Dear Diary Can Take Or Leave It If I Please

Dear Diary Can Take Or Leave It If I Please Comment Count

Seth September 12th, 2014 at 3:40 PM


A brave man once requested me
To answer questions that are key
'Is it to be or not to be?'
And I replied 'Oh why ask me?"

It's Korea out there in user-generated content land, and it's my job to triage. The only way to make it through sane is Hawkeye-level satire, and making fun of people who take themselves seriously, and not looking too hard at the antics of certain people from Toledo. Okay Radar, state your business, in one word or less:

  • Reshp1: 289 yards for zero points.

One word or less.


  • Glewe: Mental toughness.

That is two words.

  • Glewe: Mentaltoughness.

Ah, you're a football coach I see. Try an English word.

Didn't you go already?

  • Dnak438: I wrote another one.

Oh. Well thanks. I'm still putting it in etc.

Etc. Worse. Students. Plays. Wallpaper.

[After the jump: the pain grows stronger, watch it grin.]


Upon Further Review 2014: Offense vs Notre Dame

Upon Further Review 2014: Offense vs Notre Dame Comment Count

Brian September 11th, 2014 at 3:33 PM

FORMATION NOTES: We're a… shotgun spread offense with personnel exactly like Rich Rodriguez's preferred 1 RB, 1 blocky/catchy, 3 WR?

M kerridge flanker

We were in this game. Take off… er… put everyone in identical uniforms and don't check to see which team has the 6'5" giant at WR and you would have no idea which team was which based on presnap alignments. Excluding short yardage and two snaps inside the Michigan 5, Michigan had 49 shotgun snaps, five from the pistol, 7 in ace and zero I-Form.

This wasn't quite as WR heavy as that would imply as you can see Kerridge split to flanker in the above shot, something that happened half a dozen times. But… yeah, it looked like a callback to 2010 minus non-scramble QB runs, of which there was one.

Michigan deployed Kerridge all over; here he's the H-back.

M kerridge h-back

And they deployed a few instances of what I call "Pistol FB," which indicates there's a dude next to Gardner and a TE.

M pistol FB

Michigan ran a version of this where the "FB" was Norfleet, once from the pistol and once from the gun. Norfleet also motioned to the backfield for a two-back look.

M pistol twins Fleet

Now if the next time Michigan uses my preferred offensive style if they could just score some points that would be cool.

SUBSTITUTION NOTES: Line was Cole/Magnuson/Miller/Glasgow/Braden the whole way. Gardner QB obviously; Green was the starting RB and vaguely the top guy, with Smith getting close to equal time and Hayes getting some third down snaps.

WR was a rotation between Funchess, Darboh, Chesson, and Norfleet with nobody else getting in IIRC. Hill and Williams saw almost all the TE snaps save a handful Butt got early; Kerridge also played H-back frequently.

[After THE JUMP: why don't you try running INTO the hole this time?]


Upon Further Review 2014: Defense vs Notre Dame

Upon Further Review 2014: Defense vs Notre Dame Comment Count

Brian September 10th, 2014 at 3:19 PM

FORMATION NOTES: Michigan spent the entire night in a nickel package save for some short yardage/goal line snaps. Notre Dame was the same passing-oriented spread they always are. It was in fact eerie how closely the teams mirrored each other in approach. Michigan would frequently press the single X receiver away from NDs twins or trips:

M nickel even half press

This is the definition of on an island: on the LOS with the safety in the middle of the field. It did not go well.

Michigan also showed a number of two-deep looks, of course.

ND tight trips, M slid LBs

The Frank Clark MLB thing came up a couple more times, FWIW.

And maybe Brandon should grow a mean professor beard or something, ND dominated this matchup:

slight contrast


SUBSTITUTION NOTES: There was a lot less of it. In Morgan's absence Ryan and Bolden played just about every snap.

Lewis rotated in early and played the rest of the game after Taylor's early ankle issue; Hollowell played just about every snap. Countess was briefly yanked for Stribling after a couple of Will Fuller receptions, but Stribling was little better and Countess came back in.  Clark and Wilson were your safeties almost he whole way; Hill got some playing time after the game was decided.

The line did see rotation, but again less than usual. The Clark/Henry/Glasgow/Beyer starters were in most of the time. Ojemudia got some early PT. Wormley spotted Henry but by the end of the game it was Godin getting snaps as Wormley tended to fall over; Glasgow went far more snaps than NTs usually do and was spotted primarily by Mone, with just a couple Pipkins snaps. IIRC Hurst did not play. Charlton got sparing time spotting Beyer.

