...says Denzel Valentine of Big Ten Tourney favorite MSU, which is 5-7 in its last 12 games. Cumong, man.
First... "McNair's sack pain lingers." Dude.
As Controversial Racial Politics Week winds to a close, we would all do well to remember that politics sucks and never do this again.
Also sucky: human nature. There are two ways to get known:
- Use your natural talent and bust your ass. (Door Number 1)
- Say really dumb, anger-inducing stuff. (Door Number B)
This is the way of things. Obviously the former is much harder than the latter. Unfortunately, sports fans are reminded of Door Number B's existence on a near-daily basis. It seems that there's a Drew Sharp in every major city across the country. Atlanta's version is Terence Moore, who just put out a "SEC SUX" article. This article garnered two types of reactions: intelligent commentary from Door Number 1 selectors EDSBS and credulous acceptance from the DNB crowd. Which is the appropriate reaction? Well, the only part of the article I really care about is this quote from "expert" Bill Curry ...
The SEC is going to win a bunch, but it's not going to dominate Michigan and Texas and Notre Dame, not like it used to.
For your information, Michigan has won four of its last five games against the SEC. You can Southern Speed my erect middle finger, Bill Curry; QEDMF. Kyle King has a more thorough takedown if you're interested.
The larger point is this: every year conferences are "up" or "down" or "overrated" according to people in the media because it's a really good way to get people riled up and have pointless circular arguments. These arguments are pointless because the major conferences are all approximately equal. They're circular because there's nowhere near enough data to make a determination. As Gunslingers put it:
First, the sample size is too small. The largest conferences are 12 teams, who each play 3 OOC games, so you'd think 36 OOC games might be enough. ... Second, there is a flaw in simply looking at raw numbers because those numbers represent actual matchups which might not prove a thing. ...
So it is of paramount importance that I state clearly and unambiguously that I believe nobody can say, with anything even remotely approaching factual certainty, that one conference is definitely better than another. There just isn't enough factual evidence to support any argument. And the factual evidence we have is flawed and unreliable.
LD then goes on to tilt at conference-superiority windmills anyway with a fantastic, balanced post that really shows the difference between the Doors. And I'm not just saying that because the Big Ten totally crushified all comers. (Must have gotten faster since Woodson's Heisman, eh, LD?) I invite you to compare and contrast it with Moore's piece. If you will permit me a brief digression into annoying blogosphere superiority talk, it clearly shows that the blogosphere is totally superior in this instance and many others. It's the difference between seeking answers and seeking attention.
As long as college football's nonconference portion is largely filled with nummy snacks for the teams that are actually good, the only proper response to "conference X is much worse than conference Y" arguments is to sadly shake your head at whatever Door Number B troll is wasting your time. These people are like your annoying little brother poking you: they do what they do because they need attention and have no legitimate way of getting it.
Relating to earlier themes... the demand for narrative and its pernicious effects on sports coverage has been a topic of discussion here and elsewhere (hey, there's Gunslingers again), so this TIC Slate article about how Star Wars is an art film has a relevant passage:
As literary critics have long pointed out, the arbitrary yoking together of events in the service of storytelling is one of the fundamental characteristics of all narrative. R2-D2 needs to hook up with Luke on Tatooine, just as Prospero's enemies need to wash up on the shores of his island, and Elizabeth Bennett needs to marry Mr. Darcy, for the narrative requirements of those stories to be fulfilled. The audience's willing surrender to narrative coincidence is demanded by the story's need to conclude itself.
The problem arises when the square pegs of narrative are crammed into the varying-shaped holes of sporting events whether or not they fit. Often the answer to the Question of Sports, The Universe, And Everything is no more meaningful than "42," but that don't fly on the television.
Penn State Paranoia Pool Day 3: (Found yesterday, posting delayed) Jim Harbaugh's DUI draws this from noted lunatic MarshCreek:
M may stand for Michigan in some places, but now it also stands for Menace to Society with regards to former Michigan QB Jim Harbaugh.
Remember not to drink your juice in the hood of South Central, Marsh.
PPP D4: Bullseye at 8:16. NYNY checks in:
With Big Ten Refs, if this game is close Saturday we LOSE, After Reply
last year's illegal hits on Mills and MRob which the refs ignored anything goes for Barry's boys tomorrow.
I sure hope the coaches and team realize it can NOT be close.
This is my learned opinion from watching us play.
Since Big Ten Wonk is back and kicking I also feel a need to fire off salutes. A salute to you, NYNY, for epitomizing the PPP!
The question is: what three coaches would you like to go drinking with the most? Also, which three would you avoid at all costs? I'm omitting the Evil Genius (hell yes) and The Orgeron (also hell yes) because they've been done. And I'm staying as far away from JL Cool J as possible because with the Ian and the masterpiece and the glaven.
