things go poorly
My friend Kit, once mentioned that he loved the occasional blog flamewars that popped up--the Nancy Clark thing, GSBBS05, etc--so, Kit: this Bud's for you. I guess I shouldn't be surprised that that CYA Guide thing started a vast and far ranging comment flamewar. I should know better than to start this stuff--it's like scheduling Eastern Michigan--but stuff been started. Sorry kids, I had a vision thrust upon me after reading these ripostes from HP:
Well, ny1995, I have been linked three times by Feldman. Want to know why? Because he reads my blog. He links to me because I have a different point of view on things, not because I am rubber stamping what he has to say. And there are a lot of things that he writes that have originated from me that he doesn't link or reference me on. Same goes with several other writers.
Ot's irrelevant what he said about me. The point is he cared enough about what I said to point others in my direction to read it. Why do you think he doesn't link to MGO Blog? Because his readers--people who care about college football--would not be interested.
Look man, there are plenty of things that Feldman has written that come from me. I'm not going to divulge them because I respect him. Let's put it this way: I never said that all the things he gets from me is stuff that is written on my blog.
Okay, we get it: you are a low-level USC Sports Information Department flunky. Reporters call you. This is how I envision those conversations going:
(a phone rings.)
HP: Hello, you've reached the very lowest echelon of the USC athletic department. How may I be of service?
BRUCE FELDMAN: (aside) Goddammit, not this guy again. Hi. It's Bruce Feldman. I was looking to set up an inter--
HP: BRUCE! MY MAN!
HP: I have got the greatest idea for you. Something that really sets the parameters of debate, you know, something that really pushes the envelope...
HP: You're supposed to say "hit me with it."
BF: Really, I just need an intervie--
HP: Hit me with it.
BF: I mean, seriously, I work for ESP--
HP: HIT ME WITH IT!
BF: (aside) I swear to God... Hit me with it.
HP: I need a little more than that. It's a really great idea. I need to feel it, Brucey.
BF: (aside) I'm asking Shapiro for a raise. Hit me with it!
HP: Okay, okay, okay. This is fantastic: did you know that USC Reggie Bush's last name is "Bush"?
BF: Uh... yeah.
HP: Okay, yeah, you know what's going on. You're hip to the grindstone, man. But... did you know that the President's last name is ALSO "Bush"?
BF: Uh... yeah.
HP: Okay, yeah, I suppose you're a journalist, good to know, President's name and all that. But did you know that people around here call Reggie Bush "The President"? You can keep that one. Use it, man, I won't tell people you got it from me.
BF: Great. Can I talk to someone else?
HP: Who? Matt Leinart? I talked to him once. He's dreamy.
BF: I don't care who. Who's next to you?
HP: Eduardo the janitor. He's from El Salvador.
BF: He's great. Put him on. Real human interest there.
HP: He doesn't speak English.
BF: That's okay, trust me. The impact of college athletics on an El Salvadorean everyman. I can see it on the cover of ESPN the Magazine right now.
EDUARDO: Hola? Quien es eso?
BF: Ay de mi! Quien es el hombre muy estupido?
EDUARDO: No se.
BF: Puedo hablar con Matt Leinart?
EDUARDO: Si, un momento.
Hello, friends. We all have websites--we're Americans, after all, and therefore everything we've ever thought or said is worthy of worldwide publicity. But sometimes websites are started by people of below average intelligence, a group that comprises an axiomatically-surprising 90% of the population. If you have a website you're probably in this group, and you're probably a narcissist. This is fine if you cover things like how gross dogs are (OMG SOOOO GROSS!), but if you've entered a field where actual events can sometimes impinge on your gloriously intelligent correctitude, you're going to need a guide to covering your ass when you, being significantly less intelligent than the public at large, screw up in a fashion unbefitting a self-proclaimed "pundit" or "super genius" or "verbal internet hero".
Luckily for you, someone has led the way.
