Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Shifting the pressure

There has been a lot of discussion this week about Michigan's recent abysmal record in road openers (six straight losses) and its recent record vs. Notre Dame (1-3 in last 4 meetings). In response to numerous queries about Michigan's recent record in those categories, Coach Carr responded in part by saying, "You want to go in, in a positive frame of mind, focused on just the things that you need to do as a player or coach to help the team win."

I like Coach Carr's quote. He is trying to keep the Wolverines in the right mind-set. Thinking about the prior history (most of which these players had no part in creating) will only serve to put them in a negative frame of mind, put more pressure on them and make them more likely to press when things get tight as they inevitably will on Saturday. The Wolverines need to take the attitude of carefree abandon and that all expectations are on the Fighting Irish. Heck, it is Notre Dame who is ranked #2 and is carrying the weight of expectations (demands) of the fan base that they go undefeated this season. It is Notre Dame who is favored to win by a touchdown. As for the SI cover boy Brady Quinn he is under the gun to have to a monster game to prove himself Heisman worthy. His candidacy for the trophy could be won or lost on Saturday. Notre Dame is the one that should be feeling the pressure as kickoff nears not Michigan. The focus on Michigan's past record is misdirected and unproductive and only serves to put the pressure back on Michigan when they are the underdog in this game. The beauty of being the underdog is that the pressure is supposed to be on the favored team. Therefore, for the rest of the Michigan-Notre Dame week it is my mission to put the pressure back where it belongs: on Notre Dame. Go Blue!

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