national champs baby
|16 weeks 4 days ago||Great insightful point||
A lot of interesting comments - some of which are influenced by a variety of other agendas.
Your point is exactly right. Bo and Woody were from a time when winning the kid's parents over was the most important thing and playing later on in the NFL was just an after thought. Charming mom and dad and assuring that their kid would get a good education and that someone would keep an eye on their lad were the big selling point. The coach as the ultimate loco parentis father figure was a major selling point back then.
Both of them (it could be confidently stated) would have pulled an offer from any kid who did a hat press conference thing. Neither really liked recruiting and would usually close the deal after a lot of leg work by their assistants. High school coaches I believe had longer tenures back then - so Bo and Woody could actually know the coaches of the top 25 big high school in Michigan and Ohio.
Today, some of the parents are the ones egging the kids on to think about which schools could help them get ready for the NFL. The role of non-traditional advisors also is huge now. There is now Twitter, Facebook, the Big Ten Network and the UM has its own video presence via the web and there are places like MGoBlog.com.
Different times, different styles and different methods!
|16 weeks 4 days ago||great diary - great data||
Thanks for doing this - helps put a rational perspective on things. Unlike some sports like basketball where getting one player can elevate a team from an also-ran to a Elite Eight or even Final Four contender, one highly rated high school RB can only do so much - too many other variables.
This diary (which I hope you'll keep up and possible expand to other positions like OL, DL, DB, QB) demonstrates a few points:
1. One player can only do so much - note that many of the RBs who went on to success in the NFL didn't rack up 3-4 1000 yd/seasons in college. This can be due to many reasons (playing behind a good starter, bad OL, etc) but it also suggests most were probably not starting as freshmen and running for 4 years (unlike Mike Hart).
2. Michigan did try to recruit and did land some highly rated RBs - but for whatever reason, it just didn't pan out. So welcome Derrick Green, but I hope Brady Hoke and Fred Jackson also picked up a few 3 and 4 star backs.
3. ? Any way to detect synergy between OL and RB recruitment? That is, does landing 4 and 5 star RBs help land 4 and 5 star OL and vice versa? Or are they independent variables - neither OL and RB really seem affected by signings in the other group? I realize that this may be tricky to assess?
|18 weeks 1 day ago||"rogue chemists"? No, but think for a moment about implications||
Yes, I think if the so called governing bodies really want to be serious about PEDs they need to investigate how they were synthesized, tested and distributed. Catching Victor Conte and Marion Jones is like catching the corner pusher and drug crack addict - they aren't the masterminds or the cartel lab people.
I don't mean there is some secret group of "rogue chemists" on campus - but I do mean that you need to be somewhere there are recent grads who work in the biochemical and pharmaceutical industry nearby. Just like if you need to workup a gizmo which which is digital and can be computer driven, then the Silicon Valley is the place to be or if you want to do a civil aviation startup perhaps Wichita, Kansas would be a better place than downtown Ann Arbor due to the number of aeronautical engineers, project managers and other people who have civil aviation experience.
Reverse engineer the question:
If one were to try to develop a PED which could evade detection how would you do it?
1. You'd need someone familiar with the field - who knew the existing literature or what there may be. They can help guide the research and avoid deadends. Steroid synthesis and an understanding of the new field where peptide hormones which can stimulate steroid receptors or have steroid like effects is a requirement (this is why some plastic by products have steroid effects even though they don't have the classic steroid structure)
2. You'd need someone who knew how PED screening is done - what assays are used, what type of tests - mass spect? chromatography?
3. You'd need to have someone who has done drug clinical trials - after you have the prototype test drugs, you have to run some test trials to figure out the optimal dosing schedule - to know how close you could administer it to a potential test and how fast it clears the system.
4. You'd need a group of biochemists - some to fabricate the drug, some to work on how to optimize the drug for delivery (oral would be best, nasal absorption, topical ointment and finally injection), others to help figure out to best mask it - adding or subtracting a non-critical sidegroup or perhaps the form - could it be crystallized or aerosolized? Practical experience is important.
5. Finally, you'd need someone to act as a general project manager - to find a building to act as a lab, create a dummy front to buy supplies and materials from the science supply shops, pay the electricity bills, and keep accounts to buy the major equipment to outfit the lab, some testing could be farmed out innocously to commercial testing labs without tipping your hand, but other things have to be done "in house" - this person doesn't have to be a scientist but has to have some practical experience in running major research science projects. This person reports to whomever is backing the effort financially.
6. This project will take years to perfect with no immediate payoff - unlike a met-amphetamine lab. The backers have to have deep pockets.
So where would you look to find people who might have these skills and be underemployed?
|18 weeks 3 days ago||A sad moment but necessary.||
Historically cycling has always been suspect. BEFORE there were synthetic steroids available (pre-World War II) it was openly known that the top cyclists would fortify themselves with alcohol, cocaine, pep pills and strychnine - which was believed to help "loosen" up the muscles. So is it really that shocking ("Gambling at Rick's?!, I"m shocked - Inspector Renault, Casablanca) that once steroids, blood doping, etc. became available that it wouldn't be used?
In strength and endurance sports, the advantages are obvious - but even in so-called "skill" sports, these agents allow quicker recovery and more intense training.
Most people don't benefit - so most of the high school kids shooting up or loading up, are just wasting their money, time and threatening their future health for nothing.
But for a few top percent, the small but significant improvement can be the difference between 10th place and 1st place, gold and never-was, scholarship and high-school flame out.
Because of the secrecy we don't even know how PEDs could be used medically. When the whole BALCO affair developed the real push should have been aimed not just at Barry Bonds and Victor Conte, but at their biochemists - that is why BALCO was based there - it wasn't because Bonds was in SF. It is because UCSF, Berkley (U of California) and Stanford are around the corner. It takes more than a passing knowledge of biochemistry to design drugs and know the testing protocols to create structures to evade these tests. Notice that no one was charged in that regard? Where were the labs? Who was doing their synthesis? Who was running the initial trials to figure out the dosing programs and how to evade the testing? Designer PEDs are not off the shelf products - it isn't a met-amphetamine cooking receipe that someone cooks up on a cooktop in a trailer. If the sports governing bodies are serious about PEDs, they have to start here and understand how they are being created and how they are circumventing the testing process.
|18 weeks 3 days ago||Why he is great||
I watched the Pats Texans game with some people who aren't die hard FB fans and they actually had an insight. One of noted that Brady made the whole process look very easy. Just throw to the guy who is uncovered, or just arc the ball over the defender and into the waiting hands of the running receiver. It seemed at the time like one of those observations that non-fans make but later I realized that actually shows how great Brady really is as a QB and passer - he makes the game look that simple. Don't know if he is the greatest so far but clearly he is among the greatest.
|18 weeks 5 days ago||I hope this is one of those turning point games||
The NFL is often described as a copy-cat league. Once one team does something successfully the other teams emulate. The 1940 NFL championship game won by the Chicago Bears 73-0 over the Washington Redskins is usually cited as the game which established the T-formation as the dominant offensive formation for decades - replacing the single wing, A formation and other variants.
Could the success of Kapernick, RG3 and Wilson make teams reassess spread attack/pistol attack QBs? Granted these guys could really throw the ball but Kapernick really did major damage scrambling and on the called runs. The pistol dive option which went 50+ yards for the TD put to rest the notion that the spread can't work in the NFL.
|19 weeks 6 days ago||Agreed - not just position but also the team.||
He would be a great RB on a team with a mature offense. New England is an intriguing possibility - Danny Woodhead who set all sorts of D2 records is an example - only DR is a much better runner. He is strong enough and powerful enough to run 10-12 x per game if needed, but really his real strength is popping him free on quick passes which can become lots of yards after catch. The other teams you mentioned may not be as good a fit. Denver needs to win now or tomorrow - can't plan on Peyton Manning beyond a few years, so if they need a runner, they'll need a RB more like Alfred Morris - who can really pound it between the tackles.
We just have to hope he gets drafted by a team that has an interest in getting him on the field. The NFL is such a copy cat and conservative league, it is hard to be the first one to break ranks.
He'll get drafted, but he'll have to be the trailblazer - his breakaway speed and elusiveness are clear, but how to best use his talents has so far not been clear - look at Pat White and how he ended up. If he becomes a star, it will make it easier for future players of the same style.
An earlier poster also asked if anyone has ever swapped from offense to defense and been any good. The only name I could recall was Nolan Cromwell who was a running QB out of Kansas who later had a good career as a DB for the old LA Rams.
|20 weeks 1 day ago||Another implication||
The large victory margin in the early Bo era must also take into account that the conference schedule was a true round robin and they were fewer non-conference cupcakes. That shows the tremendous superiority of the Wolverines over most of the Big Ten (except OSU) during that time.
|20 weeks 1 day ago||Exactly!||
The South Carolina game had so many what ifs - one wrap up tackle, one less fumble, one etc...Yes, the SEC teams have won many games this year, but the notion that any conference is dominating another is pretty untenable.
Even if Louisville completely gags this game away, any notion of "dominance" should be put aside.
"This is why they play the game...:
|20 weeks 1 day ago||Technology is here but is the business infrastructure||
From the postings, it seems that the technology is here or wil be very soon but there is doubt about whether the business infrastructure is there to take advantage of it. Especially given the basic conservatism of the major content providers (pro and college football) - what incentive is there to move away from a model which is in their eyes predictable and so far incredibly lucrative? For the NCAA and college football conferences, there is also the impending true football playoffs for Div. 1 in a few years - another reason why the forces of standing pat might advocate doing nothing new and seeing how that works first - if that is a huge financial bonanaza it brings back the same point - why tinker with something that is working great?
Like a lot of new tech, the first users will have to be a bit more daring and a risk taker. The comedian Lous CK took such a chance with direct funding and promotion/distribution. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/22/louis-ck-video_n_1370516.html
So, it might take a second or third tier sport or one which has a strong internet niche following - e.g. the people who follow EPL in the USA, or world class rugby or cricket (I know these barely register on the sports radar here but that is the point) the USA market is such that even a small fan base could be profitable.
The flip side hasn't been mentioned that such a system would allow easier and wider dissemination of US based sports around the world - something the NBA and NFL have long had an interest. The college game probably won't appeal to most except the most diehard world wide diehard football fans - but they do exist.
For now, suspect the deals based on the old cable model will be OK for a few more years, but once someone takes a chance, the direct stream of revenue and the flexibility will be irresistible to the leagues.
|20 weeks 1 day ago||Split decision||
Agreed - the helmets worked and the jerseys largely due to the inability to recognize the numbers were a failure.
Came to the game a bit late and at first I thought the Michigan receiver was wearing some sort of temp vest or even a no number jersey.
I get it that modern jersey trends have been about creating new looks to buzz up sales. The UTL throwbacks worked well. But the jersey and helmets have to do their original purpose - allowing spectators to ID the team and players. No one did a TV test with the jerseys out on a field otherwise it would have been obvious that the numbers would blend and bleed with the jerseys.
|23 weeks 8 hours ago||Thanks for the link and for the clarification.||
Like many I quickly clicked on the topic because I was confused and intrigued why Hoke was at a NBA-Olympic team reunion ... wondered if he talked with Magic, Bird, Jordan, etc.
|23 weeks 5 days ago||interesting idea suggest a tweak||
An interesting idea. Might suggest this tweak.
Why not just track the number of minutes a team is ahead, behind or tied?
Teams that dominate a game (e.g. 2012 Michigan versus Illinois 45-0) would have a brief period when the game was tied - in the case above, Michigan scored at 6 minutes into the 1st quarter and led the whole way.
So the result would be BEHIND: 0 minutes, TIED: 6 minutes, AHEAD: 54 minutes.
For a closer game (e.g.. 2012 MSU versus Michigan, 12-10)
No score in 1st quarter - TIED: 15
2nd quarter - Michigan scores FG at 10 mark, so that means the 5 min leading up the score were TIED: 5 min, AHEAD at 10 mark, added second FG at 1 min mark, so led for the remaining 10 min.
At halftime for the UM, BEHIND: 0, TIED: 20, AHEAD 10
3rd quarter, UM leads until MSU scores a TD at 7 min into the quarter, so that means AHEAD: add 8 minutes, BEHIND: 7 minutes. 3RD quarter ends MSU leading 7-6
After 3rd quarter for the UM, BEHIND: 7, TIED: 20, AHEAD: 18
In the 4th quarter UM trails until in the 13th minute FG makes it 9-7, BEHIND: 7+2=9, TIED: 20, AHEAD 18 at this point, we stay ahead until MSU scores a FG at the 5 minute mark, making it 10-9, so we add 8 minutes to the AHEAD =18+8=26. We don't score until under the final minute FG, so rounding the full minute, we are behind 5 more minutes and ahead only 1. Final line:
BEHIND 14, TIED 20, AHEAD 27 (doesn't add up perfectly to 60 minutes due to rounding to next minute, didn't feel like adding up the seconds but it could be done). This is a classic close game: nearly evenly split between TIED, BEHIND, and AHEAD.
What about a game we snuck back to win? (Northwestern vs UM 2012 38-31 OT)
1st quarter - no score until 8th minute, NW scores and leads until UM ties at the 2nd minute. TIED: 10, BEHIND: 5 - score at quarter end: 7-7
2nd quarter - UM takes lead at 6 min mark, NW ties it just before the half. TIED: 7 (6+1), AHEAD 6, BEHIND: 5, game is tied at half time, 14-14.
3rd quarter - tied until NW scores at 11th min, adds FG at 3rd minute. Michigan adds TD but still trails for the whole quarter, 24-21. TIED: 7, AHEAD 6, BEHIND: 20
4th quarter - UM behind until 8th min when TD lifts them ahead 28-24. NW goes back in front at the 3rd min, 31-28. Michigan ties with FG with 2 seconds. TIED: 7, AHEAD: 11 (6+5), BEHIND: 30, score tied 31-31.
In OT, time really doesn't matter since it is a single possession game, but tracking the number of minutes ahead, behind or tied confirms the notion that the UM were fortunate to win the game.
Applying the idea to Stanford Oregon 2012
1st quarter - no score: TIED: 15
2nd quarter - Standford scores at 12th minute and leads until 3rd minute when Oregon ties. Halftime score: 7-7. For Stanford, TIED: 21, AHEAD 9, BEHIND: 0
3rd quarter - Oregon scores at 6 min mark making it 14-7. They hold the lead through the end of the quater. For Standford: TIED: 35, AHEAD 9, BEHIND: 6
4th quarter - Stanford equalizes at the 1 minute mark. For Stanford: TIED: 36, AHEAD: 9, BEHIND: 20 (14+6) Score is 14-14 going to OT. Again I'm rounding up - ideally one could just use the actual number of seconds but I doing this on the fly and didn't dig out the spreadsheet.
Don't know what to call this stat - Time of Advantage, Time Ahead, Time of Dominance but it may be of value in assessing the nature of the wins and losses in an more objective way.
Easy to find data. Easy to understand and calculate. Offers insight into a game.
A 28-0 victory might have been for the winning team TIED:50, BEHIND: 0, AHEAD 10 when the other team finally wore out. In contrast a 35-0 blowout might have been a laugher from the start with a line of TIED: 1, BEHIND:0, AHEAD: 59. Yet in the paper, the two results might seem the same.
|23 weeks 6 days ago||single platoon? another approach||
It is easy to forget that once a huge monster player was someone who was 6'4" and weighed 245 lbs. If you look at the big NFL players of the late 1960's and early 1970's that was pretty big. Now, it is about average for some LB's let alone DT and DEs. The NFL and NCAA may want to bury their heads in the sand but there is some other factor (e.g. PED) at work creating the large numbers of supersized players. There was also a few very big players in the past - Roger Brown of the Lions from their Paper Lion era was one of only two 300 lbers in the NFL. Now, high school lines have been fielded where everyone is 300 lb+. Making the field wider and bigger (like in the CFL) may not help. As others have noted, it is not just the size but the speed - these new big players aren't just chunky but really fast. So it isn't just their Mass but their Velocity squared which is dangerous.
Making the players more conscious of their vulnerability may help - ironically lessening the amount of equipment might decrease the false sense of invulnerability. Do top flight rugby players have the same concussion percentage? (not a regular fan of rugby but perhaps there are MgoBlog fans here who are).
Single platoon with only limited substitution (think of it like a baseball game - once a player is subbed, he's out for the game) would make multi-talented players very important, but still allow running and passing of all sorts. It would place a natural brake on speed - the players would have to save their strength and energy. It would also allow small schools to compete more readily with big schools. Often small schools have a few talented players but can't fight the depth of a big school. We'd see more NCAA MBB tourney style upsets. BUT of course, this won't happen - too much money, and the increased specialization and speed is too entertaining on TV. Few QBs would develop to the degree they have today, if they also had to play DB. Peyton Manning and Tom Brady probably couldn't run well enough to stay on defense. Devin Gardner, Denard Robinson and for those remember, Nolan Cromwell would have been OK as DB/QB. All of the discussion about where to kickoff, the ease of field goals and such would become moot - no one would field a specialist kicker. So we'd probably not see many 40-50 yard FG attempts and more squib kickoffs.
Perhaps once upon a time, eliminating the unlimited substitution rule and forcing teams to play single platoon style might have worked (this was largely how the game was played in Yost's time I think) As recently as the 1960's this issue was actually still be debated. Just too much money today to take a step in that direction.
|25 weeks 5 days ago||He did not throw or take reps||
At the Iowa game, he didn't take any of the usual offensive warm up throws.
He probably sustained a neuropraxic injury to the ulnar nerve - often these take 6-8 weeks to recover fully. He could probably do simple light like hold a pencil after a week or so, but clutching a ball firm to avoid fumbling or throwing with velocity is probably unlikely. The good news is that if he was cleared to play, he probably doesn't have an injury which could be aggravated by contact.
I'm sure he did what he could. That run was terrific and it will be one of the highlights of his career to score in the shoe against the bucks.
|25 weeks 5 days ago||Hit the pillow but please don't yell at the cat||
I hope DR gets the record AND he has a great post-UM career in what ever he does. Today it is hard to know unless you are on the inside, but it seems like he is a good guy and it would be great if he could end his college career as the record holder. He hasn't done anything publically to embarass the school or team. Go Denard and Go Wolverines!
|25 weeks 5 days ago||Thank you - needed to be posted||
Thank you for posting this.
Victory has many fathers and defeat is an orphan - to paraphrase JFK (could be wrong and if so I'm sure someone here will identify the proper source).
When Brady Hoke took over the HC duties he faced many challenges. Beating the traditional rival OSU, restoring the dominance of UM in the Big House, and squashing the up and coming teams (like MSU, Illinois, NW). He's largely done that and he led the UM to a bowl game.
I'm not overlooking the dismay many have had over issues with the offense this year which are real but we should look ahead with confidence - a realistic confidence and not the usual "wait till next year." Greg Mattison has re-established Michigan as a defensive power in the Big Ten and nationally. OSU only scored 6 second half points - six on two field goals.
The defense will only get better. Why? Look at some of the better academic institutions which also play good college football - namely, Stanford, Northwestern and even Notre Dame. They show that there is a pool of players who can qualify here and really play. Michigan is and will be in the near future a top school so we can hope to draw on that same pool.
We may not have a once in a generation player like Denard Robinson (the best running QB ever at the UM, eclipsing Steve Smith) next year but the team will be strong and a contender.
|26 weeks 20 hours ago||Close Game UM||
A close game will go to the UM but a rout ... ugh.
If Brady Hoke, Al Borges and Greg Mattison win this, this would rank as one of the greatest UM victories - dare I say it, it can be mentioned in the same breadth as the 1969 game.
When you dislike someone or disagree with them, it is easy to overlook their attributes and only focus on their shortcomings. This is a good Buckeye team. Beating them would be an accomplishment.
|26 weeks 20 hours ago||Says a lot of the nature of ownership in the NFL||
The NFL from its inception wanted individual owners or families and not some faceless conglomerate to own the team. I'm not clear as to why - perhaps they felt it made it easier to determine who is ultimately responsible. But as we've seen with some franchises, there is a price to be paid for this arrangment.
1. Individual owners sometimes put a bit too much of themselves into the process - they ultimately become a big part of why the team on the field is not more successful.
2. They meddle in the drafts - like Jerry Jones in Dallas or Al Davis in Oakland.
3. They can hire cronies or friends or just "nice people" who unfortunately are terrible football minds - like William Clay Ford in Detroit and Matt Millen - by most accounts, a great college and pro player and a fun analyst on TV but an unmitigated disaster as a personnel man and general manager - yet he got 10 years! This was in the modern era and not in the Detroit Heralds of 1917.
4. They can interfere with personnel decisions in trades or when to trade and move on - Bud Adams in Tennessee and staying with Vince Young long after everyone else realized he wasn't going to make it, or Woody Johnson of the NY Jets who by rumor admittedly okayed the trade of Tebow to the Jets despite his GM Mike Tannebaum and HC Rex Ryan giving just two weeks earlier a 3 year $40.5 million contract extension to QB Mark Sanchez.
|26 weeks 20 hours ago||Cable package options||
Hi, just trying to understand some background on this deal.
1. We know already there are a multitude of UM, OSU and PSU fans in the NYC to Wash DC corridor.
2. It is already possible to view the BTN in that area on local cable providers.
I was curious how easy option 2 is for fans? I have Comcast and most of the most basic packages have BTN in their sports lineup. Is that the case for people in Virginia, Maryland, NJ, and NY State?
If it is, then the move isn't so much about getting the network onto cable packages as much as it is leveraging it into a more favorable position and promoting greater interest.
|26 weeks 4 days ago||College Football Image||
Since everyone is chiming in:
With the Buckeyes, there is an obvious logic - in the Bo Era, they were the best opposing team in the league. The other little eight were all trampled underfoot. The Bo Era really defined college football for many of the older Michigan fans.
In more recent years when th Spartans could put together good teams for consecutive years, bragging rights in-state with family, co-workers and neighbors played a role.
For Notre Dame it probably goes back to a very visceral level nearly subconscious rivalry since both schools had periods of being really good (nationally good) at the very dawn of big time college football (1910-1930) - the first wave of the huge crowds (80,000) and when the big stadiums started up. For a while the Wolverines were the face of college football in the US; then under Knute Rockne it was briefly the Fighting Irish. Today, many schools can claim the mantle for a season or two of being "what college football is about" but ultimately the whole fall experience, on a college campus, tailgating admist the fall colors, and sitting in a classic dug into the ground bowl - you have to go to one of these schools from that era.
|27 weeks 3 days ago||Yes, that is a good insight, maybe good timing....||
The obsession over this whole comment cuts to the heart of the current Spartan UM issue.
The UM being the older institution (since 1817 and nearing it bicentennial) and the one which has long been more influential (politically, economically, socially) can be looked upon as the "old firm" establishment and MSU as the upstart. It began as the Agricultural College of the State of Michigan - becoming later the State Agricultural College. The school predates East Lansing as a municipality. By the early 1900, it had evolved into Michigan Agricultural College. By the 1920's it was Michigan State College of Agriculture and Applied Science. It was not until 1964 that it actually became Michigan State University (MSU).
Historically with the many name changes and an ever evolving mission one can see that a fixed identity has only been recent development. Interestingly the Spartans had a long period of football prowess which dominated the 1950's and early 1960's. The only joined the Big Ten in 1949 but the Duffy Daugherty era (1954-1972) saw them finish first in the Coaches Poll twice in 1965 and 1966.
So why aren't the Sparty Fans more magnamimous given a pretty decent football history? The end of Daugherty era saw the rise of Bo and with that, years of 0.500 or so teams and the 1970's ushered in the Big 2 and the Little 8. It was also a period when college football on TV became really big with color TV penetration overtaking black-white broadcasts and those "in color" notices on TV programs started to fade out. The reach of TV, the vast size of the UM alumni, and the expansion of the student body coincided nicely with Bo's great period. Vast pools of people now followed the Wolverines who had no actual ties with the school.
Most of the current Sparty fans are too young to remember when they were good for a long time. In contrast most of the Michigan fans who are younger lived through the Bo/Mo/Lloyd era when Michigan was usually very good to great. The much older fans who remember the fallow period between 1949 and 1969 are only a smaller slice of the fanbase and they have lived to see the Wolverines become dominant again.
|27 weeks 4 days ago||just another reason why it was a good choice||
Jordan Kovacs is an excellent choice to be a recepient of the Wistert Legends honor. I get the sense from a story like this that he'll always keep the UM in mind and try to live up to the honor.
|28 weeks 5 days ago||Martinez - Robinson, not a speed issue||
As a DC, Coach Narduzzi maybe (intentionally or not) missing the real point about the difference between Taylor Martinez and Denard Robinson as running QBs.
