Dear Diary: Harbaugh?

Dear Diary: Harbaugh?

Submitted by Seth on December 19th, 2014 at 11:22 AM

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Harbaugh?

Harbaugh Madness. The Harbaugh above, the Harbaugh of Moonlight Graham, placed Michigan a four seed. Many NFL types were Harbaughing that Michigan would be left out of the Harbaugh. He then predicted a Michigan-Miami finals. Since then Michigan Harbaugh'd the 49ers, but the Fins were dispatched by Oakland, who will now take on Michigan for all the Harbaughs.

Harbaugh? This Harbaugh the Harbaughs were hard for Harbaugh Harbaughs. To get a better Harbaugh for the Harbaugh of Harbaugh, alum96 looked into the 2010 Stanford Harbaugh. The Harbaugh Hars will Harbaugh this:

The commonly held belief that Stanford offense was all Andrew Luck is just wrong.  Luck had a great 2010 and 2011 (post Harbaugh) and a decent 2009.  But the Stanford offense of 2009 and 2010 was centered on the run - which did include Luck to a significant degree.

Accoring to jbbiza, Harbaugh Harbaughed to Harbaugh with Harbaugh, certainly, but also with some Harbaugh recruiting and development. A Harbaugh metric that Harbaughed Harbaugh back into Michigan Harbaughs was the number of Harbaugh-fers that turned up around recruits Michigan (and many Harbaugh schools) wanted.

Not Harbaugh. A timeline, from Three & Out, of how Michigan was well into screwing up the 2007 coaching fiasco before a blue chip fell right in their lap (and they proceeded to screw even that up). At that point Harbaugh was one 4-8 season into his Stanford career, so he wasn't really considered.

Filling out your bowl bracket. Years ago I put out a bowl picking and watchability chart based on Football Outsiders' stats, and club_med has been keeping that tradition alive.

Harbaugh of the Harbaugh

WTKA SAID BRIAN IS IN SAN FRANCISCO

Gameboy took it from there.

say_anything_brian

FELDMAN SAYS THE MONEY'S WRONG

The widely reported $49 million/6 years was refuted by Bruce Feldman, and Bacon chimed in to confirm that.

I wish I could help here; I'm confident that a contract was written because we got that from multiple sources. I personally don't have any sources or even know who put the $8+ million/year number out there, except Sam Webb suggested six years as a plausible term, and I figured that was getting echo chambered into an e-fact he never meant it as.

MORE HARBAUGH STORIES WE CAN'T CONFIRM

The thread took awhile to pan out but this call for Jim tales yielded a few fun things, like Harbaugh drumming at 3 a.m., doing the macarena, having a posse.

MICHIGAN LEGISLATORS ARE ALL OHIO STATE FANS APPARENTLY

They passed the superfluous bill that would ban student athletes at state universities from unionizing (superfluous because they would be classified as state employees and therefore not subject to the same laws that govern a private institution like Northwestern). Ultimate effect will be to give Urban Meyer one more thing he can tell recruits about why Michigan and MSU don't like their players (Ohio legislators tried but have yet to pass the same thing).

The "no politics" rules are suspended for things that directly affect Michigan sports, though the mods are watching these threads closely because—there's no way around this—in this case one party is absolutely the problem: it was a strict party line vote in the House and off by three of that in the Senate. My biases: I've never done anything more political than write stuff or vote (split ticket), but I've joined the people trying to undo the gerrymandering that led to the supermajority (despite the other guys getting 51% of those votes) that's creating this stuff.

ETC. Open Harbaugh thread. Rehashing that old thing. Harbaugh. Harbaugh. Harbaugh if no Harbaugh? Harbaugh. Harbaugh. Harbaugh. Harbaugh. Harbaugh. Harbaugh. Harbaugh. Harbaugh. Harbaugh. Harbaugh. Hokebaugh? Harbaugh. Harbaugh. Harbaugh. Harbaugh staff. Harbaugh. Harbaugh. Harbaugh. Harbaugh. Harbaugh. Harbaugh. Harbaugh.

