Preview: Alabama 2012

Preview: Alabama 2012

Submitted by Ace on August 31st, 2012 at 1:11 PM

[Note for people who don't read who posts what: Ace posted this. You probably didn't read this either. DAMN YOUUUUU.]

Previously here: FFFF, Mini Program, monuMental Wallpaper, Six Zero Wallpaper, Three-Part Roster Comparison (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3).

Other stuff: MnB Q&A with Roll Bama Roll. Who Are You and Why Do We Care? Nick Saban vs. Mecha-Nick Saban. Know Your Foe.

Alabama season previews from Pre-Snap Read and Bill Connelly.

Previews from Maize and Go Blue, Maize & Blue Nation, Burgeoning Wolverine Star, and Holdin' The Rope.

Essentials


WHAT Michigan vs Alabama
WHERE Cowboys Stadium, Arlington TX
WHEN 8 pm Eastern, September 1st 2012
THE LINE Alabama -13.5
TELEVISION National on ABC
WEATHER sunny, mid-90s, roof expected to be closed so it doesn't really matter

[Image via Tower of Bammer]

It's the opening game of the season, so certainly the Wolverines have scheduled a directional Michigan school or similar creampu...

Oh.

Michigan takes on defending national champion Alabama, which is ranked second in both preseason polls despite returning just 11 starters. There is good reason for this: Nick Saban has turned Tuscaloosa into an NFL talent factory, one that shows no signs of slowing despite the heavy personnel losses. Michigan's toughest test traditionally comes in the last regular season game; this year, it's the first.

Run Offense vs Alabama


Jesse Williams shifts from end to nose tackle; this should not be a problem

The Crimson Tide defense posted one of the most dominant seasons in collegiate history in 2011, allowing ten yards per game fewer than any other team in the country. A look at their run defense, game-by-game, reveals their numbers could have been even better if not for one obvious outlier:

Opponent Atts Yds YPC TD
Kent St. 23 -9 -0.4 0
Penn St. 30 107 3.6 1
North Texas 32 68 2.1 0
Arkansas 19 17 0.9 0
Florida 29 15 0.5 0
Vanderbilt 19 41 2.2 0
Mississippi 31 28 0.9 1
Tennessee 32 92 2.9 0
LSU 41 148 3.6 0
Mississippi St. 29 12 0.4 0
Ga. Southern 39 302 7.7 1
Auburn 35 78 2.2 0
LSU 27 39 1.4 0

FCS school Georgia Southern was the only team to crack 3.6 yards per carry against Alabama, and they more than doubled that figure. Flukes are flukes, however, and a triple-option FCS team managing that kind of output against that defense screams irrelevance unless Al Borges breaks out the flexbone tomorrow. The rest of the year, Bama allowed more than three ypc just twice, to Penn State (still boasting Silas Redd) and LSU (first matchup—the second didn't go so well).

This isn't the same Alabama outfit, of course; they lose nose tackle Josh Chapman and a pair of All-American caliber linebackers in Dont'a Hightower and Courtney Upshaw. The Tide can replace that talent effectively, sliding 320-pound end Jesse Williams down to the nose and inserting former blue-chip recruits Trey DePriest and Adrian Hubbard into the lineup at linebacker, but replicating last year's success will be difficult.

Then again, Alabama ceded just 2.4 yards per carry last year en route to crushing the entire universe. Giving up a full yard more per carry would've still placed them inside the top 25 nationally—there may be regression, meaning the extent of their destruction is limited to merely our own galaxy. Williams reportedly bench-pressed 600 pounds(!!!) over the summer—as a JUCO transfer who originally hails from Australia, he's just beginning to reach his potential. Starting ends Damion Square and Ed Stinson each played in all 13 games last year (Square started all 13) and weigh in at over 280 pounds. The Tide carry a reputation for being strong up the middle and that should not change this year.

