"Rodrick Williams Jr.'s 10-month old, 2-foot-long savannah monitor named "Kill" gets the RB some strange looks when they go for walks together."
Liveblog/chat event! The Big Ten Network is going to cover a Michigan practice tonight at 9PM EST, with a replay of last year's "Little Brother" game preceding the festivities at 7. MGoBlog will take the opportunity to spin out the Cover It Live software as a test run for a new feature this season. The tentative plan: have members of the Wolverine Liberation Army and some select others moderate CIL chats that will replace the chaotic free-for-all of the haloscan open threads. (If you've got a Michigan blog and will be available for home games there might be a spot or two open; drop me an email.) I won't be around since I'm going to 8 to 10 games this year and prefer my Ohio State games to be consumed in an atmosphere of solitary panic, but the WLA guys are pretty all right.
As far as tonight goes, we tried this once before when Sam McGuffie had his national TV debut and discussion quickly shifted from McGuffie to any and all things, which is fine. There will probably be some trenchant commentary on the event itself, but this will end up being more of a Q&A session with some good jokes/answers from the peanut gallery sprinkled in. A reminder: these are moderated chats so I have to approve anything that gets posted before it'll show up.
ESPN’s helmet clash was a stupid exercise designed to garner cheap hits and was unworthy of anyone’s attention. But this is pretty cool:
I think we know who the true winner is.
Cut like a razor blade so fast other DJs go damn. The Morgan Trent 4.13 forty is sadly, dead. Varsity Blue got some pictures from Media Day:
You can clearly see that "40" has no winners and the 413 was put up in the pro agility drill. You can also see that the fastest quarterback in that drill was... aww... goddammit... David Cone.
Moooooooo. Yeah, you know those enormous metal girders? You can’t walk through them. As a result, moooooving (ha! I kill me!) around Michigan Stadium this fall is going to be even more of a fiasco than it usually is:
Officials thought about opening the gates more than two hours before kickoff, but a review of scanned tickets shows the majority of fans wait until the last hour to enter anyway.
"Nobody likes to miss kick-off," Rademacher said. "If they don't get here early, there's a good chance they'll miss it."
Get to the stadium early and use the gate closest to your seat and avoid Main Street. If you show up late-ish things will be even more difficult than they've been in the past:
To help funnel fans who approach the stadium from the south around to the northern side of the stadium, one of the northbound lanes of South Main Street, from Stadium Boulevard to Keech Avenue, will be closed to vehicular traffic and open only to pedestrians.
A barrier closing off that lane to vehicular traffic will be installed before game day, said Ann Arbor Police Sgt. Brad Hill. "Officers there will be encouraging people to use that," Hill said.
Rademacher says it'll be quicker to walk around the stadium to the correct gate than to enter the stadium and fight the crowds through the concourses.
The traffic issues should be resolved by 2010, when a second concourse will be added for the plebes in the nosebleeds.
Sad? Funny? Both! Details of Kevin Grady's DUI arrest have been released. Going over them is sad and horrible and all that, but also... well... kind of funny. I'm sorry if this makes me a horrible person, but:
Thompson said he asked for a number between 12 and 14, and Grady answered "15." And when asked whether Mickey Mouse is a dog or a cat, he answered "dog."
That's comedy. Not comedy: the officer finding Grady passed out with the car running but his foot miraculously pressing the brake. Grady, BTW, has been seeing scanty first-team snaps even in the absence of Minor and Brown.
Sidenote: during my brief dalliance with college-level quiz bowl I attended a "trash tournament," in which the questions are all pop culture blah blah. At one point one of the bonus questions asked a player on the other team to execute a number of sobriety tests, one of which he failed. It was not "is Mickey Mouse a dog or a cat?"
Best Porn Name - For a Woman
Foxy Foxworth, South Carolina TE
This is strictly a soft-core porn name, since hardcore would be something like "Honey Titsworth."
Also, there is a man named "T-Bob" who is the son of a former NFL quarterback. If you guessed "Louisiana," give yourself a nickel.
