John U. Bacon: Michigan football fun again, Lions' season already shot, Red Wings turn around
Michigan Radio’s sports commentator John U. Bacon joins us again for this week’s sports roundup.
Wolverines take down the Gophers
The University of Michigan defeated the Minnesota Golden Gophers 29 to 26 on Saturday.
Bacon summed up Wolverines fans’ feelings in a tweet:
Michigan fans like airline passengers who survived turbulent flight, filling vomit bags, but cheer upon bumpy landing. Shaking, but grateful— John U. Bacon (@Johnubacon) November 1, 2015
He tells us that while the team “is not great yet, they may not even be very good on a given day,” this season is seeing a lot of great coaching and aggressive, exciting play.
“The perhaps most telling comment I’ve seen online for Michigan fans is, Michigan football is fun again,” he says.
Lions’ season already shot
Many are calling on Mary Ford to fire Coach Jim Caldwell before the end of the season, but Bacon says despite owning the team, that’s not Ford’s call.
While the Lions’ leadership is in large part “not good,” Bacon says firing anyone at this point wouldn’t do much to help the team. He adds that it would send a bad message that could scare off good potential replacements.
“I always find midseason firings counterproductive,” he says. “Let [Caldwell] run out the string, it’s a show of respect. The season’s lost at this point regardless.”
Red Wings' 24-hour turnaround
The Red Wings got slammed by Ottawa on Friday at home, and then turned around on Saturday night to beat the Senators in Ottawa 5-3.
Bacon tells us it’s not terribly unusual to see this kind of turnaround, but especially with a new coach and a lot of new players, there are “a lot of adjustments going on.”
One stand-out moment of the game was 19-year-old Dylan Larkin’s “sweet wraparound goal” in the third period, just weeks into his Red Wings career.
Bacon calls Ken Holland “the smartest GM in hockey and maybe even in sports,” and explains that he has a strict policy of waiting until a player is ready to drop them into the game.
He says Holland “will not bring you up to the big club until we know, you know, and all your teammates know you are more than ready to handle this.”
“So when he brings up Larkin one year after his freshman season at Michigan, it’s an eye-opener,” he says, “and you’ve got to trust the guy, he was in fact ready. This kid is on fire.”
- Ryan Grimes, Stateside