At linebacker, Nico Johnson and C.J. Mosely combined for 11 TFLs in 2011 and should greatly improve on that output now that they're out from under the shadow of Hightower and Upshaw. Johnson is listed as the co-starter at both MIKE and WILL, while Mosely will stick to the weak side. You may remember DePriest from his recruitment, when the five-star out of Springfield, Ohio, appeared to favor Michigan at one point before choosing to head South. He tallied 25 tackles as a true freshman last year and is a star in the making. Strongside linebacker Hubbard functions more as a defensive lineman in Alabama's 3-4 defense.

On the Michigan side, their performance in this regard may hinge on the status of Fitzgerald Toussaint [UPDATE: forget that]—it takes a dynamic runner to be effective against this defense, and Thomas Rawls and Vincent Smith do not fit that bill. If Toussaint isn't available, Moving the ball on the ground will be a difficult proposition, especially since Alabama can then key on Denard Robinson without having to fear the guy next to him.

As long as there are no injuries along the offensive line, the Wolverines should hold up in the trenches. The pressure will be on Patrick Omameh—who's struggled against bigger, stronger linemen—and new starter Elliott Mealer to not give any ground; if they're getting knocked into the backfield, the efforts of Taylor Lewan and Michael Schofield will be for naught.

If, as expected, Toussaint is not available, it'll take a monster effort from Denard for Michigan to consistently move the ball. He's capable, of course, especially against a defense facing its first full-speed test of the season. As detailed in FFFF, it usually takes misdirection to find running room against the Tide, so we'll see if Borges gets creative to try and get Denard into space on the edge.

Key Matchup: The interior line vs. Jesse Williams. As I said, Lewan and Schofield could dominate and it won't matter if Omameh, Mealer, and center Ricky Barnum can't keep Williams from getting a push up the middle. If the interior line can fight Williams to a draw there's a chance Denard and the backs can put together a few decent runs, perhaps (please?) by running some inverted veer, which Auburn (and Cam Newton) ran with great success against the Tide in 2010.

[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the news. Which is mostly bad.]

Clark, Toussaint Out For Alabama

Clark, Toussaint Out For Alabama

Submitted by Brian on August 31st, 2012 at 12:37 PM

Fitzgerald Toussaint Purdue v Michigan D7mJDURiHBXl[1]UMFB_SugarBowl_FrankClark-thumb-590x391-99369[1]

Release:

Statement from Head Coach Brady Hoke on running back Fitzgerald Toussaint and defensive end Frank Clark:

"Fitzgerald Toussaint and Frank Clark have been suspended for one game and will not make the trip to Dallas for Saturday's game.

"The decision was not easy, but I feel it is in the best interest of this program and for these kids, and those always will be my priorities.  We have choices every day, and you have to be accountable to this program, your teammates, your family and the University of Michigan.

"These are our sons.  These are real lives, and I think too often many people forget that.  It's not always just about football, or a football decision.  It's about teaching life lessons, and if this helps these kids or someone else make a right decision later, then we've won.  That is ultimately what we are here for, to help them grow and mature to become better sons, fathers, husbands and members of society.

"They are good young men who made poor choices, and we will continue to support them as members of our team and family." 

Both will be back for Air Force. Thomas Rawls, Vincent Smith, and Dennis Norfleet(!) will have to pick up the slack at RB, with some possibility Stephen Hopkins will also get RB snaps. Black and Beyer will likely handle DE with some possibility Mario Ojemudia gets in as a rush specialist.

Unverified Voracity Serves You W/ Flaming Piano

Unverified Voracity Serves You W/ Flaming Piano

Submitted by Brian on August 29th, 2012 at 7:28 PM

Hoke interviewed w/ bonus. Davy Rothbart got a one-on-one interview with Brady Hoke in which the man revealed he tears up at Hall and Oates songs, which is obvious in retrospect. He's just a big ol' bear. Grantland did not understand the power of the twosie and had space constraints*, so here are a couple of leftover bits from Mr. Rothbart:

Davy/Grantland: You've seen the pictures on MGoBlog of Taylor Lewan riding a "twosie" bicycle, right? What do you think of that?

Coach Hoke: [Laughing] Hey, we're happy if we can keep [the players] off of motorcycles. I'd say a twosie is okay in my book.

