"It's a lot easier being a drug dealer than an AAU coach" - this guy. Tell me something I don't know. I mean, don't think but have never tried either.
|1||10||O6||Rush||-1||Woodley drives his man into the backfield, Graham bursts into his blocker, run is blown up and strung out.|
|2||11||O5||Rush||16||Draw, Van Alstyne loses outside contain, linebackers sucked in (McClintock most responsbile)|
|1||10||O23||Rush||7||Designed inside run, Wolfe bounces it outside when Woodley and Graham both get sucked inside. This is a running theme: two guys take one hole. (GROSS!!!) Also of note: Massey is getting crumpled|
|2||3||O30||Pass||8||Hole in zone, quick drop. No pass rush opp. Another theme: Michigan just lets NIU throw most of the day.|
|1||10||O38||Pass||7||zone dumpoff to Wolfe, 4 man rush. Massey doubled.|
|2||3||O45||Run||2||crack it right up the middle between the tackles. No push.|
|1||10||O48||Pass||6||Woodley pressure forces outlet, zone again|
|2||4||M46||Pass||10||too easy! No one even close to him with this stupid zone! Who is this jerry rice?|
|1||10||M24||Run||-2||Crable blitzes right into the run but completely overruns Wolfe and lets him escape, Graham shows good speed to close him down|
|2||12||M26||Pass||13||Slant into the soft spot of the same zone they've run every play this drive save for the last blitz, Mason very passive|
|1||10||M13||Run||1||Nice play by Van Alstyne, driving his man back a yard or two and coming off to make the tackle|
|2||9||M12||Pass||5||Another blitz of the LB covering the slot receiver. Horvath bails and throws the short route, Hall stumbles on his break or this would have been a two yard gain|
|3||4||M7||Pass||Inc||Horvath just misthrows a fade. Coverage looked pretty good.|
|Drive notes: bleah. I noticed that when Michigan didn't play the obvious soft zone they had better results. Also NIU spent a lot of time doubling Massey and letting Watson go single blocked.|
|1||10||O20||Run||4||NIU uses watson's momentum to take himself out of play.|
|2||6||O24||Run||76||YARDS AFTER MUNDY: 76.|
|Drive notes: Great. The big play is designed to get inside but that's pretty well jammed up. Grant Mason gets bitched by the NIU tight end on the short side of the field (great play design there, why don't you just put a huge blinking sign that says RUN HERE on the field?), and Mundy screams up from safety INSIDE of the contain-losing Mason. Wolfe bounces it out and Mundy gets a windsprint for his troubles.I can't track substitutions very well on network TV but being there in person I don't think Mundy saw any time after this performance. Brandon Harrison starts by midseason?|
|1||10||O20||Pass||Inc||This is the near-int for Burgess. Watson is the guy who hits Horvath's arm.|
|2||10||O20||Run||0||In a 2 WR set now, this one is also eaten by Watson. Single blocked, he holds.|
|3||10||O20||Pass||Inc||Horvath eats Massey. Would have taken a great throw to fit the ball in there.|
|Drive notes: OMG A PUNT. Three straight plays from the DTs.|
|1||10||O32||Run||8||Ugh. Massey and Woodley are waiting on either side of a tackle. AJ Harris jukes up into the hole, sucking Woodley inside, and then bounces it back out for a nice gain. This should have been 2nd and 10. Note: no back seven support.|
|2||2||O40||Pass||15 + 15||Late hit from Woodley, very tenuous call.|
|1||10||M30||Pass||13||Shovel pass to Wolfe. Engelmon forces a fumble. Just the perfect call on for the defense, which was blitzing. The screen goes to the exact spot the blitz vacates. Not actually angry about this one. Good play by Engelmon.|
|Drive notes: A lot of yards here but not that bad in retrospect. The screen was the perfect call for the defense and if Woodley trusts someone to be inside there the first play gets stuffed. Things like that are fixable. Hopefully.|
|1||10||O20||Run||8||Massey gets doubled by the RT and RG and completely crumples under the pressure. A single blocked Watson drives his man three yards backwards but Wolfe nimbly avoids him and scoots up into the gaping hole between the two DTs.|
|2||2||O28||Run||7||Barringer moves up into the box and loses outside contain on Wolfe.|
|1||10||O35||Pass||9||Half rollout to Woodley's side, who kills Horvath, but the zone is open again.|
|2||1||O44||Run||8||Watson gets moved out, Massey crumples, Graham gets buried.|
|1||10||M46||Run||8||Wolfe bounces a desinged interior run outsdie. Burgess loses contain. Engelmon loses contain. I cannot describe how disturbing it is to see single blocked Watson get his ass kicked on this play.|
|2||2||M38||Pass||20||Seam route to the TE. Always there if you play the exact same coverage like we do. Actually a really nice throw by Horvath. McClintock was in pretty decent position.|
