Upon Further Review 2017: Special Teams vs Wisconsin

Upon Further Review 2017: Special Teams vs Wisconsin

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on November 24th, 2017 at 6:32 PM

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[Fuller]

Formation/substitution notes: Uche made an impact, charting for the first time after (per the official site) playing on ST the previous two weeks and against Air Force. Had to look that up because I thought this was the first week they were using him on kickoff.

Otherwise, things remained the same. Michigan brought pressure on their punts when they had Wisconsin pinned deep, otherwise dropping at least one man post-snap. They doubled a gunner on punt return coverage once again this week; Wisconsin was deep in their own territory, and it worked fairly well.

[After THE JUMP: what could be more BIG TENNNN than the mere existence of a ST UFR? EXTENSIVE DISCUSSION OF THE PUNNNTTTTEEERRRR]

Upon Further Review 2017: Offense vs Wisconsin

Upon Further Review 2017: Offense vs Wisconsin

Submitted by Brian on November 23rd, 2017 at 10:09 AM

2017 logoo_thumbSPONSOR NOTE. We're having a charity tailgate before the OSU game. Details:

MGoBlog and HomeSure Lending are having a tailgate before The Game at The North End Zone tailgate space, 1011 S. Main Street (map) from 9 a.m. to a little before noon, with food from Scratch Barbecue and beer donated from Wolverine State Brewing, and proceeds going to the T. Wall Foundation.

  • Tickets (food & beer included): $12 if you buy them ahead of time on EventBritegets you in, gets you a wrist band for the food.
  • Tickets (just beer at the door): $10 suggested donation just to come hang out on your way to the game.
  • Watch/Afterparty: Your ticket for the tailgate also gets you a round at Wolverine Brewing. If you don’t have a ticket for The Game but want to come, you won’t be alone; there’s a Lyft pickup spot across the street so when people go into the game a handful of us (I’m still in the market) are gonna go back to Wolverine State Brewing to watch it together, and more are planning to come back there (and park there) after.

Scratch provided the BBQ at the season-opening event, if you were there. It's good.

FORMATION NOTES. THERE WERE DEFINITELY SOME FORMATIONS, BACK TO YOU JOHN.

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SUBSTITUTION NOTES. Same QB and OL as the previous few games until Peters was knocked out. Onwenu did get a couple snaps as a RG in a jumbo formation, with Ruiz popping out to a TE-ish spot. Still mostly Gentry/McKeon at TE, with a number of 3 TE formations that also had Bunting. DPJ the main WR, with Perry, Crawford, and McDoom filling out the snaps.

Evans, Higdon, and Walker at RB, with an Isaac cameo on which he got hurt again.

[After THE JUMP: meh]

Wednesday Presser 11-22-17: Don Brown

Wednesday Presser 11-22-17: Don Brown

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on November 23rd, 2017 at 9:01 AM

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[Upchurch]

“Happy Thanksgiving, everybody.”

[Everyone in unison like the end of a Peanuts special] Happy Thanksgiving.

Talk about the Ohio State Offense and the challenge of preparing for them.

“Yeah, they’ve got good players. Two really good running backs, quarterback’s a veteran guy who knows how to play this game, some explosive guys at the receiver position, I think they’re improved in the offensive line, tight ends solid, so yeah, we’ve got a good offensive outfit to get ready for.”

Chase Winovich said that the highest praise he feels he’s ever gotten here is you calling him an ‘animal, bro.’ What do you think the highest praise is that you give out to a guy?

“Well, that’s pretty close right there. I think he’s really played well. You know, we try to make our living here on sacks, TFLs, living that approach, and you look at the numbers at the end of the day and he’s right up there in the TFL piece for sure, so I think he’s playing at a very, very solid level.”

Do you have different levels? Do you have like a guy, a man—

“Oh yeah.”

What are they?

“You know, you’re a Guy, and that’s your first start. Then, you know, if you’re really playing well, then you give ‘em Dude status, and then you give ‘em the competing animal status, so there’s your three levels of it. Being a dude’s not easy to do, now. I mean, that’s pretty high esteem.”

How do you approach the challenge of not only trying to slow JT Barrett but also the fact that they have the two really talented running backs?

“Yeah, they’re good. You know, the bottom line is you’ve got to pick your poison and you’ve got to stand for something. Some guys try to sit there and spread out and cover everything and that’s one approach. Some people try to read and react and that’s another approach. Obviously we try to do it all and make it tough on them. So, that’s our goal.

