there would have to be some to wash away
A Top 10 recruiting class for 2009. Already two and possibly soon to be three top 100 players for 2010. (Two of them WRs- but I thought Rod's offense "wouldn't throw!!!")
The greatest comeback in Michigan Stadium history. A Bear Cavalry type
of defense rumbling to a score, together, like a pack of wild Grizzlies
rushing the gate of a Salmon cannery with red-eyed determination. A QB
who no one knew even had legs rumbling for a 58 yard run.
Freshmen contributing all over the field who will have 2 full years of
game experience come the start of 2010. Good vibes from the Jelani
Jenkins camp when no one thought we had a shot once upon a time.
After seeing what happened on the field last Saturday, after hearing
people boo and then being part of that amazingly loud crowd all I can
think is this: We've seen flashes of it this year, and soon- not only
on offense, but on defense as well- they are going to be playing fast,
hard and aggressive. To all those people booing: You best start
believing now, or at least hold your tongue. Because when it happens I
will be calling out all the non-believers who try to say I told you so,
that they love RichRod, that they never had any doubt.......
It is coming, people. The days of RichRod's Wacko Ninja Offense and
Shafer's Hit Them in the Mouth Defense. I'm speaking of Ninja Football.
That's right. Ninja. Fucking. Football. WE WILL BE A MACHINE. You best start believing now.
As a numbers geek, I have spent a couple years trying to develop a system to go beyond the box score to analyze performance. I have analyzed hundreds of box scores and play by plays to asign a value to each play based on down, distance and line of scrimmage. Each combination of the three is given an expected value.
For instance, a 1st and 10 at the 20 will ultimately give you 1.49 pts each time. Obviously you are never going to score 1.49 point, but you could look at it as about 15 points (a little over 2 TDs) for evey 10 times the situation occurs. Based on this, each play changes the expected points for the possession. A turnover or failed 3rd or 4th down play results in the expected value dropping to 0. In the case of a turnover, a penalty is added based on the resulting opponent field position in comparison to where the opponent would have started had there been an average punt. A long interception with no return, little penalty, field position similar to a punt. A long fumble/int return is a greated penalty because the offense not only loses their expected points, they give the opponent exceptional field position.
A couple notes on scores. Passing games see a lot more range in scores than running games. + is good for the offense, - is good for the defense. Receivers have generally positive scores because only completions count towards their score. Obviously Michigan's poor screen game against Wisconsin does not fit this trend.
Based purely on starting field position, if these two team were average the score should have been Wisconsin 41 Michigan 22. Obviously a huge effort from the defense to hold Wisconsin to 25 pts and an a great second half for the offense, to put some drives together.
Without further ado, here are the scores for the week.
Offense Overall: -2.4 pts
Running Game: +1.3
Minor: 2 carries, +2.9
Threet:9 carries, +0.8
Grady: 5 carries, +0.7
Brown: 1 carry, -0.7
Odoms: 1 carry, -0.9
McGuffie!: 15 carries: -1.5
Passing Game: -5.2
Matthews: 4 catches, +4.3
Koger: 1 catch, +4.0
Minor: 1 catch, +0.6
Odoms: 2 catches, -0.2
McGuffie: 1 catch, -0.5
Brown: 3 catches, -1.3
Penalties (Offense): +1.5
For: 1 penalty, +1.9
Against: 1 penalty, -0.4
Defense Overall: -24.4
Run defense: -7.2
Other: 13 carries, +4.9
Evridge: 5 carries, -6.1
Hill: 22 carries, -6.0
Pass defense: -18.2
Gilreath: 5 catches, +6.0
Jefferson: 4 catches, -1.0
Penalties (defense): +1.0
For: 4 penalties, -2.3
Against: 2 penalties, +3.3
Okay, so it's time to unveil my first revision. I've heard all of the commentary about the initial design, all of the crack feedback from all of you, my de facto target market. This is nothing new in the logo design process-- you show it once, you fix it, you hear the reactions and build from it, you show it again, etc etc. I've learned over the years how to separate constructive criticism from personal commentary, so don't worry-- many of you said "no offense, but I don't like the teeth, etc."-- Won't be the last time someone doesn't like what I've created, and honesty is always what I'm after in the first place-- so once again, THANK YOU to everyone who posted their opinion on the first design.
