Peppers at 10, which seems low.
SON OF A. I should have read this message board post before I posted the game column. Here's some car vandalism from the weekend that would have been a perfect insert:
This is what happens when you drop your vandalism major.
Thanks, Les. The Les Miles misery machine managed to bump Michigan below the fold in TWIS…
…so thanks for that. The Michigan section is devoid of anything like dong-punching, but only thanks to this guy and his rageohol:
This is not me. I was in the stadium one row behind an adorable child. I swear it.
Penn State implosion explanation, implications. How did Illinois run for almost 300 yards against Penn State's normally tough defense? It was the second string D:
- Linebacker Gerald Hodges: Missed his fourth game with a hairline fracture but has begun running.
- Defensive end Jack Crawford: Foot injury, spent game on crutches on the sideline, might need surgery, Paterno said.
- Linebacker Mike Mauti: Missed game with a high ankle sprain.
- Linebacker Bani Gbadyu: Knee injury.
- [Ed: these two are my additions.] Defensive end Sean Stanley: suspended for violations of team rules.
- Cornerback Derrick Thomas: suspended for violations of team rules.
- Defensive end Eric Latimore: Sustained wrist injury on first play, could be out for an extended period.
- Defensive back Nick Sukay: Possible torn pectoral muscle, also could be out for a while.
- Defensive end Pete Massaro: Treated for dehydration symptoms and played with an injured left quadriceps.
- Defensive back Andrew Dailey: Sustained possible stinger on helmet-to-helmet hit in second half.
- Defensive tackle Jordan Hill: Aggravated previous ankle injury.
That's eleven guys from the two-deep, all of whom have seen significant playing time. Michigan plays Penn State in three weeks. It sounds like Sukay, Latimore, and Crawford will definitely be out. Mauti and Hodges could be out, too, and who knows what's with Stanley and Thomas. If it's serious enough for them to miss two games it's 50-50 they'll miss four.
While that sucks for PSU that opens the ever-widening window of opportunity Michigan has in Happy Valley. That will be a critical game for Rich Rodriguez unless Michigan pulls off the upset against Iowa, in which case it will only be a very important game.
The vault. MGoVideo has put a bunch of old newsreels from the 50s and 60s on the tubes. I linked one on the sidebar yesterday that didn't end so well. None of them actually end that well, though, since they're reels from the 50s, when Michigan was no good. The best I can do is a 6-2-1 Michigan keeping the Brown Jug in 1949:
Other hat-laden newsreels covering:
- The 1951 Minnesota game, a 54-27 win over a turrible Gopher team.
- Football yearbooks in 1957 (5-3-1, losses to very good MSU and OSU teams), 1958 (2-6-1 bler), 1959 (4-5), and 1965 (4-6).
Newsreels only covered mediocre to terrible Michigan teams, evidently.
While we're idling in the 40s and 50s, a reader sent along this 1947 Time article on Crisler's Mad Magicians that sounds strikingly similar to what's going on around these parts sixty years later:
Michigan's 1947 Wolverines are a good bet to be the second team in Michigan's history to play in Pasadena's Tournament of Roses. They have been rated the nation's best. They are as unlike Fielding ("Hurry-Up") Yost's old-time Michigan teams as modern design can make them. There are no roughcast iron men on Michigan's 1947 squad. It is a collection of chrome-plated, hand-tooled specialists. Some never get a chance to make a tackle, others never throw a block. Usually none stays in a game long enough to work up as much sweat as the radio announcer, who tries to keep track of them as they trot on & off.
Michigan's shrewd Coach Fritz Crisler has taken advantage of the unlimited substitution rule. In the first four games of the season, Crisler's team used everyone but the water boy, and averaged 55 points a game.
The way they did it was something to behold. Lacking brawn, they have to be nimble. And jack-nimble is what they are —and as well-drilled as the Rockettes.
And if they had sports talk radio back then someone would call in to grouse about how this team is soft and doesn't compare to what all they had in dickety-two when Michigan beat back the Kaiser and called it a day. It's crazy that Crisler invented platooning—that anyone had to say "hey, now, maybe I should get people off the field from time to time." Also he said this:
"Confound it, if you want to be sensational, bounce the ball, turn a somersault, then pick it up and run."
This is exactly what Rodriguez says to Mike Cox.
Also, things were slightly more relaxed in 1947 when it came to everything. 24 year-old star Robert Chappius is described as such:
At the Phi Delt house, where he is president for the second year, he is a sharp bridge player and a whizz at cribbage. His card sense helps augment his G.I. allotment and the $50 a month he gets from his dad, who is an executive in a Toledo, O., porcelain-products company. On the practice field, Chappuis is very "coachable," which is exceptional in a senior. Chappuis learns easily, just as he does in the classroom, where he makes a C-plus average seemingly without ever opening a book.