“But you got to stand for something. I can’t tell you what that is, but you’ve got to stand for something. You just can’t let ‘em pick you apart and move you down the field. That’s not going to happen anyway, so our approach is always try to be on the aggressive side of things, but at the same time, you’ve got to be intelligent.”

[After THE JUMP: the best practice of the season, not cheating the game, and playing with an X on your chest]

One-Play One-on-One: Tyree Kinnel

One-Play One-on-One: Tyree Kinnel

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on November 21st, 2017 at 2:53 PM

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[Fuller]

It’s been a slow season when it comes to the addition of new phrases to Harbaugh’s vernacular, but one thing he’s mentioned a few times this season that has stuck with me is one’s “football sensibilities.” This is very much a feel thing, and it’s the reason I picked this play. Wisconsin blocks this as well as they can; there’s a Mack-truck-sized lane for the back with one guy to shake. Each guy has an opportunity; someone will succeed, someone will fail. It’s binary. It’s brutal. It’s decisive. That appeals to my football sensibilities.

What were you expecting from them at that point?

“I had a read and I seen the fullback come to my side off a little short motion, and then I just read off the fullback and I tried to get down to the line of scrimmage as fast as I could. So as soon as I came down there and read the fullback’s block I tried to fit the hole as fast as I could and get my arms on the running back and tried to get him down as fast as I could, so that was pretty much my read on that play.”

It was 2nd-and-6 at that point, so pretty much everything’s available to them. Were they tipping anything as far as run or pass goes?

“Oh yeah. We seen how heavy their hands were on the ground with the linemen, and the D-line gives the linebackers the checks and the linebackers give us the check and we read that really well and I came down and executed the play really well.”

The receiver on the outside was running a drag. Did you see him and have to get underneath him first or was he not really an issue?

“On that play I did not. Josh Metellus was in the back helping the corner with that coverage.”

You were talking about the fullback earlier. Once he motions over, you basically know where the play’s going to go?

“Yeah, yeah. Watched film on them all week and saw that type of motion. They had more plays out of that type of motion, but I was very confident on that play. Got down there and trusted my gut feeling and made the play.”

That hole opened up perfectly for you to make the tackle, but were you expecting, based on what you’d watched on film, the back to bounce?

“I was expecting him to hit the hole harder, I thought, a little bit at me. I didn’t expect him to bounce it back inside, which he tried to do, and then I just tried to trace it back and get my arms on him, which I did. I did expect him to hit that hole. Like you said, it was wide open, and I tried to get down there as fast as I could to close it because, you know, once it’s not closed you know he has room and he’s a good back. He can make you miss, so I just tried to get down there as fast as I could.”

So when he decided to bounce he saw that you were in the hole and there was nowhere else to go and last minute he decided to cut?

“Yeah, I don’t know what he seen but yeah, I think that might have been the reason why. Me getting down there so fast, he wanted to cut it back. So, like I said, I just tried to get down there and just fill the hole as fast as I could.”

Technique-wise, what’s most important when you’ve got pretty much a free hit like that?

“You just want to bring your feet and shoulders to the tackle. When you make contact you want to keep your feet going, especially with a back like that. He’s big, and once he gets contact  he’s going to keep his feet moving, so you want to get your body on his body and keep your feet moving and just wait for your guys to get there to finish it off.”

Monday Presser 11-20-17: Players

Monday Presser 11-20-17: Players

Submitted by Adam Schnepp on November 21st, 2017 at 8:46 AM

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[Fuller]

Chase Winovich

How does five losses in a row weigh on this team?

“You don’t think about that stuff. You just play it one year at a time, one game at a time, and if you look back even in our history, if you look at the 1969 year Michigan beat Ohio State. You don’t look so much at the fact that we had lost to Michigan State that year and other teams, you look at the fact that we had beat a really good Ohio State football team. It’s kind of that same thing. It doesn’t matter how this season has went so far, the fact that we lost a couple games in the past. It just matters what we do in this game, and that’s what we’re going to focus on.”

With Don Brown, I think it’s pretty interesting that he’s 62 years old and yet he’s able to connect with guys like you. How does he do that?

“He just does it because, I mean, he’s 62 in age but he’s got a young soul, I’ll tell you that. One of the best feelings is when you’ll be out there and you’ll do something good he’ll call you ‘bro.’ ‘You’re an animal, bro!’ Yeah, one of the highest compliments I’ve probably received here.”

