needs moar usage
I didn't see any posts about this excellent event.
First, if you haven't heard about these, they are for kids in grades K-8 to interact with U-M athletes. There are a number of sports represented, with a few events yet to come. Link is here.
I really didn't know what to expect. My 2nd grade son and 6th grade daughter attended after getting a heads up from a friend back in November. The football event was yesterday, Feb. 2nd.
They had 6 stations for the kids to do different drills, 5 minutes at each station. At each station there were 4-6 football players or student managers running the drills. Then they got a water break, reset the stations to different activities, and did another rotation. Finally, they got all the players to sit behind tables with Sharpies and the kids could have one item autographed by each of the players.
Kids got to block, tackle, run, catch, throw, punt, place kick, and more. It was very well organized.
Not that you would expect anything less from Michigan players, but I was truly impressed with how positive, magnanamous, and patient the players were. It was obvious that they wanted to be there and they took time to pose for pictures and talk one-on-one with the kids.
Players of note:
- Taylor Lewan was there (in socks the whole time) floating from station to station and talking with anyone who wanted to. He was looking very trim and said he lost some weight when he had his tonsils out after the bowl game.
- Devin Gardner emceed the event with a microphone at the center of the field. He hammed it up with other players, "interviewed" the kids about what they were doing, and even lead a chorus of Happy Birthday.
- Jeremy Gallon was all smiles and took time for pictures and conversations with anyone who wanted them.
- Dennis Norfleet was a bundle of energy and motion the *entire* time. He was constantly recognizing kids for their efforts and just displayed an awesome, over-the-top personality.
- A bunch of offensive linemen were running one drill that called for the kids to jump over a couple of barriers stacked on top of each other; if a kid didn't make the leap, they'd look at each other and say, "LINEMAN!" and high-five the kid.
Here is a link to some pictures. (I ended up taking over 300, so this is just a small sample! I didn't want to post pictures where individual kids could be identified, so these are of players or large groups.)
Basketball is upcoming, but already full. I think men's and women's soccer and swimming are all coming up. I don't know exactly what those events will be like, but if they are anything like football, I can't recommend them enough.
I will start my final diary of this season by thanking Dave Brandon for another "Wow" moment. He really went retro with the throwback uniforms, to a time before jerseys had numbers. Wait, there were numbers on those uniforms? One of the first things you learn when you start preparing powerpoint charts is don't use a yellow font color on a white background. (Another thing is make your fonts large enough for your audience to see them - and yes, this is a reference to the mini-numbers on the front of the UTL jerseys.)I would have thought that a marketing genius would know that. Maybe if they had made the blue border a little wider, the number would have stood out, or at least been visible. I think the problem was getting into business with Adidas in the first place. My wife bought me a couple pair of sweatpants for Christmas, because it gets cold at the Badminton Club in January. They were made by Adidas and the tags called them, "Weekender Pants." I tried on a pair and had a strange urge to move to Florida and start playing shuffleboard. In keeping with the SitCom theme of the season, I'll share a quote from Seinfeld regarding sweatpants, "You know the message you're sending out to the world with these sweatpants? You're telling the world, 'I give up. I can't compete in normal society. I'm miserable, so I might as well be comfortable.'" That sums up Adidas and our "wow" jerseys.
Burst of Impetus
* I didn't take notes during the game, so I was sitting here trying to remember what big plays Michigan made to grab the momentum. Then it hit me, we didn't make any. All the big plays were made by South Carolina. Ojemudia did force a fumble, but that was about it. Wile's 52 yard field goal was a nice shot in the arm and set us up for a dramatic fourth quarter. Our longest run was 19 yards and our longest reception was 26 yards. Meanwhile, both USC QBs had passes greater than 50 yards and one had a 64 yard run.
* Subtract the three long plays and our defense held SC to 236 yards on 50 plays. (Subtract the punt return and our Special Teams were pretty good as well.)
* Quoting me after game 1, "We held Bama to only 431 yards. They may be the best offense we face all year. If we can hold everyone else under 431, I’ll be happy." USC gained 426 yards. Am I happy? No, because we lost the game.
* We had been playing with fire all season against shaky B1G QBs. We saw what competent QBs can do against 2nd string CBs, and even then, we almost pulled it out. One more bobble on the Sanders TD and that comes back and then who knows?
* So the question is, why did we give up the big plays when we had been so good at avoiding those all season? Was it really the poor B1G QBs? Or was it the loss of JT Floyd?
* Gordon led us in tackles with 6. Ryan was next with 4. The defense was not on the field very much and the stats reflect that.
* We did manage 7 TFLs on USC's 53 plays. I'll take more of that next season.
* Demens only had 1 tackle. Campbell had 0 (did he play?) and Floyd didn't play. That's three of our five defensive leaders contributing one tackle total.
* Denard carried 23 times for 100 yards. He threw once incomplete. It was nice of USC to respect his passing ability (except for the 2nd failed 2pt conversion attempt.) Did they even bother to scout us? He also caught one pass for 7 yards.
