Today, I have two confessions to make.
- 1. I'm an Ohio State football fan.
Yeah, I know. The Ohio State that runs amok in a weak Big Ten Conference and gets creamed in national championship games except this one. Maybe the last couple of years haven't ended the way that Buckeye fans hoped in January, but win or lose, at least we can take solace in knowing that we've beaten the rival Wolverines 4 years in a row.
2. I like some players that went to Michigan.
Everyone knows that there's no love lost in the Ohio State-Michigan rivalry, but there are some players that donned the maize and blue that I still have a ton of respect for. Obviously Wolverines that play or have played on the Colts, Jim Harbaugh and Marlin Jackson, have lifetime exemptions, and I always liked Braylon Edwards and Desmond Howard, even though they lined up for the wrong team. But in my years as an OSU fan, there's one Wolverine that I have more respect for than any other out there.
His name is Mike Hart.
Sure, I didn't like his rant on Jim Harbaugh (let's hope they don't cross paths in a hotel!) but I'm willing to chalk that up to being young. Normally, I wouldn't be so forgiving, but when you watch him play, it's almost impossible to not like him.
He's not the biggest guy out there and he's certainly not the fastest, but unlike other guys out there with more athletic ability, Mike Hart just knows how to run the football. In his career at Michigan he had three fumbles in 1015 rushing attempts. To put that in perspective, Edgerrin James, one of surest ballcarriers in the NFL, had 324 rushing attempts last season and coughed up the ball 4 times.
That's mighty impressive, but in praising his tight grip on the ball, let's not ignore the fact that he had 1015 carries in 4 seasons. That's a lot of pounding for someone that's 5-9, 206 lbs. to take, but as we all saw on Sunday, the defenders ended up feeling a lot more pain than he did.
Even though Addai is going to make sure that Mike Hart doesn't become a one-man wrecking machine, I'm looking forward to the days when Hart becomes a guy the Colts can bring in to pound on the defense when Joe needs a breather. If the Hall of Fame Game was an indicator of what's to come, I'd say those days are coming sooner rather than later.