Hockey pet peeve: "when a teammate tips a puck in on you, which is exactly how my first collegiate goal against happened. Thanks, Copper."
The Pahokee jitterbug has never gotten too much love, but he's been an integral cog in the offensive machine the past two years. A year ago, he distinguished himself so much in pass protection that he became our regular 3rd-down back by season's end, even on those rare occasions when Minor and Brown were available. He scored our lone TD in the OSU game (making him the only player on the current roster to have scored against the Bucks), only to tear his ACL a handful of plays later.
A year later, guess who's the only back on the team to have played in all 11 games? Yep, it's the guy coming off knee surgery. They make 'em tough in Pahokee. Even after that nasty blow to the head he took against UW, he passed his concussion test this week. It's a good thing, because he's quietly coming into his own as a runner. The past three games, he's rushed 42 times for 222 yards (5.3 avg) and a TD, and - believe it or not - is a perfect 5 for 5 on third-down conversions. (Notice how there suddenly haven't been any "Why is Smith carrying the ball on 3rd down" complaints lately?) For the second year in a row, he's our leading receiver among tailbacks. And on many an occasion, a long Denard run has been preceded by #2 clearing the way upfront.
We've got a nice pair of RB commitments, and it's exciting to think about what they might do, but don't count out the little guy in the Woodson jersey just yet. He's a gamer.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!
Happy Thanksgiving to our team. May they find things to celebrate and be thankful for, even in the midst of the circus that has enveloped them since the last day of being 5-0. I hope they spend tomorrow eating good food with family, not "eating the poison" in the media around them.
I'm thankful for everything I've been blessed with, I feel very lucky.
In terms of our team, I'm thankful for: 7 wins and the significance of putting one foot in front of the other, getting to where they're going; the certainty that regardless of what recruits we get, and which coach is in charge, our D will improve next year; that none of us are in charge of those types of decisions (i.e. thankful for DB); the fact we've escaped any traumatic injuries (like the Rutgers kid); the fact that the FBI, and NCAA aren't breathing down our necks because we're a consistently "rotten to the core" program; Brock Mealer, his ability to walk, and his being unafraid to thank God for it; and lastly, despite the multiple fits of rage and minor heart attacks, the joys/excitement of this season, from DR's dilithiumness to the one D stop that mattered (2 pt conv vs Ill).
Thanks to all of you too, for making this small football-obsessed part of my life more enjoyable.
God Bless and be safe traveling.
I normally enjoy reading Bob Wojnowski's articles - especially when he reports secret conversations from lockerooms - but his latest article is nothing more than his opinion clothed in conjecture and made-up facts. Coach-talk normally doesn't interest me - especially during OSU week - and I recognize there are legitimate arguments supporting the various opinions on Michigan's head coach. But I couldn't leave Mr. Wojnowski's article without comment. It can be found here:
He starts with this:
Anytime I hear "quick" and "fix" in the same sentence regarding a car, house, or football program, I get a little suspicious.
Conveniently, Mr. Wojnowski uses Mr. Harbaugh's entire coaching career and best season when describing his "track record". (Wikipedia says that Mr. Rodriguez is 120-81-2 as a head coach, if that matters.)
This may be one of the most misleading statements written about Michigan this year.
First, switching from Mr. Rodriguez to Mr. Harbaugh "could" be "tricky"? How about - to quote him from earlier - will absolutely be messy? Michigan has tiny men who are unnaturally quick. A standard Wisconsin running back makes the offensive line look small. The players have spent the last couple years learning a system that is not "traditional power football", meaning they would have to start over learning a new system. And he is willing only to say that such a transition would be tricky? As if the only thing Mr. Harbaugh would need to do to be 10-2 his first year is tread carefully? Another 3-9, 5-7, 7-5 sequence is more likely.
Mr. Wojnowski does not elaborate on how Mr. Harbaugh would work with Mr. Robinson. Does he mean in some kind of business they start after he is graduated? Will Mr. Robinson maybe be some kind of assistant coach? Because I know Mr. Wojnowski cannot mean that Mr. Harbaugh would consider a relatively short and relatively light player as a quarterback in a "traditional power football" scheme. Maybe he could return punts and kicks - that would be lots of fun to see. Mr. Robinson - if I remember correctly - wasn't heavily recruited as a quarterback, and for good reason: he doesn't fit as a quarterback in very many systems. Mr. Wojnowski recognizes how ridiculous it would be to say that he would be the quarterback in a "traditional power football" system, so he leaves it at the vague and misleading, "[Mr. Harbaugh] could work with Robinson."
Why does it have to be "job-saving progress"? Why can't it just be progress? As I mentioned at the beginning, "we" are not looking for signs or signature moments: we're looking for wins. And we're getting them. As fast as we would like? Of course not. But how do we know what would have happened if someone else would have taken over in 2008 - for example, Mr. Miles? Would he have gone 3-9 the first year and have 7 wins his third year? Maybe no one could have done much better than 15 wins over these last three years. We don't know. But regardless, Mr. Wojnowski knows it's not enough: he hasn't achieved what may have been impossible.
Again, Mr. Wojnowski resorts to cursory references to give a certain impression not reflecting reality. "NCAA violations" standing by itself sounds exactly as Mr. Wojnowski wants it to sound: ominous and serious. Anyone who read the most abbreviated summary of the actual events and findings knows otherwise. Perhaps Mr. Wojnowski is hoping some of his readers aren't familiar with the facts and findings.