Step 1: Quickly Admit Wrongness.
This is regrettably necessary, since not doing so clearly marks you as insane instead of just lamentably misinformed about your place in the world. So do it in about two sentences at the start of your meandering post. It hurts, I know, but you'll spend the next 3,000 words reaffirming your status as Super Blog Genius.
Step 2: Gloss Over The Details Of Your Error.
Sure, you might have spent months yammering on about how your pet theory implies that the field of your choice is going to undergo a "revolution" or "competitive colonoscopy" because of the deep, dark, foul secrets you have uncovered like the super genius you are. You may have set aside entire sections of your website to revel in the glories of a select set of entities that embody the theory you espouse.
But that's not really all that important... when you took five seconds to blather about some other topic that, like a monkey picking stocks, you managed to get correct! Why, it doesn't matter that all your time and (relative) mental energy was poured into this other, stunningly wrong thing, when you vaguely suggested that something else could possibly occur. Maybe.
Step 3: Use blindingly obvious statements condescendingly.
Remember that a good substitute for actually being smart is accusing everyone else of being dumb. People will mentally filter themselves out from such an accusation to protect their egos and, since you're basically correct that everyone else is dumb, people will agree with you. By taking blindly obvious things and phrasing them as if they are revelations of stunning magnitude, you will invite the reader to join you in the Club of Obvious Genius:
If you watched any games at all this weekend, there were plenty of examples of scheme and style of play.
Indeed! What an astute point, that if you watched "any games at all" this weekend you would have seen examples of "scheme"! Also! Also there would have been "styles of play." A valuable lesson has been learned: football teams attempt to do things in an organized fashion. All hail the master tactician! This amazing point is followed up:
The talk of scheme and style of play will continue here. Too many other games and teams give great evidence to its existence and power, and will certainly be elaborated upon further on here and HP.
Indeed. The two giants of blogging have decided to discuss what football teams do. Alas, if only I could understand the basic concepts of football!
Step 4: Confuse People With Utter Nonsense.
If you attempt to make sense, you'll probably fail, again because of the intelligence thing. Instead, confuse your reader by making completely ridiculous sentences that make them question their own sanity, their own ability to parse sentences into meaningful concepts:
Echoing HP's discussion in his Mea Culpa, Boise State was so far behind from the first whistle in this game, they really never had a chance to implement their scheme, some of the scripted plays, and the overall technical advantage they possess. ... Their magnificent offense was scrapped in order to play catch-up. Obviously Boise doesn't do catch-up all that well.
A wide-open spread offense designed to score in bunches and quickly... bad at catch up? Has the whole world gone insane? Or maybe... it's me!
Step 5: Point out things that entirely disprove your point and claim them as your own. CFR is the master:
To cite just one example, Wisconsin's perfected rushing attack was too much for a great Bowling Green offensive attack. But Bowling Green also did things to Wisconsin's defense, headed by an elite defensive coordinator, that has never been achieved by Big Ten opponents. Using vastly inferior talent. That's kind of the point. These low talent teams are, at times, able to play on the same stage as super talented teams. Its not luck, but design.
Of course the entire argument proposed here was that superawesome spread offenses that combine the run and the pass had created a elite group of six teams that were basically invincible to anyone outside of the group, so the Neanderthal pounding that Wisconsin executed (10 passes all day) should have completely failed to beat the BG spread awesomeness.
Note a further excellent use of Step 4 here, the claim that the Bowling Green offense, sporting stone-cold first-round lock Omar Jacobs and a splendid array of skill position players has "vastly inferior talent" to a Wisconsin defense that's lost seven starters and has no obvious NFL players on it, let alone first round locks.
Step 6: Remind everyone that you didn't ascend to this throne of blogging genius by mistake.
Not everyone can blog, after all. It's a hardy elite that can register a domain name, set up a default installation of WordPress, and claim their "dynamic new look" totally kicks ass. The thing costs literally dollars a month, and where are you going to get dollars? The barn raising? The harvest dance?
