maybe i should have had greg howard write the brandon obit.
Last night, Paul and I took in a game at Canton South High School, the home of 2010 wide receiver commit Jerald Robinson. The Wildcats took on the Dover Tornadoes, one of their big rivals in Ohio's Division 3. Since this was a pretty big game, the local TV stations were in attendance, and the game was televised live in the area.
The game got off to an unceremonious start for Canton South, as their first play from scrimmage was a snap over the quarterback's head, recovered by Dover near the 3 yard line. The Tornadoes easily punched it into the endzone, and Robinson returned the ensuing kickoff near the 30 yard line. Two plays later, lightning struck again, as their running back fumbled the ball, and Dover recovered yet again, easily converting another touchdown.
From that point forward, Canton South had to throw the ball to stay in the game, something that was tough to do with an overwhelmed quarterback in his first game. When I predicted whether Robinson would be able to move up in the rankings, I said the QB play would be a factor - so don't expect him to have much of an opportunity to move up.
Robinson was targeted a couple times early on slants, and ran one reverse for 7 yards, but later in the game, he was hardly getting the ball thrown his way at all, and oftentimes wasn't even running routes as the QB rolled away from his side of the field. I would guess that he got slightly injured early in the game (and he did have his ankle rolled at one point but got immediately back up), and couldn't cut as well as he'd like. Later in the game, when they started throwing his way again, it was almost exclusively on fade routes, which were mostly well-defensed or poorly-thrown. Defensively, he didn't always appear to put in the utmost effort, and though part of that may be a matter of scheme (don't let anybody get behind you, no matter what happens), he also seemed hesitant to tackle at times, and his better upside seems to be at wideout. He finished with 2 receptions for 6 yards, 1 solo and 6 assisted tackles, and one 7-yard rush.
The Wildcats mounted a valiant comeback effort on the back of two catch-and-run touchdown receptions by James Lucas, the team's #2 receiver, but the deficit was too much for them to overcome, and they ended up on the wrong side of a 27-14 result. The teams were fairly evenly matched (especially with South not being able to use their whole playbook playing from behind), and if they played again, the result could just as easily go the other way.
Video Highlights (Photo Gallery included in next week's Friday Night Lights feature).
First we talked coaches, and now onto the players themselves.
- Shaw is hoping that he will be able to stay fully healthy this year. He has his burst back, and he just needs to get his confidence going full blast again.
- "I'm kinda favoring it [the injury]. My confidence is returning, and I just can't let up in rehab."
- The indication that there was something truly wrong was the Minnesota game. He was caught from behind for the first time in his career - "and I've been playing football since I was 7 years old" - and his dad called and said there must be something more serious wrong with him.
- The team had lots to prove in the offseason, and they took their workouts to a whole new level to prove it.
- Grady will play both fullback and tailback "whatever position helps the team win." Being able to play multiple positions gives the team more personnel versatility.
- "I haven't played with my brother since I was a sophomore [in high school], so it should be pretty cool."
- As defending the spread goes, it's the more experienced defensive teams that are best at trying to shut them down.
- Mathews isn't sure whether the spread offense will best help prepare him for the NFL. "I still have my old playbook, so I can always look at that." If anything, he says playing in multiple offenses over his career might help make him a better all-around receiver.
- Different offenses (such as the spread) work well in college, which is what makes the college game more fun to watch. However, in the NFL, there are so many good athletes on defense that it's difficult for these offenses to succeed.
- He has only been in Ann Arbor a little over two weeks, though he participated in voluntary workouts over the summer. It was frustrating to wait at home and miss the first week of practice, especially because he needed to get going on the adjustment to college ball.
- Turner grew up a Michigan fan (and took grief from Ohio State fans once he committed to the Wolverines), and he has some family in the area, so if he feels homesick, they're only 20 minutes away.
- Charles Woodson was the reason that Turner liked Michigan as a child, and he was happy to get the #2 jersey to honor his idol. Though he hasn't met Woodson, his eyes lit up when told that he would probably have the opportunity. "Today?" Sorry, it will have to wait until the season.
