Unverified Voracity Is Wearing Grandpa's Jacket

Unverified Voracity Is Wearing Grandpa's Jacket

Submitted by Brian on July 31st, 2014 at 4:05 PM

Pelini forever. The day that Bo Pelini ceases being a Big Ten coach is going to be a sad one.


He screams like a lunatic, he makes jokes about his cat, he wears… that… and looks like he believes the camera is taking a piece of his soul with it. Joke's on you, camera! Ain't got no soul, he thinks. Oh and his offense is kind of a looney tunes spread triple option thing that is both modern and very Nebraska. I only wish he was still in our football conference.

Always the best thing out of media days. Mike Spath's anonymous chatter articles are quality as always and the defense one is free. An opponent on the tao of Countess:

"I thought Blake Countess was tough to play against. He's not real physical but he's one of those guys that knows what he does well and what he doesn't. And he sort of lulled us to sleep. We kept thinking that we could go at him and I think that's what he wanted because he stepped in front of two balls, picked one, and we didn't throw at him very much after that."

Countess had INTs against Minnesota, Iowa, and OSU last year, FWIW. The offense is paywalled, but I have to quote this bit:

"They were one of those teams that were tough to prepare for and not tough at the same time because they did so many different things. We had a lot of guys watching a lot more film the week before because they could run 75 different plays in the same game, but I think what stood out was that they didn't have an identity and they never had go-to plays so if you just played sound, technique-strong football, you were OK."

And that had a lot to do with Michigan's ups and downs. OSU did not play anything approximating sound football in their secondary last year and Michigan ate them up; Iowa is nothing but sound cover two and Michigan could do nothing.

The overall theme of that latter one is that opposing teams have a hell of a lot of respect for Devin Gardner since he did not die last year.

You could knock me down with a feather right now. Shock and alarm at unexpected news:

"Going in (to camp, there will be competition between Devin Gardner and Shane Morris)," Hoke said during his appearance on "Numbers Never Lie." "We've got great competition. (But) if we opened the season today, Devin would start for the Wolverines."

I will personally fight anyone* who sends me an email about whether Morris should start.

*[Offer not valid unless you are Ellen Degeneres.]

Ready to go. Ondre Pipkins is cleared and even more importantly, is apparently fit.

"He's done a nice job, he's made a lot of progress and he's passed the conditioning test and all those things," Michigan coach Brady Hoke said this week. "We'll probably be smart with him as we move forward, you know, especially on two-a-days.

"We'll (watch his) reps and those things. But he's cleared and ready to go."

Figuratively and literally massive for the defense. Article notes that Willie Henry is slated to compete with Pipkins at nose, but I'm hoping they figure out that they can start both those guys. We'll see.

'96 Colorado. I missed this game; remember sitting in a car listening to the end of it just terrified about the Hail Mary.

Well, no. No we do not. Hoke on the opener:

He didn't do it.

LEMON UPDATE. Aw man I am going to have to find like a video crew and a roaring fireplace.

Junior linebacker Joe Bolden was named the 2014 Meyer Morton Award winner. The Morton Award is given to the player who "shows the greatest development and most promise as a result of the annual spring practice."

Jarrod Wilson and Chris Wormley also pulled in awards.

The plan. After experimenting with Graham Glasgow at tackle it seems like Michigan is going to leave him at center:

When fall camp opens Sunday, though, Hoke says Glasgow -- who is suspended for the season-opener against Appalachian State due to an offseason drunken driving arrest -- will begin where he ended last year. At center, and likely with the first team.

"I would say he could (be with the starters at center) early in camp but then you’ve got to develop others," Hoke said this week at Big Ten media days in Chicago. "This is why, when you make decisions that don’t help the team, you find out how you hurt the team.”

If Glasgow does move that says more about Ben Braden than anyone else. That is an outcome I don't want to see, as that would be a major strike against a player who was hyped up as a physical marvel by many people a year ago.

It also sounds like the current plan is to leave Cole at left tackle for this year to provide a backup there. Tuley-Tillman and Fox are both likely to need another year before putting them on the field would be anything other than a major problem.

The rehab. Ondre Pipkins is cleared to practice at the start of fall camp

It could be worse, everyone! Man, Illinois fans are grasping at straws:

Tim Beckman came into this morning's press conference after a long bowl game-less winter and a 4-8 season record with only one conference win. But something was noticeably different about his speech this time. He finally seemed comfortable and confident at the podium.

… he hardly pauses or stumbles for the right words. His "uhs" and "ums" are fewer and farther between than in the past. He came off as a true leader and respectable speaker.

Well, I know that our coach starts every sentence with "well" and is not exactly Steve Spurrier. But there's going to be a post this year on an Illinois blog that says "we may have lost by sixty points but it seems like Tim Beckmann's dressing himself these days, so things are really coming along for us."

