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.”
"Latimore, I'd be doubtful if we get anything out of Eric the rest of the year, although he may be ready for a game or two. Crawford has not done anything yet. ... I doubt if he'd be ready this week. Crawford might be ready next week."
That would be Eric Latimore and Jack Crawford, the nominal starting defensive ends. Latimore will be out for Michigan, with Crawford either on the bench or gamely giving it a go. Sean Stanley's status is still up in the air after it was revealed his violation of team rules was a marijuana arrest. He's practicing with the team and I'd be shocked if a simple possession charge would keep Stanley out four games. He's already missed two. Unless there's something else going on he'll probably start in Latimore's place, with either Crawford or unimpressive journeyman Kevion Latham on the other side of the line.
If Michigan held Iowa's DEs in check, the rag-tag PSU DEs shouldn't be a problem. Michigan will have a test against Still and Ogbu on the interior.
Penn State has a bunch of walking wounded they hope to get back for Minnesota; we'll see how many do.
And now a random dumb thing a Penn State blogger said. Take it away, Some Guy At BSD:
I hope that Denard Robinson gets healthy during Michigan's bye week and starts at QB in Happy Valley Halloween weekend. Choir boy / line-dancer Tate Forcier may provide more visual fodder for the blog, but I think he's a bigger threat at QB than Robinson. Denard Robinson can run all over weak competition, but in the Big Ten, where every defense is designed to stop the run, a competent passer like Tate Forcier is actually more deadly.
This is not factually wrong so it's not Fiutakin' it, but good God. This is the worst bit about turning it over seven times in two weeks while racking up 900 yards of total offense against the #28 and #13 defenses in the country:
"It doesn't work in the Big Ten" cannot die soon enough.
“He may be better-suited to play guard,” Rodriguez said.
No decision had been made, but Rodriguez said he’d convene with his coaches tonight to discuss possible position changes. …
“He’s not playing much on defense,” Rodriguez said. “I don’t know if it’s possibly to switch and learn a position that quickly, but we’ll probably talk about him tomorrow. He’s got a good attitude. He’s working hard and is willing to do whatever’s best for the team.”
What does it mean? It means that ESPN was right to be skeptical of Campbell, who has a ridiculous physical package but doesn't play football very well. It was apparent to me the first time he got on the field against Iowa and immediately got gashed; freshman or not the passivity and inability to get under anyone's pads was alarming. This would be no big deal if Michigan had gotten either or both of Pearlie Graves and DeQuinta Jones a couple years ago, but since they whiffed on both the depth chart at DT is thin enough that one guy not working out leaves you a big hole after Martin.
It does not mean that Bruce Tall is an idiot who can't coach—Mike Martin and Ryan Van Bergen say STFU, please. Also Brandon Graham.
Not their fault, except for that one guy. The BCS computers come in for another round of bashing, this one in the New York Times. At least this time there are quotes from the guys who run the things complaining about the What About The Children decision to remove margin of victory from the metrics. That is a major source of computer rankings DERP. And this is a delightfully blunt assessment of Richard Billingsley:
“I’m not a mathematician,” Billingsley said. “I’m not even a highly educated man, to tell you the truth. I don’t even have a degree. I have a high school education. I never had calculus. I don’t even remember much about algebra. I think everyone questions everything I do. Why is he doing that? Does he know what he’s doing, a crazy kook in Oklahoma?”
The short answer is no. Billingsley’s ranking system is vilified by professional mathematicians and a subculture of amateur computer rankers.
I'm not either but I've already got my vilification in. Any attention Billingsley's inane system gets that might get it booted is welcome. I mean: "It is a simple formula, he said, because he is a simple man." This guy isn't fit to decide what to eat for breakfast, let alone who should be playing in the national title game.
During the Patriots OT struggle with the Ravens last Sunday, punter Zoltan Mesko may have made the punt of the year. Facing a 4th and 6 from their own 16, Mekso was called in try to bail out the Patriots.
Typically, punts from that region of the field net about 39 yards, putting the Ravens at their own 45, and it looked like the Ravens were going to win the field position battle. From there, it only takes one or two first downs to move into striking distance for a game winning FG attempt. When Mesko trotted onto the field, the Patriots' win probability (WP) was 0.33.