|1||20||M28||Pass||10||Rollout again. Quick pass to a really, really vacant part of the zone. There are never any defenders anywhere near NIU players on pass plays.|
|2||10||M18||Pass||Inc||Rollout to the other side, Horvath throws it away. Hall w/ the coverage.|
|3||10||M18||Pass||Inc||Plenty of time for Horvath, but there's no one open.|
|Drive notes: This thing is freaking scary. Our DL is largely responsible for a series of gashing NIU runs and the only thing that stops the drive is a holding penalty.|
|1||10||O10||Run||19||Everyone gets blocked. McClintock gets wasted.|
|1||10||O29||Run||3||Massey is again crushed to the ground. Watson gets a push and forces Wolfe to bounce it outside where, miraculously, someone is waiting.|
|2||7||O32||Pass||4||Fumble recovered by Engelmon. Fortunate force as Burgess' helmet just happens to hit the right exact spot accidentally.|
|Drive notes: Only the one bad play, but man, there's no easy fix for that one.|
|1||10||O2||Run||-1||Nice standup stuff-and-go-back tackle by Graham here. Also notable that Watson crushes his guy into the endzone.|
|2||11||O1||Pass||10||Again exploiting the same zone.|
|1||10||O12||Run||2||Woodley holds the corner well enough on this sweep to force the runner back inside. McClintock makes the tackle.|
|2||8||O14||Pass||Inc||Loopy, weak throw from Horvath allows Hall to close and actually make a play on the ball. Only one all day.|
|3||8||O14||Pass||Int||Massey tips the ball, Hall picks it off.|
|Drive notes: this is actually not a crappy performance.|
|1||10||O25||Penalty||Holding||caused by Woodley owning the tackle.|
|1||20||O15||Pass||Inc||Same shovel pass that led to a fumble, but Horvath throws it too low. Looked better defended this time.|
|2||20||O15||Pass||27||Three man rush with a useless blitz from Burgess on the corner. Stupid zone.|
|1||10||O42||Pass||-6||Woodley sack, strip, and recovery. XOXOXO Lamarr|
|Drive notes: Woodley has lost contain a few times but he's consistently making plays at this point, including this huge one. He gets a gold star.|
|1||10||O20||Run||0||Really, really nice play by Woodley, driving his man into one of the sweep blockers and fouling the whole thing up.|
|2||10||O20||Pass/Penalty||Interference on Mason, actual man coverage! Dunno about the call.|
|1||10||O26||Run||0||Nice play by Branch and Johnson.|
|2||10||O26||Pass||19||Linebackers get sucked in by play action and the TE is wiiide open.|
|1||10||O45||Run||3||Thompson slices into the backfield but gets blocked at the last second. Good instincts.|
|2||7||O48||Pass||12||Blitz sent and Horvath finds the uncovered back out of the backfield.|
|1||10||M40||Run||1||A good play by Watson. Thompson again finds himself in disruptive position and helps shut the play down.|
|2||9||M39||Pass||7||Play action does some more sucking. Thompson recovers decently.|
|3||2||M32||Run||12||Burgess loses contain in a giant, terrible way. McClintock is also seemingly responsible.|
|1||10||M16||Run||6||Branch just runs himself way, way out of the play, opening up a huge gap.|
|2||4||M10||Run||3||Again a contain issue, as the middle is pretty well jammed up.|
|3||1||M7||Run||3||Sneak. Taylor gets smacked backwards.|
|1||G||M4||Run||4||Taylor holds his ground and should make the tackle at the line but gets bowled over and Harris scores.|
|Drive Notes: A garbage time drive but I charted it anyway just to see, since the starters played a portion of it. Thompson looked much better than McClintock in his brief time, though he was victimized by play action twice. Taylor got a rude introduction to college.|
Well... I don't think the performance was as total a disaster as I did before I saw the tape. Still bad, certainly. An asteroid impact moment, no.
Individuals: The clear A1 defensive star of the game was Woodley, who only had one big play that showed up on the stat sheet--the sack/strip/recovery--but caused a holding call, hurried Horvath regularly (when he held the ball long enough to be hurried), and was decent against the run. He had some contain issues, just like everyone else, but overall he was a net positive. Chris Graham also did well. Engelmon seemed capable.
Despite Carr's outrage at Watson, I thought he did all right. A lot of NIU's yards came from bouncing outside on stuff runs up the middle and most of the yards on the interior came when Watson was crushing his man upfield save for a smattering of "I'm fat and tired" examples.
Goat of the game is either Massey or McClintock, unless you really want to hammer Mundy for his usual giant play ceded. Massey kept getting doubled and crushed. McClintock did almost nothing good all day. John Thompson had more positive impact in one garbage time drive than McClintock did all day. Burgess wasn't particularly good, either, losing contain regularly.
