I GET IT
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|4 days 17 hours ago||So what makes more sense||
So if you're Dave Brandon, what makes more sense: heavily marketing the football and to some extent basketball teams to milk a little more cash for the swim team? Or just marketing the swim team directly? Hiring / creating the position of marketing director for the athletics department to increase publicity for the excellent things Michigan athletes are doing in non-revenue sports makes a lot of sense to me. I think part of what rankles so much is that it seems like that's not what the marketing department's job is. Instead, the AD's marketing team focuses on (seemingly unnecessarily) marketing the crap out of the football team, and squeezing every dime out of it that they can. Maybe that does make more money for the athletic department as a whole than direct marketing of soccer, volleyball, field hockey, etc. would have. Maybe the MBAs in charge have looked at trying to build enough interest in gymnastics that they could charge real money and make real revenue for tickets to gymnastics events, and decided it wasn't realistic. Maybe they're even right about that. But if they really are focused on making the revenue sports the WOW EXPERIENCEs that pay every other sport's bills, then doesn't it make sense to make sure the pep band IS at the basketball and hockey games? Isn't that part of what makes the ticket price worth paying?
|4 days 17 hours ago||Elitists||
One could argue that what Brandon is doing is also consistent with the character of our institution. I mean, we are elitists, right? Pretty sure I've heard that someplace.
EDIT: beaten to the punch by the old guy with the hot wife.
|5 days 12 hours ago||Tinkering on D||
This is an under-discussed facet of the past season. The tinkering on the O-line is easy to rationalize. One can argue about the individual iterations, but certainly the need to try something was justified. The late season tinkering on D, particularly when it seemed like the defense was actually playing reasonably well, is harder to understand. And it really did seem like tinkering to try to get something to work better, rather than just getting a few deserving guys a few more snaps. Anyone have any insight here? Were certain players not playing because they were actually on double-secret probation? Were there coverage breakdowns or run game weaknesses that didn't actually get exploited to the point where the fans noticed them, but that the coaches saw on film and worried about? Were the coaches just desperate to upgrade the defense from an overall "B" grade to an overall "A" to compensate the inconsistency of the offense? Anyone have any insights here?
|1 week 20 hours ago||Emerald Bowl||
I'll insert here my yearly plug for referring to the Fight Hunger/San Francisco bowl as the Emerald Bowl (as it was from 2004-2009). This fits in the same category as "Outback" in that it's ultimately a corporate sponsorship (Emerald Nuts, owned by then-sponsor Diamond of California), but at least it's one that evokes an image (San Francisco as the Emerald City, an image I rather like) as much as an oversalted food.
The Bay Bowl would of course also be acceptable, both for accuracy and for sheer alliterative appeal.
|3 weeks 2 days ago||NO||
Would you boo the players? If you are not the kind of scummy person who would boo the players themselves, then you should not boo the team, period. Because the players are not going to think "Oh, I hear boos, but they're directed at the coaches, not me." They're going to think "Oh, our fans have turned on us, our fans suck." And perceived hostility between players and fans can only serve to poison the program, long term (would you as a recruit sign up to play at a school where you thought the fans would turn on you?).
Also, think of the question this way: you're basically asking "should I be an asshole?" Your mileage may vary, but really, how many times in life should the answer to that question EVER be "yes"?
|3 weeks 2 days ago||Grasping at straws||
I think part of what makes the constraint plays feel "gimmicky" is that they're grasping at straws to see what works. I diagnose it as follows:
Plays A and B are base plays, with constraints C, D, and E
Plays P and Q are base plays, with constraints R, S, and T
Prior to the season, the staff tried to install an A-Z offense, the young players couldn't get good enough at all of the plays A-Z, and as a result, you ended up with a team that can execute A, S, and T, but not B-E or P and Q. So the constraint plays aren't consistent with the base plays, not because Borges doesn't want to call C, D, and E when the defense adjusts to A, but because the players can't do C, D, and E. (Witness two FAILED bubble screens yesterday! Why did they go half the season without calling the bubble? Because this team can't execute it!) So Borges has to call S and T to counter the defense adjusting to A, whether or not that actually makes sense.
