"Jim's a tough guy and you can see his personality is all over this football team," Fitzgerald said.
There's been a little chatter on here about Michigan needing to mixup their first down plays a little more (as if this is a new complaint - haven't Michigan fans bitched about this since the dawn of Lloyd?). Anyways, I watched the tape!
I watched every 1st down play all the way through the 3rd quarter. By the end of the 3rd Michigan was down 31-14 and obviously they were getting into hurry up mode, so they were definately moving away from their offensive game plan by then. The last offense play of the 3rd was the Shaw fumble. Someone suggested earlier that that ended the game......you might be onto something there. That particular drive was looking good. At that point Michigan was only down 24-14.
First Down Runs:
- Michigan ran on first down 17 times out of the 23 first downs in the first 3 quarters. They gained 41 yards on those runs which is 2.41 yards per attempt. Ouch. On a good note, McGuffie scored a TD on a first down run, but on a bad note the Shaw fumble was a first down run.
First Down Passes:
- To flip that coin Michigan passed on 6 out of their first 23 first downs with 4 completions. On those plays they gained 64 yards which is 10.67 per attempt. Much nicer. However, two of those plays were to Odoms for 27 yards and 24 yards each. That kind of skews the numbers. The other two were for 7 and 6 yards.
It's hard to give a definite answer on this age-old Michigan fan bitch. The fact that Michigan ran on 74% of those first downs tells you many things:
- Pehaps they were more successful passing those few times BECAUSEof all of the 1st down runs? Illinois defense was ready for the zone-read and were selling out to stop it. Those 6 passes caught them out of position and made it easier to complete a pass.
- Is it better to gain, on average, 2.41 yards on first down than to risk an incompletion, which gives you 2nd and 10 instead of 2nd and 7 or 8?
- Not only that, Threet has been wildly inaccurate thus far (under 50% competion) and at times he likes to throw the ball at A) Tacopants or B) guys wearing the other jersey. What is the risk/reward here? Obviously the coaching staff feels it is more risky to put the ball in Threet's hands on first down then to give it to McGuffie (thou shalt not fumble).
- The O-Line. As we know they are green and it shows. You're risking getting Threet killed the more you drop him back to pass. Not only that, you're looking at fumbles and sacks, too, further handicapping yourself.
- Keep in mind that Stonum and Hemingway were out yesterday. Those are your 2nd and 3rd outside receivers, by a wide margin, I think. When you are trying to stick Savoy (horrible dropped pass in the first half, BTW) and Zion Babb into Stonum and Hemingway's shoes you are asking for trouble. Imagine Chad Henne without Matthews and Arrington last year?? Not good. And he's Chad Henne for F sake!!
- Rodriguez's offense has historically been run-first, so, hey guess what? They are running first! I don't think you can blame him, he's got some good talent in McGuffie, Shaw, Minor and Grady, they just need more help from the O-Line.
There were no expectations. We came into this game expecting a loss, hoping to be competitive. Michigan came out flat. The fumbles were over and over and over again. Why the hell can't somebody hold onto the ball!!!!????? By halftime it was apparent that this was not to be. Threet was in a daze. WTF was he doing in the first half? He was rocking Tacopants all over the field.
Halftime was great. The MMB had this bad ass Ferris Bueller performance wherein the band leader, Cody, was playing the part of Ferris. He was sick and couldn't go to the game. After that they went into this elaborate rendition of the movie:
- They faked the "sausage king of Chicago" part of Ferris Bueller by having Cody say his name was Jim Tressel..complete with a fake Jim Tressel guy in the background (sweatervest and all).
- They had Lloyd hold and "Save Cody" sign and they showed an old man wearing a"Joe Pa" shirt.
- They had the whole segment wherein Cody (or Ferris) runs home to beat his parents, complete with jumps and the crazy music and Cody shaking hands with some chicks.
- Cody runs onto the field and leads the band in The Victors (complete with Cody touching his head to the turf minus the hat!!)
At this point I said jokingly to my wife "That was so great, I almost forgot how bad this game is. You know what??? I bet you Cody is the catalyst to a come back!!" Just after that I talked to my buddy in Florida. He's a big Michigan fan. I told him, "you wait, Rich Rod will change things up, Michigan is going to tear it up in the second half."
