I'VE HAD JUST ABOUT ENOUGH OF YOU SONNY
This is my first time to do the diary thing because I figure I never have enough content that anyone would want or that deserved it's own space. Not gonna lie - little nervous. If this does not really fit into the diary parameters then I would not be offended by it's deletion. I'm also grown up enough to take the criticism often found on the MGoBoard.
Now to the point. Many of you are familiar with monuMental and his amazing artwork that can be found over at theartthearttheartdotcom. Most of you also know he will not be able to provide wallpaper this season because he has too much on his plate.
I'd like to say that I am by no means as creative as many others on this board and not anywhere near worthy enough to even touch monuMental's magnetic lasso tool. However, I was asked by a couple friends if I had any UofM wallpaper so I decided to give it an amateurish try.
This is what I came up with for the Under The Lights game. I wanted to keep it slick and simple so I imediately considered stadium lights. I recall the day Addidas previewed the throwback uniforms and went searching for those. Once I found them I thought of combining them and the lights idea. After many different attempts and changes I simply came back to the clean look I landed on and added the UTL official logo. Thoughts?
The latest week in recruiting sees Notre Dame pick up their highest-ranked recruit in DT Jarron Jones while Purdue and Northwestern each add some lower-ranked players to their classes. Other than that, nothing really happened. Action since last rankings:
8-28-11 Northwestern gains commitment from Jaylen Prater.
8-29-11 Notre Dame gains commitment from Jarron Jones. Purdue gains commitment from Carlos Carvajal.
8-30-11 Northwestern gains commitment from Terrance Brown.
9-3-11 Purdue gains commitment from Aloyis Gray.
9-4-11 Purdue gains commitment from Devin Smith.
|Big Ten+ Recruiting Class Rankings|
|Rank||School||# Commits||Rivals Avg||Scout Avg||ESPN Avg||24/7 Avg|
*ESPN doesn't rate JUCOs, so Isaac Fruechte (Minnesota), Darius Stroud (Indiana), Steffon Martin and Devin Smith (Purdue) are exluded from their respective team averages.
On to the full data, after the jump.
|#1 Michigan - 22 Commits|
Michigan maintains their stranglehold at the top of the rankings. Sione Houma moves from two to three stars on Rivals, and he's now ranked as their #5 fullback in the country.
|#2 Notre Dame - 14 Commits|
The Irish land Jarron Jones, their highest-rated recruit across the board to date. They still have some ground to cover to catch Michigan, going by pure numbers, but in terms of quality of commits this class is right up there.
|#3 Penn State - 17 Commits|
J.P. Holtz earns a three-star ranking from Rivals.
|#4 Ohio State - 12 Commits|
No change for the Buckeyes.
|#5 Michigan State - 14 Commits|
Kodi Keiler is upgraded from unranked to three stars on Rivals. Interesting, but completely irrelevant, sidenote: Rivals and Scout are in complete lockstep when it comes to ranking the Spartan commits (requisite dig: because they're almost all three-stars—but, you know, national three-stars).
|#6 Wisconsin - 10 Commits|
No change for the Badgers.
|#7 Indiana - 17 Commits|
Shawn Heffern gets a three-star ranking from Rivals, while Alex Todd picks up three stars from 24/7. I'm still keeping them just a hair below Wisconsin, but if the average rankings get any closer or the Hoosiers pick up another commit that'll probably change.
|#8 Northwestern - 16 Commits|
The Wildcats pick up a pair of unheralded recruits in LB Jaylen Prater and S Terrance Brown. This drags down their averages considerably, but I won't punish a team for picking up commits. Iowa is hot on their heels, though.
|#9 Iowa - 10 Commits|
No change for the Hawkeyes.
|#10 Minnesota - 18 Commits|
Nick Rallis, Maxx Williams, and Rodrick Williams each pick up three stars from Rivals after being unrated. 24/7 does the same for Scott Ekpe and R. Williams.
|#11 Purdue - 15 Commits|
The Boilermakers land ATH Aloyis Gray, OL Devin Smith, and TE Carlos Carvajal. Jimmy Herman picks up three stars from Rivals. By the power of sheer volume, Purdue moves ahead of Nebraska. File that under: 'Things I Never Thought I'd Write About Football and/or Recruiting'.
|#12 Nebraska - 6 Commits|
No change for the Huskers. Still. Bo Pelini isn't expecting some sort of Big Ten Expansion Draft, is he?
|#13 Illinois - 8 Commits|
No new commits for the Illini. Joseph Spencer picks up three stars and Joey Warburg two from Rivals.
