"Jim's a tough guy and you can see his personality is all over this football team," Fitzgerald said.
Jerald Robinson is a 2010 wide receiver, from Canton, Ohio. He has just informed me that he will be committing to the University of Michigan today. Robinson plays receiver in a spread offense very similar to Michigan's. Take a look at his highlight video, and the conversation we had.
TOM: So you’re committing to Michigan, what stood out the most?
JERALD: I always had a feel for Michigan. OSU was my top school at one point, but I realized that Michigan is about to be in a good stage. I like the fans, and the atmosphere was nice too. I went to a game, and it was a lot of fun. I got the offer from them, and I talked to my family about it, and they thought it would be a good idea.
TOM: What positions do you play right now?
JERALD: I play receiver and safety. I like receiver more, and that’s what the coaches are talking to me. I play the X receiver, so they want me there.
TOM: Have you talked to any Michigan commits, or players?
JERALD: I talked to Ricardo Miller today, he texted me. We had a conversation, and I wasn’t sure when I was going to commit. I talked to Justin Turner today too. Ricardo told me the atmosphere, and the fans are crazy. The coaches treat you real good, and that made a good impression on me.
TOM: Did you just want to get your recruitment out of the way, or is this more of you’re committed, and see what happens?
JERALD: In some other peoples point of view they might want to look around, but I’m just committing. There are no other schools I’m going to be looking at. My recruitment is done after this, and I just can’t wait to be a Wolverine.
TOM: Are there any other recruits in your class you talk to?
JERALD: I talked to Jewone Snow, he’s offered by Michigan State already. I talk to Jamel Turner, but that’s it really.
TOM: What camps and combines will you be going to this summer?
JERALD: I’m going to the Michigan camp for sure, but I’m not sure about any other combines. There’s no reason to go to any really.
TOM: What are you most excited about for college, and Michigan?
JERALD: I’m excited to meet new people, and to be out of the state of Ohio. I want to get out of Ohio and experience new things. Justin Turner told me that you meet a whole different family, and you can start a new life. That’s what I think I need.
TOM: Where are you ranked with the recruiting services, and the coaches?
JERALD: I know I’m in the Rivals 250 to watch. But the coaches, just Michigan has offered, but everyone else was talking about spring offers. Coach Rodriguez told me once he started watching my film; he wanted me to pick Michigan. He offered on the spot. We run the spread too, so I fit into what he does.
It wasn't the dominating effort that the Wolverines had Friday night, but they grinded one out last night and got the much-needed sweep of the Lakers.
Bryan Hogan was pretty great in net, making 26 saves on the night. He was rock solid between the pipes and made a few huge stops.
His first big save was in the first five minutes. Langlais turned it over and a Michigan clearing attempt hit a Laker skate and bounced to Schwab right in the slot. Hogan was quick with the right pad from point-blank range to keep the game scoreless.
Pateryn was called for cross-checking on the play and Hogan made a stop on Sim once Sim stepped through our defense.
The Wolverines got it going after the penalty was killed off. Miller made a nice pass to Czarnik, but the Laker defenseman was quick with the stick to knock it away. Palushaj then found Rust in the slot and Rust just missed the top corner.
Caporusso, Lebler, Palushaj and Langlais all had good chances on Michigan's next power play effort.
Then late in the period Gysbers snapped one on net that hit a couple people on the way through. Hogan had a little trouble with it and pushed it out to the right. No Michigan defender was on that side of the net and MacVoy had a wide-open net. He buried it and gave the Lakers their second 1-0 lead on the weekend.
But just like the night before, the Lakers had a costly letdown right before intermission. Just 18 seconds later, Hagelin took the puck in the corner to the right of Inglis, carried it out to the blueline then wheeled into the middle of the ice. He cut right down the middle and sent a laser low on the blocker-side to tie the game back up. That was almost a carbon copy of one of my favorite Steve Yzerman goals.
