"It's not about last year or who's here or who's isn't here," says your head coach. "It's about getting out here and competing and seeing who is here, and that's where we're gonna go."
[ED: been slightly crazy around here recently, so UFR delayed. Look for both halves tomorrow. Not that they'll tell you anything you didn't already know.]
continuing this week's theme
The response. Brandon on the emails:
"I don't read blogs so I think it's nonsense. … I'm here to get an award tonight, so I appreciate you showing up, but that's not why I'm here."
Would you describe this award as… major?
Also, from former CSG president Mike Proppe:
I've had multiple conversations with Dave Brandon. He has talked about @mgoblog before. So...yeah.
— Michael Proppe (@mikeproppe) October 29, 2014
Doesn't seem to be working. You know it's bad when the Alumni association publishes a piece titled "Alumni React to Lower Football Student Ticket Prices" and this is the nicest thing in it:
"If the students are not part of the Athletic tradition, then it becomes just a business and commercial venture."
It's nice because it says "if." Other choice excerpts:
"I come to Ann Arbor to remember the days that I lived there, that I went to games with friends, that I remembered cheering for MY team. If I wanted a corporate culture, I'd just go to an NFL game."
"The athletic department procedures have emptied the cupboard of alumni support over the last several years and it will take a significant change within the department to bolster the level of support and fervor that existed then."
"It's appalling that the students are the ones being seen as just one more "market" to be considered...without student support of the University, you will eventually lose alumni support."
The comments are another continual carpet-bombing, including this comment left by Steve Strinko:
Our 1974 Football team is being honored at Homecoming and we did get 1 complimentary ticket, however, I am bringing the allotted three guests at a cost of $75 per ticket. Seem crazy to pay $225 for my family to join me at this event. Oh well, the state of Michigan Athletics, or at least football.
Strinko was the starting MLB on the 1974 team.
This is from the alumni association! When you've lost the alumni association, who do you have left?
This was made a month ago. Sometimes marketing does help, because how did no one see this until 11W?
Ripped from the headlines.
— Ben Fidelman (@TMDFidelman) October 29, 2014
— Ben Fidelman (@TMDFidelman) October 29, 2014
Hope Brandon's taking this pass/fail.
It could have been much worse. In general, football games that feel like Michigan's latest outing aren't close. They are even less close than 35-11. Bill Connelly:
In the end, even with State's late touchdown, the final score of Michigan State 35, Michigan 11 was kind to the losing team. The Spartans doubled the Wolverines on a per-play basis (6.6 yards to 3.3) and more than doubled them up in total yardage (446 to 186). And the game was played at a snail's pace, too (125 total plays) -- even an average pace would have resulted in a Spartan win of 30-plus points.
Finally, a justification for being the slowest team in the country.
I… I can say nothing. Here is an Indiana blog talking about football, and landing body blows.
I, an Indiana football fan, feel bad for you.
Welcome to the Big Ten Underworld, Wolverine fans. The days are long, the nights are filled with six-touchdown losses to Ohio State, and one in every 5-7 seasons ends in a post-Christmas bowl in Detroit. Your program is now on a comparable level to a partly-incapacitated Indiana.
Well, at least I…
By my count, Diamont only kept it on a zone read one other time. Given the state of the quarterback position, I imagine Diamont was under fairly strict instructions to hand the ball off to Coleman early and often. Probably for the same reason, we also didn’t see Diamont running any speed option or QB draw. He looked mobile on a few rollouts and he did a decent job of running for his life when Sparty put him under pressure.
To sum it up, as we discussed last week, expecting anything out of Diamont in this game was unrealistic. If we define “expecting nothing” as expecting Diamont to account for zero yards rushing or passing, well…somehow Zander failed to meet expectations. In non-garbage time, Diamont threw for -2 yards and ran for –12. While the numbers are troubling, I was more concerned with the way he missed a number of somewhat simple throws. He missed all four of the 5-7-yard hitches/outs he attempted, and three of the four weren’t close. His two attempts to get the ball downfield to Wynn missed badly.
Punt John Punt, it's called. Never say I didn't do anything for you, Jamie.
THE SMOKING GUNNNNNN. I feel confident in asserting this gentleman has a beard, on his neck.
Something nice. Basketball will hold an open practice on Wednesday from 6 to 7. Not today. Next Wednesday.