Unfortunate for Northwestern. Projected starting corner Daniel Jones is forced to retire thanks to injuries. Corner being the Wildcats' achilles heel since it ceased being "the whole team," that bodes unwell for the Wildcats and better for Michigan. Jones was lost for the year in the opener, so this is more Northwestern not getting that guy back than anything else.

The Daily makes the Daily show. You gotta put it in your click hole, nerds.

The most correct thing. This isn't relevant to anything but it is the most correct thing that's ever been said:

I spent five days in Las Vegas by myself earlier this month. If that sounds like your idea of paradise, let me stop you right there, because you’re wrong. Even though I know nothing about you, I’m fairly certain that five days alone in Vegas is enough to make anybody rethink their life. Five days in Vegas with friends or family is still probably four days too many, but being alone in Vegas is like finding out halfway through a party that you were invited by mistake. Everyone is having the time of their lives around you, and even though you were excited when you arrived, you’re just off to the side wondering what you’re doing there.

As someone who spent a week in Vegas by myself*, this is so accurate. I eventually just spent the money for wifi (this was back when wifi still cost money at hotels) and sat in my hotel room because being alone by yourself is so much more tolerable than being alone around everyone. Vegas by yourself: horrible.

The rest of this article is an entertaining Mark Titus piece on attending an NBA scout "school" and finding out just how horrible that job is. So it's sports! On topic!  (Not on topic.)

*[Qualified for the WSOP during the heyday of online poker and couldn't hector any of my friends into railbirding me. WSOP was very large that year so there were four separate Day 1s for a quarter of the field and two Day 2s.]

Etc.: Arian Foster gives classic 'Sheed interview. 1985 Big Ten commercial might as well be from 1685. BHGP sent a horse to Big Ten Media Days. This is legit you guys. Hooray Michelle Beadle. Michigan unranked in opening coaches' poll.

Big Ten coaches really like the word "think." Derrick Walton transitioning away from being just a shooter. I found the only Penn State fan that doesn't loathe us with the fury of a thousand suns.

Unverified Voracity Is A Mobius Strip Argument

Unverified Voracity Is A Mobius Strip Argument

Submitted by Brian on June 6th, 2014 at 1:32 PM

Yes. Terrific article from John U Bacon on ticket sales and program malaise and the things we've been talking about all summer. There are about five money quotes. Here's one:

Brandon said, “We all think of every home Michigan football game like a miniature Super Bowl.”

I don’t know any Michigan fans who think that.  Quite the opposite, they think Michigan football games are the antidote for the artificial excess of the Super Bowl.

Bacon has hit a nerve here—his server is imploding under the pressure.

The problem with Dave Brandon is that he is a mediocrity in a suit with one skill, which is wearing the suit. Unfortunately, this is who is in charge most places. But when Georgia fans, who were until recently saddled with one of our nation's greatest suited mediocrities in Michael Adams, are pointing at us and saying "it could be worse"… well, it ain't good.

At least we have the student government?

The move to general admission was fairly disastrous for Michigan last fall, and former student body president Michael Proppe launched a survey of students midway through the season.

“It was so overwhelmingly negative, we knew we had to come up with something,” Proppe said.

The first survey that had 6,000 respondents was taken after the fourth home game and responses — including 76 percent saying they did not approve of general admission — were shared with the athletic department.

“It just didn’t really work,” he said.

A second survey administered with the athletic department gave a better gauge of what students want. They were asked to rank what’s most important for their game-day experience, and No. 1 was being able to sit with friends. Interestingly, students said having Wi-Fi was the lowest priority.

“That is such a misconception that putting in Wi-Fi is going to get students to show up,” Proppe said.

Michael Proppe for AD. Seriously.

Also yes. Bo Pelini suggests doing away with Signing Day altogether, which I almost support for this reason:

"If somebody has offered a kid, let him sign, it's over," Pelini told ESPN.com on Wednesday. "That will stop some of the things that are happening -- people just throwing out offers, some of them with really no intention of taking a kid."

The "almost" part is that the kid should be able to get out of the LOI if the coach he committed to gets the axe. The best system would maintain the Signing Day hoopla but also feature a non-binding LOI that you could sign whenever that would 1) prevent coaches from contacting you, 2) prevent you from taking an official visit to another school, 3) let the coaches you signed with talk to you whenever they want, and 4) guarantee you a scholarship at school X.


you get better pictures from the Mars lander

Well that clears up everything. The Ann Arbor News has an in-depth investigation about whether Taylor Lewan was the guy who punched some Ohio State fans who were begging to get punched ("Munsch had been walking around with a megaphone … taunted U-M fans on the street and inside the Brown Jug") after last year's edition of The Game. They have video that clears nothing up and quotes that contradict each other from about a dozen different people.

My takeaway is that this is time that could have been better spent finding anything else out. It seems like this incident has gotten a ton of attention for some drunk bar punchin' such as happens just about everywhere most years.

