"He makes it really easy on you as a coach because he has tremendous football instincts," Michigan tight ends coach Jay Harbaugh said. "Things come really naturally to him. He doesn't have to see things too many times. He has a good sense for how things should look and feel, and he's a tough, physical guy."
New scoreboards. Some issues/complaints. Just not up to speed with scoreboard capability? No yardline or yardage. Replay capability much better than old scoreboard, obviously.
Offense vs. WMU. Only 39 plays on offense, was it enough? Brian worried about Denard accuracy, even before rain came. Was perfect against UConn last year, big difference to performance against WMU (9/13 where he got bailed out on 3-4 throws). About all you can take away from the offense.
Running backs. Vince Smith first guy to take power off-tackle. Brian likes Fitz a lot; speed where he bounced it outside on run near the end before game got called. Maybe he can make yards that aren't there. Shaw fast but inconsistent. Fitz made "maybe one dodgy read" but otherwise hit the holes he should. Will be an upgrade at RB just because top two guys are healthy, unlike last year.
Offensive line. Lewan graded out the best; Schofield OK but allowed the most pressure. Brian's grading system last year was very friendly to Molk due to reach blocks; wasn't asked to do that against WMU. Most plusses will go to Lewan and Omameh on the year probably, due to power running.
Shotgun. Being vanilla by doing the same things that ND has seen before. Didn't show a whole lot of power plays. Brian still skeptical of Denard under center compared to threat of running under shotgun.
Receivers. Grade: Incomplete? Only one guy caught two balls. Brian pleased; only drop was the Dileo "drop" on a bad Denard throw during the downpour. Several big grabs; Roundtree/Koger.
First email about the offense and how Borges will attack the ND defense. Brian curious about ND QB draw defense/adjustments; Denard showing QB draw, then passing. How will Borges adjust to their defense of that play?
Comparison of the game weather to Virginia '95, ND '98, UCLA 2001; all very hot. Then the rain just shifted everything...biggest weather change since Purdue '95.
Defense. First drive defense always seems bad throughout the years. Defense couldn't even get lined up correctly; Avery 1 vs 2. Crazy amount of rotation in the front seven with different batch of players every couple plays. Special circumstances due to heat? Defense vs. no huddle offense; shouldn't be an issue because they've seen it all the time. Fewer misalignments as game went on. Halfway through 2nd quarter, Mattison bringing a safety down in the box and blitzing; brought the house 3 times in a row. Carder chucking it off his back foot just so he wouldn't get hit anymore by Demens. Blitz packages got to QB "even more than you realize." Blitz packages vs. ND will probably be more expansive. Michigan only rushed 3 guys once vs. WMU, compared to all the time last year. ND will probably pick up blitzes better.
Defense UFR. Kovacks had a great day, period; more than just the two blitz sacks, but cleaning up other people's messes as well. Wait-and-see on Roh and Martin. Reason blitzes got home was because Martin was getting double teamed.
Punt game passable. Brian misses spread punt. Reason it's swept through college football; it's more effective.
First call. The last time the defense was in a QB's head and sped up a QB's internal clock. Brian thinks first time since Anthony Morelli in 2006. Blitz packages between Mattison and GERG night-and-day. Secondary really not that different from last year, but still able to get to the QB and force turnovers. Mental strain of being a QB and not knowing where the blitz is coming from.
Second call. Ball control game, possession offense, and how it effects the game vs. ND. With Denard, sometimes you just have a wide open TDs. Brian thinks any score is good whether it takes a long time or not; just take what the defense gives you. ND has undersized NT that's more of a quick guy; maybe power more effective than stretch running. See how ND adjusts this year to Denard.
Craig Ross is in.
