Year Of The Petunias

Year Of The Petunias Comment Count

Brian October 31st, 2011 at 12:23 PM

10/29/2011 – Michigan 36, Purdue 14 – 7-1, 3-1 Big Ten


Melanie Maxwell/

At some point, Michigan will find out what it is this year. I have no idea when that point will come.

We know they're better than they were last year. How much better remains frustratingly murky. You think you have the answer when Michigan is punked in East Lansing, but then the Spartans get throttled and Michigan beats Purdue and there they are again in the national rankings…

10. South Carolina
11. Virginia Tech
12. Clemson
13. Michigan
14. Houston
15. Penn State

…and you wonder what happened to the rest of college football. This team is transparently flawed, incapable of going ten pass attempts without throwing the ball to the other team, and one year removed from having a defense that couldn't slow down a band of coked-out lemurs. So of course they are on the cusp of the top ten, hanging out with Houston, South Carolina's dumpster-fire offense, and Penn State's bold experiment into quarterback-free football. College football 2011: contagious and 100% fatal.

With one loss and seven wins everything is on the table as long as Sparty manages to biff it once down the stretch (don't get your hopes up)… and no one knows if they're any good.

This must be what it felt like to be a Minnesota fan in the middle of the Glen Mason era. Consider: you were a national power, and then you were wretched forever. One 3-9 year counts as "forever" to Michigan fans. We are sheltered, sheltered people.

You start showing signs of life. One season you get off to a great start, and collapse. Okay. We got off to a great start! It's better than being wretched!

The next season you get off to a great start, and collapse slightly less. Okay. We are building something here.

The next-next season you get off to a great start, are ranked in the top 15, have an unstoppable ground game, and… well… is there going to be anyone on the schedule? No? No teams at all?

Ah, Michigan. Here we go. /dies


It wasn't like this before. Michigan was Michigan, fergodsakes. All victories were expected and all teams were inferior and all losses were inexplicable or unjust and there wasn't a question about any of this. Michigan was just better.

Evidence to the contrary was suspect and invariably proven—or at least argued to be—false. There was this call or this mistake or this thing, and if the game had continued until a victory was well and truly certain, the opponent would have left shattered into a thousand mournful pieces*. This mentality was so pervasive that Michigan fans still have a reputation for the above thought process even after the last five years.

I don't think like that anymore. At first I was like the materialized whale from The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy.

"Big Ten? What's that? I wonder if it will be friendly."

Now I'm trying to figure out whether I am the bowl of petunias…

The only thing that went through the bowl of petunia's mind as it fell was Oh No, not again.

…or if something novel is happening, something like not plummeting to my doom after materializing in an area where gravity is not my friend.

The Big Ten is not helping out here. At all. Michigan's conference wins are over Minnesota, Northwestern, and Purdue, teams which have lost to North Dakota State, Army, and Rice, respectively. Meanwhile, where is the proverbial other shoe? The nearest proximate shoe just lost to the Gopher team so bad they inspired GopherQuest. Gopher blog Fire Jerry Kill shows how this is possible by splitting out various quarterbacks' stats when they are playing Iowa vs Not Iowa. Here's MarQuies Gray:

Not Iowa*    9/19 125 47.3 6.6 .5  .7  104.3
Iowa        11/17 193 64.7 11.3 1   0  179.5

And here's Steele Janz:



This is not much of a shoe.

The next potential shoe lost to the Purdue team Michigan just outgained two to one. They didn't score against the Boilers until there were ten minutes left. And they're coached by Ron Zook. Comparative scores are a dumb way to do anything because football is weird, but it kind of seems like football will have to be weird for those shoes to drop. There is a strong possibility that Michigan reaches ten games this season without playing a decent team other than 1) the one they beat thanks to a fluketasm and 2) the one they lost to in a trash tornado.

Then it's just Nebraska and Ohio State. Just.


The stakes here are simple and vast as the ground that may or may not be rushing up to meet us: a satisfying season. That's something Michigan hasn't had in almost a decade. 2006 left a nasty taste because of the way it finished. Michigan hasn't beaten Ohio State since 2003, hasn't done that and won a bowl since 2000. Expectations keep deflating but we still haven't hit the point where they cross the actual accomplishments of the football team.

