“I’m way more comfortable,” Gardner said. “Last year was my first year starting, and it was rough, a lot of ups and downs, a lot of adversity. A lot of adversity I fought through, and I feel like I did a really good job of never giving up, never giving up on myself and my teammates. I feel my teammates recognized that, and my coaches recognized that, and I feel like that will help me.”
I've got this dresser I'm painting to go with our bedroom furniture. A few weekends ago I got one coat on it. Then it rained and ruined half the second coat. So I took it out there again but it started to rain on and off and I had to hide it under the garage overhang. Every day I check to see if there will be six good hours of sunlight somewhere to stick the last coat on it, and every time there's a dollop of drizzle here, a sprinkle there, and at least one good pour per day.
It is as hopeless and infuriating as being a Michigan fan. I know we can't complain too hard because there are places like West Lafayette where it just rains all the time, or Champaign where the weatherman predicts sun so you'll be outside when the softball-sized hail comes.
Your April shower was Urban Meyer coming to piss on your attempt to add a grad-year transfer to the OL, and now May flowers with a boatload of puritan crap.
I'm still livid. For a second there it looked like at least one of Michigan's major sports was going to be sustainably great, so of course that's when the most insane decision yet by an organization best known for blithering stupid decisions knocks basketball from a likely 1-seed to something way less than that. McGary's mad too, but the NBA's not a terrible fallback plan. Michigan got screwed the most.
The last guy I could find to get the one-year ban was a role player at UNLV who lost his 5th year to it in 2010. We've been scouring Google to turn up polls and quotes to give you some idea of how ubiquitous pot-smoking is among college athletes. The NCAA's own study came back at 1 in 5:
I'm suddenly liking lacrosse more
So how is it, even if the draconian rule only applies to the playoffs, that the merciless league can only manage to tag one guy every four years? There's a synthetic version that regular pot-smoking athletes will use during the season to beat the tests. So when they do catch a guy with good ol'fashioned THC in his system, it's usually only because he's a total amateur. No pun intended.
Whence the leapers?
I know Jones is 10, but I keep getting Dukes (83) and York (81) confused.
The 2012 receiver class had a pair of high 4-star types with similar I-saved-my-family-from-a-terrible-place-in-Africa stories. The 2014 class had the guy who rewrote the in-state record books and what already looks like a gem in Freddy Canteen. Lost in the narrative have been the three large-and-leapy 2013 guys. What do we expect from C'sonte, Jaron and Da'Mario? That's a good question.
This year I expect depth. In addition to Gallon we also graduated Dileo and Jackson and Reynolds. If Nussmeier indeed goes 3-wide a lot more as we hope, then at least one of them ought to figure on the two-deep in 2014.
Jones is more "slot-like", i.e. thin, though he's not at all short. I think his upside is Roy Roundtree, and so long as they leave him in the slot that'll be just fine. Dukes and York represent a specific type of receiver who can simply muscle past the type of legal-unless-they-call-it press coverage en vogue these days, and simply out-leap the 5'8 buggers who won't have any trouble staying with them. They're development projects: it takes years to perfect off-the-snap and route techniques to make this work. Unfortunately, Michigan only bothered to get a redshirt on Dukes last year, which, given Mathlete's finding that receiver experience is a big deal, is infuriating. Mo Ways is in this vein too, FWIW.
[After the jump: why 2014 offense isn't 2011 defense, I enter the ranks of MGoBloggers who rant about Brandon]
Best of Board
CAN THE OFFENSE 2011 ITSELF?
Remember how the defense was such a mess by 2010 and could only hope to become average by 2011, then Mattison came in and they would up in the teens in scoring D while actually, you know, stopping people when it mattered? Why can't new OC Doug Nussmeier do the same with the offense? It could happen, but there are some factors in our way here:
1. Mattison walked in already one of the most accomplished DCs in football from stints at Michigan, Notre Dame, Florida and the Ravens. Nussmeier doesn't have that kind of standing, and the degree to which he was carried by Saban's monstrosity of a program is unknown.
