This list is completely arbitrary and not a genuine analysis of the relative merits of state fossils.
IMO, starting this year, and continuing with the new coaching staff, we will beging to see Michigan winning more of their bad weather/bad field type games. couple reasons why i think this is going to happen.
#1 Michigans offense will be able to play the same way regardless of playing conditions. A zone read is a zone read, short quick passes are weather resistent for the most part. Weather never effects runners like it does defenders trying to stop the runner. A runner is able to anticipate cuts, and make moves on a slick track, while defenders have to adjust and react effecting their ability to stay with an offense.
#2 Lighter better conditioned athletes are able to have lighter feet for longer periods of time. getting your cleats up and down with quick motions is the best way to play in bad weather. Lighter better conditoned athletes are in better balance, and have the abilbity to sustain that ballance for an entire game. Michigans recomitment to s and c will pay huge dividends in nasty weahter.
#3 Better fundamentals on defense, coupled with faster players means that the Michigan defense will be in positions to make plays quicker, and without waisted steps. The least amount of false steps in bad weather the better your chances of not slipping and sliding. I anticipate seeing michigan players look faster on defense becasue of the commitment of coach shafer and his staff to the starts/stants/foot progressions/read step/ fundamentals of defensive football.
Maybe its just wishfull thinking, but its been my experience in bad weather that defense is hurt the most, allong with deep throws, and that there is more premium on fundamentals.
As the news from the negotiations came out this morning I felt a great sense of relief... as the next few days pass we will hear all kinds of theories, fantasies and BULL SH*T about what is going on and why it happened and "how come the president and AD did not testify?" Who cares how it went down? IT'S DOWN! It may leave a small pin sized bruise on the program, but come late August the next chapter will be written (and written well I might say). The W's and L's (or just showing that they are improving every week), and the Grady thing are much more crucial to setting the tone of the program as they move forward... as far as I AM CONCERNED this is now water under the bridge. Let us play some BALL!
I am so looking forward to seeing this new program mature this season. I feel that all of this stuff about Rich Rod, and players leaving, and the experts thinking that the cupboard is empty, and on and on... will ultimately fuel these players and coaches! NO ONE CAN MEASURE HEART and DETERMINATION...
I leave you with this - "NOTHING WORTH WHILE IS EVER EASY."
(IN THE LONG RUN WE WILL SEE ALL OF THIS WAS/IS WORTHWHILE)
I know Brian hates this, but I think its fun to talk about the best player to wear a number.
My best 52...
Rod Payne, C, All American 1996
Very shortly, these will be moving to Wolverine Liberation Army (http://wolverineliberationarmy.blogspot.com) exclusively - but since Kevin Grady's story started here I will finish it here.
***Kent County Jail, Michigan***
MyFairGrady: well aint this just a bitch
MOboozeMOproblems: tell me about
MyFairGrady: coach mo?
MOboozeMOproblems: I know what you are going through, Kevin.
MyFairGrady: man whatever happened to you after pimpslapping that waitress or whatever
MOboozeMOproblems: Well son, you don't get many chances to be a Michigan Man, fair or not. After I blew mine, I coached the worst franchise in the NFL to the cusp of the playoffs, got fired by a guy who can't be bothered to live near the team he runs, replaced by a doofus who couldn't coach a JV powderpuff team, and have spent the last half decade smoking cigarette butts collected from the trash outside Meijer and stealing half finished drinks from people in the bar.
MyFairGrady: is that my future dawg?
MOboozeMOproblems: Hopefully not Kevin, hopefully not. Just pray you get another shot and don't mess it up. That is what separates the wheat from the chaff at this level. We all mess up, it's in how we respond.
MyFairGrady: so what ur sayin is i should break mcguffs spine
MOboozeMOproblems: Well, that might make you feel better in the short term - like downing a bottle of floor varnish because you ran out of gin. But in the long term, you should work hard - go to your friends houses to "visit", collect the change from underneath the cushions, and save up for a new bottle of gin. It might take a while, but you'll be much happier and spend far less time in the hospital.
MyFairGrady: i aint sure thats applicable
MOboozeMOproblems: Sure it is Kevin. Think of every extra wind sprint, every extra squat, every extra fight with Coach Barwis and his polar bear, as another nickel on your way to that sweet, sweet bottle of gin.
MyFairGrady: he killed the polar bear cuz it was eating high fructose corn syrup
MOboozeMOproblems: Now that's a man.
MyFairGrady: so you think ill get another shot coach?
MOboozeMOproblems: You never know. Coach Rodriguez seems like a decent man. But if you don't, you can always come play for me. I've got an offer to coach the expansion Battle Creek Potawotami in AFL3.
MyFairGrady: ill keep that in mind coach mo
MOboozeMOproblems: That's good, son. Work hard. Don't be a loser like so many others.
DoYouSmellWhatBarakaIsCooking: yo bitches
DoYouSmellWhatBarakaIsCooking: ne1 got a light for this jay
Part III will continue later this week...
- Lloyd was really adamant about his methods. If coaches were things in an electronic lab, Lloyd was an inductor - extremely opposed to change. He really believed in his methods -- at every level. This will be the common theme in this entry. He was against change fractally ( if you zoom out in every scale, you could see Lloyd hated change ). He waited a whole quarter before he changed his offensive signals though someone alerted him that Northwestern is stealing his signals. He waited almost a whole game during "The Disaster" till he realized Mike Hart was picking apart the Appalachians. He waited until the bowl game till he realized that his 4th year QB in shotgun can pick apart a defense with his audibles. Something to get excited about the addition of RR is, Rich looks for mismatches fractally. Be it a directional punt to nullify your returner or putting lighting fast small guys against your LBs / safeties or working your team out in the off-season, he looks for mismatches at every level.