I want to believe. I miss the days when accusations of Michigan arrogance were accurate. I just don't know, man. I don't feel the air rushing past my face, but it turns out I'm not very good at identifying certain doom rushing up from below.

*[Unless it was from the Pac-10 or Florida, in which case please take your 30-point victory and GTFO before we have to alter our mentality.]


Via Eric Upchurch and the Ann Arbor Observer:

Maize and Blue Nation also has a photoset, as does

Bullets That Hope To Be In Orbit Or Something

Kovacs. I sort of had the Kovacs information but it was only one unconfirmed source so I held it and hoped it was not true. Now that it is obviously true I can tell you a couple things about it:

  • It is supposed to be an MCL sprain, which means he can barely move his leg at the moment and will be out a few weeks. When the coaches say he's "questionable" for Iowa they're in all likelihood…
  • …lying their boo-boos off. Kovacs did not practice Tuesday but no one noticed this because they threw Matt Cavanaugh out there in #32.

The Cavanaugh thing is the clincher after a season of mysterious fake-seeming injuries that conveniently explain things like why the national defensive player of the week immediately ate bench. Hoke will bend the truth for better PR or gamesmanship purposes. It's back to the Fort. This is a 180 from the injury-report-issuing Rodriguez, though IIRC Rodriguez would occasionally surprise by leaving off a guy who was not already known to be dinged up.

Anyway, the plan going forward is to take any Hoke statement about the injury status of a player with a grain of salt. So no, I don't believe Woolfolk was moving to safety before this happened.

We have to talk, scoreboard person. An artist's impression of the replays on the brand new scoreboards at Michigan Stadium:


The scoreboards are very big. The replays are even bigger, to the point where they are useless unless you're a helmet fetishist. Widen your shot, good sir, and the blessings of Bo will be upon you.

The next defense. After years of being an untenably young defense, Michigan has reached average-ish. Despite that they're slated to lose only four players next year, one of them a walk-on. With the swap at WLB and the seemingly permanent insertion of Blake Countess into the starting lineup the breakdown is like so:

  • Three freshmen (Ryan, Morgan, Countess)
  • A sophomore (Gordon)
  • Four juniors (Roh, Floyd, Demens, Kovacs)
  • Three seniors (Martin, RVB, Heininger)

And then there's Woolfolk, who is a starter as long as Kovacs is out. If only Rodriguez had recruited some dudes in the middle of the line you could project the returners to be non smoke-and-mirrors good. Even as it stands you've got a senior Campbell and hope for decent play from Washington, Rock, and a bunch of freshmen. They should be able to maintain their play next year.

The one true tiebreaker. Everyone's talking tiebreakers in the West division because it was looking like a bunch of cats in a sack at the end of the year before Iowa went out and ended GopherQuest. The Big Ten's are typically goofy, prioritizing head to head over a better measure of superiority: the record of your conference opponents.

The first tiebreaker should be the conference record of your opponents in the other division, which works for two- and three-way ties. Right now that looks like this:

  1. Nebraska: 9-4 (Wisconsin (2-2), PSU(5-0), OSU (2-2))
  2. Michigan: 6-7 (Purdue (2-2), Illinois (2-3), OSU (2-2))
  3. MSU: 4-9 (IU (0-5), Wisconsin (2-2), OSU (2-2))

If the season does end in a three-way tie here* any system that would give the nod to the team that played Illinois and Purdue or IU and Wisconsin instead of Wisconsin and Penn State is a broken system. Instead the tiebreakers are all head to head and divisional record, which makes no sense. You've all played eight conference games and proven yourself equal—it's time to figure out who played the tougher schedule.

*[Say M beats Nebraska, loses one other, MSU loses to… uh… Iowa, Nebraska wins out with exception of M loss.]

Jake Ryan edge update. I have negative complaints this week. This is also known as praise. There were no sections confused by my "AAAARGH JAKE RYAN" outbursts because the most notable thing that happened in This Week In Jake Ryan's Edge Play was Ryan annihilating a sweep in the backfield by submarining a blocker on a blitz and tackling. +3, Mr. Ryan.

Quite a find there, especially considering that Michigan picked him up because he was an effective blitzing OLB in a 3-3-5 in high school. He could be a fish out of water in this scheme.

