FWIW. Michigan doesn't seem inclined to get re-involved.
Only two? Okay, three.
1. MGoblog’s new format, which includes the diary feature
2. Scott Shafer
3. First post-fort training camp
As for number one, I couldn’t let another day pass without starting my MGoBlog football diary. So what if so nothing is happening in the UM football world to the point that this entry is going to be hopelessly rambling and offer nothing of substance or value? I’ve got stray enthusiasm to burn off.
Thoughts on the upcoming season vacillate rapidly between curiosity, anticipation, and tempered enthusiasm/dread. Rich Rod and his offense are the central players, with the offense in particular blowing the doors off of UM’s football identity. For a program whose identity is somehow almost separate and distinct from its accomplishments, and somehow equally important in the minds of those obsessed with it, the off-season was like having an arm chopped off and wondering if it will grow back. Its near impossible to parse out and dissect the tangible, the reason I frequent this site.
That’s why every time I read another blurb on Carlos Brown missing spring practice and the impact on his snaps under center, I sigh, and think about Scot Shafer. Watching UM’s offense this year will be interesting. Watching the defensive side of the ball is truly glimpsing the dawn of our new era. A solid half of the entire Rich Rod experiment rides on the shoulders of a man we know almost nothing about as a coach. I don’t claim to know the inner workings of Rod’s coaching circle, but I don’t think its too far off base to suggest that the entire defense has been more or less handed over to Shafer.
For all the dower pre-season prognostications, its easy to forget that UM is returning a terrific amount of talent and a decent amount of production from last season’s defense. Most commenting on the subject seem content to lazily write UM’s defense off as a total question mark in the same vein as the offense. I’m not on board with that assessment.
We’ll all have to wait and see on the long term and team-wide Barwis effect, but I don’t think anyone would dispute the statement that UM’s defensive players will be in the best shape of their lives once the season rolls around. Motivation should be at a peak where no player’s job is safe or guaranteed, if not to prove the doubters wrong, make up for last season, etc. The talent and experience is largely there. The schemes themselves do not need to be re-learned, although to some extent, probably re-taught. In my opinion, the pieces are in place for UM to have a top 3 defense in the conference. What will be extremely exciting to watch is how Shafer moves those pieces, and if he can take this defense to an even higher level.
As Brian pointed out in his typically excellent post on Shafer’s previous coaching results prior to UM, getting any sort of handle on what this guy is about/capable of is difficult except for one area, he is going to place a shit-ton of emphasis and focus on getting pressure. You can say this with certainty based on results. In 2005 and 2006 coaching at Western, Shafer’s defense ranked #23, and #1 respectively in the nation in sacks. His lone year at Stanford he brought the Cardinal from #111, to #11. He chopped an entire "1" off. I don’t care how you want to factor in and weigh the variables, 1) it clearly shows that pressure is a massive priority 2) its pretty freakin’ impressive.
Jamison and Graham were as highly regarded recruits as UM has anywhere on their roster, and both have battled consistency problems that could be largely attributed to conditioning issues (and in Jamison’s case some injury problems) and pizza, which we expect to be removed. Trent has the physical tools and has shown me enough gradual improvement after his position switch, and mental toughness after bouncing back from the 2006 season ending debacles to post a mostly impressive 2007 campaign. Warren probably grades out as UM’s player with the most pro potential. Those four guys in some order represent the 4 best players on the defense, and likely play the 4 most crucial positions to Shafer’s defense. I don’t know what he’s going to run, but I know that pressure defenses are most easily built around ends who can rush and corners who can cover. So two cornerstones are in place. When pundits talk about the question marks on defense, they largely fail to note that the defense is the exact opposite of the offense in that it appears Shafer inherited very good and experienced players in key areas.
Its college football, so every team is going to have unknowns on both sides of the ball. For UM’s D, its at safety and linebacker. But where Stevie Brown is being talked about as the most talented defensive back the new defensive backs coach has coached, and Ezeh is talked about as one of the most talented players on the defense in general, what UM lacks at those two positions should not be enough to prevent Shafer from putting his full stamp on this defense.
