So I received almost a hundred emails this weekend, and at least that again in the weeks prior, from Kickstarter backers asking when their books should arrive; obviously we need an update.
Your books are fine, and are shipping on schedule. It’s just that, as we mentioned previously, our schedule this year was backed up four weeks from normal. This had nothing to do with the printer or shipping. It’s because our whole staff had medical issues ranging from serious to life-altering this spring, and then we had a website relaunch. The last article wasn't submitted until after the date we usually have the first shipment of books in hand.
I spoke this morning with our printer to get the latest status of your books and understand how they’re going out. The short of it is most of you should get your books this week or next, and only a very few should have already. The magazines were printed and bound three weeks ago, and since then they’ve been trying to get them mailed out as quickly as possible.
This can’t physically happen all at once. The printer created a pile of books, a pile envelopes, and a pile of addresses that I provided, and each order had to be manually stuffed, which was going on all last week. They go out in batches to a mail house, which takes about a day to process everything before they get into the regular mail, and then it's a few days unless you're unlucky or international.
They expect to finish the pile today. All orders of 2 or more went to the mail house already, the last of them on Friday. That means the first batch probably only hit mailboxes on Saturday, and books will still be tricking into mailboxes in about 2 weeks, unless you got your address to me too late (in which case we've communicated) or you're one of the 21 people who didn't get me an address this year.
By the way I bought a book too—it's a standard 1-book purchase—and I will let you know when mine arrives as a baseline. The signed books should come in a few weeks as well. Right now Brian is in the process of signing them.
Once again I'm really sorry we can't got any faster. Believe me when I tell you I wish there was some way to magically teleport a large stack of books into a large stack of envelopes. I would also like the ability to make exact copies of Jake Long on demand.
If you receive a book that’s damaged please take a photo of it and email me, and we’ll get you a new copy (the photo is necessary for us to get the post office to refund the shipping—we eat the book). Otherwise I thank you deeply for your patience.
The moment you have been waiting for all summer—other than the Draftageddon horses I mean—is near at hand. The books are printed, and I had a few boxes rush-shipped to me for those who chose a pickup option. The rest of the unsigned Kickstarter orders will be mailed out next week—I am giving them all the addresses on Monday, and then the vigils can begin.
If You Bought a Copy Through Our Kickstarter and chose "Pick-Up in Ann Arbor"
Matt Demorest from HomeSure Lending and I plan on being right there^ about 4:30 p.m. this Monday, July 23 and hanging until 9:00 p.m. or thereabouts. I'll check off your books, Matt is buying a round, and here's a reminder that if you're buying or refinancing a house, he's the guy. Wolverine State Brewing is at 2019 W Stadium Blvd, Ann Arbor, MI 48103 behind the Advanced Auto Parts. Come in the front door and we should be at that table there. Stick around for a beer and Trivia Night if you want, or just come in and grab your copy. Please bring your Kickstarter order # and some form of ID.
If You Bought a Copy Through Our Kickstarter and chose "Pick-Up in Southfield"
Gordon Fall of New York Life Insurance is hosting a pickup location at his office. He'll have the books all day so stop by on your way to work or on your way home from it. Also if you're a mortal human being who's responsible for the welfare of other human beings, you probably should talk to Gordon about making sure they're okay if you're suddenly not. I also recommend doing that before reading the opponent previews.
Address is 27777 Franklin Rd in Southfield. This is the large glass tower topped by a green Citizens Bank sign on all four sides.
If you're coming from the west, get off of 696 at American Drive, take a left, and the first two turns into parking lots on the right side of the road turn into the building.
If you're coming from the south or east, get off on Northwestern Highway from 696 or 10, do a u-turn to turn onto Beck going south, turn left onto Franklin, and follow that into the building.
If you're coming from the local area, the building is off of Franklin Road, just south of 696. The building is just west of Telegraph, and just south of 696.
Enter and you'll see Gordon set up at a table by Starbucks in the open area downstairs.
If You Bought a Copy Through Our Kickstarter and Now You're Wishing You Chose to Pick It Up this Monday Rather Than Wait Some Weeks for the Mail
I have extra copies that were sent because some people chose pickup by accident. Email me by Sunday and let me know if you want to do that. I plan on going through those emails Sunday evening.