Great news during the first intermission. Chris Summers is interviewed and says that every player he's talked to who has come through the program has told him to stay in school and enjoy it for as long as he can. He then says, "I want to stay. I want to finish. I've been here three years already, so what's another year? It's another chance for me to grow as a player and grow as a person. And I'll get my degree." Sounds like our on-ice captain will be back in 09-10.
Gysbers took a penalty early in the second and Michigan didn't get much going. Red had talked about making good decisions on the power play and they didn't on that opportunity. Langlais and Caporusso both passed up great chances while looking for the perfect pass.
Winnett had a great look and Inglis stoned him with the pad. Then Summers had a follow-up opportunity and Inglis got that one as well.
The Wolverines jumped ahead when Czarnik fed Palushaj with a pass. Palushaj ripped one off the pad of Inglis and the rebound went right onto Lebler's stick. Lebler didn't miss and the Wolverines had themselves a 2-1 lead. You would think that I wouldn't forget to mention such a crucial play in my original edition of this story. But you'd be wrong.
Llewellyn had a nice break-up on a pass through the slot that would've been an easy tap-in. Then the Lakers started hitting some beautiful passes where the recipient couldn't get a stick on it. Perkovich found Barczuk twice on one shift and Barczuk let it slide off his stick both times or he would've had two blockbuster scoring chances. Then someone hit Sim behind the defense and he couldn't handle it.
Hogan then left a soft rebound but completely redeemed himself by somehow getting across the net to make a huge stop on Nehring. Miller hooked Nehring as well, but Hogan still had to be sharp. He was shaken up for a minute but stayed in the game.
LSSU didn't do anything on the power play and then Burlon made a great pass to Czarnik, but Inglis got across with his pad and then stopped the Czarnik shot on the rebound.
Michigan got a couple of power play to start the third and Wohlberg thought he was in all alone but was whistled on the offside. He didn't like it, but a frame-by-frame replay showed he was off by a step. Great call by the linesman.
Rust was left open in the slot on a turnover and the Wolverines got him the puck. It was hard to tell if Inglis got that one or if Rust shot wide, but either way it was a great opportunity.
The Lakers came out two-on-one and Burlon did a great job of taking the pass away. Schwab had to shoot and Hogan was able to get out to the top of his crease and smother it.
Palushaj hit the post off a great drop-pass from Rust and then tipped a shot from the point right on, Inglis made a great save.
The last 7 minutes of the hockey game was all special teams. The Lakers got the first crack at a power play and Schwab just walked Summers, but Hogan was strong again. MacVoy then had a golden opportunity to get his second of the night. On the replay I couldn't tell if it hit the post or if Hogan got it, but I think our keeper made the save.
Two hits from behind on the Lakers gave Michigan 4 minutes of power play time over the last 4 1/2 minutes and that was pretty much all she wrote. Caporusso tried to snipe one and just missed. For the second PP, Michigan pretty much went with the prevent and threw out our best defensive forwards—Miller, Hagelin, and Rust—to prevent any short-handed chances (or maybe the other units were just tired).
The Lakers pulled the goalie and Michigan missed on about six cracks at the empty net. LSSU never came close to getting the game tied with the goalie out and Michigan came out with a 2-1 win.
Hogan was fantastic. He made several stops on guys who walked in all alone and his stop on Schwab early in the game was flat out robbery. The defense was pretty good, though they let LSSU walk in untouched a little too often for my liking, but Hogan bailed them out when he needed to.
Hagelin was great yet again—by the way, I absolutely love the Swedish flags in the student section…that's kind of awesome. As was the case Friday night, a Michigan goal late in the period prevented LSSU from carrying momentum into the intermissionn. And that was a highlight-reel goal for sure.
I also thought Winnett had a very good weekend. He wasn't the best player out there or anything like that, but he drew several penalties, and showed a lot more offensively than he has at any point in his Michigan career.
The line of Hagelin, Rust, and Palushaj was really fantastic. They had a ton of chances—how Rust didn't pot one I don't know—and provided the typically awesome defensive play that line is known for.
