further adventures in Jed York being unsuited for his position
Via the Big Ten.
An Interview With:
MICHIGAN COACH RICH RODRIGUEZ
THE MODERATOR: Next up is Rich Rodriguez.
COACH RODRIGUEZ: Good morning, everyone. Thanks for coming. I'm excited to be here. There's probably no one more excited in the country to start coaching football than I am. So it's good we start in a week really excited about this year's team.
The last two years have, there have been quite a lot of experiences, a lot of drama, so to speak. But I think our guys have stayed focus. It's fun to be around them, watching them grow up, see our young guys get some experience, take their lumps a little bit.
And I think there's a lot of hungry football players up in Ann Arbor, and I think they're as excited as I am to get going. We have some questions, certainly, on both sides of the ball.
Defensively, we know we've got to play a lot better. I think we'll be a little bit deeper. We'll have more guys I think ready to play. Our numbers are really down last year, and I think that hurt us a little bit. And so we went into the season particularly the later part of the year we weren't as deep and did not play be able to play as many guys as we like.
Offensively, we should be better up front. Lot more experience on the offensive line than we had the last two years. Last year playing the two freshmen quarterbacks at times we were productive, but other times we weren't. And that's to be expected. But those guys should be better.
And I think overall, from a football team, we'll have a little bit more experience, as we mentioned. We have a lot of guys coming back. But for us the key is to be able to execute better. Certainly play better defensively and answer some of the questions we have on both sides of the ball on special teams.
I am really proud of our staff and our players for staying focused through all the things that have been going on. As I said, there's been quite a lot of things going on for two years and at times the two years have gone past. And at times it seemed like forever. But nonetheless I think we've been able to stay focused and get some things accomplished the way we wanted in building our program.
So with that, I would open it up for questions and go from there.
THE MODERATOR: Questions?
Q. With Tate Forcier and Denard Robinson coming back, are either of them the clear leader for the starting position? Or do you know what's going on at quarterback at the beginning of the season?
COACH RODRIGUEZ: I was taking an informal poll for how long the quarterback question would come up. Didn't take long. Thanks for asking.
Really it's a wide open competition. It was in spring. Certainly Tate and Denard both got a lot of experience last year as true freshmen. Tate was enrolled early, so he had a little more experience in the offense with spring practice. Also get a challenge from Devin Gardner, who is a freshman enrolled early, was able to go through spring practice.
I'll be able to tell who retained what from practice and how they progressed. I thought Denard Robinson took some big steps in the spring, which is to be expected, because it was his first spring. He's gotten better as far as learning what we want to do offensively.
I think that competition is going to be healthy. I've said it several times: Our goal is to have at least two guys at every position that we feel we can win with. I think we can have that at quarterback. If we can have three, if Devin can progress and give us a third guy, be able to compete and feel confident with that position, will put us in a good spot.
It's wide open. I hope it's answered who will be the starter or the two guys by the first game, but it may take a couple games before someone clearly separates themselves, if they do.
Q. Coach, there was a little bit of uncertainty towards the end of the season at linebacker. There was a lot of shuffling in and out of the lineup. We saw different looks during spring practice. What should Michigan look for at the linebacking position and how has Coach (Greg) Robinson taking over the linebacking position as a full time coach changed our outlook for the season?
COACH RODRIGUEZ: I'm excited about Greg Robinson taking over the linebackers. I think he probably prefers that position since he's coached that the majority of his career, whether it's in college or the NFL.
I think we'll have more competition there than we've had. That's been one of the keys. I know it sounds like coach speak to you all. But it has been one of our keys, is try to develop competition at every position. And we frankly have not had enough of that on either side of the ball.
But at linebacker I think we will. Jonas Mouton is a senior. I think he's primed to have a good year. Craig Roh, who played last year as a true freshman as an outside linebacker at 220 pounds I think he's probably closer to 240 or 250 now, and he should be more prepared, more experienced. Obi Ezeh has a lot of experience there. And then we have Kevin Leach who has played a lot of linebacker. I'm probably going to miss some guys, flip it over.