The last time I mentioned a potential transfer coming in for a visit it worked out all right. West Virginia shooting guard Eron Harris will be on campus this weekend, and a commitment to someone should be forthcoming soon. Harris has already been at Purdue and Michigan State, his other two finalists.

Perhaps relevant: MSU just landed a commitment from 2015 OH SG Kyle Ahrens, a guy who was vaguely on Michigan's radar. Harris is effectively a 2015 SG, so that may be a signal MSU doesn't have a great vibe with him.

2016 IN PG Eron Gordon is also slated to be on campus this weekend, and then the Michigan elite camp will bring in all manner of 2016 gentlemen fighting for Michigan's love and vice-versa.

The new guy. MGoVideo has a supercut of every Ty Isaac touch from last year. Sorry, you'll have to go over there—no embedding. I'm a little torn—Isaac doesn't look particularly explosive but then he outruns defensive backs in that game against Cal. Maybe he's just one of those guys who don't look like they're moving at high speed but somehow are. Guys do tend to bounce off him; Isaac had some nice chunks of YAC and tends to fall forward when that's at all a possibility.

You cannot be seeeeeeeerious. The NCAA published a snippy little press release about the portion of the O'Bannon case that EA settled on that must be seen to be believed:


The NCAA did finally find someone in their office who had a dictionary and changed "benefactors" to "beneficiaries." Meanwhile, the NCAA claiming that the "real benefactors" are the lawyers, who have dared to make money off the backs of student-ath…

uh… this is a terrible idea
I know, but that's never stopped us before


And they're probably going to try to draw a line between athletes being compensated for the use of their likeness in a court case and being compensated for the use of their likeness legally. I set the over under on exploded heads at NCAA HQ in the next two years at 2.5.

None of this does anything. The hockey rules committee was looking at some notable changes including three-quarter shields and changes to overtime procedure. Those all went away. The most notable change they have suggested:

Faceoff Location – Offensive Scoring Opportunity: If the offensive team is attempting to score and the puck goes out of play – the faceoff will remain in the attacking zone.


Status quo. Jake Butt is still on track to return by week three:

"I don't think we know (exactly when he'll be back) yet, but I wouldn't expect him back until after week three," Hoke said. "He feels great, he thinks he's Superman. They all do at that age.

"But he feels good."

Hoke said the hope is to get Butt back to seeing live contact action after the week three game against Miami-Ohio -- at the earliest.

This will be interesting. The Ed O'Bannon case kicks off Monday. SI has a primer and the NCAA witness list, which consists of folks disproportionately relevant to you: both Brandon and Mary Sue Coleman are on it, as are MSU AD Mark Hollis and Jim Delany. It seems like bad news that one of the economists on the NCAA side has this quote in a book of his:

“The NCAA restricts competition in a number of important activities. To reduce bargaining power by student athletes, the NCAA creates and enforces rules regarding eligibility and terms of compensation.”

It'll be interesting, but not suspenseful. Claudia Wilken, the judge in the case, has already dismissed the word "amateurism" and ruled that the NCAA can't even mention non-revenue sports, leaving:

Her reasoning is that no one forces schools to sponsor teams that can't financially support themselves, so she considers the impact on those teams irrelevant in the eyes of the law. This doesn't leave much for the NCAA to argue except the pro-competitive aspects of its rules.

A pro-competitive aspect that anyone who's ever looked at a recruiting site knows doesn't exist and the SEC commissioner just said this about:

“I consider this period of time one of the historic moments that all of us are witnesses to — an evolutionary change where we put the student-athletes first and we build our philosophies on the student-athlete rather than the so-called level playing field,” Slive said.

The NCAA is gon' die. Their current arguments are straightforward descriptions of functioning markets.

"In those circumstances, it is basic economics that allowing cash payments for (name, image and likeness usage) for the first time will tilt the distribution of talent and success towards colleges and universities with more cash to spend."


Oh, and this one.

They are only in the stadium at all because their colleges and universities have agreed to let them play ... (Athletes) cannot own the right to broadcast their games when they need the same permission that broadcasters do to be in the stadium at all.

The only tension is in how fast the NCAA will get laughed out of court.

Etc.: Caris finds his way onto a list of the top 15 draft prospects already in school. If you have no idea about soccer here's a good place to start. Looking at next year's softball team. MVictors points out a Kickstarter for old-timey jerseys. B10 championship to stay in Indy; basketball tournament to still mostly rotate between Chicago and Indy. North Carolina's Rashad McCants says the school bit of his career was a total sham.

Thursday Recruitin' Crawls For The Team, The Team, The Team

Thursday Recruitin' Crawls For The Team, The Team, The Team

Submitted by Ace on February 6th, 2014 at 3:59 PM

Signing Day: It Happened, I Guess


By the time I was able to get my laptop to start yesterday*, Michigan had already received LOIs from every committed prospect, and Malik McDowell had announced his intention to attend Michigan State. Brandon caught up with all the freshly inked signees on Tuesday night; other than the usual coachspeak-filled presser, there was little else of note to happen on the recruiting front yesterday for the Wolverines.

