needs moar usage
When he was doing his summer interview series, Six Zero asked how I became a Michigan fan. My answer (short version):
…when I was 11, I was invited to spend a long weekend with my cousin, then an engineering student in Ann Arbor. We had the best pancakes I ever tasted at this place just west of the Nickels Arcade, then went to watch Desmond Howard singlehandedly demolish Indiana. After the game we bought a used copy of Alice in Wonderland from that book dude on State St., then warmed up over hot cider at the Brown Jug. After, I splayed out on a sleeping bag next to the couch in his apartment watching his two female roommates walk around naked. And I was like "This is it; I wanna go to Michigan."
That cousin is still in Ann Arbor. His wife, who must be one of the 90 kindest people in the world, is a pediatrician and huge Michigan fan who spent the morning preparing her house for an invasion of some 25 family members, aged 14 to 70, all of whom were to have parking, tickets, and passes either to the new box, or at least the Crisler bathrooms. Their two kids, girl 11, and boy 9, had helped Mom by taping a large paper banner across the kitchen door that read "Hello Cousins! M Club Welcomes You!"
Adorable children have a way of appearing when Brian's about to hurl profanities, so I marched to Michigan's last home game of 2010 with an army of them. It does help with the profanity –- the worst thing I did at a game full of perfect exclamatory moments was to face the sky after the batted interception and yell "I thought you hated Wisconsin!"
The 14-year-old loved that one. He also loved his first view of MGoBlog, which I had him pull up at half-time on his smart phone (yes, 14-year-olds come with smart phones now). When Denard whooped a guy about to kill him then sauntered into the end-zone, 14-year-old was the one telling me the record had been broken.
The serendipitous presence of a kid is great for writers trying to capture something too profound to be believable from a cynical adult. Sometime MGoCommenter Glen Masons Hot Wife has a little tradition now of (kind of dickishly) telling me I can't write as well as Brian (or Johnny of RBUAS) after these posts. Don't think I don't know I can't (triple-negative!) use a rhetorical moppet with the aplomb of Cook; I wish I could. To be fair, Brian said he wishes he could moppet like DFW.
My actual recollection of childhood was that by the time I cared about sports I wasn't that innocent anymore. My world-test wasn't necessarily "is this awesome?" but "is this cool?" with the latter being something I didn't actually get to determine. I thought Desmond Howard was awesome, but I was almost as happy again when I learned that Desmond Howard fandom was really cool.
Much of my adult life has been about trying to recapture that which is genuine and awesome (I would argue that David Foster Wallace's magnum opus Infinite Jest, is about this too) after years of pursuing cool. The cynic who blamed God when a 6'0 quarterback kept having his passes batted right to defenders became so because when we're being honest, watching Michigan get crushed by Wisconsin just hurts.
What makes it easier is knowing things will get better. For me, Greg Robinson will probably be gone, and hopefully the 3rd time will be the charm (if it's not, well…), and other than the few guys who walked with their parents under the banner this afternoon, almost all of the starters will be back next year.
Those kids: Greg Banks, James Rogers, Steve Schilling, Adam Patterson, Renaldo Sagesse, Jonas Mouton, Obi Ezeh, et al., moppets themselves when I was in school, stayed when most of their classmates bailed. Some were redshirting for '06, but their first day of eligibility was The Horror. A coach whom they might never have signed up for changed the program to something that's about trying harder, and they did it. They lost to Wisconsin today, and all those other times, not because of effort but because they simply weren't as good as Mark Messner, Charles Woodson, Steve Hutchinson, Alan Branch, Glen Steele, Jarrett Irons and Larry Foote. They never grew cynical because there was always another chance, an opportunity for something awesome to happen.
The injuries sustained today – Roh, Rodgers, Stonum, Smith – may make it impossible, but there's still a chance for awesome. That's why playing for Michigan is different than for every other school, because no matter how the season goes, that chance for awesome is always going to be right there at the end of it. For the seniors, it's the last one. For my 14-year-old cousin, there will be so many more that one loss to Wisconsin is nothing next to years of Denard Robinson and whatever amazing things are ahead.
But here's this kid who's 14 years old, knows what "Ndamukong" means, pulls up rushing stats on SportsTap more than I do, and he doesn't remember Chris Perry because he was fucking SEVEN the last time we beat Ohio State. I don't expect the 2010 Michigan team to play defense like '97, because they're not that good, the same way that this column will never be written as well as the Brian's post-game the next day, and that post-game won't be as good as DFW's tennis coverage was, and DFW's genius was not that of the bard.
For him, for the moppets who made the banner, for the seniors, for the fans, for the coach, for the team, to go into Columbus this year and beat Ohio State, well, that would just be awesome.
Much Ado About Nothing
The Grid of Expectation:
|Wisconsin Preview||The Mathlete||PAN-fried||Wis, 38-37|
|Post Week 11: Yardage Analysis and Predictions + Score Predictor||tpilews||Weighted YPG||M, 42-38|
|Week #11 National Statistics and Predictions for Wisconsin||Enjoy Life||Sagarin, Fremeau||Wis, 41-30 (FEI) or W-4.5|
|Preview: Wisconsin 2010||Brian||fear, surprise, ruthless efficiency, an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope, and nice red uniforms||Wis, 34-27||
The Taming of the Overgrown Shrew
In the last week of the normal Big Ten season the Diarists had to dig deep (get it?) to get up for a visit from the 10-1 Badgers. First, the Shred Dude, and his remake of Shakespeare's section title-referenced play: 10 Things I Hate About The F-ing Badgers.
Whats that shit on your face?
2. James Kamoku- You son of a bitch! You think you can put your god damn hands on Steve Breaston and get away with it? DO YOU!? This amateur during a 2006 UM vs UW punt return decided to try and rip Steve's ankle off. It was caught on TV. Karma is a bitch since last I saw you played for some fake football team called the "Wolf Pac". Guess what happened to this dirt ball for his bush league act? NOTHING!
Other things Shredder hates: suffocatingly boring, anti-points white-guy basketball, green giants, band camp, dirty campgrounds, letter people, candy canes, trucks, and the cast of That '70s Show except Red. Also: guys who switch positions mid-Paint:
Meanwhile, Coach Schiano visualized a motivational post-Wisconsin speech by Rich Rod. Denard, Kelvin Grady, et al. respond in a telling reminiscent of the random heroism of football.
Alls Well That Ends Well
The funny thing about accomplishing something in sleety driving rain: you are miserable when you're in it, but afterwards you just love talking about it. True to form, the MGoStatisticians took to the spreadsheets to test all sorts of wild theories that indirectly might maybe possibly suggest we beat Wisconsin and Ohio State:
Hypothosis: The Defense is Approaching Average, by matt D.
Observations: Michigan is kind of but not quite comparable to Penn State, which is an average defense:
3 & Out %
Conclusion: You can judge for yourself. Matt says the defense is put in bad situations. Irish brings the sanity:
75th in rush defense and tackles for loss
86th in pass efficiency defense
91st in sacks
93rd in scoring defense
100th in total defense
103rd in turnover margin
114th in pass defense
Hypothesis: 'Tis better to play at home, by The Mathlete.