One guy I want to mention here that's here the next couple of days is Mark Moundros, our starting fullback. Came to me in spring and said, Coach, I'd like to try middle linebacker. I said, Mark, wouldn't make much sense for me to move my starting fullback over to a linebacker position during his senior year. He said, I just think I can bring something to the defense.
And he has. From spring practice I noticed not only him learning the defense and adding a kind of a physical presence, but just his leadership. I think his leadership is going to be invaluable for us.
So Mark is going to go compete for a middle linebacker spot, and judging from what happened in the spring, he's going to be right in the mix.
So we're going to have more guys there. Kenny Demens has got some experience last year. He's going to be a little older. So I think there's going to be five or six guys that we can count on.
I don't know if it's going to sort itself out like the quarterbacks. It may be a couple of games, but I think we can play more people.
Q. This spring Cam Gordon by all accounts had a really strong spring. From what you've heard, reports you've heard, has anyone had a really good summer?
COACH RODRIGUEZ: Well, I don't know much about what's going on in the summer. But from talking to some of the players and some of the guys I had the seniors over at my house this past week. We've got a small senior class, which a lot of times is a concern because you want a lot if you have a big senior class, a lot of leads, you feel good.
But our small senior class of 15, 16 guys I think are a great group. They understand what it's like to be at Michigan. They're hungry. They're going to do a great job at leadership.
Talking to those guys they really feel excited about what went on this summer. I thought they did a great job of leadership. They thought some of the guys you mentioned like Cam really prepared themselves well.
And I think that they're ready to go. Again, talking to our guys at the end of spring, they were hungry. Nobody likes what's going on in our program the last couple of years as far as wins and losses.
As strange as it may sound, I think we've gotten closer because of that. And all the stuff that's happened I think has drawn our staff closer, drawn our players closer, and I think they'll be ready to go.
Cam Gordon is another guy we moved from receiver to defensive back in the spring, and we thought he was one of our better performers on our whole team in spring practice.
Q. I don't know how much interaction you have with the fans, but when you do, what has their message been to you?
COACH RODRIGUEZ: Hey, Coach, when are we going to win more? Really, our fans have been terrific. You know, we have high expectations of Michigan. Rightfully so we should.
But since the day we've gotten on campus, they've been overwhelmingly positive. And there's always going to be some negativity, particularly when you don't win. But that comes with the deal. Comes with the profession. I think you understand it. Nobody wants to win more than the coaches and players.
But our fans have been absolutely phenomenal. We've had again, to have 110,000 every home game and the support we have when we go out and talk to different alumni groups has been fantastic. And we've got the new big house that's making its debut on September 4th with luxury seats and suites, and sales have been going very well.
We're fortunate to be at a place where they're very passionate about football, and our fans are very passionate about it. And you want to coach at a place like that.
We've got great fans, and I hope we can reward them with more wins and better football. And I think that's coming.
Q. I'd like to get your thoughts on the potential for the Big Ten championship game, and given the rivalry with Ohio State, have you had thoughts about whether you'd like them in the same division or opposite divisions with Michigan?
COACH RODRIGUEZ: I think that there's probably a lot of talk going on. Nobody really in the league office has asked for my opinion yet. I don't expect them to. Because I think they know what they're doing. In fact, I know they do.
I think it's exciting to have a championship game potentially. I think Jim Delany and the athletic directors and presidents of Big Ten schools will be able to keep that balance of keeping your traditional rivalries, yet still be able to have something new and exciting in the Big Ten conference.
From a player's standpoint, from a coach's standpoint, most of them will probably tell you they like playing, the idea of playing, a championship game. There's pros and cons. I think you look at certain leagues maybe say it's harder to get to a national championship game if you have the championship game at the end.
Our league is so strong and I think the reputation of our league will continue to get better and better particularly with the addition of Nebraska. We're in a very, very good spot.
I really don't have a preference on how they split up divisions, but I do know this, and I think everybody that follows our programs and Ohio State and Michigan State and some of our rivalries will want to keep those together, and I'm sure the Big Ten will put all thoughts into doing that, and I would be I don't know when it's going to happen. And Jim probably can explain that to you, and we're excited doing that. That's a year down the road. I'm not worried about next week; I'm worried about today and tomorrow, and move on.
