alternate headline: man does job
Bzzzt. UMHoops reports that Casey Prather's choice is Florida. Sorry for my incorrect earlier speculation/enthusiasm. Michigan is still pursuing MI SF Trey Ziegler, who won't decide until the spring. If they don't get him it'll be on to the class of 2011.
Old School. The 1957 Michigan-Indiana game via home video:
That comes from Uni Watch, which also notes via a reader that Michigan has some weird inconsistencies in the way they name players on their uniforms:
As you might know, Michigan football has a freshman QB, Tate Forcier. He’s the younger brother of Jason Forcier, who was once a third-string QB on the team (about five years ago or so) and then transferred to Stanford. When Tate started practicing in the spring, there was a thought that Jason would transfer back to Michigan and both brothers would be on the team at the same time. This never happened, but Tate still wears a ‘T. Forcier’ nameplate, as if Jason were on the team.
Meanwhile, we have Kevin Grady at FB and his brother Kelvin Grady at WR (who had been on the basketball team last year and then moved to football this summer). They’re both K. Grady — in fact, they’re both Ke. Grady — but they both wear just ‘Grady,’ even though they’re sometimes on the field at the same time. I sorta wish they did FNOB, which I love, or else ‘Kel. Grady’ and ‘Kev. Grady,’ but alas, they just wear their surname.
I’m surprised this would happen at Michigan, where they take the home uniforms so seriously.
FNOB = "first name on back." You can probably extrapolate what NOB means. Uni Watch has a weird insider lingo that fosters some community or something.
Let me take this opportunity to denounce a spreading scourge: nameless jerseys. If you're Notre Dame or Penn State, okay, whatever. But it seems like everyone is doing it now in an attempt to emphasize team unity or other such sportwritery nonsense. When Eastern Michigan is doing it, things have gone too far. I want to know who is who as a fan.
Baby's first Michigan-Michigan State game. The universe isn't quite back in order—Michigan State opened a slim underdog but is now a 1- to 1.5-point favorite—but it's getting there:
Michigan-Michigan State is big for both football teams, but for the Spartans, it could be their season
That's Mike Rothstein penning a headline that could have been written at any point in the last 40 years, though probably not with as much truth behind it as this time around. This is Rothstein's first exposure to Michigan State's particular mania…
The anger came in every syllable flying out of Kirk Cousins’ mouth. The disgust was evident on his face, the frustration obvious in his mannerisms.
Michigan may have multiple rivals and already pocketed a rivalry victory against Notre Dame this year, but an hour northwest, at Michigan State, there is only one rival. And there is only one game.
“This game is personal,” said Cousins, the Michigan State quarterback. “And we need to win it, and we’d better win it.”
"The lack of respect they have, period," defensive end Trevor Anderson responded when asked about his dislike for the Wolverines. "It's sickening."
The Spartans' offensive line is hurting and hasn't helped produce a single 200-yard rushing game this season.
But that didn't stop left tackle Rocco Cironi from chiming in.
"I think everybody has a hatred for Michigan," he said.
…I wonder if he thinks State is acting a little odd, in his experience? It would be interesting to get an outsider's perspective.
Win at all costs. Dantonio on Glen Winston:
One move that appears certain is additional carries for Glenn Winston, a sophomore running back from Detroit.
Winston is considered one of the team's top three running backs along with freshmen Caulton Ray and Larry Caper.
"You can't starve the horse that pulls the cart," said Dantonio of Winston's status.
Students going to game: "AJ Sturges" chant plz.
Um… really? My first instinct is that this is insane:
That's registered BlogPoll voter Dan Shanoff touting the poll in relation to the Coaches' and Harris polls, which are run by old men who haven't watched a football game since nineteen dickety-two. But the list of grievances presented by Doctor Saturday a month into the season is compelling:
• LSU is No. 4. Because ... ?
• Oklahoma is No. 8. Because ... ?
• The coaches rank Oklahoma State ahead of Houston.
• The coaches and Harris polls rank Penn State ahead of Iowa.
• The coaches and Harris rank Cal ahead of Oregon.
• All three polls rank Ole Miss ahead of South Carolina.
