Time is Important in Football.
Three minutes left in the first half. Michigan's ball on the 16 yard line (or so).
Ricardo: "ok, guys let's go out there and run the hurry up as fast as we can, line it up, snap it, and go 3 and out. We want to use as little clock as possible."
Fred Jackson: "Coach, I really think maybe we should try to use that 40 second clock some, force some timouts and punt."
Ricardo: "You must be crazy! We have a program. We have an attitude. We never use more than 15 seconds between players regardless of the situation. Clock management, we don't use them big words in Appalachia, Freddy"
Fred Jackson: "You know, I've coached a long time, and I really learned a lot about the will to win, about game strategy, and about clock management while I was on Coach Carr's staff, Rich, and I just think you're dead wrong. Heck, Lloyd once told me we that game we lost down in Columbus in '06 that we just didn't use enought clock on offense. We just left the defense left out there by themselves."
Ricardo: Aw, shucks, Fred, you know that we ain't never worried about clock management! I once heard some guy named Miles talk about it, but he didn't seem to know what he was sayin'"
Fred Jackson: "No, he didn't. I do, though."
. . . . . .
Meanwhile, Michigan runs a no huddle on first and second down for 2 yards, after which Penn State calls timout. And, yes, you guessed it, results in one of a long line of 3 and outs. And, instead of giving Penn State the ball with no timeouts and less than 1:30, we give it up with 2 minutes and 1 timeout.
. . . . . .
With about 20 seconds on the clock -- about 40 seconds after time would have run out had Michigan forced a timeout after first down or refused to run a hurry up offense up by 10 points in the 1st half, Penn State scores a touchdown. Had that nasty Michigan tradition of clock management been employed, best case scenario is a Penn State field goal.
. . . . . .
Fast Forward 30 minutes
. . . . .
After 39 straight points, Penn State beats the 24.5 point spread. Unbelievable. I saw the single worst half of Michigan football in my life. Michigan loses 46-17. And, Darrin Clark, Penn State's quarterback is interviewed after the game:
Stupid Reporter: "Darrin, what was said at halftime?"
Darrin Clark: "Not much, really. The last drive of the first half really gave us a lot of confidence, and we knew we could come back out in the second half and play our game."
. . . . .
Of course, there were many more problems. Of course, any time that Nick Sheridan takes a snap and Michigan is not up by at least 40 points with 10 minutes or less left in the game should be chalked up as a likely loss. Of course, the offense in the second half had problems under both Threet and Sheridan.
Yet, really, the difference in the game, the point where we knew Michigan was done, the point that singlehandedly guarenteed that the Good Guys would lose their first of 10 meetings against Penn State was Penn State's touchdown at the end of the first half due to Ricardo's clock management. Sorry, I mean lack of it. It is a sad day, indeed, when the opposing quarterback calls out Michigan's head coach as the confidence inspiring source of its 39-0 comeback.
Oh; and No, I don't really believe we lost the game becuase of this. As soon as Nick Sheridan walked the field, the game was lost for good. What is amazing is that Threet came back in and played after he had been sat for injury. Begs the question, yes? Is he hurt, or did he sit? I assume he was injured. I assume that Ricardo's statement that he would play both regardless was horsecrap. If it wasn't -- Wow. As we, and anyone who has watched Michigan this year knows -- Nick Sheridan might be able to start at quarterback for a large high school team. Other than that, not so much.
But, if you don't believe me already, which you should after the Illinois first half, The Clock, will guarantee games are lost that should not be with Ricardo until something changes. This year. Next year. And yes, even in that year when we might be playing for a big ten championship. And that is simply unacceptable.