- Kirk Ferentz. While writing my previews in the offseason I had cause to examine the season prospecti of most Big Ten schools. This is Iowa's. Page three, bottom right. I figure if I get him really, really drunk I can get the hookup.
I'm just sayin'.
You should totally hire me as like the strategery consultant, man, because I'm, like... watsome? Awesoot. Habtard. Good. And stuff. You need me, man. I need you. We're Abbott and Kornheiser. Oil and General Tso.
I'm Washing My Hair
Jim Tressel. Would totally torpedo my chances of picking anyone up. Conversations with girls in the vicinity would likely go like this:
Girl: So, who's Mister Rogers?
Brian: The Antichrist.
Girl: He kind of looks like a child molester.
Brian: Well... yeah. It's the vest, isn't it?
Brian: Wanna f***?
Brian: It's the vest, isn't it?
Also would probably creepily touch my arm and say "you look strong" after a few.
- Bobby Bowden. Projected conversation:
Bobby: You found Jesus, son?
Bobby: How about now?
Brian: NO. How exactly do you find Jesus?
Bobby: I think it involves beating up your girlfriend.
Bobby: If you play linebacker. You play linebacker, son?
- Hal Mumme. I have a goatee, so he'd probably end up turning me in to the FBI after checking me for explosives.
Take Home Lesson: Ferentz: hot daughter. Tressel: kind of looks like a child molester. There will be a quiz.
Goddammit. I was just going to link but that apparently didn't work out so well. Instead there's all this.
I'll keep this on the levelheaded, so let's just calmly point out the various other Whitlock-related posts that have shown up in the blogosphere.
Joey weighs in:
Regardless of who's right and who's wrong, who's racist and who's not racist, Whitlock's earnest belief that racial bias is the true story within the Charlie Weis story is troubling. That an educated, prominent black man immediately sees race should tell us that we need to talk about problems of race far more frequently and far more honestly.
Joey makes a good point that this whole thing has kicked up a lot of words from a lot of people and that certainly means that there's something deep and powerful underneath. It's my contention that Whitlock is the exact wrong person to spur this conversation since his transparent lack of said earnest belief actively hinders honest discussion.
Braves & Birds also checks in with a rundown of the different situations Weis and Willingham found themselves in at this point in their first years. I would also like to point out for those claiming that the media more enthusiastic about Weis than Willingham that, uh, who was on the cover of Sports Illustrated with the caption "What a Difference a Coach Makes"? Wei... Wei... Willingham? Well goddamn.
The other side of the discussion can be found over at BomaniJones.com. Jones (a Whitlock colleague) wonders why it's always black "folks"like Whitlock and Scoop and Alan Grant pointing out racism and never white "people":
So why don't white people write about these things, leaving black folks to do it and, of course, instantly be marginalized as raving racist bastards? Should you not believe this marginalization, give a look to Whitlock's piece on Charlie Weis and then check this chat wrap.
He then glosses over whether or not Whitlock's charge is accurate with this:
If Notre Dame isn't acting with racism in this case, it's surely drowning in hypocrisy.
That's it. The charge is axiomatically assumed to be true. And then, just like Plato's Republic, the unexamined axioms give rise to something thoroughly annoying. In starts the argument ad raceium:
Getting white people to really discuss race is a tricky bag. The problem that might come up with a lot of people is how the persistence of racism flies in the face of all that Protestant Ethic shit. To say that racism is persistent sorta implicitly discount a white person's accomplishments.
Does anyone else notice a persistent air of condescension in these articles? White people who don't think racism is an ever-present scourge in every notable event involving black people and media attention simply can't or won't understand because they're white and have never experienced said scourge. Instead of having a possibly-valid opinion that charges of racism in a particular instance are bunk, the white person who objects to the charges levelled has so much pent up guilt about oppressing black people that he cannot acknowledge their truth without coming to a horrible self-reckoning. In brief:
So we've got two significant groups at play--those that don't know any better and those that do but are fearful of the repercussions.
And therefore blacks win. It's a neat rhetorical construct. Claiming that a specific event shows no evidence of racism is reinterpreted as an argument that no racism exists because racism is like God, you see; it's invisible, incredibly powerful, and everywhere:
But why don't white writers talk about this stuff? It's more about why don't white people talk about this stuff more. Part of it is that I don't think white folks ever have to think of how intricate and nuanced expressions of racism are in this era. Now that it's out of style to be overtly racist, racism manifests itself insidiously and systemically.
Ironic that the "intricacies and nuances" boil down to "all white people are racist all the time, they just can't help it." Nuanced view, that. Thus the mentality that anything negative that happens to black people must be racism. People hate Barry Bonds because he's a black man challenging Ruth/Aaron's homerun records and not because he's a creepy, prickly guy who blames everyone else for his problems. People think Terrell Owens is a jerk because he's an outspoken black man and not because he accuses ex-quarterbacks of homosexuality, holds out every 2.3 nanoseconds, and generally is a jerk. People booed the USA Basketball team because they were black and not because they played like crap.