Michigan under-center running update. It… worked? Somewhat. I have no idea how to classify things like Fitzgerald Toussaint taking a toss play opposite that Denard jet action and motoring 59 yards. That's not really manball. It's not spread 'n' shred. It's gimmickball.

It worked, though. It looked like Michigan finally got that pin and pull zone operational, possibly because they identified an issue with Purdue's DEs. If they're easy to seal the pin and pull gets you the advantages of an outside sweep in a faster-developing play. The pulling linemen have less distance to cover.

The I-Form stuff did work to some extent. As we'll see below, the extent was such that every newspaper in the state is running a piece on how

1: Lo, Bo looked down from Football Valhalla and said "I am pleased, my son." 2: "It is the will of Old that the quarterback shall taketh the ball from the center by hand and turn his back to the line of scrimmage." 3: "Motion of the ball through the air, whether forwards or backwards, is an abomination to Old." 4: "Pitches are excepted."

Judging the effectiveness of the base offense will have to wait for the UFR to break down the yardage. I'll probably have to categorize the gimmickball separately.

Inverted veer. Rodriguez played with it some but never really put it in the offense for realz; Borges whipped it out against the Boilers to good effect.

That's a play that gets Robinson going north-south with a pulling lineman if the defense doesn't force a handoff, which Purdue didn't. That was to their detriment.

I probably won't complain about showing it against a weak opponent if/when it doesn't work down the road. Purdue was nowhere near the baby seal that Minnesota was. The game remained in contact until the third quarter. This is a different thing than knowing you can name your score after the first drive.

Taylor Lewan. @mgovideo tweeted "Taylor Lewan is undead" and I have nothing that can top that. Shoot him in the head, Gholston, or he's coming for you next year. Make sure to double tap.

Students who are not reading this: you suck. Weekly complaint about student section is lodged. No one reading this is included. It is your slothful classmates who must feel the lash.

Now, there are some extreme bottlenecks upon section entry that mean a lot of student who show up on time spend 15 minutes waiting in line before actually getting into the stadium. Vitriol towards the student section up to halfway through the first quarter should properly be directed at the athletic department's crappy logistics.

HOWEVA, when half of the upper reaches remain empty throughout a Big Ten game that's on various students who don't know what MGoBlog is. There's no reason to sell those people tickets at discounted rates if they're not even going to show up and be loud. The carrot and stick:

  • Assign points to students based on ticket scans. 5 for 20 minutes before the game, 2 for before kickoff, 1 for showing up at all. Validated tickets do not score.
  • Reduce the size of the student section by 10%.
  • Prioritize renewals based on points, not seniority. Also prioritize bowl lotteries based on this. Top 10% get half off. Anyone below some crappy cutoff gets no tickets.

I'd love to see a similar policy enacted for regular season ticket holders but that's infeasible since they're already pressing them for maximum cash and cannot easily replace people pissed off by something like that with other super rich dudes.

This is the cost of luxury seating: seeing the most expensive seats in the building half-full at best. This is most obvious at Yost, where the club seats are literally 40% full for every game.

Special K: die in a fire. I've linked to various Penn State blogs complaining about the environment at Beaver Stadium to provide ominous warnings about what our future is like, but I thought that would be in five years… not five games. Volume: ear-splitting. Choices: inane. Seven Nation Army: played one dozen times, including before opening kickoff. It's bad when I am tired of 7NA. I once listened to 7NA for a half-hour straight until someone yelled at me to stop.

HSR suggests another White Stripes song:

That works. He probably would have gotten one that does if he had chosen at random. There are more Stripes songs that are plausible than ones that aren't. Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground. You Don't Know What Love Is (You Just Do As You're Told). Fell In Love With A Girl. Icky Thump. Conquest. Blue Orchid. Never has a local band had a better collection of killer opening riffs plausible for pump-up purposes. If the athletic department prioritized having their own thing instead of having the same thing everyone else does they might look into this.

Meanwhile, we're treated to "GET LOUD" and an animated train exploding on the videoboards. (Instead of replays, of course, because who wants to watch a football game anymore?) We are Michigan State. It took less than a season. I was all like "you go girl" to this Bando Calrissian comment:

Yesterday was the closest to a minor league baseball game experience I've ever had at Michigan Stadium.  The RAWK was out of control(and more often than not earsplittingly loud), the Rocket Man deal struck me as an unnecessary gimmick (play the Space, Bitches PSA and call it a day), that train graphic on the scoreboards, everything felt extraordinarily cheap and generic.  Very un-Big House-esque. 