Gambling! C+ averages despite never opening books! Coachable despite being a senior! In 1947 anything short of stabbing a man was good, and even that might be okay if the guy seemed German.
Iowa injury bits. Starting MLB Jeff Tarpinian is questionable. He played a little bit early in the Penn State game but left with an assortment of stingers, sending senior Troy Johnson into the lineup. Johnson got a "minor" concussion and was replaced by freshman James Morris.
So who is it this week? The Hawkeye depth chart lists Johnson first and Morris second—no Tarpinian. Everyone else save the battered tailback corps, now Adam Robinson and some freshmen, should be ready to go.
Firin' talk moratorium notification. This was inevitably going to happen after the first loss and it has happened so a note to emailers and whoever else: I'm not going to speculate on whether or not Rodriguez should or will be fired when there are six important data points coming up in the next month and a half.
Etc.: MGoUser tomcat sits next to TX LB recruit Kellen Jones on his flight home from Houston, reports back that he's a nice guy serious about academics. More MSU postgame from Dreaded Judgment and Genuinely Sarcastic; the latter is seriously overheated. I'm not sure what the Hoover Street Rag is talking about in theirs.
For live updates of the games I'm attending, follow me on Twitter @varsityblue. If you can help out finding articles on any of the commits, @reply me on Twitter or e-mail me, and I'll try to include your contribution.
New Commit FL RB Demetrius Hart
In Dr. Phillips's preseason game, Hart rushed for a touchdown, while taking 10 carries for 106 yards. Or was it 76 yards, with 108 in returns? It was just an exhibition, so I won't be a stickler for accuracy, though the DP website says 10 carries for 86 yards and 3 receptions for 9 yards. If you're a Scout subscriber, you can see the highlights from that game.
Edgewater keyed on Demetrius Hart, but with an Alabama coach watching DP's scatback still generated 75 yards on 20 carries and boosted his school scoring record with the 39th and 40th touchdowns of his career.
Was nothing to write home about by his lofty standards. Another postgame column by the Sentinel:
[Hart] was the object of most of Edgewater's defensive attention but still managed to rush for 75 yards and pad his school scoring record with his 39th and 40th career TDs.
So: nice. For the record, the Dr. Phillips website (which I'll use for stats since it's a consistent source) credits him with 79 yards on the ground.
In Game 2 against Osceola, Hart ran 19 times for 96 yards and three TDs. The Sentinel has highlights:
The DP website says Hart also had three receptions for 47 yards.
Hart carried 18 times for 224 yards and scored on runs of 17, 7, and 88. He added a fourth TD on a 33-yard pass from junior quarterback Nick Patti, who threw for four scores.
"It was a great effort," Hart said. "We had a lot of minor distractions. We came together to win."
Hart, a 5-9, 185-pound bottle rocket of a back who is being recruited by Alabama, Michigan and Auburn, came in needing 127 yards to break Al Gilreath's 20-year-old school career rushing record of 2,230 yards. He surpassed that mark in the third quarter and zoomed past the 200 plateau for the first time this season with his long breakaway scoring scamper that made it 49-0 with two minutes remaining in the third quarter.
Hart also ran his DP career records for TDs up to 48, points to 288, and all-purpose yards to over 4,500.
"All that means is win a state championship," Hart said, brushing aside talk of his individual accolades.
:swoons:. Yet again, video evidence (hide the women and children, it's gory):
In Game 4, Dr. Phillips smacked Cypress Creek 52-0. Hart ran for 168 yards (and four touchdowns) on just 14 attempts. Through four games, the Orlando Sentinel pegged him as the second-best offensive performer in Central Florida (despite doing more scoring and totaling almost as much offense as a quarterback in #1 Jeff Driskel. I'm sure it's just a coincidence that they picked a Gator commit as the #1 offensive performer).
After a bye week, Game 5 saw Dr. Phillips go up against Boone. Demetrius committed to the Wolverines immediately after rushing for 145 yards in a 45-0 romp. He also had 122 receiving yards, and 4 total touchdowns. There's all sorts of video from the game, with the above link containing highlights, along with a Brighthouse Sports Network (who televised the game) postgame wrapup. In addition, thanks to an awesome mgoblog reader who wished to remain anonymous, enjoy every carry by Hart:
Weeeeee MICH again.
|Demetrius Hart 2010|
|Cypress Creek||W 52-0||14||168||4||12.00||1||7||0||7.00||3||24||0||8.00|
This week: Dr. Phillips travels to Evans on Friday at 7:30.