Hoke's favorite movies: "Silence of the Lambs. And A Few Good Men. What a powerful movie."

Hoke's favorite book: "Lone Survivor by Marcus Luttrell. It's the story of the U.S. Navy SEAL Team 10. A book about brotherhood, skills, and accountability."

Hoke's favorite food: "Pizza. My wife’s homemade pizza. We top it with hamburger, pepperoni, and maybe some feta cheese with some pepperoncinis. Artichoke hearts sometimes, and sliced tomatoes. My wife's sauce is the best. We have pizza night every Thursday night during football season.  This year will be our 33rd year doing it. Just me, my wife, and our daughter... and then I bring the leftovers in for the defensive line the next day."

Orson will be so happy about that last bit. You may remember that Rothbart is the FOUND guy. He's got a book coming out soon with what he promises are many Ann Arbor-based tales.

*[I know, it's the internet, don't ask me.]

Come for the spelling, stay for the crotch explosions. Shutdown Fullback is M-Bama oriented and taking gratuitous shots at MSU:

I need someone to make a college football themed collectible card game.

OPPONENT: Taps three boosters, plays AARON BURBRIDGE
SELF: plays NCAA CLEARINGHOUSE interrupt, taps Burbridge for three turns
OPPONENT: Plays BULLCRAP ONLINE COURSES to untap Burbridge
SELF: taps two unofficial visits, plays JT FLOYD

…and so on.

Step your game up, block-MS-painters. You just got served:

Lepredragon_color[1]

Will this aggression stand, MS paint aficionados? Mmmm?

Epic Cato June. BHGP is still running down the top 25 Ferentz wins, and I knew this one was coming: their epic beatdown of #8 Michigan in 2002. I was at that game, and did not have real good time. (Are we still saying that?)

I mention it because Iowa has gifed the most Cato June thing of all time:

Jermelle-run[1]

Okay, it's at least top five. #1 would have to be a GIF where June celebrates like Ray Lewis after someone else made a tackle 20 yards downfield.

And then he became a pro bowl linebacker. Football is weird.

Etc.: Joe Montana doesn't seem like a Brian Kelly fan. B&B on packaged plays and such. They're all the rage.

Fee Fi Foe Film: Alabama

Fee Fi Foe Film: Alabama

Submitted by Ace on August 29th, 2012 at 4:49 PM

In case you've forgotten since last fall, FFFF is the weekly film breakdown of Michigan's upcoming opponent where I apply my (limited) knowledge of X's and O's—luckily, this week much of the technical brilliance is provided by Chris Brown.

College football fans should know a few things about Alabama: they're good (duh), they play a soul-crushing 3-4 defense, and they grind out wins with a glacial-paced zone running offense that's brutally efficient. I'll get into more detail below, of course, but that's the Cliffs Notes version if you hate to read. Given that it's the opening week of the season and Alabama is replacing several starters, this post will almost entirely focus on scheme; Friday's preview will go much deeper into their personnel.

OFFENSE

Spread, Pro-Style, or Hybrid? Pro-style. Alabama mostly operates from under center, usually with either a fullback/H-back or second tight end on the field.

Basketball on Grass or MANBALL? Though the Crimson Tide offense operates in the spirit of MANBALL, they actually utilize a lot of zone blocking—the inside and outside zones are staples of their offense.

Quarterback Dilithium Level (Scale: 1 [Navarre] to 10 [Denard]): Even with sacks removed, quarterback A.J. McCarron rushed for only 70 yards on 19 carries last year. He's mobile enough that he could escape the pocket and possibly pick up a surprise first down, but not much more than that. I'll give him a 3.

Dangerman: QB A.J. McCarron. Alabama loses most of their top skill position players from last year, but McCarron is often overlooked as one of the better quarterbacks in the nation, largely due to their run-heavy attack and defensive reputation. As a redshirt sophomore last season, McCarron finished 25th in the country in passer efficiency (147.27) and 24th in yards per attempt (8.0), most impressively posting a miniscule 1.5% interception rate. McCarron doesn't wow you, but he's the perfect quarterback for 'Bama's system: the proverbial "game manager" who rarely makes a mistake.