Q. Speaking of your rivalry game with Ohio State, you've struggled so far in your first two years with it but it was much closer to last year. Do you feel any more pressure on you and your team to perform better in the game this year?
COACH RODRIGUEZ: You know, I think the pressure this is probably an answer you see from a lot of coaches. Coaches say it's pressure you put on yourself, but that's really the truth. No outside pressure can be more than what the coaches put on themselves. I feel pressure just to get better every day in practice. I don't know if the rivalry games you feel any added pressure other than we just need to play better.
And I don't know if you can think that far ahead. For us, as far as going into that game, we need to win it. More so now because we lost the last two. I think we go into every season, we need to win that game. And that's I think that's kind of something that we always feel.
I think we'll always feel that in Michigan and feel it at Ohio State. Certainly Michigan and Michigan State will always feel that. But for myself and our staff, we just know we've got to get better. And when we get better, we'll compete better and we'll win those games when we deserve to win those games.
Last year in particular, the Ohio State game we didn't deserve to win it. We turned the ball over too much. That's why they won.
Q. I'm wondering I don't think I understood your response completely to that question about the rivalry game. Do you want to keep playing Ohio State in that regular season finale?
COACH RODRIGUEZ: Sure, I think we need to keep playing them. And that rivalry may be the greatest rivalry in sports. And I think that will be understood. I think again, I'm just giving my opinion. I think the Big Ten, everybody in the Big Ten office understands rivalries. They understand this. And they'll be able to figure it out where the rivalries can stay together yet you're still competing for a conference championship.
So everybody that follows our program, and probably the same that follows the Ohio State program, wants to keep that rivalry going, expects to keep that rivalry going. And when it's played, I don't know if that's as important as that you play every year. But that's probably what will happen.
I'm just excited about getting ready for camp this year. I'm not putting too much thought into that because I won't have any say so.
Q. Last year you talked about reviewing and getting better as a staff. When you looked back at last year's Michigan State game, the decision to go for the tie and not to go for the win at the end, is that something that you would have looked at? Or is that something that you would think about doing differently again?
COACH RODRIGUEZ: Oh, no, I there's a lot of things that you go back and maybe wish you had a do over. That one I can definitively say we'd go for the overtime every time.
And I've been in a few overtime games before and I've always done it the same way: Kick the extra point when you could, and when you have to go for two, go for two.
That game, at the time we had a chance to tie them, I thought, boy, we're fortunate to have a break and get this thing into overtime. I felt good going into it. Then we had the turnover and didn't stop them. I regretted a lot of things, but not that one.
Q. Can you talk about the state of your secondary right now? I know Troy (Woolfolk’s) here this weekend. Especially after with Demar Dorsey not enrolling, could you talk about where you guys are at with that and developing more young players?
COACH RODRIGUEZ: We're concerned about the guys in the secondary. As you mentioned, Troy had a great spring, great year. Jordan Kovacs we thought played very effectively as a walk on. Back as well. Got some experience. Mike Williams got some experience in the secondary.
We mentioned Cam Gordon, who has not played yet. So always a little hesitant to anoint someone as, hey, this guy's going to be a player until they actually do it in games. But we feel really good about Cam Gordon his role in the secondary.
The guy that probably gave us more confidence in the secondary is J.T. Floyd. He's been in the program just a couple of years. He played a little bit last year for the first time, got some experience. But he had a tremendous spring and he's the guy that we really need to continue to progress. If J.T. Floyd can progress at the other corner, he and Troy will be pretty solid over there.
And the safety position, it's kind of wide open. That's the one position where we may have a few freshmen, true freshmen, have an opportunity to contribute. And that's a little scary to say that.
But we really feel confident in the guys we signed that they're smart guys, they're tough guys. If they can learn quickly in camp, they may be able to help us in the secondary.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Coach.
Busy, busy week, with a Michigan commitment. I'm not sure when the recruiting sites will post their post-summer, pre-season rankings, but keep an eye out for that soon. Action since last rankings:
7-25-10 Illinois gains commitment from Ted Karras. Minnesota gains commitment from Peter Westerhaus. Penn State gains commitment from Angelo Mangiro.
