FWIW. Michigan doesn't seem inclined to get re-involved.
I'm headed out to Iowa City soon, so somewhat abbreviated today.
Get a bracelet. Phil Brabbs has just started his chemotherapy, which you can read about on his blog, and he's also offering up these stylish "cancer kicker" bracelets for the impossibly low suggested donation of $2:
You can get them by donating the funds (and possibly, you know, another five bucks or so to defray the costs of freakin' cancer) to firstname.lastname@example.org, or you can just click the donation button to the right. It should donate to the right place and either ask for or confirm your shipping address with PayPal. Consume! I will repost this Monday!
Elsewhere, MGoTalk has posted an interview with Brabbs.
Hey, wow, this might be a good idea. Jay Bilas says the NCAA basketball committee is thinking of getting rid of limits on phone calls:
The NCAA is on the way to getting something right through a proposal to allow unlimited phone calls to recruits during contact periods. I have long been a vocal opponent of the phone call restrictions on college coaches in recruiting.
While well-intentioned, the rule prohibits coaches from normal contact with recruits while the rest of the free world gets unfettered access to them. The unintended consequences from the rule swamped its good intentions, by making those outside of the NCAA's reach more powerful and criminalizing normal communication.
As per usual when Jay Bilas is not talking about Tommy Amaker, I agree. They'd have to get rid of the limitations for all sports, right? And then texting limitations seem archaic and silly. Ron Zook is walking around looking like that creepy Enzyte guy and has no idea why. On the other hand, Kelvin Sampson knows exactly why he wants to punch a baby seal.
Yuck. This quote from Trevor Anderson is decidedly Carr-esque:
"They did everything that we practiced this week,” Anderson said. “When they decided to put in (Denard Robinson), we knew they were going to run the ball. They couldn’t throw it with him. As far as Forcier, we knew about his little stutter step, he’s going to jab to the outside and come back in. Everything that they practiced, we did."
Evidence for the mania. The point on Robinson is very duh, but the rest of it suggests Michigan did not pull new stuff out against State. Also—and this is a point Tim made on the podcast—with Forcier limited in practice on Monday and Tuesday, Michigan probably couldn't get confident enough in fancy new stuff that might, say, require option pitches and whatnot, to run it. It's probably hard as hell to install a new package when your freshman quarterback has his arm in a sling. That's probably not great for this weekend since Forcier was apparently limited early this week as well.
Next year, I expect Rodriguez will have a bunch of new stuff for MSU; if he doesn't I'll be disappointed.
Hockey weekend. Yost Built has your ten things for Alaska Fairbanks and Alaska Anchorage this weekend. Here's my one thing:
White pants? You know, I did ask Bruce Madej if he could confirm or deny that Michigan would wear white pants this weekend. He said he could not confirm or deny, which seemed like sort of a confirmation. Mark Ortmann hopes it isn't:
Against Iowa, the Wolverines may complement their white away jerseys with white pants, but an Athletic Department spokesman told The Michigan Daily last night he had “no definitive answer.” The uniform change would include everyone, even the 300-pound linemen.
“I can’t imagine,” left tackle Mark Ortmann said with a laugh. “We already have some pretty self-conscious offensive linemen. I don’t know if that will help out."
The strangest thing about all this is that no one will say yes or no about it, as if it's a state secret. The pants! They are white! We all must die!
I'm out. Wish me luck.
The Mealer item. E:60's report on Mealer:
Return of the FORK. Troy Woolfolk is at least getting a tryout at cornerback:
Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez did not address the possible position switch in his pre-practice meeting with the media, and it’s unclear where Woolfolk will play Saturday against Iowa.
I'm not sure if I like that or not. Woolfolk might allow the corners to press up more, but can Williams play deep centerfield?
The Ill-Fated Punt. MVictors has an excellent clip from Rodriguez's press conference in which he explains what happened on that punt. It is as suggested: Michigan has a rugby call, which they made, that always has a read element, which Mesko botched. A couple emailers suggested that Rodriguez's honesty about the call constituted throwing Zoltan under the bus, but if you listen to the clip it's clear that he's doing nothing of the sort. He does sound pretty baffled by the whole thing, as was everyone.
