"(I) think about 'The Lion King,' Simba gets hit over the head and (he's told) 'the past can hurt,' " Harbaugh said Monday afternoon. "'You can either run from it or embrace it and learn from it.'
Expected PointsMichigan actually held a pretty nice advantage in field position for the day. Based on starting field position, Michigan had an expected advantage of 22 points vs 17 for Wisconsin. Both sides gave up points vs expectation as the offense scored 17 themselves, five less than an average team would given their field position. The defense was a little bit further from average, allowing 45 (and scoring 7) a full four TDs worse than average.
Rush OffensePredicted: +0
The first matchup, where the rubber meets the road. This is clearly a huge battle of strength vs strength. If Michigan is going to win on Saturday, they have to find success in the running game.Michigan did not find success in the running game and they did not win on Saturday, but you already knew that. Michigan's performance on the ground was really bad and in a matchup of strengths, it was clear that the Wisconsin defense was the stronger of the two forces. Michigan's -7 was the second worst rushing performance of the weekend, trailing only Virginia's performance at Boston College.
Pass OffensePredicted: +1
Michigan's offense will need to find points and opportunity wherever it can and a third straight [passing] game in the +'s could come in very handy.After the disappointing showing by the running game, the passing game continues to show marked improvement. This was Michigan's best showing through the air in the Big 10 this year and their third straight week of improvement in the passing game.
Roy Roundtree continued his progression as the most consistent threat in Michigan's evolving passing game. Roundtree went +6 after going +10 and +6 in the last two games.
Rush DefensePredicted: -5
Best case scenario here is probably a Penn State like performance where Wisconsin gets 150-200 yards but it takes 40+ carries to get there.All in all, for this run defense this could have gone much worse. At the same time, it did not by any stretch go well. Especially when you factor in what the Badgers did through the air, the ground game in a strange way became secondary and 250 yards against as a secondary is something any offense would love.
Pass DefensePredicted: -1
I don't consider anything a sure thing the way Michigan's pass defense has looked lately, but this is a Wisconsin team that doesn't show any major indications of being able to greatly exploit it either.I was wrong.
PredictionsEnded the week 3-1-1 in my Big 10 picks with only Michigan letting me down.
As we all know, right now it is hard to watch <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Michigan football. And since the debacle that was the Illinois game it is getting harder to imagine a massive improvement next year. The defense is MAC quality at best right now and there are many reasons for this that have been discussed at length in other places. So the question we’re all starting to ask ourselves is this – how much better can we actually expect this team to be in 2010?
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That’s the focus of this diary. I’ve attempted to outline for each position what we might expect for 2010 and what the best case scenario is. Obviously we’ll sprinkle an additional dash of hope and prayer on natural improvement from one year to the next in the same coaching regime. I’m making the following obvious assumptions before we begin:
- There are no “major” coaching changes this off-season.
I haven’t decided if I think firing Hopson qualifies in this category because it could be a good thing (circumstantial evidence suggests he sucks at his job) or a bad thing (yet another coaching change for our linebackers to deal with).
- The recruiting class stays along its current trajectory.
This means we address the quantity part of the problem on our team but not necessarily the quality portion. There aren’t any obvious 4-year stars walking through the door next season to fix what ails this team.
- There are no unexpected defections from the roster.
I will address the obvious Donovan Warren situation, but aside from him I’m not projecting any other unexpected departures from under classmen.
- What is listed here is my opinion only.
I’ve taken into account things I’ve read, seen, or heard but don’t assume I have any magical insight into 2010. What I list here is just what I think COULD happen and what might be our best chance of improvement.
With those in mind, let’s get down to the positions. Today we’ll start with the obvious area of weakness- the defense.
DEFENSE: 2010 Outlook
There are no expectations of radical improvement from inept to spectacular. So the question comes down to how much less inept can this squad be in 2010. The two obvious departures are Graham and Brown. Warren is probably 50-50 right now to return.