To people like Whitlock and Jones, The Man is always lifting us white people up:
But I'll close with a bit of a synopsis--to fully address racism must be frightening for a lot of white people. It has to be hard on the ego to acknowledge that one has been helped by privilege after being fed the bullshit about this being a meritocracy.
Here's the flipside of that: boy it must be super for the ego to look on all your accomplishments and say "and I got here despite racism." And it must be nice to look on the plight (and it's a plight, no doubt) of the people you share a skin tone and thus a culture with and chalk it up to the God of Racism. Fully confronting the fact that perhaps the shared culture emphasizes values that are not conducive to economic success must be scary after being fed the bullshit about the man holding you down.
Are either of these passages true? No. The truth is somewhere in the middle, but the way the argument about race is framed in America today the middle is obliterated. Arguments like this only serve to belittle and (flipstyle!) marginalize those who disagree with your point of view and drive the racial wedge even further. Physician, heal thyself.
Cosign from the comments of the Jones post:
In response to a lot of the race talk I find myself having to explain that I don't hate white people, but its assumed whenever a black person talks about racism they automatically hate white people.
If you care to discuss don't bring that weak stuff in the comments that implies that I'm racist, because it immediately makes me not care about your opinion. Address the points and not the man.
|1||10||M26||Pass||No one||Sack, -1||Play action. Lentz gets beat by Coefield and Grady doesn't pick him up, forcing Henne to scramble. If he had a second or two he had an outlet.|
|2||11||M25||Pass||Avant||8||Slant to a well covered Avant; Henne hits him right between the numbers. (DO)|
|3||3||M33||Run||Grady||19||Grady finds a cutback lane here. Great job by Kraus to kick out Coefield after Lentz pulls around. Good read by Grady as the intended alley was nonexistent.|
|1||10||O48||Run||Grady||4||This is essentially the exact same play except Kraus can't seal Coefield this time. Steno limps off after this play, temporarily replaced by Kolo.|
|2||6||O44||Pass||Grady||Inc||Screen to Grady is thrown behind him. (IN)|
|3||6||O44||Pass||Avant||22||Henne's given all day by the offensive line and finds Avant downfield on a little in. (DO)|
|1||10||O22||Run||Grady||1||Ecker's man gets inside of him, as he's assigned to block the DE who's lined up inside of him as Lentz and Long head downfield.|
|2||9||O21||Pass||Manningham||20||Diamond formation screen. Manningham owns the unblocked DB, who was too aggressive on this one. (CA)|
|1||G||O1||Run||Grady||1||Touchdown, Grady plows ahead.|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 7-0, 11 min 1st Q. A good start. Coefield is the only guy on the Northwestern defensive line capable of making a play, but he makes one here and will make a few more.|
|1||10||M26||Pass||Massaquoi||7||Play action rollout that finds Mass open. Henne actually shows some touch on this one, giving Mass an easy ball to catch and allowing him to pick up a couple after the catch. (DO)|
|2||3||M33||Run||Grady||8||Fake end around that holds an OLB. Offensive line just crushes them here. Lentz kicks Coefield into the next county. OMG TEDY BRUSCHI!|
|1||10||M41||Pass||Breaston||8||Breaston's the checkdown on this play action. (CA)|
|2||2||M49||Run||Jackson||4||Fake the end around again. The DE isn't biting on it and comes down on Jackson when he makes a smart cutback.|
|1||10||O47||Pass||Breaston||Int||Bass and Breaston both run takeoffs and end up too close to each other. Henne tries to hit Breaston on the outside route but throws it too far inside, allowing Cole to pick the ball off. Breaston has plenty of room on the sideline here, Henne has to throw that a couple yards further outside. (IN)|
|Drive Notes: Interception, 14-7, 6 min 1st Q. Kraus goes out for the game on the interception.|
|1||10||M25||Pass||Massaquoi||Inc||Henne's pressured on the waggle and has to throw off balance. Both Mass and Ecker are running routes in the same area of the field. This ball is badly overthrown if it's to Mass but actually accurate if it's to Ecker... except for Mass attempting to catch the ball and almost knocking it to a defender. Er... call it (BA).|
|2||10||M25||Pass||Avant||6||Long handoff. (CA)|
|3||4||M31||Pass||Avant||Inc||Avant's open on a six yard comeback that Henne throws two yards wide of him. (IN)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 14-7 3 min 1st Q. NO ME GUSTA. Get used to seeing Avant diving at a ball well out of reach.|