Observations: Teams seem to perform better against expectations when at home. And whoa last year:
Conclusion: Over these years Michigan is on the low end of home field advantage, in the Big Ten above only the polite and purpled few of Evanston, and Illinois, but it's still worth almost 2 points a game in PAN. Poor Notre Dame is worse at home than on the road.
Hypothesis: Michigan makes a difference, by TennBlue.
Observations: If you normalize our schizophrenic team (SCORE! INTERCEPTION! FUMBLE! SCORE! SCORE! MISS FG! SCORE! INTERCEPTION!) our opponents look a little different than the final score may indicate.
M's affect on Total D Rank
M's affect on Total O rank
|Connecticut||-10||1||W, Good O, OK D|
|Notre Dame||-10||19||W, Good O, Terrible D|
|Bowling Green||-17||0||W, Awesome O, OK D|
|Indiana||-11||14||W, Good O, Terrible D|
|Michigan State||-1||16||L, OK O, Terrible D|
|Iowa||-10||-2||L, Good O, OK D|
|Penn State||-8||4||L, Good O, Bad D|
|Illinois||-20||14||W, Awesome O, Terrible D|
|Purdue||-4||-2||W, OK O, OK D|
Conclusion: Yeah, it kind of does. We underrated Penn State a bit, and maybe overrated Michigan State.
Hypothesis: Michigan is so good we can turn it over and suck at special teams and still win at football, by Enjoy Life
Observations: With a turnover margin of minus-7, a bad return team, a worse coverage team, and no chance of making a field goal, Michigan is amazingly unscathed.
HOLD ON TO THE GOD DAMN BALL AND THROW THE GOD DAMN BALL TO OUR RECEIVERS!!
Also it seems the reason we can get away with this is that our offense is so radically good, and our defense is so generally bad unless we're facing an offense that's radically bad, that what's a few more radicals thrown into the mix.
Hypothesis: All you need to know you can learn from Revenge Movies, by bronxblue
Hypothesis: Michigan could win another Big Ten game this year, by the Mathlete
Observations: We beat Purdue, and the PAN before the Wisconsin game said we were at 46% to finish at the 7-5 we expected, and the rest…well, nowhere to go but up, right?
Conclusion: Three excellent diaries this week again. Dylan can write songs, Gretzky can play hockey, Mathlete can write diaries.
Conclusion: The Mathlete is your Diarist of the Week.
As You Like It (Etc.)
Yes, another Moving Picture Pages of Chris, by Danger of Dangerous Logic. That one's the earlier throwing of rock. He has another from Friday night in which even more rock is thrown. Somewhere, DeBord is coaching in a city that doesn't have internet and thus missing this opportunity to nod in solemn approval.
For those (like me) who have to look more than once to comprehend what "Michigan+4" means, Blazefire and his bolded subconscious multiple personality* put on a little clinic to explain what the line actually means:
The line is not a means of picking a winner of a game, nor is it intended to do so.
The line is a form of handicap, suggesting that under given circumstances, adjusting the final score by X points (subtracting for the team expected to win or adding for the team expected to lose) would create a tie score. It is an attempt to put the teams "on par" with each other.
The line is a betting tool, and is not intended to predict the score of the game.
Betting with or against the line is an agreement or disagreement with Vegas, not a belief or disbelief in one of the teams.
* How many people on this blog have bolded subconscious multiple personality disorder anyhow?
You try watching the last decade of Michigan football and staying sane, putz.
Finally, oriental andrew's Opponent Press Conferences returned this week to interview "that big meathead … and his meaty Badgers."
That's enough of weeks past and Big Ten seasons concluded. It's Ohio State week.
Now set the teeth and stretch the nostril wide,
Hold hard the breath and bend up every spirit.
The game's afoot: follow that spirit t'ward dark Ohio
Cry "hail" for Michigan! For Rod! And Saint Bo!
Second photo courtesy of MGoBlue.com
Someone (*cough* Penn State) once said that Michigan fans act as if our team is playing only itself, i.e we attribute all good things to great Michigan play, all bad things to bad Michigan play; Good luck = return to the mean; Bad luck = somebody on Mount Olympus with a bug up his ass.
Well, today is not that day.
Throughout Saturday, I kept envisioning 3rd-and-7 Denard side-arms or Tate scrambly moxie-ducks turning into the Pick-Six that finally put the Boilermakers ahead. At no point however, even with the worst Michigan defense of my lifetime on the field, did I think our 4-point lead was actually in danger from Purdue's offense, especially after Hope got the silly idea that he should try passing the ball.
I am hereby opening up the MGoWarehouse and donating all of our leftover, unused boxes of
patches to the good people in Black and Gold who managed to depart Ross-Ade Stadium after 3:30 p.m. yesterday without kicking a cat. Don't worry about stocks running low: there's about 90,000 left from the people who walked out of a one-score 2008 Michigan-Northwestern knowing the combination of a sleet monsoon and a mediocre Big Ten defense was too much for an offense made of broken down car parts, duct tape, and the guy in the front row eating fat free pretzels. It happens.
This was 2008 all over again, except it was happening to someone else. At least Danny Hope kind of deserves it.
As for our offense, I'll abide by ruling of the UFRs but my take on the game was that the containment of Rich Rod's Traveling Flag Football Stars and Spread Kings (for lack of a better barnstorming nickname) was about 10 percent Denard's increasingly worrisome accuracy issues (diary by papabear16), 45 percent whatever pissed off Poseidon, and 45 percent Ryan Kerrigan = Brandon Graham only maybe better at football.
Nuclear Disarmament Poll
My personal meme for Jonas Mouton has been to compare him to some sort of devastating yet unstable goblin weapon that is capable of causing unfair levels of damage to your opponent, but so long as he is on your side there is an almost equally likely chance that he will explode spectacularly on friendly targets. In video games and the like I have generally avoided such weapons, then become enraged when they're used against me to effectiveness.
After seeing Mark Moundros trying to fill Mouton's spot for one game – a game by the way that featured the statistically best defensive performance of the year – I'm ready to go back to Weapon X. The UFR will know for sure, but the supposedly stable Moundros didn't really differentiate himself that much from Obi Ezeh on live watch. I'm interested to know what you folks think. Poll time:
Public Service Announcements
Before moving on to the others, a couple of
abuses of power public service announcements:
Last year I was very proud to see the visible level of MGoInvolvement in this annual charity event. Basically we go to two Detroit homeless shelters on Saturday, Dec. 4, and throw a Christmas party for the kids while the parents shop for gifts among donated items. We need volunteers and gift donations, and specifically I am casting about for a functional photo printer and a place that makes bagels who would like to donate bagels for 200 people, maybe plus cream cheese but I won't press that. One thing you can do is buy a gift on Amazon (which gives Brian credit) and have it sent to one of the parties.
Kathy is still there, and is currently trying to get a good design locked down so new History students can walk around in cool t-shirts. Current plans are to have them available for alums/current students on a specific time and day because they really don't have the time to get into shipping and selling online. The ones they are currently considering are pathetic, but Kathy has given MGoBloggers a shot at coming up with better. Get something to Kathy by November 17 to have your design put in.
Recruiting Fans: I….I Didn't Know.
