The only positive to Michigan not being in a bowl game is that I'm not freaking out right now. I've got some Penn State friends here that are going insane watching Daryll Clark flail around in the rain--and I'm strangely happy to not being doing the same.
Never thought I'd think that. Sometimes I feel like the last couple years have shown us how spoiled we were as Michigan fans for my entire lifetime. Then I watch them play and I start drinking.
just thought i'd point out that I woke up this morning and turned on espnnews and all they're talking about is urban (rightly so) and then I flip to espn and they're doing the same. then I go to BTN and they're showing us beating urban meyer in the 08 capital one bowl. it's probably been programmed for days or weeks but it's still awesome
"Smith added that most people in the NFL assume that players are expected to know how to tackle before they reach the league. In fact, it's harder to find players who are used to practicing tackling as frequently as some might suspect.
It doesn't happen nearly as much in college, where the NCAA limits practice time. Also, collegiate defenses have to cope with the ubiquitous spread offense. That formation, as Texans defensive coordinator Frank Bush said, 'makes defenders get used to tackling at all sorts of weird angles.'"
Interesting article on ESPN. I know for last several years, many a Michigan fans have lamented the decline of Michigan's tackling abilities, most notably from 2003 on. Lots of possible factors: mediocre defensive talent, advent of the spread offense, more elusive RBs, etc... Well, looks like the NFL is getting hit hard too. Of course, the NFL is made up of these guys from college, so if players' tackling abilities are bad in college, it will probably translate the same into the NFL. So yeah, looks like Michigan ain't the only team with tackling issues...
Vote for Braylon for receiver of the decade at Doc Saturday. He's only 12 percentage points ahead of his nearest competitor.
Remember when he was super, mega awesome?
I can't wait to hear The Victors in Tampa...
What? Did Northwestern accidentally buy non-refundable tickets to Australia for the Outback Bowl?
No, the lady Wolverines volleyball team need only to beat Stanford this Friday and the winner of Illinois/Hawaii on Saturday to get to the Final Four in Tampa.
See bracket here: http://www.ncaa.com/brackets/2009/ncaa_bracket_DI_volleyball_women.html
Over Thanksgiving, I spoke with two nephews from Ohio who played college ball, both at lower Div 1 schools. It gave me a much different perspective on recruiting. What I understand better is the interplay of different priorities in a high school player choosing a college.
Here are some of the factors that go into choosing a school:
1) Playing for a generally highly rated Div. 1 school.
2) Playing your favorite position.
3) Distance from home.
4) Coaching Staff.
What I found out was that if they had been given a full ride to go to one of the schools rated in the top 40, they probably would have gone.
However, short of that, distance from home and playing the position they wanted to play weighed more heavily.
If, for instance, they had been offered a full ride from Stanford, UCLA, Washington, Florida, Oklahoma, etc., they would probably have taken it. However, to go that far from home for a MAC level school wouldn't happen.
I also got the sense that the coaching staff made a big difference. They seemed to believe that at all levels, from Div. III through Div. 1, promises were made which weren't intended to be kept. Specifically, offers were made for one to play receiver, but the intent was a position change. In other words, recruiting felt slimy to them at many levels.
This sliminess meant that trusting the coaches . . . both to keep their word, and to be competent, was more important than going to an in-state school or a school they were a fan of.
I really get the feeling that to some degree, many athletes are mercenaries. They know they're being used by coaches, which is ok if there is mutual benefit. However, love for a college was secondary to being on a team with coaches and teammates they liked. They would sooner go to a "rival" team if the coaching staff was honest and was competent, than attend a school they had been a lifelong fan of.
In reference to Michigan, they had very high regard for Rodriguez and for his recruits. Even though one of them is currently a student at OSU, and has friends on that team, that didn't mean they despised Michigan. It was very interesting, to say the least. I came away very encouraged for our future. Apparently, OSU players know that Rodriguez and Michigan, given the time to succeed, will be a very serious force to be reckoned with.