Etc.: Carty relates Fred Jackson's insane ravings about the two freshman backs; Adam Rittenberg takes a look at Rodriguez's history with two quarterbacks. The first Blogpoll Roundtable is up and kicking at Hey Jenny Slater.
Houston, Texas, kicker Anthony Fera -- not actually foreign, but "I keeck a touchdown" is something you say whenever you can -- has committed to Michigan. Informative update coming tomorrow as a part of Tuesday Recruitin', but first a brief summary: he's a kicker.
For now the inexplicable first hit when you type "I keeck a touchdown" into Google Images:
Funny old world.
Ugh. Michigan’s offensive line, already paper thin after a wide variety of departures, is the last place Michigan can afford an injury. So this is lame: reports from Fan Day indicate that Mark Huyge has a high ankle sprain and the injury that held Corey Zirbel out of the last week of camp is going to last into the season. A high ankle sprain can linger a long time, so Huyge might not be heard from until midseason. He wasn’t being mentioned as a potential starter, but he’s one of the few non-freshman (of the true variety) available past the starters. Zirbel’s issue is apparently less severe but there’s talk of minor knee surgery and he will miss at least the Utah game. If you’ve got a Rivals subscription you can hear him say it sucks about 30 times in four minutes. Zirbel had locked down a starting guard spot. His loss presses Dave Molk into the lineup at center; David Moosman slides over to guard.
In the absence of the two injured linemen, Michigan now has one backup who’s not a true freshman: redshirt sophomore tackle Perry Dorrestein. Hopefully Zirbel returns ASAP.
How have you been in the last 30 seconds? Rodriguez’s press conferences are coming so fast and furious that they are now largely devoid of information that hasn’t already been relayed. The latest was Media Day, and it was mostly been there, done that. (The injury information above was pried out of the players themselves by inquisitive fans.) A few points of interest, though:
- “It's pretty exciting, but at the same time, pretty nerve-wracking, when you're going to have upwards of eight, nine, 10 true freshmen that may play significant time in your first ball game.”
- This was followed by the usual list of players: Odoms and Robinson—mentioned as a slot unit—, McGuffie and Shaw—also mentioned as a unit. Stonum and then a surprising mention for stick-thin Roy Roundtree. On defense: Floyd, Cissoko, safety Brandon Smith, and DT Mike Martin.
- Rodriguez was really noncommittal about who’s going to start at running back. Brown and Minor, the two presumed leaders, “will play” because they are “good players” but there was no indication anyone had any sort of hold on the job.
- Fast guys will return kicks. Greg Mathews was mentioned at punt returner but that was after Donovan Warren and along with the two slot electrons; kick returns will fall to Shaw, McGuffie, Trent, and Harrison.
- Feagin is suffering from “information overload” and a shoulder injury; he is not in the mix to start: “He's not close to being ready, but I wasn't overly optimistic he would be because there's so much you have to learn here in the first year.”
- Cheery: “There will be some anxious moments in a couple weeks.”
- Also cheery: “Offensively, we still have depth issues, all across the board at every position, and particularly up front.” More on the offensive linemen: “Some of the offensive linemen, the true freshmen, they're not quite ready, but some of them are in the two deep by default. It's a little nerve wracking, but they're working really hard. I like that class. It's a really good class.”
So there you go. Very little in the way of actual news outside of kick returners, but a totally awesome sense of foreboding that I am digging right now.
One thing you can glean by reading between the lines: Shaw’s position has been in doubt ever since he signed with Michigan, but it’s clear now he’s a tailback first despite the fall roster listing him at wide receiver. Rodriguez talked about him as a running back several times usually in concert with McGuffie. Also, that “Michigan drill” thing in which Shaw was so impressive is a RB drill. Running backs can line up all over the field in Rodriguez’s offense, so we’ll probably see him in the slot from time to time.
Terrence Robinson looks pensive. And short, short, short.
“Camp Confidential” comes to you courtesy Carlos Brown. Mostly fluff, but further confirmation that Odoms, Robinson, and McGuffie are looking good. Also this:
We'll have a Gong Show next week, which will be interesting because I've never been a part of something like that before.