I think we can all agree now that they should have just installed A-E, gotten good at them, and then maybe learned P and Q during the bye weeks. It also seems that they spent the bye weeks assuming that if they just found the right combination on the OL, they'd be okay to run all of A-Z, still not realizing how screwed they really were. It seems like it took until LAST WEEK for how screwed they really were to sink in -- two weeks in a row of negative rushing yards finally penetrates even the thickest of skulls. But it's too little too late. And when opposing D coordinators know that all you can do is A, S, and T, then you can't do those either. And without P and Q, they can take away S and T and you can't punish them for it. And so the futility continues.
|3 weeks 2 days ago||It really is that simple.||
I think people on this board are getting tired of the explanation that the OL is young and under-talented, as though that explanation somehow becomes less true during the course of the season.
|3 weeks 5 days ago||kids vs adults||
This isn't by any stretch unique to MGoBlog. I think it's a confusion in general for our entire culture. Are college students kids or adults? Seems like the answer is 'yes'.
|4 weeks 2 days ago||Yeah what happened?||
Yeah, what happened to B-Dubs? Time was when making the pilgrimage to the BW3's in Ypsi was a Tuesday night tradition for delicious wings (25 cents apiece in those days). When they built one on campus, I was ecstatic. After a while, going there got a little less exciting, but for a while I attributed that to the novelty wearing off. But at some point, it became apparent that the quality really was falling. And it's not just in Ann Arbor -- I've been to restaurants from Pleasanton, CA to Naperville, Il in the last year, and they all just seem awful anymore. I've talked to a few other people about this, and apparently I'm not the only one who's noticed. It's gotten to where unless I hear differently from someone with a recent experience, I probably won't be going back to a B-Dubs again. Which is especially disappointing to say about a place I once held in such high esteem. Seriously, what happened?
|5 weeks 3 days ago||+ 1||
Correct use of username
|6 weeks 6 days ago||nah||
yours was way better. Also, now I'll spend all day trying to find an excuse to call someone or something a "taint pustule." So, thanks for that.
|7 weeks 19 hours ago||MGOboard vs mgoBOARD||
"I was hoping to generate some like mind discussion or to the contrary..."
Putting aside the grammar, this sentence summarizes surprisingly concisely the frustrations of many long time MGoReaders with the current state of the board.
"I was hoping to generate some discussion..."
Of course you were. It's a message board. That's what message boards on the internet are used for, right? Generating discussion, whether between like-minded individuals, or among those with contrasting opinions. Sounds perfectly reasonable. I'll call this the mgoBOARD perspective.
The thing is, though, that there was a time when posts on this blog, even on the message board section, were not about "generating discussion." They could better be summarized as "I would like to present this analysis." And by analysis, I don't mean a summary of what's been said on talk radio and rival blogs; I mean an insightful look at how our right guard matches up against an opponent's defensive tackle, or how a well-used combination of routes might be particularly effective at countering a double-A-gap blitz frequently deployed by an in-state rival. Such posts are not merely "discussion" in the sense of having a conversation for the sake of talking about it; they are informative, value-added, and help us fans better set our expectations, and better understand what's actually going on in the game. I'll call such contributions MGOboard posts.
There was a time when the frequency of MGOboard posts, and relative paucity of mgoBOARD posts, was what first distinguished MGoBlog as the premiere destination for coverage of Michigan sports. And there are indeed still a good number of such MGOboard posts being posted. But the steady increase in mgoBOARD posts, where people post simply to express an opinion or to stir up conversation without really adding to it, has really diluted the overall quality. And that dilution is what many long-time readers here find frustrating.
And the "if you don't like it, don't read it" response becomes very tiresome too: the reason I read MGoBlog, and not the comments section of MLive, is precisely because I want to avoid reading posts that contribute nothing. When those posts show up on MGoBlog too, it's like advertising in the Big House: yeah, it's not the end of the world, but it's irritating, surprisingly hard to ignore, and undermines a significant piece of what made the Big House special in the first place.
|9 weeks 6 days ago||congrats||
BiSB, it is my honor on behalf of the MGoReadership to award you ONE (1) INTERNET for this comment.
