"Coach Mattison told me what the Ravens were about, what he thought," Beyer said. "He definitely encouraged me. I hold his opinion in high regard."
As we are past one of the worst experiences ever for the Michigan football team, and looking forward to a renewed season of hope, albeit warily (freshman QB, lack of experience on Defense, etc.), I thought it would be interesting to get people's takes on an issue that periodically comes up between my friends and I, namely: is there a standard of excellence or achievement that our football program should consistently meet?
Speaking for myself, this has come up in the recent past, not with the new coaching staff (changing the program fairly radically requires patience) but very often in the last few years of the Carr administration, most often after a disappointing loss to a team we "should" have beaten IMO. We used to have debates over what constituted a consistent standard of excellence. Some would say that maintaining a clean program, adhering to our standards, graduating players, and maintaining a winning program (e.g. 8 wins and above) meets that standard. Others would say that with our resources, recruiting, facilities, and tradition, that only a consistent BCS presence---not necessarily national title games, but being consistently in the BCS mix, which typically identifies the top 8-10 teams on the country, is the true standard. Lastly, others might say that with the changing landscape of college football, the diffusion of talent more evenly distributed throughout the country, etc., that expectations are a fool's game, and that we should be grateful to compete for Big Ten titles periodically, and accept that things are so different from the Bo era, and that that time will not return again.
You know the drill: Michigan should "never" lose to Toledo, App. State, blah blah. "We are Michigan" and so on. For me, that sentiment is mistaken given the changes in the landscape mentioned above. My greatest frustrations in the past were not necessarily those losses, but rather the one game seemingly every/most years of Carr that we had in the bag but blew (you can all name the particular game). The year's of Capital One or Outback Bowls, where we thought we had the talent to go to the BCS, but didn't.
So, what do you think? Is there a standard that the program should meet? For purposes of the argument I'll define "meeting" as 4 out of every 5 years--there will always be an outlier year, where injuries and other things contribute to not meeting the standard--if there is one.
I will start by saying where I come out on the issue. I am in the camp that says we have advantages that should add up to consistent excellence on the field. My definition of excellence is simple: consistent Top Ten finishes in end of year polls. No looking for the title game, or even necessarily the BCS --though I think we should be in that mix consistently-- but rather after all the games are played, M is considered a top ten team that season.
So, your thoughts: unrealistic? About right? Don't even have the conversation because it appeals to yahoo sentiments that say we should never lose a game?
Remember that this definition allows for a weird year that does not meet this. I'm also, for the purposes of the argument, exempting last year and this one due to RR and the great amount of change the program is in.
I'm very interested in the discussion if you have time. Let's hear it..
Is anyone else a little miffed that the vents on the revolution helmets have moved the lateral stripes, well, more lateral, so the effect is that some of the helmets look like blue basketballs with yellow stripes? Really, would it be that hard to paint the stripe so it runs over the airholes, so the previous, closer to parallel appearance of the three stripes would be retained?
Maybe I'm an old fogie traditionalist, but even Bo didn't @%$# with the helmets!
Continuing with uniform stuff, I'm OK with the new road uniforms, although I wish the flank striping was staighter like the piping on the ND road jerseys. Also, I think we need to go at least one more year without anyone wearing AC's number. I like the single digit quarterback numbers, and I think it would be cool to have the wide outs wear the teen numbers (although no Michigan player could wear '11' like Larry Fitzgerald, for obvious reasons).
Finally, I doubt this would go over with the current crowd, but I'd like to go back to my freshman year (1978) and take the names off the back - at least at home. As Bo might say, "There's no 'I' (or 'ID') in team!"
Forgive me if for some this topic is either premature, or already worn out. For me, I like thinking about how we'll put the chess pieces on the board. Here is my expectation, formatted in terms of "fixed" positions that are likely to remain constant and "flex" positions that may or may not be on the field play-to-play based on formation or scheme.
7 fixed positions:
QB: 1. Forcier/Robinson (70/30), 2. Sheridan, 3. Feagin, Apocalypse
RB: 1. Minor, 2a. Brown/Shaw/V. Smith, 2b. Grady/Cox
Remaining 4 some combination of:
WR1: 1. Matthews/Hemingway, 2. Savoy/Rogers
WR2: 1. Stonum, 2. Stokes, 3. Rogers/Roundtree
Slot (1 to 2): 1a. Odoms, 1b. T. Robinson, 3. Gallon/Stokes
FB: 1. Moundros
TE: 1. Koger, 2. Webb
DE2: Van Bergen
SS: B. Smith
FS: M. Williams
Remaining 2 some combination of:
LB/S: S. Brown
Nickel: Woolfolk/J. Turner
**Another way of looking at D; likely front seven combinations:
3-4 -- [Graham, Martin, Van Bergen] + [Mouton, Ezeh, Fitzgerald/Demens, S. Brown]
4-3 -- [Graham, Martin, Campbell/Patterson/Segasse, Ven Bergen] + [Mouton, Ezeh, Fitz/Demens/Brown]
Just for kicks, if we took the field tomorrow--
First play offense:
LT - RT: Ortmann, Schilling, Molk, Moosman, Dorrestein
First play defense:
DE: Van Bergen
S/LB: S. Brown
SS: B. Smith
FS: M. Williams
First off, this story is really more of an admission that I have an unhealthy relationship with Michigan football. I should not be spending the mental cycles I do or even taking the time to post about it (not sure which is worse).
