i like 'em both
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|1 hour 1 min ago||A fatal exception has occurred||
"Well, they’re a very good offense. They’ve done a great job first and foremost running the football. They’ve got some playmakers at wide receiver. They’ve got a very, very good tight end. They’ve got a good offensive line. They’ve done a good job, and it’s going to be a very, very good offense to go against and I think they’ve done a very good job on offense."
Was there smoke coming out of his ears?
|3 hours 23 min ago||Sigh. . .||
This is a nice example of SunTzuBall. If you know what your opponent is thinking, that thinking can be exploited.
|5 hours 30 min ago||Eh||
Emotion is in many ways an absence of thought. It's a trigger for release of energy (when you think "fired up" you don't visualize Zen monks contemplating their navels) but when you rely on emotion things often go badly. I think people are honing in on the coaches' lack of emotion due to the results but I don't think they're correlated. If the coaches were undefeated and mellow, no one would be complaining.
My feeling is that this game is going to be very, very bad, but it has jack to do with emotion and everything to do with the massive, massive gap in player development. Obviously everyone's intimidated by their defense but lately their offense is no joke either. They've been slowed down by ranked teams (Oregon, Nebraska) but no one's held them under 20 and it's highly unlikely Michigan's offense will even get to that.
|6 hours 24 min ago||(shudder)||
“Well, obviously any time you’re getting pressured the biggest thing is protection. And then in the running game you’ve got to make sure you’re identified so you don’t have free hats, as we call them, in the backfield. You’ve got to secure the line of scrimmage, make sure you have a hat on a hat, and then in the passing game protect and the ball’s got to come out.”
If you're trying to sound reassuring, Nuss, it definitely ain't working.
|8 hours 28 min ago||There isn't a workout in||
There isn't a workout in existence with an injury-free record. Like any training regimen, do it wrong and you'll get injured right quick. That applies just as much to conventional weight training, except that's far more widespread so even the guy at the local gym can teach safety tips. Avoiding injury is pretty much the floor for a S&C coach's qualifications and programs like Oregon integrated modern concepts to realize the benefits without chronic injury issues so I think any allergy to it is outdated.
|18 hours 55 min ago||I've heard that too||
It's an antiquated mode of thought. If the ball gets there on time with no one else making a play on it then the speed of the pass doesn't matter.
Ironically the lob pass is designed to get the ball over shallow coverage where a bullet would get either batted down or picked off and. . . it got picked off. But a harder throw would've just gone into the back of Braden's helmet. If anything the ball didn't have enough arc on it, but Braden was in a bad position (per Space Coyote's post above).
|19 hours 1 min ago||Yeah but||
I'd say it takes a pretty experienced O-lineman to properly take an angle on a retreating D-lineman on a PA. The motion probably confused him. When the D-lineman backs off and you know it's a pass you're inclined to think your work is done; I know they coach "finishing the block" but you're actually worried about going too far downfield or getting called for a hold. He probably didn't know his man was jumping a screen, or maybe he did but didn't know quite what to do.
Gardner probably could've put more arc on the ball but it's unfair to say that it was all his fault. Here's where I'd say Nuss' stance that an INT is rarely one guy's fault is accurate.
|19 hours 12 min ago||Doesn't matter what they look like||
Football is a sport of fits and starts, so these days modern S&C places emphasis on flexibility, range of motion and speed. Fast-twitch muscle is where it's at. You're only moving for like 12 minutes a game but for those 12 minutes it's absolute maximum exertion or you might as well not even be there. Scouts call it "explosion" but medically it's the speed at which muscle contracts, and it's very hard to build up because it's basically the opposite of endurance. As in, the actual fibers in the muscle are different between fast-twitch and slow-twitch. I thought this was common knowledge. A properly conditioned 270-pound center with modern S&C methods will annihilate a 310-pound DT developed 1980s style, body fat percentage be damned and all other factors equal.