You can rightly criticize me for missing the boat with Boise State, but to dismiss that this stuff even exists or is not incredibly powerful, means you're completely missing the boat when it comes to football.
Ai! Alone, alone, all alone on a pier with a boat that left 45 minutes ago, staring into the moody sea, contemplating the best way to commit suicide, I am. I am I am.
Step 7: Insult People Who Were Really, Really Right
A false air of bravado lends your posts an air of legitimacy. After all, who wants to read the writings of someone "reasonable"? Nobody. Reason is for pussies. Anyone who is correct and is therefore reasonable is therefore a pussy and should be insulted:
The Georgia pimps will say it was all Georgia's defense, but I can assure you most savvy fans were shocked at some of the gross incompetence on display by Jared Zabransky
Lordy, no, I must not be savvy because I expected Jared Zabransky to suck. In this fashion you can frame the events that have taken place as totally unexpected and shocking to the knowledgeable fan and leave the pathetic concept of having a vague idea of what's going on to the plebians.
Step 8: Remove All Evidence Of Your Apology A Couple Days Later.
Go ahead. Check the HP archives for his "apology" post. Ain't there.
Step 9: Continue Jackassery.
You don't really have any other choice, do you?
Okay, I've finally reached my rumor tipping point on a possible injury.
It's very likely that Tim Massaquoi is out for Notre Dame and possibly a long while afterward... like the season. Possibly a wrist injury. Michigan internets are also in some hardcore panic (yo) about the possibility of both Hart and Kolodziej also being out, but my read on the situation is that those rumors are probably false.
If Massaquoi is inded hurt Tyler Ecker will step forward and promising freshman Mike Massey will start getting more extensive playing time. Though Ecker is certainly capable, a Massaquoi loss will affect the offense as there were quite a few two tight ends sets being run against NIU. We may see more FB or three WR sets from here on out unless Massey really asserts himself.
Robocop is certainly taking some hits.
(Voters left behind, get them in by EOD and I'll re-run the poll-gram). UPDATE: Caught the stragglers; voting is closed.
Hurray, that's the poll hurray. If you're interested, you can see all the individual ballots here.
The BlogPoll again mirrors the other polls by moving Michigan up to third and punishing Tennessee for a squeaker win over UAB. Somewhat disappointed that the poll didn't take into account the widespread trepidation of Michi-bloggers, which will come into stark relief in mere moments.
Now on to the extracurriculars. First up are the teams which spur the most and least disagreement between voters as measured by standard deviation. Note that the standard deviation charts halt at #25 when looking for the lowest, otherwise teams that everyone agreed were terrible (say, Eastern Michigan) would all be at the top.
Ballot math: First up are "Mr. Bold" and "Mr. Numb Existence." The former goes to the voter with the ballot most divergent from the poll at large. The number you see is the average difference between a person's opinion of a team and the poll's opinion.
Heismanpundit, pissed off that he couldn't vote Boise in the top ten, sat this week out, so Mr. Bold will find a new home. Last week's second place Mr. Bold, TrojanWire, revamped his ballot extensively and has come more in line with the poll as a whole, so seriously space-cadet ballots are absent this week. Fresno blogger MDG is this week's Mr. Bold. Why? Well, Texas #6, Alabama #11, Louisville #24, and a lot of disagreement towards the bottom of his ballot. MDG: your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to convince us about 'Bama and Louisville.
Update: Wack ballots flow in late! EDSBS steals the Mr. Bold crown at the last second by going completely flapjack nuts about early winners GT (#8), TCU (#13), Clemson (#17) and Wisconsin(#18) and seriously downgrading anyone who blinked the first week (Tennessee, Michigan, Louisville, Florida, both halves of the Miami/FSU monstrosity). One question, though... what did Purdue do to deserve a henious drop from #18 to #25 on their off week?
