As a professional in the design field, I have often been told (aka
thrown in my face) that my team has no true logo, only a block M and a
really REALLY cool helmet.
This has happened on more than one occasion, and I am quick to point
out the various 'alternate' graphics we've seen over the years,
including the crouching wolverine on the block M, the new helmet wing
logo we've seen the athletic department use, and even the old sailor
hat-wearing wolverine from the days of Bump Elliot.
SO... without further ado this is my first attempt at a new UofM WOLVERINE alternate logo.
This was actually conceived from an actual photograph of said vicious
mammal, though of course I took certain freedoms with aesthetic license
and of course adding the wings. I guess I am looking for criticism, feedback,
what the collective MGOBLOG community might like to see, etc. in this
little pet freelance project. I'll likely continue with this idea as
free time permits, so look for more in the conceivable future.
If in the future there seems to be a true consensus design agreed or otherwise non-hated upon by the MgoBlog community, who knows what we'd do with it? I would be more than willing to talk to Brian about tee shirts, or perhaps even using it on the site. That would only be fair after all of the free information I've perused here over the past few months. But that, of course, is another story.
I've been meaning to post this for awhile, but I wanted to point out to any Michigan fans nervous about how the spread option offense might perform or look in future years -- instead of looking back south at how Rich Rodriguez's offenses moved the ball at West Virginia, look 150 miles north at the Central Michigan offense.
CMU's head coach Butch Jones is a disciple of RichRod and I'm using that word very carefully. When he came to Central from West Virginia, Jones even lifted a lot of Rodriguez's catchphrases ("hold the rope") and an identical banner hangs in the CMU weight room as the one Mike Barwis/RichRod put up in the new Michigan room (Through these doors walk the best conditioned, most disciplined, and hardest working football team in America).
CMU runs the same spread option that Michigan now does, with one major difference -- Jones was smart enough to adapt the offense to fit the strengths of Dan LeFevour. (Also, CMU's running backs are nowhere near as talented as Michigan's so they run the ball with RBs considerably less). So, you still get the same zone read runs, but there is a lot more four and five WR sets and downfield passing, mainly because Jones was lucky enough to inherit one of the best QBs in the country.
The result -- last year LeFevour threw for 3,650 yards and ran for 1,100. He's on pace for 3,400 yards passing and 600 rushing this year and that's with the weakest defensive teams on their schedule yet to come.
The upshot is that while I have no doubt that Rodriguez would like to recruit QBs who are mobile and quick (a prerequiste in the spread option, no doubt), if Beaver or Forcier or some future QB shows the aptitude for throwing the ball that Pat White apparently doesn't and will never possess, you'll see a lot more balance out of the Michigan offense. I personally have no doubts that Rodriguez will be able to maximize the abilities of future offenses.
Like many fans I am frustrated by the amount we still don't know about this team- and I'm trying to stay optimistic. One thing to note is that we might get bailed out by the schedule this year- or at least as much as one can be "bailed out" and still finish .500- really the question is can we find a win in the next couple of weeks, because the schedule at the end of the year is actually pretty friendly. At the beginning of the year I thought we would lose 4, or 5 if we lost to ND. Now our best might look more like 6-6.
What is difficult is that it's so hard to know what to make of ND. Those who make a lot of our mistakes have us finishing 2-10, others think this was a breakthrough game for the offense and have already chalked up 500 yard masterpieces for the rest of the year. I'm not sure what to think- I do think we have improved, but I also think what really helps is that a lot of our destiny is going to be determined a lot by schedule, and a lot of our opponents are really weak. I think the Michigan State/ Notre Dame game suggests that we have improved somewhat- I expected MSU to pulverize Notre Dame and though they still made mistakes-a-plenty, the Domers were in this one. They are not a good team, but unlike last year they are a real team- I think that means our offensive imrovement can be given some credit.
This week I am hoping we will get a lot more information. We should find out a lot this week when some important macthups take place. One is our linebackers against Wisconsin. Last year this was a disaster, could be even worse this year. Another is Penn State/Illinois. Is either team for real? Purdue plays Notre Dame and Northwestern plays Iowa in what will surely be a ghastly game. I think it's very possible we find out that either Illinois or Penn State isn't that good, and that NW and Purdue are as weak as we thought. I would never say that I want Notre Dame to win, but obviously it's better for our future if Purdue doesn't do well. Maybe they'll win 3-2 or something.