- Departures – None
- Outlook – This group has performed well in 2009 and is young enough to expect incremental improvement in 2010. I’m advocating that on running downs you see Martin and Campbell starting. On passing downs VanBergen shifts back to this spot.
- Proposed Starters – Martin&Campbell (VanBergen in passing downs)
- Best Case – Solid play and a potential strength of the team.
Defensive Ends: (includes OLB for consistency)
- Departures – some guy named Brandon Graham
- Outlook – If our defense sucks this year, how will it be without Graham being triple teamed or held on every play? Roh should make a significant improvement with practice, conditioning, and experience, but he’s no Graham. Adam Patterson can’t beat out walk-on Will Heininger. The options are scary thin. I’m proposing that on running downs VanBergen gets this spot. On passing downs Obi Ezeh becomes your new DE. It strips him of his “read&react” deficiencies and turns him into a “go get the QB” player.
- Proposed Starters – Roh & VanBergen (with Ezeh in passing downs)
- Best Case – Only a moderate drop off from 2009 in pass rush, obvious improvement in run defense.
- Departures – None
- Outlook – How much improvement can we hope for with stable coaching and returning all contributors from 2009? That’s the real question. At this point I’ve given up on Ezeh and turned him into a DE (see above). I’m hoping for an improvement much like Stevie Brown had this season when his decision making was taken away from him and he could just react. Maybe there’s a possibility that Mouton could move to SLB, but I doubt it. At this point I’m hoping that Leach gets in better shape, Mouton goes back to 2008 vintage, and Fitzgerald turns into a quality starter. I have high hopes for Fitzgerald and think he could be solid.
- Proposed Starters – Mouton & Fitzgerald (Leach is the top back-up)
- Best Case – Something that doesn’t make me want to bash my head in each game.
- Departures – Stevie Brown
- Outlook – This is going to be interesting because Brown not only turned out to be surprisingly competent (though not actually what I would call “good”), but he also played almost every minute at this position. I don’t recall seeing Simmons or Jones on the field except against DSU. I’m advocating a move for Brandon Smith to this position. I think he is similar to Brown in his physical abilities but also lacking perhaps in his instincts. I think this might be the perfect place for him to get on the field and make an impact.
- Proposed Starters – Brandon Smith
- Best Case – Better run defense than Brown, the same pass defense or slightly better.
- Departures – Let’s all hope Warren stays. The whole house of cards starts to fall apart if he goes to the NFL.
- Outlook – If Warren stays I think there’s hope for this position. If he goes to the NFL then the secondary will potentially be worse than it has been in 2009 and it gets hard to see the coaching staff surviving another year. Assuming he stays, I would advocate giving the opposite spot to someone who isn’t playing this season. That means either Justin Turner or an incoming freshman. Floyd plays hard but has no physical talent. Everyone else is a special team player. If Warren leaves I think you have to move Woolfolk back to corner and hope for the best.
- Proposed Starters – Warren & Turner/Freshman.
- Best Case – With Warren there’s hope. Without Warren we’re in big trouble.
- Departures – None
- Outlook – In an ideal case I think Woolfolk moves back to the deep safety position. He’s not great at anything, but he’s good enough at everything - he’s fast, he can cover pretty well, and he’s not a total liability at tackling. I think he helps the team best if he’s playing deep safety. Likewise I think Kovacs is smart and gritty enough to be the other safety, but only if he’s playing in the box. Having Kovacs play deep, even with a year of Barwis training, is not a good thing for this team. So if Woolfolk moves to corner you either keep Kovacs in the box or you put him on the bench. After those two I think you have to hope that either Turner is a safety, Emilien gets his legs back, or a freshman like Marvin Robinson is a prodigy who can step in and be competent.
- Proposed Starters – Woolfolk & Kovacs
- Best Case – It can’t get any worse…..can it? Why do we keep asking that question every year?