Dan Wetzel's background piece offers interesting perspectives on Les Miles' approach to defending Oregon's high-tempo spread offense.
While acknowledging Miles' eccentricities, including game-management, grass-eating, etc., Wetzel brings out the exhaustive detail Miles brings to daily practice and game preparation, a side of Miles not covered in much depth by most writers. Most interesting to me is LSU's prep for facing the Oregon spread. Here is an excerpt from Wetzel:
LSU began preparing its defense to handle Oregon’s fast-break offensive timing just days after last year’s victory in the Cotton Bowl. Throughout spring practice, and then into fall camp, Miles and his staff dreamed up a drill called “tempo” that would condition the Tigers for the challenge.
It featured one defense facing two offenses. One offensive unit would line up and run a play while the other huddled. When the play ended, the second offense would sprint into formation and snap the ball as fast as possible and the defense would have to scramble into position. Then the first offense would huddle and repeat the cycle.
It caused defenders minds to spin and their muscles to burn. It also got them ready to stuff the Oregon offense and negate the Ducks’ usual schematic advantage.
Whatever odd impulses pulse through his brain during critical game situations, Les Miles clearly is much shrewder than appearances sometimes suggest.
“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.”
So here we are again at the beginning of a new era in Michigan Football, not nearly far enough removed from the last “beginning of a new era”, and once again I find myself seated in front of the computer trying to sort out my feelings on the matter. In truth I had planned on not doing these this year. Most of my impetus for spilling my thoughts here for the past three seasons stemmed from the completely foreign sensation a Rich Rodriguez led Michigan team left me with on fall Saturdays – an out-of-sorts feeling of not really knowing what to expect going forward. While Bo/Mo/Carr teams had a character that evolved so slowly that year-to-year change was almost undetectable, Rich Rod’s first tilt against Utah flipped my perceptions of Michigan completely and it seemed each successive game of the past three seasons distorted my outlook further. Michigan football went from being a solid thing I could count on and often take for granted, to a crapshoot of strangeness that forced me to question my unhealthy obsession with Michigan Football each and every week.
I thought Brady Hoke’s hiring would make things easy again and give me that cock-sure attitude back that said “I don’t need to worry about the details; I can just turn on the TV on Saturday and feel assured that Michigan will most probably win.” My cousin who played DE as a walk on under Hoke assured me that there was no better hire to be had, and that the past would become the future. Hell, maybe it will eventually, but for now the trials of the past few seasons compel me to question what the future has in store.
Learn from yesterday…
What did the game against Western Michigan teach us, and what is left unclear?
· Just because your name is Greg doesn’t mean you can’t coordinate a defense. Seriously, raise your hand if the thought of starting out the season against a very-good, veteran QB didn’t worry you a bit. After last year I was braced for the worst and Carder was every bit the accurate and composed passer he was advertised to be. He shredded our secondary at will until Greg Mattison made adjustments and started getting blitzers through. In truth our defense never truly broke; the longest play allowed was a 24 yard run and the longest reception only netted 20 yards for WMU. I waited all game for the play that would torch us, but the defense did a good enough job of keeping the play in front of them and got aggressive when it was well suited. The end result was something bordering on mediocrity, which felt like competency, and is a win for Mattison for sure. Two defensive touchdowns is a nice start to the season as well.