Saginaw native and Tennessee commit DeAnthony Arnett is taking his talents out of Michigan, but not before giving the closest followers of his recruitment the Randall Monroe treatment. The four-star receiver spent his commitment eve posting twitvids of him committing to all of the following:
- Central Michigan
- Slippery Rock
- The University of Michigan State
- University of Cal
The kicker: on the last video DeAnthony unveils what I'm pretty sure is, verbatim, the script for the entire production, which was taken directly from Internet message boards:
To everyone who filled threads on this site and elsewhere with responses to the effect of "Arnett's an attention whore," I think you're wrong: he's just clever and has an ironic sense of humor. In fact, just to spite you all, and because this is bar none the best mockery I've seen yet of the Internet's sordid obsession with college football recruiting (in which I'm a participant), I'm naming DeAnthony the Diarist of the Week.
What, like the MGoDiarists didn't have anything good this week?
Oh, they did…
If wasn't being a dick and giving the award to a future Tennessee wide receiver, it would have gone to maizedandconfused for his Must-Read analysis on tackling over UConn, ND, MSU, and Iowa:
A few notes from the individual analysis:
- Kovacs is by far our best tackler, with Mouton, Johnson and surprisingly Gordon #15 as the 2,3,4 respectively.
- Of the guys on this list, the biggest surprise was Martin, however I think it is important to remember that this tackling eff. calculation puts weight on total tackles made, and Martin gets doubled. A lot. (in review of my stats, Martin only missed 3 tackles total, with 2 by bad form)
- In the two games Demens played, he was an absolute tackling machine.
- Ezeh really cannot tackle.
Of course tackling doesn't do any good if the opponent has an eligible receiver on your 1-yard line and your nearest defender is in the Delta Quadrant.
I claim this great expanse in the name of Lincoln
Hey, remember when RB wheel routes were hand-wavingly open against us and stuff? Well dnak438 wasn't about to wait for Brian or other Brian or Not a Girl Named Brian to picture-page the thing and took the initiative…
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.
It's a two-for-one PP, as both the original and the just-as-awful sequel make it in:
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.
For the record, the lady with the shrill voice in my section who finds things "UNACCEPTABLE" found both of these plays "UNACCEPTABLE." Shrill Lady is angry, Mr. Robinson; what are you going to do about it?
And because we can't get enough of Picture Pages around here, Chris of Dangerous Danger Logic that is Dangerful (We're from Danger!) has obliged us with two more Moving Picture Pages this week, one on the Snag Package, and another on Michigan's adjustment to Illinois blitzing behind the optioned DE.
While we're on tactics, Blue_n_Aww takes a look at whether Michigan should have gone for two points after scoring in the 2nd overtime:
I did a bit of research and found a study that showed that the team that starts on defense wins about 52.25% of the time in the third overtime and later. You can find the study here. And, looking at M’s kicking statistics I’ve found that the team is 46/47 on extra point attempts, 98%. I used that for our success rate in this spot. So when we kick the extra point we’ll win .4775*.98= .468. So if we can convert the 2pt conversion 47% of the time, we should go for 2.
papabear16, as linked above, discussed Denard's mechanical issues and how fixing those might make him a Heisman candidate again next year.
We also get a collection of scrape and contain plays for discussion from tasnyder01, who, diary-wise, is still pretty raw, but he's starting to use the WYSIWYG. Campbellian patience is urged.
Wow did things get stat-y this week. In chart form:
|Statistical Analysis of Defense During B10 Games - *Updated Through Purdue*||matt D||Compares the D performance in each game by metrics like Stop%, Pts/Drive, etc.|
|Progress, Quantified||Coach Schiano||A real comparison btw '09 and '10 performance|
|Communist Football||Weekly update (as of Purdue) of records broken this year|
|Illinois Recap: I was there when…||The Mathlete||PAN recap after Illinois game|
|What would Michigan look like with a better defense?||The Mathlete||The O can't get much better but if D is avg. how good are we?||
|Bradley-Terry Statistical Rating (KRACH) for FBS Football||quakk||Bradley-Terry method applied to BCS standings|
Grid of Expectation
|Over/Under: Michigan at Purdue||jamiemac||Vegas lines||M, 41-31|
|Purdue Preview||The Mathlete||Brings the PAN||M, 35-30|
|Week #10 National Rankings and Predictions for Purdue||Enjoy Life||Sagarin, Fremeau||M – 4.8 pts.|
|Post Week 10: Yardage Analysis and Predictions + Score Predictor||tpilews||YPP, PPD, etc.||M, 48-24|
|Preview: Purdue 2010||Brian||M, 35-24|
|Weather Charts on the NET||NOAA||Highs, Lows||Yarrr!|
This epic diary from Billy Shears was front-paged because the guy who owns this blog is the kind of person who will constantly foist The Smiths on his friends because he has seen Morrissey's hidden genius and believes the rest of us will be able to listen to that crap and pick out the ideas that sparked alt rock and post punk while ignoring the bleeding of ears. Also: it really captures the feel of this season (right down to the part where you're squinting and trying imagine how these concepts will coalesce into a National Championship season eventually).
Those who have been enjoying monuMental's weekly Windows backgrounds will delight to see how one of these artistic masterpieces comes together:
bklein09 makes the case for Denard to win the Heisman this year, and a statistical glance like this does make a hell of a case. But the picks, man. The picks.
I used to be mad at my school. The defensive play was not cool. But I can't complain.
Sports fans and pundits often make the mistake of treating the last contest as too exemplary of the current state of things. Michigan's offense isn't so good to typically put up 500 yards on an okay Big Ten defense by halftime. Maybe its defensive mean isn't giving up 65 points after three overtimes. We probably won't give up five turnovers, or leave receivers on our 1 yard line with acreage of openness like -- what was it, two, three times? -- in every game.
But I will say that yesterday's 67-65 triple-overtime victory over Illinois is Michigan 2010 in extremis: the defense isn't going to stop anybody; kickers will miss; and with Tate or Denard, our offense won't stop unless it stops itself.
Sgt. Barwis's Lonely Harts* Club Band
White Boy, if you're out there, GET HER BACK TO WORK! You're our only hope.
4th quarter, man! Remember when not too long ago we were rooting for a team that routinely struggled to hold a two-score lead in the 4th quarter**? If it's possible to overstate the transition from Massey-Eat-Pizza to Eeeeee Barwis!, surely this blog will get there without me, but how happy were you, when the rounds of this game starting piling up like a Rocky Balboa fight, that we were the guys with the wolf-man's conditioning program?
This is a Rich Rodriguez team: more deserving of admiration than awe. It's both by design, and a design flaw, because Justin Turner giving 80 percent is probably better than Ray Vinopal's 110% effort, and the going theory is that we don't have Turner because 80 percent of anything doesn't get to play for Michigan these days. It's inspirational, and maddening, and really young, and it apparently can beat an average Big Ten team 67-65 in triple overtime.
I don't need a reason to root for Michigan, but I like to have one. I rooted for Lloyd because a man who could coach football and speak intelligently about Emerson was unique and good. Rich Rodriguez's team earned their playing time not just be being better than the other guys, but trying better. They are the ones who went through Barwis hell. They are the ones who stayed.
* Cause they've all got HART, get it?
** and when 7-5 was a "Year of Infinite Pain?"
Beating Illinois 67-65 isn't an end, unless it is made so. We have a sophomore offense and a freshman defense, and regardless of what traspired yesterday or in the next month, we have very good reason to think we'll be better. Let me show why...
