frank beamer #1
11/1/2014 – Michigan 34, Indiana 10 – 4-5, 2-3 Big Ten
This happened. The end. [Eric Upchurch]
Sometimes there's a game that does not have anything to say about it. This was that game. Michigan won 34-10, the same score they beat Miami (Not That Miami) by, and it felt a lot like a replay of that throwaway nonconference game.
The opposing offense wasn't going anywhere unless Michigan busted something. Michigan's running game alternated between frustrating lack of holes and lanes so open you could drive a truck through. The defensive backs could have spent the entire afternoon reading The Economist and sipping Kermit tea and nothing would have changed. Indiana had eight attempts. This game was almost literally none of their business.
Michigan thudded out to a 17-0 lead with the help of a couple fumbles that somehow benched Tevin Coleman, and then the game was over. Indiana turned a Gardner interception that ended up inside the Michigan ten into a doinked field goal. Thereupon a giant pig descended from the sky to proclaim the game state.
Brady Hoke knew it, so he ran the ball a couple times to end the first half instead of attempting to score.
I knew it, so I wasn't even a tiny bit peeved by that. Devin Gardner had just demonstrated the only way Indiana was going to get back in the game by not quite giftwrapping a pick six. Just before that Gardner had not quite giftwrapped another pick six. Michigan could have run the ball on every remaining down and won, and it was cold and I have to UFR these things. Run that clock down. Fine by me.
Everyone in the crowd knew it, so an awful lot of them left at halftime.
Non-student areas weren't a whole lot better. [Bryan Fuller]
At this point I'm not blaming anyone. It was cold, Michigan is playing for a berth in the kind of bowl where the gift bags include broken Swatches from 1985, and the game was already decided. I stayed because I write these columns and your soapbox is a little higher if you stayed like a True Fan™. I am enjoying the extra centimeter right now. Mighty fine view it's providing.
The game being what it was, about the only thing of interest over the weekend was a smattering of pissy comments from current and former players.
Desmond Howard decried Michigan's "mob mentality" on Gameday. Taylor Lewan called the Daily's Alejandro Zuniga a "moron" after Zuniga's appearance on BTN. Drew Dileo used air quotes around 'loyal' en route to stating that Dave Brandon and Brady Hoke weren't the problem—causing responders to respectfully ask what, then, the problem might be. Elliot Mealer referred to "the muggles that attend the University of Michigan" suddenly knowing something about the athletic department. Shane Morris provided a shout-out to the few students that made it to the end of the game and helpfully informed the ones who didn't that Michigan won.
It's like they went to bed and universal suffrage happened overnight.
INT. HOUSE OF COMMONS
A raucous scene, as a bill has just come up for vote. Enter AN ASSORTMENT OF LORDS.
EARL OF MEALER
Good heavens, what are they doing?
HOWARD, DUKE OF HEISMAN
They seem to be voicing their opinions.
MARQUIS DI LEO
EARL OF MEALER
Say, you, boy: what is all this ruckus?
The bill of attainder is up for vote; these are
final arguments before a decision is made.
Also, I don't think 'boy' is the preferred nomenclature.
HOWARD, DUKE OF HEISMAN
You have the vote? What nonsense!
MARQUIS DI LEO
/frantically dips snuff
EARL OF MEALER
Disaster! Woe! Surely we will topple like saplings in a typhoon!
HOWARD, DUKE OF HEISMAN
How long has… this been going on?
Approximately 600 years?
MARQUIS DI LEO
HOWARD, DUKE OF HEISMAN
WHY WEREN'T WE TOLD?!
We assumed you knew.
EARL OF MEALER
Our doom is at hand! Flee! I'll die on the squash courts if I can make it!
/exit MEALER, HOWARD
MARQUIS DI LEO
MARQUIS DI LEO
Michigan fans always had the vote; never before had they been pressed so hard as to think about using it. When there's an epic wait list you can find another team and the edifice doesn't notice. Not so much anymore.
