|O29||1||10||I-Form Twins||Pass||10||Mathews||Slip Screen|
|What, no zone left? This game of all games? My world... crumbles! (CA, 3) Okay... this is the second week in a row this has been called a bubble screen. I think I may have to change the lingo here.|
|O19||1||10||I-Form Twins(U)||Run||1||Hart||Zone right|
|(U) == unbalanced line. Michigan lines up the TE on the same side of the field as its WR on the line, which makes him an ineligible receiver. Boren(-1) is blown back into the backfield; Ortmann(-1) blown back. Hart submerged under three Eagles... I think maybe we need ways to punish DL who slant so heavily on the snap.|
|I can't believe teams still jump when our QBs do the finger thing.|
|O13||2||4||Ace 3-wide||Run||5||Hart||Zone left|
|EMU overshifted with two linebackers threatening blitz on the weakside and the line shifted heavily to the strongside. This time, Boren getes out in front of the EMU defender and gets him moving downfield; when Schilling comes to help out the guy gets blown back. A guy from the backside comes to tackle, but Hart is already moving forward and downfield; first down.|
|O8||1||G||I-Form Big||Run||4||Hart||Zone left|
|Away from the two TEs. Again the EMU NT just sort of runs downfield, avoiding contact, until Hart decides to cut up the middle, at which point he's doubled and his momentum is moving in the wrong direction and he can't possibly halt anyone's advance. Didn't even have to block him.|
|O4||2||G||I-Form Big||Run||-2||Hart||Zone left|
|This time the NT shoots into the backfield between Boren and Schilling(-1), who was asked to make a very difficult block. Kraus(-1) is beaten on the frontside; his man tackles for loss.|
|O6||3||G||Ace 3-wide Tight||Pass||-9||--||Sack|
|Schilling(-3) schooled by Jason Jones, the NT we've been talking about all drive; Henne with no chance. (PR, 0, protection 0/3, Schilling -3)|
|Drive Notes: FG(31), 3-0, 9 min 1st Q. Weird drive from that NT guy, either getting immediate penetration or screwing around. Schilling has proven himself not quite ready for prime time the past few weeks, but he's young.|
|M1||1||10||I-Form Big||Run||20||Hart||Zone left|
|Yikes. This turns into a big gainer but was perilously close to disaster. Kraus gets drive backwards by his guy, cutting off the outside; Hart cuts behind. Fortunately, Boren(+1) has gotten the other DT sealed and Jake Long comes out to the second level, sees a linebacker fly up into the hole, and seals him as well. Hart just squeezes through. Then he's off.|
|I-Form personnel with Hart split wide. Mathews runs a simple little out against obvious zone. (CA, 3, protection 1/1) So weird that we pass on first down, which we do very rarely, and tip it by sending Hart out wide.|
|M26||2||5||I-Form Twins(U)||Run||14||Hart||Lead Draw|
|Again EMU loads the backside and run blitzes; we run a draw into it that should never, ever work. Outside blitzer slips and Hart dodges the other guy, is into the second level, and makes the most of the blocking there. This breaks the record; it's nice that he schooled some guy on it.|
|Same tactic from EMU with six on the LOS and two more near it, this against three wides. The corners are playing very soft; Henne takes advantage with a simple stop route; Arrington picks up plenty of YAC. (CA, 3, protection 2/2)|
|O44||1||10||Ace Twins (U)||Run||6||Hart||Zone right|
|McLaurin instead of Moundros. EMU with a straight eight in the box, showing man. EMU NT Jones blows into the backfield past Schilling much like PSU's Ollie Ogbu did a couple weeks ago, but he can't quite reach Hart. Butler(+1) does a good job on the DE; Ortmann smacks a DB, and this could be a big gainer but for Boren(-1) falling at the feet of his second-level block, the MLB. Why go fo the cut here?|
|O38||2||4||Ace 3-wide||Run||1||Hart||Zone left|
|Boren(-1) beaten by the EMU DT, causing Hart to cut back. Don't know why, though; he should have kept going to the frontside, IMO. Hart manages to escape the DT; unblocked backside DE closes and tackles.|
|EMU drops seven into a picket-fence zone around the first down line, then drops off further as the routes develop. Protection is very good, so Hart jogs out of the backfield for an outlet; Henne hits him for the first down. (CA, 3, protection 3/3)|
|O31||1||10||I-Form||Pass||31||Arrington||PA Out & Up|
|I love this: after the completion, Hart comes off for a breather, so we break out the double-fullback backfield and run our first straight non-waggle play action of the year off of it. Uh... okay. It works, I guess, as Arrington has a step or two on his guy. He leaps to catch a slightly overthrown ball. (DO, 2, protection 2/2)|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 10-0, 2 min 1st Q. Wow, horrible coverage from EMU on replay. I don't know why we aren't going deep to Arrington more often... he may not have the breakaway speed Manningham does but he's not bad and he can do that Braylon thing where he just takes balls a way from well-positioned defenders.|
|Arrington hit on an out against the same deep-ball terrified coverage. (CA, 3, protection 2/2). Arrington(-1) lined up off the line, however. It comes back.|
|Butler sits down in a hole in the zone, and Henne fires it in there. Smooth; excellent protection. (CA, 3, protection 2/2)|
|Henne scans downfield, comes down to McLaurin (maybe), and pumps but thinks better of
it; Hart's snuck out of the backfield again; Henne dumps it off for the first down. (CA, 3, protection 2/2)