|1||10||M21||Run||Grady||-1||Coefield owns Lentz on this play, swimming right past him and crushing Grady.|
|2||11||M20||Pass||Breaston||6||Diamond screen #2. Tabb misses his block, otherwise this works for several more and perhaps a first down. (CA)|
|3||5||M26||Run||Grady||2||Oy. Northwestern has five, count 'em, five in the box on this play but no one even thinks of blocking Coefield and Bihl gets beaten badly by the NT. Bust + Bihl on this. I have no problem with the playcall, this should have been a gashing run.|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 14-7, EO1Q. Last two drives are a perfect summary of the downside of this year's offense: shaky interior offensive line play and bullets wide of wide receivers.|
|1||10||M34||Run||Jackson||5||Not much off tackle but Jackson leaps forward over a fallen blocker for a few yards.|
|2||5||M39||Run||Jackson||8||Crushing blocking between Henige and Steno. Paul smashes McGarigle, and Jackson finishes the run with an extra couple.|
|1||10||M47||Run||Jackson||3||Bihl can't seal his guy, who fills the hole off the right side of the line.|
|2||7||50||Pass||Avant||12||Great catch by Avant on a buttonhook. Henne just fits this one in there between two defenders. (CA)|
|1||10||O38||Run||Bass||8||Reverse. Bass manages to get the corner on the NW linebacker because he's fast. He has two blockers, Bihl and Henne; neither actually blocks anyone.|
|2||2||O30||Pass||Grady||18||Malone got me on this one. Two receivers reposition themselves to the wide side of the field in this four wide set and I immediately think slip screen; they throw the flare screen to Grady, who makes about five before bouncing off a NW defender and rumbling for 13 more. (CA)|
|1||10||O12||Run||Grady||3||Grady picks his way well here, but there are NW players stacked up all along the line, and the last guy gets him.|
|2||7||O9||Pass||Paul||Inc||Paul's wide open out of the backfield and has a probable touchdown, but Henne is a yard off, forcing a diving catch from Paul. He drops it. (IN)|
|3||7||O9||Pass||Avant||Inc||This is obvious defensive holding, as Battle gets his hand around Avant's shoulder pads and locks onto him like a remora. Henne throws the ball away instead of looking for secondary receivers. (TA)|
|Drive Notes: FG(26), 17-7, 9 min 2nd Q. When we get the blocks and a couple of good passes, we march down the field.|
|1||10||M29||Run||Grady||3||We don't really see this play because we're looking at NW's linebackers coach.|
|2||7||M32||Pass||Ecker||13||Play action; Henne checks down to a wide open Ecker after a ton of time in the pocket. (CA)|
|1||10||M45||Run||Jackson||7||Faked reverse. Paul really crushes his guy; Lentz misses his or the hesitation caused by the fake would have opened up a big hole.|
|2||3||O48||Pass||Breaston||8||Slip screen. Breaston has an unblocked guy but gives him one of his patented quick cuts and shoots right upfield. (CA)|
|1||15||O45||Run||Jackson||5||Draw. Certainly seeing a lot less of these without Hart.|
|2||10||O40||Scramble||Henne||2||Play action; Henne has all day again but can't find anyone. Short option is definitely covered. (TA) OMG TEDY BRUSCHI.|
|3||8||O38||Pass||Avant||18||Northwestern rushes three and I think Henne figured that out in the fourth quarter of the Iowa game. He sits in the pocket and calmly drills Avant downfield. (DO)|
|1||10||O20||Run||Henne||2||QB sneak? This seems like a playcall specifically designed to prevent replay but Avant's catch wasn't even close to not being one. I don't get this.|
|2||8||O18||Pass||Breaston||8||Checkdown route; Breaston makes a guy miss and manufactures five from nothing. Franklin starts talking about a misspotted ball but it isn't. The ball is clearly at the ten by the time Breaston ends up down. (CA)|
|1||G||O10||Pass||Paul||Inc||Paul again wide open; this time he just drops it. Easy touchdown otherwise. (CA)|
|2||G||O10||Pass||Massey||10||Same route, same throw, different player, touchdown. Let me just say that Malone is on tonight. (CA)|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 24-10, 3 min 2nd Q. That flat route was there three consecutive times. On the last drive, Henne threw it too far upfield. On this one a drop and then Massey. I have to think that Paul's drops were just jitters or they would have had him alternating with Brian Thompson.|
|1||10||O28||Run||Jackson||3||Straight ahead. Again I notice Paul shoving a guy halfway across the field.|
|2||7||O25||Pass||Breaston||20||Slip screen. Tabb and Avant make great blocks. Yeah... Tabb could have gotten called for holding here. (CA)|
|1||G||O5||Run||Jackson||0||Bad cut here. He's supposed to go behind Lentz and Long but there's nothing there. If he cuts back to the center of the field he has 2 or 3.|
|2||G||O5||Run||Jackson||2||They keep pulling Lentz down on the goalline and he keeps totally missing blocks.|
