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I was pretty certain Blue Indy would, once again, have his act together before me. He has his weekly wallpaper up for the Northwestern game and you can see it just a couple diaries below (or click here.) I was thinking he would do something cool with a cat-like theme and I was leaning towards a different direction so it should provide some good variety.
Northwestern is the only private institution in the B1G and well known as a top level research university. Their many areas of research include Astrophysics, Solar Energy, Nanotechnology, and they have done a lot of work with epilepsy and neuropathic pain.
What many do not know is that there is a secret laboratory on campus that is solely designed to study the element known as, Dilithium. They desire to harness this element in hopes to use it in making their football program better. The process is inspired by the poster hanging on the wall and gives them hope that this can be accomplished.
I created two different looks because I just was not sure if I wanted a darker or lighter pallete.
The darker one first:
And now the lighter version which I think I like best:
ONE MORE WEEK till monuMental shows his greatness in a rivalry wallpaper vs MSU.
Blah, blah, punching bag, blah...
I thought it was going to be easy, I didn't think it was going to be that easy. And while it might be fun for a little while, by the 2nd half it was kind of embarrassing and pointless; unless you're a second stringer. We got a glimpse of some of the younger players, so I guess that's good from a program standpoint, if not from a viewer's POV.
You had me at hello...
Ok, so maybe I hadn't ever heard of you before you got hired, Mr. Borges. But what you did on Saturday, well, I haven't smiled like that since 1947, and I wasn't even alive in 1947.
You found a way to effectively use two of our best (highest rated) players on the same play. You sowed confusion and hesitation into opposing players and DC's. You called a halfback pass that was freaking WIDE OPEN.
To be true, I was a little worried about some of the playcalling in the first halves of the previous games. But after demonstrating so much flexibility and creativity in that game, you've won me over.
My hat is off to you, sir.
It's the simple things ...
At its core, football is really just about blocking and tackling. Almost anyone can draw up a play (or copy it from someone else). But it really is about how well the players execute that makes the difference between good teams and bad teams. Of course, it is easier to execute when your guys are bigger, faster, and more talented.
Denard's first TD was a good playcall, but the blitzing OLB didn't take himself out of the play like he was supposed to.
He almost brings down Denard from behind.
But I'm really impressed with the increase in Denard's leg strength this year. He's broken through a lot more arm tackles than last season. Other than the blitzer, we've got a hat on a hat. It's up to the QB to make one man miss, and he does, because he's awesome.
And the highest praise I can give a WR is to note when they sustain blocks downfield. Here we've got three guys making me think good things about them.
This next play is a type of sprint draw to Shaw
The blocking is setup perfectly by the fake and there's a wall to the outside.
Unfortunately Shaw misreads this great crackback block by Gallon and dances too much. He loses momentum and gets tackled for a modest gain. (more on this later)
When your players are too small, or slow, or confused to execute properly, you end up looking like Gophers.
The Minny O-line has actually gotten their assignments correct and have a small crease opened up. The pulling linemen has to choose which of the run-blitzers he needs to pick up.
He chose ... poorly. And the rest of our front seven collapse the hole.
And when you've got guys like Mike Martin and Will Campbell that can just run over people, that's nice.
If you're wondering who was supposed to block BWC, it's that lump of white that RVB is trampling over while he drives his own blocker into the backfield.
That looks painful.
So underneath all the fancy chalk talk, it really helps to have guys that can win one on one battles, and go to the correct places. It's all just blocking, tackling, and misdirection.
And throwing to guys who are wide open.
And throwing to guys who are wide open.
The RB Committee.
At this point in the season, Fitz and Vince have clearly established themselves as options #1 and #2 on the depth chart. I think Fitz can be that everydown back we need, but we'll have to see how well he holds up against non-laughable bigten defenses. With his TD trifecta, Vince just proved he's not a runningback. Vincent Smith is just a football player. And a damn good one.