7-26-10 Michigan State gains commitment from Arjen Colquhoun. Nebraska loses commitment from Dylan Admire.
7-27-10 Illinois gains commitment from Daniel Rhodes. Michigan State gains commitment from Mikail McCall.
7-29-10 Michigan gains commitment from Kellen Jones. Minnesota gains commitment from Mike Moore.
7-30-10 Iowa loses commitment from JaCorey Shepherd. Iowa gains commitment from Cole Fisher. Wisconsin gains commitment from Terrance Floyd. Notre Dame gains commitments from Justice Hayes and Anthony Rabasa.
7-31-10 Notre Dame gains commitments from Aaron Lynch and Jalen Brown. Indiana gains commitment from Bernard Taylor. Wisconsin gains commitment from Makinton Dorleant. Nebraska gains commitment from David Santos.
|Big Ten+ Recruiting Class Rankings|
|Rank||School||# Commits||Rivals Avg||Scout Avg||ESPN Avg|
Rivals rankings have been converted to their "RR" scale, which is on a scale from about 5 to about 6.1. Unrated prospects are given a 5.1 rating, on par with the worst of any Big Ten commit last year. Scout is on the 5-star system (unranked players earn star), and ESPN uses grades out of 100 (unranked is 40 or 45).
|#1 Ohio State - 17 Commits|
Buckeyes stay atop the heap, though they did miss out on instate LB Trey DePriest this week. DePriest committed to Alabama.
|#2 Notre Dame - 16 Commits|
The Irish end their drought with a huge week, picking up four commits. They've solidified their hold on the second position.
|#3 Michigan - 9 Commits|
The Wolverines pick up Kellen Jones. I've moved them past Nebraska in the rankings, because they're starting to come close in number of commits, but are significantly higher in the quality of those players. Is Michigan on track to get another commit or two soon?
|#4 Nebraska - 13 Commits|
The Huskers trade OL Dylan Admire (decommitted in favor of Kansas) for LB David Santos. Nebraska's averages might improve a bit once all of their commits are ranked.
|#5 Indiana - 21 Commits|
Hoosiers pick up another Michigan prospect in the conference's (+ Notre Dame and Nebraska, of course) largest class. I've rewarded them by moving them past Michigan State. Once other teams come closer in number of commits, IU should fall down the rankings.
|#6 Michigan State - 11 Commits|
No change for MSU. They move behind Indiana on the basis of total commits, mostly because their overall numbers aren't that far off from the other few teams behind the Hoosiers (Northwestern, Iowa, et al).
|#7 Northwestern - 11 Commits|
No change for the Wildcats, except they're now looking up at Michigan State.
|#8 Iowa - 11 Commits|
Scout gives Orloff a 2-star ranking. No other changes for the Hawkeyes.
|#9 Minnesota - 13 Commits|
No change for Minnesota. They're due for a jump once that other half of their class gets Rivals rankings.
|#10 Wisconsin - 8 Commits|
Boooooo grabbing a couple guys who are neither from Wisconsin nor TE/LBs.
|#11 Penn State - 4 Commits|
Penn State's class is no longer the laughingstock of the conference, as they pick up a good offensive lineman in Angelo Mangiro. They still have a long way to go in terms of numbers, but their averages are way above the other teams near them.
|#12 Illinois - 11 Commits|
Illinois picks up a couple prospects, and that moves them past Purdue (while getting jumped by Penn State).
|#13 Purdue - 6 Commits|
Purdue becomes the bottom-dweller in Big Ten recruiting.
My first diary post. Right to it...
We all know RichRod's UM teams haven't exactly been the picture of poise in the second halves in 2008 and 2009. Young teams, and all that.
But if you want to know just what caused the seven-game losing streak to end last year (*ignoring DelSt), don't look at how the games started. Look at how they ended.
To wit, first 2008 as a sucknitude baseline of sorts, then 2009 by comparison:
-- UM was outscored in the 2nd half by a combined 190-67 (-123).