Hoke and Wellman are obsessed with weight for some weird, probably antiquated reason. These guys are strong, no question, but all evidence indicates Wellman is using badly outdated methods more suitable for blue-collar workers instead of elite athletes. As a result these guys are slow, and that slowness translates to weakness as well as the linemen can't explode off the snap to engage with their hands. It means the receivers can't get separation, the RBs can't block, juke or bull rush effectively, the LBs can't get off blocks or tackle in space. And lo and behold, ALL of these are weaknesses this season!
|19 hours 36 min ago||Wellman has been a disaster||
Our RBs can't juke D-linemen or bulldoze DBs. Our O-line can't even get push against 2-star units. Our WRs can't get separation. On defense this season there's an alarming number of unfinished tackles that require gang-tackling to finish. They have serious technique issues but they're also losing one-on-one battles of pure athleticism. About the only guy who's transformed under Wellman is Frank Clark; everyone else basically just makes weight targets (often not even that) without gaining any strength or speed. This program seems to place such a ridiculous emphasis on weight at the expense of actual performance metrics that I'm baffled. Me, I'd rather take a 280-pound lineman made of fast-twitch muscle than a 300-pound lineman that gets driven back several yards every snap. But hey, he made weight!
There are very few football coaches in this program I'd keep at this point. The team is giving full effort but they're slow, weak, fragile, clumsy and predictable. They're even regressing on stuff they did well last season. There doesn't seem to be a single facet of the game they're doing consistently well. For the most part they're older than last season (they were ridiculously young then) so the scheme changes don't go far enough as an explanation.
|19 hours 47 min ago||Action||
Correction: Other teams spend hours a day breaking down film and adapt to get an edge. I have no idea what the hell goes on at Michigan because it doesn't seem like they ever bother to punish the other team's tendencies or capitalize off their own strengths.
|1 day 1 hour ago||FWIW||
Nuss has shown willingness to make the easy play so hopefully Hoke doesn't get his grubby fingers in that mess. The problem is that right now, nothing is easy. Not to repeat verbatim what was essentially an essay I wrote some time back, but the principle of constraint-based IZ (or any running game in particular) is to get 4-5 yards like clockwork against the opponent's base defense, then take whatever they give you when they overcorrect. It doesn't work unless you can reliably get those 4-5 yards, which a team just learning IZ can't do. It takes years to do that because defenses will throw various slants and stunts to mess up the assignments without committing extra defenders. It's working and will continue to work until they're punished for it.
That the O-line and RBs haven't progressed is alarming, but the defense has been very slow to correct against opposing OCs' adjustments and in some ways seems to be regressing.
But now here comes what got Borges fired last season -- we'll see if Michigan pisses away yet another bye week. My interpretation of the above is that Hoke means they're using the bye week to shore up their base plays, which still need work. Opposing coaches have keyed in on Michigan's weaknesses and it's better to work on that than rep gimmick plays that don't work anymore.
|1 day 2 hours ago||ugh||
No disagreement there.
sigh. . .
|1 day 3 hours ago||Don't go there||
The only person who says there's a "more" wrong is someone with a position to sell. The only thing you get from making that case is a loss of credibility.
You know what refs are obligated to do when both sides cheat? Call every penalty. Except in this case the FSU defender wasn't prevented from going outside because he was fighting for inside leverage all along -- again, Kelly called (and his players executed) the play perfectly -- if the refs called fairly then ND wins. The only way it's offensive PI is if the FSU defender tries to fight outside, but in that case the inside receiver breaks open. That's the key. The inside receiver was his man. The "blown" coverage was not the defender playing man, but the fact that FSU had no one covering the outside receiver at all, requiring the slot defender to hypothetically move outside to cover the out, and THAT is how the refs determined it was offensive PI. That's. . . inexplicable. How the hell did the refs decide a guy playing MAN coverage wanted to cover an out route he wasn't even aligned for?? When Kelly saw that he probably felt like a kid in a toy store, expecting he had either a TD or a defensive PI to choose from and happily decline the PI to get the W AND look good doing it. If you consider what Kelly was thinking per above, offensive PI was a shocking outcome. That's why he was upset.
But again again -- this play was drawn up specifically to exploit the refs, to blatantly use them to ND's advantage, and THAT was obvious. That's what eveyone's really saying here, and I agree. If I was a ref I'd be pissed, so I'm inclined to believe they called offensive PI because they saw what ND was doing and -- despite its legality due to FSU botching its coverage AND playing man -- it pissed them off. Now in principle anger is never a justification for arbitration so technically ND was robbed, but since they intended to cheat all along I can't say I'm sympathetic. Just don't try to make any sort of "who's more wrong" argument because that's infinitely subjective.
|1 day 3 hours ago||Edit||
Ed. technically incorrect since the FSU guy wasn't even covering the out route, but correct in determining what the receiver was trying to do.