A blast from the past. A USCHO poster has unearthed and scanned in a program from the 1983 Michigan Tech-Michigan series—the last time M traveled to Houghton.
Quite an artifact.
[HT: SBN CH]
You may not be doing this right. I've seen a few different message board threads stating that Doug Karsch said that he's talked to two sources in the Brandon camp who are "bracing for a change"—same language in multiple places, so I thought it was pretty legit. So I wander over to 97.1's podcasts page and find that the only item posted today is…
John Gasaway on offensive rebounding and how you shouldn't totally ignore it in favor of transition D. Michigan is classified as a team that "de-emphasizes" OREBs, FWIW, and is not exhorted to crash the glass. Northwestern is.
I would watch a halftime show that was a you-got-served style drumoff between bands. Yes sir.
It's almost like this was not well thought out. Michigan's three million dollar billboard is an eyesore the city would like to turn off.
Ann Arbor officials are planning to ask the University of Michigan to decommission its new digital billboard outside the Big House.
City Council Member Christopher Taylor, D-3rd Ward, and other council members argue the large marquee on East Stadium Boulevard is too big, too bright and too distracting to drivers with its continually changing messages.
You may be wondering why the city is bringing this up after the thing was installed, they were obviously not consulted and don't have to be. Whateva, the U does what it wants:
The university does not have to follow the city's local ordinances or obey council requests. Nonetheless, the council members behind the resolution are hoping the university will hear the community's concerns and respond.
"It just doesn't seem very appropriate," Higgins said of the billboard. "We talked about the size (as part of the city's sign ordinance), and that just so far exceeded any size that we thought was really feasible within the city limits."
Does anyone ask anyone else about anything before just doing it anymore? If I show up at Michigan Stadium next year and it's upside down, will anyone have a rationale, or at least a document indicating that there was a 15 minute discussion about the pros and cons of such an undertaking? (PRO: rain can't get in so easily. CON: have to invent anti-gravity to play football.)
Well, that was inevitable. Miami gets three scholarships docked for the next three years. No bowl ban, various other minor penalties. After the NCAA screwed up that investigation harder than Nevin Shapiro screwed his ponzi investors, this was always going to be a wrist-slap compromise that wouldn't send Miami to the appeal/sue route, and lo, it is so. QED: the NCAA put together a record-shattering 102-page document to mildly annoy a program they savage as being basically without compliance in the report.
It's worth noting that Miami self-imposed two years of bowl ban, which cost them a berth in last year's ACC Championship game, and a bunch of players were suspended. It did cost them something.
Obligatory: the NCAA is stupid and their rules are unenforceable and pointless and most of those rules should be put in a blender for the benefit of players, society, common sense, and most importantly Michigan, which has an alumni base with gobs of dough and a department that actually has, you know, compliance activities going on.
Ann Arbor Skyline. Finally, the mysterious name of Ann Arbor's newest high school is explained:
Stauskas and Caris LeVert sharing the backcourt is not "out of the realm of possibility," per Jordan.
If this actually comes to fruition, holy pants that is a huge lineup: LeVert, Stauskas, Robinson, McGary, Morgan/Horford, or stick Irvin somewhere in there. No one under 6'6". It'll be a sideshow with Walton and Spike around, but what a sideshow.
In general, the coaches sounded excited about LeVert in particular, who's up to 185 and apparently showing enough point guard skill to warrant some run at that spot. He is the kind of guy—young, skinny, still growing—who can be a totally different player in year two.
Same as it ever was. Hockey got some pretty horrible officiating in New Hampshire over the weekend, no call worse than a Derek DeBlois stick-lift that was somehow judged a penalty shot. Berenson on that:
A man may dress like a cowboy and smell like a cowboy but he can't ride a horse.
The Big Ten ain't fixing the gibbering pack of maroons that's available to ref games.
Exit. Farewell to Burgeoning Wolverine Star, which hangs up its spurs. Chris of BWS acquired a reputation as something of a downer, but… uh… on many counts he turned out to be right. (See: offensive line.) His play breakdowns were consistently worth arguing about. He'll be missed.
Entrance. If the previous news leaves you feeling sad, here is Fergodsakes, which is ramping up their coverage entertainingly:
Young (Michigan Alum) David Alan Grier?