|M45||1||10||Ace 3-wide||Pass||Inc||Mathews||Long handoff|
|John Beilein! Woo. Git ur Izz on. This long handoff is thrown a bit in front of Mathews, but why has Mathews stepped back from the line? I don't know who to peg this on. I go with Mathews since I've seen Henne throw a billion WR screens and they're all on the money. (CA-, 2)|
|M45||2||10||Ace 3-wide||Pass||Inc||Mathews||Out & Up|
|Don't think Mathews really sells this route, as his cut into the out is really shallow and his man stays step for step. Henne has no short options and decides to bomb it anyway, keeping it away from the safety and to the outside. Mathews almost makes a great circus catch, but the EMU guy manages to rake it out. (CA, 1, protection 2/2)|
|Henne finds the open guy as a Mathews in drags one of the zone defenders out of a spot that Arrington occupies. Ball is behind the receiver and ends up a tough-ish spinning grab; Arrington makes it. (CA, 1 (I'm loosening my catch guidelines), protection 2/2).|
|Ugly all around from the right side of the line; Schilling(-1) gets beat to the inside by the DT and can't help outside; Ortmann(-1) takes the outside guy instead of the inside guy. An untouched Eagle hits Henne as he throws; the resulting throw is a duck into double coverage. Tentatively BA, but this doesn't seem like the world's greatest read. (BA, 0, protection 0/2) This could have been open if Henne put it outside of Hemingway. Would have been tight... but doable.|
|Drive Notes: Interception, 10-3, 13 min 2nd Q.|
|M26||1||10||I-Form 3-wide||Run||15||Hart||Zone right|
|Excellent job by Long(+1) to cut the backside DT to the ground. Hart uses the opening created by this and Boren again having some trouble with the DT. Moundros(+1) pounds the linebacker out of the picture, Hart reads it and flies up into the secondary for excellent yardage.|
|M41||1||10||I-Form Twins (U)||Run||11||Hart||Zone left|
|Can't decide if Carson Butler is supposed to let his guy inside of him or just does a lousy job; think the latter given Hart's vector. Hart sees the block there, and bounces it out. Moundros(+1) kicks out the linebacker; both other linebackers are engulfed by second-level blockers, Hart again into the secondary.|
|O48||1||10||I-Form 3-wide||Run||-1||Hart||Zone right|
|Ortmann(-1) and Boren(-1) both let their guys penetrate; Hart can usually get away from one guy in the backfield but not two.|
|O49||2||11||Ace 3-wide||Pass||6||Mathews||Long handoff|
|Decent gain; this ball a little behind the receiver. (CA-, 3)|
|Welcome to the offense, kid. Henne stands in and fires just as Boren(-1) is getting driven back into him... this is a mildly tough throw. Hemingway has broken open on his route; he ball lays in perfectly for him. As Hemingway turns up, he slips, otherwise another two or three was possible. (DO, 3, protection 1/2)|
|O20||1||10||Ace 3-wide||Run||4||Hart||Zone right|
|Jordan forces Schilling back, cutting off the frontside; Hart decides to cut back as he sees a hole behind it. Long has again cut a guy out of the play, providing the hole; Hart batters his way into a couple linebackers for a decent gain.|
|O16||2||6||I-Form Twins (U)||Run||12||Hart||Zone left|
|Caught 'em slanting the wrong way. DE heads inside, LB blitzes and seals himself as Butler moves out to the second level; Moundros cuts the outside linebacker, Hart has no problem making it to the second level.|
|O4||1||G||I-Form Twins (U)||Run||4||Hart||Iso|
|No zone blocking here, just a straight-ahead fire off the ball. Butler stalemates his guy, the DE, and Moundros seals his guy to the inside. Hart has a walk into the endzone.|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown (XP blocked and returned), 16-5, 7 min 2nd Q. I swear this PBP guy has given a line and yards gained that are contradictory like three times on this drive. Michigan is on the twenty: "Hart to the fifteen for a gain of four." Aaaaargh. Meanwhile, at one point in this drive they get to talking about some Eagle from Oklahoma and Mason launches into a recounting of the various schools in the area... is it any wonder the first one out of his mouth is Tulsa? BTW: It's this Jones kid who blocks the XP, too.|
|Two-minute drill before halftime. Henne takes a short stop that's sort of ill-timed and poorly thrown, removing YAC potential. (CA-, 2, protection 1/1)|
|Jones shoots past Schilling(-1), the other EMU DT moves around Boren(-1), and Henne has two guys breathing down his neck from the center of the field. (TA, 0, protection 0/2)|
|Plenty of time; Henne comes down to the drag route and throws it imprecisely, preventing Mathews from picking up much after the catch. (IN, 3, protection 2/2)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 16-8, EOH.|
|M20||1||10||I-Form Twins (U)||Run||5||Hart||Zone left|
|EMU leaves a big gap between the strongside DT and DE; both Kraus and Long move to the second level immediately. Boren just barely gets across said DT, who's driving him into the backfield but falls, perhaps because of an assist from Moundros. Hart manages to squeeze through.|
t be a designed counter, as Moundros heads to the nominal backside to block the defensive end, who's usually left to his own devices on these plays. Hart takes what looks like a stretch handoff, then cuts back behind the penetration of the backside DT. Butler(-1) whiffs his block, Hart makes the guy miss, sort of, but said guy grabs his jersey and starts dragging. EMU converges.
