“On the offense last year, they had great spacing. That’s what I remember. Great spacing, great shooters, like Nik Stauskas, who’s not there right now. But they always have someone to fill the roles. They have a cutting offense, kind of hard to guard.”
"Northwestern fans can be both heartened and disheartened by the loss to Minnesota just like how nineteenth-century resurrectionists were heartened when they pried a heart from a freshly-buried corpse and then disheartened it when they sold it to a disreputable anatomist."
"The experience he has from last year is starting to show," Jazz forward Gordon Hayward said. "He’s making shots, and he made some gutsy plays against Portland. He’s got a confidence about him that he can get the job done."
Conference play has come, and Big Ten teams can safely retreat to their thunderdomes to clobber each other in peace, insulated from the braying mockery of the national media. There is still upheaval. Michigan has fallen apart. Dave Brandon and Brady Hoke have been confined to the Touliers Palace.
I'm back. To all three of you who missed the weekly user content post thank you for your patience as we got HTTV shipped, and then I unplugged and spent five days in the Canadian wilderness. There were loons, a bear, a moose and a bazillion bitemes, then I spent the ride home with a Space Coyote. This diarist of the week issued Part the Third of his awesome series on DG's spring game performance. A sample:
Play 13 - 4:50
Slants with a play action fake to get the LBs to clear out from the underneath zones. Very simple play…
The backside is actually more open on this play, but DG can’t know that because he is accurately going through his progression, which reads that the first man is open (which he is for a TD, good read). On the field side, the slot is more or less intended to clear out that underneath zone from the nickel back/ LBs/ safety by running an initial slant. He doesn’t run a great route but it isn’t too important. The outside WR then runs behind that to a news vacated area, which is also wide open.
These seem to be developing a theme: defense has the 3rd read wide open and gets pressure but the play never goes to the open guy because something short with a small window but higher in the progression order opens up first. I wonder if this is an effect of the defense knowing the offense, or an effect of Gardner's progression being slow, or as the OP seems to suggest, just one of those things. Coyote goes easy on Devin for doing what he's coached to do but I wonder if a senior with a lot of game experience will be more apt to go off the page and punish the defense for catching tendencies. It's may be irrelevant since our senior QB is a sophomore in West Coast passing schemes, but as Space Coyote notes a sophomore Henne once threw to the 2nd read on a very similar play to cap a last-play comeback win against Penn State.
Oy Boy! Last time saveferris penned a roll back the clock I asked for more, and we received. This time the quantum accelerator put us in the pads of Bill Taylor, c. 1971, when Michigan conquered space and Ohio State but couldn't defeat Stanford in the Rose Bowl. As could only happen here, there's an argument in the comments between a historian armed with knowledge of the weather that week and a member of the band who was on the field that day about the grass conditions in Pasadena. Upon further review:
Looks pretty dry guys. How the hell did you remember that? My mom was a junior at Michigan that year and swears she can't remember anything except studying and getting good grades (and how cheap coffee was at Blimpy's). Also trying to imagine MMB choosing a selection with such strong political overtones today.
In other postseasons that Michigan can get screwed in/out of, Stephenrjking and oakapple are playoff wranglin'. The former is a worth-reading discussion on poll bias and how any system that leaves the least up to human pollsters is probably the best for determining a champion. The latter also discusses qualification models like polls, a selection committee, and autobids, and makes a good point about this being a very different animal from basketball's selection committee, which has never seen a champion from the lower 50% of seeds.
Getting crowded down there. Our resident UMgradMSUdad says Nebraska recruiting is starting to shift from Texas (17 players in Pelini's first two seasons, 7 in the last two full classes) to Ohio with the move to the B1G. Since it's mostly 3-stars they're going after, long-term this probably affects Michigan State, which under Dantonio took a lot of the guys Ohio State passed on and fought Nebraska the most in this study, more than Michigan, which is competing more directly with the in-state juggernaut. It helps them that Pelini's from Cardinal-Mooney (Ray Vinopal) in Youngstown, which in my study last year came out very Penn State-ish. This was bound to happen to some degree by letting them in. Nebraska is a traditional powerhouse from a state that doesn't produce a lot of talent, so they're going to pull more from their conference footprint than contribute to it. If the net result is it hastens the Spartans' inevitable return to Spartiocrity I'm okay with it, but the Cornhuskers have traditionally built from the Big XII's footprint; if these players are more and more coming from the Midwest it's going to thin the ranks of the Big Ten. File under obvious.
Etc. The Blockhams is tackling the dog. Soon the dog will be killed by the baby tackler's perfect Kovacsian form and replaced with a shaggy dog named Brian who is working on his blog all the time (MAKE THIS HAPPEN!). Space wallpaper (of Space!).
Best of the Board
FAMOUS PEOPLE SIGHTED, INDUCED TO SAY STUFF
We had a few people attend the myriad traveling events football players and coaches do during offseason and come back reporting on the proceedings.
Hoke at Agonis. Correspondent hart20 recorded Hoke's comments to a group of people in Dayton, Ohio, mostly on things from in and around Dayton, Ohio, that people from Dayton, Ohio, care about, like Ball State, Kaleb Ringer, and Roy Roundtree, but also the Gentleman's agreement (something about golf) and conference realignment.
