Mike Spath points out that doing an interview for the official site is a pretty good indicator he'll be back.
Fixes. I've created a Crude Bug Tracking page, which can be found under "useful stuff" on the nav bar. It contains all known bugs and feature requests, plus a list of stuff I've fixed. The latest fixes:
- you don't have to preview comments or message board posts anymore
- comment threading options enabled for message board
- ticket ads now less ugly
- Brian @ AOL posts now visible to plebes
- message board restyled so it doesn't bleed into the right sidebar
If you're sending a bug in (which should be done whenever there is a bug SUPPORT THE CAUSE), do me a favor and check the page to see if it's listed or not. Also, if I missed anything in the whirlwind last few days, please remind me.
Solicitation. Also, I'm not married to "diaries" as the name of the things you see on the right sidebar. If you've got anything better, let me know.
The home uniform has not changed with the exception of the logo and the away uniform has been modified slightly in comparison to the Nike design that has been worn the past few seasons. The uniforms were approved last fall and have been in production well in advance of the hiring of Coach Rich Rodriguez.
This contradicts both the women's academy jerseys (road jerseys only slightly different) and the UMGoBlue thread (home jerseys untouched) referenced earlier today in exactly the ways most Michigan fans would want those data points to be contradicted, so it is undoubtedly accurate by fiat.
At this point we should probably just wait for the damn things to come out.
I got my philosophy. Bo Schemblogger has some notes from a recent coaching clinic that are basically a bulleted version of Rodriguez's offensive philosophy. I actually found the Magee bullets more interesting:
-- 1. make defenses defend the entire field ... QB has presnap and post snap reads
-- 2. Always play at multiple tempos to keep defense off balance and control their substitution patterns
-- 3.make defense prepare for dual threat QB, both run and pass
-- 4. EXECUTION- You want a simple, not predictable offense (most of you should love this one, LOL).
-- 5. Execute your base plays to perfection: Reps and Reps, and more reps, get good at something!
-- 6. numbers game
----- a. 1st key number is 1 or 2 safeties. This is from my personal experience, this read is the single most important in this offense ... it tells you what OLBers and CBs are going to do. All 3 Coaches, RR, MaGee, and Frey, said the OLBers are the most dangerous defenders to this offense
------ b. How many defenders in box is next read
-- 7. Create best angles to block, both linemen and SEs
-- 8. And the final one - Find Empty Grass!
I bolded four things for two different reasons. Four and five are bolded because the emphasis on execution is something most decidedly old in the context of Michigan football. These are the things that Charlie Weis has no idea how to do.
Two and eight are new. Eight is a pithy three-word summary of the spread 'n' shred. Two is something I'm excited about not because ramping tempo up and down will have that much of an effect on the game, but because it's another indication the staff is looking for an edge wherever it can get one.
This was the theory expounded in the post Northwestern's ballboys: Rich Rodriguez is an expert at taking limited resources and stretching them. From Glenville to Tulane to Clemson to West Virginia he has taken less and done more, and for most of this time he has been the head of the pyramid. Now he has more.
Por ejemplo. Bruce Feldman's latest article for ESPN the magazine probably doesn't have anything in it you don't already know, but it's an impeccably-written overview of the goings on. Relevant to our Unified Theory of Rodriguez is this passage:
Still, the new staff knew they'd get a better read on guys at Rodriguez's spring practices. The tempo change was dramatic. "If Bo could see these practices, he'd love it," says Jim Brandstatter, a lineman on the 1969 team. "It's eerily similar to the culture shock when Bo took over. They're being physical. They hit. They wear pads every day."
Among the new Michigan mandates: Practices double as conditioning (no walking-even linemen sprint into stances), and a QB is live in drills until he proves in a real game that he can handle pressure.
...or the OL is so sieve-like it gets him hurt.
Snark aside, I hadn't really considered the impact of the high tempo in practice that way. I had just figured it was a way to make the most of your limited hours. It is that; it's also yet more conditioning for guys who are running everywhere. The thing that leapt out at me from the Rodriguez paraphrase linked above: "conditioning is the most underrated aspect of football." Insert "eeee" here.
Etc.: Dex is ripping off the Dugout to good effect in the diaries, and QB Waggle tackles Michigan's NFL draft class of 2007. This Smart Football post on pass protection is pure football nerd porn. I've ripped Tom Deinhart before, but his preview of M for Rivals is shockingly accurate, like "mentions Marell Evans correctly" accurate. GS has a super recap of Mario Manningham's career.
Kevin Grady mug shot:
Why? DUI. Obviously not a stellar moment in Grady's life but his first misstep; likely a short suspension and then a return to normal service. "Normal service" in this case has been three yards followed by a fumble, but hey, you recover those fumbles and it's second and seven and if you're USC that's time to play the V song.
Fulmer cup projection: one point, Michigan's first of the Rodriguez era.
