"The University of Illinois is also in turmoil. The university sports an Interim Chancellor, an Interim Athletic Director, and an Interim Football Coach; the game will be played at Soldier Field, making this an Illini Interim Home Game."
That was outstanding. I can not remember a more satisfying win at least since the Penn St. Henne to Manningham and this probably trumps that too. This team has something very special about it. Something that makes me feel like even the raised expectations of this and every other fan won't feel like a crushing weight to them. With your true freshman QB cool as a cucumber, how can this team really feel the pressure? We can take much from this performance. Here are...
- Recruiting tons of wide receivers is a vital component for success for this system. Mathews came up big in this game and we are lucky that he stuck around. He has the skills to play in the NFL IME and could have gone elsewhere to showcase his skills. We have all wondered at the shear number of wide receivers being recruited but I see now why we can never have enough. Being able to insert viable options when others are injured is vital for making this offense move.
- Can we all feel good now about Rich Rod's coaching ability? Good game plan going in? Check. Solid half time adjustments? Check. Great clock management and play-calling in crunch time? Check. The man is the Wizard of Offense.
- That may be the most potent offense that we face this season. It really showed how the deep passing game can open up the running lanes and make ND's somewhat ponderous running backs look like world beaters. I think our defense held together just enough here and should have easier sledding going forward. I was especially impressed with GERG's adjustments at half time shutting down ND's offense in the 3rd Qtr.
- Brandon Minor is our best running option. No surprise there but still nice to confirm it.
Michigan's schedule lines up nicely for the next few weeks. Two more home games in a row should help this team gel even further. The progression in opponent quality is nice as well with Eastern probably being improved but still Eastern (helps with the possible letdown game), then Indiana a slight step up leading to our first road test at Sparty. This could be the best set up we have ever had for a long winning streak. So what we all must tell ourselves is: He is a freshman. He will make mistakes that cost us games we should win.
Still I am thinking 8-4, possibly 9-3 and playing on New Years Day at this point.
I hope that everyone was able to enjoy this game and that everyone made it home safe and sound. Have a great week.
I just spoke to Aramide Olaniyan again (for those concerned, he's off campus now). The win seemed to push Michigan over the edge for Olaniyan. I'm not interested in writing a whole piece, so here's some quotes from our discussion.
- "This was way more amazing than I thought it would be. The fans were crazy, I couldn't believe it. This was the first place I've been that fans recognized me."
- "There's definitely some things I need to consider now. I don't want to say too much, but I need to sit down and discuss some things with my parents. I'm taking an official visit in December, and my parents will be there with me, so I want them to see what I just saw."
- "I actually got to talk to coach Robinson, and some other coaches. I also got to see how I would be used in the defense (the quick, or OLB). I love the defensive scheme. I think they played well today."
- "I've never seen anything like that before. I went to a couple games last year, and this was crazy."
- "I love Michigan, and that definitely exceeded my expectations."
- "I talked to Austin White, Dior Mathis, and Devin Gardner. They were all cool guys, I got along with them really well."
It seems like we've pushed ahead to the forefront. As expected, I don't think he'll make a decision until after his parents see it for themselves in December. I was supposed to talk to Josh Furman today, too, but that might not be for a couple days now.
This weekend is a big home weekend for many of the Michigan sports. Volleyball is hosting their first game as this diary is being posted, field hockey hosts a pair of teams, and men's soccer also plays host to a pair of opponents. Golf also opens this weekend on the road, while women's soccer and cross country also hit the road. Paul is also looking to make a few appearances to games this weekend. Hopefully we'll get another solid post from him.
- Friday 12:30p vs Fairfield,
- Friday 7:30p vs Morehead State,
- Saturday 12:30 vs VCU,
- Saturday 7:30p vs Missouri
Volleyball is hosting the Michigan Challenge this weekend (full schedule here), and there will be games starting from 10am to 7:30p both today Friday and tomorrow Saturday. Michigan faces off with the above mentioned teams, none of which are ranked.
Michigan played a bit sloppy against EMU earlier in the week, playing down to the Eagles level. Michigan did allow the subs to finally get in some quality PT during the match, and did well to fight back when behind. That said, they should never have let EMU get ahead. Photo on the right by Eastern Michigan Athletics
#26 ranking (also receiving votes section), 2-1-0 record
- Friday 7:30p vs
- Sunday 2:30p vs
Michigan soccer is also hosting an invitational this weekend. Neither opponent is expected to give Michigan many problems.
#20 ranking, 1-3 record
- Saturday 12p vs #5 Connecticut
- Sunday 1p vs Ball State
Connecticut will be a tough game for Michigan, but it is the home opener, so hopefully Michigan can use a bump from the home football crowd who may show up a bit early and give some extra home field advantage (hint hint). Connecticut is coming off a weekend where they defeated #11 Penn State in State College. They will be tough. Ball State is 2-2 with a loss to #30 Villanova.
