Punt-Counterpunt: UConn 2013

Punt-Counterpunt: UConn 2013

Submitted by Brian on September 21st, 2013 at 1:50 PM

Boyz_PaulPasqualoni[1]

Something's been missing from Michigan gamedays since the free programs ceased being economically viable: scientific gameday predictions that are not at all preordained by the strictures of a column in which one writer takes a positive tack and the other a negative one… something like Punt-Counterpunt.

HeikoG_1147_thumbPUNT

By Heiko Yang

Prior to the season, I predicted that Michigan would beat UConn 14-6. This drew a lot of ire from readers, so I backed off because sometimes it’s not worth arguing with anonymous masses. Devin Gardner is great! UConn blows! Fine. Here’s a box of pom poms.

But the stars have aligned in a such a way that I have no choice but to stand by my original prediction.

Michigan is going on the road for the first time all season, and it just finished putting on a dazzling display of turnovers to the smallest crowd in Big House history or something like that. If I know Brady Hoke and Al Borges, that can mean only one thing on offense: run the ball from under center until Jack Miller gets a rash. There will be a lot of iso’s. There will be a lot of power runs. There will occasionally be plays where Dennis Norfleet does something really cool but gets tripped up at the line of scrimmage and falls forward for a one-yard gain because that’s about how tall he is.

The understated beauty of this kind of offensive game plan is the cruel efficiency with which it kills game clock. If Fitz Toussaint can keep up his three yards per carry and get tackled in bounds, going 75 yards would burn through an entire quarter. In manball terms, that would be perfection.

On the other side of the ball, Michigan’s default strategy is to slowly back down the field -- just toying with the opponent, obviously -- until it can use the boundaries of the end zone as an extra defender. Cover zero, all-out blitz? That's what you think, but there’s definitely a safety in there, and his name is Goal Post. He strongly suggests you kick a field goal.

If executed effectively, the result of Michigan’s game plan is clear: a four-possession game in which Michigan scores two touchdowns and UConn kicks two field goals.

I’m sure you can do the rest of the math yourself.

Michigan 14, UConn 6

DSC00045_thumb6_thumb1_thumb134_thumCOUNTERPUNT

By Nick RoUMel

Last week’s scare notwithstanding, there is little to excite the imagination about today’s tilt with the Huskies. Heiko essentially mailed in an extended math problem, and my contribution will be even less relevant. I’m not even going to write about football. Instead, I am going to cash in my 20-year punch-card, and exercise my prerogative to write about baseball.

And here are a few reasons why I don’t burn for the grand old game as I did as a youngster:

Shoeless Joe Jackson and Pete Rose. Jackson has the third highest career batting average in baseball history at .356; Rose is the all-time hit leader with 4,256. Both were banned from baseball and are not in the Hall of Fame. Evidence that Jackson conspired to throw the 1919 World Series with 7 teammates is scant and disputed. He batted .375, hit the series’ only home run, committed no errors, and threw out a runner at the plate. Rose, who sprinted to first base on every walk, bet on his own team and pissed off the Commissioner. If you visit the Hall of Fame, you’ll see Rabbit Maranville - but not these two guys.

Bob Prince and Ernie Harwell. Prince was to my hometown Pittsburgh Pirates as Harwell was to the Tigers. Each suffered a stunning firing - Prince after 28 years in 1975 due to “personality conflicts;” Harwell after 30 in 1990 for a “new direction.” I gave up on the Pirates when Prince was fired - one reason I don’t get too excited over their renaissance this year.

The Braves and Indians. At least the Atlanta Braves finally got rid of “Chief Knock-A-Homa,” the guy in left field with the feathers, war paint and teepee; but they still have the name and the “tomahawk chop.” The Indian’s grinning Chief Wahoo logo? There is no defense. Even Business Insider calls it “uncomfortably racist.”

Sabermetrics. I was a statistics nut as a kid, but I draw the line at things measuring things you can see: hits, homers, and basic division that gives us the batting and earned run averages. But pencil-necked computer geeks have decided to tell us what really matters. For pitchers it’s the “quality start.” That’s at least six innings and giving up no more than three runs; which means if you go nine, give up four runs, walk nobody, fan 13, and win, that’s not quality. But what really gets my blood boiling is “WAR.” They’ve tinkered with this formula at least three times and I defy even a hard core fan to tell me what it is, other than how many games a pencil-necked geek thinks a player is worth above his theoretical replacement. For example, looking at the Tigers’ 2013 WAR, Max Scherzer is deemed more valuable than Don Kelly …. at the plate.

