that's unfortunate, but at least the interest is there on both sides
The most exciting part of the game was having Harbaugh home
As spring games go, that was the most exciting one we've seen in years...but only because we haven't actually seen a spring game in years. The 7-0 win for the Blue team featured lots of good defensive plays and some pretty disconcerting offense. It seems the rich (defense) has gotten richer while the poor (offense) has only received a modest raise. But there is still time...
"If They Could Say It" is my attempt to give the honest answers coaches (and others) won't/can't give during their press conferences. The idea is to answer the way I believe the individual would if s/he could answer honestly without any repercussions or media frenzy. This is my attempt at the Spring Game edition, and I'll answer some questions for the HC and the coordinators. When appropriate, I'll use actual questions asked at press conferences (those will be in bold italics; my made-up questions are in standard italics).
Your general takeaways from today? What did you like, what maybe obviously needs work still?
My general takeaway is that our offense is bad and our defense is good. Sure, the defense should be ahead at this point, but I did not see enough guys willing to do whatever it takes to win on offense. We have a long way to go.
I liked the inside pressure from the defensive line, the linebacker play, the safeties, and the cornerbacks who are actually listed as CBs on the roster. Dennis Norfleet may have just lost his job as a CB.
And finally, your phrasing really sucked there. "What maybe obviously needs work?" That's a stupid fucking question. And I think I've pretty much answered it anyway--there are probably only four positions on offense that are set in stone, and that's not a good thing.
What did you see out of your quarterbacks today? What did you like from them?
I saw two guys prove that they are who we thought they were. Shane has an amazing arm and is finally developing some touch, but he doesn't go through his reads and always trusts his arm to make the primary throw. He's got a pretty good deep ball--his fades get there pretty quickly and in the right spot--and some good chemistry with Darboh. Some of those slants he threw were Brett Favre speed throws...not sure if that's a good thing. Physically, he's ready to go be our starting QB, and we can win with him. Mentally, I'm not sure he's ready to go through progressions and know how to throw the ball so our guys can catch it.
Malzone has "it," but hasn't developed enough to be physically ready to start. He reads the game, goes through progressions, and knows how to win. His throws are still just a little bit off and he didn't challenge the defense deep. But he was hurried quite a bit and he is still in the thick of the race. We'll just have to see if he can make the throws this fall.
I wish Speight had been healthy. This QB race is wide open. Rudock will definitely challenge. By next year, we'll have lots of good options.
You yourself noted that you played with mixed offensive lines today. How much would you say the running game has come along since maybe day one of spring practice to now?
Not enough. Were you watching? It's not good enough. The blocking is still inconsistent and the RBs aren't always finding the holes. De'Veon Smith has demonstrated that he's the best back we've got that's healthy right now. His vision, balance, and power really showed today. We mostly limited Derrick Green to outside runs where he doesn't have to work as hard find the crease. Ty's been looking good, but wasn't able to go today. Shallman is an H-back playing RB. But the bottom line is that if we don't get better blocking from our first team OL, it's going to be a long season. I'm disappointed that only Cole and Glasgow have locked down starting roles. The other three spots are up for grabs, though Kalis is probably close.
Are you guys trying to come up with, even within the coaches, some kind of two-deep so that you go into the summer with some idea and then they can fight again in the fall, or are you just not even going to look at that again until the fall? You talked about the starting five on the line. Do you have an idea who those are? Can you share?
Did you see a published depth chart? We obviously have one. If I wanted you to know that information, don't you think I would have given it to you? Stop asking the same fucking question different ways as if that's going to get me to answer it.
The only guys that have locked-down starting spots on offense are Mason Cole, Graham Glasgow (assuming he's not in jail), Amara Darboh, and Jake Butt. Kalis and Smith are close, and Chesson is right there too. But it's disappointing that so few players have separated themselves, and that showed on the field today.
Your team lost today. What positives do you take away from this game?
That I'm a better football coach than I am a general manager. Yeah, the Maize team lost, but the defense sure kicked the offense's ass today.
What are the strengths and weaknesses of your defense?
Our DTs kick ass. We have several good players there, and not enough good players on the outside at DE. Glasgow, Hurst, Mone, Henry, and Wormley are all making plays. Injuries aren't helping, but we need more production from our DEs.