· Will the Al Borges offense work? Not enough data here really, what with Michigan’s offense having only 6 meaningful drives to look at. The data we have is surely encouraging though. Michigan’s first drive showed a degree of composure and demonstrated an ability to take control of the game tempo. The long runs seemed to be set up for success, especially coming practically back-to-back. We probably would have scored on 4 of 6 drives had the game not been halted, though the other two were 3andouts. Will it work for Denard? I am not so sure of this. The first offensive play from scrimmage looked very familiar indeed. In fact most of the first drive looked much like last year, right down to the amount of punishment Denard was being exposed to. If the defense hadn’t spotted Michigan two touchdowns, I wonder if run-hard Denard would have continued to be the go-to play if the score had remained closer. Denard’s comfort level overall was encouraging though, and he looked much better playing under center than last year.
· +3 on turnovers will make a fairly evenly matched game into a lopsided one. This is obviously true and was on full display in this game. Two of WMU’s three were of the most back-breaking variety imaginable, while the third almost assuredly took points off the board for them. Even the most conservative estimate would have a 20 point swing from turnovers alone. We should all keep in mind that this could have easily been a dogfight to the finish.
Live for Today…
Several Michigan players should bask in the glow of their accomplishments:
1. Jordan Kovacs– KOVACS!!! KOVACS SMASH!!! KOVACS, KOVACS, KOVACS!!! (I had my four year old son chanting this with me. Kovacs is now the first Michigan player he knows by name.) Seriously, it is insane that this guy came from open tryouts. He is my favorite player.
2. Brandon Herron – Talk about johnny-on-the-spot! The best part though was that neither of those were gimmee TDs. Herron showed great agility and stamina to stay in bounds and truck 94 yards in that heat and scooping up the fumble instead of falling on it was a heady play as well.
3. Fitzgerald Toussaint and Mike Shaw – Big runs by these two led to the touchdown that finally blew the game wide open. If the damned commentator had been right, and the first of the two runs had indeed been Shaw, there wouldn’t have been need of a second because Shaw == Fast. Fitz still looks somewhat slow, but manballed two TDs in from close which is admirable.
4. Kevin Koger – Koger
only had one grab but it had two receptions and one was a doozy. Stretched out and snagging the ball with his fingertips, he still managed to put a hurting on the safety that hit him with a full head of steam. Gets up like no prob, first down converted. Nails.
5. Denard Robinson – No particular statistics are amazing, but he seems to have handled the transition pretty well and had several encouraging plays. Of note: the pull-down-and-scramble move for 12 yards and a first down just prior to Michigan’s third TD. Also the long pass completed on the money (I think at least, TV commentator be damned) to Hemingway. Denard probably doesn’t need to be listed here as he is always awesome and steadfastly refuses to bask in his own glow (making him even more awesome of course).
Also of note was the play of Jeremy Gallon, Jake Ryan, Mike Martin, Courtney Avery, and Kenny Demens. Oh, and Woolfolk before his injury – here's to a speed recovery.
Hope for Tomorrow
Next week brings a matchup with a Notre Dame team that just choked on its season opener, losing to a South Florida team that it exactly doubled in total yardage in South Bend. The Irish seem to have settled back on the QB that led them to 4 straight victories to end last season, Tommy Rees. They also have Michael Floyd. After watching Carder to White shred us yesterday, it is safe to say that Rees/Floyd is going to be bad news indeed.
Then again, Rees did throw two picks, so maybe karma will continue to be on Michigan’s side and we will score multiple defensive touchdowns, and Denard will gain 500+ yards of offense again, and all will be just swell. In reality though, ND is good and will be playing with a chip on their shoulder after losing and the game is in our house and we may even be favored despite not outplaying a MAC school by all that much. Add it up and history dictates a heart-wrenching loss. I continue to be braced for the worst.
PS - I realize that the quantity and quality of the posting on MGoBlog has increased by leaps and bounds the past three years, and that my posts tend to be more emo/rah-rah than actually, you know, useful. So if the obvious consensus is that my posts are no longer a welcome addition to the blog, then by all means let me know so that I can ride off into the sunset and trouble you all no more.
