In sports, finding the identity of the team is paramount to success. For most teams this can be a run or passing game, or a smashing defense.
For the Wolverines, it is nonexistent.
Four games into the season, the football team has been taking one step forward and two steps back. They have yet to find their identity as they are either lulled into boredom by what is working, or they find themselves overconfident in their abilities. The team consistently gets away from their strengths with questionable play calling and continued underestimation of their foes.
The team has slumped their way to a 2-2 record, which is a far cry from earlier projections of being undefeated. Their two losses have been brutal, the first coming against a less-than-stellar team, and the second in the form of a 26-12 beat down that was never close. With one game remaining until the playoffs, it doesn’t leave them much time to find their identity and improve.
The real trepidation is that their record now puts them in the bottom half of the league, forcing them to face a strong early round opponent. They have one game left in the season in hopes to move up to third in the standings to face a weaker team, but they will need a few things to fall their way.
“We’ve got to win out, or else we will play a tough team in the playoffs,” said James Anderson. “There isn’t a team we will not have played and we just got to do our best when we get in,” he added.
“We need to prepare for the teams. We weren’t ready,” said Alan Sheffer after their loss.
Sheffer’s words have seemed to become the only thing that this team identifies with. This past weekend, their lack of preparation was more evident than ever before. Within the first half they gave up 26 points to the Black Knights.
The Black Knights had their way offensively, and it looked like the Wolverines had no idea what they were doing. Their frenzied play cost them four turnovers.
“We panic when the other team gets some good plays,” Anderson said. “We play catch up and frenzied and not playing our game.”
As they head into the playoffs, the Wolverines will need to find what works for them and stick with it. Too often, they let the play of the other team dictate what they are going to do. The team is also hoping that another loss becomes a wake-up call to them that it isn’t going to be as easy for them as it was last season. They definitely have the best talent in the league, but now it becomes a matter of knowing how to use it best.
“We have a bunch of guys that are super dedicated, and we just have to keep working at it,” said wide recevier Kenny Jones.