This Week’s Obsession: Improvement Week

This Week’s Obsession: Improvement Week Comment Count

Seth October 6th, 2017 at 10:25 AM

THIS ARTICLE HAS A SPONSOR: When I need advice with planning my finances I use Nick Hopwood, our MGoFinancial Planner from Peak Wealth Management. Then he sends me breakdowns of what he learned from going to hear one of Michigan’s coaches speak.attach26364_20171002_121300_1024

That’s not how our deal is supposed to work. Our deal is Nick is the guy I go to for financial strategies, and he gets to ask us Michigan questions on your behalf. Anytime it’s a Nick question, we’ll let you know. Anytime you’ve got a financial question, let Nick know. And while you’re at it, if you also have Michigan question you’d like to be given the full MGoBlog treatment, well, Nick’s buying!


Nick’s Question:

Biggest change you hope comes through during the bye week?


Brian: All of these answers are going to be about the offense because the defense doesn't need to improve. It can only go down.

BiSB: I can say a defense thing if we really need one.

Seth: More blood? They should turn the blood code on.

Brian: No need.


Brian: Anyway, mine is Hello Donovan Peoples-Jones. With Black out and Crawford scuffling Michigan turned to Grant Perry and Nate Schoenle as outside targets two weeks ago, and this was fine. Both guys got open underneath for some catch-and-runs; both were reliable targets with good hands.

Neither really threatens to blow the top off a defense, and that's where DPJ comes in. If Michigan is going to get safeties out of the box they're going to have to be more reliable at getting behind them when they get more aggressive, and DPJ is their best bet in that department. He's got everything except the precision, and even that lack of precision is manageable on fly routes. Put the fear of God in the opponent and underneath stuff will open up, like magic. No time like the present for DPJ against MSU's questionable secondary and aggressive safeties.

[The rest of our Wish List after the jump]


Opponent Watch 2014: Bye Week

Opponent Watch 2014: Bye Week Comment Count

BiSB November 14th, 2014 at 9:30 AM

Ah, the bye week. Sometimes it interrupts the flow of an exciting football season. And sometimes it mercifully ends the eye-bleeding and cow-rubbing for seven extra merciful days. But either way, the bye week is not simply a void on the calendar. No, no. You are not so lucky. The bye week is the Britta filter of your social life. It catches all of the stuff you’ve been avoiding or putting off. It is your March 31st.

So today, we preview some of your most likely opponents for the weekend. Odds are, you'll be facing at least one or two of these this weekend, so you may as well be prepared.

About Last Week:

Football. Which was somehow worse than this week’s opponents.

Stupid M00N.

The Road Ahead:



Recap: A familiar rival. You have taken on this opponent in bits and pieces over previous weekends, but you didn’t get out there until 11:00 and then you came back in for a drink and the noon games had kicked off and then the Michigan game was on at 3:30 and then DAMN too dark to get back out there. Unfortunately, this has left you in a precarious state in which you still need to rake about 80% of the leaves, and you should probably mow the thing before winter, and your dream of turning that weedy dirt patch in the corner of the yard into, you know, grass, has hopelessly stalled for the second straight season.

This opponent is as frightening as: A standard MAC opponent. It probably won’t be pretty, and you may be left with the impression that you are half-assing it, but you can usually get enough done such as not to embarrass yourself too badly in front of your neighbors. Fear Level = 4

You should worry about: It is supposed to snow. And soon. So if you don’t score early in this one, there’s a decent chance nature will run out the clock.

You can sleep soundly about: It is supposed to snow. And soon. So if you fall behind in this one, who the hell cares it’ll be covered in snow and you won’t have to worry about it until like April. Polar Vortex FTW.

Current Line: Lawn -3


Pile of Papers on the Little Table

Pile of paper

Recap: It started innocently enough. There was the renewal notice for Cat Fancy and the coupon for the restaurant you never visit but might visit some time because you have a coupon. So you put them on that little table in the corner of the kitchen or on the desk in the den so you could take care of them later. And now, four months later, the pile has become The Pile. You know there are some medical bills in there, and something sticking out of the pile (like three inches from the top) says “Second Notice.” The pile is a combination of the vital stuff you can’t lose and stuff you probably should have thrown away months ago. Somewhere in there is your passport, your Social Security card, and a spare checkbook. The pile is starting to lean precariously.

