Don't Panic

Alright Michigan fans, let's just calm down a little bit.

I know expectations for this team skyrocketed after starting off the season 4-0. Even though we struggled to get past a mediocre at best Indiana team, people suddenly thought Michigan was going to go undefeated and contend for a national title.

Remember, we were 3-9 last year. Realistic pre-season expectations for this season had Michigan going 6-6. OR a best case-scenario of probably 8-4 if all goes well. I personally thought we'd land nearer to the 8-4 mark myself...and I still think we can do it.

When you're as bad as we were last season, you are expected to lose pretty much any game that we would have normally won by 1-2 touchdowns in a previous year. This year, we're beating all of those cupcakes handily. And we're also beating teams like Notre Dame. The close losses to Sparty and more importantly Iowa on the road are indications that Michigan is showing measured improvement over a year ago.

Let's be honest. Penn State kicked our butts last weekend. They won the game by being more physical on the line. 5th year senior Darryl Clark showed his experience and the Penn State linebackers and defensive line controlled the #1 offense in the Big Ten from the 2nd possession on. The good news is, Michigan will not play another team as good as Penn State the rest of the season.

I think deep down that this loss will only spark Michigan to turn it up a notch this weekend in Champaign. Call me an optimist, but I know Michigan is better than the 10 points we put on the board last weekend. The key from here on out is trying to just improve this team one game at a time. We're not really playing for a Big Ten title anymore. All we can do from here is just work on the little things.

Going 4-0 to start the year really helped get the heat off of Rodriguez. Going 1-3 since (0-3 against FBS opponents) has put some of that heat back on. But I think it's too early for the haters to be coming out. Rodriguez has shown that this team can score some points. But when faced against a better opponent, we still have some work to do. And really, the only difference between this season and last season is the QB spot. The rest of the offense, personnel-wise, is the same. We're just another year into the spread-option system.

We're #2 in the Big Ten in total offense with 404 yards per game average. Last year, we were last with 290 yards per game.

Defense needs to improve. And with Greg Robinson at the DC spot, it will. It just takes time. We're giving up 367 yards per game. Last season, under Scott Shafer, we gave up on average 366 yards per game. I would argue that our linebackers have been pretty awful. Aside from Brandon Graham and Donovan Warren, this defense is not at all where they need to be at this point in the season. We're thin at every position. And when you're thin at a position where the starter is not all that great, that's a problem. But hopefully youth with give way to experience down the road.

So, long story short...from here all we can hope for is that we look better each week. We will make a bowl game, which in the end is about all Michigan fans should have hoped for this year. Anything above 7-5 should be considered a huge step in the right direction for this team. Personally, I'd be thrilled with 6-6 as long as the 6th win came on the last game of the season. Right now, that's all I am wishing for.


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