I know it's confusing, but that's kind of why I advocate ethics in the first place. The benefit of fair play is that you don't have to second-guess everyone.
|1 day 3 hours ago||Contact, yes||
Impeding the route five yards downfield, no. Because while the receiver was blocking him, in the defender's context the guy is running a route so you can't just catch the guy and stay in his way that far downfield regardless of what you think he's doing. That's illegal. If the defender really wanted to cover the out route he could've just went there, or at least tried and draw a real offensive PI. Instead, the FSU defender was trying to maintain inside leverage (thinking he's jamming a route downfield) when the receiver was trying to keep him inside the whole time. Kelly's argument is technically correct. For there to be offensive PI there has to be some sort of effort to go outside.
That said it's shamelessly disingenuous because Kelly coached his inside receivers to gain inside leverage all along. He never intended to be an innocent victim here. They were both illegally fighting for the same spot. It's almost like they were dancing. The two guys trying to out-cheat each other was so unsportsmanlike it was almost comical if it wasn't so depressing.
I don't really care about the offensive PI call itself (technically it was incorrect but it's also as blatant as it gets), but there's no claiming the moral high ground here because there is none.
|1 day 3 hours ago||That's the thing though||
Every intent was dirty. A bunch of guys were all coached to cheat and now we're having arguments over who cheated better. I'm upset but only because it was really bad football in what will probably turn out to be a very important game. The refs could've done anything and it just gives lawyerballers shit to argue over.
Here's a brilliant idea -- why not just play some damn football and let skill decide the outcome?
|1 day 4 hours ago||Not really||
When both sides decided to play Lawyerball they had their hands tied, and maybe called the inexplicable offensive PI because they were sick of getting gamed. That makes them technically correct but it wasn't ethical to decide the outcome of a game. It's no wonder Brian Kelly was upset.
My post above was deliberately inconsistent. Every side (FSU, ND, refs) could make an argument, and every argument would be bullshit, because they were ALL dirty. Like I said, it's just the sort of play that makes me hate football. It'll wear off and I'll go back to obsessively covering my Wolverines but I really wish I hadn't seen that play.
|1 day 6 hours ago||Truth is in the middle||
Now, I know when people say that they usually mean to shed a more sympathetic light on both parties. In this case it's the opposite.
EVERYONE was trying to cheat instead of just playing some goddamn football.
Brian Kelly knows what he's doing. Yes they were routes, but he had the two inside receivers run inside routes to bait the defenders playing man, turning the routes into a screen. This is common. He knew they would initiate (in case of the inside guy) or relish (in case of the middle guy) the contact and Batman-ed them perfectly. Meanwhile the wideout runs an out route. The routes are specifically designed to counter the MSU-style grabby-grabby press man coverage FSU was supposedly playing, and shield them from the guy breaking open. I agree with the sentiment that those receivers were NOT trying to get open. They ran right into their coverage and blocked. To an extent this is defensible because it's crowded and frankly you shouldn't just yeild your route because a defender is there. But they ran inside specifically because the outside receiver was running an out. I saw hands move inside, not swim to get past. Kelly is flat-out lying in that they were just trying to run routes; they knew damn well what they were doing. "Create space" was press conference code for "blocking". The call was justified.
FSU, meanwhile, was supposedly playing press man but they weren't really pressing. They caught the receivers and stuck to them. This was also 100% deliberate. If the defenders really cared about the outside receiver they could've easily disengaged. They didn't even try. Kelly's right; their motion outside was not impeded until it was way too late and the receivers were working their way inside. Those guys were not trying to cover the outside receiver; the middle guy was trying to commit PI and get away with it. You don't grab a guy 4-5 yards downfield, backpedal to his motion and then claim he was preventing you from going anywhere. The defender almost never tries to draw offensive PI in that case because they almost always lose. The play was drawn up and executed in such a way that the only way you can say it's offensive PI is if you gauge intent. Which was blatant, but not the refs' job, which is why they never call it. The call was preposterous.