FL QB Kevin Sousa
Last week: Lake Nona fell to Auburndale 35-31. The Lions' offense finally came alive, jumping out to a 28-7 lead before the defense faltered down the stretch. Sousa's coach told TomVH that Sousa's breakout performance led to the offensive output, with 13/20 passing for 197 yards and 3 TDs, and 17 carries for 150 yards and a touchdown.
A couple of big weeks in a row finally have Sousa's season numbers looking a bit more respectable. Keep in mind he's doing this despite a porous offensive line, and without his top receiver.
|Kevin Sousa 2010|
|Oak Ridge||L 0-48||6||13||46.15||34||2.62||0||1||7||31||4.43||0|
|Lake Wales||L 6-42||14||21||66.67||199||9.48||0||1||13||64||4.92||1|
This week: Lake Nona visits Celebration on Friday at 7:30pm.
MI WR Shawn Conway
|Shawn Conway 2010|
|N Farmington||W 26-6||4||32||8.00||1||3||137||45.67|
|Country Day||L 21-28||3||62||20.67||0||3||32||10.67|
|Hazel Park||L 10-30||2||7||3.50||0|
This week: Seaholm hosts Ferndale Friday at 7.
OH OL Jack Miller
Last week: St. John's crushed Ecorse (MI) 49-6.
This week: St. John's hosts Clay Friday at 7.
FL OL Tony Posada
Last week: Plant beat Gaither 24-16. The game was closer than expected with Plant's star RB James Wilder unavailable. No word on whether Posada played for the Panthers.
This week: Plant hosts Spoto on Friday.
MI OL Jake Fisher
West went up 14 in the second quarter after a Saunders 3-yard run and a Kenny 24-yard pass to Jake Fisher... Petoskey answered with a Josh Daniel 19-yard score, but Fisher blocked the extra point...
Fisher returned an onside kick to the Petoskey 6 and Saunder ran it in for a touchdown one play later for the final score.
This week: TC West plays at Alpena Friday at 7pm.
OH DE Chris Rock
Last week: DeSales is dismantled by St. Edward 0-62.
This week: DeSales faces Bishop Watterson Friday at 7:30 at Crew Stadium..
MI DE/LB Brennen Beyer
"No. 1 was probably Brennen (Beyer) coming off the edge," said [Canton QB Ben] Merbler. "He's a great player and we were concerned about keeping him taken care of."
This week: Plymouth hosts Adrian on Friday at 6:30.
TX LB Kellen Jones
Last week: St. Pius X beat Kelly 28-0. Jones told Tom that he had 18 tackles, 7 for loss, 2 sacks, and a forced fumble.
|Kellen Jones 2010|
|Trinity Christian||W 33-7||11||5||1||0|
|Worthing||W 20-12||DNP - ankle|
|St. Thomas||W 28-10||11||3||1||0|
This week: St. Pius travels to Houston Christian on Friday at 7:30.
OH CB/S Greg Brown
Last week: Fremont Ross defeated Marion Harding 22-17:
The Little Giants were held without much success offensively until the 4:25 mark, when sophomore quarterback Tyler Wolf hooked up with Brown on an 83-yard touchdown pass down the right sideline, and Brown ran in the two-point conversion to make the score 10-8...
With 3:47 left on the clock in the third quarter, Brown ran 27 yards up the middle out of the shotgun to score...
Brown led Ross with 138 yards of total offense and two touchdowns in the game, rushing for 58 yards on nine carries to go with his two receptions for 80 yards.
The Fremont Ross Forum blog says:
Had it not been for a great Wolf to Brown TD pass(a thing of beauty) and a fumble recovery returned for a TD, this would have been a much different game.
Luckily the Ross defense woke up at halftime and shut down the Marion running game and the Little Giants punched in a TD on a Greg Brown 27 yard TD run.
This week: Ross travels to Napoleon on Friday.
MI CB Delonte Hollowell
Last week: Cass Tech pasted Henry Ford 54-0.
Next Week: Cass Tech plays Cody on Friday at 7:30 at Detroit Renaissance.
Dropped passes: "We were frustrated, but it happens. Unfortunately it happened in a pretty big ballgame." They'll catch some extra balls this week, and avoid it happening again. "There's nothing that happened on Saturday that's not fixable." Even the best players drop the ball sometimes.
The offense has high expectations for each week, and had more mistakes Saturday than they've probably had for the rest of the year. "We had to make some changes, and unfortunately some of those changes didn't work."
Denard was poised, but got caught in a couple situations he's not used to being in. He spoke up in the locker room after the game, and got a message across to the whole team. Said that the team had to work to avoid feeling that way again. "In his eyes, you could just see it. He's hungry."
