a terrible blight on our fine country
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|4 hours 15 min ago||Hey now||
Being denied bacon jalapeno mac and cheese is enough to drive a man crazy.
. . . evidently.
|11 hours 34 min ago||Ace||
As far as what people did when they were 10-15 years younger being dug from the dark corners of the Internet, Ace ain't no Joker.
|12 hours 20 min ago||To be clear||
Harbaugh isn't running the ball late for any reason other than he's had insurmountable leads the past few games (hell, 15 points might as well be 50 with this D & ST) and doesn't want to play all his trump cards. It's clear he's got a bag of RPS+3 wacky stuff to roll out when he needs points and honestly against Maryland I think he used a few more tricks than he would've liked to. Post-game he's going to wax about being happy (but NOT satisfied) with the win, but when the camera was on him during the game he seemed irritated and it's plain to see why.
But to agree with your main point, yeah, the plays are built around the players, which is a nice change from before. It's kind of frustrating at times but even the "bad" plays fit within a scheme of keeping the defense off-balance. OK Rudock and Chesson have yet to complete a deep ball but they're going to keep throwing it because they get close enough that eventually they'll complete it and that forces safeties to respect Chesson's speed. That keeps things open underneath.
I think as the season goes on, if Smith doesn't have an epiphany the runs will be increasingly designed to get him running straight to a safety in a gap for some YAC because we all know he can do that. Better that than RPS the defense only to have Smith run into a pile of bodies at the LoS.
|12 hours 37 min ago||Funny||
He was told the same thing by the owner when he asked if he could do a book signing at the local pub.
|12 hours 39 min ago||Ooh, I'll try||
Q. What was the publisher's initial reaction when Bacon first made a push for Endzone?
A. He was short.
|12 hours 41 min ago||Assume the position||
Man, that Yost fellow was a kinky guy.
|13 hours 35 min ago||What if my what-if is better than your what-if||
At this point we can have infinite fun with what-ifs, but here's what I was thinking: If Smith goes for the cavern either takes a straight line there, in which case the second-level defenders (in which I'll include the mike) will easily read and flow to the play, or he feints like he did and you say. If he DOES take a step, let's compare what he did vs. what if:
What he did: He made a feint as if to bounce outside to the left. This single false step causes three defenders to shuffle around to that side. It was an overreaction by BYU, but the point is, he got a lot of bang for his buck.
What if: Again, I'm creating my own reality here, but if he's following Glasgow's pull, then his false step would be for that crease he actually went through -- I doubt a feint all the way to the outside is effective on this track. In which case the mike's already in the gap he's feinting for, and in reality vacated it pretty easily, so I'm guessing all he gets for a false step is the mike stays in the gap a split second longer and then beats him to the spot anyway. Maybe not, but even tackled from behind he might only get 5-6 yards instead of 11. Which, still, not bad.
In reality, he got BYU's second-level defenders to put a mass of bodies between them and him. If he goes for the super-gap then I don't think a feint is any more effective than just booking for it and either way I doubt he'd beat the mike and safety because there isn't as much traffic preventing them from getting there. I think Smith's feint was far more effective in getting yards out of what he did than if he took a different path.
All that said, it sure is nice to have multiple good options for a play, instead of none.
|14 hours 15 min ago||Trap vs. wham||
Yeah, besides, the two look nothing alike.
|14 hours 26 min ago||I'm not sure Smith is wrong here||
He played to his limitation (read: he's slow) and gap concept and took the nearest gap that was open. If he follows Glasgow's pull then yes there's a huge gap but to get there he has to shuffle around a pile of bodies and with Smith that'll take about thirty-eight minutes. The mike and safety can flow there and beat him to it. The cavernous gap is asking for a nuclear-powered icebreaker to make a Drake-esque cut outside. I don't know what he was coached but Smith isn't Drake Johnson and shouldn't try to be like him, so that was probably the best result. It'll be interesting to see if they run this again straight-up with either Isaac or Johnson.
|15 hours 29 min ago||Ugh||
"14 of 16" is not a streak. It is a great trend, but a streak it is not.
|3 days 13 hours ago||By jove||
I think somebody's finally getting it!
