I was at the UConn game and although the game itself has been analyzed and covered in great detail, I did not see much in the way of observations of what it was like in the stadium. Below are bulletpoints of the experience.
· This isn’t Ann Arbor! There was no traffic at all getting to the stadium, we drove right up to the front. Also, we were able to park at the stadium for 15 bucks! The drunk college students in Ann Arbor would be disappointed in how little they charged. Interesting overheard fact – the stadium was built at an old airport, we drove in on the tarmac. The stadium inherited all fifty million traffic cones from the airport and all of them were laid out in the parking areas.
· There is what appears to be the world’s largest Cabela’s next to the stadium. There were even signs directing people to the stadium or Cabela’s. I kept asking if people wanted to stop for cheese bread from Cabela’s – until someone finally figured out I thought it was a chain Italian place not an outdoors store.
· This is Ann Arbor! The percentage of Michigan fans walking into the game from outer parking lots was close to 90%. All of the UConn fans made fun of Michigan because they were so outnumbered, including a drunk girl who said Michigan “sucked her weenie.” She seemed confused.
· UConn played to its audience – both inside and outside at the merchandise stands, you could buy Michigan gear. There was one booth outside the stadium selling Michigan shirts right under the sign that said this is Husky Country. I don't think they fully appreciated the irony. The UConn band played the victors as well.
· Unusual for a home college game – you could buy beer at the stadium. This is because it is off campus for UConn. According to UConn student, the Patriots were originally going to play there, but backed out and UConn took over. All the concessions were really cheap – and a good mix, you could even get a funnel cake or cupcake!
· Not a bad stadium for only holding 40,000, although with the temporary seats added just for this game it looked like a cross between a high school stadium and a real stadium like the big house. It looked like Michigan fans outnumbered UConn fans in the stadium as well. The temporary added seats, in the endzone, where we were siting, was almost 100% Michigan fans. The most annoying part was, since the seats were added, they checked the tickets like crazy, making it hard to get in and out of the section.
· The benefit to only 40,000 seats – we were close to the action. It was great to see and Michigan drove toward us in the fourth quarter. It was a great angle to see Morgan’s INT and return. The downside – security would randomly stand in our way and we couldn’t see at the goal line.
· It was a good mix of Michigan fans, both young and old, looked like lots of families. A lot of Michigan gear, including a lot of shirts I had never seen before. Vamos Azul shirts were especially popular. There was also an Elvis sitting in the bleachers. The only non-Michigan fan that I saw was a girl in a UConn shirt who was bawling and carrying nachos. We were all curious as to what her deal was. Also odd, the girl behind us broke her foot? And had to be carried up and down a couple of time at the game, and didn’t ask to sit at the number of handicap seats that were open in front of us.
· The biggest downside in the stadium– no information anywhere – the video/reply board was behind us and there was only three little information bars around the stadium and two of them usually had adds on them. I was using twitter to see down and distance for most of the first half.
· The UConn fans started to get a little chippy at the end of the first half and for much of the second half. There were also a number of Ohio State fans – who I guess were there to see if Michigan would lose? One random guy in a Michigan state windbreaker seemed to follow us around as well.
· There were a ton of games between the plays – students tried to kick field goals, throw footballs into a hole, trivia, they played follow the football under the three helmets, they threw t-shirts into the stands, all during timeouts.
· They were stuck in the 80s – they played Guns and Roses, Def Leopard, and a whole lot of 80s rock during the game. Every third down of Michigan’s the PA would play welcome to the jungle. It got old.
· It was weird to see a grass field. Any stop in action there were kids out there fixing it.
· This was a huge game for UConn – they honored past captains of the UConn football team, as well the 2013 woman’s basketball team with Geno Auriemma. Ray Allen and Donny Marshall were also on the field and spoke during breaks in the game.
· At one point they showed Derek Jeter on the video board – and everyone booed. More Red Sox fans than Yankees fans in Hartford I suppose, and I am assuming he was showing his Michigan pride and not UConn spirit. His lady friend did not look pleased to be there.
· They showed their video highlight of past seasons…it was a DJ Hernandez TD. No mention of his current coaching position and certainly no mention of his brother, Aaron.
· They were not equipped to deal with getting the largest crowd ever at the stadium (42,000 how cute) out of there- we sat in the parking lot for 30 minutes without moving. It was a long game, but we still didn’t make it home until 2 am. Unclear if Cabela’s would have been open but we were really craving cheese bread
WHAT'S INSIDE THE JUG
(Click the Image to See Full Size Version)
Now, for the record... no, not really. I think we come out awful big in this game, and make quite a statement that most of the sportswriters are rightfully cautious to believe.
Michigan big, with or without magic.
THE BLOCKHAMS™ runs (typically) every week here at MGoBlog and on its official home page. Also, don't forget to check out the Friday Fun, my weekly single panel comic based on trending Michigan events, available on Twitter and the home page every Friday.
This week's miniprogram. as always, let me know if any questions or comments. only changes this week were on the O-Line with the Bryant-Glasgow-Miller switch, not sure who to plug in at second LG. hopefully it won't matter.
Ok, ladies and gents, I'm back at it for B1G season. Hopefully, I'll be able to spend some more quality time working on these now that I have multiple days off in the coming week. In the meantime, I've put together a modest wallpaper for this week's historic rivalry (yes, we know what those are, ND).