I guess the question is, what exactly is that stamp? A lot of folks around here have been looking at old WVU games for glimpses of what to expect out of Rich, despite the fact that UM’s personal will make it impossible for the 2008 O to appear anything like his offenses of the past. Is anyone out there pulling old NIU tapes to see how Shafer gets his wicked pressure? Is he a Tenuta-esque crazy ass blitzer, or a guy who mixes and matches pressure from the front 7? Is he playing aggressively behind the front or trying to minimize damage? Seeing what Shafer does with a caliber of athlete he’s never sniffed before should be worth the price of admission for ‘08. Hopefully his play calling and the performance of the defense as a whole is not impacted by the offense to the point of rendering ‘08 a poisoned sample.
Which brings me to my final thought, our first training camp without the Fort. How will the mainstream media react to the opportunity to write substantive articles on a regular basis? Are they going to step up to the plate or will it be the typical stream of regurgitated spring practice quotes and fluff? What will the access be for non-traditional media? So far, it seems that there has been enough during spring and camp periods to keep a steady and informative flow from bloggers and ex-coaches turned posters. Will the assistant coaches grant the interviews Rich allows, and if they do, how much is a guy like Shafer willing to discuss in terms of schemes, philosophy and personnel?
Whatever the outcome there, coverage is going to be a hell of a lot better than what we’ve had to deal with in our entire lifetime as UM fans. And we’re getting close.
While I really enjoyed getting the shout-out, this post was garbage. If I was Brian and had the motivation and desire to throw back a detailed rebuttal, I would. But I'm not, so I won't. Any Michigan fan worth his salt can identify the fallacies saturating BHGP's post.
"Consider yourself warned, Michigan."
Consider yourself owned, Iowa.
For those non-Michigan graduates:os·si·fi·ca·tion // ", "6"); interfaceflash.addParam("loop", "false"); interfaceflash.addParam("quality", "high"); interfaceflash.addParam("menu", "false"); interfaceflash.addParam("salign", "t"); interfaceflash.addParam("FlashVars", "soundUrl=http%3A%2F%2Fcache.lexico.com%2Fdictionary%2Faudio%2Fahd4%2FO%2FO0140200.mp3"); interfaceflash.write(); // ]]--> <a href="http://dictionary.reference.com/audio.html/ahd4WAV/O0140200/ossification" target="_blank"><img src="http://cache.lexico.com/g/d/speaker.gif" border="0" /></a> Audio Help (ŏs'ə-fĭ-kā'shən) Pronunciation Key
- The natural process of bone formation.
- The hardening or calcification of soft tissue into a bonelike material.
- A mass or deposit of such material.
- The process of becoming set in a rigidly conventional pattern, as of behavior, habits, or beliefs.
- Rigid, unimaginative convention.
- The process of becoming set in a rigidly conventional pattern, as of behavior, habits, or beliefs.
- Rigid, unimaginative convention.
Is there a more appropriate word for the last years of the Lloyd Carr regime? I believe it applies to all coaches generally and football coaches in particular.
Now I know you may be taken aback at the title of this post, but fear not dear reader. Bear with me for a second and allow the pontification of the greatest idea in the history of the world, or maybe even ever.
I've always wondered how I could merge my two favorite things in the world, UM Football and the cinematic stylings of one Patrick Swayze, naturally you can see my conundrum. There are so many parallels between PS and my beloved fall mistress. Then last fall in East Lansing it hit me after seeing the same clip of '300' on the scoreboard some 37 times, or on every Sparty 3rd and long (zing!).
The tale of highschool students who battle communist Russians in rural Colorado, trying to prevent nuclear war. The name of this rag tag, Swayze led group of patriots? The Wolverines.