Zook Factor: This is my measure of how often teams have horrible ideas like "let's punt on 4th and 3 from the opponent 35" and so on. While Alabama is hailed as a conservative paragon, they've been known to break that habit in a big way:

Of course, the reason this works so well is because Alabama normally takes the safe route; earlier in the same game, they punted on 4th and 1 from their 46 despite the presence of one Trent Richardson.

OVERVIEW: Alabama has a new offensive coordinator this year as former Washington OC Don Nussmeier takes over for new Colorado State head coach Jim McElwain. The general strategy should be the same, however, and if anything the offense could become even slower: according to Football Study Hall, the Tide—quite uncharacteristically—had a slightly faster pace than NCAA average last year, while Nussmeier's Washington squad plodded along at a 39.6% adjusted pace. Chart via Football Study Hall:

Alabama's hard-earned reputation as a run-first outfit doesn't manifest itself on standard downs (First downs, second-and-6 or less, third-and-4 or less); instead, it shows up in their far-above-average run percentage on passing downs (second-and-7 or more, third-and-5 or more). The Tide don't often find themselves in that latter category, however, as they led the nation in all three advanced statistical measures (S&P+, Success Rate, PPP+) on standard downs. In other words, they stay ahead of the chains and rarely find themselves in a situation where they need to pick up a big chunk of yardage.

[Hit the jump for the rest of the breakdown]

Wednesday Presser Transcript 8-29-12: Brady Hoke

Wednesday Presser Transcript 8-29-12: Brady Hoke

Submitted by Heiko on August 29th, 2012 at 1:47 PM

News bullets and other important items:

  • 7 walk-ons got scholarships yesterday: SDE Nathan Brink, OL Joey Burzynski, LS Jareth Glanda, FB Paul Gyarmati, WR Joe Reynolds, QB Steve Wilson, TE Mike Kwiatkowski
  • Still no decision on Fitz or Frank Clark
  • Chris Wormley had his ACL surgery yesterday. It went well.
  • If Fitz is out, there might be a running back by comittee situation. Super. 

Brady Hoke

File

Opening remarks:

“Thanks for coming out. It’s always nice to visit with you. We’re getting a little closer to game day obviously. That’s probably an understatement. First thing I want to say is that we put seven guys on aid for the semester or for the year. They’re seven guys who have given a lot to Michigan and Michigan football. I think it’s only fair when we have them available at the time to reward those guys. Nate Brink and Joe Burzynski and Jareth Glanda, Paul Gyarmati, Kwiatkowski, Joe Reynolds and Steve Wilson are all guys that we wanted to make sure that we acknowledged. When you have the opportunity, every year’s different depending on what you have and what you’re going to do at mid terms and mid year and all that. We’re all happy about that. It’s an expensive dealing for some of them. Burzynski’s from Carlsbad or San Diego, California, out of state, and that’s -- you can imagine the price that he’s paying to be a guy who loves Michigan and wants to be part of Michigan football. That being said, that was fun. It was fun because we announced it in front of the rest of the team. There were hugs and kisses -- not kisses -- but hugs and excitement and all that kind of stuff. So that was good.

“Yesterday’s practice was okay. Not as sharp as we wanted, I wanted. We got a lot done, but at the same time you’re into a Tuesday. It’s a big workday. We’ve been working on Alabama for at least four days now. There’s a couple formation things, a little bit of communication from a defensive standpoint that we need to do a better job with. Still don’t have any decision for you on Frank or Fitz. You can ask me when I’m going to make that decision, and it’ll probably be before the game. It’s sometime before the game. With that, any questions?”

Tuesday Presser Transcript 8-28-12: Greg Mattison

Tuesday Presser Transcript 8-28-12: Greg Mattison

Submitted by Heiko on August 28th, 2012 at 9:50 PM

Greg Mattison

File

Can you talk about Quinton Washington emerging at nose tackle and moving Will Campbell to the 3-tech?