Do You Need Anybody?
This comes from a conversation this week in response to an excellent diary by I Blue Myself about the huge leap Michigan is expected to take next year, simply by returning most of what's already a very good offense, and the defensive starters being more than a few months from senior prom.
Allow myself to quote... myself:
Would you trade Schilling, Webb, Dorrestein, Mouton, Banks, and the backup NTs and MLBs for another year of experience for Denard/Tate, the entire RB corps., Koger, the entire receiving corps., the other three offensive linemen plus all of their young backups? Maybe.
Would you trade them for that plus a magic wand that gets Jibreel Black and Craig Roh 40 lbs. heavier, puts another year under (and within) the belts of the young and hyped linebackers, transforms freshman DBs into sophomore corners, and transforms James Rogers into Troy Woolfolk. Um, yes please.
This got me thinking about when the last time we expected such a leap. I know this place likes charts, so I made a big one (er...three) for other recent annual transitions. What it does is try to put a value of performance that Michigan attained from each position in the years 2006 to '10, and project that of next year.
The positions are weighted, so like out of 56 "points" of performance that the offense can attain, 8 are attributable by the quarterback, 6 by the running backs, 5 each for linemen, etc. A 100-percent score for any given position is what you would expect from a well-scouted 4-star upperclassman. Ryan Van Bergen is a 100-percent positional fulfillment. The thinking goes that a team getting RVB production at every spot is the kind that can beat any team in the country.
For guys like Brandon Graham '09, there's an extra point awarded beyond the positional weight. A team full of these guys would not only be able to beat any team, but would be favored to do so. But that's not our expectation, and I'm trying to create an expecation percentage. Think of it as the chance that a given team will be an average (Illinois) Big Ten team.
The full spreadsheets are here (same link) so you can see how I rated everybody. Tabs at the bottom get you to different pages. Feel free to argue my numbers. Below are the conclusions:
The returning numbers are the weighted percentage of returning starters by position, so if a quarterback's coming back, that's 14% of the offense returning, whereas a returning fullback is 1.7% of an offense returning.
So if nobody gets hurt or transfers or makes a major regression, etc., we can look at the 2011 team and say they will about as good as the last Lloyd team. The point is that we're set up next year for a huge year-to-year progression:
|'06 to'07||'07 to '08||'08 to '09||'09 to '10||'10 to '11|
And Rocking Horse People Eat Marshmallow Pies
Am I fooling myself? I'm certainly worried about it. After all, this was said by Brian:
So… yeah. Michigan's defense improves in real, non-running-in-place terms. Maybe not much. But given the schedule they should claw their way to slightly above average, just like the offense.
...in the 2009 defensive preview. That preview projected improvements in BG, Ezeh, Mouton, Steve Brown replacing Thompson, Warren getting healthy, and Woolfolk taking over FS. It expected Mike Martin as a sophomore to be about as good as Taylor as a senior, Cissoko as a sophomore to be equivalent to Morgan Trent as a sophomore, Mike Williams to be on par with Charles Stewart, and then dropoffs from Will Johnson to RVB and Tim Jamison to Herron. How did that work out?
Better than expected: RVB being okay, and Roh being a better Jamison than Herron.
About as expected: Graham Beast Mode, Brown being good at linebacker, Woolfolk at FS when he could be a free safety, Martin.
Worse than expected: Ezeh>Ezeh, Mouton>Mouton, Warren>Warren, Cissoko=Trent, M.Williams=Stewart
Nothing in that preview mentioned a walk-on playing safety, Mike Williams being worse than said walk-on, J.T. Floyd as the best cornerback option opposite Warren, or the nuclear test site that was free safety.
I ran this again, using expectations as of the previous November, to see if this overrating of the future was endemic.
It is, especially the last couple of years. This is the result of all of the attrition and busts and whatnot. Each of these years we've been expecting Mouton and Ezeh to turn their respective lights on. We figured Martin would remain healthy. We figured the backfield this year would have a senior 2nd team Big Ten candidate (Woolfolk) opposite a sophomore blue chip (Turner) at corner, a 4-star sophomore (Emilien) or maybe a 5-star freshman at deep safety, and for Kovacs to be the worst, rather than the best, player in the backfield. Voila: minus-22.
Considering this exercise, I am starting to think the problem is not in our expectations for the future, but in a serious problem, particularly on the defensive side of the ball, to meet generally conservative expectations for improvement. Injuries to the defense's best two players can't be helped. Obi and Mouton should have some noticeable improvement. Your 4- and 5-star defensive backs (Cissoko, Emilien, Turner, Dorsey) should, as of mid-way through their sophomore years, be...I dunno...if not on the field, at least on the friggin' roster.
has destroyed so much goodness in the world that it would take a herculean effort by incredibly talented, system-perfect, quickly trained and generally healthy offensive players coached by a football genius to make up for it. (more about that in a minute).
The point of this is to see whether we should expect such disappointments again next year, and adjust accordingly. Here's the things that I am expecting to go right:
- Mike Martin returns, is healthy and an NFL-ready beast (+3)
- Jibreel Black makes a sophomore jump (+1)
- Roh makes a Junior jump, and is used at DE instead of LB (+2)
- Two of Jones/M-Rob/Furman/Fitzgerald/Herron are as good as Mouton and Obi have been this year (hold)
- Demens improves as a junior, isn't Ezeh in Sept-Oct (+2)
- Gordons become sophomores (+1)
- Kovacs remains Kovacs-ian (even)
- Woolfolk replaces James Rogers (+4)
- Floyd/random sophomore 3-star project is the soft corner instead of, like, a guy who was a high school QB this time last year (+2)
- Dime and nickel backs are sophomores, exist (+2)
That's 17 improvement points, not including any surprises or freshmen playing. Most are some version of replacing a guy who has played his position for two months going to a guy who has been there a year or more. Injuries will knock that back some since we are thin all over the place. But if I even yank that down to 11, we're talking about the same improvement the offense had between 2008 and 2009.
(flip the disc for Side 2)
[Update: I didn't realize commenting was off. Sorry for those who wanted to reply. You can now.]
Every man has his breaking point, when desperation overrides rationality and he's ready to start flinging excrement at the wall in the hope that it magically becomes a castle.
Mine came at 10:23 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 30, 2010.
Michigan at this point is down 31-17, Penn State is driving, and Renaldo Sagesse just picked up a ludicrous (re-watched it 5 times on slow-mo) defensive holding for being double-teamed on the backside of a running play that went to the opposite sideline. Nothing Sagesse did helps the result of the play, which sees Black slant into the backfield and get pushed passed the running back, Kovacs, the deep (!) safety because true freshman Kovacsgrit clone Ray Vinopal didn't stick to the wall, getting blasted by a lineman twice his size, and a bevy of other would-be tacklers overrunning the play or sealed.
Rich Rodriguez at this point is on a sideline in Beaver Stadium, nestled between State College, Pa., and University Park, Pa. in a middle-of-nowhere geographical formation named, presumably without foreknowledge of its tremendous future irony, "Happy" Valley. He is dressed like a Michigan football coach, with parka, M hat, and headset, and is screaming at whichever referee could let such a travesty stand. Starting defensive tackles Mike Martin and Ryan Van Bergen are standing beside him, the former trying to bounce up and down because he has two ankles that can't take lateral movement, the latter just sucking air from being the fulcrum point of PSU's slow onslaught for three periods.
