"It's a lot easier being a drug dealer than an AAU coach" - this guy. Tell me something I don't know. I mean, don't think but have never tried either.
Note – The first half nearly broke me. I was in the fetal position for most of it, with visions of 3-9 haunting my every thought. Needless to say, Cat32 disapproved of everything that happened in a massive, epic way. But the second half was so redeeming, and they showed so much heart and resilience that I just can’t bring myself to adequately describe the suckitude of the first half in my own words. It would just be something pathetic, like “well that sucked.”
Therefore reader, you get two diaries… Since the first half was basically a Shakespearian tragedy, this first half diary is done with occasionally edited Shakespeare quotes. You’re a smart audience and can handle it, I think. The second, wonderful, glorious half will be done later in the week in the normal style.
· 3:30 – Game is about to start. “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players. Each have their entrances and exits, and each in his time plays many parts.”
· 3:35 – Kickoff. “Cry Havoc! And let slip the dogs of war.”
· 3:36 – The dogs of war allow a 55 yard kickoff return by Wisky. “Oh, that way madness lies. Let me shun that.”
· 3:41 – Wisky misses a FG. “Blow, blow, thou winter wind. Thou art not so unkind, when you push Welch’s 34 yard attempt wide left.”
· 3:45 – Threet fumbles. Wisky ball. “O, woe is me, to have seen what I have seen, see what I see.”
· 3:53 – Wisky kicks a field goal. Good job to hold ‘em D. Some advice Badgerfan: “Glory is like a circle in the water, which never ceaseth to enlarge itself, till by broad spreading it disperses to naught.”
· 4:02 – On a five play Michigan drive, three plays lose yards and one is an incomplete pass. “Something is rotten in the state of Michigan.”
· 4:11 – The defense does a great job stuffing Wisky on 3rd and 1. Then Thompson gifts them a 1st down by jumping egregiously offsides on the punt fake. “Off with his head!” (Cat32 picked that one out.) “Every man has his fault, and punctuality is his.” (Mine.)
· 4:18 – The defense recovers nicely, and forces a Wisky field goal. 6-0 WI. “Now is the winter of our discontent.”
· 4:23 – Michigan does a fairly ugly 3 & out. “Be great in act, as you have been in thought.” End of quarter. How does Threet look to this point? “I am not bound to please thee with my answers.” OK, but how would Sheridan have looked? “I dote on his very absence.”
· 4:28 – We punt, then Evridge’s first pass is intercepted by Charles Stewart! Hey Evridge: “Tremble thou wretch! Thou hast within thee undivulged crimes, unwhipp’d of justice!”
· 4:34 – And we take good field position for the first time all game and promptly go 3 & out. “We do not keep the outward form of order, where there is deep disorder in the mind.”
· 4:35 – “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.” Nothing football here, just good advice.
· 4:39 – Wisky does some good things, has a nice big pass play, but then Evridge takes far too long to throw on 3rd and 5. “I wasted time, and now doth time waste me.” Mouton causes a fumble, recovered by Michigan. The Michigan defense did come to play today. “Thou art all the comfort the Gods will diet me with.”
· 4:40 – 4:45 – Threet fumbles on first down, Michigan recovers. “Assume a virtue if you have it not.” McGuffie has his perhaps only productive play of the first half, not that the offensive line was helping him. “Be not afraid of greatness. Some men are born great, some achieve greatness, and some men have greatness thrust upon them.” A punt from Zoltan.
· 4:49 – The defense rises up yet again, and forces a Wisky punt deep in their own end of the field. “We few, we happy few, we band of brothers.” Then Greg Matthews fumbles the punt. “O, my offence is rank, it smells to heaven; it hath the primal eldest curse upon ’t, another fumble.”
· 4:50 – A brief, non-Shakespearian message from Cat32: HOLD ON TO THE #$@%!! BALL ALREADY.
· 5:04 – (I paused the game here for a few minutes to collect myself.) Wisky has a long run down to the Michigan 5 yard line. “True is it that we have seen better days.”
· 5:05 – Wisky punches it in for a touchdown. “How bitter a thing it is to look into happiness through another man’s eyes.” 13-0 Wisconsin. Bonus coverage: “Double, double toil and trouble; fire burn and cauldron bubble.”