Of course, there's the McDowell situation, which is a mess. He committed to MSU in a ceremony at Southfield High School. His father attended, though he's still not a big fan of the decision; his mother did not. As of now, McDowell's LOI remains unsigned, and potentially could for a while:

I’m not legally able to do it because I’m not the custodial parent,” Greg [McDowell, Malik's father] told The Detroit News, noting that Malik is only 17. “[Joya Crowe, Malik's mother] has to sign it and I have to sign it, too. I don’t know when it will happen. Malik has to handle that with his Mom. I’m willing to do whatever my son wants. It’s been a long process and an uneasy process.

“That’s something he’ll have to deal with, because at the end of the day it’s all about him and he has to work it out.”

State's coaches sounded confident that he'll be a Spartan eventually—if worst comes to worst, McDowell doesn't even need a LOI in order to get his scholarship and enroll in the fall, though that leaves MSU in the unenviable position of hoping he sticks to his commitment without any binding document.

Could Michigan potentially get back into his recruitment in the meantime? It's highly unlikely. Malik is obviously intent on going to MSU; if he's forced to compromise with his mother, FSU and OSU are also possibilities—and there's also the matter of whether or not the coaches would want a player who may not really want to be in the program. Usually in these types of situations, the prospect eventually gets his wish, and that's what I expect to happen here.

As for actual newsworthy bits regarding Michigan's commits, there's one worth reprinting: Drake Harris, who missed his senior season with a torn hamstring, is "feeling more and more 100 percent," according to Jeff Hecklinski, and should be healthy for spring practice.

[Hit THE JUMP for a great Bo Schembechler story, Bo Pelini's unusual recruiting methods, lolTimBeckman, actual evidence that tweeting at recruits doesn't work, and more.]

Punt-Counterpunt: Nebraska 2013

Punt-Counterpunt: Nebraska 2013

Submitted by Brian on November 9th, 2013 at 11:39 AM



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.


By Nick RoUMel

We need a good dose of optimism. Like the little boy who got all excited when he got a bag of horse crap for Christmas, happily exclaiming that Santa must have left him a pony outside.


But Punt, or Counterpunt - or whatever I am this week - is rarely an optimist. Look what happened last week. I go all giddy and pick Michigan to beat the Spartans, despite the odds and common sense. We got horse crap instead.


It would be so easy to revert to form. Get all grouchy, and say we suck; that we’ll lose to Nebraska, even though they are without seemingly 7th year senior citizen Taylor Martinez, who is tending to his arthritis and bunions.

But - just as nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition. Nobody expects Punt to be predictable, either.

I therefore unpredictably predict a comfortable Michigan victory, now that we are back in the cozy confines of the Big House. All warm and fuzzy, like retired former Punt, Ken “Sky” Walker, sitting at home, soaking his large feet in Epsom salts, sipping on a Long Island Iced Tea, cursing Al Borges while wrapping his Michigan Snuggie close, like so:


Meanwhile, Heiko and I will freeze in the cold rain, cheering an embattled Michigan team, which will defy the odds and common sense, and do some crazy, unpredictable things themselves. Like running for positive yardage. Aggressively pursuing the opponent’s young, inexperienced quarterback. And the craziest thing of all?

Michigan won’t be the softest team on the field.



By Heiko Yang

Hey, remember when Nebraska won the division and made it to the Big Ten Title game last year?


Good news! The team visiting the Big House today isn’t that Nebraska team. This year’s edition of the Cornhuskers needed a Hail Mary just to beat Northwestern at home. Wait …


Sorry sorry. Enough with the self-evisceration. Today is the post-apocalyptic-where-does-society-go-now game. Let’s try to find something in the rubble that isn’t still on fire and start rebuilding.

Michigan got nuked into negative yards rushing last week. Whatever. I’m over it. Today, let’s get positive yards. The kind where someone takes the ball, runs past the line of scrimmage, and gets tackled—not for loss, but for WIN. Yes, I think we would all to see Michigan get tackled for win.

Devin Gardner got sacked like he was Rome last week, only worse and more frequently. Today, let’s see if we can erect a wall some kind of obstacle maybe that could at least moderately hamper any incoming barbarians. I hear Michigan has offensive linemen. They should get really offensive today with personal insults like “you’re fat” or “you remind me of Indiana.” I even recommend name-calling and epithets, because upsetting the opponent is an important step towards slowing them down.

Finally (and somewhat seriously), let’s see if Michigan can show any indication that they’re willing to try something different this time to avoid another apocalypse. Quit screwing around with the gimmicky offensive line stuff. Maybe call a running play out of the ace formation, and stop going play-action on obvious passing downs. Throw a play-action pass from the inverted veer. I don’t know. Anything at all would be nice. Even just one spread punt would be so reassuring.