Shaw... step into my office son. As a senior, you should be a team leader. You have track star speed. Your ball security has dramatically improved from the RR era. And we can really tell that you run with great effort and determination. But dude, STOP DANCING. You're not a dancer.
You're wasting all that great speed because during the time that you should be accelerating, you're two footing around in the backfield. You're not setting up and reading your blockers well enough. And you're still lacking that certain leg strength to run through arm tackles.
When someone grabs Denard's jersey, he runs so hard that the jersey rips away. You looked like someone hooked a towing cable to your bumper.
You've got a lot of potential. But just cut down on the moves. Make one cut and get upfield. Or better yet, make one cut and race fools to the sideline. Chris Perry made a career of that. And learn to fall forward fergodsakes. Instead of trying to dance around the tackler, deliver a blow and fall forward. If we really are going to play man ball, the difference between a 3.3 ypc average and 4.0 ypc average caused by simply falling forward is going to be a big deal.
And that goes for all the youngsters too.
Hopkins looks like he might have a bright future as a B.J. Askew-esque FB. It's just Minnesota, but he got one of those fabled 'double blocks' that all FB's dream about. And he seems to catch the ball pretty well.
And we learned a little bit about Rawls, albeit in garbage time. Early returns show good balance, decent speed, but not terribly explosive or shifty. He kinda reminds me of Kevin Grady, but not quite as chiseled. Let's just say he's got a low aspect ratio for a tailback. Looks pretty strong around the thighs and midsection. I'm thinking he could eat himself into a starring FB role in a year or two.
- If Denard is called "Shoelace", maybe Devin can be called "Shoeless"
- The FG kicking is quietly becoming a non-ulcer-inducing facet of our team.
- However, the kickoff coverage still sucks, I'm so glad we got to practice 11 of them this game.
- I really like it when crowd's continue to sing a song after the band/PA system has to cut off. But there's a time and place for it. Livin' on a Prayer should be reserved for something like near the end of a close Redwings game where the line "We're halfway there" makes sense. Leading by 40+ in the third quarter calls for something more like "Sweet Caroline" because "Good time never felt so good." (Even if it is cliche')
So here we are... 5-0 and heading on the road against a scrappy Northwestern team possibly led by a
former heisman hopeful heisman hopeful quarterback, Dan Persa. After everyone's comments from last week on the Eastern Michigan wallpaper, I wanted to do another animal parody for the Northwestern wallpaper. My original thought was to make use of these in some way:
but I realized that Northwestern shouldn't be mocked like Eastern Michigan (who's more like an infant step-cousin than a "little brother"), lest the football gods smite us for our hubris. Instead, I let myself be influenced by my feminine side and took my inspiration from the musical Cats. Instead of dancers for pupils, though, I went for... DENARD!!!
I figured, unlike the Eastern Michigan wallpaper, this wallpaper makes Northwestern look cool, which will make me feel more satisfied when we beat them!
EDIT: I fixed the widescreen link and changed the game info to "Game 6" instead of "Game 5"... I think I was just psyched about the 5-0 when I made it!
Brady Hoke has coached five games at Michigan. Let’s see where Hoke’s games stand in relation to the last few years. I want to use the idea of score dominance to group these last few seasons together and get an idea of dominant performances. I am defining score dominance as the percent of final score, or margin of victory in shutouts. Rodriguez finished three seasons here, and in the interest of historical perspective I will also include Carr’s last three seasons. Counting Hoke’s five games there have been exactly 80 games played since the start of the 2005 season.
UM’s record in that span is 47-33, where Rodriguez is responsible for two thirds of the losses. The worst five games were the 2011 Gator Bowl, 2007 Ohio, 2010 Ohio, 2007 Oregon, and the ultra-horrible 2008 Ohio game where UM managed to gain just .143 of the total score - going down 42-7 in Columbus. The five best games in terms of score dominance are Eastern in 2005 and Notre Dame in 2007 (both shutouts,) the 2006 Indiana game, 2009 Delaware State, and the third shutout in 80 games, 2011 Minnesota. Brady Hoke is responsible for only 6.25% of the last 80 games, yet contributed one third of the shutouts and the most lopsided win. Can that possibly mean anything?
