Michigan Football: Practice Makes Perfect?

Just two weeks into this college football season, Rich Rodriguez and his Michigan Wolverines have already had their share of highs and lows.  Only days before Michigan’s first game of the 2009 season a couple weeks ago, media outlets reported that former and current players had come forward with allegations that Rodriguez and his staff had blatantly broken several NCAA rules, most of which dealt with the limitations of practice hours for student athletes.

Rodriguez and his coaching staff are making serious headway in 2009

Rodriguez and his coaching staff are making serious headway in 2009

Not only did they win their opening week game against Western Michigan in dominating fashion, the Wolverines took down hated rival Notre Dame this past weekend with an exciting 38-34 victory in front of the packed house at Michigan Stadium.

While the University of Michigan says it is investigating the practice allegations, the controversy seems to have brought the team together, and in his second season at the helm in Ann Arbor, the Wolverines are starting to click.

Like him or hate him, Rodriguez’s success should not be a surprise.  In his first year at West Virginia, he coached the Mountaineers to a feeble 3-8 season, but he led them to a bowl game and a 9-4 record in his second season there.

Starting to sound familiar?  Last season, coaching with players that did not match up with his offensive or defensive schemes, Rodriguez guided Michigan to a 3-9 record.

With last Saturday’s win over the Irish, the Wolverines are 2-0, and have a great opportunity to be 7-0 when they take on Penn State at the Big House on October 24th.  The toughest challenges in the coming weeks for Michigan will be at Michigan State on October 3rd and at Iowa the following weekend.

Michigan State no longer has Javon Ringer to shoulder 45+ carries a game for them, and they fell to Central Michigan at home last Saturday.  Iowa should present a challenge in Iowa City the following weekend, but the Hawkeyes just squeaked by FCS foe, Northern Iowa 17-16 at home.

Besides the NCAA allegations bringing this Michigan team closer together, Rodriguez is getting some great production from some young players who fit his system, and some of the veterans that Rodriguez did not recruit to Ann Arbor are stepping up as well.

Last weekend, senior running back, Brandon Minor gashed the Notre Dame defense for 106 yards and a touchdown on just 16 carries.  The story of this offense in early this year, however, has been true freshman quarterback, Tate Forcier, who threw for 240 yards and two touchdowns, and he added another 70 yards and one touchdown on the ground.

Fellow freshman QB, Denard Robinson has added 95 yards rushing and a touchdown for Rodriguez’s squad as well, but it is Forcier who leads the Wolverines in total yards rushing on the year, with 107.

It will, indeed, be an interesting year in Ann Arbor this season, but if the first two weeks of the 2009 season are any indication, the Wolverines are going to find themselves right back in the thick of the BCS conversations sooner rather than later.


2 Responses to “Michigan Football: Practice Makes Perfect?”

  1. 1 andyandvickie September 16, 2009 at 8:19 pm

    Michigan might be getting really good, but I am not convinced they aren’t cheating either.

    • 2 J Dunbar September 16, 2009 at 8:38 pm

      I’m not convinced they are cheating, either. If the NCAA really looked at every program, I’m sure they would find that they all push the envelope on several issues, including practice time. Whether you like Rich Rodriguez or not, you have to admit that he and his players have seemed to grow a closer bond since the allegations surfaced, and it shows in their play on the field.

      Thanks for the comment.

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