Sunday, November 11, 2007

Cheese Curds are Gross

In a losing effort we learned some very important things about this team. First, Chad Henne is not only a great quarterback, he's also a great team leader. Anyone who watched the game Saturday on TV saw Henne out there coaching, and encouraging the players on the field, and especially Mallet. I was disappointed that he didn't play, but he's obviously hurting.

This game had "Beat Ohio State" written all over it. Carr thought Henne was ready to go. He sounded genuinely surprised post game that he wasn't. But, if this had been the osu game, you know he wouldn't have left the field. He looked to be saving the shoulder for The Game. Hart never saw the field, even though he lobbied to get in the game. You know Lloyd was saving Hart for The Game.

Wisconsin looked like a game (contrary to what I believed going in) that the coaches and team said, we're going to give our best effort, but regardless of this game, our first priority is to beat the Buckeyes and go to the Rose Bowl. And, while I would like to have seen them gut it out, and play Henne and Hart to get the win, if they beat osu this weekend with Hart and Henne playing, I'll be happy. You know one thing, Hart won't sit out the OSU game. And, if Henne can play through pain to beat Sparty, he's going to play vs. osu.

The fact that these guys didn't play tells me two things. First, that the players are desparate for a win knowing they're 0-3 vs. osu, and are focusing on osu ahead of the game to put an end to that streak. Second, that Lloyd is already focusing on osu. He wants to get the sweater vest monkey off his back, and beat osu in his final game at Michigan Stadium. At this point, I'd rather see Lloyd back next year than not. But it's my bet he's not. There would be no better way to go out than beating osu, winning the big ten outright, and winning the Rose Bowl. Lloyd would be happy, and Bo would be smiling.

So, I'm going to take this loss with a grain of salt.

We probably win the game by two touchdowns had Henne played. As it was, we coulda shoulda. If Mallet doesn't throw that ball up for grabs, we have a hell of a shot to go up by two little or no time on the clock. Mallet looked like a freshman who hadn't played before. It's his first real road game (I'm not counting NW), so perhaps that's not too surprising. But he looked awful. Anyone who booed Henne or asked for Mallet earlier this season should be forced to put the tape of this game in their dvd player and watch that performance before they are permitted to open their mouth about any quarterback at Michigan. Will Mallet be good down the road? Maybe. He certainly is not what Henne was as a freshman.

Mario Manningham needs to grow up. The bickering with Mallet (even if justified) on the sideline was riduculous. It is spartyesque. Yes, Mallet played horribly. But, Mario, encourage the freshman. Act like the leader you're supposed to be. Hell, you're the second best player in that huddle after Jake with Hart and Henne out, lead. Don't bitch about not getting the ball. I understand that Mallet has an attitude and confidence which doesn't match his play. I understand he doesn't always listen real well. But, Mario, you're supposed to be above that crap, and a team player. Take a lesson from Long or Henne. Grow up.

Most concerning, what in the hell is Ron English teaching our linebackers. Crable blew contain on a couple of big plays, and we couldn't stop the run game between the tackles. Some of that is because we couldnt keep our offense on the field, and the D got worn down. But, some of it is on English shoulders. In the end, though, the badgers had 23 points with about 7 minutes left in the game, which our offense should be able to overcome. With Mallet, though, the D needed to play its best game of the season, and it didn't. While the defense didn't play well, the performance is mitigated somewhat by the inability of our offense to stay on the field, so I spare English from adding this game to spankboard.

Yet, with the bucks loss to Illinois, we've got a shot to take the Big 10 outright and have a great season. Lloyd deserves at least on Honorable Mention for that after ASseD and ODD. This game was not in the class of those first two debacles. Michigan plays osu for all the marbles again. And, we've got a chance to be 10-3. In this crazy season of college football, I'd take that.

Oh, and by the way, is Andre Ware not the single worst color commentator in all of college football? That guy should take his complete lack of insight (and, in fact, blatently wrong statements) and go back to Houston where he belongs. What a tool. The only thing I can say in favor of Ware is that of the two worst draft choices in Lions football history, he's probably 2nd behind Charles Rogers.