At 11:49 am on September 4, 2010, Carl Grapetine's voice will ring throughout Michigan Stadium as it has for the past 39 years. "Ladies and gentlemen," comes the purr of Bearded Grapentine. 100,000 boring old people and 400 sober students preoccupied with applying their 200 SPF sunscreen squint into the sun towards the Michigan Stadium press box. "At punter, number 71, Burt Chuckberry." The students look at one another. "Who?" they ask aloud. "Dude," vomits Broham Brosephton of Farmington Hills, 18, "I've never even heard of that fag." Brosephton's friend and seat partner, Screechy Tanfastic, does not reply. She sits on the metal bleachers, sobbing for no discernible reason, just as she and every other Kappa does every fall Saturday.
As for young Chuckberry, he will punt four times that day against Michigan's feeble opponent Boise State for a total of 27 yards; one of the four punts will be for -17 yards after poor Burt drops the ball out of nervousness and attempts to salvage the play with his face. Michigan will win 478-0 despite Chuckberry's incompetence. "Tonight," growls manly starting quarterback Jack Kennedy, who threw for 1100 yards and 18 touchdowns against Boise State, "I will personally fix the US economy. Because Trojan stock is going through the roof. I'm bringing America back to where it should be--we're on top of the world, and Jack Kennedy is full of venereal diseases!" That night, Jack Kennedy will reinvent AIDS.
At the post-game press conference, Burt Chuckberry will be nowhere to be found, mostly because he is a punter, but also because he is terrible. "OUTRAGEOUS!" booms Michigan head coach Rich Rodriguez in between large mouthfuls of sandwich. "As you all know, I only talk about guys who play for Michigan. Therefore, I will not be answering any questions about our punter today, as he was clearly playing for Heroin State University. I've already cut him. Literally. I carved my name into his flesh; he will hereafter be forever branded with the mark of RICH ROD so that all the world may know of his shitty punting."
The following Wednesday, a drunk and malodorous Burt Chuckberry will stumble into the newly-finished BooBerry Oosterbaan Olestra House for a football practice at which he is most unwelcome. As he nears his position coach, however, his mouth will slowly fall open in drunken amazement at what he sees.
A nine-foot man with a 270-pound left leg stands next to a basket of footballs. He removes one and drops it with precision upon his waiting foot. The resultant kick knocks Burt off his feet and sends the ball soaring into the air, where it catches fire. The smoldering corpse of the football lands dully 100 yards away on Tony Dews' shoulder. "Ouch," he says softly before bursting into flames himself.
"My God," Burt Chuckberry whispers aloud. The nine-foot punter turns toward Burt and smiles. "HELLO," he booms. His voice is half Barry White, half Gheorge Muresan. As he greets Burt and helps him to his feet, the giant turns his head and sees a beautiful Michigan cheerleader. He smiles. A strange look comes over her face. Nine months later, she will give birth to an 8-pound Hugh Jackman.
"Who....what are you?" gasps Burt. "MY NAME POLTAN ZESKO," booms the giant. "DO YOU SEE THIS BALL I KICK IT LEBANESE FOOD IS BEST." Before Burt can reply, Poltan laughs. "YOU POLTAN KNOWS," he shouts. "YOU KILL PRESIDENT KENNEDY GIVE HIM APE SEX PLAGUE." "I...what?" Burt asks meekly. "POLTAN SAY THIS BECAUSE YOU ARE LIKE WOMAN WHEN YOU PUNT AND JACK KENNEDY SEXES THE WOMEN. PLEASE LEAVE SO POLTAN CAN FOCUS ON BALL KICK AND WOMAN PUMPING."
Defeated and humiliated, Burt Chuckberry leaves practice, leaves Ann Arbor, and leaves the state of Michigan, never to be heard from again. 38-year-old freshman sensation Poltan Zesko will lead the nation in punting and become the first illegal immigrant to win the Ray Guy.
i think we have all been a bit spoiled over the past three years with zoltan as our punter. it seems very easy to overlook how important the position is to a teams success, and how invaluable zoltan has been for us. but to say that our current backups, who could potentially step in for mesko during the 2010 season, would be a downgrade is a rediculous understatement.
as of now i havent heard much in the way of punter recruitment. just today i saw an article on scout mentioning a MI kid named Mike Sadler, who they identified as one of the top punters in the nation. although he is entirely unrated, he does have offers from LSU and Alabama, which is enough to tell me that hes a hell of a kicker. my concern comes from the fact that he attended michigans kornblue camp yesterday, was said to have performed well, but still walked away without an offer. this is obviously a serious area of need for michigan. shouldnt we be all over this kid? hes expressed serious interest in michigan, declaring blue his "top choice right now." does anyone know if were looking at any other prospects? are we just looking to settle with a walk on? (in my opinion that would be a mistake.)
With it sounding like Fitz is going to qualify and his showing in tonight's game I still think he will need to be on the field this year if it comes down to him or V. Smith.
