On this momentous day, it just feels right. Everything. Anything. I'm sitting here eating crackers and cheese, and it feels right. It's no different than the usual lunch I eat at work, except today the cheese is creamier. The crackers are crisp and delicious. If I had milk, I'd drink it, and it too would be delicious.
This graphic probably wasn't needed, and serves no real purpose. We all know its game day. We've all known this day was coming for a long time, but it feels different. Almost surreal. For whatever reason, it feels right.
For the last few years, I've felt distanced from Michigan Football. Not for lack of trying, but probably for my own health. After a while, it just wasn't fun anymore. There was too much pain, frustration, and disappointment. I honestly haven't felt this excited for a season kickoff in almost 10 years. It feels right. We're back. We may not win tonight, and we may not be ready to compete at the highest level yet - but we're back. And it just feels right.
In my attempt to harken back to the days where I was genuinely over-the-moon excited about football season, and to capture the surreal feeling I have – and probably will continue to have until 8:30pm tonight - this graphic happened. The sun is out, and it’s shining a weird tint of Maize on us. We have our guy. He's old school and new school all at the same time, and I love it. He’s a little weird, and I love it. Maybe this graphic doesn't say that to you, but it's my way of saying it for you.
On this momentous day, I just felt like I had to contribute something of my own to this community I love so much. Thank you all so much for everything. We're back. Go Blue!
Original Photo Credit: Bryan Fuller
[Taken from part one of "Bob Ufer: A Life In a Season". A true testament to how important college football is to all of us, and why it will continue to be so in the future.]
“It’s only September, but as we look down and daydream a bit, we can’t help but notice that the field is a green, tinged with brown, and a white chalked line laces it together. The athletes have been moving gingerly, packed firmly in dashing uniforms, where padding and muscle meet.
“The stand offers a stage for fashion here in [Ann Arbor]; men in shirt sleeves and colorful sport jackets, ladies all lovely, a combination of soft curves and bright hats. There are the program hawkers, the deep-voiced peddler with his hot dogs, the soft drink boy making change, and the smiling cheerleaders. There are uniformed men in striped shirts, and of course a dog.
“What is it? It’s football!
“Yessir, there are five seasons across this country every year: winter, spring, summer, fall, and football. Football season makes the barber cut hair just a little bit better, and it makes the butcher slice the steak a trifle thicker. The shoeshine boy pops his rag with more gusto; the landlord doesn’t mention the overdue rent.
“The pilgrimage is on: old cars, new cars, and motorbikes are jammed with riders, wheeling for the stadium, from north, east, south, and west, and the backroads are jam-filled. The gentleman steers with one arm, explaining a forward pass with the other. Ladies think about their figures and men compromise that it’ll only be one weekend. So stop the car, get some hot dogs and drinks from the roadside stand.
“On grassy lots and asphalt sidings, high school lawns and golf greens, the cars line up with the hood ornaments pointing toward the main gates. Trunk compartments fly up to supply sandwiches, sliced cake and pickles, and a few pints after touchdown, even though the game hasn’t begun yet.
“The insurance man waves and doesn’t mention his newest policy; rather wants to know who’s favored. Old friends are greeted, and new friends are introduced between bites. The old grad may look older, but he’s beginning to feel younger than his freshman year.
“There’s the band with the drum major, and maybe they’ve got seventy-six trombones, and maybe they haven’t; but the music sounds good, and if you’re walking the steps come quicker. The ex-halfback tells himself he can pull a helmet over that bald spot and look as good as any of the college boys. The bad knee feels like new.
“There are folks seated on the 50-yard line, and they have that little edge in prestige because there aren’t many such seats available. They really can’t see the game any better: it’s the symbol of success, and football games are social games as well.
“They’re the loyal and disloyal, and the fella who really doesn’t care who wins, but wants to see some action. There’s something in football for everyone. Some can cheer the players, some can second-guess the coach, some can listen to transistor radios and see how wrong we radio announcers can be, while some just enjoy the ballet of young bulls in battle.