Your Moment of Zen:

Yeesh.

Dear Diary Out of the Blue and Into the Black

Dear Diary Out of the Blue and Into the Black

Submitted by Seth on December 12th, 2014 at 11:09 AM

META first: Happy to announce that Ace's thing was diagnosed and he's gonna be fine.

Out of the Blue. It was refreshing, wasn't it, when Hackett killed off the Michigan Man Bler.

Bo retired with a cult of personality because he was great at coaching football, and great at improving the lives of people around him. Trusting him and his guys served Michigan well enough so long as he and those guys and their guys continued to do things well and righteously.

Camus
Camus on why Candyland is the greatest game ever. [Existential Comics]

Hoke was righteous; he didn't do well. Outside Michigan circles there was general bewilderment that Brady could come to this year's football bust, sit beside the men who fired him for fielding progressively worse football teams, and receive a standing ovation. Winning football games can you earn you a lot of respect, but it's not the only way to get it.

I too want to move on from the Cult of Bo, and I too concede that most football coaches out there are good guys. I don't see any problem with recognizing these things and also recognizing that Brady Hoke stood out among his coaching peers. You see it in his players. We'll see it again in the coming years when there are more transfers and more off-field things to wag fingers at, because Brady is an extraordinary human who genuinely cares about people beyond the normal good guy capacity. That quality isn't what got him fired; it's what got him a shot at his dream job in the first place.

We needed to get out of this Blue Bler and relearn how to make decisions with something other than faith in a dead man—sadly it took the people in charge two transitions to realize it. There's no way to eradicate the bler people; fortunately there is a home run-seeming candidate who grew up around the program and quarterbacked it for a time.

Ultimately the question on Harbaugh is 100% "Will he?" Communist Football made the case for the thing we want to believe. If it happens yay for Michigan and the world and the ozone layer. If not, we're…

Into the Black. If we're not looking for the next Bo Schembechler to run Bo Schembechler's program, what are we looking for?

Nobody's telling us. In his Highlander movie-themed discussion of Michigan's pursuit of Harbaugh, I think Gameboy absolutely nailed the coaching search process, which goes:

  1. Big list of candidates
  2. Whittling of candidates into a pool
  3. Precision ranking and clarity among top tier
  4. Pick the guy

Because fans don't get to be part of the process, the bits that leak out make no sense. We are the mortals who keep finding bodies beheaded by swords all over town, plus a few bread crumbs left by those who seek to use us for their own ends, and start drawing conclusions.

Rock and Roll is Here to Stay: In looking for a new paradigm a lot of us have settled on Urban Meyer's regime and coaching tree. Copying a successful rival is as good a strategy as any; in fact it's exactly how Canham chose Bo in 1969.

In that vein, Kyle Whittingham is the next Urban Meyer-like candidate to get the alum96 treatment. Among Urban-like names being tossed around, Whittingham is probably the most palatable to the residual bler in Michigan's brass—Mullen carries the stench of the SEC and we have no idea whether they see the things in Herman that we do. Like Harbaugh, his candidacy is more of a "Will he?" than a "Can he?"

[After the jump, there's more to the picture than meets the eye.]

Dear Diary is All CC

Dear Diary is All CC

Submitted by Seth on December 5th, 2014 at 12:53 PM

Let's go right to the hot subject shall we?

Coaches

(FWIW I doubt we'll get Old Butthead out of Arkansas)

Fun Times in Cleveland: If you're in a certain radius of Cleveland you're probably seeing this ad I made last week linking to a January 12 MGoEvent. That's because the Cleveland Alumni Association is having Brian, myself, John U. Bacon, and former player Thom Darden at the Winking Lizard in Bedford to talk football and hoops, then watch the college football NC game. You get zero points for pointing out one of those speakers isn't likely to be as interesting as the rest.