[After THE JUMP: Somebody stop Will Fuller. Seriously. Someone put a hand on him.]


This Week's Obsession: A Turkey, Huh?

This Week's Obsession: A Turkey, Huh? Comment Count

Seth September 10th, 2014 at 10:40 AM


How last week shoud have ended.

So: do we panic? Where is the 2014 season now on a scale of imminent raptor* attack?

  1. "What species is this?" "It's a velocirapator." "You bred raptors?"
  2. "They were testing the fences for weaknesses, systematically. They remember."
  3. This jello is shaking. Hey is that a shadow?
  4. Oh it's just Samuel L. Jackson's arm. Wait, why isn't it attached...
  5. "Clever girl"


I really don't want to overreact to one game, especially a Michigan-Notre Dame game, as I think we've all learned that series is about as predictive as a dart-throwing monkey. Plus, this game had an especially bizarre box score—Michigan outgained Notre Dame! In a 31-0 loss! The run defense kicked ass! So I'm defaulting to a three because, yes, there are serious concerns—not finding a way to score on a defense that had multiple coverage busts against Rice, for instance—but the schedule remains manageable and it's not like the Big Ten as a whole impressed last weekend.

The big concern, to me, is that this team couldn't do two of the things they spent much of the offseason talking about: breaking the huddle on offense with enough time to properly survey the defense and successfully playing press man in the secondary. The good news: these are things than can improve, especially for a still-young team that's learning new schemes on both sides of the ball. The bad news: man, did I expect both areas to look a lot better than that.

Plus, there were those positive signs. The offensive line looks... not terrible? Let's go with not terrible. The defensive front seven appears to be quite good. If Matt Wile can keep his plant foot planted and Michigan jumps on that muffed punt—HEY A SPREAD PUNT WOULD BE NICE I'M SURE YOU HAVEN'T READ THIS HERE BEFORE—that game could play out very differently. We're not staring a velociraptor in the eyes. Not yet, at least.

This could be a one-game anomaly, because Michigan/ND, above all else, is freakin' weird. This could be a sign of very bad things to come if the secondary doesn't shore the man coverage and Gardner continues to look that skittish. This is me throwing up my hands and saying I don't know why the jello is shaking so much.

[after the jump, must go faster]


Monday Presser 9-8-14: Players

Monday Presser 9-8-14: Players Comment Count

Adam Schnepp September 10th, 2014 at 9:15 AM

clark, ryan, norfleet

Frank Clark, Jake Ryan, Dennis Norfleet

Could you guys talk about the receivers as a group beyond Devin Funchess and what you guys feel like you can give to this team?

Dennis Norfleet: “We’ve become one. Everybody expects everything from one another. We do things as a group so when one makes a play we all make a play. That’s how coach Heck[linski]’s got us and that’s how we’re going to remain throughout the year.”

Dennis, what’s your perception on how people perceive you? Is it as a big play guy, someone who can score at a moment’s notice or are you much more than an explosive player? What else can you bring to the table other than that lightning quickness?

DN: “My role on the team…I know that I’m a guy that can bring spark and that makes everybody happy so I’m just being the teammate that can get everybody going [and] to bring fire. That’s what I do. So if I can continue on doing that to get everybody to be happy and to let them know that the game can go our way at any time then that’s what I can do.”

Frank or Jake, you guys seemed to find more success stopping the run as opposed to getting to the pass. Is that just something that Golson might have been doing differently or that you guys were more prepared for with the run?

Jake Ryan: “That’s just something that we’ve got to work on, the pass game, more. Creating havoc for the quarterback. The run game we played pretty well but we’ve also got to focus on the pass game. Getting more blitzes in and getting more guys to the quarterback is really going to create a different atmosphere for him and create havoc for him.”

[More after THE JUMP]


Monday Presser 9-8-14: Greg Mattison

Monday Presser 9-8-14: Greg Mattison Comment Count

Adam Schnepp September 9th, 2014 at 2:04 PM




Opening remarks:

“Well, let’s get right to it. Obviously disappointed that we didn’t win the football game and disappointed that we didn’t do a couple of things better on defense and we’ve got to work about correcting those right now. Our players came in with a great attitude and we as coaches I think have a great attitude and that’s one bump in the road that we have to get over and go to the next one.”


I’m sure there are a few things on your list but is not forcing turnovers to this point pretty high up there?