“There’s a beauty of sound in a punt, and a spine-chill from the thud of a fullback being hit head-on by a red-dogging linebacker. There’s magic on the campus sprawling beyond the boundaries of the stadium. There’s a pleasant emotional letdown after a game is over: a tired but happy feeling for the winner, a tired but resolute challenge to avenge by the losers. The stands empty, and the fog of battle lifts, and there’s a stillness and a grandeur, and a look to the future.
“No sir, there’s nothing like collegiate football, and it happens all over the country. It’s happening here at [Ann Arbor] this afternoon…as once again small college towns across the nation become part of the big collegiate football scene.”
Enjoy today as the start of another glorious Michigan football season. We've only had 135 of them so far - here's to another 135 glorious years, starting with Team 136 as they take on the Utah Utes. Go Blue!
Today marks the official first day of the college football season. I can't remember an offseason more fun than the one we just expirienced, but I think we are all ready for some football games.
The last few seasons have been very depressing. Last year most of us were ready to move on to basketball before the season was halfway over (I even celebrated an open practice with a wallpaper). This year has to be different, right?
Here's a wallpaper to celebrate the return of football, complete with the official shades of Maize and Blue.
Jim Harbaugh is back. Football is back. Go Blue! (click to embiggen)
Photo via Bryan Fuller
Extended preview post of why Wormley and Henry are playing the positions they are, which includes the main reason. Full article can be found here.
Recently on MGoBlog, Brian wrote a piece previewing the defense as far as his expectations. In the past couple days, he's also discussed the Defensive Line and looked at the recently released Michigan depth chart. A question keeps arising, unknowingly getting answered, and then asked again. It's a common confusion, and an understandable one when looking at nomenclature of football.
In this post, I'm going to look at Michigan's DL and why Henry is playing 5-Tech (nominally, from now on called End) and Wormley is playing 3-Tech (nominally, from now on called Tackle).
What is Michigan Running?
I agree with Brian that this is a 4-3 Under. Michigan isn't going out there with a LOLB and a ROLB, and they aren't going out there and doing a lot of two gapping (though a 4-3 under will often two-gap somewhere). It's a 4-3 Under with a standup end sometimes. Furthermore, the defense will not consistently keep two guys in two-point stances and shift the DL every which way, like Wisconsin's one-gap 3-4.
This is a 4-3 Under all the way. Let's remind everyone of the gap assignments:
And let's take a look at what a nominal 4-3 Under looks like, the one most of you are familiar with from the early Mattison years.
Here, we're going to call the Weakside DE (WDE, 7-Tech) the Buck (it's Buck because "B" stands for Backer, like how MIKE is for Middle in middle LB), to keep with Durkin's terminology. He is, in fact, more DE than LB, but he will occasionally drop (see image below). The strongside DE (SDE, 5-Tech) we will simply call the End. The 3-Tech we are going to call a DT (or tackle). The 1-Tech we will call a NT (Nose).
This is close to what Michigan is running, but not quite. Actually, the image above is closer to what Michigan will now run than what Michigan nominally ran with Mattison as the DC. Notice how Beyer (the SAM LB at the top of the screen) is in a loose position. For Michigan fans, this is similar to how Greg Robinson deployed Stevie Brown in his 4-3 Under, when Stevie Brown managed to have a very good Senior year. This is what we call a "Loose" alignment, meaning he's 5-and-5 (5 yards off the LOS, 5 yards outside the offensive EMOL). Ross, the WILL in the picture above, is also playing a Loose technique (in this case, it is to allow the dropping DE to play an inside zone or spy and to allow the WILL to play the outside Flat Zone, where there is more likely to be an immediate threat in the pass game).
With Ross, an undersized SAM LB, Michigan will continue playing more of a 4-3 Under Loose.
