I'VE HAD JUST ABOUT ENOUGH OF YOU SONNY
|1||10||O20||Pass||13||Play action sucks everyone in and they waggle to Wheelwright. Jamar Adams is the nearest.|
|1||10||O33||Run||3||Maroney goes off tackle. Dave Harris(+1) stays on his feet in the face of a chop and sticks him.|
|2||7||O36||Pass||9||Triple stack screen that we essentially concede 10 yards on at the snap with only a couple players anywhere near the screen.|
|1||10||O45||Run||0||No one on Minnesota picks up a block. Harris(+1) avoids his man, forms up, and waits for help to arrive.|
|2||10||O45||Pass||Inc||Cupito tries to pump fake and the ball comes out.|
|3||10||O45||Pass||10||Wheelwright runs a simple out at the sticks in front of Mason(-1).|
|1||10||M45||Run||1||Again the Gophers can't get guys blocked on the pull. Burgess(+1) makes the dogde and slows him down long enough for Massey(+1) to make the tackle.|
|2||9||M44||Run||5||Triple stack again, they hand off to Russell up the middle. The Minnesota OL gets a good push, though Watson holds his ground and Russell has to cut back a little.|
|3||4||M39||Run||0||Watson(+2) crushes his man into bits and makes the tackle. Controversial fumble play. I dunno. Forward progress was stopped but I've seen stuff like that go either way.|
|4||4||M39||Pass||Inc||Mason(+2) does a really nice job on the slant here, breaking up the pass immediately upon the throw's arrival.|
|Drive Notes: 3-0, 7 min 1st Q. Caught off guard with a couple plays (waggle to Wheelwright, triple stack) and Mason has to react faster on an obvious out on the third down but we do a good job against the run here and Mason ends the drive with a nice play. All in all a good performance.|
|1||10||O19||Pass||9||Rollout pass, simple out run in front of Hall(-1).|
|1||10||O32||Run||8||Triple stack; handoff is to Russell again. Woodley(-1) can't hold the corner and Graham(-1) picks the wrong hole.|
|2||2||O40||Run||2||Well defended but can't prevent the first down. Harris with another tackle.|
|1||10||O42||Pass||19||Cupito with all day to throw and he finds Wallace. Adams is again running a few yards being the recipient, but it's hard to fault a DB when the QB has that much time.|
|1||10||O39||Pass||2||Triple stack screen #2. Hall(+1) attacks immediately and slows the play up so that help can arrive.|
|2||8||O37||Run||5||Jamison(+1) is lined up as an OLB on the LOS and just blows past the TE before he even knows what's going on. Unfortunately, he misses the tackle, and then Mason misses a tackle downfield. Jamison gets a +1 because he was supposed to be blocked but didn't and slowed the play up even though he didn't finish it.|
|3||3||O32||Run||8||Cupito runs the option. Harris(-1) does get chopped on this play and there's a big hole up the middle.|
|1||10||O24||Run||9||Goddamn. Woods is in as the DE opposite Woodley on the short side of the field. They pull the LT and LG around the TE, who crushes Woods, and there is instantly a big hole that Russell flies through. Never seen that before. No Harris on this play; Crable at MLB.|
|2||1||O15||Run||2||Maroney up the gut.|
|1||10||O13||Penalty||-15||Chop block against Minnesota on a Maroney stretch.|
|1||30||O33||Run||3||Graham(+1) shoots out to the sideline and forces Maroney to cut back into an agile, pursuing Watson(+1).|
|2||27||O30||Pass||10||Mason versus Wheelwright is a physical mismatch; here he gets inside of Mason and is thus open, but on second and 27 from the 30 this is okay to cede.|
|3||17||O20||Pass||8||A 'we give up' flare route to Wallace.|
|Drive Notes: FG, 3-3 13 min 2nd Q. I'm willing to chalk some of this up to Minnesota being a very good running offense, but our persistent inability to get a pass rush when we expect run is concerning.|
|1||10||O19||Run||0||Toss sweep to the outside. Branch(+1) and Burgess(+1) hold up well enough to let Graham(+1) flow and stick.|
|2||10||O19||Run||7||Cupito checks into an off tackle run. Massey(-1) vacates the space immediately. At this point Maroney 11 for 34.|
|3||3||O26||Pass||Inc||Cupito's wet noodle of an arm can't get it to an open receiver.|
|Drive Notes: 3-3 10 min 2nd Q. We're doing decently at this point.|
|1||10||O20||Run||14||Maroney gets the corner. Engelmon is freaking held here, and that's a big reason why. I see hands outside of shoulders constantly and it never gets called.|
|1||10||O34||Pass||0||Why are they throwing these shallow outs that serve only to highlight Cupito's weak arm? This play almost can't work with the personnel Minnesota has.|
|2||10||O34||Run||1||Russell up the middle. I think he makes a crappy cut here since there are unblocked guys on the side he cuts to. No one bothers blocking the DE on that side; probably a bust.|
|3||9||O35||Pass||Inc||Mason(+1) is in good coverage here but the reason this is incomplete is Woodley(+1), who stunts unblocked on a blitz and gets there immediately.|
|Drive Notes:3-3 7 min 2nd Q. I'm really not complaining too much about the refereeing in this game. Just that one play. I promise.|
|1||10||O20||Run||9||Barringer(+2) puts his hat right on the ball. Before the snap we were in a 3-4 and were misaligned; Minnesota outnumbered us on the near side of the field and ran a simple pitch out there. Burgess is sealed, Engelmon is blocked, and Maroney gets a nice run that we can't do anything about right on the snap.|
|Drive Notes: 6-3, 6 min 2nd Q. Foreshadowing.|
|1||10||O25||Pass||Inc||Play action and a ton of time for Cupito; Wheelwright is open but Cupito misses him.|
|2||10||O25||Run||4||Toss sweep. Massey holds up decently here and Graham avoids a block to converge.|
|3||6||O29||Pass||8||Wow. Really frustrating. Woodley(+1) and I think Branch(+1) execute a perfect stunt that has Woodley flying at Cupito unblocked but it doesn't matter because Harris(-1) and Brandon Logan(-1) (Brandon Logan?) have dropped too deep to prevent an easy completion to the TE underneath for the conversion.|
|1||10||O37||Pass||36||Play action. Hall(-1) gets completely turned around right before Ellerson cuts his route to a post and Jamar Adams(-1) is sucked way up by the pla y action.|
|1||10||M27||Run||5||Harrison(-1) misses a weak arm tackle on a play where most of the D holds up pretty well.|
|2||5||M22||Run||1||Engelmon blitzes from the corner right into the Minnesota run; Harris(+1) finishes the play.|
|3||4||M21||Pass||21||I think Trent's in about as good a position as he can be in here. Given the coverage there's no way you can stop the 6'5 Wheelwright when Cupito throws a perfect fade like he does here. Credit to Minnesota.|
|Drive Notes: 13-10, 1 min 2nd Q. Adams and Harrison both check in with negative plays. There's a drop from our starters. The killer was the third and six conversion that if Cupito was forced to hold the ball for a single second longer he was going to be sacked.|
|1||10||O38||Pass||Inc||Engelmon(+1) lights up Wheelwright, causing the drop. Illegal touching in any case.|
|2||10||O38||Run||0||Conceding the half.|
|Drive Notes: 13-10, Halftime. The defense is playing very well to this point.|
|1||15||M45||Run||4||Hall holds the corner and it's a nice cut by Maroney that gets the yardage. Massey(+1) is pursuing and makes the tackle.|
|2||11||M41||Penalty||15||Really unfortunate here, as Branch gets chopped and reaches out to Cupito to make a tackle. In the process he yanks him down by the facemask.|
