DON'T START THE PARTY WITHOUT ME pic.twitter.com/19ak6vyOJi
— Joe (@joefedewa) March 9, 2017
HAPPY BIRTHDAY. It's Mark Dantonio's birthday, on this fine March 9th. 3/9, truly the one and only day Mark Dantonio has entered this world. Also Notre Dame went 4-8.
Mom was right. Remember the bizarre end to Malik McDowell's recruitment, which more or less ended with his unhappy mother pounding a shoe on the table demanding that he go to Michigan because he needed to do some growing up and Ann Arbor was the best place for that? Point, mom:
Allow us to explain how a 6-foot-6, 295-pound prime athlete with long arms and big hands who runs a 4.85 40 is on the “losers” list. Said one team: “Worst interview we did.” Added another: “Awful interview. Awful.” What concerns scouts most is that for all his tremendous upside — watch him destroy Michigan, for instance — McDowell’s production and tape don’t always match up. Scouts feel like he takes plays off too often. And when they asked him about that, he got defensive. They also asked him about his attitude and work ethic, which were concerns. Many of those questions remain unanswered.
Rumors were swirling around McDowell all season; the unceremonious end to his MSU career would seem to confirm most of them. MSU has a culture problem, and a lot of it traces back to the back-bends they did to get McDowell and then keep him in the program.
This should not be construed as a general assertion that all moms are right all the time, because no baby needs a sleep sack that makes him look like Roald freakin' Amundsen. We heat this house for a reason! It's to keep the people warm! I digress!
Rather stark way to put this. Hockey pairwise risers and fallers this year:
— Todd Milewski (@ToddMilewski) March 9, 2017
It's bad man.
Meanwhile, Red confirmed the story that had been out there about his return to the Michigan Daily:
He intended to retire last year, which he planned at the beginning of that season. But with a new athletic director in Warde Manuel, Berenson opted to stay to aid Manuel’s transition.
“He didn’t wanna go through hiring a coach — he hadn’t even moved into his house yet,” Berenson said. “And our team played well and I thought they were responding well, so the reasons to stay were those things.
“We’ll revisit all this at the end of the year, but I’m trying not to worry about it right now. It’s just a matter of when — whether it’s this year or next year."
I've mentioned this before: Red could have said "hire Mel, I'm going to go buy a boat, goodbye." That would have helped avoid this season that's going nowhere and not even building to anything. It also may indicate that Michigan's search will be more open than I thought it would be.
This is interesting because there are a couple of guys who look like really good coaches out there:
- UML's Norm Bazin just won Hockey East (again) and will take the previously moribund Rivermen to the tournament for the fourth time in his five years.
- Providence coach Nate Leaman will take the Friars to the NCAA tournament for the fourth straight year; prior to his arrival their last bid was in 2001.
- Denver's Jim Montgomery has been excellent in his four years with the Pioneers. Denver is a historical power and may be able to hang on to Montgomery, but if his salary is in the same range as the rest of the NCHC it's around 250k. Wisconsin just doubled that for Tony Granato. If Michigan's serious they can point the money cannon at just about anybody.
Or they could hire a conference commissioner, I guess.
All praise Maverick Morgan. John Gasaway:
Once upon a time the Illini beat the Wolverines easily in Champaign, and afterward one of the victorious orange-bedecked men branded UM as “white collar.” Since that moment Beilein’s team has outscored its Big Ten opponents by 0.13 points per possession. The Michigan staff should hire that guy.
Michigan's been the best team in the league since. Purdue finished the conference season at +0.12.
Etc.: Now is the time of year when people go to minor conference basketball tourneys and report back with excellent prose. Firing Tom Crean would be weird. Also: not that weird. BYCTOM on the Northwestern pass thing. 24/7 on Eli Brooks and Isaiah Livers.
Here's this. Bobby Loesch made it and is a gentleman and a scholar.
It's time for America's greatest rivalry game. Michigan State. Rutgers. This game is the situation, and they play for America's greatest rivalry trophy.
— † Wolverine Devotee (@UMichWD) November 7, 2016
One of these teams will leave with a Big Ten win and The Situation. Noon. Probably on television. Check BeIN Sports 2. No? Does QVC have an overflow channel? Well, I'm sure you'll find it. They televise everything these days. I saw Magic: The Gathering once.
At least you've got your vomit-soaked sidewalks. Michigan State may be 2-7 and playing Rutgers to find out which Big Ten team is going winless in conference, but at least the city it's located in has a detailed bill it would like to present the university.
EAST LANSING — East Lansing has determined what it says Michigan State University is costing city residents.
Right down to the vomit removal.
Fire department calls, police overtime and downtown cleanup after student nightlife are among the issues that cost the city about $3.75 million last year, according to a recent study paid for by the city.