Each of these has explanation over at DocSat, though in many cases the explanation could be "duh." The blogpoll is far from perfect but the ever-expanding cadre of voters who are basing their ballots strictly on what's gone on between the sidelines—something the poll guidelines suggest should be implemented by week five and demand by week eight—makes for a poll that escapes most of those inanities. LSU and Oklahoma are still too high but lower. Houston, Oregon and Iowa are ahead of the teams they beat handily. And while South Carolina isn't ahead of Ole Miss, it's because neither features in the top 25. That's just the draft ballots, but historically what movement there is between Monday and Wednesday is of the variety that sees the final poll move more towards onfield events.
I still think it's insane. The BlogPoll contains a number of motley blogs that put "sucks" after every mention of Michigan or vote their team way higher than it deserves only to be struck down by malevolent forces. But a bunch of guys in their pajamas are transparently doing a better job of paying attention than the people actually in charge of making BCS decisions. So if it's insane, the only thing more insane is the current system.
Nice plane. I'd like to meet the man who owns this baby:
Wheeeeeee. Jonas Mouton Suspension Fiasco will not die:
The Big Ten Conference office announced today that Ohio State University football student-athlete Kurt Coleman has been suspended for one game as a result of initiating helmet-to-helmet contact and targeting a defenseless opponent in the fourth quarter of Ohio State's game against Illinois on Sept. 26, 2009.
This actually seems like it might not be directly related to the JMSF, as the BTN's article cites a new rule for 2009 that mandates post-game review and possible suspensions for helmet-to-helmet hits. I can't embed the actual incident, but here it is. I'm torn on this one. That was basically flinging your brain at a defenseless player's brain, and while it's less obviously unsportsmanlike than either the Mouton or Recknagle incidents it's far more dangerous.
If you can help out finding articles on any of the commits, e-mail me, and I'll try to include your contribution. This week, I made it to two games, and they're listed at the top. If you want up-to-the-minute updates of the games I attend, follow me on Twitter @varsityblue. Michigan received a commitment from Will Hagerup over the weekend, and I'll try to catch up with his season in the next edition of FNL.
MI QB Devin Gardner
Last week: Inkster defeats Highland Park 27-22. Gardner passed 9/16 for 129 yards with 2 TDs and 2 interceptions. He also ran 11 times for 74 yards and 2 more scores. MGoBlog was there, so check the photo gallery and video.
This week: Inkster (2-2) @ Bay City Central.
|Devin Gardner 2009|
|East Kentwood||L 33-52||19||30||389||3||1||63.33||12.97||10||102||2||10.20|
|St. Edward||W 14-7|
|Highland Park||W 27-22||9||16||127||2||2||56.25||7.94||11||74||2||6.73|
MI RB Austin White
This week: Stevenson (3-2) @ Novi.
|Austin White 2009|
|South Lyon||W 37-0||8||173||3||21.63||0||0||0||-|
NEW COMMIT WI P Will Hagerup
Basics for people who don't know what the hell I'm talking about, buddy, when I do UFRs. Endeavoring to have this heavily linked in them for future usefulness.
What's a "technique"? What's a one-tech, three-tech? What the hell are you talking about, buddy?
"Techniques" refer to where defensive linemen line up relative to the offensive line. As with all good indexing systems, it starts with zero, which is head-up over the center, and increases the farther you get away from the center. Helpful diagram:
Basically: 1-tech = 4-3 nose tackle, 3-tech = 4-3 defensive tackle, 0-tech = 3-4 style 350 pound space eater nose tackle.
What's the difference between strongside, weakside, playside, and backside?
Strongside and weakside are pretty self-explanatory: if there's a tight end (or two) in the game or an offset H-back/fullback, the side with more players on it is the strongside and the other side is the weakside.
Here, the strongside is to the top of the screen as that's where Kevin Koger is aligned. Some formations don't have a strong or weak side.
Playside is basically the direction the play is run in, and is important on stretch plays mostly. If the offense is running to the right, the right is the playside and the left is the backside. These terms usually get mentioned in the following ways:
- The "backside" defensive end is the player who doesn't get blocked by the defense and is instead read by the quarterback.
- I'll often refer to a good block by an interior lineman, usually the center, as sealing a guy "lined up playside of him". What this means is that the defender lined up outside of the OL—closer to the area where the running back will attempt to cut the ball up—and still sealed him away.
- Other blocks will be described as an OL "getting playside" or failing to do the same, which basically means the OL gets between the DL and his attempt to flow down the line of scrimmage and tackle as the back cuts up.
What is cover one, two, three, zero?
