12th Man Report: Ann Arbor Worries
Ten days ago the Michigan football team was just a few seconds and a few yards from losing to Akron, one of the worst football teams in the FBS. The players and coaches alike, accepted responsibility claiming it was due to a failure in their preparation and then their failure in executing, etc. etc.
There was also a consensus from the team that something like that was never going to happen again: it was a fluke.
Fluke? Apparently not. On Saturday night, the Wolverines had a barnburner with the Connecticut Huskies, despite Michigan again being the heavy favorite. Though Michigan squeaked out the win — yet again — it was another abysmal performance. It might’ve even been worse than a week earlier, a game that many of them called the worst game of their careers.
One of the big problems has been quarterback Devin Gardner. He came into the season with lofty expectations, and is currently leading the NCAA in turnovers. Let me repeat that: of all the pretty horrendous teams out there, a player who supposedly was a Heisman Trophy candidate has more interceptions and fumbles combined than any of them…Yikes.
After Michigan defeated ranked Notre Dame under the lights at the Big House, it seemed like they were a national contender. But these past two weeks, although they’re still undefeated and technically in the national-championship race, there’s no question that Michigan is more a pretender and less a contender.
If there’s one thing that they’ve proven in Ann Arbor during this questionable, tumultuous 4-0 start, it’s that head coach Brady Hoke has some big problems with his team. They’ve fumbled, literally and figuratively, their way through a pretty weak non-conference schedule so far, but this kind of play won’t work when Big-Ten play rolls around.
And at the end of the day, how can a team expect to be a contender when your quarterback is practically accounting for more of the other team’s points than his own? Maybe that’s an exaggeration, but Gardner seems to have his fair share of turnovers turn into opposing team’s points. Quarterback and defense — those two components will make or break this season for Michigan.