I'm standing on a couch at a mostly evacuated Halloween party in Commerce, Mich., dressed in a t-shirt with a nametag that says "PETER" in large letters, and orange makeup and silly string bits smeared around my mouth, coller, and chest. Unlike my school's head coach, I still have two entire lung-fulls of air, but that air is building, compressing, to the point that its release could have dire repurcussions.
Misopogal, dressed as a pumpkin, has stayed by my side, and is watching me warily, at once ready to disapprove of whatever comes out on all of that air, and privately scared to death of it. I look at her, and the release comes:
I'm ready to throw shit at the wall and see what sticks, and apparently Rodriguez is right there with me. On the ensuing play, Michigan lines up with true freshman Cullen Christian (!) at deep safety, true freshman Terrence Talbott as the wide corner, and redshirt freshman and erstwhile receiver Cam Gordon as Bandit/nickelback. Fuck it. PSU's mite receiver immediately gets three steps on Gordon, and the mite's walk-on quarterback lays a nice one on the numbers during the enternity it takes for Christian to arrive. Fuck it. Penn State first down at the 10. Fuck it Fuck it Fuck it.
Tim grabbed the following nugget from RR's press conference after the game:
Terrence Talbott got some play at corner because the coaches were trying to see if they could find something to work.
It took three years, but we are there.
Where's the 'Paint'?
You were so loved, Don Schembechler. Why were you so loved, and I so feared?
At the beginning of this season I revisited the Decimated Defense thing again in hopes of finding hope. At the time I found small hope for the future, but not at all for this year. It included some breakdowns of our roster by position, recruiting profile, and time in the system, like so:
I was thinking about these charts last night when J.T. Floyd was on the ground, and I caught myself trying to explain to Misopogal that (after a night so terrible even she noticed) losing him would mean a huge dropoff to the next guy. The series discussed the attrition from transfers and graduation, but not injuries and busts, i.e. guys who just don't have what it takes to play Big Ten football. So I reworked them a bit, including positional transfers from Watson and Rogers, but then taking out the guys who either left the program, got injured, or were revealed to be upperclassmen for whom playing time would be a major liability.
Things that matter:
- Guys counted in charts above (c. 5/10/2010) no longer on roster: Justin Turner, Anthony LaLota, Vladimir Emilien, Demar Dorsey, Davion Rogers, Antonio Kinard
- Injuries: Mike Martin, Troy Woolfolk, Brandon Herron, Mike Williams (would probably have been a liability though)
- Upperclassman Liabilities: James Rogers, Adam Patterson, Renaldo Sagesse, Greg Banks, Steve Watson, Obi Ezeh, J.B. Fitzgerald?
Things that don't matter so much:
- Moved to Offense: William Campbell, Teric Jones
- Moved in from Offense: Quinton Washington (except remember this was like three days ago)
- Other moves since May: Carvin Johnson and Thomas Gordon to LB (Spur). Craig Roh to LB (SAM). Jake Ryan to DL (DE).
Click to enlarge.
As you can see, the troupe available for Penn State was ridiculously young.
This is a bit unfair to the senior D-Linemen, who on a better team probably wouldn't look as bad (I'm not at all sold on Greg Banks = Rondell Biggs). Rich Rod did what he could to limit the time of the senior defensive linemen, giving Black a lot of snaps at DE in place of Banks and platooning Patterson and Sagesse. But I saw these guys getting run over enough to start wondering if burning a redshirt for Talbott or Ash is a good idea; considering they're both project recruits, it's probably not.
Defensive back Sagesse/Banks/Patterson is James Rogers and...uh...yeah. Playing Cullen Christian at deep safety on a critical 1st and 10 is throwing crap against the wall, but look at the barrel: it's not like there's a lot else to throw out there:
When a true freshman whiffed on a PBU/possible pick-six on 3rd and 14, and the drive continued another 10 plays so that half the starters must rotate out, well, we're dipping into a lot of blue.
This is a really really bad defense that relies on a lot of 3-star freshmen and probably some guys who should have been 2-stars. UMass could tear us apart; why not Penn State with a walk-on quarterback?
The point is this: we already thought the defense would be bad in May. Since then, almost half of the possible defensive contributors either transferred, got injured, or proved themselves mostly useless. We aren't just the bottom of the Big Ten; without Martin, we're probably in the middle of the MAC.
How did this defense get so bad? Brian took a look at the upperclassmen this week, noting blame based off of who recruited whom. Next week, I'll try to do something similar, but more like a shoulda-woulda-coulda depth chart that puts a bit more on RR for some of the fellas who left and didn't pan out. At the moment, I'm inclined to say he shoulders a lot of the blame, but not all.
Ann Arbor Torch & Pitchfork
What's wrong, guy?
This morning I woke up to a bevy of new diaries, most of which were basically two paragraphs of telling everyone how done the diarists were with our current coaching staff. One guy wrote "Fire Richard Rodriguez" and then seemingly slammed his head against his keyboard for several minutes. This, I guess, could be construed as high art. If so, it's now high art on the board, along with some other emo pieces that didn't really say much more than "Hi, I'm a Michigan fan, last night sucked, when can we fire this guy?"
Unfortunately, nobody thought to write an actually useful case for firing our head coach. However, if you're way off the bandwagon, either recently or from long before, you can take solace from a number of Rich Rod supporters who now admit they (we) got little argument left. For example, in his diary I've got nothing left," fredsaysbtdabks admits that he's got nothing left to say to irksome bandwagonners; he's just hoping we see a postseason. Meanwhile, in his diary Searching for something to hold onto, Drakeep is searching for something to hold onto:
I've always been in the "youthy defense" and not the "coaches blow" camp. But after last night I finally had a few moments where I just went, "well maybe coaching..."
A Plea for Patience from cbuswolverine compares the experience of starting secondaries among the best and worst defenses and -- surprise! -- finds that having mostly freshmen is not a good thing. We also got some Rational Venting from jsquigg, who awoke the spirit of the Great Otter of Soul-Crushing Ennui:
As the game ended against Penn State and I drov e home from BW3 where I was watching the game, I felt surprisingly unemotional. Usually I feel strongly one way or the other, but tonight it was like I knew what was going to happen even though it seems like Michigan should have an advantage on the field given the circumstances going into the game (Penn State injuries, walk on QB, etc.). I feel like I've seen this movie played out for the last 2.5 years.
If you're waiting for the standard Henri pic, dollars to donuts he'll be there for you tomorrow. As for an official MGoTake on Michigan's coaching staff, you'll have to wait for Brian; my advice is to think long and hard about what would make us the best possible team in 2012-2022. Nobody's getting fired this week.
Can We Talk About Something Else?
Okay. Here's a quandary. Say you are tasked with shipping a football to the opposite endzone across 100 yards of dangerous late-'90s Big Ten defense. You have a bunch of big uglies up front who can get your vehicle to the 2nd level, but from there, your choice of transportation is going to have to do the rest of the carrying on his own. Do you want:
a.) a Train, or b.) a Truck?