Again, I mean, whatever. I’m over it. The sun is out today, and it’s not rainy and disgusting. It’s good to know at least the weather knows how to improve.

Nebraska 30, Michigan 28

Mailbag: NCAA Reform #1, DL Moves, Coaching Evaluation, Bo Pelini's Secret Twin

Mailbag: NCAA Reform #1, DL Moves, Coaching Evaluation, Bo Pelini's Secret Twin

Submitted by Brian on September 24th, 2013 at 10:55 AM



How to resolve the NCAA being terrible thing.


My friend and I were having a discussion about the best way to compensate college players, and he came up with the idea of paying players based on performance, sort of how incentive laden contracts work in the NFL, with the stipulation that the players will not receive the money until they graduate or go pro. I thought his idea was awful and unrealistic, because the “student athletes” would now become paid employees of the university and we essentially would have a semi-pro league on our hands. BUT, that got me thinking about a possible solution…

The issue we have here is the balance of compensation between stars and bench-warmers, large schools and small schools, men’s sports and women’s sports (which could also very well be a legal issue), revenue-generating and non-revenue-generating sports, etc. Instead of trying to figure out that mess, let’s take the decision of compensation out of the universities’ hands.

The solution: allow the student athletes to sign endorsement deals. If a corporation is willing to pay for a player’s likeness, he deserves that money. However, the stipulation here is that all money earned by a student athlete through endorsements would have to be held in an escrow account, and the release of the money would be contingent upon the completion of the player’s eligibility or his/her declaration to go pro, whichever comes first. Now if a player is caught accepting benefits beforehand, the NCAA would not look hypocritical when laying down punishments. Student athletes get compensated, legal issues are avoided, and you won't have a bunch of teenagers running around campus with millions of dollars to blow/get into mischief with.  What do you think? So crazy it just might work?

Go Blue,
Stephen Y

That's fine. It's a little paternalistic to tell the kids they can't have money until they get their degree, and that will be less effective at legitimizing the stuff under the table, because poor college kids will still want walking-around money. It's still fine.

I'm not sure why there's this widespread opposition to giving people money in exchange for services, but whatever middle ground you want to stake out that gives the kids their image rights and avoids Title IX issues is fine by me. Sign whatever you want, get whatever money you can acquire, and everything will be the same except compliance folk will have to find less mindlessly pedantic jobs. Worries about booster involvement are naïve—they're already involved.

The other major thing that the NCAA could do is get rid of their inane opposition to agents. If you're a legit agent with X number of current pro clients you can sign players regarded as prospects, and give them some advance on whatever they're going to make in the pros. (If you don't make the pros, that's just tough luck for the agent.) The NCAA doesn't even have to redirect any of the buckets of cash they're currently making to make the system

  • less impossible to manage
  • a more even playing field
  • fairer to the players
    Yeah: a more even playing field. Right now no one is going to MAC schools over major offers, but schools willing to do under the table stuff—or just not stop it—have an advantage over schools that don't. And it's tough to figure out what the more moral position is there these days.
    DL moves?

Hey Brian,

Sometimes in football, it seems that you just want to get the best guys on the field right?  Do you think we might see a DL consisting of Beyer, Henry, Qwash, Black?

I would think Black could flip back out to SDE pretty easily and could fold back in to 3 tech occasionally depending on the substitution patterns.  To me that gets your best pass rushers on the field more regularly and is the most likely combo to soak up OL in the run game too.

You mentioned that you expect Beyer to take Clark's job when Ryan comes back, but why not just make that switch now?  Wouldn't you rather get Gordon out there with Beyer than Clark at this point?


(This was sent before Clark played well against UConn.)

If Michigan was going to put out its best line for one particular play against an I-formation that might well be it, but with opponents running out all kinds of spread packages and Michigan responding by lifting their nose tackle, Black's snaps are mostly going to be spent as an interior rush-type against shotgun formations. It's probably not worth moving him midseason to get a marginal improvement. While I like what I've seen from Henry so far, there was a play against UConn where he got obliterated. (Michigan was fortunate that UConn didn't block the second level well and held the gain down.) He's a work in progress.

Meanwhile on Cam Gordon: for whatever reason they're not playing him, and it's to the point that his lack of playing time speaks to a lack of performance. Beyer's been good, but mostly as a guy with his hand in the dirt. When Beyer's been put in coverage he's shown some flaws. Gordon's not getting more time is probably just his fate at this point.

I don't get it, either. They've been giving him seemingly genuine praise for years now and when it comes down to it they just don't put him on the field.

[After THE JUMP: evaluating Michigan's coaching staff, plus Bo Pelini axe murder.]

