“He was on the other side of the court, screaming: ‘Good shot, Kev!’” Durant said, shaking his head in delight. “I’m thinking, this guy’s an All-American type of teammate right there.”
Mike Hart is the leading rusher in Michigan football history. This is quite an achievement considering how storied a program Michigan is. In his career, Hart rushed 1,015 times for 5,040 yards. In 2004, he set a record for most yards ever by a Freshman with 1,455 yards. These are rediculous numbers. Mike Hart is and will always be an icon to Michigan Football. This season has been hard for Michigan, expecially coming off a stunning upset loss to Toledo. Who? What? It is at times like this the Mike Hart must be rememberd. A day after Michigan got beat by Toledo, Mike Hart got his second touch as an NFL football player (first touch since week 1) on the Indianapolis Colts. Be it that it only went for 2 yards and he actually fumbled on the play, it was still a large step in Mike Harts profesional football career. Don’t worry about the fumble the Colts recovered. The Colts went on to crush the Baltimore Ravens 31–3. I have been following Mike Hart on his journy from the college ranks to the NFL. I have been reading his blog. He has been fighting hard on special teams for 5 weeks now and it is good to see him get another touch, no matter the situation it was in (being that Jo Addai went down). He is still searching for his first special teams tackle. I know Michigan fans take pride in their history and their players and Mike Hart is certaintly someone worth taking pride in. So, on this weekend when Michigan is down in the dumps because they lost to some team from Toledo, lets give a shout out to Mike Hart. I am encouraging all of you to give him a shout out on his blog and tell him how much you appreicated his time at Michigan and that on weekends like this he is missed. Here is to Mike! Cheers!
So I have two things that I really need to say something about:
#1: I sit in Section 16 at Michigan Stadium for every home game. I have a buddy that likes to paint his body/face for the games and when necessary he gets really into the game and tries to help the team. At the beginning of the Toledo game he stood up for one play in a primarily sitting section and an old guy 2 rows back told him to sit down. He wanted to yell at the guy but I told him to just sit down and not say anything back. I told him why pick a fight in the Toledo game when maybe during the MSU game in a couple weeks he could turn around and say, "I sat down for you the entire Toledo game so maybe you can stand up for this game." My buddy agreed and sat down. Then in the 4th quarter when we were trying to come back the section starting at field level began to stand and so my buddy stood up again for one play and at this point the stadium was getting as loud as it could for Toledo and the old man then yelled to sit down again. So my friend now turned around and told him we were at a football game and not a polo or croquet match. I kind of laughed and then my buddy sat down and said, "sorry but I had to say something." I told him he was in the right there. I always knew why we were a quiet stadium but I got to experience first hand the problem.
#2: Ok this has more to do with play calling. In the Illinois game we had the ball on the 1 yard line and McGuffie was left in to try to run the ball in and we lost yards. Then we gained a couple back on the next play with Threet keeping the ball on a shotgun snap but he didnt get in after the replay. So then I am thinking either put Kevin Grady in or QB sneak the ball. What do we do? A halfback sweep with McGuffie and get stopped. And then on 4th and half a yard we had to throw the ball to score the TD. I couldn't believe we didn't do a QB sneak but I just figured it was a one time problem. But then during the Toledo game we needed one yard and instead of doing a QB sneak we hand the ball off 4 yards behind the line of scrimmage and get stopped. Now I do not claim to know as much as the coaches and I still really like the off season hire but can anyone tell me the reason we do not QB sneak when we need a yard or less? To me it makes no sense to run backwards 3-5 yards after the snap to hand the ball off especially when our line is not that great. It just makes more sense to take the snap and more or less fall forward. One friend of mine told me that we didn't QB sneak because we don't want our QB to get hurt but I don't buy that because we run an offense where the QB gets alot of carries.
If anyone has any insight into the QB sneak thing please let me know because I would like other points of views because that is driving me crazy.
9 Years….Let that sink in, 9 years it has been since Michigan lost to the Big Eleven’s Blue Headed Step-Child Penn State. It ends this week. This is the Saturday that the Big Eleven’s resident octatarian steps up and puts the bitter memories of the last 9 years behind Penn State.