Pictured: Michigan Offense, rediscovered
First off, this reference to Spielberg's "Hook" (1991), a landmark achievement in Giant Crocodile cinema technology, was not at all random, and will be of use later in this piece.
A possible future. A leaked PDF that was accurate enough to forecast a Michigan/UCLA series in 2022 and 2023 also indicates Michigan may be playing a neutral-site game against Florida in 2017. Neutral probably means Atlanta, which wouldn't be neutral but would at least be easy to get to. If Will Muschamp doesn't kill Orson by then that would be fun.
Other games it may reveal: UCF in 2016, pushing back a Ball State game, Air Force in 2017—ack option football—and SMU in 2018, all home games.
I subscribe to your newspaper. I subscribe it up. Jeff Goodman toured six of the top programs in America a few days back, hitting Kansas, MSU, Indiana, Oklahoma State, Louisville, and another school I can't figure out from the italicized preview bit. The most impressive guy Goodman saw?
Michigan's Glenn Robinson III was the most impressive player of anyone I saw on the trip. GR3 will see more time at his natural position, small forward, this season. The 6-7 Robinson has added weight and become more athletic.
The questions regarding the son of the "Big Dog" were about his perimeter shot and ability to put the ball on the floor. Robinson buried deep jumper after deep jumper and appears far more comfortable at the 3-spot in John Beilein's offense. It's still yet to be determined whether this aspect of his skill set will translate in games, but it's a good sign with Robinson more assertive on the offensive end. If he can gain a consistent jumper to go with his athleticism, he'll almost certainly be a lottery pick.
That would be excellent. Robinson attended the same camps McGary did over the summer; the buzz from them was that McGary was a beast and Robinson tended to fade into the background, as he is wont to do. I've been expecting an incremental leap in GRIII's game with Stauskas and McGary picking up more of the usage slack left by Burke as a result. Any indicator that Little Big Dog is going to eat is an encouraging sign.
On pace. Jeremy Gallon was the fourth-leading receiver in the Big Ten last year with 829 yards. Through seven games this year he's already exceeded that total with 831. To break Braylon Edwards's single-season receiving record of 1330 yards Gallon needs to average 84 yards a game—well within reach, especially if Michigan retains the pass-orientation they showed against Indiana.
Booker not looking too good. Devin Booker took a visit to Missouri over the weekend, and this is maybe not so good:
Booker visited both Kentucky and Michigan State on the weekend of Sept. 6-9 and went to Michigan on Oct. 5. He arrived back in Mississippi Sunday after the first of consecutive trips to Columbia, Mo., with plans to return to this weekend when his father, Melvin, is honored along with the rest of Missouri's 1994 Big 8 championship team.
Etc.: Pahokee eating update. Also an update from Maize and Go Blue. Ups and downs of Brady Hoke. This happened forever ago, but my gawd James Murphy. The Ducks are the reason John Gibson never showed up at Michigan. OH SF Javon Bess, a plan B for Michigan as they wait on Booker and Blackmon, commits to MSU. Here is the weird halftime show.
Eatin': taken. One of our new MGoShirts is this:
I was sent the usual batch of ideas to thumb up or thumb down and thumbed this one up because I'd either missed or forgotten the fact that Martavious Odoms had put together a charity for a hurting city of Pahokee with a shirt based around the same concept. As the kids who are now about 35 say, my bad.
We've taken the thing down for now and are in the process of reaching out to Hope For Pahokee so we can put it back up and donate the proceeds to them. I'll let you know when we get cleared.
Ufer. A recut version of a Ufer thing I've posted before.
Honor Willis Ward. The Michigan State game marks the 78th anniversary of the Georgia Tech-Michigan game that saw Tech protest the existence of Willis Ward. Gerald Ford had to be talked out of quitting the team after Ward was benched; Michigan won 9-2, defeating racism forever*.
Anyway, the state legislature is making October 20th Willis Ward day and the filmmakers who have been publicizing his story are trying to get something together for the Michigan State game. It seems like this would be one of those things where you talk to someone in the athletic department and he says "of course," but must not be since the guys behind the idea are assembling an online petition to help bolster their case.
*[Probably. I haven't done a whole lot of research on this point.]
Oh my God run around in circles yesss. Sunday Morning QB returns. Matt Hinton's still writing for a couple of other outlets, so its glory may not reach the heights of long long ago but at least now there is a place for Hinton to put the things that are 1) very good and 2) not likely to end up on the Yahoo front page because they're not viral™. See: a comprehensive overview of the have-nots. Bookmark/RSS away.