|M32||1||10||I-Form Twins(U)||Run||1||Hart||Inside zone|
|Jones splits the double team of Schilling(-1) and Ortmann(-1), meeeting Hart in the hole.|
|I believe this was tipped at the line. (BA, 0, protection 1/2)|
|M33||3||9||Shotgun 3-wide||Pass||16||Arrington||Deep out|
|The NFL throw, right on the money 15 yards downfield. Good pocket. (DO, 3, protection 2/2)|
|M49||1||10||Ace Twins||Run||4||Hart||Zone left|
|Boren(-2) beaten again, right off the snap. Hart runs past the DT, but his momentum stops. he decides to cut past the backside DE, and pops out for four.|
|Eastern's linebacker does a great job reading thins and attacking, allowing the defense time to recover and tackle. (CA, 3)|
|Arrington gets bumped, but pushes off to get separation and inside position; Henne hits him. (CA, 2, protection 2/2) Ortmann(-1) beaten by Jones, getting Henne hit.|
|By the way, Moundros has been our "running back" the past few plays with Hart getting a breather. We run play action that probably doesn't fool anyone. Hemingway's circle route gets him a step on a DB biting on the slant; Henne lays it in smoothly. (CA+, 3, protection 1/1) This time we keep a TE in to block so the backside DE doesn't get a free shot at the QB. This might have been a bad read, as live it looked like he had a guy open deep.|
|O24||1||10||Ace Twins (U)||Run||24||Hart||Zone left|
|Kraus(+1) and Long(+1) crease the front side of the defense; EMU has blitzed the linebackers so once he's through there's n one on the second level. One "woop" on the safety and it's a coast to the endzone.|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 23-14, 7 min 3rd Q.|
|Virtually the same play as the 7 yarder on the second drive, except this time they're running to the strong side of the formation. Hart again cuts behind an aggressive slant from Jones. Moundros cuts the backside DE out of the play. Long seals the backside DT; Kraus the MLB. Second level blocks from Schilling and Butler are excellent. +1s for all! (We are finally punishing a team for excessive slanting to the playside, BTW.|
|O11||1||10||I-Form Twins(U)||Run||4||Brown||Inside zone|
|Brown runs into a wad of people, pushing the pile forward. No real creases.|
|O7||2||6||I-Form Twins(U)||Run||3||Hart||Inside zone|
|Jones beats Schilling(-1), eliminating the possibility of going inside; Hart cuts out, where mountros and Butler have gotten Hart the corner. An eastern safety reads this and fills immediately, holding the gain down.|
|O4||3||3||Ace Twins||Pass||-15 (pen)||Mathews||Pick play|
|Hart offset; obvious pass. Henne hits a wide open Mathews; the reason he was wide open was a blatant pick from Arrington. There are ways to do this legally; this was not one of them. (CA, 3, protection 1/1)|
|This is actually a perfect throw right to the front corner of the endzone but Arrington slows up on his route, misjudging the flight of the ball, and makes this too tall for himself. (DO, 2, protection 2/2)|
|Drive Notes: FG(36), 26-14, 3 min 3rd Q. EMU fumbles the ensuing kickoff.|
|O17||1||10||I-Form Twins(U)||Run||17||Hart||Zone right|
|Jones again into the frontside of the play but there's no one on the backside with long cutting that DT just enough. Kraus(+1) gets a great second level block, as does Schilling; Hart waltzes. Another "woop" move on the same safety.|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 33-14, 3 min 3rd Q. Michigan. Charting ceases, as the rest of the game is Carlos Brown thudding into the line. This does miss one bad Henne INT.|
Where were all the points?
16 first half points against a team like EMU is not a bounty, but if you check the drive chart above, please note that Michigan only had five possessions in the first half, and one of those was a (failed) two-minute drill. That, some bad luck, and terrible special teams play had Eastern within 8 at the half. I just bring this up to reinforce the idea that playing a style of offense that relies on lots of long drives reduces the number of possessions in a game and exposes you to the vagaries of fate more than, say, Texas Tech.
