MGoRadio 2.10: Life Ain’t Fair and the World is Mean

MGoRadio 2.10: Life Ain’t Fair and the World is Mean

1 hour and 25 minutes

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MGoRadio is a very visual podcast recorded before a live retail audience at The Bo Store, 333 S. Main, where you can hear Brian rolling his eyes at me. Ace is a bit under the weather so Seth (that’s me!) suited up, nailed the awkward intro, and went downhill from there (feel better soon Ace!). If you haven’t checked out Rishi and Ryan’s latest venture, do so. Special guest: Steve Lorenz of 247 Sports, and MGoBlog’s Ace Anbender, who called in to talk hoops.


The reason we can put out so much audio content now is it’s paid for. The show is presented by the Bo Store, UGP & Moe's and frankly would not be happening without them; Rishi and Ryan and their people have been huge MGoBlog supporters from the start.

Our other sponsors are also key in the expanding empire: thanks to Homesure Lending, Ann Arbor Elder Law, the Residence Inn Ann Arbor Downtown, the University of Michigan Alumni Association, Deo Bookkeeping, Michigan Law Grad, Defensive Drivers Group, Tailgater Concierge, and Peak Wealth Management.

1. Iowa After Review

Needed one more thing: Speight fell apart, the guards had some weird plays, the receivers had some drops, Glasgow wasn’t as Glasgow as usual, Taco had one bad edge, McCray versus Akrum Wadley was bad, RPS at the end was swearword-inducing.

2. Across the Crooked Blue Line, with Steve Lorenz

starts at 23:52

Brady Hoke-approved DL are always welcome, even with a name like Rutger—Michigan still sorting out who they can get out of some very good OL and DL prospects. Pulling Gay out of the Black Hole of Mississippi is possible. Najee Harris optimism incremented. Steve promises to get the 247 people to let us sort by hyphenated names.

3. Ace’s Basketball Podcast

starts at 52:54

D.J. Wilson is changing the math for Michigan, which is suddenly huge, can OREB, blocks shots, and lets Duncan Robinson be the off-the-bench three-hunter he was brought in to be. Donlonball is working: Michigan is using their fouls to prevent easy buckets—Beilein even violated autobench! I know!

4. Weird Indiana Is Still Indiana

starts at 1:10:02

Rushing offense sputtering out against live defenses (not Maryland) due to severe OL holes that one Dan Feeney can’t paper over. Richad Lagow is scattershot. I love me some Tegray Scales whose name I can’t pronounce, the linebacker this defense is designed to keep clean so he can read and react. Secondary lacks athleticism, gets by with lots of blitzes keeping routes short.


  • “Life Ain't Fair”—Sturgill Simpson
  • “The Devil is All Around”—Shovels & Rope
  • “The Dismemberment Plan”—Memory Machine
  • “Across 110th Street”


Upon Further Review 2016: Defense vs Iowa

Upon Further Review 2016: Defense vs Iowa

Submitted by Brian on November 18th, 2016 at 12:13 PM


SPONSOR NOTES: Here is an article about a rate hike "relatively soon," and it's not from Macedonian teenagers. Those Macedonians teens, always with their incorrect news hijinks and saying WHAT ARE THOOOSE in Macedonian. Anyway, now is a good time to get a loan, and later will be a less good time.

In addition to being a gentleman replete with Michigan tickets, Matt is also a good man to know if you need a mortgage. It's striking that we actually get non-astroturfed comments about positive experiences with Matt not infrequently.

If you're buying a home or refinancing, he's the right guy to call.

FORMATION NOTES: Michigan may have had two "deep" safeties, but they were not very deep. This was MSU-level #disrespekt for Iowa's ability to punish Michigan over the top, and this was a relatively conservative safety deployment for M in this game.

tight safeties

One guy would generally bail while the other shot into the line of scrimmage. Michigan also used its safeties as SAM linebackers with some regularity. Here Peppers is over the slot and Thomas is tight to the LOS to the bottom of the shot:

4-3 even

Also sometimes I hate directors. This is a presnap shot on third and six.

are you fucking kdding me

There is more than the usual sprinkling of ??? in this chart because of things like this.

SUBSTITUTION NOTES: Massively reduced rotation. Save an injured Delano Hill the back seven got literally every snap, of which there were 68. Taco Charlton did not leave the field; Wormley only rested on four snaps; Glasgow got 50. Hurst and Godin split snaps about down the middle again; Hurst had a slight edge with 30 to Godin's 24.