Wisconsin: I don't think it's a stretch to say that Wisconsin is much better than we are. But they sometimes have trouble scoring points. I think probably their linemen on both sides of the ball grind us into dust and this game goes pretty much like last year. Wisconsin's offense is perfectly suited to exploit our light tackling, bad first stepping linebackers. But, in a 13-10 game anybody can win. The good news is that even Wisconsin fans seem to wonder out loud if their real offense looks more like what played against Fresno than what played against Akron. Wisconsin hides it better than most teams but any modern offense with a limited quarterback is going to have a tough time. http://www.badgerbeat.com/news/article/id/304831 All you need is the ball to bounce your way once or twice, maybe our DL plays out of their minds, etc. Still, with our OL against their experienced D, and our LBs against their OL, this has to be a loss, right? I will not gainsay the excellent post by drexel on the Wisconsin D- #92 is Shaughnessy by the way and it looks like he figures to ruin us, which he could just about do single-handedly. We might see a lot of OL butts bumping into ball carriers. One thing: we really shouldn't fall to pieces if we lose to Wisconsin. This was a loss from day one even if we were better than we thought we were, and sure, 1-3 looks like hell but this year the tough parts of the schedule are up front.
Illinois: Just watching the scores this year I thought Illinois was seriously underperforming. Against Missouri they scored a lot of points but were playing from behind. They obviously had a subpar game against UL Lafayette. Defense is an issue for Illinois. Illinois actually gave up a fair number of long drives against ULL, who had two drives stopped by fumbles, missed a field goal, and turned it over once on downs in Illinois territory. Illinois gave up 52 points against Missouri. Obviously Missouri's offense is very good- but, should a good defense EVER give up 52 points? No, not ever. I don't care if it's the first game of the season, a good team does not give up 50 points. I think Illinois has a talented but inconsistent offense that can't throw, and a vulnerable defense. For what it's worth, the Illinois newspapers seem to think the problem is offense and that the D is OK http://www.illinihq.com/news/football/2008/09/14/illini_ready__to_get_to_work- I respectfully disagree about the D, as ULL isn't that good but still had a number of long drives. As of this moment, I think this is a game we can win, but we will find out a lot more this weekend when Illinois plays Penn St. Side note: Ron Zook talking is funny, I like his explanation of bye weeks for mentally exhausted Illini players. http://www.illinihq.com/news/football/2008/09/20/zook_penn_state_is_rolling_now
Toledo: Toledo scares me a little bit because they can put up so many points, like 41 during regulation against Fresno (and 13 in OT), but this is a couple down the road and is still a MAC team. If our game against Miami proves anything, it's that we are still talented enough to play a stinker against MAC opponents and win.
Penn St: Has pulverized four absolutely hopeless opponents, including Temple without their starting quarterback. Still, they really beat the living hell out of them. We will learn a lot this week when they play Illinois, but this is a road game and I just can't see it. if Penn St. rushes for 300 yards and beats Illinois 31-3, then ok. Even without that, this is another team that is really due to beat us and really needs to take advantage of the opportunity. At that point this is probably a game that they would really need to win but that we would be expected to lose. That shouldn't matter, but it does, and this has to be a loss. One note: Penn State's defensive players are getting themselves suspended for different lengths of time at a fantastic rate.
MSU: This game is totally unpredictable, and the ability of State to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory is amazing. But just on paper, I see State doing what Wisconsin would do- no way our linebackers are up to the challenge of a big line plus Ringer. Still, Heuer is weak and they're State. I'm still calling this an L for now, as our linebackers are about the weakest position we have after safety.
Purdue: I'm not very impressed by Purdue at all. They give up a lot of points. Central Michigan got 440 yards and scored late in the 4th quarter. A loss to Oregon, who just got beat by Boise St. (at home, can't blame on blue turf) is looking less forgiveable. Tiller is tired and cranky. I still don't see that Purdue has overcome the deficiencies that caused them to fail last year. Purdue still turns the ball over and quarterbacking is still an issue. In fact Painter was "one series" away from getting yanked last week. That can't be good. http://boilerstation.jconline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080922/SPORTS020101/809220326&referrer=FRONTPAGECAROUSEL
I think this is a W.
Minnesota: A lot better than they were, which is saying they aren't the worst team in the universe. They beat 4 weak teams but gave up 356 yards against a really weak Montana State team. They're still no good, this is a win.