The ironic thing about all of this is it's actually the students—sorry, "muggles"—leading the way towards positive change. Brandon implements the worst possible version of general admission; Mike Proppe's CSG negotiates a more sensible arrangement that provides better seats to better fans. Brandon blames the new policy for the drop in attendance instead of prices; Bobby Dishell's CSG negotiates a 40% slashing of ticket prices. El-Kilani's petition laid out the case against Brandon concisely and far more authoritatively than any defenses mounted by the House of Lords, which generally amount to "nuh-uh, you don't know."
It is true that we don't know the face Brandon showed to the student-athletes. I do know that one day he got in front of his department and quizzed them as to who their customers were. The answer: "student-athletes." So he probably acted like a human to them.
That's not enough when he is a six-foot phallus to everyone else. You just don't know that unless you're outside the program, looking at a 150-dollar ticket that you could have had for 20 bucks, watching grim quasi-football that means nothing in the freezing cold. Bon Jovi is playing, for some reason.
Here's the thing. This is a large group of people. Every large group of people is basically a bell curve. Michigan has pushed the prices up to the point where they're going to hit the downside of that bell curve without serious change.
That's a disaster that cannot be allowed to happen. Maybe it won't be for the people in the program right now, or the people who have been through it. It is one for the people who are thinking about 30 years from now, who are thinking about what it's going to be like for their kids.
Michigan, the program, can do little to change the group of people. They will remain the same people. They can only change themselves to fit the people. Step one is firing the coach, because the crushing blow to season ticket sales that results from his retention is unacceptable. Also he is not good at coaching.
Step two is not being dicks to people outside the program. I know y'all learned it from Brandon. Unlearn it. The next AD is going to be just as fantastic to increasingly pampered student-athletes without being loathed by everyone else on the planet. The Al Bundy patrol talking down to a fanbase on the edge of deserting in droves is hilariously out of touch. Michigan revenue vs Michigan performance. QED.
It's time to stop interpreting "The Team The Team The Team" as a moat between 115 players and 113,000 fans.
[After THE JUMP: hawt babes, and why are you trying to be a fey English twit]
News bullets and other items:
Hoke wouldn’t take any questions about Dave Brandon; he said he’d address that on Monday
Hoke seemed pleased with the defense with the exception of two drives. He said the defense lost their intensity on Indiana’s last drive.
Hoke attributed Drake Johnson’s success in part to getting increased reps with the second unit after Derrick Green’s injury
Jake Butt will rejoin the team for the Northwestern game
Devin Gardner is slowly recovering from his ankle injury, though Hoke said it limits the designed runs they can use
Hoke chose to kill the clock at the end of the first half because they had just thrown an interception and didn’t want to put the defense in a bad position, and they were getting the ball to start the second half
“It was good to see the kids, as hard as they’ve worked – I see that weekly. Some of you believe that, some of you don't but what I can tell you it they work their tails off every time we go to practice. They work their tails off as a group. They really are accountable to each other and that's important and that's the way they came out and played. Obviously we got some good performances from some guys that haven't played as much but part of that is due because, talking about Drake [Johnson] probably as much as anybody, he's got a lot of second reps now since Derrick [Green] went out. So I think when you look at it from that side of that we've always thought he was talented but he took advantage of an opportunity and did a heckuva job.”
I was going to talk about Johnson and Darboh. They had 122 and 170 yards, respectively. Can you talk about Darboh and his receiving today?
“Yeah, you know, Amara played a little bit as it as a freshman, a true freshman, and then sat out all last year but I think the confidence, and again, for both of them being in a system for the first time and then learning a little bit of a different system– they both are very talented, we believe. They both work extremely hard and it's nice to see those kind of kids when they get rewarded because of the hard work and what they do and Amara, you know we have Devin [Funchess] on one side and Amara on the other, it maybe opens up some things a little better.”
[After THE JUMP: evaluating the defense, what’s left to play for, and a couple of comments from players]
The pride of Ann Arbor Pioneer High School. [Bryan Fuller/MGoBlog]
It's a new day. Sort of.
