“The player development is the main thing I like (about Michigan),” Williams said. “You can see that they develop their players. They get them in the gym and they work them hard. And their hard work pays off.”
This is probably more of a topic for the MGoBoard, but I can't put an image in a post there so it becomes my first Diary entry, mostly by default. Anyway, I was doing some photoshoppin' and, although the buzz on the new uniforms has mostly died down, I thought there would still be some interest in what our jerseys might look like in maize (since about 80% of people out there seem to think it's a foregone conclusion that the team will sport them at some point).
In my opinion, the jersey itself doesn't look so bad, but I don't think it would look that good in action. I never liked Cal's gold jersey/blue pants combo and the WV all-yellow uniforms are starkly reminiscent of a banana. Perhaps, after the Notre Dame game (the first time the new road unis will be worn in action), I'll work with the whole uniform, but, more likely, the presence of actual football will cause me to lose interest in such trivial matters as the uniform.
Note: the image is watermarked as "fake" not so much because of my own perceived photoshop prowess (anyone who takes a decent look can tell it's not real), but more because of my understanding that, the internets being the internets, these things tend to get out of hand; i.e.: "OMG! Michigan + RR = WVU, LOL", etc.
From my observations and what
has been written on this blog and in the MSM, I believe that we have changed our
recruiting focus from one that was more heavily focused on retaining all of the
talent within the State of Michigan and capturing what we can get in the
surrounding states (Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Illinois) as well as a few athletes
from certain talent hotbeds (Florida, Texas and California) to a greater
emphasis being placed on recruiting from the talent hot beds. What are the ramifications of this philosophical
shift? And how have coaching changes
resulted in shifts in intra-region power?
- It is likely that MSU is going to recruit
better within Michigan
than they have in the past. My reasoning
is that as RR draws greater numbers of recruits from outside of Michigan and the Midwest
than the prior regime, more quality players will be available to the Spartans. In addition, Brian had a post some time back
describing how the change in the type of players we recruit will lead to
certain players that would have been a lock for Michigan, now being a better fit at State. I am not implying that we will not get the
guys we are interested in recruiting. That
will be dependent upon our continued success on the field and fostering relationships
between the program and the high schools within the state.
- MSU will likely become more competitive in
the Big Ten and nationally. The
increased talent level will have the potential to move them up into the second
tier of the Big Ten currently being fought over by Wisconsin,
Penn State, Illinois
- Assuming that RR is able to land better talent
from outside of Michigan than is available
inside of Michigan,
our overall talent level will rise, making us more competitive nationally. Hopefully, the relative talent level between
us and MSU will remain constant. This
should raise the absolute level of talent in the Big Ten at the expense of the
SEC and ACC (assuming our recruiting focus has moved towards Florida and the south east).
The risk is that we chase
windmills and fail to land equal or better talent in the southeast and cede talent
within the State of Michigan
talent to MSU. The Spartans then gain an
ability to win the recruits we want and there is a possible shift in power. As I stated before, the mitigant to this is our
continued success on the field and fostering relationships between the program and
the high schools within the state.
Observations and Parallels:
Is RR’s focus on talent
outside of the home state due to his time at WVU where there was far less
instate talent than in Michigan? I’m not implying that Michigan is OH, PA, FL, TX or CA, but it is
clearly better than WV. One thing that
seems clear, is that the tenures of Bobby Williams and John L. Smith (and the
Spartans refer to us as slappies??) decimated the in-state recruiting at
MSU. While there were not great numbers
of Plaxico’s and Duckett’s at MSU there were some clear examples of players we
wanted but State got. BW and JLS seemed
to have killed this very nicely.
There have been some
interesting changes in balance of power within different regions during the
last 10-15 years that may provide interesting insight.
- The fall of Washington
and the rise of Oregon. How much of the rise of Oregon as a national
power have to do with the influx of Phil Knight / Nike money versus the
missteps and poor coaching hires at UW? Has there been a re-routing of talent from Seattle to Eugene? Did the re-emergence of USC shut down UW’s
access to southern California
- The fall of Notre Dame, Illinois
and Michigan State
and the rise of Iowa and Wisconsin (and Northwestern and Purdue to a
lesser extent?). Did the inconsistency
of ND and Illinois cede some degree of control
over greater Chicago
recruiting to other Big Ten School? A
close analysis of the recruiting records (in particular recruit hometowns) for
each school over the last 15 years would yield some interesting insight. Did the Spartans losing Nick Saban to LSU and
the ensuing coaching chaos provide an opening to NU and Purdue?