Not that Texas Tech is the end all and be all of programs, or that we should follow their example. But by God whoever wins or loses a TT game does so thoroughly.
So, a ton of penetration against us when we play EMU. We're doomed.
Yeah, maybe. One thing: I think we ran into this year's Dan Bazuin in the personage of EMU's Jason Jones. That kid is just good. He blocked an extra point, sacked Henne, and got tons of penetration on running play, and generally terrorized Michigan. He screwed up a bit and would occasionally slant himself out of a play, but I'd take him on my team any day. (We're thinking of cobbling together a ragtag crew of losers, calling ourselves the University of Phoenix Phoenixes (We're From Phoenix!), and claiming that we're the local rivals of every I-A school since the Internet is everywhere. Viola: 12 crushings at the hands of actual teams for six figures each and early retirement. He can play with us. Or on Michigan.)
Also, Hart kinda ran for 10 yards per carry. So things weren't that grim.
But both Boren and Schilling are struggling to keep guys in front of them. Part of that is the predictability of the offense: we've run stretch play after stretch play, allowing DTs to slant with impunity as soon as an offensive lineman steps to one side
or the other. We need to incorporate more counter action into the run game, as we did with great success against Oregon, to keep from ending up in second and third and long with frequency. If you sell out to stop the zone game you can get to it in the backfield and throw guys for losses. Hart lost 39 yards all of last year; halfway through this year he's already reached that number. Did our offensive line get worse? Probably not appreciably... there were plenty of issues last year, too. Did Hart get worse? No. It appears teams have started to figure out Michigan's rushing attack and are content to roll the dice risking a 10-12 yard chunk for the chance of a TFL and long yardage situations for a team that hasn't handled them well so far.
I don't think it's a coincidence that Michigan had great success the few times they deigned to run a sort of counter by stepping the line to one side or the other but shooting Moundros at the backside DE, opening up big cutback lanes when the EMU DTs slanted. Hart's 61 yard run came on one of these plays.
We do this all the time, though.
Right, we do. Even today, when we broke one tendency -- zone left first play of every game -- we introduced a new one, the unbalanced line. Michigan ran every time they covered up the TE. This worked, but we were playing Eastern Michigan, so it had damn well better.
Rope-a-dope seems to be a key aspect of Michigan's offensive philosophy. It's the only way to explain many of the trends we see in playcalling. Vijay of IBFC astutely observed that Debord appears obsessed with setting up tendencies so he can break them later. Thus the fullback shuffle. Thus the 100% run with an unbalanced line: he's setting up foes down the road by actively trying to look like a predictable idiot. Then Michigan ditches the staid stuff in the big games. This might explain both Michigan's tendency to play down to its opponent and its typically better than expected results against top competition. (At least when the entire Carr era is considered; not so much the past few years.)
This is a slightly different critique than the one put forth when people mention the "scoring offense"; the results are often the same. There was quite a contrast between watching the Michigan offense I know and love-hate and watching EMUs. The difference, as pithily as I can construct it: EMU hopes to confuse opponents into not knowing what the play is; Michigan hopes to convince opponents they're doing something else.
|Oregon - Henne||1||13||6||3||1||0||3|
|Oregon - Mallett||3||7||2||3||1||1||2|
|ND - Mallett||2||7||4||1||0||2||0|
|PSU - Mallett||3||12||6||3||6||1||2|
|NW - Mallett||2||5||4||1||1||1||1|
|NW - Henne||1||19||4||1||1||1||0|
That's slightly generous, as Henne had six further attempts in the game, going 3/6 and throwing a bad interception. Also, the first INT was filed as BA when it didn't seem to be a good idea to throw even if you didn't end up with a guy draped all over you. Even considering that, Henne had a very good day with few unforced errors. If he plays like that versus Purdue (minus the ugly INT) we win.
Another week of no drops, though Arrington misjudged a flag that should have been a TD.
Protection is a bit uglier: 28/37. Schilling -5, Ortmann -1, Boren -2, Team -1. Schilling was the culprit when Jones beat him silly on the sack that killed Michigan's first drive. Youth, playing out of position, etc. Plenty of excuses; would like him to play better.
As close as you can get to heroes playi
Hart and Henne. Moundros also had his most effective game to date. None of those flops at the defender's feet.
Schilling; Boren had trouble containing Jones as well. Arrington did turn a TD into a FG by getting too aggressive on a pick, then misjudging that flag, but he's kind of good anyway. Also: he sounds just like Carlton Banks. I swear to god.
What does it mean for Purdue?
There is still little data on Purdue's defense. They gave up a ton of yards to Minnesota, but I believe that was mostly garbage time. Notre Dame managed 377 passing yards... so, like, wow. They must seriously suck? Dunno. Boeckman threw three picks amongst two TDs and 200 yards passing; WellsX2 rattled off around five YPC but got stuffed in some critical situations. I don't think they're going to be a pushover. Still, given the ND game, in which they only got two sacks, one of them from a safety, it seems safe to say that Michigan's passing game, if unleashed, should shred the Purdue secondary. Pending, of course, Henne playing like he did in this game instead of his frightening Year of Infinite Pain reversion in the first couple weeks.