So all around this is the sort of football that pisses me off. This isn't playing the game; it's playing the refs and the refs meddled. Kelly drew up a play deliberately designed to bait the D instead of create space organically. The middle FSU defender literally caught his man and backpedaled in this embrace so far downfield it was probably a PI (or would've been if the receiver didn't work his way inside). But FFS guys, this really wouldn't be an issue if everyone wasn't trying to cheat. If the receivers were really trying to get open they could've used their hands to swim past the D. If the outside FSU defender wasn't trying to play illegal defense he could've disengaged and went anywhere he wanted. The refs could've just let them play instead of calling the most inexplicable penalty at the most crucial moment. I felt like I was watching a bunch of lobbyists and lawyers out there and it just wasn't fun to see. I mean this isn't a scandal but it's just a loathsome way to play the game. They both cheated, AND the refs suck because of all the cheating going on, they made the rarest call in that situation on coverage that had nothing to do with the actual TD pass and decided the outcome of the game.
To hell with them all.
|4 days 23 hours ago||Heh||
I remember in the Lloyd Carr era during one Iowa game it was 3rd-and-1 and (on replay) Carr was shown to pound his fist into his open hand. That was the playcall. We were going to stampede like a herd of cattle and there was nothing Iowa's D could do to stop it. I knew what was coming, everyone knew what was coming. On the snap all 11 Iowa defenders converged on the ball.
Michigan got the first down.
In the past five years I have never felt that level of confidence. Wellman's program seems to be an unmitigated, undiscussed disaster. When your four-star recruits can't get you a yard don't talk to me about toughness. The late 90s teams played on dead offenses you could limit to 2-3 yards per play (we got really sick of Carr punting on 4th-and-2) because they were so predictable, but flip that around: they could get 2-3 yards even when the defense knew exactly what they were going to do. When's the last time we felt that could happen? Now I can understand the linemen getting split through technique or getting stood up because of bad pad level, but I've seen what should've been cupcake opponents win plays because individual players were physically overmatched in situations where raw physical talent should've been an advantage (namely Miller getting put on skates by DTs despite not even being outweighed by them). The conclusion is that whatever physical talent Michigan's players have, Wellman is second to none at removing it.
|5 days 4 hours ago||Wellman||
I think Fred Jackson has zero value as far as teaching technique, but Wellman has zero value at building them up. He's regarded as the best in the business by Hoke and Mattison and. . . that's it, as far as I know. He's certainly no Barwis.
I have no idea what goes on in the weight room but the result is head-scratching. He's pretty good at getting linemen to meet their weight targets but positions players seem to go nowhere and with the exception of guys who showed up ridiculously talented (Funchess, Willie Henry), these guys seem to meet their match against undersized players. Frank Clark seems to be the only player who thrived under Wellman; Green pretty much put himself on a diet to gain back speed he had all along. Some of us were asking, as long as these players were raw, why couldn't they just pack together and bull rush the likes of Akron or Connecticut? Hell, it took them three and a half quarters to realize Rutgers' D-line was undersized and pretty much any unit of near-equal weight can push these guys around. As I said last year, our RBs can neither juke the D-linemen nor push the DBs and they're completely helpless against 2-star linebackers.
What is it about Wellman that he can get four-star players to gain 20-50 pounds but not gain an ounce of strength or speed? We don't have a Hutchinson-level talent because no one's developing into one.
Is there ANYONE Hoke brought on board besides Mattison who's even decent at their job?
|5 days 4 hours ago||So, what would you say you do here?||
Fred Jackson is that old guy in the office who's nice, likeable, gregarious, generous, been there forever and yet. . . when something needs to be done, he's suddenly "busy" or nowhere to be found. The kind of guy you eventually ignore unless he's brought donuts or pizza to the office. In a workplace you need people to do their jobs, not be your buddy.
His entire job security seems to stem from having allies. This is the sort of person who's difficult to fire because the higher-ups like him (even though they don't know why) but is an anathema to anyone who needs some goddamn work done. There are some guys at the office with cheerful voices, warm handshakes and bags of goodies and I HATE them because they're often the reason I have to work 12 hours a day instead of 8. Yeah, that's Fred.
I'm starting to put Manning, Hoke, Wellman and Funk in this category as well. Obviously Brandon knows which crotches to kneel before. Mattison is quite serviceable but the luster is fading on the 2011 turnaround. The entire department is a nepotistic, sycophantic collection of legacy-killing, vampiric trust fund babies boasting of past success (some theirs but mostly others) and present progress that doesn't exist. Burn the whole goddamn house down. They keep talking about what a tremendous job they've all done but the team looks terrible.
|1 week 43 min ago||I don't even care, man||
My main enjoyment from watching sports is quality ball. Technique, strategy, teamwork, effort. I can take some clunky learning curve as long as the show is two teams playing out of their minds. This is blasphemy but I can take a close loss if it leaves my heart full. I mean I never want it but I see beyond just wins and losses. I'll take a blowout win but I don't feel anyone gains anything by it. The football team is full of guys with grit and bless them for it, but they're badly utilized, horribly coached and criminally mismanaged. But more importantly, they're not getting the benefit of quality ball.