We made up our games in hand on Miami this weekend and we're now just two points behind them in the standings. We're 2 ahead of Alaska (still with two games in hand) and two ahead of OSU after they knocked off the Irish this afternoon. (By the way, how big are those blown calls by Brian Aaron now? We'd be two points back with six games to play, and we'd have the tie-breaker on them.) We face Omaha next weekend and the best they can do is tie us in the standings, but we'd still have two games in hand. With six games left to play, we're sitting in really good shape to get a first-round bye in the CCHA Playoffs. We're also sitting in a tie for third in the Pairwise now, which would give us a #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. They've done a really nice job pulling themselves off the bubble and turning into a team that no one is going to want to face come late-March.
The one thing that could end up being our Achilles heel is the power play. 0 for 7 on the night with just seven shots. They had some decent looks, but you gotta put some pucks in the net. We're the #11 scoring offense in the country, but just #42 on the power play at 14.3%. Ohio State and Denver are the only other teams in the country who have had similar struggles on the power play while remaining in the top 10-15 in offense. And they're still 10+ positions higher in the national PP rankings than we are. There's no reason for a team with this much talent to be that bad on the PP. They've still got some time to figure it out before the tournament.
Jim Roque was apparently very unhappy with the officiating at the end of the game, and Art Regner indicated Roque thought the Wolverines were diving a lot. I'll agree that the hit from behind on Palushaj with 2 minutes left probably could've been let go—it wasn't blatant and it was a pretty physical series—but his team had four more power plays than we did the night before, despite getting soundly outplayed (and it would've been five more save for a penalty with a whole 35 seconds left in the game). I can't say I have a lot of sympathy for him on that one. The other calls in the third were all legit, in my opinion. Despite the McInchak presence, I actually thought it was a pretty well-officiated weekend. Definitely better than we saw against Notre Dame and FYS, that's for sure.
If you're interested in additional hockey coverage, you can read a lot more from me at The Blog That Yost Built
An mgoguest post by Greg Dooley of MVictors.com.
For those who haven't read an eBay Watch post, it started in late 2006 when I wrote about the auction of a 1901 season pass. The idea is to take a piece of memorabilia and then delve into the season or player to which it's tied. For this special mgo-edition, I'll look at a recent auction featuring two items from an event held thirty years ago celebrating Michigan football's first century.
On September 8, 1979 folks gathered inside Crisler Arena to hear speeches from Michigan legends and see the unveiling of special display cases, designed by local artists, featuring memorabilia spanning the 100 year history of the football program. The eBay auction included a ticket and the program from this ceremony.
The cornerstone of the centennial celebration was the memorabilia exhibit and to ensure it was done right, a Schembechler was asked to run the show. Bo was plenty busy with his team so his wife, Millie, took the reins as chairman of the Display Committee.
I stopped by the Bentley Library to view the archives preserved from the event. Bo's better half scoured the university and wrote to fans, alumni and former players to collect unique Michigan football artifacts from over the years. Over 500 players who lettered prior to 1950 were contacted for help, and Millie visited the Pro Football Hall of Fame for guidance. In the end, the exhibition included 18 display cases and 160 slides covering the first century. According to the Michigan Daily, the collection was open to the public before and after each home game of the 1979 season.
The Ann Arbor club’s debut
Another objective of the event organizers was to clarify what happened a century prior when a Michigan football team took the field for the first time. Thanks again to the Bentley Library we have some records on the 1879 team, including a team photo that reveals some righteous mustaches which almost draw attention away from the hats:
It was clear that the first game was played against Racine College, but there was some question as to when it was actually held. There was talk of having the teams meet in 1878 but ultimately the game was rescheduled for the following spring.