Vs NIU Passing: Hardly even tried to defend it until NIU made it to the red zone, at which point things tightened up and Horvath couldn't find any receivers. I wouldn't put any stock into this performance--Michigan tipped its coverage before every play and only blitzed occasionally from fairly obvious places. Quinn will not get the same kid gloves.
Vs NIU Running: Vastly concerning. I have a crazy theory: NIU decided they were going to single block Watson a lot and double Massey. Massey simply can't handle double teams and crumples to the ground. Meanwhile, the guy blocking Watson just sort of has to pilot him a little bit away from the play and viola, there's a big hole for Wolfe. Can others repeat this tactic? If they have a nimble back with excellent vision, probably, though I doubt there are many backs as nimble as Wolfe around. What I saw of Darius Walker, though, indicates that he's got the requisite ability to exploit our problems with containment and gap integrity. Unless we get this fixed we have issues, especially if McClintock doesn't perform any better.
The good news is that NIU is not a CMU-like pushover opponent: they've consistently proven a tough nut for BCS teams to crack and they run like that against everyone. There's NFL talent on the line for the Huskies. I think that the run defense is going to be significantly better than it was--when you return the linchpin of your fierce conventional run D from a year ago it's unlikely to get a huge dropoff--but clearly there are major issues with the linebackers.
Grade: D+, with a special note to the parents that says "Timmah has potential if he just tries harder."
I am accepting feedback on this thing before I submit it towards the end of the day. I'm open for your input on just about everybody. Suggest away.
|1||Southern Cal||They did give up a ton of yards to the Fightin' Rainbows.|
|3||Georgia||Partially thanks for a really, really fun weekend in the blogosphere, but if UGA gets the Shocker to play like that on a weekly basis, look out.|
|4||LSU||Lost to Katrina.|
|5||Ohio State||This polling thing isn't fun anymore.|
|7||Virginia Tech||I'm not much of a Vick believer; NC State way outgained them in total offense.|
|8||Michigan||Offense is a machine. Defense is very concerning.|
|9||Tennesee||7 points over UAB? At least you're not Oklahoma.|
|10||Iowa||Starters out 20 minutes in.|
|11||Florida||Meyer finds out that Leak isn't much of a runner despite being really tan.|
|12||Notre Dame||Most impressive performance of anyone outside of UGA.|
|13||Arizona State||Waxed Temple, as per the contract.|
|14||Louisville||Not impressive against UK.|
|15||NC State||Outplayed VT and offense looks much, much better already with Trestman.|
|16||Boston College||ACC prospects looking up?|
|17||Florida State||Yeah, they won... I guess.|
|18||Miami||I think they'll have a better year despite the FSU loss because Wright alternated great plays with terrible ones instead of just the terrible ones.|
|19||Minnesota||Maroney still good, though Cupito did not look improved at all.|
|20||Georgia Tech||I don't really believe in them but they've got a more impressive scalp than just about anyone not named TCU so far.|
|21||Clemson||Whitehurst for real this time... naw.|
|22||Texas A&M||Dude, go for two.|
|25||TCU||Commenters point out that my poll lacked internal consistency given the vicious Cal-beating if I had OU up here and not the Horned Frogs. Guilty.|
Dropped Out: Cal, Auburn, Bowling Green, Oklahoma
Games I Saw: Michigan-NIU, Miami-FSU, NC State-VT, Houston-Oregon (about half), UW-BGSU(about a third), Boise-Georgia (lingering slow-mo DVR over and over again), Minnesota-Tulsa (about a third, not paying huge attention), ND-Pitt (first half), Arizona-Utah, GT-Auburn (second half), UK-UL(second half).
(thank God for DVR... literally halves the time a game takes, maybe even more if you FF between plays.)
Please fire away in the comments with objections and suggestions.
Update: Commenters point out a lack of consistency in my logic, so I bumped GT up to #20, dropped OU entirely, and TCU enjoys #25.
