Hockey pet peeve: "when a teammate tips a puck in on you, which is exactly how my first collegiate goal against happened. Thanks, Copper."
- Member for
- 2 years 41 weeks
- View recent blog entries
|14 hours 2 min ago||I'll meet you most of the way||
I'll meet you most of the way but to be honest the more I learned about Lewan, the less I liked him. He got in trouble off the field, was unsportsmanlike on it, and to top it all off I thought his leash was a lot longer than many of the underclassmen's. I'll miss the talent but I'm glad to see him out of a winged helmet because he was NOT fun to watch. I think there's no doubt he was a dick.
However, being a dick has no bearing on chemistry. None. Lewan didn't have chemistry either, but his dickishness had nothing to do with it. I think you're speculating but I agree with your reading; Lewan probably expected the underclassmen to keep up whereas after five years the stuff he was doing was second nature to him. That could've happened even if he was the nicest guy in the world. I think Hoke's "seniors = leaders" approach put Lewan (who mouths too much), Schofield (who talks as much as Silent Bob) and the underclassmen (who needed someone in the middle) in a collectively worse position when being inexperienced was bad enough.
I'm not a hopeful guy, but I will say this -- I think Hoke is making the right changes. I hope they pay off because this is like running a struggling business through a recession. All the right moves won't matter if things don't turn around in time.
|14 hours 55 min ago||Oversight on my part||
I stand corrected, but not invalidated. The off-field word on Schofield is that he's a wallflower. Nice guy, but not exactly the halon to Lewan's gasoline. I could be wrong, but either way there's little doubt the O-line was overwhelmed and rudderless.
|15 hours 21 min ago||I think it's wrong||
There are two camps of sports chemistry; those that think it's a cause and those that think it's an effect. I think both are wrong.
It's neither. It's part and parcel of failure. Just because Michael Jordan was loathed as a person doesn't mean they didn't have chemistry. Chemistry isn't the gooshy feelings being played up in this article; it's communication -- knowing what you gotta do based on what others do. It's responsibility -- giving someone the professional respect to show up to meetings, carry out your assignment and prepare, even if you want to shove his head down a toilet. Tinkers, Evers and Chance supposedly HATED each other but damn if they didn't know how to turn a double play, and it wasn't by not trusting each other and playing heroball. At work I'd rather work with an asshole who pulls his/her weight than a person whose gregariousness is only matched by incompetence.
Consider the O-line woes from both sides. So here's Taylor Lewan, who stayed on an extra year when he could've been making millions in the NFL playing next to guys who know what they're doing. Imagine his frustration as he's reduced to slide protections and everyone's running away from him. To his left, Funchess (whom spent half the season with Borges believing he's a TE) is barely grazing the DE before turning around and running himself out of the play. To his right, the guard is immediately releasing a DT to whiff on a blitzing linebacker for the 20th time. The play is stuffed, the crowd boos, he did nothing wrong but the team is well on their way to another loss. You don't have to be a dick to be dead sick of incompetence, especially when you're so much better that you could've punched your ticket out. He's all like, WTF am I doing here??
Meanwhile the freshmen, bewildered at the various schemes they're being thrown into week to week, are getting humiliated on the field in ways they've never felt in high school. Then this asshole who they didn't know prior to the season and for all they know is thinking about his NFL career comes in and yells at them for mistakes they're already worked up about. They want to enjoy campus life, maybe go drinking for the first time (yeah it's illegal but like that stopped anyone) yet not only are they working harder than they ever have in their lives, they have nothing to show for it but this jackass all up in their faces. Who's taking control? Taylor was probably done with these n00bs by midseason. The freshmen were completely outclassed with nowhere near enough mentors to pick up Borges' 126th scheme. Is this chemistry or not? How about, isn't that the absolute dumbest question you can ask about top-to-bottom dysfunction?
Lack of chemistry doesn't cause the team to fall apart, nor does chemistry fall apart because of failure. If you're disorganized to begin with you're destined for failure, and the finger-pointing is just a formality long after the lack of "chemistry" has played its part. This is not unique to sports; it applies to any situation. People don't like to show dysfunction until after the damage is done. But when a team effort fails, in my experience the dysfunction was always there all along. Wins improve the situation but only on the emotional level. You have to fix the problems to win in the first place, and that starts with getting everyone to communicate. Getting them to like each other really isn't all that important, though it does make it easier.