The LBs are pretty damn good. Bolden is everywhere, and Morgan isn't far behind. Gedeon will make an impact. Ross and McCray will add even more once they're back.
The starting CBs look pretty good--Lewis is a future NFL player and Countess has improved. We need more depth there--Norfleet isn't going to cut it. At safety, we are surprinsingly loaded. Wilson and Peppers are the clear starters, but Hill, Clark, and Thomas are impact players. We may have to find ways to get more of them on the field.
Coach, how di-
WOOOOOOOO!!!! FUCK YEAH!!! BLUE TEAM, BABY!!! SUCK IT, DURKY-DURK!!!
Coach Durkin mentioned that the defense is way ahead of the offense....
Well, duh. Did you see what I inherited? Do you have any idea how poorly coached this offense has been? We are un-learning bad habits and trying to replace them with good ones. That takes time, especially on the offensive line.
Who are the guys that stand out right now on offense?
Coach Harbaugh already answered this, but I'll add to it. Darboh is a very good WR, and he'll start for us. Chesson will likely start too, because he knows how to play the game and is a good blocker. We need Canteen, Cole, Norfleet, and Ways to step-up. Jake Butt's going to have a big year in this offense. De'Veon Smith showed why recruting rankings aren't always right--he's way ahead of Green. We still need more production, and hopefully Isaac can help us there. On the O-Line, only Cole and Glasgow have really grabbed the job by the balls. Kalis is close. We need Magnuson, Braden, LTT, Dawson, and JBB to step up. Kerridge is clearly our best FB. There are five or six starting jobs wide open, and that's not a good thing right now. On defense, they've got the opposite problem at DT, LB, and S--too many good players to start them all.
What are you going to do to improve between now and the fall?
The most important thing is that we're going to smash each other on the O-Line until we play like fucking men. But we really need time to develop--the offensive side of the ball on this team has not been well-taught, and we are obviously behind the defense.
Does that mean you think Coach Durkin is a better coach?
Shut the fuck up. Did you see who won today? BLUE TEEEEAAAAMMMM BABY!!!
Slow news day and I havent seen this posted yet. Basically nothing new but I loved this part that I havent heard yet:
"...an atmosphere where competition is not just encouraged, but a requirement. After Saturday's spring game, the winning team feasted on steaks, while the losers were left with little more than pasta."
Grantland college football writer, Matt Hinton, had a nice write-up this morning on current state of the OSU QB race. With both Braxton Miller and JT Barrett not participating in spring practice due to injuries, he points out that the ultimate decision will not come until the fall:
"...the fact that the real competition is on hold until August has other consequences. For one thing, no decisive winner in the spring means no loser, either, which dramatically reduces the likelihood that the odd man (or men) out will opt to transfer to greener pastures before the season.";
I thought this was interesting, given the state of our own QB race. With Jake Rudock not currently on campus, it obviously provides Morris with more opportunity to solidify the starting job. Maybe there may be some parallels that can be taken from QSU's race.
Battling Buckeyes: How Injuries Are Affecting Ohio State’s Quarterback Race This Spring
So my wife, eldest son and I hauled over from Chicago on Friday afternoon. We dropped MGoSon at Ashley's to meet some friends and drink their beer, then the missus and I wandered around town a bit checking out what has changed since our last visit: 2008's Wisconsin game.
A lot has changed and a lot hasn't changed, in a nice mixture from my perspective.
We checked Yelp for dinner ideas and wound up choosing the Chop House on Main -- whoa, price check on all the damn aisles -- those prices impressed me and we have dinner out in Chicago and burbs a lot. Bless their cotton-picking Maize and Blue hearts at the Chop House.
Anyway, we were seated at a table for two in the front window. We ordered, had a coupla glasses of red stuff, and were into our salads when a big honking limo pulled up outside and the right rear door opened. The first man trying to get out was struggling because his feet and legs were too big to pull out of the space and get out the door. Once he was out and standing, it occurred to me that the guy looked an awful lot like Bubba Paris...and the next guy looked a lot like Eddie Muransky. Another 4 or 5 huge guys exited the limo, but I didn't recognize them.