I mean, MGoBlog only publishes THREE predictions per game, none of them realistic scores and two deliberately intended to disagree, so yes let's totally hold them accountable.
I'm not a fan of P/CP, or PCP for that matter, but I'll come out in the former's defense -- this features is getting attacked for all the wrong reasons.
|4 days 11 hours ago||Come to think of it||
Isn't football the only free-ranging sport where it's impossible to score exactly one point? With this rule it's possible if you combine a FG and a safety (3 - 2 = 1).
Edit: n/m, looks like the rugby minimum is 3
|4 days 11 hours ago||Or||
11 safeties and a TD(+PAT).
|4 days 15 hours ago||Partly||
I'm thinking the same thing (I just posted below), but the thing about big leads is, if that was all there was to it, then Michigan would be routinely seeing passing downs in the "scrimmage" part of the game as the defense sold out on power. The stats don't reflect that. They definitely seem to punt more in the second half, but they haven't exactly been going backwards.
The playcalling definitely eases up when we're up 3-4 TDs in that they're not calling double fake screens or WR reverses or other crazy stuff. But they're still throwing to the outside and sending blocky-catchy guys downfield to move the chains. So instead of a 1st and 10 becoming a Hoke-esque 3rd and 9, they might get occasionally stuffed but they'll throw a few wrinkles to keep the run D on edge and create as many 3rd and short situations as possible. The main difference is, to convert those 3rd and 2s in the second half they'll use more conventional stuff instead of reaching into the bag of tricks, which results in more punts and worse standard downs stats.
|4 days 15 hours ago||Explosive passing downs||
That's reflective of the playcalling, which has been both high-volume and brilliant. I've noticed they'll play to their identity on standard downs (and late with a big lead) but when they're in a passing down they'll start playing cards the opponent isn't ready for. They'll also try out the long ball on early downs with little success. In terms of results, when they're in standard downs they often try for and are happy to get 2-4 yards and occasionally run high-risk plays that should pick up chunks but -- unfortunately with Rudock's poor play -- often result in zero yards. Also, they're still working on consistency so they've messed up some perfect playcalls with botched execution. So at a glance their standard downs play -- especially compared to spread teams -- looks pretty awful.
However, they never bail on a drive. When they need 8+ yards on 3rd down they have the plays and go get it. In a sense, in passing downs they're much more "serious" about getting yards. Well, that's not quite right. They're always serious, but they want to be high-volume; they relish third-and-short and efficiently manage the routine yardage situations. But they also understand the importance of each drive and getting first downs and they've been very, very good at getting x+1 yards when they need x. Subconsciously I'm starting to build excitement on 3rd downs because regardless of the distance, that's when Harbaugh's most likely to call something wicked.
The playcalling is very, very good. It's downright masterful. I mean it should be obvious from his 49ers tenure but I'm really starting to see why Harbaugh is one of the best coaches in the country. Borges for all his faults could be a pretty good schemer on a good day but he looks like a child compared to this.
|5 days 4 hours ago||You||
did not see what I did there.
|5 days 5 hours ago||Not quite||
Both gap and zone are run perfectly on paper, but that's exactly what defensive fronts try to prevent. They'll twist, stunt, switch, shift, blitz, do whatever to confuse the blockers. So the gap won't always show where it's drawn up, and it'll never look the exact same way twice. The play may say "A gap" but the fullback could bounce all the way outside if that's proper response to the blocking. In some cases, such as Smith's 11-yard cut, TWO gaps might appear. So "go where the play's designed" isn't so crystal-clear. The back needs a green light to make a decision where to cut.