Sportswriters. This sanctimonious bunch (MGoBlog excepted) are essentially burning witches on the PED issue. One refreshing exception, Peter Pascarelli of ESPN, says “This holier-than-thou attitude from some writers who think they're keepers of the game is getting old; we'll never know for sure who took what and when or how much it helped or hurt.” These writers’ heroes are from the 60’s and 70’s, but they have forgotten that Jim Bouton wrote in “Ball Four” that half of his fellow major leaguers at that time were taking every drug they could to dull pain or improve performance.

Nor do these writers have the guts to go after the greedy owners, who bail on fans use public funds to finance their businesses. This is because they might lose their precious press passes.

Like Counterpunt, the Wolverines are hopping mad. The poor Huskies don’t stand a chance:

Michigan 41, Connecticut 14

One Frame At A Time: Denard

One Frame At A Time: Denard

Submitted by Ace on September 20th, 2013 at 2:55 PM

If the GIFs are slowing down your browser, hit 'escape' on any browser except Chrome to stop animation. If you are using Chrome, I highly recommend adding the extension "GIF Scrubber" to have video-like control over each GIF.

Denard Robinson's introduction as something more than a lightning-fast curiosity came in Michigan's 2010 opener against UConn. Fittingly, the game marked the unveiling of the Michigan Stadium luxury boxes, a new attendance record, and the completion of Brock Mealer's journey from paralysis to walking out and touching the banner. It's an easy argument to make that this game represented the high water mark of the Rich Rodriguez era, a moment when anything and everything seemed within the realm of possibility.

The Big House was gaudier, a man had gone from never walking again to walking again, the much-maligned defense shut down the Huskies, and Denard ... well, a Michigan quarterback record of 197 rushing yards is what we remember most, and he also completed 19/22 passes for 186 yards and a score. Rodriguez introduced the first iteration of the Worst Waldo play...

...and when it looked like UConn finally might be able to slow down Denard, he used their eagerness to finally lay a finger on the guy against them:

Michigan raced out to a 21-0 lead within the first 21 minutes of the opening kickoff, then cruised to a 30-10 victory. Denard became an overnight sensation. A fanbase beaten down by 3- and 5-win seasons the previous two years had reason to think that perhaps this could work out after all. Most of this optimism stemmed from Denard, of course, who helped matters by being one of the most eminently likable athletes to ever step on campus.

This summer, I went back through Denard's career and made a whole bunch of GIFs, with full intention of writing up an ode to the man who—often single-handedly—dragged the Wolverines from the depths of 3-8 and put them in a position to succeed in his three years as a starter and beyond. Like Brian with his HTTV article, I sat down and just couldn't go through with it.

I think I'm ready now. Hit the jump for a GIF retrospective on the career of one Denard Robinson.

[JUMP, obviously.]

Preview: UConn 2013

Preview: UConn 2013

Submitted by Brian on September 20th, 2013 at 1:41 PM

Other stuff here: Ace FFFF! Also stay tuned for our Marawatch-sponsored liveblog at 7:30 tomorrow.

imageEssentials

WHAT Michigan vs UConn
WHERE Rentschler Field,
Hartford, Connecticut
WHEN 8PM Eastern
September 21st, 2013
THE LINE M -18
TELEVISION ABC/ESPN3
WEATHER mid-60s, 0% chance of rain

"paul pasqualoni young". Yup. That's real. If you don't believe me you're spending an awful lot of time disbelieving things it would be patently silly for anyone to make up.

Run Offense vs UConn

paul-pasqualoni-tunnel[1]

UConn. The very name sends trembles down your spine. After Randy Edsall ascended to Heaven on a pillar of righteousness, the Huskies hired legendary Michigan-killer Paul Pasqualoni, and since they have written their name in blood and glory across the night sky.

In their opening game the Towson Somethings struggled to acquired 201 yards on the ground on 50 carries, a 4.0 average. Starting tailback Terrance West ground out 156 yards on 36 carries as the Huskies bayed and called around him, mocking, ever mocking. The Conn Army's second game was ever more dominating: Maryland acquired a pathetic 231 yards on 40 carries; the Terrapins feared exposing just one tailback to the ruthless fangs and split their carries between CJ Brown (QB, 1991-2013, 16 carries for 122 yards) and Brandon Ross (RB, 1992-2013, 18 carries for 95 yards).