Many 4-3 Under teams traditionally move the FS down into the box as the 8th man and rotate the SS to the center of the field. They do this because the Buck and DT generally protect the FS from having to face any wash, something the ILBs (WILL and MIKE) are more accustomed to. It'll look like this:
But Michigan won't be doing that as much this year. Instead, the SS (who always aligns to pass strength) will be the 8th man in the box. He can be inserted like this:
But more often he will align closer to this.
This essentially makes the SAM another ILB. He's protected a bit by the End, and the defense won't get out flanked because the SS holds the edge and the SAM can work over the top to provide additional support.
Wormley and Henry Primer
As a primer, Wormley is a guy that came in as a projected SDE. He was expected to be between 270 and 300 lbs. He has good straight line speed for his size and displays excellent burst when he's comfortable with what is in front of him. Unfortunately for him (and fortunately in some ways), he's also very long and tall. With hesitation sometimes coming when he has to take blocks from different angles, he often stands up. This leads to him struggling to handle doubles.
Henry on the other hand, was always a DT. He was projected as a slashing, penetrating 3-Tech that could also slide down and play the Nose if needed. He's more of a squaty player, but has the first step to beat OL to the spot he wants. This first step quickness gives him potential to be a two-gap player, and his squaty build also gives him the stout base to prevent him from getting clobbered when he's forced to choose one of two gaps. He also stands up too high at times, but has the strength to fight back against it.
Brian previewed these guys well in the DL articles linked above, and there is video there to demonstrate these traits in these players.
So Why The Position Switch
The Double Team
As I said, it's been explained, but never really answered. But the answer is quite obvious once it's pointed out. Wormley struggles more against doubles, and the 3-tech will almost never get doubled. The 5-tech will get doubled, possibly on about half the plays, especially with the way Michigan will align.
Notice the 3-tech isn't doubled on the run his direction.
This means that the 5-tech has to hold up to double teams quite often, it also means the 3-tech can simply be let loose to be a penetrating force on the interior. If you can get that out of your 3-tech, you cut off half the field and give the Buck a lot more options as a pass rusher, because he doesn't have to be as preoccupied with the rush.
Whether the SAM is in a Loose alignment or inside, initially, the 5-tech will often get doubled against zone based rushing attacks.
Here, the 3-tech is doubled, so he has to be able to handle that a bit, but the double likely doesn't last as long as the OL tries to get out to the WILL, and it is on the backside of the play.
Against man blocking schemes, he'll get doubled on essentially every strongside run (Power O and Counter F, for example)
He has to hold up at that position for the rush defense to have success. If he doesn't hold up, he gets washed into the ILB, and large creases in the defense form, particularly when the SAM is playing in a Loose alignmnet.
Again, if you want to read about the other main advantage to Henry lining up at End rather than 3-Tech, here's a link to a full post at my blog.
Well, 'twas the night before the season and all through the internet MGoBlog's numbers were about to spike. I've done this in years previous too, but here's some really helpful information to anyone who's new.
First, see that bar up top? Under where Bo is yelling at Harbaugh? Click through lots of those links. You'll learn an awful lot.
For example, Brian's FAQs: http://mgoblog.com/content/mgofaq
Also the MGoBoard FAQs: http://mgoblog.com/mgoboard/mgoboard-faq which includes great information such as:
What should I title my threads?
Please make your thread titles as informative as possible: "Justin Feagin" is bad. "Justin Feagin leaving the team?" is good.
Read those. It'll save everyone a headache and you some downvotes. There's a depth chart, Ann Arbor restaurant list, Mod Sticky, and lots of other useful links. Just click them. Go ahead. I'll wait...
OK, and finally, typically the impetus for this thread every year is the 30th "Where can I catch the game in ___________" thread that someone posts, where either they didn't see the first 29 or are making a joke after the horse is quite, quite dead. as such:
That's accessible up top. It's from 2009. There are 300+ replies. There is a map. In Myanmar guy's defense, the Asian area of the map doesn't have many pins.
Welcome to this corner of the internet, enjoy it.
Sincerely yours in football,