PROJECT CODE NAME: “HaveBlue”
TIME: 0230 hrs Zulu.
LOCATION: Somewhere deep inside the Michigan border
SUBJECT: The REAL Cost of Disrespect and Overconfidence
Everyone knows Lloyd Carr is neither a good nor gracious loser. Publicly Saturday, he was something very different in his commments: honest. But this was only because he had no excuses; no one to blame, no bad calls, no excessive “crown” on the field like at Oregon in 2003, not even bad weather. The unthinkable happened - he flat-out lost.
Our HaveBlue operatives however, saw it coming all week long. The preparation in South Bend was there; in Ann Arbor, it wasn’t.
Some of TBGUN knew it was a big game, but most believed it was big because it was against a big “name” and not a “worthy, serious” opponent. They simply weren’t concerned about the game, but nor were they cocky. They weren’t over-confident. There was more of a feeling that it was business as usual – just another day at the office.
Last week, HaveBlue operatives saw no sense of urgency in Ann Arbor. This theme pervaded practice, meetings, strategy, adrenalin levels and play selection during the game. No one around the TBGUN program, before or during the game, anticipated their post-game analysis would be akin to an American general explaining why his troops were surprised and decimated by German General Rommel at the Kasserine Pass in the Tunisian Mountains in WWII.
Just listen to some of the pre and post game analysis and comments from coaches, media and fans:
BEFORE THE GAME:
- “Michigan hasn't won at Notre Dame since 1994 -- but that is going to change. With Michigan's strong defense and Notre Dame's iffy offense, the Irish will probably not score many points. So the key to the game: Michigan's offense against Notre Dame's defense. How many will Michigan score? “ a reporter
- “I don't expect a different Notre Dame team to show up this week. With Grant they will rush over 11 yards, but shouldn't get over 100.” a reporter
- “Notre Dame, frankly, is not a sound football team right now. “ a reporter
- “…my Game Prediction: 31-9. Notre Dame will only manage three field goals.” a reporter
AFTER THE GAME:
- “This is like losing to the Washington General’s in hoops….” A fan
- “Ty Willingham coached this game to win it, throwing halfback options and tackle eligible at the Wolverines and giving his players a full playbook to use. His troops fed off the aggressiveness shown by their coach, and flew across the field in the second half while showing a totally new personality on offense. Lloyd Carr, on the other hand, did not coach as though he believed in his players, trusting them to make plays at any point in time. Relying on field goals and refusing to verticalize his passing game (despite a stable full of lanky and athletic playmaking receivers), Carr--blessed with a talented team playing on a big stage in a classic rivalry--acted as though his opponent was not as significant as Notre Dame.” [Quoted from Mathew Zemek, College Football News.com]
- “We can’t run the football. We didn’t run it very well last week, and we certainly did not run it very well today. Until we can run the football, we’re going to have a hard time." - Lloyd Carr
- “Does anyone else now feel that next week’s game is huge? If we come out lame on the running attack three weeks in a row I think we can safely assume that we won't be able to fix that before Iowa, Purdue, Minny, and the Bucknuts come to humble us. You can bet they are gleefully looking forward to a chance to beat us down.“ a fan
Privately after the game, Carr was indignant and furious. He has a fire lit in him that one sees after a proud prizefighter gets knocked down. He is fuming. No doubt, his players are in for a tough week. Their next opponent, San Diego State (in The Big House), would have better odds of facing Navy Seals in a Special Ops. “scrimmage” using live ammunition.
So what does all of this mean? Does it mean that Carr is on the hot seat in Ann Arbor? Does it mean that TBGUN are done for the season? Does it mean that Notre Dame has returned? Does it mean that Carr has thrown in the towel for the year? For the real meaning, we can learn one from the history books and study what happened at Kasserine Pass in WWII.
Our HaveBlue historians point out that after Kasserine, much post-battle analysis and learning was performed by the Americans. They credit the defeat at Kasserine to awakening; learning the tactics of the enemy, and how to subsequently fight the Wehrmacht – and win. A point reinforced by virtually all historical accounts. I have no idea how much of a historian Lloyd Carr is, but I suspect he will apply this same, “learn from your defeats” mindset to his troops, just like the Americans did in that deadly encounter in Tunisia.
THIS, is what the REAL cost of disrespect and overconfidence is – THE NEED FOR RESOLVE. The only remaining question will be, “Just how much did TBGUN learn last Sat.?”
NEXT TRANSMISSION DATE: Unknown