* I don't really read Bill Simmons or Grantland anymore. But one of his "things" is the Ewing Theory. In brief, it states that teams can surprise you by winning AFTER the major star leaves the team. Think of Tennessee winning the National Championship with Tee Martin after Manning graduated. Secretly, in a tiny portion of my brain, way back where my repressed memories lie, I'm hoping that Denard is the next Ewing Theory example and Gardner leads us to the promised land next season.
* Let's hope Gardner develops some chemistry with another receiver besides Gallon. Might I suggest Funchess? Half of Gardner's 18 completions went to Gallon.
Bunches of Funchess
* Gallon had 9 receptions for 145 yards and 2 TDs. He would have been the player of the game had Michigan made a stop on USC's final drive.
And Justice for Rawls
* I noticed one of SC's O-linemen had a tattoo that read, "Justice IV All." Justice Hayes ran twice for 3 yards. Rawls didn't carry the ball.
Norf and Souf
* Norfleet returned one kick for 32 yards and made a tackle. I like his enthusiasm, but I'm worried one of these days he's going to get hit with an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. One of the bigger questions of this off-season is going to be what they do with him, position-wise. Vincent Smith needs to be replaced.
* OK, I do have a section devoted to the referees, so I guess I have to comment on our 9.99 yard first down. There are only three possible explanations. One, the chain is 10 yards, so the ball only needs to get to the end of the chain, not the linky thing on the yard-marker. Two, the official thought the yard marker was leaning out of the way and if it had been upright, it would have touched the ball. (I'm really straining as a Michigan homer to justify that call.) Three, it was a glitch in the Matrix. Did you all check the back of your necks for the data ports like I did after that play? Slight tangent, if the Matrix had been made today, I think they would be able to replace all those huge connectors with one fiber optic cable up your nose, or possibly a wireless link. Man, how technology has evolved over the years.
* I really couldn't understand the refs, and then it hit me, half of the group had bet on Michigan to cover the spread, and half had bet on USC to win outright, so they compromised and worked it out so that SC could win by 5. What else could explain the head referee COVERING HIS MOUTH while he discussed a play with the other refs. I felt like I was watching the WWE. What are you hiding?
* We had 24 first downs to their 17, and 38 minutes TOP to their 22. This was like the Indiana game a few years ago, except we were Indiana. We were grinding it out, 10 yards at a time. The problem with that is you need to be perfect. Any little holding penalty or hands-to-the-face penalty stops your drive.
* Time of possession was 10+ minutes for Michigan in the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd quarters, but only 6:31 in the 4th quarter. Instead of tiring out their defense, I guess our offense got tired.
* Net yards rushing, M: 141, SC: 85. That usually correlates with a victory, but being -1 in TO margin and giving up the punt return TD negates that advantage.
* Clowney had 4 tackles, two TFLs, and the hit that SportsCenter is showing on a continuous loop. It must suck being an O-linemen. You stop a guy for 81 plays, have a miscommunication on the 82nd, and the D-linemen ends up on all the highlight shows and gets picked first overall in the draft next year. I'm sure Lewan and Clowney will meet again at the next level. Those are two outstanding football players. I wanted Muppets, but all I got was Bozo the Clowney.
Thanks to everybody who clicked on my Diary this season, even if it was just to get a handy link to the boxscore. Happy New Year, MGoFriends.
Nice video highlighting Jeremy Gallon's development and relationship with Coach Heck.
There's also another new video, with some firsts and career stats updates for Denard, Hemingway, and others.
Original Picture Pages here. Analysis courtesy Brian, as usual. Now the slo-mo works but I'm back to non-lower-case lower case letters. Whatever.
Setup: Borges is setting up 'damned if you do, damned if you don't' situations. On the play prior to this one, Michigan sent Hemingway, Roundtree, and Grady to varying depths along the left sideline. The corner stepped up to take away Hemingway (running the middle depth of the three routes), but Roundtree beat the safety to the outside for a big gain. This play is designed to get one man open no matter which way the corner plays.
Wha'hoppon: Gallon is split left, Denard in the slot right, and Hemingway split right. Pre-snap, Junior motions in, and the defensive reaction reveals zone. On the snap, Gallon runs, well, I'm not sure - it might be a streak, or a fly, or a post, or a post-corner (#7). One safety steps up into a robber zone and the other forms a Cover-3 with the corners. Gallon's corner runs with him and the safety comes over. Hemingway runs what starts out as a deep in, I think (#6?), but continues it all the way across the field, getting free of the robber and being wide open in the spot vacated by the corner. The LBs are occupied by the threat of the end-around first, then a potential Denard wheel route second, which prevents them from dropping into the passing lane. Gardner finishes both fakes, has a quick lunch, tweets "no1 w/in 10yds of me lol wide open" and proceeds to throw into double coverage towards Gallon. Armpunt.
Full YouTubage at http://youtu.be/9gADYsUMVN8.