Mesko’s punt went for 65 yards, aided by wind and by poor fielding by the Ravens returner. When the ball came to rest on the Baltimore 19 yard line, the Patriots had gained the upper hand with a 0.54 WP. The punt was worth +0.21 Win Probability Added (WPA), an impact extremely rare for a punt that neither results in a long return nor a fumble.
Hagerup did something similar—though it wasn't in such a high-leverage situation—when he bombed one past the Iowa returner midway through Saturday's game.
A couple of times Iowa made good audibles and a couple of others they missed their chance to hit Michigan where it hurt. It definitely seemed the crowd noise was a factor late in this one and it made it hard to change calls at the line. I would guess they'll make some tweaks to their audible calls this week, especially on their scripted series calls.
That would be something close to unprecedented. Woo luxury boxes?
The only thing worse than the message board in written form is the message board in video form.
No wonder I hit the skip button so often.
Life should not be a journey to the grave to arrive safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming "Wow! What A Ride!" HST
a part in some confusion and at least one timeout. My fiancee' pointed at StanziAmerica and yelled out "They Can't Hear Him!" She's not one to read what she wants to see into things, as I am, so we can all trust her judgment. Big House was rockin'
Doesn't the Mad Hatter have a vote? I know the computers have more influence than 1 voter in the coaches poll but so long as Les Miles has a vote I'm not sure we can really get all Torch & Pitchfork on Billingsly, well, at least without doing the same to the coaches!
OK, giving full credit to the loud and raucous crowd that did make life difficult for the Hawkeyes during the final drive, I do have a question that has bothered me for years about crowd noise.
Realizing that it may well be nigh unsustainable, isn't it, theoretically, just as important to be loud while the opposing team is in the huddle so they have difficulty hearing the initial assignments, or is the pre-snap adjustment more critical?
But the changes made at the line are in response to what the QB sees from the D on the field and he adjusts his receivers routes, blocks, etc accordingly. Noise can greatly affect the QBs ability to do so. It does drive me batshit crazy that most of the fans don't understand that noise can disrupt a playcall at the huddle too. They usually start around ~20 on the playclock for whatever reason. I start as soon as I see a huddle and people in the student section just look like I'm drunk (which I probably am, but it isn't the only reason I'm making noise in that situation).
I typically wait until the TV ref douche is off of the field. No use using up my voice during a commercial... And I would like to say that I woke up Sunday morning with absolutely no voice whatsoever. And I sit in "real people seats" surrounded by a bunch of old alumni who were screaming just as much as I was. Just to put to rest that ALL old people sit on their hands during a football game...
This will be a bit of a stretch for me to say something snarky about the OMG RICHROD RAN OFF MALET HE SUX WHY NOT RUN PROSTILE crowd (is there such a crowd?), but in the entertaining bit about Tim TRY FIGHT WIN Brewster, there was this nugget:
The offense alone transitioned from Glen Mason's power running game, to Dunbar's spread offense, to Fisch's 300-page-playbook pro set offense, back to a power running game.
Uh yeah. That rarely works out, Malletteers. Also musical coordinators doesn't tend to work, anti-GERGers. Patience, pets.
It makes sense with all the depth at the DL position. Plus, I was getting worried that Delio would get buried on the DL depth chart. Anyone check out Big Wills awesome line play during the blocked punt in the Iowa game?
PSU blogger may actually be right about QB if he can see future
I agree with Brian about the argument that RR's spread will work in the Big 10. However I also agree with a point I think the PSU blogger is making IF Denard continues to struggle completing passes on complex routes/checks downfield. Let's face it, MSU and Iowa were struggles for his passing game. If that continues throughout the Big 10, teams will play the run/quick outs/slants and dare Denard to see the field deep AND make an accurate throw. Yes I think he can hit those passes. But if you don't think there is at least a 30% chance he will continue to struggle, and Tate will play more since he actually can stretch the field more with his arm then Denard's with his legs, then we aren't being realistic about what we've seen the last 2 weeks.
but I think we also need to consider Brian's post yesterday showing gaping holes in PSU's secondary - particularly in the underneath/flats. As long as Denard executes at an average level, it looks like he'll be able to find plenty. Now, if we're only assuming that execution is something to be concerned with Denard and not with Tate (two picks himself last week), then I agree there might be a reason to think Tate will be better. But is that a fair, let alone accurate, assumption?
that may have been asked or well known already, so be easy on me. Is there any statistical proof of bye weeks helping a lagging part of a team (i.e. Michigan's secondary)? I know it will help with injuries and game planning for PSU, but what about fundamentals and schemes? Thanks!
completely forgot about your fisking of Billingsley. I still can't believe the BCS included him as a computer pollster, but I'd have to think that the BCS is basically trying to get another human poll in there in the guise of a computer poll.