Some bullets from MGoBlue indicate that freshmen are getting the opportunities they are because minor dings are holding certain players out of the lineup. Reports are Minor has a hamstring issue—nasty, as those can linger—and Brown has yet another undisclosed minor ding. Given the current trajectory of his injuries (broken hand last fall, finger injury from “freak weightlifting accident” this spring), I assume he had the tip of his pinky finger bitten off by a grue.
Senior/junior punter Zoltan Mesko has continued to impress in camp.
Space aficionados will enjoy this minute and a half of Zoltan punts:
Why? I don’t know. I don’t care.
Eroc has some interesting stuff at his site, including an extended discussion of quarterbacks. Some items that jumped out:
Regarding Chambers playing this weekend, it seems that Coach Shafer and Defensive staff have put in a dime package off the nickel look.
So Chambers is playing some WLB/safety hybrid thing. Interesting. Michigan had high hopes for him before a Big Ten eligibility snafu booted him from the field, but that says to me that Michigan’s linebackers aren’t impressing. Also, Babb and Herron are mentioned as guys who might end up transferring for more playing time. FWIW.
Other stuff: more stuff on quarterbacks from Mark Snyder; Rivals has a freebie interview with JT Floyd; Carty picks out ten things we don’t have to worry about and starts the list with Fred Jackson and Zoltan, which, like, no offense to either of those guys but shit.
Big East what? I appear to have half of the Big East in the top twenty five. This is… odd. West Virginia is a given, but maybe I’m being too kind to Cinci, USF, or Rutgers?
I’m tempted to throw Texas Tech way up high but that seems a typical case of overrating a couple of skill position players and ignoring the general lack of talent elsewhere. It’ll be hard to tell given Tech’s early schedule.
No Michigan. I mean, obviously.
Ouch. Or seeya. Some injuries and departures of note:
- Illinois defensive tackle Sirod Williams, a starter for them, tore his ACL and is done for the year.
- Michigan State lost two safeties yesterday, including the projected starter at free safety.
- Notre Dame wide receiver Richard Jackson is the sixth member of Weis's 2006 class to transfer from ND.
Speaking of that 2006 class, it's on its way to being about as overrated as the vaunted 2005 Iowa class. A seventh player (Bartley Webb) saw his career end due to injury, and an eighth (Darrin Walls) is currently dealing with "personal issues" -- at Notre Dame usually code for "should be academically ineligible but we'll shuffle him off to a community college for a while." That's six of the twelve four-star-plus recruits from the class, and four of the remainder are offensive linemen who apparently suck hard. Touted upperclassmen on the roster who play elsewhere: Raeshon McNeil and apparently overrated James Aldridge.
Oh, yeah: if you have Comcast, you now have the Big Ten Network. And hilariously cynical commercials claiming "no one covers the Big Ten Network like Comcast!" Do they think sports fans can't remember anything that happened more than 15 minutes ago? I remember Tyrece Butler, bitches, you can't fool me.
Channel 65; channel 255 for HD. Don't watch it today unless you want to watch the infamous Anthony Thomas football game. This is inadvisable unless you want to pretend that New Michigan is wearing purple uniforms and battling Old Michigan, except hopefully New Michigan's defense stayed at home and was replaced by oompa-loompas.
More stadium pictures. You've probably seen pictures of Michigan Stadium a million times since the renovations started. If you want to see more go here or here or here or here. It's all basically the same except there's some more metal.
I'm more interested in the possibility that the stadium's new configuration is driving locals bats:
"We call it `The Shadium,"' Stacie Steils said Thursday, looking through the windows of AAA Michigan at the iconic sporting venue. "It's just so big."
$50 Bowling! Michigan's holding a benefit for Brock Mealer. From the diaries:
The team will participate in a "Bowling for Brock" charity next Wednesday to raise funds to help ease the medical costs for Brock Mealer , the brother of freshman lineman Elliott Mealer .
The Mealers were involved in a car accident last Christmas Eve as they traveled to church. Mealer's father, David , and Elliott's girlfriend, Hollis Richer were killed. Brock Mealer was paralyzed, and Elliott Mealer suffered a shoulder injury, and likely will be redshirted this season.