“What we’re looking for is getting the best four guys to be available to play inside. Q’s had a really good camp. Will’s had a good camp. So you kind of interchange those two to see which one makes that defense better, whether it’s one of them at the three and the other one of them at the nose. With so much trading and shifting and things like that, they both have to play the same position when they slide over, so it gives you an opporutnity to hopefully make yourself stronger rather than just having a true nose and that’s all he can play.”

Brennen Beyer is third on the depth chart. What does he have to do to move up?

“That group of three right there is never etched in stone. Brennen Beyer, I think, started out camp not as -- I don’t want to say tentative -- but not really realy playing as fast as I wanted him to play. Now the last week, though, he showed signs of being the Brennen Beyer of the spring. You’re going to see him play a lot. There’s no question about it. We got a group right there of guys, again, in the opening game, I don’t know how many plays you’re going to play -- you better have guys that can go in there, especially at that position because there’s a lot more running there. That’s a position that’s a defensive lineman sometimes and it’s a linebacker at other times, and he’s always got to run the farthest to chase the ball down … he has to be a guy that can run.”

Tuesday Presser Transcript 8-28-12: Al Borges

Tuesday Presser Transcript 8-28-12: Al Borges

Submitted by Heiko on August 28th, 2012 at 4:38 PM

Al Borges

File

Thomas Rawls?

“Thomas Rawls is fine.”

Why was he held out of practice this weekend?

“That’s injury information that’s not my area. Thomas Rawls is fine. That’s all that matters.”

How much are you emphasizing to the rest of the offense that they need to take the pressure off Denard so that the offense can succeed?

“Well, we don’t really put it that way. But that’s kind of the effect of how we approach it, is that when we came here, it became real apparent that he was the centerpiece of the offense, but we didn’t want 90 percent of the offense based on his production for obvious reasons because if you lose him you lose too much. We’ve been sending out the message since we got here is that we have to have other people involved, with our run game, our pass game, all that. I think we did a pretty good job of doing that. I hope like heck we can do the same thing this year. Yet at the end of the day, we don’t want to lose sight of the fact that he is the centerpiece of the offense. When push comes to shove he’s going to play a big part in whether we win or lose.”

Monday Presser Transcript 8-27-12: Brady Hoke

Monday Presser Transcript 8-27-12: Brady Hoke

Submitted by Heiko on August 27th, 2012 at 3:19 PM

Brady Hoke

News bullets and other important items:

  • This record is so broken, but no official decision on Fitz yet. Decision has been made but won't be revealed until the "time is right." 
  • Roundtree is back in full pads and practicing.
  • Quinton Washington has won the starting nose tackle job. Will Campbell is the starting 3-tech. Jibreel Black is back at WDE because -- I'm guessing based on other Hoke comments -- he still isn't big enough.
  • Brennen Beyer will float between WDE and SAM depending on the situation. It sounds like he's the primary backup at both positions rather than starting at either one.
  • Will Hagerup is the starting punter. Matt Wile will kick off. Brendan Gibbons will kick field goals. Wile will handle "outlandishly long" field goals -- 55 yarders -- if it comes to that.
  • Michigan shuffled the offensive line a lot during camp. Patrick Omameh spent some time at right tackle and Elliott Mealer spent some time at center. 
  • Dennis Norfleet will return kicks.

------------------------------

Televised Presser

Opening remarks:

“It’s good to be in game week. It’s been a long camp. I think it’s been productive in a lot of ways. I think we found out a little more about ourselves. I think we finished and ended camp at the end of the week and really yesterday we had a really good practice. I think with being physical with each other, having a good mentality and toughness, I think we improved. I think they came in and competed every day, which is a big part of it. I think the other thing we talked about was coming in with a lot of energy. We voted captains last night, and I’m really proud of both guys who were selected to be captains by their peers. I think both of them, obviously, deserve that. Both of them have been tremendous when you look at their leadership and what they’ve done for us as a football team to this point. We also have a whole group of seniors who have really done a good job. With that being said, I’m real proud of those two guys leading this football team. We have a big week ahead of us. We practiced last night. Today we won’t practice. We’ll meet and have some meetings. Tuesday will be a normal work day. Wednesday we’ll be a little lighter, not a whole lot. Thursday will be our normal Thursday, and we’ll get on the plane and go. We’re excited about it. Excited about the opportunity, obviously. The defending national champs and the job that Nick’s done is one that we respect. It’ll be a lot of fun for us to go down and compete. To compete for Michigan and to compete for the Big Ten conference."

