Watching ESPN First Take this morning and hearing these people talking about Cam Newton is nauseating. A few quick highlights:
a. We're kidding ourselves if we don't think many college football players are paid, so why focus all the attention on Heisman frontrunner Cam Newton?
b. We don't have any proof yet. Why are we blowing this so far out of proportion without a shred of proof that anything has actually taken place? It's all he-said she-said at this point.
c. This seems like somewhat of a smear campaign on a successful football player, and at this point it's unfairly focusing negative attention on him and his school.
I can actually agree with many of these points, although it seems like there is a little bit of proof that something out of the ordinary took place. What is driving me insane is that you can apply all of these points to the garbage that RichRod had to put up with in the last year.
It's common knowledge that almost every college football team in division one probably didn't follow practice time rules down to the minute. But RichRod got dragged through the mud, without any proof at the time (just a lot of he-said she-said at the time of the accusations), and as many of us can agree, it seemed a lot like it was a smear campaign that unfairly focused negative attention on RichRod and the University of Michigan.
Where was anyone in the mainstream media when RichRod's accusations were swirling? It was about practice time, and this is about a player getting paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to go to a school. Yet here come the Cam Newton backers, saying "everybody does it", "it's all hearsay at this point", and "this seems like a smear campaign". Absolutely unbelievable.
Is there a difference to you? What are your feelings on Cam Newton vs. the whole RichRod situation?
In today's Curious Index, Spencer Hall over at Every Day Should Be Saturday threw in this little gem about Mike Rosenberg's commentary regarding the Cam Newton situation.
Michael Rosenberg, better known to the world as the man who would connect Somali food supply instability to Rich Rodriguez's improper and excessive use of athletic tape on Michigan's shoulder pads, takes the ice to the tune of Nickelbacks "Hurrg Gurngle Fartbuckle Urngh" 'and executes a perfect triple Salchow of stupidity.
What I find remarkable is that, if all of this is true, the under-the-table payments are what would upset people the most. I mean, yes, it is against NCAA rules. But in any other segment of society, if a college kid found a way to use his talents to bring in money to support his father's church, he would be a hero. There would be glowing newspaper profiles and probably a few humanitarian awards. If a kid does it in college football, he's a villain.
There are few words. But the one that comes to mind is HOLYFUCKROSENBERGYOUGODDAMNHYPOCRITE. On the bright side, I am reminded again of how much I like Spencer Hall.
Updated to include both wheel route plays.
WHEEL OF DOOM #1 (1st play of 4th quarter):
Sharik has broken down the mistake on the first wheel route, but I thought that it might be worth picture paging. I used the video so generously provided by Boyz in da Pahokee. Here is what it looks like pre-snap; the Michigan defenders are settling in after some initial confusion about where they should be aligned:
You can see that Michigan is in a 3-deep look, with four players rushing the passer and four underneath zone defenders -- that is, a standard 3 deep zone. Brian in the UFR calls Michigan's formation 4-3 light. Illinois' formation is Shotgun 2-back twins.
Here we are, immediately post-snap. There is a run fake to the RB on the far side of the field, Troy Pollard (I think). The Illinois LG is pulling to the right to provide protection to Sheelhaase when he rolls to the right. Both receivers get a clean release and will run post routes, clearing out the near side of the field for the wheel route. LeShoure will run the wheel route, Pollard will go into the flat to keep the short defender honest.
We have to use ESPN's cameras, so it is hard to see what has happened, but the three deep has totally broken down. Rogers and Vinopal (the latter is barely visible at the top of the photo above), have both followed the slot receiver to the far side of the field, presumably because Sheelhaase has rolled to that side.
Avery, meanwhile, has taken the outside receiver into the center of the field. T. Gordon doesn't stay with LeShoure, presumably because he sees Pollard in the flat. The result is that LeShoure is wide open.
In the UFR, Brian writes:
Who's responsibility is this? I'm not sure anyone's except GERG. T. Gordon does not know to carry the running back vertical. If he does the other running back will be vastly open in the flat because Demens is bugging out for the deep middle. Avery's going with the post, as is Vinopal, and Rogers is covering no one on the far side of the field. So... who and what can Michigan do to make no obvious touchdowns on this play? Don't know. T. Gordon -2, Cover -3, RPS -3.
My football knowledge is minimal, but I think that Avery needs to stay in his deep third on the near side of the field, Vinopal needs to take the outside receiver into the center and Rogers the slot receiver to the far side of the field. Rogers plays this well, so I conclude that the fault lies with the true freshmen, Vinopal and Avery, for not maintaining their responsibilities.
Sharik concludes that this is on T. Gordon for not picking up LeShoure, but if he does this, then Pollard is wide open. If Avery maintains his position, however, every receiver will be covered.
WHEEL OF DOOM #2 (1st play of 2nd overtime):
Sharik says the following about this play:
On the 2nd one (in the 2nd OT), we were bringing 6 with 3-deep, 2-under behind it. When you bring 6 and play zone behind it, you can't zone the flat, let alone a wheel route. When you bring 6, whether it be man or zone behind it, the contain rusher must either hug up a releasing back or peel and cover him. Therefore, it was the blitzing safety's responsibility.
Here is the setup:
So, Illinois is in the same formation, two backs and two receivers on the same size of the field. Michigan is again in a 3-deep look, again with four down linemen.
Immediately after the snap. This play is very similar to Wheel of Doom #1. There is run action to Jason Ford (#21), who was lined up to Sheelhaase's right. The inside receiver is running a post, the outside receiver is running a 15-yard in. Leshoure is running a wheel route, and Ford is drifting into the flat. You can see the Michigan CBs and FS going into a 3-deep look. We are actually only bringing 5 (not 6): Kovacs is blitzing off the short side of the field.
Same mistake as Wheel of Doom #1: Avery (red arrow) is following the inside receiver who is running a post, leaving vast amounts of green behind him. Mouton is on the 13 yard line, stopping the in route of the outside receiver.
The result is a very grainy TD.
So Sharik may be right about the blitzing safety needing to pick up the RB, but it doesn't look like Kovacs is aware of this at all. Even if that is so, I don't think that Avery can follow the post route here, since that's Vinopal's responsibility. So the cause and the result of Wheel of doom #2 is substantially the same as #1.
Didn't see this asked in the UFR thread, so I thought I'd get an opinion. There was one minute left in the 4th quarter, Illinois had a 4th & 1 from their own 27. They had just gained 9 yards on second down, but gotten stuffed on 3rd. The punt seemed like a strange, albeit safe, play. They had been gashing us on defense all game long, and only needed their mooseback to fall forward to get the first down. I know the turnover on downs would likely be the end of the game, assuming Michigan's FG unit can coax one through the uprights, but it seems like a really conservative play and out of character for their offense.
Thoughts?[edit: I'm convinced by consensus that the late 4th & 1 was the right call, and that the one with 6 minutes left was more questionable.]
article breaking down how rare it is to have such a good offense and such a bad defense