|1||10||M26||Run||8||The same toss sweep into the overloaded bunch on the wide side of the field. Engelmon(-1) misses a tackle and Burgess(-1) is embarrassingly driven downfield by Jared Ellerson.|
|2||2||M18||Run||9||Maroney vaults Branch at the LOS. Watson(-1) is single blocked effectively by Eslinger here.|
|1||G||M9||Run||4||Maroney to the outside again. Really questionable angle taken by Graham(-1), who has an opportunity to make a tackle for no gain. Barringer is the one who actually makes the tackle. He injures his knee on this play and is gone for the rest of the game.|
|2||G||M5||Run||-4||Branch(+2) penetrates and makes a shoestring TFL. Huge play.|
|3||G||M9||Pass||Inc||Fade to Wheelwright, who again has Trent on him. This is about a millimeter away from intererence. Trent manages to bother Wheelwright enough to force a drop.|
|Drive Notes: 13-13, 13 min 3rd Q. Defense cracks somewhat to begin the half. Breaston returns the kickoff for a touchdown; Carr pooches the subsequent kick... bad decision.|
|1||10||O39||Penalty||15||PI on Hall. Really tough for him to avoid this as Cupito underthrows the ball and when Payne tries to stop Hall just runs right into him.|
|1||15||O49||Pass||Inc||Play action. Michigan has totally ceded any pass rush in on non obvious passing downs. Cupito can't get the deep out there.|
|2||15||O49||Run||3||Harris(+1) makes a very sure tackle as Russell shoots up into a good-sized hole on this draw.|
|3||12||M48||Penalty||15||PI on Mason(-1), as he gets caught jamming Wheelwright with the ball in the air. The thing is, they're 20 yards downfield at this point; the ball's likely in the air.|
|1||10||M33||Run||4||Russell up the gut from the triple stack.|
|2||6||M29||Run||1||Toss sweep. Adams(+1) does a good job of cutting off Maroney's outside path and the calvary converges.|
|3||5||M28||Run||6||Killer play. Russell is hit in the backfield by Burgess(-1) but he escapes and manages to squeak out the first down. Brutal.|
|1||10||M22||Run||2||Up the gut. Massey(+1) sheds his man and sticks for the tackle.|
|2||8||M20||Pass||6||PA waggle... on a zone blitz where Woodley pulls out and drops too deep(!).|
|3||2||M14||Run||3||Straight up the gut between Taylor(-1) and Will Johnson(-1). Why is Watson on the sideline on third and two?|
|1||10||M11||Run||8||Maroney straight up the gut. Will Johnson(-1) is destroyed and Watson just can't close off that big of a gap.|
|2||2||M3||Run||3||Michigan misses like four tackles. I'm gibbering.|
|1||G||M1||Run||0||A wad right in the middle; I can't really determine anything.|
|1||G||M1||Run||0||A TO before this play is really strange.|
|1||G||M1||Run||1||Toss sweep touchdown for Minn. Crable gets blocked but it would be really hard to prevent this by yourself.|
|Drive Notes: TD, 20-20, 6 min 3rd Q. Complete defensive meltdown on this drive. Really, really strange to see the two freshman backup DTs in on two critical plays on 3rd and 2 and 1st and 10 in the red zone, but the defense has been on the field for about ten straight minutes. We really miss Biggs and Jamison; think Branch would have been of help at DT on this drive?|
|1||10||O26||Penalty||-10||Holding; the play was a play action bomb played well by Hall(+1). Penalty drawn by Woodley(+1), who was hog-tied by the OT.|
|1||20||O16||Run||-1||Woodley(+2) destroys the OT and makes the TFL all by himself.|
|2||21||O15||Penalty||er, +5||Holding downfield on Ellerson after a huge run. Burgess(-2) sits there, gets chopped by the slot WR, and then goes inside of him. Unexplainable.|
|2||16||O20||Pass||Inc||Play action stretch and Cupito misses his guy on the sidelines.|
|3||16||O20||Run||13||They run Maroney off tackle. Burgess(-1) again takes a bad angle, but it's third and 16.|
|Drive Notes: 20-20, 2 min 3rd Q. Woodley makes a couple of nice plays to offset Burgess's bad angles.|
|1||10||O42||Run||-4||Harris(+2) reads, reacts, and makes the TFL very nicely. Burgess attempts to slip inside of his block again.|
|2||14||O38||Penalty||7||PI on Mason(-1). He reads and reacts on Wheelwright and arrives too early.|
|1||10||O45||Pass||Inc||More play action; more oodles of time. Cupito eventually has to roll out and fire it short of his receiver.|
|2||10||O45||Run||-1||Dave Harris(+1) again, flowing unimpeded to the ball carrier.|
|3||11||O44||Pass||Inc||Michigan comes up with aggressive press coverage and sends an extra guy. Cupito just fires the ball downfield, badly overthrowing his WR.|
|Drive Notes: 20-20, 13 min 4th Q. I don't understand why this press cover thing doesn't get used more often. I know you can't do it all the time or Wheelwright is going to torch you (if Cupito gets it there), but th ere are a couple instances earlier when the soft zones let a pressured Cupito make a relatively easy hot read.|
|1||10||O20||Run||8||Triple stack and they're expecting the screen because Woodley drops off into the short zone on that side of the field. Russell runs up into the vacated area.|
|2||2||O28||Run||1||Woodley(+1) dominates his man and shoots upfield, breaking up the sweep, allowing guys to converge.|
|3||1||O29||Run||3||They run a stretch play to the right side of the field; the DL fired into the OL, attempting to prevent a run up the gut. Engelmon goes down.|
|1||10||O32||Pass||Inc||Woodley(+2) kills Cupito, forcing an inaccurate pass to Maroney and ending Cupito's afternoon.|
|2||10||O32||Run||-2||Quarterback draw which Watson(+1) reads and consumes, then has to limp off afterwards.|
|3||12||O32||Run||7||We play passively here. Harris(+1) plows through a blocker and sticks his man.|
|Drive Notes: 20-20, 5 min 4th Q. Goddamn Woodley is great. He does this every game. There's usually two drives where these notes are essentially "OMG WOODLEY"... please, please don't have NFL measurables this offseason.|
|1||10||O13||Run||5||Triple stack and Russell goes right up the middle. Seems like every time they do this they gain yards. Massey(-1) is pancaked pretty brutally.|
|2||5||O18||Run||7||Man... again they run right at Massey(-1) and he gets moved way out. I don't want to be too hard on the guy but they're killing him.|
|1||10||O25||Run||0||They toss it over to Woodley's(+1) side, which is just a mistake. Graham(+1) nimbly steps past a potential blocker to finish the play.|
|2||10||O25||Run||0||Again they run it over towards Woodley(+1) and he holds up at the line and comes off to tackle, assisted by Graham(+1), who makes an excellent play to pick through the trash.|
|3||10||O25||Run||60||This has been discussed. Burgess(-2).|
|Drive Notes: FG, 23-20, EOG.|
Any final words on the game-killing run?
I've seen a couple people argue that Carr should have played for overtime, but I disagree. Minnesota was clearly not going to have their backup QB throw unless it absolutely had to. Their punter had been dropping 30 yarders in front of Breaston all day. Michigan had a not-insignificant wind and would have gotten the ball back with plenty of time to execute a two minute drill for a winning field goal. The strategy was correct and it was not close, especially given that Carr had to make a second decision on playing for OT after the initial first down. He waited until Maroney was stuffed on first down to take his TO, when it was second and ten.