Kinnel got 23 snaps as Hill's replacement. Spare parts included Mone(15 snaps), Gary (9), Winovich (3), Lavert Hill(6), and Brandon Watson(3).

[After THE JUMP: [very Kirk voice] WAAAAAAAADLEY]

Moving the Stati-Sticks: Post-Iowa

Moving the Stati-Sticks: Post-Iowa

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on November 18th, 2016 at 10:01 AM

[Eric Upchurch]

We should have known from the start. Ace and I got dropped off at the northeast corner of Kinnick with a simple task: get the parking pass and credentials. We picked up the envelope, untangled the strings on our credentials, and found precisely zero things that were definitely or even slightly resembled a parking pass. We now needed the guys to somehow turn around and come pick us up without bringing traffic to a screeching halt, and from there we needed to go to the parking garage and hope they’d accept the email that said we were approved for parking.

Ace and I crossed the street to wait and ran into Kelly and Jacob, two of The Daily’s beat writers. They were looking for a missing co-worker. Hindsight’s 20/20, but it should have been obvious in that moment that there were four Michigan media members on a corner and not a single thing going right for any of them, and that ended up serving as an omen for the night. We then dove into the van as the guys drove up, pulled up to the parking garage, and were shut down by the attendant. And the one in the next lot. And the one in the lot after that.

We ended up parking behind the equivalent of a coney on the outskirts of campus, running out of time to go to Demorest’s tailgate, and one of us slipped and fell partially down a hill while making fun of someone’s taste in music. It was me. I fell down a hill.

I didn’t notice the blinking neon “Hey, I’m a metaphor and something’s not right here” sign, and a lot of that is because you can usually count on nine games worth of data to be somewhat predictive. According to Football Study Hall, Iowa went into the game with a 5% win probability. They then forced Michigan’s offense into far and away their worst performance of the season en route to a bizarre, special teams-fueled upset. With game and cumulative numbers in hand, we can see how big an impact one bad game has while also preliminarily judging how predictive the performance was.

[Hit THE JUMP to find out how off Michigan’s offense was according to S&P+ and FEI, and a quick look at Indiana’s advanced stats]

WTKA Roundtable 11-17-2016: They Got Away With It

WTKA Roundtable 11-17-2016: They Got Away With It


[Patrick Barron]

Things discussed:

  • Iowa minus the points left on the field: why did Speight turn into bad Speight?
  • Comedy of errors—hit just one more pass and game script flips.
  • This team lives off their pass efficiency.
  • Officiating: Craig started drinking immediately when he saw who was doing it. Wasn’t on the level of either of the last two MSU games
  • Pepcat package needs a counter to scrape exchanges.
  • Indiana is a pair of linebackers; new defensive coordinator deserves the Broyles.
  • Playoff handicapping:Would 1-loss Ohio State be left out of the playoffs?
  • Taking calls: Gary and Mone?
  • What’s O’Korn? Tate Forcier with size or Hackenberg with coaching?

You can catch the entire episode on Michigan Insider's podcast stream on Audioboom.

Segment 2 is here. Segment 3 is here.


Upon Further Review 2016: Offense vs Iowa

Upon Further Review 2016: Offense vs Iowa

Submitted by Brian on November 17th, 2016 at 12:03 PM


SPONSOR NOTES: You're in big trouble, Sauce Castillo. Not Nik Stauskas. User Sauce Castillo, who we are blaming for this. We also blame Sauce Castillo for a pending FEDERAL INTEREST RATE HIKE that means you should get a mortgage now.

In addition to being a gentleman replete with Michigan tickets, Matt is also a good man to know if you need a mortgage. It's striking that we actually get non-astroturfed comments about positive experiences with Matt not infrequently.

If you're buying a home or refinancing, he's the right guy to call.

FORMATION NOTES: Hey, it's Iowa.


4-3 over with two high safeties on just about every play. Iowa will insert safeties into the box post-snap like Michigan's done with some frequency this year; they are a cover-two-heavy 4-3 defense like they have always been and will always be.

SUBSTITUTION NOTES: The usual at QB and OL. Darboh got almost every snap (55 of 61), with Butt not far behind at 48. Chesson was at 37. Smith got two-thirds of the RB snaps with Chris Evans getting the bulk of the remainder; Higdon(5 snaps) and Isaac(1) saw reduced usage. Hill had an edge in FB snaps with 19 to Poggi's 12.

Rounding out the offense were scattered snaps for Perry, McDoom, Crawford, Wheatley, Asiasi, Drake Harris, and Juwann Bushell-Beatty.