This will be a regular feature, a twitchingly obsessive play-by-play review of each game. The Yards After Contact/Catch field stopped getting filled in because I got a little overloaded this weekend. Skip to the end if you'd just like some overview:
|2||6||O45||Pass||Avant||Inc||Accurate throw, Avant falls down|
|1||10||O37||Pass||Breaston||Inc||Endzone, Tough diving catch for Breaston but catchable|
|1||G||O4||Pass||Avant||4||TD, beauty fade, beauty catch|
|Drive Notes: Henne does not get a sniff of pressure the entire drive. Henne starts out with 8 passes, all of which are dead on the money except maybe the Breaston bomb, which was still catchable.|
|1||10||M22||Run||Hart||12||2||jukes a guy at 4 yards|
|1||10||M34||Pass||Hart||11||8||slips a tackle at 3 yards|
|2||7||M48||Pass||Hart||Inc||both Hart & Grady on field, NIU sends 6, think Henne just throws it away.|
|3||7||M48||Pass||Avant||18||NIU again blitzes, great great protection, Henne steps up into the pocket. Slick as hail, this play.|
|1||10||O34||Pass||Hart||34||34||Hart popped that mofo! Like boom! Tough Actin' Tinactin!|
|Drive Notes: Es el partido del Hart! Also some good pass protection and Avant. Henne has thrown 12 passes. One was intentionally inaccurate, another was a bomb that slipped between Breaston's fingers.|
|2||5||M34||Pass||Tabb||Inc||possible interference, ball not particularly catchable|
|3||5||M34||Pass||Avant||13||High and behind avant, GREAT catch|
|1||10||M47||Pass||Tabb||11||Fearful of the Tabbspeed, the runoff and stop route is good for a first down|
|1||10||O42||Penalty||False start on Ruben Riley|
|1||15||O47||Run||Hart||4||Could have picked up some more yards, but he was indecisive|
|1||10||O32||Run||Hart||5||This play is helpfully excised from the tape, thanks ABC.|
|1||10||O20||Pass||Breaston||Inc||Another shot into the endzone, overthrown by a couple yards, off Breaston's fingertips|
|2||10||O20||Run||Hart||9||double pull on the OL|
|1||G||O10||Penalty||Avant interfered with in the endzone... probably a touchdown without it.|
|Drive notes: Methodical. You can see some Henne inaccuracy. XP blocked... on replay doesn't appear to be Rivas' fault at all. That dude got major penetration.|
|1||10||M42||Pass||Breaston||0||0||Henne stares Breaston down. Coverage is zone here and he should know that from Breaston's motion and find a second option.|
|1||10||O33||Run||Hart||1||Oligbo misses his block and forces Hart to cut into the middle of the defense.|
|2||9||O32||Run||Hart||0||outside sweep predicated on Hart beating the corner, which he doesn't.|
|3||9||O32||Pass||Breaston||Inc||Another shot at the endzone, the one Breaston catches out of bounds by six inches. Better footwork == TD. The throw is fine.|
|Drive notes: Missed FG ends the drive. Tom probably busy shoving needles into his Rivas voodoo doll.|
|1||10||M13||Run||Hart||7||Finally a good block from the fullback (Thompson) springs Hart for a nice gain.|
|2||3||M20||Pass||Massaquoi||6||Massaquoi's third and last catch.|
|1||10||M26||Pass||Hart||0||Avant misses a block, blowing up the screen. It's okay, Jason.|
|2||10||M26||Pass||Avant||17||Rollout to the left, and Henne displays his Elway-level cannon by calmly bulleting one to Avant. A foot farther away from the sideline and this is a lot of running and chasing.|
|1||10||M43||Pass||Breaston||Inc||Bomb to a double-covered Breaston. Breaston did have the corner beat.|
|3||8||M45||Pass||Ecker||inc||Henne finally gets some pressure and badly overthrows Ecker, who probably would have rumbled for the first.|
|Drive Notes: Nice punt. Nice gunning by Hood, fumble, it's Michiball.|
|1< /td>||10||O14||Run||Hart||9||Some Hart magic here.|
|2||1||O5||Run||Hart||4||Makes 3 yards with linebackers draped all over him|
|1||G||O1||Run||Grady||1||Leapy McTouchdown: The Sequel|
|Drive notes: yay.|
|1||10||M24||Run||Hart||2||No real push from the OL.|
|1||10||M38||Pass||Massaquoi||Inc||Waggle again against the natural flow of Henne's body again. Throws it really low to Mass, should have been a first down.|
|2||10||M38||Run||Hart||8||Nice blocking up front.|
|3||2||M46||Run||Hart||3||Makes this himself.|
|1||10||M49||Pass||Dutch||Inc||Henne throws this away. Breaston's route was clearly supposed to pick Dutch's defender, but the defender avoids it. The play isn't there. Smart decision.|
|2||10||M49||Pass||Avant||11||Easy. Like stealing.|
|1||10||O40||Pass||Breaston||7||Slip screen again.|
|2||3||O33||Run||Grady||14||NIU gets plowed and Grady hits the hole like it's Tina.|
|2||5||O14||Run||Hart||0||WLB is left unblocked on this counter-type thing and makes the tackle in the hole. Possible miscommunication as both Henige and Kraus double the DT on that side.|
|3||5||O14||Run||Hart||4||Again a little bit of a strange design with a LB unblocked.|
|4||1||O11||Run||Grady||0||Dunno. Line push seems to have been okay but a blitzing linebacker vaults the collapsed line and makes a nice play. Grady actually got a yard or two after getting nailed but to no avail.|
|Drive notes: Bo says our tacking is atrocioius, but I haven't seen anyone close enough to miss a tackle.|
|1||10||O37||Run||Grady||13||He used POWER!|
|1||G||O8||Run||Grady||4||Line is smashing them.|
|2||G||O4||Run||Grady||2||Fumble.Bad one, too.|
