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04 Januar, 2012

Enduring Happiness: An Offseason to Look Forward to, and a Beach Full of Brunettes Never to Forget

Without further ado: Congratulations to the 132nd Michigan Football team. Much has been made of your season in the short time this blog has existed, but you banded together and created a lasting memory. Well done, as a fan I thank you, but your accomplishments mean so much more to you than they can ever mean to a man sitting by his computer tapping away at a keyboard. You endured like no other UM team has ever needed to, and you came out victorious. Those who stay will be champions, and no one understands that better than you. Well done. Enjoy your off seasons, prep for respective classes or camps. Those that are NFL bound, best of luck. Those coming back, follow your senior examples and be LEADERS!

Now, some thoughts on the game. The hype leading up to the bowl was actually its lack of hype on a national scale. It seemed no one thought that either team belonged, and you couldn't read a column, blog, or feature story that didn't start with: "(Pick a team) has taken a lot of criticism for being selected..." The coaches for both sides handled it with grace, proclaiming joy at being selected, and reminding everyone that they had no choice in the selection. I am sure they would have happily played a day earlier in Florida if that was to be their fate. It wasn't though. And both teams set out to prove they belonged. Perhaps along the way UM over-hyped themselves and lost the timing that is crucial to its offense. Maybe they bought into the media that showered praises of their 10 win season, and told them how easy it was going to be to win the 11th. I don't think anyone but the players and coaches will ever know exactly why they came out flat. VT's defense was stout, absolutely no doubt about that one. The secondary disguised coverages and made a play on just about every ball that Denard threw. The zone read never took off, and Fitz had a MSU-esque rushing day. Still, when the game was over, it was UM on top. By a field goal. A BRENDAN GIBBONS field goal no less. Who would've thunk it? Not this guy. Even after a season of making the easy ones, and a hard one or two, I still caught my breath when he lined up to kick. No offense to the guy, he has more than proved himself, but some things are not easily forgotten, and the debacle of last years kicking game is one of them. So how did he do it? How did he put last year behind him and pull through in the clutch every time he was called upon? Brunettes my friend. Brunettes. Personally, I am more of a blonde kind of guy. Ask my wife. But if thinking about brunettes on a beach can somehow calm this guys nerves, well go for it Brendan. Cindy Crawford laying out on the beach is just what the doctor ordered then.

The intriguing thing about this story to me is not the color of the women's hair that he thinks about though. No, to me, this is just another example of how great a leader Brady Hoke is. Gibbons came into the year as the backup place kicker. A walk on usurped his job last season after making only 1 of 5 attempts. He stayed beat out by the guy who only made 3 of his 9 attempts. By all rights, Gibbons should have packed it in and left Ann Arbor. Hoke came in though and gave him a clean slate. And a better way to do things. After what I can only assume was RichRod screaming at him for a year (thats just what RichRod does) a new approach was obviously what he needed. Well done Brady. Some guys just know how to coach, and more importantly connect to their players. The sample size on Hoke is small. One season with a roster full of mostly RichRods recruits. But clearly this guy knows how to motivate and how to get the best out of his players. No one expected much from this team. Brady did. No one expected to contend for a B1G championship this year. Brady did. No one expected a victory in a premier bowl game. Brady did though. And he made the players believe. Couple that with the strong senior leadership already discussed in this blog and the team was bound to exceed all the outside expectations.

So once again, congratulations to team 132. My hope is that team 133 will be as inspiring and as devoted to each other as this team was. Well done, and I look forward to blogging the off season recruiting and draft picks bound to happen. Endure the off season, I will spend it by latching on to other sports all while counting down the days till kickoff (241 by the way).

Fortitudine Vincimus

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