Get on the bus. A hockey version of the Maize Rage has/is forming and intends to use its power for invasion:
According to co-founders of the group, juniors Jamie Fogel and Chuck Boyer, organized trips to games in East Lansing, Madison, Sault Ste. Marie and Toledo are in the works. The group also plans to have buses available for the Great Lakes Invitational tournament at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit on Dec. 29.
"Some of this will obviously depend on how involved people get and whether or not people want to take the initiative," Fogel said. "But this is also something that will eventually grow, because it’s only the first year."
The Madison game is the outdoor one. I'm all for Michigan becoming a team that travels to reasonably nearby places and takes over. Munn should be deliciously empty this year, ripe for someone to come in and make any noise whatsoever, shocking all in attendance.
It will always be in Florida. It will always be against the SEC. When the bowl realignments were tentatively announced in late August, the Gator Bowl entered our lives. The Big Ten #4 was supposed to get the ACC #3, and everyone kind of shrugged. Everyone above .500 in the conference plays on New Year's Day, the Big Ten plays up, annoyingly, everything's the same lalala.
OH NO LEE CORSO!
WHAT'S GOING ON LEE CORSO?
The Konica Minolta Gator Bowl is on the verge of announcing a deal that will bring a Southeastern Conference team vs. a Big Ten team to the New Year's Day bowl game at the Jacksonville Municipal Stadium, from 2010-2013.
Out goes the ACC. In comes the SEC, and everyone groans at Yet Another Big Ten-SEC New Year's Day In Florida matchup. One twist: the Gator still gets the Big Ten #4, but it's stooping all the way to the SEC #6(!), which means that for the first time the Big Ten is playing down in a bowl game instead of up. So there's that. Last year Northwestern would have taken on Vanderbilt, which sounds like a horrendous New Year's game but a fantastic opportunity to buff up the ol' bowl record.
(HT: Doc Sat.)
Breakin' ankles. Via UMHoops, some tantalizing highlights of Darius Morris:
He is now Angerererererererery. Starting Iowa linebacker and obviously fake person who only exists in a movie script Pat Angerer has torn ligaments in his thumb and will wear a cast on Saturday. This (very) marginally increases Michigan's chances of victory. If Tate Forcier throws a ball at Angerer or Robinson darts into him, the folk in question may escape with their lives. But really I'm just mentioning it for this:
"You don't need thumbs,'' he said. "My best friend is my brother's dog. He doesn't have any thumbs and he's doing fine.''
That is all.
"Watch out, Sydney Crosby" is a bit much but daaaang.
Etc.: Daily notes that Michigan's hockey game at Camp Randall is actually exempt by the NCAA(!). Michigan will get in 37 regular season games this year with the trip to Alaska. Do you need bizarrely swarthy Forcier-as-Link wallpaper? Sure you do.
New shirts! The MGoStore is rocking two new shirts. One of them is pretty obvious. The other is, er… not. Click either for link:
Yes, the back of the Cone shirt says "leave ya twisted with chalk around ya body" in tribute to Cone rapping up a storm. WOOOOO. Get 'em while they last. Shoelace will be around for a bit, of course. Cone will be in our hearts forever but since it's kind of doubtful he gets a fifth year you probably want to scoop those bad boys up ASAP.
NOTE for folks who live in Ann Arbor and hate the idea of paying shipping costs: MGoShirts are available at Underground's retail space on South U. My cut there is the same as the one online, for people super concerned about the cash flow here. (This does happen.)
Outback Bowlin'. Orson Swindle would do well to avoid this vein-popping Zook special, but you're not Orson so here's the Wolverine Historian version of the 2003 Outback Bowl:
Part Two awaits in the lightbox.
I don't know if this is good or bad. Justin Turner was credited with a special teams tackle on Saturday, but that did not actually happen:
MSU corrected the official boxscore Sunday to show Jonas Mouton in on the tackle, and Turner, the No. 2-rated player in Michigan's 2009 recruiting class according to Rivals.com, remains eligible to redshirt.