-- UM outscored only Utah (13-3), MiamiO (6-3), Wisconsin (27-6) and Minnesota (13-6) in the 2nd half.
-- Conversely, UM was outscored only a combined 167-157 in the 1st half all year. Indeed, UM was in most games at halftime. Only exceptions: Utah (comeback came up short) and Wisconsin (comeback succeeded).
-- UM was outscored in the 2nd half by a combined 163-111 (-52).
-- UM outscored only ND (21-14), EMU (21-0), Indiana (15-10) and Iowa (14-10) in the 2nd half. OSU was a sawoff (7-7).
-- But, after the Deleware State game, the team fell apart -- in large part because of awful 2nd-half performances. [WARNING: Read these 2nd-half stats to end the year with only one eye open]:
OPPONENT............ OUTSCORED.... OUTGAINED.... TURNOVERS: M/opp
PSU...........................16-0.................. 181-100........... 3/0
@ Illinois..................31-0................... 406-221........... 2/0
Purdue.....................28-12................. 249-171........... 1/0
@ Wisconsin............24-7.................. 286-106........... 1/0
Ohio State................ 7-7.................. 155-143............. 3/1
TOTALS................ 106-26............. 1,277-741........... 10/1
That last line is what we call ugly-ass s--t. Northwestern '80s-ish. Couldn't keep the other guys off the field. Couldn't get the ball back. And when we got the ball back, we gave it back.
And that's how you go from 4-0 to 5-7.
-- On the season, UM was outgained 2,344 to 1,806 (-538) in the 2nd half, and was -8 in turnovers in the second half (17/9) and that excludes the brutal fake punt vs MSU.
-- UM was even outgained in the 1st half on the season, 2,160 to 2,081 (-52). But the turnover ratio was much closer, -3 (10/7).
-- After the MSU game, UM forced ONE second-half turnover the rest of the year, excluding DelSt. That was Pryor's pick. One.
-- After the Indiana game, when UM was 4-0,UM's turnover margin was +3 (3/6). The rest of the year? -14!!! Yes, minus-14. (24/10).
Reason for all the second-half collapses the past two years? Freshman QBs, plain-bad defenses, bumbling kick returners, and scholarship caverns. That'll just about cover it. Poor halftime adjustments has to factor in somehow, but could perfect adjustments have offset those four factors?
I need to go back to my Denard HD video from the spring game to get refired up for 2010. This was a bloody depressing endeavor.
Much has been made about the incoming freshman and who will contribute. While there is speculation that freshmen may fill in certain depth gaps/play special teams, there is only one freshman guarantee on this team: Will Hagerup will be your starting punter on September 4, 2010 (I mean, if we need to punt....). This was made completely crystal clear during the spring game, when the various walk-on punters varied between punting the football 20 yards to the right sideline and 20 yards to the left sideline. Our only feasible punter during the spring game was Tate Forcier, and while the fake punt opportunities would be delicious, it's not gonna happen, nor should it.
So with Hagerup fresh out of high school, I wanted to do some investigating to see how prolific true freshman punters were in the NCAA, and how they generally fared. Below, you will find the breakdown from 2006 through 2009, the active years of Zoltan. In fact, at the bottom of each year is Zoltan's stats from that particular year for comparison. His numbers have NO BEARING on the averages for each year. It's just so you can get an idea of what a good punter's stats look like.
Caveat: I only used punting average. There are many metrics to look at for punters, but average is probably the most basic without driving me completely insane digging around. So take this with a grain of salt, in that the numbers don't reflect the special teams tacklers surrounding these fine young men. RR indicates Rivals Rankings...I used this because I subscribe to Rivals and not Scout.