I have to break from the faux terror here because UConn's defense was in fact shockingly good a year ago. Do you remember that they held Teddy Bridgewater to 10 points in regulation and 20 overall in a triple-overtime win over Louisville last year? You probably do not, because who remembers things about random Big East games featuring 5-7 UConn? Bridgewater took 53 attempts to acquire 331 yards but threw two interceptions and got sacked five times. The Louisville ground game acquired 57 yards, quarterbacks excluded. For the year, UConn was seventh nationally in rush defense, second only to Alabama in yards per rush ceded.

Unfortunately for the Huskies, Trevardo Williams and Sio Moore* are off to the NFL, as are corners Dwayne Gratz and Blidi Wreh-Wilson. All of those guys were off the board by the early fourth round. Losing four mid-round NFL draft picks in one go is a body blow for a team with UConn's talent level, and they're currently reeling. Maryland bombed them for 500 yards and FCS Towson almost cracked 400.

Without much penetration or experience on the outside save for Yawid Smallwood, the lone returner from last year's all-NFL linebacking corps (Smallwood is projected as a third round pick like his buddies), Michigan should have opportunities similar to the ones they did against Akron as soon as they figured out what the Zips were doing with their bear fronts. UConn will stem into some three-four looks, but Michigan's seen that already. This has to be a step forward for the line and Toussaint or it's time to stop pushing the panic button and resign ourselves to another zombie apocalypse of TFLs.

Ace thought the interior of the line was solid against the Terps, so this will provide a human-sized challenge for the offensive line after two weeks of baby seals and one featuring two top-end NFL prospects. Move some guys, get some holes, see Toussaint follow them, and spark an ember of hope.

*[Sio is a nickname for… wait for it… "Snorsio." Wow.]

Key Matchup: Fitzgerald Toussaint versus Poor Damn Toussaint Syndrome. Follow your fullback, man. What's the worst that could happen?

Other than that.

Please come out from under the table.

[Hit THE JUMP for lots of caps letters in the cheap thrills section.]

Guess the Score, Win Stuff: Connaître Cuit

Guess the Score, Win Stuff: Connaître Cuit

Submitted by Seth on September 19th, 2013 at 9:56 AM

Guessthescore-uconn

Try as he might, Dave Brandon couldn't get the Huskies to acknowledge their football team is utterly irrelevant except for its proximity to New York.

How this works again:

  1. I put up a winnable prize that consists of a desirable good.
  2. You guess the final scores of this weekend's designated game (football or hoops, depending on the season), and put it in the comments like so:
    [Michigan Score]-[Opponent Score]. First person to post a particular score has it.
  3. If you got it right, we contact you. If not, go to (5)
  4. The desirable good arrives at the address you give us.
  5. Non-winners can acquire the same desirable good by trading currency for it.

Last Week's Game:

Really, you want to talk about this? No, nobody won this. SAvoodoo said 101-0 (and Gallon scores them all) but was clearly joking; not so much 84-0 BlueReign and 98-3 Hail-Storm.

This Week:

You, Khan vs. any hope that events which occur follow the events that preceded them, with the hopeful exception of any event from last Saturday.

And the Prize:

Panic_1024x1024

Sorry, Brian, but we couldn't get the rights toPanic, while for the other the photographer was only too happy to oblige.

If you can read this you don’t need glasses:

One entry per user. First user to choose a set of scores wins, determined by the timestamp of your entry (for my ease I prefer if you don't post it as a reply to another person's score--if you do it won't help or hurt you). If nobody gets the score, this week's prize carries over to the following week's unless we beat Akron 28-24 when they had the ball at the Michigan 1 with time left in which case I am burning the prize. Deadline for entries is 24 hours before the start of the game (since I won't have time to pull them on gamedays). Those caught changing their scores after the game has started will be disqualified for life. MGoEmployees and Moderators--anyone else with moderator privileges--are exempt from winning because you could change your timestamp. If you choose the score that Brian published in the official preview and it actually ends up the final score, well, that would be pretty amazing because Brian picks scores like 29-11 all the time. We did not invent the algorithm. The algorithm consistently finds Jesus. The algorithm killed Jeeves. The algorithm is just a regional rivalry. The algorithm is banned in China. The algorithm is from Jersey. The algorithm constantly finds Jesus. This is not the algorithm. This is close.