Northwestern just beat 0-3 (now 0-4) Ohio 16-8 in what I'm fairly comfortable saying was an awful game. Ok, Ohio has lost 4 close ones but still, they were a very average 4-4 in the MAC last year. Like Minnesota they've showed some growth. Hey, they beat Duke this year. Still though, there is a dearth of talent and a defense that's not much good this has to be a win too.
OSU: Looks a lot weaker than we thought. Not enough weaker. On the road, we will lose.
I do not feel like Shafer has let the defensive line do stunts to put
them in a spot to make plays. To me, it looks like a linebackercentric
(I made that word up myself) defense that has the DL doing straight
rushes to occupy linemen so the linebackers can make plays. (Which
would be like running the ball up the middle with Odoms everyplay, its
just not his strength.) So anyway, I did some research, to see if
there was historical evidence that shows a tendency towards low sacks
with DLs and high sacks with LBs. This it what I found.
LB had 29 sacks
DL had 18 sacks
2007-2008 Stanford University
LB had 19 sacks
DL had 16 sacks
2007-2008 UM (2.2 sacs per)
DL had 18 sacks
LB had 10.5 sacks (7.5 are crables)
2008-2009 UM Defense (3.6 sacks per)
DL has 9 sacks
LB has 2 sacks
So that stats say that this year per game has more sacks rep than last year, but it seems like teams are having lots of time to throw the football. It would be nice to see how many hurries we have thiis year and last year. Anyway, it could because we played spreads the first two games, I thought that the stunts were really bad against the spreads (see app. st. and UO last year) so we just
have had less time to work on stunts in practice. However, I feel like
English does better with our defense last Saturday against ND if he is
given the opportunity. I am not saying Shafer is bad, I am just not
sure if he is adjusting to the personnel on UM's defense. What are
Likely the absolute key to this game, will be our defensive performance on Saturday. I think many have noticed that our defensive performances against power run squads has diminished over the last several years. While I'm not advocating a return of Jim Herrmann as our DC, we must all agree, that against these kinds of teams, Herrmann was very good.
Wisconsin happens to be one of the better power run offenses in the nation these days. Huge OLs, tiny Oline splits and 220-250 backs. They will line up and attempt to smash us in the face on Saturday...no mystery here. As GSimmons and others have documented, Michigan's performance in the ND game against similar schemes left alot to be desired. LBs were slow to fill, or adequately take on lead blocks..often giving up the wrong gap and failing to funnell ball carriers into help. Fundamental stuff against ISO and the power run game. In addition, our DLine doesn't always hold up well against the doulbe teams that often occur with these schemes, allowing OLs to push the LOS and effectively "seal off" LBs from flowing to the ball.
It's essential that WHOMEVER plays at LB this week get the fundamental stuff right. Personally, I'm hoping the staff starts the three best LBs against the run this week, and think it's possible we see Panter more and Mouton less. Mouton will be effective in passing downs against Beckum, but he's not the run supporter that Panter is IMHO. I noticed Johnny Thompson tends to "run around" the ISO lead block in lieu of taking it on and stuffing the lead blocker. All well and good if you can make the play, but Thompson gave up several runs against the Domers this way. Against an offense like this, your LBs have to play unselfishly(unless they are able to take on the block AND make the tackle) and funnell the ball carrier into help.
The make up of the defensive line will be just as interesting. I expect to see more Renaldo Sagesse and less of Will Johnson. Sagesse has the size to hold up to double teams and not be moved off the LOS. Johnson, while very strong, is a good bit lighter and has trouble here, especially when he's tired. Will there be a Jason Kates sighting this week? If we don't see him now, we're likely to never see him. He has the perfect build to hold up inside....6'3" and 320 pounds. He'll be needed, but will he play.
All things considered, it's the front seven that will decide this game. If they can stop the running attack and allow the safeties to play a more passive role, we'll likely keep Wisconsin bottled up fairly well. If the safeties have to get involved, then Beckum becomes more and more dangerous and big plays more likely. Wisconsin's passing game looks average to slightly below average. Evridge isn't particularly accurate. The wideouts look meh to me.
My prediction...we don't get it altogether against Wisky and they have some fun. Hill runs for 95 and the Badgers score around 21 points.