|Drive notes: This was going swimmingly until the fumble, showcasing Grady. He looks very good, more of a N/S runner than Hart and possibly a little faster. Of course, he's now tied Hart for career fumbles.|
|1||10||O26||Run||Grady||4||This sweep was going to go for at least ten if Grady doesn't get tripped by the turf monster.|
|2||6||O22||Pass||Massaquoi||Inc||Throws well behind Massaquoi rolling out; his second inaccurate pass on the rollout.|
|3||6||O22||Pass||Dutch||2||Again well behind the receiver. If accurate, Dutch gets the first down easily.|
|Drive notes: some idiot a couple rows behind me was sarcastically accusing Carr of being quote "the field-goal lovingest coach" unquote in football. Don't be that guy.|
|1||10||O23||Pass||Avant||12||Damn that's an impressive throw off balance, unset, rolling to the wrong side.|
|3||4||O5||Pass||No one||Inc||Gutierrez rolls out, no one open, throws OOB.|
|Drive notes: Hello el tiempo del garbage.|
I'm classifying all of Henne's throws this year as one of six categories as seen below:
|Team||Dead on||Catchable||Inaccurate||Dangerous/Bad read||Throwaways||Hit While Throwing/Line Deflected|
The ball deflected by the line was also offsides on NIU so the play does not appear above, and I might have been harsh on Henne by placing the screen pass where Breaston got lit up into the "Dangerous/Bad read" category, but there you go.
That's a very impressive performance and night and day from the opener against Miami (and, honestly, a large portion of last year) when Henne would have probably had 5-6 dangerous reads a game but usually get away with most of them. Watching the games around the country it was apparent just how decisive and authoritative Henne was. A lot of players got into trouble by hesitating to make sure they had the correct read, but Henne was bang bang bang. If opponents don't get pressure on Henne (and NIU hit him exactly once all day), he and Avant will dissect them.
Any complaints about the lack of passing across the middle are null and void; more than half of Avant's catches were caught 15-20 yards downfield, slicing through the seams in the NIU zone. Complaints about bombing it deep to Breaston and thus nullifying his quickness are null and void. He was ridiculously open on three of four downfield attempts, like two to four yards open, and he got that open by using hestation moves and bursting upfield with that amazing change of direction he has. He's going to be a tough cover for opponents this year. Damned if you do, damned if you don't with him. That was probably one of the most heartening things about the offense: seeing that Breaston clearly had the old voodoo back, even if he was a hair away from making his plays. Now if we can just force someone to punt.
The run game was effective but not explosive unless you count the screens as a part of that. The offense was grindingly consistent, getting 3-5 yards almost every carry, but I still have some concerns about the run blocking of the offensive line and whatever fullbacks they choose to employ. The fourth-and-one stop was no good, but other than that there wasn't a short yardage situation Michigan didn't convert all day. (Also: Lloyd went for it. Thumbs up... just wish he'd made it so he'd be more likely to try it again.) However, there were few gaping-hello-secondary holes that would have allowed Grady/Hart to get somewhere really fast and perhaps break a long one.
The fact that the offense only had one penalty, a false start on Ruben Riley, sums up the general performance of the O: slick, put together, methodical, and unstoppable. The only thing that halt ed Michigan drives were some inaccurate Henne passes and some small trouble on third and short. Notre Dame will probably try to come with a ton of pressure next week. If they don't get to Henne they'll be dead in the water; Michigan will pick their secondary apart. That'll be the key to the Michigan offense in the next game, effectively combating an extensive blitz package. Henne has to make a lot of hot reads and the OL has to pick up blitzes as well as they did against NIU. If those two things happen, expect MOTS from the Michigan offense, except perhaps with more big plays against the more aggressive D--and perhaps a few big plays for ND.
Stanton is back. Not that Stanton. The other one. David Stanton, a JUCO recently dinged by the NCAA, got un-dinged and will be available for MSU this year, a major help to a thin defensive line.
Zone blitzing is something you might want to get used to this year if Herrmann death-grips this weak zone coverage like many fear. Dave Sez has a great new regular feature with ex-small school QB/safety Bob Pentland where he explains stuff to you. Zone blitzing is first up.
Upon further review, Lloyd is pissed about the defense after watching the tape. His monday press conference comments are a 180 from his infuriating comments in the immediate aftermath of the game. Carr said things like "I think if you take one play out of the football game, our defense did a very good job." Yesterday he said things like "Defensively, I'm very, very disappointed in the way we played, particularly in the front seven. I don't think we played well at all up there." Chris Graham was singled out as an exception.
