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As the rain started to fall and the lighting struck, one of the most disappointing and disgusting Michigan home performances in recent memory was given a reprieve on a late Saturday afternoon.READ MORE: Person Of Interest In Zion Foster Case Turns Himself In
The Wolverines trailed the Utah Utes — no, that is not a “My Cousin Vinny” reference — by a score of 26-10 with under eight minutes to play in the fourth quarter. Regardless of whether the game got restarted or not, it was crystal clear that the entire Michigan football program was in need of a reset.
The team had not scored an offensive touchdown against the only two quality opponents they had played so far this season — over 7 quarters. They looked completely unprepared, absolutely fundamentally unsound, and in one simple word embarrassing in basically every aspect of what football and winning football is.
This is a program that has not only become a laughing-stock, a source on anger — and worse — now apathetic and a shadow of what it had been for decades. Yes, Michigan had only won one national championship in modern times, but it always seemed to compete at or near the highest level and had some special times, wins, moments and feelings for the majority of the past four decades.
Those high times feel eons ago and seem to be getting further and further away with each passing embarrassing loss. It has almost become a game of “what else can go wrong?” for college football’s winningest program.
What depths will they fall to due to this game? What new way will they find to tarnish a once sterling reputation?
Everything has come to a crashing halt during the Brady Hoke era. Yes, Hoke won 11 games in his first season and a BCS bowl when the team beat Virginia Tech in a hotly contested Sugar Bowl, 23-20, which ironically was won by kicker Brendan Gibbons who would be banished from the program a few years later after allegations of rape.
Even when things were thought to be going well, impropriety rued the day — huge and alarming sign of things to come.
The program is in true shambles — there is no leadership, no focus and no results of any sort that are even worthy of being used in the same sentence as the word positive. So many people felt that the Rich Rodriguez Era was one of the worst, if not the worst, in Michigan’s illustrious history which was littered with gimmicks, horrid defense and even worse results.READ MORE: Attorney Representing Abuse Survivors Speaks Out Following UM $490 Settlement
I think it is an honest question now that many Wolverines fans are asking themselves, “Was it really as bad as it is now, could that even be possible?” The answer to me is resounding.
Not only is it worse now, it is way worse.
At least Rich Rod had his team trending up, but just seemed to not be the right fit for the school, program and fans. Well, Rodriguez has left Ann Arbor in his rear-view mirror and has just completely turned around what was a dreadful Arizona program. Maybe it is time to admit that it really wasn’t a coaching problem, it was much more deep-rooted than that.
This is not all on Brady Hoke and Athletic Director Dave Brandon, they can’t throw or catch the ball, tackle or return kicks, but they are the men at the top and they have presided over the program during one of its most inept and embarrassing times, not just in recent memory, but ever.
Someone even took their angst far enough to list Hoke as Michigan’s former coach on his Wikipedia page during the delay.
This season’s Notre Dame game was one of the loudest statements to that fact that could be ever made. The team was about as unprepared it has been in my lifetime of 37 years and literally could do absolutely nothing right.
That is coaching. That is football 101, football fundamentals and — sadly for the millions of Michigan fans that bleed Maize and Blue — that is an indictment on its coach, its leadership and its direction.
A change simply has to be made now and there is no reason to even wait. Why wait for another bad loss against Minnesota or Rutgers? Heck, those might not even be bad losses with the lack of ability Michigan seems to have these days.
Bottom line though is this a program that has consistently had highfalutin recruiting classes over the past several years and proceeded to do absolutely less than nothing with them. The stark reality is clear — change is needed, desired and mandatory as once the anger turns into apathy, which is where things seem headed now, that can be tremendously hard to recover from.MORE NEWS: Minimum Wage, Voting Audit Ballot Drives Advance In Michigan
On a stormy Saturday in late September of 2014 at Michigan Stadium the lightning would not stop striking, continually delaying a football game against Utah, that the team itself had been completely abysmal in, from restarting. It truly mirrored what the program itself clearly needed — to be struck with lightning of change.