Coach Harbaugh was kind of saying he brings the energy and passion kind of exactly like you were saying, like a younger guy. Does that kind of emotion rub off on everybody on the unit?

“Oh, for sure. Everyone loves coach Brown. Like, he’s notoriously liked and respected across the board. There’s other coaches that players kind of schluff off but definitely not coach Brown. He’s earned our respect. He’s a wizard when it comes to knowing football and just preparing for games and I’m just excited to play under him in this game.”

[After THE JUMP: Cole, McCray, Kinnel, Hurst, and Higdon]

Original Sin

Original Sin

Submitted by Brian on November 20th, 2017 at 1:13 PM

11/18/2017 – Michigan 10, Wisconsin 24 – 8-3, 5-3 Big Ten

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[Bryan Fuller]

In the aftermath of a good thing that turned bad, or vice-versa, there's always the attempt to say This Was The Moment. Most of the time this is just ad-hoc narrative placement; obligatory XKCD link goes here. Not so Saturday. Anyone attempting to slap a big ol' narrative on Michigan-Wisconsin couldn't help but land on Brandon Peters lying on the turf, and the team-wide deflation that took place immediately afterwards. And... yessir. You are correct.

Wisconsin's offense had just emerged from a deep and restful slumber to go up 14-10 thanks to consecutive third and long conversions, one a 51-yard slot fade at a guy who was Not Lavert Hill, the other a slick double post route that Alex Hornibrook executed on. Before that the Wisconsin offense looked like any other Big Ten outfit beset with a quarterback trying to find out how many limbs he had. The Badgers had eight drives; they had four first downs*.

Maybe if Michigan was still up because the replay official was any average person on the internet capable of deciphering a still frame...

...or a two-hand shove in the back to Ambry Thomas was called on a freak punt return TD, the defense would have held together better. As it was, being down four points with the dead certainty in your heart that you will not score is an invitation to crack. We saw that many times under Brady Hoke, the valiant three quarters undone by an exhausted and spiritless fourth. That and a quarterback assaulted to the point where he could not continue.

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

Michigan's not real good this year for a variety of reasons. Foremost amongst them is pass protection even Devin Gardner thinks is bad. Michigan is down two quarterbacks headed into the Ohio State game, which is bad even for a program that can't get their QB to the final week without some Spinal Tap drummer business befalling him. This is the original sin of the Michigan offense.

Some of the things that happen are relatively explicable: freshman Cesar Ruiz screws up in his first start; Mason Cole occasionally proves he's not an NFL left tackle; a running back gets run over. What takes Michigan from mediocre to awful is the inexplicable stuff.

Michigan's pass protection has often been absurd this year, what with gentlemen going entirely unblocked on any sort of stunt, or not-stunt. This reached its apex on third and six in the first half when Garrett Dooley, an outside linebacker who entered the game with a team-leading 6.5 sacks, lined up clearly intending to rush and ran directly at Brandon Peters for a thunder-sack. Juwann Bushell-Beatty was the nearest OL; he was blocking another dude. Cesar Ruiz, a gap further inside, also had a rusher. Chris Evans went in a route immediately. Patrick Kugler ended up blocking nobody.

There were two other instances of horrendous pass protection that saw Michigan fail to handle a stunt. On one Karan Higdon chopped a guy ably; Kugler left his man to also block that guy. That resulted in a chop-block call. Meanwhile, Kugler's guy ran up the middle and sacked Peters. The Peters injury was another stunt on which Kugler was the most obvious culprit.

Kugler might be a major issue. That's certainly the nicest way to interpret Michigan's pass protection issues since he's gone next year, and anything that's the nicest way to think about a problem should be interrogated thoroughly. But I don't remember things like this happening last year, when Mason Cole was at center. Kugler hasn't been physically overmatched—he generally grades out okay to well in UFR—so the most obvious reason he hasn't been able to get on the field until year five is an inability hack it mentally. I wonder if Michigan would stick with Cole at center and whatever may come at tackle if they had a do-over.

Probably not if the second best tackle on the roster is then Nolan Ulizio.

There are two ways to proceed from here. One is to point out the colossal failure of Brady Hoke's offensive line recruiting and the Grant Newsome injury, which is currently in its second year. Michigan had barely enough dudes to field a good OL and a cliff after, and then the least replaceable guy went out, etc.