Unranked, 3-3-0 record
- Friday 5p (ET) at Cal State-Fullerton
- Sunday 3p (ET) at Southern California
Cal State-Fullerton is winless thus far in the season (0-4) but will be an interesting road test for Michigan. USC also hasn't been that strong this season, posting a 1-3-0 record, with that one win coming over Cal State-Fullerton.
- Men's: Friday 5:30p @ State College, Pa
Michigan is sending 10 runners for the 5.2 mile race. This race is being hosted by Penn State, and the course will approximate the the Nov. 1st BigTen Conference Championship course. Picture on right by Mark Vloet, posted at MGoBlue.
- Women's: Saturday/Sunday @ East Lansing, MI
- Men's: Saturday/Sunday @ Zionsville, IN
The women are facing a par 72 and 6,237 yards on the Forest Akers West Golf Course. The match is 54 holes, 36 on day one, 18 on day two. Five players per team will play, with the lowest four scores per round counting. This will be the first tournament for Coach Cheryl Stacy, who was promoted from assistant coach to head coach this year.
- The #21 ranked men's team also faces a par 72, but at 7,465 yards at the Wolf Run Country Club. They too face 54 holes, 36 on day one and 18 on day two. Michigan has had success at Wolf Run, winning the team title last year, and having a now-alumnus medaling as an individual two years ago.
Friday 1:45p: Volleyball Won 3-0, 25-9(!), 25-17, 25-16. Subs and freshmen made it into this game as it was all Michigan, all game. Zimmerman (.727 hitting percentage! on 11 attempts) and Paz each had 8 kills to lead the team. Hunt had plenty of attempts, but just wasn't landing the points. We held Fairfield to a .066 hitting percentage, which is just absolutely ridiculous. They were definitely overmatched.
Friday 11:30p: Everything is done for the night, and the only game Michigan lost was in women's soccer. Michigan lost 0-2 to Cal State-Fullerton, but the game was closer than what it appeared. Michigan put two balls into net, one being called back by an off sides call and another by a foul call.
The game was particularly rough (21 total fouls), leading to a pair of red cards (one per team) and a pair of penalty kicks (also one per team). Amanda Bowery was the red card for Michigan, as she and a CSF player were both ejected at the same time, making me guess there was a women's soccer fight.
Men's soccer went much better with a 3-0 win over
Lipscomb Wright State. Mauro Fettuzi doubled his goal total tonight from 2 to 4 with a pair of set play goals. He converted a penalty kick and a free kick for goals. Freshman Kofi Opare had the game winner.
Men's cross country also saw a Michigan victory in less than favorable conditions of mud and wetness. Michigan came in with a final score of 25, with the next closest teams coming in at 40, 81 and 126 (just for perspective). Michigan had five players finish in the top ten, including Bobby Aprill in second place with a time of 26 minutes, 27 seconds.
Correction: I had the men's soccer schedule backwards. It has been corrected there and in the Friday 11:30p update.
Saturday 5:30p: Volleyball won 3-0 over VCU in the early afternoon. Michigan won by scores of 25-11, 25-17, and 26-24. Juliana Paz had a ridiculous 8 service aces. She and Alex Hunt shared the lead with 14 kills a piece. The VCU coach received a yellow card for being a bit too animated.
Field hockey was last seen being down 5-1 with Bryn Bain netting the only goal. Christi Barwick saw some time in goal after Paige Pickett gave up 4 goals on 4 shots on goal against in just the first 28 minutes of play. Barwick only had 2 shots on goal against her, but she also gave up a goal.
last week on these very pages, THE KNOWLEDGE predicted that M will easily beat WMU 31-17
some people emailed THE KNOWLEDGE and said there is no way M will win that easily, and some gave negative points for THE KNOWLEDGE
where are those people now?
THE KNOWLEDGE has basked in glory the last week, getting the prediction correct as usual - even down to M's exact score
this, week THE KNOWLEDGE shall predict the outcome of the ND game. THE KNOWLEDGE shall not post again in the next couple of weeks because EMU and Indiana are not worth posting about
but, THE KNOWLEDGE shall return before the MSU game
after last week's performance, THE KNOWLEDGE is somewhat worried about his original season prediction of 12-1 (with a Rose Bowl win over an overmatched USC
but, THE KNOWLEDGE shall not go back on his word
you see, THE KNOWLEDGE has more integrity in his finger nail than Rosenberg and Snyder have put together
onto this week's prediction
M will handily defeat the domers 34-21
the doubters may doubt, but after today's game
THE KNOWLEDGE shall be proven right once again
THE KNOWLEDGE shall soar and bask in glory again
In 2007 and 2008, Notre Dame played 15 of such teams and went 2-13 (13%) against them: 1-8 and 1-5 in each respective year. Contrast this with an 8-2 (80%) record against teams in the bottom third of PED. Free advice, ND: you might consider scheduling less "Club Decent" teams in the future.
