here's one vote for "John Beilein's head in a Futurama jar"
It is quite a surprise we are all here. After the performance of the offense and defense at various times against the Fighting EMUs I expected the worst heading into a game with a talented San Diego State. SDSU’s mascot is the Aztecs. These violent lots of people from history were neighbors to the Mayan civilization. Being so close to 2012, I began thinking Saturday against the Aztecs was a bad omen. If we played like we did versus the Fighting EMUs against this bunch, at the very least there would be a sacrifice of one of our former Aztec coaches.
HOKE also gave fuel to SDSU’s fire because of the way he left. He sent them a text, put on his Sony Walkman and looped the Proclaimers’ smash hit, “I would walk 500 miles.” It left a sour taste in the mouths of many Aztecs and they were ready to stuff MANBAWW FOOTBAWW down HOKE’s throat. But it turned out that HOKE went from being an Aztec to being a Tlaxcalan with the help of his coordinators Cortez and Pedro de Alvarado in the conquering of SDSU.
I wanted to attend this game but the realities of reality would not allow for it. If I were to descend into Ann Arbor for any game at any time, I would not return. I would end up waking on a park bench to a police officer with a cattle prod. Out of respect to my job that pays, I stayed home and watched it on the tele. My roommates thought it would be an excellent day to drop cleaning day at the exact time as the Michigan game. I reminded them that nothing takes precedence over my 3-3 ½ hours of joy I get out of a whole week by shot putting the vacuum cleaner onto Farmington Road. The point was made and the game began.
Pre-Rage Pic of Roomy and Vacuum Cleaner: I think it is a Dyson:
I could not fathom the start that I witnessed. Michigan jumped out to a 14-0 nothing lead quicker than Gorgeous Borges fixes his hair in the morning. The way this game was going, I could enjoy a wonderful trip from my trusty suitcase and enjoy the colors on the screen hoping that a double rainbow appears at midfield. Lou Holthsss would appear and Mike Martin would eat him like a bowl of Luck Charms. Luckily I didn’t take my doctor’s approved amount of blotter or else I would I would be writing from a room full of rubber pads and foam razor blades. The momentum ceased immediately after the numbers 14 dotted the scoreboard.
The defense fought SDSU into a stalemate for most of the game forcing three turnovers. This started prompting the question on many minds if these turnovers were made out of skill or luck. It seems that this year the defense has as many turnovers as Bret Bielema has steaks in his jock strap. All the guessing and analyzing can be done by the professional stat guys in our MGoBlog community, but the fact is that no one really knows. We all know the defense is at least one shade better than the defense last year and that might mean you can pin the answer on that, but Michigan has also being playing with fire the whole year so far with all but one team in the field position battle. EMU and SDSU entered Michigan territory many times luckily coming away with very little. It was like the man and his wife who hung around grizzlies for an extended time period. It seemed fun, dangerous, and amazing that a grizzly didn’t swipe a piece of their fuckin taint and guzzle it down with a side of salmon eggs and fresh spring water until they became the main course one evening as we received a bone chilling feeling listening to their blood curdling screams until their larynx became dessert. Not a scene I want repeating in my head ever again. Michigan’s defense is paying the same game, but with pre-pubescent black bears for opponents save maybe Notre Lame. Eventually we might get a big ole bear swat that deflates our jubilation at the current moment. Maybe not. Maybe Mattison has installed true grit into his players and the bending is all part of the plan as long as he blitzes like bipolar hell banshees until the opponents QB shits the bed like Lindley did this past Saturday. We won’t know until further into the season as we test ourselves against a larger talent pool.
