At press time, Harbaugh had sent Michigan’s athletic department an envelope containing a heavily annotated seating chart, a list of the 63,000 seat views he had found unsatisfactory, and a glowing 70-page report on section 25, row 12, seat 9, which he claimed is “exactly what the great sport of football is all about.”
This isn't a stage of grief but it is a stage of life: at some point during the long process of disintegrating into a grotesque version of yourself, you stop asking rhetorically when the kids will visit, stop being horrified at the exponential indignities, stop trying to convince everybody you're still just as capable as ever, and just decide to be tickled to death at anything good. You're past caring what ol' so-and-so thinks, and save your opinion that Alabama is something to be ashamed of, not commit to, for the people at your bridge game.* When the doorbell rings you expect it to be Death; if it's the grandkids, we'll order subs and won't that just be grand!
MGoBlog, you've reached the Appreciation stage. Right now on the board you can see a thread for appreciation of Jabrill Peppers, and appreciation itself, and one for Al Borges, and I even made one for you, dear readers. Where are the rest? Where did they come from? I'll allow you this peek behind the curtain:
Poor Ace. We'll put that one with Treadwell's and Levenberry's. And Armani Reeves and Sam Grant and Josh Garnett and Bri'onte Dunn and Anthony Standifer (the second time) and all of Tim's 2011 opponent previews, and some weirdness Brian puts up every once in awhile. Okay ONE example:
(•_•) <) )> ooohh / \
I don't know. But that's your user content this week: people admitting our program feels every year of 134. Next time we have Ohio State over let's wear our ratty sweatpants and make fun of their latest girlfriend. What is she 25? Really.
Having two 5th year senior tackles don't seem to matter at all. Having an average of 1 year in the program among the three interior guys is not good, but it's not death either: the second star to the left over Michigan is UCLA. Gandalf the Maize, you are the Diarist of the Week. Also I like your wizard hat.
You probably already saw the incredibly detailed one by Space Coyote where he disagrees with Brian over whether Kerridge should be able to make that one block. I have a unifying theory: the part of the brain that has the ability to release the enzymes with which to formulate excuses is often destroyed in the process of playing or coaching football. Ask a coach sometime about the Alabama game last year; he'll probably tell you that was on execution too.
Stubbornly sticking to an offense their players can't run.
The anecdotal approach both addresses where our expectations are too high (they can't run simple stuff AND not be predictable) but mostly confirms the general complaints about stubbornness and misusing the personnel.
Etc. I think Brian linked to the weeklies in previous posts, but if you missed it here's parallels between Michigan and the Soviet Space Program. Dragonchild wants to bring helpful signs for the other team that say "WE'RE RUNNING" or "WE'RE PASSING" that our fans can use to prove just how predictable they're being. Has nobody considered what would happen if Borges just starts calling whatever's on the signs?
There are five lines up here, and room for six under each M—seven if they don't have header rows beneath. So that's maybe 26 years before we have to worry about how to fit more scores on the jug gain. How did we beat them 42-13 this year?
"the part of the brain that has the ability to release the enzymes with which to formulate excuses is often destroyed in the process of playing or coaching football. "
So... if you haven't played/coached you somehow don't have the ability to address what is happening with any accuracy? Is that what you are saying? I am smart enough to know (how) to fly an f-18 and I can probably write about it to a depth of where most of my facts are absolutely correct. Bet I can't land it on the damn carrier though
I have a unifying theory: the part of the brain that has the ability to release the enzymes with which to formulate excuses is often destroyed in the process of playing or coaching football. Ask a coach sometime about the Alabama game last year; he'll probably tell you that was on execution too.
I confess, I do not understand the actual wording of this. It appears to say that playing or coaching football destroys your ability make an excuse? Which I don't understand at all.
My clarity on the exact wording of this aside, given previous statements from the canon of mgoblog leads me to believe this statement means to suggest that playing or coaching football makes one incapable of blaming anything but execution for any issue.
Given the wording, this appears to suggest that playing or coaching football makes you dumber and incapabe of seeing things that only a lay person can see.
I understand Seth to be a good and thoughtful person and strongly suspect he does not really mean to insinuate that Space Coyote or any other player or coach is somehow less intelligent for having coached or played football. I suspect the wording here or my understanding is off. Please clarify this statement.
I mean that they've had the concept of personal culpability bludgeoned into them to the point that they're now far less likely to sympathize with whining. Casual observers retain the ability to see that a job was kinda hard; football coaches in my experience believe that a job's difficulty is not important as the fact that you took the job and it's now your responsibility to get it done.
It's an admirable trait on the whole. The negative side of this outlook is it gives you less patience for bad execution.
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Take a classic example: catching passes. What does every coach in America, and anyone who has ever played football, say about catching balls? "If it hits your hands, you should catch it." But if you ask someone who is familiar with the general physics of catching, they'll tell you that a ball thrown between the numbers is going to be caught WAY more often than a ball on the fingertips.