He is such a talent and seems like he can do it all, the announcer was comparing him to Brian Westbrook.
He has that extra gear and can dance in the phone both with the best and knock you down. I really hope he is able to show that he is one of the best RBs in his class.
I think he will be the best player in this class, yes better than Big Will and even Tate. He may not be that important at the time with the depth we have and need of a QB to run the spread, but I know he will make his mark at the Big House and move on to the NFL.
In the game, that he barely played, he had two TD's and gave a nice call out to RR and Barwis.
V. Smith looks amazing as well, but Fitz is at another level. Before the game you could see the intensity he has yelling at the players and getting hyped up like Ray Lewis.
BUT would a coach, at a position of depth, decide to red shirt a guy that he thought was more talented and play another he didn't?
You might have already seen this footage a few times before, but I find it fun to watch in this summer of relative inactivity.
I was at this game, and if you compare how Tate performed in the spring game with either of the two Qb's we trotted out there last year it's night and day. In the previous spring game there were a combination of 8 INT's, horrible completion percentage, and no down the field success. This kid hits recievers in stride, has great touch down field, and has some good wiggle moves in the open field. I also liked hearing about how RR noticed that Roy Roundtree was squinting often. He went to help him get his eyes checked, and it made all the difference. This year it seems like Roundtree could be the deep threat, Mathews is the possesion reciever, and who knows if Tay will win the slot battle.
My biggest concern for this season is still the special teams. It confuses me that we don't have a special teams coach, and if they weren't so awful at it last year I would say they have it under control. Obviously our punter is really good, but the roll out rugby style doesn't fit what Zoltan is best doing. None of our returners last year could catch a punt/kickoff. I hope they are working on that every day this summer. Odoms even dropped a punt in the spring game! Get that guy out of there! I know he returned one to the house last year, but if you fumble it half the time it's not worth it. By the end of the year last year I was screaming, "...just let it roll, and we'll take the ball where it stops.." This strategy would have won the ND game for us if you think about it.
Getting back to the topic at hand, Tate seems like a perfect fit for this offense. That side of the ball might end up being more of a passing attack this year because of his accuracy and decision making. However, our strength will be the offensive line & our senior running backs. In the beginning of the season IMO they should pound the ball and give Tate some easy reads/throws to build confidence and releive some of the pressure for him. At least his first four games are at home! Minor should have a great season, and only injuries stand in the way of 1,000 yards for him. Go Blue!!!
The Demo for NCAA 2010 dropped this morning on Xbox Live. Early review is that this looks a lot more like 09.5 then a clean new version, but hopefully the final copy will have more additions that make it worth the money. Two new features for this year that are already online are Team Builder and Season Showdown.
Team Builder is much like the standard build a school feature in past games, but the nice thing is you can build your teams online right now and then just move them to your PS3 or 360 when the game comes out. This also allows you to get real decals offline such as your high school graphics and utilize them to create a realistic field and helmet. It will be interesting to see if other ea games add this feature going forward, for example allowing you to customize your fighter online for the new Fight Night 4 coming out this month.
Season Showdown is about proving that our school (Michigan if you are reading this blog) is better than the rest. Essentially, you select one college to play in single-player Play Now, Dynasty, and online modes. You're then rewarded with credits in several different categories depending on your performance on and off the field. Already this mode is available online asking Trivia questions about college football to earn your favorite school credits.
Just a quick summary, to notify you the demo is available and some improvements available. Season Showdown appears like a cool new feature, but remains convoluted until we get to see the whole thing working together. For more info see the link below. July 14th can't get here soon enough so we can introduce electronic Tate to the world of College Sports.
Now that the NBA finals are over and sports enters the dark period know as baseball season, I am trying to get back in the swing of Michigan football. There has been a lot of grumbling recently about our recruiting of non-blue-chip recruits. The 3-9 season with losses in the top-flight rivalry games, loss of actual or expected impact players via transfers, and (to a much lesser extent) the aspersions on Rodriguez's character (see, e.g., snake oil, lack of family values) have also caused some heartache for Michigan fans.
So here's my question, if you wound the clock back and could choose between Les Miles and Rodriguez (I'm not saying this was the situation we actually found ourselves in), who would you choose?
Personally, I am drinking the Rodriguez Kool-Ade. I am sold on the spread as an offensive system and think that it will pay dividends once we get the right personnel installed. I was a fan from the beginning of Barwis and the long-overdue revolution in the weight room. Rodriguez’s track record is obviously stellar even though he isn’t a Michigan Man in the traditional sense. I am confident that greatness will ensue in the next year or three.
I was also, however, intrigued by Les's 4th down gumption and success at LSU. I have no clue if the transition with Coach Miles would have been smoother. Would we have performed better last year and maybe lost fewer players to transfers if we weren’t installing the spread on the fly? Would we be recruiting four and five star players in droves right now? I don’t know. If it was your pick, who would you have at the helm of the leaders and best?