And, here' s a fun fact:  One of the highlights of Homecoming has always been the alumni cheerleaders doing gymnastic tricks in the end zones during stoppages in play.  It's fun, and always gets the fans really into things during lulls in the action.  They were told this year they were not allowed to do flips and such on the field, or so one of them told a few of us in Alumni Band.  And it was true, they basically just sat and did nothing for the entire game.

A little bit at a time, the uniqueness of Michigan is being chipped away in favor of a generic, corporate, sterile experience.  Seems to me "revenue streams" and marketing gurus rule the day in DB's Athletic Department, and it really doesn't need to be that way.

Corporate ass-covering and focus-group research, all of it. What's happening to Michigan Stadium is reason #1 this site will always remain independent. This is what you get for hiring someone who made his living sending people things they didn't want in the mail.

Yeah, guy who doesn't care about any of this and complains about people who do, you're cooler than those who do. Pop that collar.

THE ONE GOOD THING: No dog groomers except once before the band came out.


ST3 goes inside the box score:

With apologies to Denard, this section belongs to Fitzgerald Toussaint this week. In fact, I will refer to him as Filthgerald. Filthgerald gained 170 yards on 20 carries, scored 2 TDs, had a long of 59 yards, and averaged 8.5 YPC. Can someone explain to me again why he only got two carries against staee? Forget that last comment, I’ve moved on.

There is also a way-too-early BCS standings look. No Hoke for Tomorrow, unfortunately.


Media, as in unwashed blog masses. Sap decals. Trends from MGoFootball. Maize and Go Blue with a game recap. MZone autopsies:

Yes, I'm so damn scarred by the previous three seasons that, after Purdue's initial drive, I felt a flash of deju vu all over again.  But Michigan stayed the course and eventually put Purdue away, pretty much by halftime and certainly before the 3rd quarter was over.

How refreshing.

TTB on Toussaint:

Fitzgerald Toussaint is hitting his stride.  Finally healthy after two years of long-term injury issues, Toussaint is showing what he can do.  He had 20 carries for 170 yards, including a spectacular 59-yard touchdown run (Michigan's longest run of the year).  He's averaging 6.1 yards per carry on the season.  Perhaps the best part of Toussaint's game is the way he finishes runs.  Despite not being particularly big, he always seems to churn his legs for an extra couple yards after contact.  His yardage total was the best by a Michigan running back since Michael Hart had 215 against Eastern Michigan back in 2007.

Holdin' The Rope:

At this point, Michigan is grabbing wins like items at an Old Country Buffet; these things might not be of high quality, but this is America and MORE is better than anything else. Yes, I am comparing the quality of Big Ten competition to the lukewarm comestibles of a buffet chain.

The Purdue point of view is unenthused or bizarrely optimistic. The former:

Purdue's execution, especially when it was really needed was atrocious. Conversely, UM shored-up the issues that had been exposed v. MSU following their bye week...and played soundly all game.

Michigan seemed to want to test Purdue physically in the trenches and Purdue failed as they looked pensive, slow and soft when popped in the mouth. The end result was a sound defeat for Hope's squad, 36-14...but it felt much worse than that score.

The latter:

Yes, the final margin was 22 points, but we were close through three quarters and the difference of a few plays swung the scoreboard wildly in their direction. Things got wildly out of control after a few key mistakes, as often happens in college football.

I'm just all like… it was 36-7 at the start of the 4th and Purdue had 200 yards of offense to Michigan's 510. That's not a game that swung on a few plays. Elsewhere in his post Hammer and Rails's T-Mill gives Michigan plenty of credit, so this isn't a lol delusional homer thing. I'm just surprised anyone could do the point-at-critical-plays thing after that.

Media, as in dying legacy organizations (and ESPN). Before we get into the scoffing, the Daily covers the jetpack flight in column-length detail.

The scoffing! Man, does everyone want to seize upon this as proof Brady Hoke Gets It, This Is Michigan, and This Is Not Last Year:

Just like that, Fitzgerald Toussaint proves the Michigan football team can resemble its old self

…against Purdue.