Also, this needs to be on a T-Shirt.
|10 weeks 4 days ago||Subterfuge||
Allow me to place my tinfoil hat firmly upon my head. Okay, ready:
If you were running a program in which players were getting paid serious cash, whether from boosters, coaches, agents, or the Honorable Robert J Bentley himself, what would you do to lower the suspicions of outsiders? I think you'd actually WANT to get "caught" for a very minor violation with a very small sum of money, given to a player in a context different from your normal payment scheme, every now and then. Especially if it were something stupid, like "I took a small loan from a coach and paid him back later." That way, you can talk tough, suspend a player, get some quotes in the media about how "we're disappointed, and will work to make sure this never happens again." You give people the expectation that, yeah, there's a small problem here and we know that, but we're working to clean it up. This keeps people from digging as hard to find the true, massive extent of it, because they think they already know what your dirty laundry is. Our favorite pastor from Duluth made an excellent point yesterday about how you know at stereoid use is actually worse in the NBA than in the NFL, because in the NBA, no one ever gets caught. The NFL takes the position "we know it happens a litte, and we're working to correct it," which makes it seem like stereoid use is limited to a few individuals, and not a systemic issue. Whereas the NBA's total lack of real enforcement suggests that EVERYONE is using. If I'm the NBA, what I want to do to make it seem less like a massive cover-up is let a few people get caught, yell at them, and make it appear that it's just a few bad apples and you're working to weed them out. And if I'm a conspiracy theorist, I might say Alabama is doing exactly that, more or less to throw us off the scent.
/removes tinfoil hat
That said, Alabama is one of the few schools that actually doesn't "need" to pay players right now to be competitive. Not saying they do or don't, but right now Alabama has enough recruiting cachet that throwing a few $$ here or there is probably not that important for them. It's the Old Miss's of the world where the "need" to cheat is greater, because they can't compete with Alabama for recruits on a level playing field.
|10 weeks 5 days ago||it gets better||
You're going to be disappointed to learn that the answer is still "infinity."
But if the two infinities you're multiplying are the same size of infinities, then the result is also that same size. Whereas if one of the starting infinities is "bigger" than the other, then the result is the "same size" as whichever one was bigger to start with.
As to what "infinity plus one" means, that leads us into ordinal numbers, which are a different kind of infinity entirely. And at this point, my head explodes too.
(Also, a quick plug for the book Everything And More, by Our Fearless Leader's favorite DFW, from which I learned all this. An easy, enjoyable, and informative read.)
|10 weeks 6 days ago||worth saying again||
This is worth saying again! The tight ends have been just as culpable for the run game struggles as the middle of the offensive line has been. And if you can't run to the middle, and you can't run to the outside, and pulling your tackles hasn't really worked either, what else do you do? More fullbacks? Point being, there's been more discussion of the middle of the O-line than the TE's, but the TE's are worth analyzing too. Jake Butt getting so much time so early in his career, for instance, is probably not only because he's already showing flashes -- it's also because they need him. Funchess has the physical tools, he just needs the light to go on. That could happen tomorrow; it might never happen. AJ Williams has been hurt, and he and Funchess are both also still young guys, all things considered (as are Kalis, and Glasgow), but they can only grow up at one day per day*, so improvement with age doesn't get us much for this season. Add it all up, and I'm becoming ever more convinced that it's time to give Kerridge and Houma some more snaps. Though again, that's no cure-all either.
Bottom line is, we probably just need to be patient this year. Which, if the tunnel-vision of mid-season hasn't blinded us, is exactly what we already knew before this year began.
*or less as one approaches light speed, depending on your frame of reference. /PhysicsPedantry
|11 weeks 4 days ago||through the tunnel in Being Tim Tebow||
|11 weeks 6 days ago||On this one I see us almost||
And perhaps this is what we all need to see right now. Take a deep breath: it's been a struggle, but they're actually almost there.