Evidence of Carr's displeasure can be seen on the newly-modified depth chart, which has Will Johnson listed as OR with one Gabe Watson. Scott McClintock (who was a particular target of ire after the rewatching) is still listed behind David Harris, who will start if healthy. Given his china-doll status I don't know how much the team is counting on that, though. One thing I noticed: redshirt freshman John Thompson did quite well in his limited time.
Strangely (and more on this later), I was actually less pissed at the defense after watching the tape. It's the difference between "you slept with my mother" and "you did WHAT with MY GRANDMOTHER," sure, but still it's something. Teeny tiny, agile Wolfe posed a problem to the defense because he could easily stop and start somewhere else if the play was jammed up, which it was pretty frequently. The bad news is that I saw Darius Walker do that a lot against Pitt. More later today.
Also of note: Adrian Arrington is going to be out "a while" with what is probably a high ankle sprain. (Interesting that the official site's transcript has no mention of the injury, though Rivals does.) Depending on how long Arrington is out and how well Tabb, Dutch, and Manningham perform in his abscence, there's the possibility of a medical redshirt here since Arrington played as a freshman.
Puff. Rosenberg on Breaston. Puff pastry but tasty.
Update: Remember to check Bloglines before posting, stupid. Blue Cats & Red Sox has an excellent game recap up and a number of tres excellent pictures. Proposed is a sacreligious but fun self-crossing for M fans:
Chad Henne is a god in yellow spandex pants. That about sums it up, but really, every time someone says his name now, I feel like I should cross myself. I'm not Christian, though. There ought to be some kind of alternative gesture I could use in a similar fashion. Perhaps I should work out a way to sign a giant M. Left hip, left shoulder, sternum, right shoulder, right hip? Let's get that going.
There is also discussion of making out with Kevin Grady and exclaiming that fact to the entire student section.
I imagine that being a football coach is hard. You have to organize and control approximately 100 privileged athletes, deal with the crabs they get from sorority girls, teach them to not suck at football. It's safe to say that anyone that can ascend to the head coaching job of a D-1 school is not functionally retarded, no matter what the ND fans say about Tyrone Willingham. But not so fast, my friend... the let the record show that this does happen. The functionally retarded often find themselves at the helm of major college football programs:
3 minutes and change left in Arizona-Utah. Utah up three. Arizona has a fourth and five on the Utah 43 and one timeout... and punts. Utah runs it a bit and Arizona gets the ball back on their own 9 with 27 seconds left. They lose.
Mike Stoops, you're fired.
Six or seven minutes left in UCF-South Carolina, South Carolina up 14, UCF has a fourth and goal... and kicks a field goal. They immediately get the ball back when South Carolina fumbles the kickoff. O'Leary proceeds to run six times in a row.
George O'Leary, you're fired. This doesn't just happen to the kind of mental midgets who end up at UCF after blowing the ND job or decide to kill their career by taking a job at Arizona, either.
Texas A&M scores a touchdown with approximately 10 minutes left against Clemson to go up one point. Dennis Franchione kicks the extra point. Clemson kicks a field goal and wins 25-24.
Dennis Franchione! You're fired!
Last year in the Louisville-Miami game, Miami had a first and goal with a couple minutes left on the clock down four (I think. It was a touchdown wins, field goal loses situation). Bobby Petrino, Approved Coaching Genius, had three timeouts and used none of them. Louisville got the ball back after the Miami touchdown with vanishingly little time and lost.
Bobby Petrino, you're fired?
How is it that every weekend in college football there are at least a couple of decisions that, to put it kindly, could only be made by drunken Eastern Europeans in born in close proximity to Chernobyl? These guys have spent their entire lives watching, playing, and coaching football but they don't understand how to handle obvious late game situations.
The only possible explanation is that the coaches are so caught up in the minutiae of the game--screaming at the referees, screaming at the defensive coordinator, screaming at the guy who just fumbled--the fan doesn't have to deal with that they get overloaded and just plain screw up. Dr. Z expounded on this theory a few years ago in a column detailing the hiring of a "clockologist" by Jets' head coach Herm Edwards. How did that clockologist thing work out? Uh, not so good. Not halfway into the new season the Jets butchered yet another late-game situation. Z says he believes that the clock guy was just ignored by Edwards.
"I'm not afraid." Ohh... you will be. You will be.
After all, head coaches are notoriously stubborn and God-complex ridden. Many, being football people, aren't well versed in making snap decisions based on a set of variables--time, down and distance, score, timeouts. They suck at algebra, basically. The two combine to form a noxious, Peter-Principle-rich cocktail of stubborn belief that you are good at doing what you are not. Thus your weekly hair-pulling, garment-rending decisions by Eastern Europeans. It's probably just a matter of time before the horror of game theory gone awry hits your school.
(PS: If you're going to get into a diatribe about the end of the Rose Bowl, you will meet with resistance from me. Inviting Vince Young to run one more time would have resulted in a field goal more makeable than the 38-yarder the Longhorns actually attempted.)