First call. Inside College Football; ND TE guy mentioned that in the last six games the ND defense has only allowed 7 TDs. How will new offense work against that defense? Ira: Who are they playing? Garbage schedule at the end of last year. Brian doesn't think USF had a pulse once they got up 16-0; once lead got whittled down to 9, went right back and scored. Going back to Navy game where they made no adjustments and just got destroyed. ND defense is an open question; no consensus opinion. 3-4 base defense hard to run without space-eating NT. Ian Williams graduated, new guy undersized as well. Brian does like their safeties and thinks Te'o is good, but ND benched Calabrese and have new-ish OLBs. Craig: we're a lot better offense than USF; ND defense is a question mark.
Second call. Front four not getting penetration and requiring blitz against WMU. Craig: we got pressure with four guys. A lot of zone blitzing. BWC in coverage one time even. Pressure coming from all over. True that depending on the blitz is not necessarily good and opens up the possibility of getting exploited, but still way better than last year's defense. Craig concerned about run defense. Brian says that many of the bad things that happened Saturday were result of Beyer in DE/SAM spot he's not ready for (he'll get better; only a freshman). Fitzgerald a big downgrade from Demens. Worried about WILL; Herron had really poor day outside of the 2 TD plays; late reacting, did not fill holes, lost leverage. A lot of rotation at WILL likely.
Third call. Music at the game, PopEvil song while running out to the banner. Brian doesn't know if that was a screwup or not and if they cut it late. Brian rage about RAWK MUSIC and the overall stadium experience/tradtition. Don't want to be like everybody else. Ira: Michigan football is not the NFL/NHL; doesn't need gimmicks. Craig: Neil Diamond is wretched. Bodies hit the floor, etc.
What will happen on the field? Craig: a lot of questions with both defense. Michael Floyd is scary. Brian: Rees out there is good; sophomore and not mobile, lower ceiling than Crist. Craig: win by FG after listening to Brian. ND favored is good for us; favorites 3-19 against the spread. Key matchup: Floyd vs. Woolfolk. Floyd will get at least one deep pass, we need to break up a few.
Fourth call. Not worried about ND; ND needs to be worried about themselves with turnovers and penalties.
[Ed-M: Semi-official 'cause we asked him to do this after he provided a great recap last week on the board]
This is just me listening to the podcasts and typing up what I find interesting; it's not a word-for-word transcript.
Offense. Wondering how little the offense will show Saturday. Will they stay just I-form all day? Last year's offense is not new so it's not like they need to practice that. Maybe that's the "vanilla" offense and they will save the I-form power play till ND. Hoke: First play will probably power! Brian sighs. Brian doesn't like "here it is, try and stop it" mentality.
Brian's tradition the first week is to watch Miss St. play a team with a horrid pass defense and still throw 6 INTs (but won't happen this year with Mullen). Talking about Michigan playing its first game during the week (App St on Thursday, for instance). Brian opposed because Michigan can get Saturday ABC time even when it's not a marquee game.
Jordan Jefferson bar fight. What are players doing in a bar during fall camp? Brian says we dodged bullet by not hiring Miles. Miami suspensions; some guys only out 1 game. Penalties fair vs. Ohio St. five game suspensions? NCAA has set list of number of games suspended vs. amount of money taken. Miami players had to talk in order to maintain eligibility. No one pulling a Dez Bryant and not talking; doesn't bode well for Miami's long-term future.
Brian's article on home-and-home matchups with marquee teams, and how it doesn't cost much to do it. Two bodybag games vs. home-and-home; $2.60 per ticket would cover it. Maybe Michigan shouldn't do it right now due to roster stability, but future would be good to see them play teams they usually don't see. Mention of next year's challenging schedule with Bama and Air Force. Brian would much rather have a home-and-home with Bama instead of a one-off in JerryWorld. Brian wants to see real games against opponents we don't see. Remembering the 90s with playing Colorado, Boston College, etc. All about the money now.
Craig Ross in now. Offense question marks. Shaw/Fitz at RB? Craig doesn't think it will just be one back and it will still be 4 guys playing. Really 5 guys including Denard. RB the one position group that doesn't have a clean slate when new coaches come in? Some talk about decision process among the new coaches. Talk about how new coaches making the same wrong decisions that RR did; Gibbons being PK and Gallon being kickoff returner, and how everybody was fed up with Gallon fumbling last year and Gibbons' kicking. Coaches figuring out who can actually play in games vs. just practice. Gallon didn't drop any in practice despite balls being kicked all over the place. Impact of new special team drills.