Hoke came in emphasizing senior leadership, but there were very few seniors last season and most of them were on small units that needed no help (WR, special teams). The O-line had. . . Taylor Lewan. This was a unique challenge to Hoke's established method and kudos for Hoke to making the necessary change. It won't fix the team by itself, but the team's practices should be more productive if the teammates communicate better. If they do, they'll enter the season with a lot more brain-sharing and thus better preparation. If they don't, then they'll be confused again and that will result in losses. And everyone will again wonder which came first.
|22 hours 5 min ago||Going through the list||
JMFR possibly, but he's moving to a new position so as high as I am on the move itself, I need to see how he adjusts.
Funchess, but the guy is still contact-shy and careless, so again we gotta see if he's taken the time to work out his problems. I'm getting worried because he doesn't strike me as a hard worker. He talks the talk but he rides his absurd talent more than he should. The guy is a matchup nightmare but if all he's good for are a few acrobatic catches a game he might lose his starting job by midseason because we got a LOT of talent at wideout.
Peppers is too new. Not even Woodson was Woodson his first year. I'm excited to see him play but honestly there is a chance, however small, this guy will bust.
Jake Butt -- don't forget him! He'll miss at least the first few games. . . but like JMFR last season I doubt he'll be at 100%, so his breakout year is looking more likely to be 2015.
So for the second year in a row, I want to say Devin Gardner. The guy is a goddamn weapon. He had a rough start (ogod his pick-six to a DT still burns my eyes), but I saw him steadily improve until the O-line started really falling apart. It's sad because as much as the interior O-line took the heat, he still took more of the blame than he should've. He did everything asked of him, to a fault -- even if it's "fake hand-off on 2nd and 18". I think DG will adjust to Nussmeier's offense a lot faster than anyone believes.
I can't recall where, but someone crunched the numbers and determined that -- given the conditions, which couldn't have been worse -- DG was not only good, but phenomenal. The guy is a ridiculous talent, but he regressed to bad habits because his protection was not just bad but historically bad. The scary thought is that without DG constantly making something from nothing (which did sometimes result in horrible mistakes), our offense would've been that much worse. What really enrages me is that if the offense doesn't get it together next season, one of the best QB talents might not get a fair chance in the NFL. They owe him, big-time.
|2 days 15 hours ago||Maybe||
I don't think what we saw in spring will be what we roll out in fall. The secondary is still very much in flux so I think big changes are possible in fall camp. I don't necessarily think we'll see MSU-style quarters either, but one major MGoFlaw is the ongoing assumption of "everything is static until proven otherwise". This isn't a foolish approach (if you don't know, past data is a better indicator than blind guessing), but it tends to be doggedly one step behind the developments.
One strength I identify in Mattison is that he adjusts the schemes to fit his players. Once he saw what he had in Kovacs he had that guy running all over the place; his moving JMFR to MLB goes part and parcel with the switch to the over. It doesn't always work and he does have his preferences, but he's not a stubborn guy. So until I know what Peppers is going to do and who the FS is, I'm not going to bet on any coverage. If he goes with the quarters it won't be because MSU is doing it; it'll be because he looked at his DBs and figured that's the best way to use them.
That said, if I was a betting man I agree -- we're more likely to use multiple coverages than a single base set, quarters or cover-1 or whatever.
|2 days 15 hours ago||We'll need stats||
. . . because I'm inclined to cite the UM-MSU game, which screams outlier. They blitzed the A-gaps the past three years because if they didn't have the snap count figured out in a trash tornado, they were targeting the O-line's biggest weakness (the interior) and all three years it looked like our OC was shocked & awed by the A-gap blitz. Short answer? Against Michigan, they blitzed the A-gaps because it WORKED ALL GODDAMN DAY.
Against teams that can actually pick up the linebackers, that's not an every-down trick. Their defense is much more flexible than that and you don't necessarily measure a D-line's effectiveness in sacks. Their D-line's job is to keep the ball behind the LoS and flush it out, which tends to result in a lot of throwaways and 2-yard runs to the outside. But I'd have to UFR every MSU game from the past 3 years to prove my point and that's way more green & white than I'd care to look at without getting paid a mint. I'd rather be wrong on the Internet.
|2 days 15 hours ago||Well, yeah. . .||
Fairly or not Mattison is known for his blitzes so while I'm sure that'll happen, my main concern is -- like the last two seasons -- if we generate pass rush ONLY on blitzes, we'll be walking that fine line between effective and effectively telling the offense how to beat us. We got burned a lot last season on 10-yard passes over the MLB's head.