As for the run itself, I've made my position clear--it was a colossal coaching blunder--and I won't rehash it here.
What about the rest of the game?
They actually did decently. Before the 61 yarder at the end, Michigan had conceded 212 rushing yards, yes, but that was on 54 carries--3.9 yards per. Not spectacular but also not bad against such a powerful rushing attack. They clearly wore out early in the third after the Breaston KR TD (unless you think the coaches were itching to put Johnson and Taylor in on a critical third and two at the 11), but that's understandable. They racked up a bunch of penalties early in the second half that helped the Gophers move the ball; those were also more unfortunate than instances of poor play.
Cupito was intermittently effective--the fade to Wheelwright was beauty and totally unstoppable--but at other times was his usual weak-armed self, bailing Michigan out in several situations in which he had open guys.
All told, a good performance.
|Woodley||10||1||9||Best DE in 15 years.|
|Woods||-||-||-||Saw him on maybe one play.|
|Massey||3||3||0||Was generally effective flowing to the ball and only had a couple instances where he was blown out of the middle.|
|Watson||4||1||3||Good but not dominant.|
|Johnson||-||2||-2||Tough to get your feet wet against Eslinger and Setterstrom.|
|Jamison||1||-||-||Wanted to see more from him on the weakside.|
|Branch||4||-||4||Consistently a bright spot.|
|Burgess||2||7||-5||Get this man a protractor stat.|
|Harris||8||2||6||Well, we've got one linebacker.|
|Mason||3||3||0||Needs to be more aware of the ball in the air.|
|Trent||-||-||-||Can't blame him for giving up the TD.|
|Barringer||2||-||2||God hates Michigan safeties.|
The chart accurately reflects what I think happened: the DEs were indeed very good against Maroney. The DTs not so much, possibly because of that stretch in the third. Harris was a beast; Burgess was a disaster, a WLB playing SLB. The secondary was all right but not great.
How badly are we going to miss Engelmon and Barringer?
More badly than Shazor. We'll be starting a 5'9" true freshman cornerback and Jamar Adams, who gives me the willies. The response may well be to sit back and cross our fingers, hoping PSU can't do anything about the seven guys in the box. Against the inaccurate Michael Robinson and a running game that I still think is pretty suspicious that may well work... but there's a reason Adams was on the bench despite being fast and huge. They're young and inexperienced. They'll probably screw up at least a few times.
Also, who's next on the depth chart? Anton Campbell? BJ Opong-Owosu? The safeties are atom-thin now.
What is the deal with Branch at DE?
I do understand the motivation against the Gophers. Woods runs out on the field for a snap; Minnesota consumes his soul and gains 9 yards. Jamison runs out there; they try the same thing but Jamison teleports into the backfield (and misses a tackle). Branch is big enough and fast enough to hold the corn er and collapse on the runner.
Against Penn State, however, I'd rather see him shift inside with Woodley taking on the strong side of the formation and one of our smaller edge rushers on the weak side. The Penn State offensive line doesn't compare to Minnesota's and but they do have a mobile quarterback. Someone like Jamsion's more likely to track him down if necessary.
Don't get ahead of yourself... what does it mean for PSU?
Well, there's that on the DL. I expect a game plan very similar to the one we saw against Michigan State with a lot of zones, spying, and laying back waiting for errors. It'll probably work better than it did against Michigan State--Robinson will be forced to take off more often than The Jesus and probably will make several more mistakes than he did. Penn State is not going to roll over our run defense like they did to Minnesota, but I expect several mistakes from the outside linebackers and safeties plus a few instances of Massey getting catapulted across the field. Those errors combined with sporadic good play from Robinson will get PSU a few drives where they threaten to score--with their offense, even(!)--but this one is going to be a low-scoring slugfest of a game.
So it'll come down to a Rivas kick?
SHUTUPSHUTUP SHUUUUUT UUUUUP.
Cato June twitch central: Here you go, kids. We've got a candidate for understatement of the year:
Because of his body art and trash-talking on-field demeanor, June may not appear to be a humble, hard-working professional.
Good for you in any case, Cato. Those prone to seizures induced by unexpected images should look away:
ERROR! MALFORMED DATA.
Can anyone read this and tell me if it's good? Scoop Jackson wrote a huge long column on the Fab Five that I swear I tried to read. I couldn't do it, man. I'm pretty sure he expends many, many words talking about how goddamn black they were. (On further review... yep.)
These things [Cartman] seriously piss me off you guys [/Cartman]. Indeed they changed a lot of things. Notably, they changed the Michigan basketball program into a disaster zone. That only gets passing mention here because the downside of the OMG ATTITUDE(!) that is the Fab Five's true legacy hardly ever gets mentioned. With the baggy shorts came a lot of baggage you see reflected in people like Terrell Owens today, but try mentioning that as a negative side effect of the "urbanization"--and what a tidy euphemism that is--of sports and see how many different Jesse Jackson organizations sue you.
Also: I failed to "report" this when this "happened" but I'm a "loose cannon blogger" so you'll have to deal. Brent Petway is academically ineligible for the fall semester.
Diabolically friendly! Uh, yeah. SI On Campus decided to grace the Halloween post with a link for the better part of a day and traffic doubled-ish. If you're wondering, yes, this does somewhat dampen my enthusiasm for telling, say, Stuart Mandel to, say, "eat a dick." Er... again, that is. Definitely not a third time. Probably.
Delphi speaks. Bo:
"I don't know whether they can put it together or not; I really don't. ... They don't have a real good offensive line, their back is playing on one leg. The quarterback hasn't looked as good as they thought he would, and they lost a great receiver before the season, and now their safeties are out.
"Well, I don't know."
"They had so many injuries early, and they got off to a bad start and they didn't look good and they got beat by Notre Dame. ... They should never have lost to Notre Dame. My God, they had the ball down there and they should have won."
