somehow we're only 124th
No deltas since I didn't vote last week. Lack of voting was Appalachian State self-pity related, obvs, and a general lack of knowledge about WTF happened in week one after the Hindenburg blew up. So some of the above may be spotty. Of note: the exclusion of the SEC trio I was pessimistic about preseason: UT got clunked good by Cal, Auburn blew it against South Florida, and Georgia's offense squeezed out four field goals in a loss to South Carolina.
Oregon is clearly a good offensive team, but they have no run defense and had the luxury of playing Michigan's disjointed crew. Still, six billion yards is six billion yards and the final score of that game could have been 56-7 with a couple breaks.
I am skeptical about UL after that Middle Tennessee game, and the end of the poll is a melange that is mercifully mid-major and Hawaii free. It does not matter what Hawaii does the rest of the season: I will not rank it except as a 20-25 afterthought given their schedule, the Boise loss, and the LTU game.
Any comments or corrections are most welcome.
Yeah, I've gotten a lot of email of late, as you might imagine. Quickly, quickly:
Did I miss it or did you not criticize Lloyd for the 2 point conversion in the 3rd quarter? [note: this email came after App St. -ed] Of all the gaffes in that game, that one was just crystal clear and indisputable. You don't go for 2 in the 3rd quarter unless you are a zillion behind. It is incorrect mathematically and it sends a message to the other team that you are desperate. Just what A State needed at the time. Bo would have said - "Kick the point, stuff 'em and let's go back and get some more".
UM Ken in Troy - Old Guy - '68 BS, '84 MBA
PS - I have always admired Lloyd's integrity and what he has accomplished. That should not be dismissed. But it is now time for a regime change. The king (Bo) is dead, long live the king!
I did not criticize Carr for that decision because I'm not exactly sure what the right move is there. I lean towards that being wrong because 1) you have not established your field goal kicker and should prefer touchdowns (er... "more heavily prefer" would probably be better) and 2) your offense is racking up lots of yards against Appalachian State and you should expect to score another touchdown. So... yes, I think that was the wrong call but there was so much to criticize some thing slipped through the cracks.
A positive note on recruit Elliot Mealer from an Ohioan:
I got to see '08 early commit, Elliott Mealer of Wauseon. My former high school football team played Wauseon last Friday, and he is probably a little more than 300 pounds, yet stil playing TE. They ran off-tackle to take advantage of the huge down block Mealer provided. They seriously ran the ball 90-95% of the time and 80-85% of runs went to his side. It seemed like he was taking about three or four defending players out of the play every down. Additionally, he played some defense even though he wasn't the focal point of the defense like he seemed to be on offense. Defensively he ended up with three or four sacks against a sub par offensive line and a clueless quarterback.
Watching this game really changed my mind about Mealer. I played against him his sophomore year and my brother played against him his junior year and this year. We both thought he was a bum prior to this year. He changed both of our minds this year and now I'm thinking he might not be a complete bust. With his size and some toughing up, maybe he will see the field when he gets a little older. Its hard to say how good he really is though, because he plays mostly Division 4 and 5 teams (In Ohio, the higher the division the smaller the school).
"Might not be a complete bust"... sweet! It might not matter; if Ohio State offers Mealer (looking more and more possible with Josh Jenkins looking unlikely and targets getting thin on the ground) and Carr retires Mealer, a lifelong OSU fan, is probably one of Michigan's biggest flight risks.
One of the nice things about this blog is that there are a lot of intelligent commenters. The post about who was responsible for the field goal block got a lot of interesting responses; Aaron Lewis provides the most definitive answer over email:
I played football down the road at Albion College. While I was there, a guy by the name of Dave Arnold (http://csurams.cstv.com/sports/m-footbl/mtt/arnold_dave00.html) was the offensive line coach so he also was the coach for the FG team. He coached under Dennis Erickson when Miami won the national title and with the Seahawks.
Anyhoo, I played Crable's spot several times on FGs. You DO NOT LUNGE for ANYBODY. You step with your inside foot and simply lean to the inside. Stepping with your inside foot creates a stronger bond, for lack of a better word, with the guy inside you so that guys cannot creep through an inside gap and have more of a direct line to the kick point. Anything and everything must go to the outside for it is the longest and lengthiest route from a time perspective.
