Michigan football; MSU
I'm usually not one to post new topics, but I didn't see this anywhere else on here, and I felt it was relevant.
MSU Offensive lineman Arthur Ray Jr. was cleared to practice again after being diagnosed with leg cancer four years ago. All school affiliations aside this is a great story, and I'm very happy for the kid.
Here's a second Link to a piece Rittenberg did on him a while back.
"Dantonio has taken Michigan to the woodshed in state recruiting, capitalizing on the Wolverines' coaching change and 3-9 slump in 2008, but also squeezing the best players out of the state while second-year U of M coach Rich Rodriguez casts more of a recruiting eye toward familiar grounds like Florida and Ohio."
For an attosecond, I thought the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire would make good raw material for the following Sparty discussion and a clever title to a diary entry. Then I instantly apologized to my computer screen. Rome fell because it was once great. The Spartan “fall” I am going to discuss is akin to drunk trying to pull himself up only to immediately face plant again.
We have a great pleasure before us, Wolverine fans: years of Sparty anguish.
Here is the Sparty problem in a nutshell: their frame of reference is that failure is an event measured in geological time. What they fail to understand is that Michigan failure will be measured in Planck time. They had an aberrant year or two in the 60s that they ferociously cling to, like an abused Lena clinging insanely to Thomas Covenant after she had grown old. Now, the Sparty faithful see Michigan reeling from the events of last season and, bolstered by an uptick in recruiting that is being hailed in the local press, believe in their heart of hearts that MSU an UM are in the process of trading places and that Michigan's fall will be long and low.
The problem is that they’ve ridden a dinosaur to a horse race. Not the freaky fast, velociraptor type of dinosaur, but a stegosaur, I think. (Given the brain size of the stegosaurus, I think the comparison is a double winner!) It actually is named a Dantoniosaur, and it fundamentally lacks the reflexes necessary to succeed in a Holocene football age. I actually think that Dantonio would have been a damn good coach about 20 years ago. He espouses smashmouth football and power running, but today he is a pale reflection of Jim Tressel; all the stodginess of Tressel without the periodic flash of creativity to keep everyone other than the SEC in a low state of fear. The only solution to his Dantoniosaur-ness is to recruit top ten talent, and that just ain’t gonna happen.
Here’s where Michigan sips from the cup of schadenfreude (it’s a shame such a cool word has become clichéd). The Dantoniosaur should bring enough to the game to stay around for a long time, a la John Cooper. And against Lloyd Carr, I think he would have had success, nipping just enough out of our 2 out of 3 winning rate to irritate. But Rodriguez is a whole different animal, and a warm-blooded one at that. Once he gets his wits and his system and his players fine tuned, cold-blooded MSU will represent at most a speed bump, and those extra four star players that have suddenly appeared in their Christmas stocking will melt away.
Each year, they’ll be good enough to thump the chest a bit. And 4 out of 5 times, RR will go Oklahoma on them. I can’t wait!