Yes, I know I’ve been MIA for a week. I can explain—just first, agree not to judge me. It started off very innocently. I opened up the Little Brown Jug to celebrate last week after the Michigan victory over Minnesota. I just took one swig—I swear. My stomach must have been emptier than I thought—you know gophers aren’t as meaty as they used to be.
The next thing I know, I was being woken up by Illinois State Troopers in a Motel-6, outside of Evanston, Illinois with Li’l Wayne. We were knee-deep in Gopher, Badger and Wildcat *******.* (*Note ************* is only a bad word when referring to human females.)
Obviously, I got a little tipsy cause during the Rich Rod era I started filling the Little Brown Jug with Ever-Clear—and that stuff is Crimson Tide strong. So I had a few things that were pressing to take care of. In my defense I did not know it was illegal to take female Gophers and Badgers across state lines. Unfortunately, there is no Internet Access in Cook County Jail—so I couldn’t check in last week.
On the flip side I got some great tips for taking care of some of my curlier fur by my fellow inmates. So now let’s move on.
Last week: Kept the Little Brown Jug—sweet. Denard couldn’t play—not so sweet. Devin Gardner rocked—VERY SWEET!
This week: As people were telling me all week in the Cook County Jail: “Dem Wildcats aint Minnesota. We’ll see how good your boy is then.” Well we saw how good Devin Gardner is—he’s excellent. He’s a great passer—despite that scary interception late in the game. He’s also a great scrambler. He makes great decisions—very smart. Next year is looking up. Being without Denard is not as devastating as it looked like it might be in Lincoln.
Also encouraging—towards the end the O-line started to open up so that Fitz could do more north and south runs than having to try and get to the outside. There is still room for improvement there—lots of room. However, we have to remember the Northwestern defensive line is very senior, so we’re making progress.
The most encouraging thing of all, however, was the behavior of Denard Robinson on the sidelines. This cannot be easy for Denard—it’s the second half of his senior year with NFL draft hopes on the line. Unlike many QBs, might behave, if they found themselves in this situation—Denard is not drowning in his personal bucket of woe.
Like a true captain, he’s there on sidelines encouraging Gardner and the others on the offense. It is all about the team with him. That is why he is a captain; not because he’s popular but because he is a leader.
Saturday’s game was a really good game, and not because of the outcome but because of the level of competition. Pat Fitzgerald, like Bo Pellini and MSU’s coach (his name deliberately eludes me) are obnoxious. However, they are competitive and deserve to be applauded for bringing a greater level of competition to the conference. Northwestern played very well. They had two sensational quarterbacks and some running backs and receivers that gave our defense fits—and our defense is good.
The Wildcats played a hard game. They just weren’t able to overcome us in our house. However, we both know that the Michigan Wolverines are a “not in our house, today, or ever” kind of team.
However, there was a larger message here that the Wolverine nation needs to recognize and that is, “giving up is simply not an option.” The Michigan team doesn’t quit, and they don’t panic. Northwestern ahead—Gardner throws an interception—three minutes and some change to go—neither the Michigan team nor the fans in the Big House bellied up.
Why? Simple, we are the “leaders and best”—and being a leader means not shrinking in the face adversity. Being the best does not mean always winning—but it does mean always putting 150% effort toward that outcome. This team has repeatedly found a way to win—against Air Force, against Michigan State—both critical junctures in determining the culture of this Michigan team, within the context of Michigan tradition.
Innately understanding that consistently being “the leaders and best” is not why we are Michigan, but rather consistently being “the leaders and best” is how we are Michigan is “the Michigan Difference”.
NOTICE: The views expressed by Wilbert the Wolverine are not necessarily those of anyone on the Hokeamaniac.com staff or reasonable facsimile thereof. Please consider the source. He’s a Wolverine for god sakes! Although, in this case, for the most-part they were.
The Michigan Wolverines entering the field of play prior to the game against the Northwestern Wildcats on November 10th, 2012. (Image courtesy of MGoBlue.com)