Opponent Watch: Week 3 (Overreaction Edition)

Opponent Watch: Week 3 (Overreaction Edition)

Submitted by BiSB on September 19th, 2013 at 11:18 AM

About Last Saturday:

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Upcoming Opponents

UConn (0-2, 0-0 AAC)

Mose Fear_thumb[1]

Last game: Maryland 32, UConn 21 (L)

Recap: Mighty UConn put up a valiant effort against the cowardly and unwashed Maryland Turtle-People, but were undercut by intrigue, sedition, and the damn refs. According to the propaganda released by the Maryland-controlled Pravda that is the “Associated Press,” Maryland outgained UConn 501-383. While giving credit to the Huskies for 349 yards passing, they claim that they were held to 34 yards rushing on 33 attempts. This is a lie, as with my own eyes I saw UConn break several long and impressive scoring runs to which the scoreboard operator turned a blind eye.

Verily, once the truth is known and justice is permitted to prevail over deceitful treachery, this team is poised for a glorious emergence. Woe be unto the team that must face this juggernaut at this moment in history.

This team is as frightening as: The all-consuming terror mined from the deepest pits of hell; the dredging up of fears long-since dismissed as figments of a scarred past. We had thought the capacity for such nightmares had been smoothed over by time and the advancement of civilization, only to learn that it was simply masked by a thin veneer, waiting to re-emerge. And while the pantries are not yet empty, the hunger pangs remind us all that we are never more than nine meals away from anarchy. Fear level = 10

Michigan should worry about: Pasqualoni to right of them/ Pasqualoni to left of them / Pasqualoni in front of them / Volley'd and thunder'd;

Storm'd at with run and pass / For last week they played like ass /Into the jaws of Rentschler Field / Into the mouth of Hell / Rode the seventy

Michigan can sleep soundly about: Nessun Dorma.

When they play Michigan: Michigan is about an 18-point favorite.

Next game: vs. #15 Michigan

[AFTER THE JUMP: So much to fear. And Iowa]

Wednesday Presser Transcript 11-23-11: Brady Hoke

Wednesday Presser Transcript 11-23-11: Brady Hoke

Submitted by Heiko on November 23rd, 2011 at 3:03 PM

News bullets and other important things:

  • Brennen Beyer is the only major injury the team is dealing with. He hurt his leg.
  • Barnum is practicing, will get consideration to start.

Brady Hoke

From file, just to spice things up. Still can't believe this game happened.

Opening remarks:

“This is a great week to follow college football. Obviously with this game, I thought we had a very good practice yesterday. Hopefully we can follow that up today with our preparation. Our seniors have done a tremendous job with really the focus and the things that we need to do as a team and being the leaders out there, so it’s been good so far this week, and we just have a lot of work ahead of us.”

You say the focus was up. Has the focus gone to another level this week?

“You know, I think there’s been a lot of consistency, which is what we want to have a on weekly basis. I can’t tell you if it’s up more, but I think they understand how fun this game is.”

Do you feel like they’re focused on the fun and opportunity rather than the pressure and stakes?

“I think the consistency that we’ve had week to week, I think that the intensity of it and doing all those things has been good. I think they’ve been pretty focused on it.”

Not tight?

“This group doesn’t get tight very often.”

(more after the jump)

Unverified Voracity Steals Pelini's Soul

Unverified Voracity Steals Pelini's Soul

Submitted by Brian on November 15th, 2011 at 12:14 PM

This is very important. Fitz Tous is a much weirder name than Gerald Saint.

An image. This was on the internet, but not widely enough. Undoubtedly from this year's Big Ten Media Days, the family portrait:


I'm just posting this for Pelini.



Where have you been all my life. I can't believe this guy has been doing this for three years and no one has found him before MGoVideo stumbled across him this weekend:

A check of his account reveals he's done this exact same thing dozens of times over the past three years for things as insignificant as victories over Hillsdale. There is no corresponding "BOO" for losses, unfortunately.

NoPa. Whoever wins the league this year won't have to pick up their trophy with tongs:

Former Penn State coach Joe Paterno's name has been removed from the Big Ten's football championship trophy, league commissioner Jim Delany said Monday.

“We believe that it would be inappropriate to keep Joe Paterno’s name on the trophy at this time,” Delany said. “The trophy and its namesake are intended to be celebratory and aspirational, not controversial. We believe that it’s important to keep the focus on the players and the teams that will be competing in the inaugural championship game.”

They're going with just "Stagg." Now all we have to do is tie the division names into a horrible crime and we're set nomenclature-wise. Paterno is kind of a leader and legend all wrapped into one, isn't he?

Legal argh. Marvin Robinson's concussion turns out to be one that causes bad decisions:

Robinson, 20, was arraigned last week on a charge of second degree home invasion and released on a promise to appear. He is accused of breaking into a locked dorm room at 10 p.m. Sept. 29 and stealing the game.

After getting some time early in the year Robinson mysteriously disappeared; now we know why. There's a lot of speculation about this being the end of MRob by mysterious insiders; I find that odd. Unless he's had previous incidents this seems like a first strike type event. Previous Michigan players in the same level of trouble have been able to return after doing penance.