Fee Fi Foe Film: UConn

Fee Fi Foe Film: UConn

Submitted by Ace on September 18th, 2013 at 4:28 PM


Welp.

Oh man, not again. Last week in this space, Akron's offense was represented by a tire fire, their defense a dumpster fire. Assumptions were made about the past having some bearing on the future, the Zips were dismissed as cannon fodder, and ... well, you saw how that turned out.

This week's opponent is UConn, which lost to Towson at home by 15 points in their first game, outgained by over 100 yards by an FCS opponent. After an oddly-timed bye week, the Huskies hosted Maryland last Saturday; once again, they lost the yardage battle by over 100 yards, and only a meaningless 75-yard TD pass with 22 seconds to play kept the score semi-respectable at 32-21. It could've been much, much worse:

  • Maryland went for it on fourth-and-short twice in first quarter. Instead of spreading the field and either running to the outside or hitting a quick pass—both of which worked very well all game—they tried to attack the strength of UConn's defense and were stuffed on interior runs, failing both conversion attempts.
  • The Terps drove all the way from their 17 down to UConn's 22 in the first quarter, only for an open screen pass to bounce off the hands of their running back and get intercepted by UConn's Taylor Mack. Maryland's three previous plays had gone for 26, 21, and 14 yards.
  • By the end of the third quarter, Maryland would lose two fumbles by their running backs, one of which came after an easy ten-yard gain. The second led directly to a UConn field goal that would bring the Huskies within seven points.

When not shooting themselves in the foot, Maryland completely controlled the game, averaging 5.2 yards per rush and 9.9 yards per pass attempt. Take out the irrelevant late touchdown pass and UConn averaged 2.7 YPC (with five sacks removed!) and 6.1 YPA.

I promise to mock the Huskies as little as possible, however, after what went down last week. That said, I can only work with what I'm given, and for the second straight week what I'm given is, by all appearances, a really bad football team that lost to a I-AA squad.

OFFENSE


Quarterback Chandler Whitmer (via The UConn Blog)

Spread, Pro-Style, or Hybrid? Spread, mostly. UConn operated either from the gun or an ace set; no fullback got a snap that I saw (I charted until Maryland took a 19-point lead midway through the fourth quarter). They had one snap from what Madden/NCAA deem the "pro" set—the QB under center with two backs split behind him.

Basketball on Grass or MANBALL? Basketball on grass. UConn ran a lot of inside zone and showed some zone read looks; none of this was very effective.

[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the breakdown.]

2013 Opponent Preview: UConn

2013 Opponent Preview: UConn

Submitted by Heiko on June 14th, 2013 at 6:44 PM

The narrative so far:

  • Week 1 - Michigan plays an easy breezy beautiful home opener against Central Michigan. We find out whether Shane Morris will lose his redshirt. Prediction: he does.
  • Week 2 - Notre Dame comes to town, chaos ensues under the lights, we awake Sunday morning in a stranger's backyard and discover that we are missing a shoe.
  • Week 3 - Fitz Toussaint and Derrick Green each rush for 100+ yards.

UConn

#occupied

Last year

Since this is part 2 of a home-and-home, I think we should go back a few years to get the proper context.

Michigan and UConn agreed to play a short series with each other in 2009. At the time the matchup was intriguing because of three things: Rich Rod’s ties to the Big East (and undefeated record against Randy Edsall), UConn’s apparent emergence in being okay at football (8-5 in 2008), and the basketball team’s own series with the Huskies. In addition to the fact that the 2010 game would be a home opener in a freshly renovated Big House, the anticipation for part 1 of the home-and-home was significant because none of us really thought the Wolverines, still smarting from a 5-7 season, would do all that well.

That was until Brock Mealer, Denard, and 60 minutes of domination happened.  You can relive the best moments here:

The pure awesomeness on display (and the awesomeness the following week) is the sort of thing that makes you think Michigan would play in the Rose Bowl, Denard would win the Heisman, and Rich Rod would be our coach forever and ever.

By the time we realized none of those things would come true, UConn and 2013 seemed a million years away. When your fandom devolves into stalking Dave Brandon while listening to songs by the Smiths on repeat, you’re not in a place to properly consider other people, or the future.

Did you know that the Huskies actually went on to win the Big East that year?

