that is nice bonus change
Please let there be Punt - Counterpunt on Saturday.....please.....please....please....
Not sure where to post this so please be kind. Can a mod confirm. I am frothing at the mouth
17 hours til kickoff......17 hours til kickoff.........17 hours til kickoff.....17 hours til kickoff.....17 hours til kickoff
- BYU at Connecticut (7pm/ESPN)
- UTSA at Houston (9pm/ESPNU)
- Colorado vs Colorado State in Denver (9pm/FS1)
- UNLV at Arizona (10:30pm/ESPN)
- Jacksonville State at Lansing C.C. Burnin' Futons (7:30pm/BTN)
I used to love to read the "Know Your Foe" segments on The M Zone blog. They provided a great preview of the upcoming opponent . . . not just the team, but the entire university, its founding, its culture, its famous alumni, its colors/uniform/fight song. Everything.
Alas, The M Zone appears to have gone dormant, with nothing posted for over a year. But its Know Your Foe segments are still worth a read.
As famous as Appalachian State is in these parts, most of us know very little about the actual university. Admit it, very few of us paid any attention to it the first time around until after the game was over. And by that time, the last thing we wanted to know was anything more about Appalachian State.
But if we are stuck with this game (Thanks Dave! I still have this other band-aid on my heart from my first middle school girlfriend, would you like to rip that off too?), then we should at least know something about them that is not Armanti Edwards.
Here is the M Zone "Know Your Foe" that was done on Appalachian State for the first matchup:
If you plug your ears and go "LALALA I CAN'T HEAR YOU" during the score prediction parts, the rest of it is informative and interesting.
If nothing else, it provides an illuminating time capsule of what life was like before we lost our innocence, like watching old movies where they walked right on to the airplane and lit up a smoke while the smiling stewardess served up a freshly made cocktail.
If the M Zone does indeed still exist and there is a new KYF on App State, please post a link.
So, with Roseboro committing, Michigan now has the highest average recruit ranking at Scout, 3.91 to 3.90. At Rivals, Michigan comes in at number three, behind only Alabama and USC (they are at 3.95, 3.88, and 3.7 respectively.) For Michigan's player rankings, this is including a kicker. If you pull the kicker out (for averaging purposes,) Michigan's rankings at Scout jump to 4.0, and at Rivals up to 3.9. No matter how you quibble, Michigan is near the top of the heap.
All the concern about stars can get a bit ridiculous, especially when you consider guys like the Glasgow brothers who fly beneath the radar and are a huge asset, despite being walk ons. Still, our recruiting is getting better, not worse. As Ace mentioned on the front page, the number of spots left is getting smaller and smaller. Hopefully, this encourages guys among Keisean Lucier-South, Iman Marshall, Asmar Bilal, Tyrone Wheatley and Marcus Lewis to pull the trigger and join Team 136. And complaints and talk about the 3-star mafia are a thing of the past, thank goodness.
Sam Webb! Your gut knows all!
Edit: It looks like I was beaten to the punch by the front page post.
What are your key areas to watch in tomorrow's opener? (Obviously, winning the game is implied)
1. Is the aggressive defense for real? App St is a team that dinks and dunks their way down the field, something Michigan has struggled to stop. In recent years, we've relied on sure tackling and keeping the ball in front to force opposing offenses to execute for long stretches at a time so they eventually bog down of their own accord. Is this the year we start getting in receivers' faces and taking away the short stuff with tight man coverage and start kicking offenses off the field instead of waiting for a mistake?
2. Can we run the ball straight up with no trickeration? We had some success running the ball early last year but by coming out and surprising our first two oppenents with a switch to outside stretch plays. When opponents adjusted, our run game disappeared and we embarked on a long winding road in search of the next thing that worked. I want to see us establish our base play, inside zone, early and often. Get the defense to cheat up before unleashing play action over their heads. We'll find out a bit if our OL was just struggling against our good defense, or struggling in general.
3. Jabrill Peppers. I'm not one to buy into the hype on a true freshman, but man, this kid isn't your average true freshman. Given App St's style, he should feature heavily at nickel. Will they be conservative with him and have him drop into coverage, or will he be the hybrid blitzing terror we expect on day one? Also, punt returns will be exciting. I want to see him break a big one, but more importantly I want to see him make good decisions and show sure hands.
4. Is the offensive tempo improved? Are we making the right adjustments at the line? I want to see lots of pointing and communicating before we snap the ball. I want to see Devin get us into the right play, and get us out of bad ones. Can he handle the additional responsibilities that Borges never seemed comfortable giving to his QBs? Is our OL communicating their blocking assignments? Do the RBs know where the blitz is coming from?
5. I want to see us have the game in hand early, not only for my blood pressure, but because I want to see our back-ups play. Not getting meaningful playing time last year for our back-ups was maybe the worst consequence of our struggles as far as development of the team going forward. Beating teams we should and getting the game reps for back ups will help not just next year, but down the road this season if injuries occur. It'll also be a good chance to see who redshirts and who the coaches think can contribute.