The bowling and autograph session is at the Colonial Lanes (1950 South Industrial Highway, Ann Arbor) from 4-6 p.m. Admission is $50 for adults, $25 for children, and all proceeds will go toward Mealer's rehabilitation costs at the U-M Medical Center.
The revenge tour continues. Michigan basketball's quest to let everyone who feels wronged by the program a shot at vicious stabby humiliating revenge continues apace:
On Dec. 22, FGCU [Florida Gulf Coast U] will travel to Ann Arbor to face Michigan as part of a two-game road swing that will also include a third meeting with NCAA tournament team Butler on Dec. 20 in Indianapolis.
FGCU lost to Butler 79-65 in Indianapolis two seasons ago and fell 78-66 to the nationally ranked Bulldogs at Alico Arena last season.
The Michigan contest also will mark the return of former Bishop Verot High School guard Reed Baker to Michigan after his transfer from the Wolverines to FGCU last season. He had to sit out a year following his transfer.
The Rainmaker will make us pay.
God, I hope not.
He eats, he sleeps, he eats he sleeps he eats. Amongst the MICHAEL PHELPS MICHAEL PHELPS MICHAEL PHELPS stuff going on in China was this surreal expose of Phelps' eating habits featuring Middle Kingdom, Prickly Pear, Maize 'n' Blue Deli, and some diner I'd never heard of named "Benny's":
I'm shocked there was a story about someone eating 10,000 calories a day in Ann Arbor that didn't involve Blimpy Burger.
Also, it's really weird to be watching NBC and see the nice old man from Middle Kingdom. Hey, I know that guy! Hey! I've been to that restaurant like twelve times! Hey, this is national television! Hey, I sound like that guy at hockey games who used to scream "HEY HEY HEY" whenever he thought there was a penalty, which was every ten seconds!
Sidenote: can Bela Karoyli please be on TV all the time? Can we replace Paul Maguire with him?
Yeah, this is a weird year. You are probably aware that we are playing Utah in the opener this year. You are probably not aware that some Utah fans outright expect the Utes to win. This is from Block U's "worst case scenario":
Something goes wrong against Michigan. Maybe it's Johnson who goes down, or Asiata sprains his ankle tripping over the serving cart on the flight to Michigan, only to fall on Mack's leg, breaking it. Maybe it's just the Wolverines are that much better than Utah, but for whatever reason, they do not leave Ann Arbor with a victory. It hurts, but is it the end of the world?
"For whatever reason" you leave Ann Arbor without a win is usually "you are a team not getting a return game playing Michigan." But now everyone's sizing Michigan up. Yeah, well, our walk-on quarterback is going to shut you up.
Etc.: Zach Putnam waited until the deadline, but he signed. Frown.
I know everyone has been panicking about DE recruiting, but I'm wondering if the coaching staff might have a different plan. We've recruited 3 people who can or most likely will play LB ( Mike Jones, Bell, Barnes) and are expected to land a commitment from Brandin Hawthorne, another LB. It would seem weird to bring in all these linebackers after numerous LB recruits we pulled in last year, but it got me wondering: what if we are going to switch from a 4-3 to a 3-4 base front? This could explain the lack of DE recruiting and the large amount of LBs we've gotten. Michigan can pull in just one DE and be done for the class, instead of 2-3 DEs that everyone is praying for. I'm curious what you think about this, and is 3-4 used in college, and if so, what's it's pros and cons?
BSE Electrical Engineering
University of Michigan '05
I don't believe this is the idea. Scott Shafer is an avowed fan of the 4-3 and has repeatedly stated his intent to use it, and not the 3-3-5 stack Jeff Casteel deployed at West Virginia, as his base set. In some more recent interviews, Shafer's talked about how quickly Michigan's picked up the scheme and his intent to be a "multiple front" defense, but the 4-3 is and likely will be the base going forward.