|3||G||O3||Run||Jackson||2||Meh. Again they pull Lentz. This time he does get someone but there's just not enough room for Jackson to cut behind him.|
|Drive Notes: FG(19), 27-10, 1 min 2nd Q. Discussed below.|
|1||10||O46||Run||Grady||5||Short side pitch we run with frequency to Grady. There's a small crease and Grady drives forward for 2 YAC.|
|2||5||O41||Pass||Manningham||14||Not quite a slip screen but the same in principle. Avant goes in motion to the far side of the field where Manningham and a third WR wait. Henne just throws it out to Manningham, who makes guys miss. The WRs hold their blocks. (CA)|
|1||10||O27||Run||Grady||1||Grady cuts back when the NW LB comes up and fills a hole as neither Lentz or Paul can block him.|
|2||9||O25||Pass||Avant||Inc||Avant open and Henne throws it well wide of him. Like those throws he's always missing Avant on in the endzone except on the 10. (IN)|
|3||9||O25||Pass||Tabb||3||Henne checks down to Tabb. The NW LB makes a good tackle. (CA)|
|4||6||O22||Pass||Breaston||Inc||No, that wasn't even close, Ron. (IN)|
|Drive Notes: Downs, 27-17, 10 min 3rd Q. Brutal finish to this drive. Henne's just winging it all over the place.|
|1||10||O36||Pass||Grady||0||Screen. McGarigle reads this very well; I think Bihl is late getting out so by the time Grady catches the ball McGarigle is on top of him immediately. (CA) OMG TEDY BRUSCHI|
|2||10||O36||Run||Grady||3||Grady turns eight to ten yards into 3 here on a very well blocked play that he unnecessarily bounces to the outside. Miss you, Mike.|
|3||7||O33||Pass||Avant||Int||Stares Avant down the whole way and throws it directly to the linebacker in a standard zone coverage. Ugly. (BR)|
|Drive Notes: Interception, 27-17 8 min 3rd Q. Clear evidence of injuries limiting effectiveness. Bihl's demonstrated that Kraus is the starter for a reason and Grady is not Hart. Henne, well, bleah.|
|1||10||M20||Run||Jackson||4||Good push but no crease from the OL.|
|2||6||M24||Run||Jackson||3||Draw. McGarigle easily defeats Lentz's block, holding the play down to a meh gain.|
|3||3||M27||Pass||Avant||Inc||Open, also two yards in front of Avant. Henne killing us. (IN)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 27-17, 4 min 3rd Q. Discussion of Lentz below.|
|1||10||M42||Run||Grady||13||Pitch play. This time Stenavich gets a downfield block and drives the linebacker well back. Bihl also gets a good block.|
|1||10||O45||Run||Bass||3||Another pitch, this one outside to Bass, who doesn't set his blocks up very well and just sort of runs fast to the sideline.|
|2||7||O42||Pass||Breaston||3||Slip screen to Breaston; NW is all over this one.(CA)|
|3||4||O39||Run||Grady||3||Pitch. Paul's block doesn't really kick the guy out and Grady has to slow up a bit.|
|4||1||O36||Run||Grady||1||Straight up the gut for the first.|
|1||10||O35||Run||Jackson||6||Fake end around again seems to give Jackson a crease up the middle. Henige falls down as someone falls on his leg and can't get a block downfield.|
|2||4||O29||Run||Jackson||6||Exact same play. Excellent block by Henige thi s time.|
|1||10||O23||Run||Jackson||2||Now we're running into an eight man line with two safeties pretty near the LOS. This is just the offensive line driving.|
|2||8||O21||Pass||No one||Inc||Faked slip screen into a fade downfield that apparently isn't open. Henne throws it away after a pump fake. (TA)|
|3||8||O21||Pass||Manningham||1||Diamond screen to Manningham. (CA)|
|Drive Notes: FG(37), 30-17, 14 min 4th Q. I find our lack of faith... disturbing. Go ahead, find the last non-screen Henne completed for a first down. Give up? Last play of Michigan's second quarter touchdown drive to Mike Massey.|
|1||10||M43||Run||Grady||2||Henige fails to block Shultz and he crunches Grady near the LOS.|
|2||8||M45||Run||Grady||2||Pitch play again. Northwestern has gotten wise to this.|
|3||6||M47||Scramble||Henne||8||They rightfully pick up the flag on this one. (Not charted)|
|1||10||O45||Run||Jackson||3||Michigan's abandoned any pretense of doing anything except running unless forced to throw.|
|2||7||O42||Pass||Ecker||13||First non-screen throwing first down since 3 minutes left in the second quarter. Ecker comes wide open on play action on a crossing route. Nice call. (CA)|
|1||10||O29||Run||Jackson||4||Decent run into an 8/9 guy box. Blocking has been consistently good for the last while here.|
|2||6||O25||Run||Jackson||12||Pitch to Jackson, and he sets up the outside blockers and then slices upfield smartly.|
|1||10||O13||Run||Jackson||4||Well blocked again but down here without deception or a missed tackle you're not going to bust it for more than this. At this point I am also thinking FG.|