[Getting it mailed? Want to buy a digital edition? Kindle? Pre-order a copy? Hit the jump]
HAIL TO THE VICTORS is 128 pages of Michigan football content, jam-packed with information, erudition, salt, photographs, small circular avatars indicating how you should feel about upcoming opponents, rosters that guess wildly at appropriate weights, history, more photographs, diagrams, side boxes, and a ham sandwich*.
*[ham sandwich not included unless you put a ham sandwich in yours]
THE TEAM THE TEAM THE TEAM
Brian Cook of this here site previews every position group, provides an overall outlook, and does not assert that Shea Patterson had lost his job to a JUCO transfer at Ole Miss.
THE ENEMY THE ENEMY THE ENEMY
A comprehensive survey of the toughest schedule in college football by Ace Anbender, with contributions from Seth Fisher (MSU, Maryland, Wisconsin), Bryan MacKenzie (Notre Dame), Ben Jones, sports editor of StateCollege.com (Penn State), and Kyle Jones, X's & O's writer for Eleven Warriors (Ohio State).
TWISTED BLUE STEEL
Named for Bo's own description of the stuff he's made from, this is the section where we examine Michigan's material.
THE TOUGH DECISION. Adam Schnepp shares the story of Karan Higdon through interviews with the senior running back and the people who know him.
GETTING IT. Orion Sang interviews walk-on receiver Nate Schoenle on his path to playing time amidst two star-studded classes.
THE FAULT IN OUR STARS. Ancient bloggerati Michael Elkon of Braves & Birds and SBNation examines the link between recruiting success and competing for championships, and finds examples of other programs who've had to survive a blip or two.
Last call for XMas tales. PEOPLE OF EARTH: FAILURE IS IMMINENT. No, this isn't about Dave Brandon. This is about YOU. If you order TODAY a copy of Hail To Old Blue will get to its proper location by Christmas.
Or you can pick up a copy at Underground Printing, Literati, or Nicola's. All of them are fine establishments containing our book. Literati also has unauthorized copies of Crag Ross's books. (To be clear: they are unauthorized by Literati, because Craig just signs them and drops them off.)
The inscrutable crocodile. As the kind of person who sits in his bunker and plots various ways to destroy my mortal enemy Instagram whilst almost entirely ignoring the NFL, this insane thing has eluded my attention for far longer than anything that could cause this picture to exist should:
Tom Brady's slow descent into madness is now manifesting itself as a series of bizarre webcomics that involve centaur, jockey, and Captain Planet versions of Brady himself, some sort of pudgy leprechaun who is about to touch his nipples, Walker Space Ranger, a crocodile dressed like Captain Picard during a holodeck episode, several anime animals engaging in some sort of... activity, and—most bizarrely—Gronk in a lab coat pouring what I can only assume is trademarked, patented GronkJuice(tm) onto a chicken wing.
That paragraph was one sentence.
Anyway. This clearly needs a crack investigative team breaking down the ins, outs, what-have-yous, and thoughtcrimes being committed. Charlotte Wilder was born for this job.
Speaking of lasers, the plans inside the Dolphins’ briefcase appear to be for some sort of giant, inter-galactic laser.
Oh my god, do you think that because I’ve been imagining that the social media room underneath a TB12 workout facility looks like a lair, they drew a lair?
Sorry, I know this isn’t about me.
Is that guy wearing a lab coat by the picture of Ben Steeler Gronk?
Yes, because in the comic after the Houston win, Gronk showed up wearing that same lab coat. He’s also wearing glasses and says, “the computer data is telling me...”
Get it? It’s funny because Gronk is not generally seen as a rocket scientist. They were in space then. Now they’re underwater. Or possibly underground.
I think that's a compliment? I don't know. She did a really good job analyzing this nonsense Tom Brady webcomic? Hell, I've covered the last 14 years of Michigan football. I have no room to criticize.
Speaking of NFL things that don't make any sense. This isn't a catch, people! Why are you mad about this?
Any player that hasn't clearly established themselves as a runner has to maintain control through contact through the ground and this dude certainly did not do that. Even the current 65-page version of the catch rule the NFL deploys isn't at fault here. This particular incident was even explained with poetic beauty!
“The receiver, in the end zone, did not survive the ground,” was the explanation on the field by referee Tony Corrente.
Damn, Tony Corrente.
The problem is nobody knows what a damn catch is. Here's a four part catch rule that is as unambiguous as is possible (for the NFL) and solves many many problems:
A receiver has to secure the ball and get both feet down in bounds to start the catch process.