We all have seen that both are fast - really fast, but the one area which Taylor Martinez does excel is in his mesh ball fake. It was a huge part of why he was successful against MSU. His ball fake really pulled the DL, LBs and Safeties one or more gaps over which gave him the room to get to full speed. In a match race on a track, I think DR is faster, and because he is smaller and lighter, he would probably take Martinez in a 100 yards or 100 meters. But as a deceptive ball handler, Martinez is demonstrably better than most running QBs today.
|29 weeks 16 hours ago||Worth tracking||
I'm sure many people would like to put this whole Penn State episode away but it maybe still worth following even on this board because the outcome may affect how college athletics are overseen on all campuses.
Once what happened with college athletics was first the head coach's problem, then the athletic director's but it is clear now that everyone upto and including the president can be considered. The NCAA recently announced that they were extending the reach of penalties so that assistant coaches could no longer be the easy scapegoats for violations and be tossed in as a sacrificial lamb to halt an investigation - their head coaches and other oversight personnel would all share in the penalties.
No place has a monopoly on bad events or good events. But the places with few bad events usually acknowledge that they can occur and don't pretend they are impossible. That willingness to acknowledge and think about that possibility is the first important step in ensuring that it won't happen.
|29 weeks 4 days ago||probably neuropraxia||
It may be a form of neuropraxia - which would be the best case. BUT often these take weeks for a full recovery. We'll see if Denard is able to practice and play this week. If not it may be several weeks and in some cases, 6-8 weeks which essentially is the whole season.
I hope he comes back next week or later in the season but if that was the last game we see him play in a UM uniform, Denard Robinson still had an amazing career and will one day be honored as a Michigan legend.
|29 weeks 6 days ago||Just another sign of civilization||
Consider this observation:
Nearly everything in human civilization starts out with the fundamental purpose. Food supplied calories, nutrients, and needed hydration. Clothing protected, kept in warmth and shelter from the elements. Now we pay MORE for food that has fewer calories on purpose and often lacking in key nutrients but are stylish. The best restaurants for example on a calorie and nutrient to price basis often are far worse than the typical fast food place or mom-and-pop corner diner, but people go the restaurant for the style, ambience and to be seen. Likewise with clothing. The whole women's fashion industry is nearly all style and well, by defninition fashion. So it is not surprising that even football uniforms are heading that way. Variant football uniforms are now like variant comic book covers and about as meaningful. The final proof of this is how little in contrast has been spent improving the protective properties of the uniform (helmets, pads, etc).
The next thing and you saw it here first is that the uniform will form some collage image when they stand together, like when the whole offense lines up there will be larger composite image visible.
|31 weeks 5 days ago||OK - I'll take the bait||
Clearly too many players are getting their priorities wrong and have been devoting their time and energies to skool and not football. They forget they "ain't there to play skool, but football." No doubt this will be a teaching point this week.
|32 weeks 12 hours ago||Insight into the football bubble in Columbus||
The only real nugget of information is an appreciation of the college football bubble that encases Columbus. It might explain why Kirk Herbstreit whose perceived lack of loyalty to tOSU program led him to leave town; he's far more high profile than the Luke Fickell. In most places this would have been all put down to one uberfan mouthing off and it would have died out. The OSU team is unbeaten and has looked OK, certainly good enough to challenge for the title (although ineligible).
|32 weeks 6 days ago||An amazing quote||
An amazing quote - simple yet profound, innocently assertive and completely honest without any regard to the long term significance. He should win 2012's most honest thing said by an athlete.
That is from the OSU just makes it even better.
|33 weeks 4 days ago||player subjective testing and "how he looks"||
A player's responses to subjective testing and "how he looks" is a terrible way of judging fitness to return. As an earlier posters have noted: if he was unconscious - by definition he was concussed, the most objective way is a CT or MRI scan. He probably would have lit up the side of his concussion (essentially a bruised brain) and sometimes the other side (the contre-coup side is the technical term) where the brain rebounds and smashes into the other side. Testing using a battery psychometric questions is so-far the best proven question-and-answer syle of surveying someone, but those aren't administered on the sideline. Medical personnel attached to a team unconsciously are swayed and influenced. Most have the best interests of the players in mind but many are not specifically trained (coming from an orthopedic background or for some not even from a sports medicine/ortho/neuro background, just a fan/love of the game) and because they are "part of the team" become caught up in the same fervor - it will affect people's judgment.
Putthing a player back in when he may have a concussion may actually be the worst thing to do. A second hit when not fully recovered from the first one may be far more devestating than two hits with a period of recovery. I hope that Gholston is actually OK and maybe he was just down taking a breather, but the consequences of that hit and going back in may not be evident until he has long left MSU.
|33 weeks 4 days ago||a time of change or just more of the same?||
Every few years, it seem like it is a time of change in FB.
1. Forward pass.
3. Split-T, split end
4. Defense with three layers of defenders (DL, LB, DBs)
5. Zone defense and mixed coverages
6. Shot-gun first time around (1950's with the 49er's)
7. Wishbone, triple option
8. 2, 3 deep zone, zone blitz
9. Shot-gun again - aka the Spread
10. Never punting, always kicking onside
11. Wagging plays in (Browns used messenger guards in the 1950's), now someone other than the QB calls the cadence.
12. Wildcat - or the return of single wing and so on
But maybe the game is always evolving. We're just focused on the moment, this game, this season and this coaching regieme that we may not notice that it has always been evolving game.
|34 weeks 11 hours ago||OK - let's take the||
OK - let's take the suggestion without malice and consider the proposal: on 3rd down, put a WR, Gallon, in the backfield.
1. Is there any historical basis for this type of move? Yes, actually, the Arizona Cardinals during the Super Bowl run a few years ago would run a set like this. It caused a mis-match with a speedy agile WR against a slower LB or force a switch of CB freeing up a lead WR like Larry Fitzgerald.
2. Is there any problems with this notion with the current Michigan team? Well, the teams who take advantage of such personnel switches and packages usually have a very accurate passer and a veteran line - often the ball has to gotten out quick and everyone has to be on the same page and break off routes depending on the coverage and if there is a blitz.
Conclusion: Probably not a good fit with this current team. DR#16 is not the ideal pocket passer, the line isn't as good as it has been in the past, and the current 3rd down back, Vincent Smith is actually a pretty good player - one could turn the proposal around and assert more efforts should be made to get Smith on the field if passing is going to be a big part of the game plan.
|34 weeks 3 days ago||I hope change comes but ...||
I know that seems so clearly an interception... but don't count on change coming soon.
If you recall during the last World Cup in South Africa, the ball went across the line and was seen by about 1 billion people but wasn't called a goal, which is simpler than even this decision and yet years later, there is still no procedure in place.
The referees who are working this game - are they regular college referees? Are the usual Big Ten referees already committed? I heard on talk radio that these were from a lower tier but wondered if anyone knew.
|34 weeks 6 days ago||Iconic picture||
DR#16 may have been taken down a yards after that picture was taken, but that picture capture his speed and style. It is sort of like the Mount Suribachi photo; the image captured the feeling of the moment in a broader way regardless of the actual circumstances. That there are three tacklers closing in and he is trying to angle away really gives palpable shape to the concept of elusiveness. Long after DR#16 has become part of Michigan footbal lore we'll be seeing that picture in our minds when we think of great Michigan ball carriers.
|39 weeks 4 days ago||It goes to show you that even bad ideas have some merits||
Let's look at the options to decide the MNC:
1. Pure "beauty contest" voting - totally subjective by coaches, reporters, members of the academy. Pros: easy to do, allows everyone to maintain their arguments of being jobbed and/or wronge, Cons: totally subjective, sometimes people voting haven't seen the teams play a whole game. We've had this for decades and basically no one was really happy with it.
2. All-play-all: This was the system used by MLB way in the past and still used by many soccer (futbol) leagues like the EPL. Everyone plays everyone else home and away and the team atop the list at the end of the year is the champion. Pros: hard to argue, makes the final weeks really interesting for the contending teams, Cons: by mid-season it is pretty clear which teams are contending and which are just spoilers, timing of the games (or fixtures) is important. Ideally one wants to play the biggest rivals when they are still figuring themselves out or down due to injuries. Opens the door to the argument that the best team at the end of the season isn't the team atop the list. We had this for many years back when the Big10 only had ten teams - you don't hear many arguments that such-and-such team was actually the better team, because they decided on the field. Unfortunately, given the size of Div 1 (~110 teams) no all-play-all scheme could work for any collision/contact sport.
3. Play-Offs: A certain number of the "top" teams either by record or subjective selection play a knock-off system to decide the title. Teams are seeded either by record or subjective selection. Pros: Better than option 1, doable compared to option 2, already used by MLB, NBA, NHL, and NFL in one form or another, allows for teams to improve over the season, recover from early injuries and losses, keeps more teams and their fans interested, Cons: extends the season, allows teams which get "hot" at the end to win the title even if their "total body of work" was just average, seeding and who plays who becomes another subjective minefield (is this 2 or 1 loss team better than this other 2 or 1 loss team?), playoff pathways may not end up with the two best teams facing each other at the end. This is where we are heading. Div 2 and Div 3 are already doing this. The layers of playoffs and the more complex the scheme, the less likely it is for any team, short of a team that is 100% guaranteed of victory, will win the title. Why? Quick back of the envelope calculation. Assume the best team in the field wins 9 out of 10 games played. To win 3 consecutive games in the playoff would crudely mean 0.9 x0.9 x0.9 or 0.73 Since in most years teams would not be fielding a once-in-a-generation squads, a more elaborate play-off scheme is actually favorable; it allows them to advance farther potentially and have a slim but real chance at the MNC. On this basis, a play-off system actually is not detrimental to the chances of the UM. Historically, the teams have usually been above-average and in or around that top 10-15 range with an occasional top 5 team, so a play-off should help, not hurt our chances. The only wild card is if the subjective factor packs the playoff seeding. I don't know how the Div 2 and Div 3 handle this but do the "power conferences" in Div 2 or Div 3 end up with half the seeds?
|41 weeks 6 days ago||Not digging further probably was a factor in accepting sanctions||
If this were the usual "booster provided a car" or "paper work that didn't get all of the t's crossed and i's dotted" problem, it would probably play out the way you describe - standard operating procedure: by the book NCAA investigation and report. But the unusual circumstances and particularly the heavy intense scrutiny of the whole nation on PSU and the NCAA definitely played a role. Freeing up the players to transfer without penalty is undoubtedly a fair thing to do and about the only time I can think of where the NCAA did actually help people who were innocent bystanders largely to what went on. Usually the people who pay the penalties are just those who are around and the guilty parties have moved on to the pros and other coaching jobs.
Continuing to fight this publically is a pretty risky move. It may not open other sex scandals but may reveal other more conventional football coverups. The take home explicit message from the Freeh report is that when faced with something truly evil, the people in charge wouldn't act because it was feared it might hurt reputation of the team, but the implicit message is that they had been thinking that way (and acting that way, e.g. covering up for past football problems) for a long time, so long that they couldn't or wouldn't see that this was way more serious. If this action causes the sanction agreement to become void and the NCAA is forced to descend on campus and really turn over every stone and dig into every nook and cranny, it will make the present sanctions seem lenient. The family doesn't get it - if they try to back the NCAA and Penn State with it into a corner, it won't end well.
|43 weeks 20 hours ago||Evidence of where the priorities are ...||
Offering a young child (who isn't even through puberty yet) a "ride" or "slot" isn't anything new in the world of professional sports training. Kids are scouted this young or younger in futbol (soccer) all over the world and given opportunities to go to futbol academies run in conjunction with a major club (like Real Madrid).
For a university to do so shows they all about building a winning football team - don't know and don't care if the kid is interested in college, or can even read and write.
|43 weeks 2 days ago||The last hurrah?||
It will be interesting to see how this team fares and the next one. This may be the last of the "dream teams" because USA Basketball seems to be following the FIFA approach to the Olympics which de-emphasizes the Olympics (using mostly under age 23 players with a few old timers) and emphasizing the world championships (i.e. the equivalent of the World Cup), which I guess will be the FIBA world championships. The USA still has to most talent in the world but the rest of the world has really gotten better in terms of coaching, strategy and has produced individual players of great skill. Team USA is still on the level of a NBA all-star team but there are a lot of international squads who would be in the upper half of the NBA.
The concern about size is only part of the issue - it is how that size is used. There are a lot of squads who have 6-10 to 7-2 stiffs who stand there in the middle of a 2-3 zone and are about as mobile as a hat rack. It is the mobile guys who can hit 3's and the quick penetrating guards and a running style (ball in-bounded from the side lines) which worry me. This team also lacks (until proven otherwise by Lebron) that sort of hyper-competitiveness which exemplified the original dream team. It is debatable who is the best player ever, but Jordan, Magic, and Bird have got to be among the most winning obsessed trio who ever suited up on the same BB team.
|45 weeks 15 hours ago||Freeh Report and what's missing in the Paterno letter||
It is interesting now that the Freeh Report has been released is that one of the salient points is badly missed by the Paterno letter.
When wading through the mass of documents and interviews, one of the conclusions reached by Freeh's team was a surprising disregard about the fate and condition of the kids involved. This detachment is also present in the Paterno letter which doesn't address at all the notion that the kids involved were horribly mistreated.
The key quote is "total disregard for the safety and welfare" of the children who were sexually abused. I only quickly read the Paterno letter which was put out yesterday, but I don't recall any mention about the involved kids. The letter is so focused about reputation that it completely missed the point - that there was a great evil there and that great harm occured. Maybe this absence was due to legal advice to deny any knowledge - note how it ends with the notion that the charges are all "alleged", so the claim of "know nothing" can be preserved but it seems very striking and in light of the Freeh document actually reinforces the point of wanton disregard of the fate of the kids because of fear of how it would hurt their individual and group reputations.
As much as we all adore UM sports and Wolverine football, I'd like to believe no one who is a real fan of the UNIVERSITY will let anyone who is perceived as a big person on campus skate by on anything like this just so we can win a game, a grant, a Nobel prize, an election, etc.or out of fear that it would somehow tarnish the reputation of the school.
|45 weeks 6 days ago||team versus individual sports||
Being underappreciated on a championship team is part of the nature of team sports. The players in the star positions (ex: QB, lead off or top of the order batter), who rack up the visible stats (ex: points scored in BB, goals in hockey) will always get more attention than the other players who do important necessary things: play defense, get loose balls, occupy space, kill penalties, make that extra pass, etc. Nearly every team that has won a championship in major league football, soccer, baseball, basketball, hockey, lacrosse, rugby, volleyball, water polo, etc. will have these players who did important things but didn't get that much publicity or fame.
Individual sports, especially the lesser known ones are often more overlooked. Since this is a summer olympic year, consider Al Oerter who was four time olympic champion in discus (1956, 1960, 1964 and 1968) as a good example. One can bring out the usual arguments about track and field as being a niche sport but to be the best in the world for such a long time and be able to peak at the biggest moment is incredibly difficult. Being the best at anything in the world takes a unique combination of singlemindedness and self-confidence that is pretty rare and to keep that up over a long period of time is even rarer.
The best teams usually have good camaraderie (can't think of a good example of a championship team in the modern era that hated each other). Team mates could count on each other to help keep focus but for an individual, it is often just him or her and a coach or spouse/significant other.
|46 weeks 3 days ago||Sprinters are neurotic||
I think there was a scence in the movie Chariots of Fire where one of the english sprinters sought out a professional coach, something rare and hush-hush in the 1920 era of "amateur" sports. The coach said something which I think applies - he said something to the effect that sprinters as neurotic because they are essentially bundles of pent up energy.
Not surprised that this is how it turned out - short of them both going, couldn't see anyone accepting it without a scene.
|46 weeks 6 days ago||Interesting comment about speed||
This sort of passed uncommented, but he was quick enough to play tailback on offense but in the article Chappuis noted that he couldn't play on defense because of his lack of speed or quickness. It seems that Crisler wanted a really fast swarming defense and was willing to put his fastest players on that side of the ball.
|46 weeks 6 days ago||realistic approach||
He seems to have a very rational realistic approach.
The factors in his favor:
1. No lack of work ethic or self-motivation.
2. By all public accounts, a good team mate and leader.
3. The modern game seems to have de-emphasized having a big center who attacks from the low post (e.g. Chamberlain, Jabbar, Moses Malone, etc.)
4. Reasonable expectations - he doesn't go into the pro world thinking his time as a Wolverine will roll out a red carpet for him.
5. Style of play abroad - he'll see more zones, the teams try to break and run and have a lot of ball movement; a style which I think favors his type of game and experience as a collegian.
1. Size - probably not as big as he is listed and he never "played bigger" so he might be vulnerable if caught low against a big guard.
2. Speed - a lot of smaller guards make up by being very quick and having a great handle; again something he is OK but not noted for in his time here.
3. Finding the right team and league - it is very dependent on the team and league. Some teams/leagues abroad bring in Americans to supply that attacking spark. They want someone who can elevate and play above the rim or really slash to the hoop - aspects of the game which they can't find or develop locally. Remember that some of these leagues are there to help cultivate and develop talent for their national team. They don't really want to invest time and energy developing role players who are foreigners - they figure they can do that themselves.
While the NBA may have plateaued here in popularity, around the world, it is still very popular. It is starting to resemble soccer (futbol) - the NBA is the top league in the world like La Liga or The Premier League is in futbol. Teams are willing to bring in foreign players but if you look they usually develop their own defenders and defensive mid-fielders; role players. They'll play a premium for attacking mid-fielders and forwards, but outside of the richest teams, rarely spend big bucks and resources on foreign players who don't immediately help the offense, so I hope he finds a team that appreciates what he brings to them.
Good luck and go blue! He'll always be remembered as a great Wolverine even if he never had great stats!
|47 weeks 18 hours ago||good point about perception||
Your observation is probably correct about how many Division 1 schools are perceived. Many if not most (like Alabama) are the dominant institution of higher education and learning in the whole state, so it casts a huge shadow. Most of these kids and their families are not aware of the differences between the academic caliber of these places; it is like some family friends who lump all college football together in one category - "He must be a really good player, he played at XYZ state in the middle of somewhere conference" - the typical blog reader here is thinking ("No, probably he was a good high school player, but it is doubtful that he were really that great otherwise he'd be playing at a school in the Big Ten, SEC, or some other real FB conference")
This notion that blurs different schools and education together isn't just limited to these sports centric kids. Consider the current controversy over the vast size of loans many undergraduates have upon leaving a four year school. There are scores of articles so I'll leave the googling to the reader, but what struck me is that many of these students took on huge debt (~$80-100,000) for some schools which didn't seem that good (forgive my UM and Big Ten chauvinsim) and in degree concentrations which weren't that practical. It is almost as if they and their families were stuck in a 1940's-1950's view of university - if you were able to attend and graduate, you were a "college man" (or woman) and had your pick of jobs - a situation like that where a person with a BA in Classics could get a job on Wall Street hasn't existed in decades.
Your final example of wine is also a good one - for kids who don't aspire to an academic career or a professional one, maybe there isn't that much of a difference and if he can connect with that school's network, it will achieve what he was looking for in a school. I'm sure Alabama alumni cast a huge network around the state and nearby states.
|47 weeks 3 days ago||Maybe in the future ...||
Someday if the regulars here are lucky enough to reach that age, they can explain to future readers of MGoBlog the late 20th and early 21st centuries:
1. Once there was no national championship game and a bunch of people would get together and vote on what team they believed was the best and amazingly this was acceptable.
2. There was once over 100 Division 1 schools playing college football.
3. You saw the first night game at Michigan Stadium. About 1,000,000 people and their descendents now claim to have been at that game.
4. That going to a bowl game actually cost most teams money and the lucky few break even.
5. That the game back then had four downs to go 10 yards.
6. The onside kick was a rarely used play.
7. The stadium was actually originally built using a machine called a steam shovel and that somewhere in the bottom there are the rusty remains of that machine.
8. There was usually only one QB playing at a time and that person threw most of the passes.
9. You saw the throwback uniforms when they were the regular home jerseys.
10. The stadium was all benches all the way to the top before the chair backed seats, the luxury boxes, the second layer of enclosed boxes and the dome with the 70 yard long replay screen or the field on massive pallets so it could be rotated in and out of the stadium.
11. You remember when the band would play classic football music like "Gangster's paradise" and "Don't stop believing" instead of this modern syntho-neo binary rip music.
12. The Heisman trophy was once nearly always given to a player on offense.
|48 weeks 6 days ago||sorry double post - removed||
sorry double post - removed
|48 weeks 6 days ago||peaking too early? not understanding what the UM link could do||
Like any complex tale (and one arguably that hasn't really ended yet), the whole story of Tate Forcier and the Wolverines reveals something with each retelling. It can be a story of the flaws of putting athletics over academics. It can be a tale of hubris. It can be a tale of well-intentioned (or well-ambitioned) parenting gone bad. It can be the tale of someone who peaked too early.
Unfortunately he really never understood the value of his UM ties. Years from now, it will be hard to explain to future fans while his freshman year was so memorable; how he captured the imagination of so many and how during September and October of that magical year, it seemed like the Wolverines were the team of destiny.
|49 weeks 5 days ago||Michigan version||
UM at MSU, battered the whole game, the Wolverines just scored staging a miraculous 4th quarter come back making the score 20-21. Coach Rich Rodriguez realizing that his defense wasn't playing that well and that his offense is his only chance. He believes in his offense and so he decides to gamble everything on a 2 point conversion with just seconds to play. Sensational freshman Tate Forcier nursing nagging injuries and badly beaten up in the game comes to the line and on a quick count sprints for the wide side. He pumps once faking the MSU outside containment man to leave his feet and just squeezes into the endzone before he is piled under. Michigan wins 22-21 as time expires. Spartan stadium is silent except for the wind blowing the trash and whoops of joy as the Wolverines run to the locker room.
|52 weeks 18 hours ago||great post||
Please keep up this series.
We now take it for granted the 100,000+ attendance and being part of the 'largest crowd to watch a college football game in the USA." But here was a team that beat OSU and finished the regular season as 11-0 and could NOT sell out every home game.
|1 year 7 weeks ago||Rewatching the game - it is amazing||
Despite being at that game after watching the first half, it was an amazing effort from the Wolverines to keep it only at 17-7.
|1 year 17 weeks ago||The Marble Man syndrome||
The writer was trying to point out something that historians have long recognized. When someone is lionized and has statues erected in their honor when they are still living their image risks taking on a life of its own. Thomas Connelly in book "The Marble Man: Robert E. Lee and His Image in American Society", looked at the aura which surrounded Robert E. Lee after the Civil War. The Southern Lost Cause movement and their mythos about Lee left a dead statue and the real person, flaws and idiosyncrasies became lost in the footnotes.
Joe Paterno became a marble man - he was suppose to be flawless, perfect and a paragon. It suited many people to have this happen. The administration benefited from having a national spokesman who helped to raise millions of dollars and attract thousands of students. The athletic department liked his appeal to some long lost era of amateur sports. For a democracy and republic, we've strangely always had an attraction for someone who could be a benevolent ruler - a philosopher king - all knowing, all wise, fair and just. Today, that person must also be telegenic and witty.
It may not have been something he wanted in the beginning but as time went on, being told that one is wonderful and wise is quite seductive - so much so that it is easy to start believing it yourself. When coupled with a fear of what would occur once he stopped coaching it is understandable how easy it is to begin acting as if all of the hype and myth were real. The Sandusky scandal actually revealed two tragedies. First and foremost is that despite the homespun bucolic rustic setting of Happy Valley, there can be horrible evil. The second is that no person should become a marble man, no matter how good the original intention.
As a UM fan we have a little of that here with Bo, but luckily he had the good sense to retire when his powers were waning, being frank about his own shortcomings, and showing a sense of humility. He never thought the football coach was more important than the school president.