BOOM....4 wide, the rest of the way. Threet was a changed man. They started to move the chains. 1st down, 1st down, 1st down.................TD to Koger!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The energy in Michigan Stadium was building.
The D played as hard as I've ever seen. They would not give an inch. They just beat the ever-loving hell out of Wisky's QB, RB's and their OL. Holy shit that D was dominate!!! Wisky couldn't do shit but punt.
Then you have Steven "Pat White" Threet busting a run by the Defensive End for like 70 yards!!! The boy has wheels! I've never felt such electricity in Michigan Stadium!!!! The crowd was unreal!!! We were lucky, all the lame ass nancy bitch ass fans had left!!! F THEM!!!! We love Michigan Football and we were staying to the end!!!!!!!!! OH GOOD LORD THANK YOU FOR GETTING THOSE LAME ASS BITCHES OUT OF THERE!!!!! WHAT A CROWD!!! Once those A-holes that hate Michigan left, we were subject to one of the best crowds in the history of Michigan Stadium. In the 500th game!! On top of all the excitement Johnny F'n Thompson gets a pick six!!!! I was jumping all over the stands, I think I hurt my hip.
The crowd was great! The team was unstoppable. If you booed those kids today, shame on you. You suck balls, and you're a total ass. There was no quit today in those kids, despite you dickheads and your booing. I wasn't about to quit on my team, and I cheered them the entire game. If you booed Steven Threet, then f you. You're an ass, and don't bother coming to any other games because you suck and we don't want you. Michigan Football will survive without your negativity.
Alright, sorry. I'm just so pumped about that game.
At the end of the game, I'm thinking, holy crap, Michigan just beat a team coached by Lloyd Carr! Didn't they? I love Lloyd, he's a great guy, a great coach. But, I couldn't help but feel like if Lloyd had a 19 point lead, he would play the game EXACTLY like Wisconsin did, wouldn't he?? It felt GREAT to be on the other side of that coin. I kept thinking that Wisconsin was playing scared. They had no pulse out there, Michigan sucked the life out of them and it couldn't have been sweeter. I just couldn't help but think that Wisconsin's performance reminded me of the Michigan of old.
BUT.....The Michigan of new is still the Michigan of old. Somehow, someway, I knew they were going to be competitive. The tradition of this program, built off the yells and screams and leadership of guys like Yost and Crisler and Bo, somehow permeates everything that happens. And therein lies the beauty of Rodriguez. He has maintained this tradition, this undying believe in victory and honor and the Michigan way. It was shown today. It was proven today. Michigan Football is more than just one play, one fumble, one coach. It's everybody, from you, to me, to Coach Rodriguez, to Bo. It's real. It's tangible. It's inspiring, and above all it will not quit, it will not die, it will not bow down to you boo bird bitches. I love Michigan Football, and today's game is every reason why and more.
I’ve been a big fan of College Football most of my life. Over that long time I’ve always wondered why big cities like Chicago and New York have no quality teams to represent them in today’s modern game. I’ve been to Chicago many times and I’m always amazed at what a great city it is. It’s a beautiful, fun and happening place. The same goes for New York. You have two of the biggest and best cities in the world, but no College Football. Why? I would think that recruiting to those places would be a breeze.
With Chicago, sure, they have Northwestern, but you can’t exactly say that they have much College Football history outside of the Rose Bowl’s they went to in the 1990’s. Plus, if you’ve ever visited NW, it’s not even in Chicago. Technically it’s quite a bit north of downtown, in Evanston, Illinois. I will say this for NW: they have a beautiful campus right on the shores of Lake Michigan. It's fantastic. I imagine that if they didn’t have such stringent rules for acceptance their football program could be very good.
There is also the University of Chicago, which, as many of you probably know, used to be a huge rival of U of M, but eventually they decided to focus their school more toward academic excellence rather than gridiron excellence. Boring.
As for New York, believe it or not they have some history to point to in the world of College Football that might surprise you.