Woodson at Sunda. Reporting not-live from Chicago, we go to samsoccer7 and coverage of Charles Woodson's new wine. This was originally published on the boards on May 18 but I re-set the clock so it can get its time as a deserved diary. Some good stuff in there, my favorite being why he didn't do the Heisman after the punt return v. Ohio State. Sorry grapenuts, nothing about the wine.
Steve Everitt at Golf Tournament. Brady Hoke's Pet Viking (glad I contributed at least one MGoMeme around here) in an MGoShirt: Ja!
WHENCE THE DUAL-THREATS OF YESTERYEAR?
Whatever happened to all the 2009 (Class of 2010) Elite 11 QBs? Leaders And Best tracked them down and found way more washouts and transfers than projected starters. Devin Gardner is second only to Tennessee's Tyler Bray in guys on this list you'd want to have at this point.
Join the following discussion points. My two cents added here as examples, and because I can get away with it!
What the hell is Devin Gardner's number now? Seriously, is it 12 or was that just a very mean joke to play on someone who has to pay per page edits to a printed preview book? I've heard Funchess is 19 too. People with information, please inform
(It's too late but…) Think of funny names for the sponsor levels Come for the humor. Leave for the lack of relevance to your life.
Six funny press conferences I approved this guy's concept for a daily board post even though the first was very Bleacher Report-y, figuring he had the drive to keep improving. Then it ended after two I guess. The first, eh, forget about it. The second: Tune in, if only for the chance to remember John L. Smith's pouty face. Every time I watch that I see my little brother, age 8, staring straight ahead, explaining how he's pressing the right buttons but the Nintendo's screwing it all up!
FINAL SOFTBALL UPDATE
The season ended against Alabama in the NCAA Super Regional (i.e. Round 2). But this is a game where pitchers dominate and we had two dominant freshmen. Memories: Everybody dancing to Amanda Chidester's "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" coming-to-bat song, Caitlin Blanchard getting hit by a pitch to beat Louisville in the regional, going perfect on the season against OSU/ND/MSU, including a weekend shutout over Michigan State, and this:
YOUR MOMENT OF ZEN
(warning: may cause you to become trapped in amaranthine contemplation of Les Miles. HT: Orson)
Algonquin Park, in Ontario just SW of the Quebec border. For those who know it, from P-Store, first night on Tom Thompson, then Misty, Little Pet to Big Trout, Burnt Island, home. We had a black bear come through our campsite on Burnt Island but fortunately all the food was put away and hung in the food pack where he couldn't get it, so he moved on.
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There are at leaset 9 people here who missed this content.
I'm less amazed by the political content of the Band video than the fact someone aired the whole band performance. Back when the band and college experience mattered, and what whatever studio wonk they had at halftime had to say mattered less. Probably less commercials too. But how about Carl Grapentine in there? Practically a rookie in his 3rd year.
And maybe you can answer- there was no Blockhams Diary this week (but new Blockhams)...something wrong?
But I think I recall SixZero tweeting something about being on vacation this week, and was having the posts uploaded to his blogspot remotely or through someone else, which may explain why they didn't make it to MGoBlog.
The films of the MMB at the '72 Rose Bowl don't come from television broadcasts, but rather an informational film/documentary made about MMB director George Cavender called "The Band Director." It outlines what it takes to put together a halftime show for a bowl game, then what happens when a band goes to the Rose Bowl (traveling, rehearsing, performing at Disneyland, the Rose Parade, the game, etc.). It's pretty pro-George, to say the least. But still cool.
It's about an hour long, and really hasn't ever been publicly available. All of the pregame and halftime footage has been put on YouTube, though, which is nice.
Not to get into it too deeply, George was never particularly known for being a nice guy when it came to interacting with the students or staff, especially during rehearsals. It got especially bad once there were women in the band. There were a lot of people who loved George, no doubt about that. But the common consensus seems to be it wasn't always the most fun place to be when he was around.
Let's put it this way: Cavender was involved with the MMB as either a student or staff member from the late 40s through the late 70s. When it came to naming things, Revelli got a building. After he left, George got the alley/loading dock behind the building. Until they built Cavender Tower at Elbel in ~2002-3.
Grapentine isn't the only rookie (actually sophomore: he was an oboist in the band who became the voice of Michigan bands the year previous) in that video. This was the first year since 1935 that Michigan's band wasn't led by William Revelli. His longtime assistant George Cavender, who had been creating the shows since the '50s, was in his first season as full-on director. And it was the last season the band would be all-male, as they got a female twirler in 1972, and in '73 the first female instrumentalists joined. So while you're watching the band at the end of one era, it was on the cusp of another, and I would suggest even greater, one.
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Checked with MMB member who was a freshman that year
He doesn't remember the weather, but he does remember the halftime show ("Where Have all the Flowers Gone?" -- even remembering the "fading flower") and that there was controversy about the show content. Thinks it may have been Don Canham who "suggested" the band members not do any interviews or answer any questions. This was the Vietnam era, of course, and my question reminded him of another halftime show earlier that season where 1,000 black balloons were released during a moment of silence to honor those lost in the war.