There are a few who are fortunate enough to achieve lasting greatness in some aspect of their life - winning a major championship, discovering something or inventing something which alters how all people live or creating something of great beauty which moves people across generations. Even then, it was just one part, one aspect, and shouldn't be mistaken for the whole person - who may have many prickly flaws and shortcomings.
|1 year 17 weeks ago||The whole draftnik and signing obsession is due for a check||
Has anyone actually ever doubled checked all of these so-called draft niks and signing board experts? I suspect they'll turn out pretty much like the so-called football gambling experts who offer their "lock of the century this week" and end up fifty/fifty about their predictions. Just look at the rosters of the NFL teams which played last week: Tim Tebow was a hugely rated and recruited high school football player and he fulfilled that promise in college and made it to start as a pro - a statistically improbable event for most high school players, even all stars. Tom Brady was almost a transfer. Joe Placco ended up at Delaware and not one of the other bigger name places which he had an interest in. Alex Smith for all of his hype coming out of college was a regular on the biggest NFL busts until he finally met a coaching staff which could work with what he had.
I hope all of the UM players who want a pro career find a place and do well - whether as a superstar QB or as special teams regular. For those whose pro dreams don't work out, I hope that their UM days and degree will help them become productive members of society.
|1 year 19 weeks ago||Workable simple system versus complex vested interests||
The issue of having a real national football div. 1 championship isn't that hard - the lower divisions do it easily without hardly a peep of complaint. So the mechanistic issues really are all about the entrenched vested monied interests.
Since this is the "hot stove" season for college FB, and we're dreaming, here are some random thoughts on the notion...
1. If you want to have a system that allows for losses early and still have a shot to "play" one's way back use the system called the "Swiss System" - it is the system used to pair teams and players for one on one play when there are lots of players and only a limited number of rounds when a round robin isn't possible. It begins by seeding all of the teams to create the initial draw - so Number 1 plays Number 120, 2 vs 119 and so. In the subsequent rounds similar scores play each other. By round 8, there would be only 1 unbeaten team (after round 1, half the teams are unbeaten, after round 2, only at most 1/4, after round 3 at most 1/8...so after round 7 we've eliminated 128 teams from the unbeaten ranks). That leaves two weeks for the top remaining teams - the unbeaten and a few 1 and 2 loss teams. Pluses: Every week there would be unbeaten teams playing each other until the end. At the end only the very best will be left by record. An early loss isn't critical and allows a team to play one's way back up. And the lower rank teams will have incentive to play because they will be matched up against comparable opposition and playing for seeding next year. Also admittedly it would be a betting bonanza - pairing teams with similar records should help split the betting or make the betting provocative. Negatives: how to divy up the home games fairly and how to manage it with travel would be night mare. But it shows that actually it is possible in theory to play and get a legitimate champion without necessarily playing more games.
2. We'll just have to give it a bit more time - political meddling and money will ultimately sway things. The bowl organizers are clearly motivated by money. There are a lot of politicians who prefer to spend time fiddling around with college football rather than the not so much fun work of running the country (see the various US Senators drawn into the Big 12 - Big East whose in what conference). It won't happen next year but it will happen. Remember when the Fiesta Bowl first started? Then the first BCS? That all took time but it happened so, when the dollars start heading into the 8 and 9 figure range for the total package, we'll see a real playoff.
|1 year 19 weeks ago||A couple of observations||
Despite the author ...
1. It shows how well-intentioned parents can really have severe unintended consequences. Henson's dad is portrayed as looking out for Drew and trying to promote his career - in hindsight he probably sheltered him too much from the reality of competition at the next level. In contrast Brady's dad who is an actual coach took a very hands off approach, even though it sounds like he really wanted to guide Tom in a particular direction. Of course hind-sight is always perfect. There are probably a lot of other kids who bemoan a misguided career because "no one looked out for me."
2. The two sound like they are still cordial - but not close buddy buddy - sort of like how I read Peyton Manning actually keeps up with Ryan Leaf. I suppose only going through what they did they share a unique bond.
3. In the article, Tom Brady isn't directly quoted. He declined through the Patriots front office to participate in the piece. Don't know if this is related to the author or he was too busy "being Tom Brady" to worry about talking about "how Tom Brady became Tom Brady." Either way, just adds to the legend of "Tom Brady."
4. The "Ten Year War" is actually a pretty good book. That ten year period will be hard to match for the struggles on the field and the turmoil on and off campus.
|1 year 19 weeks ago||Actually Tebow is just one of the two big NFL stories||
Tebow is in the news a lot but actually he is only one of two big QB stories this year. I don't mean Cam Newton - who lived up to his hype. He really can play and his ability to run and run with devestating effect should make the Carolina Panthers a team to watch next year.
The other story is Alex Smith at San Francisco. Until Jim Harbaugh showed up, he was a regular top ten member of the Biggest NFL Busts lists. And now the 49ers are in the playoffs.
QBs are very important in the NFL but it is still a team game. There is still defense, special teams, and the running game.
Maybe the take home lesson from this season is that a team can be pretty good in one aspect (e.g. QB) but that won't win a championship. Likewise a team could be weak in one aspect (like the QB) but if it can work around that (play great D, solid special teams, run the ball) - a team can still be a winner.
Looking back, we've actually seen this receipe before here at the U. We've had teams which didn't have a great QB but had a great defense, good running game and solid special teams; these have won the B10.
|1 year 19 weeks ago||Did you get to see the giant statue of Ghengis Khan||
I recall somewhere that there is a huge statue (5-10 stories tall) of Ghengis Khan and it sits in the middle of a flat open plain - designed to be a tourist attraction. ? Did you get a chance to see it or hear about it?
Cute remark about Ohio.
|1 year 19 weeks ago||Great clip||
Chris Tucker is at his most mouthy version short of his so bad its good turn on the "Fifth Element".
Zhang Ziyi looking extra tough - not enough of her in the film and too bad she's chosen to concentrate on more serious drama, because she could actually do all of that martial arts stuff.
|1 year 19 weeks ago||Voice of reason||
Great measured response.
The school is terrific. Team strength comes and goes. It is easy to forget that after Tom Harmon there was a long down period - with a lot of 50% teams. The Fifties saw the rise of OSU and MSU and that pattern remained largely that way until Bo came in. So there was a about a 20 year period where Michigan wasn't that good a football team.
But that was the time of incredible developments and expansion on campus from Harlan Hatcher to Harold Shapiro. The school became really a great national school and the notion that it was a "public ivy" and on par of any of the great national schools became not just a self-congratulatory piece of propaganda but reality. That is really what a lot of the fans and alumni of the other Big Ten schools didn't always appreciate. Yes, football and big money sports were never the same after Bo and Don Canham but the school as a whole became bigger and better.
Some of the confusing misguided and mis-aimed emotion after the PSU scandal broke relates to this point. PSU's football rise occurred with a rise in the quality of PSU as a school in general and the whole local community there felt a tangible link. IF UM football went back down or see sawed up and down, sure people would be disappointed and mad, but as a school, it has long moved on to a point that it doesn't need to have a good team to have know what Michigan means or is about. IF the only way someone can have an interest in a school is if it is a regular contender for the MNC, then they just didn't get much out of the classroom time.
|1 year 19 weeks ago||Not really, reall error in playing for FG was V Tech's in 4th Q||
Have to politely disagree. Hoke was definitely playing it conservative with three running plays - none of which involved Denard Robinson if I recall and all pretty much designed to keep it in the center of the field. Todd Blackledge in fact predicted the 3rd down play would be a run back to the left after the first two plays headed to the right in order to better center the ball for the FG attempt.
Hoke didn't open up and try to get 10 or 20 yards, just about 5 which he got - a 20 yard line spot + 7 for the placement and 10 for the endzone = 37 yard kick - doable for our kicker. Georgia's head coach error was to not gain any yardage for a kicker whose percentage was very bad from that rang.
The real criticism about game strategy should be aimed at Frank Beamer when V Tech was driving at the end of the 4th Q - he seemed to pull up and played to go into overtime rather than keep pressing and try to score a knockout. When the Wolverines go up 20-17, it looked like there was too much time left - had it been a TD, definitely, but a FG lead looked like V Tech had enough time to come back and score leaving us with a ND UTL situation of only a handful of seconds to come back.
|1 year 20 weeks ago||Defense Was Tough||
The Defense played tough and weathered that 1st half storm. Could have been down 21 points.
Go Blue! Michigan is back!
|1 year 20 weeks ago||Not all doom and gloom for B10 - if one is objective||
Let's look at the games:
1. Wisconsin was very competitive with Oregon and a "typical" mistake cost them the game - the error in not knowing what can be challenged or not and cost them a time out, the fumble after a great long pass and arguably having to go for a FG taking them to 31 was largely due to Ball slipping on the 2nd down play when they were in deep.
2. MSU showed great heart and came back to beat Georgia when it would have been easy for them to cave. Yes, Georgia made mistakes but these were not flukes.
3. OSU lost to Florida, but they were also in that game and frankly playing for an outgoing coach with all of the distractions they did OK. Strange play calling - when early on they were running the ball well and essentially kept Florida off the field for most of the 2nd quarter.
4. Nebraska - looked like Nebraska we played. They had their moments, but are a one dimensional team. When forced to do more and do it consistently they couldn't do it.
5. PSU - seriously distracted and messed up due to the worst college sports scandal of all time. Worse than the worst gambling scandal. Worse than the worst alcohol or adult sex scandal. And they played that way.
It seemed to be the talking point of so many of the commentators that the "B10 is weak". Yet after looking at the games, Three of the games were winnable and MSU did win. OSU and Wisconsin were within one or two plays from being the victors. Nebraska and PSU were the only ways which look out of sorts but frankly they looked that way all season against the better B10 teams.
|1 year 20 weeks ago||Montana was good but never favored at ND||
Joe Montana was a very good college QB at ND, but he was never the favored QB during his time there. He was hurt some of the time but also he somehow ended up behind such players as Rusty Lisch. He had to play his way into the lineup by saving games and when the favored QB in front of him was ineffective.
Now he is their shining example. The Montana of legend is very much a product of his time with Bill Walsh and less of his time at ND.
|1 year 20 weeks ago||Missing the point||
Nocera's background as others have noted is from the business side of things, so he is actually a relative newcomer to the whole general/sports/politics columnist Op/Ed position.
Because of his business background it is not surprising that he'd view things from a business angle. (1) He sees the big schools making money from high profile teams and big money TV contracts. (2) He sees that the teams (CFB and MBB) are not paid. (3) So he concludes that the solution is what he proposes. On the pages of the New York Times, many commentators have pointed out the many limitations of his approach which have also been repeated here.
One aspect he and others have consistent missed is that the problem with the current system isn't just the NCAA and its archaic shamateurism rules but the limitation on what the student athletes can study. They can't actually be students of athletics. They can't actually devote their time and energies into developing their professional potential. The athletic grants and tenders are the only form of major aid given for a non-degree granting concentration or program by universities and colleges. If they schools are allowed to develop the talents of the kids fully we'd cut out a lot of problems and solve many of the issues.
1. By allowing training year round with full professional input and participation, players will have a very realistic understanding of the likelihood of a professional career.
2. By having the best training it would make the relationship more equitable and in line with the type of relationship other students have in the fine arts, drama, and music.
3. The lives of artists, actors and musicians are as short and uncertain as that of any athletes, and YET many schools offer full degrees and even advanced degrees in these fields. Why not performace athletics if there is performance voice, Master of Fine Arts of Master of Dramatic Arts degree?
|1 year 20 weeks ago||Not just this case but other cases||
As much as I love Michigan sports, I don't fault any kid wanting to transfer if the original nature of the understanding has changed. So if Brady Hoke got hired away I'd be all for releasing anyone of his recruits if they request it. I'd hope they listen to what the new coach had to offer, but if they wanted to go, they should.
|1 year 20 weeks ago||Exactly - the BOT have a lot on their minds before FB||
1. PSU needs to sort out the whole presidency issue then AD then the head football coach.
2. If the BOT conducts a nationwide thorough and exhaustive search and lands a coach before the presidency mess is sorted out, it will be a public relations disaster.
3. It would confirm the belief that football was way too important on the PSU campus. It will show the priorities of the BOT are misplaced - they are way too concerned about football and the school as a whole - sort of the whole underlying theme of the whole current scandal.
4. Probably they'll have to run with a bunch of interims while the presidency gets sorted out. Once that is done, look for a rapid series of appointments. It will be one of the new president's earliest actions.
5. All of these "dream coach" names being bandied about like Dungy, etc. - we should know now from our own experience and from the insight revealed in Three and Out that these "dream" coaches aren't going to happen. They are just talk show and internet board fodder.
|1 year 20 weeks ago||Some day someone will go all Curt Flood on this crap||
Some day, someone (maybe like this case) will take the NCAA and the school involved to court - something the legal experts could offer thoughts on. There are many inequities in the relationship:
1. Schools can dictate where the student ends up. Students have little alternatives.
2. Schools can allow the circumstances to change (coaches leave, sports are de-certified as varsity sports) without recourse by the students.
3. Other students are not prevented from transferring or receiving stipends, so this limitation violates the student-athlete concept. Imagine you are a theoretical physics major who comes to Major U to study under Prof. X who is an expert on string theory. During sophomore year, Prof. X leaves to be chair at another school. There is no one here who is committed to string theory and worse the senior prof. taking over your mentorship is anti-string theory experimentalist. There are no limits preventing you from leaving Major U and going to any other school including accepting stipends and scholarships. So why are athlete students limited?
4. There are some prior arguments where players are denied an opportunity to play and who have fought it - maybe an insight here. Schools have always reserved the right of who plays for them. But does that right extend beyond their boundaries? My house, my rules, but can they say my house, my rules for all of your eligibility? There was a pretty good player who sued Northwestern after the team physician declared him ineligible to play. This player was found to have ventricular fibrillation after experiencing cardiac arrest which led to placement of a implanted defibrillator. Northwestern didn't feel he should play any more. (Knapp versus Northwestern University, No. 96-3450, US Court of Appeals, 7th circuit) It is a complex case involving disability law but one of the key arguments which won the case in favor of Northwestern was that while the limitation did prevent the player from playing D1 ball, it didn't prevent him from fulfilling the other aspect of student-athlete, being a student. It is noted that "Northwestern isn't the only place that the player could obtain an education or even play and it is not a general denial of his ability to learn at the college level." So why should any school like UT be able deny anyone who wants to transfer anywhere? Where are the strict constitutional bill of rights crowd?
5. Let's finally admit that for many D1 CFB and MBB players - developing their athletic abilities IS the reason or one of the major reasons they are in school.
|1 year 21 weeks ago||Interesting, not magic; offenses and defense need to be in sync||
There is no single parameter which predicts victory outside of the game score. As others noted, the time of position reflects not just defense but the interaction between defense and offense. Each minute is worth roughly two plays, so a four minute difference is a plus/minus 8 plays - or at least one good drive. What is that worth?
A similar effect is seen in basketball. A number of years ago during the "Bad Boys" era, the Detroit Pistons was one of the top defenses in the NBA but many insightful observers noted a key factor was their deliberate play on offense. Simply using most of the time during each possession limited the opposition's chances. At the risk of stirring up the whole RR good/bad right/wrong issue, it may be that the TOP shows how well the offense and defense are in sync with each philosophically. A defensive minded coach which doesn't mind winning 14-3 or 21-17 wants a defense that is hard to score on. So, ideally the offense should hold on the ball for long drives and rarely turn the ball over. See the New York Giants under Parcells during the Super Bowl run. Their offense was not spectacular but their defense was stifling and in the Super Bowl against the Buffalo Bills, the Giants held the ball for 40 minutes; keeping the high powered Bills attack under Jim Kelly off the field for much of the game.
Hoke's offense under Borges isn't as spectacular but is a good fit with his defense - They are off the field in general quickly and don't give up that many big plays or scores (not perfect but better).
On the other hand if one wants to play a hyperactive offense like the Oregon Ducks, coaches should look not just at their offense but their defense. They take chances and try to create the equivalent of an offensive big play - sending players on run blitzes or slants in hope of "blowing up" a play and creating a really bad down and distance. A riskier defense which might create turnovers, blow up the other teams plays and keep up that hyperactive intense atmosphere is a good fit with that offense; it might give up a big play but if the offense is scoring it is good gamble.
|1 year 21 weeks ago||Incredible ankles||
There was a book by a physicist a few years ago (The Physics of Football) which also noted the tremendous forces at work when runners cut and change directions. Barry Sanders was the example used in the book and he and Denard must have incredibly strong ankle ligaments and be very fit to withstand the sudden stops and shifts. It isn't just a linear 2-3+ G accleration. It is going from +1-2 to 0 and then 2-3 in the opposite direction.
|1 year 21 weeks ago||Reminder of how things are different - not the 1920s||
It is reasonable to conclude that the transfer of Dayne Crist to Kansas is occuring largely if not solely because he will have a better opportunity to be the starting QB on the football team and because he may have a better rapport with the head coach, Charlie Weis.
Clearly playing football and being a starting QB is very important to him and outweighs the other aspects of the schools. Yet, we still have a lot of archaic rules about transferring and eligibility. Let's look at it from another standpoint - what if Dayne Crist wasn't a QB but a theoretical physics major. He goes to ND expecting to study string theory under the famous professor XYZ. After he enrolls he finds that professor XYZ is leaving to be the new chair at another school and the new professor is a string theory critic. No one would find it odd for him to transfer to the new school to continue his studies under professor XYZ.
1. The top players view their sports careers and training just like the students look at their degrees and concentrations.
2. Why should they be penalized for moving to the places they believe (right or wrong) may help them further their sports ambitions.
3. After any leadership change, any school should offer to release its players.
|1 year 21 weeks ago||Wanted - something with Brian Kelly and Dantonio||
Both of them seem to have a lot of usable images.
|1 year 21 weeks ago||Very nice!||
Great choice of images and smooth fusion. Show it to a non-football fan, and they'll probably think it is an odd Christmas card from some guy who is cat crazy. Awesome!
|1 year 21 weeks ago||Did they correct this in future editions?||
In the first printing version, on page 318, DR's epic (instant high light run for 87 yards and a TD) against Notre Dame is listed as starting from the Notre Dame 13 and not the UM 13.
Small error - but it immediately stood out for those of us who watched the game. ? Will this be flagged and corrected in future editions?
|1 year 21 weeks ago||Tantalizing bits - maybe a question of access and emphasis||
JUB's comments about the defense are interesting; answers some questions but stirs up more. It is notable that he stressed that he was really originally planning to be attached for a few months and most importantly didn't see ahead of time that problems with the defensive side would become a major story line.
It sounds like he pretty much hung around RR and didn't get much rapport with the defensive coaches. Nor was he putting that much effort into that part of the story. As fans and with hindsight, we all have questions in our minds about how the defense was prepared, what were the game plans, how were personnel package decisions made, etc. All of the fine details and minutia of each game would be fascinating to us. But JUB is just one person, and although he had the proverbial "total access" he probably hung around the HC and followed the hot story for general fans - the new HC and his adjustment and the amazing run on offense. Only pretty serious FB fans want to hear about the arguments and debates about when to blitz, and who should be in what package.
Ultimately the book as much as we as UM fans may think otherwise, the book's general appeal isn't about football alone. Were it a pure football book, we'd hear a lot more about game plans, analysis, post-mortem discussions, and personnel decisions - who moved up and down. Rather the theme was what happened to a guy who finally got the dream job in his profession but walked into a situation where there are a lot of legacy traditions and various power bases; he didn't handle that well or wasn't given a fair chance (your choice) and the job ended up being a nightmare.
Maybe this will be covered in the future parts, but how much did the editors help shape the focus on the book - less pure football and more about dream job gone bad and dealing with existing legacies and traditions?
Now that it is an established story line, anyone covering RR out in Arizona probably will have "how well does the defense play" on the top three topics to watch for in the upcoming season.
Enjoy it - until Carr, Moeller, Miles, Martin, Brandon, MSC, or RR write their version, this is what we got. Like other UM notables, there isn't any other work out there that addresses such issues in this depth. It would be great to learn about what happened during all of the Notre Dame coaching changes. Or what happened at Alabama during the Shula-Price-Saban transition or exactly why Saban left LSU or the Nebraska Callaghan-Solich-Pelini transition. Or the story behind the USC-UT Lane Kifflin journey.
|1 year 22 weeks ago||Congratulations!||
1. Like the art style - good clean line but still cartoony which is meant as a compliment. Tangential but relevant to cartooning: The earlier post comparing with Bill Watterson is an awesome compliment. If you come close to that level of humor, insight and art, it will be terrific. And yes, he was from that state down south and the best collection of cartoon art is down at that institution. Worth a look if you want to see actual Calvin and Hobbes original panels and also the work of greats such a Milton Caniff (Terry and the Pirates), Hal Foster(Prince Valiant), Chester Gould (Dick Tracy) among many others.
2. Great topic and perfect for the web. Since the downfall of the traditional papers, many cartoonists are struggling to find a place. A strip like Nancy under Ernie Bushmiller used to be circulated nationally over hundreds of large papers. Today, most papers don't run anything or a really strip down version of a comic page.
|1 year 22 weeks ago||Survey: music, score board, food||
As an old fogey (far side of 50) I understand the students and the band want to hear music they like - so I understand they want to play what is popular now. But music is not written or created in a vacuum, nor are music groups. A classic symphony is assembled to ideally perform classical music so the instrument composition reflects this. A marching band was originally created to play marching music - an civilian offshoot of martial music. So it is far from ideal to play music created to be played by electric guitar or synthesizer. If the Marching Band and the music directors insist on playing contemporary hits (esp. rap and such) then they'll have to work on their arrangements and figure out how to get the theme/melody out from a marching band. It wouldn't hurt once a year to play something from Sousa.
The piped in music needs to be controlled carefully - it is actually against the rules to continue to play music when the game resumes. The current operator seems to cut it very close - during the Nebraska and OSU game, the music should cut off once the teams break huddle but there wer a few times, it wasn't and was still on during a quick snap. This could be flagged and is completely preventable.
The scoreboard is huge but the operators still don't stats and other info regularly. With so many TV commercial breaks, just flashing it up for 15-30 seconds shouldn't be that difficult.
Food is never going to be "great" and hot dogs, burgers, fries and such will always dominate. The power that be probably worry more about sanitation and safety (from fires, scalds and burns) than actual taste.
|1 year 22 weeks ago||One perspective, and a different one||
The review cited hits one of the main points that many people hoped would be answered (even partially) by the book - why the defense performed badly and for so long. Bacon gives one possible explanation and it probably plays a role but not the whole story. RR would have liked to have Casteel on board, but because of money and perhaps Casteel thought he had a good chance as the next HC at WVU, it didn't happen. As the reviewer and many others noted, where Bacon's account weakens is what happened next with Shafer and Robinson. He probably was at attendance at some meetings and probably caught a sense (even as a fan) of what the team was trying to do on the defensive side to shore things up. We really don't hear much of it. Which leads to the broader problem with the book - again many others have noted this: the incomplete nature of the information. We don't really hear from Carr, Brandon, Robinson, Shafer, Martin, etc. We don't really know what they thought or what over moves were happening. Maybe Bacon did know more - a lot more but chose not to write it. Maybe this was all he knew. Remember he took on the task from a particular point of view - inside RR's team of coaches.
Sometimes it takes decades for the main details to come out. Sometimes we (the public) never really know.
1. An unique insider view.
2. Humanizes the time under RR. He actually comes across better than his general public relations image - no one is going to forget the record, but it shows that he wasn't insensitive to the losses and definitely hurt him a lot. It is worth remembering that while the typical super fan may be down in the dumps after a bad loss, he hurt just as much if not more because we all had our "real" lives to go back to whereas this was his real life and it turned from a dream to a nightmare.
3. Actually an interesting book for non-FB fans - shows what can happen when one steps into a job with a long historical legacy and a lot of the "old hands" still around. A practical lesson for anyone coming as an outsider. Were there people against RR from the beginning? Probably but there were plenty of missteps as well on his part: bad advice, bad decisions, and trusting too much the wrong people. Maybe it was the way Bacon chose to portrayl him but he comes across as surprisingly naive in many of his dealings. We'll get to see if he learned anything from his time at Arizona.
Less good parts:
1. Inside view - but either heavily self-edited or lacking in crucial details (e.g. a good discussion of the whole defense situation)
2. Missing information and details from other major players - granted this was after all from the POV of someone "embedded" with RR's coaches.