· 5:08 – Mike Hart is interviewed by the sideline reporter. The ABC cameraman does a good job correctly framing his halo. He says, and I quote, “This Michigan never did, nor never shall, lie at the proud foot of a conqueror.”
· 5:09 – We fumble the kickoff. I’m not even making this up. 2 quotes, mine first then Cat32’s: “If this were played upon a stage now, I could condemn it as an improbable fiction.” Cat32’s: “Lord, what fools these mortals be!”
· 5:13 – Wisky kicks a field goal. 16-0 WI. They show Rodriguez scowling. “Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.”
· 5:16 – ABC points out that 45% of Michigan’s offensive plays this season have gone for zero or negative yardage. “I pray thee cease thy council, which falls into mine ears as profitless as water in a sieve.”
· 5:18 – The defense forces another 3& out. “Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more, and close the wall up with our Wolverine defense.”
· 5:22 – Threet throws an interception. “When sorrows come, they come not single spies but in battalions.” The crowd is booing fairly loudly. To the crowd I say, “A wretched soul, bruised with adversity, we bid be quiet when we hear it cry.”
· 5:27 – Wisky kicks yet another field goal. 19-0 Wisky. They show Rodriguez again. Two quotes are appropriate: “A first down! A first down! My kingdom for a first down!” and “Come not within the measure of my wrath.”
· 5:32 – Threet caps the half off with another interception, thrown with 10 seconds on the clock. “The attempt, and not the deed, confounds us.”
· 5:33 – Wisconsin quote: “They have been at a great feast of turnovers, and stolen the scraps.”
· 5:33 – Halftime. What to say about that? “This half’s but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his half-hour upon the stage and then is heard no more: it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”
lifted from my website at gsimmons85.blogspot.com you can check it out to see where im going with this...
about 6 years ago, I was coaching basketball, and with another coach we decided we need to find a defense to help us compete with athletes that were bigger faster, and stronger than we were. Well we decided to start running a type of 1-3-1 that we had heard a guy talking about froma Highschool coach in Wisconsin. So we go ahead and start ordering a couple of tapes from him, and really liked the defense. After we got really into it, we decided to give the guy a call, and we ended up having some great conversations with him. The following is a story from one of those converstions that i think will give you a little insight into the role of schemes.
Im talking to Wisconsin coach about matchup problems etc. these are his words to me...
"coach i was talking to this guy one time and he keeps telling me about the team that he is about to play. Well they got a great inside scorer, he said. Well ok then i would do this, and this and this. Then he says to me, well ok coach i could do that, but they also have a couple of guys that can really stroke it from the outside, so i repond with some other ideas, well ok then i would do this, and this, and this. He responds by saying, well coach the problem is they have a great penetrating guard as well so what do you think coach? I said well bud, I hate to say it but I think you are going to lose."
Matchups and and players, matchups and players...
One of my pet peeves when discussing college football is the conventional "wisdom" that there are supposedly set-in-stone rules about going for 2. Broadcasters constantly say that "coaches have a chart" that tells them when they should go for 2, based simply on the score.
I doubt this is the case, because I imagine coaches know that going for 2 is a decision that must be made based on the context of the situation. It's complicated and risky, and it's not always clear what the right thing to do is. No scoring chart will be able to take all the important factors into account.
What are those factors? Aside from the obvious factor of...
1. What's the score?
...there are, in my opinion, at least three other questions that must be asked, all with the assumption of a missed 2 point conversion:
2. How much time is left in the game?
3. Do I believe the opponent will score again?
4. Do I believe my team will score again after that?
My philosophy on 2 point conversions: assume you'll miss, and only go for 2 if it could make a difference in the score, there is little time left in the game, and/or there won't be any more scoring done by my team. In other words, I believe the 2 point conversion should be put off until the last score. That way, missing the 2 point conversion doesn't unnecessarily hurt your team's chances of victory.
Questions 2, 3, and 4 are related, of course- with little time left in a game, for example, there will most likely be little to no more scoring done by anyone. But again, the context matters- a lights out offense like Texas Tech might believe they'll do more scoring with only 3 minutes left in the game, whereas a slug offense like Virginia Tech might feel they are done scoring with 6 minutes left in the game.
With all this in mind, let's turn to this past weekend's game: should Michigan have gone for 2 after the Thompson interception?