Hurray, that's the poll hurray. If you're interested, you can see all the individual ballots here.
Troy falls and how, down to #13 after gacking it up against Stanford. Oklahoma, Cincinnati, Missouri, and South Carolina enter the top ten, Georgia drops out of the poll entirely, and some wag puts in a vote for a 2-3 team with all three losses by 20+ point margins. LSU is a near-consensus #1 with just three Cal holdouts.
Wack Ballot Watchdog:
- Our three Stanford wags: EDSBS, The Enlightened Spartan, and Boi From Troy.
- Less ireful than weird, this but: pollsters generally agree that Missouri could be ranked anywhere from 6 to 13... except definitely not number ten. Only Maize 'n' Brew dares to place them there.
- My Opinion On Sports (henceforth MOOS) ranks VT #5; Frank McGrath places them #5. I realize they beat the sin out of Clemson, but doesn't that seem sort of exuberant for a team with no offense?
- Texas #14? Given their best performance YTD was a loss to Oklahoma, uh... seems high. EDSBS the offender.
- Two voters are completely insane about Rutgers; Both DeepSouthSports and BruinsNation plug the Knights #15 after two consecutive losses and no victories of note.
- MOOS has Penn State #18.
- Florida is #2 to Losers With Socks and #4 to DeepSouthSports. There exists football outside the south, gentlemen.
- The whole host of people voting Hawaii high up disgust me. I am repulsed by your odor, which is immensely displeasing. Hawaii's stirring victory this week was over 0-6 Utah State, and every single one of the I-A opponents Hawaii has played to date lost over the weekend. Hawaii's opponents still have not beaten anyone outside of the state of Utah. And yet there are plenty of people voting them in the top fifteen. Inexplicable.
- Pitch Right is the only voter to rank Cal lower than #3, placing the Bears seventh.
- Pitch Right and Jonthan Tu, place Boise State at 16 and 15, respectively.
Now on to the extracurriculars. First up are the teams which spur the most and least disagreement between voters as measured by standard deviation. Note that the standard deviation charts halt at #25 when looking for the lowest, otherwise teams that everyone agreed were terrible (say, Eastern Michigan) would all be at the top.
Ballot math: First up are "Mr. Bold" and "Mr. Numb Existence." The former goes to the voter with the ballot most divergent from the poll at large. The number you see is the average difference between a person's opinion of a team and the poll's opinion.
This week's Mr. Bold. is Frank McGrath, one of the Cal voters. His ballot's top ten looks fairly reasonable save the inclusion of Virginia Tech and a very soft landing for Kentucky, down only three. Nothing on the rest of the ballot seems truly unjustifiable -- though what is these days? -- except maybe holding on to a thoroughly uninspiring Wisconsin at #11 and bothering to rank Texas at all. Still, if this season has been anything it's been bold. Approbation withdrawn for this week.
Mr. Numb Existence goes to Double Extra Point (ballot), which wins this award so often it's freaky. Other things DEP likes: white bread, vanilla ice cream, and the Ford Taurus. If that makes them sound racist, that's not the intent. Boring is what we were looking for. Boring.
Next we have the Coulter/Krugman Award and the Straight Bangin' Award, which are again different sides of the same coin. The CKA and SBA go to the blogs with the highest and lowest bias rating, respectively. Bias rating is calculated by subtracting the blogger's vote for his own team from the poll-wide average. A high number indicates you are shameless homer. A low number indicates that you suffer from an abusive relationship with your football team.
The CK Award remains strong like bull, bestowing a horrible loss upon the school favored by its winner for the fourth straight week. This week's demonstration of the award's dire power: Northwestern 48, Michigan State 41. Battered and without reason to rank Michigan State at all, The Enlightened Spartan finally gives up the ghost.
Next up: Dan Shanoff overrates Florida at #10, up one after losing to LSU (on the road against the #1 team in the country, okay). A potentially dicey game that pits Florida's wonky-to-date secondary against Andre Woodson and Kentucky approaches... can the CK award keep the streak going?
During the season, the Straight Bangin' Award is often the property of blogs covering a highly-ranked team coming off a dispiriting loss. This week Saurian Sagacity goes flapjack nuts, as mentioned, ranking UF #21.
Our top four voters in this category represent USC, Florida, Wisconsin, and USC. The winner is Jonathan Tu, who one-ups Saurian Sagacity by leaving USC completely out of his poll. Saurian Sagacity's own total omission of Florida from their ballot can't compare; they narrowly finish second. I believe Tu's winning margin of -12.46 is the highest score ever recorded in this category.
Swing is the total change in each ballot from last week to this week (obviously voters who didn't submit a ballot last week are not included). A high number means you are easily distracted by shiny things. A low number means that you're damn sure you're right no matter what reality says.
