concomitantly makes it an achilles heal because the vitality of the team is dependent on the QB. How do you remedy the situation? Well, you have to go against the popular dogma that if u have two QBs, you don't have one. A spread coach MUST then prepare and play two QBs...thus it isn't a season ender or loss if one of the QBs goes out. This is where I think RR is ahead of the pack. Having both Tate and Denard playing at the same time is a bonus not a liability. He wants both to play throughout the season and for the coming years. Losing to PITT cost him a chance to go to the big game. Just imagine what would happen to Florida if Tebow broke his leg. I guarantee you they would no longer be the favorite to win the SEC or title. Imagine a Michigan team with two QBs perfectly capable of running the offense, with experience, and different strengths. The added bonus is that defensive coordinators have to prepare for two distinct QBs running the offense. I think as M fans we need to realize that the days of the statue QB who is protected at all costs has been replaced with dynamic QBs that are asked to run and who can be replaced if need be. The higher risk to the QB in a spread needs to be offset somehow. That is the lesson learned by RR. The only way to offset that risk is to have more than one QB ready to take the reigns that way if one goes down, the team doesn't miss a beat. What do you guys think?
Based on that success, many predict great things for MSU football.Behind the awesome aeronautical show put on by Kirk "Kissin" Cousins and Keith "Can you spare a brotha a" Nichol and the famously fiercesome Spartan defense, MSU will once again have the privilege of being some SEC's team warmup for spring practice on the 1st of January.
Alas, the numbers paint a different portrait. MSU--a power running team--gained 1692 yards on 511 carries for a not-so-impressive 3.3 ypc. MSU averaged 130.2 per game with the departed Jevon Ringer accounting for about 90% of that.
Conversely, the illustrious Spartan defense gave up 1852 yards on 450 carries for a healthly(for the opposing offense)4.1 average. MSU gave up 142.5 yards per game on the ground.A defense that gives up 4 yards per carry? Duffy would spin in his grave over such numbers!
In terms of pass defense/offense, MSU fares better. Statistically, the Spartans and their opponents were awash. MSU averaged 213.2 per game whereas they gave up 213.4. Still, giving up 213 yards per game through the air is not all that impressive, especially when you considered how much yardage the Spartans gave up on the ground.
In terms of total yardage, the Spartans were actually OUTGAINED by their opponents,355.8 to 343.5. This accomplished in one of the weakest years in Big Ten history and the likes of EMU, Florida Atlantic, and a Charlie Weis coached Notre Dame team.
It really is remarkable to see how much hype a team that was outgained by its opponents in what was a terrible year for the Big Ten, is receiving. Apparently, no one watched any of MSU's games because they were every bit as average as the numbers indicate. That is hardly a surprise because Mark Dantonio was average at Cincinnati as well.
His record at Cincinnati was an astounding 18-17! Simply awesome!(tongue planted firmly in cheek)
Sam the Eag...Er, I mean Mark Dantonio has accomplished a whole lotta mediocrity in his coaching career. In his 5 seasons as a HC coach http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Dantonio Dantonio has yet to lose less than 4 games in a season,He has lost 5, 7,5,6, and 4. He has lost 5 or more in 4 of those seasons. Yet, we are lead to believe that this is the man who will lift MSU to heights it hasn't seen since the heydey of George Webster and Bubba Smith.
Perhaps MSU will finally, FINALLY, take that step from perennial also ran to legitimate Big Ten title contender. Perhaps, but not likely. I have a hard time seeing a man who openly mocks a student athlete and the dominant program instate as being the guy to lift MSU from its 40 year doldrums.Little from his past as a head coach, indicates that MSU will be anything more than the 4-5-6-7th best team in the conference.
This question arose from the recent trend by the local MSM to predict a renaissance in MSU football under Mark Dantonio. The more bold of the MSU faithful have even dared to predict a reversal in the balance of power of college football similar to what was seen in the 1950s and the 1960s when MSU was a national power and Michigan was a middle of the pack Big 10 program.
