"The University of Illinois is also in turmoil. The university sports an Interim Chancellor, an Interim Athletic Director, and an Interim Football Coach; the game will be played at Soldier Field, making this an Illini Interim Home Game."
I have not seen it covered in print anywhere but I have heard Bill Cowher's name mentioned again n a few circles....I know he was rumored at one point right after he retired from the Steelers .....and now they are back.....any thoughts? any ties to U of M in any way?
Cowher's name gets thrown around by any school looking for a new coach these days, but AFAIK there has never been any official or unofficial but insider-sanctioned indication that Cowher was a serious candidate. It seems unlikely Cowher's interested in returning to coaching at all; he now lives in North Carolina but turned down NC State, his alma mater, last offseason.
I agree that this year sucked, and a large part of the blame has to go to the coaching staff, for reasons that you've documented and that are painfully reiterated on your message boards every day. Perhaps this year would have gone better if this staff was coaching the team. However, I don't think you can blame Coach Carr for hanging on too long. When should he have retired? Maybe after the 2005 season? I
suppose. But we have to remember how last season went. There may have been mutterings about Debord's playcalling and that sort of thing over the course of the 11-0 start, but only the most horribly pessimistic of Michigan fans were calling for Lloyd's head amid the Yakety Saxing of Notre Dame, the gutty win over that otherwise-perfect Wisconsin team, and the AMFB assassination of Morelli. 2006 was a great season.
The OSU game was a classic, a well-coached, evenly-played game that might have gone differently had a safety stepped up to make a tackle, or had a questionable late hit not been called, or had any number of things happened. Not that OSU didn't deserve to win, but still, you can't have expected Lloyd to retire after that.
The Rose Bowl might have been a sign of a washed-up coaching staff, but it was just one game, and a coach who loses his confidence and drive after one bad game is one who never gets a job at Michigan in the first place. Plus, retiring in January could have seriously hurt last year's recruiting class, and as rough as this year was, what
would have happened had Mallett and Warren decommitted and Carlos Brown transferred? Plus, he was returning perhaps the best back in Michigan history, a fourth-year starter at quarterback with a rocket arm and robot nerves, a severely badass first round pick at left tackle, and at least two big-time receivers, and going into what promised to be down years for ND and OSU. You projected and 11-1 season. You can't blame Lloyd for giving it one more go.
Should he have retired right after Appalachian State or Oregon? I say no. You say Mike and Chad and Jake deserved better than this, and I think Lloyd had their best interests at heart when he decided to stick out the season. Stability in the coaching staff was probably still the best chance they had to salvage a Big Ten championship and Rose Bowl win, considering that anarchy seemed to be breaking out in the locker
room, and landing a top out-of-the-program coach in mid-September would be very, very difficult. Lloyd's resignation would have led to Debord or English as interim head coach, which would likely not have resulted in any more wins this year, and would mean that the interim coach would be more likely to be retained. I know for a fact that you don't want Mike Debord or Ron English to be the next Michigan head coach because I've seen a picture of your trapper keeper.
That was way longer than I meant it to be. Part of it is me venting after watching the presser; part of it is me procrastinating work. So take it for what you will. But I would like to know when you think Lloyd should have resigned. I think that he knows exactly when to quit, and that this is the perfect time. Yeah, he was stubborn and arrogant and made questionable hires and retentions and all that, but I believe that knowing when to go, and doing it with dignity and class, should preserve his legacy as a guy who loved Michigan and put the best interest of the program before his own arrogance and stubbornness as well as he could.
John makes a convincing case here that I won't disagree with entirely. I do think leaving at the right time is leaving before you have a year like this one; Carr wanted to leave after last year and probably should have.
There's plenty of evidence Carr lost his fastball after the OSU game last year. Michigan was beset by an unprecedented rash of discipline issues from Chris Richards to Johnny Sears to Eugene Germany to Carson Butler to Mario Manningham. The special teams, other than Zoltan (praise be his name) and Kicking Competency Lopata, were atrocious. The offensive line was throughly whipped at key positions and forced to re-insert a clearly out of shape Alex Mitchell late in the year with predictable results. Michigan was completely unprepared to take on a I-AA foe in the first game of the year. All of these things point to a team that suddenly went from pretty well coached to very poorly coached, probably because Carr didn't have the energy for the job anymore.
I know he said he wasn't tired in the press conference, but he also said...
"...I still have a great passion for the game and the players and the competition. But I also know that there are some things that I don't have anymore. So, it's time. That's all I can say to you."
...which is basically "I'm tired and can no longer execute all the things I need to if I am to keep this job." This is a remarkably self-aware thing to think and perhaps Michigan's saving grace in a situation that could have gotten (more) depressing if extended indefinitely. See also: Penn State, Florida State. Carr stayed on a year too long, IMO; John's right in thinking this would have been really hard to perceive in anything other than hindsight.
I was wondering if you (or gsimmons et. al.) might expound on the philosophy of a "running" quarterback in college versus preparing for the professional game.
I had the opportunity to watch the WVU â€“ Cincinnati and Texas Tech â€“ Oklahoma games on Saturday evening. Obviously, Pat White, Ben Mauk and the TT quarterback (name escapes me) are very active within their offensive schemes. Yet, this does not seem to be something that's valued at the professional level. Michael Vick had limited success. So, if one the purposes of college football is too groom quarterbacks for the pros and the professional teams do not embrace that offensive philosophy, why implement it? As a high school quarterback, whose ultimate goal is the NFL, I'd be leery of a scheme that would not prepare me for that level.
