"Northwestern fans can be both heartened and disheartened by the loss to Minnesota just like how nineteenth-century resurrectionists were heartened when they pried a heart from a freshly-buried corpse and then disheartened it when they sold it to a disreputable anatomist."
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!
- 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.