These were the uniforms bestowed upon attendees of the Women's Football Academy this summer, and their relation to West Virginia's vaguely chintzy duds did not go unremarked upon or unlamented. I phrased the post title as a question ("is this the ne road jersey?") despite the clear authenticity of the photos because it seemed highly improbable that Michigan would sign off on a pretty dramatic departure from their classic white away jerseys. At least, that's what I hoped.
That hope lives. Beauford Bixel -- a nom de plume up there with Orson Swindle -- of State of the Game has alertly picked up on a thread over at Michigan fansite/message board UMGoBlue.com featuring the uniform impressions of Phil Callihan, the site's founder. (Side note: Drew Montag, a UMGoBlue columnist, actually registered "mgoblog.com" two months before I started the blogspot version and, after two years and considerable friendly pestering, gave me the domain for free. They are Friends of Blog.) Callihan says he's seen the official jerseys and they are like so:
The home jerseys have a maize block "M" on the shoulder, the number is a little thicker and seems to be placed a little higher than on past jerseys. There's also a small (1/4 inch wide by 1-2 inch) vertical maize strip running down from the collar that has Michigan in blue. [Callihan would later correct himself, saying there is a block M on the strip. -ed]
The away jerseys have a thin maize piping straight across the chest. There also have a small maize strip on the back of the collar that says Michigan in blue.
Both have a small Adidas logo on the front.
There's the requisite panic and hasty, speculative photoshopping in the aftermath, with various people declaring their completely hypothetical outrage or joy over an ultimately trivial matter. It's basically a microcosm of the internet, and it's pretty awesome. We'll find out what they actually look like in around two weeks, and there will be a great TCP/IP howl for three days before we forget about it.
Add another 1.2 million subscribers to the BTN pile:
For sports fans, Verizon is launching three new HD sports channels.Verizon has always placed a high priority on providing all major sports programming and offering as much as possible in HD.
The company has now added top college basketball and football action with the Big Ten Network, which will be available in both standard- and high-definition.
Verizon was the last alternative (fiber/satellite) provider to sign on; now it's just Charter, Time Warner, and Mediacom left.
The basketball camp came and went without the blessed event -- a commit from CA PG Darius Morris -- beleaguered Michigan basketball fans have been pining for. The articles on the premium sites($) remain extremely positive, however, and Morris plans to decide within a month or two. Keep an eye out to see if he takes any more visits. If he doesn't, he will commit.
Meanwhile, freshmen are on campus and working out. The camp was open to the public, so respected internets poster MHoops1 took the opportunity to scout Stu Douglass...
1. Stu Douglass has a lot of tools--more than I thought. He's got a very quick release, range way beyond the NBA 3 point line, moves extremely well without the ball, and uses screens very nicely, passes well, can handle it enough to bring the ball up against pressure from smaller, quicker guards, and, while not a great athlete, was not getting overwhelmed by quickness on the defensive end. The question, quite simply, is shot selection. When he's square, he's a very, very good shooter, and under any circumstances, he spreads the floor--Terry Mills was yelling at the team he was coaching "He can shoot it from there" when Stu came across half court. The problem is that he does shoot it from there sometimes, and he also sometimes shoots it from positions that only a contortionist could love. He HAS to become less of a gunner. If he does, he could be a very good player in the Big Ten. If he doesn't, and guys like Manny, Deshawn and LLP lose good shots because Stu is chucking up bad ones, he'll be a detriment. It's as simple as that.
...and Zach Novak:
2. Zack Novak is a very efficient player. He's a good shooter from range, plays with his head up all the time, which permits him to see the floor and pass extremely well, and can shot fake, take the ball to the hole, and use his body to shield defenders and finish against much bigger, more athletic kids. He's also a pretty good rebounder in traffic, and moves very well without the ball. The biggest problem Zack has, at this time, is not the athleticism thing--he's not fast, but he's not as slow as some have claimed--but rather lack of handling skills. He can put it on the floor to drive off the wing, but is not real good out front if pressured before he's comfortable with the ball and what he's going to do, and you wouldn't really see him as a guy who's going to be an extra handler against pressure. His shot release is decent, but not nearly as quick as Stu's. Simply put, unless/until he gets better handles, he's a slightly undersized 3--really a point forward--with decent, but not great athleticism. I have no doubt that he can play in the conference because he is so fundamentally skilled and savvy, but to reach his potential, his ballhandling needs to improve.
The initial impressions -- MHoops1's scouting report has been echoed by other observers with little dissent -- contradict the months of speculation that had Novak a potential early contributor and Douglass an iffy role player.
Check out the rest of that thread while it still lives for further insight on the team this year. Sounds like the idea is to move Harris to small forward and try to live with Anthony Wright as a backup four, which would free up a lot of time at SG: advantage Douglass. Arizona transfer Laval Lucas-Perry will be eligible midseason; expectations are he will quickly supplant Grady as the starting point guard.
(Link via UMHoops.)