(There's more!)

Unverified Voracity Is Working Hard To Get Ready

Unverified Voracity Is Working Hard To Get Ready

Submitted by Brian on August 23rd, 2012 at 2:10 PM

Is anyone else paralyzingly bored with media output of late? I mean, I just read these articles in which the answers have become absolutely uniform

"Right now, I'm just worried about this camp and Sept. 1 and Michigan football," [ANYONE IN THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD] said. "I never really felt like I took any steps backward or anything, I'm just going to continue to work hard like I've been doing."

…and I feel a need to link it while at the same time feeling like I am wasting your time by doing so. This is why I said Vincent Smith was a carrot. Because I am bored out of my mind with fall camp. Vincent Smith is not actually a carrot.

Don't even get me started on Countdown to Kickoff, where the most interesting thing is whether or not Doug Karsch's hair tuft will be there. It wasn't always like this:

SOMEONE GET AN UNUSUAL BICYCLE BEFORE I LOSE MY WILL TO LIVE

I think this deserves Henri, the otter of ennui.

aquarium-otter-sleeping-large[1]

Strangely, I feel better. It could be worse: I could be a journalist trying to scrape something interesting out of this mess. Let's move on.

Ringer seems out. If you hit up Kaleb Ringer's twitter and scroll down a bit you'll get tweets from folk wishing him well on his recovery and Joe Bolden saying they can't wait for him to get back. (Also you'll get Ferris State's logo for some reason.) He mentioned something about going through a trial a few days ago, as well.

He's probably injured, is what I'm saying, and given the tenor of the tweets I'd guess it's something with a long-term recovery period. He already seemed likely to redshirt; now I'd say that probability is close to 100%. With Antonio Poole also out long-term, James Ross is going to see the field.

[UPDATE: Hoke just announced Ringer is out for the year. So is Chris Bryant.]

What I am saying. I may flesh this out into a bigger post later; for now, Her Loyal Sons put together a primer on Notre Dame's 3-4 defense. They have "cat" and "dog" linebackers that align strong and weak (or possibly to field or boundary—the post doesn't make it clear) and those guys are frequently deployed like so:

3-4-Base-Under[1]

If this doesn't look familiar I have not been badgering you enough about how 1) moving to the 3-4 does nothing to help Michigan's DL issues and 2) that the 4-3 under is halfway between a traditional even 4-3 and the 3-4. Replace "CAT" with "WDE" and "DOG" with "SAM" and voila. ND will of course line up in a traditional 3-4 look and back that WDE-type-guy into coverage at times, but this assertion…

Unlike the 4-3, in which the defensive line almost exclusively rushes (save for some of the more exotic blitz packages), the setup of the 3-4 shines allows fourth rusher can really come from anywhere. While the Cat may be the pass rushing specialist, that doesn’t mean he will always do so.

…does not jibe with my observations last year, when Mattison flung all manner of zone blitzes at the opponent. The fourth rusher was very frequently not the WDE.

Anyway: 4-3 under personnel crammed into a 3-4 does not use more linebackers and only exacerbates issues with having 280 pound SDE/3techs.

Outrage! Not really. Carr told John Wienke to go to Iowa:

"When Coach Carr retired, he was the one — I actually always liked Iowa — but he told me probably to go with Iowa,” Wienke said. “That’s probably the next-best thing that was going to be for me with my style of play.”