|1||10||M27||Run||Hart||1||Draw. Stenavich's man sheds and tackles.|
|2||9||M28||Pass||Avant||Inc||Tipped at the line. (BA)|
|3||9||M28||Pass||Avant||13||Tipped again; ominously, Riley just barely gets enough on the DE to push him past Henne. (BA)|
|1||10||M41||Pass||Avant||16||Nice slant to Avant. (DO)|
|1||10||O41||Run||Hart||3||Lentz pulls onto a linebacker, who stands him up at the LOS. Not so good.|
|2||7||O38||Run||Hart||20||Draw. Bass gets just enough of the LB/S to push him just past Hart and he moves through the hole.|
|1||10||O18||Run||Hart||3||This play isn't on the tape. Thanks ABC.|
|2||7||O15||Run||Hart||8||Draw once again. We're in a 3 WR set and they have six in the box. The blockers do well.|
|1||G||O8||Run||Hart||3||Hart has to cut back since the planned route of attack is totally stuffed.|
|2||G||O5||Pass||Avant||Inc||Henne overthrows Avant on a slant by six feet. (IN)|
|3||G||O5||Pass||Ecker||Inc||I'm going to be charitable and say that this was just thrown away since there was no one open. It's either that or another ridiculously overthrown ball. (TA)|
|Drive Notes: FG, 3-0, 10 min 1st Q. The runs that work are all draws. We are a finesse running team. Henne had Avant open but just rocketed it well above his head. Four points left on the board.|
|1||10||M39||Run||Hart||8||An off tackle here were Lentz gets a very good seal block and lets Hart dart up for a big chunk of yardage.|
|2||2||M47||Run||Hart||6||Draw. Hart jinks his way through a minefield of guys holding their blocks.|
|1||10||O47||Pass||Manningham||Pen / 15||Manningham is tackled by his man.|
|1||10||O32||Run||Manningham||-5||A reverse that doesn't work. Avant misses his block on the safety, otherwise I think Manningham gets the corner here.|
|2||15||O37||Pass||Avant||6||I think this is a checkdown. (CA)|
|3||9||O31||Pass||No one||Sack / -8||Riley gets destroyed by this Steve Davis kid, a freshman. At this point the elderly gentleman in front of me, who I do not know, turns to me and says "Is that Riley? Pathetic." I've got no response.|
|Drive Notes: 3-0, 3 min 1st Q. Davis is going to kill like three additional drives by owning whatever RT we throw out there.|
|1||10||M27||Pass||Ecker||Inc||Nice seam route to Ecker 23 yards downfield. Ecker drops it. (DO)|
|2||10||M27||Pass||Avant||14||Simple out to Avant which is somewhat overthrown. (CA).|
|1||10||M41||Run||Hart||1||Henige's block is to fall down in the general direction of the Minnesota defender, who disrupts the entire play.|
|2||9||M42||Pass||Dunno||Inc||The offensive line decides not to block the blitzer, who crushes henne as he attempts to throw. (BA)|
|3||9||M42||Pass||Tabb||7||Henne has all day here but can only dump it down to Carl Tabb, who is well short of the first down. (BR).|
|Drive Notes: 3-3, 11 min 2nd Q. Total busts on first and second down by the OL put Michigan in third and long.|
|1||10||M35||Run||Hart||5||This is indeed a fumble and it is recovered by Minnesota. After video review, the player was ruled down? What? The Gophers got screwed here.|
|2||5||M40||Run||Hart||1||Jesus. Davis just decides that Mike Kolodziej is an annoying fly and gets rid of him, then tackles hart.|
|3||4||M39||Pass||No one||Sack / -3||Henige is forced to hold Montomgery, who gets the sack anyway. Henne is tentative and not throwing the ball on time. I refuse to believe that the toasterrific Minnesota secondary is covering Avant and Manningham.|
|Drive Notes: 3-3 8 min 2nd Q. Another big play by Davis and then Henige can't block Montgomery. The OL is killing us.|
|1||10||M26||Pass||Manningham||11||Out to Manningham. (CA)|
|1||10||M37||Pass||Breaston||18 + 15||Roughing the passer after the completion to Breaston, who turns his man completely around on his post-out. (DO).|
|1||10||O30||Pass||Avant||Inc||Tipped by the LB in the zone. He's staring down Avant and thus he's surrounded by like four guys. (BR)|
|2||10||O30||Pass||Massaquoi||Inc||Sure, throw to the guy with one hand. (CA)|
|3||10||O30||Pass||Avant||Inc||Avant's open in the end zone and Henne plain misses him. (IN).|
|Drive Notes: FG. 6-3 6 min 2nd Q. I really dislike these downfield throws on third down. It would be one thing if Henne was having a good year and nailing guys who came open 20 yards downfield, but that's not happening.|
|1||10||O23||Run||Hart||0||This Steve Davis kid can play. He stands up Ecker and then nimbly avoids Thompson's block and makes the tackle for no gain.|
|2||10||O23||Pass||Breaston||18||Breaston's wide open as Avant and Manningham clear it out for him. (CA)|
|1||G||O5||Pass||Avant||Inc||This fade is badly overthrown. (IN)|
|2||G||O5||Run||Hart||4||Good blocking by Lentz and Thompson makes a crease that Hart can exploit. Big play.|
|3||G||O1||Run||Hart||0||This is the exact same play that failed on 4th and 1 versus Wisconsin. Again the pulling guard Lentz doesn't block anyone.|
|4||G||O1||Run||Hart||1||He makes it but isn't easy. No pull here just an F-U iso play.|
|Drive Notes: TD, 13-3 3 min 2nd Q. Thompson has asserted himself as the starting FB and is doing a pretty good job. He's not Dudley but he's not a disaster.|
|1||10||M31||Pass||Massaquoi||Inc||I think he's throwing it away here since Mass is triple covered, but he doesn't even bother with his other reads. (TA)|
|2||10||M31||Pass||Massaquoi||Inc||A freaking bullet over the middle that's high and incomplete, though he has to throw it like so given the coverage. Why are we throwing to Mass here? (marginally CA)|
|Drive Notes: TD, 13-10, 36 sec 2nd Q. Not exactly go go gadget two minute drill.|
|1||10||M47||Run||Hart||4||Another draw; these all seem to open up big holes between the tackles and guards, probably because the DEs are screaming upfield.|
|2||6||O49||Pass||Ecker||Inc||Dropped by Ecker. You TEs are killing me. (DO)|
|3||6||O49||Pass||Breaston||9||Finally ahead of his guy on the crossing route by a yard or two. Henne leads him just right. (DO)|
|1||10||O40||Pass||Avant||10||Wide open on the out, but this throw is not exactly on the money. (CA)|
|1||10||O30||Run||Hart||8||Stenavich seals the DE when he slants inside on the snap, opening up the weak side.|
|2||2||O22||Pass||Avant||Inc||Play action. Henne steps up and fires it towards the corner of the endzone for Avant and misses him. (IN)|
|3||2||O22||Run||Hart||-3||Riley screws up his block, fouling this up and disrupting Thompson's blocking route. As a result the LB shoots up into the gap unmolested and makes a TFL.|
|Drive Notes: Missed FG, 20-20, 4 min 3rd Q. Rivas isn't even close. The RT position has killed two drives so far and there's a third one coming up. I again dislike the call on second and two here, and I swear I said that in the stadium.|
|1||10||M17||Run||Hart||6||Lentz pulls onto the linebacker well enough to crack open a hole that Hart squirts through.|
|2||4||M23||Run||Hart||-2||We're running into an eight man front and tip the direction of the run with the FB shuffle. Minnesota flows to the ball and overwhelms the blocking immediately.|
|3||6||M21||Pass||No one||Sack / -9||Davis blows past Kolodziej for the sack very quickly. Griese starts talking about Henne holding the ball too long but he'd hardly finished his drop. No replay to see about the coverage.|
|Drive Notes: 20-20, EO 3rd Q. Davis is killing us; refusing to adapt to the defense presented to us is not helping either.|
|1||10||M26||Pass||Manningham||7||Pretty obvious screen with Ecker going in motion to the top of the formation, but it works. (CA)|
|2||3||M33||Run||Hart||9||Pure draw here and Hart sheds a DT's arm tackle.|
|1||10||M42||Run||Hart||7||Great block by Thompson crushes the defensive end and springs Hart for a nice gain.|
|2||3||M49||Run||Hart||2||Initially stopped a the LOS by the eighth guy in the box but somehow Hart falls into a third and less than a yard.|
|3||1||O49||Run||Hart||4||Hart cuts right inside of Henige's pull block for the first down.|
|1||10||O45||Pass||Thompson||10||Play action; Manningham was probably open as has been mentioned but it's hard to complain about a first down. (CA)|
|1||10||O35||Run||Hart||16||Draw right up the middle. Another good block from the fullback blows the hole open; think it's still Thompson.|
|1||10||O19||Run||Hart||-2||Attempted sweep right is pretty well fouled up and Hart trips. This was going nowhere anyway.|
|2||12||O21||Pass||Manningham||Inc||Henne is really late with this throw and by the time he finds Manningham he's covered. Probably a checkdown. Henne had to throw it away from the DB. (IN)|
|3||12||O21||Pass||Manningham||4||A slip screen that never really has a chance.|
|Drive Notes: Missed FG, 20-20, 9 min 4th Q. What can you say? Rivas has become hennebriated.|
|1||10||M28||Run||Hart||0||Draw; Hart has an avenue but slips on his cut.|
|2||10||M28||Pass||Avant||12||Ton of time and Henne has Avant on the comeback. (CA)|
|1||10||M40||Penalty||15||Michigan goes deep to Avant and picks up a PI. Dunno, think that's a weak call.|
|1||10||O45||Run||Hart||0||Run up the gut does nothing. Massaquoi has no one to block on the outside so there's an unblocked guy up the middle and he sticks Hart.|
|2||10||O45||Pass||No one||Scramble / 2||Either no one open or Henne just can't read the defense.|
|3||8||O43||Pass||No one||Inc||Throws this away after bailing way, way to early. It's a three man rush and he rolls out, freeing a rusher to pressure him. (BR).|
|Drive Notes: 20-20, 3 min 4th Q. We never get the ball back.|
Who in the hell is Steve Davis?