That's the question posed by Maceo24 in his epic Who Ya Got? diary. I went with A-Train, since for three of my university year falls he was my favorite player. I don't remember Ron Dayne being all that great, but I guess that's cause I only saw him play against Michigan in 1998:
Michigan had two tailbacks, Clarence Thomas and Anthony Thomas, each rush for more than 100 yards against the nation's top-ranked rushing defense. Playing its first game against a ranked opponent, UW couldn't clinch a Rose Bowl trip as its offense featured season lows in points, first downs, rushing yards, third-down conversions and time of possession. Dayne went the wrong way on three audible calls, saying he was bothered by an ear infection and crowd noise, and was held to a season-low average of 3.3 yards a carry.
After scoring on a 34-yard touchdown run, Dayne finished the first half with 88 yards on 14 carries. But eight more carries in the second half produced no net yards as Michigan's defense swarmed against the run and quarterback Scott Kavanagh was unable to make enough plays in the passing game.
The '99 recap also mentions Brooks Bollinger. Seriously, that guy was already around back then. Also: it's funny because Ron Dayne never beat Michigan.
This week witnessed the birth of a new MGoFeature, a video-ized version of Brian's picture pages, and the best thing in moving pictures since they told the drunk with the piano to take it to the parlor. Chris of Danger simply put the moment-by-moment analysis of these two plays right into the video. So far he's done Losing Contain, Again Again (above) and (More) Freshman DB Doom.
For facing down the horrors of videography and Youtube, and because we should all encourage him to keep it up, Chris (of Danger) is your Diarist of the Week.
We also had a great diary from Enjoy Life which took another look at The Mathlete's Master's Thesis on going for it on 4th down, but tried to apply a more practical cut-off for when to go:
This is probably better taken as "a conservative coach who doesn't want to lose his job should be calling it like this." I took his data, punched in some of my own numbers, and came up with a more specific chart, using Michigan's offensive and defensive statistics from Penn State, that we should use for the rest of the 2010 season:
Grid of Expectation
We had the usual bout of prognosticators again this week, although I fear this is the last we will see this season of one of them:
|Our Defense, Their Offense - Judgment Call||mistersuits||Normalized PPG and YPG||M, 28-24|
|Penn St Preview||The Mathlete||PAN||M, 35-24|
|A Halloween Statistical Look at Saturday's Game||Mr. McBlue and RR Too||RR's history on Halloween||M, 31-26|
|Post Week 8: Yardage Analysis and Predictions + Score Predictor||tpilews||Yardage-Score||M, 35-24|
|Things to think about this week+small PSU preview||tasnyder01||Bored||PSU < 350yds|
|Gray's Sports Almanac Volume II (2001-2050)||Metro Publishing||Dust-repellant paper||Cubs win 2015 World Series|
|Farewell to the season||THE_KNOWLEDGE||Is from Future||Went Back to the Future|
* Would the plural of "JoePa" be "JoePae" under the original Latin declension?
Fantasy football fan myrtlebeachmaizenblue put together an All-Michigan fantasy football team, and a bunch of responders came back with fantasy teams from other schools. The NFL Wolverines have a vicious passing offense behind Tom Brady behind Jake Long, David Baas, and the 2000 boys, and passing to Navarre's receiver trio (plus Super Mario). We have like no safeties unless you want to count Marlin (but you knew that). RB is Hart.
The Ugly Game of the Week by stubob went with mascots this time. Lesson: don't be a rebel.
On MSU, I figured I'd put this here, though it aint a diary: if you're wondering why Rucker's suspension is not like other 2nd time offenders' DUIs, here's a nifty chart of recent DUIs and the punishments faced. Findings: don't drink and drive, but if you're going to, it's best you have a scholarship to Ohio State.
Yooper tracked Big Ten blogs, a chance for MGoBlog, captain of M-Lore, to show its quality (the very highest). The Quantcast stats are a bit wacky, else RCMB would beat us, but they're not really a blog, so I'm cueing the Yay! girl and calling it a night.
First, a quick note: For all of you diarists who wanted a better way to get at old UFRs, I've added an Upon Further Review Archives to the User-Curated Hall of Fame page. Go forth and discover. Now on with the show...
I tried going without Michigan football this week, and I got a little crazy. I'm ready to admit I have a problem...
I tried to get some football in, heading to my high school alma mater on Friday to watch future Wolverine Shawn Conway not get a ball thrown to him in the Seaholm Maples' 21-7 victory over my Groves Falcons. Stat of the day: current high school girls had on almost as much makeup (2,798 lbs.) as clothing (2,856 lbs.) I'm not complaining out of fuddy-duddyness but envy: I went to high school during the tail end of the grunge era, when about the raciest thing girls would wear to class were inside-out Coed Naked [Professional Occupation] t-shirts.
Which leads me to the real theme of Michigan football this week:
To see why, scroll down to find Six Zero's absolutely epic Wife Day Preview:
- Ann Taylor has coupons of any kind.
- She brings an early Christmas Shopping List
- New stores, with a Grand Opening Sale.
Cackle with knowing glee if...
- My wife says “Wow, those surround sound units are amazing.”
- The words “Go ahead and I’ll catch up with you later” are even whispered.
- Live football is being displayed on any television in my basic vicinity.
The post, which instantly made the User-Curated Hall of Fame, has already spawned an Opponent's Press Conference, a post-game flame war on the boards, and a movie! Unfortunately there was no liveblog, but chance of a UFR is 80 percent. To wit: we MGoHusbands didn't spend the weekend with our wives, but we did spend it on a Michigan football blog talking about spending time with our wives, which for those of us in some form of obsession therapy is major progress.
For leaving his credit rating and not a few man cards at a Pennsylvania outlet mall, Six Zero wins Diarist of the Week, which trophy is going in the garage.
Did You Say Michigan Football?
Yes, and let's talk about that...
Little bro is having a good time at our expense, and we're not really sure what year it is, and all of this is really hard to deal with, but it's okay because thanks to BlockM we are now seeing a therapist:
Older Man: Hey kid, I don't know a lot... but you see this? All this shit. It's not your fault.
The older man steps toward the young man and opens the manila envelope. It's full of freep articles and newspaper clippings. The one on top declares the 3-9 season to be the worst of all time. Another can be seen proclaiming the exact number of hours since Michigan beat Ohio State.
Young Man: Yeah, I know that. It's all those stupid injuries.
Older Man: Look at me son. It's not your fault.
Young Man: I know, the recruiting has been bad.
Older Man: It's not your fault.
We also go to Drakeep for a second opinion.
What if I'm Just Afraid of Lions?
LOLZ. No, the ones who wear neckerchiefs and pasted us the last two years.
Oh, those. Don't worry about those...
Fortunately, all things Nittany aren't nearly as terrifying this year, partly because they were Michigan 2008 at quarterback to begin with, and because since then their roster reads like an OSHA report.
If you want more (of course you do -- you're obsessed, right?) MGoDiarists have provided.
User kb starts us off with a predictive win model (which--SPOILER--predicts WIN!) using a combination of tempo-free stats. Our PREDSCORE is 1.21, good for fifth (behind OSU, MSU, Iowa and Wisconsin) in the Big Ten. Penn State (-0.88) is 8th.
Nonnair also noticed something interesting: Penn State seems to do most of its passing on 1st down:
Based on these stats, occasional watching of PSU games, and poring over their play-by-play sheets this year, this Penn State team throws deep almost exclusively on first down, and has found success that way for TDs in three of the past four games.