Mr. Manic Depressive is also the property of Mr. Tu, as tends to happen when you chuck the #3 (USC) and #11 (Florida) teams out of your poll entirely. We'll chalk things like Boise State up ten to the insane grief of losing to Stanford.
Tennessee blog Losers With Socks is (are?) Mr. Stubborn. They did move a lot of guys around, but, like... wtf: USC down only two, to #4; Florida up two, to #2.
38-0. This year's Notre Dame game? No, 2003's, though it's sort of hard to tell:
Return from exile. The Diag notes that the Illinois game will not be on the BTN. I think we knew this well before the season, as Ill/M was scheduled as a night game to be on one of the three Mouse networks, but it's good to have confirmation.
Also... uh... anyone have a couple extra tickets? I am going, but am currently without tickets; given the reputation of Illini fans I would prefer to snag a couple in the Michigan section. Email me if you have a pair you need to sell.
Hockey highlights. Varsity Blue has a highlight package from the Wontario game:
Awesome to be able to see that third goal, which was a beauty.
More Miles. Michigan is one of the better programs in the country at getting its kids through school; Oklahoma State and LSU are not popularly perceived as such. Thus one frequently-lodged objection against Miles: he can't operate under the strictures imposed by Michigan. (Full disclosure: This is something I myself leveled in the summer.) Given his eight years as a Michigan assistant, that might be something of an overblown concern, but it's worth a glance. Meaningful numbers don't exist for Miles' tenure at LSU, but Oklahoma State didn't do too badly with Miles at the helm (all numbers are GSRs, which take transfers into account and are more accurate than federal rates; Oklahoma included for a glimpse at the general environment Miles was operating in):
Miles started at Oklahoma State in 2001, so the 1997-2000 cohort includes his entire team when he got to campus, but no recruits. This is therefore inconclusive, but it at least suggests that Miles wasn't completely irresponsible when it comes to academics.
In any case, these trends are more institutional than anything else. Northwestern would still graduate 90% of its players even if it hired Lou Holth; Michigan isn't going to cut back on its academic support no matter who coaches the team. Academics, IMO, are nonfactor.
Braves & Birds on Miles in the Florida game:
Bo Schembechler would have been proud of the execution of that last drive. Miles has also taken to heart a lesson from Schembechler that the current Michigan coaching staff has completely forgotten, which is the importance of being multiple in the running game. Bo's offenses ran the ball so well despite the fact that their opponents knew that the run was coming because they didn't know the direction or type of run. Bo's offenses typically featured a mobile quarterback who could threaten the defense with the option, a fullback who could do damage between the tackles, and multiple tailbacks who could run all over the place. Miles' offense has all of these ingredients. (LSU's undoing might be the same as the undoing of all of those Michigan teams under Bo: a spotty passing game.)
Depth Chart? Depth Chart has some changes:
- Likely meaningless disciplinary items: Minor OR Brown; Manningham OR Hemingway.
- The opposite of the first bullet point: Carson Butler listed as the starter at tight end.
- Probably returning from injury: MacAvoy is listed the top right guard. Will Johnson listed as a starter at DT. CGraham OR Brandon Logan.
- Probably not returning from injury: Ciulla back on the depth chart but second-string behind Kraus; Thompson second-string behind Ezeh.
By the way, I think we can officially rename Angry Michigan Safety Hating God "Angry Michigan Right Guard Hating God."
What happened to Wisconsin? It's been a weird year in the league, and college football as a whole, but one of the most inexplicable developments has been the wholesale collapse of the Badger run defense. Colin emerges from deep slumber to poke at the corpse of the Wisconsin-Illinois game, and this is what he sees:
The game stats pretty much tell the story for Wisconsin's front 7. 6.6 per carry, 1 sack recorded in 19 chances. I'm going through the game to pick up the nuances, but it's pretty clear why Wisconsin lost this game. They pretty much deserved to.
Meanwhile, last week Michigan State shredded the Wisconsin rush defense, too. And this team returned five of its front seven. Go figure.
Etc.: Maize 'n' Brew is pretty meh about the meh game.
Editorial Opinion: Woo nothin' happenin'! Two notes that don't show up above: long-discarded OH OT Zebrie Sanders took an unofficial to the thrilling EMU game, and Michigan has started looking at Traverse City kicker John Potter, a teammate of Dann O'Neill. Both sides will wait to see what the situation is.
There is good news on the safety front; CA S Vaughn Telemaque -- a three star but the rare three star with an offer from USC -- is still seriously considering Michigan and might (is probably)? even still favoring M. This from an article on his Long Beach Poly teammate Jurrell Casey:
"I'll probably try to make my announcement sometime before the holidays," he said. "Me and (teammate and close friend) Vaughn Telemaque (recently offered by USC) have talked about making our announcement together on FSN (Fox Sports Network).