I have two versions of this wallpaper, so I hope you at least like ONE of them. I was a little surprised when I looked at how horrendously one-sided this rivalry has been. I read a hilarious article posted before last years game by a very realistic Minnesota beat writer who essentially said it's time for the rivalry to end - because it's not really a rivalry if only one side wins. I know we're all in that place where we want TomVH to hold us while we get nervous about opponents that normally see three levels of the depth chart, but seriously, Nick Sheridan beat Minnesota - at Minnesota. Nick "I am the black death of Michigan football" Sheridan. Let that sink in. Now remember that Hoke has yet to lose at home, and that Iowa (yes, the same Iowa team we destroyed last year) just smacked this Minnesota team around. Somehow, I don't feel so nervous anymore. Because, really, is there any way this team is WORSE than the team from <404: "file not found">? Yeah, I don't think so.
So there it is. THE_KNOWLEDGE has imparted his goodness and mercy upon us and let us know ahead of time that we're going to win, so let's just enjoy the game and these "lovely" wallpapers.
Desktop (16:9) 1920x1080
Desktop - Sheridan Edition (16:9) 1920x1080
Mobile (iPhone 5) 640x1136
Enjoy and GO BLUE!
Seth/Jared under the (apparently) bright lights.
Smiles because we thought the OL problems were just Nix & Tuitt
Big Ten road games start next week. Most of the MGoBlog staff (Brian, me, Ace, Heiko, the photographers) will all be at Penn State and most of us will be going to Northwestern as well.
Making a lot of this travel possible this year has been support from MGoBlog sponsor and supporter Sports Power Weekends. Jared has put on successful trips for Michigan fans for the Notre Dame and UConn games already this season, and will be bringing a group of 150+ alums from NYC and DC to Penn State next week (the hotel rooms are sold out). While spots remain, now is the time to lock in your trip for Nebraska and Ohio State in Ann Arbor, as well as Northwestern and Iowa on the road!
This company comes through, as attested in the diary from from HAIL 2 VICTORS after he did the Notre Dame weekend.
Jared handles the hotels, gets you awesome seats, and plans extra events around each game. Check them out, and book your trip.
If you're already on his PSU or Northwestern trips, we'll see you there!
Four Plays – UM vs. Minnesota 2013
This series examines the probable individual matchups Michigan expects to face against particular 2013 opponents on one of Michigan’s key running plays and one of its key passing plays, as well as defensively against a couple of the opponent’s key plays (assuming first-sting personnel in a base defensive alignment). This is the third installment of the series; previous: Notre Dame and Connecticut.
Michigan opens Big Ten action at home this season against a Jerry Kill’s Gophers, who didn't exactly face a murderer’s row in their non-conference schedule but got off to a 4-0 start nonetheless—even despite an injury that deprived Minnesota of their starting QB for two games. [Edit: The Gophers are now 4-1, having lost 3-7 yesterday to Iowa. In the game, Minnesota gained only 30 yards rushing and gave up 147 yards rishing to Mark Weisman]. Overall, the Gophers looked well-coached and unlikely to beat themselves, but with the talent differential and Michigan needing to make a statement, this is not a game that should be close.
When Michigan has the ball…
The slant is a relatively easy throw that gets the ball to a receiver with a chance to gain yards after the catch. In west coast offenses, pairing multiple slants with a flat route underneath stretches a defense horizontally, while motion is used to help the QB diagnose the defense before the snap.
When the H-back motions across the formation before the snap, the QB will watch to see if a defender follows him. If so, then the defense must be playing man coverage—meaning the X receiver is one-on-one with the CB. If no defender follows the H-back, then the defense is in zone. The H-back (running the flat route) and the Y receiver (running a slant) will flood the right flat; the QB will read the flat defender (against cover 3, this is usually the box safety) and throw to whichever receiver the flat defender leaves open.
LT – Taylor Lewan: pass protect vs. WDE Theiren Cockran
LG – Graham Glasgow: pass protect vs. DT Cameron Botticelli
C – Jack Miller: pass protect vs. DT Ra’Shede Hageman
RG – Kyle Kalis: pass protect vs. DT Ra’Shede Hageman
RT – Michael Schofield: pass protect vs. SDE Michael Amaefula
TE – Devin Funchess: motion across formation, run flat route (covered by SS Cedric Thompson)
SL – Drew Dileo: run slant (2) route (covered by NB Brock Vereen)
SE – Jeremy Gallon: run slant route route (covered by CB Derrick Wells)
FL –Jehu Chesson: run slant route (covered by SS Cedric Thompson)
TB – Fitzgerald Toussaint: pass protect vs. SDE Michael Amaefula
QB – Devin Gardner: pre-snap, motion H-back across formation, recognize zone coverage underneath; receive snap, read flat defender (SS); if flat defender follows Chesson, set feet and throw flat route to Funchess, throw slant to Chesson if flat defender comes up to play Funchess.
Three weeks ago I wouldn’t have hesitated to declare the advantage for Michigan on this play, with Devin Gardner throwing to a solid group of receivers against Minnesota’s underwhelming defense. But Gardner’s been inconsistent over the past couple weeks, due in no small part to poor pass protection on the interior—and now Michigan has to face arguably the best DT in college football. That would be Ra’Shede Hageman, Minnesota’s senior DT who entered the season on most first-team All-B1G lists and boasts a first-round NFL draft grade. To have success against him, the Michigan line that handled Louis Nix and Stephon Tuitt will have to show up against the Gophers. Another performance like the one we saw in Hartford could spell a long day for Michigan’s offense.
[After the JUMP: it's a trap!]