Also, very much co-signed on your question as to how this play resembles the Fitz TD.
|11 weeks 6 days ago||On both sides too||
Amazing how generally applicable the "they" in that statement is, too. It's true on both sides of the ball, and for every position group. And it's not necessarily surprising either, for (all together now) such a young team. After all, it's hard enough to learn your own job, let alone learning what everyone else around you is doing on top of that. Luckily, the more starts these guys get together, the more cohesion should start to develop.
|12 weeks 14 hours ago||Doing it yourself vs. critiquing someone else||
I think hannibal's comment is apropos here too. It's not, say, open heart surgery. But a layman who's spent some time with Grey's Anatomy (the book, not the soap opera) can still recognize that a surgeon who intends to operate on the heart, but has nicked the bowel in the process, has probably screwed up. As a layman, I absolutely cannot perform open heart surgery, but if I'm watching someone else do it and they start removing your liver instead, I'm going to know they screwed up. As a layman who's devoted a lot of time to watching surgeries, Brian can't perform open heart surgery either, but perhaps he can tell you you've got the wrong settings dialed up on the heart-lung machine and that your dosage of anti-coagulant is wrong (or whatever). In other words, someone who's spent a lot of time observing may be able to understand a lot of sophisticated details, especially at a high level, even if they could not themselves actually carry out the observed operations on said level. Could Brian call plays in real time? Probably not. Could he teach a quarterback how to go through a progression? I sincerely doubt it. Can he look back after the fact, watch the video a bunch of times, and come up with useful observations about whether the sequence of plays called actually made sense, or whether the quarterback appears to have gone through his progression? I'd argue the answer there is yes.
My point is, how big a grain of salt you need depends on what exactly is being claimed. High level observations of patterns like "Our linebackers struggle in coverage generally" is pretty low sodium. Detailed technical statements like "Courtney Avery should have started 15 yards deep on the left hash and read inside out on this playcall" would be much saltier. What's frustrating about these arguments (and I'm not accusing you of this) is they seem so binary: Brian is smarter than Borges! No, Borges is a genius, and Brian is too stupid to understand! Brian is always right! No, Brian is full of it, and we shouldn't trust his opinion because he's not a coach! No, one should not uncritically accept absolutely everything posted on MGoBlog as the Gospel truth -- but isn't that true of absolutely everything you read, from any source, in any context?
|12 weeks 14 hours ago||Agreed.||
|12 weeks 19 hours ago||Engineer breaking down football||
So let me get this straight: you don't think a Michigan-educated engineer who has spent the last 8 years dedicating himself to watching film, going to coaching clinics, and otherwise immersing himself in the game of football can understand how an offense is designed -- and yet, a bunch of guys who were recruited more for their physical talents than for their academic aptitude can understand it?
I promise you: if football players can understand an offense, so can Brian. And if you don't think a Michigan engineer who has dedicated himself to learning something can, in fact, learn it... I don't think I'm the only one on this blog who's going to have a strong difference of opinion with you.
|12 weeks 1 day ago||This offense||
When it works, it's the "swiss army knife" offense, and you never know what's coming. When it doesn't work, it's "we have no identity on offense."
Of course, one alternative is Rodriguezian: when it works, "we exploit math to put our opponents at a disadvantage, and cycle through interrelated plays to make sure our opponent is always wrong." When it doesn't work, it's "we can't even line up and push our opponent off the ball for 2 yards when we need it."
Another alternative is DeBordian: when it works, "we impose our will on the other team, and push them off the ball when we need yards." When it doesn't, we "refuse to be creative or use scheme to take advantage of defenses, and rely entirely on execution."