Hello. This is a centralized staging point for various discussions of the events going on in college football over the weekend designed to bring the BlogPollers together to share information and impressions. Plain ol' readers are more than welcome to join the conversation as well: every eye helps. Please keep it constructive and keep in mind that this is not a game thread (ie, no "AAARGH FUMBLE!" or "YAY TOUCHDOWN!" posts, please).
This will remain pinned to the top until Monday, so best keep it short. Have at it.
- Chad Henne threw a number of balls behind his receivers (though the ones behind Avant got caught anyway) but overall had a great day. No Husky got a hand on a pass all day. Every read, except one were he sold Breaston out on a flare route that he stared down and another to a doubled Breaston deep, was correct. No interceptions or anything approximating one. Nearly threw two long touchdowns to Breaston but was a foot off on both.
- Jason Avant being the focus of the offense means that dropped balls on third down no longer occur. Ever.
- Grady looked very good save for the fumble. Hart won't have to grind himself into the ground this year.
- Pass protection was incredible. No sacks for NIU and I can't remember Henne even getting hurried.
- Breaston was clearly the deep option in place of Braylon and got wiiiide open a few times, but couldn't make the catch. One was out of bounds, the other just a tiny bit too long. I think the long ball will be an effective weapon, but maybe Braylon hauls one of those in (and, yes, drops a critical third down ball).
- Hart. Never loses yards, had 4 or 5 yards on 75% of his carries. His low variance best, plus more solid receiving: a 34 yard touchdown on a screen type thing.
- That spreading the ball around thing.
- Um... Woodley did have a good day.
- Maybe Joey appreciates Marlin Jackson's run support now after watching Grant Mason get wasted by Garrett Wolfe time and again.
- That defensive line thing? What was that? It sucked, despite serious rotating to keep Watson from gasping. Were all those practice reports just crap?
- Okay, okay, Herrmann. You sure as hell simplified the defense (more on that later), but maybe there's a happy middle ground between the coloring book and theoretical astrophsyics we can mine.
- We got 40-50 Yards After Mundy and he was in for approximately five plays! Can we put a moratorium on the "Ron English is a great coach" blithering until he proves that he can teach someone, anyone, to take a proper angle? Is it a coincidence that said blithering continually comes from the same people who talk about how "Amaker is a great coach"? Seems clear that they mean "English is a black coach," and therefore will receive their support no matter the evidence.
- In general. Again, more later.
- Ross Ryan had more touchbacks in his first game as the kickoff dude than Troy Neinberg had his entire career. Ryan also showed some of Neinberg's Pop Warner All Star Linebacker qualities by running down and recovering a fumble on his only punt, which was a 41-yarder with good hangtime.
- Nothing of note.
- Rivas: solid from short range (FGs from 38 and 23), not great from long range (missed a 48-yarder) and extra-point allergic early in the year (had one blocked).
- Breaston. Only was punted to once and had no opportunity to return that. Returned a single kick.
- Punt coverage. One punt isn't much to draw conclusions from, though Hood really popped the Husky returner.
But don't slit your wrists yet...
Yes, we forced exactly one punt and the turnovers that held NIU's offense down were in large part luck. Yes, our offense outgained the Huskies by like 11 yards. But... contempt doesn't even begin to describe the way Michigan regarded the Husky offense despite the evidence that it should be respected. I swear to God that 80% of the defense's calls were straight 4-3 zone against a three-wide offense with Burgess lined up over the slot wide receiver--the Husky quarterback hardly had to make a read the entire game. Michigan employed exactly one blitz package, which was used sparingly.
There's no excuse for what happened today and I'll be dropping Michigan several spots in the BlogPoll because of it, but Michigan's main goal today was to show Notre Dame precisely nothing, no matter the expense. Insane, yes. Disheartening results despite the vanilla, yes. Very worried about ND, yes. But let's not overreact.
Arizona-Utah: The new Ute QB is no Alex Smith. He's more athletic but his favorite place to place a pass is a tie between three feet behind his wide receiver and three feet in front of his wide receiver. He's going to have to run a lot this year. The Utah RB, Ganther, though, is a keeper.
Arizona's QB situation is a disaster, though it is kind of cool that I thought Ilya Kovalchuk was one of the (terrible, terrible) options. The gift INT TD was the only reason Utah won the game. Bell, the Wildcat RB, got the corner all night against the Utes, but couldn't do much inside, where significant pass pressure also came. Arizona is probably a bad team again this year, and Utah is little better.
UH-Oregon: Don't believe those who would wax poetic about Houston's "scheme," they largely scored by returning kickoffs a long way and running straight down the field past Oregon defensive backs, who were confused. Probably thinking to themsleves "dude, you're a white guy playing for Houston. You don't have me beat by two steps." Oregon's offense moved at will after some early jitters, but the season will likely prove that the Cougars are one of the worst defensive teams in the country, so judgement should be reserved.