If M Played West Virginia on Saturday
Note – Since Michigan had a bye and West Virginia lost to Colorado on Thursday night, I thought I’d do a running diary for an imaginary game against the two on Saturday with M playing the part of Colorado. M hosts so I don’t have to make up an entry on how the coaching staff was “shot up like a varmint!”
3:25 – We’re here LIVE! at the Wolvrine32 entertainment industrial complex. Diet coke is in place, hastily made shrine to Stephen Threet is in place, the cat is curiously absent. I’m wearing a #3 jersey, which used to be Marlin Jackson when originally purchased, was Kevin Grady for a brief time, and is now Stevie Brown. Hmmm, the Diet Coke is tasting a little flatter after typing that.
3:31 – Did you know that Rich Rodriguez came to coach here from West Virginia? No way! I only needed ABC to tell me that 5 billion times before it sunk in. On a lighter note, the pan shot of the visiting West Virginia crowd had three Rich Rodriguez dolls hanging in effigy. The Vegas over/under on RR dolls having something done to them in effigy was eight, so we’ll keep our eyes peeled.
3:36 – Erin Andrews just asked Bill Stewart what it would be like to coach against his former boss. “I really wish he’d gone to coach Temple, Erin.” Then he gave her a giant bear-hug. Tarnation!
3:43 – Kickoff. Pat McAfee kicks off to Boubacar Cissoko and my spell checker just lit up like a Christmas tree. M ball on the 17.
3:44 – The Carson Butler Memorial False Start Penalty (and my string of profanities) attracts the cat, who looks on Carson with disapproval. How can you false start when even the defense knows Michigan doesn’t hike until after “getting the clap?” Hee-hee, getting the clap.
3:49 – Major 3rd down pickup by Threet and Hemingway, 23 yards. Threet and Hemingway sounds like a trendy clothing store. RR is still abusing Butler on the bench, state services might be getting involved soon.
3:52 – TD Michigan! Threet and Hemingway again, 38 yard TD pass. Disturbing lack of rushing on this drive, but I’ll take it. Threet looked like a genuine Div-IA QB on this drive, and didn’t fumble which is key.
3:53 – Barwis ran across the field and stared down Coach Stew into the fetal position. It only took .6 seconds. Ewww, he just wet his Depends, then he found the 4th string cornerback and gave him an uncomfortable to watch man-hug. This game is messing with Coach Stew. Of course, all games mess with Coach Stew.
3:59 – Fumble Starks, recovered by Thompson! Michigan is in business on the WFV 28. RR looks so happy, he’s like Joe Biden being told he actually gets to debate Sarah Palin.
4:03 – TD Mich! 14-0. I’m light-headed from the giddiness. Also, WFV had to call a timeout on the extra point because they had *13* guys on the field. Insert “ha-ha WFV can’t count” joke here. Even RR was a little embarrassed for Coach Stew.
4:05 – Pat White assumes control of the team and pronounces himself player-coach. Uncomfortable-to-watch bear/man hugs all around. He then rushes for 44 yards to the Michigan 9. What happened to him throwing more?
4:15 – Pat White rushes for a TD. 14-7, M. I want to be upset, but I keep picturing someone like him in Michigan’s offense in 2 years, and the little thought bubbles over my head have lots of !!!’s.
4:19 – Know what a West Virginian says before he dies? “Hold my beer and check this out.” (Yes, I used this in another diary but it’s still really funny.)
4:21 – 5:00. Nothing interesting happens. Nothing. Well, except Warren actually calls for a fair catch, McGuffie picks up some yards, some WVF guy named “Tito” gets a couple penalties, and Sheridan came in for a series to throw a pick so ugly it made plants die. Nick Sheridan, I banish you. You are banished. Halftime.
5:01 – <<roll scary music>> “Lloyd Carr never used the spread offense. His entire tenure was really Bo Shembechler’s third term. With Lloyd Carr, you’ll get more ‘three yards and a cloud of dust.’ And I hope you like cronyism.” <<happy music!>> “Rich Rodriguez knows how to run a spread offense, and will bring much needed Change to Ann Arbor! He will restore our image in the college football world, and fix what’s wrong with our program. I’m Rich Rodriguez, and I approved this message.”
5:02 – I nominate the Big Ten network’s creepy coaches recruiting you ad as the creepiest piece of work ever. The more I watch it, the more I get the willies. And creepiest performance ever goes to Joe Paterno’s constipated “come to Penn State!” It’s so over-the-top it’s an otherworldly form of creepy. Just buries the needle on the creep-o-meter. Creepy.