This panic attack occurred in the morning hours, shaving in front of the mirror. Of course you are tired, of course you are on autopilot; you have does this so many times before. Having watched spring practice video late last night, thoughts of our young quarterback comes drifting top of mind.
“You know, he did look pretty accurate… and that quick release… has to be much better than last year, just has to…” I fade back to reality to inspect a spot I missed before restarting my musings.
“… he also looked comfortable making a pitch as well, smooth operator… might be as good as his hype…”
The humming of my electric razor only briefly interrupts my thoughts as I shift to my neck, God I hate shaving my neck with an electric, always having to go back over areas to clean it up.
“…Ohio State is replacing 31 players… how in the hell will they be so favored at the end of the year?... Pryor didn’t even start every game last year… Freshman are not Freshman by that time of the season… Tressel is such a weasel… the fact that he spawned Douchetonio makes me hate him even more… jackass…”
Then, like cold water being splashed in my face, the realization of the strange QB recruiting path taken last year and the events that transpired this spring joined forces to jolt me from my quaint musings. It felt like that part of the movie where a bunch of scenes start to rapidly flash as some realization sets in for the main character. My head was spinning with my thoughts pinging around.
“Jesus, we almost had Newsome and Beaver. They seemed good on paper, but there were questions of mechanics with Newsome, another year of missed receivers. Beaver was pretty slight, had a shoulder problem. Newsome and Sheridan running the offense? Passing would be an afterthought, defenses would stack the line again. If we are projected 6-6 with Forcier, what would it be with those two? Jesus, could we have gone with a four win season after winning three games? Talk about the empire collapsing. How damn miserable would that be? I can’t have another imploded fall. If they were calling for RR’s head last year, we would be a media punching bag, what a disaster…”
As fast as it came, it all went as I returned back to earth to finish what I was doing in the first place.
“Do I have ADD? Why in the hell do I even consider this crap? Maybe I need a therapist, better put it on mgoblog…”
So I was busy last night and missed checking this board. When I checked in this morning, I read through maybe the 16th thread about whether Tate or Denard is going to be a better Quarterback. Followed by the 20th thread or so debating the burning issue of who is fastest between the two. And another positing the simply ludicrous notion that "Tate isn't getting his props," when a main feature of this board is unbridled enthusiasm for Tate and his prospects. Oh, and the lack of "props" is apparently based upon the notion that we underestimate how fucking fast Tate is. Out of approx. 85 replies I saw only a couple debating the relevance of the entire premise.
Several of the above were started by the same posters, one of whom is apparently A-obsessed with the importance of speed at QB, B- a stone loon, or C- a troll, or of course D- all of these.
My faith in our community has been shaken. This board, alone among the boards I frequent regarding sports and M sports, has been a beacon of wit, intelligence and informed commentary. Of course there are exceptions. Certainly a sporadic debate about minor things is ok. But WTF? This board is the only board I actually enjoy reading. MLive and the Freep are full to the brim of fools and uninformed, raucous name calling. Et tu, mgoblog?
We don't give a fuck about whether Tate or Denard is fastest because for a QB it simply does not matter.
Anyone who says they know which of these two freshman will be better does not know what they are talking about.
While not entirely predictive of success, there is more than enough evidence to validate that, on balance, recruiting ratings matter.
New posters should be required to audit the board for 2 months before posting (emotional response based on the above)
Or perhaps I'm wrong, in which case you will say so.
EDIT: I Love Brian, Tom VH and guests. I also enjoy reading many of the regular posters. My post was concerned with the quality of posts, and maintaining what I think are the differences between mgoblog and mlive etc. that make this site so enjoyable, FWIW.
Dear Young Man,
You were the means to my first UM football game. Though the Event was very important to me, some friends and I were a little behind schedule. I distinctly remember marveling at how the stadium could hold my entire hometown. And my, the freedom of being around so many unattractive women. How carefree and joyful it was!
In our exchange, there was no need for names. I approached you somewhere on the way to the stadium. My friends had tread this path before and did not feel my apprehension. The remotely illicit nature of our transaction made Michigan's ovular stadium seem an ill-fit for this square peg, but things began anyway. Both your baseball cap and your introduction to puberty appeared new. You found humor in my mammoth beard and ridiculous glasses, but were polite enough to try and conceal it. Thank you for that, by the way.
I do not recall the agreed price for the tickets. I don't remember how much money I brought with me to see the game. But I do remember, after we were swept in a crowd of women who worried their purses were too big to comply with stadium rules, that I recounted my money.
"Jeff Smoker smokes crack!" said the black guy selling t-shirts just outside the stadium.
I had an extra twenty and was missing a George Washington. I shorted you 19 bucks, kid. I turned and looked for you. When I told my friends, they did the same. You were nowhere to be seen and the Brown Jug beckoned.
Yes, it is many years after the fact. And, to be honest, I don't wake up in cold sweats thinking about it. But during long drives, or when I get together with friends who rib and remind me about it, I feel bad. You were not had, child. I am just a clumsy idiot. Please forgive me for the mistake.