I'm drunk so go easy on me.
I was just thinking how fortunate we are to have Tate and Denard over the original duo that was Beaver and Newsome. There is no way that either Beaver or Newsome would have been as productive as Tate or Denard, unless our coaching staff is that awesome and can turn anyone into a stud, but think Sherithreet proved that it's not the case.
Now, why did Rich Rod recruit those two so heavily rather than focusing on Denard and Tate in the first place? Also, any chance that Richrod realized that Tate/Denard was a much better player that shavbeaver and decided to encourage them to decommit so that tate/denard would hop on board?
The funniest part is that they put down a coat of primer first.
Had to check. It's true. No Bo-era option QB (that is, 1970s QB) put up total yardage figures anywhere approaching what Denard Robinson has put up after three games this year.
Denard's numbers thus far: 559 rushing yards, 671 passing yards, for 1,255 total yards.
Compare to these REGULAR-SEASON numbers for Bo's starting QBs, circa 1969-78 (the '69 and '70 teams played 10 reg-season games; all others 11):
DON MOOREHEAD, 1969
-- 625 rush
-- 1,261 pass
DON MOOREHEAD, 1970
-- 368 rush
-- 1,167 pass
TOM SLADE/KEVIN CASEY/LARRY CIPA, 1971
-- 347 rush (combined)
-- 675 pass (combined!)
TOTAL: 1,022 (combined)
DENNIS FRANKLIN, 1972
-- 511 rush
-- 818 pass
DENNIS FRANKLIN, 1973
-- 542 rush
-- 534 pass
DENNIS FRANKLIN, 1974
-- 290 rush
-- 933 pass
RICK LEACH, 1975
-- 532 rush
-- 680 pass
RICK LEACH, 1976
-- 638 rush
-- 973 pass
RICK LEACH, 1977
-- 370 rush
-- 1,109 pass
RICK LEACH, 1978 (*include bowl game)
-- 611 rush
-- 1,283 pass
In other words, Denard has more total yards in three games than Bo's option-heyday starting QBs had in an entire 11-game season in 1971, 1973, 1974 and 1975. And the most total yards any Bo QB had in a season (before he loosened the passing reins for Steve Smith and Jim Harbaugh in the '80s) was Rick Leach's 1,894, in his Heisman finalist year of 1978.
(According to gutsnglue.tripod.com, the unofficial Rick Leach website, the 'Flint Phenom' rushed for 100 yards only once in 47 career starts, whereas Denard is 3-for-3 so far.)
At this rate, Denard will eclipse the 1,894 figure in 2-3 weeks -- at or before the halfway point of this season.
Now, granted, each of those Bo QBs had deep, talented backfields behind them, whose FBs and TBs annually combined for roughly eleventy billion yards (OK, but well over 2,000 anyway), so there was no need for them to run -- or even pass -- as much as Denard has been doing.
Still, the comparisons are rather remarkable.
I was recently on a flight to Texas and sat next to one of the lead national scouts for the San Diego Chargers. He had just completed a brief visit to some Michigan schools, including UM, MSU and Central Mich. We had a great conversation, and he was eager to get my take on future Michigan players worth keeping an eye on. This guy was also part of the Miami Dolphins and was involved with bringing Henne and Long to the Dolphins shortly before joining the Chargers. Here are some items of note from our discussion that afternoon(NOTE: I am not implying this is profound or unique insight, but I thought it was worth sharing):
- Aside from the seniors of the 2007 team, this year's team is the first he has seen in the last 2-3 years he would consider a "Michigan team". He said it was clear that there was nothing behind the seniors in 2007...he feels the ground work has been laid to bring Michigan back to where we should be
- He said Rich Rod was one of his favorite coaches, and he has a great relationship with pro scouts (unlike the HC from East Lansing who was more "closed off" and didn't seem "welcoming"). He has always been impressed with RRod's offenses and expects great things from Michigan in the near future. He said RRod is such a great guy, really fun to talk to, and even more fun to listen to.