I say just leave the vomit—it's not like anyone can tell that you cleaned it up. And the RCMB agrees!
I remember back in the late 80s when I transferred to MSU. I went to WMU for a year and then transferred. K'zoo was a complete dump. Nothing to do. Other than Lafayette Square, it wasn't happening. I couldn't wait to leave K'zoo and I also couldn't wait to leave GR after the summer was over to get back to East Lansing for the fall terms to begin. Now? K'zoo and GR are so much better than East Lansing. And even they aren't the greatest. But it tells you just how far East Lansing has fallen.
I moved back to Lansing from 2009 to 2013. I could not wait to move away from there again in 2013. It was a mistake to move back to Lansing. Lansing is dismal but almost better than East Lansing now. East Lansing is a complete shell of itself. Just terrible. It lacked any of the vitality it once held. It was is of depressing to see.
That's part of a wildly entertaining five-page thread full of Spartans dumping venom on East Lansing's taxes, generic chain restaurants, city leadership, vacant storefronts, and DUI conviction rate. (That latter might not be East Lansing's fault, guys.) Highly recommended. The Spartans' profession appears to be self-owning.
A bountiful cornucopia in Ann Arbor. NFL scouts have noticed that Michigan appears to be somewhat good this year. ESPN asks which Big Ten players have seen their NFL stock go up and literally every observer starts with something along these lines:
Everybody at Michigan. (laughs) I’ll tell you what, Harbaugh, he just brings out the best in all his players. Shoot, every one of those guys has elevated their draft stock.
Amara Darboh, Mason Cole, Channing Stribling, Jabrill Peppers, Ben Gedeon, Delano Hill, De'Veon Smith, Chris Wormley, and Jake Butt all come in for praise. I'm slightly dubious about Cole's NFL potential given the struggles he's had against 3-4 nose tackles this year but hey man whatever. Michigan is set to have a dozen guys drafted, and you'd better believe that'll perk up recruits' ears. That goes double when scouts are praising Harbaugh's development as the direct cause of said draftees.
Best part of this: no Maurice Hurst. Let's keep that on the low for another year, yes please.
An eye for detail. Dan Murphy on the Harbauffense and the idea that it's a stodgy pro-style attack:
The Wolverines' beefy, pro-style offense snapped the ball 34 times in the first half and averaged 11.8 yards per play. They did it with a litany of creative wrinkles cloaked in the feel-good nostalgia of two-tight end sets and fullback dives. They are like a phonograph that can stream your iTunes through Bluetooth.
Stodgy is what Michigan will see this weekend in Iowa City. Michigan's got a new thing every week.
Don Brown, football dude. This is a week old but I must have missed it. The WaPo on Don Brown:
Yes, Brown and Michigan: “It’s a perfect place for him,” said Compton, whose father was Brown’s high school coach and Brown’s wife’s high school biology teacher. “He looks good in the colors. It’s perfect. Perfect! He likes that weather. It’s a natural fit for him.”
In that passage lies another thing about Brown, 61: Three former players go beyond the normal, fond recollections of former players. They effuse, and say old teammates do likewise. Somehow, this seems like big toughness mixed with big, big love. ...
Ihedigbo said: “That demeanor. That presence. He truly cares about you. It’s one of those things where you feel like you’re in it together. It’s not just trying to get the most out of you.”
Michigan has exceeded even the towering expectations placed on them by optimistic folks (hi!) preseason, and looks set for a showdown against Ohio State that could change the shape of the Big Ten for years to come. Still cannot get over what a great hire Brown was.
Old-school playcalling. Great Dr. Sap piece on the evolution of playcalling:
In the 1970’s, Bo would talk on the phone with Hanlon who was upstairs in the press box. After asking, “What do you want, Jerry?” Bo sent in the plays with offensive guards that rotated in and out of the game. It looked and sounded like this:
In the 1980’s, rotating wide receivers became the method of communication. The clip below can be summed up thusly, “Oh geez, Mo, let me handle this! AC, you tell Wangs to throw you the damn ball! Now THAT is how you do it, Gary!”
After a few delay of game penalties in critical situations, a change needed to be made.
Rotating guards bringing the playcall in! That is absolutely insane from a modern perspective. Also don't miss the Bo smirk at the end of the first video. Probably thinking about this going down in the huddle:
BRANDSTATTER: and he says to get your ass in there
BRANDSTATTER: CUT IT IN, he says
RB: in what
BRANDSTATTER: man... just get your ass in there
RB: i will take this under advisement
Etc.: Mike MacIntyre talks to SBN about how Colorado is good now. Marc Tracy on Harbaugh's Heisman push for Jabrill Peppers. A first look at Iowa isn't pretty. More Peppers gushing from NFL scouts. Ibi Watson exists. MSU had a lot of injuries so they lost to Illinois and their third string QB and three of their top four WRs out. Joe Kerridge will make his NFL debut this week.