That said, I really do want to see what JMFR can do on an A-gap blitz. I want to see what he can do when the center releases the DT.
|2 days 16 hours ago||FWIW||
I don't think it'll be an exact copy; that would be silly and I give the coaches more respect than that. However, the differences will probably be more subtle and based on maximizing player strengths. For example, depending on how Peppers pans out -- if, say for the sake of argument he becomes Woodson 2.0 -- he won't necessarily need to play press coverage if he can blanket the deep threat on every down, which in turn makes the safety's job much easier. Little stuff like that.
That said, we have a good crop of corners, moving JMFR to the inside and going to a 4-3 over, so it's probably going to look a LOT like MSU's defense. As BiSB says, this is anything but a dumb idea. Just keep in mind we are still a Greg Mattison defense, so I don't expect him to hide his fingerprints. You'll probably see some individual wrinkles working out of the 4-3 over base.
|2 days 17 hours ago||Not quite to MSU but||
Yeah, at the most basic level, the idea is that if your CBs can handle the downfield threat without safety help, the safeties can stop the run. That's pretty much the 1997 Michigan defense except we did it with an All-Pro NFL CB just doing his thing, whereas they're taking not-quite-as-good talent (I mean FFS who is) and coaching them dirty. Your DL still needs to hit home because this sort of aggressive defense only works for so long, but I have to respect Narduzzi's deep understanding of the margins he's playing with.
A huge frustration with last year's UM-MSU game was that Gardner either got hit or had to bail just as a receiver was breaking open. That constant "almost" was deceptive; it was if anything a sure sign the defense was working as planned. They don't need to cover the receivers all day. Only for the first few seconds because that's all the front seven are gonna give the QB. I hate how the CBs are coached but I have to marvel at how all the pieces fit and work together.
To get back to point though, Michigan can't deploy this defense just by rolling out stud CBs. We need to work our our issues with the DL, which generated very little organic pass rush last season and sending JMFR on an A-gap blitz isn't going to fix that by itself.
|2 days 17 hours ago||True dat||
Funchess isn't a TE but MSU's corners basically commit PI every play -- they're coached to do that, so I don't take the players' effort personally, but that's what they do.
The way to defeat it is to not just roll out a real-life Tacopants but if you've got 30+ pounds on the CB as well and he presses you, learn some damn blocking techniques and pancake the guy.
|1 week 14 hours ago||I think he misspoke||
Or at least I'll try to defend what I think was a misstatement.
"OL coaching under Hoke" is just fine. Both tackles got drafted and the gooey center of the O-line last year was also one of the youngest, if not the youngest, middle three starters in FBS history at a position where age is one of the most reliable indicators of consistency. Point is, evidence that individual player progress was stunted under Hoke/Funk is lacking.
The more pertinent point I think being made here is that Borges had his head so far up his ass that he was misusing the talent that he had. I get that he's not a spread coach but if you're being paid $700k to do ANY job (not just OC, I don't care what it is) then "I don't know" and "I don't like to" are NEVER acceptable excuses. And he tried, I'm sure he did, but the guy just completely seemed to lack the flexibility to effectively use the parts he had. Again, I won't question the effort, but it's been analyzed to death how talented players were neutralized by the scheme itself and Borges was as often as not bailed out by his players. I remember more than one highlight reel where Toussaint, Smith or Denard picked his way through traffic because even though nobody missed a block, Borges so steadfastly refused to option a defender and made Omameh pull that the play was all but planned to have the ball carrier somehow dodge three free hitters en route to a 5-yard gain. That made guys like Omameh look much worse than they actually were.
|1 week 15 hours ago||Actually||
I thought that was Michigan's move in anticipation of the NCAA's (probably) impending humiliating lawsuit loss and can't use JMFR's name to market materials without making arrangements that can't be finalized while the case is in court. They probably all have aliases now. . . Dave Gardner, Frankie Canteen, Taco Charl -- oh wait that's not his real name, but you get the idea. Anyway, I'm sure it was planned.