What I've tried to do is fix up the perspective, and ensure that it looks MORE like a 3/4 view of the wolverine and not a side angle. I've also fixed the helmet stripes-- couldn't believe I did it in the first place, but sometimes you get so caught up in the fine details that you miss something obvious. Another thing I really tried to do is incorporate more study of anatomy-- I even toyed with a more almond-shaped eye that many wolverine shots seem to have, but it just didn't have any character.
Of course, the most GLARING change is the character-- almost unanimously people wanted to see something MAD AS HELL, and I've tried to accommodate them. I've opened up the mouth to show some glaring teeth-- very happy with them, esp. how the top incisors work despite one being white and one being blue (the only way to incorporate it into the silhouette). I also changed the angle of the bottom of the helmet wing to make it appear more 'furrowed' or grimacing. Hard to incorporate the bottom of the helmet into the brow, but that was probably the best result.
I played around with adding a block M into the bottom left corner of his neck, but it was a little too clunky/gimmicky... Some of you may argue that the maize fur/jawline detail is unnecessary, but I beg to differ. With all that contrast in the head and face, it simply needs some yellow down there to balance the design out.
All in all, I like it more than the first. Seems more like the true animal, and more pissed off. If anything I'm less pleased with the overall exterior shape of the mark, but it's probably just because the jaw changes the whole angle. Either way, I'm satisfied enough, and had some time today to throw it up on a new page. Looking forward to hearing what you all think, and who knows-- maybe one day this will show up on the pale arm of another caucasian offensive skill player!
GO BLUE-- SHUT DOWN JUICE!
This is the 2nd half diary, in the normal style.
5:29 – Bret Bielema is wearing sunglasses that make him look like a chubby Agent Smith from The Matrix.
5:30 – Kickoff to Odoms, who has a nice little runback. For the record, I would sell Cat32 for a win. Actually for a touchdown. Who am I kidding, I’d sell her for a first down. Any takers?
5:31 – Carlos Brown apparently wants Cat32. The crowd, tiring of boos, openly mocks the offense by applauding the first down. For some reason, this irks me more than the booing. It’s not like they’re dogging it folks.
5:36 – The drive breaks down and we punt. Wisconsin has bad field position for once, here’s hoping the D can get the offense in scoring position. I don’t have anything funny to say here, we need a miracle.
5:48 – Wisky picks up a couple of first downs, but the defense continues to do a good job overall. Bret, you keep calling ISO plays. I don’t think that play does what you think it does. Wisky punts for a touchback.
5:55 – Greg Matthews snags a couple passes, showing some life in the offense. Then on 4th and 1, Kevin “short yardage” Grady comes into the game and does what he does. (No, it did not involve a breathalyzer.) Am I the only one who notices that he turns around a lot toward the end of his runs?
5:58 – Touchdown Michigan! Threet to Koger. Rodriguez is shown on the sideline asking Calvin Magee what the hell a “tight end” is, anyway. I breathe out a huge sigh of relief and marvel at the 80-yard drive. Cat32 was pawing at the offense’s dead corpse, and jumped straight up when it twitched.
6:00 – I tell the cat that UFR will show something changed in the offensive line, because it looked like a switch had been flipped. Quick math shows we’re only two scores down, and I did that without benefit of a calculator. C’mon D! Get us good field position.
6:04 – The defense forces a 3 & out on a great 3rd down effort, with Evridge recovering his own fumble about 10 yards behind the line. Bielema suddenly looks like he’s thinking “Me no like Blue. Dis not plan.”
6:07 – 3 & out Michigan. Bret: “Dis plan.” I’m trying to muster some serious dislike for Wisconsin, but I just can’t. It’s Wisconsin, and even in this game they just happened to be standing around when we turned it over 5 times. How pissed can you really get at people who wear cheese on their heads, by choice? They know it looks silly and do it anyway, while happily snacking on heart-attack food. Guess I’ll have to hit a game at Camp Randall to make it personal.