[After THE JUMP: plane, meet mountain]

Wednesday Presser 11-16-16: Brian Smith

Wednesday Presser 11-16-16: Brian Smith

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on November 16th, 2016 at 2:15 PM



What did you guys learn from last game in your group, specifically?

“In our group specifically, we’ve got to tackle better. Fundamentals of the game, that’s what it comes down to a lot of times in those situations, the fundamentals of the game. You’ve got to be sharp, and that’s something that we definitely have to focus on going forward, as we do every week.”

In terms of the secondary and your position specifically, Delano [Hill] left the game. What’s his status? Has he been practicing fully this week?

“Delano should be fine. He left the game at the end there, but he’s doing well. He should be good to go this week.”

The grind this time of year, can you see guys wearing down a little bit and what’s the message to them?

“The message is just to prepare like we do always. I think we’ve done a good job in preparation throughout the whole season, and we don’t want to lose any of that. Every week, just keep preparing like we’ve been and take it to another level each week.”

Tyree Kinnel’s been getting a lot more action. Can you talk about his progression and what you’re seeing out of him?

“Yeah, Tyree, he’s played well. He’s come a long way. This is only his second year getting in there and getting in the mix, but he’s been doing a good job on special teams and when you do a good job on teams we trust you more to get in there on defense. He’s done a nice job with that.”

[More on Metellus, Hudson, and Indiana’s offense after THE JUMP]

What Is: A Wham Block

What Is: A Wham Block

Submitted by Seth on November 16th, 2016 at 10:00 AM

I found this incredibly annoying this weekend:

Michigan has 8 1/2 in the box, and yet Iowa is able to get 8 yards on 1st down. Even more galling is they did it with a nifty trick that hadn’t been seen much of in the Big Ten until Harbaugh brought it back last year. It’s the wham. And it had no right to go this well.

Wham Defined

A wham is a first level block by the fullback or TE, freeing up an offensive lineman to release to the next level. It’s a type of Trap, which is a when you leave an interior defensive lineman unblocked before hitting him from another angle. But when you think of a “trap” it’s usually pulling an offensive lineman to blindside the DL you left unblocked to roar into the backfield.

A wham is less about catching the defense overreacting and more about winning a one-on-one matchup they didn’t expect, in this case between a fullback or H-back and an interior DL. The block is a kick-down, and happens within a second of the snap. If executed, you’ve erased the defense’s most important run defender with your fullback’s block, and your center (who’s often your best run blocker) gets a free release into the linebackers.


Wham block in red

Often a wham block starts with that fullback or tight end in motion. This keeps him out of view of the DT he’ll end up blocking until it’s almost too late, and can give him more of a head start, since the fullback is bound to be giving up some weight on the DT, and will have to make up for it with momentum.

BlueGraySky put together a great video compilation of Notre Dame’s wham blocks from a decade ago:

If you’re mad about watching Domers, know that Michigan’s ‘06 defense appears twice and does a pretty good job against it.

[After the JUMP: What they win, what they risk, and how it goes]

Monday Presser 11-14-16: Players

Monday Presser 11-14-16: Players

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on November 15th, 2016 at 2:04 PM

11-14 players

Jake Butt, Maurice Hurst, and Matt Godin

Talk about how your team still has its destiny in its hands in terms of winning out to get where you want even though you lost.

JB: “Yeah, obviously it’s a tough loss. It’s a game we could have won, so that’s gonna sting a little bit. But we reminded ourselves and each other that what we set out for at the beginning of the season is still right in front of us. We’re going to learn from this loss and become tougher and better because of it. We control our own destiny, so as long as we keep handling business we’re not worried about what anyone else is doing. We’ve just got to handle our own business and the rest will take care of itself.”

Matt, what were some of the problems up front against the run, especially on first down, on Saturday night?

“First of all, give credit to them. They had a great seam going in the run game, but we just weren’t fitting some of the things right in the run game, obviously. We’re gonna have to take a look at it in film today, but we’ll get it fixed.”

Jake, what were some of the things that guys were saying to each other yesterday, a day removed from that? Was there encouragement needed? Was anybody having to say anything, or did you all just realize how you had to move forward?

“Thankfully, we’ve got a veteran team, a lot of older guys that have seen a lot of different things in their career here, and a lot of mature younger guys, too, that can follow some of the older guys’ lead, [and] a great coaching staff that has seen a lot of things, too. It’s a tough game. We were going to face adversity this season. We wish we would have come out on top in that game, but we understand—there’s no panic button. We’re not gonna let one loss turn into two. We’re just going to continue the same mentality of get back to work today and move forward.”