The University of Chicago
Chicago had great teams in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. During that time they won 7 Big Ten Championships (What? Huh?), including a Mythical National Championship in 1905. Nicknamed the “Monster’s of the Midway” this school was quite a powerhouse. It’s hard to imagine in today’s game, but if Chicago had maintained its top-flight program perhaps it never would have been “The Big Two and the Little Eight”, instead it would have been the Big 3. Also, Ron Zook’s own brand of custom made snake oil would be useless, as many top recruits in the city of Chicago would pledge to the “Maroons of Chicago” instead of The Illini. Also also, Little Brother would never have been admitted into the Big Ten, and Bo never would have called their Athletic Director a “Son of a Bitch” back in 1973 when Michigan got screwed out of the Rose Bowl. Think about it.
However, in 1939 U of C decided to de-emphasis athletics and cut their football program. They didn’t reinstate it for 30 years! Now a day's they play football in Division III (or whatever the H they call it now). I’m left wondering what the Big Ten (11) would look like today if Chicago kept their program together. Perhaps the Big Ten would have had 12 teams instead of 11 and there could be a Conference Championship and there would be great rivalries amongst NW, Illinois and Chicago. Also, we wouldn’t have to hear about how great Notre Dame is (Notre Dame is not great) and how the Big Ten so wants them to join but they are too sweet to do so. Notre Dame’s acceptance into the Big Ten wouldn’t even be brought up.
New York University
Another factoid about NYU’s football program that many of you will find interesting is that a NYU game was the site of the first protest against the “gentleman’s agreement”. No, not that “gentleman’s agreement”. Apparently in the 40’s, before Rich Rod’s snake oil was invented, the “gentleman’s agreement” was meant to keep blacks off the football field. Nice gentleman’s agreement. So that’s what Tiller was talking about, what a dick. Hey Tiller, the game has passed you by, by about 60 years, that is.
What’s Up With That?
We can all agree that a trip to New York or Chicago guarantees a kick-ass time. There’s no question there. So, why isn’t there more of a College Football presence in these great towns? I’ll offer some half-ass made up reasons:
- There’s just no room, man, it’s tight up in here. In today’s College Football there is an “Arms Race” going on. Whoops, that link was wrong. That link, along with “tight” is just not right. Or maybe it is. Anyway, I meant this arms race. Michigan is spending $226 MILLION on the Michigan Stadium renovation. That’s a boat load. Before U of M started this grand project, those dastardly Bucknuts to the south went on their own spending spree, flopping down a tiny little $187 MILLION of their own (or, coming from car dealerships?) to fix up that shithole they call “Ohio Stadium”. (FYI – if you look up at their rotunda, you will notice yellow flowers with a blue background…hey OOOO apparently the outcome of the dedication game went in Michigan’s favor so those Bucknuts painted it like that. You got to love it that you’re most bitter rival has your team’s colors on their stadium. Love it.) Anyway, OBVS Chicago and New York just don’t have any space. How are you to compete in this arms race (sorry) if you can’t build a gargantuan stadium of your own? It’s just not feasible.
- Academia. It appears, after my vast, vast, vast (VAST) research that U of C and NYU simply decided that their schools would focus like a laser beam on academics. As you know, that doesn’t leave a lot of room for FOOTBALL. While this strategery has worked for U of C, since they rank #8 in this study, it appears that NYU kind of screwed themselves, because they are only ranked #33, behind U of M! Like, WTF NYU? If you’re going to give up on the sweet sweet sweetness that is College Football, don’t be so lame academically, mmmkay?
- MICHIGAN FOOTBAW REWLLZZZZ F YEEEEEEEEE!
- This article, in the Atlanta Journal-Constitutional, written by an old, old, old ass man named FURMAN BISHER (yes, he has the same name as some old, old, old ass school in South Carolina). He offers no reason for these things. He simple lists example after example of big city football going helter-skelter, willy-nilly and PUTT-PUTT!
- That's it. I cannot logically find a reason for these happenings, beyond the college administrations obsessive reach for academic focus. Without the burdon of supporting a gigantic athletic program, U of C and NYU can focus on what their true purpose is: to better our world through education and innovation. Oh, right, I suppose someone should keep an eye on that stuff.
Some thoughts from another fantastic day of College Football:
- Threet really came into his own today. His deep throws were spot on and he showed some leadership. You have to love his progress. I'm a little concerned about his apparent injury. Hopefully he is good to go. Luckily Michigan has 2 weeks before Wisky.