So he's probably going to redshirt, and JT Floyd is going to start. Hurrah for good roster management? Boo because of thin secondary depth and the oddity of having such a highly-rated guy on a redshirt track? You make the call.
Also of indeterminate benefit. Rodriguez is going to take a look at linebackers who aren't Ezeh or Mouton (both of whom are at least making a number of good plays to go along with their terrible horrible not good ones in the UFR I've gotten to):
Yeah, every job is up for grabs every week,” Rodriguez said. “It sounds like coach speak, but our guys know they have to play at a certain level. Jonas (Mouton) and Obi (Ezeh) have played very, very hard. … I think Jonas is a very active player, and Obi has played solid, as well, but we can all play better.” …
"You take away a couple of those scramble plays, their big third and long passes, and it was a pretty solid effort,” Rodriguez said. “But you have to count those. Those are part of the whole deal. … We've got to be more consistent I think is the word in all three phases, particularly defensively."
"Player X has played very hard" is an excellent backhanded compliment. FWIW, I don't think anything will come of the starting jobs potentially coming open given Fitzgerald's shaky cameo and Leach's meh performance in the Eastern game. At least Mouton, who does appear to be blitzing a lot more recently, has guru-approved (and obvious) athletic ability. Leach doesn't.
As long as we're talking about the possibility of walk-ons busting into the starting lineup, let's highlight this bolded bit from yesterday's press conference recap:
Mike Williams wasn't 100% going into the game, but taking him out for Kovacs was a substitution issue, not an injury issue.
IE: Kovacs is just playing because the coaches think he's better. Williams got yanked quickly, too, right after he failed to get out on a short zone when Michigan was running three-deep and gave up a 15-yard hitch on Michigan State's endless drive. I didn't even think that was his fault, FWIW, as he was tasked with faking a blitz and had no chance to get out there; with Warren playing in the parking lot that play was super easy. FWIW, Kovacs has turned in a couple of impressive tackles so far. He's probably a disaster in coverage but Michigan is using him as downhill run-stuffer, something he seems capable of.
Family values, but on the tee-vee. Elliot Mealer will feature on that ESPN newsmagazine show E:60. You know, the one with jump cuts of Jeremy Schaap. Details:
Sports leader ESPN has followed the Mealer and Richer families for a year documenting how each family dealt with grief while moving ahead with their lives. On Tuesday the segment will air for the first time on ESPN and ESPN HD on a program called E:60 at 7 p.m.
"I first got contacted really early in the morning after I had just spoken at a FCA event at Napoleon High School," explained Elliott Mealer, a senior at the time of the accident that claimed two lives. "We talked it over as a family and all agreed that this could be something that could bring a positive light to the accident and everything after. As a little kid you always dream about being on ESPN and I guess in this sense it is bittersweet. I really wish I didn't have a story to tell but the fact of the matter is I do."
Worth examining, yes, I talk like Yoda for no reason mmmm.
Oh noes! You probably remember the nonstop caterwauling from Notre Dame fans in the aftermath of the referees getting Armando Allen's screen non-touchdown right. I wonder if they will take up arms and demand justice from the Big East replay officials on behalf of Washington:
That knee you see on the ground is Robert Hughes's. His entire body, and therefore the ball, is outside the endzone at this moment. This is the two point conversion that Notre Dame got to go up three, and without it they would have lost 30-28 in regulation. The lack of a review here is inexplicable. It was obvious the instant NBC cut to a replay of the play. CONSPIRACY
(Also, people: download a torrent and get a frame from that instead of taking pictures of your TV.)
Etc.: This is not Mark May pantomiming Lou Holtz performing fellatio on Jimmah, but it kind of looks like it is. Barwis porn migrates to web comics. Braves & Birds is confused about how to feel about the game Saturday.
Another podcast. In case you just cannot get enough of listening to me talk, I was on the FanSided Friday Tailgate podcast. Starts off with a considerable amount of meta talk before moving on to the State game and some other general college football picks.