Am I totally confused or is there some merit to my thought process?
The thing with Michael Vick (and, to some extent, Vince Young) is that neither of them would be in the NFL if they didn't have the athleticism they do. A certain subset of quarterbacks are only NFL prospects because of their combination of arm and legs; it's hard to envision a system that would have prepared Vince Young or Michael Vick better given their skillsets. They have to be on the field, and the best way to keep them on the field is to start them off with simple things they can do and expand those things as their skills improve. You could clearly see this trajectory with Young, who went from a glorified running back to an actual quarterback over the course of his time at Texas. (Michael Vick's two-year supernova was too brief to detect any real development.)
So no, I don't think guys like Vick or Young or this year's uber-recruit Terrelle Pryor look at an offensive system predicated on taking advantage of their mobility as a negative. If forced into Michigan's offense they would likely fail, and benched guy
s don't often make the NFL.
There is a theory out there that seems plausible, though: as more and more teams move to the spread option, appealing places for the Peyton Mannings and Tom Bradys narrow, increasing the chances Michigan has at a smooth progression of highly-touted pocket passers. Personally, I would rather Michigan recruit whoever wants to come and fit the offense to their skills rather than adhere solely to one archetype, and Miles appears to agree.
I thought I would drop you a note to tell you a short story about Lloyd Carr, given that he is retiring today and given that you are the guy that broke that story. I am a 36 year old attorney in Chicago. I didn't go to the UofM for college or law school. My Dad, however, grew up in Dexter, Michigan (just outside Ann Arbor) and attended Michigan's law school between 1964 and 1967. He developed a life-long love for Michigan football. In 1979, when I was 8, he took me to my first game, a 49-0 shellacking of Northwestern. I was hooked. For the next 28 years there has been no sports allegiance (or religious one for that matter) that I have valued more than the Big Blue. In the intervening years, my Dad and I watched some astonishing games in Ann Arbor -- the two that stick out most were our near upset of Miami in 1988 and the comeback I never believed possible against Michigan State in 2005. Tim B's ripping OSU for over 300 yards was also obviously a great moment.
In January 2006, my father was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease. This was a crushing moment in the life of my father and my family. In the days and weeks that followed, we reeled. Several weeks after his diagnosis, I drafted a lengthy letter to Lloyd Carr explaining who my Dad was and what he was going through. In an utter shot in the dark, I asked if he wouldn't mind placing a cold call to my Dad to give him a pep talk and tell him to hang in there. Several weeks later, Lloyd Carr left a message on my folks' machine at their home, offering his words for encouragement. In a bit of irony, my Mom (not understanding the significance of the message) DELETED it before my Dad could hear it. But still, I was pretty darn impressed that Lloyd had responded to that letter out of the blue and placed a call to a man he didn't even know.
Here is where, in my mind, an already great story gets better. Lloyd called back. About a week later, he made a second attempt to reach my Dad, this time calling from his car phone. He reached my sister instead and left a message. My Dad was touched to the core by Lloyd's overtures. I, for one, was pretty surprised that a person with Lloyd's schedule wouldn't consider one attempt to reach out sufficient. It speaks volumes.
You can say a lot of things about Lloyd Carr. But can you say more than that he is the type of person who will pick up the phone and call someone he doesn't even know in order to help them along? I don't think so. Aside from the national championship, the top recruiting classes, the top 10 winning percentage, the great record against the Top 10 -- at core, Lloyd Carr is a good human being who cares about others, even others he does not know. As Lloyd announces his retirement today, and for days hereafter, I will never, ever forget what he did for my Dad. If you want to share this story with others, feel free. If not, read it knowing that it's additional evidence for how lucky we were to have Lloyd Carr as part of the Michigan pantheon.
Coming back to U of M and Big Ten country in general truly made me realize how great we have it here. Anyway, I am now in my last semester here at U of M forever, as I can see it, and sit in the student section, and am trying to get a "Lloyd Carr" chant going at the beginning of the second quarter on Saturday. Say what you want about Lloyd, but he is a class act and has been a great representative of our University.
Lloyd has heard plenty of boos over the years, and I, for one, would like to see my fellow fans show some appreciation for Lloyd. Thanks a lot, and keep up the good work.
I'm not sure how a "Lloyd Carr" chant works in terms of syllables, but some sort of crowd acknowledgment of Carr's career is called for. I know I've spent a large part of this year pointing out the flaws in the program that drive me crazy, but in 13 years at Michigan Carr has brought home a national title, is .500 against OSU, and has a winning record against Notre Dame. He's also dominated Michigan State and Penn State. The Wolverines were the 9th best program in terms of winning percentage over his tenure going into the year and are likely to pass Miami and Nebraska for 7th by year's end. And he's done this without a whiff of scandal. By any standard, he's been a success, and his accomplishments should be acknowledged. Hopefully the team sends him out in style Saturday.
Another Mike asks about Mallett:
I have noticed and the TV folks have mentioned for at least the past 2 games that Ryan does not "play well with others". It seems he does not get along well with his receivers, perhaps running backs too. What's the truth here? Are we in danger of losing the Junior stars to the NFL early because of this lack of chemistry?
