Michigan Football: Tidbits from Higbe — Not Complaining
Not Complaining … Just Telling a Michigan Short Story
In February of Michael’s Junior year of High School he got a letter from Northwestern inviting him to a Junior Day, from that point to June, Michael had 22 Scholarship offers, from every D1 Conference, but the one I remember the most is the night Michael got a call from Coach Scot Shafer, and he said “Michael the University of Michigan is offering you the opportunity of a life time, to play for the Michigan Wolverines,” this was Michael’s dream, growing up in the Chicago area and have been offered a scholarship to ND everyone thought that’s where he was headed.I have no idea if this still happens, but Coach Shafer was not only a good recruiter, he was part investigator, before offering Michael, he talked to his teachers, he talked to other football coaches in Michael’s conference to see what kind of a player he was, he met with Michael’s football coaches, and talked to my wife and I. I was extremely impressed at the due diligence that coach Shafer went through to make sure that someone committing to Michigan was what a “Michigan Man” will be.
Michael did not commit right away, we went to the BBQ at the BIG HOUSE and met RR and Coach Frey, both could not have been more happy to be at Michigan coaches, in our meeting with RR he told Michael, if you commit to Michigan in your 5th year we will be competing for the National Championship.
The next week or so, almost every other school called Michael and said the same thing…do not commit to Michigan RR will not be there very long…you do not want to be in a program where the head coach is a short term coach. Michael committed to Michigan. From the AD to the Coaching staff none of what the other schools were saying appeared to be a possibility. Michigan State was a big recruiter of Michael they were the most adamant about RR not being there long.Michael’s first two years at Michigan were tough, his RS Freshman year, the calls for Michigan Coach to be replaced were a daily chant, the team struggled. Coach Shafer was already gone, the team was feeling all the heat. not much different than they are today, the fans turning against a team (though they say it is against the staff) it affects these kids, because Michigan instills THE TEAM, THE TEAM, THE TEAM. these kids live that motto. We are all THE TEAM.
Before the disastrous loss in the Gator Bowl. I called up Dave Brandon and set up a meeting with him, as a parent I was concerned about these kids, to me. no one was looking at how all the negativity was affecting these kids. I met with Dave and it was made clear that a new coaching staff will be in place next season.
After the Gator beat down, the writing was on the wall, The staff was fired and the players learned about it on ESPN. to me another slap in the faces of these kids. After all these kids our Wolverines. I pounded out an email to Dave Brandon basically saying these kids deserve better than that and when you pick a Head Coach you better tell this team first. they are owed at least that. Dave said he would.
In the meantime the team was on their own. They had no Coaches no one. They were football orphans, but these kids said no matter what happens we will stay together, no one will transfer out like when RR came in. We are Michigan. I was extremely proud how this team came together and took care of each other.When the time came time to introduce the new Head Coach Dave Brandon kept his word and introduced him to the team right before it was made public.
This team went on to win the Sugar Bowl.
Fast forward to now. Once again and for the second time for these Seniors this team is under attack in the media. This time it is personal attacks on players and the Booing of players. For those who said the boos were for the coaches, they were also directed at the players I was in the stands I heard the name calling directed to the players. The Players families are scattered about section 23 and 24, mixed in with other fans, it was an extremely tough day for the families who had kids playing that day.
For those who say “well these kids should expect that, or ignore that” well this is Michigan. I never thought I would hear what I heard that day and yes no matter what the coaches and players say publicly it affect out team.
Champions are not only judged on how they play on the field, they are also judged on how the handle adversity and these Wolverines are Champions, the Seniors held a team meeting after the game, this team is a different team now…we cannot make anyone a star player in a week but these kids have not lost their Michigan Spirit, they are going out to Northwestern as Wolverines and everything that’s means.
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Written by GBMWolverine Poster — Higbe
Go Blue — Wear Maize!