The Wolverine

February 2020*

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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FEBRUARY 2020 THE WOLVERINE 5   FROM OUR READERS Be Heard! Send your letters to: Wolverine Letters • P.O. Box 2331 Durham, NC 27702 Or email: Letters may be edited for clarity or length. pare the combined records of Penn State, Michigan State, Wisconsin and Notre Dame against Ohio State to Harbaugh's lack of competitiveness against them? As if that has any rel- evance. Again, this is just one more nonsensical attempt at justifying the unjustifiable. Here's the bottom line when it comes to Jim Harbaugh … As puzzling as it is, we are an ex- tremely soft and somewhat undisci- plined football program. We have no identity, our offensive line play is atro- cious, and we aren't even close to be- ing physical. None of this could be said about Jim Harbaugh's Stanford teams, but these are undeniable facts about his Michigan teams. And, no, running the spread, "modernizing" the offense, is not the answer. Michigan faithful, I'm going to share an extremely hard truth with all of you — one that I have painfully come to accept. Michigan football is good, but no longer elite. As a result of many of the Michigan faithful not accepting this truth, the standard is continuously being low- ered. That is what brings about all of these pseudo-justifications for the un- justifiable. With all of this being said, Mr. Mur- den and I do agree on one point. There is no point in firing Jim Harbaugh. There are no more Bo Schembechlers out there who understand what Michi- gan football means, stands for and is supposed to be about, much less who can instill that into the young men that put on the uniform. The glory days are over, my Maize and Blue brothers. But I remember … oh, how I remember. Vinnie Bullara Opelousas, La. LOOKING AHEAD TO 2020 Dear The Wolverine, This year was a huge disappoint- ment. The preseason hype, along with the Big Ten Media Day proclamations that Michigan was the favorite to win the conference, quickly disappeared in Madison with a thorough beatdown at the hands of the Badgers. The moral victory in Happy Valley was rather hollow, but the thorough dismantling of both Notre Dame and Sparty signified promise. This quickly changed on a fumbled snap in the second quarter against the hated Buckeyes. The team hung with Alabama until halftime, but could not hit the wide-open receivers time and time again, failing to muster any points in the second half. Once again we find ourselves in fa- miliar territory — if we are going to make the move from good to great, we need a quarterback to become great, hit the open receivers, take care of the ball and make smart decisions. We also need that QB to stick his head down and dive past the first-down marker rather than cruise out of bounds two yards short of the first down. I have not observed practices first hand, but have been encouraged by the small sample size of plays both Dylan McCaffrey and Joe Milton have played. McCaffrey has a stronger arm and more athleticism than Patterson. Milton has an arm we have never seen in Ann Arbor before. The TD throw he made against Rutgers was an NFL- type throw maybe only Chad Henne could have made from all the previous Michigan QBs. I am cautiously optimistic about next year, but we really need to win the first game in Seattle to get the ball rolling. Dave Reed Lake Orion, Mich. STICKING WITH COACH "4" LIFE Dear The Wolverine, I try writing about "Coach 4 for life" only after our toughest loss (if any) of the year. For those of you who don't know why there are so many No. 4 football jerseys, that was Jim Har- baugh's number when he played here, so therein lies the source of "Coach 4 for life." The OSU game gave me that un- wanted opportunity with a tough loss. When sports media and other social media pundits pour out their souls searching for the next Michigan foot- ball coach or casting ours as going pro again, it's time to stand by our man. There is absolutely no one better suited to lead these incredible young men either on the football field or in life. Yes, 18- to 20-year-old young men make mistakes as did all of us at that time in our lives. Jim Harbaugh has handled these very limited instances as well as anyone could have hoped. In terms of results, they have ex- ceeded my expectations. Of course, the clear goals are conference and na- tional championships, and we are not there yet in football. But we are way ahead where we were just over five years ago. From 2007-14, we had fallen as far back as possible because we had been one of the very best and fallen to 50-year lows for Michigan standards. Has "Coach 4 for life" demonstrated coaching success here and elsewhere? Heck yeah, with three 10-win seasons. There were some fine players when "Coach 4" got here, but not much of a team. Give credit when due and know that we are lucky to be here. After conquering the MSU and Notre Dame rivalries, now the mantra will become, 'When will we ever beat OSU?' I get the desire, but I wish to know anyone's alternative as a coach. My son and I attended the last two games in Columbus, which makes five OSU games in a row and I will tell you they stole that game in 2016 with refs who have been banned from OSU games. My wife and I are 40-year football season ticket holders and 30-year bas- ketball season ticket holders while living in Fort Worth, Texas, which I mention only because I have one more suggestion for those who wish to claim to be true blue M fans. Maybe if you can't go to a game, please consider not selling your tickets for big games on the open market. Sitting with a bunch of OSU fans in The Big House sucks. At the end of the OSU game, many fans left early and I had to walk up a maze of scarlet and gray stinkers. How do you think the players felt getting mostly harassed while leaving their home field, and for many their final game there? C'mon M fans, as any M coach would tell you, "We are better than that!" Finally, when my son (season ticket holder on his own) was coming of age as an M fan, John Navarre was getting unfairly and savagely attacked by the press and my son asked me, "Are they right about our QB?" I said, "Son, our coach sticks with his quarterback, and we stick with our coach." I'm a "Coach 4 for life" lifer! Paul Janiak Fort Worth, Texas

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