Cover X describes how many players are playing in a deep zone. Here's a look at a conservative cover three out of the 3-3-5 stack:
And here's a cover two out of a 4-3:
Higher X means a more conservative pass defense and more holes open underneath as more defenders are dedicated to the deep area of the field. Note that cover two usually has two deep safeties on the hashes and cover 1 or 3 usually makes do with one, using the other safety in a shorter zone or as a run defender or blitzer.
There's also a variation of cover three called "quarter-quarter-halves" where there are three deep defenders but one is tasked with half the field and the other two split the other half. This is usually a response to formations with lots of receivers on one side of the field.
What's this route you named?
- Flare: running back originally lined up in the backfield runs mostly parallel to the LOS and receives a pass behind said LOS.
- Flat: usually a slot receiver or TE but can also be a fullback or RB. Basically a really short out route that attempts to exploit cover three, which usually doesn't have defenders out there. Example.
- Out: player runs some distance downfield and then takes a hard 90 degree cut to the sideline.
- In: player runs some distance downfield and takes a hard 90 degree cut to the middle of the field.
- Drag: TE or slot receiver drags across the field maybe a yard to three downfield. Usually a checkdown that comes open late if it does at all.
- Slant: Outside WR runs diagonally up the field into an area that should be good against either man or zone coverage. Usually a short route good for 6-8 yards.
- Fly: also "go": receiver runs as fast as he can straight down the field.
- Seam: basically a fly route run by an interior receiver. Called a seam because usually there are deep middle safeties and the quarterback has to find the seam in the zone between the linebackers and said safeties.
- Post: variant of fly where after 10-20 yards, depending on the coverage, the receiver breaks his go route to the inside at a 30-45 degree angle.
- Corner: A post that breaks to the outside, usually run by slots or tight ends.
- Circle: route with an inside feint on which the receiver comes to a stop and then breaks to an out. This usually results in something of a circular path. Michigan won the Notre Dame game with one. Example.
- Wheel. Running back hauls ass out of the backfield, running what looks at first like a flare route before turning it up as he nears the sideline to attack areas a wide receiver has already dragged through to clear out a zone. Example.
- Bubble screen. Slot receiver runs parallel to the line of scrimmage in an effort to get behind the block of the outside receiver and spring downfield for 6-10 yards.
Comment or email for expansions.
The MGoCreeperVan was out again this weekend, and Paul and I headed to Highland Park to see them take on Devin Gardner's Inkster team. After that, we stopped by Livonia Stevenson to check out Austin White in action against Northville.
Inkster @ Highland Park
I've seen Devin Gardner in action 3 times now, and every time I walk away more impressed than the last. While he's shown flashes of brilliance in the past, against Highland Park he showed true game-breaking ability despite not having his best statistical performance. He finished 9/16 passing for 129 yards, with 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. He also tacked on 74 rushing yards on 11 carries, including 2 exciting touchdowns, as he led the Vikings to a 27-22 victory.
Michigan fans are familiar with the Devin Gardner scouting report by now: he's improving as a passer and has athleticism that high school defenders are unable to stop. That was on display against Highland Park, but I also thought he showed a "wow" factor running the ball that I hadn't seen out of him before. He no longer looked like somebody toying with lesser competition, but rather a guy who will be able to bring that dominance to the next level. Don't take my word for it, check out the video evidence:
Okay, he threw two interceptions, but one was an very athletic play by the defender. Both are things that should happen less once he gets college-level coaching (and his future QB coach Rod Smith was in the house, though he wasn't allowed to talk to Devin). The two touchdown runs showed why he's an elite prospect (and possibly still underrated by the scouting services), and gave Michigan fans something to be excited about for the future.
Livonia Stevenson v. Northville
The Inkster game ended a little later than expected and I have top-end ability to get lost in Detroit, so we were a little late to Austin White's game. [EdThe video we have isn't comprehensive, and White scored a 58-yard touchdown as we were walking in at the end of the first quarter. Still, I've seen him in action two times before, so we still have a robust library of Austin White footage with the newest addition:
Against Northville, White didn't do anything to surprise. I've come to expect at least one big touchdown run from and a couple other long runs that don't find the endzone each game. As per usual, he sat the entire fourth quarter. Stevenson's blown out their last three oppoents.
White is an upright runner, sort of like Brandon Minor. He doesn't have the size or power that Minor does, which may lead to getting killed by a headhunting safety at some point. However, that's where the Minor comparisons end. Austin has excellent change of direction, quick in and out of his cuts, and shows good balance. He can find his way through traffic. If he gets into the open field, he's likely to score, but might not have the raw Carlos Brown speed to continue that at the next level. He didn't show this against Northville, but he's also a productive receiver both out of the backfield and as a split end.