They did (or at least a share of it) and had a better resume than anyone else in that conference, so they got the auto-bid to the Fiesta Bowl, where they were summarily executed by No. 9 Oklahoma. Edsall bolted for Maryland pretty much the next day, and he has since been spending a lot of time there designing uniformz and losing. See you next year I guess.

So UConn hired Paul Pasqualoni, a former Syracuse head coach who lost his edge in the early ‘00s, left Syracuse, and floated around the NFL for a couple years. After taking over the Huskies, he's led them to back-to-back 5-7 seasons. Rebuilding, yes, but the outlook does not appear to be bright.

Had Edsall stayed in Storrs, the rematch with Michigan would have been a lot more intriguing, and the game would probably be a lot more competitive. Now it's just kind of sad. 

Last year

Okay, the real recap part. Let’s keep this brief: last season the Huskies were an unpredictable outfit that beat Maryland, Louisville, and Pittsburg, but lost to nearly everyone else, including Western Michigan. Defensively they were okay, limiting opponents to under 20 ppg. Offensively they were horrible, scoring 17.8 ppg. If the Big East were the Big Ten, UConn would be Michigan State.

Offense

Being horrible on offense is what usually happens when you break in a new quarterback. Whether he’s sufficiently broken in or just broken, he’s likely to be the guy Michigan will see on Sept. 21.

A/S/L: Chandler Whitmer, junior QB. Not much of a runner, not much of a passer. Last season he completed 57.6% of his passes for 2664 yards, 9 TDs, and 16 INTs. This year he’ll have back his leading receiver, junior Geremy Davis (44 rec, 613 yards, 1 TD). Junior Deshon Foxx is another name to be on the lookout for. Reports from their spring game say that he caught a bunch of 70-yard bombs and was the only player to score in a 6-0 affair.

The run game was also pretty disappointing last season. Lyle McCombs, the team’s top running back, will return as a junior and try to make things better. McCombs is a durable but limited guy. He’s small -- listed at 5-8, 169 lbs -- and not all that quick or speedy, which kind of defeats the point of being small. Regardless, he's got good enough vision and takes the bulk of the handoffs, which has earned him the "workhorse" monikor. In fact, he's one of a small collection of FBS players to combine for more than 500 carries over the last two years. Last season he got 243 carries for 860 yards, which comes out to about 3.5 yards a carry. Not bad but not great, considering he broke the 1,000-yard mark as a freshman.

The offense will probably improve. Most of the line is returning, and UConn picked up a new offensive coordinator in T.J. Weist from Cincinnati. Weist had been with the Bearcats since 2010, and his pass-happy offense there led the conference in a bunch of categories. I doubt they’ll find their rhythm by the time Michigan rolls into town, however. Either way it'll be interesting to see what Mattison thinks of Weist's offense. 

Defense

Free hugs.

The narrative here is kind of opposite that of the offense: really good last season but not returning a whole lot of guys. Of UConn’s top 10 tacklers in 2012, more than half of them were seniors.

At least the top tackler is coming back. The name to know here is Yawin Smallwood, a 6-3, 244-lb middle linebacker who was named the Defensive Scout Player of the Week as a redshirting freshman right before the 2010 Michigan game. Smallwood had 120 tackles, 15 TFLs, and 3.5 sacks last year. He’s pretty high up on draft boards, so his production is likely not just a byproduct of “plays in the Big East.”

The Huskies’ defensive line is fairly experienced in the interior, less so on the outside. DT Shamar Stephen was a solid contributor last year with 26 tackles, 2 for loss, and Angelo Pruitt looks like he’ll probably slide inside (he played end last year). For what it’s worth, these guys aren’t small. Stephen is 6-5, 320 lbs, and Pruitt is 6-3, 300. That could be a problem for Jack Miller and whoever the two new guards are. At end, UConn is getting a sixth-year rush end back from injury, and they have another guy on the strongside who is 6-5, 301. Again, not small. At least their athleticism won’t be nearly as terrifying like Notre Dame’s line is, so Lewan and Schofield should be able to handle them without too much trouble.

Things are a little fuzzier in the secondary. From what I can tell it looks like UConn is set at safety, at least. They bring back three guys with varying degrees of experience and a hefty collection of career tackles. The cornerback situation is not good though (when is it ever? I mean, seriously). I think at this point they still have no idea who's going to start, so they're move their most experienced safety, junior Byron Jones (87 tackles, 1 INT), to corner while the other guys figure themselves out. Best 11, I say.