“Yeah. The thing about that football game, and I felt it on the sidelines- I don’t know if ever you played against a good opponent where you held them to fifty-some yards rushing, and usually those stats can be misled, but not when a team rushes thirty times or twenty-some times for fifty yards. That part of it you said, ‘Hey, we’re fine here.’ The thing that we didn’t do that we have to is the same thing we didn’t do in the first game: we’ve got to play better red zone defense. That’s really hurt us. We have to, when we get down in the red zone, and all it takes when you get down in the red zone is one bad play and that’s gotten us. I think in the red zone we went to third down one time, they scored. Next time it was fourth down. That makes a whole difference in a ball game.

“The other thing is we’ve got to get turnovers. That’s hurting our team and that was a big emphasis for us. And I think the other thing that we didn’t live up to what I expected us to was third downs. The stats, they’re misleading again. What were they? Eight- or seven-for-fifteen? They hit some really crucial third downs in the first half and, you know, third down is third down. You get it, you get it. And there’s a couple [where] the guy’s feet…just perfect throw, perfect catch. But that doesn’t matter. You have to stop them on third down to be a great defense. Those are three places that we have to get better and for us as a team our defense needs to do that and we didn’t.”


How much, if any, concern about pass rush is neutered by the fact that they were getting the ball out so quickly?

“Yeah, I thought our pass rush- watching the tape we had some guys that were doing some pretty darn good things and the ball was coming out really quick which is, again, I’ll say that that’s concerning because that’s like last year. I felt we’d have a little tighter coverage to be able to stop that when the pressure got close and he threw some in there. Again, we’ve got to keep working on it. I thought our pass rush, I thought our guys came after him pretty good and worked really hard up front to try and get to him. We didn’t get sacks. We didn’t get as many sacks. That quarterback probably played the best game of his life. He played good. He’s a good player, you know. I give that to him and that’s one of the reasons for the outcome was.”


[After THE JUMP: Greg Mattison explains what he should have done differently and why he thinks the defense doesn’t need a wake-up call]



Unverified Voracity Says Let's Win Football

Unverified Voracity Says Let's Win Football Comment Count

Brian September 9th, 2014 at 12:28 PM

SPORTS. TALK. RADIO. A somewhat agitated man called into WTKA after the game Saturday night. That guy can get bent with his engineering cracks. If the football team was as good as solar car we'd all have burned out dopamine receptors.

It could be worse! It could be equally as bad. Let's check in with our friends at Texas.

The eloquent Scipio Tex on a hamblasting at the hands of BYU:

Anyone coming into this game expecting a solid or even reasonably functional offense was delusional, but cold reality stings even when you know there's a blizzard outside and you're dressed only in a garter belt and a ball gag leaping from a 3rd story window into a snow bank...

Don't ask.

Metaphorically been there, bro. And literally, but let's focus on the metaphorically please.

Meanwhile in MS paint penises. We made Shamepaint, a couple times. This is the one I can put on the blog:


So we're still better than my friend Kit.

That's over I guess. Penn State's sanctions are over as arbitrarily and suddenly as they were imposed. Suddenly free to go to the Pinstripe Bowl, Penn State fans reacted like college students do when given the slightest pretext:

The previous day's Collegian was exactly the same except the headline read ONE DOLLAR TACOS.

So that may explain that. Derrick Green got a lot more carries than De'Veon Smith despite not being at all effective with them. Here is a potential reason why:


Here is a list of potential SMU hires I am linking for no particular reason. Michigan's going to have more access than SMU if they need to make a coaching change at the end of the season, but Harbaugh Hail Marys aside the landscape isn't going to look too different than this list of eight candidates to replace June Jones after his sudden resignation. It's heavy on offensive coordinators, with those of Ohio State, Clemson, Baylor, and Oklahoma on the list along with some washed up dudes. (Butch Davis! Rick Neuheisel!) Michigan has a bunch of midlevel head coaches they can grab… it's just that there aren't any.

If you think that's excessively grim, look around the college football landscape for an established, pluckable head coach with a track record that makes you warm and fuzzy. I don't see one. Texas grabbed the best idea out there when they hired Charlie Strong to repair the damage letting Mack Brown hang on way too long caused. Washington picked off Chris Petersen. Penn State got James Franklin. There's nobody at a midlevel BCS program who's an obvious next big thing a la Meyer or Sumlin.

Unless you think Michigan can swoop in on a Texas A&M or Oklahoma State—extremely doubtful—there are virtually no available coaches who finished in the top 25 last year except George O'Leary (hooray!) and Todd Graham (because Todd Graham is always available). David Cutcliffe is 59; Art Briles is 58 (and not leaving).