Well, he's a defensive end from Missouri, a true freshman, and foremost among the reasons Minnesota won. People are just starting to write articles about him, but you heard it here first: this guy is good. Four separate times he snuffed out UM drives largely or entirely on his own, generally by exploding past whichever RT was starring in the role of Courtney Morgan at that particular moment. Twice he sacked Henne; once he blew up a third and two run play.
Would Jake Long have done better? No doubt. But Davis still deserves copious credit. No defensive end to date, including ND's Victor Abiamiri, had been able to take advantage of our questionable situation at RT to such an extent.
So our offensive problems were on the shoulders of Riley and Kolodziej?
That was certainly a large part of why we bogged down but not all of it. There were several instances of missed blocks by the two guards and Stenavich did not get much push on the non-draw running plays (plays that we largely abandoned). The offensive line held its ground and kept players engaged on many of Hart's successful runs, but that's about all you can say for them.
Henne didn't have a great game. It wasn't as bad as the Wisconsin performance but it wasn't very efficient, either:
|Team||Dead on||Catchable||Inaccurate||Bad Read||Throwaways||Batted|
I tried to have the stats reflect something I suspect was the case from attending the game but can't confirm because of the way football is broadcast: Henne seemed to throw late or sit in the pocket unable to find an open receiver too often against a weak Minnesota secondary. A couple of these were counted as bad reads.
Four of Henne's five inaccurate passes were thrown towards an open Avant in the endzo ne. Michigan scored on one of those drives, got a field goal on another, and crapped out on the other two. Two of the throws were relatively deep downfield (20-30 yards), the other two were a fade launched into the crowd and a badly overthrown slant.
No picks but there were instances where Henne was hesitant to throw and did not go through his progressions. Four passes were dropped; Henne was also sacked three times.
So what's the problem?
Uh... everything? If we had one unit playing really well we could overcome the plays the others waste but it seems that every unit is the source of consistent error. Henne overthrows his receivers; the offensive line can't block very well; the tight ends and receivers drop passes; the running backs fumble; the wide receivers don't get open enough. No one unit is completely inept, but neither is any particularly reliable (other than units named "Mike Hart"). You know it's bad when even Jason Avant has been the source of a couple third-down drops.
Is there any hope?
I doubt the offensive line gets any more reliable sans Jake Long and Henne's got the yips real bad. He has reacted poorly to pressure. That said, we have outgained most opponents so far and are just a few plays here and there away from repeating that robotically effective NIU performance. I don't think it's time to send for the coroner just yet.
What does it mean for Penn State?
Ugh. The idea of Tamba Hali going up against Riley/Kolodziej is extremely unappealing, especially with Connor and Posluszny backing him up and flowing right into the holes our draw-heavy run game uses. We absolutely cannot afford to spurn the few scoring chances we earn against the Lions, as they are going to shut down our offense for most of the day unless we suddenly right the ship--possible but only distantly so. It'll come down to Henne's poise and accuracy. If he finds a man open downfield he has to hit him: that's how we won the MSU game and that's how we lost, well, the rest of them.
First, if you care about that last play in the Minnesota game I suggest you check the comments on yesterday's voracity. There's a lot of intelligent discussion (much of it disagreeing with me) about the play and exactly what the problems were. I still hold to my belief that the call was a major coaching mistake above all, but you can read both sides and decide for yourself.
I have to be faster because people keep "stealing" my obvious column ideas. Offtackle beats me to the halfway point punch with six reasons Michigan has done poorly. I agree that QB play and the Long injury have been major problems but I think the problem on defense hasn't so much been tackling as extremely poor play by the outside linebackers, who have all too frequently tried to run around blocks instead of taking them on and have let running backs escape contain with disturbing frequency. And who knows what's going on with Breaston? Crap crap crap crap great game. Is it injury or is he just not as good as we thought? Probably some of both.
The Athletic Department, in the hunt for funding for new stadium renovations, has floated the idea of building a new level of indoor luxury seating, a proposal that while potentially lucrative, risks irreparably altering the face of the Big House as we've come to know it. Athletic Director Bill Martin, in weighing different alternatives to offset construction costs, should consider the stadium's structural and commercial integrity as nothing less than sacrosanct.
(Someone hit the author with "Elements of Style" before he writes again.) I'm all for removing the head of the first AD who approves that advertising in Michigan Stadium and placing it on a pike on Stadium as a warning to others who would be so foolhardy, but I don't get this. If people want to pay an insane amount of money to sit very far away from the game, we should encourage them. Luxury boxes will help shift the burden of funding Michigan Athletics towards the people with enough disposable income to purchase a small island and away from people like, well, me. They'll also get some of the ancient, silent people who actively detract from the atmosphere of the stadium into a quarantined place where they can no longer ask me to sit on third and five in the fourth quarter. How is getting rid of several thousand of these people going to hurt anything? The idea that Michigan Stadium--where the new PSLs have made seats between the twenties approximately twice as expensive as endzone seats, where the only way to get said seats is to donate a metric buttload of money to the athletic department--is somehow an egalitarian place where Downriver Bob in his Red Wings pleather jacket and Grosse Point Bunny in her mink stoal commune as one with the football team found therein is, uh, interesting. Bring on the rich old people bilking-machines, I say! Huzzah!
My only concern with the proposed renovations is they put a fairly hard cap on the ultimate seating capacity of the stadium--personally I would add a dozen or so rows to the top of the stadium before sealing the sides off with relatively immobile luxury/press boxes. I'm talking Maracana here. Screw this "largest crowd watching a football game in America" stuff. I want "largest crowd watching anything in the Solar System."
The BCS could be only one of its annual train wrecks away from going directly to some sort of a playoff system.
At least that's the view of BCS coordinator and Big 12 commissioner Kevin Weiberg.
"If the majority of the folks agreed to take a look at something like that, it could possibly happen," Weiberg said. "It's hard to predict what would trigger our presidents changing their minds about the structure.
"But, if we have another year with three major teams unbeaten and one left out of the championship game or some additional situation, that could cause folks to at least think about it."
In hindsight this extra-bowl-a-week-after thing does look mighty convenient. The idea of a college football playoff has been beaten to death, reanimated, and then beaten to death again in this space, so I'll skip it this time. But: yay.
Hurray, that's the poll hurray. If you're interested, you can see all the individual ballots here.
It's old school time in the BlogPoll with Penn State and UCLA joining Alabama in (or very near) the top ten. Penn State gained almost as many poll slots as they did yards this weekend, but they are 6-0 for the first time since Joe Paterno was creepily alive instead of creepily undead. We have a definite top 6 this week--there's a cliff after 'Bama--as well as a definite top 12--another cliff after Florida.