A year ago you would laugh if you thought losing Stevie Brown would hurt the defense. Now you start to wonder. There are only two seniors in the entire two-deep that graduate, but both of those guys lack a viable back-up option. I am high on Smith replacing Brown, but that’s still a wildcard and there is no viable option for replacing Graham.
My suggestion of using VanBergen and Ezeh to cover for Graham attempts to replace his skills with two players. RVB can stuff the run with the best of them and has some pass-rush ability. You hope that the improvement of Roh will help mask RVB’s lack of pass rush ability on the other end. I also liked the idea mentioned on the MGoPodcast of moving Ezeh to DE. Why not? He’s big enough, he’s pretty athletic, and it helps to eliminate his lack of instincts by just having him rush the passer. It may even give you more flexibility on zone blitzes since he could (hypothetically) cover a TE….okay, strike that last sentence.
In the secondary I think they can find a corner among all of the freshmen next season. I also think Kovacs will improve a lot in a year as long as he plays near the LOS where his lack of speed can’t be exploited. But this all hinges on Warren returning.
If everything falls into place I see potential for a slight improvement if the LB improve, Warren stays, and they can find a way to mask the departure of Graham. Unfortunately this includes a lot of nested IF statements and I think the overall improvement will be minor. I have a hard time seeing this defense be any worse in 2010, but it is going to take a lot of good fortune for it to get significantly better.
Coming soon – THE OFFENSE.
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- After recording just the second triple-double in the history of the University of Michigan men's basketball program, junior guard Manny Harris (Detroit, Mich./Redford) was named as the Co-Big Ten Player of the Week on Monday afternoon (Nov. 16). Harris shared the award with Ohio State's Evan Turner, who had back-to-back double-doubles, including a triple-double of his own during the week.
After getting close three times last season, Harris recorded his first career triple-double with 18 points, 13 rebounds, and 10 assists in the Wolverines' season-opening 97-50 win against Northern Michigan (Saturday, Nov. 14). The only other U-M triple-double came 22 years ago when Gary Grant (1985-88) had 24 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists against North Carolina (March 14, 1987) in the second round of the NCAA tournament.
Harris' 10 assists marked just the third time in his career he has had 10 or more assists in a game. Last season, he had a career-best 13 against Oakland (Dec. 20, 2008) and had 10 at Ohio State (Jan. 28, 2009). Harris' 13 rebounds marked just the seventh time in his career he has had 10 or more rebounds in a game, while his 18 points earned the 55th career double-figure scoring game in his 68 career games. Overall, it marked the sixth double-double in Harris' career.
With Harris' triple-double and DeShawn Sims' double-double (22 points, 10 rebounds), the two became the first Wolverine duo to post double-doubles in the same game since the 2006-07 season when Courtney Sims (26 points, 10 rebounds) and Brent Petway (13 points, 11 rebounds) each had double-doubles against UW-Milwaukee (Nov. 15, 2006) in the championship finale of the John Thompson Challenge.
Michigan's next game is Friday night (Nov. 20) when it hosts Houston Baptist in Crisler Arena. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. and will be webcasted on BigTenNetwork.com.
How many of you believe in spooky, other-worldly happenings going on today?
(everybody who believes in psychokinesis, raise my hand).
No? Well tell me, how many of you at least believe in coincidences?
For you skeptics, consider:
Mark Twain was born and died on the day of two successive Halley's Comet appearances 75 yrs apart;
A falling baby was saved twice by the same man;
2 brothers were killed while riding the very same moped by the same taxi driven by the same driver - and even carrying the very same passengers;
Louis XVI, previously warned by an astrologer to stay home on the 21st day of each month, since that was not his lucky number, ended up being arrested, deposed and executed by guillotine on the 21st day of each month.*
Well, if that’s not enough for you, get ready for the next entry into the book of strange coincidences: The second “Upset of the Century.”
The OSU game on Saturday will be played on the 40th anniversary of what has been termed: the upset of the century in ’69.
