‘Give ’em the works, Cubby! We ain’t got a minute to lose! This ain’t a newspaper story — it’s a career! Why, they’ll be naming streets after you!’
(Previously on The Michael Schofield Trilogy - http://mgoblog.com/content/picture-pages-denard-tacopants-int, http://mgoblog.com/mgoboard/moving-picture-pages-denard-tacopants-int)
Here's Part II of the trilogy. This time Schofield sees the blitzer and saves the day, which I wasn't expecting to see until the third movie. The second movie is where it looks like the bad guy is going to win, isn't it?
Setup: Michigan has the ball fourth-and-one at their own 42 shortly after stopping Northwestern on their own fourth-and-one attempt. Michigan lines up in the shotgun with a slot and WR left and two TEs right. Smith is the RB. Northwestern plays 4-3 even with a linebacker (loosely) over the slot receiver, the CB on the line against the two TEs, and one safety rolled into the box.
Wha'hoppon: Schofield pulls on the QB Power to the right. The two TEs double the playside DE, and the RT and RG double the playside DT. The SLB comes hard for the gap between them, but this time Schofield sees him and stands him up so he can't blow up the play. Smith kicks out the CB, and the safety can't come up in time as Denard easily converts the fourth down. Michigan would go on to score a TD on this drive.
Original Picture Pages at http://mgoblog.com/content/picture-pages-fourth-and-fun
Full YouTube link at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BXgNZxFOpbc
Last Saturday, when NW took a halftime lead of 24-14, many doubters contacted THE KNOWLEDGE and laughed THE KNOWLEDGE's pointers to the game. These were the same people that unsuccessfully tried to make fun of THE KNOWLEDGE during the 3rd quarter of the ND game (when M was down 24-7), but less in quantity
these people once again are eating dust that THE KNOWLEDGE left behind while soaring again
after yet another accurate revelation
some may still quibble about a minor point wherein THE KNOWLEDGE had indicated Michigan will win by more than 20 points
but these people do not understand reality and how changing time can affect the perceptions
at the end of the half, the referee incorrectly added two seconds to allow NW to attempt the field goal; this was incorrect. the correct score actually is 42-21; thus THE KNOWLEDGE's pointer is, once again, correct
the only thing that can change THE KNOWLEDGE's information about the future is if time itself is altered like the ref did. however, the referee is not powerful enough to change the overall results revealed by THE KNOWLEDGE; only a minor and inconsequential anomaly
In light of the above, the POTW is awarded to those that predicted EITHER 42-21 or 42-24
however, to make matters easier for the less discerning readers, THE KNOWLEDGE shall henceforth award the POTW to only those that predict the time-altered version of the results (although that kind of aberration only happens 3 times a decade)
due to spatio-temporal constrains, THE KNOWLEDGE will congratulate the winners of THE CHALLENGE (POTW) from the last 3 weeks during the bye week coming up. you know who you are; so congratulate yourself until then
THE CHALLENGE for the week features the M-msu game of course, which many people are eagerly awaiting
Predict the score correctly to be the POTW
pointers to the game:
- MSU is the best defense that Michigan will face all year during the regular season
- MSU specifically game plans for M, and usually plays their best game of the year due to the deranged mentality of their coach
- Denard has not yet overcome his tendency to throw bad interceptions
- THE KNOWLEDGE did not show Michigan going undefeated this season
- But, is this the game that Michigan loses?
Previously: Introducing: Laquon Treadwell
As has been widely reported, Crete-Monee (IL) wide receiver Laquon Treadwell received his Michigan offer yesterday, the first for the class of 2013 prospect. Treadwell, who is teammates and good friends with 2012 commit Anthony Standifer, has caught a lot of attention—including from the Michigan coaches—after a very strong start to his junior season, and you can see his newly-released highlights from the first half of 2011 above.
Treadwell stands at 6'3", 190 pounds, and displays good hands and a great ability to run after the catch despite having solid, but not elite, speed. As you can see from the highlights (and in the stats he gave me below), he's used that elusiveness in the open field to post some big numbers this season. I caught up with Laquon this afternoon before his practice to discuss the Michigan offer and where he stands with his recruitment:
ACE: First of all, congrats on the offer. How did you find out about the offer, and what was your reaction to it?
LAQUON: I found out about it when I came home from practice. The Michigan coach called my mom, he told my mom, and my mom told me to call Coach Montgomery. So I called him, and then he told me about Michigan and told me I got the offer.
ACE: I know it's still early and it's your first offer, but would you say this makes Michigan a favorite in your recruitment?
LAQUON: Yeah. I think it makes them a favorite, because they're my only offer, and they were the first, and my teammate [2012 commit Anthony Standifer] is going there.