The prevailing opinion on Manningham is that he's gone, gone, gone and was at the beginning of the year, so his sideline tiff with Mallett doesn't mean anything. Arrington will probably make his decision based on what the NFL says when he requests an evaluation. If he thinks he can significantly improve his spot by being the go-to guy as a senior, he'll come back. Otherwise, he's probably out. Mallett's errant throws to date might have a slight impact on his thought processes, but in the end it will be about the Benjamins.
Well if there was one bright spot in the game yesterday it was the Herculean effort by Tacopants. Literally willing himself back into the Heisman race. 15 receptions for 586 yards and 7 TD's. Thank God he has no eligibility constraints.
Made of dreams, remember.
Hi, I'm Sean Tompkins, I'm a freshmen at U of M and a loyal fan of you blog. I'm also on MSA's Campus Improvement Commission and I am very excited to announce that MSA along with Student Athlete Advisory Council, Athletic Department, Alumni Association, Domino's Pizza, and many others that there will be a big BEAT OSU rally on the Diag November 16th, 2007 from 3pm-6pm. The event features several notable speakers including MIKE HART and JAKE LONG as well as performances from student groups such as the Men's Glee Club, the Marching Band, and others. It even includes a Greek Life pizza eating contest in to start the festivities off.
Youth Governor of Illinois
Yes, if you claim to be Youth Governor Of Illinois you get in the mailbag. Period. Also, a rally. With Hart.
Serendipitously, this comes from AA-based indiezine Found Magazine; frighteningly, it comes from Oklahoma and could be the frenetic id of Les Miles surfacing. Beware!
Site note: There appears to be a pattern and cause for the intermittent site issues for some viewers. The browser affected appears to be Firefox on a Mac. The cause is excessive youtube embedding. I'll cut back on the Wolverine Historian embeds and try to keep the flash down in the future. Also, sorry about the late and flimsy content. I am way behind this week and have to spend the day in intensive UFR mode to get them up tomorrow.
Thought you might find this interesting. I'm enjoying the ND losses so much I decided to plot the cumulative winning percentage of Michigan and Notre Dame over time.
Pretty sure it's accurate as I've compared my database with Stassen's at various times.
That margin looks small, but I believe it's at 6.5 games after this weekend's results. You can see the Bo bump in the early 70s and then a very slight upward trend since; Notre Dame has been in decline since the 60s with brief bursts of competence.
Many of yesterday's comments echoed this:
I read your blog daily and most of the time thoroughly enjoy it. Your in-depth coverage is entertaining and informative. However...
Your constant nit-picking and general negativity is wearing a little thin on me. A win is a win, and therewere extenuating circumstances that I believe make this a great, repeat, great Michigan victory. In a season filled with ridiculous results, I think it's time you opened your eyes a little and drank a bottle of perspective. You still seem hell-bent on writing off this season after the early losses. They lost two games. Get over it already and move on.
I however, am truly enjoying each and every game. Football is not a science. And it's not life or death. Relax a little and enjoy being a fan of Michigan football.
I admit being surprised at two things: the generally uncritical reaction to the shoddy nature of the win and the often extremely critical reaction to the game post yesterday, which I thought would be uncontroversial.
First: I am capable of independent thought even in the presence of other people with opinions, and if you are theorizing that the person adjacent to me poisoned my view of an excellent road win you must consider the possibility that Brent Musberger, a mobile hagiography, may have distorted your view of an ugly win against an incompetent team coached by a guy who many consider a dolt.
Second: Of course I am hung up on the first two games of the year. I would remind you that we went from national championship contenders to national laughingstocks in two quick weeks in the senior years of Jake Long, Chad Henne, and Mike Hart largely because the team was woefully ill-prepared to stop a I-AA team that could not throw. The horrendous coaching breakdowns that led to the parade of mistakes do continue to color my opinion of the team and the year and will do so until the sun expands and consumes the earth. Given Carr's well-established track record it would be silly to do otherwise.
Third: Was it really that negative? I mean:
This was slightly annoying. I, of course, still had my arms above my head, signaling touchdown, and Person Accompanying Me was busy criticizing impending victory moments after an audaciously successful trick play. She was basically right -- Illinois handed us the game, but only after we had attempted to hand it to them and then they had attempted to hand it back and then we had attempted to hand it back back -- but, like, come on now. Sure, this had all the beauty of the Soviet Bloc interior of Memorial Stadium, about which more later, but victory was likely ours. Eventually that counts for something.
After the thing had finally come to its disjointed end, a sense of relief filtered in. Michigan survived a potential minefield. It was ugly and sordid and dirty but it was a win, and now Michigan is going to play Ohio State for the Rose Bowl unless the roof caves in against both State and Wisconsin. This is a long way from 0-2 and being a national laughingstock; Carr has once again picked his charges up off the mat and driven them towards respectability. We can wish this peculiar talent of Carr's was less firmly established, but we should be thankful for it at the same time.
Let's try again: November 17th for all the marbles, at least in Bo's world, and a chance at a happy ending for Carr and Henne and Hart and Long and us.
In a nutshell: this is that Wisconsin game where a punt bounced off Brett Bell, it was ugly and let's get out of Dodge, I'm happy we won, let's go beat Ohio State. I am looking for the part where I lose touch with reality and turn into a crabby old man demanding cranberry juice and hating life.
Four: Please keep in mind that I was in the endzone and everything looked one missed tackle away from a touchdown. I reserve the right to change my mind in UFR.
