Monday, September 8, 2014

The Michigan Difference

Dear Coach Brady Hoke,

I just need to get a few things off my chest.  I don't want to demand your resignation or turn to twitter (or ESPN, for that matter) to hear all that is going wrong with Michigan... but there are a few things that I need to share.

I love Michigan football, and I stand by Michigan football.  As my Dad always said, I am going to share my thoughts because I care -- if I didn't care, I wouldn't care enough to share my thoughts.
I am a diehard Michigan fan.  I believe in the Michigan difference; in Michigan excellence; in the Victors Valiant; in the Leaders and Best.  I have always stood by Michigan, and I will continue to cheer for Michigan... but it is becoming harder and harder to be so.    I am not a fair-weather fan, but I have not seen the Michigan difference the past few years... and I definitely have not seen Michigan excellence.
I understand when a team has a rebuilding year -- and rebuilding YEAR -- not years, not decades.  In know you had to untangle the mess of that Rich Rodriguez left and establish your own offense and strategy... but, in the last three seasons we have had no outstanding running backs, safeties, or wide receivers.  Or, if we did, we didn't have the offensive or defensive lines to allow them to shine (or score).  The only player who has done anything in your first three seasons was Denard Robinson... and you can't build a team around one player -- the other teams will get his number (which happened), and he will get injured (which happened).
My dog is named Lloyd Carr because Lloyd Carr was the coach during the years I fell in love with Michigan football.  I am too young to remember the Bo Schembechler years... but I appreciate the legacy.  The LEGACY -- Michigan has a LEGACY in football, and it is dieing.  How is it we don't even have a reliable kicker this season?  We TAUGHT Notre Dame how to play football, and they have now decided we are not worth time on their schedule as they try to make their run at the National Championship each year... and they have shut us out -- for the first time in Michigan history -- in the last game we will ever play.  To say the student has become the master seems to be an understatement all of which is beyond unacceptable.  We looked like a high school team on the field against Notre Dame.
I remember when Michigan was known as Quarterback U -- because Michigan was where the pro teams went to get their next quarterback.  I remember the years of quarterbacks Brian Griese, Tom Brady, Drew Henson, John Navarre, and Chad Henne -- all under the coaching of Lloyd Carr.  I did not always agree with Coach Carr's play calling... but he won games, he raised Michigan men, he lead teams that were Big Ten Championship, and National Championship Contenders.  The only quarterbacks you have coached have shown that they may be better wide-receivers than quarterbacks... and yet you have continued to play them as quarterbacks.
I am not yelling for your resignation (I am not yelling at all)... but the team that's playing in Michigan uniforms right now is unacceptable, and it is not their fault.

Rich Rodriguez might have had the talent to lead a Michigan team, but he was not a Michigan man.  He lacked the strength of character and love for the Maize and Blue to coach our young men.  For him, it was three and out.

You might be a Michigan man.  You seem to love the Maize and Blue and value your job of coaching the character of your players.  But, I am not sure that you have the talent, as a coach, to combine the coaching of character with the coaching of football.

The Michigan Difference applies to many things -- not the least of which is that men who play football for Michigan are taught to develop strength of character along with strength of football skill.  To Michigan, these are equally important.

I trust I am not saying anything you don't already know.  You know the team you are coaching is not playing at the level expected of a Michigan team.  I am not flaming mad at you... you just need to know that right now, your best, is not good enough.

I really want to like you, Coach Hoke... but I need to start seeing the Michigan Difference.

Sincerely and Respectfully,
A True Blue Fan

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