Mr. Numb Existence is My Opinion On Sports, who didn't like Ron New Mexico's performance against NC State, dropping the Hokies from #2 to #6. Tough week for MOOS. An Oklahoma fan, he had to find a place to put OU after the TCU game and came up with #19.
Next we have the Coulter/Krugman Award and the Straight Bangin' Award, which are again different sides of the same coin. The CKA and SBA go to the blogs with the highest and lowest bias rating, respectively. Bias rating is calculated by subtracting the blogger's vote for his own team from the poll-wide average. A high number indicates you are shameless homer. A low number indicates that you suffer from an abusive relationship with your football team.
The second winner of The CK Awards is poll newbie Buffs.tv for placing Colorado at #19, which isn't too nuts, but the ceremonial "your team" spot is traditionally #25. Of greater interest is Buffs.tv's stubborn Bronco-love: Boise State checks in at #20. Leading theory is that it's a tribute to John Elway.
Update: Unsurprisingly, The Enlightened Spartan maintained his death grip on this thing. Spartans (absent from the poll at large) at #15.
Unsurprisingly, the winner of the Straight Bangin' Award is Straight Bangin'... again! We named it after him for a reason, but this week the pessimism is shared--to a lesser extent, natch--by three additional Michigan bloggers down on the team after the uninspiring defensive performance against Northern Illinois. The heavy Wolverine tilt to the poll seems to be keeping the man down, as it were.
"Swing" ratings coming when, uh, they work. Update:Which is now! Swing is essentially the total change in each ballot from last week to this week (obviously voters who didn't submit a ballot last week are not included). A high number means you are easily distracted by shiny things. A low number means that you're damn sure you're right no matter what reality says.
No snarky comments, just trying to get this up:
The OZone's Michigan Monday is up. Yes, it's Wednesday, yes that means I'm late. Shut up. It's always interesting as an outsider perspective on the team. Only one major quibble: Orr says that the third quarter interception hit a receiver's helmet (it was deflected by Massey) and that the recipient was Darnell Hood (it was Hall).
That must have been a hell of a phone call. Dan Connor's "indefinite" suspension, previously dismissed in this space as a slap on the wrist, may be a serious situation after all. Connor did not play against USF and the decision on his return may not be up to Paterno:
The decision when, and if, Penn State sophomore outside linebacker Dan Connor plays this season may not be made by Nittany Lions coach Joe Paterno.
Connor, who has been suspended indefinitely by Paterno for his role in a series of prank phone calls to a former member of the PSU program, also is being investigated by the university's Office of Judicial Affairs.
(Emphasis mine.) 50YL mentions that there's been some rumor of Connor redshirting. Did Connor threaten someone? Your standard heavy breathing probably wouldn't warrant this sort of punishment. Center EZ Smith is expected to return for the Cincinnati game which, given the Bearcats' performance against Eastern, should be a walkover.
We're #3? Okay, if you say so. Yup, #3 in both polls after Tennessee's 17-10 win against UAB bumped them down a few notches, a good example of people just checking the score and not going deeper that the BlogPoll would never, ever... what? We've got Michigan #3, too? Goddammit. Cut!
You probably already know this but Trev Alberts is FIIIIRED. I'm about to blow every ounce of my hard-earned blogosphere cred, but I think I'm actually unhappy about this. A few years ago when he debuted I hated him, often resorting to the classic Kids In The Hall "I am crushing you" finger-pinch tactic to pass the time while he yammered on nonsensically while rhythmically stroking the giant, turgid stalk of corn he carries with him everywhere, but a funny thing happened. Over time I stopped despising him. I transferred most of my ill-will to Pac-10 sycophant, general frontrunner, and weak-ass goatee sporter Mark May because Trev turned himself into a strange combination of utter ludicrosity and actually quite insightful things. Sure, it was usually two to one in favor of the ludicrosity, but hey, we're talking about ESPN here, you take what you can get.