So you very much need vision in a gap-blocking scheme. Thing is, even if your vision isn't great it's better to wait and see if your hunch is correct than plow into a bunch of defenders. Smith showed that patience against Oregon State but he seemed to have regressed a bit.
|5 days 6 hours ago||And waste Baxter?||
If you want to see exciting football, we'll want to punt too. Will likely result in pinning Maryland inside their 5.
|5 days 6 hours ago||Well||
If Blake goes rogue again, given the jawing he got from Harbaugh it probably won't be on punt one. But punt two will likely be more unpredictable.
|5 days 6 hours ago||FB dive||
The dime defense was a gamble on our D-line and they came through; that was impressive. But the FB dives weren't a dare. They attacked BYU's backup nose tackle.
Harbaugh is so my kind of coach it's getting creepy. I've honestly wondered for years why FB dives aren't run more. It doesn't have to be a base play, just test their front FFS! Defenses typically key on the FB as a blocker while the tailback takes a second to build up some momentum. For run D, that second matters, and they expect to have it. The FB is often closer to the LoS so while he can't get a head of steam, neither can the D. It's hike, handoff, bam! It's like a boxer's jab; it's almost never a KO punch but it's so quick it's like a free slap to the face. The downsides are that lumbering FBs can give back that extra second and the RB is useless, but against a 3-4 you still have the numbers advantage where you need it; it's not like the OLBs are gonna matter either. Unless the defense is sitting on it (which defenses REALLY hate to do because it's FB dive FFS) or has a solid NT, it's hard to prevent that play from gaining 3-4 yards. Against BYU's backup nose it often went for 5 or more.
I like the FB dive more than I probably should, but I don't expect Harbaugh to run it nearly as often against beefier lines. BYU's an undersized 3-8 so I was screaming "FB dive!!" in my head and lo, they ran it right at 'em to good effect.
|5 days 10 hours ago||No||
It was his minimum! He had exactly zero carries against MSU that went for <5 yards!
|5 days 10 hours ago||Kind of||
I don't know that people are exaggerating so much as not quite ready to let go of the what-ifs.
To your point, unless the Gods of Weird Football take over (a.k.a. Northwestern's annual blood sacrifice to Loki), this team cannot be beaten with average talent, anyhow. Teams have targeted perceived weaknesses and nothing's been easy. It's a testament to how well they're coached.
That said, maybe it's the trauma talking but I can still envision this team getting beaten soundly, though that image is getting iffier by the day. (This is a Good Thing -- it was absurdly easy to do this the past 7 years.) So far, the only player I'm confident can go toe-to-toe with any playmaker in the FBS is Jourdan Lewis. The D-line is playing lights-out but they haven't played any truly mean O-lines. The offense is improving by the week but hasn't shown enough consistency at any position to make me feel they can't be stopped. If we face a tough defense with a solid O-line and an NFL first-rounder to make plays. . . thing is, that's almost by definition an elite FBS team. That's a pretty darn good position to be in.
|5 days 11 hours ago||Michigan's strength?||
An offense playing to Michigan's strengths doesn't mean much at this point. It'd be quicker to discuss Michigan's weaknesses. The only things I see are:
1) Peppers' man coverage is a work in progress
So outside runs attacking the linebackers with combo/TE blocks and the slot receiver running vertical (with some play action) to draw away the secondary might work if the ball carrier can get to whatever edge Peppers isn't before someone on the D-line slashes through for a murderdeathkill. . . assuming your WRs can block. Even if everything goes right it's far from a gimme; it's not like any of the guys listed above are liabilities.
Beyond that, it remains to be seen if a particular position can be overwhelmed by a bona fide playmaker, but if you have average talent you're not going to scheme your way through this defense. Maryland's in for a very tough day.
|5 days 15 hours ago||Ft. Drevno||
If he ever gets tired of football this guy could find a second career as a PR spokesperson. Though I guess that's par for most OCs.
|5 days 15 hours ago||Read Jay's presser||
It means we're scheduling Mars as a neutral site.
|6 days 10 hours ago||Fan "PTSD"||
You don't have to believe in a prediction. It's kind of an exercise in futility anyway. The outcome is out of your control, so why set such expectations in the first place?
