this may be of some local interest
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|5 hours 21 min ago||Also, trust||
Third-down backs are often not guys with high upside so much as high floor. You don't need to have "flashes" of elite blocking ability, ankle-breaking routes or playmaking quickness. But you damn well better be able to consistently pick up the dangerman, catch the damng ball when it's thrown and make the right decision when the blocking goes awry. A third-down back doesn't move the chains with raw talent but with extremely steady play.
IIRC before RB became a complete commodity position, a fair number of marginal talents made decent NFL careers out of the third-down back by just practicing the hell out of everything until they earned coaches' trust because the superstar's pass blocking or hands or whatever couldn't be trusted on 3rd and medium. Smith definitely has that trust; that he's actually dang good at those things is a bonus.
|5 hours 48 min ago||% of plays will be about even||
I wouldn't even be surprised if we look run-heavy on paper, because that's what we'll do when we put away teams like Hawaii or UCF.
But against Penn State or Wisconsin, I think we'll run to keep defenses honest, but regardless of percentage of plays, the yards and points will be won with the passing game. It's less about % of plays and more about who's taking pressure off whom. Harbaugh prefers the run game to get results on its own and then use playmaking TEs as haymakers, but to start it'll be the receivers spreading the field to take pressure off the O-line.
TBH, we more or less did that last season. Against Oregon State we had 29 pass plays to 45 rushes because that game was over in the 2nd quarter. Against Indiana, Rudock threw 46 times while the tailbacks had 21 carries combined.
|6 hours 33 sec ago||Speight||
Yep, I think that MSU will be the game where the offense's true identity will be decided for the rest of the season. Will the run game progress enough to stand on its own, or will Harbaugh go back to leaning on Chesson and Butt? We'll run up the gut against Hawaii but even if we finish that game with 50 tailback rushes I won't back off from my "pass first" prediction in the sense that that's where Harbaugh thinks the points will come from when the going gets tough. PSU and Wisconsin will tell us more.
As for Speight, since his meh debut he's had the bowl practices, Spring ball and now Fall camp, all under Harbaugh's wing. If he hasn't improved significantly then either Harbaugh's record as a QB coach up to now has been a complete fluke, or there really isn't a QB controversy at all and we should be talking about O'Korn. They looked comparable during the Spring game though.
|11 hours 52 min ago||Guilty as charged||
When I'm doing "serious" writing, after I clean up typos and errors and such, I'll often have to make a pass to remove overuse of emphasis. I was running out of time though, so a more prototypical version got published. A little embarrassing but MGoBlog is more substance > style anyway.
|12 hours 20 min ago||We tried||
We showed that look in the Utah game and -- to their credit -- quickly went to screens and such when they blowed it up while riding the nuclear-powered icebreaker. But yeah, as others have noted I kind of buried the lede; for at least the last third of the season and possibly before we were a pass-first offense. In fact that's a lot of what I'm basing this prediction on. As an aside, I could be wrong but I thought we were using the FBs extensively before Rudock was shredding pass defenses.
But I dispute that we're going back to the run, at least initially. That's kind of the default mindset but I don't think it's a given this O-line will improve significantly and we'll miss Kerridge/Houma. The pass blocking won't improve much because it's good. The run game may improve, sure, but it could improve quite a bit and still not be as good as what we have in the passing game. I don't know how Speight's ceiling compares to Rudock's, but Rudock took a while because he didn't arrive until fall camp and it showed as he struggled with timing and communication. Speight's floor won't have those problems, at least. Harbaugh will eventually realize his dream of a downhill running team, but he's not going to use high draft picks as decoys when they're legit scoring threats.
|13 hours 45 min ago||How it really went down||
HARBAUGH: You see a well groomed garden. In the middle, on a small hill, you see a forklift.
|13 hours 45 min ago||Nah||
Music. Glasgow on guitar, Wormley on the drums, and Gary's that smooth voice that has the ladies falling like dominoes.
/ needs more cowbell
|14 hours 10 min ago||He's bolded for that reason||
I didn't forget his play as a TE last season; he's a pass game asset. That's one more blocky/CATCHY type when we're already loaded with blocky/CATCHY types. He might play closer to the line than a pure FB this season, but in what context I won't try to predict.
|14 hours 24 min ago||I doubt the coaches are concerned||
Don't they actually encourage their recruits to go through the recruiting process even after they've committed? They want players to be comfortable with their decisions, and don't act in the least bit worried if kids take officials elsewhere.
'18 commits have a lot of 'crootin left. If Harbaugh wants 'em then this is far from over. If they've been given the cold shoulder then the earlier the better. I don't really see anyone winding up worse off in the long run as far as '18 recruiting goes.
|15 hours 2 min ago||Yeah||
When Smith got dinged up around the time Rudock came on, the run and pass games underwent role reversal. I think we also saw the heaviest used of FB dive in that transition phase because -- for a couple weeks anyway -- Smith was already hurt when Rudock wasn't quite in his final form. It did throw off defenses, but in hindsight the FBs were in the best shape. Harbaugh constantly adjusted the offense to fit the personnel, even as the personnel changed.
