Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Half Full or Half Empty? Linebackers

My continuing attempt to look at reasons to feel good and bad about the upcoming season by position group.

If you look at last year's team on paper, one position group jumped out above all others as the strength of the defense.  The linebacking corp returned a two year starter at MLB in RS-junior Obi Ezeh and the previous year's starter at WLB in junior Jonas Mouton.  The two were joined by senior Stevie Brown in the new hybrid safety/linebacker position.  Brown was plagued by mistakes in his time at safety in the previous years and was unsuitable for the defensive backfield.  He was placed at what is now the Spur position as a stopgap.  If he turned in a solid campaign in '09, everyone would be relieved.

Jonas Mouton
But oh how the tables have turned.  Brown turned out to be the best LB of the bunch, leading the team in tackles leading to his going in the 7th round of the NFL draft.  Somehow, Ezeh continued to be on Mel Kiper's top five list (does he watch the games!?) after turning in another disappointing season that saw him get benched late in the season in favor of a 200 lbs. walk-on.  Mouton didn't fare much better, only retaining his weak hold on the starting job at WLB because JB Fitzgerald couldn't step up and take it from the under-performing junior.

What does the future have in store this year?

Half Full or Half Empty? Secondary

If you want a full fledged preview of this year's team, you are in the wrong place.  Your first stop should be MGoBlog or your local newsstand for a copy of this year's Hail To The Victors (also written by Brian from MGoBlog).

Hopefully the secondary isn't glass number 3.
Over here at Dreaded Judgement, we (the royal we of course, lets keep these Lebowski references going) like to deal more in abstract scenarios.  How could things turn out?  What should send the majority of the fan base scurrying under the nearest rock, and what possibilities are there for large scale improvement?

To answer these questions, I will try to look at each position group individually and give one reason for overjoyed optimism and one for suicide inducing pessimism.  This Half Full/Half Empty series will touch on all of the position groups by this Saturday, when we will start to get a real idea of where we stand.  With that said, lets start with the bad news...

The Secondary.

Football, Fandom, and Faith in the System

Currently I am unemployed.  This has two large effects on my life.

First, I have no source of income and am living off an ever lessening line of credit and an almost depleted bank account.  So it goes.

Secondly, all the free time with which I should be focusing on finding gainful employment ("You don't go out looking for a job dressed like that?  On a weekday?"  "Is this a...what day is this?") I have poured into my ever growing obsession with the University of Michigan football team.  This doesn't put food on the table, but I find it satiating in its own right   albeit a little masochistic at times.

The Wolverines were the only team I ever really loved.  Part of this is probably due to my childhood spent rooting for the Lions   talk about masochism   but most of it traces back to my father.  He got his masters degree from UM Flint while doing custodial and mantience work at a nearby community college.  Every Saturday he watched the Wolverines take the field or listened along on the radio, which meant that I was indoctrinated with maize and blue mythology from a young age.  The Victors, winged helmets, the Big House, and all the great Wolverines of the 90's.  As I become more of a football fan I gravitated more to the team, and when it came time to choose a college there was really no choice at all.  I went Blue and never looked back.

In my time as a Michigan fan I have seen the highest highs and the lowest lows, and my devotion to the team has not once wavered.  Things have been increasingly difficult these last couple years, but the adversity has only strengthened my love of the team.  

I am lucky to be part of what I consider the most devoted and thoughtful online community of college football supports in the country (thanks to MGoBlog).  I am an unabashed fan and supporter of Rich Rodriguez as well as deeply thankful for the years of service of Lloyd Carr.  If there is such a thing as a Michigan Man, I would hope that I would qualify, and I certainly try to act accordingly.

And so I begin this Blog project.  I don't mean to replace the contributions of the many other wonderful Michigan Football bloggers out there, but merely add my own voice and hopefully come up with a few interesting thoughts along the way.

The season is days away, a season that will very likely decide the trajectory of the program for the better part of this next decade.  It's gonna be a helluva ride.  I'm just glad to be part of it.

It's easy to grin when your ship comes in and you've got the stock market beat. But the man worthwhile, is the man who can smile, when his shorts are too tight in the seat. 

Lets just hope by the end of the season we can grin a little easier.