CC: We probably don't need to keep labeling things with the "Coaching Change" tag, since it's pretty on-topic. Then again, it's useful so I guess keep it up. Also useful: all the reader content on candidates. Eye of the Tiger keeps ranking the top 12, which is as good a starting spot as any. He also continued his CC roundups with the fringe guys, getting only as far as Bob Stitt before getting into the jokes (Schiano, Chryst, Butthead, and Lane Kiffin). ReadYourGuard (a guy who played with Harbaugh by the way) recapped the firing process from Concussionaganza to today.

meyer-mullen
But what if Mullen is actually just like his old boss except fiercely ethical, and we get another 10-year war before Urban assaults a Clemson player? Did you think of that? [AP via NBC]

The other guy who's been providing consistent content on coach candidates is alum96, who went through the Football Outsiders stats on Dan Mullen, comparing him to Kevin Sumlin's star last year and suggesting the MSU (NTMSU) success comes from schedules with very few comparable teams:

12.5 months ago Mullen was sporting a 4-6 record with 2 games to go in year FIVE of his regime.  Those 4 wins were over baby seals Alcorn State, Troy, Bowling Green,and soon to be 2-10 Kentucky.   He did beat 3-9 Arkansas and won the Egg Bowl over 8-5 Ole Miss to finish off the year 6-6 before the bowl.  So his regular season included 1 win of note...in year 5.  Bret Bielema has done better in year 2 of his regime at Arkansas IMO in terms of upsets.

Miss State seemed to play a lot of really awful teams (which they beat) and a lot of really good conference teams (which they almost always lost to). The gist of the concern here is it may take Mullen four years to build a winner, by which time Michigan will have found enough reasons to run him out of town like we did the last two dudes.

I don't think it will take so long. Brady Hoke has left a team in relatively good shape; in the years to come we'll be talking about the devastating 2015 class (which fell apart because Hoke didn't win in 2013 and 2014), quarterback, and the safety and defensive line depth charts, the latter of which is another losing-related thing. As for the offensive talent, these guys were actually kinda good at running zone by the end of the season; you can absolutely teach them to do that in a spread offense. Also offensive line starts happen to be one of the better predictors of offensive success, and Michigan returns a ton of them in 2015 and 2016.

Shane Morris would probably fare better in a spread because the decisions are way easier, his legs are good enough to be something defenses have to account for, and his arm is more than adequate to be scary downfield. Malzone's talents are best used in a passing spread.

Etc. CLord on the karmic relevance of OSU maybe missing the playoffs for JT Barrett's injury. Basketball stats so far. Best and Worst. Inside the Box Score. Coach Schiano muses about stuff while waiting for the splosions.

[Jump for, well, more CC]

Dear Diary Won't Have Another Game

Dear Diary Won't Have Another Game

Submitted by Seth on November 28th, 2014 at 10:34 AM

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There won't be another one after. Not for Gardner. Not for Jake. Not for Hoke, for whom the accumulated effects of progressively worse seasons will mean the end. Not for a Michigan team that has less talent than their star ratings gave them, but far more than their record demonstrates.

As we come to the end—there will be no bowl game barring a miracle—for the Brady Hoke era, the tragedy is all of that wasted talent. That precious snaps with Denard Robinson and Vince Smith and David Molk and Patrick Omameh were wasted on Power because dogma. That Devin Gardner was never given the coaching or the system or the stability or the offensive line to be more than a freshman who runs around a lot. That Jake Ryan, who would have been Lawrence Taylor if he lived 30 years ago, spent his senior season having to learn a very hard thing he wasn't made to do. That Blake Countess is a coverage nickel because the cornerbacks play man all day. That Devin Funchess was a tight end, and then a bubble screen slot bug, until it was too late to care. That Dennis Norfleet was dancing around on the sidelines while A.J. Williams whiffed on blocks of defenders who wouldn't have been in the box otherwise. That senior seasons of Mone, Wile, Dymonte , Hurst, Gedeon, Houma, Delano, RJS, Ojemudia, Pipkins, Drake Johnson, Raymon, Da'Mario, Jarrod, Norfleet, Jourdan, Brandon Watson, Taco, Bolden, and Shane effing Morris were traded for a bare handful of freshman snaps that other guys might have taken.