|Kyle Loomis||42||Oregon State||41.26||2||5.4|
|Alonso Rojas||99||Bowling Green||35.64||2||5|
|Aaron Bates||75||Michigan State||39.74||2||5|
|Kyle Hughes||22||New Mexico State||42.67||NR||NR|
|Matt Rinehart||64||Kent State||39.98||2||5.1|
|Ryan Quigley||71||Boston College||39.56||2||5.3|
|Brian Stahovich||73||San Diego St.||39.54||2||5.4|
|Tyler Campbell||12||Ole Miss||43.95||2||5.5|
|Ryan Erxleben||56||Texas Tech||40.84||NR||NR|
|Will Atterberry||82||N. Texas||38.96||2||5.2|
|Peter Boehme||88||So. Miss||38.48||NR||NR|
What to make of all of this:
Well, generally it seems that freshman punters are getting better. From 2006 to 2009, true freshman punters were kicking the ball almost an extra 3 yards per kick, which isn't bad (think an extra 18-20 yards of field position per game. That's more than enough to take a team out of FG range). The increase in ranking averages seems to back this up. I would imagine this has to do with several factors (some of them being completely chaos related). High school programs are getting more sophisticated with special teams, punters may actually punt their whole high school career, advances in strength training and conditioning, and the shift to rugby punting in many programs all probably play into these numbers.
There also seems to be a general reluctance (duh) towards using true freshman punters:
- In 2006 there were 100 total punters with at least 3.6 punts per game, and only 8 were true freshman (8% of punters in FBS).
- In 2007 that number was 8 again (8% of punters in FBS).
- In 2008 there were 98 punters, and 11 were true freshman (11% of punters in FBS...a bumper crop!).
- In 2009 there were 98 punters, and 6 were true freshman (6% of punters in FBS).
The total averages for all of the years:
- Average Rank: 73.42
- Average Punting Average: 39.30 yards (editors note: yecch)
- Average Rivals Rating (for those who were actually rated): 5.21
Zoltan is awesome. More awesome than the numbers truly reflect. But he was super awesome last year. I mean...seriously.
What About Will?
Here is what Rivals has to say about young master Hagerup:
- 3 stars
- 5.5 rating
- #3 kicker in the nation (their #1 true punter)
- 215 lbs
The only two players who come close to this level of guru love are Wisconsin's Brad Nortman (who fared quite well in 2008) and, well, Zoltan. This isn't enough brick and mortar to build a castle, but it isn't bad.
Hagerup also averaged 44.5 yards per punt during his senior year, which would place him smack dab at the top of each of the lists above, and above Zoltan in certain years. Now this certainly does not factor in the added level of competition in the form of better blockers/returners, but again, it's a good place to be.
This number also completely blows the averages for true freshman punters out of the water, but if Hagerup doesn't come in and start tearing through those averages that were being dragged down by the likes of the walk on punters from North Texas, Buffalo, and Wyoming...we're in some trouble.
Hagerup is going to be a fine punter during his freshman year. Unless he forgets which foot he uses to punt or what a football looks like, he will be fine. Reports have already been leaking out of Newsterbaan about him booming punts during off-season workouts that looked very Zoltanish.
His physicality is more than promising, his guru hype matches that of the best true freshman punter of the past 4 seasons, and his high school averages put him at the top of any of the past 4 classes.
So while we may lose something by not having Zoltan, a complete landslide this will not be. His supporting cast will generally be the same, and they proved themselves quite efficient at long snapping, blocking, and punt coverage duties last year. Nerves or other intangibles may cause him to butterfinger a snap into oblivion, or shank a punt into the blades of a Big Fogg fan, but I don't think there's any reason to expect a poor, or even "average" season for our new true freshman punter. In fact, he'd have to drop 5.2 yards per kick average between his senior year in HS and his freshman year in college to approach average for a freshman punter. That's astronomical, and I don't see it happening. "Above average" to "All Glory to Zoltan Acolyte Hagerup!" should be your expectations this coming year.
Now we just need to figure out how to get the student section to make H's with their hands on 4th downs...
I just talked to Michigan's 9th commit of the year, LB Kellen Jones, and he was as excited as can be. We talked about his decision, his visit, and what happened in Rich Rodriguez' office when he told the coaches. Here's some one line quotes for you:
- "Michigan is a family, and just seeing that really reinforced everything for me. It was really everything I was looking for. I prayed about my decision, and God told me Michigan was where I was supposed to be. I wanted to take this visit to clarify that, and it did."