¨ The phantom 2 seconds on the clock in 2005…
¨ The phantom foot in bounds by Steve Breston in 2005…
¨ Refs calling Tony Johnson OB in Ot in 2002...
¨ Anthony Morelli era
¨ Crush the hearts of psu fans everywhere
You can make fun of Jay Paterno all you want, god knows I have, however between he and Galen Hall the PSU offense is running on all cylinders. Someone somewhere in the booth is calling some great plays and they have more talent on the field this year than Michigan. So as I said before, Joe is going to let everyone off the leash this weekend and the starters are not going to sit in the 4th quarter. Joe will run it up and the final score will be in the area of 63-14 the same way we trounced OSU in ’94. Have fun on the road trip Michigan fans, you might have more fun at a Detroit Lions game.
I believe this game will be closer than the Illinois game. I give us a 25% chance to win, a 50% chance to prove me right, and a 25% chance it turns out that I've unknowingly been smoking one of Mario's old blunts.
We have owned PSU. I've had a decade of sheer enjoyment watching the hopes of a PSU family member rekindle each year, only to be extinguished by consistently superior Michigan teams. What started out as "Wait till next year, we're going to be better and beat you", soon turned to "Look, just don't give me a bunch of crap about it, you're probably going to beat us again b/c we're not very good this year." It has been wonderful. Granted, this is probably the year that the dominance ends; but those thoughts, entrenched by the depths of time, will be in the backs of both UM's and PSU's minds. If it's close for a while, deja vu will play a role.
Also, despite the opportunity to exact revenge for years worth of beat-downs, I think they'll be looking past us. They have NC hopes that go through tOSU next week. We, needless to say, just want to beat whoever's in front of us.
I believe (seem to be fewer of those daily) that our team will improve as this season goes on. It continues to amaze me that there are so many calls for change already. It's as though we're wondering why an 80 year old guy who had double knee replacements 3 days ago isn't ready for the Boston Marathon yet. We ARE NOT EXECUTING the basics with regularity yet offensively. Personally, I think we have gotten a little better each week, despite continually having multiple O-line adjustments, different WR/slot groups due to injury/suspension/illness, different attempts at finding a "change of pace" back who won't fumble, switching QBs etc. I completely discount the Toledo game - my diary - my perogative - due to a "perfect storm" of the above reasons (as well as key D personnel being out too).
Defensively, Illinois lit us up by executing the spread as well as anyone could the week they played us. I challenge PSU to even match it. Obviously we need to give up fewer big plays, and play better assignment football. I think we will see that our coaches CAN actually make adjustments, and that the D (hopefully healthy too) will look much better on this "re-do" against PSU's spread.
It's crazy to think that new coaches, with new players, new systems and "inadequate" (for said systems) personnel can completely adjust over the coarse of a timeout, halftime talk, even one week-long practice. That's why they call it "rebuilding", not "pre-fabbed homing". Give it time; and here, in the beginning, while it's roughest, set yourself some resonable expectations.
I still say we have a shot. I guess you can call me a fan. Guilty.
On the blue/maize Prozac: UM wins 27-24;
Marios's blunt: UM loses 38-24.
My gut feeling has been dead-on for the Utah game and the Toledo game. I have a strong feeling we win the PSU game outright. Of course being an engineer I defer to the logic part of my brain 99.9% of the time, and I cant find any logical reason for this prediction, but I really have a strong feeling about this.
Reasons that sort of ( but not very strongly) support this are:
1. PSU's general futility against us. This plays to our advantage in a tangential manner here. They are going to be so eager to wipe the floor with us that they dont play within themselves and try to eliminate brain farts( which is all they need to do to beat us by 30).
2. Joe and Jay Pa ..enough said.
3. The inflated ranking of this PSU team. The general sucktitude of highly ranked teams against bottom feeders (yes, I just used this term to describe UM, kill me now please).
4. I really think our guys come together in an ultimate "us vs the world" to shock everybody. Young guys always play well when they have ZERO expectations placed on them. This should help them play loose and fast. Never under estimate the power of the "nobody believed in us" mojo.