Iowa's a great team with a great defense. "We've gotta be ready for it and we are."
"We're 5-1, not 1-5. Even though we lost to a pretty good Michigan State team in a rivalry, we've gotta move on."
"Sometimes when you're winning and everything's going perfect, we don't see the things we need to work on."
"I feel like we were doing pretty well early in the game, and they switched up some looks on us." Michigan adjusted, but wasn't able to execute as well. Being unable to get the pass game going hurt as well. "If we executed the way that we should have, it would have been more favorable on our side."
Team had grown accustomed to 500 yards of offense every week. They learned they can't just expect it, they have to work for it.
The team should respond well coming off a loss. "It's going to be something to grow from."
Iowa defense - "They have a talented front four. They have a talented defense overall." Big, strong guys on the front. "They're a sound defense. They won't throw a lot of different things at you, but they're really good at what they do."
Denard "was clearly upset after the game. We all were." He told the team that it's going to be unacceptable for them to play that poorly again.
Resolve going into this week's game. "It's a learning experience." They'll recuperate and go into the week with the same focus as last week.
"Losing is losing. Every game for us is a big game." Trying to prove that they can accomplish their goals despite setbacks.
Leaders - seniors all have to step up. "There's some things I could have done better myself."
It was hard coming in as a young guy, the freshmen this year will get it soon enough. "You just gotta bring them up to speed. The game's gonna go how the game goes." Seniors need to help keep them up to speed on the field. Off the field, they lead by example in the weight room, etc.
"We have the players to defend anybody that we play. It just comes down to execution and keeping a clear focus."
"We aren't blind to the fact that we have some glaring weaknesses, but we're working hard to get on those."
Ryan Van Bergen
"We just didn't play gap-sound football" against the run. Guys were trying to make plays in the wrong gaps.
Hard for the young guys to come in without seniors to teach them the ropes in the secondary. "I think that as they grow, the defense is gonna get better and better." That improvement can happen from week-to-week. Once a couple different guys "click," the defense should be good.
In the locker room after the game, Coach Rod said that one loss can't deter the team from their goals. There's a lot of season left. "We still have a lot of opportunities to prove ourselves as a good team."
Fewer injuries than last year, losing Molk was a big deal. The losses started snowballing. This year, the seniors have made the underclassmen understand that there can't be a letdown.
Molk and Schilling, Roundtree, Denard are offensive leaders. All three D linemen, Jonas and Obi "try their best." And Craig. J.T. Floyd and Jordan Kovacs are the leaders at DB.
"I'm very confident in the gameplan." They knew what Michigan State was going to run, and that's what made it so disappointing, because they knew what was coming. "We were prepared for it all week, and unfortunately we just didn't get it done when it came time."
Notes from Rich Rodriguez's Monday meeting with the press.
Mike Martin and David Molk sprained ankles [Ed: PANIC!!!!], but both both should be fine [Ed: Cease PANIC]. Martavious Odoms broke his foot, no word on how long he's out other than "extended." James Rogers's injury against MSU was just cramps.
Carvin Johnson was a bit physically limited this past week, and his knee brace has been a hindrance. He'll be a bit better this week. "I don't know when he can take that brace off - I'm sure he wants to take it off today - but the trainers and doctors will determine that.
Shaw was still a little less than 100% against MSU. He should be 100% this week.
Toussaint - Won't be able to play this week. Rotator cuff injury, doesn't need surgery but does need rest. "I don't think it's mental at all. It's just bad luck." Reminds him of Brandon Minor.
Teaching Moments - "Probably we have a lot more teaching moments than I'd like, for sure, out of that ballgame." Team was just off in execution. State had something to do with that, but some were their own mistakes. D - "Our young guys are gonna make mistakes, but we've gotta get better fundamentally." Need to remember fundamentals, not just game prep, etc.
Didn't think there were more designed handoffs than there were earlier in the year. "They were playing us a certain way in the beginning, so there were probably more runs for the backs."
Dropped passes, a couple missed reads from Denard. Can't do that against a good opponent. More dropped passes in that game than there probably was the rest of the season.
Did MSU try new things to confuse Denard? "No. Not that I've seen and that we saw on film."
MSU D - "They've got good players; they played well. They moved their front some and they brought their safeties down. I thought they tackled pretty well and broke on the ball well."
Great support at the University, friends, family, colleagues. "Everybody wants the same thing here," and nobody's happy with a loss. "We lost to Michigan State, what, you wanna hang me off the building now? I mean, there might be a few people who want to do that, but that's the same people that probably wanted to do that after the first five games too, they just weren't saying it publicly."