|2||6||O9||Run||Grady||-2||Slips on his cut; later Carr will say that's because he cut off the wrong foot.|
|3||8||O11||Pass||No one||Sack, 0||No one open and a holding call on Lentz ends up declined. (TA).|
|Drive Notes: FG(28), 33-17, 7 min 4th Q. Effective, grinding drive.|
|1||10||O43||Run||Jackson||3||Run run run punt?|
|2||7||O40||Run||Grady||-1||run run punt?|
|3||8||O41||Pass||Thompson||5||Little dumpoff to Thompson. (CA)|
|4||3||O36||Run||Grady||0||Pitch play with a fake reverse that NW is all over.|
|Drive Notes: Downs, 33-17, 4 min 4th Q. Okay with me.|
|1||10||M44||Run||Jackson||1||Strange to have a game that I'm not panicking about.|
|2||9||M45||Run||Jackson||3||Kind of nice, though.|
|3||6||M48||Pass||Massaquoi||15||Waggle. (CA). That's all folks.|
|Drive Notes: More clock killing, 33-17, EOG.|
Even I, your somewhat annoying inner monologue, can see it plain as day.
Oh. Yeah. Chart:
|Team||Dead on||Catchable||Inaccurate||Bad Read||Throwaways||Batted|
Again I must offer the screen caveat: 11 were thrown. Ten were CA, one IN. This leaves Henne's downfield good/bad ratio at about 1:1 (14:12 to be specific). Henne did scramble for one first down, but five of Michigan's drives ended because Henne either missed a wide open receiver on an easy throw or found the open defender.
The best thing about Henne this year is that he throws a mean WR screen. That's only partially sarcastic--those throws are tougher than they appear and Henne has put every one on the money this year--but, yeah, it's sarcastic. I mean, dude went approximately 1/3rd of the game without completing anything other than some screens and a three yard dumpoff to Tabb on third and nine. It's nice that we had a semblance of an offense in spite of that, but it's not going to fly against OSU.
Anyone else get the Whitlock treatment from you?
It has to be said that Matt Lentz has been a major disappointment. A three year starter and fifth year senior, he was supposed to be a major part of the Line of Doom. Instead he's spent much of the year flailing ineffectually at the mean men in ugly jerseys. If I handed out +/- for offensive players he probably would have ended up -4 or so for several instances of allowing Barry Coefield--admittedly a pretty good player--to own him. Of course, if I did do offensive +/- I find it hard to imagine OL ever coming out of it on the positive side and he was tasked with opposing the best NU defenders (including McGarigle), but if you are demented enough to return to earlier editions of UFR I'll bet you a shiny nickel or three you find many citations of apparent poor play on his part.
He must have picked it up late for Michigan to successfully grind the game into pulp in the fourth quarter, but he's clearly been the source of many missed blocks and is a major contributor to Henne's happy feet.
Wasn't the play calling a little strange?
If you're referring to the fourth and six, yeah, but I covered that before. Of note is that Carr passed up a golden Punt Lloyd Punt situation: Michigan went on fourth and one from the Northwestern 36 with a ten point lead in the fourth quarter. Even a few years ago that's an autopunt and some unprintable epithets being hastily scribed in this space and then deleted, but on Saturday the Fear of Punt didn't even cross my mind. I knew he was going to go, and that felt good. Then he went for it on fourth and three trying to kill the game, Bob Davie said that he disagreed with the call, and that felt better.
What a strange person I am.
But didn't you want to strangle someone at the end of the first half?
Watching the game I was somewhat peeved, but after further consideration it was okay.
Right at the edge of halftime the case for attempting to punch it in from the goalline is significantly weakened because you don't benefit much by burying them inside their five since you don't get the ball back. Plus, reviewing the tape I was struck by a particular play wherein Tyrell Sutton escaped from Burgess on the quick-strike NW drive right before the half. Had he been tackled, Northwestern's total lack of timeouts would immediately have become very relevant and even a field goal attempt would have been unlikely. There might be some tactical merit in stripping that last timeout that doesn't exist for the first or second.
- First and goal from the five: Absolutely no problem with the run here. Burn time and getting a couple yards puts you in a very good position to score. Unfortunately, Jackson doesn't make the right cut and is stuffed at the line.
- Second and goal from the five: Run is okay. Case for passing can be made here if you expect Walker to take the timeout he did. Not being intimately familiar with Walker's tendencies I was actually surprised he took it--it's (wrongly) an unconventional decision.