I think so. I do not think it would be reasonable to use Hoke’s record at UM and extrapolate that he will never lose a game. Yet the fact is four of his five games make up four of the 13 most lopsided victories of the recent past. Carr contributed 16% of his games to the top 13 routs, and RR contributed 8% of his contests to the blowout total. A reasonable expectation is that Hoke will have a blowout pace between those two numbers – we will say 12%. He is currently operating at 80%. He is beating expectations almost by a factor of 7.
I am not going to try and predict a win total here, small sample size and all. I do believe that Hoke has this team overachieving in a very big way. I also believe that if that keeps up, and so far there is no indication that it can’t, we are going to see some very special things this year.
Burst of Impetus
* This is the section where I discuss turnovers and other momentum changing plays. There was one burst of impetus in this game. Minnesota kicked off to start the game. That's it. They were never in it. I bet that "adjusted winning percentage" diary shows us pegged at 100% for the duration.
* For those that care, the turnovers were Mich: 0, Minn: 2. It's always nice to win the turnover battle, even if the team you are playing would be in danger of being relegated FROM the MAC. Notice, I wrote "from" and not "to". I think Minnesota would have trouble competing in the MAC this year and would be relegated to some FCS conference. I understand their starting QB was out, but they didn't do anything right all day.
Trash Cans Full of Dirt
* Craig Roh had a nice tackle early in the game for no gain. Later in the game, he had a tackle for a loss of 1 yard. The difference between these two tackles? One yard. He also gets credit in the box score for the latter, but not the former. When the box score starts including advanced defensive statistical metrics, I'd like to see them have TFNGs, for tackle for no gain. They are almost as important as the TFL, and way more important than the TWDF (tackle way down field.)
* The leading tacklers were Roh, Demens, and Countess with 5 each. That is such a wonderful sentence to write. The defense was only on the field for 47 plays. That's what happens when you hold a team to 0 for 11 on 3rd down conversions.
* 25 players showed up in the defensive stats section. Black, Van Bergen, and Ryan each recorded a sack. That's one less than we had so far this season. I know we played a couple run teams, but I like when the pressure leads to sacks as well as hurried throws.
Hexadecimal Points (HT: Number 7)
* Our helmets have wings! They also have numbers! If RR was still the coach, I shudder to think of the resulting outrage. It would certainly bring down the interwebz. I'm going to give Brady a pass on this because apparently the players asked for it, and it's their team.
* I would love to see 7A on Hawthorne's helmet. That's how he's listed in the defensive stats. M. Cavanaugh also shows up as 2H.
San Diego 49ers
* Our wide receivers have stats this week. Whoo-hoo! Hemingway had 5 catches and Gallon had 4.
* When Chris Martin of B1G Network fame tried to describe Denard, he said the best way to categorize him was "filthy." We finally got the game in which Denard's carries were limited. He rushed only 6 times for 51 yards. He made us all breathe a little more easily by going 15-19 through the air. (That sound you just heard was the rest of the B1G cursing.)
* Vincent Smith was also filthy, with a TD running, receiving, and throwing. He was named the Hardest Working Player," by the B1G Network. (For some reason, this reminds me of the old "Taco Bell Unsung Player Award" they used to have during Pistons broadcasts. It rotated between Rodman and Salley, until they were both Sung Players.) In my opinion, the hardest working man was Michael Schofield. Due to our lack of depth along the O-Line, he played the whole way. I think he must have had 20 more snaps than anyone else. That is a hard working player. I thought that the way we controlled the ball, we must have run 100 plays like Indiana did to us last year. Nope, only 73. Lots of runs keeps the clock moving. Still, yeoman work by Schofield. (Yeoman, that's a good thing, right?)