Poor Florida; whatever they were going through, they got the evolved neo-Rudock and cyber-Chesson, a healthy Smith and the FBs' swan songs all at once.
|15 hours 35 min ago||Unpredictability + one-back||
We can count on unpredictability but showing a one-back set won't throw off defenses for very long. More like, what the hell are you going to do? Chesson and Butt are first-round draft picks, Perry is Dileo 2.0, Darboh is Avant 2.0, Peppers is a playmaker, Smith is an excellent 3rd down back, Isaac and Johnson can also catch, Ways is getting hype and now there's even noise of Lewis joining in the offense. When it comes to making the defense go "I quit", the ceiling isn't running Power O with this squad, at least based on what we know today.
Consider if we ran four-verts with some combination of Chesson, Darboh, Butt, Lewis and Peppers with O'Korn running zone read. That doesn't look very Stanfordized but Harbaugh has gone four-wide at times with Luck and we got the peeps to run that today.
|15 hours 51 min ago||Well, he IS a jackhammer||
I like that way of putting it.
Houma/Kerridge > Poggi/Hill but not to the extent that we can't do the same things as last year. This is more about how much better the passing game looks today compared to the start of last season when he couldn't rely on Perry running a route properly or Chesson adjusting to a deep ball. Those issues are long fixed. If we need to convert a 3rd down, it's can Kalis or Poggi target the right guy or can Chesson be covered at all. Which one sounds more like a sure thing?
Also, Smith wasn't moved to FB in hindsight because there was no need. Our FBs were more than up to the task last season. And hey, Poggi and Hill might be too. But in the event they're not, an Isaac/Smith backfield looks compelling.
This could also be a theory as to why Speight is ahead; if Harbaugh's channeling his inner WCO based on the personnel, Speight is the better fit at least in the short term.
|4 days 6 hours ago||Damage is done||
Michigan State is going to get crushed unless something truly shocking happens, and OSU is basically a new team. These programs were very upperclassman-heavy last season and it stung that they got a super-fluke play and a DJ Derpin' beatdown as their send-offs to the NFL.
My point is that my time for disappointment is past. Already done that. MSU and OSU graduated classes that will brag about how they dominated UM for the rest of their goddamn fucking lives. Can't do anything about it now though. I gotta get over that disappointment.
But these newbies coming in, we'll get our chances to tan their hides. It'll be disappointing if we lose because A) losing and B) rivals, but I wouldn't compare it to the Horror.
|4 days 18 hours ago||Working on a modern tabletop RPG||
Doing research on various weapons, from bolas to vehicle weapons. One of the biggest challenges to making an enjoyable system is to combine as many exciting elements you might find in fact or fiction with game balance and survivability. So I'm not quite sure what to do about this:
That's a lot of bang. Good luck, me.
/ I think I'm gonna have to go with "some things will just kill you"
|4 days 20 hours ago||Good idea on paper but||
The hook-and-ladder isn't run enough for defenses to expect it, which is why the pitch can be clean. But if you run it with any sort of regularity, defenses might play the pitch. That does open up the screen. . . but now you're asking for a fumble. At least with the triple option the pitch is an option, and with a (modern) fly sweep, if the guy drops it it's an incomplete pass. I suppose the pitch is an option as far as the DE is concerned, but it's done while turned away from the LoS -- a fast SAM or safety can wreak havoc on it. Again, that vacates another part of the field, but I doubt most OCs will risk a fumble-TD for an extra 15 yards.
|5 days 6 hours ago||Don't conflate recruiting with what we want||
From a recruiting standpoint we don't have to beat OSU; we just can't get walked all over like last season. The 2013 loss to OSU didn't have any recruiting impact. Losing by 1 point to a top-5 team doesn't damage your cred. It was only when 2014 was such a very obviously bad team that recruits left in droves. I mean, did anyone rush to commit after we won the Northwestern sludgefest? Some HS football recruits can be pretty dumb because they're high schoolers FFS, but they do know football, and the difference between a competitive loss to a powerhouse and being slightly less worse than an awful team.
Recruiting isn't riding on beating OSU. We need to beat OSU because everyone's tired of losing.
|5 days 6 hours ago||Hatter||
Enough already. You shouldn't be making jokes about what we can't do until we beat OSU and MSU, until we beat OSU and MSU.
/ do as I say, not as I do
|5 days 13 hours ago||Don't fall down from your high horse, Ohio State||
You lost most of your starters to the NFL but you'd better still be standing on top of your mountain come November, because I want our boys to climb up from where they've been to meet you there.
|5 days 13 hours ago||He's in college||
I'm mildly surprised at how rarely f-bombs wind up in presser transcripts.
