Some days I feel like a mouse among elephants compared to some of the diaries around here. I mean, WolverineBlue has to get diarist of the week, and I didn't even open his site. Fun fact: ESPN doesn't change the week on the NCAA scoreboard until Tuesday.
On to Week 6, in which the field is down to 5 zero-win teams: UAB, New Mexico, Oregon State, and two from the Sun Belt (motto: It's the Fun Belt!): FAU and Western Kentucky. Seriously, what's with this year? EMU has 3 wins, CSU is leading the MWC, and Rutgers is leading the Big East? Cats and dogs, living together. Mass hysteria! This looks like it's going to be another year for the Big East Championship Hot Potato. Hopefully the last tie-breaker is a mascot sack race. This week I don't make fun of mascots for a change! But first:
I'd like to make a musket-related joke about Virginia's firepower downing the Vandals, but I just can't. Any game that has 16 punts does not get any sort of positive offensive efficiency comments from me. Virginia will get a +1 for the spectacularly named Trey Farquhar. I hereby declare that all kickers should be named Trey. And point guards. And waiters. Extra bonus if his brothers are named Uno and Due.
Elsewhere, Hawaii won the Frequent Flyer Miles bowl 44-26. Louisiana Tech had 3 turnovers and 8 penalties. When asked for a comment, LT's QB said "Hey, did you get to go to Hawaii in college on someone else's dime? I didn't think so."* Speaking of fitting names, ESPN's recap lists a "Tank Hopkins", but unfortunately his real name is Melvin. I hereby also declare that Stephen Hopkins's nickname be Tank as well. Or Ironhead.
*Not a real quote.
This week: Big, Bad In-conference games!
Er, Bad Games In Big Conferences. Arizona (1-4) versus Oregon State(0-4). Seriously, who would have thought Arizona would be 1-4. To be fair, they played Oklahoma State, then started conference play against Stanford and Oregon. Arizona had a chance against USC, but failed to recover an onside kick that could have set up the tying drive. Such is life. You may remember Oregon State from such games as 35-0 against Wisconsin or 27-19 against UCLA. When your QB has passed for 1000 yards on the season and only thrown 2 TDs, that's a good indication that something is wrong.
Closer to home, we've got Minnesota (1-4) vs Purdue (2-2). Since Minnesota doesn't play Indiana this year, this will have to do for Dysfunctional B1G football. We should all be well aware of Minnesota's problems on and off the field (seriously, coach, hope you feel better. You just might want a lower-stress job, like airline pilot or something). Purdue has been schitzo this year, and continued against ND. Marve returned for the second half, and TerBush thew an INT on the first play of the game. In summary: Purdue running - decent. Purdue anything else - average to not good.
One last special recognition to the WAC, for having two games with two one-win teams : Louisiana Tech versus Idaho and UNLV versus Nevada. Bold prediction: Louisiana Tech will lead the NCAA in frequent flyer miles.
We all love the in-depth analysis provided by Brian's UFR posts on MGoBlog. But sometimes the voluminous stream of information can be daunting.
I have created a web application to make viewing of UFR data easier and more powerful. You can step through the game analysis play by play or search and filter using a wide range of criteria. For any play, you are just one click away from viewing the corresponding video clip. I am now happy to make this app available to the MGoBlog community.
Disclaimer: This is a user-generated project and not an official feature of MGoBlog. I am offering this on a trial basis. While I intend to continue to support and update the program throughout the season, I can offer no firm promises or guarantees.
I have created a simple web site from which you can launch the viewer for your game of choice. There is more information at the web site. It can be found here:
In the future, UFR data should be viewable in the utility within 15 minutes of the UFR being posted on the main page of MGoBlog.
720p is available if your connection allows.
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!