That said, Crable and Banks have a second step for their job. Once they step and lean to secure their inside gap, they also must look (literally just turn their heads) to their outside gap and throw up an arm jab once their inside is secure because they are blocking at the weakest protection points. Everyone else (save for the guys playing the exact same position on the opposite end) has direct protection on their outside gap from their fellow lineman. You step to the inside, lean to the inside, and arm jab late to the outside if you can. If you look at the video, the end on the right side has no inside pressure after stepping so he takes on the guy to his outside.
The worst case scenario happened for this team with Banks and Crable. Banks got much too wrapped up on his inside gap with a man who was essentially blocked, taking himself out of the play by willingly washing himself down to the inside. You can see the offensive tackle's left leg is even past the midpoint(!) of Banks stance in the second frame, when Banks right knee should simply be behind the tackle's left knee.
Crable compounds a small mistake into an utter disaster by wholeheartedly going after a guy who is the least threat, essentially taking himself out of the play and opening up the kick for a disaster. Which, of course, it was. I would say that as a senior he should know this, but people often forget that even the most important special teams roles are taken on by guys who have little to no experience at them. Coaches often throw together a mix of veterans (who they assume won't lose their heads) and young players who they want to get on the field, but normally none are comfortable unless they play the same role throughout the season. You could probably say with a more informed opinion, but I have little doubt that Crable did not play that position last year. Nobody plays the same special teams role for three or four years straight save for kickers.
So there you go: blame to both Crable and Banks and the Michigan special teams coach, who doesn't exist.
Question on the Offense UFR...I was at the game and it seemed like a recurring problem was Henne struggling to get the play off as the play clock was winding down. Tough to tell if this would be Henne's fault or Debord's but it just looked like Henne was rushing the calls to get the snap off (while trying to set guys in motion or check to another play) and maybe this led to some of the false starts because everyone was out of synch?
Did you notice this being as much of a problem as I am remembering it?
I did not notice this particular issue in either game except in certain instances where the playcall got in late and the result was either a timeout or the world's most disastrous delay of game call. But I could be wrong. Commenters?
I'm glad I didn't have a blog following last week's loss, because I probably would have put some shit out in a rage that was regrettable later. I'd just like to point out, though, that your unconditional surrender was included in the ESPN Page 2 piece, and I was kind of embarrassed to think that everyone reading that would see UM as a program surrounded by fairweather quitters. (You're making me look stupid, panda jerk!)
Much more importantly, such a statement also reinforces the existing culture among a lot of younger fans that they should throw in the towel as soon as anything goes wrong with the team, and that only undefeated teams really deserve their support. Even when I was on campus (2000-2004), that attitude was way too widespread, and when someone as widely read and respected as you puts their imprimatur on that behavior, it can only make things worse.
uld ask as a favor on behalf of all UM fans who don't want our fan base to be labeled as - and who especially don't want to it actually become - spoiled, golf-clapping, whiny and spineless that you please refrain from surrendering our superiority again. I can understand surrendering for the season, but not for all time. I also truly think that almost any group of fans can concoct a list of Times My Team and the Universe Generally Tried to Fuck Me in the Pooper, and the lists would be largely comparable. I don't think we're unique in that regard, even though it certainly seems like it as a fan. The Lions, on the other hand, have a list that is head and shoulders above anyone in sports.
(STW P. Brabbs)
I'm all for profiles of potential coaches, and the limitless optimism you and I usually share certainly would be suspect at this point, but come on already! My friends and I have thanked the big guy upstairs many a time for having intelligent, entertaining discussion of M Football (read: not collegefootballnews.com or anything mainstream) finally, and we need you -- stop bitching out and sack up! Please:
1. Ditch the Emo Week banner with the crying already - it was funny and appropriate for a week, but we're Michigan after all - let's act like it.
2. Rally the base with the ups and downs -- obvious down being "defense = suckitude," but optimism is possible in watching the offense rack up 300 yards in the first half -- if we stop throwing picks and getting freak "lose points" moments (Brown's fumble with the cast on, two sacks that pushed back/eliminated the possibility of field goals, etc.) and if Henne hadn't gone down, the 2nd half could have at least made the score look respectable. The Big Ten doesn't have the speed/schemes to screw with us, etc. We have to believe the defense can not blow this much all year, and if they even bandaid it, the offense should dominate as they mature together.
3. IT'S NOTRE DAME WEEK -- let's do it proper (although humor is probably necessary) with some Holtz-laughs, some bashing of Rudy, etc.