Then, UM had been a college football power but recently had fallen on hard times, including, in the past 6 years, a 2-victory season and 3-victory season (like now)
Michigan was in the process of rebuilding (like now)
The game involved a coach who had recently come to Michigan (like now)
He was a young coach, in his 40s. (like now)
He was known for his teams’ running attack. (like now)
He had a conditioning program far more rigorous than any the players had been exposed to before. (like now)
He had many sideline outbursts. (like now)
He had come from outside of Michigan, from a state bordered by the major tributary of the Mississippi River (like now)
That year, UM had already lost to its other rival, MSU, on the road. (like now)
The Wolverines had been humiliated the year before in Columbus (like now)
OSU was known for its strong defense: (like now)
Nobody gave Michigan a chance: Ohio State was favored by 17 points (about same as this year’s game)
What happened in the actual game?
The Buckeyes had committed an unheard-of seven turnovers on the day, six interceptions and a fumble, which occurred on the final clinching play and involved a player named …(what do you think?)
--you guessed it
Wait, it only gets more interesting……
An article once made it widely known that Pryor was cast in the role of Superman before he played his first down at Ohio State.
What is not well known, however, is that Pryor thereby became part of another series of coincidences, later termed the notorious Superman curse. It’s a curse that’s spelled doom for the creators and producers of Superman, as well as many of its costars (Marlon Brando, Mariel Hemingway, Margot Kidder) and so-called Superman stars George Reeves, who committed suicide and Christopher Reeve, who became quadriplegic and died from its complications.*
In addition, Marlon Brando’s son, shortly after a Superman episode, shot and killed the lover of his half-sister, then claimed the shooting was not a crime.
(like Terrelle Pryor saying: “everybody kills”).
Moreover, one of the villain’s in Superman III became drug addicted, almost died in a fatal accident, then developed a demyelinating neuromuscular disorder
(Terrelle’s father has a demyelinating neuromuscular disorder).
What was the poor villain’s last name????
Hearing of all these strange coincidences, and fearing that the Superman curse will lead Terrelle Pryor to a game-ending fumble as occurred in 1969, OSU coach Jim Tressel this week has been furiously pouring over not game films but old episodes of Superman. He has the complete collection, anyway, since he always did kinda like guys wearing capes and tights.
Recently, however, rumors of a successful exorcism for a curse had spread far and wide, even to the most backward, primitive, illiterate societies on the continent..finally…even to Columbus, Ohio. It was then that Tressel learned about how Boston ended the Curse of the Bambino. Recall that the Red Sox opened Fenway park on the day the titanic sunk and after the year the team sold Babe Ruth to the Yankees, had an 85 year spell without a championship, while the Yankees won 24. Bostonians who had already suffered flashbacks of the British invasion centuries ago, were then having flashbacks about a ground ball going through the legs of Bill Buckner, leading them to blow their Championship hopes in ’86. So, they hired Father Guido Sarducci to sprinkle holy water on the Green Monster (the gargantuan left field wall) and exorcise the spirit haunting Fenway park. Father Guido told to Boston Faithful not to expect immediate results. He was right. Nothing happened for fifteen years. Finally, however, the exorcism worked, Boston won a title. The Curse of the Bambino had been vanquished.
Accordingly, in anticipation of a repeat of 1969, Tressell called Father Guido. He asked him to go to AA for an exorcism of on the eve of The Game. Father Guido agreed that an exorcism was badly needed, especially since Goss' halo had been removed from the stadium. Unfortunately, Father Guido told the OSU faithful that he has a different kind of "prior" engagement. He’s been asked by ND not only to remove the spirit of Charlie Weiss but also his body. And regrettably, Father Guido’s already paid for his equipment: 24-a foot Ryder truck.
So, it looks like OSU is as doomed as poor Charlie.
Stick a fork in ‘em.
The spirit lives.
All that we need the team to do is to write the next entry in this remarkable story of coincidences—a W in the record book for 2009.
So remind Pryor that the 21st of the month was not only a bad hair day for Louis XVI, who was arrested, deposed and guillotined on that day. Make Nov 21 a memorable day for TP too.