- Koger will be used as a true TE, flexed out wide, and this year, they're adding in some packages as an H-Back.
- In terms of catching passes, his use won't be too different from last year - though hopefully he'll see more passes thrown his way: "If I'm open, I'll get the ball."
- He's looking forward to spending a year healthy. The wrist injury plagued him all last year - even after he made his breakthrough later in the season.
- It was a relief to break out against Penn State, but not too big because he was expecting to do it eventually. That doesn't mean he was too frustrated with his performance leading up to the game, though. He's forgotten about all of the struggles last year (both individual and team) and looking forward to this year.
- He doesn't care if splitting carries reduces his time in the spotlight, saying "I'll take them as they come. Whatever helps us win."
Don't forget about Paul's media day photo gallery, either. It features Michigan QBs holding hands, and should not be missed.
Oy. This showed up on the official PSU College of Engineering facebook page and is impossible to comment on without being cruel:
So I won't. Aaaaargh yes I will. I ran an open-mic standup night* for a while, so I can say this with authority: there's but one thing sadder than arrogance from a man who only thinks he's funny.
*(into the ground.)
Scratch that. Remember "the Big Ten should nix this Indiana-in-Maryland thing"? Yeah, nevermind:
After Glass discussed the game with Lynch, Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany and Penn State AD Tim Curley, the league's athletic directors voted on the game during a conference call last week. It was approved by a unanimous vote of 9-0 (Penn State and Indiana abstained).
Why on earth would anyone vying for the Big Ten title approve this sort of thing? If you think the answer is green and floppy, you win a prize:
"With our revenue sharing, the Big Ten is going to make more money off this game than they would have in Bloomington, Indiana," Glass said.
Yeah, but how much is that going to be per school? It can't be more than a couple hundred K, and is that worth it if you're sitting on top of a pile of money and laughing a la Michigan or Ohio State? I bet the only people who think so are non-revenue coaches. If this game is actually close and Penn State wins the Big Ten next year, a lot of ADs are going to look dumb.
Point maybe? Ok, ok, lulz Ohio State is pleading with their fans not to act like jerks to the Navy, but why does this courtesy only get extended to service academies? I don't mean from an OSU perspective, I mean from a larger sociological perspective. It's always bothered me when the PA announcer asks Michigan Stadium to welcome Eastern Michigan or whoever and the response is booing. Really? Really we have a big problem with Eastern Michigan, or any MAC school, or most of the Big Ten?
I'd like to save it for actual rivals and maybe teams who are particularly annoying in a certain year. (Say, Wisconsin after that whole unpunished knee-twisting incident.) It means more that way. Right now we're just misanthropes. Boooo Ben Konop booooo.
Em. Er? Would you believe this is an attempt to debunk the idea that Mark Dantonio's offense is straight outta Pangea?
Michigan State, a supposed "run-oriented offense", ran the ball 56% of all plays from scrimmage. By way of comparison, Michigan, a "spread & shred" offense, ran 57%. … Michigan State has a greater tendency to run when tied or leading (and an incredible 87.5% tendency to run when leading by 2 or more TDs). This is is not necessarily some devotion to neanderthal, smash-mouth football. Rather, it shows a deliberate, low-variance, ball control strategy, used to choke the life out of the game when leading and skewing the overall run/pass balance toward run.
I don't necessarily disagree with the rest of the points in that article; I do think it talks past the issue instead of really addressing it. The comments of that post point out that MSU's run-pass split on first down was 2-1, and that was with a senior quarterback (albeit not a very good one). And since Michigan State's runs were largely ineffective—MSU was 77th in rush yardage and averaged 3.3 YPC—that set up second and third and long situations that tilted the playcalling to the pass. Meanwhile, Brian Hoyer was not good but MSU averaged 7.0 YPA, and that was considerably better on first down.
Meanwhile, Michigan averaged 3.9 YPC and—ugh—5.1 YPA. Superficially, Michigan and Michigan State had near-identical run-pass breakdowns but… yeah, that's only superficial.