4. Notre Dame stat of the week:
*Charlie Weis 20+ point losses in his last 13 games: 5
*Lloyd Carr 20+ point losses in his 13 year career: 3
5. Positive coaching search omen worth mentioning:
1930s -- Kipke suffered four 32+ point losses; he was replaced by FRITZ CRISLER.
1960s -- Elliott suffered three 32+ point losses; he was replaced by BO SCHEMBECHLER.
2007 -- Lloyd suffered one 32 point loss; he was replaced by _______________???
Before those two guys you have to go back to the 1800s for 32+ point losses, which were obviously wiped clean by (a) happening during the first 10 years of the program and (b) Yost being God.
Sorry for the ramble -- just please come back and be badass for Michigan again. If you fold up in the blogosphere because of a couple of losses, those other bitch bloggers (i.e., the terrorists) win.
These men are right. In our time of trial we must remember our hatred. Hatred makes us strong. We are weak without it. I have declared this "Emu" week. I dedicate it to all the ways in which Jimmah Clausen and Charlie Weis are the very embodiment of earthly evil. I will be relentless.
Hey... Clausen, the spiky-haired douche with fey gestures store called... they're all out of you!
I'll work on it. I'm rusty.
|Head Coach, California|
|Offensive Coordinator @ Oregon||1998-2001|
|QB Coach @ Fresno State||1992-1997|
|Offensive Assistant @ Calgary (CFL)||1989-1991|
|Grad Assistant @ Fresno State||1987-1988|
|Six years as a quarterback in the CFL; before that four years at Fresno State.|
Jeff Tedford has been California's coach for the past five years and is entering his sixth with the Bears as a top ten team. This is a remarkable turnaround with a program historically on par with Kentucky, Minnesota, and Iowa State. This Stassen query for the years 1980-2001 demonstrates Cal's historic peers:
75t Indiana 0.42540
75t Kansas 0.42540
80 Missouri 0.40121
81 Cincinnati 0.39549
82 California 0.39474
83 Minnesota 0.39271
84 Kentucky 0.39069
85 New Mexico 0.38627
86 Rutgers 0.38382
87 Iowa State 0.38320
(I would also like to highlight this baby for future reference:
97 Texas Tech 0.32738
) From these ashes, Tedford has wrought near magic. Tom Holmoe left the Cal program in total disarray, going 4-7, 3-8, and 1-10 to close out his tenure there. From this meager straw Tedford spun a 7-5 2002, Cal's first winning season since 1993. He won Pac-10 coach of the year. Two years later he had the Bears at 10-2. Other than Cal's 1991 10-2 season, this was the program's high water mark since the 1950s. Ayoob was not booya the next year and Cal dropped to 8-4 before rebounding to 10-3 a year ago; this year Cal has beaten Tennessee and Colorado State. The Colorado State game was an uncomfortably narrow 34-28 win fueled by two CSU touchdowns scored on reserve defensive backs akin to Michigan's hiccup against Ball State a year ago.
|As UO OC|
Xs and Os Proficiency: Vast on the offensive side of the ball. A former quarterback at Fresno State and in the CFL, Tedford has developed a reputation for developing first-round NFL draft picks at quarterback who subsequently are collosal busts: Trent Dilfer, Akili Smith, Joey Harrington, Kyle Boller, and Aaron Rodgers were all Tedford-tutored quarterbacks drafted high by the NFL. Dilfer managed to carve out a career as a game manager after imploding spectacularly early in his career. Smith was an epic bust. Harrington and Boller are still playing but have looked awful. Aaron Rodgers will replace Brett Favre when he retires in 2430.
Tedford's remarkable ability to dupe NFL scouts into drafting his system quarterbacks speaks to an offensive scheme that maximizes the abilities of his players. At right, Cal's total offense and scoring offense in the Tedford era year-by year, plus the last two years of his tenure as Oregon's offensive coordinator. (The NCAA does not have data before 2000 available on the internet.) While not quite as dominant as Brett Bielema's numbers as a defensive coordinator, Tedford has turned in offenses somewhere between very good and great every year since 2000 save for his first season with a Cal team that was 1-10 the year before. (Cal's scoring offense that year was bolstered by five touchdowns in the kick return game and the nation's third-best turnover margin.)