The Nittany Lions should be on full... ugh... upset alert in Ann Arbor this weekend (even though the bookies have installed Michigan as three point favorites) since Big Ten whackamole has gotten everyone except them so far. Will that help Michigan block Tamba Hali? Probably not.
Meanwhile, at the bottom of the poll people are so desperate for teams that Indiana and Baylor are getting votes--okay, they have nice records but whenever you're scouring the nation for the 25 best teams and either of those come up, you know you've found yourself in a year when college football has been a mess.
Now on to the extracurriculars. First up are the teams which spur the most and least disagreement between voters as measured by standard deviation. Note that the standard deviation charts halt at #25 when looking for the lowest, otherwise teams that everyone agreed were terrible (say, Eastern Michigan) would all be at the top.
As expected, the deviation is coming down as the games get played. OSU and UT, both teams with good defense, no offense, and two losses, top the charts this week, followed closely by weekly cipher Texas Tech, who managed to beat a probably not very good Nebraska team by the flukiest play of the year to date when a sealing interception was fumbled on the return. Tech has three creampuff wins, an okay win versus KU, and then the fluke against Nebraska... a lot of ground there to disagree on.
Ballot math: First up are "Mr. Bold" and "Mr. Numb Existence." The former goes to the voter with the ballot most divergent from the poll at large. The number you see is the average difference between a person's opinion of a team and the poll's opinion.
Mr. Bold is Texas Tech-affiliated blog Cheap Seats. Nothing really jumps out as strange until you get to Louisville at #12 but then you get some major disagreement with the poll at large: Miami slumming at #15, behind two-loss UT at #14, Iowa #19, Maryland #22, UTEP #24, etc.
Mr. Numb Existence is the Enlightened Spartan, who you should all fear as he's managed to bend reality to his will this year--save for one afternoon in Spartan Stadium. He apparently expects MSU to lose this weekend versus OSU, having the Bucks just a single space in front of the Spartans.
Next we have the Coulter/Krugman Award and the Straight Bangin' Award, which are again different sides of the same coin. The CKA and SBA go to the blogs with the highest and lowest bias rating, respectively. Bias rating is calculated by subtracting the blogger's vote for his own team from the poll-wide average. A high number indicates you are shameless homer. A low number indicates that you suffer from an abusive relationship with your football team.
The CK Award goes to Fresno State blogger MDG, who has the unranked-at-large Bulldogs at #18. Personally, I left Fresno State off my ballot without really considering their body of work, which is worthy of consideration. They nuked a decent Toledo team and dropped a very close one to #20 Oregon. I think there's a case for the Bulldogs if they continue to win before their matchup with (gasp) USC.
The Straight Bangin' Award has a truly SB-worthy margin this week from Tennessee blogger I Know College Football, who dropped the punchless Vols from his ballot entirely (natch). The Michigan bloggers commiserate.
Swing is essentially the total change in each ballot from last week to this week (obviously voters who didn't submit a ballot last week are not included). A high number means you are easily distracted by shiny things. A low number means that you're damn sure you're right no matter what reality says.
Swing doesn't work. Apologies; I find myself fairly busy during the season. When I can find time to fix it I will.
Comments welcomed, as always.
|1||Southern Cal||Wavering a little bit here but Texas' marquee win over OSU is losing luster by the week.|
|2||Texas||I am required by law to include the words "monkey" and "back" and "off" in this section of the poll. So: BACK OFF, MONKEY!|
|3||Virginia Tech||What should have been a functional DNP against Marshall was close for a half, but given that their offense has always been bad I don't think it's particularly surprising or troubling.|
|4||Georgia||Okay. I'm a believer. Watching UGA throttle the Vols was impressive. There are a large number of giant angry defensive linemen in the SEC this year and Georgia appears to be playing 13 of them at once.|
|6||Florida State||Again a supposed functional DNP goes somewhat awry.|
|7||Miami||Functional DNP vs. Duke.|
|10||Florida||Another wobbly day at the office for Leak.|
|11||Penn State||The offense is a tiny increment better and the defense is just as good, so Penn State is squeaking out wins instead of losses this year.|
|12||UCLA||Largely unsure of exactly what to do with these teams.|
|13||LSU||Functional DNP vs. Vandy. Sorry Vandy, but you lost to MTSU: functional DNP you are once more.|
|14||Boston College||Beat UVA soundly.|
|15||Cal||Shoulda won. Did not.|
|16||Ohio State||Ohio State was the one team I pegged exactly: despite Troy Smith's heroics against Michigan he's a far below average DI QB, and he's wasting Holmes, Ginn, and a spectacular defense all by himself.|
|17||Minnesota||I want chicken, I want liver, meow mix meow mix please deliver.|
|19||Wisconsin||51 points to Northwestern. 42 points to BGSU. Michigan scores 20. Ugh.|
|20||Texas Tech||Fluky win over a flukily undefeated team.|
|21||Louisville||Crushed a not-awful UNC team.|
|22||Oregon||Er... now is the time on BlogPoll when we grab whoever's left.|
|23||Tennessee||Utterly dominated by Georgia.|
|24||Colorado||Put the nail in the A&M coffin; only loss to #7 Miami.|
|25||Georgia Tech||It's either them or some mid-major, and they have three wins over not bad teams, including Auburn, and one shoulda-won against NCSU. It's unfortunate that the Golden Tornado/DJL detente had harsh reality intervene.|
Dropped Out: Arizona State (#11, "a third loss will be met with harsh reassessment"), Michigan (#24)
Games I Saw: Michigan-Minnesota; PSU-OSU; UT-UGA; last bit of GT-NCSU
Help Requested: What should I do with Cal and UCLA? Any better suggestions for the tail end of the poll?
Update: Commenters make cases for UCLA and PSU so they rise a bit at the expense of LSU and BC.
Cathartic or something. IBFC has a clip of the deadly third down. You can see what happened for yourself. Vijay breaks it down very well, so I won't go into tremendous detail. Run over there and read it for yourself, then come back...
doGsinairB: OMG U R soooo dumb MannMann1997
MannMann1997: LOL thn why am i defnsive cooordinator n u r not
doGsinairB: UR such a homo. man+man = homo.
Okay. If you want to assign blame (and you do), #1 is Jim Herrmann, who lined up his players in a fundamentally flawed, excessively aggressive alignment, #2 is Prescott Burgess, who lost contain two seconds after the ball was snapped, and #3 is Chris Graham, who shot up into an interior hole and thus left the outside open. The sad part is that Alan Branch makes a great play but just can't make it outside to tackle. You can't blame Mason, who correctly forced the runner inside of himself, but it was all for naught.
What to do about Herrmann? The guy sits back on every third and long, rushing three, when Minnesota wants to convert them and then when Minnesota is clearly playing for overtime he calls a fundamentally unsound blitz that pulls any sort of safety help away from the run to the short side that the defensive alignment obviously invites. Michigan set up in a 3-3 nickel with Burgess--an undersized SAM--lined up as the strongside DE, taking on a tight end who outweighs him by 50 pounds, and Michigan's best linebacker (Harris) and defensive linemen (Woodley, Watson) lined up on the weak side of the formation, ready to attack the run to the wide side which never comes.
What an absolutely arrogant call! Michigan lines up as if to say "don't run here," thinking they've outsmarted the Gopher offense, and then calls a blitz from that side of the formation, abandoning the last, disaster-preventing line of defense on the short side of the field, as if there was no possibility that the Gophers might recognize the blatant overload and attack the defense's weak point. If there was ever a time to send in a base nickel formation and drop seven, this was it--who blitzes on third and ten when you know a run is coming? The point is to get the stop, and the probabilities of doing so are greatly increased when you don't blitz. There was no advantage to blitzing; we saw the disadvantage unfold in front of our eyes. This is a clear instance of brain-dead coaching, combined with two bad plays from the linebackers, costing us a game.