Almost no victories come against "Club Decent" teams.
The Irish had 10 wins combined the last 2 seasons. In 2007, 2/3 of those wins were against bad PED teams (#32, #101, and #84), and 6/7 were last year (#112, #79, #33, #83, #115, #103, and #87). This means opponents in Irish wins in the past 2 years average out to #83 in PED -- worse than 70% of all teams.
What do you call an exception that's not really an exception?
The only wins against decent pass defenses (#32, #33) in the past two years came against two below average teams: UCLA (6-7) in 2007 and Purdue (4-8) in 2008. Due to injury, UCLA had to play a third-string freshman walk-on qb, and were also without their starting RB. The turnover differential ended up +7 for the Irish. This sounds familiar for Michigan fans. The victory against a very poor, 4-8 Purdue team was in South Bend, where the Boilermakers rarely win (1-15 in their last 16 games). The turnover differential was +1 for the Irish, with the only turnover coming as a pick 6.
What did we learn from Nevada? We don't yet know where Nevada will stack up in PED for 2009, but we do know that last year they were #85, and an oft-cited #119/119 in pass defense, crushing #118 by 25 yards/game. I wouldn't expect that unit sans 1 free safety to be much better. Statistically, even the 3-9 2007 team would very likely have beaten Nevada.
Will Notre Dame break the trend this year and be able to beat "Club Decent" teams? I'm not sure how optimistic I would be as an Irish fan. While 2008 seemed to be an improvement over 2007, how much of that was the schedule? Their record was no better against the "Club"; they simply played fewer teams. 3 wins (2007) - 4 "Club Decent" opponents = 7 wins (2008). Yes, they have another year of experience, and Jon Tenuta is calling the shots on D now, but is that enough to significantly buck a trend that went seemingly unchanged from year 1 to year 2?
Is Michigan a "Club Decent" team this year?
Michigan was a poor PED team (#79) last year, suggesting that ND would beat them -- and they did. Is there reason to believe the Wolverines will change that this year, thus suggesting a different result? There are many positive signs. New DC Greg Robinson has brought a new, attacking defensive scheme, which is designed to put constant pressure on the QB. This was very effective against a large (very similar in size to ND), veteran line for WMU. Stevie Brown's move to SLB should also help, bringing his speed and athleticism up in pass coverage instead of a larger, slower LB attempting to guard receivers in space.
Tim and Brian, I think we can finally put this name issue to rest. His name is Conelius (no "r"). It's that way under his profile in the Spartan High program and the home announcer (who has no southern accent) says Conelius. I think that's as good as we're going to get until he signs a LOI or someone actually asks him. I'll be glad to scan and send his profile to either (or both) of you, if you aren't willing to just take my word for it, if you can get me your email address. I'd post it as an attachment/image here, but I don't have a scanner at home and I wanted to get this update posted. Also, MGoObes, you owe me an apology for what you said during my week one Jones update. It's not just because I live in the south that I hear Conelius; it's because it's his friggin' name. Just because I live in the south doesn't mean we are all hillbilly's who talk with the stereotypical southern drawl. What you said was just ignorant.
A comment about last week's game:
Sorry, I missed it. I was up north for the holiday weekend. They won. Tim posted some comments on it with links to local news stories here: http://mgoblog.com/content/friday-night-lights-2009-9-8#comments.
Bad officiating and bad coaching equals handing a victory to the jaws of defeat. Spartan High should have won this game. It was 7-7 at the half and Spartanburg actually lead 14-7 through the third quarter. Then it went all down hill from there. Two horribly blown calls lead to two Sumter scores as the defense seemed to totally lose focus and that was pretty much all she wrote, despite a pretty good night from Conelius Jones. The bad coaching comes in from allowing the lack of discipline to occur, but also some extremely questionable play-calling. Someone needs to really tell this coach what is blatantly obvious: Conelius Jones is a much better passer than the play-calling gives him credit for. Designed runs on second and third and long completely disrespects this kid's ability. Oh yeah, the game... Sumter 34, Spartanburg 21. The end.