Recruiting: (All ratings here are Rivals' for expediency's sake.) This could be something of a concern. Tedford's recruiting at Cal has been JUCO heavy; Michigan takes JUCOs at a rate of about once a decade. Tedford's first class was an ugly assortment of two-stars, but as a first-year coach coming into a disaster of a program that's to be expected. His second year things were better but still not good: mostly three stars with the occasional four mixed in. He did pick up a lightly-regarded athlete named Daymeion Hughes and a JUCO quarterback named Aaron Rodgers, though. 2004 was a major step forward with six four stars, including quarterback Nate Longshore and almost totally shirtless running back Marshawn Lynch, Rivals #28 player in the country. An unhealthy concentration of two-stars dotted the back end of the class, though. In 2005, he picked up some guy named DeSean Jackson -- his first five star -- and cut out most of the two stars. 2006 was similar without a player of Jackson's caliber; last year was a minor step back.
En toto: Tedford was obviously hamstrung by the Cal program's vortex of suck his first few years; since he has picked it up. He still operates under the shadow of USC and, increasingly, UCLA for most California recruits but occasionally nets a major score like Jackson or Lynch. Cal's dismal facilities and lack of instate cachet makes recruiting a tougher go that it presumably would be at Michigan. He's had a couple high profile classes and would probably be able to at least maintain Michigan's current recruiting level.
Potential Catches: Tedford has still not managed to best the USC behemoth, but that's a flimsy criticism at best. More to the point: he may not be able to recruit quite as well without the JUCO option (though I think this also flimsy); he hasn't had defenses commensurate with his offenses, and he's never actually reached a BCS bowl. A disappointing loss to Texas Tech in the Holiday Bowl during their 10-2, top ten season, is a disturbing indicator.
Relative Compensation: Tedford makes $1.8 million annually at Cal, approximately 300k more than Lloyd Carr. He also receives a $1 million bonus if he completes the 2008 season with Cal; a $1 million dollar signing bonus must be repaid if he does not complete the 2007 season with the Bears. His buyout is $150k per year if he leaves before the Memorial Stadium renovation starts and $300k afterwards. Tedford contract extends to 2013, so the fee would be $900k or $1.8 million depending on how long the hippies in the trees can halt construction.
Bottom line: Tedford would be expensive. Carr was undercompensated relative to his position and Michigan has the money with an athletic department running millions of dollars in the black every year, so they should be able to make it worth Tedford's while.
Would He Take The Job? Maybe. There were rumblings the past couple years about a potent
ial departure that Cal strove to quash with promises of massive facility upgrades. These have hit a snag -- hippies and all that -- but are still likely on the way. He's a West Coast guy through and through with no connection to the area and may not want to uproot his family when he has a good thing going at Cal. Still, the football environment is far friendlier in Ann Arbor than Berkeley, and the talent level is much higher.
Overall Attractiveness: I reserve the right to change my mind about this pending a review of the other attractive candidates (and the results of the forthcoming season), but Tedford should be the first name on the list*. What he's done at Pac-10 Indiana is staggering. He runs a pro-style offense that would fit Michigan's current talent well (and better than, say, Rich Rodriguez' spread option). He turned Joey Harrington into the third pick in the NFL draft. He's young enough to coach Michigan for 20 years but experienced enough (and in one place) to have built the sort of track record Michigan can be secure in. If he wants it, he should be the guy.
*(assuming that the real pipe dream guys like Meyer, Stoops, etc. are excluded; this list contains only reasonable candidates.)
9/10/2007 - Michigan 7-39 Oregon - 0-2.
Bo is dead.
And, apparently, when he died the spirit of the program went with him. I don't know where it went. Probably Tibet. There is probably a 9-month-old child somewhere in Tibet who has the spirit of the Michigan football program. What a dick, hoarding all that spirit we need. I hope his yak butter goes rancid. But here we are.
I posted the above on the eve of the season as part of a hype post featuring Bo's "The team, the team, the team" speech. On the left: Bo, weirdly confident, almost bemused by all this crap he has to put up with just to get the job. In the middle: a young, petrified-looking Don Canham. There are few expressions easier to read than the one he's sporting: "God, I hope I didn't screw this up." On the right: Bump Elliot wondering if someone off camera has a sandwich. "I'm hungry. I wonder if that guy has a sandwich. I wonder if he would give me his sandwich... probably not. I probably shouldn't have lost to Ohio State 50-14. This seriously compromises my sandwich-acquisition capabilities. Shit. I knew that two-point conversion was bad news."