[More after THE JUMP]

Unverified Voracity Bombs Bo Ryan Out Of Nowhere

Unverified Voracity Bombs Bo Ryan Out Of Nowhere

Submitted by Brian on November 15th, 2016 at 1:06 PM


[Patrick Barron]

On Speight. Yesterday we reported he'd be out for the regular season; someone asked Harbaugh if he was out for the season and he said no. Those aren't the same thing, obviously. You should still expect O'Korn for the next two weeks. Beyond that we'll see. There are conflicting reports about the exact nature of the injury. I've gotten some additional reports that it's a shoulder issue, not the collarbone. The upshot is the same.

Whenever we report something that comes into question our policy is to reveal as much as possible so you can judge for yourself, but there's not much I can say here. Best I can figure is that a person close to the situation got some preliminary or garbled information, which is why ESPN and the Free Press were both able to issue confirmations, with the Free Press citing the same injury. I can't say we'd do anything differently given the provenance of the information. These days we sit on anything not impeccably sourced because the downside of an incorrect report is greater than the upside, so of course.

Other dings. 247 reports that both Channing Stribling and Delano Hill should be good to go this weekend. Stribling had some issues getting off the field after his interception and Hill was replaced by Tyree Kinnel just after halftime when Hill went down with what looked like a cramp to me, but must have been at least a bit more serious. Steve Lorenz say Hill might be held out as a precaution.

PFF on Iowa. For one, Wadley is good against many teams, not just Michigan.

(I assume "averaged" is supposed to be "averages"; former implies they're just talking about the Michigan game but the 100+ carries indicates they're talking about the entire season.) Wadley's utilization remains a mystery. Michigan missed 11 tackles on him; prior to MSU, when the missed tackle explosion began, they had just 19 on the season.

Meanwhile the offensive grades are grim. De'Veon Smith made PFF's top five with a 55.5 grade, which is the kind of thing you see when Michigan's D plays a really bad offense. The other four, all of whom got solidly positive marks in the mid-to-high 70s, are Bredeson, Cole, Magnuson, and Butt—blockers. Michigan's skill guys disappointed.

Defense was more of the same with missed tackles hurting the LB grades. Mo Hurst again graded out excellently; per PFF he's the top interior pass rusher in the country. I'm a bit surprised he hasn't moved into the starting lineup as Godin comes back to performances that are more in line with his junior year. 

FWIW, Hurst says he is leaning towards a return next year.

"It'll be just about how (me and my family) feel about it, we'll talk through it, I'll talk with coach (Jim) Harbaugh about it," Hurst said. "I think (I'm leaning toward) wanting to stay for a fifth year and pursue a Master's degree. That's something that (could be a factor).

"The degree and just the chance to come back. I love playing here. It's been everything I've imagined, especially these last two years. The atmosphere on campus. The coaches are great and they've done a great job and I know I've gotten a lot better."

That is obviously a huge deal for Michigan, which would be replacing him in the starting lineup with... Michael Dwumfour? There's a reason Michigan looks set to take 8 DL in this recruiting class.

The outlier. S&P+'s been updated and it shows just how out of nowhere Michigan's offensive performance was on Saturday. S&P+ tracks "percentile performances" on both sides of the ball. Michigan's worst outing this year against Wisconsin was at 70%; they had just one other performance under 80, that a 78% against MSU.

Against Iowa: 11%. That game alone saw Michigan's offense drop from 8th to 25th in Bill's rankings. Again I would like to shake my fist and ask why does anything happen if it's not going to be predictive.

Occam's Razor. Folks who cover OSU are in a never-ending search for red meat for the ravenous masses. See anything Bill Kurelic's ever written. gets in on the act with an in-depth look at how Pioneer LB Antjuan Simmons ended up committing to OSU. Which of these approaches seems more like Harbaugh?

There are only two things that can explain Michigan's approach: Either Harbaugh never prioritized Simmons on his recruiting board or the Wolverines completely blew it with how they recruited the 6-foot-1, 215-pound prospect.

Maybe Simmons will be great at OSU but there's no story here other than sometimes people disagree on a recruit.

A nasty lawsuit in a surprising locale. A former basketball player at a Power 5 school has filed an antitrust lawsuit alleging various attempts to boot him off his scholarship. That school is... Northwestern?

