Times are tough for Michigan football. You probably didn’t need me to tell you that–unless you found this site through a Google search for “assless chaps.” In which case, you’re probably going to be disappointed. The bad news is the players Michigan ran out last year weren’t good enough to earn a bowl bid. The good news is those players were, for the most part, very young and can be counted on to improve. As evidence of this, five Michigan players were voted to the Rivals Big Ten All Freshman team. Those players were Golden God Tate Forcier, Craig “Death” Roh, Roy Roundtree, Patrick Omameh, and Jordan Kovacs. What’s that you say—who was the last one? I’m sorry. I used a short version of his name. I should have said Walk-on Jordan Kovacs or maybe even Jordan “is decreasing the worth of my Michigan degree” Kovacs.
While the exploits of Tate Forcier caused Matt Millen to compose an epic poem on national television, and Craig Roh was immortalized in MS Paint by an adoring fan, Jordan Kovacs has instead been vilified and blamed for all of Michigan’s defensive woes since Shawn Crable stopped whacking Troy Smith’s head. This is strange because at other Big Ten schools with actual good defenses often composed of faceless grinders, like Iowa and Wisconsin, those grit-masters that defy convention and make good are heralded as cult heroes. I can hear you. You’re saying, maybe there’s a coach’s son linebacker here or there, but not a safety. You can’t fake speed using grit and hustle. Walk-on, Wisconsin safety Jim Leonhard, who nearly put the Baltimore Ravens in Super Bowl XLIII with his huge punt return and fumble recovery in the AFC Championship game, just called and said “Hello.”
Now, I’m not saying that Jordan Kovacs is going to play for the Baltimore Ravens. That would be about as ridiculous as suggesting every 3 star recruit
is going to be Mike Hart. And thank God, because think of all the trash talk! If I wanted to be a real douche bag, I’d mention that Chaz Woodson was also on the Big Ten All Freshman team in his day. While I won’t do that, I will put a pic of Woodson up so that ACTUAL douche bags, who just look at the pics and skim the text, will say, “Look at this douche bag. He thinks Kovacs is going to be Woodson.”
Let’s get down to it. Is Kovacs any good? Brain Cook likes to wave his e-hands in the air and mumble about how Kovacs’ accolades say more about Michigan’s defense than Kovacs or something. You know what, Brain Cook is plenty smart (he certainly has longer hair than I do.) Maybe he’s right. But let’s ignore the recruiting sites and trust our lying eyes for a moment (results based, yada yada.) Jordan Kovacs didn’t start because it was him or some goofy looking guy that raps about Febreeze. He started because he was better than other, guru approved, players like Mike Williams, Vlad Emilien, and Justin Turner. (I don’t want to keep poking Brain Cook but he is kind of the master of this corner of the e-verse so, whatev.) I’ve read Brain Cook say many times that the idea of recruiting is to collect as many lottery tickets as you can and hope that one hits. Well, Kovacs hit. He was second on the team in tackles and interceptions (which if you take away Stanzi-balls because, duh, random, puts him two off the lead) and had two forced fumbles. When RichRod needed to move a player back to deep safety so that Woolfolk replace Cissoko (who was off snatching pizza money), he picked Kovacs. RichRod moved Kovacs from a position where he was excelling to a new position, not because he was a fucking walk-on, but because he trusted him. Why can’t Michigan fans believe that Kovacs beat out those other blue chips recruits because he is, in fact, good and not because they are BUSTS?
I understand that Kovacs has come to represent all that is wrong with the Michigan defense. If recruiting works efficiently one would not expect to see walk-ons playing much of a role. We all agree that Michigan’s recruiting, player development, and retention have been a sore point and the presence of walk-ons on the two deep, depth chart is symptomatic of that problem. Don’t confuse that with thinking Kovacs, himself, is the problem. Jordan Kovacs is not the problem. He’s one of the few things that went right for the Michigan defense in 2009. If he suddenly contracted polio and became a cripple, the Michigan defense would not get better, it would get worse.
Brain Cook and I agree on one thing—Kovacs will probably be starting in 2010 at some box safety position called bandit or foreskin or something. Maybe in 2011 Michigan fans’ prayers will answered and Walk-on Jordan Kovacs will finally be deep sixed on the depth chart by some more Rivals friendly hotshot like Josh Furman. I won’t celebrate if that happens because I like Kovacs—he makes a good story and I prefer to cheer for the guys already in the Maize and Blue and not random high schoolers–but until then, he’s one of us and we might as well enjoy him.