Five: I withdraw the bullet about the Henne substitution. I was not aware of the situation. Also...
As for Hart, who traveled to Illinois and was on the sideline in sweat clothes, it appears it could be a game-time decision whether he can play.
Now to something we can all agree on:
"People better enjoy it now," he said, shortly after his team's latest new low, a 38-0 home loss to previously staggering USC. "Have their fun now."--Chuckles
Is this guy serious? They are now 1-9 over their last 10 losing by an average of 24pts and this is what he has to say? I know you get heat sometimes for talking about ND too much, but this has gotten out of control. I can't imagine ever having to go through that. Losing to App State does not come anywhere close to comparing to what is going on down there. And then this fat bastard has the stones to say that we all need to have our fun now, because they are going to become some juggernaut. Anyway, I can't get enough of seeing him flame out and seeing their program hit such a low level and was hoping these new quotes from CW would turn into an anti-ND post sometime soon.
I wish; during the season the day-to-day column-tuesday-UFR-UFR-preview thing really cuts down on available time to be mean. And I've said it all before. So little bashing except what hits a UV now and then.
The picture of J Leman is sweet and all, but have you checked out his profile on Illinois' site? Scroll down and check out the sidebar:
The Apostle Paul? Awesome!
J Leman is 100% pure Colombian awesome. That is all.
You know who I'm talking about. [Email titled "James Laurinitius (sp)" -ed] I know you have previously taken the position that he was simply the beneficiary of the over-hype machine. Yes he had big turnover in big games, but his overall play was average at best to those of us who actually watched the games. I always felt the "sock puppets" simply wanted to anoint the next Big Kat, Hawk, Carpenter, etc. I haven't had the chance to watch much Ohio St. this season because their competition has been a joke so far. I've been reading a couple of mock drafts a
nd some mid-season all-American lists, and he is a constant. What am I missing? Has he really become a can't miss, above average linebacker?
This is not quite the position espoused here. Laurinaitis was on the All Big Ten team I put together last year, albeit on the second team, and in the Ohio State preview I recounted the Litany Against Laurinaitis, then made an allowance:
Depending on how much he improves he could warrant the breathless Musbergerisms he receives; I still would like to see it before believing it. My theory on Laurinaitis is that he's great in space but easy to block and my theory on the OSU DTs is adequacy at best -- no double-teams demanded here -- so I am compelled to predict a significant step backwards in Ohio State's run defense. Like... not awful or anything, but thorough averageness is a possibility.
It appears he has made this leap, though I haven't seen much of OSU yet and couldn't tell you for sure. The assertions about a potentially questionable OSU run defense appear to be wrong -- currently #2 nationally -- and he has something to do with that. Complaints about Laurinaitis being overrated belong to last year; I have no position on him yet this year.
I was just wondering if you could shed some light on something for me: it seems pretty clear (at least from the remarks of most SEC bloggers) that Les Miles is regarded as a less than stellar coaching prospect. Aside from the obvious lack of restraint in press conferences (and running his mouth in general), what exactly is it that makes people think that he is a lackluster coach? His teams perform well in a brutal conference, he is working (somewhat) with his own recruits, and his playcalling seems inventive enough, what am I missing?
I think it's the perception that LSU is an unstoppable juggernaut that can only be held back by its coach. It is the proverbial gorilla with a chainsaw for a penis and any loss cannot be the work of anything but gross incompetence on the part of its coaching staff. When LSU has gacked up games it has been in remarkably undisciplined fashion. Last year's Florida loss, which featured six turnovers, is the grand bull-moose in this category, and it was a doozy. There was also that instance in which Les Miles took a timeout late in a game after LSU was the beneficiary of a turnover. Which, uh... you don't have to do. (This was not in 2006, the year of stupid clock rules.)
And then there is the other bit. This whole Les Miles-"Loose Morals" thing has been a fascinating exercise in the propagation of information in the Internet age. So a few months ago I put up a post titled "Les Miles Isn't A Candidate For Anything" in response to a Jim Carty blog post naming him the frontrunner. A large part of my thinking was based on the rumblings of certain insiders on the premium message boards of Rivals and Scout. But... uh... perhaps these are not the least biased individuals in the world when it comes to potential new coaches at Michigan? Insiders are insiders because they have contacts on the current staff. These are friends of people who have had their jobs come under threat by the prospect of change, and they're terrified of Miles coming in and cleaning house. The idea of Cam Cameron (before he was named the Dolphins' head coach) or Mike Trgovic coming in was similarly panned.
Miles got it harder than most. Why? Well, this fits neatly within the realm of unsubstantiated internet rumor (appropriate since the allegations against him are mostly in that realm as well), but said rumor goes that Miles started sniffing around the job a few years ago and this was met with extreme displeasure. Thus the rip jobs. Do they have some truth to them? Perhaps, but Miles hasn't exactly been dogged by NCAA investigators. I think I may have taken the bait earlier; now I am skeptical.
I have warmed to Miles recently because the accusations of coaching impropriety only go so far when you 1) hire Bo Pelini as your defensive coordinator 2) hire Jimbo Fisher as your offensive coordinator, and 3) replace the departed Fisher with Gary Crowton. Miles seems content to hire highly respected coordinators and act as a Mark Richt-like CEO. Whatever flaws he has are mitigated by his willingness to hire the best people available as assistants. This is slightly different than Michigan's current strategy.