2. Graduations will hurt more. Here's a chart of 2010 to 2011 defensive attrition and replacements versus this year's offense:
2010 to 2011 Defense
2013 to 2014 Offense
Ben Braden or ?
Kyle Bosch or ?
Amara Darboh or ?
On the left: better, better, better, better, better. That Heininger turned out to be a pretty useful defensive piece was attributed to Hoke/Mattison magic; that he was an improvement over Greg Banks wasn't that great of an accomplishment. Similarly what they got out of Morgan and Ryan and T.Gordon and Countess was a mark of great coaching, but they were replacing only one NFL player (Mouton) and he a maddeningly inconsistent one drafted on potential, not college performance.
If you grant that Funchess and Gardner = RVB and Martin, who's the Kovacs of this offense? Who's the Roh? Is there a Demens? A Woolfolk?
On the right there's reasonable hope that a guard will outperform Mags's freshman campaign, that one or two young receivers will have more production than the critically underutilized Dileo, and that an RB's ability will actually be relevant, but even the ceiling of expectations doesn't have anyone performing at the level Lewan, Schofield and Gallon did.
3. The offense is still really young and returns few useful pieces. Pieces that remained to the 2011 defense included Mike Martin, RVB, and Craig Roh up front, Kenny Demens, and Jordan Kovacs. You can also count no-longer-a-freshman Courtney Avery and Woolfolk coming off injury. That's enough upperclassmen with experience to have some strength if glaring weaknesses can be fixed in the other spots. Ryan, Morgan, and T.Gordon were minor miracles, while Heininger and J.T. Floyd were biblical ones. The 2014 offense returns Gardner, Funchess, and after the first few games Butt and Glasgow. That leaves a good seven to nine J.T. Floyd-level acts of divine providence to match the 2011 defense's leap.
4. They STILL haven't played together. Mags's injury and Glasgow's joy-ride couldn't come a t a worse time. They'll enter fall with half the options at open positions still unable to contribute (e.g. LTT, Fox and Mags at OT), which almost guarantees lineup shuffling deep into next season. The only personnel changes to happen from Spring 2011 to the Sugar Bowl were Morgan seized the open WLB job five games in, and various guys (first T.Gordon, then Countess) displaced a beat-up Woolfolk.
5. The position coaches haven't changed. The difference between Tony Gibson and Curt Mallory was immediately evident to everyone from the fans to opponents to the players themselves. Obi and Mouton seemed to regress every year under GERG's tutelage, while under Mattison Demens became a very good player, the WLBs played to their limited abilities, and Jake Ryan started going smash. And once you compare what Hoke got from walk-ons on the DL rotation versus the play of 5th year seniors Patterson/Banks/Sagesse in 2010, well the differences in position coaching were staggering. If the same guys couldn't teach A.J. Williams to block, and an offensive lineman is yet to pull effectively twice in a row under Funk, why would they start now?
6. Borges > GERG. This statement will get me into trouble, but there were times (Notre Dame, Ohio State) where Al Borges just had himself a GAME. Can you remember one time in 2009 or 2010 when you thought "wow, Greg Robinson really out-thought their offensive coordinator today"? Borges was prone to GERG-level performances and he was ABSOLUTELY the wrong choice for a team with two years of eligibility remaining to Denard Robinson et al., but he did have good days.
7. It wasn't as much of a jump as you remember. Well, it was a leap from purely awful to okay, but as we've been over before and seen since, the 2011 defense wasn't really elite. Rather it was a significant improvement that helped itself with timely fumble recoveries (these are random) and an astounding stoppage rate on short situations.
THE ONE THING THEY HAVEN'T SOLD OUT
As predicted, a combination of a mostly unwatchable 7-win season, the worst home schedule since Horace Prettyman, and the most predatory ticket policies in the history of amateur athletics, has finally done it: Michigan is having trouble filling the house that Yost built.