In two games Lloyd Carr has gone from a potential mini-Bo, pending the successful resolution of his final season, to a definitive mini-Bump and Michigan is searching for the man on the left again ten games too early. And while I would still give Lloyd Carr a sandwich, I no longer want him mucking around with my football program. This is an opinion now universally held by Michigan fans, and the alternative is too mindboggling to consider. So going forward, the assumptions:
- Carr will retire at the end of the season.
- His assistants will be given nice severance packages and a firm handshake.
- Martin conducts Michigan's first open, national search for a new football coach since 1968.
There are competing theories out there. Tom Kowalski, who's a Lions guy and probably should not be trusted, asserted on the radio this weekend that Carr will wait until the last possible moment to retire to ensure his assistants get a crack at the job. This assumes that Carr has completely lost his mind and that this will not cause a major revolt among donors and fans. It can't be taken seriously.
There's also a hilarious debate amongst various Detroit columnists about whether Carr should be fired right now or resign right now or wait until the end of the year or whatever, which is a quintessential example of rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. Who cares if Carr goes now or at the end of the season? What matters is the man who replaces him. The conversation going forward here will focus on that.
As I was searching for the pictures of Bo featured in the above-linked post, I stumbled across a page the Bentley put up with items from their library; the above was weird and wonderful and did not quite fit with the post I was putting up, so I squirreled it away for another time, which is apparently now. The Bentley caption:
Bo Schembechler leaving hospital after heart attack at 1970 Rose Bowl [with Hal Coombes, University Entertainment, Tournament of Roses and Mrs. Helen Fowler, R.N. ] Date: 19700119
Bo, struck down after his program-defining victory over Ohio State, leaves the hospital and is accosted by some photographer. He wants a picture. Hal Coombes, University Entertainment, Tournament of Roses and Mrs. Helen Fowler, Registered Nurse, are appalled, but Bo accedes. Hal Coombes, UE, ToR and Mrs. Helen Fowler, RN, can't quite get over the awkwardness of the situation -- this man, just out of the hospital, still in a wheelchair, asked for photographic evidence of his weakness -- and end up looking like extras in a zombie movie.
But Bo does not care. Bo says what the hell, and smiles, and by all appearances actually means it, and Mrs. Helen Fowler, Registered Nurse, is confused and alarmed into inaction but thinks that if this guy here is so capable of dealing then things will probably be all right. We have lost that; it is time to go seeking again.
Well, yeah, that sucked. But way less than last week because Michigan declared itself to be no-fluke pure suck by about midway through the second quarter. I was given the opportunity to disconnect and erect a wall of sarcasm between myself and the team, and this I did. There's no pain here, just a steady drip of resignation. Mmmm.
So I'm all out of rage. The reaction at this point: whatever. Who's the next coach? For the first time since 1968, Michigan is going to go looking; chances are the next guy isn't currently working at a MAC school. Unless it's Brady Hoke. Maybe he can bring back Stan Parrish! Oh, the tingly bits are tingling at the mere possibility.
Anyway, I'm going to Chicago to day to watch Brazil tear through the USMNT like it's Michigan's defense, so content will have to wait until tomorrow. This is just a heads up that I'm out here and will be posting with alacrity this time. No need for kittens when you've already set the clock ahead to next year. UFR will be abbreviated as per the standard practice to ignore plays which have no outcome on the bearing of the game. Garbage time started right after Dixon's third long touchdown of the day and charting will cease there, though I'll go in and grab all the Mallett plays to evaluate how he did. (Not well is your answer.)
One thing: yes, Les Miles is back on the table. I know I wrote a big long post claiming he was not a candidate for anything, and I still remain fairly skeptical, but a large portion of the "not a candidate for anything" post rested on the dual assumptions that
- Michigan would not be looking for a drastic change in the tenor of the program, and
- Lloyd Carr's personal enmity would be a major negative.
IE: it was written in the expectation that Carr was going out on a high note instead of as Bump Elliot with a national title. Obviously this is not the case and Carr's opinion is likely to carry little weight with an athletic director already inclined towards national searches that acquire proven winners instead of, say, Mike DeBord. So Miles is no longer a longshot. I got a solid tip from someone claiming that he would jump at the job if offered, FWIW, and his public non-statements in the past week about the Michigan job tend to reinforce that vision. He has a specific $1.2 million buyout for Michigan, but that's nothing. Someone will step forward and donate that much if it comes to that.
Uh, like... hopefully this one goes better.
Note: the TV thing got canceled until the station can also find a State guy. Frowns. Sorry to anyone who stayed up on Sunday.