So Put Pryor on his Posterior!!
I guess I can't say for sure where I'll be a year from now on the question of whether I think RichRod should stay. I know what I expect: I still believe he's going to have M kickin butt across the land. But of course I'm way less sure than I was in September. However, this is where I am today:
For so long, it had been easy to be a Michigan football fan. The wins came like the rising sun. The bowl games, the championships, the streaks: they were us. It was *easy* to be on that train.
But these days are different. Today it is hard to be a Michigan fan. These are days of difficulty, doubt and challenge. Yet it is precisely in these times of turmoil when our fandom matters most.
Will we blow with the wind, no foundation to keep us straight during this storm? Or will we BE the foundation: a source of strength and continuity, stability for the program?
We are the Michigan fans. Our job is to support the program, support the team when all is falling apart around us.
Michigan is about being the leaders and best. That does not necessarily mean wins. Wins are not what define the Michigan Man. It is effort, perseverance, commitment that defines the Michigan Man. Michigan is about "ALL IN."
And so in the world of fandom, our role is to set the standard, to show all the other programs what it means to be the best 12th man, all in for then team.
On this front, I thought we epic failed during the coaching search. The Haloscan domain – glorious as it was - was filled with panic during those dark days. As a fanbase we were wussified. When we should have been a rock, we were soft. But now is our time to get back on track, to be the source of stability.
I loved Bo. I loved Lloyd. I am all in for RichRod. None of these men were/are perfect, each made mistakes. But each gave/give their all for Michigan. And I will give my best in my role as a fan, for M. That means perseverance, commitment. Valuing the effort of the team, even more than the wins.
With a nod to Lloyd for his moving eulogy of Bo in the Big House (quoting Kipling’s "If"), here is my MGo Pledge of Fandom:
I am a Michigan fan. I pledge allegiance to the team, to the program.
In the glory days of victory, I cheer with might and main;
In the dark days of turmoil, I cheer, again;
I will not panic. I defy the MSM.
I will keep my head, when all about me are losing theirs.
I will meet with Triumph and Disaster, and treat those imposters just the same.
I can watch the team I gave my heart to, broken;
Then stoop and cheer to build 'em up with worn-out will.
I can make one heap of all their winnings;
And cheer while they risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss.
And lose, cheer their start again at the beginnings;
And never breathe a word about their loss.
I will force my heart and nerve and sinew,
To serve their turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in me
Except the Will which says to them: 'Hold on!'
Win or lose, I cheer for their effort, I cheer for the team.
I am a Michigan fan.
I’ve been thinking of doing this for a while and I remember seeing something about this from Brian (he said he wasn’t going to do this, but encouraged some poster to go ahead and do it) a few weeks ago, so I’ve decided to get started.
I’m thinking there should be semiannual awards, 1 set for during the season, and 1 set for the offseason. Hopefully the 1st in-season awards won’t be until sometime in Jan, because hopefully the season won’t end until then. But, I figured I might as well start now just in case.
My plan is to do this in 4 stages.
Stage 1: Define the awards/categories and process.
Stage 2: Receive nominations for the awards.
Stage 3: Vote for the awards winners.
Stage 4: Post the results.
So, what awards/categories would everyone like to see? I think there are some obvious ones that I’ll list here, but please leave me any other suggestions below.
Best MGoBoard post
Funniest MGoBoard post
Worst MGoBoard post
Best poster (as in user providing the consistently best posts)
Best commenter (user providing the consistently best comments)
Comeback poster of the year (someone who got neg-banged but has since redeemed himself)
Best troll (maybe should call it best opposing fan, but basically a fan of another team who has worthwhile contributions to the site)
Best meme (maybe there’s no such thing as a good meme?)
I would also like some input on specifics of the voting process.
Should the voting be done entirely in the comments section?
Would you prefer anonymous voting? E-mail me votes or set up some online poll?
Any other suggestions?