The best bet outside the HHM may be Craig Bohl, who led NDSU to three consecutive national titles and various upsets of nearby I-A teams. Dual problems: he just got hired by Wyoming and he's 56.

Maybe someone will cut a hot swath of death through some conference or another, but legit A-level hires have track records of performing over expectations over a number of years. With Petersen, Strong, and Franklin off the board the pickings are slim. They get even slimmer if you insist on a coach who runs a program that looks like 1990s Michigan, because fewer and fewer programs do that.

Hail Harbaugh full of grace and all that, then. Or ripping off ten straight wins and going to the Rose Bowl. Either one. Preferably the latter. It could happen!


Actually, I wonder about that after the Great Card Stunt of 2012, which was not exactly North Korea quality. We are a goatish people, we Michigan fans: hard to lead, prone to irritating bleating, capable of grudgingly eating anything put in front of our face.

This week in People In Charge Of Things Are Just In Charge Of Them. Nothing about what Ray Rice did changed in the last couple days, but once people actually saw him knocking out his wife all of a sudden Rice is gone from the league. NFL officials are either 1) worse than TMZ at getting video, 2) lied to everyone about having saw it, or 3) saw it and thought two games was okay.

This is a comprehensive failure by an idiot. He's an idiot who makes 45 million dollars a year, and he's an idiot because he thinks this makes him untouchable. See Donald Sterling, Dan Snyder, etc. People in charge of things are not necessarily deserving of such a position and their judgments should be questioned, because no one inside these organizations is successfully doing so.

Meanwhile, elite sportswriters are hand-picked PR organs.

Par for the course. Obligatory hot take on the Hoke quote du jour:

'If they're truly fans, they'll believe in these kids ... If they're not, they won't'

See MGoBlog article "Fickle" on this.

It is not the fans' fault that this program is awful to be a fan of. It's not Rich Rodriguez's fault. Anyone who sells their ticket for whatever they can get—currently 60 bucks and dropping from 80 yesterday—is only making a logical decision to not get punched in the soul dong on Saturday.

You are a true fan if you want the team to win a lot. Believing is optional, and right now kind of dumb.

Etc.: Shut up, Jim Delany, it is most definitely not premature to judge the Big Ten. Michigan Monday, hooray. Miami (Not That Miami) is not good. M is a 31.5 point favorite and YOU JUST HAD TO PICK THAT LINE, VEGAS, SERIOUSLY?

The new Stanford Tree is something. The Chad Lindsay sweepstakes was kind of overrated. Dude just retired. Students! Here is this link to some anagrams for no reason.


Monday Presser 9-8-14: Doug Nussmeier

Monday Presser 9-8-14: Doug Nussmeier Comment Count

Adam Schnepp September 9th, 2014 at 9:00 AM


Can you talk about some of the positives you took away after watching the film?

“Well, you know, I think when you look at the football game and you say, ‘Okay, what were the things that we can take out of this game?’ I thought we were prepare to play. I talked to our guys about [how] the preparation was right. We were prepared. You look at the first drive, we move the ball down the field the first two drives and unfortunately were unable to convert but the preparation was right. We’ve talked a lot about what we’re doing to prepare for games and right now we’ve just got to play smarter, we’ve got to play more disciplined and we’ve got to execute better.”

What does this offense need to do to regain the consistency and solidity it had against Appalachian State and what did Notre Dame do to break down what you built up in the season opener?

“Well, I wouldn’t say that anything got broke down. The same thing I talked about a week ago; we’re still in the infancy stages. We’re still learning to play consistently and I’ll continue to hit on that because, like I said before, we play well in stretches and it showed in that game. You could see where we’d get movement, we’d create things, we’d move the ball and then we’d lack that consistency and that’s going to be a growth process and it’s something that we work every day in practice on and we continue to talk about it’s about eleven guys on every play doing the right thing. You just can’t play, when you play a quality opponent like Notre Dame- if it’s ten guys doing the right thing and one guy doing the wrong thing you’re doomed so we’ve got to get eleven guys on every play doing the right thing.”

Can you talk about what you’ve seen out of Devin Funchess in the first couple of games, but beyond that the production you’re expecting from those other guys when Devin gets the attention that he inevitably will.

“Sure. Devin’s done an outstanding job. I talked about that before. We moved him around and his ability to process the information, to move into the slot, to move back out by himself, then to have the tight end with him, that’s a lot of information. People don’t realize how difficult that is and that should tell you a little bit about his mental makeup and the other side of Devin Funchess, not just the athletic side that you see. He’s done an outstanding job with that.