This year's dose of what has become a yearly philosophical rambling
Well, my friends, it has arrived.
I look back on seasons past and think of all those mornings I woke up too early, too excited, and too impatient for the first game. So much has changed since then. I am no longer rousing myself hung over and dehydrated; I do not have heart-cringing football food laid out for the entire day; I am not making plans with friends to sit on couches from ESPN College GameDay to TBS Pac-10 late games; and I will not end the night celebrating or drowning my sorrows in a frozen stein somewhere.
Disney's Jake and the NeverLand Pirates are holding the TV hostage as I type this. I was up before 6 and took orders for cinnamon toast and Honey Nut Cheerios. The dog has been walked, toweled off, fed, and wrestled with, perhaps not necessarily in that order. I've already punished the same kid twice for something the child already knows all too better. And I have ultimately dedicated myself to being SuperDad for the entire chunk of the day just to reserve a healthy 3:30 - 7:00pm EST block all to myself.
(Don't get me wrong, the kids will be there-- they woke up saying "What time is Michigan??"-- but their attention span will be exhausted about three seconds after Denard breaks the first of his several gazelle impersonations that are sure to take place today. There's something that tells me it's not quite fair to make young children watch every play, even if it's a Mattison defense.)
But despite all these changes in my life... and even all the changes that have befallen Fort Schembechler for the past decade and beyond... nothing has changed.
This morning, I lay in my bed like a bright-eyed, ten-year old maize-and-blue-clad dreamer, full of optimism, hope and enough anticipation to power an oil refinery. I lay there in the dark beside my beautiful wife-- who either doesn't really understand how deep all of this runs in my veins, or does and yet still manages to take me seriously anyway-- with visions of broken plays turning into 65 yard scampers, competent decision-making by the secondary, and enough blitzes to make General Patton happy all dancing inside my head. As I laid there waiting for Gameday to begin, it didn't matter who I was or everything my life has become.
There's something timeless about Michigan football, and that translates to us as well. No matter where life will take us, and no matter who we ever become, there's moments like today that serve as a constant reminder of who we really are inside, and for better or worse, what's really important to us, at least in the fall. The restless impatience we are all boiling over with this morning-- well, may it never change, despite how much any or all of us do.
We will always be men of Michigan. GO BLUE, and we'll see you on the other side tonight.
|Play||Formation||Down & Distance||Field Position||Run/Pass||1st Down?|
My first M-Go Chart. So what does this crazy thing mean? The plays of an offense are numbered down the left side. The second column is full of several different personnel packages. In a real game a team wouldn't really run 12 different personnel packages in a row, this is just several examples of different ones. Some coaches use this number system to easily identify what the other team is up to. It's a really simple system where the first number represents the number of running backs, and the second number is the amount of tight ends. You assume 5 lineman and a QB, and so the final number (WR's) is implied. For instance the "21" Formation is two RB's and 1 TE which means there are 2 WR's in play.
What can you do with this new way of looking at personnel? Well, create a simple chart like the one above. You can add whatever columns you want (mine are just an example). Obviously you want to watch the game live without a chart in your lap, but the idea is to go back through the offensive plays and write down the data as it happens. (Brian already does an awesome job of this, it's just a different way to look at it...)
You can then create statistics that will tell you things like, "On first down, the opposition runs 75% of the time." Or, "This team likes to run the ball in their own territory and pass more in yours." There are endless ways of breaking down the small amount of columns I used.
Teams like to do this to gain an advantage in knowing what other teams might do next. They will look at data like this at halftime to make adjustments and look for keys in playcalling. Teams also run this type of analysis on themselves (self-scouting) to make sure they don't have any glaring tendences.
You can call them whatever you want, but this simple system allows you to focus on how these different allignments effect what the team will call in any given situation. Most teams don't run every play from every package.
I just learned about this a few months ago, and I wanted to start charting our team under the new head coach. It will be fun to see if any of you create some badass charts of your own. I mean, this is MGO, right?