HYPE VIDEO. The rest of the internet has gone crazy for this UAF hype video and it's obvious why:
EXPLODING POLAR BEAR DOOM. Michigan plays Fairbanks next weekend. Further evidence that university administrators hate life:
Hockey open w/ Polar Bear from Fairbanks, Alaska for the UAF Nanooks AKA "The Alaska Nanooks". This is the intended directors cut with the original music choice, rejected by the UAF people for being "too 80's" as if there is such a thing.
Yes, Paul will be directed to insert an exploding polar bear into next year's hype video. Or wolverine. Whatever. Maybe both. We'll give the wolverine a lacrosse stick.
Maybe we should actually explode all non-blog polls. First Stewart Mandel note: he picks Michigan State, 3.5-point favorites, as his "upset special" this week. Maybe this is why his straight up prediction record this year is 20-20.
Second: AAAARGGGGH. Here's Mandel on the possibility that Boise State might end up in the national championship game:
Should they keep winning late into the season and start knocking on the title-game doorstep, we'll witness something else: significant outcry from those who feel the Broncos are undeserving.
However, there's very little precedent for voters suddenly downgrading a team without cause. And contrary to what you might believe, the BCS computers aren't likely to cause the Broncos' undoing. For one thing, they only account for one-third of the overall standings, not to mention an unblemished record goes a long way in the computers' eyes. Last season, both Utah and Boise State actually finished the regular season ranked higher by the computers than the voters. The Broncos may get docked a couple of "style points" should they endure an undue scare against a San Jose State or Idaho, but realistically, the only way they could fail to make up three spots in 10 weeks is if the voters start vaulting other, more "deserving" teams above them following a big win or two.
Argh! Boise has done exactly one thing to warrant the #5 spot they're in this year: beat Oregon. At the end of the year they will have done exactly one thing to warrant whatever spot they finish in: beat Oregon. The scare quotes around "deserving" are amongst the most idiotic in the history of the rhetorical device. They prioritize the uninformed opinions of writers and people who don't even watch Boise play over things that happen on the field. Boise has no right to the national championship game and if they make it there it will be a travesty that will further convince everyone else to never schedule anyone in the nonconference. Braves and Birds has more on this travesty.
Mandel's the same guy who used to vote WVU up high specifically because he thought the 'Eers had an easy schedule, and now he's justifying the placement of Boise high up as if that's some sort of birthright. This man had an AP ballot. ARGH!
This is not going in the hype video. Rumeal Robinson is in some legal trouble of a horrifying variety:
Helen Ford has been known in the Cambridge community as a woman with a big heart and open arms for numerous foster children. But she never expected that one of her adopted sons, former NBA basketball player Rumeal Robinson, would play a part in evicting her from the place she called home for more than 30 years.
Robinson was arrested by the FBI for bank fraud, bank bribery, wire fraud, and a lot of other nasty stuff. Sounds like things went sour for him after his… NBA career. Insert typical middle-aged white sportswriter 600 words about how the young folk can't keep their money on their mind. I'm at a loss; the NBA should just hire someone to show up at every player's house every two months to slap them and scream "FIRE YOUR ENTOURAGE AND GET A SAVINGS ACCOUNT." Probably Charles Oakley if the NBA would like their guy to remain alive.
Side note: the picture of this woman painted in the comments is vastly different than the one painted by the article, with multiple commenters offering up various serious-seeming stories about her Not Being Very Nice. Not that that would excuse anything that's been alleged here, obviously.
Spot on. We had a photoshop of Mark Dantonio as Rodney Dangerfield, and I feel another coming on in the event of a Michigan win on Saturday:
#22 Michigan at Michigan State
Holly: Rich Rodriguez IS White Goodman IN Dodgeball. Say, did you know Sparty’s chestplate contains actual kevlar? Nice moves, although it won’t save them. RichRod is a smug, entitled bastard, but shoo-law does he have a lot of projectiles in his smug, entitled arsenal. Sometimes the lovable losers win, and sometimes they get their front teeth broken at the gym. (And sometimes the losers ain’t all that lovable. Dantonio, you never call.)
