Mason NEEDS this, Pistons, after all you've put him through
As I was tootling around the other day listening to sports talk, I had a small epiphany that many of you have probably already surmised. (If this point has already been addressed, forgive my old, feeble mind.)
Obviously the Iowa game was a big disappointment, heightened by the fact that we had over 500 yards of offense (with four turnovers no less) and still lost. Then I said to myself, "Self... just imagine if our defense could have forced even just two additional stops. Just two. That means our offense would have had the ball even longer, piled up more yards and would have had two more opportunities to score."
Given this scenario, 600 yards of total offense and 10 more points wouldn't have been far fetched . I mean, crap! That's fairly incredible. As Tim suggested in his excellent analysis, we should have won the Iowa game fairly comfortably.
I say all this to suggest that maybe we're closer to something really good happening than I've previously allowed myself to believe. If we had merely an average Big 10 defense (which suggests a below average Michigan defense) I'm convinced we'd be unbeaten right now.
A big question is, how long will it take to put a middle-of-the-road, ho-hum B10 type defense on the field?
An even bigger question is, can this year's defense be made to perform to average levels? Maybe, but my quarter says we'll probably have to wait until next year.
And now, a gratuitous picture of Michigan cheerleader to shamelessly capture your attention:
Michigan Muesday is up at the Ozone http://theozone.net/football/2010/Wisconsin/postgame/MichiganMuesday.html). I hate it when someone is snarky, but so right you can't really argue with them. Several choice quotes:
Comments on the QB situation, largely echoing Brian's desire for a Gardner redshirt:
Seeing the production from Forcier makes burning Devin Gardner's redshirt for absolutely NO reason a terrible decision by Rodriguez. I don't know how good Gardner will ever end up being, but I do know that he'll have one less year to find out.
Some thoughts on our linebackers, with maximum (& deserved) snark:
It only took two and a half seasons, but Rich Rodriguez and his band of gypsy defensive coaches finally stopped their caravan of grift long enough to figure out that maybe they should be starting somebody else at middle linebacker than Obi Ezeh. Kenny Demens got the start and was involved in the game right out of the gate. The Hawkeyes went three and out on their first two series.
Then Obi Ezeh came in for Demens. On his first snap, Ezeh got plowed over by a left guard that he never saw. In fact, he probably still hasn't seen him. All he knows is that one moment he was looking at somebody in the backfield, and the next moment he's staring at the sky. He probably thought he teleported.
Bashing the Special Teams play:
Let's start with the good: freshman punter. Will Hagerup has been booming the ball, and when he doesn't boom them, he gets some pretty darn good bounces. He averaged 50.3 yards on his three punts against Iowa Saturday.
Everything else was bad. There is no return game to speak of right now. There probably won't be until Michigan comes to Columbus. The coverage units are average at their best, and the place-kicking is as bad as it's ever been under Rodriguez, and that's saying something.
And, finally, an intriguing thought on a "must win" game:
Amazingly, going 0-3 against Ron Zook would probably to do more to influence Michigan athletic director David Brandon's decision than going 0-3 against Jim Tressel.
And it should.
Excellent interview with Wojo in the Detroit News. I love his Friday columns previewing the upcoming games, and enjoy his witty jabs, even at our expense at times.
Just saw this article on ESPN with Channing Crowder of the Miami Dolphins. The summary is, "You give me a helmet to use, I'm going to use it to hit people." http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/news/story?id=5708701&campaign=rss&source=ESPNHeadlines
Instantly reminded me of an article the WSJ did on concussions and the role of the helmet in the NFL. It was posted a while back on mgoblog because WSJ interviewed Jake Long about it, and Chad Henne as well (though I could be mistaken). Does anyone have the link to that article to repost it?
Maybe it's time to take a second look at the idea. I'm all for big hits in football, but leading with the helmet and attacking another player's head with your head just seems stupid.
Will be in State College for M-PSU next weekend. Our family has not missed a game there since the series began in 1993. Was wondering where all M fans were staying? We are staying in the Ramada in Altoona, which is about 40 minutes out of State College.
They have a sports pub so hopefully a pep rally can commence there Friday night.
I think Denard is going to run a ton next weekend.
In the spirit of the bye week, like many of you, I am taking the opportunity to watch our next opponent play. Admittedly, I haven't seen Penn State play all year and though I believe they will beat Minnesota, it will be interesting to see how they fare against one of the Big Ten bottom-feeders. PSU has struggled to find an identity offensively and has been decimated by injuries on both sides of the ball. On the other hand, Minnesota has just lost their head coach but played USC pretty tough. So, because PSU is our next opponent, I'll take the opportunity to compile some information some of you may find useful for their upcoming game. Additionally, consider this a thread to discuss the potential outcome of the PSU at Minn game and how that may or may not shed light on the matchup in Happy Valley on October 30th.
So without further adieu,
|Andrew Dailey||S||Undisclosed||Prob Sat - 10/20/10||Dailey is dealing with an undisclosed injury but is expected to play Saturday against Minnesota.|
|Bani Gbadyu||LB||Leg||Prob Sat - 10/20/10||Gbadyu missed last game with a leg injury but expects to play Saturday against Minnesota.|
|Michael Mauti||LB||Ankle||Prob Sat - 10/20/10||Mauti missed last game against Illinois due to an ankle injury but expects to play Saturday against Minnesota.|
|Curtis Drake||WR||Leg||Prob Sat - 10/20/10||Drake continues to recover from a broken leg and is expected to return Saturday against Minnesota.|
|Sean Stanley||DE||Academics||Ques Sat - 10/17/10||Stanley missed last game against Illinois as he continues to deal with academic issues he remains questionable for Saturday's game against Minnesota.|
|Gerald Hodges||LB||Leg||Ques Sat - 10/18/10||Hodges continues to recover from a left leg injury and is questionable to play Saturday against Minnesota.|
|Andrew Szczerba||TE||Back||Ques Sat - 10/18/10||Szczerba is recovering from a chronic back injury and remains questionable for Saturday's game against Minnesota.|
|Eric Latimore||DE||Wrist||Doub Sat - 10/18/10||Latimore is expected to miss Saturday's game against Minnesota because of an injured wrist.|
|Jack Crawford||DE||Foot||Doub Sat - 10/20/10||Crawford missed last game against Illinois with an ankle injury and is doubtful to play Saturday against Minnesota.|
|Derrick Thomas||CB||Academics||Doub Sat - 10/20/10||Thomas missed last game against Illinois due to academic issues and is expected to miss Saturday's game against Minnesota.|
|Garry Gilliam||TE||Knee||out for season - 10/6/10||Gilliam will miss the remainder of the season because of a torn ACL.|
|Lou Eliades||G||Knee||out for season - 10/6/10||Eliades will miss the remainder of the season after tearing his ACL.|
PSU Statistical breakdown to date (10/20):
|Field Goal %||86.7||22|
|Field Goal %||75||72|
I think Minnesota's defense could hurt them despite PSU's apparently anemic offense. I think PSU will win in a close game, 24-21.