Outrage level here is zero. Telling a recruit he probably doesn't fit is a lot different than allegedly telling the players already on campus they had a green light to transfer. Chances are Rodriguez would have phoned the kid up and said the same thing. I probably wouldn't have brought it up except for the fact that the kid is doing all that he can to honor Carr's guidance:

Wienke-1024x682[1]

He's a punter now.

It's neutral you guys. The Alabama game is declared the "best of the Big Ten road schedule" by the Star Tribune [HT: Daily Gopher], which is one thing. Another is Countdown to Kickoff straying dangerously off-message at the 1:20 mark:

do not operate heavy machinery after watching countdown to kickoff

Michigan practiced at Ford Field to prepare for "all that road noise." It's a neutral site you guys. Neutral.

Yeah, let's do that. No, nevermind. Brandon said something to justify the Horror II that demonstrated his inability to grasp anything other than "attention = good." Hey, here's a bunch of CBS guys reminiscing about where they were when the Horror I happened. I bet you're going to go read that right now.

He said many other things as well, some of them appalling like moving the spring game to Ford Field. RABBLE RABBLE RABBLE. /is actually rabbling

Nonexistent CHL union still works. That's the argument from London, home of one of the more prominent OHL teams:

The CHL franchises operate as professional franchises. They are a business first and foremost. The scholarship program is great until you play professionally, then you lose it. That's not right.

They trade kids indiscriminately in an effort to make their business successful. They entice kids to come to their programs and when something doesn't work, they are tossed aside like a punctured jockstrap. Teams pay a player $50 a week and own him totally for four or five years.

That's the type of thing that needs to be addressed for the good of these players.

As for the assertion that the CHL is comprised of 60 teams that all operate as individual corporate entities, it sounds an awful lot like the structure of the NHL and last time anyone looked, the NHL had a players' association.

If they are individual entities, the colluding not to pay a class of employees is not kosher. If these guys ever get their act together they would probably get a heap of concessions without even trying.

Etc.: Oklahoma kid will fill one of your commercial breaks at Michigan Stadium this fall, is probably taller than Dennis Norfleet. I want to like this "open letter to Brady Hoke" from Grantland, but open letters are always painful. Hey, writer-guy: Brady Hoke is not reading your stuff. I am. Talk to me, not him. OSU FR Adolphus Washington is 50 pounds heavier than he was when he signed his LOI. That's probably not good from their perspective.

Unverified Voracity Tears Down Their Goalposts

Unverified Voracity Tears Down Their Goalposts

Submitted by Brian on August 20th, 2012 at 3:36 PM

Woody-punchin'. WH provides the 1977 Game, which Michigan wins 14-6. Woody Hayes punches the camera at about 11 minutes:

Griese could be good at the TV. Not that Griese, the other Griese. I'm now holding out vague hopes that we could be getting something a little bit like NFL Matchup out of ESPN's Thursday night CFB preview show:

Griese, Mark May and Scott Van Pelt will preview the weekend's top four or five games.

"I'm going to use game film to illustrate what the keys are to look for," Griese said in a telephone interview."That will be fun for me. I like teaching people about the game."

Griese, who led Michigan to an unbeaten 1997 season and national championship and then played in the NFL, hopes to exercise his game knowledge from years and years of digesting game film as a player.

"That's where I like to live," Griese said of being a student of football film breakdown. "From people I talk to, there's an insatiable appetite to understand the nuances of football. I don't think there's any better way to understand the game than to watch it, but to watch it in a way that's informed. I want to give people things to watch for that maybe they wouldn't have known to look for, and look at it from an insider's perspective. I want them to watch and at the end hopefully say, 'Brian alerted me to this, and that's what happened in the game.'"

I know, I know, Mark May. You can't have everything. And we have seen technically-minded guys get swallowed up by the great dumbing-down over and over again. Let me have my candle in the wind.

Lacy still extant. Message board trolls started telling folks that Alabama starting tailback Eddie Lacy had torn his ACL and was done for the year, which doesn't appear to be true. He did give his ligaments the business at an inopportune time:

Alabama starting running back Eddie Lacy sprained his ankle and a knee in Saturday's practice.