Credibility says bye bye bye
It was probably no coincidence that my Trev-tolerance skyrocketed at about the same time Nebraska stopped seriously contending for anything other than the title of least worst team in the Big Twelve North, but nonetheless I imagine that whatever replaces Trev may quickly make us wistful for the good old days of Nowledge. Which washed up boy-band member will it be?
OMG I AM FAMOUS. Brief mention of the blog and the poll in the Mercury News. Also plugged are EDSBS ("might be the funniest site"... grrr), BGS, and Fanblogs. I plan on letting this get to my head and embarking on an epic cocaine binge sometime after the OSU game.
You ran like dickens
Stole a frozen autumn day
But you still suck, Troy
Fly, Stevie Wonder
They grasp but do not catch you
Go, the zone of ends
Weis E. Coyote
Quite an impressive debut
You are still muy fat*
(this originally said "very fat," which means I can't count.)
|1||10||O6||Rush||-1||Woodley drives his man into the backfield, Graham bursts into his blocker, run is blown up and strung out.|
|2||11||O5||Rush||16||Draw, Van Alstyne loses outside contain, linebackers sucked in (McClintock most responsbile)|
|1||10||O23||Rush||7||Designed inside run, Wolfe bounces it outside when Woodley and Graham both get sucked inside. This is a running theme: two guys take one hole. (GROSS!!!) Also of note: Massey is getting crumpled|
|2||3||O30||Pass||8||Hole in zone, quick drop. No pass rush opp. Another theme: Michigan just lets NIU throw most of the day.|
|1||10||O38||Pass||7||zone dumpoff to Wolfe, 4 man rush. Massey doubled.|
|2||3||O45||Run||2||crack it right up the middle between the tackles. No push.|
|1||10||O48||Pass||6||Woodley pressure forces outlet, zone again|
|2||4||M46||Pass||10||too easy! No one even close to him with this stupid zone! Who is this jerry rice?|
|1||10||M24||Run||-2||Crable blitzes right into the run but completely overruns Wolfe and lets him escape, Graham shows good speed to close him down|
|2||12||M26||Pass||13||Slant into the soft spot of the same zone they've run every play this drive save for the last blitz, Mason very passive|
|1||10||M13||Run||1||Nice play by Van Alstyne, driving his man back a yard or two and coming off to make the tackle|
|2||9||M12||Pass||5||Another blitz of the LB covering the slot receiver. Horvath bails and throws the short route, Hall stumbles on his break or this would have been a two yard gain|
|3||4||M7||Pass||Inc||Horvath just misthrows a fade. Coverage looked pretty good.|
|Drive notes: bleah. I noticed that when Michigan didn't play the obvious soft zone they had better results. Also NIU spent a lot of time doubling Massey and letting Watson go single blocked.|
|1||10||O20||Run||4||NIU uses watson's momentum to take himself out of play.|
|2||6||O24||Run||76||YARDS AFTER MUNDY: 76.|
|Drive notes: Great. The big play is designed to get inside but that's pretty well jammed up. Grant Mason gets bitched by the NIU tight end on the short side of the field (great play design there, why don't you just put a huge blinking sign that says RUN HERE on the field?), and Mundy screams up from safety INSIDE of the contain-losing Mason. Wolfe bounces it out and Mundy gets a windsprint for his troubles.I can't track substitutions very well on network TV but being there in person I don't think Mundy saw any time after this performance. Brandon Harrison starts by midseason?|
|1||10||O20||Pass||Inc||This is the near-int for Burgess. Watson is the guy who hits Horvath's arm.|
|2||10||O20||Run||0||In a 2 WR set now, this one is also eaten by Watson. Single blocked, he holds.|
|3||10||O20||Pass||Inc||Horvath eats Massey. Would have taken a great throw to fit the ball in there.|
|Drive notes: OMG A PUNT. Three straight plays from the DTs.|
|1||10||O32||Run||8||Ugh. Massey and Woodley are waiting on either side of a tackle. AJ Harris jukes up into the hole, sucking Woodley inside, and then bounces it back out for a nice gain. This should have been 2nd and 10. Note: no back seven support.|