Yeah, Jim Herrmann coaches the linebackers, too.
"After watching it, we had some guys kind of loafing,'' cornerback Leon Hall said Monday, two days after Minnesota's 23-20 win.
"The guys that were loafing, they know,'' Hall later added. "I'm sure they're down on themselves about it."
That's a really strange statement. Graham made a bad decision. Everyone else was out of position because of the playcall except Burgess, who I think screwed up, but I don't think there's any indication of loafing. Were it so simple.
I highly recommend the Big Ten basketball season preview being assembled by Hawkeye Hoops. He's got Minnesota up and more are on the way. You will be notified when Michigan shows.
Tempting... I'm trying to not uselessly bash media people--bad for the image, dontchaknow--but when Deadspin posts something like this in its ongoing series "Why Your Hometown Columnist Sucks," it's like walking out of an AA meeting and into Oktoberfest. Must... not... write... DrewSharpequivalent SPOCK! So dead on:
It's not so much that American newspaper editors want to employ mean-spirited sports columnists such as Bill Conlin; we're pretty sure it's the law. How else would one explain it? Every large paper seems to have its resident sports bastard.
And the reasons why are mystifying. They get ratings, I guess--anyone reading RJYH's passages about 'Bama public enemy #1 Paul Finebaum knows that well--but they also engender a deep distaste. Though St. John manages to humanize Finebaum by following him around on a 'Bama football Saturday when the threat of violence against him is palpable, I found little sympathy in my heart for a man who's consciously chosen to piss off a state full of people in exchange for money and notoriety, who's built an entire career out of gleeful, cynical schadenfreude. It would be different if people like Sharp or Conlin or Finebaum gave a damn about the teams they berate--there's something endearing about watching Joey short-circuit like Johnny Five--but they don't.
If you're going to do it, do it right.
DO bitch about Lloyd Carr playing his tight end with a cast on his hand simply because he's a senior. He can't block or catch.
DON'T bitch about Carr not playing Grady or Martin against Minnesota. Mike Hart didn't have an excessive number of carries and is obviously better than his backups. Given the overall crappiness of our offense we can't afford to yank Hart just because backup want a lolly.
DO bitch about the offensive line's complete inability to drive block a team of small children. There is no such thing as "push" on our offensive line unless we're playing MAC teams. Hart is our most effective runner because he's very effective running draws and can pick his way through tiny holes--which are the only holes available.
DON'T bitch about the Riley/Kolodziej combo at RT singlehandedly dragging our offense down. Long is out; Riley is a guard who is playing injured; Kolodziej had a mysterious illness that forced him to the hospital for a number of days and prevented him from practicing for a month. There's just no way any team could take those sorts of hits and still get anywhere near competent production from that position.
DO bitch about Carr's occasional ridiculous expectation-scorning decisions made because of a tiny chance of a big play, e.g., the pooched kickoff after Minnesota's good return in the second half last week. You can also bitch about Carr's thoroughly mediocre understanding of clock management.
I dunno; ask Google.
DON'T bitch about Carr's excessively conservative second-half playcalling costing us games. The ND, UW, and MSU games all opened up the second half with Henne throwing the ball, usually inaccurately or into the hands of the opponent. He's also gone for it on all the fourth downs he should have--it's actually been a radical improvement. Unfortunately it hasn't resulted in anything positive.
DO bitch about how there's no particular reason that Chad Henne should be getting so much slack from the coaches. Unless Gutierrez is simply incapable of playing, he should have made an appearance at some point in the UW or Minnesota games when it became clear that Henne was out of it.
DON'T bitch about how we never throw it over the middle. The routes in the passing game have been good enough to get guys open just fine. It's always easier to pick your spots along the sideline since most defenses have safeties patrolling the deep middle.
DO bitch about how our outside linebackers have absolutely no idea how to keep contain, or tackle, or take an angle, or shed a block.
DON'T bitch about David Harris.
DO bitch about how Jim Herrmann's affection for Charmin-soft zone defenses paired with three or four man rushes has made third and long an easy conversion for most of our opponents.
DON'T... no, I have nothing to defend the defensive playcalling, which has crumbled at every moment it's really been needed, sat in obvious, flaccid zones for the majority of the year and hasn't kept a single opposing ballcarrier under 100 yards other than EMU's cast of invalids and the Michigan State three-headed monster.
DO express concern about the state of the program and its direction.
DON'T puff yourself up as an insider and then drop vague hints about discontent within the program and double standards unless you're prepared to back it up with details. Otherwise you're okay with sounding like a petulant child.
So, a clarification... I've been kicking around an "Ethics of MGoBlog" post for a while that hasn't quite materialized yet, but now seems like a good time to delineate a particular portion of said ethics: I won't detatch emotionally from the football team and use it as a punching bag to minimize whatever issues I'm having with our Alamo Bowl-bound (at best) warrior-poets. That's a cop-out. I'm here. I'm posting UFR for the rest of the season. I'm talking frankly about the relative gaywaddery of the team in no uncertain terms.
It will be okay. As I exited the stadium after the 30-17 Iowa win last year I witnessed a strangely moving scene between some Iowa frat boys wearing football-theme frat T-shirt prominently featuring the phrase "GIT R DUN." One of them was in full hangdog mode. His buddy said softly "it's only football, man," and put his arm around his friend in a non-ironic, genuinely comforting way that--given the general attitudes of frat boys towards male-on-male touching--completely put the lie to his statement.
So: it's just football. Those of you who are freaking out, disconnecting, and generally saying things that will be regretted later even if their dire predictions turn out to be entirely correct, console yourselves: it's only football. It is only football; repeat until sedated. Release upon temporally nearest major, soul-freeing victory.
Anyway. On with the show.
Mmmph. I said this in regards to the MSU flag-planting:
I would hate whatever team did that at Michigan Stadium, but I would *love* hating them for doing it. It would make my hate strong, and I love having my hate strong.
The Gophers then did this:
Now I say this: I would also love to hate the fact that Mike Hart stubbed his toe in garbage time of next year's national championship game. Are you there, God? It's me, Brian.
Also I say that there is a critical difference here. Michigan State's flag stunt came after five straight victories at Notre Dame. Minnesota last beat Michigan in 1986, back when Abraham Lincoln was still the nation's top dinosaur hunter. State's stunt was funny, relatively original, and apropos. The Gopher stunt is just sad. As Seinfeld would say, I'm offended as a comedian. Enjoy the Jug, kids. Maybe your grandkids will see it again one day.
Meanwhile, why is it that when Michigan loses to Minnesota I have to delete useless comments from Notre Dame fans instead of Minnesota fans?
You know, in the sports bar I watched the game there were 10 other guys watching too. It could have been that they were just too drunk to do anything else, and it could have been that they liked football in general. But it seemed like they were rooting for
, and when they lost it was like none of them were surprised. Well, that makes 11 of us. Michigan
But perhaps the question I haven't asked enough is how many times in a game like this do I stop and say, of Terry Malone's calls, "Wow, that was a great play call there." or "that was the perfect play ... caught them off guard"?
"Hey, Gophers! Hey Gophers! Go eat some more weeds!" (note: as the gopher's diet does consist of a wide variety of vegetation, this chant was surprsingly accurate)
It's not just Carr. During Sunday's Baltimore-Detroit game, a total self-destruction thing for the Ravens and their nigh-NFL-record number of penalties, Detroit was the recipient of not one but two personal foul penalties after an extra point. As a result they kicked off from the Baltimore 40. Instead of attempting an onside kick that would have ended up with the Ravens at their 30 at best, Jason Hanson kicked it through the uprights for a touchback. Not that it really mattered, given Baltimore's impression of the VIBE awards, but Steve Mariucci continues to fall on the gym teacher side of the coach scale.