“Not a serious thing. Probably going to be day to day but probably be a little bit slow next week," coach Nick Saban told AL.com. "I think in five to six days he’ll probably be ready to go.”

And I can't find anything on the internet that confirms anything about the ACL except for the one random guy in the comment section from the mgoboard post.

The sprain was two days ago, so his availability for Michigan is not in question unless a coach is lying about an injury, which is of course totally possible. If Lacy can't go—sigh—Dee Hart, the former Michigan commit, is supposed to take over top duties.

Beard update. Mealer's beard gathers a couple of quality quotes in a Daily article, one from Jeremy Gallon, who is apparently an aficionado:

“He has a face full of straight, perfect, beard hair,” redshirt junior wide receiver Jeremy Gallon told ESPN. “You don't find that everywhere. I mean, look at it, you can’t even put it into words. It's amazing.”

And the second from Navy SEALs:

When Mealer and 21 other seniors took a trip to Coronado, Calif. for a three-day leadership trip in late May to train with Navy SEALs, he was told by the SEALs that he was sporting a true “Afghanistan beard.”

“We take pride in that,”one of the SEALs told Mealer, he recalled.

But the SEAL left Mealer a stern warning: “If we find out the season comes along and you've shaved that, we’re sending the team after you," he recounted laughing.

Also receiving six points is the Daily staffer who slapped this headline on the story:

Mealer, beard battle for starting spot on offensive line

ESPN gets four for

Wolverines push follicle limits

…by the way. M-Live gets zero for "Michigan Wolverines linebacker Jake Ryan's hair is like Clay Matthews, now wants similar game." STEP YOUR BEAR/HAIR HEADLINE GAME UP, MLIVE WOOOOO

Probably the best thing to ever happen in Minnesota. Faint praise, sure, but BHGP's countdown of the top 25 Kirk Ferentz wins hits the top ten with that one time they clinched the Big Ten for the first time in twelve years and tore down the goalposts… at a road game:

There has not been a fan pwnage since that comes close.

This was dumb, but known. The guy who voted Michigan #1 defended himself by saying "I have never heard of this 'defensive line' thing you keep bringing up," but he'd announced he was voting M first a couple months ago, so, like… yeah. It even came with a picture of Ron Zook. I was going to write more about this but then I realized we were talking about a preseason poll and decided not to.

This is dumb, and was not known. Penn Live has various bits from the Posnanski book on Paterno, and one is relevant to your interests:

Following PSU’s controversial 27-25 last-second loss at Michigan in 2005, the Lions’ only blemish on an 11-1 season, Paterno was furious that officials put a few seconds back on the clock, possibly allowing Wolverines QB Chad Henne enough time to throw the game-winning TD pass on the final play. According to Posnanski, Paterno told friends he was considering pulling the Lions out of the Big Ten as a result.

Someone should check to see if there was frequently-used BWI handle that went dark six months ago or so.

The thing that makes this so ridiculous is that Paterno had literally just badgered the refs for two extra seconds on the previous drive—and got them. The one second hanging on the clock at the end of that game was just as much Paterno's as Lloyd's.

This is dumb, and also dumb. Former Spartan Jim Miller thinks there's an RGIII-Kirk Cousins quarterback controversy after Cousins tore up the second half of an NFL preseason game.

Random hype video. A little repetitive, but it serves its purpose:

What a good idea to bring this up again. Appalachian State's coach had a press conference just to talk about the Horror. What a good idea for the person who won that game. I'm just glad we'll never have to think about it aga—

/Ace shows Brian 2014 schedule

/Brian makes thirty-fifth appointment at Lacuna, Inc. since announcement of Horror II

Walking sans canes. Via Tom, here's Brock Mealer walking without assistance:

Etc.: Michigan alumni clubs sing the Victors worldwide. ESPN has a segment on Alabama linebacker play. Corn Nation joins the Big Ten division names boycott. Playoff details sound about like what you would think. UNC is going to go back and find out if their academic fraud is really as bad as all that. UMHoops recaps Mark Donnal's summer.