Austin looks like he'll be a productive player at the next level. With all the young backs Michigan has, he'll probably get the luxury of a redshirt year, then be able to contribute as a redshirt freshman.
For more in the world of Michigan commits, check back later this afternoon for Friday Night Lights.
Notes from today's morning press conference. To get live updates from these events, you can follow me on Twitter @varsityblue.
- Tate Forcier's shoulder is bruised, but he will play this weekend. Denard Robinson might play a slightly larger role as his comfort with the offense improves. The quarterbacks need to be smart about taking unnecessary hits. They're running a little more than Rodriguez might like, and he'd prefer to see 5-6 rushes a game.
- Moosman's snapping issues cost the team about 70 offensive yards, but Moosman is a smart, hard worker, so he'll work with Coach Frey to correct the issues. The quick snap to catch guys offsides resulted in fumbles a lot because Tate (and Denard) and Moosman don't have the comfort level with each other yet.
- The first road game being a rivalry makes it a little tougher, especially for the young guys who have never played on the road yet.
- Though the depth chart lists Cissoko ahead of Floyd and Turner, the competition at the second corner spot will be more open this week. Hopefully, someone will seize that opportunity and step up to win the starting role.
- The media will not be able to watch practice this week. Part of that is just paranoia from the coaches, and the rest of it is to make sure the players can maintain their focus in preparation.
- The Michigan/Michigan State game is a big rivalry, so fans get whipped up into a frenzy. Sometimes they get ahold of the opposing quarterback's phone number and bother him all week, etc. Rodriguez has a good relationship with Mark Dantonio: "I'm friendly with everybody. I'm a nice guy." The two have known each other from Dantonio's days at Cincinnati, and they've come across each other a few times a year since then.
- Kevin's favorite Michigan/MSU moment was watching Chris Perry run the ball 51 times against the Spartans (for 219 yards in 2003).
- Grady knows State fans at home, and even says "I have family members who are unfortunately state fans," including his grandmother. She doesn't talk a lot of trash, but both Kevin and Kelvin know where her loyalties lie.
- The team has to run the ball well in order to beat MSU (the team that rushed for more yardage has won 37 of the last 41 games between the teams). This, like every game, is just another opportunity to prove themselves.
- Kevin doesn't think Tate will falter on the road. If he's able to play in front of 100,000 at home, playing in Spartan Stadium shouldn't be a problem.
- Carlos, echoing his coach, doesn't think that spread teams are necessarily any less physical than I-formation teams: "We can line up and do exactly what they do."
- Coming from Georgia, the Michigan/Michigan State rivalry reminds him of the UGa/Georgia Tech battles. Whichever team wins is the state champion for a year.
- Tate should play well against State. He's a great quarterback, and the supporting cast is going to do what they can to get the win.
- The in-state guys really value the rivalry with Michigan State. Its a chance to win a trophy game, and get back the in-state bragging rights. The Ohio State rivalry might be bigger in the grand scheme of things, but this one means something special, particularly for the guys from Michigan. The team wants to show that last year's loss was more of a fluke than anything.
- Obi is from an area of Grand Rapids that is a little more Spartan-centric than where Kevin Grady comes from. He has 5 or 6 neighbors that fly Spartan flags, and he joked that he's going to sneak out in the night and take them down.
- He definitely avoids wearing Green and White this week - but that wasn't the case when he went to Michigan's summer camp as a high schooler. He was wearing an MSU Engineering shirt, and Lloyd Carr gave him the evil eye. Without Carr saying a word, Obi knew it was probably better off if he didn't wear the shirt.
- Coming from out of state, Donovan wasn't aware of Michigan's rivalry with the Spartans (all he really knew about Michigan was that he could watch them when he woke up at 9am on Saturdays). In his freshman year, seniors like Shawn Crable, Jamar Adams, and Brandent Englemon taught him about the rivalry.
- State might come out desperate to avoid a 1-4 start to their season, but the Wolverines will be able to match their intensity: "It's not a 1-3 team, it's Michigan State."
- MSU has 3 great receivers in White, Dell, and Cunningham, and they can all be big-play guys. The defense will need to communicate better to avoid giving up big plays.
- If the defense plays well enough to win, it doesn't matter if the game is something of a shootout. It's the final result that counts.