PRE-GAMING WITH... DESMOND?
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Not much to say about ol' drunk Desmond there. Just want to thank Pat Stansik for his involvement and blessing, and encourage everyone to visit his YouTube and Facebook accounts. Keep up the good work, and thanks again for the Most Epic Song EVER.
OnThursday Tom runs into the typical Notre Dame fan.
THE BLOCKHAMS™ runs (typically) every Tuesday here at MGoBlog,
and at least every Thursday on its official home page. Also, don't forget to
check out Friday Roughs, a spontaneous low-end comic based on trending
Michigan events, available on Twitter and Facebook every Friday.
Ok, so I will hopefully be putting 2-3 different wallpapers up. A lot of this will depend on how fast I can get my new TV mounted (also my computer monitor). This first one is very simple, but I still like the look of it. I will be working on another one tonight that will be a little more complicated. In the meantime, enjoy the first one of the week! Hope you like it. Go Blue, beat the Irish!
Wallpaper 1 - "Touchdown Jesus"
After watching the UMass game I went through a series of strange feelings:
- Relief. Game never in question, easy opponent dispatched, spread covered.
- Anxiety. The D-Line didn't look that good. Come to think of it, neither did the run-blocking.
- Relief. 2013 isn't far away, and we'll be transitioning from Borges-Denard Fusion to Manball.
- Anxiety. 2013 isn't far away, and we'll be transitioning from Borges-Denard Fusion to Manball.
Yes, the last two are the same. No, it's not a mistake. Here's what happened in my brain:
- I sure will miss Denard next year, but we'll be back to Michigan Manball without him. And our offensive line will be much better at run-blocking.
- Wait, why will it be better at run-blocking? Who will even be playing O-Line for us next year?
- SHUT-UP! SHUT-UP! SHUT-UP! Enjoy the win. Just pretend that Hoke will sprinkle magical Manball dust (wait, that doesn't sound right) and everything will turn out fine.
- No, you shut-up. I have to research this so I can sleep. Or so I can't sleep. AAARRRGGGGH!
Suddenly, I'm lying awake in bed, and going through the depth chart in my head. The one guy that seems to be playing good football on the O-Line is Taylor Lewan, and it's no secret that he's projected to get a 1st round NFL draft grade. We have to assume he's gone. Also gone from the line is...EVERYONE. Except Schofield. He'll stick around for his fifth year. Right? RIGHT?!!! And it's good that he stays...right? RIGHT?!!!
Let's just assume the whole line, except Schofield, is gone. Our new O-Line looks like this:
LT Erik Magnuson; LG Chris Bryant; C Jack Miller; RG Kyle Kalis; RT Michael Schofield
Maybe Joey Burzynski sneaks in there, but we're likely going with four (FOUR!) players with
little or no playing experience. And Schofield.
And I think, if we're geing honest with ourselves, that line doesn't look much better than this year's version. Sure, Bryant and Kalis should be better people-movers than Barnum and Omameh, but they'll be learning the position as they go. And a redshirt freshman left tackle? Ummmm...
Oh, and did I mention that Jack Miller is currently 6-4 and 288 lbs? Not exactly the size we're looking for at center.
My point is that our O-Line will be far from "Manball-Ready" and that we have much to fear about their abilities. Maybe we'll get some better natural push, but we're trading that for what will likely be a drop-off in pass-blocking. Erik Gunderson is currently listed ahead of Ben Braden, so I'm not holding my breath there. Blake Bars isn't currently listed on the depth chart.
On the other side of the ball, things don't look much better. BWC and Roh are gone. Pipkins should be seasoned, and hopefully in shape. Brink, Washington, Black, and Ash are all back, but like, seriously.
Our hopes will be tied to Pee Wee (NT) and Frank Clark (WDE), with Heitzman/Brink/Wormley/Strobel at SDE and Black/Washington/Ash/Brink at DT needing to just not screw it up.
The only logical conclusion is that next year will require the same patience with our lines as this year. This issue will be exacerbated by the lack of Denard...whether it's Bellomy or Gardner running the offense, it will be an offense that is trying to be pro style, and won't have a premier QB to run it. Gardner's growth will be stunted by his time at WR, and Bellomy looks like a solid-but-not-spectacular player. Navarre Light, if you will, with more mobility and a not-as-good arm.
I guess what I'm saying is that we'll really have to wait until 2014 before we have our Manball lines in place, and maybe then we can go back to complaining about the secondary.