The other is to point at a fifth-year senior at center who's organizing one of America's very worst pass protection units and wonder why Tim Drevno and company couldn't field, like, the #80 pass pro unit with a bunch of highly touted four stars. This line of questioning will pause briefly to note the total lack of tackles in the 2015 class after Swenson was booted and Hamilton flipped to Stanford. It will also cherry-pick random freshmen or backups from the history of college football who weren't total disasters.

The latter take is way more likely to @ you, or call a radio station to declare something UNACCEPTABLE, but it's correct. (Ish.) So is the calmer take. Both are correct except insofar as they ignore the correctness of the other half of the equation. Michigan was unprepared to block this season, and that's because they aren't the kind of program that just reloads everywhere. Part of that is having your six-man class of would-be redshirt seniors whittled down to one guy who might not be very good, and part of that is that Michigan's reloading with Rashan Gary on defense and Nolan Ulizio on offense.

We'll see what happens next year. I don't have enough information to start yelling about it. I do have enough to approach the game this weekend with zero expectations other than pain. That's all too familiar, but whatever.

*[I am counting the drive right before the half since it started with 2:20 on the clock.]

AWARDS

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[Patrick Barron]

Known Friends And Trusted Agents Of The Week

-2535ac8789d1b499[1]you're the man now, dog

#1 Mo Hurst. I am pretty sure that the long run was on the other DT, not Hurst, which means that Hurst was a major force in the middle without much to blame as Michigan throttled the Wisconsin offense almost wholly until a late fade.

#2(T) Chase Winovich and Rashan Gary. See above: Gary was regularly tackled by his opponent but still got drive and sent backs elsewhere; Winovich had two TFLs against a Wisconsin O that rarely gives them up. This is a point split here because I want it to be. The points are made up and don't matter.

#3 Donovan Peoples-Jones. Four catches for 64 yards and one should-have-been touchdown on which he did (barely) get his left foot down first. Translating from Michigan offense to normal offense, that's approximately 300 yards and six touchdowns.

Honorable mention: Devin Bush had a Default Hornibrook Interception; though Aubrey Solomon had a solid day early but may have faded late. Long and Watson were all over the UW receivers; Metellus and Kinnel both got called for some garbage PI calls but were in excellent coverage otherwise.

KFaTAotW Standings.

8: Devin Bush (#1 Florida, T2 Cincinnati, T2 Air Force, #1 Purdue), Mo Hurst (#1 MSU, #2(T), Indiana, #1 Wisconsin).   
7: Karan Higdon (#1 Indiana, #2 PSU, T2 Minnesota).
6: Mason Cole (#1 Cincinnati, T2 Rutgers, T3 Minnesota), Chase Winovich(#1 Air Force, #2a Purdue, T2 Wisconsin), Rashan Gary(T2 Indiana, #1 Rutgers, T2 Wisconsin).   
5: Khaleke Hudson (T2 Cincinnati, #3 PSU, #1 Minnesota), David Long (T3 Indiana, #1 PSU, #3 Maryland)    
4: Chris Evans(T2 Minnesota, #2 Maryland).   
3: Ty Isaac (#2, Florida, #3 Cincinnati), Lavert Hill(#2 MSU, T3 Indiana)), Josh Metellus (#1 Maryland).   
2: Quinn Nordin (#3 Florida, #3 Air Force), John O'Korn (#2 Purdue), Sean McKeon(T3 Purdue, #3 Rutgers), Mike Onwenu(T2 Rutgers),
1: Tyree Kinnel (T2 Cincinnati), Mike McCray(T2 Air Force), Zach Gentry (T3 Purdue), Brad Robbins(#3 MSU), Brandon Watson (T3 Indiana), Ben Bredeson(T3 Minnesota), Donovan Peoples-Jones (#3 Wisconsin).

Who's Got It Better Than Us Of The Week

Quinn Nordin hits a field goal to put Michigan up 10-7, which momentarily feels like enough.

Honorable mention: Michigan scores a touchdown!

imageMARCUS HALL EPIC DOUBLE BIRD OF THE WEEK.

10-7 turns to not be enough as Jaylen Kelly-Powell is torched on a slot fade that Hornibrook slots in there. Major question why JKP was deployed there since that coverage instance was far worse than any slot fade the safeties had dealt with this year.

Honorable mention: Brandon Peters is blasted out of the game. Brandon Peters is blasted earlier.