- The fall of Nebraska
and the rise of Oklahoma.
- The fall of Alabama
and Tennessee (to a lesser extent) and the rise
of LSU and Auburn.
This post is to generate
discussion, as many of the ideas I have included have not been researched,
rather are observations of mine that seem to fit together with some degree of
press release from the BTN; Michigan games bolded.
Season two debuts at 6 PM ET on Tuesday, Aug. 26, with the 2000 Orange Bowl match-up between eighth-ranked Michigan and fifth-ranked Alabama. Tom Brady, who threw for 369 yards and four touchdowns, helped erase a 14-point deficit. The game went to overtime when a special teams blunder by the Crimson Tide gave Michigan a 35-34 victory.
The full schedule includes:
- Aug. 26 – 2000 Orange Bowl No. 8 Michigan def. No. 5 Alabama, 35-34 (OT)
- Aug. 28 – 1990 No. 21 Illinois def. No. 9 Colorado, 23-22
- Sept. 2 – 2000 Northwestern def. No. 7 Wisconsin, 47-44 (2 OT)
- Sept. 4 – 1998 Alamo Bowl Purdue def. No. 4 Kansas State, 37-34
- Sept. 9 – 1983 Sugar Bowl No. 2 Penn State def. No. 1 Georgia, 27-23
- Sept. 11 – 2000 No. 5 Wisconsin def. Oregon, 27-23
- Sept. 16 – 2005 Capital One Bowl No. 11 Iowa def. No. 12 LSU, 30-25
- Sept. 18 – 2003 No. 3 Ohio State def. No. 24 NC State, 44-38 (3 OT)
- Sept. 23 – 1981 Minnesota def. No. 18 Ohio State, 35-31
- Sept. 25 – 2005 Wisconsin def. No. 14 Michigan, 23-20 [yuck -ed]
- Sept. 30 – 1988 Indiana def. Iowa, 45-34
- Oct. 2 – 1995 No. 12 Penn State def. No. 6 Northwestern, 21-10
- Oct. 7 – 2003 No.4 Michigan def. Minnesota, 38-35
- Oct. 9 – 2006 Indiana def. No. 15 Iowa, 31-28
- Oct. 14 – 1989 No. 11 Illinois def. Indiana, 41-28
- Oct. 16 – 2005 Minnesota def. No. 11 Purdue, 42-35 (2 OT)
- Oct. 21 – 1999 No. 11 Michigan State def. No. 3 Michigan, 34-31
- Oct. 23 – 2004 No. 12 Michigan def. Michigan State, 45-37 (3 OT)
- Oct. 28 – 1981 No. 8 Ohio State def. Stanford, 24-19
- Oct. 30 – 1996 Minnesota def. Illinois, 23-21
- Nov. 4 – 1984 Penn State def. No. 9 Boston College, 37-30
- Nov. 6 – 2002 Iowa def. No. 12 Penn State, 42-35 (OT)
- Nov. 11 – 2003 No. 24 Minnesota def. Wisconsin, 37-34
- Nov. 13 – 2002 No. 2 Ohio State def. Illinois, 23-16 (OT)
- Nov. 18 – 1969 No. 12 Michigan def. No. 1 Ohio State, 24-12
- Nov. 20 – 1974 No. 4 Ohio State def. No. 3 Michigan, 12-10
Taking a look at the past 2 years of the rankings there are a few things of interest. Let's start with Coach Shafer at Western Michigan in 2006.
- 2006 W. Michigan Rushing Defense - Rating: 36 (17th in the nation)
- 2006 W. Michigan Passing Defense - Rating: 1 (57th in the nation)
- 2006 W. Michigan Total Defense - Rating 37 (23rd in the nation)
- 2007 W. Michigan Rushing Defense - Rating: -19 (79th in the nation)
- 2007 W. Michigan Passing Defense - Rating: 0 (62nd in the nation)
- 2007 W. Michigan Total Defense - Rating -19 (75th in the nation)
Everyone would expect the rushing defense to drop with less aggressive play calling. I was surprised that the passing defense also slightly dropped despite 4 returning starters in the secondary and corners that weren't being left on an island as often. How did things change for Stanford from 2006 to 2007? I'm glad you asked.