After a 63-13 baby seal clubbing, this seems like as good a time as any to explain my lifelong obsession with Michigan football boxscores. When I was a child, my dad had a “connection” within the University of Michigan football program. This connection - for the purposes of this diary we’ll call him “Keith” – would send my dad what I believed to be insider information every year. It started with the pre-season media guide coming sometime in August, and continued with expanded boxscores very similar to what MGoBlue.com now posts. Anyway, back in the 70’s and 80’s the average fan was stuck with the two inches of boxscore info that the newspapers would publish. They consisted of the main stats – first downs, passing yards, rushing yards, and scores, and that was about it. What a boon it was to my 12 year old self to see who the leading tacklers were, who our all-purpose yardage leaders were, and on and on. Of course, I usually had to wait until Wednesday or Thursday to get these, but thanks to modern technology, all these stats are now at our fingertips with a few simple key strokes. Keith would also send us the cumulative game stats and many other interesting items.
The best thing about Keith was that he knew where the entrances were to the locker rooms at all the big 10 stadiums. Every now and then, we would meet up with him after a road game and wander over to the locker room. We’d wait a short while, and then the players would start exiting the locker room, one-by-one. A couple things stand out in my memory. One, those players always wore their navy blue sport coats with ties, and two, they would sign autographs. Of course, it was always easier to get an autograph after a win. One time, we lost to Purdue and the players just looked so down. That image to me captures ABC Sports “agony of defeat” much better than the skier wiping out does. At Minnesota, I got Anthony Carter’s autograph. ANTHONY CARTER!!! And finally, after one Wisconsin game I got Bo Schembechler’s autograph. I could’ve died and gone to heaven, man. What a thrill. So after I get Bo’s autograph, Keith says to me, “Steve, you’ve got to get this guy’s autograph.” Well, he looks like an older guy, possibly a coach, so I follow Keith’s advice and ask for his autograph. It’s Ron Kramer. At the time, I was like, “who’s Ron Kramer?” Yeah, youth is wasted on the young. Thanks, Ron, and thanks Keith. On to the link.
Burst of Impetus
- Seriously? You expected something here?
- For the gamblers, there was one huge play. I can’t overstate this enough. Late in the game, Michigan punted to UMass. UMass fumbled and M recovered, giving us a short field. M punched it in and we covered the spread.
Announcers’ Derpity Derp
- I’m moving this up this week only as a way to introduce the next section’s title. During one random play in the game, two M defenders ended up hitting the UMass ballcarrier at the same time, from opposite sides. The B1G Network announcer called this a “Malachi Crunch.” There’s nothing like B1G announcers breaking out a 36 year old reference to describe a play. For those still in college reading this diary, the “Malachi Crunch” refers to a demolition derby move employed by the Malachi brothers against Pinky Tuscadero, as shown in a three-part 1976 episode of Happy Days. Fonzi risked his life to rescue Pinky. Then, he baited the Malachi Brothers into trying the move on him. He moved his car at the last moment, causing the Brothers to Crunch themselves. I think providing you with this bit of worthless trivia is entirely consistent with my avatar.
- Did you know that Mike Cox went to Michigan? I hope no one was playing a drinking game based on that.
- Our defense has found an identity. They are a bunch of crazed Malachi brothers gang-tackling anything that moves. At least I hope so.
- We held UMass to 3.1 ypc. Some would probably hope for less, but I’ll take it.
- 23 players showed up in the defensive stats, including Paul Gyarmati who got a fumble recovery.
- Hawthorne was our leading tackler with 7. He was all over the field on special teams and late in the game. I don’t think he likes getting pushed to the third team.
- Unfortunately, the next three leading tacklers were all DBs.
- Frank Clark had two pass breakups. It seems like we always play teams that have athletic DE that jump up and break up passes. We finally have one of those guys.
- Joe Bolden got a sack for -24 yards, somewhat reminiscent of the Sugar Bowl. You want to keep going backward? OK, just let me know when you want to get sacked.
- 10 carries for 106 yards and 1 – “you’ve got to be kidding me” – type TD run.
- He was 16 for 24 passing for 291 yards and 3 TDs. Those 16 completions went to 9 different receivers.
- Denard had one poor pass/decision, throwing a pick-six, but better he do that against UMass than ND, ‘cause he rarely does that kind of thing, right?
- I have to give credit to the ref who called UMass for back-to-back chop blocks. First, for calling it twice in a row, and second, because the UMass blocker basically whiffed on the blocks. You know you are bad when you can’t even execute a proper chop block.
- UMass committed 10 penalties for 69 yards. I’m not sure if that includes the 24 yard penalty they got for intentional grounding, because the play-by-play link shows a 24 yard sack for Bolden AND the 24 yard penalty. I suppose I could figure this out, but we won the game by 50 points, know what I mean?
Bunches of Funchess
- After two weeks, I’m convinced. Funchess is the real deal. He was the first of eight Michigan players to score a touchdown.
- Gardner and Roundtree also caught TD passes. Roundtree’s was a bullet from Denard.
- Dileo broke a tackle allowing him to scamper for 66 yards on M’s longest passing play.
- In the first, and hopefully last, ever Magnus Bowl, Toussaint outrushed Mike Cox 85 to 76, closer than most people expected.