- Robinson's defenses have always been a "bend don't break" style that simply count on the opposing offense to make enough mistakes for your offense to outscore them. He felt Robinson was very gifted at player development, even though his schemes are often too passive
- They are very interested in Denard, but not as a quarterback...he commented on his speed, but noted that his height is definitely exaggerated (surprise, surprise)
- He asked if I knew much about Mike Barwis (to which I responded he is the only person capable of beating Chuck Norris in a fight)...he said Barwis has done amazing things for this program, and Barwis' abilities/expertise is legendary even among the professional ranks
- He knew Steve Schilling personally and was keeping a very close eye on his progress. He also commented how Mike Martin looked like a beast (tell us something we don't know)
- He felt MSU didn't look like a solid program on the whole...there were some athletes who were on the radar, but nothing special.
To avoid becoming annoying, I turned the conversation to discuss his travel schedule, family, etc., but it was cool to see his notes about different players he had been scouting, and what he sees for their professional potential. It was also nice to speak with a qualified and unbiased spectator who sees the same potential and excitement that many of us are seeing with this team.
So, one common thread this week has been the lack of calls on OL holding against Michigan. It seems that Martin and Roh, in particular, have often been held.
Several questions come up.
- How much of this is homerism? I think not a lot, but it is human nature to say "we was robbed!"
- Can Michigan coaches bring this to the attention of Big 10 Officials?
- Is there someone in their secret refing catacombs who reviews the tape and reprimands refs who are regularly messing up and missing holding calls?
- Do refs who mess up and miss this call much better when refing a UM game in the future?
- Will things get better by Big 10 play, when refs know that they can expect OL to hold Martin and Roh et al?
I'm thinking that the refs begin to know who the killer DL and LB are, and as the season goes on, more holding calls and penalty calls are caught. I'm also thinking that egregious tape of missed calls, both with ND and UMass, will only help us over the course of the season. Someone has to see what's been happening, and change things. In a sense, the best thing that could happen vs. BG is continued holding calls missed by the refs, leading to an over compensation in OUR FAVOR for the Big 10 season, when we really need the refs to be fair, and catching what is going on.
With the relative lack of strength in our defense, we need all the help we can get. Going through the UFR, there were at least 50 yards in missed holding penalties against UMass. This could have made a significant difference.
I'm at the tail end of a great week. My wife is pregnant with our first child and I'm on vacation visiting business schools. Obviously, Michigan's Ross is my first choice. It's a great school, the new building is fantastic (check it out if you haven't been), and its got a unique program that matches perfectly with my desired career path. I just hit "send" on the application and feel great about my chances.
Unfortunately, that's the problem. Despite every piece of positive news, I've got a very specific, overwhelming concern--will Obi Ezeh and Jonas Mouton be serviceable Big 10 linebacker this season? Add to that concerns about running backs, Mike Martin going pro after the season, and the shocking lack of depth in the secondary, and I'm legitimately worried. I spend my days concocting reasons why UMass's success shouldn't be a concern and why our defense can succeed in the Big 10.
Let's add another layer. I don't know a person dedicated or knowledgeable enough with which to watch a game. Everyone knows Denard Robinson is awesome at this point, but how many can appreciate Omameh destroying Te'o on the long touchdown against Notre Dame? This isn't an insult to others, but an indictment of my personality.
Brian had the long-standing email asking why he was a fan and why football was important. I'm starting to ask myself the same question. Last Saturday, I sat in my house screaming at the TV while the defense struggled. As my wife aptly points out, I don't take the same joy in watching the offense perform in a way I may never see again as a Michigan fan.
I always wanted someone like Donovan McNabb to wear the Maize and Blue. Now that a better player with better coaching (I really believe this) is running around making defenses look stupid, I take little joy in their successes. I almost broke my laptop when Rudolph scored his touchdown. When Michigan took the lead and eventually sealed the victory on Crist's throw out of the end zone, I was mildly satisfied.
My question to you, the fan, follows: why is football important to you? Why do you love Michigan football to the point of losing your temper, screaming at the TV, and investing your emotional happiness in 20-somethings you'll likely never meet?
I can't answer my question right now. I love Michigan football simply because I love Michigan football. "Why" is completely absent from the equation. I've got a love of my home state that somehow overrides enormous parts of my logical person and manifests itself in an intense desire to see the Wolverine's football team succeed. Is it guilt at leaving while the state struggles? Why do I care? Why do you? I think this exercise may help those of us that are struggling as the program completes (hopefully) its growing pains and become the ninja football machine we hope for late at night.