This is more like it. Indiana just announced a student loyalty program that actually seems worthwhile:
Under the new priority seating system, students earn -and have earned– priority points while they are in school by purchasing men’s basketball and/or football season tickets each year. To reward the most loyal student fans, the 3900 students with the most priority points heading into the 2012-13 school year will be guaranteed the lower bowl seats for the highly anticipated North Carolina game on November 27, 2012.
IU students earn priority points while they are in school by purchasing men’s basketball and football tickets. Students receive 5 points each time they purchase season tickets with a maximum of 10 points per year if they purchase them for both men’s basketball and football season. Also new this year, students will have an additional opportunity to earn loyalty points by attending the games for which they have tickets, or making certain their tickets are used by other students. One point will be given for each game attended or each time an individual ticket is scanned at the gate. Only the original ticket holder can earn loyalty points for the use of their tickets. The more loyalty points a student earns, the better chance they have of obtaining the student tickets allocated for post-season tournaments (NCAA, Big Ten Tournament, etc.). Student point totals for purchased season tickets are automatically transferred to alumni point totals following the student’s graduation from IU.
They also base ticket availability at certain other premium games on their points. No check-ins, a tangible reward that really matters to the students in question (sweet seats and good tickets) and is not a t-shirt.
Oh, man. The MZone makes a thunderous return by rounding up videos of Alabama fans on Youtube.
I'm not sure about anything anymore.
Yes please. The SEC is loosening their rules for in-stadium video replays, but why did they have this one in the first place?
In the past, the SEC had a one real-time replay policy for all plays in all sports.
These companies that suck up digital rights and try to monetize them are all pretty bad—try explaining fair use to one—but XOS is the worst by far. Anyway, the SEC is now going to allow replays from the TV network broadcasting the game (again, why prohibit this?) during reviews. I'm guessing that decision is to prevent biased home-field folks from ramping up outrage by selectively picking favorable angles. It makes sense.
The stated reason for the change is to keep fans coming to games by making the in-stadium experience not worse than sitting at home. Here's hoping Purdue and other schools that have trouble selling out ram this through in the Big Ten.
Um? Brady Hoke has a much different take on the new kickoff rules than any I'd seen before:
On the new kickoff rules: "I think as it plays out, there will be a little more we all learn. You try to use the NFL model from a year ago the best you can. The one thing you learn from the NFL, guys are taking it out of the end zone 8 yards deep. I think you’ll see more of that. Personally, if we can get the ball or give the opponent the ball at the 25, that is something I’ll be happy with."
Why would you run the ball out eight yards deep? Because the kick return guys can't get there in time? I'd be surprised if there was that much of a difference. Certainly not enough to justify a KO attempt where you have to make it 33 yards to break even. Touchbacks ho.
Plead down. MLive's Kyle Meinke just tweeted this out:
Michigan RB Fitz Toussaint, facing operating while intoxicated charge, pleads down to operating while visibly impaired
A quick googling turns up a bunch of sketchy law firms, but the Michigan site has the various penalties for these things and OWVI looks almost identical to OWI. Still assume that Toussaint is suspended for Alabama and Hoke is playing silly fun games with Nick Saban, who is totally fooled.
Chantel Jennings Mike Rothstein on Desmond Morgan.
This week's guest is Northwestern blog Lake The Posts, your one-stop shop for Wildcat bloggin. No chit chat this time, just a barrage of questions.
I kind of expected Northwestern to be their usual 6-6, 7-5 selves with a significant upset somewhere along the line. Then you lose to Duke and get housed by Ohio State. So... uh... what happened?
So did NU Nation. [Yikes... N_ Nation is not a good thing to call yourself around these parts. -ed] The Duke game exposed the fact that our much anticipated defense is really not much different than it has been for most of this decade - which is to say - not good. Those in the know here thought this unit was the best since '95 in terms of potential, but they simply haven't produced. Part of the problem has been from very conservative play-calling -- minimal blitzes and pressure packages. The Duke game scared all of us b/c we are very sensitive to "Dark Ages" (pre-95) references. When you are the holder of the all-time DI losing streak (which we STILL are at 34 games) and you play someone who has lost 22 straight the Lou Holtz in all of us gets scared of the karma and many predicted a tight game. The actual game was a result of poor game management - we actually took 3 points off the board in the FIRST half to go for a 4th and 3 and likewise went for TDs instead of the sure FGs in the second half that would have won the game.