- Daryll Clark (Half-Brady/Half-Duck?) is gone.
- If it's gonna happen, it'll happen quickly.
Quit the Psychobabble and Give Me Statistics!
With the bye week things were a little light in the MGoMath department, but some of the usual suspects came on with post-Iowa updates.
Enjoy Life came in with his excellent updates using national rankings that actually mean something (stern look, BCS), where he shows us the Michigan who lost to MSU and Iowa is still pretty much the same Michigan that torched Bowling Green:
... Based on these rankings, M maintains a 43% chance for a +5 WLM (9-4 or better) season and an 83% chance for a winning season.
As for what's different now than three weeks ago, Enjoy Life has you covered on that too. In a single word: "turnovers." In a thousand words:
Throw ball to wrong team = please return expectations to 7-5.
But We're Gonna Be Awesome in the Future, Right?
Well, that depends on a lot of things. There was a really good board discussion this week by cypress on a best-case scenario for next year's defense. It wasn't bumped to Diary, but when you include all the responses it's about on that level, and includes several responses that could have been diaries themselves. Read so you know what to be rooting for.
Usually I don't bother sharing things written by the MGoStaff, and this will get covered again in Tim's Wednesday Recruiting, but I would be remiss if I didn't bring up TomVH's best-guess diary. For those of you who have just a passing (i.e. healthy) level of interest in the next crop, this is for you, since it gives a general overview of the guys Michigan is likely to add next year. Short-short version, the 2011 class will be something kinda like this:
In meta-recruiting, MGoBlog has great luck in finding All American diarists, but because we're college football fans, of course we're always on the lookout for the next big thing. My bold prediction: this guy tasnyder01, who created his account just 8 days ago, will one day join the ranks of the Great, Bored, and Need to Share Our Thoughts. He made his diaretic debut this week when I bumped his UFR of Kenny Demens from the board, and he posted that just two hours after a comprehensive rundown of secondary losses that I almost bumped as well. He's still really raw, but if our coaches can teach tasnyder01 to use a WYSIWYG editor we might have a future Diary All Star on our hands. You heard it here first.
- Communist Football continued his regular series, tracking Michigan, Big Ten, and NCAA records likely to get Denarded.
- Your weekly Week in Pillow Fights by stubob is back this..uh...week.
- Wereverine reminds us that Sweatervest locking up Ohio talent is probably more worrisome for Michigan than anything happening in-state.
Stay sane, people, or else end up like Penn State fans; you'll get to meet them this week.
Pic note for Buckeye fans: I see your non sequitur and raise it to allegory.
Are all my troubles here to stay?
Paul McCartney woke up one morning with 90 percent of Yesterday playing in his head. He sat down at a piano, worked out the chords and the melody, and before lunch had created one of the seminal musical achievements of his generation. Then he started tinkering with it. And tinkering. And tinkering.
As told in Yesterday's revisitation by the Beatles on Ukulele project:
Just about everyone around Paul became sick and tired of Yesterday before it was finished. While he was finessing it on the set of “Hard Days Night”, director Richard Lester got so bored of McCartney’s endless fussing that he lost his temper and told Paul to “finish the bloody thing or I’ll have the piano removed from the set.”
It's been 1,035 days since Rich Rodriguez joined the Michigan football program. It's been considerably longer since that morning in 1989 or 1990 when he awoke with an epiphany:
"If they have to defend the QB, I can run from the spread,"
... scribbled some lines on a play sheet, and by lunch had created his generation's seminal football achievement. Then he tinkered.
Like Lester, the Michigan faithful are getting antsy for a finished product. We've seen the spread 'n shred run by Steven Threet, Nick Sheridan, Tate Forcier and Denard Robinson. We've gotten used to it, so much so that imperfections, e.g. sophomore quarterbacks throwing interceptions while being chased by Adrian Clayborn, stand out. But this thing is happening. It just tagged the 4th best defense in the nation for 522 yards.
I'm sure every section has their "Unacceptable" person. Section 37's is a shrill lady who yells "You're pissing me off!" whenever something pisses her off. Things that pissed her off yesterday:
- Taylor Lewan false starts.
- Not converting on 3rd and 16 in the redzone, then missing the field goal
- Steve Schilling false starts while standing next to Taylor Lewan
- Iowa converting on 3rd and 16 from about the same spot on a give-up-and-kick HB draw
- Iowa converting on 3rd and long
- Denard throwing up an interceptable duck
- Forcier throwing up an interceptable duck
- Missing field goals (in general)
- Vincent Smith fumbling
- Kickoffs going out of bounds at the 3 yard line (this she blamed on RR for not teaching his kickers the rules)
- Lots of other stuff that was Rich Rod's fault.
Later in the evening I found myself on a grimy, uncomfortable couch in the backyard of my sister's boyfriend's place in Commerce, filled with far more rum & apple cider than the human digestive system was ever designed for, and trapped between my sister's friend and Misopogal, while they attempted to fill the space I was clearly occupying with natter about earrings and piercings.
So I sent out drunk texts: about Kenny Demens's apparent middle linebacker competence, and 522 yards, and making coaches prepare for both Forcier and Denard, and improbability drives. (Side note: sending the same drunktext to multiple friends is not advised, unless you are prepared to have six text conversations at once about the same topic.)
I'm still not sure how to take these last two games, Diary. Right about the same time in 1990, when the now-ratty couch was probably some respectable couple's living room, MTV was voting Paul's opus the greatest pop song in history, and Rich Rodriguez was scribbling the first zone-read play, Michigan under Year One of Moeller had also just lost two home games to Michigan State and Iowa in quick succession, falling to 3-3 (1-2). That team ultimately won out and finished No. 7 in the AP poll. It also had Tripp Welborne.
Do I long for yesterday? I remember when, not too long ago, we were Iowa, sitting the safeties back, betting on Woodley et al. to force the offense into mistakes, getting a two-score lead, then shifting to a zone-left neutral while "that spread team" created a far-too-interesting 4th quarter. Then we won (except when we didn't).
But I woke this morning with as much hope as hangover. Sure this looks like last year (I just made Brian's naughty list): the comeback over Notre Dame, the slaying of MACrifices, the defensive-exposing Big Ten opener against Indiana, and losing to MSU and Iowa after three quarters of getting dominated followed by a just-short comeback, right down to the excuse of the Heisman candidate QB's bum shoulder.
The difference: when Denard gets hurt, there's Tate behind him. We didn't put up 522 yards against the No. 4 defense in the country because we have Denard, nor because we have Tate, but because we have both of them. The genius of the Beatles wasn't in John Lennon or Paul McCartney, but in Lennon & McCartney.
So I don't want yesterday. I want collaboration. Start each game with Denard, and after a few series, assess. If he's gashing them for big yards so that the opponent has to bring their safeties into the box to open up the "freakout" plays, Robinson stays in. If, like with Iowa and MSU, they're generally keeping Denard to 3- to 5-yard runs without sacrificing coverage, in comes Tate, our "improbability drive," who will either score spectacularly or flame out spectacularly -- hey, if we're losing, changing the game dynamic is a good thing. If, by luck/Forcier-Moxie, we even it back up, back goes Denard and long QB-Iso drives that may or may not flame out around the opponent's 25 -- like Lloyd ball except it gets 5.5 yards per carry and doesn't turn the ball over.