Reading through the liveblog transcript, there seemed to be universal and instinctive agreement that yes, Michigan should go for 2. Everyone quickly came to that decision and expressed confusion about RichRod's decision to take a time out to think about it. Based on that, I assume everyone was looking at the scoreboard as the only factor in the decision. But let's look at the context:
1. The score was 20-19. A successful 2 point conversion prevents a subsequent Wisconsin field goal from winning the game. The score says "Go For It."
2. But there was over 10 minutes left in the game. Each team has at least 2 more possessions coming. Time left says "Go For It Later, Not Now."
3. The Wisky offense was not doing much, kicking FGs off of turnovers in the first half. One big run in the first half set up their lone touchdown. They had yet to score in the second half. Their quarterback was not showing himself to be anything special, having just thrown a Pick 6. Was Wisconsin done scoring for the day, even with more than 10 minutes left? It appeared so. A Wisky score appeared unlikely, but even on the off chance that they pull something together, that was offset by the off chance of a successful 2 point conversion by Michigan. Wisky offense says "Go For It and Ensure Overtime, Just In Case."
4. But the Michigan offense wasn't really a solid bet either way. The offense had been a little, uh, erratic. 21 total yards and multiple turnovers in the first half was just plain awful. A solid drive for a TD and a big TD run by Minor in the second half, however, had raised hopes. Was Michigan done scoring for the day, even with more than 10 minutes left? Maybe, maybe not.
That's why I believe RichRod took a timeout- it wasn't clear whether Michigan was done scoring or not, and he needed a moment to think about it.
It was a gamble, and as it turned out it hurt the team. If he ended up deciding to just take the PAT, then the ensuing touchdown would have put Michigan up by more than one score (28-19), and the game would have effectively been on ice. Michigan scoring again wasn't out of the realm of possibility- the Wisky defense had been on the field for a LOT of the second half, and they were starting to get pushed around. There was at least a hint of foresight that indicated another Michigan score.
Instead, RichRod gambled on the thought that they wouldn't get another chance to score, so he may as well get some while the getting's good. Michigan did score again, though, and the chance to ice game had already been lost in the previous 2 point conversion. Because of the failed 2 point conversion, Wisconsin was only down by one score and still had a chance to tie. As we all saw, everything worked out, but when Beckum caught the 2 point conversion pass (and before we saw the flags), for a moment Michigan's failed 2 point conversion loomed large.
Ultimately, I agreed with the call to go for 2- I was still unsure about Michigan's ability to score again, despite the gobs of time left on the clock and the tired Wisky defense. My point, however, is that this was NOT an easy call. This was NOT a "no-brainer." And in hindsight, it was the wrong call.
These decisions are NOT easy, and they depend on more nebulous things than just the score.
I am sorry to post my weekly recap late and in half-assed form, but life is hectic right now. I definately have even deeper appreciation for what Brian and others do to keep their blogs up and running. Kudos.
So that was a game that both gave me and cured my heartburn. I watched just about every play except for the last 4 minutes of the first half (how in the world we had two interceptions and only gave up 3 points???!) and the 3rd down roughing the passer play (was creating a super-pizza). Obviously we stunk, and then magically we didn't.
- RichRod is a great coach. This win firmly cemented this for me. This team had no business getting off the mat to fight for this win. He is a great, great leader.
- Our defense was impressive all day. Twice facing a short field, the Badgers had to settle for FGs. It really shows what our D can do when given 27 yards to defend instead of 15 as in the ND game.
- I think Wisconsin is a good team and that our run defense is really improving.
- I know this isn't much by way of analysis but I have no time for more.
Hats Off!!! Awards:
- Mike Barwis - Our team finally came through in the end because they were in much better physical condition. While Wisconsin's cheese eating fatties tired, our guys looked strong all game long.
- RichRod - While I have deep respect for our previous three coaches and I believe that they too would have lead a comeback, none of them (with the possible exception of Bo in 1969) had to pick up a team playing as bad as Michigan played in the first half. Just wow. I will never count out a RR lead team again.
- Johnny Thompson - Great concentration on that int and then what a run into the endzone. After seemingly causing so many problems against ND (thank you Brian for UFR), he is now a hero in one of Michigan's top all time wins. Hats Off!!! to you sir.
- Brandon Graham - Dude was a monster out there. Might have saved the game forcing that fumble when Wisky looked ready to score with 3 minutes left.