|2||2||O40||Pass||15 + 15||Late hit from Woodley, very tenuous call.|
|1||10||M30||Pass||13||Shovel pass to Wolfe. Engelmon forces a fumble. Just the perfect call on for the defense, which was blitzing. The screen goes to the exact spot the blitz vacates. Not actually angry about this one. Good play by Engelmon.|
|Drive notes: A lot of yards here but not that bad in retrospect. The screen was the perfect call for the defense and if Woodley trusts someone to be inside there the first play gets stuffed. Things like that are fixable. Hopefully.|
|1||10||O20||Run||8||Massey gets doubled by the RT and RG and completely crumples under the pressure. A single blocked Watson drives his man three yards backwards but Wolfe nimbly avoids him and scoots up into the gaping hole between the two DTs.|
|2||2||O28||Run||7||Barringer moves up into the box and loses outside contain on Wolfe.|
|1||10||O35||Pass||9||Half rollout to Woodley's side, who kills Horvath, but the zone is open again.|
|2||1||O44||Run||8||Watson gets moved out, Massey crumples, Graham gets buried.|
|1||10||M46||Run||8||Wolfe bounces a desinged interior run outsdie. Burgess loses contain. Engelmon loses contain. I cannot describe how disturbing it is to see single blocked Watson get his ass kicked on this play.|
|2||2||M38||Pass||20||Seam route to the TE. Always there if you play the exact same coverage like we do. Actually a really nice throw by Horvath. McClintock was in pretty decent position.|
|1||20||M28||Pass||10||Rollout again. Quick pass to a really, really vacant part of the zone. There are never any defenders anywhere near NIU players on pass plays.|
|2||10||M18||Pass||Inc||Rollout to the other side, Horvath throws it away. Hall w/ the coverage.|
|3||10||M18||Pass||Inc||Plenty of time for Horvath, but there's no one open.|
|Drive notes: This thing is freaking scary. Our DL is largely responsible for a series of gashing NIU runs and the only thing that stops the drive is a holding penalty.|
|1||10||O10||Run||19||Everyone gets blocked. McClintock gets wasted.|
|1||10||O29||Run||3||Massey is again crushed to the ground. Watson gets a push and forces Wolfe to bounce it outside where, miraculously, someone is waiting.|
|2||7||O32||Pass||4||Fumble recovered by Engelmon. Fortunate force as Burgess' helmet just happens to hit the right exact spot accidentally.|
|Drive notes: Only the one bad play, but man, there's no easy fix for that one.|
|1||10||O2||Run||-1||Nice standup stuff-and-go-back tackle by Graham here. Also notable that Watson crushes his guy into the endzone.|
|2||11||O1||Pass||10||Again exploiting the same zone.|
|1||10||O12||Run||2||Woodley holds the corner well enough on this sweep to force the runner back inside. McClintock makes the tackle.|
|2||8||O14||Pass||Inc||Loopy, weak throw from Horvath allows Hall to close and actually make a play on the ball. Only one all day.|
|3||8||O14||Pass||Int||Massey tips the ball, Hall picks it off.|
|Drive notes: this is actually not a crappy performance.|
|1||10||O25||Penalty||Holding||caused by Woodley owning the tackle.|
|1||20||O15||Pass||Inc||Same shovel pass that led to a fumble, but Horvath throws it too low. Looked better defended this time.|
|2||20||O15||Pass||27||Three man rush with a useless blitz from Burgess on the corner. Stupid zone.|
|1||10||O42||Pass||-6||Woodley sack, strip, and recovery. XOXOXO Lamarr|
|Drive notes: Woodley has lost contain a few times but he's consistently making plays at this point, including this huge one. He gets a gold star.|
|1||10||O20||Run||0||Really, really nice play by Woodley, driving his man into one of the sweep blockers and fouling the whole thing up.|
|2||10||O20||Pass/Penalty||Interference on Mason, actual man coverage! Dunno about the call.|
|1||10||O26||Run||0||Nice play by Branch and Johnson.|
|2||10||O26||Pass||19||Linebackers get sucked in by play action and the TE is wiiide open.|