This probably makes the most sense given the personnel, too. In the 3-4 you're supposed to have one honkin' nose guard who will absorb two blockers on every play and two "defensive ends" who are 270-280 pound guys closer to three-technique DTs than true DEs. During Michigan's one-year experiment with the 3-4 in 2004, Larry Harrison and Pat Massey -- two guys who were 4-3 DTs --were the ends. The traditional defensive end sorts often end up as outside linebackers, like Lamarr Woodley did in '04 (and is now with the Steelers). I don't think the move actually lessens the need for DE sorts, it just changes where they're deployed. But I'm not intimately familiar with the benefits and drawbacks of the 3-4. (Maybe GSimmons85 will bless us with a breakdown?)
I do know it's extremely rare in college. AFAIK, no Big Ten teams use it as a base set, and I don't recall any in outlying territories that do so regularly, either. Michigan did see a number of 4-3 teams revamp their defense into a 3-4 look designed to stop the zone read (Iowa and USC most prominelty), but those were one-game adjustments only. The big exception: Notre Dame, which adopted the 3-4 when Corwin Brown became defensive coordinator. It's early, but the results weren't inspiring.
Meanwhile in the NFL, the 3-4 has spread from the Steelers to a goodly portion of the league. Why are colleges lagging? I don't know but theorize that the defense requires the sort of athletes college teams can't get their hands on with enough regularity to make it a consistent winner.
Brian- What do you think of the possibility of Brown taking Feagin's snaps and have Feagin red-shirt? If Feagin isn't going to be all that great of an option, what would be the point? (Unless you want to have both of them in the backfield, which could be frightening I suppose.)
I guess what my question boils down to is, what do you think of Brown actually taking snaps as a QB?
Brown at QB is strictly a Wildcat thing, IMO. He's playing McFadden.
On Feagin: Rodriguez made it clear in his last press conference that Feagin was not making the impression he needed to if he was going to be a candidate for serious playing time, but conflicting reports from practice indicate the coaching staff still has hopes of working him in midseason. I take this as a vote of no confidence in the current QB starters, or at least an acknowledgement that it's going to be rough at times and once Feagin gets acclimated they'll have to give him a shot just to see.
I do take your point, though: if Feagin just can't throw enough to make defenses respect him as a quarterback, you're basically running the Wildcat and you may as well do that with Brown. That way you can maybe redshirt Feagin, see how he does when Beaver and Newsome arrive in the fall, and move him to one of the positions LSU and Miami saw fit to offer him at.
This is not likely to happen, IMO, as Michigan will put Feagin on the field at some point just in case. It's hard to argue with that thinking, as anything that helps the Rodriguez era get off on the right foot will greatly aid recruiting. Expect Feagin to see the field unless one of the two guys in front of him is unexpectedly effective.
Speaking of the Wildcat:
I tend to believe that Michigan's offense, given the QB limitations this year, stylistically is going to look like some combination of Northwestern(base)/Missouri(TE use)/Arkansas(Wildhog). My question, what percentage of the plays run at Arkansas were run out of the Wildhog formation? Is there a quick answer out there?
Robert W. Petti
Unfortunately, there is no UFR-equivalent for Hog fans and no handy compendium of how often the Wildcat was deployed. I dug up a couple things, though. In Arkansas' ridiculous upset win over LSU, it was the majority of the Razorback offense:
Arkansas ran the Wild Hog formation 31 times for 294 total yards and four touchdowns - 11 times for 67 yards and one score in the first half, 15 times for 216 yards and three end zone celebrations in the second half, and five times for 11 yards over three overtimes. The Wild Hog accounted for 57 percent of the Razorbacks' 513 total yards of offense and four of UA's seven touchdowns.
Arkansas had 77 snaps in that game.
In the bowl game it was less prominent:
• When lining up in the Wild Hog formation, Arkansas accumulated 82 yards rushing on 14 plays.
Arkansas had 83 snaps in that game; across those two games the Wildcat accounted for 28% of the Arkansas offense. It's not just a trick play here and there, it can be a part of a pretty decent collegiate offense... if you've got Robotbeastpig taking snaps. I don't think Michigan has that guy, but they do have the wide array of potential ballcarriers that could make the Wildcat effective.