The preferred offensive strategy is to isolate the various elements and attack them piecemeal. Sort the pile into three separate groups: stuff you need to do right now, stuff you can throw away, and stuff that can wait but you probably shouldn’t throw away. Put that last subset in a nice neat pile, and put it somewhere where you will remember to take care of it soon. Like the little table in the corner of the kitchen.

This team is as frightening as: Michigan State. You know going in that you are going to face some matchup problems that you can’t solve. At some point, you have to acknowledge that defeat is inevitable, and that your opponent’s superiority is unlikely to lessen any time soon. Fear Level = 8

You should worry about: Seriously, one of these days they are going to shut off one of your services for non-payment. It might be your electricity. It might be Cat Fancy.

You can sleep soundly about: If it ever comes down to it, you know EXACTLY where all of your important stuff is. Is there anything so wrong with having all of your important papers in one place?

Current Line: Pile -7 (and the O/U of remaining pile height at the end of the weekend: 4 inches)

[AFTER THE JUMP – More stuff that is more fun than watching football]


Wednesday Presser 10-15-14: Brady Hoke

Wednesday Presser 10-15-14: Brady Hoke Comment Count

Adam Schnepp October 15th, 2014 at 5:02 PM

Hoke presser 2


News bullets and other items:

  • Hoke expects Devin Gardner to start against MSU, with Shane Morris now healthy enough to be his backup
  • Hoke identified zone coverage, the run game, and creating big plays as areas for improvement over the final five games of the season
  • Kyle Bosch will re-join the team in January after taking a leave of absence for personal reasons
  • Willie Henry could have played against Penn State if it was necessary
  • Hoke alluded to being past the point of making a decision regarding Desmond Morgan redshirting and was evasive when asked if he’d miss the rest of the season
  • The coaches go over negative highlights from around college football each week in team meetings
  • If you’re wondering why there were no MGoQuestions it’s because they were all about MSU, and I decided to save them for Monday since Hoke said the coaches are only in the preliminary stages of gameplanning

Opening remarks:

“Number one, thanks for coming out today. It was good to get a win. Obviously winning's an important aspect of what you do when you compete. The atmosphere, I think, in Michigan Stadium was unbelievable and I know our kids, the energy, they feed off that and it was through the whole game. It was loud when it needed to be loud [from] our students and our fans so we really appreciate that.

“Yesterday we had a shortened practice. We'll go a little longer today. Just fundamentals and techniques being the main emphasis. A little bit on our next opponent, Michigan State, but a lot of fundamental work because we've got some young guys who want to continue to grow and continue to get them as many reps as we can, and then you've got some older guys who've played a lot of football in seven games [over] seven weeks so you want to get them some rest when you can but at the same time try and get some of the early game planning stuff. And with byes, to get physically healthy is an important part of it as much as you can; you're never going to be all the way. And then we've got a great rivalry game with Michigan State.

‘So the other thing we’ll use the bye week for is recruiting. The other part of it will be for us to– for us as a staff to do some self scout with where you're at and what you've done so far and where you might want to change some details up and I think that's one thing Michigan State did – not Michigan State, Penn State, the other night when you look at some of the down and distance and formation things in the first half from an offensive standpoint. They had the bye week and I think they went in seeing that they needed to change up a little bit and I think they did that.”

Do you expect Devin [Gardner] to start at Michigan State?

Yeah, I would. I think having Shane back and healthy also is a big part of it and as much as we are going to talk about injuries yeah, we expect Devin to be there.”

You've touched on this in the past, but what would you say is the biggest area of improvement in Devin since you've known him?

“I'd say as much as anything I think [it’s] his leadership. I think nowadays kids, not a lot of them have that natural leadership. And a lot of that is, and this is an opinion, I haven't studied this but they play so much AAU now. It used to be you go in a backyard or churchyard and you’d say [to] 10 guys, ‘Okay you're the captain of this team and you’re [the captain] of this,’ then pick. Now we have adults making decisions that I don't believe kids get to make and it doesn't help them grow and so that's just part of what I think. So it's a little tougher at times to help kids grow in that department.”