- Third and goal from the three: Given you're at the three, how much more likely is a pass to score than a run, especially when you have an erratic quarterback? The answer is probably "somewhat," but it's not a huge gap. The run does have the incidental side effect of stripping the last TO. The options are very close; the run was certainly the conservative call but it wasn't necessarily the wrong one.
The offensive game plan was very good. It clearly focused on exploiting Breaston and Manningham on the edge against Northwestern's undersized defensive backs and grinding out yards against the Northwestern run defense. It minimized Henne's shortcomings once it became apparent that the whole going downfield thing wasn't working. Perhaps it's easy to look good against defense #117, but Malone wasn't dealing with a full deck of cards here, nor has he been doing so all year.
What was the deal with all the fake reverses?
They certainly do hold holes open that might not otherwise be there, but I think paradoxically they may reduce the effectiveness of actual reverses, since the defensive end/linebacker out there is constantly reminded that he has outside contain even if the play appears to be heading the other way. Michigan had a series of nice runs off the fake and benefited from it on at least a couple instances.
Strange timing to introduce a new wrinkle into the offense, though. There's a possibility that it was added with Ohio State in mind. Michigan may be attempting to lure OSU into falling asleep on the reverse or just preparing to use a ton of misdirection in an attempt to confuse them. Michigan's offensive line is ill-prepared to fight fair with OSU's run defense; expect some sand in the eyes.
Also: did you notice Bass take a pitch a la Derrick Williams? I did too. I would expect nothing from him against Indiana, but if they aren't cooking up something Basstastic for Ohio State I'll eat my hat. Darn tootin'.
How much are you going to miss Jason Avant?
One billion units of miss. If he doesn't have a long NFL career I'll be crushed.
What does it mean for
Indiana Ohio State?
FYQ; let's get serious here.
We need Hart back and healthy in a major way. I like Jackson but he's a poor man's Hart (though he might have higher top end speed). Grady has some advantages but is making the wrong cuts on a regular basis. Hart is clearly superior to both.
To win we will need Henne to play his best game of the year. I've maintained all year that Ohio State can be had through the air and I think that's been accurate. They have owned a few guys this year--most impressively Tate--but they've also given up big heapum yards to a few quarterbacks of varying impressiveness. Stanton put up 360, Young 270, Cupito 396. They haven't been terrible overall but they are 53rd in the country in defensive pass efficiency. Compare 53 to that ugly 3 next to their sick run defense and it's obvious where the (relatively) soft underbelly of Ohio State is.
First... It's been an angry couple days here at MGoBlog. Let's all soothe ourselves with what we're really here for, adorable kittens.
Er, and a duck. Species harmony.
Right! About football. We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming. Except not so regularly scheduled: UFR will appear tomorrow and Friday. So you'll have to wait a day. It's a bye week, slack should be cut.
Re-location: Joey's got a spankin' new SBNation site called Schembechler Hall that will henceforth be the source for the airing of grievances re: Carr. SB will continue on in a hip-hop/NBA/lefty screed incarnation. I like 'em both.
Tenuous content. I don't pick games for good reason: I'd probably be bad at it. This theory is being put to the test over at All Thing Longhorn, where I've been invited to submit picks to their "expert" (coughcoughcough) panel. Wayne Brady chokes a 'Cane! And other people say things!
BTW: ATL also helpfully points out what's possibly the worst article in the history of sports journalism. Then they demolish it. Fun for the whole family (FFTWF).
Update: Forgot the Penn State Paranoia Pool. Day 2 sees the Carr-Bellotti uncomplementary photo referenced.
First: EDSBS has the real scoop on race in college football.
Er. Yeah, the Whitlock column is the kind of thing that requires revisiting after an explosive comment thread that I swear was totally unintentional. I feel guilty about stirring up traffic with this; I promise that it's genuine. In any case, a few points of clarification:
Whitlock really is a giant ass. Set aside everything related to race for one moment, and read this impassioned, considerate letter to him from an ND fan. Then read his response. There's no defense for that. Or this.
What does it say about a "journalist" when he introduces himself to his new city like this:
The ink was hardly dry on his contract with the Kansas City Chiefs when new quarterback Elvis Grbac got the warning letter. "Hey, man. Remember me?" it opened ominously. "Black dude, about 6 feet 4, looks like a young Denzel Washington only more muscular?"
Grbac remembered. This was the guy who hounded him in Ann Arbor, Michigan in the fall of '92, the guy who tried to get him benched when he was quarterback of the Rose Bowl champion University of Michigan football team. There was no point in taking the letter to the police, though. They were probably already chuckling over it downtown - along with an unspecified portion of The Kansas City Star's 682,000 daily readers. The "open letter" to Grbac appeared in the left-hand column on D-1 of the Star under the byline and mug shot of twenty-nine-year-old Jason Whitlock, the hip-hop scourge of Kansas City sports commentary.
