Arseneau: U-of-M football 'ready to take the next step'

We would like to welcome Bryan Arseneau to The Sunny and C Network. He was the first official applicant to be a contributor on the blog, and he starts his time here with this column.

A second season of disgust for the University of Michigan football team has finally come to an end in Ann Arbor, with the Wolverines missing a bowl game for the second straight year.

Alleged practice violations have cast a dark shadow over the coaching staff, leaving many to wonder if head coach Rich Rodriguez should be concerned for his job.

However, as I watched the Ohio State game which officially ended Michigan’s season, I couldn’t help but feel Rich Rod and his football team were on the right track. Despite two disappointing years, I believe we saw a Michigan team which is only a year removed from being a Big Ten Conference title contender.

The youth of the current Wolverine squad gives them a great returning roster. Linebacker Brandon Graham and running back Brandon Minor will be the only two key players lost this offseason.

With many returners -- such as Tate Forcier, Michael Shaw and Donovan Warren -- getting more acclimated to the systems of both Rodriguez and defensive coordinator Greg Robinson, next year's team will gain more consistancy. Even though Rich Rod hasn’t posted a great record in his time in Ann Arbor, he has been able to give many underclassmen valuable experience that will help this team take the next step forward.

Rodriguez continues to bring in top-10 recruiting classes, constantly improving the abilities of his system. When Rich Rod was brought into Ann Arbor, he was given a team with a severe lack of talent. He has proven in the past to have an extremely proficient attack when he has all of the pieces for his system.

Michigan's conference schedule is about as favorable as they could hope for next season -- Michigan State, Iowa, and Wisconsin all travel to the Big House. I realize Michigan has to make road trips to Happy Valley and Columbus, but Penn State will graduate quarterback Daryll Clark, a major part of its offense for the past two seasons. If there ever was a good time to travel to Happy Valley, next year may be as good as any.

I still believe in Rich Rodriguez and his ability to build a national championship-contending football team, despite his 8-16 record and two consecutive bowl-less seasons.

This years team's made progress from last season, and at times looked like a dominating squad. The biggest improvement needing to be made is consistency.

Michigan's offense was able to move the football, finishing fourth in the Big Ten in scoring offense. But, they were a young team that rode the tide of highs and lows.

The Wolverines shot themselves in the foot in too many key situations to win the close games this season, but the ability to close out games comes with experience. By playing underclassmen the past two years, Rich Rodriguez has built a foundation of talent and experience for this Wolverine program to build upon.

Now, Michigan is ready to take the next step -- a step out of the Big Ten cellar.


December 4, 2009 at 12:31 AM Bryan Arseneau said...

I do need to make a correction upon my own article. Today the Detroit Free Press reported Donovan Warren is likely leaving to the NFL.

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