here's one vote for "John Beilein's head in a Futurama jar"
I usually like the TMQ on ESPN, even when he's ripping on coaches en masse, however he did something of which he is a huge criticizer. He didn't Check his FACTS!!
IF you are familiar with the article, he often critisizes other writers, annnouncers, and sports figures for not checking his facts, when he did not in his newest article on ESPN. He often notes that mistakes are printed on page 1 in the New York Times, but corrections are printed on page 37.
"Abney notes public money is being thrown in to make the Michigan
Stadium super-lavish for the well-off, even as the university's tuition
price has risen almost two-thirds in this decade. He writes, "Not only
are public funds being used to build luxury suites the average fan and
typical university alum will never be able to afford, the cost to
purchase access to said seating areas is considered a charitable
contribution and therefore billed to the federal taxpayer."
Now we know that the athletic department completely funds itself, which may be a rarity in college sports, but is true in the case of Michigan. In fact the stadium construction is being funded by private donations and the Athletic Department. So public funds are not being used to build luxury tax shelters for the very rich.
Now many people will aruge that the since many of the "donations" needed to have a suite are tax deductible that it is a tax shelter for the very rich. Possibly they are right, but it's not the sinister thing Easterbrook makes it out to be.
".... federal taxpayers will be hit for about $16 million in a year in
subsidies for the rich people sitting in the fancy new parts of the
facility. That's fairly disgusting. Perhaps a fitting punishment for
all those subsidized wealthy twits is … Rich Rodriguez. The football
gods have, after all, a sense of humor. "
He then finished with the cheap shot at Coach Rod, which for a NFL columnist, is out of line.
Like I said, I usually like his articles, and even enjoyed some of the other points in the article but this one was way out of line and unfounded. He should be complaining about schools that DON'T self sufficiently fund their athletic departments, you know like all of the rest of the country. (ok not all)
I wrote him a comment to his email, with the link to the correct information. I am not expecting a reply.
Don't Believe Everything you Read
Will come as no surprise to anyone that M really struggled upfront against Wisconsin on Saturday. I expected we'd see some mistakes from Ferrara in his first game at LG, but I was surprised at how many mistakes the "veterans" made and how seldom the OLine managed to cut off backside in this game. Both Wisconsin DTs were able to beat our OTs on several occassions and cut off the zone read. The Wisky defense really seemed to be keying in on these plays in particular and did an excellent job against them.
RR and staff made some excellent adjustments at the half IMHO. First, they reinserted McAvoy at LG. McAvoy isn't a dominate blocker, but is a guy who understands his assignments and is capable of getting the job done. He had trouble handling the Wisky DT in one-on-one blocks, but did get better and better as the game wore on. He did an excellent job on two blocks near the goal line on M's final score.
The staff was spot on in coming out in the second half throwing the football..but a more subtle adjustment was made in the run game. Rather than rely on the zone read as the base running play, the staff decided to run directly AT the Wisconsin D. With Wisky's tackles biting hard on the lateral movement of the OL the belly play became effective and was instrumental in opening up the zone read that Threet busted loose on. The use of the Belly kept Wisky's tackles and LBs honest and didn't allow them to bite hard on the OLs first movement.
Some talk this week about RR moving Ortmann to LG and Dorrestein to LT. We'll see. From what I've see of Dorrestein, he's a powerful run blocker who might be more suited to the inside....and its always possible these are nothing more than motivational ploys to get that something extra from McAvoy.
Looking forward to next week...Go Blue!
- The defense was outstanding on Saturday. For most of the game, the Wisconsin O-Line could not block any Michigan D-lineman one on one. Even when Mike Martin was in the game, he was getting by people.
- I think Mouton played his best game. He was the only linebacker that was consistently blowing up the lead blocker. He was giving up about 45 pounds to the guy, so he had trouble driving him back very far, but he was meeting him in the backfield and holding outside leverage. On the touchdown run, he crushed the fullback behind the line of scrimmage and Brown had a chance to make the play in the back field. Obviously, he failed to do this. Mouton is getting better quickly, and could be a star by the end of the year.