That four years of Michigan football were wasted on Brady Hoke, and that here, at the end of all things, we're still not even sure those in charge will consider something besides unwavering faith in the gospel of "Michigan" in the next J. Ira and Nicki Harris Family Head Football Coach.

The next guy. These are now a week out of date but Eye of the Tiger put together a couple of roundups of the coaching candidates in our crosshairs. Factors are: Potential upside, Potential downside, Transition costs, Overall desirability, and Chances of him coming. Both start with Harbaughs; the first has Jim, Les, Mullen, Graham, and, uh, Belichick? Second has John, Patterson, McElwain, Herman, and…okay so the fifth guy is always some joke.

Alum96 added a defense of Les Miles to answer some guy made of straw who goes around saying LSU has regressed lately. Straw men are stupid. The main arguments against Les are that he's too old, and his coaching style is a better fit for LSU, which is near the extreme of anything-goes for college football, versus Michigan, where the local press turns you in for accidentally practicing an extra 20 minutes.

[Jump for seniors departing, a new basketball stat, and college football parity]

Dear Diary Declares Dear Day or Deer Day

Dear Diary Declares Dear Day or Deer Day

Submitted by Seth on November 14th, 2014 at 12:31 PM

Foote in mouth. Larry Foote claimed, forgivably inarticulately, that Michigan's problem is we don't recruit enough kids who are used to a tougher road. I found a site that will take places in a spreadsheet and plot them on a map, and did so with the 2001 (Foote's and my senior year) and 2014 rosters, minus non-Kovacsian walk-ons. Yes there are errors still. Go ahead and zoom in.

Yellow is 2001; blue is 2014. Fullscreen

It sometimes does weird things like put Warren, Michigan, in the Upper Peninsula and I am fixing those one by one as I spot them. Findings:

  • Lloyd had four guys from the Memphis area while Hoke did much better in Southwest Ohio. That's where those guys are from.
  • Carr was able to penetrate deep into SEC country while Hoke has only managed to pick around the edges.
  • Hoke gets more kids out of private schools and magnet schools (e.g. Cass Tech) than Lloyd did. This is because when I was in high school the big prep programs weren't recruiting as much as they do now, so talent wasn't as concentrated.

The differences are minor and speak less to changes in Michigan recruiting than general trends. It all amounts to mostly nothing.

Off the top of my head, the players Michigan has who come from 1% means are Wilton Speight, who's a redshirting freshman right now, and Matt Wile, who burned his redshirt because of Hagerup and waited patiently for three years behind a guy who probably shouldn't have been on the team. Foote's starting QBs were Tom Brady from a nice place in California, and John Navarre from Cudahy, Wisconsin, which is suburban Milwaukee on the Lake Michigan coastline. Meanwhile Devin Gardner went to Inkster, which doesn't even exist anymore. If Foote had been 13 years younger it's likely he'd have been picked up DCD (Mo Ways), OLSM (James Ross) or Cass Tech. Talent comes from all over; Michigan's talent comes from where it used to.

Butterfly.

butterfly_PNG1037

Bye week is wife day, as per Six Zero's family tradition. The espoused among us are encouraged to move back from the football for a moment and pay service to whatever your weird marital tradition might be. If she'd like you to lose an entire Saturday to outlet stores, that's rough, but she's worth it. If your wife would rather just get random butterflies from you and spend Saturday helping you rake leaves, then you're married to the bestest in the westest. Congratulations only me.

[Jump: on the Wisconsin coach we can't steal and the LSU one we probably shouldn't]

Dear Diary Tells Us Not to Blow It

Dear Diary Tells Us Not to Blow It

Submitted by Seth on November 7th, 2014 at 10:01 AM

harbaugh

"There's a starman waiting in the sky. He'd like to come and meet us,
but he thinks he'd blow our minds."