Once he takes a step after both feet come down he is a runner and has caught the ball.
Receivers who do not take a step between possessing the ball and either going to ground or touching out of bounds must maintain possession through contact with the ground.
Maintaining possession means the ball does not touch the ground. If the receiver is now out of bounds and he bobbles the ball, forcing the catch process to start over, it's incomplete.
The end. The above-linked SBN article has a controversial Dez Bryant non-catch that this version of the rule makes crystal clear:
Catch, step, runner, complete. No controversy. Steelers' play above: no step, ball touches ground, incomplete, no controversy.
There will of course be edge cases where the situation at the moment of possession makes it unclear whether a catch is a catch, but those four steps are the clearest and least controversial a catch rule can be. If you wanted to go even farther towards clarity you could let a catch stand if 1) the WR got his feet in bounds and 2) the ball never hit the turf even if there was a bobble after the WR went out. I think that's not a catch but if you said it was then it's pretty simple: did you keep the ball off the ground after establishing a foot (or two) in bounds? Yes? Catch.
Really interesting and effective pressure concept from Michigan defensive coordinator Don Brown. The Wolverines are in a 3-3 nickel personnel package.
The Rush: The front slides the 3 down linemen to the strong side and has all 3 LB's walked up to the weak side. The Mike is initially in a 3 point stance. The effect is a 4 man version of America's Blitz. The Will wraps around to the fill the role of the inside rusher in the America's blitz concept. Because the defense bluffs the weak side overload the protection doesn't identify the concept as America's blitz and pass it off. The RB is forced into a really difficult block, scanning all the way back across the formation to pick up the Will as he wraps around.
Frequently the "N" was actually Noah Furbush, but that wrap blitz was largely responsible for Bush's blazing start to the season. Teams did adapt, but then Michigan threw other stuff—largely Khaleke Hudson—at the opposition.
To be fair, this is correct about 20% of the time. Whoops, Tampa Bay Times:
Although... that appears to be an ad, which means the Outback Bowl itself doesn't know who's in this year's game. Which is fine. I mean. It's the Outback Bowl. No1curr. Except MSU fans.
"The athletic department there is perceived there as a cluster," Sun Devils athletic director Ray Anderson said. "Their athletic director, now Phil Fulmer, in the athletic director's world is a pariah. It is not a good situation."
Their AD is a cluster? Bruh.
Do I hear a senior season? ESPN's latest draft rankings have Mo Wagner #68 despite his clearly improved rebounding and... possibly improved defense. We've seen guys (GRIII most prominently) leave one year after they put their name in but withdrew, and that's always a possibility. But if Wagner's leaving after the year it's probably not for the lottery.
Some bad grades. Since all we get these day from PFF are glimpses you don't get a lot of negatives unless the situation—cough cough, OL—absolutely demands it. South Carolina's 24/7 site is looking for weaknesses in the Michigan D, though, and they came up with:
Defensive end Carlo Kemp (49.9) - A sophomore who is listed as a backup, Kemp has played 367 snaps on defense. He has graded out at 48.2 against the run and 55.6 in pass rush.
Linebacker Noah Furbush (50.6) - Furbush is also listed as a backup and has played 138 snaps this season. He’s performed much better against the run grading out at 64.6 and has struggled in coverage at 45.9.
Two backups. (I think they might have flipped those snap counts, FWIW. Furbush got way more snaps than Kemp this year.) The conceit of this post is "three at the top and three at the bottom," but...
The “Three at the top” needed to be expanded to five as each player listed graded out as “elite,” a designation given to players who achieve an 85.0 or higher. The “Three near the bottom” was cut to two given that no other player with 75 or more snaps played had a grade below 70.
...ain't nobody else at the bottom. The five elite guys are Hurst, Winovich, Hudson, Bush, and Hill, all of whom are at 87 or better.
Yes, this means that PFF is also grading Michigan's safeties well. Metellus's rough OSU game had a lot of internet people waving Brian Smith goodbye happily because they thought Metellus and Kinnel were bad. They were not. They were good. A B+ unit.
cover art by MonuMental. Sorry Jen, it’s just that Kipke is super tall.
Attention holiday shoppers: You could get your family hats for Christmas this year. Like a cute Michigan beanie they can wear to games. Hats are nice. They’re in the right price range, you can never really have enough of them, and surely there will be a Michigan fan in your white elephant group who’ll want one again this year.