On a completely different topic:
I see all this bitching from so many guys in the mgo community (not all but many) when I really feel I have so much more to bitch about than them and am still showing restraint. I basically the tolerate the rest of the year just for the sweet bliss of the few months that football is on. I knew coming into this year, it was going to be Mondo painful for UM (along the scale of watching Sauron depicted as a freaking cartoon eye in LOTR ), but 8 minutes into the NFL season Tom Brady goes down on a cheap shot.
I had the distict pleasure of watching us get mauled by Juice and then watching the Dolphins (the DOLPHINS!) put a beating on the Pats. This week I saw us lose to Toledo (If I see another "Holy Toledo" reference, I swear to god...) and then saw SD make us (the Pats) look like the Lions (Zing!) on Sunday Night football.
Um...so if everybody could just chill the heck out, that would be great.
In the same vein, I nominate Jamiemac's diary entry for the T-Shirt this week.
fabulous read, great perspective. In fact, Brian should start referring to the rest of the games this year as extended practices.
At some point on a sun drenched fall day at the Big House, reality finally set in. I don’t know exactly when it cemented itself in my conscious. My guess is somewhere between wondering aloud our defense failed to make any effective adjustment to counter an unknown wide receiver hauling in 20 balls or gouging my eyes out as another offensive series withered under failed execution of the playbook's base plays over and over again. Whenever it happened is not that relevant. The cold hard reality is the final tally on the scoreboard for the foreseeable future just does not matter. Even if it reads Toledo 13, Michigan 10, the news on the scoreboard is not the outcome that carries the day. It just does not matter. The reason why finally took hold of me fully Saturday afternoon. Why does it not matter?
Because the whole season is nothing more than one big practice.
Oh, sure the results go in the record books. For years on end, haters will mock the program for the 2008 results. During the back half of the season, expect future opponents and the media to kick the program while it’s down. It might look ugly. It might feel like constant stomach punches. But, it does not matter. The games on this year's schedule are nothing more than glorified scrimmages. This is not to say winning and losing is not important and that the program isn’t trying to win. However, isn’t truly the main goal for this season to determine which 18- and 19-year-olds will form the core of the team for the next two to three years?
The whole season is one big practice.
The cupboard is hardly bare. There's plenty of talent on hand. It’s raw talent, however, that's never been asked to be prime time performers, even in a limited role, at this level before. The coaching staff might have a handle on who might play well during the week, but these Saturday scrimmages are the true laboratory for Rodriguez to experiment in hopes of determining who can handle their roles and who will form the playing core in ensuing seasons. So, Michigan is not emerging ahead on the scoreboard, but these scrimmages are revealing a core of playmakers that will be fixtures. The problem is its most everyone's first rodeo out there and opponents at this level are just too good to overcome the inevitable mistakes that a lineup with so many freshmen and first time contributors produce. Try to revel in the emergence of new playmakers, like Sam, Odoms, Matthews, Moundros (yeah, that’s what I said), Ezeh, Mouton, Cissoko (and, make no mistake one or two more will emerge) and not live or die right now with the scoreboard.
The whole season is one big practice.
Sometimes you're just in a losing situation. No amount of raw talent can overcome that. It’s frustrating to watch especially when you're able to discern the successes and failures of the team and wonder why one isn't being game planned more to while the other isn't being schematically downgraded. It’s revealing when you watch a review of the game. You see some subtle shifts of play calling and the staff is indeed doing what it appears on the surface they aren't doing. Yet, it’s not occurring enough. But, here's the rub. Rodriguez and company can’t take those game plans to a new level because it seems like they have to rely on a new set of players each week. Instead of developing on field strategies with targets that Threet has found a stride with already against live competition, the staff cant because Stonum and Butler run afoul with team rules and were benched, Hemingway gets sick and Odoms dings his shoulder. As such any game planning for a specific foe gets harpooned by having to re-establish fundamentals with players who weren't good enough to make your initial cut for playing time. Maybe you look the other way on the discipline issues and let those guys play. Maybe you push the envelope with the Odoms injury, not to mention the Warren and Graham injuries on D, and put them in the mix because you need his plays. Those would be poor decisions. Clearly the call here is to sacrifice the short term for the long term. The scoreboard does not matter.