November is the period when "pretty sure he won't be at San Fran" (neither Harbaugh could make the playoffs this year) can mean "he's gotta come!" So, dear diarists, let's dedicate a post to the starman waiting in the sky. This week resident coaching search guy in the diaries alum96 decided to look into Jim's meteoric rise. He included a table in there of split passing/rushing stats for offense and defense. I've taken this opportunity to recreate those as S&P+ ranks (total yardage ranks in parens) because there's a discrepancy in the passing:

Season Coach Record Rush O Pass O Rush D Pass D
2006 Stanford Singletary 1-11 105th (115) 107th (95) 94th (117) 47th (60)
2007 Stanford Harbaugh 4-8 37th (102) 88th (70) 86th (77) 84th (84)
2008 Stanford Harbaugh 5-7 6th (19) 15th (103) 104th (77) 99th (83)
2009 Stanford Harbaugh 8-5 12th (11) 7th (70) 89th (55) 104th (98)
2010 Stanford Harbaugh 12-1 30th (17) 2nd (29) 24th (19) 30th (16)
2011 Stanford Shaw 11-2 18th (18) 10th (22) 32nd (3) 14th (73)
2014 Michigan Hoke 4-5 45th (67) 70th (105) 6th (25) 44th (36)

Major disagreements between S&P and the standard stats: the passing game in 2008 and 2009 (bolded) was extremely efficient, just not used very often. Thus total yardage looked awful, but in terms of what happened when they passed, it was very good even before you could explain it away as Andrew Luck. This is a common theme for Harbaugh reclamation projects; the former quarterback is the master of the pick-your-spots passing game. This is also a lesson in tempo—Stanford would plod along, depressing total yardage.

Let's not do this again until my find-on-page searches for "Michigan" don't have to progress past MSU and several directionals to get to ours.

Hokespeech Generator. A guy named MeanJoe07 has apparently found something on the internet where you input the text of Brady's press conferences, add a few nouns (like balsamic vinegar) and a name (like Rhonda Jones) and get back something that makes sense only to people used to digesting soylent blue. The diary is too weird to be of much interest, but the same guy has been responding to comments all over the site with his tool, with quite disconcerting results.

Etc. Basketball back wallpaper. Michigan is probably not going to a bowl game. Best and Worst. Inside the box score. Wolverines in the NFL, and NBA/NHL/etc., when are we getting the former quarterback who coaches an NFL team?

Best of the Board

PUT IT ON THE MAP

map

A startup that makes realtime maps for local festivals and such is letting us use their software to give the MGoCommunity a more functional method of sharing their spots with each other on gameday. Events around campus, best watering holes, open tailgates for MGoReaders, where the band warms up, etc. all go on the crowd-sourced map. If you want to organize a meet-n-greet or game-watching party in your town, go ahead and add it to the map (it'll be off camera for those in Evanston).

[Jump for some stuff I believed in as a kid]

Dear Diary Is Highly Spooked

Dear Diary Is Highly Spooked

Submitted by Seth on October 31st, 2014 at 11:06 AM

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On the nature of Hoke, life, the universe, and everything. Upcoming Christopher Nolan movie Interstellar went to great lengths to produce the above image, the best yet of what a black hole looks like based on the mathematics of relativity—not just the lensing of space behind it but the surprising twisting of the accretion disc around it due to the warping of space where it's formed.

What's spooky about it is the thing you're seeing isn't the thing that exists. What exists is a disc around a spinning supermass, like Saturn's rings. What you're seeing however is space itself getting so warped by that mass that you can see it in 4D, bending space like a piece of paper.