I think the bottom line is, if you play well, then the structure of the offense makes you look good. When you play poorly, the structure of the offense makes you look foolish. Which in simpler terms just means "Jimmies and Joes, not X's and O's."
|12 weeks 1 day ago||Musburger||
I caught that too. Like we were supposed to be impressed by that or something? Texas must have been REALLY bad the previous two weeks if that represented improvement. I know that "the game has changed" and "offenses have gotten better," but really? That's where the bar is set now?
|12 weeks 1 day ago||Young team||
Where the youth also really shows up is on special teams. I don't remember now whether it was the kick or the punt coverage that Hoke said has six freshman on it. SIX FRESHMEN. That's why we're seeing dumb penalties away from the ball, and balls bouncing off players' feet, and to a lesser extent it's probably part of the reason the return teams have not looked sharp in general. It's not just the offensive line where the youth is evident.
Though while we're on the topic, we should recognize Chesson's excellent play on the punt coverage team this week. Hopefully he can keep that up!
|13 weeks 1 day ago||Goes to gameplan||
and maybe to hubris. If the offensive coaching staff assumed that this game would be a blow-out, and game-planned to use it like an extended practice, then Devin running plays outside his comfort zone is probably exactly what we should have expected. You only get better at things if you work on them, right?
Also, it's easy to say "Devin should be benched with another performance like that." But it's not realistic. Be honest: at this point, even a struggling Devin Gardner is still a better option than a not-yet-ready Shane Morris or an under-arm-strengthed Brian Cleary. After all, Gardner still had 100+ yards on the ground, and it turned out we needed every one of them.
|13 weeks 2 days ago||Question||
for coaching types: was that INT on Gardner, on Funchess, or just bad luck? On first viewing, that looked like a terrible decision by Gardner to throw that ball, but the backfield angle replay made it seem like the throw was accurate and would have pretty much hit Funchess in the neck, i.e. he should have been able to catch it. Bad read, bad hands, or just unlucky?
|13 weeks 2 days ago||The answer||
The answer to that, apparently, is "just barely." So I guess we have that going for us. Which is nice.
|13 weeks 2 days ago||Game plan||
Many commenters are talking about how the players didn't get up for this game, but I think the offensive coaching staff didn't get up for it either. It was hard to tell from the tight camera angles on BTN; maybe just no one was open or the routes were poorly run. But it seemed like going deep just wasn't part of the game plan. I know they would like to have another deep option, and that having Darboh out for the season hurts. But it didn't seem like they were even trying it in this game. (And given the way Akron played, the deep ball is exactly the thing they did need.) I agree it seems strange that they didn't seem to be practicing deep throws, especially when players like Chesson really do need the experience. But it seemed like coming into this game, they had other priorities.
Also, look at the running plays, especially in the first half. They tried a bunch of option-type looks that they haven't shown yet this year (none of which worked), rather than just lining up and running plays that have worked in the past. When these plays didn't work, suddenly you're 3-and-out, and you end up not running very many plays. And when you don't run many plays, it's hard to get into the rest of your offensive gameplan.
I think the offensive coaches thought this game would be a pushover too, so they decided to treat it like a live practice. Remember when all the crazy diamond and "Fritz" stuff first appeared against a badly overmatched Minnesota team two years ago? I think they had the same idea coming into this one: use the tomato can game to work the kinks out of the fancy new plays you want to add to the offense. Except in that game, the Fritz stuff was successful, and kept the offense in rhythm. In this game, the run game wrinkles they started with all failed, and suddenly the offense is out of sync.
Only after halftime did they start running read options, midline veers, and other running plays that have been bread and butter for this team for two years -- and those plays were pretty successful yesterday too. Seemed like the offensive playcalling was both more aggressive in the second half, and played more to the known strengths of the team, because they suddenly realized they had to actually try to win the game.
You never really know how much Hoke is just being Hoke -- he talks about "we need to do a better job as coaches" pretty much all the time anyway -- but in this one I think he really does mean it: the offensive coaches also expected a blow-out, and game-planned for one. When it didn't happpen, they had to adjust too.
As far as the defensive coaching... seems like we saw more of the bend-but-don't-break stuff we saw against ND, and that seems to me like it's done in part to protect a secondary they still don't really trust yet. I'm starting to think our defensive calls this year might be somewhat opponent-independent, and more about trying to hide our weaknesses than attacking the weaknesses of our opponents.
|14 weeks 18 hours ago||+1 informative||