5:13 – <<roll scary music>> “Rich Rodriguez is The One? The one with a risky spread offense, maybe. He has only recruited three 4-star athletes in his brief time as a major college head coach, and had a messy divorce from his last position. Even the WFV governor says he ‘wouldn’t be asked back, ever.” <<happy music!>> “Lloyd Carr has the experience, winning a National Championship and five Big Ten titles! His experience, and plan to put Michigan First, will keep Wolverine football on solid footing throughout the college football world. I’m Lloyd Carr and I hate Jim Brandstatter.”
5:16 – Erin Andrews uncovered RR’s notes on what would lead to Nick Sheridan playing in the 2nd half. They are “Threet dead, Threet decapitated, Threet spontaneously combusts”… and that one was scratched off.
5:18 – Does anyone else find the name “Flomax” funny? If that’s the way all drugs were named, do the math and come up with what “Viagra” should be called.
5:20 – Kickoff. It’s returned to the 20, and the Michigan D gives us a three & out. Looks like the cheat sheet provided to Scott Shafer is working like a charm.
5:25 – We see WFV’s three & out and raise them. Ugh, that was some bad offense. My notes for the drive, with apologies to Dr. Seuss: Stink / stank / stunk / punt. Did WFV adjust to us? Is that even possible for them?
5:26 – After a brief discussion with Cat32, we decide we want more Martavious Odoms. Something good almost always comes from him touching the ball. Oh, and we want less fumbles and more Friskies. (Cat32 has a bit of a weight problem.)
5:32 – WFV counters with a four & out. A nice run to start by Noel Divine, but the beer truck was pulled over on the interstate by Officer Ezeh.
5:35 – Erin Andrews interviews the president of West Virginia wandering the stands looking for another nice old man to give millions of dollars too. (Want another eerie parallel for Bobby Williams and Coach Stew? Bobby Williams beat The Old Ball Coach himself in a bowl game, just like Coach Stew beat Bob Stoops. Kind of an oddball highlight of career / lowlight of career situation revisited, eh?)
5:40 – John McCain declared that our offense is fundamentally sound, right before Molk’s fanny tried to take the handoff.
5:48 – White rushes for 39 yards and a TD. Tied up. This sucks worse than losing to a really fat arrogant guy and a QB with girlie hair. OK, not really. Also, Pat White looks like the Tasmanian Devil Tornado when he runs. I really want someone like him now please.
5:50 – Somehow the WFV fans snuck a couch into the Big House and set it on fire. In a touching display, the RR dolls are being thrown into the fire. When I think West Virginia, I think rafting, and then drinking. But after that I think class.
5:55 – 6:37 – Nothing happens again. I mean, really really nothing. No turnovers, nothing interesting of any kind. It’s like watching the Ohio State offense. (McGuffie was used extensively here, and has 160 yards rushing on the day. That snuck up on me. He’s been solid in this game when called upon.)
6:42 – Coach Stew mangles the clock, then he wastes about 30 seconds debating with himself how to continue destroying the clock, then he brings in Donovan McNabb as a consultant on clock management and 2-minute drills, Donovan vomits, then he hires Bob Davie to run things. Strangely none of this works well and WFV doesn't score at the end of the game.
6:49 – We’re headed to overtime! Someone told Coach Stew he still has a chance to win, and he looks happy. Kinda like he just made a poopie. With what I just witnessed from our offense, I don’t feel good about OT. Then again, M is undefeated in OT…
6:53 – WFV forgets how to pass, rushing exclusively down to the Michigan 4 yard line. They attempt a field goal, essentially an extra point, and MISS!! The lack of uncomfortable to watch bear/man hugging for kicker McAfee is staggering right now in it’s breadth and epic nature. I mean, NOBODY is doing any hugging of any kind.
6:58 – Put in field goal position by the rules, we rush a couple times and kick a field goal. Ballgame! Incompetence is defeated! Lopata is a mini-god! Sad Mountaineer fans are rushing to their dial-up internet connections! Michigan has a better record than WFV! Dogs and cats, living together, mass hysteria!!
7:00 – I realize that this game didn’t really happen, and that I didn’t feature Cat32 nearly enough. Sigh. But on the bright side, Michigan State just beat the stuffing out of Notre Dame.