- Thompson and Ezeh looked ok. I thought Thompson made some improvement. He made one outstanding play in the third quarter where he took on a double team and held outside leverage allowing the other guys to get there and stop the play for a one yard gain. Ezeh still has some bad habits. He drops his head sometimes on tackles, stops moving his feet, and seems to wait for lineman or lead blockers to come to him. He is still playing ok, but these types of things cost you an extra yard or two per carry. That adds up after a while.
- Beckum and Graham not playing hurt Wisconsin. It took them out of their two tight end sets, and put the full back in the game a lot more. They ran a lot of the same running plays I described in the scouting report, but they were forced to throw more to their wide receivers. It turns out their receivers are not good at catching the ball.
- They had a lot of success with their bootlegs. Most of the time they pulled the eventual playside guard or tackle to really sell the run. We bit on this hard a couple times, and were bailed out by dropped balls. They did run that zone stretch play action as well, but they never handed that ball off.
- Despite a couple of those play actions, the coverage was pretty good. On Wisoncsin's final TD drive, Everidge had to make a perfect throw twice. Harrison shold have picked the one to Beckum. Have to give credit to Everidge on these plays though. He made some tough throws.
- We really were not that far away from moving the ball in the first half. We actually did ok against Chapman and Shaugnessy. We are still having some problems with backside cut blocks. I think a worse problem is on the left side of the line. We have problems when there is a DT line up in the A gap. One of three things seems to happen: the left guard releases to second level without chipping the guy and helping Molk get across his face, the left guard and Molk both get on him, but then they both release to the second level leaving the free to make a play, or the left guard does get enough of him to allow Molk to get a block and stay on. Obviously the last one is what needs to happen. From what Rich Rod has said in his press conferences, he is going to shuffle the line up until he finds people to figure this out. There were also a couple running plays that were blocked well. McGuffie didn't seem to be as patient as he did against ND. A couple times he cut up the field too soon or looked for the cut back lane immediately when running to the play side looked better. Maybe this was by design, but it didn't appear this way.
- I don't really like Threet's throwing mechanics. He kind of has a 3/4 delivery and sometimes looks like he his trying to pitch off a mound when he is throwing. Rodriguez mentioned something about getting his shoulder in the right spot in the second half. I think when you have this type of delivery, it is very easy to let your elbow drop a little bit. This puts the nose of the ball up upon release and causes the ball to sail. He also appeard to take a larger step towards the target in the first half which may have opened his body up too soon. This could also cause the ball to sail. I tried to compare the game Saturday to the spring game, but the youtube footage was fuzzy. If anybody was a qb or qb coach, feel free to correct me.
- I think Massey missed every block he tried to make. If its not going to be Butler, Koger has to be the guy here. I'm sure Massey is playing hard, but he just didn't get it done. Koger was not asked to block as much, but looks more athletic. These tight end blocks are crucial especially on those bubble screens. One missed block on those plays and it gets blown up.
- Some of the ABC replays showed a wide view of the field and you could see some of Michigan's routes. Most of their passing game is based on selling four vertical threats. They like to run a couple plays off of this. One is where Odoms runs down the seam. Griese mentioned this on the ABC broadcast but didn't really explain it. Odoms is reading the safety. If the safety bits on the play action, Odoms is going to run by him. If the safety is bailing he runs the dig route. Odoms was open on the dig three times and Threet missed him all three times. If we hit this play a couple times, all of a sudden we catch the safety sitting on the dig and run by him for a big play.
- They also like to run a curl route which I think has been open every time they have run it. The outside receiver comes inside and runs hard vertical to about 14 yards, stops and comes back to about 12. We hit Matthews on this a couple times in the second half. They also like to run a deep hitch route, and then run the hitch and go off of it. We had Matthews twice for big plays in the second half, and he dropped it both times. We also actually run the four vert, and we can do it with different personel. Koger's touchdown was the seam route on four vert, and it was beautiful execution on that play. Threet made a perfect throw with the safeties playing over top.