My videos had trouble uploading. Here’s DGDestroy’s every snap for now.
Mark Dantonio came prepared for this game. He had thoroughly scouted this Michigan defense, learned how it adjusted to motions and angles, and put together a bewildering drive plan that kept everybody confused and got State the matchups they wanted. It must have taken hours of watching game film and practice to make it all work. He could have used it for the game-winning points against, oh, Northwestern, or Maryland, or Indiana.
But this is Mark Dantonio. This drive was always intended for Michigan. It used Michigan’s own ideas, exploited Michigan’s tendencies and personnel. It was a coaching masterpiece he made for us. Let’s appreciate it.
Play 1: Jet to Split Zone
This play sets up the rest of the drive. Jet motion from RJ Shelton pulls the WLB, McCray, out of the box, effectively removing a linebacker from where they’re planning to run.
The split zone means the play’s backside DE is blocked by the fullback, freeing up the RT to block Godin. The plan at the playcall is to hold a linebacker outside with the jet motion and zone run into the remaining four-man (two DTs, a DE and the MLB) front with all five offensive linemen.
But Godin and Glasgow have a stunt on here. That could kill Michigan since Gedeon gets a releasing center on him and Glasgow is putting himself out of the backside B gap with the stunt. Godin made a great play to shoot underneath the right guard and push that guy down the line to squeeze the gap out of existence. Like a Roman at Cannae, the back is trapped behind his own men until the Carthaginians have hacked their way through.
Also note that the jet motion to the boundary side played with Michigan’s OLB designations. McCray ends up the guy covering a slot type in space while Peppers is lined up a foot away from a big tight end.
Anyway, great play Godin. Second and long.
[After the JUMP: a counter off a counter off a counter]
If I were simply hoping to sum up the game in GIF form, the above would suffice. But y'all had requests. So, so many requests. I appreciated each and every one of them.
Before I get to those, though, I have to acknowledge one reader who went above and beyond this week. The MGoStaff will all have physical copies of Monday's peak self-burn State News thanks to user TitaniumTim, who responded to my call yesterday and confirmed today that a shipment is headed our way. We cannot thank him enough.
And now, there are 70 more GIFs to post.
[Hit THE JUMP for a single-game record number of MGoGIFs.]
Bo with children. Bo passed away nine years ago today. Spurred by a classic old-timey photo posted by Steve Lorenz, a couple of readers passed along adorable pictures of Bo not yelling at them about their pad level despite his constant desire to do so:
— LTA2891 (@LTA2891) November 17, 2015
— Ryan Schreiber (@Ryan_Schreiber) November 17, 2015
Meanwhile, the legend lives on.
Wow. Feel like we've seen this live... https://t.co/qJJBRKVMFZ
— Wilton Speight (@WiltonSpeight) November 17, 2015
If any school can do it, it's Michigan. PFF lists Jourdan Lewis as one of their alternate-universe-where-everyone-pays-close-attention-to-tape Heisman candidates:
Jourdan Lewis, CB, Michigan: +21.7
Key stat: Only three cornerbacks have been targeted more, and he has still only allowed 274 yards in his coverage.
Like Bosa, Lewis is hurt by playing on defense, particularly when he doesn’t have any game breaking returns to catch your attention. That being said, you won’t find a better cover corner in all of college football, and he is right up there with the other four players listed as one of the best players in the country. Lewis has been targeted 72 times in coverage, which seems foolish for opposing quarterbacks, especially when you consider he has given up just 26 receptions for 274 yards and one touchdown over the course of the year. He’s allowed more than 40 receiving yards in a single game just once all year, and has come away with two interceptions and 14 pass breakups. There was a three-game span against UNLV, BYU and Maryland where he allowed just three receptions for six yards while picking off one pass and breaking up five more.
Those numbers are bonkers. Michigan's inability to generate turnovers has got to be mostly luck when they're getting so many hands on opposition passes. Those translate to INTs at a fairly consistent rate and Michigan is way below par there; meanwhile they've recovered one opposition fumble all year. I can't imagine what their numbers would be like if they had the same level of fortune that Hoke's first team did.
In other grading things. PFF did the Indiana game, giving Jake Rudock a monster +9.2. Certain defenders didn't do so hot:
Michigan’s run defense was exposed for the first time this season, but it wasn’t because they were overpowered on the line. No, the Wolverine’s defense looked completely lost trying to maintain gap control against the Hoosier’s stretch plays. Michigan’s defensive line likes to fire off straight upfield at the snap. This works great against downhill runs like inside zone where they had great success Saturday. But versus outside zone firing upfield creates very wide running lanes when one defensive tackle flows down the line of scrimmage and another one doesn’t. The poor discipline made the job extremely difficult on Michigan’s linebackers. Matthew Godin (-5.3) and Joe Bolden (-3.6) were the two that struggled the most.