The board tried to do an informal poll but got few responses. If somebody with an unlimited monkey-thing account (you know what I mean) would like to put that together I'll put it up next week. Most of the responses echoed this sentiment from user umumum:
All for the tradition
but right now that is about all there is. I renewed again for the umpteeth plus year. But the "product" gets worse every year (of late) and I'm not talking about only wins and losses.
I get why some are letting their season tickets go. It doesn't necessarily mean they are less of a Michigan alum or "Man". Otherwise, we should just get out rulers and start measuring.
The athletic department's response: for a limited time only, you can pay a higher preferred seat donation to move up into a higher pool of unguaranteed seats. Give 'em credit: they know how to milk a dime, even if the cow's already been slaughtered and sold to the butcher. If you're doing this, it is advised that you tell the athletic department exactly where you'd like to sit as a condition of the extra donation.
The historic low in ticket demand warranted a Brandon-explains session at a public business luncheon, wherein DB unveiled the latest in wow-that-was-callous experiences:
“We all think ofevery home Michigan football game like a miniature Super Bowl. We’ve got to have enough going on that people want to be there to listen to it. We know who our competitor is: your 60-inch, high-definition, soon-to-be-3-D television set that you will choose instead of my $65 ticket. And we work really hard at that.”
Does Brandon really believe those of us who didn't renew our tickets did so because the stadium experience isn't NFL enough, or that we've all got 60-inch, 3-dimensional HDTVs and three devices in arm's length with which to pull up replays from BTN (and the 30-second commercials affixed to them of course)? No. Of course not.
It has almost assuredly crossed his mind he may have priced out lifelong fans with $110 (with PSD) tickets, even if he can't see what's wrong with turning Michigan football into 4 hours of dog groomer RAWK, commercial breaks, and a great big reminder of that time Chad Henne and Mike Hart lost to a I-AA team. Just as cable networks and providers know damn well that families paying off two cars, a mortgage, and student loans can't afford 190 channels they won't watch just to get BTN.
The fact is the poor man's dollar is worth half of the extra $2 that the moderately well-off man will grudgingly allow you to fleece so as to not interrupt his lifestyle. Michigan's mercenary decision to pursue that dollar sends a clear transmission: if you can't afford to watch his athletes do things athletically improbable, go do a thing that's anatomically impossible.
I know, I know, I'm the nth-teenth writer on this site to jump in on the Dave Brandon bitch-fest. Since I rarely use the press passes and my family rage-quit our tickets a few years ago, drowning out the band and insidious advertising are secondary concerns to just being able to afford my Michigan habit on an MGoSalary. In my interactions with this athletic department over the last few years, I've had twice the "Damn you!" experiences as positive ones. I can only imagine what that number looks like for people who don't go to softball games.
"We all think ofevery home Michigan football game like a miniature Super Bowl."
Well that's the problem. I'm a longtime football fan but I fucking hate the Super Bowl. Hate, hate, hate it. Too much hype. Too many commercials. Too much crappy pop music. Too much nationalisic jingoism. Too much celeb bullshit and who's-who. Too much corporate douche-baggery and stupid halftime shows filled with illuminati symbolism. If that's what Michigan is then I guess I'm just not Michigan anymore.
yep its pathetic. i agree, many who truly appreciate watching football would rather catch a good high school game than suffer thru the super bowl...easily the most overrated game each year and even when incredibly close with exciting matchups and insane last minute finishes, its still painful to watch without at least a 6 pack and some fat food. the only super bowl type nonsense / bs many fans, including me, consistently enjoy might be disturbingly high and awkward eminem interviews with musberger but thats about it. otherwise, less is more as we all know, get a clue
I would literally rather watch a dozen high school or division III college games than endure a single Super Bowl because I actually like to watch football games, not over-the-top marketing extravaganzas.
Brandon is going to end up with the worst legacy in Michigan AD history once it becomes apparent that he lost the core fans.