Orson: Michigan State IS Khan IN Star Trek 2: Wrath of Khan. Khan had to have a “XX Years XXX Days XX Hours” clock in his bunker on Ceti Alpha V. You know this to be true, just as you know we could have just as easily cast Dantonio as the flower pot falling from the sky in Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, the reincarnated object killed again and again by Arthur Dent’s unending carelessness. Khan, though, has the right ring in terms of attitude. Michigan State is all effort and survival, but ultimately the lack of experience in three-dimensional combat that Rich Rodriguez’s offense has will doom the Spartans (though like the Enterprise in the film, Michigan will suffer significant damage due to lack of shields.)
I think those are W predictions for M, FWIW, which is nothing. As Orson says, THIS MEANS BET ON THE OTHER TEAM UNLESS THAT TEAM IS COLORADO.
Get to campus get to campus get to campus. The first indication that the 2010 hockey recruiting class is as dirty as previous suggested is a Hockey News list of the top 50 prospects for the 2010 NHL draft that features three Wolverines in first-round spots:
|11||Jon Merrill||6'3||205||D||U.S. Under-18||Feb-92||Ryan Suter|
|15||Jack Campbell||6'1||171||G||U.S. Under-18||Jan-92||Rick DiPietro|
|23||Luke Moffatt||6'0||190||RW||U.S. Under-18||Jun-92|
In addition, D-man Mac Bennett has already gone in the second round of this year's draft.
YOU ARE ALL TINY, TINY PEOPLE. Emailer sends something titled of "MGoBlog's biggest fan" and I'm like oh boy here we go this will be sort of depressing and then I get this:
Send in the clowns. This quote didn't make it into the Free Press's article about how Michigan State certainly doesn't cheat or nothin':
Dantonio told his players Sunday the importance of a game like this and its meaning is why he prefers to recruit Midwestern players. They tend to appreciate a week like this more than others, he said.
"When you work 85, 90 hours a week to prepare for one single moment, you tend to remember those things," Dantonio said. "This will be no different.
"We'll come ready to play, I can assure you that."
You might say "that's because it didn't exist yet, Brian," to which I say "what is wrong with you and why are you smaller than a seven-week-old child? Be silent before I eat you."
Inverted veer option. Coming up later today I'll mention Indiana's adjustment to the thing I'm calling the "counter dive" that gashed Michigan's first three opponents; the opponent's response requires a response, which I'm sure we'll see this weekend. Smart Football has a terrific look at a different spread look that TCU used to good effect against Clemson, the "inverted veer option":
Instead of reading the backside end you read the guy right in front of your face and shoot it upfield when he hops out on the RB. Pretty cool. Further explanation at Smart Football. I wonder if Michigan might pull this, or something like it, out against Michigan State.
Even better, the insanely comprehensive Wolverine Historian has posted video of the actual play:
Etc.: Shouldn't Tebow sit against LSU and maybe a couple additional games? (Comes with—gasp—link to EDSBS.) Ohio State has a "Woody Hayes Chair in National Security Studies." Former Michigan great Joe O'Donnell has his high school's field named after him.
Michigan Stadium circa 1955, or thereabouts.
Shirt notes! 1) We printed up a limited-edition run of Notre Dame date/score t-shirts for your delectation. Get them before they are gone forever. Also, for Ann Arbor folk who want shirts but would like to avoid shipping charges, MGoShirts are now available at Underground's Ann Arbor store on South U.
For a good cause. Note: the Pat Maloy Charity Auction, which seeks to establish (now, continue) an endowed kinesiology scholarship in the name of the late Professor Maloy, a guy who had a far-reaching effect on everyone who experienced his teaching. They've got a ton of Michigan memorabilia up for purchase; I suggest you check it out. Goes to a good cause. Robert Haddad has some personal thoughts for you if you're not quite moved yet.
