national champs baby
They are coming. If you ordered a Bo shirt and are wondering where the hell it is, 1) sorry about the delay—Rich Robots recently switched print shops—and 2) the shirts should start shipping either today or early next week, so you should have them shortly.
Sweet. The new hockey jerseys are pretty cool:
The Hoover Street Rag points out that the white home jersey is a virtual replica of Michigan’s uniforms when Red Berenson was skating for the team instead of coaching it. Michigan Hockey Net confirms that Michigan plans to have small numbers under the school name, much like Red.
Lame. Awful Announcing has your ABC/ESPN coverage teams for 2008. One bleah development:
- Jesse Palmer is in the booth instead of Doug Flutie on Thursday nights along with Chris Fowler, Craig James and Erin Andrews.
- Flutie will still be on the ABC Studio show with John Saunders and James.
Flutie was really good last year. I don’t think The Bachelor will live up to that high standard. Everything else is basically the same as it was last year—Paul Maguire continues to pollute the Nessler-Griese duo.
One potential change: did Ron Franklin get swanky games last year? He’s doing prime-time ABC games this year.
Also lame but in a more literal sense. The exact words that came from Rodriguez’s mouth about Zirbel:
“It is a knee injury. It is pretty significant. We are not even hopeful that he will be able to return this year. We are just waiting to see how he responds to surgery and when they get in there and do an arthroscopic surgery, then we will have more answers on that.”
And hey, John Ferrara could start!
“I think it is a good move and he is going to be battling for a starting job at guard by maybe by the first game.”
What does Ferrara think about that?
The move caught Ferrara a bit by surprise because he had no offensive line background aside from playing a bit of tight end in high school.
"I'm getting used to it now and working on my technique," said the 6-foot-4, 280-pound Ferrara. "I'm just trying to memorize everything I can. The one thing I think is I'm very coachable."
Carty suggests there is “panic in the streets” because of this; I suggest that if the panic is only in the streets gazebos, playgrounds, and all variety of enclosed spaces have a lot of catching up to do; the WLA notes previous unlikely triumphs of the will.
Some guys are back. Brown and Minor resumed practicing; Donovan Warren was held out of practice but that was only precautionary, and Marcus Witherspoon should be back on campus shortly:
The Courier-Post Defensive Player of the Year, Witherspoon confirmed Thursday afternoon that he did return home to Atlantic City and missed a week of workouts. The freshman linebacker was scheduled to return to the Ann Arbor campus today and continue with football-related activities, also stating that his leave was excused by the Michigan football staff.
Oddly, Witherspoon says not to believe the “rumors” his departure was related to academics. Source of those rumors: Rich Rodriguez directly stating Witherspoon had a Clearinghouse issue.
As far as a potential redshirt:
"There's no harm in redshirting," Witherspoon said. "It would just give me an extra year and I really don't mind."
So there you go.
The children! Notre Dame’s Jon Tenuta is unsparing with the swearing:
I await 400 newspaper columns decrying this. (Via EDSBS.)
Etc.: Matt Hinton, nee Sunday Morning Quarterback, has been redubbed “Dr. Saturday” and unleashed on the unsuspecting public by Yahoo; if you have Time Warner cable OSU’s AD suggests you flee screaming.
I'm not as horrified as most probably will be, as I quite like the numbering and don't mind the shoulder piping, but I can't imagine the little side stripe as anything but ugly. Full gallery here.
Update: The official site has the jerseys up and the side striping seems a lot less prominent, FWIW.
On the big version you can see what Callihan was talking about when he mentioned a little "strip": there are teeny block Ms on the inside and outside of the back collar. Tentative thumbs up from me; they'll probably look fine on the players.
So, Callihan is correct and didn't see something unofficial. Let's revisit the road jerseys:
The away jerseys have a thin maize piping straight across the chest. There also have a small maize strip on the back of the collar that says Michigan in blue. [he would later clarify that the strip is the block M thing above -ed]
The West Virginia-esque roadies from earlier were a false alarm, it seems.
Fixes. I've created a Crude Bug Tracking page, which can be found under "useful stuff" on the nav bar. It contains all known bugs and feature requests, plus a list of stuff I've fixed. The latest fixes:
- you don't have to preview comments or message board posts anymore
- comment threading options enabled for message board
- ticket ads now less ugly
- Brian @ AOL posts now visible to plebes
- message board restyled so it doesn't bleed into the right sidebar
If you're sending a bug in (which should be done whenever there is a bug SUPPORT THE CAUSE), do me a favor and check the page to see if it's listed or not. Also, if I missed anything in the whirlwind last few days, please remind me.
Solicitation. Also, I'm not married to "diaries" as the name of the things you see on the right sidebar. If you've got anything better, let me know.
The home uniform has not changed with the exception of the logo and the away uniform has been modified slightly in comparison to the Nike design that has been worn the past few seasons. The uniforms were approved last fall and have been in production well in advance of the hiring of Coach Rich Rodriguez.
This contradicts both the women's academy jerseys (road jerseys only slightly different) and the UMGoBlue thread (home jerseys untouched) referenced earlier today in exactly the ways most Michigan fans would want those data points to be contradicted, so it is undoubtedly accurate by fiat.
At this point we should probably just wait for the damn things to come out.