[After THE JUMP: more details on stuff summarized in the bullets]


Monday Presser Transcript 10-21-13: Brady Hoke

Monday Presser Transcript 10-21-13: Brady Hoke Comment Count

Heiko October 21st, 2013 at 4:18 PM


  • Joey Burzynski is out with a torn ACL. Drew Dileo should be fine.
  • Amara Darboh is out of his boot.
  • Offensive line is still subject to change.
  • Team will take Tuesday off and resume practice Thursday and Friday.
  • Offensive game plan vs Indiana was to use a lot of double moves to take advantage of Indiana's corners' tendency to jump routes. 
  • Defensive game plan was to not get frustrated. 


Opening remarks:

“It was great to win the football game the other night. Obviously we don’t like winning games when we give up that many points. We have to do a better job defensively in some areas. Offensively, obviously, it was a great offensive performance. I think playing itself, going into the game to take advantage of some of the things that Indiana did defensively, some of the double moves, the play-action game out of the two-back and 12 personnel sets were really good. And it helped that we were able to run the football. I think the guards that played did a nice job. Was it perfect? No. But I think all three of them did a nice job. The unfortunate thing is Joey [Burzynski], we’ll probably lose for the year with an ACL. You look at your depth and you look at the last five games you’re going into, you need everybody. We’re fortunate Chris Bryant is still a guy that will compete, and Kyle Kalis is a guy who can compete. That helps you a little bit but you feel bad for Joey because he’s worked so hard to get to this point.”


Tuesday Presser Transcript 9-24-13: Brady Hoke

Tuesday Presser Transcript 9-24-13: Brady Hoke Comment Count

Heiko September 25th, 2013 at 8:02 AM


  • Jake Ryan! Won't be back for Big Ten opener. Maybe by Penn State. "Mid-october" is the target.
  • The only way Graham Glasgow gets moved to center is if there's a capable guard to replace him.


Opening remarks:

“Good practice today. Back to basics, I think that’s what most of us do during bye weeks, especially the first couple days. Fundamentals, being sound with technique, revisiting technique is always important. I think we did that. We had great intensity. The focus was very good.”

Are there guys that are going to rest this week?

“No. I mean, everybody’s participating, some at different levels than others. Taylor doesn’t need to be out there 30 plays in a practice -- I’ll just use him as an example. You’ll do some of that, but everybody’s doing work.”

For Taylor, has this season been an improvement for him?

“I think he’s playing pretty well. I think he’s been very good as a leader. I think he’s been good fundamentally and technique. I think he’s been pretty good.”

Has he been playing hurt?

“No, I don’t think so.”


Tuesday Presser Transcript 10-2-12: Al Borges

Tuesday Presser Transcript 10-2-12: Al Borges Comment Count

Heiko October 2nd, 2012 at 5:56 PM

Al Borges


“What’s up?”

MGo: Not much. How are you?


MGo: How’s kindergarten?

“Kindergarten is wonderful. Every day is just a new experience. It’s awesome.”

Think you’re going to pass?

“I already passed.”

Word of the day?

“I don’t know. I didn’t get one. I’ve been kind of -- no I didn’t get one. I’ll get you one next week.”

Not an easy loss to sit on for two weeks. Did you work on rebuilding Denard’s confidence over the bye?

“Yeah. I think to a degree. I don’t think his confidence is waning too much, though. The biggest thing about that situation is getting back to some of the basics of reading the defense and making good decisions and things like that. I think that’s really the biggest factor. A couple footwork issues that hadn’t shown up until that game too much. … The good thing about two weeks is you get a chance to really evaluate everything you’re doing, and that’s what we’ve kind of done is look at how we’ve played, you know, on the road particularly because we haven’t played well on the road, but overall just see what the structure of the offense is and get back to sending a message and knowing that we’ve got to play better in those scenarios.”

Is there a common thread with the road games and offensive inefficiency?

“I don’t know. Not any more than any place else I’ve been, I guess. It’s harder to play on the road. It’s always an issue, but you can’t always use that as an excuse because good teams win on the road. I mean the biggest issue, we had some breakdowns, but we just can’t turn the ball over. That’s the biggest -- you hear it every week and it sounds like coach speak but it’s so true. When you turn the ball over as many times we turned the ball over you have no chance. We were fortunate it was as close as it was.”