"the most insane decision yet by an organization best known for blithering stupid decisions knocks basketball . . . ."
"This is a program in transition, this is a program that's going back to hard-nosed, big-boy football," Brandon said. "We're in the process of putting the pieces in place to afford us to do that consistently and effectively.
"Michigan's mercenary decision to pursue that dollar sends a clear transmission: if you can't afford to watch his athletes do things athletically improbable, go do a thing that's anatomically impossible."
where fans at the game matter less and less to the financial well being of a team due to insane levels of television money, you would hope some team might eventually realize that they dont NEED to maximize ticket revenues anymore. Back in the day where maybe 2 games a year were on national TV and the large portion of a team's budget was made up by gameday receipts, finding the sweet spot in the ol' supply and demand curve was a good idea. Now, teams get so much from TV that the difference between $60 seats with no PSL fees and $85 seats with PSL's isn't worth it to be pricing your most dedicated fans out.
And the decision makers should also keep the players point of view in mind as well. What I mean is, what do they think makes more of a difference to a player on game day: Having 115,000 screaming fans helping a defense make a stand by making it impossible for an opposing offense to call a play, feeding off the fans' energy and using that to help spur them on to victory? Or, the knowledge that even though the stadium might be 25 percent empty, each person must be a "real" fan because they paid a hefty price of admission? Perhaps it'll be quiet enough in the near future someone might be able to ask during a timeout?
No one's life, liberty, or property are safe when the Legislature is in session
they dont NEED to maximize ticket revenues anymore.
I think you're getting at the fundamental question: just how much revenue does the Michigan athletic dept need?
I asked the question a few months ago about what would be the financial impact of cutting the PSLs in half or eliminating them altogether, and one response I got suggested that the PSL revenue is absolutely critical to maintaining the existing number of sports; i.e., without PSLs (or current ticket prices) the department finances would crater and the effect on Michigan athletics would be very negative.
Pandering to networks (i.e., more and more late game starts.)
Pandering to advertisers and advertising dollars.
Even mgoblog is increasingly monetized. I won't be surprised to see advertising creep further and further into this blog. After all, Seth and Brian need to have a salary and pay their bills.
I'm not bitter, it is what it is, and I'm resigned. I will never have season tickets again . . . can't afford it, and not enough of a priority for me. It is unlikely I will ever get cable TV . . . it is cheaper to go to the bar a dozen times a year to catch a few games.
But, I'm still a Michigan fan. I'm still glad to have matriculated from Michigan. I still love to follow the team, and always will. As our culture changes, and the lines between the haves and the have nots are more clearly drawn, I still will enjoy following Michigan, on the occasions when I am able.
Things change, and all good things come to an end. I'll remember the Michigan games of my youth fondly.
"It does not matter how many times you get knocked down, but how many times you get up." Vince Lombardi
I don't know if you can call freshman Desmond Morgan better than Obe Ezeh, especially since Morgan wasn't even a starter at the beginning of the year and played kinda bad for a lot of the year when he did start. He was solid for a freshman and has done well since then, but his first year he was not good. He had a hard time keeping Brandin Hawthorne off the field.
ron hextall was the greatest practisioners of that style of goaltending. the main guiding pronciple: if its blue and you're on it -- well, i'm a lumberjack, and i just don't care...you are just a treee in need of clear cutting.....
Born in Oklahoma
Raised in Ohio
Escaped to Meechigan
Because I do not work on football Saturdays. I would only go if Ace or Heiko couldn't, and then in would have to dress up as they do and be there working. When I interviewed Bob Lipson (creator of Michigan Replay) a few years ago he told me don't do a job that makes you never able to enjoy the football game.
There are few things I like more than being in the Big House and screaming for Michigan. Why give that up?