Defensive linemen hang out and call whatever. Rapturous Mattison praise is justified but apparently some of that should be redirected to one Ryan Van Bergen:

"(They) gave me some freedom to call some stunts up front that coaches wouldn’t typically do, but they trust that I’m smart enough to make the right calls," Van Bergen said. "We didn’t actually get the green light, we just started doing it. Take a risk. Why not?

"It worked the first two or three times, and the coaches were just like, ‘Call ‘em when you feel like calling ‘em.’"

Remember a couple years ago when Indiana ripped off an 85-yard touchdown because RVB missed a check? That doesn't so much happen anymore. Seniors.  I like them. We should try to have more of them. You, Desmond Morgan: be a senior with four years of eligibility starting now.

A note on Denard fumbly bits. While it's frustrating to endure a game in which Denard fumbles turn two drives in field goal range to dust, the team's overall trend is still highly positive:


Year: 2011 Thru: 11/12/11
Rank Name Fumbles Lost
1 Wisconsin 2
2 Purdue 3
3 Michigan 5
4 Minnesota 6
4 Ohio St. 6
4 Northwestern 6
7 Nebraska 7
7 Indiana 7
7 Iowa 7
7 Michigan St. 7
11 Penn St. 10
12 Illinois 13

The noise you hear is Rich Rodriguez screaming "oh, of course this happens the year after I get fired." Denard coughed it up twice against Illinois and had the elaborate-sack-escape fumble against Iowa; the other two lost fumbles were from Smith and Hopkins against SDSU. Robinson's had 330 events this year; losing three fumbles on them isn't that bad.

Last year Michigan lost 14(!) as a team. The improvement here has been significant enough to more than combat the increase in interceptions.

Complicated bits. Smart Football's Grantland work seems specifically targeted at things we've been discussing about Michigan's offensive transition. There a post about how Jim Harbaugh has dumped sight reading from the 49ers offense and thereby aided them in their transformation from chumps to 7-1. At first they were like this:


And then they would change to this when they got a blitz:


But now they're like this:


They always have hot routes built into the play. Michigan has gone the other direction. Unfortunately you're thinking of Vincent Smith not running a slant against Michigan State right now, but I can't do anything about that. Chris Brown's take on this adaptation:

It's my personal view, but I think NFL teams rely too much on sight adjustments. There are two reasons for this: First, these plays were far more straightforward a decade or two ago than they are now, and second, coaches who spend nearly all their waking hours thinking about football tend to forget that it's not how many X's and O's they know but what they can teach their players. To the first point, sight adjustments are old — at least 50 years old, if not more. But they arose before zone blitzes became popular. Against a blitz with man-to-man coverage in the secondary, sight adjustments made perfect sense. They were extensions of backyard football — throw a quick one to the fast guy and let him run with the ball before the blitz overwhelms the offensive line.

Now it's not so simple. With the rise of the zone blitz, the fact that three defenders might rush from one side tells the offense almost nothing about where the coverage will be. This is why, when zone blitzes first became prominent, you saw quarterbacks throwing awful passes directly to defenders who weren't even close to receivers. This is not to say that sight adjustments are impossible in today's environment, but they require an almost telepathic relationship between quarterback, receiver, and even the offensive line.

Borges and Hoke have been grumbling about wide receivers being hidden issues in the passing game for chunks of the year and I think this is what they're talking about. In the spring game Gardner missed Gallon three times when Gallon pulled up short and Gardner threw long or vice versa; the Smith interception happened; Denard has often been under pressure without anywhere to go with the ball because everyone's 30 yards downfield. That seems nuts so my assumption is when that happens it's because the receivers have not read the play correctly.

While this should get better next year when Gallon, Roundtree, and Stonum all have a year of experience under their belts I'm a little leery of Michigan using sight reads extensively—and they seem like an all-or-nothing proposition like being a triple option or Air Raid team. You're either 100% committed to it or you suck. I'll figure out more about this over the offseason—I've signed up for some clinics featuring Michigan's coordinators that will hopefully shed some light on what Michigan's trying to do.

BONUS relevance: Brown also breaks down one of Oregon's long runs against Stanford with a focus on the alignment of the line and how Oregon forces you to respect the bubble. I'll probably tackle that in greater detail in a picture pages.

Yost attendance problem mitigation. If you have tickets, need tickets, need a rideshare, or require any other thing that will get you to Yost there is a Children of Yost facebook page that can help you with these matters. I don't think their services extend to calling you up at 7:15 and screaming "PUT DOWN THE MW3 AND LEAVE THE HOUSE NOW," unfortunately.

More Trouba. Via NHL.com:

"He has offense skills and he really does defend well," Gregory said. "You can just tell by how he plays in all areas of the ice that he's a big kid who skates really well. He loves to jump into the play and has confidence because he knows his skating can get him back, so he rarely gets caught out of position. He's going to be someone people are going to talk about; we've known about him for a couple years and he's not disappointing early on this year, either."…

"He skates exceptionally well and likes to rush up the ice with the puck and with good speed," he said. "He's very confident, has great agility, is strong physically and is always alert. He's done a good job in 1-on-1 situations against opposing forwards and contained his man very well."