Best and Worst posted a trailer for Interstellar and raved about the "our place in the dirt" quote while neglecting to mention the one in there by Dylan Thomas:

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

This is how I want Michigan to finish the season: certain of its own mortality, fighting anyway. Last year's blowout to MSU was an apocalypse, but at that moment I was profoundly mad, not embarrassed. I was embarrassed when they went out flat and uncaring against Mississippi State in the Gator Bowl. Whenever I wonder if we were right to can Rodriguez when we did, I remember that act of cowardice. Whenever I wonder if we're being too hard on Brady, I think on how he gives up without looking like giving up. Bronx had a different explanation:

This might be semantics, but I don't think Hoke is a quitter.  He's (sadly) calling the game the same way in the 1st quarter as he is in the 4th quarter.  He's like the worst movie version of artificial intelligence.

So he's a robot who faces adversity by going back to his safe place, i.e. the way Lloyd Carr would coach a 1st quarter. I'm not buying it. I think he closes up shop when he thinks it's hopeless, and believes we're not smart enough to notice it.

Ron Utah nevertheless argues that at least that Brady is an essentially good man. I subscribe to the DFW method of rating people: their expectations of other people tend to be the greatest insight into how they themselves think. For example the dude on the board who thinks everything is about political warfare is just a really partisan dude. Brandon's emails were relevant not because they explain how he alienated fans—if he wrote 300 of these that's still a thousandth of the 300k waiting list his policies expunged. Rather they showed us how arrogant Brandon thinks his critics are, thus how truly arrogant Brandon is.

Hoke's goodness is best exemplified, perhaps, in his weaknesses as a coach. He doesn't ever seem prepared for enemies who want to gut him, because he doesn't have that killer instinct. Perhaps he doesn't push his players hard enough—maybe that comes from not expecting other coaches to be doing so. His players seem stunned when there's a cheap shot against them—we look at that like "where's your spirit?!"" but it could just be they're not the type of dudes who expect the other team is trying to scramble their brains.

It is a mistake to see the obvious flaws in Hoke and assume we would make better head coaches. It is not a mistake to see these flaws and assume more successful head coaches would make better head coaches. Perhaps it was our own naivety to think Michigan's particular advantages could compensate for the weakness of goodness.

This football program is as doomed as matter in an accretion disc. Some of the players in it won't be here (Peppers at least said he will be the last to leave), and there's no guarantee that the next step will take us to the dark core of the black hole or shooting out into space to form a new star. Michigan looks headed to 4-8 by Massey estimates, which LSA matrixcised.

REMAININGWINS_zps651a7a1b

This is mathematical reality. The above is how the universe is arranged. But what separates life from every other arrangement of matter is how we approach our doom. Life doesn't just ride the mathematics arc until it spirals into nothingness. Life rages.

It probably won't change anything, but the players on this doomed team plan to rage against that probability. It almost certainly won't change anything, but most fans have chosen to march back to the Big House, and the other home field in Evanston, and even down to the darkest place in the universe, and rage against the dying of the light.

If you'd like to do so and don't have tickets, head to this thread before 3pm today and tell us about the crazy thing you've done. I'm now up to 8 tickets to give away.

[Jump for metaphysical beings—ghouls, goblins, zombies, etc.]

Dear Diary Wants Somme More

Dear Diary Wants Somme More

Submitted by Seth on October 24th, 2014 at 12:30 PM

The running game is going forward again; just another 490 miles to Berlin.

Not with you in charge, sir, no. So we continue to continue to pretend our problems will ever end. Alum96 showed that Power 5 coaches don't tend to last very long, and Yeoman wrote that just 3/43 guys who had a losing season in their first five at a school lost their job for it. The thing: it depends what your historic expectations are. A guy who did a research project on this stuff sent me his paper and is trying to get the data from his old school; we'll address this again.

Wish lists. Ron Utah and Eye of the Tiger both posted what they're looking for in coaching candidates. Both are pretty much in favor of guys who run modern offenses, which is everybody but Shaw at this point.

More candidates. Bud Foster and Georgia DC Jeremy Pruitt were Ron's latest profiles. I don't think either would come anyway. Foster at least has had commensurate offers for five years and never jumped on them.

