Radio interview, M grad Dana Jacobson in the studio. The issues, for better or worse, are the team's worsening record over three years, whether he's on the hot seat, and who's going to shine on the field this year:
Good guy, but I think we can say at this stage that Hoke is not a great interview. Says some admiring things about Devin Gardner, but mostly it's boilerplate, somewhat defensive stuff.
In the recent interview with Wojo, Brandon said Hoke's job would not be in peril this year if the team struggled, but how can it not be? Common sense, for me, would dictate that Brandon be a little bit more cautious. Still, I'm ready to be happily surprised!
I had been meaning to make a better copy of the Fail Mary game against Colorado for a while now. I finished it and then watched the final minute and had nearly forgotten how that last play was set up and how disaster nearly screwed us again against the Buffs.
First to give some perspective for that time, Colorado was one of the best college football programs in America. This Buffs team would finish 7th in the final polls. The game is in Boulder and we're just two years removed from the Kordell Stewart saga.
With 1:30 left in the game, we have a 7 point lead and the ball at our own 40. We start taking knees so Colorado can burn their last timeout, which they did after 2nd down. On the 3rd down knee, there's 37 seconds left and Keith Jackson points out the slight difference from the play clock which is about 1-2 seconds less. On 4th down, Dreisbach takes a knee with 8 seconds left for some reason giving Colorado one play. The silent stadium suddenly comes to life and we're in this horrible position again, only the mishandling of the clock gives the Buffs a much easier hail mary attempt from our 37 yard line. Even Bob Griese has this WTF voice when he asks, "Is this weird or what?"
This Hail Mary had a chance with it slightly bounching off the finger tips of Woodson and Chuck Winters, dangerously close to a Colorado receiver a few feet behind them. Thankfully, he was just out of reach and the ball bounced to the turf off to his left. No disaster this time but can you imagine the shitstorm had the Buffs caught it again all thanks to Michigan mishandling the clock? Lloyd took blame for the clock issue in the Michigan Replay episode but he and Brandy sort of change the subject rather quickly.
The game would have gone to overtime. 1996 was the first season college football had overtime. Thankfully, that didn't happen.
Skip ahead to 12:03 to see the ending.
Beforehand, there's some great catches by Tai Streets and a few shots of Mattison on the sideline.
I rarely add a forum topic to the board, but there is an awesome and inspiring article on Frank Clark over at the Freep. Writer Mark Snyder goes into the desperate and challenging background Clark came from, the many obstacles and challenges he has faced, and some of his hopes for the future.
Here are a few quotes, more than usual, because some of you want to avoid clicking the Freep:
It wasn’t easy, drifting from shelter to shelter with his mother at night, her battling drug addiction. But Clark understood this was his life and he didn’t know much else. Until his friend was killed in a drive-by shooting in front of a church.
The boys weren’t even teenagers, but that was enough for Clark’s mother to put her son on his first plane, by himself, to live with his father’s family in Cleveland.
“Where I’m from, there’s not too many kids that make it past a certain age,” Clark explained at Tuesday’s Big Ten media days. “It’s the definition of what people look at like the ’hood. The struggles that I endured as a youth, things like … seeing my mom work multiple jobs just to put food in my and my brothers’ mouths. Finding a way to football practice even if I had to walk an hour and a half to get to practice. “My mom was tired of seeing me struggle after my brothers got older. She made the decision I had to move to Cleveland for it to be a better life.”
And regarding his potential:
Though he has yet to reach his freakish on-field potential, as a 277-pounder end who says he can run a 4.5 40-yard dash, Clark’s numbers and impact have steadily improved each year.
Nearly as important, he has stayed clear of off-field trouble. Given his roots, that’s no small feat.
“We always believed that Frank is going to get it,” Hoke said Tuesday. “You go back to Ted Ginn and how he’s handled everything. And Greg Mattison, the relationship he and Frank have had since Day 1. And the relationship Frank and I have had since Day 1. One that’s always been very honest and sometimes not fun for Frank. Or not fun for a coach either.”
Clark has first-round NFL potential. But to reach that, he’ll need to make a leap to the upper echelon.
“My mother struggled with drugs and it inspires me to do the best I can on the field,” he said. “Because I always want to help her. I want to put money back in her pocket. I used to watch her work to put food in my mouth, despite her addiction. It came to a point where I can do that, that’s all I want to do. She’s still my mother. Despite all the disagreements, the arguments, at the end if it wasn’t for my mother, I wouldn’t be here. I probably would have ended up somewhere in California.
“I’m so happy she made it for me to leave so I could come to Cleveland.”
She hasn’t seen a game in person and Clark made that one of his goals this season, hoping his mother could attend at some point, maybe even senior day.
I wish Clark well, really hope he has a breakout season, and puts everything together this year.
Quiet day on the board, so I thought I'd share this free 247 fluff piece. Some interesting tidbits include yet another vote of confidence for Joe Bolden this time from Devin Gardner. Will be interesting to see how he and Desmond Morgan end up splitting playing time. Gardner also says he and Amara Darboh have the chemistry back that they had prior to Darboh's injury. Hopefully they can mimic the telepathic communication shared by Gardner and Gallon last year. Anyways, give it a click.
Angelique Chengelis posted a very interesting ARTICLE this morning from the Big Ten Media function in Chicago. The article is interesting in its own right, but the subtext caught my attention even more.
The article focuses on how team leaders have used off-field functions to build team chemistry. That sounds like a great idea, and it also underscores how players like Gardner who have occasionally been derided as insufficient leaders are leading in their own way.
The really interesting thing to me, though, was the implications in the article as to team chemistry last year. Frank Clark's quote struck me:
Strength coach Aaron Wellman has been integral in helping the players bond, Clark said, making a point to encourage offensive and defensive players, and black and white players, hang out together at team dinners or as they arrive or leave strength training sessions.
“Coach Wellman says, ‘Let’s make Oreos, baby,’” Clark said, laughing. “You’re sitting there and you walk out, it’s not about a black or white thing at the end of the day.”
Chengelis notes that this is not an indictment of last year's team, but more of a positive step forward. That may be her being a bit gracious, though, since you would hope coaches and assistants (and upperclassmen) would notice any offense/defense or black/white cliquing behavior and work to address it as a matter of course. As Clark put it "(w)hen you go 7-6 -- when you lose that many games two years in a row, you start to sit down and think like something’s gotta change around here”. Indeed.
I applaud Clark for being forthright on this, and Wellman for addressing this, but I was a bit disappointed that cliques (and cliques based on race) were an issue last year. For all of that, it sounds as though Wellman is doing a great job of going beyond simply conditioning and strength training, and working on team building. He may lack Barwis's growl (most of us do), but he seems to be doing a fine job for the team and strikes me as an undervalued asset of the program.