After Denard's picks, RR talked to him about what he saw, and he got on the phone to coach Magee - but they do that on good plays as well.
"We didn't execute as well. They had something to do with that and we had something to do with that as well." Moving the ball on the ground.
Mixing up defensive personnel - "In the secondary, our only change is more freshmen playing... ready or not, here they are." Mike Jones would have played a lot at linebacker if he wasn't out for the season. "We'll see what happens this week in practice" as far as personnel changes at linebacker - need more production.
Denard very competitive, may have been pressing too much. "This is his first year as a starter... in all reality, he should be a redshirt freshman but he he had to play some last year. We're not going to panic." He's made tremendous strides from last year, and he'll be even better in the next couple years.
Younger guys typically aren't team leaders, but Denard is one still. "I'm not overly concerned with guys taking charge in the locker room and all that." Only need to worry about weak leadership when effort and focus wane, which hasn't been an issue.
Cullen Christian, Courtney Avery, and Terrence Talbott would be redshirting if there were enough numbers: "No question." They've been forced into duty this year and are growing up. "To play this many true freshmen on defense at this level, it doesn't happen very often."
"Some of the issues we have aren't gonna get solved overnight. We've just gotta minimize them the best we can, so we can still win ballgames."
Talent issues on D - "We're not as talented maybe as we'd like to be or we're gonna be." It's not just about recruiting, but also development - 4-5 true freshmen in the secondary, plus Carvin Johnson, Jibreel Black. They haven't had a chance to be developed yet. "Our development part with them and development of them in the weight room, and the development of them learning the system in college football and everything that goes on with that" can't happen until spring.
Team is resolved after a loss - their focus has been good, they'll be resilient and move forward instead of dwelling. Sometimes younger guys can move on quicker. No new leaders develop after a loss like this. "I'm not too much worried about that. I'm worried about them fixing what we need to fix and executing better."
"We've gotta be able to be patient." Don't want to press too much if they aren't having immediate success on offense. Need to remember to take care of the ball and make better decisions. "You've gotta be more decisive in your execution, and not try to force things."
Talks with defensive coaches about schemes, and a bit of fundamentals. "I'm obviously a lot more involved with the offense." Doesn't want to get spread too thin with all three phases of the ball. The coaches are frustrated that they aren't making the progress they want, but there are little signs of improvement.
Scheme has been simplified as much as possible to help the young guys. "If you're too simple, they'll find a way to go against you." You have to be more multiple. Iowa is one of the few teams that's able to beat you using mostly one defensive scheme.
Recruiting class to develop needs "We feel that's going really well." Particularly on defense: "This recruiting class will help us get those numbers... to that end." There's another 9-10-11 spots in the recruiting class, looking at positions where they're lacking depth.
Recruiting - Last couple classes were negatively impacted by drama around the program, but the coaches did a great job. "There's a lot of negative recruiting that goes on - and we've got a great thing to sell - but you've still got to fight it and our coaches have done a good job."
Doesn't want his coaches to fight fire with fire in negative recruiting "I'd rather just sell all the good things we have here." Will compare things like schemes, but doesn't talk negatively about other institutions. "It's not as bad in our league, in the Big Ten, than it is in other leagues."
"Sometimes you have a guy that comes into your program and he's on scholarship and maybe he didn't turn out to be as good or able to play at the level you want, but he does everything else right. You're not gonna boot him off your team for that reason."
Iowa has a veteran D, they have had two weeks to get ready for M. They're a great defense. "Their front four is as good as anybody's in the country." They'll occasionally blitz, but they don't need to in order to get pressure.
"Big physical team, Stanzi's an experienced guy, they've got some really explosive wide receivers. They're very good, and I think they're a top ten team in the country."
"We've got two really good tight ends in Webb and Koger. They're experienced guys." They've been playing well. "Their toughest challenge [blocking] comes this week" against Adrian Clayborn and the rest of Iowa's front.
In addition to game prep, the bye week will be used a lot to work fundamentals, particularly with young guys. This will be a normal week of game prep for Iowa.
Will watch film of last year's game against Iowa. Iowa has had two weeks to prepare though, and gotten a head start on preparation.
Will Iowa's run game mean more 4-man fronts? "We've got the ability to do that. We've done that a bit in every game." The key is to still be able to get off blocks, no matter how many linemen you have.
This was a big weekend for visitors, and although Michigan lost no one was disappointed with their trip. Michigan hosted three prospects on official visits, Kellen Jones (commit), Marquise Williams, and Devondrick Nealy. Here are reactions from Jones and Nealy followed by updates on a few defensive(!) prospects.
