A Matter of Toughness

Jonnferrell's picture
November 3, 2013 at 8:17a

Like many of you taking in the U of M/MSU game yesterday, I was not surprised to see that the Wolverines looked hapless.  The Michigan offense was manhandled by the Spartan defense.  There's an interesting discussion going on over at MGOBLOG (where it seems I am relegated to troll status for one pretty innocuous comment during basketball season.  This makes me even more thankful for the fairness here at EW).  Their discussion is on the difference between Hoke and Meyer and what they have done with the different teams they were handed.  The OP at MGOBLOG made one interesting point--"that there was not a strong culture of winning at Michigan when Coach Hoke arrived in Ann Arbor."   But is that really the big difference?  Then, how long does it take to change that culture?  Hoke has a year on Meyer to get that straight.  As I view the 2013 Michigan team, it's not necessarily play calling that’s the problem of the Maize and Blue (they have many calling for the head of Borges regularly), but I believe it is a difference of conditioning and toughness.  The Wolverines looked physically and mentally spent at the beginning of the 3rd quarter.  They don't seem very tough--either mentally or physically as a team.  I think Mickey Marotti makes a hell of a difference for us.  The MGOBLOG discussion began before the MSU game, but you can imagine the panic and comments that ensued and continued after the trouncing by "little brother."   The majority of the MGO bloggers seem to maintain that UFM simply inherited a better program in an all-around better situation. That's true, because we are The Ohio State University and not TTUN, but there is a bit more to it than that.  The upheaval of 2011 complete with tat-gate and a putrid season was not exactly the pinnacle of the mountain.  The climate was not great—the self-discipline was lax, scholarships were removed, a bowl ban enacted--and mentally and physically the team was below par.  Enter Urban Meyer’s secret weapon—Mickey Marotti.   When Meyer introduced him at that basketball game  back on January 12th of last year he said,  “And finally, the most important hire I made on this coaching staff, to bring toughness, make sure we're in great shape and get this team ready to go—our strength coach, Mickey Marotti.”   I think that toughness was exhibited in the team last year, and it’s there this year, and it has to be in every team every year to have a winner.  Michigan doesn’t have that toughness this year—and they don’t have a Marotti.  I don’t know anything about their conditioning coach or their system for getting their players ready, but whatever it is it is not nearly good enough.  Until they get it—they will always be a sub-par team.  Thoughts?

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