- Brett Bielema - It seemed to me that he changed his gameplan to readily, almost in panic when Michigan scored their second touchdown. The Badgers came out throwing and gifted us Thompson's int-TD immediately. I have no doubt that this guy can coach, but RR just pwned him. Plus not using Beckum and Clay more of the game seemed strange.
This team has serious problems ahead. I really don't think we can take much from this performance going forward except this: Michigan will be better conditioned than the opponent almost assuredly and always have a shot at winning. Illinois is winnable next week as I don't see their defense stuffing us as well as Wisky's did. Juice may cause problems with his feet, but I can feel the M Defense's confidence grow. Threet will have more confidence himself after a full game of not being yanked no matter how badly he was sucking. He may return to ND game form and if so, I see a win. This game gave us a legit shot at a bowl game and hence, a successful season. I now believe we can beat anybody left on the schedual, but I am still only seeing 7-5 overall.
I'm still giddy about Saturday. What a comeback, what a game, what a win!
I did get some texts from friends after we were up 27-19 asking the same question I was thinking: "Don't you wish we had kicked that PAT after the 3rd TD?" If we kick the PAT, we're up 21-19, then after the subsequent TD would have been up 28-19 leaving Wisconsin needing a TD and a FG.
This is a major pet peeve of mine. I'd like to know what people's thoughts are about going for the two-point conversion. Here's my view:
1) In general, unless there is less than ~7 minutes to go in the fourth quarter, don't go for two.
2) Exception #1: You are down so much that the only possible chance you have is multiples of 8. e.g. There is 1:15 left to go in the third quarter and you're down 24 points. If you score, go ahead and try for 8 each time.
3) Exception #2: The weather is so bad you might not ever score again. e.g. Notre Dame two weeks ago: We are down 28-17 for part of the 2nd quarter and all of the third. If we had scored a TD late in the third quarter, I might have gone for 2, to get us within 3. (Alas, that never ended up being one of the things we had to wrestle with that day...)
So once you've got less than half of the fourth quarter to go, pull out your chart that tells you whether or not to go for it; otherwise, kick the PAT, take your point and move on. I understand that this one is somewhat philosophical. Sort of like how some coaches will never take the FG off the board even if the penalty would give them a first down. Or deciding whether to double or just hit your 11 against the dealer's ten. Maybe the important thing is just being consistent.
Obviously, nobody knew Threet had the 58 yard run in him, or that we'd go score the next TD. And if we'd gotten the 2, AND the subsequent TD and PAT, then the game would have been REALLY out of reach. Still, it is still frightening that we were a penalty and some great D-line pressure away from OVERTIME yesterday.
In my 30+ years as a UM fan, I've had my share of disappointments: The Miracle at Michigan, The loss at Oregon, the UT and USC Rose Bowls, A Thomas fumble against NW, etc, etc.. I always thought it was some higher power's hate for any team I support. Yesterday, before the half, I was sure that was the case.
I remember last year I would titter like a schoolgirl watching Notre Dame highlights and think to myself "How could any team be THAT bad?". Before the half, and the whole Notre Dame game, UM was THAT bad. I realized that this year was going to be tough, but this is a bit much. My support for the team never faltered, but doubt started to creep into my mind. When Matthews fumbled, I was pretty sure that I had done something wrong in my life that I was being punished for. The red hot fire poker that always seems to touch the side of my stomach when UM is losing started to hit the Kelvin scale. I was on the liveblog, and the comments were starting to turn from WTF to outrage(note: kudos to moderators for keeping out the very negative ones).
During halftime, the realist in me knew this game was over: 19 points down, -7 passing yards, and an offense that was a impotent as Hugh Hefner. The other half of me(read: drunk) was saying"it's only 19 points, and the D is playing pretty damn good. Cue Lloyd Christmas: "So YOU'RE SAYING THERE'S A CHANCE!!!"
I can't remember the last time I actually jumped as high or ran a complete lap around my house like I did when Thompson ran that pick back. My neighbor actually came by tio see it everything was OK, because she heard "someone screaming like a maniac" It's 20 some odd hours later, and I still have the "I just got laid. Twice." smile on my face.
I watched the Minny and MSU comeback games, and they were great, but those UM teams were expected to win. This one was different. This team was abominamal vs ND, and looked hapless in the first half. This win is more special to me, because these guys were dead, and didn't give up(hats off to the D and Shaffer).
All is quiet on the gastrointestinal front today.