BG-Wisconsin: Calhoun is a lot like Anthony Davis. Good vision, cuts, quick to the hole. If he can stay healthy UW will have an offense. Stocco doesn't seem too bad so far.
Also, OMG OMAR JACOBZ! I have to depart for the Michigan game now, but Predator is like 9-11 and amazingly accurate, intelligent. The real deal for... holy crap. Holy crap! 63 yard touchdown. BG 20-7. DJL and Tony would like to say "I told you so." Not so fast, my friend: 20-14 after a kickoff return to the 9.
[UPDATE: What in the name of God happened during this thing? 98 total points? Did Wisconsin score 56 points all last year? I taped it, I'll get back to it. Looks like I may have been Absolutely Wrong about the Badgers.]
It's football time. Later beeches.
Georgia-Boise: Game, set, match.
Notre Dame-Pittsburgh: Um. Having not really seen too much of Darius Walker last year save for the Michigan game, in which he didn't really do anything too eye-grabbing (yes, yes, 120 or whatever yards but he took a *lot* of carries to do it), I am somewhat shocked at how good he looks. Great vision and cuts.
Oh, yeah... alarm level for next week just tripled.
WVU-Syracuse: Aaaaaaargh. My eyes are bleeding. If WVU stops fumbling they could be kinda good, though. I like Bednarik, their quarterback, and they have an interesting run-based spread system.
Syracuse is not going to a bowl.
Adam Kraus has taken the center job according to a recent WTKA interview of Terry Malone. Kraus is from Louisiana and he has some visitors:
On Adam Kraus and LaTerryal Savoy being from Louisiana and dealing with Hurricane Katrina:
"... this morning our staff door swung open and there was the Kraus family. Steve and Marge and his sister Elizabeth drove up from New Orleans in the last 24 hours.
"Things at home are absolutely devastating and our heart goes out to them. They are going to spend time with us here in Ann Arbor until things settle down back home. It is a heart-wrenching thing that they are going through. It certainly hits close to home when one of ours has this happen.
"I know that people are going to respond like they never have for the people in Louisiana, Mississippi because that is what makes this country so great. That we do take care of our own. I know we will rise up like we never have."
(Savoy's family lives far enough away from the disaster zone that they aren't particularly affected.)
There are still some questions on the line given the weird depth chart that came out with Ruben Riley backing up both tackle positions and Henige listed as the starting LG. I have no idea what's going on there or who it's directed at. It could be ceremonial start for fifth year senior Henige. Riley could be in the doghouse and getting a wakeup call. Kolodziej might be proving too passive at RT and the staff wants a better run blocker there. It is the mystery. If I had guess I would say it's Carr being nice to his senior. We'll find out tomorrow(!).
Joseph Heller on time:
Dunbar loved shooting skeet because he hated every minute of it and the time passed so slowly. He had figured out that a single hour on the skeet-shooting range with people like Havermeyer and Appleby could be worth as much as eleven-times-seventeen years.
"I think you're crazy," was the way Clevinger had responded to Dunbar's discovery.
"Who wants to know?" Dunbar answered.
"I mean it," Clevinger insisted.
"Who cares?" Dunbar answered.
"I really do. I'll even go so far as to concede that life seems longer i-"
"-is longer i-"
"-is longer--Is longer? All right, is longer if it's filled with periods of boredom and discomfort, b-"
"Guess how fast?" Dunbar said suddenly.
"They go," Dunbar explained.
"Years," said Dunbar. "Year, years, years."
"Clevinger, why don't you let Dunbar alone?" Yossarian broke in. "Don't you realize the toll this is taking?"
"It's all right," said Dunbar mangnanimously. "I have some decades to spare. Do you know how long a year takes when it's going away?"
"Do you know how long a year takes when it's going away?" Dunbar repeated to Clevinger. "This long." He snapped his fingers. "A second ago you were stepping into college with your lungs full of fresh air. Today you're an old man."
"Old?" asked Clevinger with surprise. "What are you talking about?"
"I'm not old."
"You're inches away from death every time you go on a mission. How much older can you be at your age? A half minute before that you were stepping into high school, and an unhooked brassiere was as close as you ever hoped to get to Paradise. Only a fifth of a second before that you were a small kid with a ten-week summer vacation that lasted a hundred thousand years and still ended too soon. Zip! They go rocketing by so fast. How the hell else are you ever going to slow time down?" Dunabar was almost angry when he finished.
"Well, maybe it is true," Clevinger conceded unwillingly in a subdued tone. "Maybe a long life does have to be filled with many unpleasant conditions if it's to seem long. But in that event, who wants one?"
"I do," Dunbar told him.
"Why?" Clevinger asked.
"What else is there?"
It's 1:46. 1:45 was two hours ago. Dunbar should have been a college football fan.