There was plenty to celebrate in the first Michigan game of the post-Brandon era. The Wolverines thoroughly dominated Indiana, more than doubling their total yardage and earning the team's first double-digit win since the Miami game.
Devin Gardner set a season high in passing yardage. Amara Darboh posted the best day of his career. So did Ann Arbor native Drake Johnson, who rushed for 122 yards and two scores in his first extended action at running back. The defense shut down the nation's leading rusher, IU's Tevin Coleman, and even forced a pair of turnovers.
There was plenty of bad that was familiar, too. Gardner tossed an ugly interception and narrowly avoided a pick-six when the game was still competitive. Brady Hoke bungled basic clock management at the end of the first half, robbing Michigan of a chance to score before the break. The Wolverines punted from the Indiana 43 on a fourth-and-short. And, of course, the entire game came with the caveat of facing an IU squad with a miserable defense and a depleted depth chart at quarterback.
Oh, and the announced attendance of 103,111 was met with a mixture of laughter and boos; perhaps the program sold that many tickets, but on a chilly afternoon in Ann Arbor, there certainly weren't that many seats filled.
On this day, though, the good should be the focus. With Jake Butt suspended for the game for a violation of team rules, reserve tight end Keith Heitzman was able to record his first career touchdown on an improvised shovel pass from Gardner (pictured above).
Injury also created opportunity in the backfield. With Derrick Green out for the season and De'Veon Smith in and out of the game with a dinged up ankle, Johnson got 16 carries—14 of them in the second half—and he salted away the game, playing kitty-corner from where he starred in high school at both football and track. Johnson, who'd seen mostly special teams duty in his time at Michigan, showed off that track-star speed by breaking multiple runs into the Indiana secondary.
Darboh broke the century mark on nine receptions, scoring from 12 yards on a hard-thrown post from Gardner to give Michgian a 17-0 lead that would stand as the halftime score. He and Devin Funchess combined to reel in 16 of Gardner's 22 completions; no other Wolverine had more than one.
The defense dominated an Indiana offense sorely missing injured quarterback Nate Sudfeld. They got some help from IU coach Kevin Wilson, as well. Wilson benched Tevin Coleman after he put the ball on the turf twice, losing the second on a recovery by freshman Bryan Mone. Indiana couldn't generate any offense without Coleman, who'd finish with a season-low 108 yards—must be nice—on 27 carries; his mark of four yards per carry was well below his season average of 8.8.
The Hoosiers also insisted on running much of their offense from the Wildcat, which Michigan had dead to rights for most of the game. Jake Ryan recorded 2.5 TFLs among his team-high 11 tackles; fellow linebacker Joe Bolden had two TFLs of his own as M repeatedly shot gaps into the IU backfield. Any hopes Indiana had of getting back into the game were dashed when Ryan Glasgow sacked IU QB Zander Diamont, stripped the ball, and came up with the recovery in the third quarter; Johnson got the corner for his first touchdown on the ensuing drive.
The final yardage read Michigan 404, Indiana 191.
Hoke refused to address questions about Dave Brandon's resignation in the aftermath of the game, and that felt right. Today was about the team on the field, and while the opponent wasn't a strong one, they were able to ignore this week's distractions and take care of business. That alone was an impressive feat.
1975 Indiana was the last <100 k crowd
by Heiko “4AD” Yang
Dear President Schlissel and Interim Director Hackett, please consider as this my formal application to the position of Director of Intercollegiate Athletics at the University of Michigan.
First I would like to recognize and thank Dave Brandon for the tremendous work that he did during his tenure. Revolutionizing the Michigan Stadium experience was no small feat. If hired, I will appoint Special K to be Brandon’s personal DJ for life so that he may continue to enjoy the sounds of Saturday, everyday.
I believe I am strongly qualified for this position because like Bo Schembechler, I am from Ohio. I was the “manager” of an intramural flag football team once, but I would like to highlight that I have never been the CEO of anything. I would relate well to students because I am currently a student. I would relate well to fans and alumni because I am not a dick.