Does a the receiver not "execute" if he drops the ball? Sure. But an outside observer is more likely to conclude that if you throw 100 balls in that spot, you are statistically going to see fewer caught, ceteris paribus, than you will with perfect throws.
Likewise, coaches and players seem more likely to say that if a play accounted for a certain contingency that it was an execution thing rather than a scheme thing. But I, as someone who hasn't played organized football since 9th grade, can look at a diagram and say that just because the Fitz line intersects the Shilique Calhoun line doesn't mean that anything Calhoun does is Fitz's fault.
Now you're breaking out the latin on me? I'm in trouble now.
It does strike me that you folks at MGoBlog have become what you criticized. Brian's post was mostly spent reacting to the generalization that bloggers can't have valid view points because they never played or coached. (An argument which, to my knowlegde SC never made, but its not like I had time to read all of the stuff he posted.) You and Seth now seem to be suggesting that coaches and players can't have valid views because they are players/coaches.
“Your satisfaction lies in your illusions/ But your delusions are yours and not mine”
in what. ? You think coaches don't take how difficult a particular play or action is? Do you think for a minute that part of what we are seeing is the coaches really simplifying many things to find a point where the offense gels and is effective. You'd be having a shit fit if they were making it harder.
There are also expectations for players on a graduated scale. Certainly would have to hold Fitz accountable for troubles he's had in pass pro - he's been there 4 years and has been taught technique I'm sure.
I have also seen Mattison exactly say what you are proposing the coaches don't do (it's your responsibility...) with regards to Stribling. He's talked about how he has been right there and it just has to start breaking his way and expressed confidence that it will. He didn't fling Strib under the bus and say he just has to execute.
Whatever spooked all of you about Space Coyote sure has revealed kind an interesting side to your positions and assumed status.
everything about offense is difficult for this team, and the coaching staff does not seem to be doing much of anything to make it easier.
Even simple things, in the absolute, are difficult to this team. Either our guys are dumber than a collective box of rocks, or there is something wrong with the way these simple concepts are being presented that makes them appear complex to our players.
I don't understand your point, and you seem to be missing Seth's point, which has nothing to do with coaches throwing players under the bus. To use your example, what good does it do to "hold Fitz accountable" for his lousy pass protection -- I assume we'd prefer that the coaches not put him in that position anymore, having tried to teach him for 4 years and having seen that he still can't do it. The problem is that Borges keeps trying things that have repeatedly failed before, and then he throws his hands up in the air and exclaims "Bad Execution!" when they inevitably fail again. Seth is just hypothesizing that coaches might be more inclined to see things that way, rather than considering whether a particular player on a particular current roster has demonstrated an aptitude to make a particular kind of play.
Mattison, as you point out, seems to be an exception to Seth's posited "rule." Ironically, the best coach on the Michigan staff for identifying weaknesses and vowing to correct them, rather than just declaring "Bad Execution!", also seems to be the best coach in getting proper execution out of his players.
I have enjoyed your writing. Can you please clarify that statement about Space Coyote. To me, it read like a parting shot at someone who has been pretty effectively chased off the Board already. Your unifying theory that playing or coaching effects (damages?) the brain is in incredibly poor taste. I'll give you the benefit of doubt and just assume that you didn't think that one all the way through. Clarification would be nice, though.
“Your satisfaction lies in your illusions/ But your delusions are yours and not mine”
Seeing as science hasn't actually identified the enzyme in question, and coaching has never been shown to have any physical impact on brain chemistry, we can be pretty confident that this was what is known in lay-circles as "hyperbole."
if Michigan started to use "Run" and "Pass" signs on the sideline to signal plays. They could be disguised if the pictures actually had Kate Upton holding the words. I would guess that at least half of the other players would be distracted.
Best of all everyone in the stadium would know what play was coming up ..... oh yeah, we already do. /s
No place on earth I'd rather be on a football Saturday than Michigan Stadium !
We hold up the "RUN PLAY" sign and run into a 9 man stacked box. They would never see it coming. I mean, why would the defense believe us if we showed them the play every time, and actually ran that play?
Seems like as fans we're in a dilemma here. If we say that the plays being called are too difficult for the players and they are not being put in a position to be successful, then the play calling should be simplified. If we complain that the play calling is to predictable because it's simple, then the solution would be more plays which require a deeper understanding and developed skill. We're arguing in circles.
The real question is why aren't the offensive linemen and running backs showing any signs of improvment or growth?
FWIW I felt like Brian's argument was that the inverted veer play failed because Gardner wasn't optioning anyone (because he should have been optioning off the DE in this type of play). SC's counter argument was that becasue of the defensive setup, Gardner should have been (and apparently was) optioning off of the SAM. The play didn't fail because of the lack of a read, it failed because the FB didn't make his block. Which brings us back to the real question, why aren't the offensive linemen and running backs showing any signs of improvment or growth?