This is a reason to pursue Mr. Harbaugh? That he's interested in the NFL? Why would his interest wane at Michigan? We've seen what happens if you don't win the Big Ten three years after arrival. He may not be as loyal as we want to believe. His comments in a previous year suggest as much. Say what you want about Mr. Miles, but he wouldn't leave Michigan if once hired, nor would he disparage Michigan just because it suited his present interests. Quite the opposite, based on the coaching search a couple years ago. He went out of his way to speak well of Michigan. Mr. Harbaugh went out of his way to speak ill of Michigan. If it suited his purposes, he may be as quick to coach in the NFL as Mr. Wojnowski is to hire him. Look what happened at Notre Dame when they hired a quick fix whom everyone thought would run off to the NFL: they gave him an enormous salary to convince him to stay at Notre Dame so they could fire him a few years later.
Mr. Wojnowski then goes on to explain why, really, it would be better for everyone, including Mr. Rodriguez, if Michigan got a new head coach.
This is where Mr. Wojnowski most obviously conflates his fanciful lockeroom conversations and actual reporting. My job has nothing to do with sports or Michigan, yet even I know why Mr. Rodriguez left West Virginia. Mr. Wojnowski's job is sports in Michigan, yet he apparently doesn't know something that was reported repeatedly in something with which Mr. Wojnowksi should be familiar: newspapers. I can't be bothered to go back and look at the quotes, but I remember Mr. Rodriguez had serious disagreements with the administration at WVU and even a politician or two. Apparently Mr. Wojnowski also can't be bothered to go back and look at the quotes.
Also, I don't remember any great longing that Mr. Rodriguez had to prove himself in the "big, bold Big Ten". (Is it a new drink someone is promoting or a conference?) I do remember something about the year before coming to Michigan, Mr. Rodriguez almost went to a different school; Alabama, I think. Again, neither Mr. Wojnowksi nor I can be bothered to take a minute to search on the internet for this information. The difference is that I remember the facts to a certain extent, whereas he forgets the facts and makes something else up instead. And gets paid for it. While I sit here typing in my cave.
Since I am clearly using my time poorly, I end this here. Again, this is not meant to be a proof that Mr. Rodriguez should get another year or another ten years or whatever, nor does it prove that Mr. Harbaugh would fail or ultimately be a poor choice as head coach. It's just evidence that Mr. Wojnowksi should not be consulted on the matter and that, when discussing anything, really, people like to come to conclusions first and then make up things which support those conclusions.
This Saturday marks the end of the Justin Boren / Michigan / OSU saga. Justin's last game in Columbus, his last meeting with Michigan, his last Big Ten game.
What a long, strange trip it's been with Justin.
It is, in my mind, the worst-reported and most underreported story in the history of Michigan football. Here was a kid, a really good player and the son of one of Bo's boys, who left suddenly, inexplicably, and on his way out, was party to the strangest press release in modern memory.
It was the "famliy values" meme; which gave rise to a couple of years' worth of weird, unfounded and increasingly strange presumptions and rumors about the Rich Rodriguez football program. All of them false. Justin was not a lazy kid or a lazy football player. Justin did not leave Michigan because he didn't want to run. It wasn't about "scheme." To think, as some did, that it was about abusive language in Rodriguez practices; that's a joke. Mike Boren is the biggest goddamned fucking hardass in Pickerington, and Justin once recounted how his dad yelled at him so fiercely at halftimes of his high school games, he thought "somebody might call the cops."
In fact, the real weirdness was sourced in the Boren family, and the simple story behind Justin's departure from Michigan was his parents' rage when they learned that Justin's younger brother Zach was not getting a sholarship offer from Michigan. Mike and Hope Boren yanked Justin out of school, within days of their learining that Zach was not getting a Michigan scholarship. The story is old now, and despite the fact that no reporters ever seemed to want to touch it, the "famliy values" knock on Rich Rodriguez was inevitably defeated by the truth and the balm of time.
But as Justin's collegiate career and the story of his unprecedented transfer from Michigan to Ohio State comes to a close, it is sort of funny to have a look at this Cleveland Plain Dealer article from a year ago, giving a charming little snapshot of "Boren family values." What a psycho-crew.
I did a graph of Michigan points scored vs OSU points scored over the last 100+ years:
Note that the longer a coaching staff exists, the more points OSU scores - these are the red trendlines.
Also note that at or just after a coaching change, the OSU points scored decreases dramatically - these are the green arrows.
Major Points of Inflection:
1938 hire of Herbert O. Crisler (0.816 win %)
1968 hire of Glen (Bo) Schembechler (0.802 win %)
1990 hire of Gary O. Moeller (0.771 win %)
Note the Carr (0.763), Oosterbaan (0.656) and Elliott (0.548) did not make a blip in the general trend.
Also note that when the OSU score pushes past 30, in coach change occurs, the exception being the 2nd year of Elliot, where the 1st 50 points put on Elliot did not cause a change, but the 2nd 50 pt clip resulted in the hiring of Bo.
Coaching changes at Michigan tend to occur when OSU puts 30+ on Michigan, the last being 42 pts in 2006.
After the coaching change, points given to OSU tends to drop quickly.
Note: When RR was hired, OSU scored 42 and last year only 21 a 50% drop-off.
For me with Buckeye-Cable its channel 227, but 24 hours of Michigan-Ohio State games tomorrow for those who need something other than the Lions game to watch.