ACE: Speaking of your teammate, have you been able to talk to Anthony since you got the offer? Has he given you any advice about how to go about the rest of your recruitment?
LAQUON: Yeah, when I found out I got the offer, I was actually hanging out with Anthony. Then we talked about it, and he was like, just take my time, make sure I pick the right school.
ACE: How does this affect the timeline of your recruitment? Do you still plan on taking visits, and are you considering making a commitment in the near future?
LAQUON: I still plan on taking visits. My mom wants to go on visits to a couple different schools, she hasn't [taken] any yet. She told me just to take my time and make sure I pick the right school, and let her have a part in my recruitment.
ACE: Do you have any plans to visit Michigan again this season?
LAQUON: Yeah, I plan on going to the homecoming game versus Purdue.
ACE: I didn't get a chance to talk to you after the Notre Dame game, but how did that visit go for you, and what kind of impression did you get from Michigan after being at that game?
LAQUON: That visit was great, because I got to see Michigan in adversity and come back and win. The coaches just keep coaching the whole way through the whole game, and that's what the journey is about. The fans were just hype and excited, and it made me actually get excited, it made me like a fan, like a big fan.
ACE: Your team is now standing at 7-0. How are you feeling about your team right now?
LAQUON: Well my team is playing well. We had to battle adversity the last two games, because we hadn't really had a test. I think those were the two hardest games we've played all year, and I think that helps us going into the playoffs.
ACE: And how have you been doing personally?
LAQUON: I think I've been doing well overall. I've got [around] 700 yards on 35 catches, four sacks, 12 touchdowns, and like 25 tackles.
Many thanks to Laquon for taking the time before practice to talk to me. This is definitely a recruitment to keep an eye on, though don't expect a commitment until his mom has a chance to come up for a visit. If that happens for the Purdue game, things could move quickly, as it's easy to tell Treadwell really likes Michigan and the opportunity to play with his teammate.
The CIL is on this web page:
You may need to scoll down to see the CIL, it's under the map of Australia.
The team successfully completed scrutineering, which is essentially an inspection process. All systems on the car are inspected to ensure they comply with regulations. This includes checking the size of the array, weight of the battery, electrical isolation switches, and other safety items. Overall, the process was very smooth. We are very satisfied to have reached this point, as qualifying is the only remaining milestone until the race!
As an update, the team passed scrutineering very quickly yesterday. A media crew (2 Michigan engineers) arrived in Darwin just a few hours ago. Maggie Hayes (Ed: former team manger, I think) will be driving the support vehicle that they are in.
The Team, The Team, The team
Okay, last installment. For the previous installments, see: http://mgoblog.com/diaries/three-and-out-100-pagesfor the first 100 pages, and http://mgoblog.com/diaries/three-and-out-pages-100-250 for pp. 100-250. Also, you might want to check out the comments to those entries for more exposition and clarification.
It’s clear that this whole book, and this subject, reopen a lot of old wounds and dig up a lot of old debates. I’ve actually thought a little bit over the past two days about what a couple commenters said, which was that they don’t think they’ll read the book because of a handful of reasons, notably because, well, it’s in the past, and why dig up old bodies, beat dead horses, reopen old wounds? I am conflicted by that notion. In a way, I understand that line of thinking- reading this book isn’t a fun exercise after a certain point because it reminds the reader of the agony of those 3 seasons. It is not a happy tale, and today, we have a new regime, a 6-0 team, and things are looking up. At the same time, I think it’s hard to discuss the past regime, the differences between Hoke & Co. and the past regime, and, most importantly, the differences between the two transitions without revisiting the dark days of late 2007-January, 2011. But the more I read the book, I could come to appreciate the idea that rehashing all of the negativity may not be something that many wish to do. That being said, I think it will be hard going forward to discuss the RR era without reading this book, even if you doubt the “spin” put on the story contained within its pages.
Again: this book is written from the RR perspective. Bacon was following RR, his team, etc. So a grain of salt (which many have rightfully pointed out) is wise.
These are just my musings on what jumped out at me, things I found interesting (personally) and thought that those who haven’t gotten a chance to read this yet might also find interesting. I actually finished the book a couple of days ago, but haven’t had a chance to write this yet.
One thing that strikes me is that the team really seems to stick together throughout all of the negativity- the Free Press stuff, the losing, the rumors, etc. Over and over again, Bacon muses that he figures the team would quit on the staff, that, at times, they probably should quit on the staff, etc. He seems to look for cracks in the team’s drive/mission/togetherness, especially throughout 2009’s slide and in 2010 when the players themselves are fully aware of all the rumors. But if that was ever the case, he didn’t see it. Until, perhaps, the Mississsippi State bowl game, where the seniors, at least (but really more likely the whole team) were of the impression that RR was done, win-or-lose (more on that below).