- The refs. For some reason I'm the only one posting on MGo about the calls. They seemed pretty one-sided to me. How horrifying was that call on Matthews apparent TD??? They totally stole that one. Then ND goes down the field, draws a weak, weak sister of a pass interference call and scores. 14 point swing right there. Game. The bad calls went on and on.
- ND is not good. Again and again Michigan gave them the game, but I always felt like the Blue were in it. For the most part Michigan's D was great, but for being put in bad spots.
- Trent seemed to have a bad day. Perhaps he got a little overrated last year playing across from Warren? Perhaps teams were more interested in testing Warren last year because he was a freshman, and now that Warren is showing some real ball-hawking skills teams choose to go after Trent instead. Or maybe Trent just gets the tougher assignments as he should. I'm interested to see the defensive UFR on Trent.
- McGuff! Great performance. He holds onto that ball like one Mr. Michael Hart (Blessed Be His Name), he gets the extra yard like one Mr. MH (BBHN), and he seem oblivious to the score and/or the current situation the team is in like one Mr. MH (BBHN). I like this kid more and more each week. He is all he is billed to be and more.
- What can you say? I think today finally sold me on how weak the Big 10 is. Believe that. I mean, come on, this shithole of a team has been blowing up the Big 10 (11) for years now. In the meantime they blew out ND (yeah, that's tough), got hammered by Florida, hammered by LSU and now completely demolished by USC. Good night. I think the Bucknuts days as the top dog are ending. All you need to creep back into the top of this conference is to see that the dog on top is wounded. I, for one, couldn't have been happier to see them shit the bed.
- Boeckman. He truly sucks. That is confirmed, confirmed, confirmed. As long as Michigan doesn't get into a hole early in Columbus and keeps the pressure on that piece of crap they have a shot in November.
- Tressel. Seems to me the only thing he is good at is beating Lloyd Carr. Well, guess what asswipe, Lloyd's gone.
- MSU's game was largely uninteresting. Ringer ran for like 4,000 yards against a willy-nilly half-assed Florida team playing in Hurricane Katrina (MAKE PLAYS). The only comment I have is WTF WAS MSU DOING PLAYING IN THE SHOTGUN IN THE FIRST QUARTER???? It's apparent to me that all they had to do was run run run on FAU and they would win. Just take Hoyer out of the equation, he sucks balls anyway. Once they continually gave the ball to Ringer, good night. Or, good day sir.
- They beat the holy hell out of a team from somewhere in New York State. I hope they are for real because I would love to see PSU take it to the Bucknuts. We need this. Please JoePA, tear up some Bucknut ass for us. We give you permission to ahead and beat Michigan this year for once, we won't mind.
Just some general thoughts and questions from another great football Saturday:
- How shitty was it that Ortmann got injured?? I was totally bummed when I saw that. Just what we DIDN'T need. I hope he will be ok. Does anyone have any info on that?
- Loved that first TD. The read option actually worked with Threet as the QB! That DE totally bought the fake, so, that was the key, otherwise, sack. FYI - I'm watching "College Football Final" and Mark May just called Threet "Street". Dumbass.
- MCGUFF! I thought he was kick-ass today. I love his very Barry Sanders-like personality. He never gets up or down.
- The running game in general looked a lot better, but playing a meh MAC school probably has a lot to do with that.
- ODOMS/MINOR/BROWN/SHAW - why don't they use these guys more? As before, I thought McGuffie was great, but why not spread it around a little. Get it, spread? Yeah, lame. Anyway, I suppose, as I've heard, Minor and Brown are still a little banged up, but maybe McGuffie has seperated himself from the others i.e. Mike Hart as a freshman?
- Side note: I sported my "Worst State Ever" shirt for the first time, and I must say it's quite a big hit with those are aren't aware of the beauty of the MGoBlog. I must have told 10 people where I got the shirt from.
- Didn't get to see much of their game, but from the looks of it they were as lucky as balls to have won. SDSU was going in for a TD in the 4th to go up by 2 TDs! But, alas, they fumbled on the goal line and blew it. Then that damn Emu scampered up and down the field for 2 scores to win. SDSU forgot to bring their tazers. Bummer.