Monday Presser Transcript 10-1-12: Brady Hoke

Monday Presser Transcript 10-1-12: Brady Hoke Comment Count

Heiko October 1st, 2012 at 4:07 PM

Brady Hoke

News bullets and other important items:

  • Bye weeks. They are many, varied, ever-changing, and eternal.
  • Aside from the guys who are out for the year, everyone except maybe Brandon Moore and maybe Marvin Robinson should be back for Purdue.
  • Also except for Nathan Brink.

Televised presser


Opening remarks:

“You know, the bye weeks, I think you never know when a good bye week is, when it’s not a good bye week -- I don’t think you really know that until you go through it. I think it was good because of the productivity that we got from having the bye week. I would hope we have that, the productivity, anytime the bye week was, but I think we got to really re-evaluate where we’re at and what we want to do. I think you evaluate yourselves a little bit as coaches. I think that’s always a big part of it. Different things in the aspects that you’re involved with, from the kicking, the defense, the offense. You always look at self-scouting, see where you’re at, what you might want to do different or what you like, what you’re doing.

"I think the other part of it is the teaching part, the fundamentals, and those things that go along with it. I think the other part, which was big, was the guys who are traveling who are freshmen have not been home since June 25th. We have a lot of those guys from the state, got a lot of those guys within driving distance from Ohio and Chicago. It was good to give them about 36 hours to be a human being and go home and maybe watch their high school play, see mom and dad, grandma and grandpa, aunt and uncles, whoever -- I thought that was positive. And then from the academic side also I think it’s always a help.

"So we’ll find out obviously Saturday. We’ve got a tremendous challenge because I think Purdue’s playing as well as anybody in our league right now. Three and one. Went to South Bend and played a hard-fought tough game, had a chance to win the game. So we got our work cut out for us.”


Monday Presser Transcript 10-17-11: Brady Hoke

Monday Presser Transcript 10-17-11: Brady Hoke Comment Count

Heiko October 17th, 2011 at 4:02 PM

[As goblue232 on the mgoboard already mentioned (which, thanks), this is the only presser this week since this is a bye week. Most of the coaching staff is out recruiting right now.]

News bullets and other important things:

  • Team will practice on Tuesday and Thursday of this week.
  • Michigan has submitted several plays to the Big Ten to review.
  • Hoke's staff is out recruiting this week. Hoke himself is not.
  • Denard has a back injury but will practice this week.
  • A missed assignment led to Denard getting sacked on the fourth-and-inches play. Hoke still likes the call.
  • Michigan passed a lot in the second half because Michigan State was stacking the box and there were lots of opportunities for big gains.
  • Hoke is a long way from replacing Denard with Devin.

Brady Hoke

Press conference

from file

Opening remarks: “Obviously we’re all disappointed with the outcome of the game from Saturday. We didn’t win, obviously, and we didn’t play well enough to win. That’s where it starts, and it starts with me doing a better job caoching this football team and our coaches doing a better job of coaching and preparing our guys. The one thing I can tell you is the kids stayed in there and fought in there and played in there, and I’m proud of how they did that. We just need to execute better. We need to tackle better from a defensive perspective, block better from an offensive perspective. When we have the 6-8 plays you have to execute to win, you have to be on the right side of those plays, and we didn’t get that done.”

Do you wish you would have called a running play on the fourth and one? “No. I liked the play. If we execute the play, Koger’s in the endzone. We don’t make a block that we need to make, and that’s part of it. That play’s been very successful for us. It’s a nice complement to the dive. We just didn’t execute it.”

Did you notice that they were jumping your snap count? “I think everyone has an idea of snap counts from guns, because there’s a mechanic that every team has. We have a silent count, and we have a double silent count. I don’t think that’s all the way correct.”

On fourth and one, they brought the corner blitz, which was giving Denard problems all day … “That’s part of their defense, bringing their corners especially when you get into two tight ends. A lot of people will do that to the weak side of it. Again, he was accounted for if we executed.”

(jump the after more)


Unverified Voracity Sweats No Bye

Unverified Voracity Sweats No Bye Comment Count

Brian October 14th, 2011 at 5:06 PM

Oddly not a problem. Thanks to a couple of diarists and the Wall Street Journal, we can answer the question posed in this headline:

Is Michigan at a disadvantage because of MSU's off week?