John Wayne Mattison's True Grit Secret Blitz Play:
Offense? Well we have Denard Robinson who sprinkles diamonds on his food because even his shit sparkles. That is unless he passes. Denard sparked the Wolverine offense with his legs once again and helped the team to a 28-7 victory with another 200 yard rushing game. There is no doubt that he is a special human and we all feel like associate doctors watch him surgically disembowel opponents from stadium seating with RAWK theme music. There is one brighter spot that has emerged from an offense that only possessed a Denard Maglite last year that was beaten and thrown around as if sociopathic 6th graders got a hold of a kitten. Vincent Smith is the epitome of a true Wolverine this year. The man who is often confused for a TLC little person show character that runs like a bull moose and fights like a wiry wolverine. This is hopefully a viable option the whole year. There was no other option than Denard last year, and our opponents knew that. He was ran into the ground last year carrying the offense on his shoulders, a tough task to do with a donkey kicking Lewan that sends Chinese Buffets scrambling to lock their doors when he walks down the street. Again, time will tell if Smith will continue to be an option down the road and if Denard’s passing game make’s Dick Cheney’s heart beat more than our opponents. (Dick, I still want fuchsia colored boa back if you are reading this. Until then, I refuse to be bunk mates again if there is another intercontinental emergency or bad Michigan season.)
Never before seen Vincent Smith recruiting video:
With that said we face another opponent that should seriously consider heading up a powerful community college league for a farm program of the USFL. The LOLophers looked like a competitor in their game against USC and then fell apart quickly afterwards. It is bad when your program reminisces about the glory days of Glen Mason. I predict a big win with big Denard numbers again. I will sleep well, but anxiously for the season ahead. I can take care of the anxiety with whisky, codeine, and some glue, but I cannot fix the wrinkles Gorgeous Borges and John Wayne Mattison face ahead. Let the B1G season begin by playing some whack-a-Lolopher and gaining some momentum for the same beginning with a different ending.
P.S. For a sure winning bet on a big game this weekend in Madison, place your bets on the team in red and white.
Interesting article on Craig Roh's tear-down and build up over camp and into this season on MLive.
“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.”
Learn from yesterday...
The final score indicated a beat down as would be expected when Michigan plays Eastern, but I wonder if I am alone in feeling that yesterday's game exposed more flaws with this Michigan team than it addressed. What did we learn, after all?
- Michigan's defense is going to have trouble against the run all year. Seriously, giving up over 200 yards rushing to EMU despite being significantly ahead the entire second half is bad news. This defense would be looking much worse except for some timely turnovers, and while the turnover numbers are encouraging we shouldn't overlook that last year's team was also sitting 3-0 with a significant edge in turnover margin (10/4 this year vs. 6/2 last year).
- Michigan's offense is still mostly Denard, Denard, Denard and a healthy Mr. Robinson is still far more offense than most defenses can handle. Denard does seem to be more solidly built than last year and may hold up better for a while, but he definitely took a beating yesterday, much of which seemed unnecessary. The good news is that Borges seems to understand which side his bread is buttered on, and didn't try to go to mostly under center until the game was in hand. The bad news is summed up by that last drive by Denard, where it seemed like Hoke/Borges are so desperate to see Denard progress as a drop-back QB that they eschewed a great opportunity to get Gardner some meaningful snaps.
- Michigan needs Hagerup back. Wile's kicks aren't a ton shorter in distance, but their hang time is non-existent and every one is a threat to be returned for big yardage. It is leading to Michigan fighting uphill in the field-position battle every game. A kickoff into the endzone would be nice too, but doesn't seem to be in the cards unless the wind big at our backs.
- Michigan is much better in the Red-Zone it would seem. This may be because of the turnover margin not yet flipping like it did last year, but with 10 TDs and 1 FG out of 11 trips into the Red-Zone (1 actually from the 21, close enough), this year's team seems vastly improved in this area. Of course we must consider the strength of competition here.
Live for Today…
Several Michigan players should bask in the glow of their accomplishments:
1. Denard Robinson – Honestly asked to do far too much, Denard answered as only he can carrying the team with nearly 300 yards of total offense including ~200 yards rushing on 26 carries. He took far too many shots from EMU's defense and is going to be feeling some discomfort this week. It was ominous when the commentators noted that Denard was limited by arm-pain in practice last week. If Michigan is going to a decent bowl game this season, they are going to need Denard playing near 100%.