It was dumb for exactly the wrong reason. Much controversy in the aftermath of the Purdue-Notre Dame game concerning Danny Hope's timeout before third and goal. Here's a typical Boiler response:
Why the $%*&@!!!!!!!!!!!! did we call a timeout?
And here's Charlie Weis:
"That kind of helped us out a little bit right there," Weis said. "We were going to clock it, so we made sure we had one play left....It didn't end up paying any dividends for us, because we didn't score on that third down call. But we had an opportunity to gather our thoughts and get the right call for fourth down."
What? Is Charlie Weis actually suggesting that Notre Dame was going to spike the ball on third down? That's the interpretation of Brian Hamilton:
The Irish were set to spike the ball to kill the clock and leave themselves just one play to score.
Notre Dame had 37 seconds when Hope took his timeout. If Weis is actually claiming ND would have spiked it instead, he's either a liar or an idiot. I'm going with the former since there is no college coach in the country that would blow a down on third and goal with 37 seconds left. Even if you're an idiot, you have 20 seconds to think to yourself "maybe we should throw a fade to one of our 6'4" wide receivers, that would probably be better than chucking a ball straight into the ground."
Anyway, the larger issue: Purdue's error here was not in calling the timeout. You can't bank on the opposing coach making the dumbest coaching move since Marty Mornhinweg took the wind. Notre Dame was going to get all four shots at the endzone either way. The error was in not blowing the remainder of their timeouts in an effort to keep a reasonable amount of time on the clock for a potential response. Purdue should have called timeout after Notre Dame got first and goal; doing so would have saved another 20 seconds or so and given Purdue 40 seconds instead of 20 on their final drive. When you only need a field goal that's a big deal.
Hey, man, Smart Football agrees with me. QED.
Adios, Keith*. A reader recently asked about Keith Jackson's 1998 retirement tour stop at Michigan Stadium, which I remember fondly. He asked for what video existed of the game and I asked Wolverine Historian if he had it. He did, of course, because he is ninja like that:
Really wish they had provided the whole thing, but that's life. Jackson's evident emotion at his last game at Michigan Stadium is something I've treasured as a Michigan fan. I generally adhere to the belief that people who go around talking about their program as if it is the be-all and end-all are unpleasant, but the idea that Keith Jackson thought Michigan was a special place defies that cynicism.
*(Sort of, anyway. Jackson decided to un-retire and did a selection of Pac-10 games for a few more years. He stuck to the West Coast, though, and this was his last appearance at Michigan Stadium. [UPDATE: Wrong. Jackson did the 2003 M-OSU game.)
Van Bergen's error. Clarification on what Van Bergen did wrong on Indiana's 85-yarder from the man himself:
"I made the wrong check," Van Bergen said. "It doesn't happen very often, but it was independently on me. It almost cost the team a big loss, and I would have blamed that completely on myself." …
"We were supposed to be running blitz to the boundary and I checked to field," he said. "It's something very basic, and I shouldn't have made that mistake."
So it wasn't anything after the snap but what led up to it that was the error. I do remember that run looking almost indefensible given Michigan's alignment.
Yes, as GSimmons reminds, this sort of thing makes it difficult to hand out pluses and minuses as individually as I do in UFR. For the record: I do try to take the difficulty of making a particular play into account and often let players off when it seems clear that the defense was just not right for that particular situation. Also, UFR attempts to be useful, not gospel.
Other game stuff: Brown was absent for much of the middle of the game with a minor injury, Moosman put the onus on himself on the snap fiascoes (but he was not the guy who was called for lining up off the LOS, that was Ortmann), Donovan Warren insist he's the guy who caught the ball. (Full transcript of Moosman's postgame interview.)
Advertisin' note. The M-Den is running a special that's about to run out: $5 shipping on any order. Orders of more than $200 have been and will be free. As always, if you don't shop at the M-Den, you hate America.
Etc.: Have had a couple requests for a high-res downloadable version of the preseason hype video. You can download it here; right click and "save as". Week 4 hype video. GS has last week's run chart up; never linked to it.