The Huskies’ defense will probably be pretty competent even with six new starters, but they'll be imminently beatable. In 2012 they put five of their guys on the all-conference roster, and when a defense produces multiple honorees that usually means the coaching staff is doing something right. Will they simply reload in 2013, or must they rebuild? I guess we’ll find out!

This team is kind of like: A rock.

Is it too early to bring out the rock? Maybe, but I glanced at Michigan’s B1G schedule and no one else fits the bill.

Vs. Michigan: Michigan’s non-conference slate is awfully reminiscent of the one they played in 2011. If so, UConn is this year’s version of San Diego State, with major differences being only that the game is away and Hoke didn’t coach any of these guys.

The Wolverines shouldn’t have much trouble stopping the Huskies offense. Whitmer, if coached properly, will probably top out around where Ryan Lindley ended up. That kind of development takes a while though. When Michigan visits he’ll probably struggle with Mattison’s nefarious schemes, and once the Wolverines pass rushers break through it’ll be game over. The Heininger Certainty Principle says that Frank Clark and/or Taco Charlton will have a good game.

Offensively Michigan will probably struggle with Smallwood. Hoke and Borges seem to prefer a safe, run-heavy approach on the road, and against that defensive line I can’t see any of the Wolverines interior offensive linemen getting to the second level on a consistent basis. If Michigan’s defense plays well, it won’t matter. Borges can keep running his new toys up the middle until the game ends at 14-6.

Unverified Voracity Puts Its Head Down

Unverified Voracity Puts Its Head Down

Submitted by Brian on November 9th, 2012 at 2:29 PM

UFR coming fiveish. Sorry for the delay.

Bo + DKR + Keith Jackson. Self-recommending, from before the 2005 Rose Bowl:

RIP, DKR.

HT: MGoVideo

The Trouba hit. Here it is:

Keep your head up. I guess that's a point of emphasis and stuff, but a few years ago that's just a bad spot to put yourself in.

Michigan takes on State this weekend; Yost Built previews. Rutledge gets the start tonight; Trouba and Serville return to the lineup.

Predictorama. Blogs say things!

Talkin' Wildcats. I do the Q&A thing at Lake The Posts

LTP: Finish this sentence. Northwestern wins on Saturday if they prevent __________ from ___________

MGB: Michigan’s linebackers from flowing to the ball. Given the pass offense NW has–Nebraska is NU this year, remember–if Northwestern is going to put up enough points to win it’ll have to be on the ground, and Michigan’s linebackers are flowing clean thanks to a bunch of Mattison slants. Get to them and you’ve got a chance.

…and Sippin' On Purple:

Northwestern is "ranked". Michigan "isn't." Should they be? Do you like the fact that you played two still-undefeated teams in non-con play?

Mgo: No. No Big Ten teams should be ranked, and in fact anyone who votes for a Big Ten team should be put under house arrest. Indiana may go to the Big Ten championship game. QED.

I like playing ND. Check that: love playing ND. I hate those guys. I love going to Notre Dame Stadium, and am immensely depressed the series is coming to an end so ND can play Stanford for some reason. And Purdue! Come on man. They're good this year, but that series is a bedrock of my Michigan fandom.

Playing Alabama in Dallas sounded like a good idea when it was scheduled. By the time the game rolled around it was clear that it was not.

Denard in the NFL. Rotoworld takes an interesting look at the kind of things Denard might be able to do in the NFL:

When I watch Robinson run (and the way Michigan uses him), I can't help but think his best role would be to start out as a returner and as a situational running back. He's listed at just 6'0/197 pounds, but has a thickly built lower body. The Michigan offense has taught him to make the same types of reads NFL runningbacks are taught. He's totaled over 200 carries the last two seasons, and he was the entire foundation of their run game in 2010 - totaling 256 attempts for 1702 yards (6.6 YPC) and 14 touchdowns. He has a tendency to get upright, but he's a tough and patient inside runner who reads and sets his blocks up well, hits cutback lanes with authority, and has the speed to do damage in space. …

drso2

Highlighted in green, the playside linebacker moves Michigan's tight end into the backfield. The strong safety has filled hard off the edge, and the two inside linebackers are scraping hard playside. Instead of allowing the defense to string the play out, Robinson takes advantage of Alabama's pursuit, planting his outside foot, re-directing, and hitting the crease swiftly.

drso3

Denard gets skinny through the trash in the cutback lane. He leans and squares his shoulders through the tackle, which allows him to pick up an additional three yards.