I got my philosophy. Bo Schemblogger has some notes from a recent coaching clinic that are basically a bulleted version of Rodriguez's offensive philosophy. I actually found the Magee bullets more interesting:
-- 1. make defenses defend the entire field ... QB has presnap and post snap reads
-- 2. Always play at multiple tempos to keep defense off balance and control their substitution patterns
-- 3.make defense prepare for dual threat QB, both run and pass
-- 4. EXECUTION- You want a simple, not predictable offense (most of you should love this one, LOL).
-- 5. Execute your base plays to perfection: Reps and Reps, and more reps, get good at something!
-- 6. numbers game
----- a. 1st key number is 1 or 2 safeties. This is from my personal experience, this read is the single most important in this offense ... it tells you what OLBers and CBs are going to do. All 3 Coaches, RR, MaGee, and Frey, said the OLBers are the most dangerous defenders to this offense
------ b. How many defenders in box is next read
-- 7. Create best angles to block, both linemen and SEs
-- 8. And the final one - Find Empty Grass!
I bolded four things for two different reasons. Four and five are bolded because the emphasis on execution is something most decidedly old in the context of Michigan football. These are the things that Charlie Weis has no idea how to do.
Two and eight are new. Eight is a pithy three-word summary of the spread 'n' shred. Two is something I'm excited about not because ramping tempo up and down will have that much of an effect on the game, but because it's another indication the staff is looking for an edge wherever it can get one.
This was the theory expounded in the post Northwestern's ballboys: Rich Rodriguez is an expert at taking limited resources and stretching them. From Glenville to Tulane to Clemson to West Virginia he has taken less and done more, and for most of this time he has been the head of the pyramid. Now he has more.
Por ejemplo. Bruce Feldman's latest article for ESPN the magazine probably doesn't have anything in it you don't already know, but it's an impeccably-written overview of the goings on. Relevant to our Unified Theory of Rodriguez is this passage:
Still, the new staff knew they'd get a better read on guys at Rodriguez's spring practices. The tempo change was dramatic. "If Bo could see these practices, he'd love it," says Jim Brandstatter, a lineman on the 1969 team. "It's eerily similar to the culture shock when Bo took over. They're being physical. They hit. They wear pads every day."
Among the new Michigan mandates: Practices double as conditioning (no walking-even linemen sprint into stances), and a QB is live in drills until he proves in a real game that he can handle pressure.
...or the OL is so sieve-like it gets him hurt.
Snark aside, I hadn't really considered the impact of the high tempo in practice that way. I had just figured it was a way to make the most of your limited hours. It is that; it's also yet more conditioning for guys who are running everywhere. The thing that leapt out at me from the Rodriguez paraphrase linked above: "conditioning is the most underrated aspect of football." Insert "eeee" here.
Etc.: Dex is ripping off the Dugout to good effect in the diaries, and QB Waggle tackles Michigan's NFL draft class of 2007. This Smart Football post on pass protection is pure football nerd porn. I've ripped Tom Deinhart before, but his preview of M for Rivals is shockingly accurate, like "mentions Marell Evans correctly" accurate. GS has a super recap of Mario Manningham's career.
These were the uniforms bestowed upon attendees of the Women's Football Academy this summer, and their relation to West Virginia's vaguely chintzy duds did not go unremarked upon or unlamented. I phrased the post title as a question ("is this the ne road jersey?") despite the clear authenticity of the photos because it seemed highly improbable that Michigan would sign off on a pretty dramatic departure from their classic white away jerseys. At least, that's what I hoped.
That hope lives. Beauford Bixel -- a nom de plume up there with Orson Swindle -- of State of the Game has alertly picked up on a thread over at Michigan fansite/message board UMGoBlue.com featuring the uniform impressions of Phil Callihan, the site's founder. (Side note: Drew Montag, a UMGoBlue columnist, actually registered "mgoblog.com" two months before I started the blogspot version and, after two years and considerable friendly pestering, gave me the domain for free. They are Friends of Blog.) Callihan says he's seen the official jerseys and they are like so:
The home jerseys have a maize block "M" on the shoulder, the number is a little thicker and seems to be placed a little higher than on past jerseys. There's also a small (1/4 inch wide by 1-2 inch) vertical maize strip running down from the collar that has Michigan in blue. [Callihan would later correct himself, saying there is a block M on the strip. -ed]
The away jerseys have a thin maize piping straight across the chest. There also have a small maize strip on the back of the collar that says Michigan in blue.
Both have a small Adidas logo on the front.
There's the requisite panic and hasty, speculative photoshopping in the aftermath, with various people declaring their completely hypothetical outrage or joy over an ultimately trivial matter. It's basically a microcosm of the internet, and it's pretty awesome. We'll find out what they actually look like in around two weeks, and there will be a great TCP/IP howl for three days before we forget about it.
Four different people have sent me this [update: five!], claiming that it comes from the women's football academy and is Michigan's new road jersey. One, "RoyalBlue," claims credit:
(Blogger is having some image issues so I had to go with the imageshack url... it might blow up.)
Here's a picture of Henne from last year for comparison. Basically, it appears the stripes on the shoulders are more prominent and there's a little yellow panel on the sides. It looks a little WVU-esque for many, I'm sure, but the piping that threw everyone into a fit turned out to be a minor annoyance. These things usually look different in action.
Update: RoyalBlue has posted a few more of the uniform actually one someone, though the subject is a woman who looks about 100 pounds too small. I just got a lot crankier:
Those aren't the new helmets, BTW.