2. Vincent Smith – Really showed off the shiftiness that was missing last year, along with some great speed. 118 yards on 9 carries = awesome. The fact that Smith had no TDs validates the yards even more, as none were of the seeya variety.
3. Michigan Defense – The run defense was awful, see above. But Michigan did limit EMU to only 3 points and won the TOP for the first time in a long time. The most encouraging part of this year's defense is that they seem to get better as the game progresses. This is probably Mattison.
4. Jeremy Gallon – I just love that this guy is finally putting his stamp on the program. So far he seems like Odoms with better speed.
5. Drew Dileo – First TD in a Michigan uniform. Congratulations young man.
Also of note was the play of Jake Ryan, Mike Martin, and Craig Roh. Also Heninger seemed to redeem himself somewhat.
Hope for Tomorrow
Bask in 3-0 for now, because this team is looking to be on much the same course as last season so far. I think that our reliance on Denard Robinson will actually help us next week against SDSU, because our offense will not look like what Rocky Long remembers a Borges offense looking like. Then again, our run defense might get gutted by Ronnie Hillman. SDSU will put a scare into us at least.
Our biggest hope for the whole season may actually be Borges's willingness to adapt to Denard's strengths as well as Mattison's willingness to use naked aggression to mask our defense's glaring flaws. Like last year, this team is going to sink or swim based on their ability to outscore opponents. The opponents seem less daunting however, and we have better coaches. I am reasonably anticipating 8-9 wins still as long as the most key players stay healthy. If we can keep the TO margin on the happy side, perhaps this team can develop into a dark horse division championship contender.
Go Blue and stay safe.
Watching the replay of the 1/1/2000 Orange Bowl.
Man, I'd love to have that Michigan defense playing again this year!
Since halftime of the Illinois game, it sure feels that the Michigan defense is playing better.
Drive stats bear that out. Impressively, too. (Impressive? Our defense? Who knew.)
Excluding the overtimes vs Illinois and Purdue's last-minute garbage-time drive, the M defense has faced 22 drives that mattered in regulation in the past three halves of football.
Number of drives allowed of 30+ yards: Only THREE. (by far the biggest about-face stat of them all)
Number of touchdowns allowed: Only TWO (both by Illinois, and one on a 28-yard drive after Tate's inexplicable first-play fumble).
Number of FG attempts allowed: Only FOUR, but three were after deep-in-M-territory turnovers by our O, after which our defense held all three times on drives of 9, 16 and 2 yards.
Number of forced punts: ELEVEN
Number of three-and-outs: EIGHT
Number of interceptions: TWO
Number of recovered fumbles: THREE
Ummmm, isn't that what real defenses are supposed to do?
Yeah, I get it. Neither Illinois nor Purdue is good. But last year, and earlier this year, our defense was bad against bad teams, even bad this September against a I-AA team.
This is very good against one bad team and one mediocre team.
This is progress, boys.
What's more, by my count only three starters on D today were in those roles in September: CB James Rogers, DE Ryan Van Bergen and S Jordan Kovacs. Otherwise, backups were in today, or permanent replacement starters (who are playing better than their predecessors, eg Vinopal and Demens) or relocated starters (Cam Gordon, Craig Roh) whose strengths are propelled and weaknesses diminished in these new roles.
Perhaps best of all, these (um) not-exactly-fab five true-frosh DBs (Carvin, Avery, Vinopal, TTalbott and Christian) are starting to make plays, and that's because they're NEAR the ball when it reaches a WR. They're growing up. And getting comfortable. And thus making occasional plays.
Wisconsin and Ohio State both have offenses that are light-years better than Purdue's, and far better than Illinois', but hey. As Bo said, you're either getting better or you're getting worse. And we're getting better on D.