Data on the May 30, 1879 match, held at White Stockings Park in Chicago, is limited. A review of the Bentley records revealed an article (reproduced from microfilm) originally published in the Racine Advocate on June 7, 1879 that described the 1-0 Michigan victory. From the recap titled "RUGBY FOOT BALL - RACINE COLLEGE VS MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY":
Our Club [Racine] won the first "kick-off" and Mr. Parker sent the leather covered oval high in air and far over the field. There was a burst of applause from the grand stand which stilled as Campbell of the Michigan caught the ball, and at high speed rushed with it toward Racine's goal. From this time on our boys had the worst of it...
Through the first portion of play Racine had one gent with a "nose bleed" and another with a sprained ankle. Despite Michigan's dominance the game was scoreless. After a 15 minute break they resumed until the Victors prevailed:
In the second struggle the goals were reversed, and the same tactics were employed as before, the Ann Arbor Club on the offensive and our boys simply endeavored to defend their goal. Mr. Chase made an excellent catch from a Racine kick, placed the ball directly in front of the Purple's goal and Mr. D Tarr kicked the oval ball high and clean over our goal just as time was called. This ended the game in favor of Michigan...
No Offense, Fritz
Fast forward 130 years to last week's eBay auction. One of the items up for sale was a ticket to the centennial event which featured a couple major blunders, including one that must have caused a few attendees to grimace:
Yes, this happened. I don't know who chaired the Ticket Committee but calling the venue Chrysler Arena at the event celebrating the history of the football program is a major foul. It'd be one thing if this were a ducat for the annual Dance for Mother Earth Pow Wow, but come on. The topper? Fritz Crisler himself was an honored guest.
On top of the Chrysler misstep, you might have noticed that the ticket calls this the bicentennial banquet. The 200th celebration will be held seventy years from now at Rodriguez Pavilion and I'll see you there.
Sadly the program wasn't error-free either. Legendary player and coach Bennie Oosterbaan was referred to as Benny. The surname of Jackie Harbaugh, the mother of Ravens coach John and future U-M quarterback Jim, is spelled 'Harbough'.
Besides Bo, Oosterbaan, and Crisler, the attendees were treated to a few words from legendary radio voice Bob Ufer. Just seven weeks later he would deliver the most famous radio call in Wolverine football history. Here's a 60 second taste [more at ufer.org]; note Ufe's recognition of the centennial at the end:
Also scheduled to be on the dais was Kip Taylor, the man who scored the first touchdown in Michigan Stadium in 1927. Taylor was actually injured in the game and never played again, perhaps choosing to rest up for a life of free drinks, back slaps and banquet speeches.
The night featured men representing several eras of Wolverine football who, according to the Daily, "tried to capture the gridiron highs and lows of their own certain ten-year period." From the program:
Here's a little bit on each man on the list:
- Wally Webber: His surname is actually spelled with just one 'b' (if this were an episode of 'The Office' I'd be staring at the camera right now). I read a little bit about Weber and he's a real beauty, like the Yogi Berra of Michigan football. The bios and articles about the man are riddled with hilarious often self-deprecating quotes. Describing his role while playing with Benny Friedman and Bennie Oosterbaan in the 1920s, Weber offered, "my sole function in the drama was to inflate the ball." He served U-M for several years as a coach, alumni relations director, color commentator alongside Ufer on WPAG, and of course, as a legendary raconteur.
- Willis Ward: The African-American end and U-M track star was Gerald Ford's roommate for road games and a member of the '32 and '33 national championship squads. This man's story deserves a full documentary or movie, not a blurb on a blog post, and it's safe to assume he gave some interesting remarks to the banquet crowd. During the miserable 1934 season, controversy erupted prior to the scheduled game against Georgia Tech as the Yellow Jacket officials made it clear they would not take the field against a black player. Protests ensued on campus and within the team (it's rumored that Ford threatened to quit). I've read that future famous playwright Arthur Miller, who was on the Daily staff at the time, tried to intervene. Eventually the game was played without Ward and resulted in a 9-2 Michigan win. [For more, here's a Daily article from 1999, and Ward's Wikipedia page.]