Now it's been well-documented that MSUs rise to prominence in this era was fueled by the recruitment of African-American talent from the Jim Crow south. Segregation of southern universities and football programs provided for a vast talent pool of black players that coaches like Duffy Daugherty tapped. Once these southern schools embraced integration, this exodus of southern black talent was reduced and the MSU football program returned to being a mid-tier Big 10 program.
The conclusion we can draw from this is that MSU today is unlikely to surpass Michigan since the special social forces that assisted MSU to prominence before, no longer exist. The inherent assumption in this statement is that Michigan will more often than not, outrecruit MSU for talent based on it's higher national profile.
The contradiction to this assumption though is why wasn't this the case in the 1950s and 60s? Michigan was still Michigan in those days, yet MSU was able to draw talent from the south and Michigan appears to have not followed suit. Researching teams from that era, Michigan did not seem to be segregated as there were black players on both Bennie Oosterbaan and Bump Elliott's squads which would seem to rule out any kind of institutional racism.
I'm wondering is there are any MGoHistorians out there who can answer this question. Did Michigan fall behind MSU because we didn't embrace diversity? Our academic standards were higher for incoming athletes? Lack of institutional support for athletics? Or was it just plain bad coaching/recruiting? Does some sort of silver bullet exist to explain this dark period in Michigan football history?
We had a busy posting day on Sunday, so some of the Olympic sports coverage will be posted as diaries for the time being. Field hockey will be starting their season this Saturday in the ACC/BigTen challenge held in Iowa City, IA where they will face off with #2 Wake Forest and #4 North Carolina.
The field hockey team was created in 1973 and has been very competitive, especially in the last 12 years. Overall, the Michigan team has a record of 391-274-25 (.585) in 36 seasons of play. In the 28 seasons of BigTen play (1978-88, 1992-present), Michigan has only posted a 91-98-8 (.482) record. Most of that sub .500 record can be placed on our first stint in BigTen play where the team went 11-44-8.
The big turning point for Michigan was the hire of Marcia Pankratz in 1995. Pankratz, pictured on the right from mgoblue.com, was a former All BigTen field hockey player at Iowa and an Olympian in 1988 and 1996. She remained a member of the US National team right up until her head coaching debut with Michigan in the fall of 1996 – she had worked at field hockey power University of North Carolina as an assistant coach as well.
After a rocky 7-11 start in 1996, Pankratz would lead Michigan to a BigTen co-title in her second year on campus and by her fourth year, a 2nd place finish in the NCAA tournament. That NCAA appearance was the first of 7 in a row, including a national championship in 2001. Her tenure saw Michigan compile a 147-55 record.
Pankratz retired in 2004 in order to start a consulting firm for students being recruited to play college athletics and handed the reigns of the program over to Nancy Cox. Cox continued the winning tradition at Michigan, compiling a 51-36 record over the last four seasons, including two NCAA berths.
Last season, Cox announced her retirement from Michigan, opening the door for a familiar face to take over the head coaching position – Marcia Pankratz. Yes, Michigan's winningest coach has returned for the 2009 campaign after a four year absence.
The 2008 season was a down year for the field hockey team. The 8-12 record was the first losing record since Coach Pankratz took over in 1996. Michigan finished 3-3 in the BigTen Conference, good for 5th out of 7. They would also tie for 5th place in the BigTen Tournament.
Michigan was lead by then-sophomore Meredith Way (pictured below). Way tied for 9th in the BigTen last year with 29 points on 12 goals and 5 assists. Setting up Way was Sarah Wilhite, who has since graduated. Wilhite lead the BigTen last year with 16 assists. Wilhite would finish the year tied for 11th in the BigTen with 28 points.
Despite the sub-.500 record, Michigan finished with the #27 RPI out of 78 teams ranked. Eleven of their 20 games were against ranked teams, including seven against top 10 opponents. To put Michigan's scheduling into perspective, in the first two weeks of the season (four games), they faced off with the #1, 2, and 3 teams in the nation. You've got to admire the tough scheduling.
Three senior players were chosen to captain to this year's field hockey team. Midfielder/Forward Kelly Fitzpatrick will be making her fourth year as a regular starter. Fitzpatrick has started 48 of the 58 games she has appeared in, netting 24 goals and 3 assists. While her sophomore season was her most productive point totaling season (10 goals, 1 assist), her junior season was still very productive with 8 goals and 1 assist.