The whole season is one big practice.
I'm sure the coaching staff is chomping at the bit to find a way to get a playmaker like McGuffie into the passing game down the field. But, until they can unearth another tailback they're comfortable with who won’t fumble, miss assignments or get dinged up, why risk Sam over the middle at this point? They're constantly shuffling the offensive line sure that eventually the right combo will click. However, every time they've had a eureka moment, they're forced back to the deck because of an injury. After an effective first half moving the football against Toledo, any halftime adjustments to build off of that took a step back when Threet came up lame. Instead, in goes a walk on QB and the goal becomes hiding the weaknesses a move like that reveals rather than putting the petal to the metal with your strengths. If back in August you had been told Michigan's two minute drill would consist of the vaunted Sheridan to Clemons, Babb or Koger connections, what exactly would you have done? Book a trip abroad during the season? Make sure to pack more liquor with the tailgate? You most certainly would have downgraded mentally whatever winning expectations you may have had.
The whole season is one big practice.
Obvious angst, hand wringing and bandwagon bailing have ensued in the wake of losing a winnable game to a local patsy. The sad part of the outcome on the scoreboard was it significantly obscures the improvement the offense is making. The last 10 quarters of football was a major step forward from the first 14 quarters. The team drove the field for seven TDs in those quarters as opposed to 5--most of which were helped by shorter fields after the D swiped the ball--in the first time frame. Turnovers were reduced from 15 to 5. Threet has shown deft pocket awareness, regularly turning a sack into a positive yard scramble and had a 4 to 1 TD to INT ratio. Unfortunately, that interception happened yesterday and the -3 TO margin against the Wolverines was the difference between the actual losing outcome and a 20-3 slow cooked win with all the accomplishment of the 1987's team 26-9 yawner over a 2-win Northwestern team. That win didn't make the 1987 team legendary, nor did the win really have any impact on the program winning the Rose Bowl the following season. This loss should not doom these kids to three years of embarrassment on the college fields. So what if Appy State now has a little company in the program's history.
The whole season is one big practice.
I still feel this team will win games this year. If they improve over the next 10 quarters another step or two from the strides made the last 2 1/2 games, it would not surprise me to see them cobble enough wins to play for bowl eligibility in the finale. There's enough talent on this roster to compete for these games. Can the team get a consistent lineup going? Can the coaching staff keep the team upbeat and confident in the wake of all the negativity? And, most importantly, can they stop turning the ball over? Michigan is -12 in turnover margin. There are reams of empirical evidence out there that showing that over 70 percent of teams that have a double digit, negative TO ratio bounce back and improve their record the next year. Of course, maybe Michigan improves this year and ends up below -10. If they do that, I predict they will manage to at least break even over their final six games. Turnovers, however, are this team's identity right now and its easier to just expect them, steel your fandom heart on what will occur because of it and be pleasantly surprised if they giveaways don’t happen.
The whole season is one big practice.
So what if Kevin Grady struggled in his role on the field Saturday, keep playing him because he has talent. It’s only a practice. So what if playing Cissoko makes the team even younger on the field, it looks like he can hold his own out there in the secondary, so keep playing him. It’s only a practice. So what if Minor irks the fan base because he fumbles, keep playing him because he has flashed as much big play potential as anyone else. It’s only a practice. So what if Moundros does not scare anyone with his skills, keep playing him because he's one of the more physical guys on the team and is lighting folks up. It’s only a practice. Keep searching for answers on the line because while reinforcements up front are on the way, the current group can only get better with more reps. It’s only practice. So what if ditching half your playbook in favor of something that's not you might net an extra win or two, keep running your base stuff because each time is another rep against a quality foe. And, like hitting the gym, each rep helps turn fat into muscle. It’s only a practice.
And, the best part of practice is you can still tailgate beforehand. I expect to see you all on October 25.