- Wally Teringa: The last name of the halfback for Crisler's 1947 and Oosterbaan's 1948 national championship teams is actually spelled Teninga. Ugh. Can we get a proofreader for the sesquicentennial? According to the Daily, Teninga spoke of the 14 All-Americans produced that decade and remarked how Crisler's teams "built both athletic and academic character." At the time, Teninga played for the last U-M team to claim a national championship.
- Roger Zatkoff: The linebacker for the Wolverines in the 1950s was later dubbed 'Zany Zatkoff' and is considered one of pro football's all-time hardest hitters. According to the book Football's Most Wanted, Zatkoff was once asked to wear a cowbell during practice so guys could hear him coming. It's also written that he kept a list of the players he crushed, so Zatkoff literally kicked ass and took names. Another beauty.
- Bob Timberlake: Quarterback for the great 1964 squad (ignored by HBO's 'The Rivalry') which downed Oregon State in Rose Bowl. A devout Christian, Timberlake is an ordained Presbyterian minister and a member of the faculty at Marquette.
- Dennis Franklin: The former Michigan quarterback is probably best known for his role in the great 1973 Michigan-Ohio State game which ended in a 10-10 tie. Franklin broke his collarbone shortly after scoring the game-tying touchdown. After the game a vote by conference athletic directors sent the Buckeyes to the Rose Bowl with some ballots allegedly influenced by Franklin's injury. Bo later called this the biggest disappointment in his career.
- The auction of the ticket and the program fetched $12 when time expired on Thursday.
[Thanks for the help from Greg Kinney at the Bentley Library, Alex Prosperi at the Daily for the research, and Phillip Schneider who sent me the higher res images of the auction items.]
It was a pretty uninspiring start, and a fairly lackluster first period. The Wolverines trailed 1-0 late in the first and the LSSU Lakers were on the power play. It would have been natural for Michigan fans to wonder if this was going to be a "let-down" game after a couple of controversy-filled weekends.
But then Matt Rust broke up a pass, took it the length of the ice, cut to the net, and roofed one up over Pat Inglis with just six seconds remaining in the first period. The Wolverines carried that momentum over to the second. David Wohlberg and Luke Glendening scored in the first two minutes of the second period and it was all Wolverines from there.
Michigan outshot the Lakers 17-5 in the period and outscored them 3-0. It was the mid-third before LSSU could get back on the board, but the game was over by that point. Michigan wins 6-2 in a pretty dominating performance, first period aside.
The Lakers got on the board first with a great pass to Will Acton from Matt Cowie. Hogan couldn't get side-to-side fast enough to keep it out of the net. That goal came just seconds after Chad Langlais had rung one off the bar at the other end.
The lone bright spot of the first 19 minutes of the game was that Travis Turnbull and David Wohlberg were jumping. Wohlberg kept feeding him, and Turnbull kept having beautiful scoring chances that he couldn't quite finish. That line could've easily combined for three goals in the first ten minutes of the hockey game.
But despite a lackluster first period (and, at least from the sound on the internet broadcast, a pretty subdued Yost crowd) the Wolverines were able to get out of the first period tied, thanks to Rust's short-handed effort. That was the 7th shortie the Lakers have allowed this season. They're vulnerable back there and Rust made them pay.
Michigan gave the Yost crowd a lot to cheer about throughout the second period. Just over a minute into the second frame, Travis Turnbull fed a wide-open David Wohlberg in front of the net. Wohlberg buried the shot and Michigan led 2-1. And before the crowd could tell Inglis that he's a sieve and it's all his fault, it was 3-1. Ben Winnett won an offensive zone faceoff and Luke Glendening was able to pop it in. My video was buffering at the time, so I don't have much of a comment about that goal. (This would be an ongoing trend. I missed three of our six goals thanks to buffering issues.)
Our top two lines kept buzzing. Hagelin had a pair of chances, then Palushaj just missed. The other line came out and Wohlberg darn near put in another gorgeous feed from Turnbull.