Jenner Johnson is the defensive captain for the Wolverines. As a back, she doesn't total many statistics, she netted one goal as a freshman in limited time, but Johnson has been a solid contributor on defense. She started 19 of the 20 games last year, including the 5 games Michigan shut out their opponents.
Paige Laytos is third captain. Laytos is a midfielder/forward who started every game as a freshman and sophomore. Laytos would red shirt last year, breaking her streak of 43 straight games started. She did make it into 3 games last year, including two starts, but she would only gain one assist before ending her season. Despite missing the year, she has accumulated an extensive resume at Michigan including All BigTen second team as a freshman, All BigTen Academic team, All BigTen first team, and NFHCA (coaches poll) All American third team as a sophomore.
All three captains and junior forward Alex Zeringue represented the Midwest this summer at the US Field Hockey National Championships. The Midwest squad would finish 4th out of 6th, but it is still encouraging the number of Wolverines picked to the squad.
Other Top Returners
Michigan might have lost Wilhite, but they do return many of their starters. Alicia Mayer returns the second highest point total on the team behind Meredith Way. Mayer started all 20 games last season and netted 6 goals and 3 assists.
Heather Wiley also started all 20 games as a forward last season. The fifth year senior will be looking to boost her assist total from last year (8) as well as gain her first goal as a starter (she had two as a reserve as a red shirt sophomore in 2007).
Other returning starters include goal keeper Paige Pickett (pictured to right), back Hannah Johnson, and red shirt sophomore Katie Adams. Adams started all 20 games last year, but played a little bit of forward, a little bit of midfielder, and a little bit of back.
With the transition at head coach, I could see Michigan struggling a little bit to start the year, especially facing off in the ACC/BigTen Challenge next weekend. Michigan starts with Wake Forest, who finished as the #2 team in last year's poll and then plays North Carolina who ended #7. That said, Michigan is ranked #19 in the preseason coaches poll.
BigTen play will be tough pickings. Iowa will be attempting to win the conference crown for the fourth straight year. They did lose 8 seniors from last year's Final Four squad that ended the season with a #6 ranking. Michigan State finished the year at #10 and returns their two All Americans Rijpma (first team) and Deacon (second team). Penn State finished the year ranked #11, but lost it's top four stars. Ohio State also finished last year ranked, and they didn't lose too much, so should be in contention as well. Each of those teams are currently ranked ahead of Michigan.
All-in-all, Michigan will play 11 of the 20 teams ranked to end last season, plus two who received votes. That's 12 games of the 20 scheduled. To make it worse, only 6 games are at home. Field hockey generally sets up several teams at one school over a weekend. Michigan hosts two weekends in September, a mid-week game against Kent State in October, and the last game of the season against Indiana.
This is part one of the two part preview. This portion will cover the three contests that take place on Friday. I know a lot of people intend on getting out to Rynearson Stadium on Friday or Saturday to check out the teams and prospects as they open their seasons.
I’d continue to reference my 2010/2011/2012 rankings/watchlists for the time being. I’ve continued to update it as I’ve seen players who I think are deserving of being on the watchlists.
This Friday/Saturday at Eastern Michigan’s Rynearson Stadium the Big Day Prep Showdown is taking place. For more information on the event, check out the BDPS website. The schedule for the event is as follows:
FRIDAY, AUGUST 28TH, 2009
SATURDAY, AUGUST 29TH, 2009
MADISON HGTS. LAMPHERE V. WARREN FITZGERALD
ADRIAN V. MONROE
DET. KING V. MUSKEGON
SALINE V. BELLEVILLE
HUDSONVILLE V. LAKE ORION
ANN ARBOR HURON V. CHELSEA
INKSTER V. ANN ARBOR PIONEER
Obviously the most high profile game is the Saturday night contest pitting Michigan commitments Devin Gardner and Ricardo Miller against one another. However, there are many big name players and recruits who are taking part in the game. I’ll list some of the players to look out for if you are attending the event.
MADISON HGTS. LAMPHERE V. WARREN FITZGERALD
Ryan Horvath (2011 QB) – Threw for 12 TDs and 7 INTs as a sophomore. Returns for his junior season as Lamphere’s quarterback.
