FAILURE IS NOT AN OPTION: LLOYD CARR, The University of Michigan's football coach (center), is seen here during happier times with starting quarterback Chad Henne (at left). In an unforgivable lapse, the Michigan football squad has now lost two years in a row to Notre Dame.
IF YOU HAD BEEN an observer standing outside my apartment here in Manchester, N.H. this Saturday afternoon, you might have wondered why exactly shouts of "NOOOOOO!" and even "GODDAMMIT!" would occasionally erupt from my abode, particularly since I am a generally quiet person. I am not known for shouting anything, much less profane and wicked calls for the LORD our God to smite the University of Notre Dame football team.
However, had you been inside watching the Notre Dame-Michigan game along with me, you would have understood why I was so disheartened. For any amount of wailing and gnashing of teeth is justified when one's alma mater turns over the ball twice in the "red zone," that is, on the verge of scoring. Such wailing is also justified when one's alma mater fails to enter the 21st century in terms of play-calling. And it is definitely justified when one's alma mater does not score a frickin' touchdown until there's just 3:47 left in the fourth quarter. Michigan's loss to Notre Dame this Saturday was unacceptable, particularly since it was the second year in a row such a thing has happened.
You see, losing to Notre Dame is a stinging rebuke for anyone affiliated with Michigan. It is not the worst defeat Michigan's football program can suffer during a year, but it is the type of defeat that makes one want to work harder and get better. This is especially true because of later and more important battles Michigan faces, in which we must remind certain second-rate institutions that we rule.
(I mean, my God. How awful would it be to lose to those cow-tippers over at Michigan State? I remember one year when I was in school: a bunch of East Lansing dimbulbs arrived on campus during the week before the game. After chalking graffiti all over campus, they stood on the Diag with a cowbell and shouted cheers. But no one gave a damn because it was midterms and we were all drinking and smoking to get through it and we all wondered when the second-rate State losers with their limited career opportunities and pathetic school mascot had mid-terms. And don't get me started on Ohio State, which requires its own post).
But moving on. We learn from The Detroit Free Press this week that Coach Carr is -- now that all is lost -- worried about Michigan's offense. This is a week after Coach Carr was worried about our defense. Next week, perhaps, he will worry about the special teams should some Eastern Michigan kick returner do something extraordinary. Speaking personally, though, I think these problems would solve themselves if Coach Carr was worried about his job.
When it comes to college football, I'm convinced -- rightly or wrongly -- that all failure stems from the top in one way or another. This past week was undoubtedly a reflection of that. It wasn't merely that the players performed badly; the calls they were given to execute also made matters bad. Was that quarterback sneak attempt, which ended in a fumble, really necessary on first and goal when the ball was at the 1 yard line? Did Michigan really have to pass into crowded territory, which resulted in an interception, on a separate touchdown try? In both cases, I submit the answer is No.
But that is how Coach Carr likes his football -- overly cautious and conservative and unimaginative. To the casual viewer, it must appear as if, on two out of every three downs, Michigan runs the ball up the middle; a play that may, if luck holds, earn the team as much as three yards. The remaining plays are spent pursuing boring passes that may, if luck holds, earn enough yards to come up just short of the first down. Once in a blue moon, a long pass is thrown or a clever end-around is made, but these are seemingly so infrequent one would sooner attribute their success to pagan sacrifice than to proper coaching.
In summary, Coach needs to mix it up.
Will he? No. He will not.
Therefore, I submit -- just like many other Michigan fans out there have done -- that it is time for Coach Carr to retire. But since he won't do so voluntarily, we Michigan alumni must make our displeasure heard. Clearly, we must refuse to give any money to the University of Michigan until Coach Carr retires or beats those bastards down at Ohio State, in which case all will be forgiven as per usual.Posted by Benjamin Kepple at September 13, 2005 09:16 PM | TrackBack