[After THE JUMP: eat at Arby's]

MGoPodcast 9.12: [Audible Sigh]

MGoPodcast 9.12: [Audible Sigh]

Submitted by Seth on November 20th, 2017 at 7:32 AM

What was your mom doing, was she up in Ace’s mentions?

mgopodcast 9.12

This was recorded at the Residence Inn Ann Arbor in one of their TEN conference rooms.

We Couldn’t Have One Without the Other

We can do this because people support us. You should support them too so they’ll want to do it again next year! The show is presented by UGP & The Bo Store, and if it wasn’t for Rishi and Ryan we’d be sighing to ourselves.

Our other sponsors are also key to all of this: HomeSure Lending, Peak Wealth Management, Ann Arbor Elder Law, the Residence Inn Ann Arbor Downtown, the University of Michigan Alumni Association, Michigan Law Grad,Human Element, Lantana Hummus and new this week introducing Ecotelligent Homes

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Offense

starts at 1:00

The Big Ten thing happened. Excuse! Michigan really had this game until Hornibrook started dropping dimes one drive. Hornibrook just does thought: he throws into coverage all the time. Newsome injury counterfactuals: there is no worse injury for this team than a two-year one to a left tackle. What was with the empty wildcat formation? A lot of youth.

Defense

starts at 24:30

Held up until Hornibrook made his perfect throws, some terrible pass interference calls went against them. Held Taylor in check until the game was pretty much over. JKP didn’t have the speed to keep up with an outside receiver; he wasn’t Lavert Hill. This defense’s weakness is inch-perfect balls that are caught with one hand. When’s the last time Michigan got a break against a non-Indiana or Northwestern? Under the Lights. Sheeeesh.

Special Teams and Don’t @ Me, Mom

starts at 39:12

When you’re in a 1950s game rules apply on 4th and 6 but Michigan has to stop putting those in the end zone. The PR touchdown was just a total fluke due to an uncalled penalty. What would it be like if Brian unmuted everybody? Ace dreads the 90 people who write him saying “must” and “can’t” and “gotta” and “unacceptable.”

Around the Big Ten with Jamie Mac

starts at 56:38

These games were all terrible and would have looked worse if anyone had watched Nebraska score 20 points after the game was turn-offable. Ohio State versus Non-directional Illinois. Brian argues with a person who’s not there about Scott Frost. Brian Lewerke completed 2 passes. Justin Jackson has 31 carries for 166 yards. Kirk Ferentz makes the correct decision to go for two early, confounding Matt Millen. We can find a reason to watch Iowa-Nebraska, even though Mom already got called out.

MUSIC:

  • “The High Road”—Broken Bells
  • “Hurt”—Kermit the Frog
  • “How it ends”—DeVotchka
  • “Across 110th Street”

THE USUAL LINKS

Wisconsin 24, Michigan 10

Wisconsin 24, Michigan 10

Submitted by Ace on November 18th, 2017 at 4:20 PM


A somber scene as Brandon Peters was down on the field. [Patrick Barron]

Michigan led undefeated Wisconsin, 10-7, in the third quarter at Camp Randall Stadium. Then Murphy's Law struck.

First, Wisconsin quarterback Alex Hornibrook shook off a shaky start to thread two inch-perfect throws to A.J. Taylor. The first victimized freshman Jaylen Kelly-Powell, who was on the field replacing injured starting corner Lavert Hill. The second was a touchdown up the seam to give the Badgers a 14-10 lead. Adding to the frustration, the drive only stayed alive due to a third-down pass interference call on Tyree Kinnel despite Hornibrook's throw hardly looking catchable.

Then disaster really struck. Facing third down on Michigan's ensuing possession, Brandon Peters took a hard hit from Andrew Van Ginkel, who stunted up the middle unblocked. Peters, who'd shaken off some huge hits in his last couple games, stayed down. As the team gathered around him, Peters took a cart off the field. According to MLive's Mike Mulholland, he was wheelchaired to the locker room, then transported to the hospital via ambulance. In postgame, Jim Harbaugh confirmed Peters has a head injury; he's expected to rejoin the team for the plane ride home.

That took the wind out of Michigan's sails. Wisconsin struck quickly, with a one-handed catch by Danny Davis setting up a 32-yard end-around touchdown for Kendric Pryor at the end of the third quarter. John O'Korn took over for Peters, and the offense never threatened to score. UW's Rafael Gaglianone eventually tagged on a field goal to provide the final margin.