Also I’m pretty sure you got them the same hat last year.
THIS IS NOT A HAT
We bring up things that we learned in old HTTV features all the time, but given the exponential growth of this site I’m pretty sure only a bare handful of you have every copy going back to 2007. Do you know how Yost got Michigan Stadium built? How Craig Ross bumbled his way into a Carr-era quarterbacks meeting? Why OSU is full of the bird poop on their helmets when they claim responsibility for inventing stickers? What role Lloyd played in hiring his successor? How Bo beat Ohio State his first year?
Yes, those were all HTTV features, and today you can’t even buy them online—I’ve tried, and after a month Amazon just quietly removes it from your orders.
Bearing that in mind, we’ve grabbed 18 of the best evergreen stories from past HTTVs and compiled them into a single collection of historical vignettes, because I’m sorry to tell you this, but you’re already starting to get a reputation as the guy who always buys everyone hats.
THIS MICHIGAN OF OURS (1879 through Bump):
Michigan played in the first actual football game (by Craig Ross, 2016)
The story of Fielding Yost (John Kryk, 2013)
How Michigan Stadium was built (Greg Dooley of MVictors, 2010)
The first great passing team (Ross, 2014)
The Harry Newman/Gerald Ford-era champs (Dooley, 2012)
Ron Kramer, the uncensored version (Dooley, 2013)
The 1964 team, the uncensored version (Dooley, 2014)
TWISTED BLUE STEEL (Bo):
The story of 1969 (Joel Pennington, 2008)
Helmet Sticker history (Kryk, 2010)
The 1973 Screw Job (Kryk, 2013)
How Michigan invented the dime defense (Dr. Sap, 2016)
When Texas A&M made their run at Bo (Seth Fisher & Mel Newman, 2016)
The 1985 Season (Kryk, 2015)
NECK SHARPIES (Moeller to the modern day):
Interview with Jerry Hanlon (Dooley, 2015)
Craig Ross sits in on a 2005 QB meeting (Ross, 2008)
Lloyd-sided take on the Rich Rod controversies (Ross, 2012)
Denard (Brian Cook, 2013)
The 3-3-5 then and now (Chris B. Brown of SmartFootball.com, 2010)
In the studio: Fritz Seyferth; Billy Taylor, and Dr. Sap, with Jim Brandstatter on the phone.
New book means we get to go on the Michigan Insider and yap about it. We split the show into two segments:
Segment 1: Billy Taylor’s Touchdown
We got the author, Dr. Sap, as well the guy who ran it and the guys who blocked for it: Billy Taylor, Fritz Seyferth, and Jim Brandstatter come on to talk about perhaps the greatest play in Michigan history.
Segment 2: Reviewing the Preview
starts at 37:30
Brian, Ace and Seth come on to discuss what we learned while putting the book together. We talk about the most worrying positions, Harbaugh’s sign, setting the stage for 2018, and handicapping the Big Ten East race.
We’ll have them in a few more stores, and I’ll announce where when those are available. You are welcome to pester your local book dealers/grocers/etc. to carry it.
FOR KICKSTARTER BACKERS:
We just finished printing all of the mailing labels, and now it’s just a matter of stuffing books into envelopes and shipping them, but that takes several days. I actually have an order to these this year: you’re all sorted by an average of when you pledged and when you got me your address, minus a day for each dollar you contributed.
Whatever gets done today will go in the first shipment, then we’ll hopefully get the rest done next week. That means most of you should see books arriving in the mail next week. International orders will take more time, as will people who got me addresses late because we weren’t able to get your address included in the bulk order (those will go out manually after the big orders are done).
Most should thus arrive sometime in the next week, but you know how it goes: even while sending first class USPS will do things…
You’ll get an email when it goes out. Should be sometime next week. The Kickstarter backers are our first priority, then you.
The first batch (if you got just the Italy shirt and got your order into us in time for express) has shipped. The next batch is being made slowly, but probably won’t go out for a few more weeks as we focus on getting books to people.
IF YOU KICKSTARTED AND I DON’T HAVE YOUR ADDRESS
We now have addresses for all but 32 impervious-to-email orderers of our 3,086 Kickstarter backers. I’ll post a list after the jump of those people we’re still trying to track down. You can go to this link to check your order status. I emailed everyone again this morning too.