3. After this book, we'll probably never see another one like this for decades unless Moeller, Carr, Brandon or RR write something. After Season on the Brink came out, it altered how these books were perceived. It showed the negative side and not the usual hagiography, but it also made future subjects very wary and cautious.
|1 year 22 weeks ago||Suggest you give the ticket dept a call on Monday||
Not sure if the PSD mailing is staggered depending on the seats, so you might take that into account. I live in Washtenaw County so maybe it is mail issue, but I got mine weeks ago. In fact there was an error in how they calculated some stuff and they had to issue a second note - got a phone call from them about this - (this was for some chair back seats). Hope this helps.
It might actually be better to try to pay on-line or if the deadline allows, wait until after the Christmas mail surge.
|1 year 22 weeks ago||Yes, very restrained||
Until right at the end, if you didn't already know you wouldn't have realized that this color commentary guy's son was the QB for Michigan.
Lots of other observations:
1. Agreed with the observation that there were a lot of big players on the team.
2. The defense was pretty aggressive. It is easy to forget that how good the defense was then. Yes, the game was very close but they only gave up 16 points.
3. Ran a lot of two TE sets.
4. Forgot how big Ryan Leaf was. He was as tall if not taller than his OL.
|1 year 22 weeks ago||Why it should be of interest to all D1 FB fans||
The DII and DIII have a true playoff system. This year's run by Wayne State is of particular interest because they just got into the system and have played all of their playoff games on the road. It shows that the current combination of a beauty contest - reputation based ranking system has a lot of flaws.
It also shows that why the system is so hard to change. All of these schools and games are smaller with lesser budgets so the money involved is not huge. No one is opposing the playoff at these levels because the parties have rough parity and the amounts of money involved are small.
|1 year 23 weeks ago||Someone should check his neck||
Adding to the B5 references, someone should check out the commish's neck - it might explain a lot of weird decisions.
|1 year 24 weeks ago||But that would be the ultimate road trip!||
Probably some students at UConn or Rutgers will try to hit all of the "Big East" stadia during their undergraduate years.
|1 year 24 weeks ago||A B5 reference and a great quote about 24/7 coverage||
Thanks for the B5 reference. Still the only show to come close to real physics in outer space.
The 24/7 coverage of nearly all sports and the complete lack of distinction between reportage and opinion makes this sort of headline hunting gotcha coverage happen. Too many so-called reporters hoping to become a personality and too few really interested in getting the facts - they jump right to "their take."
MGoblog is sort of a hybrid. It clearly has a distinct point of view (pro-Wolverines) but so far Brian and others have managed to keep to the notion that we should to find out what the facts are. We can argue about why the game was won or lost, but let's be sure we got the stats and play-by-play right.
|1 year 24 weeks ago||Revelations||
Three and Out is an interesting book. Not ideal but probably as close we can expect short of a tell-all by RR or Lloyd Carr (don't hold your breath on either one). Your summary is excellent and hits most of the major points.
Most interesting are what the little details implied:
1. As you note - MSC open rejection of Martin's stipulation to RR about keeping the existing coaching staff showed that she understood better how these coaching changes are done - not great but better than Martin. It is rare for the past group of assistants to be kept on en masse.
2. In the book when asked to list who would be a good future UM coach, Martin's first choice was Tony Dungy. While, Dungy is clearly an admirable figure in football and very successful in the NFL as well as coming from Michigan, there has never been any indication that he wanted to return to coaching let alone college football. This is another example that Martin really had only a faint feel for what was happening in college football over the past 10-15 years. It reminds me of the scene in the Simpsons when Montgomery Burns tries to create a team of ringers to win a softball game. ("Homer at Bat": Burns wants Honus Wagner on third, Cap Anson on first and 'Three Fingers' Brown at his lead pitcher - all long dead)
3. The athletic department is pretty much run as a nearly independent entity so long as there is no trouble. There is a lot of free reign given to it - probably a legacy of Bo's tenure as AD. When the president had to step in, it was a very bad sign of how messed up things were.
4. As a fan and not a rabid one (I wouldn't go out of my way to go to a M-club meeting or to hear the HC speak at lunch) it was still surprising to hear that RR didn't reach out to the super fans until literally the 11th hour. Many other fans probably assumed as I did that he was making the rounds and just didn't click.
5. There is strangely little said about the weaknesses on defense. What did RR really thick was happening? What did he do with Greg Robinson to help improve things? There is very little discussion about this key aspect of his time here. ? Does Bacon's silence on this matter reflect a lack of information, that it was thought too dry and technical, or was it aimed at the players. There is a sense that Bacon feels badly for RR as a person who got what we wanted in life and found that rather than being a dream it was a nightmare. The other sense was that he felt a lot sympathy for the players who were often just as likely to the target of the same vitriol aimed at RR.
An interesting book and worth your time.
|1 year 24 weeks ago||Nebraska when Bo Pelini took over ?||
This might have been covered in a diary about defense earlier. I'm sorry but I don't recall the exact reference, but the highlights were: Bo Pelini took Nebraska from the very low end of the defensive ranks to the upper end (if I recall, a top 3 team by one of the defensive criteria), but it was also noted that the sudden rise occured with the emergence of Ndamukong Suh as a defensive force.
What makes Mattison's work here so impressive is that we don't have anyone on defense who has developed into a theoretical top 3 NFL draft choice.
|1 year 24 weeks ago||Interesting metric and some suggestions||
Thanks for a great entry. I really enjoy reading them.
Two thoughts and I apologize if you had addressed them earlier in a previous post.
1. Plays not made are also important but are much harder to quantify. In the OSU game everyone saw that Posey was wide open at the end and had Braxton Miller not overthrown him he probably would have scored leaving the Wolverines with about 1:30 to win the game. Assuming they would start from the 20 they would have to get down at least under the OSU 30 to have a confident field goal attempt. Certainly not impossible and after the ND game UTL we know that miracles do happen. But that single play would have change the possible outcome from a high UM probability to a pretty good OSU probability. Those aren't factored in. Plays not made are always going to be tough. In the 1997-1998 Rose Bowl Charles Woodson was within a hair's breadth of sacking Ryan Leaf several times but it didn't happen. Had that happened the game wouldn't have been as close. Is it possible for you run a simulation of what the odds would be if Posey had scored? If you are familiar with computer chess programs look at Fritz (by Chessbase) it provides a similar analysis of who is "ahead" in the game and one can see graphically in much the same way you depict where the critical turning point occured. It has one huge advantage in that it can analyze the alternative lines of play.
2. Which leads to the second point and suggestion. Others have also noted that time and situation affect the effect of any individual play. Any single play doesn't exist in isolation. Failing to gain yardage on 2nd down leading to 3rd and long is a common example. What I'm curious is about is whether your analysis can shed light on the relative value of points and leads during the game. In the Nebraska and OSU games the visitors scored first but they did so very early on the game. So one could surmise that a +7 score for a team with 50 some minutes of time isn't crucial. Being +1 with 0:30 might be conclusive unless the ball is within easy field goal range for your opponent. The thought occurred that it might be another way of looking at how well a defense plays. A great defensive team could hold a small +lead over a longer period of time than a poor one. In traditional football terms, the great defense needs only to be ahead to win most of the time and not two scores or three scores. Is that calculable? I suspect this season our defense would do well. We took the lead in the 3rd quarter and while OSU did score another 10 points, we never trailed.
Again a great diary and hope that you'll keep it going!
|1 year 24 weeks ago||Good realistic points||
The new athletic director was brought with several specific goals in mind: getting football back on track, maintaining and ideally expanding support of the UM in general via athletics, and finally making sure the costly stadium improvements will be paid for. Remember that after the new stadium was built we were in the beginning of the economic downturn and about 25% of the pricey suites were not leased out. The big companies in SE Michigan in the auto business and related industries simply weren’t in any position to publically lease out suites.
I like your first paragraph where you address this duplicity issue and would like to expand on it. David Brandon clearly is pretty good at the PR side of the job but he can’t please everyone. He was brought in part because of this expertise and his understanding about how to produce a product and manage a brand which caters to a mass audience. The public has and deserves some expectations of transparency but a lot of dealings cannot be conducted in public. To expect anyone in higher administration to tell anybody and everybody what is happening is simply unrealistic. The people who demand that degree of openness aren’t living in this world or any real practical world. Businesses of all sorts are conducted that way every day. I’m not hiding behind the “everybody does it” excuse. No one is actively tricking or scamming someone. All of the parties involved in the coaching firing and hiring are adults.
It is just the reality that until something is firmly agreed upon, it isn’t anyone’s business. For example, at this moment there are probably a lot of different vendors bidding for contracts with the UM to supply services and goods at the stadium or to license products. None of those firms want to have their discussions aired publically until a contract is signed. As the AD, Brandon’s duty is not to reveal financial or other aspects which could affect Michigan’s position in these negotiations. I know many people still yearn for some messianic Papa Smurf father figure character who reputedly never tells a lie and whose judgment is unerring and full of pithy wisdom, but as we’ve seen in a lot of the sports scandals of 2011, that sort of being exists only in fiction.
It is pretty funny to me to look back on music which was once deemed scandalous and revolutionary. Look up on Youtube the performances of the early rock and roll bands of the late 1950’s and early 1960’s. Their hair considered horribly long, would today be pretty much mainstream. Many wore suits and ties for gosh sakes and not in an ironic retro hipster way. Like you I’m on the far side of 50 and hope to live long enough to see what comes after rap music. I hope to witness the young people of today grow up to grouse and yell at their kids who are listening to the latest music trend, and tell them about “real music like Tupac and P Diddy.” I will be coughing up a lung with laughter.
Coach Rodriguez seems like a good guy. He is probably a terrific after dinner speaker and probably a good guy to hang out with and shoot the breeze. He just didn’t work out here due to many possible reasons. The most of important of which is that he didn’t win enough games. The other things (NCAA investigation – bogus or not, not chumming up to the alumni groups, rough patches with the central administration) did all contribute but not winning enough finished him. If he were winning 9-10 games per year those other factors would have been largely forgiven and sanded smooth. He has another chance and I hope he does well. It will be interesting to see if both on and off the field he carries the lessons from his Ann Arbor days.
Football is a zero sum game. For every game won, some team had to lose. For every 10-2 coach there are coaches who cumulatively have lost 10 games. Coach Hoke and his staff did very well but remember in the future, if and when they hit a bad patch and end up with a less than stellar season, they are fundamentally the same nice people they are today.
|1 year 25 weeks ago||"Parasites" is unfair .... to parasites and bowl games.||
To say the bowls is unfair to parasites and bowl games.
Both serve useful functions.
Parasites can take down the mightiest of creatures so long as there are enough of them. The social analogy would be corruption. Enough corruption ultimately collapses any system even a very wealthy one.
Bowl games are a legacy of the early years of college football. It helped to nuture and develop the sport and fan interest. But now it is like a vestigial tail that won't go away. Should there be a playoff? Yes. Are the bowl committees standing the way of a playoff? Yes. An anarchronistic remnant of football's evolutionary past, but not a parasite.
|1 year 25 weeks ago||Suggest instead of Tall Tales divsion||
Why not stick with the pattern? One division is Myths and the other is Fables.
|1 year 25 weeks ago||A sign of the times||
Too many coaches believe the hype that "big time" college coaches are now "stars" and want to be treated that way. Sticking around in one place and building up a lot of tradition and greating a legacy may not interest them. On the other hand... maybe they have good reason to jump when they can. As someone on the far side of 50 years of age, I may have a different perspective than someone who is young and just starting out on their career.
It is actually understandable why many would jump for the cash and try to make a huge payday deal when they can. Look at Brady Hoke's own history. He went from being an aspiring Secret Service agent (when Ronald Reagan was shot) to grad assistant and then a coach at a small school, a bigger school and even bigger school before ultimately landing his dream job here.
How many other grad assistants were in this same situation with Michigan ties who didn't have his pathway here? There are only 100 some D1 HC jobs. It is easier to get a neurosurgery job, at least in terms of sheer number of possible openings.
How many fellow coaches has he seen who ended up at the end out of coaching and having dragged their families around the coaching world hoping to hook up with the guy who could get him to his next job and the next rung up? Guys like Rich Rod, Brady and others know what they are getting into and so do their spouses. I do feel a lot of sympathy for the kids (like Rich Rod's kids who were hauled out in front of another press conference last week).
It is not an easy life. Guys like him, Rich Rod, and all of the others deserve some recognition for their sheer determination. Not everyone ends up as well as Coach Borges and Mattison who did this journey and at some point must have had HC ambitions as well. They made peace with their dreams and professional lives and I think accept that they'll be lifelong assistants. But I'm sure when they sit down and talk over the past and look at the old staff photos from all of their stops they'll have a list of many guys who also were hooked on football but who didn't have the breaks, luck and skill they had and so ended up with not much to show for all of their years in football.
So Edsall may have made a bad choice in some ways and it may be the end of his career as a football HC, but for his family and their financial security it may have been a great decision.
|1 year 25 weeks ago||One more step closer to a true D1 playoff||
We shouldn't be surprised anymore that many coaches will say (and sadly do) nearly anything if they believe it would help their personal careers, their immediate team, and lastly their conference. The days of Bo sincerely stating that his primary goal each year was winning the Big Ten are long gone. One might as well be talking about the days when the earth was still cooling and there was only one continent and one conference, the Pangean Football League.
Sadly what will finally push this over will be politics. This year already saw two US senators interject themselves into whether one school or another (West Virginia and Louisville - two schools which are not even regularly mentioned in any dicussion of the MNC) would included in some conference re-alignment. The scenario will be some school with huge money PAC donors will have a good team and they'll get screwed by the current BCS scenario. Those money interests will squawk to their political interests in Washington which will threaten the NCAA with some interstate commerce restraint of trade and monopoly investigation - then we'll finally see some action for a true D1 playoff like what is done for D2 and D3.
|1 year 25 weeks ago||Knight's is probably better for steak but not the same ambience||
Your point is well taken about the Chop House which is pricier, but the aim isn't the best value for your steak dinner dollar. It is about ambience and trying to impress the recruits.
Many locals prefer Knight's which is usually crowded and more of a family atmosphere for a post-game steak. You may not be able to get seated until late however due to the crowds. And if Brady Hoke showed up with a gaggle of recruits he'd probably couldn't do much socializing with them because there would be so many people coming up to congratulate him or ask for autographs or photos.
He might be also recruiting other people besides players. Maybe he is looking to add to his staff. Although it would seem unlikely he'd mention it if it weren't just future possible players.
|1 year 25 weeks ago||? Didn't this happen to Mamie Eisenhower and Augusta Golf?||
Didn't something close to this happen at Augusta National Golf? Mamie Eisennower would play on the course every now and then when Ike was president. Later after he died no one had the nerve to tell her, that women independently couldn't be members.
|1 year 26 weeks ago||A lot of future post material||
Good for Coach RR!
I wish him well. While he didn't bring us what many had hoped, he did bring in some great players - such as Denard Robinson and many of the younger players who look pretty good right now (with the benefit of great coaching). The two ND victories and that crazy game with Illinois sort of summed his time with us for me. Amazing offense, no defense.
A lot of future post material....
1. Possible UM versus ASU matchups (Rose Bowl and elsewhere)
2. ASU versus Big Ten.
3. Following his progress out there and his relationships with the media, alumni and university.
4. The type of staff he assembles. It will be interesting to see who he gets for DC and what type of defense he runs. Will his defense be better than what he took over?
5. Will his ASU teams reflect his experiences here?
6. There are now two more teams to follow - Ron English and Mike Hart at EMU and RR at ASU.
|1 year 26 weeks ago||Different skills and different training||
The two guys share only two aspects in common: both play QB and both were acclaimed as being runners.
The work Denard Robinson obviously put in between Freshman and Sophmore year really paid off. He came in knowing the playbook better and looking more sharp and decisive. The next step of becoming a better passer is trickier but also doable. His mechanics are basically good. He doesn't have a weird low motion or side arm delivery. He just isn't that comfortable making that split second read of "whose going to be open 15-20 yards downfield when the ball gets there" yet.
Martinez is very elusive and has a good acceleration. His burst when he decides to keep it and head up fied is deceptive. His ball fake is excellent - but curiously he kept it too often to be credible. Yes, he can't pass well due to a terrible motion which starts below his waist and then ends up in a three quarters near side arm motion. I wonder if he was a short stop or second baseman once. It may be in the current Nebraska offense, he has never been challenged to improve. He probably spends half of each practice or more reinforcing the timing on the various option plays.
It will be interesting to see the Senior version of Denard Robinson.
|1 year 26 weeks ago||Puts to rest one notion||
After the Nebraska game and again hearing it directly from the players, especially on defense, it should be clear that the new coaching staff have a tremendous positive. What we are seeing on the field was always possible but the new team of Hoke, Borges and Mattison really brought it out.
The team is actually improving as the season progresses.
|1 year 26 weeks ago||Breaking Bad||
To complete the thought, he'll need to find that kid who was kicked off the team but is still hanging around PSU to help him with the lab. He already knows several lawyers with quasi-shady contacts.
|1 year 26 weeks ago||Interesting point of view, but POV too anecdotal||
To be fair to the poster, one would expect as a team gains more experience, gets physically more mature and stronger, parts of the defense should be expected to improve. A sophomore should be better than the freshman. The junior should be better than the sophmore and the senior should be better than the junior. This is seen in many individual sports so long as the player doesn't plateau. Each year the personal best times/performances improves.
Players with an extra RS year should take that one step further. So it is not unreasonable to expect if a team starts a lot of freshmen and sophomores to see it improve the following two years.
But as others have also noted, the degree of improvement is much greater than what can be rationally expected to be attributable to this natural "aging and maturing" effect.
Likewise, it is a fair statement that some of our opposition may have taken a step backwards compared to past years. All of the numbers aren't in, but the improvement overall in terms of scoring, yards yielded and relative rank in the league and the whole of D1 can't be laid to this process. Otherwise we should see a cycling of defenses every few years as teams age and mature to their peaks. We don't see that typically happening - because coaching has an effect.
|1 year 27 weeks ago||Exactly||
It is always good to see smarter and better stats used in sports, but game context has to matter.
Why not analyze going for 4th down in the same "red zone" fashion as the regular offense?
The risk of turning over the ball on 4th down when there is at least 50 yards to your own goal line probably makes sense if your defense is pretty good. Most teams can't reliably drive 50 yards every time. Game context - time remaining, score and situation (OT) clearly all can affect these calculations.
|1 year 27 weeks ago||Perspective about Zook||
It is interesting that despite all that has happened the "fire Ron Zook" movement isn't that strong. To his credit he does have victories over every Big Ten team except for Nebraska. But despite having had individual stars on both offense and defense he hasn't been able to lead Illinois to the next tier. But evidently it is good enough for Illinois.
This was a great game for the defense and the most complete.
The past 3 years were tough on the kids, and this year's success even it ends up at 8-4 shows that the effort was there - they just needed better coaching.
|1 year 27 weeks ago||Evil flourishes when good men do nothing||
"Evil flourishes when good men do nothing"
This quote is variously attributed to Edmund Burke or Tolstoy but sums up the situation.
1. What is charged in Happy Valley in the Penn State locker room and elsewhere on campus was evil, not bad, not a violation of some NCAA rule, but evil.
2. Joe Paterno began his career aiming to do good and arguably did a lot of good.
3. But when he came up against evil, he didn't act the way we all hoped he would - and fight to protect that one particular kid and ultimately other kids from this monstrosity which lived in his own professional house.
As many noted, Paterno isn't the evil party here. But he isn't the innocent bystander many PSU students and others would like to cling to. People can do good and people can also make mistakes. Unfortunately in this case, Coach Paterno could have and should have done much more and didn't. During a long career filled with many good deeds, he made one very bad horrific mistake.
We won't see the end of this for a long time - questions about McCreary's duty and obligations, questions about what the Board of Trustees knew in the past, questions about how the local police handled things.
|1 year 28 weeks ago||OC and DC at press conferences||
The sky might collapse and the Wolverines might end the season at 7-5 or the same magic could strike them like early in the season and they could close out at 10-2.
Regardless, these two coordinators show a lot of skill in how they handle their press conferences. Their video should be shown as examples to younger coaches on how to relate with the press and fans. Have to address obvious questions and concerns (e.g. rollout at the goal line) and not duck questions. No dumping on the kids. No blaming all on bad referring.
|1 year 28 weeks ago||a combination of economics and knowledge||
Football is such a part of our culture that stopping it won't work. But until recently the medical understanding of concussion and the cumulative effects were not well understood or appreciated.
We now know that the minor hit that the kid "shakes off" may actually be the worst hit - it sets him up for a devestating second hit, but leaves him seemingly ok so he can carry on playing. This is why sometimes, it may seem odd why a player is being held out when he got up and walked off the field and is seen on the sidelines wandering around. His mucsles and joints maybe ready but his brain is inflammed and at its most vulnerable state. So give credit the coaches and staff when they hold a kid out and yet from the stands the kid seems OK; they are actually trying to help save the kid from a horrible second hit injury.
As it was noted on the same page, helmets for non-professionals have to be durable enough to last years of service, so something that completely crumples away probably won't work. Single game use gear probably isn't economically practical.
Even if we have better gear, other issues are player behavior (see the previous cited article on flagrant fouls resutling in eye and testicle loss) and player acceptance. How many players would wear gear that increases their protection if it might limit their flexibility and mobility? Would a TE or WR accept a less mobile neck and uppper body if that gear protected their head and neck better but results in a harder time getting around to catch a ball? One would think safety comes first, but look carefully at the NFL players this Sunday. Look at their gear - look at how stripped down the pads are on many of the so-called skilled position players. They are already making this tradeoff - no thigh pads, no hip pads, minimal size shoulder pads.
|1 year 28 weeks ago||Too simple an answer to a complex issue||
Since this issue is of professional interest, here is some background.
Helmets are a legacy piece of equipment. Leather was the one durable, cleanable, and practical material of its day to create some form of protection. This was back in the day when kids were literally splitting their scalps and skulls open during games and dying from their "cracked skulls". The Forward Pass, 7 men on the line of scrimmage, and no player heading towards the line of scrimmage before the snap are all other examples designed to make the game safer and save lives.
There are two organizations which set standards for helmets: ASTM (formerly American Society for Testing and Materials ) and NOCSSAE (National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment). Their testing standards are pretty basic and resemble the drop test or weight pendulum tests for overall rigidity and resilience. The modern understanding about the risks of concussion, neck flexion protection and such are all pretty much unregulated. Likewise most of the other equipment commonly used like shoulder pads, hip pads and other forms of pads are basically not regulated. There are no published standards. The so-called flak jackets or rib protectors for example are not subject to any standardized testing. Unless they are actually designed to stop bullets or flying metal (e.g. military or security use specifications) they are all unproven. This issue comes up when a kid comes in and has only one working kidney. Is it safe for that kid to play? Does wearing one of these so-called "kidney pads" help? Or does it hinder by giving a false sense of security? Protective cups are also unregulated - so this question comes up also with kids with only one testicle. Statisitically research through trauma databases and other large pooled records show that actually losing a kidney or testicle from actual play (not other goofing around) is very low but not zero. Every decade or so a kid will be hit just right and fracture the kidney. Studies from other sports like Australian Rules football or rugby do show some differences but it isn't all happiness and rainbows. See Lawson JS et al. Medical Journal of Australia, "Catastrophic injuries to the eyes and testicles in footballers." vol. 163: 242-244, 1995. It notes over a 16 year period of time that 15 players lost 90-100% of vision in one eye, and 14 had major testicle injuries with 11 losing a testicle. Direct deliberate actions (flagrant fouls) like eye gouging, kicks and such were a significant cause.
Finally in other sports, soccer does have standards for shin guards, so while there is plenty of controversial over hacking, faking and diving, for the most part the protective benefits are not in dispute.
|1 year 28 weeks ago||Forced to agree with Chris Spielman - conventional wisdom right?||
Coach Hoke and his staff, notably Mattison and Borges have done a terrific job. The defense is palpably better and even in the games we lost, the defense kept the team in the game so that it was theoretically winnable right to the end. On offense the emergence of a glimmer of running game outside of Denard Robinson is a great sign.
Having said that it was puzzling to see the final set of plays. With first down and goal to go from the Iowa 3, we ran four straight pass plays with no roll out action. I understand that with no time outs, a sack or being tackled in bounds could risk running out of time, so for the 2nd and 3rd down plays it made sense to call a straight pass play.