A.J. Taylor's touchdown catch stood as the winning score. [Bryan Fuller]

Before it all fell apart, Michigan hadn't just scraped out a lead, but missed some opportunities to really put the Badgers on their heels. Wisconsin struck first when Nick Nelson picked up a punt off the bounce and worked his way past some poor coverage for a 50-yard touchdown. Peters had a chance to tie it up on the next series, but underthrew an open Zach Gentry, allowing Natrell Jamerson to recover for a pass breakup.

On Michigan's next drive, an apparent touchdown from Peters to Donovan Peoples-Jones was ruled incomplete, and despite replay showing that DPJ's left foot touched inbounds a fraction of a second before his right landed out, the call stood. On the very next play, Peters fumbled while scrambling for the end zone, and Michigan came up completely empty.

The young quarterback bounced back, though. Peters finally connected on a deep ball to Peoples-Jones, getting Michigan out to midfield, then made consecutive sharp throws to Chris Evans and Sean McKeon to set up a one-yard Ben Mason touchdown plunge. That knotted the score at seven heading into halftime.

After Devin Bush picked off Hornibrook to give the offense great field position, Quinn Nordin snapped his cold streak with a 39-yard field goal to give Michigan a short-lived 10-7 lead. Instead of compounding his prior error, Hornibrook morphed into Aaron Rodgers, and everything went terribly wrong in a hurry.

All other concerns at the moment are secondary to the health of Peters. If he can't recover in time to take on Ohio State next week, the odds stack even higher against Michigan unless Wilton Speight can make a remarkable comeback from his fractured vertebrae. As it stands, optimism for The Game is going to be hard to come by.

Wisconsin Liveblog

Wisconsin Liveblog

Submitted by Seth on November 18th, 2017 at 11:30 AM

Wisconsin links: Preview, FFFF Offense, FFFF Defense

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a quick lesson in anatomy and why it matters  [right: Patrick Barron]

New features this week: Playin’ somebody.

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FAQ:

The yellow/ orange bar is your mana. 
Sending messages costs mana. 
Messages cost more, the more active chat is. 
The red dudes on the side bar are lives remaining.

If you break the Board Rules, you lose a life. Lose three lives and you have to insert a quarter into your monitor. No no keep trying it, it’ll go in. As always, the Liveblog Chaos Mitigation Post is The Law.

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

The link:

Enter here: http://kibitz.io/#/wisconsin

Punt/Counterpunt: Wisconsin 2017

Punt/Counterpunt: Wisconsin 2017

Submitted by Seth on November 18th, 2017 at 8:54 AM

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[Marc-Grégor Campredon]

PUNT

By Bryan MacKenzie

What do you want to be when you grow up?

It's one of the earliest small-talk questions, and shows up starting around age six. What grade are you in? Do you like school? What do you want to be?

Set aside, for the moment, that the above is an entirely insane progression of questions for anyone, let alone a child (How long have you been a human? I see. Do you prefer recess or drawing or reading stories about mischievous bears the best? Gotcha. Okay, how do you plan to spend your earthly existence?). Kids always have an answer; they want to be a veterinarian, or a firefighter, or an astronaut, or a princess, or an old west sheriff.

1

Aaron Sheldon

But the thing adults fail to mention is that plenty of adults can't actually answer that question.

Sure, adults can tell you what they *do*. They are doctors, lawyers, engineers, sales people, window washers.  And some (maybe even most) can tell you what they would like to do next. But the transition from a job to a career to an identity can be a slow one. And an unconscious one. And an imprecise one. You may be hired on Day One as "Jerry, the new guy in Widgets," but it may be months, or years, or even decades before you are "Jerry the Widget guy." Everyone knows what Jerry is about, and how Jerry operates, and what you can and can't ask Jerry to do.

Some people never make that transition. Lots of people just work their jobs, and find their identities elsewhere, like the weight room. Or the community. But if I tell you someone is going to visit Dr. James Andrews, you instantly know the deal. And if I tell you Adam Sandler is in a movie, a lot of questions have already been answered.

234

Draws space-time, draws happy little trees, draws specious conclusions

Michigan knows what it wants to do offensively under Jim Harbaugh. They spent the first couple of years working with what they had (much of which was quite good), but at the same time they laid out a career plan for the future. They wanted to be a downhill, smash-mouth, "pro-style" offense. They want to run a mix of gap and zone, but their bread and butter is gonna be big ol' offensive guards gliding across the formation to abuse some poor damn linebacker in the hole.