I'm through the first half-zillion Indiana plays and that is very much on point. Michigan is slanting with a backside blitz a ton and still not getting their guys to the correct gaps way way too often. Michigan quickly adapted to all the stretch plays tactically but the backup DTs were unable to execute, and Hurst suffered quite a bit as well.
Bolden… Bolden is not getting a good UFR number. I do not understand why Ben Gedeon isn't getting way more time.
Scoring is up 7% over the first weekend last season. Pace is up 5% and efficiency is up 2%. It’s not 1975-style basketball, but for at least one weekend we turned the clock back to 1995 when it wasn’t unusual to see a team crack 100 on the daily scoreboard.
Fouls are up slightly, as are threes (with no decrease in shooting percentage). Twos are more accurate. The main caveat I would suggest is that years with rules changes that include "call the game like the rulebook says" often start out with a bunch more fouls and then refs swallow their whistles as the stakes rise. The last attempt to crack down on obstruction of movement petered out by midseason. Hopefully this one sticks, but I'm not getting out my victory epaulettes just yet.
FWIW, the NCAA put out a video about what the rules entail:
It's nice that the official voice of the NCAA is decrying MSU's brand of footsketball, at least. John Gasaway on the new regime:
One paradox or spiritual kinship shared by basketball and baseball alike is that invariably many of the sports’ most consequential “reforms” consist of nothing more than a renewed commitment to enforcing the rules as already written. Screens really do have to be stationary, and bumping a cutter or displacing a player off the block really is a violation. So it is that in the coming days it will be said that it’s precisely this newfound strict constructionist attitude that’s resulted in all these darn fouls that are suddenly being called. Indeed the NCAA itself is already sounding this alarm. In its video the organization channels its inner Clubber Lang and says its prediction is pain: “At times the fans and media will not like the number of fouls being called, but we must stay the course and call the rules as written in the rule book.”
I don’t doubt for a moment that officials will signal their seriousness in November by minting free throws left and right, but it bears repeating that justice can be furthered by a no-call just as it can be by a whistle. Enlarging the charge circle could, one hopes, increase the prevalence of swallowed whistles, while the NCAA’s professed wish to stop rewarding “offense-initiated contact” will be nothing less than a no-call godsend if it comes to pass. I don’t want to see a foul called on Melo Trimble (just to pick a name purely at random), but a no-call the next time he flings himself like a horizontal missile into the chest of the nearest vertical-cylinder-inhabiting defender would most definitely be a just result.
One note from the Elon game: the refs appeared to blow one egregious example of offense-initiated contact when a Fightin' Christian jumped unnaturally into Walton to draw a foul.Otherwise I thought that game was well officiated aside from the usual slate of block/charge calls that nobody can ever figure out.
Is this how you do it? "Not quite." How about now? "Still not really there." Surely now? "For chrissakes can you stop looking like a serial killer experiencing afterglow for like 30 seconds?"
Henson. Via WH:
Willie Taggart has had a nice turnaround year at USF. If he were to be let go at any point, Taggart would be very much on Harbaugh's radar to fill hypothetical holes on his staff, but better to see him succeed.
Charlie Strong to Miami rumors get their first credible support as Bruce Feldman says he's heard it is a possibility. Michigan is competing with Texas for a number of recruits including Jordan Elliott and Jean Delance.
The remarkable laziness of the Baylor offense. Steve Smith storytime from Sap. IU fans are sick of being #CHAOSTEAM, but what choice do they have? Five Factors from Punt John Punt. Grandson of Gerald Ford coming to play lacrosse. CFB is slightly slower than it was last year. Vincent Smith gardening in Flint. "I think it’s the bear, and I think Houma comes in second with tattoos.”
[Disclaimer: We wrote these yesterday before the Jerry Kill news, when open head coaching jobs were a lot more fun to talk about.]
RR to da U?
Choose the best plausible fit for five open FBS head coaching jobs.
SOUTH CAROLINA: Mack Brown. Fits the aging former National Championship winning coach profile. Gets Mack Brown off of my TV.
USC: Todd Graham [Insert Dream Job joke here]. Seems like he's been at Arizona State forever in Graham years. Actually could be the right mix of personality for the Trojans.
ILLINOIS: Brady Hoke. From the school that brought back Ron Zook, why wouldn't they bring back Hoke. It would stick it to their arch-rival Michigan. Hoke would be a good fit for the recruiting base, doesn't have a documented issue with the color orange and his track record looks pretty good by Illinois standards.
MIAMI: Jim Tressel. When Miami has built their best teams, they've been built around loading up on talent with little regard for the NCAA. Tressel seems like the perfect fit.
[After the jump: more bad ideas, and some that are too good]