The Wolverine

February 2019

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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FEBRUARY 2019 THE WOLVERINE 5   FROM OUR READERS star and won a Big Ten title as a true freshman. Back to the five-star question. Why can't Harbaugh get the most out of his five-stars? Rashan Gary was good but not outstanding. Donovan Peoples-Jones is good but not eye- popping. Shea Patterson is close but not there yet. Jordan Anthony is nowhere to be seen. Ty Issac was a bust. Aubrey Solomon is transferring, which is disturbing in itself because he was playing and probably would have started next year. I don't know what it is, but they're just not performing in pressure situ- ations. Bradley M. Woelmer Monroe, Mich. Even five-stars are no sure thing — that's not exclusive to Michigan — and some take time to develop, therefore it's not time for a final ruling on Peoples- Jones or Patterson and definitely not Anthony yet. That said, Peppers was a unanimous All-American that helped lead two 10- win seasons — one of which came under a first-year head coach that took over a 5-7 outfit. Sure, there could've been more team success, but there wasn't much room for him personally to do better in his final season. He's still the only defender to be named a Heisman finalist since 2012. It's fair to point out the five-stars that didn't meet expectations, but to get a complete picture it's worth mentioning there were others on the same team that far exceeded their prep rankings (and would be five-stars in a re-ranking). Harbaugh and his staff made All- Americans out of four and even three- stars like Maurice Hurst Jr., so are the five-star results more a reflection of the program and its coaches, or the players themselves? As for your question about the fresh- men, several rookies have made immedi- ate impacts since Henne. Linemen like Ben Bredeson and Mason Cole started their first year on campus, while both and several others have earned Freshman All-America honors since Henne. Freshman All-America teams are far from perfect, but they do show unbiased observers thought those individuals were among the best first-year players in the country at their positions. They obviously didn't make the same impact as Henne — but couldn't as non-quar- terbacks and were among the best nation- ally in relation to their peers. Like everything in the Harbaugh era to this point, it's a mixed bag where there are some successes but certainly numer- ous areas for improvement as well. ONE MAN'S OPINION Dear The Wolverine, I was, of course, saddened by ending our season with two losses, particu- larly the one in the capital of Ohio. I was angered to hear that three "Michi- gan Men" choose not to participate in the Peach Bowl (an injured fifth-year senior I will grudgingly give a pass), particularly in the case of team cap- tains. People come to the University of Michigan to prepare for their careers, of course, whether in medicine, busi- ness, education or football. It still seems to me that a team captain should feel a higher obligation to the team that has given him the exposure that will permit him a professional football career. Someone we all admire and many of us remember emphasized the im- portance of the team, the team, the team, over individual achievements. During his tenure the little agricul- tural college in East Lansing often turned out more NFL talent than we did, but did not often beat us. I would rather see us turn out graduates than national titles. If I am an NFL general manager I question the integrity and "motor" of some- one who bails on his teammates, and leaves the job undone. Go Blue. I will take 10-3, done right, with people who truly want to be Michigan Men. K. Anthony Rickard Via the Internet Since several asked, it's worth noting that when captain Devin Bush revealed on Twitter he would leave for the NFL he said: "Despite getting treatment every day, I have not been cleared to practice or play in the Peach Bowl due to the hip injury I suffered in the last game," and even admitted the injury contributed to his decision to make the jump early. NO RETURN ON INVESTMENT Dear The Wolverine, I pleaded for changes in a letter to the editor last month, but there were none. I realize it was only a month and players sat out the bowl game, but the time for change has arrived. We are spending millions on coaches with minimal return on the invest- ment. This team is stuck in the 1980s of- fensively and poorly managed. Per- sonnel groupings are poor, and time management is horrible. This staff has to look around at what is hap- pening in college football offensively. Get this offensive line fixed, but use plays to help them. We are so predictable. I hate to say it, but I am in the "show me" mode. I don't care how many teams they beat, I will NOT believe until they beat a notable team. P.S. I understand why, but it was very disappointed that captains would sit out bowl games. Not lead- ers of men but self. Michael Peuler Cranberry Township, Pa. OPTING OUT OF BOWL GAMES Dear The Wolverine, Being originally from Michigan and a loyal Wolverine fan since the early 1960s, I was so disappointed in our four players for sitting out the Peach Bowl! Yes, I get the risks in- volved (see Jake Butt). However, if injury is a fear, you should not be playing college football. Where is the leadership? I harken back to the late, great Bo Schem- bechler, who must have rolled over in his grave at those decisions. I understand Devin Bush was in- jured and appreciate the greatness he brought to our defense — what a player! It was obvious to me the players checked out emotionally by halftime, and the injuries didn't help us either. I see this a trend that will continue. Coach Harbaugh publicly supported the decision, but being the competi- tor he is, he must have privately disliked it. My feeling is that it de- moralized the team before kickoff by sending a message that this game didn't matter. Every game matters. That being said, I personally thank Karan Hig- don, Rashan Gary, Devin Bush and Juwann Bushell-Beatty for playing hard for us for years. Remember guys, the team, the team, the team! Thanks for listening, and Go Blue! James Harris Mesa, Ariz.

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