How many times have I taken Chad Henne for granted?
God, I can't even begin to count. It's no secret that I hold Mike Hart on a pedestal. We all do, don't we? Maybe because of this undying adoration for Hart, I have glanced over one of the finest players to ever come through the tunnel in Michigan Stadium on a Saturday afternoon. One of the worst things we can do in life is not appreciate the gifts we are given. Chad Henne is a silent, deadly, big-chinned gift - and when he leaves us, there will be a void that is extremely tough to fill, even though we do have a giant Texan waiting in the wings.
For the last three years, I took comfort in knowing that Henne was at the helm of the offense. I had confidence that he wouldn't blow a big game, and that he was a talented guy who would leave his blood and guts on the field for us week in and week out. Was I happy to have Henne as "my" quarterback? Damn right I was. As long as he could hand the ball off to Hart. Or throw a bomb to Braylon. Or loft a perfect strike into the hands of Super Mario.
I just wanted Henne to make other people good, and I realize how selfish that is now. I never wanted Henne to scramble for the first down - I always cheered for Hart to get the glory. I never wished for Henne to throw a magnificent rainbow pass 30 yards downfield with a perfect touch - I wished for Braylon to make a miracle catch while doing 6 backflips and thinking about which charity he would donate to all at the same time. A few weeks ago I realized that I was subconsciously using Chad Henne's amazing talent as a tool to be happy as a Michigan fan - but Chad was never the reason for my happiness. I think that will change this year.
There's something different about Chad lately. He seems a little cockier. A little more sure of himself. How Henne got his groove? I don't know. I don't really care, either. I'm just glad to see the swing in his step again. Maybe it's the new 'do. Maybe it's the three-day stubble he's always wearing, which makes you think he's up all night studying playbooks, watching film, and going days without even a thought of leaving the athletic campus. Perhaps it's that grin in his eyes we see in all the media day pictures which seems to say "This is my year. This is my team. This year, I'm going to give you what you've all been waiting for."
I'll be rooting for you tomorrow, Chad. Mayber it's too little too late - but it's better late than never.