Much more at the link.

More Ferns. Tom Rinaldi is just warming up for this guy:

They're not moving it. Dave Brandon will not let the whole playing at Rentschler Field thing die:

"We continue to have discussions with UConn to see if there isn't a better plan," Brandon told a small group of reporters Friday shortly after speaking at the Michigan Sport Business Conference at the Ross School of Business. "Anything's possible.

"It's totally in their control. We're trying to provide them with as much persuasion as we can, in the form of financial benefits for them to move that game to a bigger stadium."

This is not happening. The Connecticut legislature put a bunch of money into that stadium and it is now losing more money than projected; they will freak out if the Michigan game, a guaranteed sellout, is moved.

Michigan is paying BYU and Colorado 1.3 million to come out, BTW. The gap between that and 900k, 1 million dollar snackycakes is incredibly small.

Wait what? I missed this when it happened, but apparently the Orange Bowl is now going to be a potential destination for Big Ten teams that miss out on the Rose:

The Orange Bowl matchup in the new playoff era has been finalized multiple sources told CBSSports.com on Wednesday.

The ACC champion will play the highest-ranked team among Notre Dame and available teams from the SEC and Big Ten beginning after the 2014 season.

This is a problem for the Pac-12 and Big 12, who want access to more than one big bowl but the problem…

"TV doesn't want it," said one official intimately involved in the process.

So whatever.

Etc.: Jeopardy does CFB names. Lloyd Brady profiled by ESPN. "Deal with it Jesus" is amazing. Stubhub wins over season tickets this game; by end of year it will be a better deal, I imagine. A report from an alternate universe. Slippery Rock preview. Delany talks big about Big Ten scheduling, but which he means Ohio State scheduling. And MSU, I guess. Dump these divisions already.

Unverified Voracity Has A Desk Full Of Cans

Unverified Voracity Has A Desk Full Of Cans

Submitted by Brian on June 5th, 2012 at 5:05 PM

Bo. Via MGoVideo:

Playoff bits. So now the Big Ten is saying "screw playoffs altogether." Jim Delany is advocating for the four best teams in any playoff that does occur, and everyone hates the system of voting we have in place now. Delany:

“Everybody recognizes that the present poll system is not a good proxy,” he said. “It’s flawed, it’s not transparent, it has people who have a stake in the outcome voting, it measures teams before they play a game.”

I hope Bill Hancock has a fainting couch.

At this point it's clear that most fans don't have the same priorities in mind as the people in charge of the leagues they're fans of—see SEC expansion—and arguing with them on the internet is pointless. It's like trying to communicate with sentient mushrooms. Their desires are so alien that attempting to comprehend them leads to you shooting railguns at a distant planet for no reason other than fear.

Whatever happens, we can be assured that everyone was in favor of it at some point. Even the generally sober folks employed by actual newsgathering organizations are getting peeved at this point. Adam Rittenberg:

"A computer doesn't have an eye," Delany said. "So an eye test is missing if there is an injury" or other issues with a contender. Delany also said the impetus for change is that the BCS "has been battered and criticized" and treated "like a piñata" for the past 15 years. So to reiterate: The Big Ten's No. 1 preference would be to keep a current system that everybody hates and which uses a totally bankrupt formula to select its teams. Gotcha.

Sentient mushrooms, man.

IRONY EXPLODE. Dave Brandon, one of the Big Ten's most prominent complainers about a playoff:

"Every change I have ever proposed has been met with resistance," Brandon told the crowd… "I don't care what it is, any change that's been proposed, this has been a culture that wants to resist it, because we all want to go back to the way it was when we were there because that's friendly and that's comfortable."

Notice how he switches back to "I" from "we" when he's talking about all the great stuff he does and not the fact that six different uniforms in a season may have been a tiny bit excessive.

No move. UConn's AD has restated that the Huskies will not move their return game scheduled for next year from their home field. That's fine by me but now the UConn bloggers are looking at the $2 million buyout clause and wondering if the game will ever be played. I'd guess it will since there's not a whole lot of time to find a suitable replacement, but Brandon's had occasional grumbles about the indignity of playing at such a place since he arrived.

UConn's ace in the hole may be their athletic director. They hired Michigan alum Warde Manuel away from Buffalo, so Michigan may be more willing to go through with things.