The Les Miles stuff was purely for show and to appease the fanbase. He says, quote, that Les Miles would be Michigan’s head coach “over my dead body” when RR asked him about it when the rumors reached a fever pitch in late December 2010. The book doesn’t say why. I have a feeling that there are multiple reasons, and at the very least, some of the nastiest rumors must be either a.) true, or b.) believed by enough people in the Michigan community who actually have a say in things (LC, Brandon, among them) that Les was never a serious candidate.
Brandon also handled the transition infinitely better than Bill Martin from a “players leaving” standpoint. As soon as it was announced, he (DB) called a meeting with the players and asked them not to leave. Far cry from LC holding a meeting and saying “if you want to leave, I’ll sign.” DB told the players if there was a mass exodus, they’d be “crippling” the program.
Furthermore, after DB left the room, Molk, Van Bergen, and the other seniors-to-be stood up and said, essentially, “don’t leave. We’ve all come too far.” Seems everyone had learned from the 2007 debacle.
Also of note: Dave Brandon said that he’d talked to “lots of players” before making the decision to fire RR, and that his “door was always open” and had always been open. Apparently not to Denard Robinson. Denard requested an audience with Brandon multiple times between the U of M Bust dinner and the bowl game, both in Ann Arbor and after they’d all gotten to Jacksonville. Brandon never met with him during that time.
The 2010 Bust, Josh Groban, December 2010, and Senior Exit Interviews
To Bacon, this is where RR’s tenure ended. He seems to think that after the Groban debacle, RR was toast. Many people were exchanging uneasy glances as he started doing it (asking for the song to be played) saying (by their looks) please don’t do this. When the lights went up, Bacon says that even RR supporters whom he knew were, essentially, like “yeah…that was bad, and he’s done.” Also, apparently, there were rumors that Fox Sports and others were offering $50-100k for the tape. Dave Brandon told the film crew who were present that if the tape of the incident were released, they’d never have access to Michigan again.
Seniors conducted exit interviews with the A.D. (associate AD Greg Harden) in the weeks following the bust (but before the bowl game) and the conclusions the players reached was that Rich Rod was gone. The student managers told Bacon that, point blank, the seniors all “knew” RR was getting fired and, thus, “no one wanted to be here.” I’m talking about the student managers talking about what the players told them. And that trickled down from the seniors to the rest of the team. “They realized winning would bring not freedom from their burdens—as it would have earlier in the season—but an extension of them. The way things were set up, they had more incentive to lose than to win.” (P. 419). That quote is clearly Bacon’s opinion.
During this time, the coaches themselves were concerned. Rich Rod, of course, had a contract. His assistants did not. The assistants “knew that other schools might be interested in them—particularly Maryland—if Rodriguez would just entertain the offers, but he steadfastly refused.” (P. 418). Apparently, his assistants refused overtures (if there were any) as well, as Rodriguez said that none of them had approached him in the time between the tOSU game and the bowl game saying that they’d either a.) reached out to other schools, or b.) were considering offers from other schools.
On Hoke, from Dan Dufek: “He’ll be successful because we’re not going to do to him what some of those guys did to Rich,” talking about the former players, etc. (P. 428).
The school orders rings for every bowl game. They are allowed to do so and give them to all members of the coaching staff and football staff who were on the staff at the time of the bowl game. Michigan ordered Gator Bowl rings, but didn’t give them to RR and his assistants and any that RR had hired. They did give one to Scott Draper. When RR came to UM in 2008, even WVU sent him one from their Orange Bowl trip. Petty, not that important, but still…ugh.
When RR was fired, Brandon told the players that the new staff would pick its assistants and its strength staff, but that Barwis was still employed by the University. Sometime in either January or February of 2011, Florida State offered Barwis a package that would make him the highest paid strength coach in the country, a multi-year deal, and would employ all of his staff. He turned them down, as he was still coaching at Michigan and, assumedly, thought Hoke might keep him and his staff. In March, Hoke went a different direction, so Barwis opened BarwisMethods in Michigan.
Rodriguez isn’t the one who alerted the Big Ten to the punch by one of Purdue’s players (in a game not against Michigan) that got the player suspended. It was actually someone in Purdue’s own athletic department. However, after the Michigan-Purdue game in 2009, Hope pulled the stunt where he grabbed RR’s hand and brought the player (Zach Reckman)over and said “I want to introduce you to the man who got you suspended.” After that stunt, RR had a quote that I found humorous, which he blurted out after he told Rita what happened: “Bullshit! I gotta get my ass beat by a junior high school, no-class asshole?” I think JHSNCAH should be Hope’s acronym from here on out.