(HT: Michigan Hockey Net.)

This week in going for it. Advanced NFL Stats has a go-or-not 4th down calculator, but I think it's broken. When I punch in the situation from the weekend, it says 100% of 92 is 93. As a result it says M should have kicked.

I think it means the decision to go was correct since it says you have a 70% chance of success and your WP goes from 92 to 93 if you get it right. Expected points are massively in favor of going, FWIW: 4.5 to 2.4.

The mid 90s summed up. Midnight Maize brings us this shirt, which should be the student T this year and for all time:

crazy shirt[1]

That is wicked off the hook but inexplicably managed to escape its ebay auction unsold.

Etc.: Toussaint interviewed by TIM DOYLE OMG. Says "I'm just a big fan of fashion." Toussaint, not Doyle. Dreaded Judgment gets on the "third down == awesome" bandwagon. MGoFootball Illinois bullets arrived too late for yesterday's game post.

Iowa fans think Michigan State got fainting disease last Saturday, which I point out mostly to marvel at the idea anyone would have to slow the Hawkeyes' tempo down. I guess they were down a billion.

A World Held Hostage: Day Three

A World Held Hostage: Day Three

Submitted by Brian on January 7th, 2011 at 12:04 PM



Fitzgerald: "No." Yesterday it seemed we'd established that Michigan was interested in Pat Fitzgerald but the inverse was still in question. It's no longer, according to everyone. Picking one at random:

A person familiar with the situation says Michigan expressed interest in him, but he will remain with the Wildcats. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because of its sensitivity.

At least the first semi-official name in Great Coaching Search Debacle II makes more sense than offering Kirk Ferentz a paycut, but that means we have to move on to…

Not Bo Pelini. The Blade published a story indicating a "source" said Bo Pelini would be interested in the Michigan job if it was interested in him, please check y/n. From the outset this screamed "agent" and a man on the twitters from the AP says Pelini is vehemently denying everything:

Bo Pelini tells me in no uncertain terms that he has no interest in Michigan job.

If Twitter allowed longer posts that would have finished "and then he ate my head." After what went down with a nice but naive and sweary guy like Rich Rodriguez I have no idea what would happen if and when a guy whose veins must have the tensile strength of spider silk and had to formally apologize for his sideline behavior got the head job.

Bo Pelini's agent is Neal Cornrich, who is based in Cleveland, which is the only reason someone in Toledo would have something on Pelini. File under "agent wrangling" and move on.

OH MY GOD THERE'S A CHANCE. So Jim Harbaugh did not get adopted by Stephen Ross and made the dauphin of Versailles, nor do the people on the twitter who talk about Jim Harbaugh think the 49ers are a viable option anymore.  The Dolphins are keeping Tony Sparano—who must  be overjoyed at the vote of confidence—and here's Adam Schefter, with the Schefter bit* in bold:

RT @jcashen87: I think it is between Stanford and SF. ... I don't see 49ers as viable alternative at this time.

The other thing is something the other guy tweeted at Schefter, drawing that response. The Denver Broncos, meanwhile, have just dropped plans to interview him, which would essentially take the NFL off the table.

That leaves Stanford as a major obstacle. Stanford has some major attractions people thought they wouldn't a month ago: Andrew Luck and a kajillion dollars. From the Broncos story:

Including all bonuses and clauses, Harbaugh could earn more at Stanford than with the 49ers, who met with the coach Wednesday and have offered around $4.5 million to $5 million. Also, Harbaugh's quarterback, Andrew Luck, announced Thursday that he will not apply for entry into the 2011 NFL Draft.

Wait what? Stanford is going to pay Harbaugh more than an NFL team? I'll believe that when I see it and we won't see it since Stanford is private but they do have an epic ton of money. No one to fill their tiny stadium, but an epic ton of money.

But people, before we get excited we need completely off-the-wall speculation from someone not particularly close to the situation badly transcribed from radio and jammed into too-few characters. Let's not start su—

John Elway says he thinks Jim Harbaugh wants to stay at Stanford&Michigan may be back in the picture.Aprntly will NOT be Broncos next coach.

We may be back in the picture! Everyone start! Start right now! Like that episode of South Park with the pile!

Elway did say he thought Stanford would keep him, according to everyone else's bastardized twitter recaps, FWIW, none of which mention anything about Michigan being back in the picture. The NFL stuff evaporating lends a lot more credence to the Harbaugh chatter from yesterday, though, and I'd rather compete against just Stanford in a quien es mas macho contest than Stanford and half of the NFL.

More in a bit.

*[As always, the nature of Twitter—the most unusable nightmare software ever foisted upon the world—lends itself to mass confusion.]