But especially on the 4th down play when the clock is essentially turned off, why not roll out Denard Robinson to the wide side, his right side, with a run and pass option? It seems conventional and obvious, I agree, but it is rational. He is not a great passer, but he is a superb open field runner. Once he takes a strong move to the wide side, it forces the defense into a tough situation - stay with the receiver or move up to support against him. Remember it was only 3 yards and with time not a factor - we either score or game over, it seems a rational call. A throw back screen or throw back against the grain would also be possible. The TV color commentator Chris Spielman mentioned this and it seemed like a reasonable choice. With a conventional QB of average mobility, not having him try to run makes sense, but with a once in a generation broken field genius, it seems that the team wasn't really taking advantage of Robinson's strengths.
Perhaps Brian or Heiko could ask this at the press conference.
Please don't take as an attack on the staff because it has been a great season and the quality of play has been very high and the new staff clearly has been a positive factor. But in this case, it is a curious situation where maybe conventional wisdom may be correct.
|1 year 29 weeks ago||Does this ever work out? Hope it works out. Feel bad for him.||
I really hope it works out for him but he is making a poor choice.
There are many examples of someone who transfers and does well and ends up in the NFL: Cam Newton, Randy Moss, Ryan Mallet, Troy Aikman, Glenn Davis...but they are mostly really good QBs or other skill players with clear cut talent. ? Any DBs ever make this type of jump?
With the way teams play multiple WR sets, there are not just 4 DB slots but actually 6 or 7 spots: nickel, dime and first sub.
Did he think he wasn't in the top 6 DBs? WIth Kovacs going down and uncertain when he'd be back, he should expect to see some playing time.
Finally, this is really where coaching and advisors can only do so much. I hope that most of the team has a realistic understanding of the likelihood of playing pro ball. A Michigan degree with networking with Michigan alumni is worth a lot.
|1 year 29 weeks ago||These guys are terrific||
I know that a lot of this stuff is just coach speak but I love these coordinator press conferences.
"He can run and catch"
Just great stuff.
"Sack the QB"
|1 year 29 weeks ago||Another small factual error otherwise pretty good book||
Just finished "Three and Out" and it is worth reading. It isn't "Season on the Brink", "Education of a Coach" or "Our Boys" nor is it "Friday Night Lights", but is pretty interesting.
There is one small factual error which die hard Michigan falls should catch. On page 318 in the chapter "Eleven as One", the brilliant run of DR against Notre Dame in 2010 is described - but erroneously describes him as starting from the IRISH 13. He was on the MICHIGAN 13 - allowing him to make that 87 yard burst for a TD.
For now this is the closest most of us will come to ever knowing what happened behind the scenes. Unless Martin, Brandon, Coleman or Carr write about this time in the future, we may never know much more.
The book should be read by anyone who is stepping into a large managerial job laden with tradition and legacies. Developing relationships with the many factions and powers is part of that job.
Winning more and winning more against certain teams would have probably saved RR. But if he had a better relationship with the various power groups, he probably would have gotten another year.
Doubt very much that we'd ever see something like this come out of other FB powers. Does anyone for a nanosecond believe we'll ever learn anything close to the truth about Tresslgate?
|1 year 29 weeks ago||jeb pack - what loud really means||
When the public announcer has to flash a warning that the flyover will be really loud and that the audience might want to take precautions it is quite a statement in a football stadium like the Big House. I was 90 rows up and the jet 'whoosh' was distinctly and loudly clear.
The jetpack by the way is very neat but not that practical - it can only do these short hops - not enough fuel capacity for long flights. But it does have a long complex history - including murder.
|1 year 29 weeks ago||Reporting a story and not being part of a story||
This is a tricky line.
It may well be that he heard something that RR was planning to say that caused his own internal warning alarm to go off and scream silently "Don't say that!". But if he had stepped in and influenced RR (1) he might not have prevented things and (2) would have completely changed the dynamic of their relationship. He would have become a media advisor rather than a member of the media. Sometimes crossing the line is necessary - is it more important to cover a story or save a life. Would you keep recording someone who is in the act of falling from a burning building or would you help pull the person to safety? The former action might win the Pulitzer prize but the latter is undoubtedly the right thing to do.
This line is very confusing in sports because the so called sports media actually do both. Look at the typical football show. The on-camera people show highlights, report the scores and give analysis but also interject themselves into the story by calling for personnel changes, asking for coaches or players to apologize or explain themselves or offering opinion on what should be done rather than limiting their actions to reporting on what happened.
The old print media differentiated between reporters and columnists or opinion writers. These are all blurred together.
I've read through most of the new book and it seems clear that Bacon does like RR as a person and actually feels a bit sorry for him. RR is one of the few people who actually had his lifelong dream come true, only to see it blow up in his face. He also makes it very clear how nasty many college coaching jobs can be.
|1 year 31 weeks ago||DG and DR - good rational thoughts.||
Thank you for the considered and rational response. DG is OK given he has only seen spot action but he is not a superb passer, yet. He is tall enough and strong enough that if he develops good mechanics he could be great passer especially on long throws. DG is not now however a great QB yet - and the system of plays with multiple receiver options at different depths and position on the field is still hard for him.
DR is an amazing player and a fantastic open field runner. Obviously he is not a ideal pure passer who calmly check downs the tree of possible receivers like a seasoned NFL QB. His passing success must be set up by effective running (ideally by someone other than DR).
Still, this loss was far better than last year's defeat and if it was a possible to find a positive it was actually a game that with a few breaks could have gone the Wolverine's way.
|1 year 31 weeks ago||A loss but strangely had its positive aspects||
It was a tough loss, but strange to admit, unless other losses in the Big Ten where the Wolverines were clearly overmatched, they were very competitive and arguably played well enough that barring a few plays, they could have been the winners. Don't have that sense of unease about a collapse like last year.
I know someone might bring up that old saying, close only matters in horseshoes and hand grenades, but in this case, it matters a lot. The team didn't fold up and stayed active. We'll now see if they bounce back sharp and hard in the Purdue game.
|1 year 32 weeks ago||subjects for UFR||
1. What do you think the coaching staff saw that made them call a lot of inside runs for DR?
2. What is being done in the 2nd half by defense - they seem to really clamp down in the 3rd quarter.
|1 year 32 weeks ago||A show before its time||
MST3k's mixture of adulation, snarking, and clever comebacks was just a bit ahead of its time. At some point, someone could do something similar but not with movies, but with sports related video - like training films, clips from games, press conferences, etc.
Joel, Mike Nelson, the bots (especially Tom Servo and Crow T Robot) are all out there at Rifftrax and Cinema Titanic.
|1 year 33 weeks ago||Saying all the right things||
Maybe it is the fact that both coaches have been around a long time and so have a deep well of coach-speak to draw upon but both really having been saying things which only gives confidence to the general public.
Borges willingness to adapt to the personnel he has and to acknowledge that some of his preferred plays may not work with his existing team is very refreshing. Likewise Mattison seems like an inspiring guy and has really improved the defense and its confidence.
Interestingly, neither of these guys seem likely to bolt if the team really become successful (e.g. 9+ wins, in the title game) unless the offer is really amazing (head coach at a top place).
Of course this is still a long honeymoon afterglow - there will be some tough times but as Captain Renault said in Casablanca, this may be a start of a beautiful friendship.
|1 year 33 weeks ago||Some relevance but the U is such a huge place||
The U is a huge institution and the effect of these changes will not be felt uniformly.
Here are some of the factors listed:
1. A decline in the sheer numbers of people in the typical college age demographic.
2. Rising costs of running places like the U.
3. Rising cost of tuition.
4. Growing feeling that the cost of an education is not always worthwhile in a very basic tangible way (i.e. earning power later in life)
5. Competittion from other so-called "non-traditional" venues - like the University of Phoenix and others which emphasize on-line teaching.
Effect on the U:
1. Though not quite as steep as some other schools where only 5% of the applicants are accepted, the U turns away thousands of kids each year. It has a lot of kids who want to come here and that will probably be that way for another generation and a half (call it 40 years). As others have noted, enrollment in colleges which are linked with professions or prepare for later professions will probably stay strong. The pure classic humanities like English and history will probably take the biggest hit. The era where someone could earn a degree in the Classics or philosophy and then walk into a job on the business world pretty much died out in the 1960's and peaked in the 1940's. It wasn't as big news then because the academic institutions were expanding and the economy was better so more families tolerated their kids earning degrees which had little practical value. Today, the question of "what are you going to do with a degree in X" is the number one thing on a lot of family's minds. We might see a bit of grade inflation by some colleges and courses to try to keep their numbers up. We might see some efforts to show that these courses have relevance in teaching "people how to think critically." These are all common ploys being used today. It is hard to predict the full effects - there will probably be fewer tenure track slots in these classic humanities slots and more post-docs in these areas might try to find a hook into some contemporary issue. Consider during the Vietnam War era, there was a splurge in activity looking at the American Revolution. A few clever American Historians were able to point out how the US and British situations had notable parallels.
2. The U is honestly a great place to work. The benefits are good and the atmosphere is fun so if there are some cut backs (inevitable) we'll still have a lot of people willing to tough it out.
3. Rising cost of tuition is going to be a big issue. Though the U doesn't depend heavily on the State of Michigan for funding, it will always have to be sensitive to this issue if only for public relations reasons. This is where the famous alumni and famous students (everyone from Larry Page, Madonna, Mike Wallace, Sid Meier, Charles Woodson, etc. etc.) who may have only spent some time here and left, and things like the athletics help. It helps build that network of alumni and friends; that brand recognition. We might see more international students because we excel in many of the fields coveted abroad (engineering, the natural and physical sciences, biomedical health topics) and those students are typically cash or fully funded.
4. This issue is probably going to be the wild card. There are a lot of jobs which require training and experience but don't need a college degree. While some have attributed this as an effect of the rising costs some of it comes from the nature of our society which is less rigid and less class oriented than others. Social mobility is easier and there is more respect to people who do something well even if it involves using their hands and a bit of dirt. The book "The Millionaire Next Door" illustrated this point well.
5. The competition from places like the U of Phoenix is real, but not a total threat. For a lot of young people, going off to college is a physical act of transformation. It is that first big step into adulthood and so doing it online at home isn't as appealing. Going out there, making your own decision and suffering the consequences is part of that experience, were it all just about learning a course syllabus and passing a certain number of tests, a LOT of kids wouldn't go!
|1 year 33 weeks ago||helmet numbers - easier to see at the game||
On the topic of helmet numbers, for the fans in the stadium, it really makes it easier to figure out which players are involved in any given play. Some players are quite well known and distinctive (e.g DR) but sometimes it is hard to figure out which lineman or linebacker made the tackle with their names and jersey numbers obscured by the pile of players.
We have to wait a bit and see how the season plays out but it is safe to say that this game was a revelation:
1. Defense is better - not great, but undeniably better. We'll have to see how it fares against stronger teams, but it is a good sign that against weaker teams, it is smothering.
2. Offense is more than it seemed - a huge revelation; it looks like Borgess is adapting his ideas to the excellent personnel he has, yet still keeping consistent. That counter run with the QB power action was a great play. The Minnesota defense seemed to be following the Jordan Rules from the Pistons era. (i.e. wherever Michael Jordan goes, you and friend follow) for DR. DR takes a step to the wide side, everyone takes a step to the wide side.
3.Yes, Hoke has gotten off to a terrifc start and there is a prolonged honeymoon period. I'm sure we will hear some harsher comments after the first loss, but so far, he and his staff have said the right things and a game like today gives confidence that this could be the real turn around.
|1 year 33 weeks ago||Three mini seasons||
This season does feel different than the last 5-0 season. Defense is palpably better, kicking game is better, offense is effective and interesting more diverse.
Break the season down into three miniseasons:
Part 1: WMU, ND, EMU, SDSU - a bit of luck and sheer magic was involved in beating ND, but ND is arguably not that strong; our magic was stronger on that amazing night. WMU and EMU were outclassed. SDSU can play and would be competitive against the other teams in mini-season part 1. The defense still gave up a lot of yards, but with each game, it got tighter and more robust. It was also getting turnovers which were lacking over the last several seasons. The offense looked creaky and seemingly all the good stuff was from the same playbook of last year.
Part 2: incomplete, Minn, NW, MSU, Purdue - Minnesota is obviously not a strong team, but the complete domination suggests that the defense is really better, and the offense showed a lot of new looks, and plays AND the players executed them well. Did you notice that Kovacs wasn't a leading tackler in the Minn game? That is a strong positive sign.Last year, the team could beat other teams with a great offensive show, but DR would be 90% of that. Today, how many carries did he have? He passed well when he was asked to, but really didn't have to do that much - a really good sign. The defense made 3 and out stops regularly and pressured the QB without having to blitz. The next three games will decide the course of the season. Is the great upward trend on defense going to continue?
Part 3: to come, Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska, OSU - if the defense is in the middle of the pack in terms of scoring and rushing yards yielded, these are all competitive games.
|1 year 35 weeks ago||Don't be too tough on the poster||
Don't be too tough on the poster. I don't think he is out trolling or aiming to kick up a hornet's nest for fun. Usually no one with that aim would bother to write something that long or try to be convincing.
Live long enough and ultimately you'll find most things are not quite what they appear to be. This is not cynical fatalism but the NCAA has long been NOT about amateur athletics and the ideals on which it was founded. And the various university presidents are quite aware of this and they are also aware that every other university president, board of regents and governors are also aware of this.
Every now and then someone will decide that they'd rather not play this game - see University of Chicago which once had a very good and powerful team and once was an innovator in the game (Yes, way back at the dawn of college football, but hey they did help popularize the T formation and the forward pass, so give them acknowledgement and they played in Amos Alonzo Stagg stadium, one of the first ur-super coaches...I know back in the tar pit days of the game, but it all happened). But the president of the U of Chicago realized where this was all heading back (when it was just radio, train rides and newspapers) and had the school get out of big time college football. They now have a Division III team.
So don't take it too hard. Right now no college president of any major football power wants to take that first step. Everyone else wants the other person to take that first move and pull back the tattered curtain of hypocrisy.
In my other posts, I've advocated taking the other position - make the student athlete really that - a student of athletics.
Make football, basketball and any other revenue sport a true athletic scholarship like a performance music major or dramatic arts major. Make it a real field of study and training - change the rules to allow year round training and study and invite all of the top professional coaches and trainers onto the campus regularly. Doesn't it strike anybody as strange that the top players drafted are often criticized as having major flaws in fundamentals such as their throwing motion? Could that occur in any other activity involving this much time, energy and money? Are their any engineers graduating who have fundamental problems with statics and dynamics? Are their any Eng. Lit. majors graduating who have serious grammar problems?
The games will still matter - each school wants to showcase their squad to show that their training and preparation is better.
Performance Athletics Major - a degree granting field, you saw it here first.
|1 year 35 weeks ago||Defense Yes, Special Teams Incomplete||
After having seen 4-0 and 5-0 starts most Wolverine fans can be a little hesitant if not skeptical to declare any major improvements in the defense until the Big 10 season starts. By the standard of whether we won or lost the game, at this point in the season, the defense is the same. If one uses other statistical parameters like yards yielded, it still has major issues. YET having acknowledged all of these concerns, the verdict is probably YES that the defense is better - the positive turn over ratio, fewer penalties and seemingly fewer blown coverages are all positive trending signs. The best sign is as you noted, the noticeable improvement and adjustment during each game. We all wish the defense would be like a wall from the first series, but it is heartening that it seems to get better with each successful series. Maybe that is something from Mattison NFL background where making adjustments and realizing what is happening during the game may be more important (just speculating).
Special teams are harder to assess. Hagerup hasn't played. Gibbons has not been put into any real pressure situations except making the PATs in the ND game.
Since you also mentioned the Illinois game, it is OT but is Nathan Scheelhasse adapting to throwing better than DR? DR is clearly the more explosive player, but throwing the ball, Scheelhasse seems more comfortable.
|1 year 35 weeks ago||A matter of taste, but realistic||
After three games, some early observations:
1. Both new coordinators seem pretty flexible and are willing to adjust. Mattison on defense seems to be able to take what he's seen or what the team tells him after the first few drives and adjust. Borges likewise tries to run the new system each game for the first few series, but if it isn't working, he'll go back to more spread sets and spread plays. He may not be a spread evangelist like RR but he is pragmatic. The downsides are the slow start for the UM defense, and so much depends on DR - except for bits and pieces here and there he is still pretty much the whole offense.
2. BUT having said that it is heartening to see how many tangible improvements are there. Statistically the defense is better. On offense, we can win without exposing DR to that much wear and tear.
3. Right now it is clear that DR is not having an easy time with the drop back passing game, but if you recall when he came in as a freshman, his passing was very poor when compared to his great progress to his sophomore year. One more year working with Borges, should bring a much smoother and more effective passer as a senior. Wonder if he would benefit from working with a QB coach who has helped shorter and smaller QBs? Not everyone is the 6'4"+ Brady-Henne-Mallet tall QB. Drew Brees and Doug Flutie were effective college QBs so it can be done. He just needs to be a bit more comfortable. Right now, it seems like he is "measuring" his throws and sometimes a short touch throw is more awkward than a longer throw.
|1 year 35 weeks ago||Interesting article but perhaps a misleading title||
The Grantland article is interesting. It makes several strong points:
1. A well run system (that is using the football cliched, "well executed") can be successful even if there are only a limited number of possibilities.
2. At lower levels of play - where the physical variation is less (where you don't find that many players who are 300+ lbs or who can fly 40 yards in 4.3 seconds, or 250 pounders who can do a 4.5) coaching and execution can be very important.
3. But just as there is no perfect play, there is no perfect scheme or system. In the old wishbone, it became recognized that tackling the QB and often the pitch man was critical. In the original shot gun (see the 1950's 49ers of the NFL) pressuring and hitting the QB/TB was the key. These ideas work because as one of the coaches noted, the defenses they face don't have the time to work with the defenders so that they are comfortable with dealing with these sorts of offenses - but as we saw with the old original wishbone, I-bone, veer, broken wishbone, etc., defenses given time and experience can compensate. Look at our spread offense under the past regimen, in some games it worked well, in others, it blew up, especially if the opposing defenses dominated the line and had quick LBs and safeties.
4. Back to the chicken and egg dilemma - does the system work because of great execution or great players - or both. Against competition where there isn't a great variance in physical ability then practice may make perfect, but once you have players who could blow up your system having someway to counter them becomes important.
Finally, the title speed chess is a bit of misnomer. Speed chess typically refers to a game of chess where each side has only 5 minutes or less to complete the whole game. It is regarded by many chess fans as a measure of pure chess reaction and raw skill, because one's instinct or instinct honed by experience is critical as most top speed players play within a few seconds. Rather than lesser players dominating due to sheer speed and luck, speed chess however typically has seen very strong players dominate - the greats in classical time limit chess (40 moves in 2.5 hours for each player, so a single game could take 5 hours) like Bobby Fischer, Gary Kasparov, Tigran Petrosian, Vladimir Kramnik, and the current wunderkind Magnus Carlson are also killers at speed - they see more and deeper at greater speed.
They see in one look more than other grandmasters see in 10 minutes. This would be like a traditional pro-I power house crushing teams while running their same playbook but at a no-huddle pace.
|1 year 35 weeks ago||Tough decision||
A tough call:
1. ND wins will mean:
(a) good things for our relative ranking on computer polls - probably not important since we aren't contending for the mythic NC.
(b) makes us look better for bragging rights by the commutative property: A beats B who beat C...good for around the state with your State friends and frenemies.
(c) have to listen to the insufferable Lou Holtz sputter on and on about ND...and how they can go 10-2 and make it to a Jan. 1 game...reaching a point where I have wonder who is worse: Craig James, Jesse Palmer, or Lou Holtz
(d) have to hear how we were "lucky" - but we get to use that old favorite retort "Scoreboard, look at the scoreboard 35-31"
2. MSU wins will mean:
(a) the nation of the deluded may actually finally realize that beating ND is no longer national news, and the Ara Parseghian is no longer the head coach, and that Bob Davie may not have been the devil incarnate and that Tyrone Willingham may not have been the worst hire at South Bend and that many mistakes have been made...something most people have already realized long ago.
(b) we'd have to listen to how the "little brother isn't little any more" - after three years, gotten used to it.
(c) we'd have to worry about MSU actually becoming established. They've always had good teams here and there but could never consolidate their gains. A good year would be followed by a 6-6 year ...a legitimate worry. If Brady Hoke can beat MSU and reverse the trend that would be a bigger win in long term importance than beating ND - not as exciting or fun or entertaining but probably more strategically important.
(d) another indirect sign about worries about our running game. Outside of the almighty and powerful DR, there wasn't much of a running game. If MSU gashes ND on the ground, it suggests we have to wait a while before Hoke's power running game appears...He has at least 3 years to get this going. It is just sad that we can't get a complement to DR. Not a Heisman trophy candidate back, just someone who can go for 500-750 yards would be terrific at this point.
|1 year 35 weeks ago||No, Da Bears and Da Bulls proved how futile that was||
We've seen that before with Da Bears and Da Bulls....
But seriously, Michigan Stadium is an unique venue, so playing football away from there for a home game really isn't a plus. (1) There is no game history like there was in the Chicago game where once in the past, games were regularly held - back in the heyday of Red Grange, didn't Illinois play at Soldier Field? (2) The place isn't superior in its own history...Michigan Stadium trumps Comerica park easily....
If the Big 10 were to add a East Coast team, and the game were held at Yankee Stadium, yes, I could see that - that stadium has also quite a long history, not exactly the house that Ruth built, but still a storied place.
|1 year 36 weeks ago||Yes, it definitely got to them - couldn't hide it in their voice||
You can really hear the effect in the tone and emphasis. There was that prepared spiel about Denard but when Gallon caught the ball, it was a like a gut punch and it was all flat affect, 1000 yard stare voice from there. The last dying ember of hoping and wishing for a penalty and no - touchdown call was the finishing touch.
Unfortunately they were doing the game live. Back when there was the Notre Dame network seen locally on the old TV20 WXON with Lindsey Nelson and his amazing loud sports coats which could blur the old black and white sets, they could show an edited version of the ND Game of the Week and avoid these sorts of slips.
|1 year 36 weeks ago||pretty honest||
They couldn't really say that much but seemed pretty honest for these sort of public discussions.
|1 year 36 weeks ago||exactly||
Betting lines are all about perception - the perception of the potential bettor. Clearly those who set the line are counting on:
1. ND supporters feeling that except for very bady turnovers, their team has played pretty well and put up good numbers. So the thinking is as others have noted - unlikely to continue to average 5 turnovers per game.
2. Putting ND as a favorite by 6-7 points could attract some betting on the MSU side - besides die hard Sparty fans who always back their team, it could cause enough interest from those who think the game will be close (3-4 points like with the UM game)
|1 year 36 weeks ago||Oldtimer's point of view||
I was born in 1961 so I'm up there in age, so take my perspective with that in mind.
1. It is a LOT louder - so much so that I was tempted to yell "Turn down that music". The amplifiers are all up in the columns so if you are sitting higher up you'll definitely hear it.
2. Down low, the crowd noise really funnels down, so when the team was driving towards the north endzone and the student section side, it was a solid wall of noise.
3. The new displays are really amazingly clear and sharp. The criticisms are valid to some degree - need to display down and distance, time outs left and some basic stats better - and more often. I know it is cute to have pictures of people enjoying the game, but I'd rather see some stats at that point.
4. The displays just need work and the powers that be need to figure out what to show and how to best display it. Think of it like a webpage - there is a lot of space on a typical monitor screen - and often a few basic layout changes can make a huge difference.
5. Rather than just complain, here are some solutions. If I were athletic czar:
a. More stats, more often. First downs, rushes/rushing yards, pass completion/attempts/yards, time outs left, total yards, would be the basic set. Be sure to put this up during change of possession, end of each quarter.
b. Clearly show down and distance - give up a strip along the top or bottom for this purpose.
c. Turn down the rock music at pre-game to a decibel level under commercial jet engine level. One of the signs of being old is not knowing what the popular music is and not caring that you don't know. So I know the kids like to hear pop music played by the band and probably the band likes to play those pieces, but that music was not written for a marching band. It was written for a combo with guitars, and synthesizers. Either play more marching band music (there are a lot of possibilities here) or get better arrangments.
d. Continue to show public service announcements and weather reports. Add traffic maps or traffic flow diagrams - especially when some streets are coverted completely to one-way - it helps new visitors understand what is happening.
e. Move the paid announcements to appear on the big screen or at least half of the big screen. They charge $250 for those - right now that little telex strip at the bottom just isn't worth the price.
f. Show the lyrics for the Victors, The Yellow and Blue and the Star Spangled Banner when they are played, so that more people can sing along.
|1 year 36 weeks ago||two theories: chicken and egg or you got what you got||
Theory 1: Chicken or egg - which comes first. Do we need someone to establish themselves as a credible running threat or should they become credible as an option off of DR?
