This is maaaaybe premature there, ESPN. Maryland #1 FWIW.
I know as Michigan fans we walk around on egg shells after the last few years and I understand the trepidation as we enter B1G play, but here is what I have learned from Brian the past 2 weeks.
1. On the Podcasts they have determined from using their eyes and talking to Jamiemac that the Big Ten is terrible this year. I agree. In particular MSU's oline and Nebraska's defense and passing game are much worse than expected.
2. Brian raved about the defensive performance on the UFR and on his WTKA Hour appearance. So if you believe our secondary was good or Lindley was terrible Brian thinks the secondary is good.
3. We know Brian has looked into adoption proceedings with Denard.
So........when asked abou the MSU-OSU game he said he didn't know who he was going to root for yet and when C. Ross said you have to root for OSU because of the division records Brian said we aren't winning our division this year so this year it won't really matter?
Do you think Brian is pulling a Lou Holtz here and talking up William and Mary or is he refusing to open up his heart despite what his head is telling him for fear of his heart being smashed again?
Now I know this might be a little tl;dr, and I'm normally one of the last people to praise the MSU football team, especially Dantonio, but they've done something pretty amazing this year for members of my extended family.
Earlier this year, my 11 year old cousin was diagnosed with a medulloblastoma, an agressive type of brain cancer. She began an agressive series of chemotherapy treatments, that will likely continue until July of next year. Before she began the treatments, she was a very active person, playing on a travel soccer team and various other sports. After she started treatments, her teammtes began making bracelets with her name on them similar to Livestrong bracelets, and now most of her league, friends, and family are wearing them.
So now cut to the first week of the season, when my brother, another cousin, and me are catching MSU's season opener on TV, and we notice a bunch of the MSU players and coaches wearing her bracelets on the sideline and in the game. A few minutes later, they run a bit about the Spartan player who was playing for the first time since surviving cancer, and they cut to a shot before the game of him talking to some people, lo and behold it's my 11 year old cousin with her brothers and parents. Then her parents email out to the family a bit later with the details. Both of them are MSU alumni, and she has been visiting practices and meeting with the coaches and players, who have been giving her advice and support. Here's an excerpt from the email, with names edited out for her privacy:
"Today she visited the MSU football players in their closed practice. The players and coaches were absolutely amazing with [her]. Tomorrow the conditioning coach, Coach Mannie, who is taking her under his wing, is making copies of a biography that we gave them on [her]. He told the team that each of them will have the bio of [her] in their lockers tomorrow (copy of the bio attached). In addition, he told the team that [she] was there to give them her bracelets. He told them that she is watching them play on TV and watching for the bracelets. Thus, he expected all of the team to be wearing their bracelets at this Saturday's game vs Ohio State. At the end of the practice Kurt Cousins lead the team in prayer and prayed first for our family and [her] and of course the team. He is a really amazing guy! Coach Mannie then gave [her] a beautiful necklace and bracelet that his wife picked out for her and a card signed by all the players. He told [her] that he will make sure that she is on the field before every game this season that she is able to attend. When he took [her] in the HUGE weight room where he works with the team, he gave [her] some of the cherry juice that the football players drink for her to try (we have been trying to get her to drink cherry juice and when we went in the weight room there was a sign on the coolers saying "cherry juice is only for the football players"....wow sometimes God just puts those signs in the right places) and he told her when she is done with treatment, he will personally work with her on conditioning. Last but not least he emailed us a bunch of pictures from today before we even made it all the way home. It was yet another special day with the MSU football team for [her]."
Now despite the homerism in my aunt's description, I was blown away by how the team is treating my little cousin, and I guarantee it's helping her (she's normally very shy and reserved, but her doctors have been remarking on her energy and dedication, I imagine meeting with these guys has to help that somewhat). All I know is that this year, aside from October 15, I'm going to be cheering for the Spartans.