Conelius Jones continues to impress me with his arm, decision-making, and excellent play-action skills. As I've said consistently now, Jones is not all that fast (he's not slow, but he's more quick and shifty than fast), but what has become obvious is that this kid really has the potential to develop as a passer. He shows good presence in the pocket and makes good decisions with where to go with the ball (usually). However, he does tend to bail out and run sooner than he should sometimes, which indicates that he's not processing multiple reads consistently. I'm pretty sure this is normal for quarterbacks who are known to be more mobile, at least at this point in their career. His arm strength continues to impress as does his accuracy. His two interceptions weren't indicative of accuracy issues. The first one was a good play by the corner on a slightly under thrown ball and the second one appeared to be a case where he just didn't see the defender. Interestingly, both picks came at the goal line. The first one was at a rather key time (it would have tied the game at 28 in the 4th quarter, but the second one really wasn't (it was 34-21 Sumter with about 30 seconds left in the game). These were his first two interceptions of the season, so I'm not really thinking there's much to take away from it other than interceptions happen sometimes. He also seemed to hold onto the ball a little two long even when he hung in the pocket (as evidenced by his 3 sacks). I'll keep this on the list to re-evaluate in future games. Overall, Jones was very effective through the air and put up his highest passing yard total of the season. In fact, he's increased his yardage each week this season. He was also effective on the ground putting up his highest rushing yardage total of the season. My favorite Jones play of the game also happened to come on the ground when on 4th and 7 in the 4th quarter he absolutely trucked a Sumter defender at the sticks to get the first down to keep a drive alive that resulted in a touchdown with about 4 minutes left to cut the deficit to 7 points. Unfortunately the defense couldn't stop Sumter on their next possession (see aforementioned defensive meltdown), so it was ultimately for naught. Jones put up about 70 yards on the ground (72 by my count, but I'll wait until the official numbers tomorrow) which is pretty impressive considering that Sumter played almost the entire first quarter with all eleven guys within 8 yards of the line of scrimmage. This changed when Jones torched them through the air on their third possession (5 for 5, 53 yards, TD (19 yards)). It was obvious that they decided to dare Jones to pass. He did. They paid for it. After that they played it much more traditionally. The one thing that I can say is that Jones isn't putting up his passing numbers by big plays. Rather, he's been very effective at making good decisions and finding receivers on underneath or quick routes and putting the ball in the right place at the right time. All-in-all a good personal performance by Jones, but unfortunately it was not a total team effort tonight.
(1) Started at own 29 / punt / rush: 4 (15 yards)
(2) Started at own 35 / punt / pass: 0-1
(3) Started at own 32 / TD / rush: 4 (4 yards) / pass: 5/5 (53 yards), TD (19 yards)
(4) Started at own 34 / punt / pass: 1/2 (14 yards)
(5) Started at own 47 / punt / pass: 0/1 / sack: 2 (-13 yards)
(6) Started at own 31 / punt / rush: 3 (15 yards) / pass: 2/2 (5 yards)
(7) Started at own 28 / punt / rush: 3 (22 yards)
(8) Started at own 31 / INT / rush: 2 (-6 yards) / pass: 2/3 (52 yards), INT
(9) Started at own 35 / TD / rush: 3 (16 yards), TD / pass: 5/8 (41 yards)
(10) Started at own 48 / INT / rush: 1 (12 yards / pass: 2/5 (22 yards), INT / sack: 1 (-2 yards)
Passing: 17/27, 187 yards, TD, 2 INT
Rushing: 20 carries, 72 yards, TD
Sacks: 3, -15 yards
Note - obviously these are not official stats, but should be in the ballpark
The following are the comments that I wrote down throughout the game:
- Name is Conelius in the program and as pronounced by the PA announcer
- Lofted two short passes - kind of scary
- Bootleg with nice touch and accuracy under pressure
- 11 in box - dare to pass
- Nice accuracy on 17 yard TD pass / nice loft
- Excellent play action fakes (this will be key for running Michigan's offense)
- Nice placement on pass to flat to running back
- Took big hit on run and sprung right back up quickly
- DB undercut ball on INT at goal line
- More athletic and shifty than fast
- Long on deep flag
- 7 yard 4th down fist down - trucked defender for first down
- Really seems to make good decisions despite terrible play-calling
Questions asked last time:
David - What were your impressions on his running ability? Can he be effective carrying the ball 15+ times a game?
Shouldn't be a problem. He carried 20 times tonight and showed very little fatigue (i.e. just as effective later in the game). Took some big hits, but took them well. Even gave a couple good shots to would be defenders. He's not a small guy.
MGoObes - a solution for the name thing. his nickname is trill, perhaps we can use that in quotation marks until the home opener? just throwing that out there
Unable to verify the nickname, but his real name has been verified.
Spartan High hosts Greenwood High. I should be there, but we also close on our house that day, so there's an outside chance that I won't be there. Greenwood is 2-1 after getting thumped by Dorman tonight 35-14. Greenwood is regarded as a tough opponent, so it should be a good test.
Again, as always, if anyone has any questions I will obviously be glad to try to answer them to the best of my ability. Also, if anyone has anything they would like for me to evaluate in the coming weeks please let me know and I will add them to my list.