Michigan received a power play (hopefully everyone took a picture) and promptly turned it over in their own end. Hogan made a huge save, and it's a good thing he did, because we came down to the other end and Caporusso scored his nation-best 21st goal of the season. Langlais found him with a cross-ice pass. At that point, shots were something like 13-1 in the second period and Michigan had themselves a 4-1 lead.
Hogan made a couple saves at the end of the period to keep LSSU from gaining any momentum and David Wohlberg had another strong effort on the penalty kill.
The Lakers took an ill-advised penalty just a couple seconds into a power play of their own, and Rusty made them pay again. This time on a 4-on-4. Hagelin fed him. I had buffering issues on this one too. That's five goals for Rust in his last seven contests, after just two in the first 18 games (and those were in the same game). He's on fire right now. This is the Matt Rust we needed to give us a legitimate second line. He's responding and the team is reaping the benefits. Our top two lines have really good chemistry going.
LSSU finally capitalized on one of their numerous power plays. Schofield put a wrister up over Hogan's arm just inside the far post to make it 5-2. That ended a very long PK streak by the Wolverines. We had killed off something like 29 in a row. Even with the goal, the penalty killing was stellar tonight. Hagelin and Rust are so fun to watch when they tag-team opponents on the forecheck. Wohlberg, Miller, Fardig, and of course the defense. Those guys all do a really great job. It's like night and day from the start of the season when we were at the bottom of the national PK rankings.
Hogan made a couple more big stops and then Winnett hit on a breakaway pass to Caporusso, who had just exited the penalty box. Caporusso popped one off the water bottle and the Wolverines pretty much had it in the bag. Caporusso and Rust both had shots at hat tricks, but Inglis made a couple of stops.
All in all, another really solid effort for the good guys. They were off in the first period, but Rust's goal gave them momentum and they kept it going by capitalizing twice early in the second. There was never a moment that I felt like LSSU was threatening to get back in the game after that. Michigan completely dominated the second period.
-Burlon and Summers were both +3 on the night. How sick is Michigan's defense corps when Mark Mitera comes back? They could put him with Steve Kampfer to have a dominating top two pairings. You know your team is good when Chad Langlais is your #5 defenseman. That's not even fair.
-David Wohlberg is awesome. He was everywhere tonight, had a goal and an assist, and turned in his usual top-notch performance defensively. Rust, Hagelin, Caporusso, and Winnett were all really strong tonight.
-Speaking of Winnett, I've been really hard on him—and Red evidently agreed that he wasn't doing much, since he just benched him for four games—but one thing he does really well is make a breakout pass. He sprung Caporusso on his breakaway goal in the third period, and he also made the initial pass on Brandon Burlon's game-changing goal against FYS at Munn. I didn't see Glendening's goal, but it sounded as if Winnett deserved an assist on that one as well. It's nice to see him getting involved on the offensive end, because he came in with the reputation as a pretty darn good offensive talent.
-Caporusso's 22 goals lead the nation. I posed this question during the chat and no one really had an answer—I didn't either: Who is the Hobey favorite right now? There's no clear-cut choice. Maybe Jordan Pearce? I think you have to have Caporusso in the mix if he keeps this up. He's probably been a little too inconsistent to win the thing, but if he leads the nation in goals, he has to at least be in the Top 10.
-Hogan only faced 21 shots, but he made some top-notch saves tonight. He probably should've had the second goal (though it was a very nice shot), but he made some really big, timely stops.
-Notre Dame knocked off OSU in overtime, which was huge for us (especially since it didn't get to a shootout, so OSU didn't get a cheap point). Brian Aaron basically cost us any chance of catching ND, so it's nice that the Irish won tonight. We go 2 points up on OSU and have moved into a third-place tie with Alaska, who has played 3 more games than us.
Tomorrow night's game is at 7:35 Eastern and can be seen on Comcast 900 in Metro Detroit and the NHL Network in Canada. The game will air on the US NHL Network on Sunday at noon.
The author of this post normally writes at The Blog That Yost Built.
The hosts of this liveblog normally write at The Hoover Street Rag.