- There were two plays in the beginning at the beginning of the third quarter that didn't work for us, but provide some good coaching points for receivers. The first was the out to McGuffie that almost got picked. I think Wisconsin was in its soft 2 coverage here and Michigan runs a pretty common out/fade three step combo. On this play the outside receiver takes an inside release on the corner. This allows a cover two corner to see the out the whole way. Against a cover two corner, the outside reciever has got to figt to get outside on this play no matter what. This will cause the corner to turn his head, and he won't see the out develop. The other play was the slant to Matthews that almost got picked. On this play the corner is playing an inside shade, and I think he was in man coverage. On this play Matthews has to stem his route so that he is head up on the corner before he makes a cut. He tries to do this, but the corner is able to maintain his inside leverage and make a play on the ball. It was actually a good throw, but a better defensive play.
- Michigan ran a couple sprint out passes. This is supposed to be a quick throw to an out or short hitch route, but I think it backfired a little this game. This brought the linebackers in underneath zone coverage to the play side. A couple specific examples were Threet's rush that led to 4th and one and the two point conversion play. On Threet's scramble, they had a smash route called. In a cover two, this creates a two on one on the corner. The #2 receiver runs a corner route while the #1 runs a hitch. If the corner jumps the hitch, you throw the corner and vice versa. However, on the sprint out, the hook/curl linebacker gets out and underneath the hitch route. Threet makes the right decision here, tucks the ball and gets what he can get. The two point conversion was supposed to be a crossing route with Odoms and Koger. We ran a similar play when I was in college, and it worked almost every time. However, in this case, Odoms and Koger ran into each other and the linbacker was able to get out in front of the guy running to the flat. This is supposed to be a quick developing play, but the collision allows flowing linebackers to break it up.
- It also looked like we ran a couple routes similar to what Utah did to us where a receiver, either wide out or tight end, is simply going across the middle and sitting in a hole in the zone. Hitting these routes comes with experience. The key is both the qb and receiver knowing when the receiver is going to sit. Its got to be a quick release when the reciever sits in the zone. Threet still looks unsure on these plays, and holds the ball too long. As he holds the ball, the route gets covered. I think he had the curls open a few times and held the ball before trying to scramble. He has got to trust the route a little more, but that will come with mroe experience against good teams.
- In the second half, Michigan was able to get Casillas matched up one on one with Odoms in the slot. I think they did this by keeping Koger on the line, but running a trips set forcing the OLB out onto the slot. I'd have to watch the film again to make sure. Unfortunately, we didn't take advantage of this. One time he ran right by him on a wheel route and Threet threw the slant. The other time, was a sprint out and Threet didn't throw the out right away so Odoms turned up field. Odoms had Casillas beat, but Threet missed him.
- On Threet's long run, I don't think he could have held the ball at the mesh point any longer. It was near perfect execution.
Overall, This was a great effort to come back in the second half. It was the most exciting Michigan game I have ever attended, and hopefully the second half gives the offense some confidence. Threet was accurate and made better decisions in the second half, and if he can speed up his reads and pull the trigger a little quicker, this offense could become very good before the end of the year. The D was outstanding, and if they wouldn't have been put in so many bad situations with turnovers and poor special teams would have been dominant.
What a win! No question and exciting game and a great victory for our Wolverines. I saw one thing that really bothered me. In fact I've seen this consistently in the college game the past few years but it was the first time I've seen Michigan do it this year.
Just after recovering a Wisconsin fumble with slightly less than 11 minutes to go in the 1st half, Michigan ran an option play to their left. Threet fumbled the ball, Wisco recovered, but it was overturned as the guy was out of bounds. That's not what bothered me. If you look pre-snap, you'll notice that Michigan has twins right, but both WR's are on the LOS. That means that the "slot" guy is basically a tackle as he's not allowed to go out for a pass.