- 2006 Stanford Rushing Defense - Rating: -55 (115th in the nation)
- 2006 Stanford Passing Defense - Rating: 32 (15th in the nation)
- 2006 Stanford Total Defense - Rating -23 (85th in the nation)
The passing defense may be a result of a defense that let guys run through them like Paris Hilton. This is just speculation since I admit to not watching a single '06 Stanford game. On to 2007
- 2007 Stanford Rushing Defense - Rating: -20 (83rdh in the nation)
- 2007 Stanford Passing Defense - Rating:- 32 (107th in the nation)
- 2007 Stanford Total Defense - Rating -52 (104th in the nation)
Ouch, the rushing defense was about the same with a boost in ranking because of sacks. The passing defense was bad, ND bad (which by the way finished dead last in 2007 for total offense). But Stanford only had 1 returning starter in the secondary.
What does it all mean? I have no idea. But in a year when everyone is looking at the offense things should be just as interesting on the defensive side of the ball.
I know that this falls into the category of "inane" and "completely unrelated to actual important things like offensive scheming, recruiting, etc" but I thought I'd at least throw it out there and see if any of you had any take on it at all.
One of the time-honored gripes as we enter this time of year has always been the atmosphere at Michigan Stadium, it's practically a rite of Fall at this point. Having been fortunate enough to be a season ticket holder I've seen a steady (though not remarkable) improvement in the game-day atmosphere over the years, but there's definitely still work to be done.
Rather than going on some overarching diatribe regarding the age and general disposition of certain (ahem) segments of the crowd and their predilection to scream "sit down" much louder than they scream "Go Blue" I just wanted to point out one small change that I think would just sound cool... and better.
You know how right before the team comes out of the locker room and they put that somewhat off-kilter shot of the locker room doors up on the jumbotrons? Then the band and crowd start into the incredibly monotonous "Lets.... Go.... Blue...." that somewhat increases in tempo and volume as the team starts to gather in the tunnel? Not exactly the most rip-roaring way to greet the team onto the grid-iron. I have to say that I think they're missing on the intended effect of building a crescendo of excitement and volume in the crowd prior to the team running out under the banner.
This brings me to my suggestion/idea: How much better would it sound if the student section got the back and forth "GO" "BLUE" chant going during that time instead? The crowd participation is always better with that chant anyway, and it's a lot easier to pick up the pace so to speak. Plus, it simply sounds LOUDER.
That said, I have absolutely no idea how this would be implemented, etc, but regardless, I definitely think it'd sound better and contribute just that much more to the whole "atmosphere" thing we like to all wax poetic about.
Five games down and the Rockets are coming to Ann Arbor. The Toledo Rockets.
Toledo -- Oct. 11, TBA
There won't be too much excitement in this game against what is rightfully our's. Toledo will make the quick trip up to Ann Arbor with dreams of the Horror Part II. I'm sure Brady Hoke thinks Toledo has a great shot...and that Ron Paul is a lock for the White House, but there is very very little chance of an upset here.
Sure, it has been Michigan policy in recent years to allow some of these MAC teams to hang around (Miami, Ball State, Eastern), but something tells me this season's policy will be something more along the lines of merciless pillaging and demoralizing pummelization (may be made up).
Toledo brings a lot of starters back on defense this season. This is great news...for the Wolverines. The Rockets were worse than bad on defense last season, ranking 117th in scoring defense. They did shut out Notre Dame though, which may not be true...but they may have. Seriously though, if the offense doesn't have it together by now, it will get a major ego boost on October 11th.
Uh oh, Toledo has a quarterback that will be in his third straight year as the starting signal caller, and their wide receivers are pretty good. Ah, well that kind of plays to UM's strength on defense.
There just isn't a whole lot to say about this match-up. Barring an extremely humiliating lack of respect, much like this post, Toledo doesn't stand a chance. Hopefully UM can take care of business early and get the young guys some playing time. Also, it should be a good tune-up before the next two games - at Penn State and vs. MSU.