Theory 2: The defense is better - not great, but better, so why should the RBs be different. They are actually getting turnovers and coming up with huge stops. Still giving up a lot of yardage (vacated or not, and ND did get 500+ yards) but unlike the last few years, somehow they scrapped it out. Face it, the odds looked pretty dim heading into the 4th quarter. If we faced a less fancy ram it down our throat team, it might have been 35-0 or 35-7 at halftime.
So like the defense maybe we should be realistic about the RBs, they are afterall pretty much the same bunch we had last year - we have some good backs, but no one great. Smith and Shaw had their moments, but no one is able to complement DR as a threat. Borges and Hoke get a lot of credit in not calling his number more.
Prediction: against the weaker teams, the RBs will suddenly look great. Against the division and conference contenders, we'll see more of this.
For now I'm going to enjoy the magic of the night and forget all of the lucky moments which broke in our favor...thank you Brian Kelly for channelling Charlie Weiss and trying to win it by throwing the ball...thanks for great jump balls which mostly ended up in our favor...thanks for miraculously timed turn overs which helped kill drives for ND while yielding no points...Most of all I'm just going to appreciate these years with DR - he'll be enshired like Desmond Howard as a legend one day, and the two games against ND (2010 and 2011) will be on that highlight video. The raw emotion of those final few minutes was amazingly.
|1 year 37 weeks ago||A bad hand played badly - a perception issue partly||
Coach Robinson may have put himself into a untenable position. Even if we acknowledge all of these mitigating factors which others have listed (number of players, player quality, loss due to injuries, graduation, transfer, failure of some players to develop) the two years were disappointing because of the response. Yes, he was dealt a bad hand, a terrible hand, no aces and sometimes only a lousy pair. But even given all of these reasonable points, what really hurt for many fans was the appearance of taking the same approach as one would if the defense were competitive and just needed a tweak here and an adjustment there. The defense was clearly not as good as it had been in years past and the level of personnel and performance was low enough that most coordinators would have to take the position that just showing up, rolling the ball out there and letting them play would not remotely have a chance of working.
Would blitzing have saved RR's job? Would it have won more games? Probably not, the breakdowns were pretty significant, but it really hurt the perception by not trying these options. To borrow from other sports - in tennis, if you are an average pro and you are facing Nadal or Federer, you won't have a chance just going out and keeping the ball in play, you have to take chances with junk balls, moon balls, drop shots, serving and coming in behind a second serve, or chipping and charging the return. In chess, if you are an average grandmaster versus Kasparov, Anand or Carlson, you'll have to take a risk in a double edged position where a single slip could turn the game in your favor. In poker, if you are playing against a top pro, playing slow and tight all night will get you worn away. You have to take a shot here and there and be deliberately erratic - you won't be able to out calculate the odds and card distributions and have to play up the uncertainty - it is the one factor which you have as good chance as the top pro.
|1 year 37 weeks ago||unique photo?||
Could this be a unique photo?
How often does the departing coach help introduce the new coach with the athletic director and all are (1) convivial, (2) sitting on a sofa and (3) wearing suits and ties?
|1 year 38 weeks ago||Another reason why jersey numbers should NOT be retired||
Denard Robinson is certainly deserving of wearing No. 1. He has both excelled as a player and set up a good example as a Michigan team member.
Numbers should be kept active so each year, it can be discussed if anyone is deserving of the honor. It will also give us all the opportunity to remember the great players who wore that number in the past.
|1 year 38 weeks ago||Another reason why jersey numbers should NOT be retired||
Denard Robinson is certainly deserving of wearing No. 1. He has both excelled as a player and set up a good example as a Michigan team member.
Numbers should be kept active so each year, it can be discussed if anyone is deserving of the honor. It will also give us all the opportunity to remember the great players who wore that number in the past.
|1 year 38 weeks ago||Head Football Coach is more than just coaching||
To be a head football coach at a famous program is about more than the coaching the team.
For the assistants it can be just about the x's and o's, schemes, scouting and recuriting.
For the head coach, the job comes with a lot of other stuff. First and foremost he has to win. Second, he has to stay legal. Third he has to be sure he is solid on all the other aspects: alumni, administration, community. Coach Rodriguez didn't win enough, stayed legal, but really tripped up with the alumni, administration and community.
When people play the retrospective game and wondered what if, the real decision was when he decided to look at the UM job. Had Coach Rodriguez stayed at WVU and finished out his career there he might be thought of as their Bo. He was the guy who put them back into national prominence. He'll definitely get another HC job but he'll know he'll have to pay attention to other things.
An underlying theme was to remember that everyone involved are people and should deserve some compassion. I applaud Brian for this noble sentiment, but realistically this is only going to get harder. The amounts of money involved and the passions stoked up by 24 hour cable/internet makes that unlikely. We'll probably not see any long serving HC because everyone goes through a bad patch (even Bo was 6-6) and today and the foreseeable future, there will be someone stoking up a "dump name xx" campaign whenever that happens.
Great post and looking forward to the season.
|1 year 39 weeks ago||The whole transition from HS to D1 FB in a nutshell||
Guys who are bigger and faster than their competition can get away with sloppy technique in high school. In college, at the D1 level, everyone they meet is their size and often quicker and faster. The dedicated smart players adapt and learn to play up to the new level. Those who have plateaued find a way to hang on. And those who can't or won't adapt end up being benched or just plain quit.
Look at the recent issues of The Wolverine where the past several classes are evaluated. It is a common story of a lot of players - not just defensive linemen.
It is also true for a lot of students. They may have been the smartest kid in their high school or the whole county, and so they could slide by with cramming the night before exams. Here in Ann Arbor, they suddenly meet students who are as smart, if not smarter and who really work night and day. It is a reality check.
The article also points out the whole bubble the teams are under today. He isn't the first guy to experience this, but his words are quoted by two(2) columnists. If he were just some LSA or Engineering student who realized "whoa, I have to get serious about my studies" it would hardly rate mentionning except as a lesson to incoming freshmen. I hope that things work out for him. Insight is often the first step to any real change.
|1 year 39 weeks ago||Welcome and congratulations||
Congratulations on the new post.
By the way, when do you have time to do all of this? A MD/PhD program stuff is pretty stiff - do you do your PhD prelim stuff first, then the basic science years of the MD with a thesis followed by the clinical years? Or do you defer your final thesis project until you are done with your MD. I'm curious because you have to fit in the USMLE exams in there somewhere.
|1 year 39 weeks ago||Hidden reason?!||
Funny piece and a great reminder of the many fine recruits we've had.
Unlike some baseball people who seemed to like to talk up a kid just to have interesting copy during spring training, I believe Coach Jackson does this because:
1. He is fundamentally an optimistic upbeat guy.
2. He knows how cut throat it can be at that position - hero one moment, goat the next, so having one person who the backs know will always be seeing their upside is helpful. Sort of like how every mom sees the good side of their kids.
3. Finally, the Coach knows a lot of what it takes to be a great RB is not just physical, but having the confidence and ego to come through under great pressure and scrutiny. Mike Hart wasn't anybody's first choice (slower, smaller, shorter) but he came through.
The question is now: Is Coach Jackson more upbeat than Chuck Norris is tough?
|1 year 44 weeks ago||Different times||
Thank you for writing this.
I know that this really dates me to an era when there were vinyl records, black and white TVs and only 3 TV stations nationally, but it is matter of style. The greatest players of the past, regardless of their sport were as determined and egoistically as anyone who is playing the game today. They all sought to be successful and drove themselves and often their team mates mercilessly. But it was also the style at the time to be self-effacing and humble in public, to never to be seen crying out for attention - that was to be seen as a publicity hound or showboater. Some of the change is due to the nature of pro sports - the real money is paradoxically not on the field, it is in off-field endorsement, so fame and popularity does count. So it is fine balance being a good team mate and cultivating a "good guy" image so when success comes on the field, it can yield huge bookings in off-field endorsements. If one is successful on the field but don't come across as a endorsement hound, you'll often do better because the few endorsements will be big ones.
Calling for your own statue and your own number to be retired just makes me sad. It makes me sad to think the greats turn out to be like us, yearning desparately to be loved and wanting attention and public displays of affection. It is actually sort of passe since with modern video and film, one can actually see the greats play. Does Bill Russell, certainly as great a player in his time and certainly a great influence on the modern NBA game, need to call for a statue? Why just a statue? Isn't it considered enough to be mentioned in the very short list of the greatest players of all time? Does it have to be a big shiny geegaw thing? Those people who saw Michael Jordan play at his best don't need a statue to remind them that they saw an amazing player, just as anyone who ever saw Barry Sanders break a long run knows they witnessed something miraculous. We'll probably be watching replays of DR's run against ND decades from now. So long as we have video replay, these greats have really achieved a form of immortality.
It is a better move not to remove a number from circulation, but to honor those who wore that number by only having the very best players wear it - those who can rise to the challenge of wearing that number. That is the best way to keep the memory alive of the great Wolverines players of all time.
|1 year 44 weeks ago||Retire or keep a number?||
It is nice to be honored - we'd all like to remembered for our accomplishments, whether it was winning the Heisman trophy, scoring the winning touchdown or running and passing for 7 touchdowns in high school against Polk High.
As much it is an honor to retire numbers, I'd suggest we "honor" numbers by continuing to use them - only issue them to players of some merit and ability - the players have to be deemed worthy of wearing No.2 or No. 21 for th UM, just like wearing No. 1 means something. We'd then remember all of the great No. 2's and No. 1's and No. 21's - and keep alive the memory of those players.
When a number disappears from use, over time, people forget. Even if one just thinks only of vanity and ego - wouldn't you rather see the number in play? It is a no lose proposition. If the new player wearing that number does well - it will bring up comments about how "that play reminds of the original great No. 21, Desmond Howard, etc." and if the new player doesn't do that well, again, "well, he's not playing as well as the earlier No. 21 who made that number famous, Desmond Howard..."
|1 year 45 weeks ago||Like the whole nature versus nuture argument||
Too much is made of this physical rating. Having talented and skillful players is very important. But like rough diamonds, there is a lot of polishing which needs to be done before you have a real star. Talent and skill often means physical tools AND a lot of hard work. At each level (high school - college - pro) there are players who won't do the other stuff after the "AND" and so plateau or drop out.
Remember that we didn't actively recruit Tom Brady until he and his dad pushed around a tape of him. He is a great example - talent and ability, but his greatest "skill" was the willingness to work at being better. Another example, Charles Woodson - a great prospect, but even he was made better with great coaching. Finally, look at Mike Hart - on paper he wouldn't have a chance of beating out any of the other backs signed during his year or later, yet he's the ALL time rushing leader. He was smaller and slower than the other backs who looked like the ideal prototype RB - yet they couldn't displace him. He rarely fumbled and deep down he wanted it more. If more players had his heart and determination they'd be all-americans and no. 1 draft choices.
We need physical talent AND good coaching & development AND hope that the kid has character and heart to appreciate that he can get better and reach his full potential here.
The annual pre-football season Wolverine magazine came out and if you read the review of the 2006 class you'll see a lot of highly touted players who didn't make it here (and not due to injuries) and if they transfered, many didn't even stay in football.
|1 year 46 weeks ago||slippery slope||
We can look from afar and be aghast at the European football hooliganism but it could happen here and start here.
It starts out with good natured support and cheers but it is a steep slippery slope to full blown thuggery that takes on a life of its own.
|1 year 46 weeks ago||Two observations||
Football in many ways doesn't really use the full statistical power available despite having a lot of data. We still use a lot of basic descriptive statistics and even then don't put in important parameters. We note the average yards gain rushing but not the standard deviation which might be more helpful about a runner. A RB with a high average but a distribution which is skewed heavily to the positive side implies: dependably gains yards, rarely gets caught for a loss and if he has long positive skew the ability to break away.
1. Any attempt to find a single statistic to predict victory or defeat is unlikely to ever succeed. Games are won or lost for more than one reason. Sometimes it is due to a single turnover or a single error on a crucial 3rd down play. An otherwise well played and well coached game can come down to one missed field goal or one mistake.
2. Any statistic when used must be discussed with respect to what are the norms in the conference or country. The Red Zone scoring percentage mentioned is a good one. A scoring percentage of 79% sounds good until you learn that the WORST of the D1 teams last year was around 66% (go the official NCAA stats, http://web1.ncaa.org/mfb/natlRank.jsp?year=2010&rpt=IA_teamredzone&site=...) The 104th ranked red zone offense in 2010 (six way tie with Miami of Ohio, West Virginia, Miami of FL, Tennessee, Rutgers and UCLA) was 75%. The UM was in a seven way tie for 82nd with 79%.
Were your statistics about the UM being 109th based on several years data?
|1 year 47 weeks ago||Numbers game||
There are clearly issues about formation, strategy, training, player selection, etc. Bad luck or bad driving also is a factor. It set back Charlie Davies (forward with pace and finishing skills) who is still trying to recover after a devestating auto accident. He looked like the type of world caliber forward (speed and finishing) that we long needed.
But the big issue and one which may not go away is that for boys and young men, soccer is always going to be number 3 or 4 as a pro sport.
1 Pro/college football
2 and 2a. Pro/college basketball and Pro/college baseball
3. Pro/college hockey...Soccer is lucky to be 3 or 4.
A lot of the available talent disappears into those games. If you are looking for forwards, think about all of the small quick guards, short stops or slot receivers - they'd be perfect to be that sort of darting Lionel Messi forward. If you want people to go up in the air for headers, think of BB forwards, or TEs who can leap. For defenders, strong safeties, center fielders, linebackers. For goalie - think of that power forward or center - he'd smother most shots and can actually reach the cross bar along with a 6'10" wing span. It is not hopeless - the US population is big, big enough that realistically it should be able to field a team drawn from the niche places where soccer is the number one game just like ice hockey is huge in some northern states but basically unheard elsewhere. The women's game demonstrates this clearly. For women soccer players the national team is the pinnacle of their game and arguably more popular and better recognized than any other women's professional league in the country (not counting golf and tennis - individual games but counting the WNBA).
One other aspect not mentioned is that the technical part of the game (that is the actual skills part - like dribbling and passing) aren't emphasized enough at youth tourneys and leagues - a bit too much "winning" is pushed. But that is an ill seen in too many young leagues of all sorts - BB players with ugly shots, tennis players who don't have an around game, just a serve and a forehand, and look at where college football is heading. Just contemplate the fact that so many QBs for so called top teams have mechanics which need work on in the pros.
|1 year 47 weeks ago||The NFL has more data and less variance||
Agree with your hestiation to completely jump on this bandwagon. Passing is very important and stopping the pass is as you note maybe even MORE important. In large part this is due to (1) relative ease most teams have a stopping the run (2) team consistency from year to year and (3) huge pool of data against relatively closely matched teams. The last point can't be underestimated. It is hard to judge the value of strategies or plans if one side is overwhelmingly superior in sheer size, strength and speed. Mismatches are far more common in college ball.
|1 year 47 weeks ago||Thanks for the post - impact extends beyond this blog||
Thanks for the blog entry and putting in one place all of these scandals, their details and the punishment meted out.
The NCAA due to perfect storm of scandals (Reggie Bush USC, Cam New Auburn, Tressel-Sugar Bowl, too many to list BB stuff from coast to coast) is now under greater scrutiny than ever. Putting these past scandals and their charges together makes it easier to compare punishments and sanctions and forces them to be consistent.
Were this some paper published fanzine or weekly newsletter sent by snail mail, the impact of such a piece would be limited and dismissed as a biased screed.
But today due to the Net a lot of people are made aware of the situation. One of realities of the change in the media world is that fewer MSM reporters do in-depth research - sometimes they rely on helpers, others just wing it and focus on "reaction" pieces. Actually looking up details, dates and such takes time, energy and basically isn't as much fun as dialing up a phone and trying to get a sound bite from a coach, AD or other source or just typing away about how the writer feels about something. The former is actual work.
Thanks again and good job.
|1 year 48 weeks ago||Not state employees||
It is a common misunderstanding. The University of Michigan is a public school in that it has some degree of public support (i.e. money from the State of Michigan) and its governance is public. The regents are elected. In contrast a private school like say, one of the Ivy League schools don't receive dollars to run the place and their governing board (call it what you will, board of regents, governors, visitors or whatever archaic term is used) are not necessarily voted in as much as appointed.
The employees of the school including the athletic department are NOT state employees. They don't receive a "state" check and don't have to follow the same civil service guidelines.
But I have to agree that if a person is in the position of having to check up and vet the players for possible compliance issues - they should NEVER put themselves in positions where their judgement can ever be called into question - simple common sense.
|1 year 49 weeks ago||Yes, the true tradition of Michigan Athletics.||
I'm glad someone has reminded everyone that the tradition of Michigan Athletics has always had a strong eye on the bottom line and commercialization. The reason the stadium is the size it is, located where it is, and designed the way it is is because of commercial reasons. Fielding Yost wanted a big place which could draw a huge crowd and spent lot of his time selling bonds to help fund the construction.
There isn't anything wrong with trying to limit commercialization - I'd hate to see naming rights be sold for the stadium for example, but historically even before Canham, the people who ran athletics kept an eye out financially.
|1 year 49 weeks ago||It is the whole legal precedence issue||
The scenarios are presented in a way which makes each opportunity seem quite innocent and above board - but because we are now a nation of rules lawyers, every act can be seen to be a precedent setting decision.
|1 year 50 weeks ago||Sad but probably true||
Riddle: how do you know you are getting old? Answer: you don't know what the popular music is and you DON'T care.
Matt and Trey have been moving away slowly from their TV show - and maybe this will be it.
Hope to live long enough to see what comes after rap music - love to see the kids of today grouse about the "awful" music of their kids.
|1 year 50 weeks ago||But that may be his only chance at QB||
Both Tom Clements and Warren Moon had pretty good runs up north. The huge field, only 3 downs and mandatory 1 yard neutral zone helps legitimate dual threat QBs. TP might not actually throw well enough. The wide field and 12th player makes having a quick release with some zip on it a plus.
|1 year 50 weeks ago||On paper you are right, but he might be on the edge.||
Old Joke - what are the three most important things a university president has to be sure to take care of?
1. Sex and parties for the undergraduates
2. Parking for the faculty
3. Football for the alumni.
So, despite having once been an Eagle Scout and clerking for a US Supreme Court Justice, President Gee does understand what he needs to do. But if he continues to make "brilliant" statements at the press conferences, it may reach a point that even gold status parking for everyone can't save him. To paraphrase the Godfather, "a man in his position cannot afford to be made to look ridiculous."
|1 year 50 weeks ago||perception and understanding of the odds||
These points of data are helpful. It shows how incredibly unlikely it is for the millions of high school ball players to ever suit up for a major pro team. As you note it shows also how valuable having a college athletic scholarship actually is. It is sort of having a safety net. The realistic smart kids know this - they come to Ann Arbor hoping and wishing that maybe fate and fortune will strike and they might blossom into a NFL or NBA caliber player - if not well, coming here to school is pretty nice.
But the problem is that many athletes don't think this way. This is the way a 50 year old thinks - someone with experience with life and its many disappointments. Until it is all over, most kids don't ever believe that they couldn't make it; especially if one was all-state or a top player in high school.
|1 year 50 weeks ago||interesting notion||
Interesting notion, but as others point out the career of a typical player is very short unlike a baseball or basketball player who can knock about for a decade. Few football players play a decade.
Does anybody know how the international rugby leagues handle this issue? They are also a full contact sport and have a similar career arc length.
|1 year 50 weeks ago||Risk versus benefit analysis||
Agree with the notion that a lot of people in and out of the team can stomach a lot if they believe TP can win and win big for them.
1. Like him or hate him, TP can play at the B10 level.
2. He has experience and has come through for them in big games.
1. If they play him, they risk keeping the magnifying glass on their program all year round.
2. They risk if anything else pops up forcing the NCAA to dig even deeper.
So much depends on what happens over the summer. Right now the OSU football ship is taking on water. In the past, they've stuffed the Maurice Clarett and Andy Geiger into the hole but this hole is huge - even Jim Tressl's professional corpse may not plug it. It migh consume Gene Smith and Gordon Gee.
|1 year 50 weeks ago||Philosophical point||
Does doing good things (like donating time and money to a charity) make one a good person? Does simply avowing good ideals and intentions make one a good person?
Jim Tressl may actually want to support some charities and actually believe in them, but that sort of thing is easier than when he was actually confronted with his own ethical problem. Report TP and all of the other members of the team who were in violation (back before the start of the 2010-2011 season) and watch them be suspended and probably the whole season go down the drain even before the first game, or go down the other path...leading to today.
The SI article and other news since that time, suggests Tressl has been facing this choice many times in his coaching career and has chosen the other path... all leading to now.
On the other hand,....John Wayne Gacy also liked to dress up as a clown and entertain children...
|1 year 51 weeks ago||OK, maybe unlikely..||
Granted it isn't impossible, but 8 cars in the past 3 years? I believe this was with only two or three dealers, so somewhere he had to pop through a second or third time...clearly special treatment because he is a OSU football star.
|1 year 51 weeks ago||Exactly the sort of pesky details||
This is the sort of aha moments that causes the whole paper mache facade collapse.
Clear cut evidence of special treatment because of his football association, or does this auto dealer regularly give out test drive loaners to tattooed guys with NO job and a suspended license.
|1 year 51 weeks ago||Kubler Ross Scale||
Right now the Kubler Ross five stages of grief apply to fans of tOSU football
1. Denial - "nothing happened", "there is no to see here... move along"
2. Anger - "Why us?" "We didn't do nuthin" "Everybody else is doing the same thing"
3. Bargaining - "OK, we'll suspend the players 5 games and make Tressl give up some bucks." "OK, we'll suspend Tressl 5 games as well."
4. Depression - "Why now" "What now" "Youngstown, Maurice Clarett and now this"
5. Acceptance - "OK, we'll have to fix things and prevent things from getting this bad in the future"
These stages do not occur to all sufferers and do not always follow this sequence. Most experience at least two and typically oscillate between two, i.e. anger and denial.
|2 years 1 day ago||Missing the fundamental point (deliberately?)||
Giving money directly or increasing the stipend package misses the whole point.
What "scholarships" are granted to students for a non-degree granting concentration/program?
If a university gives a scholarship to develop a particular student's skill/talent in a degree granting concentration or program, there clear regulations and above-board due process; how one continues one, how one graduates, what the expectations are.
This whole shamateurism we're-just-a-bunch-of aw-schucks kids who happen to play ball needs to stop. The kids who fill the majority of any Division 1 school's men's football, basketball, and baseball rosters hope to play professionally. Even the women's elite caliber basketball and soccer squads hope to play in the Olympics and WNBA.
Make all athletic scholarships actually part of a serious degree granting concentration - which means year round practice and study, actual classes related to modern sport (both general and sport specific) - the cost of such a program will be well worth the time of the top athletes. It would also eliminate the ridiculous practice limitations rules and rule preventing athletes from meeting representation and getting professional training. We don't prevent a drama major from meeting professional representation or practicing year round or working with the top people in the field.
The NCAA and their whole apparatus was once useful and meant something, but they need to modernize their whole approach towards college sports.
|2 years 3 weeks ago||Some numbers||
I was undergrad and grad school here so in the early days got tickets through that source. Later got tickets through the alumni association for about 5 years before taking the plunge and joined the Victors for the minimal amount. Ended up with a pair in Section 42, (roughly 5 yard line, the first straight section before the curve) and about half way down. So great sightlines when the action is at this end, not so good at the other end. Now those seats are up in section 44 which took about a $250 bump to reach the next tier. Added a pair of chair backs when they became available because I'm just getting too creaky in the knees and hips. It was initially daunting when I looked into the point totals but there have been a lot of people who've been season ticket holders for decades.