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via Jamie Owens and UMHoops

Incoming pointage. Those Indiana junior/senior All-Star scrimmages have kicked off and the first one featured a lot of the above-pictured activities. Glenn Robinson III was 9 of 10 from the field en route to leading his team in scoring. He also added seven rebounds in 22 minutes. Junior rep Zak Irvin was his team's leading scorer as well, though he didn't shoot as well as GRIII.

Pee and flee. A couple of OSU players are suspended indefinitely—or at least until they pick up their whatever misdemeanor plea bargains—for urinating on the side of a building, then taking off when the cops arrived:

Police in Shawnee Hills, Ohio, a Columbus suburb, spotted the two players and a third man not connected to the football team early Saturday urinating outside a restaurant near Stoneburner’s house, located just off the course at Muirfield Village Golf Club.

Collins said the men dashed away when they saw a spotlight, unknowing it belonged to police. He said Mewhort and Stoneburner stopped about 40 yards away from the restaurant and did not attempt to hide.

This is not interesting—it's no defensive tackle Dukes of Hazzard attempt. I just wanted to call it "pee and flee." BONUS: these guys were peeing on the side of a building mere feet from a thicket dense enough to hide in. Sounds like they need to take OSU's Andy Katzenmoyer Memorial Drunken Decisionmaking 101.

Kind of good. A re-rank of the top 100 basketball prospects from last year finds Trey Burke in rarefied air:

Elite

5. Trey Burke, Michigan (84)
Along with Cody Zeller, Burke was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year and second team All-Conference. He and Zeller are also, comfortably, the top two freshmen returning to school this fall. Burke came out of nowhere (or, at least, the "obscurity" of the non-McDonald's All-American section of the ESPNU Top 100) to be a superstar do-it-all point guard for an NCAA tournament No. 4 seed. He scored often, he scored efficiently, he passed, and he took care of the basketball. The Wolverines' round of 64 loss to Ohio shouldn't alter the fact that Burke had a fabulous season. Michigan returns their three key players from 2012 and adds a pair of recruits capable of making an immediate impact. There's a reason expectations for 2013 are high.

Cody Zeller is the only guy higher than him who will be in college next year.

Like Coke, but fast. Drake Johnson tells a delightfully weird story about Fred Jackson to Kyle Meinke:

"I'm sitting in his office, and there was a fridge right over there, and he's like, 'You hungry?'" Johnson said. "I'm like, 'No man, I'm not hungry.' So he's like, 'OK, I'm going to grab myself a Coke.' So he grabs himself a Coke and he sits down.

"He takes maybe two sips, and he's like, 'Hey Drake, you want something to drink?' And I'm like, 'No, I'm still good.' He's like, 'I think I'm going to get myself an orange juice.' I'm like, 'Dude, you have a Coke in front of you.' He says, 'It's fine.'

"So I'm sitting there, and maybe two minutes later, he's like, 'I think I'm going to get myself a drink,' and I'm like, 'Coach, you already got two drinks in front of you, man! Your thirst can be quenched by what's in front of you.'

"He says, 'I'm just going to grab myself some water. You want some water?' And I'm like, "Nooo, I have Gatorade in my hand, guy. It's fine.'"

bilde[1]My thirst cannot be quenched by what's in front of me, Drake. What is satiation? THE MOMENT BEFORE YOU'RE THIRSTY AGAIN. Now let me tell you about how you are a taller, quicker version of Jim Brown. /dondraper'd

Suggestion box. Cover It Live has decided to charge out the nose for use of its product. Running Signing Day liveblog alone would now cost $300. It would have cost the site almost a thousand dollars last November. All this for a moderated chat system. This is clearly not a good use of funds, so I'll be looking for alternatives. Let me know if you know of any.

Etc.: Will Campbell's hood-crumpling registers in the Fulmer Cup. Pro Combat uniforms for Northwestern. More on Big Ten baseball's tough spot. NHL draft roundup from MHN. Holdin' The Rope on the Denard play. The first one. You know, that one. We need a nickname for it. Shoelace in the dirt or something. Mark Donnal invited to the NBPA camp. Can we stop giving credit to Jim Delany's amazing foresight when the conference he's piloting has won two national titles in fifty years?

Please don't take offense at clearly manufactured Queensbury-style smack-talk emanating from real journalists at ESPN. None of the journalists cares one whit about anything that is not the relevance of the serial comma in today's fast-paced society.