There are still concerns: the loony bin he left at Okie State, "we have a new rival in fucking Alabama," and the apparent bad blood between Miles and the existing staff. All these things will be hurdles, and if Carr leads Michigan to a win against OSU and a bowl victory he'll have pull no one thought possible two weeks ago when 7-5 looked like a unicorn dream. But I think that's something that might pull Michigan towards other candiates and not an automatic DQ any more. Given the widely-held opinion that Miles is Michigan's for the asking, any clearly less attractive candidates will be hard to consider seriously.
Speaking of Cam...
Is it crazy to suggest that Cam Cameron could be an option? The Dolphins now appear to be a college powerhouse feeder and he has obvious ties to Michigan. I would say it's a long shot, but don't you think we'll at least make a run at him? He's the antithesis of Carr in terms of play calling.
Highly unlikely, IMO. Part of the reason Saban left is that he was under a lot of pressure at Miami for not being good and was likely on his way out in a season or two anyway. Cameron is in his first year as an NFL head coach. If Michigan was really going to shell out enough to pry him away from that, they should be making a serious run at guys like Tedford. This is also the big strike against Ferentz: for the money it would take to get him, Michigan could make a run at virtually anyone in the country.
I have a question about the future of Coach Carr. I'm reading all over the place that our recruits, Boubacar Cissoko, Brandon Smith, Christian Wilson etc. have been assured by the coaching staff 100% that Lloyd Carr will be coaching next year. However it seems to be a universal feeling everywhere else that this is definitely his last year, even if he wins out. My question is what gives?
I mean I know you can't announce that this is the last year because it will be a distraction all season.....but assuring these kids that you will be there, and then leaving, can make for a ugly situation come February 6th (or whenever signing day is) Thoughts?
I've read stuff like this, too, and also read things that make it sound like Carr's retirement is a slam-dunk A-1 #1 done deal. So, I don't know. The things being said to the recruits probably focus on the assistant's contracts, which are apparently all guaranteed for another year, and that Carr will have a role in the athletic department after he steps down. He will still be around. This might seem something less than convincing, and for some it is: Boubacar Cissoko is visiting Illinois this weekend.
But this happens to every school that goes through a coaching transition. Michigan will probably lose a couple recruits when/if Carr announces he's stepping down. As long as that happens significantly before Signing Day and Michigan has a coach in place shortly, things should be okay. Not great; okay.
Update: commenters report that the Cissoko visit is off, so that's good. But there have been quotes to the effect that if Carr and/or English leaves he's no longer a commit. The general point stands.
At various points during the Oregon game, I was shocked by the booing; but then I was humbled. I hadn't stopped to consider how many Michigan fans are living their lives undefeated. I've never booed our team, but that's probably because I screw up one thing or another on a pretty regular basis, and it doesn't seem fair to pretend that I don't. But there I was in Section 4 last week surrounded by people who apparently aren't much like me. Imagine having gotten all A's, being Valedictorian, playing only on undefeated teams, never making a throwing error, never tripping, never clanking a lay up, blocking all the shots, always being in the fairway, interviewing for the only job you want and getting it, getting every promotion, always receiving the largest pay increases, marrying the prettiest girl in town (who loves you dearly), having perfect kids, never getting a traffic ticket.......the mind soars.
I hadn't thought I was sitting among so many people who live in an
other dimension. Who knew? I'm not going to get mad at people who boo the Wolverines any more, now that I've figured them out. We can only hope that Coach Carr and the players think this through as well. As hard as the team works every week to prepare to play â€“ to do their jobs â€“ in front of 110,000 live witnesses plus millions more who can examine every faux pas on slow motion instant replay, they have to accept the fact that they are doing all of this for the entertainment of at least some people who believe they are working even harder and doing what they do perfectly.
Maybe at the Notre Dame game, if it's going badly, I'll sit in my seat backward â€“ not because I'm turning away from the team but because there may still be an opportunity in the stadium to observe perfection.
Hurray for stuff getting lost in my inbox. Anyway, this missive on the Oregon booing was apropos at the time. Personally, I prefer a stony silence. Booing is so gauche.
A response to the Victors query:
In response to the question about other versions of the Victors, here's what I can tell you:
- Hoover Street Rag â€“ This is a 'rag time' version of the Victors that gets played periodically in the stands and in concerts
- Calyptors â€“ This is an old take on the song with a calypso theme to it. They don't play it often, though it is a fun and complex arrangement.
- Victors Waltz â€“ At the conclusion of a Michigan victory you'll notice the band swaying back and forth as they play a slow version of the Victors. They then break into the regular song. This version originated in the late 1990's.
I think there might be another version or two from eons ago if you dig around on some of the old tapes or CDs that you can pick up at M-Den or other stores.
There was also, uh... this:
File under obscure requests:
Today's wacky Mail Bag (9/25/07) made me decide to send an email.
My question: I would love to change to look of my motorcycle helmet(s) so that they resemble the Michigan football helmet. Are those stickers available to the public? Would you happen to know where to source them? Even some very close pictures of an actual UM helmet would help.
Any help out there?
Posting is light today since I have to UFR the entire game now so it can go up tomorrow.
I've yet to figure out exactly what to do with Alan Weymouth's contribution... this week it goes here. Editorial comments interspersed.