- Mike Debord. was an absolute disaster coaching Central Michigan. If there was one example of cronyism in sports, this was it. Debord was fired from Central Michigan but two years removed from that he finds himself coaching offense at Michigan. Even I can throw Rock, Rock and more Rock and I wish I was a friend of Lloyd. I hate Debord and Michigan fans aren't big fans of Debord and if you like Debord you are an Ohio State fan. This is a welcome addition by subtraction. Again, the first point manifests itself a little. When Lloyd fired Malone, he was incubating Debord and refused to look outside. Debord was coaching special teams and suddenly he's an OC. ( You have to go to the West Virginia to find special teams coaches promoted to HCs, but that's OT anyway )
- Belief about presence of a Running Game and a solid defense. This was a comment made by someone in Victors Board. Lloyd played as if he had a solid running game ( in spite of opposing teams picking apart the Zone Blocking ) and a Solid Defense ( in spite of the defense getting gassed ). Rose Bowl against USC, Tied 3-3 at half. USC couldn't find any lanes running against Michigan. Steve Sarkisian and Lane Kiffin decide not to run again from the 3rd quarter. Lloyd sticks with his plan, hopes to score a field goal and hopes his defense can continue dominating USC's offense. Michigan's pass defense was picked apart by JD Booty. USC's pass defense was not even tested though Chad Henne, I think, may be better than the Stanford QB who beat USC next year. Not to mention, Mike Debord says he hadn't seen certain blitz schemes from USC ever. Only Jay Paterno is probably worse.
- Not being gracious enough after losing / Press conferences. I personally think that Lloyd was so devoted to Michigan and his players that he takes losing personally and is so disappointed that he's grumpy during handshakes and press conferences. Anyway, he doesn't really endear himself to neutral observers which is probably slightly worse for Michigan Football. Rich is afterall a snake oil salesman. http://runupthescore.files.wordpress.com/2007/08/ap02.jpg
- Special Teams. They weren't really special. When was the last time we blocked a punt ? Brandon Minor is so not made for punt returns. Fake punts ? Fractally opposed to change.
- Performance against Ohio State. Just like whatever Penn State does falls into the lap of Michigan, Lloyd simply didn't have an answer for Tressel. Bad luck ( when he had the best defense, Troy Smith was winning Heisman ) or not, tOSU exactly knew how to beat Lloyd's teams. Now, if at all OSU has a weakness, it's defending Spread Option as evidenced by last year's Illinois game. And you can't find better Spread Option teachers than Rich Rod. Tressel is a wee bit nervous as he sent his assistants to USF this off-season to find out how USF beat WVU. Now this is a completely different Michigan team Tressel will face.. fact remains this won't be a Lloyd coached team. As Rich gets players suited for his system and since Tressel doesn't run Spread Option (so his defense can't simulate exactly), when the top 2 athletic teams in the Big 10 face-off we can expect Rich to have his share of victories. ( Sidenote : Les Miles showed how to rattle Boeckman... Pressure him. )
- Strength and Conditioning. EEEEBarwis.
Finally! My 2008 Football Preview from The Wolverine came in the mail! WOOO it's like 200 pages of pure Michigan Football Overkill. Almost the best Michigan Preview Mag....Gotta give the nod to HTTV, of course. I immediately started reading, and came across a really interesting blurb entitled "Front Seven Has to Rebuild Reputation". That, of course, is a hell of an understatement. Here are few facts about the 2007 Defense:
- Michigan gave up over 200 yards rushing in the last three games of the year. They hadn’t given up 200 yards rushing in three straight games in the past 10 years.
- They allowed 156.8 yards rushing per game, their worst showing since, get this, 1969! Weird.
- They gave up 17 rushing touchdowns, the most since 1981 when they started tracking rushing touchdowns. Strange that they didn’t start tracking rushing TD’s until 1981…..how hard is it to record rushing TD’s? I digress…
- 7 running backs totaled over 100 yards against the Wolverines D…….whereas only 1 managed this feat against that dominate 2006 D……..resulting in…..
- Michigan giving up over 2000 YARDS RUSHING last year overall…the first time that has EVER HAPPENED. Wow.
The article goes on to tout how great the pass defense was last year, but, come on, how could it not be with the sieve like quality of our front 7??? Why would anyone bother throwing passes when the rush D is that craptastic?
Anyway, all credit for the stats goes to The Wolverine on this one, just thought I’d share this startling information. I’m pretty sure Brian wrote a post on this before…..but maybe not? I can’t remember.
Now the 2006 defense, in all its glory, was mentioned here. Who could forget that D??? Anthony Morelli certainly won’t…ha ha. Not to give the 2007 D any leeway, but Jesus did we lose a butt load of talent from that squad. When you think back, a good portion of the primetime talent on that team left for the NFL. Just glancing at that list somewhat explains the god awful results from 2007: Woodley, Branch, Harris, Burgess and Hall are all in the NFL. Woodley and Hall alone are two of the top defenders ever to put on the winged helmet…if you peruse the record book their names are as constant as those of Mark Messner and Charles Woodson respectively.
The 2007 defense certainly disappointed. Their failure is quite historically significant, and perhaps it says something about the great Ron English. Perhaps he’s not all that we thought? In 2006 he was the lord and savior, but maybe those kids were just so good that any bumbling buffoon could have done at least a respectable job of coaching them up. 2007 really showed how green English was and is as a coordinator. Although he seemed to be really made out of that Bo mold… a tough, hard nosed motivator who the players respected, perhaps he was a little overrated. I, of course, wish him all the best of luck in the future, but am excited about what Shafer brings to the program. His past indicates that he will have one hell of a scary defense, hopefully giving us more moments like the indelible image of Branch walking away from a decapitated Morelli in 2006.