First call. Placekicking/Gibbons. Does he stay on scholarship if he struggles? Yes; we are not Alabama. Michigan will commit to him for four years regardless. Comparison to SEC with how we can have a kid on scholarship that has walk-ons ahead of him, and he can still be on the team despite just practicing and "being a part of the team." In SEC he would be forced to transfer.
Second call. How is Devin Gardner doing? How many reps will he have? Will depend a lot on the defense. Gardner has looked OK, but have to see. Craig says Gardner is better than last year but Denard obviously unquestioned #1.
The Hoke Friday walkthrough; Friday practice at 5pm. Not a hitting practice, just supposed to be an "intense walkthrough," a little more physical, should work up a sweat. No hitting, though.
Jake Ryan progress. Was 3-3-5 OLB, in this defense SLB does get to do vertical attacking/blitzing, but he needs to cover better. Cam Gordon ahead in the coverage department. Maybe Ryan a designated passing-down blitzer. Weird 3-man line formation with Martin getting moved to 7-tech Shawn Crable-esque position on passing downs for pass rush. Not abnormal for Greg Mattison; did it at Baltimore. Ryan had good camp; potential there if Cam Gordon struggles. Mattison stressing that he'll play a lot of guys in the front seven. BWC at NT? Brian skeptical; should be at 3-tech, but don't need to relieve RVB because RVB plays the whole game. Hard for Campbell to get playing time. How close is the defense to having a fully-rotatable two-deep with 22 guys? Brian says they have 15-16: the starters plus Jake Ryan, JT Floyd, Carvin Johnson, Nate Brink, and maybe Black. Don't have any solid depth at DT, MIKE, or WILL. Maybe Countess can backup at corner. Craig says they don't want a lot of rotation in the secondary (aside from nickel package), should just be the front seven rotating. Brian still big on Avery improving.
Is Western a good test for the defense? Should be interesting to see if they can get QB pressure. Western has two backup guards (and backup center?) playing.
Game predictions. Brian: 36-15 (12 FGs!). Craig thinks we'll cover. Ira looks back to how 2004 was the last time things went as predicted. Can't predict which is the hardest of the 3 rivalry games. USF vs. ND. Brian thinks BJ Daniels is awful; ND shouldn't have trouble. Boise St. vs. Georgia, LSU vs.Oregon. Brian thinks LSU will get crushed, will be in chaos on offense. Craig thinks Boise St. will win. Brian thinks Georgia.
I have been trying for days to get the WTKA website to work for me. Each time I visit, the site locks up and a window pops up telling me that a script on this movie is causing Adobe Flash Player to run slowly.
I've tried Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer, all with the same results. Does anyone have any suggestions?
Good news, as you can now grab WTKA podcasts off the net once again with whatever podcatcher you use...
I use google listen on my Android phone, the link to grab the podcasts is:
Now if I could just figure out a way to get only the Michigan Insider morning show which is great and to filter out the afternoon show which is invariably brutal. [Some of the afternoon guys are OK, but Jeff DeFran is just freaking awful, how does this no-talent ass clown still have a job?]
WTKA Podcasts are finally back up on their website.
They have today's Mott content and the Godin commit interview from yesterday.
I know there's a lot of stuff we missed the last two weeks but hey, it's a start.
I usually listen to the podcast of Brian Cook on WTKA after it's posted, and it's usually posted by now at www.wtka.com. However, it seems there were 7 segments on the show today, and none of them featured Brian. If anyone was listening live, was Brian on today with Sam and Ira?
EDIT: It seems now they've uploaded an 8th segment, so perhaps they were just slow in uploading today. I'll check back (unless someone was listening and can confirm Brian was on).