An outstanding performance by our defense. I mentioned that my biggest concern was our secondary and I must say, they answered the bell this last week. Our tackling was crisp (Morgan Trent might be the best tackler on the whole team) and coverage in general seemed very good. I was quite surprised that PSU didn't go after Warren more. You can bet your bottom dollar that Saint Sweater Vest will.
[Run Up The Score saw a lot of inaccurate Morelli balls and bad reads in his version of UFR; I have the game now but haven't started looking at it. Will be interesting to compare. I do think that maybe we shouldn't be getting too enthused yet... Morelli is not good at the football. -ed]
The game ball though, goes to the defensive line. He might not show up in the stats, but Will Johnson had an outstanding game. He was able to put pressure on Morelli up the middle and cause alot of problems for Penn State up front. We all saw how good Brandon Graham can be this week as well, but I can also see why the coaching staff rends it's clothing over the guy as he blew a couple of assignments that resulted in long PSU runs...the 19 yarder by Austin Scott, and I also believe he messed up on the long run in the fourth quarter. He was playing DT on the long Scott run, and "pinched down". It doesn't appear to me, that this is what was called, as it left a large gap that could not be filled by the LBs. On the 38 yarder in the fourth, Warren blitzes from his CB spot, and has outside contain...I think BG was supposed to take the inside gap, and if he does this is a 2 yard loss instead of a 38 yard near TD.
LB play was pretty darn good..and I take my hat off to Thompson and C.Graham this week. Again, the DL is making things, much, much easier for these two. My only beef here is, they didn't recognize those draws early enough to shut them down near the LOS. Getting hurt on those once or twice is understandable, but you need to adjust quickly. Same thing with screens. If our LB corp can recognize the screen developing, and get that shut down, we'll be able to let the front four loose a little more. Part of the reason we saw a decrease in the pass rush, was our inability to get these two plays shut down..so, the staff reined in the front four a little to help.
[What I don't understand is why the WLB would even start chasing here. I know there's this eleven-hats-to-ball mentality, but your first responsibility has to be to the misdirection, right? Michigan in general and Chris Graham in particular have always been vulnerable to plays that exploit our linebacker's tendencies to go scurrying off at the slightest hint the play is going to one side of the field. See: That Goddamned Counter Draw. Once you verify that the ball is gone, go, but there seems to be little value in biting on a long handoff pump fake. -ed]
I know you had problems with the way our offense went about it's business last week, but I didn't. The run game was working..and though it was boring to watch, it was very effective. Mallett's limited knowledge of the playbook kept the staff from revealing some of what they could do until late in the game. Penn State's defense was very good, very fast and well coached. They will adjust to what hurts them, so as a OC, I think holding some of that stuff back a little, allowed it to be used in the fourth quarter when it was needed. They let loose the reins a bit at the end of the second quarter, and Mallett threw a frosh like pick that cost us a FG attempt.
The strategy at the end of the game was solid as well. I too think they might have allowed him to throw on first or second down, rather than force him into a third and long situation, but with the run game going decently I can't argue too much here. Toward the end, they played some man though, and any pass we attempted would have been either a slant with some risk of a pick-6 involved, or a longer throw that was less likely to be completed.
I would have punted also. The defense was playing well. They had Penn State backed up and without a T.O. Sure there was enough time to get the ball down the field, but given Morelli's performance and knowing that running the football was nearly completely out of the question, the staff knew it could turn loose our DLs and get pressure. For once, playing percentage football was the right thing to do.
I watched only a little of the OSU/NW game. If Henne is back (the real Henne, and not that impostor who appeared in the first two games) we shouldn't have much problem with the Cats. Our biggest enemy will be us. This team SHOULD understand that you have to prepare for every opponent..but will it? It's a classic letdown game opportunity for a staff and a team that is prone to just that. The goal here should be to have this game put away early and let Hart rest. Carr needs to allow Henne to throw the ball, even if it means we score an embarrassing number of points..I just don't know if Carr will do it.
[I believe Mallett will probably play this weekend. -ed]
I'm not too worried about the injuries at RG. I thought McAvoy looked very good for a guy who got thrown into the middle of a big game. Nowhere near as physical as Mitchell, but he agile and was able to get out on the LBs better than Mitchell or Ciulla. He got pushed around a little, but showed some tenacity, and the ability to lower his pads and hang in there. Once he gets some experience, I think he might not give the job back...we'll see. Schilling got some high praise from Carr this week, but I'm not sure why. Technique wise, we was good. He's got excellent agility for a OT, but he's not strong enough or physical enough IMHO. He's just a pup though and he'll get better. I thought he struggled a bit in this game, and basically forced Michigan to run toward Long. Some credit needs to go to PSU though.
[Weymouth ends here. On with other folks. -ed]
Considering Ball State's almost upset against Nebraska yesterday and at the big house last season, like it or not, you have to consider Brady Hoke for the Head Coaching search for Michigan, no? It shows he has the creativity and coaching ability to go against higher talents and out-coach the opposition.I would love to see a feature on him just like you had one for Jeff Tedford.
Thanks and keep up the great work.