Also, TRY FIGHT WIN RETROSPECTIVE GOLD JERRY GOLD!!!
For my privacy, my new username is "non-Oriental non-Andrew"
That meme will die when Michigan beats a team in the Big 10 with a decent defense. (Read: Anyone but Indiana).
It will fade if they beat PSU. It will fade a little more if they beat Illinois. We won't hear much grumbling if they beat Wisconsin. And nobody will care about it any more if they beat OSU because we will all be drunk with happiness.
Not turning the ball over and the ability to kill clock to protect the defense and close out games is really underrated by people in these parts (most notably Brian). If your defense sucks, the best way to protect it is to increase variance, giving it fewer plays to suck on. High/low variance strategies cut both ways and while it might make sense to decrease variance for a Very good offense (via a hurry-up), right now our offense is consistently putting the defense in bad positions, demoralizing that unit by setting them up to fail with bad field position and short times to rest a very depleted depth chart. Personally, I think there is something to this because in just about every game, our defense has gotten significantly worse as the game wore on. We are not a good enough offense that 2-3 extra offensive possessions can negate the damage done by the 2-3 extra times our defense is forced back on the field.
My personal strategy: we run the clock down to 10 or lower on every offensive snap and go for it on every 4th down and short-medium (5 yds on our side of the field, 7-10 on the opponent's). That makes more sense than trying to score quickly and giving the other team more time to rape the Defense. And to respond to an obvious criticism: the short field here is worth the risk here because we are wagering that our offense is good enough to get 5ish yards AND run another few minutes off the clock so that our defense won't have a chance to screw up. The yards of field position don't matter as much with this defense as does the time they have to spend on the field (because of the lack of depth and it gives more chances for the opposing offense to exploit weaknesses).
"out of these tunnels will come the meanest, toughest sonsabitches ever to put on pads"
Losing 52-49 isn't on the offense. Seriously...if the offense is scoring more than 40, that isn't on them. But they haven't scored 40 since they beat IU. We probably wouldn't be having this discussion if we had lost to MSU 42-38 and Denard played the whole game. We are having this discussion because the offense only scored 17 against MSU. (I know, 2 picks in the end-zone...but Denard throwing picks in the end-zone is part of the complaint.) We are having this discussion because of the 28 points scored against Iowa, Tate was on the field for 21 of them.
What is clear: Sophomore Denard >> Freshman Tate
What is unclear: Sophomore Denard > Sophomore Tate
I'm not trying to say that RR is making a bad decision here...I'm just asking the question (which could be heresy in these parts) because I don't understand RR position here*. Maybe with a better running threat we aren't having this discussion. But MSU had figured out how to stop the offense in the second half. Is that all on the QB? No, but some of it is. Iowa held Michigan to 7 points until Tate came in and led the offense to 21 more points. Yes, this is only one data point (but last year "healthy Tate" did fairly well) and one anecdote does not an entire history make. [And Tate was at least 2 INTs away from being perfect. But he was making throws that Denard simply can't make right now.]
I don't think that "dual starters" is a bad idea. These QBs are different enough that they will effectively make defenses have 2 game plans. I don't think that either is head and shoulders above the other in terms of readiness. (Both make boneheaded mistakes.) Remembering 2007, nobody was saying that Mallett was a better QB than Henne (see 2008 Citrus Bowl), but some wondered if a healthy Mallett would have been more effective than an injured Henne for some of those games (like OSU when Henne couldn't make all of his throws). I'm just saying that in some situatons one of the current QBs might be better than the other.
*I'm not a football coach and I don't watch these guys on film and in practice nearly as much as RR. I'm just stating my opinion. I'm sure that if RR were reading this** he'd have an explaination ready.
**Yes, I know that RR has more important things to do than read the incoherent ramblings of a physicist.