Assoc. Editor & Business Manager, MGOBLOG email me for advertising | Alias: @Misopogon
That hockey video is spot on perfect. Obviously there are several who despise the fighting of hockey, but I think it makes the game what it is. Kind of sad to see that most of the clips were from at least 10 years ago, it just doesn't feel like the NHL has the same personalities that it used to have. But whoever compiled those clips knows how to put a smile on a hockey fan's face.
only half-seriously and almost certainly futilely, but perhaps some simple booing en masse at the commercialized/Brandonized moments would have some value--at least it might necessitate broadcasters having to explain what the hell was going on.
Dave B the AD: Your real competition isn't the big TVs
And this may strike you as unfair, but the competition is twofold: the games from yesteryear when we kicked the crap out of people, allowing people to savor the sheer joy of being present, and all the other things people have found to enjoy besides an increasingly corporate-ized college footbal game. Help the team get better, lay off the empty hype, and stop treating your fanbase like so many money sponges in need of a hearty squeeze. Just a suggestion.
I'm really not sure who the hell he's pandering to. I have disposable income, uncommitted Saturday afternoons and a love of Michigan football. Who am I if not the guy whose wallet DB is stalking like some creepy song by The Police? I don't make near enough to afford one of those fancy suites but I could easily manage a club seat, if I felt it was good value. . . which I do NOT. I can't even think of someone I know who'd bite at DB's offers. I feel like it's some strange hypothetical person who pays to go to football games but doesn't really want to watch football. Who'd do that? To whom is he selling our program? It's like he turned Michigan Stadium into a 110,000-capacity prostitute then shrouded the whole thing in a giant burka. It's an abysmal failure just from the marketing standpoint, and he's offering terrible value on top of that.
He still seems to be running the AD like he's terrified of stockholders. Except alumni aren't stockholders. For starters, we don't get shit just because he makes some financial statements look good in the short term. Yeah he brought in record revenue but any idiot could manage that with the good ol' fashioned "burn tomorrow's dollar for a nickel today" approach. . . case in point, after record-setting attendance, now we're struggling to sell tickets. Are MGoBloggers still making the case he's a great AD because he brings in so much money, taking for the sake of argument that's the only criteria that matters?
In 45yrs of living and dying with this TEAM, I'm amazed that sooo many pundits THINK they can forsee the 2014 campaign---In May. WE ARE "eeeeeICHIGAN." Buy the damn tickets if available, if not, you'll wish you had. I hope D.B puts all of you at the bottom of the list. In big bright letters on a huuuuge screen to further 'ruin' the experience.' LOL! Really? I sat 60 rows up, mid-field for THE GAME. Think I took my eyes off the field? A.D's come, they go. "MeeeeeCHIGAN" lives. WE ARE "MEEECHIGAN"! NEVER FORGET THAT KIDS!!!!
Instant gratification Nation ---SAD! We will be back THIS YEAR. Real, oldschool "MeeeeeCHIGANMEN know this. We laugh at your telling us what OUR TEAM will produce---In May.
Maybe I'm nuts but seems to me we have all we need to do what we've always done. WIN! A bad stretch and it's all Chicken Little again. Find a good recipe for crow. Doubters/Haters---Those who only know Carr till present. You have NO CLUE. But you will. Soon.
Closed practices and you THINK you have a grasp on the 2 deep. ROTFLMAO. Wish I could handle the 'lets chat while the game is on' thing. IDFGI---Love to see your faces when the O hits the field vs App St ;-)
Go Blue, M(an)ichigan up, and enjoy a very promising season. One which at WORST, will add 9 more wins to our total. Post this again in Dec. HA!
FOOTBALL God made the Sun Maize, and the sky BLUUUUE! Nuff said---'cept---I hate pretension but love this damn sight anyway. Good stuff!
I apologize - I'm sure this has been explained on another thread, but:
Was McGary sanctioned for testing positive during a tournament where he did not actually play, or was this for last year's tournament? Are we really that concerned that a guy wearing a suit and high-fiving Andrew Dakich might have also smoked pot?