A few minutes later, another five really large guys came down Main from the south. I think one fellow was John Elliott -- among a bunch of big guys, he was clearly the biggest.
More and more of similarly sized fellows came in, most of whom I did not recognize, but a few I did included Drew Henson, John Wangler, Tony Leone, Ron Simpkins (I think), Stan Edwards (also a guess). One guy was the largest human being I have ever seen in my life, easy 6' 7'' and completely filled the double doors on the restaurant. With the number of my-era 70's guys there, I was looking for Mike Jolley, Butch Woolfolk, Billy Dufek, Rick Leach, Russell Davis, Andy Cannavino and some others, but didn't see/recognize them. One guy might have been Kirk Lewis and another Jeff Bednarik.
All these guys disappeared downstairs into the cigar room, followed by a flock of wait-persons.
A bit later, a little short dude with straight reddish hair in a grey sweatshirt and briefcase headed out -- John U. Bacon, apparently feeling underdressed with all the guys in blue blazers because he was back in about 20 minutes later with his blue sweater and khakis on.
A bit later still, another group in blue blazers came up. This crowd was different, though. There was an older square-jawed gent with his wife and a somewhat younger square-jawed gent with piercing eyes. Obviously, it was Jim Harbaugh and his folks heading in to join the crowd.
The Chop House emptied in moments, patrons leaving steaks and wine unchaperoned to go meet, ogle and take pictures with the Coach. Jim was extremely kind and outgoing with everyone who came up. He chatted and posed for pictures with diners out on the sidewalk for about 15 minutes before heading inside and downstairs. I left the table to go say hi and shake hands, and also chatted briefly with Jack Harbaugh. Jack had been on the staff back when I was in school and I knew him a little bit. He was gracious enough to pretend to remember, so I could tell my wife.
So, anyway, there must have been nearly 100 guys there down in the cigar room and going in and out. I wish I could have recognized more, but they and I are older now and much different than before.
My wife was thrilled -- she and I dated in college when a lot of those guys were there. She excused herself to powder her nose -- downstairs, of course -- and came back saying she had said hi to Jim and Wangler. Great news for a old, short, balding, bearded, low-on-the-roster baseball player with a pretty wife. She did come back, though.
So, great night all around. Lots of good guys enjoying each others' company and telling stories, having drinks and sharing cigar smoke.
Oh, yeah, one more thing -- Jim was talking to a guy whom I thought was Brandon Minor, a guy I always respected for giving so much in tough circumstances. Presumptive Minor said to Coach that it was an honor to meet one of the alltime greats. Coach's response was that he was honored to meet one of the greats himself.
I wish I had talked to Brandon.
The 1977 Rose Bowl game has been posted to Youtube today.
USC 10-1 vs. Michigan 10-1.
Michigan's only loss was 14-16 at Purdue.
USC's only loss was 25-46 to Missouri
Great game with tons of great stars on both sides.
USC tailback Ricky Bell (42), quarterback Vince Evans (8), FB Mosi Tatupu (36), Charles White (12) and DB Dennis Thurman (7). Bell got knocked out of the game at 7 minute mark by DB Jimmy Bolden (22). Jack Harbaugh coached the UM secondary in 1976.
Michigan fullback/tailback Rob Lytle (41), tailback Harlan Huckleby (25), wingback Jim Smith (37), quarterback Rick Leach (7) and All American OG Mark Donahue (60), OT Bill Dufek (73) OT Mike Kenn (78) and C Walt Downing (72) and more.
Michigan ran the option I offense, and I believe featured the top scoring and rushing offense in the nation that year, a feat Michigan football has not repeated since.
Curt Gowdy did a great job, per usual, but I'm pretty sure color analyst and former Dallas Cowboy quarterback Don Meredith was stoned and drunk during this NBC broadcast. That's the 70s for you.
Some eerie foreshadowing: Charles White fumbles the ball at the 1 hour 12 minute mark. It's recovered by Michigan at the 7 yard line by DL Mo Morton (77). White had an otherwise impressive game. Two great defenses.
It was hard-hitting defensive games like these that probably impressed John Robinson the most about Bo and his teams.