Current priority point total is 500 which might be discouraging but that is from about 20 years worth of effort so I'm helped by a long "past athletic donations" and "university donation" tail. Keep at it and gradually you'll accumulate points. Remember donations to the University also count, although not at the same rate as athletic donations, so giving to LSA or Engineering isn't ignored. The points are roughly:
1 point for current athletic donation (per $100), 1 point historical athletic donation (per $100), 1 point historical university donation (per $1000), 1 point ticket loyalty (consecutive season ticket holder), 5 points (UM degree), 10 points (UM letterwinner), 1 point marching band donation (per $100). Minimum of $100 to keep Victors Club active. I think there are some details and limits - so I don't think having a BS, MA and PhD gets you 15 points. Go to the UM athletic web site for more details.
Clearly there are advanges and disadvantages. Cons: takes time and patience, Pros: makes you appreciate long term excellence and not freak out as much for a single bad season, although the past three were pretty tough. Also rewards steady giving over time and while you can plop down a big donation, smaller amounts over time actually help you and allow you more flexibility. That stretch from Carr - Mo - Last half of Bo was pretty sweet in retrospect.
Never was wait listed - from my limited experience, I think if you take the plunge you won't be wait listed long, your initial seats just might not be that good. It could be in the endzone or curve. The advice listed about the tiers seems accurate - once you achieve a certain tier, you might be able to advance up a bit here and there, but the real improvements come from bumping into the next tier.
Hope this helps.
|2 years 3 weeks ago||point table||
To expand on this: there are points given for donations to the Athletic Department, the University at Large, years of continuous support, degree(s) from the UM, and I think whether you were once a letterman on a sports team. It is pretty transparent, and I would second the advice posted elsewhere:
1. Giving above the minimum (even $100-$250) surprisingly helps because the difference between sitting at the 5 yard line and 30 yard line has a huge spread. Some of the people in the central zones have huge numbers of points, but that pool of supporters to some degree moved out by the opening of the boxes and the club and backed chairs, so there is room to expand.
2. As I get older, having a seat starts to matter more :)
Not sure how the pad bench seats would work; I guess it would be worth it if it helped you stake out your "posterior" space and means one less thing to carry into the stadium.
|2 years 4 weeks ago||At this point...||
Hi, interesting post.
1. Agree with the earliest commentator that you have obviously given this a lot of thought already but have to wonder if you might be having some reservations.
2. As a working clinician, I would respectively point out that from a practical standpoint the MD you are getting is as you noted just for the letters. Without a residency, there is little that you can do and frankly little that you actually know about the actual practice of medicine. By the time you are done with M4 year, you've seen some stuff and maybe helped take care of a bunch sick people, but really don't have a clue on how the diagnostic and treatment decisions were made and you never had the final responsibility of deciding a plan and making a decisive call on what to do and what to order. Don't take this too harshly, but your last post mentions money - so I'll call it - you want to be paid like a busy clinician but don't want to work like one.
The worst clinicians are those who are really lab experts and who because they are in a clinical department (e.g. internal medicine) and haven't been able to construct a career devoid of clinical care, end up doing a month or so of clinical duty each year. They don't like it and don't have their hearts in it. They make the minimal number of ward rounds and often don't see their patients for two or three days - they are totally dependent on having a good senior resident cover their interns. As a medical student, resident and now attending this is seen all of the time, and the care they render is spotty - sometimes the patient has a condition they are quite keen about it because it dovetails into their research and they get phenomenal care; othertimes, with the usual "routine" cancer, cirrhosis, pancreatitis, COPD, diabetes, HTN, cardiovascular disease, they let the interns and residents flail away.
3. In the lab, you have tremendous power and leeway in who to set up your research. You can fine tune your hypotheses and create a circumstance where there is only one or a few possible variables. In the real clinical human medical world, that is rarely possible. One of the frustrations basic scientists have when pressed into a "translational" world is that they don't realize how messy real medicine is - it is a patch work of evidence based methods and treatments (all p-values, ROC curves, randomized controlled double blind trials), empirical methods (legacy observations dating back literally hundreds of years), and guesswork (if it works, keep doing it).
4. If you always knew that you weren't going to be primarily or even secondarily a clinician, have to agree with the earlier post that perhaps a medical scientist training (MSTP) option might be better suited but at this point, since you are certain about a non-clinical future, there is little point of doing the three step USMLE process if you don't plan on practicing medicine. To do part III, you have to be in an internship year...USMLE 1 and 2 are of use mostly to get a license and to help you apply for residency.
Good luck but think over your options - going back to take the Boards AFTER many years out is harder than doing the GREs.
|2 years 7 weeks ago||Not all majors = a job||
With respect, I understand the argument that a major or concentration in football may not be of any value outside of being a football player or football coach.
1. Many universities grant undergraduate and graduate degrees for music, drama, and the fine arts (painting, sculpting, pottery). The lives of artists, musicians, and actors are certainly not any easier or more lucrative (on average) than a professional athlete. Their peak years are often short in duration and unless they are a star, they have to eke out a living teaching, coaching, or otherwise supporting themselves while they work on their craft and art.
2. Their degree however encompasses the whole scope of their field. So a degree for someone who aspires to be a pro ball players would be in performance athletics.
3. The music programs offer a good parallel. Not everyone can get a music scholarship, there are competitive tryouts and one has to practice and practice year round. They have a prescribed course of study which include general studies in music and specific studies in their area of focus (voice, violin, piano, woodwinds, etc.). At the end their program they have a deep all around understanding of their choice in life.
4. For a performance athlete, they would have to know about the history of sport in general, its effect on society, culture and economics. They have to know about professional sports and in particular their focus. Courses on physiology, psychology, physiokinetcs, nutrition, and the legal/financial aspects would be emphasized. Training would be year round and each year these scholarship athletes would be expected to make progress.
5. When a music or drama student leaves school and becomes a star, no one minds, it just helps the program. That would be the same way with a performance athletics program.
6. This would get rid of a lot of the hypocrisy of the NCAA rules (why limit practice for someone who aspires to be a pro; no one limits the music student from practicing) and help clean up a lot of shady entourage hangers on - the time spent on campuse would be seen as valuable and truly helpful.
It probably wont' happen however unless a really brave college president and board is willing to shake up the current money making system. The athletes would be "paid" by their top notch training and it would be a fair trade.
|2 years 8 weeks ago||True but not unsurprising||
The drop under the million population mark is significant, but not that surprising. The sudden rise in population was spurred on by World War II and the post-war boom in the auto industry which lasted through the 1960's and probably peaked around 1973-1974 (time of the first oil crunch af the 1973 Arab-Israeli war and the oil embargo by OPEC). That was a long time ago.
Realistically it is unlikely that we'll see a return to that level of industrial activity in the Detroit area in the next 50 years. New techniques, new industries and new business models all make that unlikely. The vast majority of cars are now manufactureed outside of Michigan. Once people took a bus or train to Michigan and bought a new car there and drove home. Once raw iron ore and materials went into the River Rouge plant and complete cars came out the other end. We now have plants scattered throughout the country, outsourcing, just-in-time manufacturing and warehousing, and greater competition. Pittsburgh is probably a good example of a city which has moved on to its next chapter. Once dominated by steel, it has refashioned it self as a health, banking and commerce hub. Maybe the Aerotropolis idea may work. It would bring Detroit back to its original roots - that of a trading and custom post between Canada and the USA.
In the larger historical context, this decline isn't that different than what was seen around the world. Cities all have flourished at one or another when trade was active. The ones which have survived and endured have had more than one "thing" keeping it going.
|2 years 9 weeks ago||More on an insight into BOTH Jalen Rose and Grant Hill||
As others have noted, Jalen Rose helped to produce the film and had some say in the final cut - I believe he actually has the last word literally. He wanted to emphasize that the Fab Five were in some ways a team which was about MORE than just a good team that won some games and played in the National Championship. There were a social and culture phenomenon. He also had a chip on his shoulder when he was young, and perhaps he still does. Grant Hill from his response shows that he is bothered deeply by what Rose included in the film even if it was all in the past; its effects linger on. Maybe there was some residual bad blood between them from their NBA days which we don't know of, maybe not. But to respond that way, means those years and those words had a lasting effect on him.
Actually Rose should be happen about the controversy - it should help sales of the DVD.
The documentary also shows how far MBB has gone - now one and done and players planning to only play for 1-2 years are quite common especially among the very top players out of HS.
|2 years 9 weeks ago||probably more to this than it seems||
Both Jalen Rose and Grant Hill played in the NBA for a long time. Their paths crossed and there maybe more to this whole thing than just what was said and felt years ago.
Jalen Rose was a producer on the film and the way it was edited, he got the final word. That yes, the Fab Fiver actually never won the National Championship and they had plenty of warts and reasons for people to criticize them, but they were also part of a unique moment in sports history where sports and popular culture blended together. His quip about no one remembering (except I suppose for die hard BBall junkies) who played on what championship team, but a lot of casual fans know who the Fab Fiver were, shows he knows that is the key point about the Fab Five.
Bobby Hurley and Christian Laettner when asked about the documentary didn't seem to take it as personally so perhaps there is more behind the scenes between Hill and Rose than is widely known.
Finally, the documentary is interesting it that it shows the glue that brought them together and sort held them initially was Juwann Howard and not Chris Webber or Rose. Sort of like the insight that among the 1960's Rat Pack, Sinatra admired Dean Martin - he wanted to hang out with Dino, and not the other way around unlike Joey Bishop, Peter Lawford and Sammy Davis Jr who definitely were there because of Frank.
|2 years 9 weeks ago||Pay? Training?||
At some point in all of the hypocrisy which now engulfs the NCAA, it must dawn on someone that the one hundred some Division I schools are granting so called athletic scholarships to kids yet these scholarships are not in any degree granting concentration of study.
Kids on music scholarships are studying music. Students on math scholarships are studying math. Fine arts students (e.g. painting, sculpture, drama, - yes there are actually degrees in these fields - see Yale School for Dramatic Arts) study fine arts. So why not have athletic scholarships for students whose degree concentration is in performance athletics? It is a legitimate field of study. People care about sports to a degree in the US that is frightening (see Auburn/Alabama tree poisoning guy as the latest example) and it is certainly a great impact socially (see Jackie Robinson, Fab Five, etc.) and economically.
We don't pay art students who study art and want to be great artists but we do demand that they actually study art. We don't put limitations on the number of hours they can study art or who they can talk with. If Salvador Dali or Picasso were alive and in town giving a talk, we'd expect these art students to show up.
Making performance athletics a real field of study, a real degree granting concentration would actually wake up a lot of the 2nd and 3rd tier kids who won't be able to turn pro successfully. They'll see that being a pro isn't just talent, but a lot of hard work. Sure, being 6'10" or 300 lbs or running a 4.3 40 helps, but those are just some physical factors. The ability to buckle down, work on their game, keep in shape, and play like a pro is why some guys succeed despite having "average" physiques, times and size for their position.
I know this has a slim to none chance of happening but I can only hope one day, some gutzy president at some school will take this chance.
|2 years 14 weeks ago||answered one question - what it takes to get a lifetime ban||
I guess he'll be an example of someone who got a lifetime ban and the NFL really meant it.
|2 years 15 weeks ago||Just being optimistic and positive||
Coach Jackson has always been very positive and optimistic. He of course knows high steep the odds are that all of the top HS RBs actually become great college RBs. But I suspect he also knows that part of what a great RB has that the average and just good RBs don't have is that confidence - a belief that they can get that 1,2 or 3 yards. There are a lot of fast guys, but few great RBs. Just look at Mike Hart, he wasn't the fastest back nor was he the top using the usual measuring stick parameters but he was definitely the best UM RB of his time.
I don't think this is an example of what used to happen with Spring Training and the Tigers. There was a time when some poor kid would be talked up in Spring Training and nearly all of them busted. The only thing you knew at the end was that this kid was doomed. Do you remember Chris Pittaro? He was suppose to supplant Lou Whitaker and become a regular day-to-day 2nd base man.
|2 years 16 weeks ago||Must be cabin fever from the snow storm||
First and only player who played predominantly a defensive role to win the Heisman trophy.
Crucial member of the team that won the MNC in the Rose Bowl, where he had a drive killing critical interception in the endzone.
Star defensive player in the Big Ten
Star defensive player in the NFL - won defensive player of the year.
Good Michigan man with solid big money donations to CS Mott Hospital.
Not a guy who has been caught in scandals and off field mischief.
Maybe there are other less heralded Michigan players who should be as well known and appreciated. But I hope when he is done playing that Charles Woodson would be an ambassador for UM football.
|2 years 17 weeks ago||Lot of factors||
There are a lot of possible diagnoses.
1. As the other posters have noted - plantar fasciitis, simple over exertion, improper or ill fitting shoes, need for orthotic inserts, and maybe your age is checking up to you.
2. But if these simple basic approaches of anti-inflammatories (ibuprofen aka Motrin), rest, and icing (at the time) and gentle heat afterwords don't help, suggest getting it looked at.
Good luck and I hope you are feeling better soon
|2 years 17 weeks ago||more details...IIRC||
1. As of the start of the 2010 season about 25% of the suites were unsold. A lot of the usual corporate customers in Michigan really couldn't touch this sort of thing right now with the state of the economy.
2. There is a minimum committment, 3 to 7 years.
3. Each year there is stated that there could be an increase in the expected cost, from 1% to as high as 10%
4. NO outside food. As you can imagine the food there is nice but also suffer from the markup as all stadium food. But there are easier bathrooms to get to.
5. 16 seats max and 4 parking passes. Each suite has a LCD TV so you can also check out what else is going on.
6. At the original offering, one had to fork over a check for $10,000 non-refundable, and which was not necessarily applicable to the final deal.
7. Originally only "3 owners" but subsequently this has been liberalized to multiple owners but only 3 designated people can sign off on the food charges. Basically the stadium doesn't want to play referee, umpire and judge - your group set up your own organization, bylaws and deal with how you cut up the tickets.
8. All of the premium seating donations have a fraction which are listed as donations and are tax deductible and you do get an official letter for tax reporting purposes.
May have changed a bit after DB arrived as AD, but that was the general scheme. If you are interested, definitely give the AD a call or go to the facilities stadium web page and check out premium seating section.
Is it worth it? I don't have a suite but have one the newer real chair seat. As I get older, and more legs aren't what they were, being able to sit in a seat is nice. Actually prefer being outdoors - you hear the crowd better and it is simply more fun to be out in the air. Inside, you might was well be at home.
|2 years 17 weeks ago||Great Invader Zim call out||
An underappreciated classic.
|2 years 17 weeks ago||Another example of why there are so many rules -||
It is popular to rail against lawyers and "over regulation" as a modern ill (I'm not a lawyer) but just the brief run of replies shows what happens when we have people trying to game the rules rather than live up to the intent. This is where the NCAA really should be sticking their inquiring minds into. None of the rules were meant to allow kids to be brought in and later cut if they don't work out as players yet this is exactly what is happening.
I don't see any obvious answers to this, but just have to hope that better character will win out in the end; it is a sad commentary if what becomes acceptable as good compliance is all of the shenanigans which goes on and is tolerated in the SEC (and to be fair it occurs elsewhere, but most flagrantly in the SEC).
Without being a one note nag as I have suggested this before, if we are going to reassess players each year and decide if they can continue their "athletic studies" then make performance athletics a formal major and degree concentration. Not everyone can stick with the honors English program or the Electrical Engineering concentration. Not everyone makes the cut in orchestra or band. But they knew this going in and then it is all above board and open. It is bad enough to yank a kid's scholarship but to then bad mouth him in the press (as happened in LSU) is to just add further insult.
|2 years 18 weeks ago||Lombardi etc.||
Since Vince Lombardi who in many ways is archetype for modern coaches gets dragged into the discussion of the RR era, I went and looked up some of the primary sources, e.g. Lombardi on Football (2 volume set and also a neat series of VHS tapes where his actual chalk talks are filmed). Luckily these are still widely available.
1. His defensive coordinator (don't think that term was used then but the equivalent) was Phil Bengston. He is said to be brilliant at that job. Later when elevated to HC, he was only a 50/50 coach lacking Lombardi's fiery ability to inspire his team - even the veterans noted that "something was lacking." So Lombardi had a good DC.
2. But despite being a "offense guy" Lombardi had several observations about defense. Granted this was from the dawn of what we would call modern defense (late 1950 and early 1960s) and because he looked from the perspective of someone who attacked defenses, he saw weaknesses in his own team and made moves to correct them. One point was that he didn't believe in the "bend but don't break idea." He was more concerned about limiting the gain on each play to 3 years or less. He wanted as many 3 and outs as possible to get his defense off the field and his offense back on. This notion that you'll tolerate giving up yardage because it is unlikely the other team could string together 6-8 consecutive plays without an error, penalty or turnover was not in his way of thinking. He wanted a stout defense - didn't believe in outscoring the opponents.
3. He made the most of his personnel - when he got there he realized that Starr was his QB and made Hornung his HB rather than tinker around with using him as a QB or WR. He realized that Dowler was a much better and elusive reciever than as a pure runner so he made him a flanker. He adapted his system to the available players.
4. He paid a lot of attention to detail. Each year, he would go over the play book from the beginning. Even plays the team of returning starters had run thousands of time would be broken down and rediscussed from the beginning. The famous power sweep to the strong side was reinstalled each year as if from scratch. Attention to detail, focus on getting the basic stuff right and the complex stuff will all fall into line.
Invoking Lombardi was probably not a good idea for anyone trying to defend RR. I know RR was trying to ease the tension when he made that quip and I don't hold it against him.
RR made other PR blunders. Errors which would have been OK and forgotten had he won. On the field and off the field as it relates to football, he didn't seem to have a good read on the situation. He overestimated the tolerance for losing. He underestimated the need to have a good defense. Things piled up which suggested a lack of attention to all three aspects of the game (don't know if this was true or not, but it was an impression). His luck was bad (even his harshest critics have to acknowledge a number of injuries to the secondary). The whole Lombardi thing was just one more thing he did NOT need and unfortunately he himself called it up.
I hope he has good luck in the future. I do believe he really tried and wanted to be successful here. I suspect he'll be more careful next time. I hope Brady Hoke turns the team around.
|2 years 18 weeks ago||No, he probably didn't lie - Didn't have to.||
DB has a lot of reasons in stating things the way he did.
1. He doesn't want to label Brady Hoke as "second choice" just as one wouldn't want to label any important hire or relationship as a "second choice". Imagine how that would go over with the fans and just apply that to your own personal life: "Oh, honey, yes I'm very happy with you but if Ms. Victoria Secret had wanted me she was my first choice." Neither he nor any of the potential hires wanted to be embarassed.
2. Technically he is probably actually correct. In these types of jobs where the pay is in the high 6 and low 7 figures, what usually takes place is a set of meetings between representatives and/or the principals. Our side puts out feelers to the reps of Harbaugh and then reportedly Miles asking basically "hey, were the job at the UM (note subjunctive mood) to be offered, do you think he'll be interested." Then if we have a positive nibble "well, if the job were to be offered we'd certainly like to hear more like conditions x, y, and z." Then we dance back with "OK, sure we understand that you'll be interested in conditions x,y, and z and we can offer terms a, b, and c."
3. At this point after who knows how many iterations, if both sides are still doing this dance, one side or another, will bring up "well, it certainly sounds like we are on the same page, shall we make it a formal deal?". Then an "offer letter" is formally drafted up on official stationary, with all of these points x,y,z and terms a,b,c listed out, so that both sides can have their lawyers do one last vetting through.
So, yes, he is probably absolutely correct and can pass a lie detector test easily when he states only Brady Hoke got an offer, because probably he was the only one who got that far. We don't know how far the initial dance got with Jim Harbaugh or Les Miles. One factor to keep in mind is that we don't know how much either JH or LM wanted to come to Ann Arbor. Both have other negotiations to deal with, and so keeping alive the discussion about JH or LM possibly going to Ann Arbor may be useful to their reps when dealing with say the 49ers or LSU.
But no doubt he did "talk" with other people and their reps besides Brady Hoke.
One day, when Brandon writes his memoirs we might know his side in detail.
|2 years 18 weeks ago||difference between reporting and commentating||
I know that Drew Sharp, Michael Rosenberg and others are not the most popular newspaper and magazine people on this blog. But they are not unique and are actually representative of what passes for "sports journalism" today.
Having a byline in a paper, magazine or blog doesn't make a positions of Reporter and Commentator the same. I don't mean by this a comment on relative quality or importance but the role. Traditionally, that is before the rise of the Internet and the massive cable TV ESPN 24 hour sports coverage there were two distincts and separate groups:
1. Reporters - they covered events or teams and were like Joe Friday, "just the facts maam". They gave you the who did what, when did it happen, where did it happen, and finally what happened. They prided themselves on being honest, and as objective as possible. Being accurate was more important than being first. Rushing to be first without confirmation was a huge taboo and once someone made a huge mistake like declaring someone had died or had gotten fired, it was very hard to ever recover from. You can still find a few of these people around - usually they are the decade long beat writers for some baseball or football team. They know everyone from the security guard, laundry people to the secretary to the public relations head, in addition to the usual coaches and players and general managers.
2. Commentators - they offer commentaries; they are the pundits. They are often insightful or witty or provocative or all of the above. They are in short personalities and known for their witty comments more than being first or right.
Over the past several years, the line has blurred. Sports writers who may have started out as true reporters quickly are seduced by the notion that they are actually "part of the process" and want to be commentators. Getting the facts right, becomes secondary to "buzz" and being "part of the discussion." The appeal is understandable - it is isn't just vanity of having your name and picture displayed with your comments being quoted. Ex:"Kirk Herbstreit says xxxx". It is also about money. Being a Commentator and a personality generates more income and more income opportunities - speaking engagements, writing gigs, and books. Mitch Albom who tries to distinguish when he is doing reporting from commentating, is probably the most successful example of this transition.
All of the books mentioned are good, but in the end make up your mind - but at least you'll know the major dates and events.
|2 years 18 weeks ago||Let's keep things under control||
1. We have to wait and hear what happens with #16.
2. Then we have to see how many people on the team now will stick through Spring ball and Summer workouts and qualify for the fall.
3. We'll also have to see if any of the incoming freshmen who might enroll in the winter work out. I know this is doubtful, but it is a possibility.
4. We don't know how the "new" system will mesh with the "old" players.
So sure, maybe 7-8 wins are possible, but let's keep our powder dry and wait and see.
|2 years 18 weeks ago||There is stuff you can do something about and then there is...||
Getting to the NCS and winning the MNC depends on many factors. Among those which have been defined are:
1. Winning a lot of games and being conference champs - going either undefeated or having a early close loss. (except for maybe Notre Dame)
2. Hope that the teams you beat continue to win and beat other good teams.
3. Hope that your public relationships impress voters and pundits from around the country who never actually see your team play a whole game, and look at the final score or what they heard.
4. Hope your team isn't plagued by injuries and crazy game changing bad calls.
No doubt there are other things on this list like weird things coming out like selling game gear for tatoos and getting free cars which can affect things.
Of these many factors the one thing a HC can have a direct effect on is number one, winning games. Too much is made about setting this goal or that goal. OK, we get it, we want to be back in the discussion for the MNC, but let's try to win the Big 10 before we jump ahead. After the past 3 years if we are playing games in November which help decide the Big 10 title rather than if we can get to 6 or 7 games, that will be the first step. I understand the notion that Drew Sharp was advancing that over the past several years dating back to beyond the RR era, the influence of Michigan on the national college football scene has waned - we aren't the leaders in tactics and strategy and we aren't where all the stars are playing, etc. etc. But if we want to get back there, let's focus on what can be done and what is within our power to do something about. Talking about winning the MNC might be cute and make for a good quote, but I'd rather have a coach who was all business and worked towards winning games - the conference titles will follow and we'll be part of the conversation for the MNC. Historically each year there has been a team which has done everything in its power to win out and get to the BCS championship game, and do end up undefeated and untied, and yet still didn't make it, so this belief that getting there is a goal within one's control is a fallacy.
|2 years 19 weeks ago||Interesting point||
Thanks for the post. Great insight!
1. Football coaching is an evolving field. Can't become stagnant. Regularly infusing new people, new ideas and new concepts should be part of every program. Always doing things "our way because that is the way we do things here" is the recipe for long term failure.
2. A great excuse for spending time on this site - justified because of this insight - applicable to business and other professions!
|2 years 19 weeks ago||Excellent post - puts our situation into better perspective||
1. Good time line reference. 2 Weeks.
2. Good reminder that many of the "usual suspects" were hauled out for that one - forgot that Gruden has been circulating around for a long time.