They want defenses so worried about the power play that they create massive cutback lanes and expose themselves to counters, only to see Michigan counter those counters, and counter THOSE counters, until, like the World Turtle, it's counters all the way down. They want a collection of Hobart's Funnies at tight end, fullback, and running back who can force defensive coordinators to worry whether they even have a club in their bag for that shot.

And over the last few weeks, we've seen what that all might look like. And it has been exciting.

But Wisconsin? Wisconsin doesn't have an idea what they want to do. They know exactly who they are as an offense, as a team, and as a football program. Schemes have been tweaked, tactics have been updated, and the coaching staff has even turned over from time to time. But when I say "Wisconsin Football," you know exactly what I'm talking about. They are two decades into a very large, boring, physically uncomfortable experiment.

5

Michigan will get there. And in the long run, I would rather be where Michigan is going. But Wisconsin is already there. And for the moment, that is enough.

Wisconsin 21, Michigan 13

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COUNTERPUNT

By Nick RoUMel

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When I was born, I got no respect. The doctor told my mother, “I did all I could, but he pulled through anyway.”

Boy, is Bucky mad. Borrowing a page from the Mark Dantonio/Rodney Dangerfield playbook, Bucky’s wrath is directed at the CFP, who has them ranked on the outside looking in, because their schedule “just isn’t there.” Bucky begs to differ - but you be the judge:

Week 1 – Wisconsin 59, Little Ducklings Day Care 10

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The “Battlin’ Babies” stunned Wisconsin with two quick scores to go up 10-0, but were soon derailed by hunger, wet nappies, and some pretty intense owies. The Badgers cruised to the easy victory.

Week 2 – Wisconsin 31, Sisters of Mercy 14

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The “Flying Nuns” kept it close for a half, but despite fervent prayer and a successful Hail Mary, couldn’t pull off the upset.

Week 3 – Wisconsin 40, Kitty Bungalow Charm School for Wayward Cats 6

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The “Helpless Kittens” used their cunning and athleticism to forge an early tie, but soon got bored, took naps, and licked themselves in nether regions. Wisconsin took advantage and scored the comfortable victory.

Week 4 – Wisconsin 33, Munchkinland 24

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The Badgers seemed on their way to another convincing win, but the “Lollipop Kids” put together two late scores and had the ball at the end with a chance to tie when the Mayor was distracted by a flying monkey and sacked in the end zone to snuff out the upset hopes.

Week 5 – Wisconsin 38, Cleveland Browns 17

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The Brownies fought hard for their first victory of the year, and even tied the game in the third quarter, before Wisconsin put together some late drives to remain undefeated.

Week 6 – Wisconsin 17, Powerchair Wheelers 9

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The Badgers were stymied by the Wheelers’ formidable flying wedge - and considerable heart - turning the ball over three times. They nonetheless managed to outlast the visitors and improved to 6-0.

Week 7 – Wisconsin 24, Illinois 10

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Like father, like son.

Playing perhaps the most hapless team on their schedule, the Badgers spoiled the Illini homecoming celebration, and sullied their throwback uniforms, harassing Jeff George Jr. into three turnovers en route to another notch on Bucky’s belt.

Week 8 – Wisconsin 45, Bud Light 17

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Fortuitously retaining several Jonathan Taylor fumbles from falling into the necks of their armless opposition, the Badgers gritted out another road victory over a weak, piss-poor opponent, breaking open a cold one in the third quarter when Bud Light proved to be “less filling.”

Week 9 – Wisconsin 38, Iowa 14

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These guys are actually vegan.

OK fine, they beat Iowa. Wisconsin silenced some critics by taking home the Heartland Trophy, after crushing the team that had just demolished the Buckeyes.

The Badgers aren’t terrible. Despite their cottony-soft schedule, they’ve done what they’re supposed to do, in ways you expect them to do it (see Punt, above). Freshman and Rutgers flip Jonathan Taylor runs behind a massive offensive line to pile up monster yards. Sophomore quarterback Randy Creek has completed 64% of his passes, with 17 TDs (but 12 picks). Their defense ranks first in total defense, ahead of Alabama and Michigan.

But Michigan are not babies, nuns or kittens. We are the Wolverines - and we are certainly not cottony-soft. There’s a reason Bucky don’t get no respect; he just don’t deserve it.

MICHIGAN 17, WISCONSIN 14