Sometimes I wonder if my brain has mutated to the point where I'm not even watching the same game as some of these people. This is about the MSU game:

With the backs providing little to no punch offensively, Robinson was forced to become Michigan's exclusive run threat. Partly because of that, he was also subject to immense pressure in the passing game, as he was sacked four times and eventually forced to leave the contest early due to injury.

My version of this paragraph is "With Al Borges inexplicably enthralled with the passing game, Robinson only got twelve carries to go with Toussaint's two. Because of something entirely unrelated that also impacted the ground game, he was also subject to immense pressure in the pocket. Later he left with an injury caused by a late hit."

Yes, this is the usual mumbling about media narratives that have no relation to reality. You're like 3000 words into this post and are clearly addicted. Suck it up. This is the point in Requiem for a Dream where your arm is a mass of black veins and you're still shooting up.

Martin leads resurgence of traditional Michigan defense against Purdue

…against… yeah, them.

This is a different Michigan team

…than the one that beat Purdue last year.

Wolverines' 'old-school' whipping of Purdue would've made Bo Schembechler proud

This one is a wow experience. I mean:

[Toussaint] transforms into a sledgehammer when he runs between the hash marks.

He's not Carlos Brown but come on, dude. And I challenge you to distinguish this from a seventh-grader's B- paper:

Even against a powder-puff Big Ten team such as Purdue, the Wolverines regrouped after surrendering a 48-yard pass on a simple slant-screen that shredded the defense for a touchdown in the opening minutes of the game. No one panicked on the sideline. Instead, the much-maligned unit discussed it and agreed the appropriate response called for equal parts inspiration and perspiration, but no more excuses.

Holy pants. Someone agreed this paragraph should be set down in print and copied thousands of times so its wisdom could spread throughout the land, no more excuses.

Even Wojo fell prey to some extent:

In finding running game, Michigan re-joins Big Ten title race

Ann Arbor— As the day's events unfolded, one thing became clearer and clearer. Michigan is back in the running, and it got there by getting back to the running.

The Wolverines pounded a weaker foe Saturday, which isn't a big deal unless you acknowledge how it happened, and what happened elsewhere in the Big Ten. Michigan bashed Purdue, 36-14, and did the job without everyone waiting around for Denard Robinson to do the job.

Michigan's rushing offense before playing Purdue: 12th nationally. Rich Rodriguez: not involved with the decision to throw two-thirds of the time against Michigan State.

Strategy matters, simple things unrelated to hearty grit toughness can provide huge swings, coaches make mistakes frequently, and no one at a newspaper ever watches a game a second time. Facts.


Down Two Joneses and a Pace

Down Two Joneses and a Pace Comment Count

Seth July 25th, 2011 at 6:28 PM

766476 802931 TericJonesCBthumb333x26351137

Scout / Scout /

Yesterday's release of the 2011 media guide brought up a few questions about some guys not on the roster. I just got my answers from Athletic Dept. spokesman David Ablauf and they're un-good:

"Kellen Jones is no longer an enrolled student at the University."

Reason was neither asked for nor given. This is the end. One of you who doesn't like me gets to be the one to tell Brian we chose to post his 2011 Recruiting Profile right before some of the rumors hit the Twitters.

Impact: Kellen was considered one of the few 2011 recruits who might contribute immediately, and was expected to challenge for a spot on the two-deep at WLB. Short-term this will mean one of the other freshmen linebackers has a shot to play early. MLB/WLB depth chart currently reads Demens and ???s. Down the road it shouldn't matter so much once the 2012 class of Ross, Jenkins-Stone, Bolden and Ringer arrive.

As for some other roster incongruities, why was Christian Pace left off the roster, and did Teric Jones get listed with no number while two other guys switched to his 14? Because the gods hath no mercy:

"Christian Pace was medicaled; meaning his playing career is over due to an injury ... [answers other questions] ... Teric is also medicaled."