- "I actually made my decision about 2 or 3 weeks ago, but like I said I just wanted the visit to make sure. We got to see the summer workouts, see the Big House, and all the players. It was so exciting. I can't wait to play in the Big House, I mean it's the Big House. We got to go to the top and look into the stadium, and my whole family was just excited."
- "My family was there with me, and I had told my Dad that I would be committing, but I hadn't told the coaches yet. He wanted me to tell them because Michigan was his dream school, so he was as excited as I was. I actually think he was even more excited than me, he was going crazy."
- "We were in Coach Rodriguez' office, and my family was in there with me. I told Coach that I was committing, and my whole family broke into the Michigan fight song. My Dad, Uncle, me, everybody was singing the fight song. Coach Rodriguez laughed and said he had never seen that before. He was shocked."
Hello everyone, Six Zero here with the next installment of:
SIX QUESTIONS WITH WOLVINLA
Inspired by the official site’s “Two Minute Drill” series and TomVH’s famous Q&A segments with potential recruits, this weekly feature highlights some of the more famous personalities here at MGoBlog. Without pulling back the infamous veil of blog anonymity, we’ll get to know some of your favorite posters better and possibly shed some light on their definition of why it’s so darn Great, To Be, A Michigan Wolverine.
Isn’t it strange how we spend so much time together, here at MGoBlog—and yet we really have no idea who each other truly are? For all we know, any of us very well might have bumped into a fellow MGoBlog reader in the city, or perhaps spoken to someone in a business call… or maybe even ruffled each other’s feathers on a Friday night at the local pub. It’s a bit strange to think that friendships can be and are formed here with no regards at all to who these people actually are offline.
For me, I’ve been bumping into people here for over two years, and some more than others. And if you call them that, I’ve certainly made a few friends. I’d like to think that WolvinLA has been one of them, so let’s get to this exclusive interview:
1. You’re not the only one, but you are one of a select few that sport a nifty little 2 or (2) at the end of your name. What happened? Wrath of Brian? Wrath of Interwebs?
Somewhat wrath of the interwebs I guess, but a smarter person probably would have figured the problem out. I started as WolvinLA, but at some point I was having technical difficulties, and since some people on this board have grandparents as tech-savvy as I am I couldn't figure it out. After not too long I gave up and started my current account under my work email. I wish the story was more exciting, like my account was hijacked by pirates or ninjas or something, but no such luck.
Either way, you have amassed quite a slew of MGoPoints despite never creating any blogs in either of your incarnations. In your own words, what makes a good response on someone else’s blog?
That's not really true, I've started two different blogs but neither of them lasted more than 2 posts. I only stay excited about that stuff for about 10 minutes, but it makes me appreciate those who can make it work.
When posting on someone else's blog, you need to either say something substantive or something funny. If you can say something substantive and funny, that's where the magic happens. I also try to disagree with Magnus a lot, that's usually good for a 10 spot of MGoPuntos (my fiancee is Latin, sorry for the MGoSpanglish).
2. You’ve also been posting at MGoBlog for a long, long time. What’s changed since you first arrived on the scene? Who do you miss? What do you find interesting about the blog that wasn’t around two or three years ago?
Honestly, I miss ChrisGoComment. Where did he go? I literally think about that every day (not literally). The blog has changed a good bit since I started reading, mostly for the better. The addition of the VB guys and TomVH was huge, especially since the recruiting stuff is a big, big draw to the blog. I thought MGoProfile was super lame until you asked me, now I think it's totally sweet.
3. Tell us, what is the perception of the University of Michigan on the West Coast? What do all those shiny California types think of the winged helmet, and the Big House, and all of the things we hold dear?
I think most people would be surprised how many Michigan fans there are in California, or at least Los Angeles. I see people wearing M gear all over, UM stickers and plate frames are everywhere, it's awesome. I actually have a client who just told me the other day how it's her son's dream to go to Michigan (he's in high school) and he didn't have any special connection to the school.
Obviously there is a big Pac Ten influence out here, but most people I talk to have a lot of respect for Michigan - both athletically and academically. Well, except most USC fans. I find them to be obnoxious as all hell. I'm down with UCLA though.