- Charlie Weiss is fat.
- So, eh, somebody was looking ahead to USC next week! Their performance was totally embarrassing. They were making dumb ass mistakes all over that field. Plus! Pryor looked human. As in, if looking human is looking like Nick Sheridan. Yeah, that's how he looked.
- Jim Tre$$eLL
- That loss was totally Rich Rod's fault. He always chokes in big games.
- I'm glad to see that Brian put an AOL post up on this one, looking forward to it.
- Yowzaa. Totally layin the "SPREAD HD" down on those dirty Beavers. I'm impressed. It's nice to see a PAC-10 team come to BIG-10 country and get waxed. Bravo Penn State. Bravo.
- What's up with Penn State's players getting arrested all the time. Jesus H, get it together Joe Pa.
Have you ever heard of Donnie Warner? I hadn't until reading Bo's last book "Bo's Lasting Lessons" (http://www.amazon.com/Bos-Lasting-Lessons-Fundamentals-Leadership/dp/044...). Which, by the by, is a great book and I highly recommend it to any Michigan fan. Basically it's all about Bo's philosophy on leadership, with many great stories to boot.
The story that has most intrigued me is that of little Donnie Warner. He came to Bo in the summer before his freshmen year at Michigan, weighing slightly more than our own Roy Roundtree, at a tiny 170 lbs. Now, sure you can play at that weight at one of the skill positions, you certainly could back in the '70's, but this kid wanted to be an Offensive Guard! Bo was blown away, seeing as how both of his Guards at the time went 250 and 255. So then the kid says, fine, I'll try out as a "Middle Guard" which I've never heard of but I guess means Defensive Tackle.
Bo gave him a shot. Much to Bo's surprise, Donnie survived his first year. And the next year, and the next. Coming to the beginning of his Senior Year Donnie was #1 on the depth chart! Bo couldn't believe it. He begged his assistants to find someone, anyone who was bigger and faster than Donnie. But Donnie proved his worth and kept that starting job!
This was 1973, one of Bo's best teams. Their defense was dominant, and with little Donnie on the line! Michigan went through its first 10 games undefeated, largely because of that outstanding defense only giving up 58 points, just under 6 a game. They headed for a crash course with Woody's #1 ranked Bucknuts. Michigan sat at #4. Think 2006, except way more option plays, and instead of planet sized Alan Branch anchoring the middle of the Defensive Line you have little Donnie Warner.
Before that OSU game in 1973, Donnie told Bo that OSU's center (All-American Steve Myers) was not going to be able to block him, and he was right! Woody was forced to double team Donnie, allowing Michigan's linebackers to tee off on Archie Griffin. OSU was shut out in the second half, but unfortunately Michigan couldn't break a 10-10 tie. You know the rest, the athletic directors in the Big Ten voted those hated Bucknuts to the Rose Bowl. Bo was pissed, as he was wont to be.
So how did Donnie become so great? Here's Bo:
"He'd watch the offensive huddle, notice who the quarterback was talking to, and try to listen in on the plays. Then he would get down in his crouch, and start looking around to see which way their backs were leaning, even if it was just a little bit left or right, the same way a pitcher tries to figure out if the runner on first is going to try to steal second by watching his feet. Finally, you'd see him read their splits-the gaps between the offensive guards-and watch how their center lined up over the ball. And solely on that basis, he'd know what they were going to do before they did it!"
That's quite a feat. A walk on rises to the starting spot, despite his lack of physical skills and goes on to be part of a dominant defense. Just the kind of thing Bo would have loved.
I'm a little bummed that I haven't heard of Donnie until this book. With so much media hype surrounding Rudy, why can't little Donnie get some love? I mean, it's pretty obvious to me that his story is much more inspiring than stupid Rudy and his one play. Whoopdee freakin doo. Let's give it up for Donnie!
Update! Ahhhh Google......you are the best. Just a little Googlestalking turned up an article in the Detroit News that had a picture of Donnie in his playing days. I guess he wore #54. Wow, the Detroit News sure got to this faster than I did! It's from November of last year, and wonder of wonder's, they pulled it from Bo's book: http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071115/SPORTS0201/71...