"We're good friends and we've talked about going to the same school together, but I know he likes Michigan and I like USC, so it may not happen. It's just cool to have somebody to talk to who is also going through the same stuff. We're just trying to have fun with recruiting and not rush it."
Well all right, then(!). Given the performance of our current Jackrabbit sporting a USC offer, adding Telemaque would be excellent; hopefully Casey's forecast is correct.
Meanwhile, NJ S Brandon Smith took a trip to Colorado for the Oklahoma game. It's always good when an article purportedly about another team starts off like this:
Growing up, Smith says he followed Michigan. "My visit was great," he said. "I really liked the atmosphere there. The stadium is huge and I think it's the biggest in college football. It gets really loud and the fans get really into it. It's a college town so it's all about Michigan football there."
The Wolverines upset Penn State when Smith visited. "Michigan is bouncing back well since their early loss," he said. "They have a great coach in Lloyd Carr and great players and I knew they'd do it."
The Wolverines are the lone team that is recruiting Smith for safety. Everyone else is recruiting him as an athlete.
"It's gorgeous in Colorado," he said. "I loved how beautiful the campus is and how nice all the surroundings are. It's not really a college town quite like Michigan, but it's still a great place and the fans are great too.
Although Smith says he doesn't have any real favorites beyond Michigan and Colorado, he admits that South Carolina has impressed him the most so far this season.
Smith's also changed his commitment plans from a Signing Day press conference to an announcement at the Army game.
So... three mentions of Michigan, no mentions of Rutgers, the school presumed to be Michigan's primary competition for Smith, and a visit to Colorado -- a school that strikes no fear into this intrepid reporter's heart given how down they've been for a while, their distance from Smith's hometown, and the lack of that childhood-fan thing. Very positive update there.
TX S Keanon Cooper is visiting this weekend:
The Gophers now lead slightly over Wisconsin, Alabama, Texas Tech, Oklahoma and Michigan. Cooper says he plans to visit Michigan for the Purdue game on Oct. 13, but the date isn't 100 percent yet. "It's not official yet," he said. "I really want to see what the game time experience is like at Michigan and get a feel for the whole school. They seem to have gotten back on track this season and the coaches are really coming after me hard."
Can't imagine that Minnesota maintains its slight lead after he gets done visiting; Michigan's got a good shot here, too.
Full board here and can always be found on the sidebar.
Oh, God, this ballot is insane. Why shoot up Oklahoma nine spots? Why move VT into the top ten from right outside the poll? Why shoot WVU up? Can I still justify Auburn behind UF? (Yes, I think I can.) I don't know anymore. Leave protestations in the comments.
Not that Emu. Highlights from the BTN:
More Penn State victorizing. This WolverineHistorian guy over at Youtube seems to be cataloging Michigan's win streak over Penn State one clip reel at at time. The current installment is 2000:
There is also a compilation of Michigan game-winning touchdowns over the years:
Miles, availability, etc. The occasional grumpy commenter who would like us all to prepare for the Brian Kelly era (which doesn't seem that bad an alternative) will drop in and assert that Les Miles will get a boatload of money dropped on him and will stay at LSU should he win -- or even just reach -- the national championship game. This NYT article that came out Friday implies otherwise heavily; this NYT blog post with fuller quotes from the principles of that article slathers it on even thicker. Former Oklahoma State player Sam Mayes:
He was never an Oklahoma State Cowboy, and I don't think that he's an L.S.U. Tiger right now. I think he's always going to be a Michigan man. I don't think he'll be content until he gets to that point. The way he would talk about Michigan and bring it up, 'When I was at Michigan.' Michigan this and that. It was like this golden fleece for him. I love my school, but with him it was something different. You had to see it. He'd say Michigan and get down on one knee. It was just crazy. People around here are joking that Les Miles has got Michigan colors on under his L.S.U. colors.
I'm sure some deranged Corn Nuts magnate can offer Miles his own effing Saban money, but I assume Michigan can and will make a competitive offer, and then we're into the whole "how many gold toilets do you need?" issue. Ben Wallace's answer was "all of them kthxbye"; Miles will probably say "just one, as long as it's Bo's."
Here's Miles' full quote about the Michigan job:
I don't want you to take the fast, hard line. I want you to hear me out.
I am indebted to that school and those people. Not Lloyd or the president there. But the tremendous memory of Bo Schembechler, and the quality that I was exposed to both academically and in football at the school. So I cannot in any way change that view. That's an honesty. I can't tell you my appreciation. My wife, my first born, my entire life is marked by my time at Michigan. Yet, I'm in a wonderful place here. I've got a great team. If I lose or have any distraction to that fact, that I would spend fun time, my time on something else like the view of that, would be a mistake. It would be a mistake and I really can't.
When I was a young coach, I had a school call me. It was so distracting. I did everything that I was supposed to do, but it affected me. Things like this really have no day-to-day change in the way I do things. I woke up at 4 a.m. today and I'm daydreaming, I'm not thinking about anything else but how to make this football team better. That to me is the right feel. I have great confidence in Michigan and they have a great staff there and they're going to do great things this year. I have no designs and nor has it ever been displayed to me that I'm the next guy, by anybody. I have given little or no thought to things that are not imminent. I really don't want to spend any more time talking about another program.