Gotta love that word, RESPECT. What do you miss most about Michigan and/or the Midwest? I'm from Michigan, and that will always be home. There's no perfect place, there are things about LA that are great - the weather, predominantly, but Midwesterners are the best people in America, no doubt about it. You don't realize how nice and down to Earth people are there until you move to a place like LA. On the rare occurrence that someone holds a door or an elevator for me out here, I ask them if they're from CA, and although I usually get a strange look, the response is always "No."
4. You are an alum, if I do correctly recall. In your journeys westward, what has your alumni status meant to you and to those you have met? How has it affected the life you’ve created?
Being a UM alum has helped me in two main ways. The first is that I have so many classmates out here. As a Michigan alum, you can head to any major city and you'll be surrounded by your old classmates. When living in a far away city, that's invaluable. The second is the reputation. A UM degree gives instant credibility. You can hate UM sports all you want, but to most people, a UM degree means your a pretty sharp individual. If you don't know Michigan, you aren't worth knowing. I just made that up.
5. Without divulging too much information, can you describe what you do for a living? And, what do you like to do for fun on your own time?
I work in medical sales, so I drive around all day trying to convince hospitals to purchase overpriced equipment. One day I will crash and/or run off the road because I'm MGoBlogging behind the wheel. Lucky for me, traffic never goes more than about 15 miles an hour in LA.
My free time is filled up by one thing lately - on June 28th I entered MGoFatherhood, and little Charlie (like the Heisman guy) takes up all of my free time, 24 hours a day. I'm sure any fellow dads on here can relate.
For the record, I’ve seen pictures-- the kid was literally rockin’ a Block M beanie cap in the maternity ward-- nicely done, my friend. Let’s move on… describe the perfect meal.
Mmmm, I eat too much. This is kind of a depressing question since I just got blood work done and apparently I don't eat as healthy as I should. But my perfect meal is anything with lots of red meat and potatoes.
6. Meat, good. Let’s wrap it up with the old standards-- can you explain why you are a Michigan fan?
I grew up, no joke, in a family full of ND fans. My mother's family were Irish Catholics from South Bend. Sure, they didn't have to be ND fans. But they were, in a big way. My cousin even has that little leprechaun tattooed on his leg - I didn't say they were classy. About the time I was in elementary school when you start liking sports teams, 5 guys, all freshmen, started for the University of Michigan's basketball team. They were awesome. About the same time, a receiver from Michigan won the Heisman. I came home from school one day and told my mom I wanted to be a Michigan fan. She, along with many of my relatives tried for years to turn me into a Notre Dame fan, but something inside my little brain told me they would fall short of expectations for at least the next 2 decades. Ultimately, I went to UM for college and that had pretty much sewn things up.
Finally, who's your all-time favorite Wolverine?
My fiancee has accused me a number of times (and it's hard to tell if she's joking) of being gay for Tom Brady, so she'd probably say him. This is a hard question. It usually depends on whose highlight video I just watched. But saying "it's a tie with everybody" is the equivalent to the people who say "I like everything, really" when you ask their favorite music (and I hate it when people do that), so I'll go with Desmond, combining how good he was on the field for us with how awesome he's been to the program since, with a Super Bowl MVP thrown in for good measure. Runner-up honors to C-Webb - albeit a controversial pick, he was dominant and jump-started my fandom. I still wear my #4 Jersey with pride.
With a network of over 460,000 graduates, the University of Michigan’s Alumni Association is a veritable brotherhood that spans the globe. It goes without saying that the block M opens doors and makes business happen, and our own blog alone features everyone from government military contractors to lawyers, doctors to Fortune 500 businessmen. As the song goes, the “Leaders and Best" -- I'd love to know how much business goes down every year in America simply because it's one
Michigan Man shaking the hand of another.
It’s comforting to know that whatever city you might find yourself in, there’s probably a fairly good chance that someone else there will share your love for the maize and blue. WolvinLA is proof that even in the surreal world of California, Michigan is a recognized national brand that stands for something. As we move closer to the season, we all can have hope of what that something will be. Thanks and I’ll see you
all next week for another exciting edition of MGoProfile!