A more interesting one: Padog got into Doc Holliday (of Marshall) in case a WVU guy wants another shot at mentioning Don Nehlan's Bo connection at his intro (and position himself as the Bo to Urban's Woody). This one's a bit of a reach; his head coaching experience is Marshall, which was 7-6 the year before he arrived and went 5-7, 7-6, 5-7, 10-4 since. He's currently 7-0 and hasn't scored less than 42 points in a game, but his most impressive victory in all of that time was last week at FIU. I plugged him into my matrix and came up with a 42: more attractive than Hoke but more of a gamble than Bo was.

Etc. Padog is also doing the bottom to top hoops preview redux (he was at it way early this year). First up is Rutgers. Wolverines in the NFL.

Best of the Board

WE'RE STILL BETTER AT CLEVER

Brian covered the painting of the Diag's block 'M':

B0iXnscIQAENdNl

If you're wondering where was that one frat (Theta Xi) whose couch vigil usually prevents this sort of thing, they asked a university admin to go out Tuesday and were told to wait until Thursday. Please boo the next person you see on campus wearing a corduroy jacket (if it's not the admin it's probably a hipster who will appreciate the whimsy of your non-sequitur).

As to catching these slightly academically inferior criminals [a fake account representing] the UGLI apparently can identify the perpetrators in court:

Police are stationed outside all MSU bluebook exams, and questioning anyone who fails.

I've heard they got the rock too, which: whatevers. I painted the rock 8 or 10 times in college (the building behind it was my fraternity's historic building and our crests are still on the gates), and every time we went to do so, it was various stages of still wet from the last paint job; half the time it was painted over again before the weekend was out.

[Jump: the pink discussion]

Dear Diary is 1183 and We're All Barbarians

Dear Diary is 1183 and We're All Barbarians

Submitted by Seth on October 17th, 2014 at 2:00 PM


SUCH a good movie.

You chivalric fool; as if the way one fell down mattered. On Wednesday this week I had to put our family dog down—he was 14 and been slowing down since we lost my dad, and he had a stroke during the night, and it was sad but undeniably the best way and best time to go. Afterwards I was supposed to collect my daughter, get the roundtable posted, then get to the facility that's trying to get my Mom able to walk again within the impossibly small window her insurance company will pay for it. I didn't want to engage the sympathy choir, nor was I ready to go fixing things or move on. Instead I wandered into a breakfast place and ordered a coffee, and stared at texts of things people say when your heretofore ridiculously fortunate family is going through the mother of all mean regressions.

After a time I struck up a conversation with an older dude who from his Michigan hat I identified with the super Michigan-stickered car outside. He was, of course, a current player's dad, and other than his kid who's the best player in the  entire world, he had a lot to say about the darkness hanging over this program that twinkling lights could only temporarily keep at bay.

He echoed a lot of what another player's brother said in a diary earlier in the week:

The program is in shambles. Bo is not coming back and it's time to move on. The cult like adherence to tradition and "this is Michigan" is the very reason we are plummeting towards rock bottom. We don't need another Bo or another Michigan Man, we need a competent, forward thinking administration who will take advantage of the massive institutional advantages Michigan provides.

The players are acknowledging reality while doing everything they can to make sure there's a team tomorrow. We got a glimpse of this from Gardner's aneurism of leadership

…and another from a letter to the players by their senior punter:

"Play for the guys in your class who you texted the day you committed, and live in the dorms with. Play for the elementary kids back home whom you've never even met, but know who you are and where you play. Play for your high school coaches, the guys you've met at combines, your family, your friends. Finally, play for yourself. Pride in yourself means that, win or lose, you worked and competed as hard as you possibly could until the schedule provided no more games to play."

When the fall is all that is, it matters.

[After the jump, I know. You know I know. I know you know I know. We know Henry knows, and Henry knows we know it. We're a knowledgeable family.]