Justin Turner and Wingless Wolverines
So, summertime workouts are voluntary. Showing up to the first day of fall practice, however, is not. In the summer of 2010, Tate, Gallon, Austin White, and Justin Turner showed up to fall camp out of shape, after having loafed throughout the summer. Turner famously said of the S&C staff (when one of his teammates warned him): “they can’t break me.”
The team had a conditioning run, and the three who didn’t make in the time for their position group were White, Gallon and Turner. Tate made it, barely, by diving across the line. However, his landlord then called RR and told him Tate hadn’t been paying his rent. So these four gentlemen got two pieces of special punishment: no wings on their helmets until they earned them back, and a “Breakfast Club” conditioning workout.
Amazingly, RR himself did the drills with them, at least for the first part of the Breakfast Club drills. They involved a stairmaster, then lots of situps. It lasted only 45 minutes, but clearly had an impact on Turner. The workout ended at 7 am. He asked for a transfer by 2 pm.
This is mentioned on page 342. “…the contracts Michigan offered at the time did not permit (RR) to hire his first choice for many coaching positions, including defensive coordinator. In hindsight, he would probably agree that insisting on guaranteed contracts for his coordinators and cutting $100,000 out of the new weight room budget to secure Casteel- plus a multiyear contract- would have been wise, as would making recruiting an acclaimed kicker a high priority.”
RR and the NCAA
He paid most of his life savings (cash savings) on his own attorneys in the NCAA investigation (over $300k). This was to ensure that the charge that he, RR, failed to promote an environment of compliance was vigorously fought, as it wasn’t (in his mind) the University’s top priority. (I actually agree with him here: in any case where the individual employee and the company’s interests are both at stake in any lawsuit, which an NCAA investigation is, sort of, I strongly advise all of you to have your own counsel, not just the one hired by your company. Just my $.02).
Michigan ranks 5th or 6th in the Big Ten in spending on football (or at least that’s what RR thought, which surprised him). P. 397.
Barwis had a tear come to his eye after we beat Illinois last year in triple overtime. I didn’t even know that was possible.
When we weren't getting bubble-screened by Northwestern, we were defending the option with mixed success. I was curious about what was happening and I decided to picture-page some plays to satisfy my curiosity. I'll be interested to see how Brian treats it in his UFR. At any rate, here is a play from Northwestern's first drive (click on images to embiggen):
Colter has just gone in for Persa. NW is going to run a veer (I think) option, as follows:
As the interview with Mattison suggests, the ends have the quarterback, Kovacs has the pitch man. But the linebackers need to flow to the ball, and all too often -- to anticipate my conclusion a bit -- both of the linebackers would jump the first option, allowing the QB to keep and get to the outside. Here are the next couple of shots:
You can see that both Hawthorne and Demens have been sucked inside, and Roh too has lost contain on Persa. I've never played organized football, but I think that Demens needs to respect the quarterback keep here. At this point, Roh, Demens and Kovacs have all realized that the QB still has the ball and are flying to Kolter.
The image above is the moment of the pitch. The Michigan defenders have made up ground, but they are going to give up five yards on this play.
The second play is on NW's first scoring drive (second drive overall). It is second down and 6 on the 15 yard line, Colter is again in for Persa. [UPDATE: this has also now been picture paged by Burgeoning Wolverine Star].
NW will basically run the same play:
The right side of the NW line lets Will Campbell and Jake Ryan through and blocks/seals Demens and Hawthorne. Here we are at the mesh point:
Will Campbell and Jake Ryan are through, and have a free shot. You can see that both linebackers (Demens and Hawthorne) have taken a step or two forward and towards the hashmarks. Hawthorne is about to get sealed by #70.
The problem: four Michigan defenders tackle (or head towards) the first option, the dive:
This is NOT good. Hawthorne and Demens are engaged and can't get out to the edge. Kovacs is streaming to the QB now, but a split second later, you see the result:
Kovacs is in a real bind: one defender on the QB in space with a pitch man. But Kovacs misses the tackle anyway:
The result: TOUCHDOWN.
My diagnosis is that the defenders were too eager to get to the first option, and forced Colter to keep. This was bad insofar as the DEs didn't keep contain. On the second play, Ryan has to let Will Campbell take the first option and hit the quarterback, forcing a pitch. But Ryan and BWC tackle the same guy, giving Colter a free release.
Next, Hawthorne and Demens can't (I think) both step towards the center. This gets Hawthorne (the playside LB) sealed, leaving Kovacs one-on-two. I noticed another big option play where Hawthorne got sucked in, and I wonder if this is why he was pulled for Morgan (until the 3rd quarter, when Hawthorne went back in).
We must have corrected this in the second half--but that's the topic of another diary (or more probably, Brian's defensive UFR).
Again, let me plead ignorance; if the more football-savvy among you can tell me if I'm wrong (or right), and why, I'd appreciate it.