- Eight M players appear in the rushing stats, including Norfleet’s first carry and a TD for Taylor Lewan.
- Vincent Smith scored two TDs on his three carries.
- Ron Kramer’s #87 got the Legends Patch treatment. I kept trying to find #87 on the field. I finally gave up at halftime and clicked on MGoBlue.com. Congrats to Brandon Moore for receiving the honor.
- It’s a sad day for hexadecimalists everywhere as no one registered in the boxscore. I thought there would be plenty given how many players got in the game. I find it interesting that they show the defensive players numbers, but not the offensive players. Why is that?
Special Teams Stuff
- M’s average punt was 41.3 yards, but the average net yards per punt was 46 yards. That’s what happens when a couple punts doink off the returner’s helmet and go backwards.
- We kicked off 10 times. That’s always good.
I’ll Take Bullets for a Thousand, Alex
- The attendance was 110,708. Never let it be said that M fans don’t appreciate a good baby seal clubbing.
- First downs – M: 27, UMass: 15.
- Time of possession – M 30:57, UMass 29:03. Whew, that was close.
Outside the Boxscore
- I decided to drop the song of the game bit; however, if I had continued it, it would have been "Dream On," by Aerosmith since they are from Massachusetts and anybody thinking UMass had a chance, well, dream on. I have added this section to address TrippWelborneIdentity’s repeated critique. I’ll reserve this section for cigar smoking dudes, my brother, and whatever else happens to cross my mind, like my damn pipes leaking for the third time in 11 yards. Copper ain’t all it’s cracked up to be, folks.
- Denard will throw the "d'oh!" pick. It is frustrating to see it, but this isn't going away. It is great consolation to see 67% completions with 12.1 YPA, but "UMass" and all that. Michigan really needs next Saturday to be an outlier here.
- The Devins create a bit of a problem for the opposing defense. Maybe this isn't really a trend yet, but both Devins looked great on their respective TD catches, with Gardner's displaying the athleticism we have heard so much about.
- Toussaint is shifty and will burn you in space. After a slow start to the game, 2011 Fitz showed up and made several defenders look silly. Again, "UMass" and all that, but Michigan will need Toussaint to build on this performance.
- Michigan's Defense is "Bend But Don't Break". UMass couldn't bend it much, but they did have two 60ish yard drives in the first half and another that went for 11 plays in the third quarter. The middle looked soft again, allowing Cox to make some strong runs.
- The Devins - These two have completely changed the outlook for the Michigan passing attack. Now up to 5 combined TDs, I'd put the over/under for these two at 20.
- Roy Roundtree - Breaks through finally with his first TD of 2012. Kudos also to Fitz Toussaint for his first of the year and to Vincent Smith for punching two in from inside the 10.
- Taylor Lewan - Swam 5 yards through bodies to recover a fumble on the goal line for his first career TD. I can't imagine how that play must have looked from his point of view. Congrats also to Justice Hayes for his first career TD.
- Denard - 3 TDs through the air and one long one with his feet. 106 yards rushing keeps him on pace to top Pat White. I love that he doesn't tie his shoes but cringe every time an announcer has to point out how well he cuts in his socks. "D'oh" picks will continue, and must be accepted by fans, but hopefully a lesson was learned about when to reach out at the goal line.
- Will Hagerup - This guy is back and better than ever. I must have re-watched the 70-yard-in-the-air blast off the facemask of befuddled UMass return man 7 times minimum. Punts like that could be game-changers going forward.
Expect a beautiful September Saturday as high pressure moves through the Ohio Valley/Southern Michigan throughout the day. Clear skies overnight lead to a lot of warm sunshine for the start of the weekend, and we'll keep a light northerly breeze.
If you're up-an-at-em early you'll need some long-sleeves... 48 degrees for 8am, with mostly clear skies and a light north wind. We'll hit the 50s quickly after that, hitting 60 degrees for 10am. By the time you're putting the hot dogs on the grill for lunch, we're up near 70, seeing lots of sun, and feeling a wind out of the north at 5-7mph (you'll feel the wind on your skin, might have a few leaves rustle).
73 degrees for our kickoff with just a few clouds in the sky. Winds are out of the NNW at 5mph.
We'll keep a few fair weather clouds that have built in throughout the afternoon hours-but still keeping a lot of that sun! We'll hit our high for the day here at 75 degrees, winds out of the NNW at 5-9mph (may see a few twigs blow around with those leaves).
Mostly sunny, a light northerly wind, and temperatures lingering around 70 as you head out of the Big House. We'll see the sun turn to stars in keeping clear skies all evening, and the winds will gradually shift to be coming out of the east (still light) by closing time. Still in the mid 50s by 11pm, but dropping into the upper 40s if you're walking home late after celebrating the win! Go Blue!