Mitch Kozlowski (2011 ATH) – All purpose guy for Lamphere last year, with 500 yards receiving, 300 yards rushing, and sharing kick return duties. This year, he has big shoes to fill with graduated 1,000 yard rusher David Shoeobttom moving on.
Jackson Lewis (2011 LB) – Looks to follow up a great sophomore year campaign with an even better 2009 season. Had many a 15+ tackle game last year.
Austin Gray (2010 LB, Iowa commitment) – Fitzgerald’s highest profile player, Gray spurned the Spartans of MSU to pick the Hawkeyes. Gray has averaged over 100 tackles in the past two seasons.
Larry Masters (2010 QB) – Threw for 16 TDs and only 4 INTs last season for the Spartans of Fitzgerald.
Edwin Limmitt (2010 RB) – Fitzgerald’s most prolific offensive weapon, Limmitt rushed for 1500 yards and 16 TDs last season.
Brown (2010 WR) – Masters’ main target, Brown caught 36 passes last fall.
In a game that was dominated by defense last year, Fitzgerald came out on top 16-3 based on 82 yards rushing from Edwin Limmitt. I expect a closer game this year, but a similar result.
DET. KING V. MUSKEGON
Dontavious Bryant (2010 FB/S) – Bryant was an all-Detroit honorable mention for King last year.
Martell Goodson (2010 LB)—Fearless hitter in run support.
Dennis Norfleet (2012 RB/CB)—Guy to keep an eye on on the hardwood and gridiron. Started as a freshman last season both ways for King.
Delector Durley (2010 DL)—The team captain holds a Central Michigan scholarship offer.
Sam Sillmon (2010 DL)—Very athletic jumbo athlete flies off the end as a speed rusher.
Robert Williford (2010 DL)—Just another member of a loaded defensive line for King.
Williams (2012 QB/ATH)—Struggled as a freshman passer last season, but showed
the athleticism to be a prospect to watch in the next few years.
JaMicah Cooper (2010 DB)—Very good cover corner at the high school level
Errin Briggs (2010 RB)—The senior runningback is expected to have a big year for Muskegon this fall, stepping in to the starting runningback spot
Offensive Linemen (2010 OLs)—Muskegon’s offense line is loaded in 2010, with three senior starters in Willie Coulter-Hill, Dejuan Howland, and Alvin Fletcher.
Muskegon spanked King in the Big Day Prep Showdown last year by a count of 35-3 in a year where Muskegon was supposed to be rebuilding. Apparently, they weren’t. Muskegon wins this contest again, by a similar margin. King will be improved, but not that much
HUDSONVILLE V. LAKE ORION
Logan Anes (2010 RB)—Replacing 1500 yard rusher Jordan Jonker won’t be very easy, but Anes will be up to the task. The Hudsonville staff prepared Logan with a solid junior season, where he rushed for 8 TDs and 600 yards.
Shane Trevino (2011 QB)—The junior takes over for
Michigan State walk-on Casey Blackport. (Note: Trevino was injured earlier this
week in practice, but it sounds like he will play on Friday).
Kim Bruce (2010 RB)—Ran for over 1,000 yards and 14 TDs last season and is back for his senior season.
Pat Fehlberg (2010 OL)—One of the best high school offensive linemen in the state.
Ben Walker (2010 OL)—Lake Orion’s strength lies in its two bookend offensive tackles, Walker and Fehlberg
Sean Charette (2012 QB)—Quarterbacked Lake Orion to the state championship game last year.
Vinnie Booker (2010 DB)—The star defensive back missed Lake Orion’s 2008 playoff run due to injury.
Kane Hayes (2010 DL) and Phil Serzo (2010 LB)—Two of
the stars for Lake Orion’s 2009 defense.
I think Hudsonville is going to be a little down this year and Lake Orion looks like a really good team. Lake Orion squeezes out a victory in their opener.Prediction: Lake Orion
EDIT: sorry for the lack of paragraph breaks, I'm using a Mac with Safari, and somehow screwed it up. Also, in response to Sgt. Wolverine, who wrote that censorship is an overused term, I agree.