This is only if Denard's passing struggles against good defenses continues. If he regains his accuracy from the Notre Dame game, then on with the Dread Show.
Some things can't improve. Jordan Kovacs isn't going to get fast enough to pick off that Rick-Six, nor is James Rogers ever going to be able to recover from a stop-and-go in time to cover the back of the end zone.
But Gordon will probably learn how to tackle, and I wasn't imagining that MLB competence. Our defense, while missing its best player, was making 2 out of 3 plays, which is a big improvement from the 1 in 3 earlier this year. Next year the sophomore offense will be a junior offense, and the freshman defense will be a sophomore defense. Take away a third of the mistakes in Yesterday and we make big.
Like you, I'm impatient to witness the final cut of Rich Rod's supposed masterpiece at the end of Help! But I wasn't impatient when I was sitting on that couch. I was messed up and thinking crazy thoughts like "How can a coach plan for both Tate and Denard?" -- and a collaboration that might produce the football equivalent of Rubber Soul and Revolver before these two guys graduate....and how that stuff was way cooler than Yesterday. This isn't the end of the line; this is a 4-loss team, like the ones that pissed Section 37 Lady off in 1996, except the four losses will be because of youth and talent deficiency instead of complacency. This is a young, mistake-prone team who can't kick field goals, but whose best days are still ahead of them.
Those are just my thoughts this week. Here's some much more reasonable ones...
After yesterday's game, bronxblue went ahead and provided a little perspective, telling his story in the only way such a tale could be told: Bruce Willis Movie Posters.
User mi93 created a diary called -- stop me if you've heard this before -- "Dear Diary," where things like the following are said:
What matters is this – this is your team, to encourage, to cheer, and to support. These are young men who appear to be representing the university with far greater class than some of us. And this team deserves our passion for them to succeed, without our inflated expectations for what we think they should be.
The sentiment is a good reminder for...uh...mostly people who don't read MGoBlog. As for the name, our lawyers have been in contact with mi93; we want the pants!
|Post Week 6: Yardage Analysis and Predictions + Score Predictor||tpilews||YPG||35-28 Iowa|
|Tempo-Free Offense and Defense Points-Per-Posession: Iowa||bigmc6000||Tempo-free stats||30-21 Iowa|
|Historic Comparison: Penalties in the Michigan vs. Iowa Game||profitgoblue||Recent penalty history||M can handle 4 penalties, not lots|
|Week #6 National Rankings, Fremeau Efficiency Index, and Sagarin Predictor for Iowa||Enjoy Life||Sagarin, Fremeau, etc.||Iowa by 1 to 3 pts.|
|Iowa Preview||The Mathlete||PAN||28-27 M|
|THE KNOWLEDGE CHALLENGE: 5||The_Knowledge||Is from future||M win|
|Our Defense, Their Offense - Ostrich Strategem||mistersuits||Normalized PPG and YPG||38-28 Iowa|
|Prevew: Iowa 2010||Brian||cubist lolcat||34-28 Iowa|
Wowzers - mistersuits totally nailed it (FTR I said 38-28 too -- and for those of you familiar with BHGP regulars, is Bellanca like their version of me, or a contrarian dufflepud chief..uh...like me?), and everyone was so close that the most inaccurate prognosticator was the guy from the future. Nobody said nuffin' about 522 yards and an extended Tate Experience, but when you know the final score of Saturday's game on Friday morning, you gotta leave some surprise for the viewers.
For pinpointing the final score, and because his weekly work deserves some recognition, I'm naming mistersuits your Eric Crouch Memorial Career-Reward for Another Good Season Diarist of the Week (FTR I would have given that one to Randel El).
Michigan at the Midway
After six games, MGoDiarists took the opportunity to assess Michigan's season at its half-way point (not counting bowls...natch).
Let's start with that by shorts, which is actually an Interactive Mid-Season Recap. Offensive MVP, Defensive MVP, Best play, "Clutch-est" play, Best freshman, Unsung hero, Biggest disappointment, and Best moment all have nominations. He updates as he goes.
Regular diary hero The Mathlete put Michigan's first six matches into his PAN and fried up a little season projection:
As he notes in the diary, this is a full game and a half behind where we were after Indiana, largely because MSU was supposed to be close and wasn't, but also because Michigan's remaining opponents improved their competence at the same time. In case "written by The Mathlete" wasn't enough, I reiterate: go read.
Communist Football again updated his Denard records book after MSU, though I'm sure the Iowa numbers have put some dampness on the projections.
Our favorite background artist monuMental is back in business after his legal snafu got sorted out a bit -- you saw his latest on the main page late last week.
The this week in pillowfights column of stubob continued with a short week (and I spiced it up a bit for fun).
Some other M sports got mentions. The first to highlight is the bumped-from-the-boards collection of cagers notes from mgoblue.com junky MGoShoe, which started as a note about there being no midnight basketball this year, and turned into a press conf. recap with all sorts of good stuff, including the news that Evan (gonna try to spell this from memory here) [Smotcrycz]...dammit, it's Smotrycz. S-M-O-T-R-Y-C-Z. I'm gonna get that right eventually. Golden something goes to whoever can come up with the best mnenomic to remember it.
Meanwhile, if you think it's time to start paying attention to the volleyball squad, then 1) you're absolutely correct, since they're awesome this year, and 2) Tom from AA has you covered.
Lourdfoul learned some things about this year's team after the Michigan State game, such as:
Denard Robinson is not an Ice-in-his-veins gunslinger. His throws have great zip and are largely accurate, especially so when the throw is shortish or his target is stationary. Against Indiana (and the rest of the schedule so far) his receivers have been so open that a slightly inaccurate ball wasn't noticeable. Against Michigan St the receivers were covered much better, and the picks in the end zone were the result.
Other Lordfoul lessons: Obi Ezeh is to blame, Kovacs is not, Cullen Christian should be moved to...linebacker?!? I stopped reading there and moved on to fisk in the comments (then didn't fisk). But others did, and the discussion is enlightening with regards to what happened this week.
User schmakj wants to head off any "West Virginians are X" memes among the Michigan fanbase, because: Fielding Yost. I mention it only to let other diarists know what is my absolute maximum tolerance for diary topics. This has some redeeming discussions on the ties between West Virginia and the Michigan football program, which as FYI are enough to keep in on the board. As to whether a state's contribution to Michigan football can redeem it for general douchebaggery, here's the place that gave us Bo, Desmond, and Woodson:
HeismanPose has up his post-Iowa Sunday Morning Stats, (e.g. Michigan is 3rd in total offense, 17th in scoring), which you should memorize every week.
Also in statistics, Enjoy Life gives us our weekly update on turnovers and special teams, where in just two short weeks, the 2010 season has gone from from YES! to HELP! and has a Chart? chart that perpetuates the hateful "2010 = 2009" meme:
Last week's came after I posted Dear Diary, but it's here, and basically says that turnovers are going to play a huge role in Michigan's fortunes this year (after one week: uh huh). The upside: if Michigan manages to get in and out of Happy Valley without crapping any beds, and everyones' dongs survive Illinois, we can get off that track. Until this happens, however, I advise an extra pair of sheets and Everlast undergarmentry.
Not THIS dong!