5'10", 175 lbs.
Slot Receiver/Running Back
Jefferson County, Florida
This was Devondrick's first official visit of the season. He's headed off to Minnesota next, believe it or not. He was excited before hand to make it up to Ann Arbor, and the visit seemed to exceed his expectations.
The visit was tremendous. I didn't commit, but it was close though. After this visit Michigan is my top school, for sure. Everything they have to offer outside of the football program was incredible. They broke down the academics part and it was great. I could really see myself at Michigan. The excitement came from the football program, but I was also excited about everything outside of football they have there.
So good luck Minnesota. Nealy now has Michigan at the top of his list followed by (in no order) Minnesota, Arkansas, and Auburn. He will take all five of his official visits and make his decision once they're done. Anything can happen, but it's good to get the early lead. I was also told by someone recently that Nealy had befriended now Michigan commit Demetrius Hart at a camp in Florida. Nealy apparently likes Demetrius, and likes the idea of being a tandem on offense with him as well.
6'2", 215 lbs.
St. Pius X, Texas
Current Michigan commit Kellen Jones came up for an official visit by himself to see more of the social side of the program. He was able to take that in and get to know some of the players a little better.
The visit was fantastic, despite the fact that Michigan lost of course. We hung out with Denard Robinson and Devin Gardner. It was cool to do that, I really like those guys. Denard said he hates losing, and if we wouldn't have been there he would just be by himself in his room. They were just telling me that you can't come up here and mess around, it's all in for football and academics, and I loved that.
Kellen loves Michigan, and despite living in Texas understands the rivalries and everything about the program. This visit gave him more of a personal sense to it, and allowed him to build friendships with current players. He also got a better view of where he fits into the defense next year.
Coach Robinson was saying that they see me as a Jonas Mouton type of player. Playing sideline to sideline, maybe a little inside, and a little outside too. I got a good chance to be with the coaches which was great. Coach Barwis is always fun to be around.
Since Kellen is a current commit, and loves Michigan, he got a chance to interact with a few other recruits and get their perspective on things too.
I talked to Delonte Hollowell (commit), and he's just like me he loves Michigan. I was there with Marquise (Williams) too, and he said Coach Rodriguez has been recruiting him since he was a sophomore. He really liked the environment, I think he was having a great time. He and Devondrick both were amazed with Mike Barwis, too. They both had a really good time.
I think it was a bonus to have Kellen there on an official visit. He's a yes sir, no sir kind of kid and is always excited to talk about Michigan. It sounds like he did a little recruiting, and it may have worked.
6'0", 190 lbs.
Wayne Lyons is the number four safety in the country, and recently decided that Michigan is back in his top list with Stanford, UCLA, Florida, Tennessee, and Nebraska.
I started talking to the coaches from Michigan a lot more, and realized that they do have a true need for me. I talk to coach Dews most of the time. He tells me how it's a good place, and that I would really fit in.
Lyons has already been to Notre Dame and UCLA, he also has a visit already scheduled to Nebraska at the end of October. That leaves two spots left for an official visit, and he's still not sure if Michigan will get that visit.
I'm thinking about making that one of my official visits. They're not necessarily on the outside, they're making it in there. It's just because I've been talking to the other schools for awhile now and I've already seen the other campuses. They're coming on though.
It seems like it would be a good idea to visit Michigan if he has already seen the other campuses. Michigan is making up ground with him, and I have a good feeling about him taking a visit.
- S Karlos Williams - Karlos told coach Smith that he will be taking an official visit up to Michigan once his season is over. His situation is interesting because he's committed to FSU, where his brother plays. He always says "You never know" when I ask if there's a possibility he will decommit from the Seminoles. Some kids just tell me that they're committed and he just want to take a look. "You never know" makes me wonder. Still, it will be hard to pry him away from FSU.
- LB Sean Duggan - Sean decided to take a visit up to Michigan this weekend, and it was his first college game experience. He said the atmosphere was crazy, and it definitely helped Michigan. He's down to Michigan, Boston College, Duke, and Virginia, and will be back up to Ann Arbor in December for his official visit. Boston College is the main competition.
- S Avery Walls - Recently took a trip to Oregon and was at Cal for an official visit this weekend. He leaves Monday night, and I have a phone call scheduled with him Tuesday. This was the last visit he will take, and he should be ready to announce his decision within the next few weeks, unless something has changed that. I still think Michigan is in good position, but the Oregon visit does give some cause for concern. He ended up missing the first half of the Oregon game, FWIW.
- Here's a list of prospects Michigan is still after in the Rival's Top 250 list.