Dear Diary Says Show Up Anyway

Dear Diary Says Show Up Anyway

Submitted by Seth on October 10th, 2014 at 11:33 AM

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From left #3, #24, #23. [Fuller]

Come tailgate, support kids. A reminder that you can join us and former players tomorrow at the Go Blue Bowl Tailgate organized by Marlin Jackson's organization (specifically through the efforts of an extraordinary lady named Kat Mills). This is for charity so suggested minimum donation of $5 if you're just coming for the Q&A and more if you plan to drink beer and hang for awhile.

A couple of Marlin's high donors deserve recognition: Huron Valley Financial, the Bank of Ann Arbor, and MDen. Christians Catering is bringing food, and the Beer Grotto in Dexter is providing the beer. Full details at the link.

If you ask me, it's better to go. Everyone wants to do something to demonstrate that Michigan fans are fed up with a director who treats this program like his personal play toy, and that the public who do own this public institution are sick of it being hoarded, and its name besmirched by dishonesty and obfuscation (Best & Worst).

But for the record, I'm not in favor of boycotts, walkouts, late arrivals, or any other form of protest in which the protestors miss a snap, because I think it misses the target while undermining the one thing we all care about the most.

I know after the Minnesota game that Brian called for a boycott of Maryland if Brandon and Hoke were still here, and I know what name's on my paychecks. I know the players aren't made of glass, and that they're well aware that the vitriol toward the people in charge is not directed at them, although they generally take attacks on their coaches personally (they chose them after all).

But I didn't know until fairly recently why it's so important to them that fans show up: To a player, fans equal energy. Human brains are not wired to grant conscious access to the body's full capacity. Put a hungry lion behind the 20th fastest man on the planet and Usain Bolt will be left in his dust. Whatever our expectations for athletes we paid massive sums to see, they cannot escape their own psychology.James Monroe cockade while minister to france

CSG president Bobby Dishell's heart is in the right place, but he's wrong: you're not hurting the players; you're hurting their performance.

Athletes draw motivation from the crowd. Michigan Stadium's size is a huge recruiting tool because an athlete brain understands intuitively that 109,000 shouting faces will get more out of him than 84,000. The number gets in their heads, but empty seats do as well. Go watch September baseball at a bad team's venue long after they've been eliminated: it's crap. Every play that your seat is empty contributes a tiny bit to Michigan (and, coincidentally, their opponent) playing a bit worse.

Weigh that against the maximum that you will realistically move the decision of Mark Schlissel. Your empty seat speaks, but you can also be in that seat screaming "Go!" at Blue to the furthest extent of your vocal capacity whenever they take the field or need a boost, and screaming "Fire Brandon!" whenever he starts trying to blast you. I think we can get that message across while taking a cue from old blue, and using this weekend to show the players we haven't checked out on them. You can make a statement with where you choose to put your ass, but that's hardly the most effective communicative tool in your anatomical package.

Here's what I suggest we do tomorrow: From the moment the band finishes marching off until kickoff chant "Let's Go Blue!" as loud as you fucking can. At the end of the the game, win or lose, stand in your seat and chant "Let's Go Blue!" AS LOUD. AS. YOU. FUCKING. CAN. In between, scream your head off on Penn State 3rd downs, boo the attendance lie, and sprinkle in "Fire Brandon!" as necessary.

Let's leave Hoke alone, since it does us no good if he loses the team now, and his fate is sealed to his record (Ron Utah with some candidate grades) so any more dogging from us is superfluous. ST3 made the case that the coaching staff has cost Michigan perhaps three wins with strategic errors: dumb-punting vs. Utah, starting Shane, and giving Rutgers that end-of-1st-half drive. I think it's more accurate to say that these coaching errors put Michigan at a small strategic disadvantage, and that the team is not so good that it can win without every scrap of advantage it can get.

Yes, showing up and laying off the coach is what Dave Brandon wants you to do. Fuck him; we come to root for Michigan.

[Jump: clans, coaches, etc.]