My vision for the athletics department is comprehensive, but due to the lack of issues regarding any other sport, I will highlight only my plan for the football program:
To improve the game-day experience, I will fix the annoying half-second delay between the marching band’s live sound and the amplified sound. With Special K gone, the onus of playing Seven Nation Army will fall on the band, and it is awkward when people sitting near midfield don’t know which half-beat to wave their pompoms to. Also, I will make food available at the end of games. Postgame hotdogs improve morale and fan satisfaction by making wins feel better and losses hurt less.
To generate revenue in a way that doesn’t involve raising ticket prices, I will sell tickets after halftime to account for the people who either never showed up or decided to leave early. Those vacant seats will be available at a heavily discounted price, and this plan would have the additional benefit of increasing attendance and making the stadium look less empty during blowouts. I will also continue to sell food at the end of games (see above).
I have other qualifications that would be an asset to the athletic department given the current public relations climate. The University of Michigan has faced significant criticism recently regarding the health of student athletes. You will be comforted to know that I am well versed in the signs and symptoms of common medical conditions such as ebola and concussions. For everything else I have access to Wikipedia. With improved stadium Wi-Fi, no diagnoses will be missed, and I assure you that I will not hesitate to release medical statements on Twitter during waking hours.
I am aware that the football team may need a new head coach at the end of the season. While I cannot promise that I would be able to get Jim Harbaugh if such a change were to occur, I would like to suggest a coaching candidate that has been thus far overlooked: former offensive coordinator Al Borges. Coach Borges piloted some of the most exciting offenses at Michigan and put up record performances against Ohio State. Devin Gardner was briefly a Heisman candidate under his tutelage, and his regression after coach Borges’s dismissal is a testament to his coaching value. I strongly believe that I can use my established relationship with him to talk him out of retirement and then use my clout as athletic director to convince him to call more bubble screens.
Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to hearing your response.
Michigan 24, Indiana 13
By Nick RoUMel
That was a full-size Snickers bar, plus a kiss on the cheek from the slightly tipsy mom dressed as sexy Dennis Norfleet. It was biting that bobbing apple on the first try, winning the scratch-off, or getting that job. It was jubilation in the streets, celebrating the despot’s overthrow.
It was the Maizey-est, Blue-est, sweetest gift to kick off the Hallowe’en weekend ever. Sure, it cost $3,000,000. But … wow … thanks Uncle Mark. It was worth it.
What will Dave Brandon do now? Rumor has it he’ll lie low for a while, first to collect his golden parachute, then buy a football franchise to run with Matt Millen. Matt will cover personnel; Dave public relations (and toppings). Their team’s coach, of course, will be Brady Hoke - whom I hear is a great motivational speaker.
In the meantime, joyously sick from too many Hallowe’en treats, we battle with the hapless Hoosiers on Homecoming. Woe be the Hoosiers, whose offense is as dangerous as the extras in Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” video. They should score about oh-say zero points, if not fewer.
When Michigan is on offense, expect most plays to be without turnovers, including some positive gains. Fans will be on the edge of their seats, tense from multiple 2nd and 8s, followed by 3rd and 7s, watching plays that look like a Family Circus cartoon:
But we fans won’t care. We’ll lustily cheer like it was Anthony Carter vs. Indiana in 1979. (This was not only the greatest play ever, but it was preceded by the greatest play to ever spark an NCAA rule change. As an added bonus, it caused then-Hoosier coach Lee Corso to ever hate Michigan):
We have no worries because we’re HAPPY (Brian - do NOT insert Pharrell’s “Happy” video here. I would lose so much faith in you. It would be like accidentally seeing Mark Dantonio pet a kitten, or something).
But we are happy. Like a Big House without an AD, or a pillowcase fat with candy. And it won’t even matter that this will be the most boring game in NCAA history.