- Iowa visitors - Full list will be posted soon. Some names of who's planning on making the trip, to tide you over: DB Dallas Crawford, WR Sammy Watkins, WR AJ Jordan, TE Drew Owens, and WR Hakeem Flowers. 2012 prospects: DE Chris Wormley, RB Will Mahone, QB Demetrious Davis, WR/DB Chris Davis.
10/11/2010 – Michigan 17, Michigan State 34 – 5-1, 1-1 Big Ten
This just popped into my head in the same way a chorus of angels singing hosannas delivered calculus to Newton: they were probably Juggalos.
There were two of them, and they were walking south down the train tracks just east of the stadium as Michigan State bled the final minutes off the clock. I was in the midst of a stream of mostly Michigan folk who'd had enough—my breaking point was the running into the kicker penalty—moving east with the intent of hitting State Street and parts beyond after following the pathway between the field hockey stadium and football's practice field.
I don't remember much in the way of Juggalo-identifying characteristics except the hats. They were those oversized baseball caps with an enormous, off-center Old English D surrounded by graphic frippery I'm pretty sure designers call "grunge." They were carefully placed on the head, maybe 15 degrees from straight. This has been scientifically determined to be the angle that communicates maximum defiance.
The hats, man. These were the hat equivalent of chrome skulls, because apparently the best way to destroy your credit rating is to buy a bunch of chrome skulls. Maybe this is an urban legend but it's too good not to be true: men in a tall building somewhere have determined that credit card purchases of chrome skulls are inevitably followed by default, and will cease lending money to people who make them. If defiant hat angles left a paper trail these guys wouldn't have been able to get a loan in Zimbabwe.
The rest of it was just a way of confirming the hats. These were guys who had thought to themselves "wait, how do fuckin' magnets work?" They may have been blazed out of their minds at the time but no one can tell the difference any more. The reader will be utterly unsurprised to find out that as these guys approached the intersection with the Michigan fans one of them shouted "who's the little brother now?"
You. Still you. Always you.
Someone in front of me who was either a really pissed off 6'5" guy with a beard or the living manifestation of my id got into it with them. I get why. I mean, you're an adult with a family and a dishwasher. You've never thrown a rock at Tila Tequila. And these guys—who almost certainly didn't even go to the game because they couldn't afford it given the hats, the time and the direction they're walking*—start talking shit to you.
After the path to State Street intersects the tracks it jogs right to give the football field room. So there is this stream of slowly-moving Michigan fans including me and id guy separated from the Juggalos by just a few feet and a fence. For what was probably only a minute but seemed like forever, then, I'm listening to the back and forth between these guys. It's the usual—id guy is repeatedly asked where he went to school until he defiantly points in the direction of campus and says "here," then says his major is "FINANCIAL MATHEMATICS!!!" when pressed.
That was Saturday: financial mathematicians screaming at Juggalos, and the Juggalos winning. The State meathead directly behind me literally said "bitch! fuck you!" whenever MSU tackled Denard Robinson for less than five yards. On Friday, Tim came back to his apartment to find a trail of blood leading to a passed-out State meathead who'd broken in. The same guys who clumsily spray-painted a bedsheet in 2008 to declare their glorious victory over the worst Michigan team in 50 years reprised their genius. As I walked home every glassy-eyed Stiffler that passed me upped the amplitude of my anger/depression cocktail. Jesus, they were everywhere. They came to Ann Arbor cocky and stupid and left cocky and stupid. Enduring it was brutal. In their eyes, that was probably the point.
That's why Mike Hart's comment cut to the quick so much that three years later it's still the first, last, and only thing on the Juggalo mind. If coaching doesn't work out, Hart should start a consulting agency that visits bitter people on their deathbeds and devises things to say that just stick, nagging, sitting on your shoulder and telling you that's really not okay.
As for the current Michigan program, they took a grim step back against Stiffler U and are now poised on the edge of the same cliff no one knew they were falling from until the Illinois game last year. It is really hard to step back and say "it's just one game" after that travesty at Michigan Stadium, both inside and out, but long experience has taught me that gritting your teeth and just getting on with it is better than screaming the name of your major to the world at large.
*(The tracks are mostly fenced and anyone walking down them at that point is coming from well north of the stadium.)
This guy. I'm about to double this guy's yearly traffic but oh well—this is exactly what I am talking about in blog post form:
And FUCK ROBINSON because it was more than him, Michigan State BEAT THE SHIT out of Michigan across the board, offense, defense, special teams, YOU NAME IT. WE BEAT THE YELLOW BELLY ASS UP AND DOWN THE FIELD.