Impact of Losing Teric: Minimal. Jones is a 2009 scat-back who came in behind several guys in the '08 and '09 classes. He was part of the Cass Tech clan who re-established that pipeline. Teric did what he could to help, bouncing to DB when warm bodies were needed, but he made only a Darnell Hood-ian impact and moved back to RB, where he was a spare part behind 6-7 other guys. Teric lost the end of the 2010 season to a knee injury against Illinois.*

Impact Christian: Bloody Argh. Pace was the only OL recruit of the 2010 class, and those of us in bloggerland were ludicrously excited about him because he was an under the radar recruit whom smart coaches were hard after. Also he's as much of a David Molk clone as Taylor Lewan was a Jake Long clone coming out of high school. There's a huge difference between proto-Molk and Molk, but Pace's high school tape (as in just watch every play) is a series of the ball being snapped followed by something being shot out of a cannon and ending 4 yards downfield on top of a pitiable fool. He was perfect for the spread 'n shred, which suggests he's not perfect for non-spread-and-shred. I still had unreasonable hope, but even general hope for Pace in a Hoke Manball offense was pretty high. This year he was behind Molk and Khoury, who has been serviceable. Down the line this opens the path for Miller, or else one of the big guards-like objects from 2011 and 2012. Further injuries to the undermanned OL will result in wanton trotting out of an Angry-[Position]-Hating God tag.

Last piece of info, which isn't any info.

No change on Darryl Stonum's status.

I'll let Tim follow up with specifics since everyone I would call will be at his presser anyway.


* I hate to throw this into a post about one of Michigan's best academic performers and team players losing the 2nd half of his career, but considering the staff plans to sign the full 26 in 2012, this feels a little…convenient. #oversigning fears. EDIT: This is NOT an accusation and as posters have pointed out it would be a bad idea for the coaches to pull a "convenient" move with a kid from our biggest in-state pipeline. It bears mentioning only because it would arch an eyebrow at another school, and because this space has been critical of those other schools when there's even a whiff. Discussion cont'd in the comments.

Losing Pace and Jones is decidedly inconvenient.


Michigan Football Injury Report for Wisconsin

Michigan Football Injury Report for Wisconsin Comment Count

Tim November 18th, 2010 at 6:25 PM

Press release:


Ferrara, John                     Knee

Floyd, JT                               Ankle

Jones, Mike                        Leg

Jones, Teric                        Knee

Odoms, Martavious        Foot

Van Slyke, Jared               Clavicle

Williams, Mike                   Head

Woolfolk, Troy                  Ankle



Lewan, Taylor                    Head

Shaw, Mike                        Head



Martin, Mike                      Ankle

Mouton, Jonas                  Chest


No surprises, on the heels of the news from yesterday that Lewan may have been concussed against Purdue. Martin and Mouton are likely to grit it out if they're needed.



Michigan Injury Report for Purdue

Michigan Injury Report for Purdue Comment Count

Tim November 11th, 2010 at 8:08 PM


JT Floyd Ankle
Mike Jones Leg
Teric Jones Knee
Martavious Odoms Foot
Jared Van Slyke Clavicle
Mike Williams Head
Troy Woolfolk Cruel Deity



Jonas Mouton Chest



Perry Dorrestein Knee
Fitzgerald Toussaint Shoulder

Nothing new in the "out" category, except a distinct lack of Fitzgerald Toussaint, who is... (gasp) probable! Perry Dorrestein and Mark Huyge have been about equally effective, so Dorrestein's status isn't a huge deal one way or the other.

The big question mark is Jonas Mouton, who has been Michigan's best (yet simultaneously worst) linebacker this season. If he can't go, expect to see more of Obi Ezeh and JB Fitzgerald, and maybe even Craig Roh playing extensively at linebacker.


Michigan Injury Report For Illinois

Michigan Injury Report For Illinois Comment Count

Brian November 4th, 2010 at 10:37 PM

press release

University of Michigan Football Injury Report

vs. Illinois, Nov. 4, 2010


Floyd, J.T.                                    Ankle

Jones, Mike                                Leg

Odoms, Martavious                Foot

Toussaint, Fitzgerald               Shoulder

Van Slyke, Jared                       Clavicle

Williams, Mike                           Head

Woolfolk, Troy                          Ankle


Dorrestein, Perry                     Knee

Stokes, Je’Ron                          Knee


Martin, Mike                              Ankle

/press release

All the guys in "out" are guys we know are out for the year with the exception of Fitzgerald. Meanwhile, it seems like Huyge is likely to get another start at right tackle on Saturday—which fine he's about as good as Dorrestein—and there is an explanation for Stokes's absence for much of the Penn State game.