Lloyd Carr won a national championship and that staff is as quality as there is. I fully support what they're doing there.
Read from that what you will, but I have received multiple emails on this from people I trust: if Miles is offered the job he will take it.
Ashutosh has some thoughts on the Miles candidacy at What The Deuce:
Even with what Miles' has going for him, I still feel "eh" about him. I want to feel like Homer Simpson looking at a plate of bacon when the new hire is made/announced.
Mmmm baconcoach. That post went up Saturday... wonder if the needle has moved at all after the Florida game?
USA Today takes a look at said game and the fourth-down conversions therein. It slipped my mind in Sunday's post that one of the fourth-down attempts was a fake field goal; don't know if that changes the decision calculus any. It (obviously) worked, though.
Hot dog man. Missed this Daily article on the tube-meat-slinging cult hero of the student section:
As Michigan was beginning its comeback in Evanston, Ill. against Northwestern on Saturday, College of Engineering senior Jay Trzcinski walked to the front corner of the Michigan student section with an armful of hot dogs. At first, the crowd didn't recognize him, but soon murmurs began. Then the crowd started chanting "Hot Dog Man."
The rest of it is a depressing rehash of Michigan's attitude towards the stadium atmosphere ("anything fun is prohibited") compared to Northwestern's ("we are not crotchety"). Upshot:
He said he doesn't plan on throwing a hot dog anytime soon because he doesn't want a criminal charge and wants to be able to cheer on Michigan during the big games at the end of the season.
Hot Dog Man has been told his season tickets will be revoked if he throws any more tubed meats, which is preposterous. Maybe the administration's leeriness would have some merit if the hot dog tossing took place when the students were precariously perched on the seats, but at halftime everyone's sitting down. Les Miles would let the kid th
row hot dogs.
Wontario, defeated. Michigan opened up its 2007-2008 hockey season with a 5-1 exhibition win over Western Ontario that was somewhat dispiriting as these things go. Usually the final score of the exhibition is something like 8-2 and Michigan puts up like 60 shots to the opponent's 15; this game was 1-0 until a few minutes into the third when the floodgates opened. The Wolverine's Bob Miller has some impressions. Upshot:
This is going to be a very fun season for those who love developmental hockey. This Michigan team will have a solid core of players who should (no guarantees, of course) be four-year players and will be able develop naturally over time. No doubt, there will be some very frustrating games, but I can already see significant progress in most of the freshman from the first practice I attended 12 days ago. Very encouraging progress, in many cases. For those who demand lots of wins to enjoy the experience...well... you may have to decide if you can be patient through the inevitable growing pains.
Yikes. Some player-by-player breakdown follows. Personal opinions:
- Steve Kampfer still looks like the guy who got benched early last year. Lots of turnovers, occasionally turned inside out by Wontarians, still smallish. It remains a mystery how or why NHL teams thought he was worth drafting at all, let alone in the third round. Hopefully he comes around; I'm not seeing it.
- No offense to Scooter Vaughn, but God it's depressing to see #3 out there, think JMFJ(!!!) and then have it turn out to be anyone else. Similarly, the new #7, Chad Langlais, is exactly the same build as TJ except he plays defense. This is going to be a source of cognitive dissonance all year. They really shouldn't have issued thoes numbers until an appropriate mourning period had passed.
- Side note: Scooter Vaughn is a black guy from California named, obviously, "Scooter" who plays on the hockey team. Most unlikely Michigan athlete ever?
- None of the freshman jumped out like JMFJ or Hensick did when they were freshmen, but several of them showed flashes of talent. Matt Rust was compared to Andrew Ebbett by Miller, but the comparison in my head was Dwight Helminen. He has Helminen's wheels, faceoff ability, and backchecking prowess with a dash of offensive flair. Doubt he has Helminen's wicked snap shot, but his assist on Michigan's third goal -- a one-two-three tic-tac-toe job that was pure class -- was a beauty.
- Other guys I liked: Ben Winnett, a good combination of size and skill, Carl Hagelin, who probably didn't deserve a hat trick but was all over the ice, and Max Pacioretty.
- We're about to find out if Kevin Porter, top five scorer, was entirely a creation of TJ Hensick. Survey says: hell yes. He's still probably the team's best player, but is uninspiring as those go.
- One freshman defender I liked: the aforementioned Langlais. He's tiny and old (20 or 21 already, IIRC) but has some stickhandling and passing chops. Will be a fixture on the power play; reminds me of swashbuckling Eric Werner, who I loved.
- Sauer faced like one scoring chance. Goal was at the other end of the ice and I didn't get a good look, but it seemed like a goal-line scrum that ended up with him getting bumped by someone and then there was pointing and a red light. Not egregious. For that, see the Blue-White game.