Uh... wow. Though Brady Hoke has done more at Ball State than, say, Mike Debord did at Central, a Hoke hire would be the absolute worst-case scenario. Hoke was a defensive line coach for a half-dozen years in the late 90s and early... uh... 00s hired to be Ball State's coach primarily because he's an alum. At Ball State he's 15-31 in his fourth season and hasn't won much of anything. His biggest accomplishments are close losses to Michigan (a game that was out of hand despite a fluky safety and a pick six until Johnny Sears made his thrilling debut) and Nebraska. If we are going with a MAC coach, it should be Brian Kelly... even if he's not in the MAC anymore. Central before (under DeBord) == awful. Central under Kelly == MAC champions. Central post-Kelly == awful. Since there is a clearly more attractive candidate in his genre ("back-up plans who would obviously come"), Hoke is not a serious candidate.
Hey man, whats going on. You obviously know your michigan football, but I have a question
that I am dying to get answered. I have been to games up in A2, and have been to some buckeye games, I have seen both mich fans and osu fans wearing them. I am looking for a hat, it is like a hat an old irish golfer would wear. A newsie/ flat cap/ gatsby hat with a fuzzy yellow ball on top, and says "go blue". I have searched all over the internet and have found nothing. So I am on last ditch effort attempts to find one. If you know anybody that has one, or you know where I can get one, it would be much appreciated. Thanks.
Uh... I dunno. Can anyone help this guy out?
I was wondering, have you ever heard a version of The Victors and thought "hey! that was awesome." ? Obviously the Michigan Marching Band does a great job, and I love the song that plays in the background of those warm-and-fuzzy-feeling Michigan hospital commercials. Which is your favorite? Do you have any unique/cool versions? I love that song, but its so hard to find new styles of it online or through iTunes. (I mean, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir apparently recorded it, but thats about it for selection.)
If you could help me find The Best Victors Ever, that would be much appreciated!
I have no alternate versions of the Victors save the "Hoover Street Rag" thing they play post-victory, which happens to be on the MMB CD I own. This is also a "can any commenters help" situation. Can you?
Yeah, I've gotten a lot of email of late, as you might imagine. Quickly, quickly:
Did I miss it or did you not criticize Lloyd for the 2 point conversion in the 3rd quarter? [note: this email came after App St. -ed] Of all the gaffes in that game, that one was just crystal clear and indisputable. You don't go for 2 in the 3rd quarter unless you are a zillion behind. It is incorrect mathematically and it sends a message to the other team that you are desperate. Just what A State needed at the time. Bo would have said - "Kick the point, stuff 'em and let's go back and get some more".
UM Ken in Troy - Old Guy - '68 BS, '84 MBA
PS - I have always admired Lloyd's integrity and what he has accomplished. That should not be dismissed. But it is now time for a regime change. The king (Bo) is dead, long live the king!
I did not criticize Carr for that decision because I'm not exactly sure what the right move is there. I lean towards that being wrong because 1) you have not established your field goal kicker and should prefer touchdowns (er... "more heavily prefer" would probably be better) and 2) your offense is racking up lots of yards against Appalachian State and you should expect to score another touchdown. So... yes, I think that was the wrong call but there was so much to criticize some thing slipped through the cracks.
A positive note on recruit Elliot Mealer from an Ohioan:
I got to see '08 early commit, Elliott Mealer of Wauseon. My former high school football team played Wauseon last Friday, and he is probably a little more than 300 pounds, yet stil playing TE. They ran off-tackle to take advantage of the huge down block Mealer provided. They seriously ran the ball 90-95% of the time and 80-85% of runs went to his side. It seemed like he was taking about three or four defending players out of the play every down. Additionally, he played some defense even though he wasn't the focal point of the defense like he seemed to be on offense. Defensively he ended up with three or four sacks against a sub par offensive line and a clueless quarterback.
Watching this game really changed my mind about Mealer. I played against him his sophomore year and my brother played against him his junior year and this year. We both thought he was a bum prior to this year. He changed both of our minds this year and now I'm thinking he might not be a complete bust. With his size and some toughing up, maybe he will see the field when he gets a little older. Its hard to say how good he really is though, because he plays mostly Division 4 and 5 teams (In Ohio, the higher the division the smaller the school).
"Might not be a complete bust"... sweet! It might not matter; if Ohio State offers Mealer (looking more and more possible with Josh Jenkins looking unlikely and targets getting thin on the ground) and Carr retires Mealer, a lifelong OSU fan, is probably one of Michigan's biggest flight risks.
One of the nice things about this blog is that there are a lot of intelligent commenters. The post about who was responsible for the field goal block got a lot of interesting responses; Aaron Lewis provides the most definitive answer over email:
I played football down the road at Albion College. While I was there, a guy by the name of Dave Arnold (http://csurams.cstv.com/sports/m-footbl/mtt/arnold_dave00.html) was the offensive line coach so he also was the coach for the FG team. He coached under Dennis Erickson when Miami won the national title and with the Seahawks.
Anyhoo, I played Crable's spot several times on FGs. You DO NOT LUNGE for ANYBODY. You step with your inside foot and simply lean to the inside. Stepping with your inside foot creates a stronger bond, for lack of a better word, with the guy inside you so that guys cannot creep through an inside gap and have more of a direct line to the kick point. Anything and everything must go to the outside for it is the longest and lengthiest route from a time perspective.
That said, Crable and Banks have a second step for their job. Once they step and lean to secure their inside gap, they also must look (literally just turn their heads) to their outside gap and throw up an arm jab once their inside is secure because they are blocking at the weakest protection points. Everyone else (save for the guys playing the exact same position on the opposite end) has direct protection on their outside gap from their fellow lineman. You step to the inside, lean to the inside, and arm jab late to the outside if you can. If you look at the video, the end on the right side has no inside pressure after stepping so he takes on the guy to his outside.