The suit describes a variety of measures the program and athletic department used to free up Vassar’s scholarship, which was eventually transferred from athletic grant-in-aid to an academic scholarship. The University, the complaint alleges, went so far as to offer Vassar a cash payment in March of 2016 so he would “go away.”

The suit also alleges that Northwestern placed the three-star recruit in an “internship” so he could retain his athletic scholarship. The program, called the “Wildcat Internship Program” involved him working in a janitorial capacity. It also claims that Northwestern tried to falsify Vassar’s timesheets during the internship “in an effort to create grounds for revoking [Vassar’s] guaranteed athletic scholarship.”

The suit also attacks the NCAA and its transfer rules and is part of a larger lawsuit put forth by Hagens Berman against the NCAA in 2012.

I did not expect Northwestern basketball to be accused of cutthroat behavior this day.

The larger lawsuit is an attempt to bash down various NCAA transfer restrictions in a class action and goes hard in the paint on Bo Ryan:

123. To call Ryan a hypocrite would be an insult to hypocrisy.

(Because he blocked Jared Uthoff's transfer to Iowa after moving up to Wisconsin despite a contract with UWM.)

Etc.: settings –> options –> mute "tuddy". This article on responding to motion is very technical but may be of interest to actual coaches and football nerds. Inside the FEI rankings. Tom Brady and Brandon Graham make PFF's midseason All-Pro team.

One-Play One-on-One: Jake Butt

One-Play One-on-One: Jake Butt

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on November 15th, 2016 at 10:01 AM


[Eric Upchurch]

When I was thinking about the plays Jake Butt made on Saturday, the one that immediately came to mind was a third-down conversion on a drag route that he caught with one hand and locked in with two fingers. That shallow route ended up being Michigan’s second-longest pass play of the evening, and as you’ll read below, a lot more went into that than just catching and running. As always, the video is at the bottom of the post and can be slowed down to 0.5x 0.25 speed if you open in Youtube and change the settings in the bottom right corner; I highly advise you watch the play slowed down.

What was the first thing you noticed when you lined up?

“I knew there was a wider guy outside of Ian [Bunting]. I was running a shallow route, Ian had a corner route, so first thing I’m thinking about is my release, whether or not I’m going to be able to get inside that backer or whether I’m going to have to take a longer route.

“Saw that, read I can get inside of him, but I saw I think they had two backers in the box; one of them kind of carried Ian vertically and I saw another linebacker that was eyeing the quarterback, and I knew he’d have to pick up my shallow, so I knew I was either going to have to sit it down or continue running. I saw he was flat-footed and staring at Wilton so I thought I could pass him up.

“I knew we had a post-wheel combination on the other side that was gonna carry those guys out of the way, so if I could just get past him I’d have a little bit of extra space. Did that, Wilton put the ball where only I could get it, and honestly, for a second there he put his hand in front and I couldn’t see the ball. I just kind of trusted where it would be. Caught it and then just tried to get as much as I could after the ball.

“I saw another guy running and I saw Desmond King down the sideline. I wanted to stiff arm him, and in the process of stiff-arming him I got my legs taken out a little bit. Big third-down play for us and big conversion.”

After you catch the ball and you’re turning the corner, as you said, you’ve got a guy trailing you and King in front of you. When you’re looking at King and trying to get upfield, what are you looking at? Are you looking at his hips or his shoulders or his pursuit angle?

“I could see his eyes, the way he stood up initially. Usually when guys stand up that’s so they can get ready to go low and take out your knees. But I had my hand on the one guy stiff-arming him, otherwise I would have tried to lower my shoulder and truck-stick him a little bit. I knew he was taking out my knees, but I just stiff-armed him and got as many yards as I could.”

Is that guy who’s trailing to the right a consideration or are you mainly looking at the guy upfield and trying to make a move on him?

“You kind of have to consider him just because they’re converging on you a little bit. I knew—I thought if King wasn’t there or came a little bit later, I would have shedded that other guy, but in the process of shedding him I had to lower and they kind of did a good little gang tackle there.”

To step back for a second, as you release and you’re getting into the drag, that’s when you know the middle linebacker is going to cover you? Postsnap?

“Yeah. The way their defense plays, someone’s going to have to carry a crossing route there. With him eyeing Wilton, he would feel me running across and I knew I could just reduce my route a little bit so he wouldn’t have an angle to intercept it and then Wilton just kind of put it on the money and I turned it up from there.”

Since this is an interview about one play, what’s the single most memorable play for you in your career here?

“Oh, shoot…let’s hope it hasn’t happened yet.”