on the way to work; a four-way stop when no one knows how to proceed; skunked beer on the front nine; listening to the band Train.
The Michigan Wolverines were beaten handedly in every facet of football: coaching, strategizing, execution, confidence, resolve, and leadership to name a few. This team was down 28-0 at halftime and somehow that felt merciful.
Two weeks ago, the Michigan State loss was deemed, “The worst loss of the Jim Harbaugh era,” because it was. But Saturday was worse from a more historical perspective.
Saturday was the worst home loss for Michigan since 1935. I know we all remember that crazy season, but hey, at least the Tigers won the World Series.
From the moment the team ran out and touched the banner, something seemed off. There was zero excitement and all of the body language was very lethargic. Almost if this team had accepted losing before the first whistle.
Sun Tzu summed it best in The Art of War: “Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.” This team has been defeated three weeks in a row before the game even started.
This is year one, two, three, four, five, SIX for Jim Harbaugh and the program looks like it is 2014 again. Top to bottom, there is a systemic problem without a quick fix. Where is the swagger of 2016? Where is the edge of the 2018 Revenge Tour?
Coach Harbaugh is the fourth-highest paid coach in college football and the only one in the top five without a national championship (or even an appearance). It’s easy to point fingers and assign blame, but I truly want to know what happened.
Aside from being a man I once described with, “If he is here who’s running hell?” Urban Meyer might be an even better analyst than a college football coach. On Fox’s Big Noon Kickoff Show, Meyer touched on three keys for a team’s struggles: trust issues, dysfunctional environment, and selfishness.
Must listen from Urban Meyer pic.twitter.com/1OmNFfv0DB— Geoff Schwartz (@geoffschwartz) November 14, 2020
I love this triumvirate of failure that Meyer laid out and I even think the three can feed into each other in certain maize-stained, abysmal circumstances.
On the surface, this Michigan team clearly has more trust issues than a heartbroken teenager ugly crying to Drake. Sometime during the Michigan State game week preparation and even during that game, a seismic shift was easily identifiable: the players do not trust the coaches. The coaches do not trust the players. The players do not trust their teammates.
Naturally, a team without any semblance of trust is going to quickly become dysfunctional. How can it not? And once functionality is gone, “The Team, The Team, The Team,” quickly erodes into “Me, Me, Me,” as the losses continue to mount.
The good news is the sky isn’t falling; the sky has already fallen. In this post-apocalyptic football world, we learned and have accepted that even a loss to Rutgers seems within reason at this point.
This program needs a dire culture change and that is not going to come from shuffling coordinators or an extra hour of padded practice a week. This begins and ends with 8 million dollar man.
Until then, it is just going to feel like a flat tire at an indecisive four-way stop, with Train playing while you head to the golf course with skunked beer.