The worst case scenario happened for this team with Banks and Crable. Banks got much too wrapped up on his inside gap with a man who was essentially blocked, taking himself out of the play by willingly washing himself down to the inside. You can see the offensive tackle's left leg is even past the midpoint(!) of Banks stance in the second frame, when Banks right knee should simply be behind the tackle's left knee.
Crable compounds a small mistake into an utter disaster by wholeheartedly going after a guy who is the least threat, essentially taking himself out of the play and opening up the kick for a disaster. Which, of course, it was. I would say that as a senior he should know this, but people often forget that even the most important special teams roles are taken on by guys who have little to no experience at them. Coaches often throw together a mix of veterans (who they assume won't lose their heads) and young players who they want to get on the field, but normally none are comfortable unless they play the same role throughout the season. You could probably say with a more informed opinion, but I have little doubt that Crable did not play that position last year. Nobody plays the same special teams role for three or four years straight save for kickers.
So there you go: blame to both Crable and Banks and the Michigan special teams coach, who doesn't exist.
Question on the Offense UFR...I was at the game and it seemed like a recurring problem was Henne struggling to get the play off as the play clock was winding down. Tough to tell if this would be Henne's fault or Debord's but it just looked like Henne was rushing the calls to get the snap off (while trying to set guys in motion or check to another play) and maybe this led to some of the false starts because everyone was out of synch?
Did you notice this being as much of a problem as I am remembering it?
I did not notice this particular issue in either game except in certain instances where the playcall got in late and the result was either a timeout or the world's most disastrous delay of game call. But I could be wrong. Commenters?
I'm glad I didn't have a blog following last week's loss, because I probably would have put some shit out in a rage that was regrettable later. I'd just like to point out, though, that your unconditional surrender was included in the ESPN Page 2 piece, and I was kind of embarrassed to think that everyone reading that would see UM as a program surrounded by fairweather quitters. (You're making me look stupid, panda jerk!)
Much more importantly, such a statement also reinforces the existing culture among a lot of younger fans that they should throw in the towel as soon as anything goes wrong with the team, and that only undefeated teams really deserve their support. Even when I was on campus (2000-2004), that attitude was way too widespread, and when someone as widely read and respected as you puts their imprimatur on that behavior, it can only make things worse.
uld ask as a favor on behalf of all UM fans who don't want our fan base to be labeled as - and who especially don't want to it actually become - spoiled, golf-clapping, whiny and spineless that you please refrain from surrendering our superiority again. I can understand surrendering for the season, but not for all time. I also truly think that almost any group of fans can concoct a list of Times My Team and the Universe Generally Tried to Fuck Me in the Pooper, and the lists would be largely comparable. I don't think we're unique in that regard, even though it certainly seems like it as a fan. The Lions, on the other hand, have a list that is head and shoulders above anyone in sports.
(STW P. Brabbs)
I'm all for profiles of potential coaches, and the limitless optimism you and I usually share certainly would be suspect at this point, but come on already! My friends and I have thanked the big guy upstairs many a time for having intelligent, entertaining discussion of M Football (read: not collegefootballnews.com or anything mainstream) finally, and we need you -- stop bitching out and sack up! Please:
1. Ditch the Emo Week banner with the crying already - it was funny and appropriate for a week, but we're Michigan after all - let's act like it.
2. Rally the base with the ups and downs -- obvious down being "defense = suckitude," but optimism is possible in watching the offense rack up 300 yards in the first half -- if we stop throwing picks and getting freak "lose points" moments (Brown's fumble with the cast on, two sacks that pushed back/eliminated the possibility of field goals, etc.) and if Henne hadn't gone down, the 2nd half could have at least made the score look respectable. The Big Ten doesn't have the speed/schemes to screw with us, etc. We have to believe the defense can not blow this much all year, and if they even bandaid it, the offense should dominate as they mature together.
3. IT'S NOTRE DAME WEEK -- let's do it proper (although humor is probably necessary) with some Holtz-laughs, some bashing of Rudy, etc.
4. Notre Dame stat of the week:
*Charlie Weis 20+ point losses in his last 13 games: 5
*Lloyd Carr 20+ point losses in his 13 year career: 3
5. Positive coaching search omen worth mentioning:
1930s -- Kipke suffered four 32+ point losses; he was replaced by FRITZ CRISLER.
1960s -- Elliott suffered three 32+ point losses; he was replaced by BO SCHEMBECHLER.
2007 -- Lloyd suffered one 32 point loss; he was replaced by _______________???
Before those two guys you have to go back to the 1800s for 32+ point losses, which were obviously wiped clean by (a) happening during the first 10 years of the program and (b) Yost being God.
Sorry for the ramble -- just please come back and be badass for Michigan again. If you fold up in the blogosphere because of a couple of losses, those other bitch bloggers (i.e., the terrorists) win.
These men are right. In our time of trial we must remember our hatred. Hatred makes us strong. We are weak without it. I have declared this "Emu" week. I dedicate it to all the ways in which Jimmah Clausen and Charlie Weis are the very embodiment of earthly evil. I will be relentless.
Hey... Clausen, the spiky-haired douche with fey gestures store called... they're all out of you!
I'll work on it. I'm rusty.