Imagine a goal line stand or a 'key' play (don't get me started on that, I get it...you are shaking your keys) where just prior to the snap one P Swayze appears on the flat screen. In glorious high definition, raises one fist and offers the war cry 'Wolverines', which causes Charles Stewart and or Stevie Brown to only give up a 20 yeard gain on an slant due to ill-angled tackling attempts. Can you see it? Can you picture it?
Now imagine you're allowed to see it, standing up at Michigan Stadium.
It's getting out of control folks. Every fall it ravages our hopes and dreams. No, I'm not talking about gas prices or the war in Iraq or anything that's actually important. I'm talking about fall weddings. Let's get one thing straight: 90% of your wedding guests at a fall wedding are totally pissed that they are there (statistic may be inaccurate by 10 to 90%). There are only so many fall Saturday's to go around people! After you and you and you and your friend’s friend all get f'n married over the fall, guess what? I haven't seen a lick of College Football.
This fall is truly Armageddon for Chrisgocomment. This is going to be one of the most fascinating Michigan Football season ever, and guess what? I might as well be in a coma because I'm not going to see shit. The $1,000,000,000 I spent on season tickets is a total waste at this point.....I'm simply just holding my seats for a fee.
Check it out: on August 30th Michigan will run on the field for the first time under Coach Rodriguez. Who would miss this game??? Me, that's who. Flippin' wedding.
On September 20th Michigan will defiantly not lose. That's mainly because they aren't playing a game....but.....think of all the great games I could see if I was at home! Nope, I'm going to some stupid ass wedding. Balls.
On October 11th Michigan will take on Toledo. Sure, not a great game, BUT....we could win! Yep, God Damn Wedding. I'm out.
On October 18th Michigan will take on Penn State for what will no doubt be their 44th straight win in the series. Sure, the game is in Happy Valley so I won't be blowing my tickets...but still...God made HD TV for a reason. And that reason was College Football. Guess where I'll be. If you said a piece of S wedding you are da winna.
So there you go. 4 of our precious Saturdays this fall are buried in deep deep ass. So I implore you, people of America, I'm just one man, please stop with these weddings. College Football is just too important for you to start putting yourself in front of it. You aren't that cool, schedule your weddings for February...there's nothing to do then anyways.
Is Orson Swindle from EDSBS moonlighting as retired Lt. Col. and McCain supporter? Amazing he has time for his Curiosities and Ruminations.
From NBC’s Alex Wall and Caroline Gransee
Sen. John Warner (R-VA), Col. Bud Day, USAF (Ret.), Lt. Col. Orson Swindle, USMC (Ret.), Lt. Commander Carl Smith, USNR (Ret.) and McCain spokesman Brian Rogers responded in a conference call to Gen. Wesley Clark’s (Ret.) most recent attack on McCain’s military experience.
The McCain campaign held the conference call in order to “keep his reputation clean” and point out the inconsistencies between the Obama camps’ actions and rhetoric.
“It is inconceivable that anyone take a shot at Senator McCain’s military experience,” Smith said. “Gen. Clark is way off base on this one.”
Day added that, “no one who fought in Vietnam would question McCain’s credentials.” The group argued that McCain’s success in commanding the Attack Squadron Sixty-Five (VA-65) in Vietnam has given him the leadership experience to “assess risk” and make informed foreign policy decisions.
Warner pointed out that, “McCain was one of the strong voices that spoke up [against Bush]” regarding the need for more forces in Iraq and noted that “he turned out to be correct.”
The group went on to criticize Obama for “refusing to condemn attacks that have been leveled on Sen. McCain.”
Rogers argued that Clark’s remarks were another example where “his words don’t match up with how he is running his campaign.”
McCain’s surrogates also noted that Clark’s comment could have a greater effect on young voters who didn’t live through Vietnam.
“Half of the people in this country were not alive during Vietnam,” Orson said. “When you start spreading rumors on the integrity of a candidate it has a tendency to weigh in on those who do not know better…and young people…in many cases aren’t familiar with Vietnam.”