Early in the 2008 season, many had questioned whether Brandon Minor was ready to carry the load for the young, inexperienced Wolverines ... especially with Minor putting the ball on the turf four times in 17 touches. With the revelation that Minor struggling with a wrist injury, things became more understandable -- and then he exploded with fashion against Penn State in Happy Valley. That trend carried him through the next few games, until bruised ribs and a shoulder have sidelined him once again for the past game and a half.
Now, the question is: is he ready for the daunting task of heading to the heart of arch-rival Ohio State at The Horse Shoe in Columbus, Ohio, a place he hasn't seen since 2006 as a freshman?
Here's a hint: that game is a memory that still lingers large for Minor.
"We were three points away from a national championship. It didn't hit me until I got back on the bus and I was just saying ‘Man, we could have been in the national championship ..."
And then ... in the same sentence, Minor pointed to Saturday.
"... I'm not saying (a win) would salvage our season, but at least (we'd be able to say) we beat O-State. It would take a little weight off, because we haven't beat O-State in a while. I know the media has been riding Coach Rod for a while, but (a win Saturday would mean we could say) at least we beat O-State."
While Michigan's head man has been under seemingly constant pressure from many in the media and the Wolverine's legion of fans, Minor expressed that he and his teammates are fighting not only for themselves but for their coaches.
"Everybody wants this win. The trainers, the equipment managers, they're all going to try to get on the field. This win, we really need this win. We're putting our all in this game, in the film room, and doing extra things on the field."
Even with injuries forcing Minor out of action, he repeatedly stated he'll be ready to go.
"I am playing, yeah. It's O-State, nothing much said there. It's O-State, you got to play."
Playing in this game is special for all that have played in it. It's no different for Minor who is heading into action for the third time against the Buckeyes. It's something that he's held dear to him since he stepped foot on campus.
"It means a whole lot. There's a lot of tradition, man, in this game. Especially the way this season has been going, it's just boosted up a whole lot. Knowing we can't go to a bowl game, no game after this, this is our last game. Usually we have a game after we play Ohio State. This is really our last game. No excuse for why we shouldn't leave everything out on the field."
Minor insists that you'll see more emotion coming out of his play, and more physicality, in the Horseshoe.
"What this game is going to do for me is bring out a little bit more emotion. That's basically my style of playing; playing physical. You'll see a lot more emotion out of me this game. If I make a first down, I'll act like I scored or something."
First downs against the Buckeye defense can be rough to come by, and Minor sees the talent that the Buckeyes have amassed.
"They got a decent "D." THeir linebackers are real tall, they've got a great corner, their safeties are decent. Their D-Line is decent. It's going to be a real battle."
It'll be a battle to the end, and win or lose, it should show something to the current members of the team heading into next season, especially the younger members.
"We got a lot of young guys, and they're getting experience. Get the first shock out of the way, I know how it feels. After you're a freshman you get used to it. (But for a freshman in his first OSU game) it's kind of like high school all over again."
But Minor is a veteran now, and a team leader ... and for him:
"I'm looking to see what we get out of this game Saturday."
Minor Readies For the Major Challenge
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