I feel bad for the MSU fans I know, all fine people who don't own SHAGGY 2 DOPE jerseys, and the guys at The Only Colors but Christ, man. Normal-ish MSU fans were outnumbered ten to one.
Forgotten kindness. I meant to mention this in the aftermath of the Notre Dame game but it slipped my mind until the events of the weekend made me wish I was on the road in South Bend instead of at home against Michigan State: ND fans really are the nicest in the country. There are always Those Guys. In South Bend we had one in the row in front of us a few seats over who kept looking back at us and doing the usual dumbass fan taunting routine. The ND fans around us made fun of him for it. ND spawns the kind of pathology that makes ND Nation the most unintentionally entertaining message board on the internet but the vast majority of the fanbase are just nice people sad about their team.
With Weis gone, I'm not rooting against them in an active way until they're threatening for BCS bowls.
Also something I've forgotten to mention a lot. Drum major David Hines, Jr., probably has the best pregame back bend I've ever seen, and since I remember when the drum majors went from taking off the hat only for big games to doing it all the time, that's probably an all-time record.
This was always going to happen. People complaining about the defense, and there are many: WTF, are you surprised? Are you? Did you sit down at the beginning of the season and look over the post-Woolfolk secondary depth chart and think to yourself "boy, this looks like an average unit we've got right here?" This was already always going to happen last year, when the Decimated Defense Diaries and a simple count of available upperclassmen would have revealed that there was a giant gaping dropoff from the legitimate first-stringers Michigan had at maybe 8 or 9 positions to the second string. Then Donovan Warren, Justin Turner, and Troy Woolfolk departed Michigan's thinnest position. This was entirely predictable:
Plugging the enormous hole at safety would be great, but even if you make the reasonable assumption that Gordon/Kovacs/Robinson is going to be way better than Williams/Kovacs, the massive downgrade at corner means you're probably just treading water. Treading horrible, polluted, razor-blade-filled, despair-laden water.
The defense is off from hopeful expectations in that post but the reason is obvious. The depth chart is what it is.
The doom. I never thought Denard Robinson's problem throwing the ball would be a refusal to take off and run after the timer in the head expires. On all three interceptions he should have just run after he sat in the pocket for two or three beats. The second one was just death—pump-fake, hesitation, slant on the goal line? Guh. I think we all expected Denard would have some issues throwing the ball but three huge mistakes in one game is fatal unless you're going up against a team making those mistakes back at you. Michigan gained 263 yards in a half and had ten points from it.
FWIW, Touch The Banner suggests Denard's first two interceptions were just poor throws against man coverage. I haven't had the benefit of replay yet.
The frustration. The game's killer sequence occurred when Jordan Kovacs tackled an MSU TE three yards short on third and ten only for MSU to catch a break on a false start. On the ensuing third and fifteen Michigan couldn't tackle Keshawn Martin after he caught like a five-yard hitch and they converted. The ensuing touchdown drive was the distance that put Michigan in desperation mode. That's a ferret-puncher right there. Makes you want to go find a ferret, and punch it.
Also you can add many drops, a hopeless MSU pass getting deflected to a receiver, and another missed field goal.
Punt? I know you're down seventeen and it looks grim but a comeback isn't totally out of the realm of possibility… until you punt with like seven minutes on the clock. Apparently Rodriguez owned up to that as a mistake afterwards.
Long runs. I'm going to have a lot of fun figuring out the basic off-tackle runs that Michigan State hit for touchdowns. I'm just hoping Ezeh was not involved so that someone else can come in for the tsking. I do know that on the second one the right side of the line was Patterson and JB Fitzgerald at DE, which got run directly at and did about as well as you would expect. That one's probably on the DL at least somewhat. I'm sure Cam is at fault, too, because I said I like him and he would be important and that he was really good at filling on run plays. This is how the world works.
Cam also had an opportunity to undercut a receiver and intercept a long pass that he did not take; I believe that drive was the one on which MSU ended up in third and thirty-two, so it didn't end up mattering much.
The usual Vincent Smith complaining and counter-complaining and etc. You probably don't want Smith ever getting another third and one carry whether you're on Team Smith or Team Whoever Else. I couldn't believe Michigan 1) went with another inside zone to a back who almost never gets one yard after contact, let alone yards, and 2) didn't get it. Hopkins may have fumbling problems but at some point Michigan's fail on third and one is just as damaging.
Also, the difference between Smith and Shaw was painfully apparent and relevant on a run during one of Michigan's early drives when he broke into the open field with nothing between him and the endzone and got tackled by a linebacker coming from the inside. Shaw probably scores there; Michigan got a field goal on that drive IIRC.
Silver lining. Hey, Penn State looks winnable!