You may laugh at my joke now.
|2 weeks 17 hours ago||power/weight was ideal||
It was certainly an advantage in the salmon ladder which seems explicitly designed to wear out the heavies. HOWEVA, whatever advantage she had by being 100 lbs. was more than offset by her lack of length. Whereas some guys could get away with just reaching, she had to constantly swing her body around and in some cases leap from obstacle to obstacle because her arms were too short. Not having much stride & arm length also certainly didn't help scaling the wall. So while the guys certainly didn't have it easy constantly hauling 130-170 lbs., she was THROWING her 100-pound body around like a monkey not because it was easy, but because she had to.
Overall, any way you cut it the course is incredibly difficult so I think a serious argument about who has it "easy" is just haters looking to quibble (which is why I chose to share here as opposed to most sports sites where the derp is already setting datacenters on fire).
|2 weeks 18 hours ago||Definitely intentional||
You can see she didn't even try to reach, and tensed up her body just before the leap. I think that was one moment where her gymnastics experience genuinely worked to her advantage; gauging distance and then leaping to grab a pole is something she's been doing for years. It was incredible to watch but I think it was one of the easier stunts for her. She took much longer and showed more emotion scaling the 15' wall; I think what's kind of a gimme for the guys was one of her toughest challenges.
What struck me more was the salmon ladder; not only did she conquer it like a champ, her bucking kick conserved a lot of upper body strength for the later trials. All the guys do that as well -- you can't generate enough explosion just from your arms -- but her technique was the best I've seen. I could even show that to linemen as a lesson on transferring back/core/leg power to the arms. You aren't going to blow back a 300-pound man off the line just by standing up and punching them in the chest; you gotta learn to drive with your legs and THAT's how you do it.
|2 weeks 1 day ago||Of course||
If MLB Jake Ryan is even 90% JMFR, that's better than SLB 100% JMFR who's simply optioned off by sending out a slot and then running the other way. Bear in mind JMFR isn't injured or has something wrong with him in particular. Even if he doesn't play the middle as well as he holds the edge, putting him there makes the opposing OC's job more difficult. And, I reiterate that the change to the over is designed to allow him to play more aggressively than the conventional MLB in the 4-3 under.
That said, I agree that the linebackers have some question marks. The secondary has an even bigger question mark (who's FS?), but their ceiling this year is absurdly high. A lot of stuff has to go right, but they just might give MSU a run for their money.
|2 weeks 2 days ago||Wow||
I know Nebraska's a hick state, but you'd think some of them lawmakers would've gotten their own place by now.
/ I keed, I keed
|3 weeks 1 day ago||not bloody likely||
MSU loses more starters but their system is more mature overall.
Mattison's defense was decent despite being ridiculously young, and as a result he played a "bend don't break" defense that sometimes, unfortunately, broke. It was inconsistent, but sheesh, look at the 2013 roster and marvel and the senior:freshman ratio. I'm amazed that unit kept us in games at all.
Mattison is geeked this year because his starters all come in with significant playing time. While MSU operates with the luxury of having a loaded system where some players might not see significant playing time until their 3rd year due to depth, Mattison's players were tested with trial by fire so they're due for a HUGE leap.
I still give MSU the edge because they just have too much going for them -- the faces will change but their coaches have had that D running on all cylinders for several years now, but you shouldn't have to compare us to MSU to be excited about this group.
|3 weeks 1 day ago||Realistically||
A lot of these sound like wishful thinking. We want the OL and DL to do well because they sucked last year. That's understandable, but neither strike me as realistic possibilities for a breakout year. The offense hasn't had enough time (I expect them to go from horrible to tolerable and that's still a rather lofty expectation) and the DL has consistently failed to live up to its hype. I get the love for the linebackers but "breakout" seems disingenuous to me because they were solid last year and project to be solid this year. I'll be happy with them but not easy to surprise. Peppers is a fan favorite but he's yet to play a down, and in fact I think he won't be turning heads for no other reason than he won't be in a position to -- they won't put him on an island until they're sure he's ready.
So I really think the "breakout" will be from the rest of the cornerbacks. They showed off plenty of promise last season along with inexperience. Mattison had them play soft coverages against anyone with Dangerman factor and they were maddeningly inconsistent at times, getting up in a receiver's grill and then losing the jump ball battle. They were also ridiculously young as a unit. This year I expect Mattison to take off the leashes, and now we gon' see what these dogs can do. And we got a lot of guys who can play.