Survey says

Bye weeks seem to hurt more than they help.  Since 2002 (to 2010*), teams of the six BCS conferences have an overall win pct of 0.480 when coming off of a bye week.  The Big Ten teams in particular struggle when coming off of a bye.  From 2002-2010* Big Ten teams are a combined 17-32 when coming off of a bye.  This is good for a 0.35 win pct.

…no. This also applies to the small sample sizes posted by Mark Dantonio coming off a bye and Brady Hoke facing someone off a bye. This is an odd finding, but there it is.

Bacon book excerpt. Has hit the WSJ:

Denard Robinson's day started at 6:30 a.m., when his alarm clock went off in his off-campus condo bedroom.

He hit the snooze once, then twice, before getting out of bed to put on jeans, a red polo shirt, black Adidas training shoes and his varsity jacket. Then he hopped into his roommate Devin Gardner's family pickup truck, a beat-up 2002 Dakota.

It continues following Denard from there. Autograph seekers, man. We will be running another installment of the Q&A Monday or Tuesday, depending on how jam-packed Monday is. Three and Out is out October 25th.

[*cough* if you are planning on buying the thing you can support the site by purchasing Three and Out through MGoBlog affiliate linkage *cough*]

Pizza: we want it. There was a "We want pizza" chant as Michigan's goal count exploded against St. Lawrence, and this is why:

Also in 1997, there was free pizza. Back in the day, Cottage Inn sponsored a 10-goal promotion, where every member in attendance received a free slice of pie if the team reached 10 goals. Sounds awesome, right?

It was awesome all right — for everyone but Cottage Inn. Even though 1997 was the last straw, the restaurant still had issues with the promotion in previous years. The blame game can start with a man they called ‘Doughboy.’

In the early 1990s, when the Wolverines would put up seven or eight goals, the crowd would start to chant, “Pizza! Pizza! Pizza!” It seemed that Michigan had a player who liked pizza as much as the fans did, as he would seemingly pick up his play whenever the total got close to 10. Hence, Cam Stewart became ‘Doughboy.’

Michigan's fallen off from their glory days and Cottage Inn could fire up the pizza promotion without too much damage—this was the first time it had happened since 2008.

I'm out of toner, too. I don't want to wade into a discussion about the content of this Dennis Dodd piece on why Rodriguez should get some credit. (Surprise: Dodd and Rodriguez share an employer.) I do want to linger on this image:

Rich Rodriguez still runs into his players during shopping trips in Ann Arbor.

"Office Depot or something," said Michigan's former coach. "You can figure, you've got mixed emotions. You're frustrated because it's your guys and you want to coach them."

Rich Rodriguez is running into former players at Office Depot? Has Jeremy Gallon been misinformed about where to acquire a nail gun? /watches ten minutes of Wire quotes

That's the problem with the system: too much money going to students. The Big Ten and SEC made a case for "full cost of attendance" scholarships as caring more about student welfare than a level playing field, and they carry a lot of water in this town so I assume this will be killed and never brought up again:

Following a six-hour meeting in late September, the Resource Allocation Working Group, chaired by Georgia President Michael Adams, agreed to consider a reduction in FBS football scholarships from the current number of 85 to 80 and a reduction in the number of FCS football scholarships from 63 to 60. The reductions would likely follow a move toward a full cost-of-attendance scholarship that is expected to be passed in early 2012. In addition to football, the group agreed to consider a reduction in the number of men's basketball scholarships from 13 to 12 and in women's basketball from 15 to 13.

If it's not it's time to burn the NCAA to the ground. If you don't want to offer a full complement of scholarships, don't. Atlantic Hockey offers 13, not 18. Fine. Don't force teams awash in money to not offer scholarships because you cry poverty. The NCAA should be exploring relaxing or changing caps in money sports*, not increasing them.

*[The best anti-oversigning proposal I've heard is removing the overall cap entirely and just having a yearly one. Totally removes the motivation to kick a kid off the team unless he's Stephen Garcia.]

Etc.: Just Cover's SteveY dubs MSU's QB 'Kork Coupons,' which I find delightful. It is entirely plausible Lou Holtz has called him this at some point. Tom Ziller blows up David Stern. Grant Wahl makes the case for promotion and relegation in American sports. Yost renovation to take out 400 seats, add more "premium" seating so people can pay even more money to not show up at hockey games.