I watched this for years under Lloyd Carr, who once took senior Tom Brady, Marquise Walker, and David Terrell into a BCS bowl against a vicious run defense and horrible secondary and spent the first half plowing into the line for two yards a carry. Some coaches just want to grind into the line and last year is ample evidence Dantonio is one of them.
Aaaand nightmare fuel! LSUfreek is a terrible wizard.
[note: The OZone made a copyright claim on the hilarious opening still of the freekery. So it's down.]
I made the mistake of putting this in the post a half-hour before it was ready. It's now burned into my brain. God help me.
The high school football season is officially underway. Only one of Michigan's commits (Cornelius Jones) has played in an official game thus far, but there have been several scrimmages that are at least worthwhile to mention, and lots of season previewin' has been going down. If you run across a game article on any of these guys, make sure you drop it in the comments.
SC QB Cornelius Jones
This Week: Spartanburg (0-1) @ Union county on Friday.
|Cornelius Jones 2009|
|Dorman 8/21||L 7-20||7||24||42||0||0||29.17||1.75|
MI QB Devin Gardner
This week: Inkster v. Pioneer at Eastern Michigan on Saturday at 8PM. MGoBlog will be there will photo & video.
MI WR Ricardo Miller
Ann Arbor area capsules.
Inkster v. Pioneer at Eastern Michigan on Saturday at 8PM. MGoBlog will be there with photo & video.
OH WR Jerald Robinson
He'll produce this year, despite drawing heavy coverage from opponents.
This week: Dover @ Canton South on Thursday. MGoBlog tentatively plans to be there with photo and video.
OH DT Terry & CB Terrence Talbott
This week: Princeton @ Wayne on Thursday. MGoBlog tentatively plans to be there with photo and video.
TX RB Stephen Hopkins
This week: Marcus @ Grapevine on Friday.
MI RB Austin White
White hopes to lead Stevenson to a state title.
This week: Stevenson @ Livonia Franklin on Friday.
OH WR/DB DJ Williamson
Warren G. Harding preseason preview. Williamson will start at WR and play some corner as well.
This week: East Cleveland Shaw @ Harding on Friday.
LA WR Drew Dileo
Dileo #46 player in the state.
This week: Parkview @ Christian Life Academy on Friday.
MI WR/TE Jeremy Jackson
Ann Arbor area capsules.
This week: Huron v. Chelsea @ Eastern Michigan on Saturday at 5PM.
OH OL Christian Pace
Avon Lake predicted to be conference champions.
This week: Maple Heights @ Avon Lake on Friday.
FL S Marvin Robinson
This week: Lake Region @ Mulberry on Friday.
OH CB Courtney Avery
Featured on the cover of the Mansfield News-Journal's preseason magazine (seen at left).
This week: Lexington @ Smithville On Friday.
OH LB Antonio Kinard
A regional player to watch:
Antonio Kinard, Youngstown Liberty, RB/LB, Sr., 6-4, 210: Michigan recruit has size and mobility between the tackles. Collected over 80 tackles and six sacks as a junior.
This week: East @ Liberty on Friday.
TX RB Tony Drake
Skyline is pre-season #3 in their district.
The Raiders don't start their season until next week.
PA DE Ken Wilkins
The Hillers don't start their season until next week.
PA DE Jordan Paskorz
The Talbots don't start their season until next week.
Programming note. I've accepted the daunting task of getting up at 7AM to sit in for Sam Webb on WTKA's morning show tomorrow. I'll be on from 7-10. Wooo Mountain Dew!
Charity note. If anyone's got some spare roller hockey equipment lying around, L'Hockey Folie would like to put it to good use.
Luxury box followup! Artist's rendition of the 2025 Big House:
The Shredder explains his masterpiece:
With all the HD Jumbo screen talk(and with my boring 3rd shift) I figured I would draw it using my awesome skills. Now every one can see it. The future of the Big House. Around 2025 I am guessing. I did remove the one press box so you could see the field, so just pretend it's there. I also added seats above the HD screens and on top of the press box. Bringing the total seating to 125,000. In the year 2025 we will have be playing night games and using Maize jersey's. Welcome to the future! Great Scott!