As Space Coyote said, aggressive defenses aren't good; good defenses are aggressive. Last year the secondary was passive because Mattison knew they weren't ready. This year I think we won't recognize them.
|5 weeks 3 days ago||Sour grapes||
Eh, we don't want a Little OT anyway.
. . . this is one of those ironic last names, isn't it?
|6 weeks 21 hours ago||HAIL THE MESSIAH||
|6 weeks 1 day ago||Brian Brian||
even if Isaac was eligible this year there probably isn't going to be an enormous amount of difference between his production and that of Smith and Green, because all of them are in the same vein: they're north-south guys who can break some tackles if you get them a head of steam. A guy like Hart who could go WOOP in the backfield and turn a TFL into four yards would be very welcome at the moment. Isaac, for all his hype, is not that.
What Isaac does provide is another bullet in the chamber. Recruits are lottery tickets and Michigan now has three excellent ones from the 2013 recruiting class. If someone gets injured, they're probably fine; if someone turns out to be not particularly good, they're probably fine.
Recruiting impact is this: where Michigan was looking at taking two backs in 2015 now they're definitely going to be fine with one. I don't think Isaac's presence is going to knock Michigan out of the box for anyone they're pursuing at the moment, as tailback is a place with a lot of platooning and it's not like a Damien Harris or Michael Weber is going to end up at a place without highly touted guys vying for carries next to him.
|6 weeks 1 day ago||damn it's cold||
Ace: Don't say that word.
|7 weeks 2 days ago||WRITING THIS WAS A CRIME||
. . . it was also your punishment.
|7 weeks 3 days ago||That's gonna be great|
|7 weeks 3 days ago||Beg to differ||
"Jones is a totally weird player, his best quality may be his unpredictability, which is a weird quality to have as a defensive mid."
That's actually what I'd look for in a defensive mid, personally. Conventionally I expect the back four to hold their ground, in which case you can use a defensive mid to create havoc. If you use your defenders conservatively, your midfielders can focus on more "attacking" defense, and some of them are very good at it. If the midfielders are confident at taking risks because of a disciplined defense you can create more opportunities on the counterattack, which is especially valuable if you're not a possession team.
I know some teams these days like to attack with their defenders but while it improves the chances of scoring I don't see how it improves the chances of winning. If you don't have a defensive mid covering you're badly exposed and if you hedge you don't have a numbers advantage so while I've seen it work on occasion it just seems a bad use of personnel for a little extra offensive unpredictability. I don't think there's anything you can do with your front six that's greatly improved by mixing them with your back four.
|7 weeks 3 days ago||Kinda sorta kinda||
OSU has the talent that should (and recently did) annually contend for the national title, but I don't think they "waste" it. More like they draw in the talent by any means necessary and live with the mixed results. It usually works but consistency is an issue; eventually some freelancer who jumped the depth chart due to raw talent is going to get exposed.
I'm not nearly as familiar with WC but Germany more strikes me as overrated. I mean they're legit, but they're too often considered a "top 3" team (for want of a better term) when they're more like a "top 10" -- OK one of the best in the world and that's nothing to sneeze at, but within the realm of upper-echelon parity. I.e., they're respected but not feared. At least, they never seem to blow me away with talent that has me wondering, "How do you stop these guys?" Well, if they're consistently getting stopped and there's nothing odd going on, more likely the preseason poll was inaccurate.
|9 weeks 2 days ago||Ew||
You let Meyer near your ding-dang?
|10 weeks 1 day ago||I don't think it was an||
I don't think it was an oversight so much as where do you put him on a one-dimensional scale for pocket passers? As a pocket passer he was terrible; he made horrible reads, threw too many jump balls and didn't know when to scramble. But he was a perfect fit for a spread option because the extra guys you needed in the box to contain him meant someone was often open by a good five yards. As a player he was indispensable, but he's nowhere near Malzone in playing style so it just makes sense to leave him off.
|10 weeks 2 days ago||Oh, great||
Northwestern's Joneses were pretty productive, and could be more so in a Trevor Siemian offense.
Michigan has fallen so far we're now struggling to keep up with the Joneses.
|10 weeks 2 days ago||The way I see it||
If you're loaded at DT you can look at other positions first, but you never, NEVER say no to a quality DT within reach. There are only so many guys in the world who can move well at 300+ pounds and many of them are frequently injured. So in a sense you're never really stocked.