6:16 – The defense forces another 3 & out. Have I mentioned how badass they’ve played today? I’d like to nominate the entire D-line for that GM scholarship thing. I don’t even have a joke here, I’m gaining hope for the rest of the season. On the down side, we have the ball in terrible field position yet again, our own 15.
6:23 – On 3rd & 15 Michigan, Wisconsin makes the most boneheaded play of the entire fall and rough the passer. Interestingly, the penalty was so dumb the ref announced it as “Sarah Palining”. Thanks Badgers, you’re on the Christmas card list now.
6:24 – Martavious Odoms catches a pass, and I find myself holding my breath every time he touches the ball waiting for him to do something spectacular. He’s like Steve Breaston in that respect. Even Cat32 finds nothing to disapprove of. We’re at midfield.
6:26 – And just like that, Brandon Minor has a long run for a TD! After the worst offensive half since probably OSU 2001, we’re only a score away with over 10 minutes on the clock! What has two thumbs and is really happy? <<points to self with thumbs>> This guy.
6:28 – OMFG we have the lead! I see a +4 in Thompson’s future. Defensive players were in a pack hitting anything in white rumbling into the endzone. Wisky looks like a deflated balloon. Also on the play, Ezeh was blocked in to Bret Bielema, severing his knee. OK, I made that up, but that would’ve made this the greatest play ever, no?
6:29 – Let’s just recap the last 7 minutes of game time. First, an offense with more plays than yards in the first half takes off the Clark Kent outfit and puts together 2 80+ yard drives. Everyone stayed mentally into the game, kept fighting. The defense stayed hot, and then delivered the play of the game. And. Michigan. Leads. Whatever ends up happening, let’s all admit that’s a good 7 minutes.
6:30 – Michigan doesn’t convert a 2-point attempt. I’m normally not a fan of going for 2 until there’s less than 5 minutes left in a game. If this is one of the trade-offs for the new coaching staff, I guess I’ll shrug and accept it. Hell, it might even be the right thing to do.
6:38 – I should just put this on a hotkey: “The Michigan defense forces a 3 & out.” This one was really close, but there’s the punter.
6:42 – Threet just rushed for 58 yards. I am officially hoarse. I am also going to stock up on canned food, just in case that was one of the seven signs. Seriously, the Wisky DB’s were catching up, but *slowly*. His acceleration might be on the lower end of the scale, but give him a few seconds to achieve top speed and you’ve got a big play. Wow.
6:46 – McGuffie scores, 27-19 Michigan. 27 straight points. The Threet run is a nice echo to another big comeback, the 2003 Minnesota game where Navarre rumbled for a long TD on the throwback. Let’s hope this one has a happy ending as well, which with an 8-point lead and the defense playing pretty saucy, I’m feeling good about things.
6:53 – Wisconsin builds a long drive where they look as good as they have all game. Then Evridge fumbles, and it’s recovered by Taylor. Evridge is actually lucky he fumbled, because if Wisconsin scored Cat32 was going to eat his liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti.
7:02 – OK, we run 3 straight times and punt, leaving Wisky 1:42. I want to say “that was nice of RR to let Lloyd call a drive” but I probably would’ve done the same thing.
7:08 – Wisky scores. Cat32 added fava beans to the grocery list. When we needed to really get pressure on the QB, we only rush 3-4. Can’t wait for the UFR on this one, seems like we changed what we were doing more than Wisky did anything different. This drive and the last that ended with a fumble gave me déjà vu for the 2006 ND drive to end the 1st half. The game comes down to one play.
7:10 – Obviously I’m delighted that Wisky didn’t line up right the first time and missed the 2nd attempt on the 2-pt conversion, but I think we’d have beaten them in OT anyway. Easy to say now, but I really believe the D would’ve changed things up in OT.
7:11 – This is one of the greatest games, especially the 2nd half, I can remember watching. The highs and the lows were gigantic. My guess is it’ll be on Rich Rodriguez’s Top Ten wins list for his whole Michigan career.
7:12 – Thanks for the memory gentlemen, and I, for one, loved the heart and toughness showed in not folding.
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!