It seems like a simple thing. If you're running left, it doesn't really matter who's eligible right. Except, IT DOES. Some teams consistently align themselves like this to give the receivers a slightly better angle on the block. But, an asute and alert defender will recognize this and disregard the covered slot man as a receiving threat. This is can be especially damaging when a team is consistenly covering "slot" guys with LBs. The extra step or two they can cheat to the inside can make a huge difference in run support. In the past three years, I've seen this type of alignment maybe 20 times from college teams and on 19 or the 20 plays, they've run the ball. Most offenses, especially the spread option, work when the defense isn't sure what's coming. This was one time when a defender paying attention would know what's coming. I really hope we don't see this alignment again. Maybe it was just a careless mistake.
I will say this in regards to anyone who was okay with the booing. If you will tell me honestly that you would walk up to one of the players at half-time and boo them to their face, by yourself, then I think you are an asshole but at least you're owning up. If you feel it's okay to boo or insult or curse the players and you would be willing to do that to their face then I guess I can live with that. I have a feeling that most of you would not and you hide in the see of a mob where you are nothing more than an empty face. I've always felt that if you are going to say something about a person, you had better be willing to say it to their face or else you are a coward. I would not have booed, I would also not be able to do it to their face. Those players do things that you, in your greatest day, would not be able to do. You can not even imagine the feats they are capable of and for that reason alone you have no right to boo. There are many others, like the fact that they are kids and inexperienced and I could go on and on. The simple fact is that if you booed the team or think it's okay to boo kids, then ask yourself if you would be willing to do that to them in the tunnel, to their face, by yourself. If not, you are not a fan, you are a coward.
As I settled in to my Sunday morning routine of smoking a Cuban Cohiba Behike and drinking a coffee liberally flavored with Remy Martin’s Louis VIII’s Black Pearl, I had time to reflect on recent events. My mood is anxious and irritable as I write. Perhaps this is because the platinum bidet in the master suite is on the fritz and I had to use a barely serviceable gold plated bidet in one of my many guest rooms. More likely it is the state of the University of Michigan’s football team and their coaching staff.
Last week, from my swank and remote location and thanks to the interwebs, I was able to review the writing of my home area sports writers. These giants of sports writing, (Carty, Sharp, and others) provided insight into many problems at UoM. After reading these articles, several things were immediately apparent. The first being that the college football season had begun and Michigan had not won all of its games. The second was that Michigan had a new head football coach (why the national news media did not pick up this story is beyond me). The third thing that became clear was that the new coaching staff is not very good.
I have three areas of concern with the new coaching staff. First is the fanaticism of the strength and conditioning staff. They seem even to be regulating what the athletes consume. What gall to deny an offensive lineman a bedtime pizza or two. Have our seventh amendment rights gone by the wayside?!?!
My second concern is the poor recruiting. Michigan used to pwn Little Brother in this area. According to Detroit media, it seems Mark Dantonio has turned the tables on Michigan. In fact, UoM is nowhere to be found in the list of top five football classes for 2009. That will make two years in a row; something Lloyd Carr would never have tolerated.
My final concern came after viewing the Wisconsin game. I have heard reports that “family values” have declined at UoM. This was not evident when viewing the defense. When the offense took the field, it became apparent that these reports are true. The offensive players who were in the past emotionally close enough to hold hands, now position themselves at a greater distance from one another. They even seemed eager, in the first half, to give Wisconsin possession of the football so they could leave the field and get away from one another. The breakdown of “family values” was especially evident in the selfish play of the quarterback. Despite the fact that five good players are competing for playing time at tailback, Mr. Threet selfishly kept the ball for the longest run of the game. If he would have had the decency to hand the ball off, the play would have gone for a touchdown.
Add to these concerns the new coach’s comfort with breaking with tradition and the circumstances surrounding his departure from his previous job and I think it is obvious Michigan football is headed in the wrong direction. I say it is time to fire Mr. Rodriguez and hire a more stable and tradition oriented head coach. Perhaps we could lure Kirk Ferentz away from Iowa as they are having another poor season. Who’s with me?