no, YOU'RE off topic
Hello. This is a centralized staging point for various discussions of the events going on in college football over the weekend designed to bring the BlogPollers together to share information and impressions. Plain ol' readers are more than welcome to join the conversation as well: every eye helps. Please keep it constructive and keep in mind that this is not a game thread (ie, no "AAARGH FUMBLE!" or "YAY TOUCHDOWN!" posts, please).
This will remain pinned to the top until Monday, so best keep it short. Have at it.
- Chad Henne threw a number of balls behind his receivers (though the ones behind Avant got caught anyway) but overall had a great day. No Husky got a hand on a pass all day. Every read, except one were he sold Breaston out on a flare route that he stared down and another to a doubled Breaston deep, was correct. No interceptions or anything approximating one. Nearly threw two long touchdowns to Breaston but was a foot off on both.
- Jason Avant being the focus of the offense means that dropped balls on third down no longer occur. Ever.
- Grady looked very good save for the fumble. Hart won't have to grind himself into the ground this year.
- Pass protection was incredible. No sacks for NIU and I can't remember Henne even getting hurried.
- Breaston was clearly the deep option in place of Braylon and got wiiiide open a few times, but couldn't make the catch. One was out of bounds, the other just a tiny bit too long. I think the long ball will be an effective weapon, but maybe Braylon hauls one of those in (and, yes, drops a critical third down ball).
- Hart. Never loses yards, had 4 or 5 yards on 75% of his carries. His low variance best, plus more solid receiving: a 34 yard touchdown on a screen type thing.
- That spreading the ball around thing.
- Um... Woodley did have a good day.
- Maybe Joey appreciates Marlin Jackson's run support now after watching Grant Mason get wasted by Garrett Wolfe time and again.
- That defensive line thing? What was that? It sucked, despite serious rotating to keep Watson from gasping. Were all those practice reports just crap?
- Okay, okay, Herrmann. You sure as hell simplified the defense (more on that later), but maybe there's a happy middle ground between the coloring book and theoretical astrophsyics we can mine.
- We got 40-50 Yards After Mundy and he was in for approximately five plays! Can we put a moratorium on the "Ron English is a great coach" blithering until he proves that he can teach someone, anyone, to take a proper angle? Is it a coincidence that said blithering continually comes from the same people who talk about how "Amaker is a great coach"? Seems clear that they mean "English is a black coach," and therefore will receive their support no matter the evidence.
- In general. Again, more later.
- Ross Ryan had more touchbacks in his first game as the kickoff dude than Troy Neinberg had his entire career. Ryan also showed some of Neinberg's Pop Warner All Star Linebacker qualities by running down and recovering a fumble on his only punt, which was a 41-yarder with good hangtime.
- Nothing of note.
- Rivas: solid from short range (FGs from 38 and 23), not great from long range (missed a 48-yarder) and extra-point allergic early in the year (had one blocked).
- Breaston. Only was punted to once and had no opportunity to return that. Returned a single kick.
- Punt coverage. One punt isn't much to draw conclusions from, though Hood really popped the Husky returner.
But don't slit your wrists yet...
Yes, we forced exactly one punt and the turnovers that held NIU's offense down were in large part luck. Yes, our offense outgained the Huskies by like 11 yards. But... contempt doesn't even begin to describe the way Michigan regarded the Husky offense despite the evidence that it should be respected. I swear to God that 80% of the defense's calls were straight 4-3 zone against a three-wide offense with Burgess lined up over the slot wide receiver--the Husky quarterback hardly had to make a read the entire game. Michigan employed exactly one blitz package, which was used sparingly.
There's no excuse for what happened today and I'll be dropping Michigan several spots in the BlogPoll because of it, but Michigan's main goal today was to show Notre Dame precisely nothing, no matter the expense. Insane, yes. Disheartening results despite the vanilla, yes. Very worried about ND, yes. But let's not overreact.
Arizona-Utah: The new Ute QB is no Alex Smith. He's more athletic but his favorite place to place a pass is a tie between three feet behind his wide receiver and three feet in front of his wide receiver. He's going to have to run a lot this year. The Utah RB, Ganther, though, is a keeper.
Arizona's QB situation is a disaster, though it is kind of cool that I thought Ilya Kovalchuk was one of the (terrible, terrible) options. The gift INT TD was the only reason Utah won the game. Bell, the Wildcat RB, got the corner all night against the Utes, but couldn't do much inside, where significant pass pressure also came. Arizona is probably a bad team again this year, and Utah is little better.
UH-Oregon: Don't believe those who would wax poetic about Houston's "scheme," they largely scored by returning kickoffs a long way and running straight down the field past Oregon defensive backs, who were confused. Probably thinking to themsleves "dude, you're a white guy playing for Houston. You don't have me beat by two steps." Oregon's offense moved at will after some early jitters, but the season will likely prove that the Cougars are one of the worst defensive teams in the country, so judgement should be reserved.
BG-Wisconsin: Calhoun is a lot like Anthony Davis. Good vision, cuts, quick to the hole. If he can stay healthy UW will have an offense. Stocco doesn't seem too bad so far.
Also, OMG OMAR JACOBZ! I have to depart for the Michigan game now, but Predator is like 9-11 and amazingly accurate, intelligent. The real deal for... holy crap. Holy crap! 63 yard touchdown. BG 20-7. DJL and Tony would like to say "I told you so." Not so fast, my friend: 20-14 after a kickoff return to the 9.
[UPDATE: What in the name of God happened during this thing? 98 total points? Did Wisconsin score 56 points all last year? I taped it, I'll get back to it. Looks like I may have been Absolutely Wrong about the Badgers.]
It's football time. Later beeches.
Georgia-Boise: Game, set, match.