These were not the top secret plans I referenced this morning. But they should be.
Obvious quarterback questioning. Tim's getting frustrated with the nonstop quarterback questioning at the press conferences, but none of you are going so here you go:
The art of saying nothing in 1:14. I don't think there's much chance all three QBs play equally well for anything length of time, and neither does Rodriguez, but he refuses to rule out anything. All things are possible.
Mealer okay? Elliot Mealer's shoulder was severely injured in that Christmas Eve car crash and there were some rumors that the effects of it still lingered and may be a permanent hindrance to his ability to play. Apparently that's not true:
"I've come a long ways," Mealer said. "You know, My arm is actually stronger, I think. My bad arm, so to speak, is stronger than my good arm and it's been a long ways. I still rehab it to this day, and then do a little prehab, as they call it, just to keep it loose and it helps. So it's come a long ways."
Mealer's not likely to play this year but should work himself into the playing mix in 2010.
BONUS Kevin Koger hype (the article is about Toledo-area players for M):
"Kevin Koger's had a great great offseason," said Calvin Magee, Koger's offensive coordinator and position mentor. "He's done well. He's gotten a lot stronger and a lot faster, and it's a natural progression from freshman to sophomore year.
"He's changed his body. You know, his weight's around the same. He's more lean now. So naturally, he's got more muscle on him. That allows him to be faster and he's one of those kids that committed himself to the offseason conditioning and it's going to help him a great deal."
The Revsine return. The Big Ten Network has returned from its tour of Big Ten practices and Dave Revsine has superlatives:
Best Drill: The "M" Drill at Michigan. It's the Oklahoma Drill, but with a twist. There are three layers of blocking going on – linemen going 1 on 1, then a FB or TE engaged with a LB, followed by a WR and a DB. The back with the ball then tries to run through all three levels. Very intense and really well done. …
Impact Freshman: Tate Forcier, Michigan. I think Forcier is perfect for Rodriguez's system. Throws well, particularly on the run, and he runs well. He has everything they need. Seems Rodriguez isn't quite as convinced, given his plans to play three QBs in the opener against Western Michigan, but I still think that, ultimately, Forcier will be the guy. …
Honorable Mention: Vincent Smith, Michigan. Another tiny Smith who packs some serious punch, Smith absolutely bowled over a defender in a tackling drill, then, the next time he had the ball, juked another guy out of his uniform with a great move.
All that's cool, but Michigan didn't show up on any of Revsine's top position groups, or honorable mentions. Not that you expected them to anywhere except tailback, where Revsine bizarrely goes with Michigan State as his third-place team.
You said what? Gary Barnett talked crap about Gary Moeller's substitutions. This did not end well for him.
Isn't it strange that Barnett left Northwestern for Colorado and since that event Northwestern has probably been the better program? What happened to the Buffs?
Required. Hey here's a quote by new offensive line grad assistant Cory Zirbel that contradicts those of the discontent departures and by law I must post it:
"I've had people come up to me and say, 'How can you be a part of that coaching staff?' Those people aren't true Michigan fans. ... People don't understand how I accept my role, but those people don't know.
"It's an honor. It's Michigan, always going to be Michigan. Coach Rodriguez is a great guy, presented me an opportunity, and I took it."
So there you go, family values and so forth and so on.
Coner! It took four years but someone finally mentioned David Cone in a practice recap:
Speaking of Forcier, I'm really started to warm to the way he throws the ball. It looks much better than any of the other quarterbacks. Also, David Cone has an odd throwing motion.
I think I buried the lead there.
Etc.: Herbstreit says the M-ND game is make or break for Weis, which yeah probably. GBMW has a transcript of Rodriguez's appearance on the Dan Patrick show. Michigan's replacing its media guides with online equivalents. Volleyball and women's soccer are test cases.