It means that he has nothing valuable to say, that he cannot write, and that he's reduced to a six-year-old's ploy for attention. It means that he has no business writing for money.
Whitlock has a history of this. Whitlock's entire career is composed of saying stupid, controversial things for the attention. Whitlock on the dismissal of Huggins:
Yes, the saga continues. Another institution used poor blacks for its benefit, disrespected them in writing and then kicked them to the curb.
Some will blast Zimpher and UC for its callousness. I won't.
Again, I offer her praise. I respect her honesty.
What must be questioned is the sanity of the black community that continues to allow its youth to be used by institutions that don't respect them.
Whitlock on the Pistons:
Davidson and his right-hand man, Wilson, might be the most hypocritical, back-stabbing executives in all of sports. ...
Oh, yeah, Mr. D and Wilson are all class. They demand loyalty and give none.
Whitlock on booing the USA Basketball team:
Americans do not have to support a group of black American millionaires in any endeavor. Despite the hypocritical, rabid patriotism displayed immediately after 9/11, it's perfectly suitable for Americans to despise Team USA Basketball, Allen Iverson and all the other tattooed NBA players representing our country. Yes, these athletes are no more spoiled, whiny and rich than the golfers who fearlessly represent us in the Ryder Cup, but at least Tiger Woods has the good sense not to wear cornrows.
America was none too happy when Aaron surpassed Ruth. Aaron, a black man like Bonds, didn't look the part. I'm sorry. I know it makes people uncomfortable. But race is a component of the hysteria surrounding steroids now. We conveniently ignored the issue for years when we were more comfortable with the abusers.
We're uncomfortable with Bonds because he's surly, unrepentant and black. He's being chased from the game. I'm probably foolish, but I don't expect Bonds to play again. He'll hide behind injuries and try to duck out of the game ... if he's smart.
Whitlock on Nash's MVP and the Heisman:
Race was a factor. In this case, I just don't happen to believe it was a determining factor.
Nope. This is nothing like the Heisman Trophy voting that has handed college football's top individual prize to five straight white quarterbacks, most of whom were undeserving.
Whitlock on Johnnie Cochran:
American media love and revere two kinds of outspoken black men: 1) dead ones; and 2) ones ravaged by Parkinson's disease.
So this week, Johnnie Cochran joined Martin Luther King Jr., Malcom X and Muhammad Ali as American heroes, men whose controversial lives can now be celebrated and talked about positively.
WOLF WOLF WOLF WOLF WOLF WOLF WOLF WOLF WOLF. Speaking truth to power, my ass. Standing up for black guys, my ass. Whitlock sold his soul for a columnist gig.
Whitlock's claim that he doesn't think Willingham's firing was racist is a red herring. If he believes that, there should be no column. There is no controversy. There is no reason for people to keep bringing him up and then saying the word "racism" unless racism occurred. Whitlock's little "I'm reasonable so you can't dispute me" passage is inherently a lie.
The burden of proof is on the accuser. It was indeed mere speculation that reversing Davie/Willingham reverses their terms as well, but doesn't a presumption of innocence extend to the most prominent program to ever hire a black coach? Why is Notre Dame the target instead of the 100+ D-I schools to never ever have a black head coach. Just throwing stuff out there and calling it "racist" is libelous. It is not heroic.
Notre Dame is acting in irrational fashion. Yeah, the Weis contract is pretty wack. People have pointed out that he's now the highest paid coach in college football, rather excessive for a guy who's 5-2 lifetime. Mortenson reported that the buyout is now much steeper than it was, but the buyout I was referencing was the reverse: ND's buyout price for Weis should he implode. That's probably not chump change, and it's probably gone up, but unless it's stratospheric the contract is still largely symbolic: a "hands off" to NFL teams that is critical for recruiting.
...But you would, too. Everyone associated with the ND program is 100% sold on Weis, and they see a bountiful future that does not include missing bowls on a regular basis. There's a light at the end of a long, dark dozen-year tunnel. When someone threatens to snuff that light out you freak a little bit. Believe me, I was battering my wrists with butter knives at 3-3. Imagine 12 years of that. You'd be loopy, too.
I would appreciate not being called a subconscious racist. How can anyone refute Whitlock's column if by doing so they become racist and therefore cannot have a valid opinion on the subject? I have a bit of a character flaw and when something really pisses me off I go HULK-SMASH--not for me the reasoned, levelheaded response, at least not without an editor. My vitriol is not because Whitlock's black, it's because he's cynically exploiting this country's very real race issues for personal gain. That's evil. I find him r
eprehensible. The world would be better off without his column. That's why the anger. Not because I hate black people.