With Beilein, and in stark contrast to Hoke, what I'd usually think of as "problems" are just "challenges", as in, HOW is he going to deal with it? Because while I can't promise on his behalf it'll work, there's no doubt he's already working on it. And man, how many times has Beilein shot himself in the foot? I don't know if Michigan's had a single loss where the blame could be placed solely on him. They've maybe been overmatched at times but Beilein is the epitome of giving players the best chance to win.
This season's turnover is very lopsided -- we lost all our big men AND best player in one fell swoop. So, I dunno, we should be ready for a letdown, if wins were all that mattered. But if you watch for any reason other than expectations of success, our basketball program is sure to entertain. It's a well-coached team that's gonna play out of their minds.
|1 week 54 min ago||Is that what MGoBlog means by||
Is that what MGoBlog means by "basketball on grass"?
|1 week 2 days ago||I'll take it.||
Doesn't feel like turning a corner so much as finally finding a storied program in even worse shape, but after all these players have been through, it's nice to see them earn a win to savor.
|1 week 5 days ago||Nah||
I'll try to kill you, but I'll only move forward a couple yards before I run into the crowd. I'll plan an 11-man operation but only ten will show up, and we'll take too much time discussing our next move, then fail to execute the gameplan properly.
|1 week 5 days ago||He may be a NB, but he's our NB||
Well, our nickelback is injured. . . hey, any of your DB buddies have any eligibility left?
|1 week 5 days ago||Nah||
One weakness I spy in our D-line is a distressing lack of lateral mobility. With any sort of forward momentum they're basically north-south juggernauts. Which is fine for stopping the run as long as they're gap sound, but QBs have been very easily evading the pass rush with sidesteps. Otherwise the ball goes out quickly because the slant's wide open, or when we do get sacks it's because the QB was kind enough to run upfield.
|1 week 5 days ago||Either way, Catch-22||
We have a major major major major problem.
|1 week 5 days ago||Not to worry||
We'll still make them look like a squad of unstoppable all-pros the way things are going.
|1 week 5 days ago||We hit the reset button again||
Nuss is trying to teach the offense a scheme that works, but it takes time to learn. Everyone's tired of hearing the word "execute" but the thing about IZ + constraint is, if you execute it properly, it's impossible to stop. Don't overplay it and it'll get 4-5 yards, enough to move the chains, like clockwork. Overplay it and Nuss opens up the play book. This is how it works. The base play puts pressure on the D, and from there it's not hard to have an answer for everything the D tries to do.
The problems are that it takes years to learn, is very tough to execute consistently, and in the meantime without those 4-5 yards to count on, opposing Ds can rely on confusion (slants, stunts, blitzes) as opposed to numbers and wait for Michigan to make a mistake. The same IZ-killers are effective against pass pro, which pressures the QB. This forces some urgency, which leads to turnovers. It's only when the play forces extra defenders into the box that the offense opens up, and in the meantime that requires the line, the RB and the QB to figure out every sort of alignment a DC can think of.
When Borges got fired we did get rid of someone I feel was an overrated OC, but also one that could win games when he's on. Everyone remembers the ugly losses but he also schemed some wins (and near-wins) that by rights we shouldn't have had. Well, that's what we gave up. There is no occasional offensive clinic with infantile IZ. Until the team gets it together, the mediocre defenses will shut it down and the elite defenses -- ogod I don't want to think of what MSU is gonna do. But again, this is not the kind of offense that will show productivity in spurts. It is going to suck until it stops sucking, at which point it will be very hard to stop, but that will not be relatively soon.
As for the D, in hindsight I think Mattison went too "mee too" after getting PWND by MSU's defense. Michigan's bend-don't-break D last year was frustrating to watch but it kept us in most games and got its fair share of turnovers. This year's D is just as vulnerable to short passes in the middle of the field and doesn't get turnovers. Moving JMFR made logical sense but now it looks like the D doesn't effectively use our two best players. Maybe Mattison was also trying to build something here but with the offense starting over as well, the timing couldn't have been worse.