The Ohio State game has sent the Purple mafia on a tirade thinking the 2 week stretch has diminished 12 years of respectable play. That is why this week's game is so big for us. Purple pride is on the line.
Were these losses fluky in any sense -- turnovers and rabbits tripping quarterbacks and so forth and so on -- or were they more indicative of systemic problems that will last the season?
No - that is the scary part. Duke beat us from start to finish and made our D look terrible in the process. We looked like a HS team against the Buckeyes. It was worse than the score indicated. The only "fluke" is that Tyrell Sutton, our best player, sat out both games due to an ankle injury and is questionable again this week. The difference between our program and yours is speed and depth. Sutton is the glue to the spread b/c he is the best receiving RB in the conference and there is a huge drop-off to our back-ups. The systemic issues are 1st half terrible play followed by 2nd half respectable play which leads to coaching questions. There are a lot of head scratchers about the validity of our coaching staff right now.
Michigan fans are always a little jumpy against the Wildcats because NU's run-based spread option has been successful in the past. And I'm not sure if you know this, but Michigan is rumored to have some slight issues with that sort of offense this year. Any chance Northwestern puts up 30? Is Bacher much of a runner?
Great question. With Sutton - yes. Without - not a chance. How good he'll be even if he plays is the big question. We are deep at WR, but have no gamebreakers. Our lone true stud (Andrew Brewer) is out for the year (see depth comment above). We truly spread the wealth and ding you to death with 5-7 yard passes. Bacher has shown that he is mobile, not like Juice Williams, but he has had several key runs (3 of 20+ in 4th quarters) when the game was on the line. We like Bacher, but he has been inconsistent - although part of the blame rests with the WRs who have been less than reliable.
It is not the Zak Kustok or Brett Basanez spread by any means. Bacher has only played 8 games and is just starting to develop the flow - that was until the last two weeks. Despite last week's debacle, he is third in the conference in passing. He always seems to make one or two bad decisions a game that lead to INTs. I like him though.
How is the offensive line? Michigan's overrun a couple of meh lines the last couple weeks... can NU avoid this fate?
Good not great. Our center, Trevor Rees, is the anchor, but all bets are off after last week's showing when OSU absolutely crushed us on the line giving Bacher zero time to find receivers. It was downright scary.
Ryan Mallett is likely to start, [Just IMO. -ed] which means Michigan will be running on most plays that don't start with "third" and end with something like "and sixteen". How is NU's young defensive line holding up? How did Beanie Wells do?
Our D-line was supposed to be the crowned jewel of the entire team. It has turned out to be the biggest disappointment. We rarely get penetration and have proven uncapable of not getting scorched in the secondary. We seem to faceguard and yet never know when the ball is arriving - it is a trend that has been with us for years and is infuriating. Beanie Wells ran at will against us. We tend to go "nice stop, nice stop...oops 20 yard run...nice stop nice stop....oops 30 yard pass".
What's the general opinion on Pat Fitzgerald? It seems too early to have anything definitive, but are there some positive indicators?
General opinion is hot seat -- already. I love the guy. His passion is unquestioned and who better to be at the helm than a smart guy who was the heart and soul of the team that turned around the program. Last year, everyone was in shellshock and chalked up a mulligan. Fitz inherited the reigns with 6 weeks til the first game, had a slew of new coaching staff and had the unenviable task of keeping assistants 20 years his elder part of the "team". General consensus is that he needs to get "his" guys in at the assistant spots and most people want to see D-coordinator Greg Colby gone. The players love to play for Fitz, but there is a major learning curve he's going through having jumped from LB coach to head coach. Bielema was groomed, Fitz was bodyslammed. It has been an extremely disappointing year to date, and the true test will be how we play in October. Attendance has been laughable. The MSU and Minnesota games are must wins after this weekend. No confidence in the program right now, but we're all trying to point to something positive. Grasping. Anything. We keep hitting rewind on the 2000 game.
Michigan 41 NU 14.
[Wow. I can't imagine Mallett-led Michigan putting up more than 30 on anyone with a pulse. -ed]