MICHIGAN 7, INDIANA 0
“Good afternoon everybody, and thank you for coming. This morning I accepted the resignation of Athletic Director David Brandon. Dave feels that it would be in the best interest of our student-athletes, the athletic department, and the University community if he moved on to other challenges and allowed the important work of the department and the University to continue without daily distractions. I agree with this decision.
“I’ve spoken regularly with Dave over the last few weeks and we both want what’s best for Michigan athletics, which is to be able to pursue the highest levels of excellence in all of our programs for our 931 student-athletes, and to advance the strong bond that athletics has helped the University foster with our students, our alumni, and our fans. I believe Dave has always had the best interest of the University of Michigan in his mind and in his heart. He is fiercely dedicated to all of our student-athletes regardless of their sport or background. During his nearly five years as Athletic Director he worked to ensure the well-being and the athletic and academic success with programs and facilities that helped them grow as individuals as well as teammates, and to succeed as students.
“For years Dave’s commitment to Michigan has touched many other parts of the University as well. He co-led the campaign that raised funds for the construction of the new C.S.Mott Children’s Hospital. He and his wife Jan personally donated $2 million for the creation of our neonatal intensive care unit. Dave has also provided support for the arts on campus, student scholarships, and many other academic and educational priorities. He served on the Board of Regents also from 1999-2006. Dave’s first connection to the University of Michigan was as a student-athlete himself when he played football under coach Schembechler and earned his undergraduate degree. There is no doubt that Dave loves the University of Michigan and wants to see us move forward and succeed. I thank him for his long service and life-long commitment to Michigan.
“I’ve appointed Jim Hackett as the Interim Director of Athletics. The interim appointment is effective immediately and will become formal with approval by the Board of Regents at their next meeting. Jim is a highly experienced and respected business leader, a man of integrity, and a devoted member of the Michigan community. He was a student-athlete and graduated from the U of M in 1977. In 1994 to 2013 he served as Chief Executive Officer of Steelcase Incorporated, the office furniture company based in Grand Rapids. He led the company in their transition from traditional manufacturing to an innovate global company and now brings that success and experience in heading a complex organization into his interim role here. I’m also very pleased with his interpersonal skills, his value system, and his long-standing commitment to serving the University. Jim is currently on the Board of Trustees at Northwestern Mutual Life and on the Boards of Directors at Ford Motor Company and Fifth Third Bancorp. Perhaps most importantly he serves on the Board of Advisors at the University of Michigan’s Ford School of Public Policy and Life Sciences Institute.
“I am confident Jim will immediately begin the process of moving the department forward, including working closely with me to develop a plan to identify and recruit Michigan's next permanent athletic director.
“To our alumni and others in the Michigan family, I want you to know that we are working to establish the right balance between academics, the competitiveness of our athletic programs, the financial stability and the athletic traditions that we hold dear. To our students and student-athletes, I want you to know that the University of Michigan is behind you always. To our fans, I want you to know that we value your input, your support, and your spirit. Recent events have only reinforced my belief that it is important to listen and to engage in dialogue with all of our stakeholders.
“It is clear that Michigan athletics helps unite us as a community. It has an enormous reach that I've seen firsthand and the connections it fosters are deeply personal. These connections cross state and national borders, they spans decades, and they're shared across generations. The force that has this amazing power to join us together, the connective tissue if you will, is the heartstrings of the Michigan faithful.
“At a recent fireside chat with students, a student in the crowd further illustrated this point for me. She had lived in a major city in another state, but she could always count on hearing “Go Blue” when she walks down the street wearing her Michigan sweatshirt on a Saturday in the fall. Those moments, those uniquely Michigan moments, take place because of our unique sense of community. Before I turn things over to Jim I invite everyone in our community to help us as we begin a new chapter in the history of Michigan athletics. I hope we can join together as we move forward to preserve and enhance the qualities that make us truly special for the ultimate benefit of Michigan athletics, our students, and our great university. Thank you all very much and ladies and gentlemen, it's my pleasure to introduce Jim Hackett.”
[More after THE JUMP]