Notre Dame-Pittsburgh: Um. Having not really seen too much of Darius Walker last year save for the Michigan game, in which he didn't really do anything too eye-grabbing (yes, yes, 120 or whatever yards but he took a *lot* of carries to do it), I am somewhat shocked at how good he looks. Great vision and cuts.
Oh, yeah... alarm level for next week just tripled.
WVU-Syracuse: Aaaaaaargh. My eyes are bleeding. If WVU stops fumbling they could be kinda good, though. I like Bednarik, their quarterback, and they have an interesting run-based spread system.
Syracuse is not going to a bowl.
Adam Kraus has taken the center job according to a recent WTKA interview of Terry Malone. Kraus is from Louisiana and he has some visitors:
On Adam Kraus and LaTerryal Savoy being from Louisiana and dealing with Hurricane Katrina:
"... this morning our staff door swung open and there was the Kraus family. Steve and Marge and his sister Elizabeth drove up from New Orleans in the last 24 hours.
"Things at home are absolutely devastating and our heart goes out to them. They are going to spend time with us here in Ann Arbor until things settle down back home. It is a heart-wrenching thing that they are going through. It certainly hits close to home when one of ours has this happen.
"I know that people are going to respond like they never have for the people in Louisiana, Mississippi because that is what makes this country so great. That we do take care of our own. I know we will rise up like we never have."
(Savoy's family lives far enough away from the disaster zone that they aren't particularly affected.)
There are still some questions on the line given the weird depth chart that came out with Ruben Riley backing up both tackle positions and Henige listed as the starting LG. I have no idea what's going on there or who it's directed at. It could be ceremonial start for fifth year senior Henige. Riley could be in the doghouse and getting a wakeup call. Kolodziej might be proving too passive at RT and the staff wants a better run blocker there. It is the mystery. If I had guess I would say it's Carr being nice to his senior. We'll find out tomorrow(!).
Joseph Heller on time:
Dunbar loved shooting skeet because he hated every minute of it and the time passed so slowly. He had figured out that a single hour on the skeet-shooting range with people like Havermeyer and Appleby could be worth as much as eleven-times-seventeen years.
"I think you're crazy," was the way Clevinger had responded to Dunbar's discovery.
"Who wants to know?" Dunbar answered.
"I mean it," Clevinger insisted.
"Who cares?" Dunbar answered.
"I really do. I'll even go so far as to concede that life seems longer i-"
"-is longer i-"
"-is longer--Is longer? All right, is longer if it's filled with periods of boredom and discomfort, b-"
"Guess how fast?" Dunbar said suddenly.
"They go," Dunbar explained.
"Years," said Dunbar. "Year, years, years."
"Clevinger, why don't you let Dunbar alone?" Yossarian broke in. "Don't you realize the toll this is taking?"
"It's all right," said Dunbar mangnanimously. "I have some decades to spare. Do you know how long a year takes when it's going away?"
"Do you know how long a year takes when it's going away?" Dunbar repeated to Clevinger. "This long." He snapped his fingers. "A second ago you were stepping into college with your lungs full of fresh air. Today you're an old man."
"Old?" asked Clevinger with surprise. "What are you talking about?"
"I'm not old."
"You're inches away from death every time you go on a mission. How much older can you be at your age? A half minute before that you were stepping into high school, and an unhooked brassiere was as close as you ever hoped to get to Paradise. Only a fifth of a second before that you were a small kid with a ten-week summer vacation that lasted a hundred thousand years and still ended too soon. Zip! They go rocketing by so fast. How the hell else are you ever going to slow time down?" Dunabar was almost angry when he finished.
"Well, maybe it is true," Clevinger conceded unwillingly in a subdued tone. "Maybe a long life does have to be filled with many unpleasant conditions if it's to seem long. But in that event, who wants one?"
"I do," Dunbar told him.
"Why?" Clevinger asked.
"What else is there?"
It's 1:46. 1:45 was two hours ago. Dunbar should have been a college football fan.
The NIU coverage map can be found here.
Mark Hasty checks in with Pickin' On The Big Ten. Michigan-NIU prediction:
NOT QUITE THE SUBURBS OF CHICAGO 13
NOT QUITE NATIONAL CONTENDERS 34
Barry Alvarez chose... wisely. Future Wisconsin head coach Brett Bielema may be the most brilliant defensive mind in the country, if you look at the raw numbers as TAMABINPO did for the recent Roundtable, one question of which was basically "who are the best offensive and defensive minds in the country?" Kyle took a look at the top 20 scoring and yardage defenses over the past five years looking for consistency of effort and came up with Auburn, Georgia, USC, Miami, etc... but then he datamined himself a stark contrast in the directions of two defenses linked by one coach:
04TD 04SD 03TD 03SD 02TD 02SD 01TD 01SD 00TD 00SC
KState 43 84 6 8 2 1 3 7 4 17
Wisc 9 6 43 50 63 38 58 81 79 34
Bielema left Kansas State for Wisconsin after the '03 season.
Not Brett Bielema. Hopefully Charlie Weis.
I love that graph. It immediately changed my mind about a lot of things. I may have underrated Wisconsin this year. If you're interested in the future of the Big Ten, keep an eye on the Badger defense this year. They're young and have been pillaged by graduation; if Bielema does anything approaching his 2000-2004 performances, you can probably pencil Wisconsin into the top half of the Big Ten for the next 10, 20, 30 years. Bielema's only in his mid-thirties. He's got a lot of time ahead of him before he goes JoePa.
(Excellent work by TAMABINPO, as per usual. One of the best CFB blogs around.)
Drew Stanton really doesn't like Michigan.
Brief hockey note: Gajic and Werner have both signed AHL contracts. I could actually see Werner make the show someday in a limited, protected sixth-D and PP specialist role a la Marc-Andre Bergeron in Edmonton. We shall see.