"I have 100 percent faith in Russell," Lewan said Monday. "I think Russell is in a tough situation. Any person that thinks they could have done a better job -- they couldn't have. I mean, 90,000 fans in red shirts screaming at you, and you're a redshirt freshman, that's a tough situation. All the things being told about Russell, I don't appreciate it.
"I really don't appreciate some of things I've heard."
Now, Taylor does have a pretty solid point here. There are few situations worse than stepping into a game unexpectedly before halftime against Nebraska in Lincoln at night....etc. etc. This was a very unenviable situation where just "breaking even" with maybe half of ones passes completed and 100ish yards is like, a huge win.
Russell wasn't even close to ho-hum. The numbers paint a grisly picture that -- on the surface -- is about all you need to justify the critique of Bellomy. He completed just three of his 16 pass attempts; the same number as that of the interceptions he threw. He finished the game with almost half as many yards lost to sacks (17) as yards gained passing (38). It was ugly.
Although one key to keep in mind, for the second time Bellomy has stepped in this season he has gotten no help from his wide receivers. The dropped passes were almost comical and the first interception was more bad luck rearing its head than anything.
Bellomy's performance does raise some questions for the future. Does he have the arm strength to make the kinds of throws necessary in Borges' offense? Was his inability to handle the heavy pressure Nebraska brought due to just inexperience, or the rest of the team failing to execute and the offense failing to take advantage of soft spots in the defense? Will Michigan be able to field a compotent run game to take pressure off him (or whoever starts in 2013)?
Criticism of Bellomy is early, and a bit drastic, but it is not completely unwarranted. If he doesn't improve leaps and bounds by next fall, Michigan could be dealing with some serious offensive deficiencies.