*programming note, got busy during the holidays, sorry if anyone was looking for scouting reports. Things have slowed down now, so expect a Nebraska game wrap next week, or the week after, depending on if I feel like writing anything about the SEC non-championship exhibition game.
Winners find a way to win.
It started as a joke, but now no one can deny the awesome power that is Brady Hoke's magical golden poop. Everything he touches turns into roses. When he walks through a forest, flowers bloom in his wake. Youtube is sadly lacking in good golden poop videos, so a unicorn farting rainbows of destruction was the best I could find. I hope it's not too disturbing.
Our ND friends gave us the wonderfully self-fulfilling cliche' "Winners find a way to win, losers find a way to lose." But we'll just focus on the first half of that, and they can focus on the 2nd half, thank you very much.
Was Brady Hoke lucky that Tressel was caught lying? Maybe. Maybe he pulled a Peter Wiggin and dropped a few well placed emails. Was it luck when we fumbled on the 1 yard line against ND and Denard scooped and scored a walk in? Maybe. Maybe Hoke used his secret telekinesis.
I don't know, I don't care. At this point I'm just happy to be along for the ride.
But how else can you explain what happened?
How does a sure INT on a fake FG where no receivers went into pass patterns end up in the arms of the long snapper for a first down? How does what looks like a TD to 80% of the twitterverse get reversed in OT? How have all the great things that have happened this year happen to one team, in one year? It boggles the mind.
They say you make your own luck. They say that "Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity." But whether it's luck, or karmic retribution, or a secret plot by an undercover invisible agency from the future, it can't be sustained at this high of a level. So let's just enjoy it while we can.
On to the pics.
Al. Al? ALLLLLLLLL!!!!!!!
This week's love-hate relationship status with Al Borges is .... .... Love? That's odd, because during the game there were times when the needle was strongly tilted towards hate. But after a second look at the game film, the final analysis, just like the outcome of the game, is slightly positive.
Much like the Iowa game, the lack of production on offense wasn't really his fault so much as it was a combination of a lack of execution, personnel limitations, and a darn good defense.
Oh sure, there's plenty of things he could have done better and a few stinkers that make you want to pull out your hair... hmmm....nevermind. And I'll get to those in a moment, but overall, we did what we've done all year. And many of the plays should have worked.
I mean, Molk getting injured and having this
happen on two consecutive plays to kill the first drive can't really be blamed on Al. Maybe it would have been better to go under center with the backup playing, but after we've been crying all year for more shotgun, you can understand why he didn't. Luckily Molk came back in, but wasn't at 100% which probably put a dent in our selection of play calls.
And give VT credit. They played a lot of Man-Free forcing Denard to make tough passes to the outside, which frankly, we all know is not his comfort zone.
Yes, the manball mentality is frustrating especially when VT is putting 9 men in the box.
(It's 8 because Denard going backwards is not a threat to run.) But it's there to setup big plays.
With both safeties up like this, the thing you have to do is make them pay for it.
But with two defenders beating their blockers, Denard has pressure right up in his face resulting in this jump pass.
It's not Al's fault that Denard threw to the wrong guy. Roundtree had a step on his man and Jr. was getting interfered with. Despite the interception, you can't argue that it wasn't the right play call.
[ED: More after the jump.]
I know everyone is intimitated by the thought of double posting an open thread for such a popular game, which is obviously why there wasn't an open thread before coverage started.
Enjoy this, your third to last game of the season. The BBVA Compass Bowl comes to you LIVE from Birmingham. Pitt has four coaches for the game and you're going to hear about it 100+ times in the next three hours.
Feel the excitement (HT: EDSBS).
So, Coach Hoke was hired on January 11th last year, after a coaching search that was tumultuous and resulted millions of hours of lost productivity.
I ask you, MGoColleagues, how should we mark the day?
How will we celebrate year one of what John U Bacon will one day refer to as the Restoration?
A huge thanks to Josh (aka MaizeNBlueJ) for compiling these highlights of 2012 commit Joe Bolden from the Under Armour All-America Game. Bolden, as you can see, was pretty much everywhere on the field, and though he had some issues corraling players to the ground (not normally an issue for him—his tackling earned high praise in high school and at the UA practices), his ability to diagnose plays appears to be quite strong:
Bolden, who was named a captain for the game, had seven tackles and was named as the Under Armour Game week's "Best Tackler" by Rivals ($).
The Under Armour game and highlights are up at mgovideo, but let's face it, there was only one highlight for Michigan fans.
Keep in mind that this was the state of Jake Ryan's almost negative flow coming out of high school.
Projecting high school kids to the next level is an inexact science, but with Mattison coaching him up and Ryan there to mentor him, Bolden looks like a high flow ceiling kid.