If you want to fill that dark empty void of doom in your heart, though, then expect this. The MSU and OSU games will be GAMES. And finally! I won't predict the winner, but Harbaugh's a Michigan alum and a great coach. He understands rivals & rivalries. His woeful '07 squad at Stanford upset Pete Carroll's #1 USC team on the road. He doesn't thrive as an underdog; he refuses to be one.
There won't be any more of Sparty sauntering up and dragging a feeble, emasculated Michigan behind the woodshed. There won't be OSU dictating the pace of the game and imposing their will. Harbaugh can't and won't guarantee a win, but just look at how the team's playing lately. Not every day will be a good day, but on a good day, they can play with anyone. Not so much in terms of talent (our offense still has plenty of weaknesses) or consistency or execution, but they just move differently. I can't count the number of times last Saturday that a BYU player would dodge one tackle only to get turfed a second later. Darboh had a circus catch. Smith, Peppers and the D-line are throwing guys around like Hitting Power 100 in Tecmo Super Bowl.
To me, right now, the record really doesn't mean much. It's just a nice outcome. The real fun is seeing a team. They're playing inspired and it's a joy to watch.
|6 days 11 hours ago||Your words, for the most part||
"I don't think I've ever been less exicted after a win then I was after the Sugar Bowl."
I took that to mean that nothing about the win excited you. That presumably would've included the players. I'm not putting you through a loyalty test or anything, but I thought I read your post correctly.
|6 days 11 hours ago||Good point||
Dantonio's Michigan State always plays their best game against Michigan and Ohio State is always a crapshoot.
But I don't think anyone's getting carried away. Everyone's only saying Michigan State's gone from scary to beatable, and I agree. You make a good point that we haven't seen them play their best yet, but we always assumed we'd get MSU's A-game. That ceiling just suddenly looks a lot lower. In particular, MSU's aggressive defense lives and dies with safety play and they're still playing like they've got NFL talent back there. We already saw top-tier offenses exploit that last season but now even MAC schools can move the ball on them. If they continue to improve, our offense has a chance.
The other thing is, Harbaugh's a Michigan alum. He'll praise our rivals in press conferences but that's part of his gamemanship; he knows damn well how important these games are. He basically made USC a Stanford rival by upsetting them his first year there. Unlike Hoke who's always looked woefully unprepared against State, Harbaugh's going to Sun Tzu the hell out of Dantonio.
|6 days 11 hours ago||Appalachian State||
I'd rate The Horror II less inspiring than M00N. Not that M00N was a good game by any means, but it was kind of entertaining in its own way. The Horror II was just. . . it had no upside whatsoever. Oh, we won. Against a completely different App State team. Yay. I think I was mildly amused that Simms McElfresh was an awesome name for what turned out to be a pretty dang good baller. That's about it.
But as for worst win EVAR, I pick Akron. That game actually pissed me off. Almost every aspect of Michigan's game was shit, to the point that I felt it was an insult to Akron, which arrived ready to play. We almost lost that game. We should've lost that game. In fact winning was arguably a bad thing, because Akron exposed massive problems and if they won, maybe it would've brought down the house of cards faster and I recall actually saying so here (and getting a flood of neg-votes for daring to second-guess a Michigan win). I mean hell, in his defense Hoke was visibly mad and yelled at the players after that game. I don't think anyone was happy.
|6 days 11 hours ago||Eh?||
I guess this kind of football fan is common.
I was ecstatic. I kind of felt bad for VT because they outplayed Michigan in several major ways. This isn't to say Michigan didn't earn the win; they made the plays they needed to and had their share of terrible luck (Molk and RVB both played injured). But it felt like if you did it over ten times, VT takes at least 80%.
Thing is, the players had been through so much. The RichRod years were just terribly handled all around. The defense had been an embarrassment. 2010 ended with three straight blowouts. After the Sugar Bowl the players were in tears, and I could understand why. It wasn't just a great season for them; it was cathartic.
But you know, I guess that doesn't matter to you. Sorry it wasn't what you wanted.