Just wanted to remind everyone that tonight, at 10 pm (then Saturday at 5 pm and October 5th at 2:30 pm) The Big Ten Network is airing Step Into My Office, featuring a one-on-one with Brady Hoke. Then Saturday, after the Michigan game (scheduled for 4 pm, but that's probably approximate...oddly, BTN.com lists 11 pm the same day before it, and 4:30 am on the 2nd) Big Ten Icons will have Bo. Nuff said. So set your dvr's, or tune in.
Some of you may have seen my posts/comments on here before and find it redundant for me to alert you that my friends and I are from Southern Indiana. My dad went to UM and I am, yes, a Wal Mart Wolverine. However, instead of wasting my time trying to convince you all of just how much I love Michigan football, I'll get to the point.
My buddies and I head up to Ann Arbor once a year (It's kind of our own pilgrimage to Mecca) to catch a game in the Big House. This year we are trying our hardest to get in a legitimate tailgate.
This is where I call out to the MGoCommunity for help.
1. What time can we park at Pioneer? What does it cost? What time do you suggest getting there?
2. I know this seems crazy, but do any of you feel like hosting four guys from out of town at your tailgate? We come with our own grill, food and cooler stocked full of beer. I guess we're just looking to meet some new Michigan fans (I think we've found just about every one of them hiding out down here in Evansville.) My email is [email protected]. Please don't send me any pictures of your member.
Please let this UM fan know what you guys know. Any help will be greatly appreciated.
The more things change...
Well, that went better than expected. There's plenty of good things to see, but almost all of them come with caveats:
- We shut down a QB with a decent arm who was pretty productive last year
- Denard's running WOOOOO!
- DLine got good pressure
- We're causing lots of turnovers
- Defense looks more sound in general
- We kind of dominated a decent team
- We're 4-0!
- He was missing his NFL caliber WR's
- Denard's passing, eeerrrrr....
- DLine kept losing contain
- We're giving away lots of turnovers
- Every now and then we look like the keystone cops
- Brady Hoke has their playbook, signals, and personell memorized.
- We were 4-0 the last two years...
Next week won't be much of a challenge or informative either. Especially if Marquis Gray is injured or hampered. So the good news is that we look like it's an easy road to bowl elligibility, but whether or not we can beat any decent bigten teams remains to be seen for a couple of weeks.
I don't know if his throwing arm/shoulder is tweeked, or if he's still just struggling with his footwork, but his accuracy is way off from last year. He had a terrible overthrow on the deep ball, the interception that got batted up was due to placing the ball too high when throwing at the TE, and the other interception was due to him missing the zone coverage. He's also staring down the screen receiver and other receivers sometimes.
But hey, HELLLOooooo speed option!
This play works because of two things. Two of their defenders just flat out over-run the play because they're freaking about Denard's speed
And we get great downfield blocks that are sustained. It really is as simple as getting a hat on a hat when you've got dilithium in the backfield. The play is setup so nice that Vincent is celebrating the TD before Denard even passes the line of scrimmage!
Here's the same moment from behind. That's a nice hole.
Give some credit to SDSU, they stuffed this play when we ran it again in the 2nd half. But when you've got a guy who can do this:
You can't win just on positioning.
You can have perfect position, and Denard can stil make you look silly.
Lloyd Brady Approves! (drink)
Various Defensive Awesomeness
Mike Martin is awesome. I think all D-Linemen should have a background in Judo or Wrestling or both. On this play he doesn't get to the QB, but he causes a rushed throw with his bull rush.
First, he's quick off the line and gets underneath the pads of the guard and pops him back.
Then he drives him back so hard that the tackle has to come down and help out.
But he's got so much momentum that he's buckled the guards legs and knocks him over.
At that point there's nothing left to do except laugh at your defeated foe and scream bloody murder at the QB. RVB also does a nice job of beating his man on his speed rush.
Kenny Demens is often awesome. On this play Demens demonstrates the textbook definition of "fill the hole and blow up the blocker".
This is your typical power iso play with a FB and a pulling linemen leading the way. Demens recognizes run action and gets on his horse.