|1||10||O45||Run||3||Thompson slices into the backfield but gets blocked at the last second. Good instincts.|
|2||7||O48||Pass||12||Blitz sent and Horvath finds the uncovered back out of the backfield.|
|1||10||M40||Run||1||A good play by Watson. Thompson again finds himself in disruptive position and helps shut the play down.|
|2||9||M39||Pass||7||Play action does some more sucking. Thompson recovers decently.|
|3||2||M32||Run||12||Burgess loses contain in a giant, terrible way. McClintock is also seemingly responsible.|
|1||10||M16||Run||6||Branch just runs himself way, way out of the play, opening up a huge gap.|
|2||4||M10||Run||3||Again a contain issue, as the middle is pretty well jammed up.|
|3||1||M7||Run||3||Sneak. Taylor gets smacked backwards.|
|1||G||M4||Run||4||Taylor holds his ground and should make the tackle at the line but gets bowled over and Harris scores.|
|Drive Notes: A garbage time drive but I charted it anyway just to see, since the starters played a portion of it. Thompson looked much better than McClintock in his brief time, though he was victimized by play action twice. Taylor got a rude introduction to college.|
Well... I don't think the performance was as total a disaster as I did before I saw the tape. Still bad, certainly. An asteroid impact moment, no.
Individuals: The clear A1 defensive star of the game was Woodley, who only had one big play that showed up on the stat sheet--the sack/strip/recovery--but caused a holding call, hurried Horvath regularly (when he held the ball long enough to be hurried), and was decent against the run. He had some contain issues, just like everyone else, but overall he was a net positive. Chris Graham also did well. Engelmon seemed capable.
Despite Carr's outrage at Watson, I thought he did all right. A lot of NIU's yards came from bouncing outside on stuff runs up the middle and most of the yards on the interior came when Watson was crushing his man upfield save for a smattering of "I'm fat and tired" examples.
Goat of the game is either Massey or McClintock, unless you really want to hammer Mundy for his usual giant play ceded. Massey kept getting doubled and crushed. McClintock did almost nothing good all day. John Thompson had more positive impact in one garbage time drive than McClintock did all day. Burgess wasn't particularly good, either, losing contain regularly.
Vs NIU Passing: Hardly even tried to defend it until NIU made it to the red zone, at which point things tightened up and Horvath couldn't find any receivers. I wouldn't put any stock into this performance--Michigan tipped its coverage before every play and only blitzed occasionally from fairly obvious places. Quinn will not get the same kid gloves.
Vs NIU Running: Vastly concerning. I have a crazy theory: NIU decided they were going to single block Watson a lot and double Massey. Massey simply can't handle double teams and crumples to the ground. Meanwhile, the guy blocking Watson just sort of has to pilot him a little bit away from the play and viola, there's a big hole for Wolfe. Can others repeat this tactic? If they have a nimble back with excellent vision, probably, though I doubt there are many backs as nimble as Wolfe around. What I saw of Darius Walker, though, indicates that he's got the requisite ability to exploit our problems with containment and gap integrity. Unless we get this fixed we have issues, especially if McClintock doesn't perform any better.
The good news is that NIU is not a CMU-like pushover opponent: they've consistently proven a tough nut for BCS teams to crack and they run like that against everyone. There's NFL talent on the line for the Huskies. I think that the run defense is going to be significantly better than it was--when you return the linchpin of your fierce conventional run D from a year ago it's unlikely to get a huge dropoff--but clearly there are major issues with the linebackers.
Grade: D+, with a special note to the parents that says "Timmah has potential if he just tries harder."