“That being said, you could see in the game that there are other guys on this team that can make plays. Dennis Norfleet did a nice job for us, made some plays for us. Amara Darboh, Jehu Chesson. We’re still looking at some young guys to stand up and develop. Freddy Canteen, we’re trying to get Freddy going a little bit so we’re trying to not only let Devin do what Devin does but also develop that corps around him.”

[After THE JUMP: generating explosive plays, evaluating the offense’s progress, and a bunch of Devin Gardner questions]


Monday Presser 9-8-14: Brady Hoke

Monday Presser 9-8-14: Brady Hoke Comment Count

Adam Schnepp September 8th, 2014 at 6:02 PM

Hoke presser 2


News bullets and other items:

  • Hoke will tell us if someone is out for the year. That’s about all you can expect as far as injury updates go.
  • Graham Glasgow is taking snaps at center and right guard.
  • Hoke thought the team prepared well last week.
  • He emphasized red zone defense and finishing drives as the two areas that most need to improve.
  • Matt Wile and Kenny Allen will compete for kicking duties.

Opening statement:

“Thanks for coming. You know, as far as where we’re at as a team, we went back to work yesterday and the attitude and how our guys have stayed together, the leadership throughout the team has been awfully positive. I like the work ethic and I still like the work ethic from a physical and mental standpoint. You always evaluate where you're at and what you need to do and what could you have done differently and we've done that. We've talked about it from coaching staff-wise, from player-wise. Preparation was awesome throughout the week. It was as good as I've been around. Preparation in Michigan City at the hotel was awesome. Feel very good about our football team in a lot of ways. We've got to prepare. We got to execute a little better but as far as where this team's at I'm excited. We understand that our goals are still out there and now we've got to turn to Miami and be back at home with our students and the Michigan fans and go back to work."

How does the defensive approach have to change when you lose some key people like out of the secondary? I think you talked about when you can press man and when you had to back off of that.
“Well, I do think you've got to know your personnel. Number one, you want to make sure you put your personnel in positions so that they can be successful. In the second half we played more zone and from a defensive standpoint there were some things that we need to be tighter on. Some technique issues that we've got to clean up. Sometimes that happens when guys gets in certain environments where your fundamentals and techniques are everything. I thought we lost that and some of that is the environment that you're in. You either speed up – and I think we did that a little bit because of that or you just lose your fundamentals and techniques. So to answer your question yeah, you look at it and you change it a little bit."

Talk about having Jake Butt back and what his ceiling is. You look at his tools and where his ceiling is; where might he go?
"Well, you know, Jake was kind of a gametime decision in some ways and didn't play a lot of snaps but we'll see how he progresses. I think we’re going to be very cognizant of where he is from a physical standpoint and what's too much. We do the same thing in practice, what's too much and what's not. The technology today with some of the GPS things we’re into teaches a lot and you learn a lot. Health and wellness issues are part of that and talking about Jake is making sure we are doing the right things with him."

Talk about his…
"Well, we think he’s a very good football player. He ended up last year very well. I think he's learned a lot and he's one of those guys who is on the leadership council that isn't afraid to, even though he's a young guy, speak his mind and give his true reactions and feelings."

Talk about some of the positives and the improvement in the run defense.
"Well, the front seven I thought he did a pretty good job from that standpoint. Guys that we rotated throughout in the middle of the defense, I think they were aggressive. I thought they were gaps sound. I think Willie [Henry] may have had the most production of all of them but he and Ryan [Glasgow] as a group in there, I thought they did a nice job. That was a physical offensive line and so we got to take from what they did last week into this week and improve upon that."

Devin Funchess- we saw him leave the game and come back in. How’s he doing?

"He's fine. I'm not going to talk about any injuries but he's fine."

Did he workout and everything yesterday?
"He was in the building yesterday, yeah."

[After THE JUMP: pointed words about a lack of faith in the Big Ten, Hoke’s message for Michigan fans, and more player-specific non-injury-related questions]


MGoPodcast 6.2: Ten More Minutes To Go

MGoPodcast 6.2: Ten More Minutes To Go

53 minutes


[Bryan Fuller]


Inevitable and mandatory. This was a gamechanger.


Throw it to Funchess. Line didn't feel as bad as last year despite the issues. Gardner's boggling fumble.


Really good against the run. What happened to the cornerbacks? Ack.




"25 Minutes To Go," Johnny Cash
"Hell No I Ain't Happy," Drive By Truckers
"Holland, 1945," Neutral Milk Hotel
"Nice Day For A Sulk," Belle And Sebastian
"Across 110th Street"