I'm more surprised at, wow, he actually put some real thought into his tattoo. With a lot of tattoos you can pretty much see how thought was NOT involved in the process.
|5 days 14 hours ago||Oh Eric||
After everyone else worked so hard to convince us Michigan's going to roll out a vanilla four-man rush? Tsk, tsk. Loose lips sink ships, Eric. Back in the submarine with you.
|5 days 15 hours ago||[email protected] was clever||
Crossing the pond is just something you gotta do as a Rainbow Warrior. But if you negotiate a "neutral site" on close to the opposite side of the planet as your opponent. . . they've created an advantage for themselves against Cal. Both will be sluggish, but at least Hawaii's used to it, and will have less of a time zone difference. They could take that one.
But yeah, I'm NOT looking forward to the opener. I love footbaw but this won't be footbaw. It'll be more like watching an autopsy performed on someone who's still alive. We could see walk-ons Not Named Glasgow in the 2nd quarter.
|6 days 6 hours ago||Definitely keeping their cards close to the vest||
Brown's defenses aren't going to consistently rush four; that's preposterous. Everyone's studied BC's tape; they don't call him "Dr. Blitz" because his linebackers are known for zone drops FFS. But they're gonna be coy about it to the end.
DCs are usually more open about scheme than OCs, Mattison certainly was, but this feels different. They're going all Ft. Schembechler on the defense as if Brown's an OC.
It leaves us in suspense, but I like it. Heck, I wouldn't mind if the defense played vanilla until 10/29. But then I want to see Doc Brown unleash his inner Sun Tzu.
|6 days 7 hours ago||Think of it this way||
Aggressive is something defenses do when they're cornered, I think that's what you're thinking of. If I understood that correctly, there's some truth to that concept -- if you can't win up front, one way to mitigate the damage as opposed to giving up 8-9 yards a run is to blitz like crazy. You'll get burned more but at least have a shot at a few lucky TFLs as opposed to getting ground down by a juggernaut, right? That Brown coached his defense to attack because he didn't have the talent to patiently smother everything like Durkin did.
That doesn't apply to BC. Brown's defenses are aggressive in demeanor but not reckless, and he recruits talent that can execute his schemes. One reason why his defenses don't improve much his first year, historically, is because the players he inherits at places like UMass or BC can't do what he envisions. 3 years into a program though, his corners are coached well enough to cover 1-on-1, but they also have the speed to (almost) hang with the ACC's best. His DLs are stout against the run. His DEs are disciplined and quick, and his safeties are excellent open-field tacklers. You could beat it, but I watched the FSU and Clemson games and BC's defense just did not make anything easy (at least until they got worn down). It's an attacking defense but if "aggressive" implies "high risk" to you then I'd rather not use the word to describe Brown's schemes.
|6 days 7 hours ago||Hey Ace||
Talk about the roundtable with Greg Mattison, and what MGoBlog brings to the table.
|6 days 13 hours ago||Wouldn't count on it||
D-linemen don't necessarily attack the gap they're in front of; that just makes the O-line's job easy. They're going to attack from an angle or otherwise try to confuse the blocking. That A-gap is someone's responsibility, so I'd expect a slant or a stunt or one of the safeties crashing down on the snap.
Of course it could also be a bluff, but it's not like Doc Brown to leave a gap completely undefended from a lack of oversight.
|6 days 13 hours ago||hey now||
Isn't that "pllayground"?
|6 days 19 hours ago||And because I can never seem to get clips to work|
|1 week 11 hours ago||Watergate||
Well, let's even wildly assume for the moment that these suspensions are related to some kind of buried scandal that is on par with Watergate. Well, it's still bullshit because they didn't uncover that scandal at a White House Press Conference.
Asking is fine, but pestering the person you suspect is Ground Zero for a major scandal isn't investigative journalism. It's just show. If anything you just tipped your hand. If you think Harbaugh is harboring rapists and murderers and terrorists in his camp, then GTFO of camp and hit the damn beat.
|1 week 12 hours ago||Yes, their job is to *get info*||
Don't conflate "get info" with "press for answers", and don't conflate wasting people's time with diligence. The upside here for "teh story" is that Harbaugh misspeaks, which is the sort of thing reporters have wet dreams over, except the information you get is seldom useful either way.
If Harbaugh's hiding a scandal then bust him for it, but if that's the suspicion then this is precisely the way to NOT go about it. The "keep pecking at a single thing until he snaps" gimmick is a favorite weapon among celebrity gossip rags. It's not investigative journalism, so don't pretend it is. There are more productive ways of getting info, but they involve more work than showing up and taking over a camp presser for your expose.
No, this was the "doing their job" equivalent of power cycling the modem a third time because real troubleshooting is hard and stuff. Again, first two questions were OK. It was good to ask. But IF you think he's hiding something then the rest is just a farce, but reporters insist on continuing the farce anyway. That's not "doing their job"; that's just lazy spectacle. It's just a tired dog-and-pony routine involving minimal effort to look studious without actually doing anything.
|1 week 13 hours ago||Asking was fine||
And Harbaugh answered the question.
They asked a follow-up question, which was also fine, and he said "we'll handle it internally". That's codespeak but hardly subtle -- the line is right here. Do not cross it. It's hardly his words. That's universal coachspeak for we're done here.
They crossed it anyway. Press conference over. Hope the jackass who asked the last question feels good about it, because otherwise it was a complete waste of time.