Dear Detroit News, I know that college hockey is not A1 on the importance scale, but there's no one named "Matt Hensick." The name you're looking for is Hunwick.
Also with the skating and the shooting and the red lights, CSTV's resuming their "Tuesdays at the Rink" series of Internet chats. Tomorrow at 2 they'll have color guy Dave Starman on. Starman saw Michigan up close and personal at the Quinnipiac game on Friday; perhaps if you ask him something about the kids and if they are all right he'll respond with an interesting tidbit or two.
Personally, I was impressed with Tim Miller, who was rough and ready all weekend, then capped it off with a sweet pass he flicked through his own legs that created a scoring chance. Also, the fact that Jack Johnson can shoot it hard and low from anywhere on the ice in any position is kind of totally awesome.
Halloween is possibly the greatest of all collegiate holidays--the women get dressed up like prostitutes and the men just follow them around, drinking. Good times. Unfortunately, it also falls right smack dab in the middle of football season, when a lot of people in our community are just too busy to give the Holiday of Holidays proper consideration. Thus they end up going as "apathy" or "college student" or "Larry Eustachy Wannabe" and the hot chicks dressed up like Sailor Moon (what? I went to Michigan Engineering, bitches!) will pay you no mind because they do not like postmodern intelligence, instead preferring, you know, obvious stuff.
So, as a service to those of us who coach, play, announce, cover, or blog college football, I provide suggested costumes for some of the notable names of this year's college football season:
Florida coach Urban Meyer
Aargh, sayeth Florida.
Suggested Costume: Ron Zook.
Reasoning: The scariest concept in all of Gainesville is the Zooker wandering around the football offices, blowing 4-0 foosball leads.
Materials required: One frat house, several defensive starters, copious alcohol, and something to grab your nuts with. Probably a hand.
Estimated cost: One Florida head coaching job.
Alabama wide receiver Tyrone Prothro
Suggested Costume: Your ankle.
Reasoning: The pure futile horror is unmatched.
Materials Required: One ball, floating meaninglessly towards the endzone in a four-touchdown blowout. One football field. One Mike Shula who can't count or subtract. One badly misplaced ankle.
Estimated Cost: The SEC Championship Game.
Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis
Suggested Costume: Wow. The possibilities are endless. Wile E. Coyote? Well, you haven't really blown yourself up yet. Wait a couple years. Jabba the Hutt? Played. Jesus Freakin' Christ? Eh... probably not unless you stairmaster the shi'ite out of those frontal buttocks. No, the only option is...
Reasoning: You can see, can't you?
Materials Required: Grape juice concentrate.
Estimated cost: The dignity you never had.
The Big Ten
Suggested Costume: The New Pornographers
Reasoning: There are too many of you to fit in one entity and you could not possibly be more overrated.
Materials Required: One artistically crushed alt-country chanteuse; overwhelmingly indie sensibilities that make me want to strangle you.
Estimated Cost: These are college towns we're talking about; free.
College football bloggers Orson Swindle and Stranko Montana
Suggested Costume: Ted "Theodore" Logan and Bill S. Preston, Esquire
Reasoning: It just fits, doesn't it?
Materials Required: None.
Estimated Cost: My free time.
Big Ten unsensations Ted Ginn and Steve Breaston
Suggested Costume: Kid n Play
Reasoning: Yeah... I remember you. Weren't you big in 1995? Clean my pool, bitches.
Materials Required: Giant flattop.
Estimated Cost: WHY DID YOU DO THAT TO PHIL HARTMAN.
Once and future powers Notre Dame, Alabama, and Penn State
Suggested Costume: Destiny's Child.
Reasoning: I thought you guys broke up. I kind of preferred it that way.
Materials Required: One record executive father; one fired, extraneous fourth member (Pitt); bumpin' new beats you already had (Smajajrjejafd, Croyle) and a new one (Williams).
Estimated Cost: The sanity of the nation.
OMG #1!!! USC
Suggested Costume: Whatever Beatles remain unmercifully alive.
Reasoning: Yeah, yeah, you're freaking great. Now please go away and never, ever return. We are sick of you. Despite your reputed greatness, no one ever shows up at your performances. Date of last tolerability: 1965.
Materials Required: A media blowjob that never, ever stops.
Estimated Cost: We gots extra!
USC head coach Pete Carroll
Suggested Costume: Pamela Anderson
Reasoning: Your fake tits have certainly lured a bevy of unsuspecting young males into your trap, but how much longer can it last?
Materials Required: Fake tits.
Estimated Cost: In LA? Not much.
USC running back Reggie Bush
Suggested Costume: George Bush.
Reasoning: OMG DID YOU KNOW THEY CALL YOU PRESIDENT BUSH
Materials Required: One squinty glare, ten billion dollars.
Estimated Cost: Just the glare if you borrow on your future NFL earnings.
Michigan head coach Lloyd Carr
This man doesn't lose to Minnesota.
Suggested Costume: CTU agent Jack Bauer.
Reasoning: YOU'RE RUNNING OUT OF TIME.
Materials Required: Badass, do-anything-to-get-the-job-done mentality.
Estimated Cost: Let's get serious here.
ABC studio analyst Aaron Taylor
Suggested Costume: The gimp from Pulp Fiction
Reasoning: It's got a gag.
Materials Required: Various pieces of bondage gear.
Estimated Cost: Just check your basement.
Michigan blogger Brian from MGoBlog
Suggested Costume: Sniper cat.
Reasoning: What costume?
Materials required: Nearby belltower.
Estimated Cost: One, two dozen, depending on how much cover I have.
Alabama blogger/Legitimate Journalist Warren St. John
Suggested Costume: Bear Bryant.
Reasoning: You can point to the picture on the wall of your office and talk about that time you met Warren St. John.
Materials Required: Houndstooth fedora, legions of worshipping admirers.
Estimated Cost: $34.95 for the fedora, check on the latter.
College football ruling class The Gang Of Six
Suggested Costume: Thomas Pynchon
Reasoning: I don't really understand anything that's going on with your complicated plots and frankly some of them sort of suck, but I am assured by others that it's all freaking genius.
terials Required: Learned English Dog, robot mallard, V1 rocket, meandering incomprehensible plot, musical numbers.
Estimated Cost: Two months of my life.
Florida State quarterback Wyatt Sexton
Suggested Costume: Charles Woodson
Reasoning: You're God, aren't you?
Materials Required: Heisman trophy, whining Tennessee fans, national championship, finest season ever produced by a defensive player in the history of college football.
Estimated Cost: 10-12 years of a Woodson-less Jim Herrmann.
College football blogger Joey from Straight Bangin'
Suggested Costume: Lloyd Carr
Reasoning: I just want to see if the Universe explodes.
Materials Required: Jowls.
Estimated Cost: 3 losses per year. Unless it's this year.
Suggested Costume: Bunsen and Beaker
Reasoning: EEEP EEEP MEEP EEP MEEEP EEP
Materials required: Copious scientific analysis; hand up your ass.
Estimated Cost: Hand up your ass.
Pittsburgh head coach Dave Wannstedt
Suggested Costume: Carrot Top.
Reasoning: Your entire existence appears to be an unfunny joke.
Materials required: Ridiculous hair, set of props that are poisoned by association.
Estimated cost: Check and check!