I respectfully disagree. I’m not angry, I understand what you’re trying to say, but I strongly disagree with the hypothesis.
What you’re saying is like the Calc 4 professor I had, whom when asked a question by a student answered “That’s elementary, I can’t go back and cover that”, because apparently we were supposed to have learned it in Calc 3 or something, instead of, you know, as college students. But that professor doesn’t really think it’s elementary. He knows this stuff is hard. But it’s relative to him.
Football is hard. Other times it’s really hard, but at its easiest it’s just hard. If it wasn’t hard I would have spent my time out on that field during my college years rather than coaching high school football, because I know I tried. But it is hard. We see it all the time when we coach our players. We see the things they struggle with. We go through the process in our living rooms, working out the footwork, first at a walking pace, then at half pace, then three-quarter speed, then full speed, until our significant other finally comes out and yells “what the hell are you doing” and we desperately wait for the days when we have a basement instead of an apartment so they can’t see/hear us going through these phases and motions and movements, all in an effort to understand so we can teach it better to our players.
And yes, different level, yada, yada, but some of us tried to play at this level. Some of us know people that played at this level. Some of us have gone to coaching clinics to hear a college coach go “this is really hard so this is what we have in place to make it easier”. Some of us have seen college practices and seen coaches go through the motions and steps and struggle of trying to get players to do the hard things and the admittedly really hard things. No, we understand it’s hard. These Michigan coaches understand what’s hard. And we understand other aspects of football are really hard.
Take an outside zone play for instance. A scoop block is really hard, I mean really hard. So what do we have in place? If you can’t scoop the guy then just drive him where he wants to go. Just wash him down and let the RB go through his reads and pick his hole based on those reads. We do that because we realize a scoop block is really hard.
On the inverted veer play that was picture paged we saw some things get messed up.
Someone messed up a mental assignment. That happens, it’s football. Maybe he wasn’t confident in the look, maybe he didn’t hear the call from the OT, maybe he wasn’t prepared to the point the coaches thought he was, but the adjustment was pretty easy because it’s one of the first things you learn when doing the blocking scheme.
Same with the FB. I promise the FB learned to make that block appropriately when they were repping Tackle Over stuff, because I promise they expected to get a corner blitz from the tackle over side (because the guy can’t go out and catch a pass, kind of like Funchess when he was covered, which I still don’t like). But that’s a block the FBs have gone over time and time again. And I certainly hope when he got back to the sideline, that whoever his position coach asked him “Where were your eyes at the snap?” “What was the weight distribution on your first step?” “How did you try to track him?” Because I promise the problem was that his eyes didn’t get to the defender fast enough, he over stepped with his first step so he couldn’t redirect with the second which means it takes until his fourth step for him to redirect. That sounds hard. It is. Trust me, I know. But it’s not really hard. It’s football. It’s something they’ve been trained to do and on the relative scale of football it’s kind of easy, which means it’s pretty hard.
But we ask OTs and TEs to make a similar block in almost every game. Across the country OTs and TEs and RBs are asked to make similar blocks. Every tunnel screen (throwback as it’s known around here) has a CB screaming down at it that one of those guys needs to pick up in space. That’s really hard for an OT. I just spent about 1400+ words describing in my last diary why pass pro is so hard, particularly for young OL, and I didn't even take into account moving parts or technique.
So I understand what you’re saying but respectfully disagree. I think as a coach, even at my level, I’ve seen enough to make that distinction.
It's hyperbole. There is no enzyme. It's a joke theory. It's just as much a subtle dig at Brian for trying to over emphasize the strategy part because that's his wheelhouse. Allow that I think neither is extreme, just that biases are a contributing factor. And I'm trying to be lighthearted about it so readers will stay open to both points of view rather than forming divisions.
If we all take the position that we have no biases and those don't affect our opinions, then common ground is impossible. Saying "execution" at a repetitive problem is a very football guy thing to do. I won't ask you to admit Kerridge has demonstrated he's not good enough to make that block to the point that his OC shouldn't be asking him to, and I won't ask Brian to admit that repping power o as much as we think they have should have prepared everybody to do that. I do want you both to recognize you're more likely to identify one thing or another based on your different experiences.
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Like I said, I didn't take offense to it. I knew it was light-hearted in nature because we've talked about this amungst us. But some of the good-hearted attempts at explaining it came off in a way that I wanted to at least defend my position (against how I felt the theory was being made out to be, moreso than hyperbole, I should have made that a bit clearer).
You know my opinion and high-regard of you and this site. I don't think people need to keep taking "sides" in this argument trying to figure out if Brian is right or SC is right or if it's somewhere in between, because I'm guessing it's somewhere in between, likely because when you're defending one thing you tend to go closer to the extreme than you truly believe. I think that whole thing can be put behind us, my diary isn't even on the first page anymore and I don't think Brian's response is on the front page anymore either. That means, in the scope of things, in a what have you done for me lately sort of society, it's in the distant past. We can leave it there.