3. Shows that believe it or not but it is true, we might not be too demanding. Look at Cooper's record or even earlier Earle Bruce's record - we'd be so happy if RR was "just" giving us 8-3 type teams.
4. Doubt any so called "big names" will come here unless there some huge carrot - and it isn't money. If someone had aspirations to be AD or had some other personal or family reason that could occur, but none of the so called big names fit that except JH. Suggest the effort be aimed at an up and coming DC/OC from a successful program (basically NOT a big name).
Again, thanks for the perspective. Much better than the usual "let's get Michael Jordan for hte Pistona" or "let's trade for Derek Jeter" style fantasy posts.
|2 years 19 weeks ago||Agree with you, tried to vote but got error message||
So called big name coaches are unlikely to come here because:
1. They already have their system in place - a system which is both on and off the field. On the field, they are winning (otherwise they would not be "big name"). Off the field they have a recruiting system which is funneling good players to them (again, otherwise they would not be winning for a long time), so why blow that up to come here unless they are really bugged about something.
2. They have little to prove or gain - we are not likely to offer these types of coaches more money or more leeway than they would where they are currently located. Consider if you work here as HC, your endorsement and side ventures are limited by the employment limits of the UM system - which is one of the reasons why you didn't see successful coaches here signing up to shill potato chips and car dealerships - things that can occur elsewhere especially down in the SEC - Bear Bryant's TV show was sponsored partially at one point by some local chip maker.
3. I realize that it is appealing to think of a guy who can come in make everything good (why don't the Tigers trade for Derek Jeter, Why didn't the Pistons get Michael Jordan, Why didn't the Red Wings get Gretsky....) but a more likely occurence is to find someone who is ambitious and talented - like Bo was back in his Miami (OH) days. I'd like to hear about some top DC from the schools in the top ten in scoring and rushing defense (by the NCAA totals) like who is Saban's DC or who is TCU's DC or even OSU's DC. These are the type of guys who (a) want to move up and will be super serious, (b) bring current knowledge to the table - they know the college game and all of the off field stuff that needs to be nailed down.
|2 years 19 weeks ago||Signature wins and overall perception and expectations||
The records for JH and RR are not that different over the first three years. What was different:
1. JH won some "signature" games - beating a #2 ranked USC team.
2. Having lesser expectations to deal with at Stanford - no one expects that team to contend every year for the Pac 10 title let alone be in the national top 10 or in the hunt for the MNC.
3. He had enough positive buzz to overcome negative buzz (Toby Gearhart's emergence and Luck's emergence definitely helped neutralize toiletgate out there)
Here...RR had the perfect storm confluence of bad things to happen to a coach:
1. No "signature" victories - getting beaten by all of the major rivals really hurt - being competitive with MSU and nicking even one game off of OSU or Iowa would have helped him a lot. Looking back, had he gone for 2 versus MSU with Forcier in 2009, he had his best chance to win a "big" game.
2. NCAA investigation regardless of how serious or bogus you think it was, didn't help him with his critics.
3. Some bad PR moves - being a college coach isn't like a pro coach. In the pros, if you are just a hairline over on the legal side of the law AND are winning no one seems to care - you can make fetish videos, say outrageous things and get caught in all sorts of shenanigans so long as you just win baby. RR did a lot of little things which nicked away had the good will most people had for him...for seemingly trivial things like the number 1 jersey to the naming of captains....his attempts at humor or lightening the mood at the press conference seemed to just feed the flames...
4. Of course losing and losing badly hurt - were all his losses close well played games, 21-17, 24-21, 17-14, a lot of people would have given him time. He definitely was reshaping the offense and I hope whomever takes over will have the sense to try to keep the OL and Denard Robinson together - should be a great junior year for them, but his defense just lacked any progress. So many teams lack talent (hard to believe Stanford gets better defensive players than Michigan) so coaching and prep has to figure into some of the failure of defense. He might have a chance if he had gotten the defense to work his first year when we had Brandon Graham and Donovan available - might have helped set the pattern for the latter years, but we'll never know.
5. Injuries and attrition - to DBs and RBs in particular.
|2 years 19 weeks ago||Always darkest before the dawn...||
The Fellowship of Bo Coaching Line was indeed broken. Turmoil surges and confusion and terror besieges the great stadium stronghold of the Wolverines and the evil minions of the Vested Dark Lord pour forth. Ruin and desolation foul the land.
But soon the Riders of Rohan will crest upon the ridge and surge down, and all of the repentant oath-breakers (Michigan men and women who forsook their UM heritage) will arrive borne on the dark sailed ships and we'll sweep the Pelennor Fields of the Big House.
Then will be the time of the Return of the Coach and he'll lead the team to the very gates of Mordor (just outside of Columbus in the great blighted horseshoe stadium) and destroy the Vested Dark Lord and his tainted tattooed wraiths who long ago were men but who sold their football souls for tattoos, free cars and bling.
All will then be well back in the Shire of MgoBlog. We'll rejoice with butterbeers, first and second lunch and breakfast. But every now and then in all the decades to come we'll feel the scar of this moment, like the scar of the Horror until in the end those few lucky enough will be carried off beyond the Western seas to join the Wolverine Immortals like Yost, Crisler and Bo and dwell in maize and blue forever.
|2 years 19 weeks ago||Exactly - few great coaches lacked great players.||
When Tom Brady catches a cold, Bill Belichick gets the flu. When Brady hurt his knee, Belichick probably felt as much if not more pain.
Which is why any established "big" name coach is less likely to come if he already has a system in place - a system which is bringing good players regularly to him. Why blow that up unless something is really bugging him to leave. Harbaugh might leave because he knows he probably won't find another QB like Luck in the next few years and he is at his peak in terms of job leverage. Short of winning the MNC, he'll never be hotter.
If someone other than JH is hired, I'm curious to see if the powers that be will look at an up and coming defensive coordinator at one of the top defensive powers (as ranked by NCAA team scoring and total defense). Some are out of play like West Viriginia Jeff Casteel - can't see hiring him now, or Carl Pelini of Nebraska with the Cornhuskers joining the Big Ten. Vic Fangio, the DC at Stanford would be a second choice and a bit on the older side and this was his first college gig - all other experience was in the NFL - not bad, but may not be aware of the college demands without someone shielding him like JH. TCU has R. Bumpus (? age), Alabama - Kirby Smart, Boise State - Pete Kwiatkowski.
|2 years 20 weeks ago||Agree with your analysis about options||
Right now much of the talk when it comes to CC revolves around the notion that there will be a CC and then devolves into a discussion about whether it is this guy or that guy and the pros and cons. If DB can't get the specific person he wants then he might just say "I've thoroughly reviewed the FB program and right now RR is our coach and is under contract for the next 2 years"...and then introduce RR to discuss changes in the staff starting with a new DC. I don't see DB letting RR go without the specific person he wants already sewn up. That there is still a lot of talk floating around JH makes it far from a done deal - OR - he has the best security so far on information. Part of me perversely wouldn't mind seeing RR come back and having a junior Denard Robinson and a veteran offensive line - should be something to see.
One last aside: in the summer, if there are defensive transfer from junior colleges (I know that is a long shot historically at the UM) then DB is really trying whomever is the HC at that point get better real fast.
|2 years 20 weeks ago||Cover up of the ecological disaster||
The second Death Star was over 900 kilometers in diameter and was literally visible from the surface of the forest moon of Endor. Its sudden destruction led to monstrous storm of debris raining down on the moon.The earth like gravity and geostationary orbit (to keep it within the shield generator range) would have tethered it so close as to produce a effect not unlike the most destructive of meteor storms.
That this is all being swept under the rug is just another example of the coverup created by the military-industrial complex under Palpatine.
|2 years 20 weeks ago||If you really had a time machine||
All this talk about stock markets and investments are off target - how many people really know what to buy and when? Could you even get a shot at the Google IPO?
Better to have gone way back to 1969 and get yourself a beer distributorship and a Domino pizza franchise in Ann Arbor, Columbus, Champaign, Madison, all of the Big Ten schools, etc.
|2 years 20 weeks ago||Hmmm, remember how that all ultimately worked out||
"Stop going for the easy buck and start producing something with your life."
"I'm going to jail"
"It's not always the most popular person who gets the job done."
|2 years 20 weeks ago||These upsets however are gradually changing minds||
Of course you are right that a few examples of non-AQ teams winning (and winning in exciting fashion) does not necessarily prove the idea that these conferences should be part of the BCS process.
But there have been enough recent examples that the old general belief that these schools could not be competitive week to week may be slowly dying. Once upon a time, any school which wasn't in one of the BCS conference (with the notable historical exception of the military academies and ND, principally from 1940-1970, with spots thereafter) meant that any game with a "big time" school would literally have been a game against (to paraphrase Gordon Gee) "the little sisters of the poor." They would be thoroughly thrashed. Check out the historical records of the Yost era when solid big time opponents were few. Some of the games were hopeless beatdowns with 60+ to zero. The annual ritual of having little fish come into the big stadiums for a big paycheck to act as warm up acts for the conference schedule has fooled many into thinking that this sort of situation still exists. Our own experience with the Horror and Toledo should make all UM fans realize that yes, these other conferences may not be great but the era when these non-AQ schools could be automatically dismissed is long over. It isn't just there are good non-AQ teams but the AQ teams are NOT as powerful as they once were back in the 1950-1980s.
There are millions more kids playing high school ball than in the past. There are more schools intent on buidling powerful FB programs. Most of all there are scholarship limits. How many kids do you think the old powers back in the 1960-70's would dress on game day? Some teams dressed over 100 kids. Not only were their starters great, but their second and sometimes their third tier players were really good, especially at positions like RB. Twenty four hour sports media and the internet further contribute by allowing kids to be followed by their families despite going far away - now it is commonplace for FL, TX, and CA kids to be recruited by schools in Idaho, Washington, Michigan, New Jersey, etc.
So, yes, one or two games don't prove the non-AQ conferences are equal to the AQ conferences, but good teams are good teams - of course, we'll never know until we have a true playoff. Tangentially, in basketball nearly every year we have a suprise in the Final Four. How often have the top 2 teams in March Madness actually make the final? Isn't it pretty rare that the FInal Four have all four top seeds? So there is little credibility that the final two in the BCS are really the "best". Look how infrequently the top two ranked teams meet in the Div 1aa, 2, and 3 tourneys and the whole notion that a ranking system produces the two best teams will be dispelled.
|2 years 20 weeks ago||Interesting analysis - well done, would add...||
Thank you for going to through the films and supplying us with these details. It will make viewing more fun for me and others who love knowing the details and background.
With the possibility of going only with Denard Robinson and ? as backup and with the season history it should be interesting game with a lot of side issues.
1. The other MSU will pressure the QB whenever possible - someone is going to be shadowing #16, sort of like the old Detroit Piston's Jordan Rules "whereever Michael Jordan goes you go". Hitting #16 whenever legally possible unfortunately has got to be in the other MSU's thoughts.
2. They will try to avoid giving up the big play - when the offense has done well, hitting big plays (25 yards+) has been important. When the offense has done badly usually big plays were absent or only occured when the game was out of hand. The Iowa, Wisconsin and tOSU games will probably serve as blue prints for their defense. Those games all occurred after Denard was banged up a bit so I'm curious to see what happens when he is healthier. Against this defense it will be interesting test.
3. They will probably try to contain Denard and make other people on offense beat them- Denard Robinson will gain yardage and is too good a player not to do some damage, but if someone else doesn't step from the RB or receiving end, we'll lose badly. If we can get the game into a situation where our offense and Denard decides the fate of the game as you hope I like our chances, but if you look at our losses in the Big Ten, this wasn't usually the case.
4. Turnovers and penalties - we have to avoid turnovers and penalties on offense; too many good scoring opportunities have been lost this year due to drive killing penalties or turnovers deep. (apologies for stating the obvious)
5. Defense has to play well (no, duh) - Ideally the defense will have to try to keep the game reasonable by giving less than 21 points in the first half if possible and less than 30 points overall. I hope the defensive plan is as you suggest - blitz and take some risks. In the real bad losses this season, the defense seem to be in a more standard set, gave up yards, a lot of time and ultimately a touchdown. We can't use "conventional" thinking - because the defense and special teams are not strong enough to play conventional field position football. Likewise when we are on their side of the field, we have to take our chances and go for a TD.
6. I appreciate that you bring a calm non-hysterical rabble rousing approach. No doubt you have your own strong feelings about CC or non-CC. As someone who grew up in AA and graduated high school in Bo year 10 (1979) until recently a bad year was when Bo (yes, even he had a bad year) went 6-6, so I know I lived through ~30 years of consistent excellence. Maybe spoiled by that but I'll be glad to get some of the CC discussion quieted down a bit after the next few weeks one way or the other. Regardless of what develops, I'll be back in the fall and subsequent falls!
Thanks again and Go Blue!
|2 years 20 weeks ago||Ignorance of the law has never been a defense||
In general, isn't ignorance of the law never a valid defense? It is a mitigating circumstance in some cases, but I don't think it has ever been successfully used as a standard defense. I'm not a lawyer but perhaps another MGoBlog member is and can confirm this.
"I didn't know using privilege information to trade stocks was illegal."
"I didn't know selling company/government secrets was wrong."
"I didn't know shouting fire as a prank in a crowded theater is against the law."
The whole NCAA shamateurism is shameful, but at least the NCAA should try to be consistent. Amazingly at the end of the year, the NCAA has managed to be doubly bad. First it has the same old shamateur hypocrisy of some dreamy world of college sports which never ever existed except in movies from the 1950's. They compound this with the mishandling of the Cam Newton pay-my-folks-as-a-shill-for-me situation and then this tattoosu mess. Any other body would have said that the rules are not great but here they are and suspended all of the players for the bowl game and next year. Way to go NCAA; hard to believe but the powers there actually manage to make themselves even LESS respected than before.
|2 years 20 weeks ago||Or did you just dream that you did?||
Maybe you're still dreaming or in CC limbo? Did you bother to see if your top stop spinning? Or did you even care? Do you hear "Je ne regrette rien" playing in the background? Is gravity failing? I'd signal for a kick but this year's kicking game has been so so.
|2 years 21 weeks ago||Practical results are what matter||
Agree with your assessment - size looks good, but more teams are realizing that like baseball and "Moneyball" how a player looks is only part of the issue. Too many QBs look great with tape measure (JaMarcus Russell, Ryan Leaf, Alkali Smith, Alex Smith, etc.) but just can't play. Other guys look like they should be selling shirts at the MDen (Danny Woodhead, Wes Welker, Doug Flutie) but are actual NFL pros. Flutie is an example of guy who didn't get a good shot until late in his career. When he was with Buffalo, they were within one fluke play (Music City Miracle - which was totally a forward lateral by the way :)) from another Super Bowl appearance. He won games with his arm, feet and head. But somehow the powers that be thought the other guy (who looked the part, Rob Johnson, USC, 6-4, etc.) was the guy.
Small QBs from lesser programs don't get many looks, but if you played on a strong program you'll get teams willing to give you a look and a chance.
|2 years 21 weeks ago||Give Tate credit for humility and honesty||
I read both accounts. The Detroit News was more of a summary and the Free Press version seemed to quote at greater length. He showed great honesty and humility.
It was nice to hear Tate Forcier take the issues head on: was he thinking about transferring, was he unhappy or disappointed he was not starting at QB, does he have any animosity with Denard, was he not as well prepared as he could have been, etc. He tackled each of these and he didn't seem try to duck or be elusive about his answers. He admitted that he let the early success go to his head and that he didn't crack down and work as hard as he could and as he should have both in his studies and in the off season. He also admitted that Denard Robinson did a great job and deserved to be number one.
Some of the other posters seem to doubt whether he has closed the door on transferring. I suppose one can never say never, and if some great program came up with a great offer (? which I suppose would be considered tampering?) he might consider but it sounds like he thinks he'll be here for the duration. He seems to appreciate that he will get the chance to play ( it would be hard to believe anyone can play at the pace needed and survive a whole season without missing some time at QB) and wants to play with a good team that has great potential.
You have to have some confidence to play QB, so I'm sure he still believes that he can be a number 1 QB somewhere but give the young man credit and for his family (it sounds like his dad and older brothers were major influences on the whole transfer issue) to sticking it out. In the long run I think he'll always have a spot in the hearts of Michigan fans. It might not have ended as we had hoped but his 4-0 run in 2009 was memorable. I still believe that had Michigan gone for two against MSU rather than playing for over time we might have upset them in East Lansing in 2009.
|2 years 21 weeks ago||We need more transparency and honesty about the situation||
Agree with your basic notion that there is some form of reciprocal exchange here but respectfully feel that much more can be done.
No except the most delusional believe any top athlete being recruited to play for a D1 school does not have serious thoughts about a possible pro career. The current rules are suppose to prevent a mercenary class of "student" players who would jump from school to school looking for a bigger paycheck. IIRC these sort of rules date back to the 1920's when college football first became big. (Hard to believe but once 80,000 turned out to watch Red Grange play and the game sometimes was only 6-0). Right now the college leagues in football, basketball and to much lesser degree baseball act as minor league system for the pro league. We have the ills and not of the benefits of an academic environment. So what can be done?
1. Acknowledge that the top recruits want to see if they can go pro.
2. Give those athletes a true athletic scholarship, like a dramatic arts, fine arts, or performance music scholarship.
3. Create a true program of study for "performance athletics" - with year round physical training in general, sport specific training, a thorough set of real classes about the nature of sport in the USA. Make it a point to develop the athletic potential of these kids.
4. A curriculum based about the nature of sport sounds hokey but consider that spectator sports (and not participatory sport) has become a major social, cultural and economic factor in American civilization. We speak of a "level playing field", "three strikes you're out laws", "judiciary acting as an umpire and not as a player", "free agent", a political "ground game", etc. The graduates would be expected to know about their specific sport in depth, sport in general and know also aspects of nutrition, basic physiology, and most of all the economics and politics of sport. Sounds hard to believe to some, but go look at the course catalog of any school offering a BA in Fine Arts, or Dramatic Arts, Dance or Music and there are plenty of theory and practice classes. Musicians, actors and artists have lives as difficult as any athlete and their careers are often just as short and uneven.
5. All candidates have to audition and are subject to review each year. Those who can't progress or can't continue are advised to look at another concentration. Not everyone admitted to the Music school hacks it as a performer - some transition over to teaching and other aspects of music. The rate of progress and success of a program would be easier to mention and indisputable - just look at the rosters of the pro leagues. Where do the players come from would make that quite clear.
6. The coaching staff can bring in top professionals all year round to evaluate and give counsel. There is no restriction on access. We won't see the odd situation of a 3 or 4 year starter in college not being able to read a defense, or have strange mechanics. Good training will attract the players with the best potential. The top companies come on campuse to recruit and most schools bend over backwards to have them visit their classes and talk with their students. Would any computer science/computer engineering school prevent recruiters from Intel, Apple, Microsoft, Siemens, etc. from hanging around?
7. Any one can try out for the team - in fact like the orchestras and bands, most of the team will be non-performance athletics students, but the real stars of the teams will probably be these performance athletics kids.
8. Kids are free to turn pro any time, but once they take pro money their eligibility to play in the college leagues is over and done.
9. Admittedly such a system will probably lead to the demise of most dynasties - the top players may only stay on for 2-3 years, a few for the full 4 years but it would stop the whole shamateurism hypocrisy. An open policy will drive the shady boosters, "friends" and other hangers-on into the light and a lot of their crap will be exstinguished. We won't see scores of kids being strung along with pipe dreams of turning pro when they are just roster fodder.
10. I know this is a tough sell for those who still hold physical activities as being something which is not academic or scholarly. But if the university consortiums can certify degrees in music, dance, and art, why not performance athletics?
|2 years 22 weeks ago||Numbers of tickets here don't tell the whole story.||
The UM has the largest group of living alumni of any university.
The UM has a huge fan base for football. So, why does it seem to have a hard time selling out bowl games? A lot of different factors have been mentioned: timing of the bowl, not exactly the greatest game, the economy or lack thereof in SE Michigan.
There is one more factor which is only touched upon in some of the articles - that UM alumni have a lot of options to get tickets. Our alumni are so scattered we don't huddle around one state or one city. It would be interesting to see how many Michigan alumni are actually there at the game rooting for Michigan as opposed to those who bought an "official' ticket from the tour packages. For example I went to the Rose Bowl for the great 1997 victory to cap off the undefeated year and my tickets were obtained from a Pac 10 source; knew someone who knew someone who had good tickets and was amazingly NOT a football fan but a corporate guy with an auto company who were given tickets each year to the Rose Bowl and usually gave them away. (that sort of crime is another issue!)
This simple herd mentality way of counting support as if the fans were sheep or cattle probably fails when it comes to Michigan.
|2 years 22 weeks ago||Another example of hypocrisy at work||
4 thoughts popped into mind after watching that video - great selection.
1. The whole Les Miles and Randy Shannon episode just shows again the whole hypocrisy of big time college football. The top kids go to the big programs because they want to turn pro. The coaches at the top programs pretty much know that they have to win and win now to keep their jobs and there is little incentive outside of pretty broad rules about getting kids to go to class and actually learn anything. Making the rules tougher - that is limiting to the actual number of scholarships available + 1, for example might seem an answer but after what has been revealed, I'm afraid there will be wholesale "running" of kids off of campus to get their scholarships. In contrast Saban's over use of medical "retirement" seems downright paternal - at least trying to let the kid go to school. Bo and Woody were tough and so were Moeller and Carr. I think of guys like Antonio Bass. If he were down at LSU or Miami instead of here with a standup guy like Lloyd Carr, he would have been bounced out once the coaching staff learned he'll be lucky to walk normally and play pickup basket ball. These guys are just cold-blooded.
2. What is also amazing is that the Miami example was with a kid who was on the field and contributing. With that type of ruthlessness, they were still a bad team!
3. Each year at senior day, we see the players who are about to play their last Michigan game get introduced. Some are famous and have starred for years. Others are minor contributors who get a nod of recognition from their work on special teams. Others still get only a "whose that" response and most people in the audience don't have a clue who this kid was and what position he played. But they stuck it out and now they are walking with their family and friends and get a last final round of applause. I'm glad Michigan each year has a number of such players - players who were probably high school stars but for whatever reason didn't work out and didn't end up being a college star. I'm glad we are not a place who runs those kids out of Ann Arbor. Who knows, one of them might end up being a successful CEO and future AD.
4. If this is what it takes to produce a MNC, I'm much happier just winning the Big Ten every now and then. Camgate and this stuff prove, yes, there is a difference between the Big Ten and the SEC - and it isn't on the field. It is about basic decency and compassion. It may be down south, but the SEC looks like a pretty cold hearted place.
|2 years 22 weeks ago||Like grammar & slang, usage will determine if div names survive||
The logo must be changed - as a "national brand" this new logo has to be ranked up there with prior failures: new coke, new pepsi bottle, new NBC logo (remember the big red and blue N), new Tropicana juice carton look.
The name of the division while lame is something that can be ignored. Does anyone except those who live in this area remember the old Norris division of the NHL or that naming structure? Thanks to Chris Berman of ESPN, more people probably identified the Norris division with Lions-Packers-Bears NFL football than hockey. If we all ignore the division names and refuse to use them they too will go away.
The logo has to change - a contest among the various design/art/communication departments of the member schools would have produced a better look; it would have been good publicity AND it would have been a lot cheaper!
|2 years 22 weeks ago||Maybe it is a loss leader and acceptable ?!||
The reports that most schools losing money or barely break even at best may make some sense if the leadership (president, regents, board of governors) see the secondary benefits of national exposure and development (e.g. alumni fund raising) worth the price - it is a loss leader, like for some company which makes a product which gathers it good public relations while not ever really becoming a big earner. For universities essentially the loss in revenue is chalked up to the cost of advertising the school and cultivating donors. IIRC Boston College saw a surge in applications after Doug Flutie last moment hail mary pass thrust BC into the public conscience. So for some schools, let's say the cost of taking a full band, the whole board, presidential entourage and other friends-of-the athletic department puts the school in the hole for $250,000 or $500,000, but if it is all for a big name bowl the cost of a single TV ad for the school could be close to that or more. Wining and dining donors at the game for a capital campaign which can run into the billions (for example the UM ended its recent campaign in 2009 at finally total $3.2 billion) also seems a reasonable cost.
Of course, having a winning team matters, but that is for other parts of this board....