RVB does a great job on his slant to fill the hole. This bounces the play outside. Demens reads this too and accelerates to take on the blocker.
Hawthorne is a little slow to react and gets blocked too easily here. But because Demens hits his man so hard, the ballcarrier has to stop his feet and go backwards.
Meanwhile, Jake Ryan has beaten his blocker with a quick step (Dude has a quickstep, this is my meme for Jake Ryan from now on.) and cleans up the play with a TFL. Hawthorne is getting held, but he has to do a better job of reacting and shedding his blocker. This is probably why he got benched for a bit.
Craig Roh is still fighting for more playing time in the DE rotation, but on this play he shows how to shed a blocker using leverage.
Roh is kind of tall and lanky, that can be a good thing or bad thing depending on how you use it. Here he pushes his blocker sideways and gets him off balance.
Then he just tosses him aside and has eyes on the ball carrier. Results in a TFL and great play.
From the other angle you can see how Roh uses the blocker's arm as a lever and just dismisses him. Hawthorne could learn a thing or two from this.
But it's not all sunshine and rainbows.
In last week's tardy diary, I discovered a new pet peeve. That pet peeve now has a name. It's called FUCKING AROUND WITH ALIGNMENT IN SHORT YARDAGE SITUATIONS. (FAWAISYS)
It's one thing to flop the defensive alignment when it's 1st or 2nd and 10 or even 3rd and 5. No one's in a rush and it doesn't really matter if you give up an easy yard or two. But when it's 3rd and 1 or 4th and 1, you're really pissing me off with chinese firedrill bullshit. It makes you vulnerable to the quicksnap and if you're all worried about where you're supposed to be, you're not thinking about the play, the snap count, or the 600+ pounds of blockers that are coming at you shortly.
It happened all game. And it's not like we're forced to do it. It's just that some d-calls have us locked onto their formation strength.
This is the most egregious example:
This is a three man shift, the two TE's on the left are moving to the right and the FB that was at flanker is moving into an I form. Jake ryan is perfectly at rights to be moving. Nothing wrong yet.
And then the ILB's see it and swap places. Okay, nothing big about keeping the Fritz and Mike responsibilities on Hawthorne and Demens respectively.
But do the DE's really need to flip on this play? Are their responsibilities and talents that different? Why can't RVB just squeeze down and Jirbeel Black flex out a bit? Or is it that Black can't take on two blockers and needs to speed rush from the uncovered end?
So now we got 8 guys moving around and they've got about 1.4 seconds to get their shit sorted out.
Which is made harder when the two DE's collide 0.o And the secondary is completely lost and in no position to support the run.
It's 3rd and Fricken 1!!!
So, let's summarize. It's 3rd and 1, our DE's are hugging each other, our OLB is out of breath from sprinting into position, our DB's are in a cover 2 umbrella, there's about Umpteen million different ways for SDSU to pick up 1 yard without having to touch anyone, and we've got about 0.7 seconds to get lined up on 3rd and fucking 1.
Yes it's true that the offense has to reset for a second after the shift, so you theoretically have time to get setup. But one of these days it's going to bite us for a critical conversion. So far, Brady Hoke's Magical Golden Poop actually got SDSU to false start while we were running around like chickens with their heads chopped off.
- I'm not thrilled with our FB play. #44 doesn't seem to get his pad level low enough or drive through his blocks.
- Hopkins.... HOLD ON TO THE DAMN BALL.
- WTF is this? Does SDSU have some new cheerleader wannabe's?
- Who does this band director think he's fooling?
1 Drum Major
12 Alto Saxophones
12 Tenor Saxophones
4 Bass Trombones
6 Snare Drums
4 Bass Drums
AND NONE OF THEM ARE LOOKING AT YOU!
Have I missed a press conference quote (I mean, there's sooo much content to sift through on the front page and all), or is anyone else wondering where Mike Jones has been this year? According to MGoBlue he has basically only played special teams and didn't see the field at all against SDSU. Anyone have any insight as to why he can't get on the field?