It's hard to believe that only two summers ago, a segment of Michigan supporters ardently opposed this project, that the group called Save The Big House formed and worried luxury boxes desecrating a timeless landmark.
The Big House was indeed saved, not by groups stuck in the past, but by Bill Martin and his construction shovels.
From the exterior, Michigan Stadium had become dumpy and dated. The interior had become known for its crowded walkways, long lines and cramped seating.
Watching a game at The Big House may have evoked some sort of nostalgia for fans, but using the stadium in a practical sense had become somewhat of a miserable experience.
That's AnnArbor.com's Dave Birkett. Obviously, I'm with him. I'm not sure how anyone can see the gorgeous brick exterior going up and think that tin walls that were so plain that someone thought slapping a halo on them would be a good idea were better.
Tim has a bunch of pictures below and some key numbers, including the number of commitments they have for the 82 suites (58). That's 70% full; club seats are in the 60-70% claimed. That sounds well on its way to selling out, but it seems like that number hasn't budged in a while. Not that selling suites in the face of a 3-9 season and the END OF AMERICA is an easy thing.
My impressions, which are based entirely on a comparison with a Tiger Stadium suite I was in earlier this year because of corporate ticket fatigue:
- They are swank. The Tigers' digs aren't particularly old but they suffer in comparison: granite versus 50's-era laminate countertops, flatscreens versus tube TVs that seem like they're from the 50s.
- They are way less inconvenient. If you don't want to order 80 bucks worth of food at a Tigers' game you have to hoof it down to the plebes and get a taco salad or whatever and miss at least a half-inning. I assume this won't be a problem at Michigan since there should be points of sale on that level if the food doesn't come with your 70k.
- The bathroom thing is a little odd. One advantage for the Tigers: you get your own bathroom; here you get access to a bunch of concourse bathrooms only the patricians can access. That might be better, I guess, since I assume the bathrooms will be so plentiful that one will always be open and that might not be the case in a sixteen-person suite.
There was a fierce debate about whether or not the window configuration—you can open them—blocks line of sight. A lot of media members thought it did but since we were all standing up I think maybe it's not a problem when you're seated. It's probably a ton better than the Tigers, who inexplicably put unnecessary pieces of metal directly in your LOS.
They also showed us around the club seats underneath the new structures. If a magic fairy came down and told me I could sit anywhere in the premium seating I wanted and if I didn't he'd shoot me* I'd probably go with those. They sit below an overhang, which should keep rain and less pleasant things off and also make the stadium seem electrically loud—the Tiger suite had a similar noise-catching configuration and it was surprisingly lively. They've also got access to an air-conditioned Donor Whose Name I Forgot Lounge that's got bathrooms and points of sale and whatnot. But I have different requirements than men in suits with 55-85k.
Speaking of: yes, 55-85k "gift" per suite, which is approximately $5.7 million per year without considering the 3000 club seats. This thing is going to be a money factory. And now I realize there's a word for "money factory": mint. If only I had the power to delete.
Oh also noes! The day's most-discussed topic:
They're switching from Pepsi to Coke, which several eagle-eyed reporters picked out. I wouldn't have been able to tell you which company had the previous contract.
Greg also points out something I noticed and winced at as we clambered up the stairs:
Crisler looks sadder and sadder with every new touch they put on the renovation. That place has got to go.
Looking out the window of the brick, glass, and class structure being erected, Crisler looked dingy and old. A new practice facility will help, but only so much.
BONUS rumor debunk/start! Debunk: the classic art deco lettering on top of the press box is going to be saved but they don't know what they're going to do with it. It had previously been rumored to be headed for the entrance tunnel.
Start: I heard tell there are vague plans for another 27 rows in the endzones at some indeterminate future date in case Beaver Stadium ever gets uppity.
Thing that wasn't even a rumor but I asked about anyway, mostly in jest: there are no plans to but bleachers on top of the new luxury box structures.
*(The family heirlooms are season tickets that have been in continuous use since the 50s; they are good seats.)