Martin… well… reports said he sprained his other ankle, so if that's true he's got a better shot at returning effective than if he was suffering a high ankle sprain. But I'm not confident he'll have an impact. We'll see.


Michigan Injury Report for Michigan State

Michigan Injury Report for Michigan State Comment Count

Tim October 7th, 2010 at 9:15 PM

Press Release:


Jones, Mike                        Leg

Toussaint, Fitzgerald       Shoulder

Van Slyke, Jared               Clavicle

Williams, Mike                   Head

Woolfolk, Troy                  Ankle



Ferrara, John                     Hand

Shaw, Mike                        Knee

/press release.

Positives: Shaw will probably play, Brandon Herron is not listed on the injury report at all. Herron's return should allow Craig Roh to return to defensive end, where he's been much more effective.

As for the negatives, it's unfortunate that Fitzgerald Toussaint will miss yet another game, meaning one of Michigan's top options (just a guess, and only when he's healthy, which is never) won't be available.

Everything else is either already known (Jones, Woolfolk, Van Slyke out for the year, Mike Williams probably for that long) or unimportant, as Michigan's newfound depth at offensive line making John Ferrara's return a luxury.


Michigan Injury Report for Indiana

Michigan Injury Report for Indiana Comment Count

Tim October 1st, 2010 at 9:06 AM

Via UM Media Relations:


Jones, Mike                        Leg

Shaw, Michael                   Knee

Toussaint, Fitzgerald       Shoulder

Van Slyke, Jared               Clavicle

Williams, Mike                   Head

Woolfolk, Troy                  Ankle



Ferrara, John                     Hand



Herron, Brandon              Ankle

Johnson, Carvin                Knee

Robinson, Denard            Knee

As for the gentlemen who are out, we already know Jones, Van Slyke, and Woolfolk are out for the whole year, and Mike Williams may have serious enough concussion issues to be at the end of his football career. Shaw being ruled completely out for the game is a huge setback, and though we don't have tons of information on Toussaint, the coaches certainly would have liked to have him available.

Ferrara is updated to questionable after spending the past few weeks inactive, which is good for him, but he's still down on the depth chart and unlikely to play.

As for the "Probable" contingent, Rodriguez (and OC Calvin Magee) have been saying all week that Shoelace hasn't missed practice all week, and is 100% outside of a bit of soreness. If Herron and/or Johnson can indeed play, that's a boost for the defense, giving Greg Robinson the flexibility with Craig Roh that he really likes.


Injury Report for Notre Dame

Injury Report for Notre Dame Comment Count

Tim September 9th, 2010 at 6:09 PM

Press Release:


Ferrara, John               Hand

Johnson, Carvin           Knee

Van Slyke, Jared          Clavicle

Toussaint, Fitzgerald   Knee

Woolfolk, Troy            Ankle


Hemingway, Junior     Hamstring


Roundtree, Roy   


Van Slyke and Woolfolk are out for the year, so no surprises there, and Ferrara was unlikely to contribute. We had a pretty good idea Carvin Johnson was going to be out for 3-6 weeks, so that's not a surprise, though he may be more valuable to the defense than his -4 in this week's UFR might indicate. Toussaint was a "maybe" earlier in the week, so hopefully he'll be back to get a few touches against UMass and Bowling Green before the Big Ten schedule gets going.

As for the two guys who are varying degrees of "maybe," this is a reversal from Rodriguez's statements earlier in the week. If either can go, they'd be good additions to the receiving corps, but there is enough depth at the position (at least with Odoms on the outside and maybe a couple more 2-TE sets) that they'll only go if they're really needed.


Rich Rodriguez Monday Presser Notes 9-6-10

Rich Rodriguez Monday Presser Notes 9-6-10 Comment Count

Tim September 6th, 2010 at 1:04 PM

Important News

  • Roy Roundtree and Carvin Johnson are doubtful for Notre Dame
  • Second-team FS/holder Jared Van Slyke (a walkon) is out for the year.
  • Junior Hemingway is expected back.
  • Fitzgerald Toussaint may or may not play against ND.

UConn Game

After the game, Rodriguez got to spend time with Brock's family, and before, he saw the end of Brock's walk.

Managing from execution standpoint first thing you want. Can run the ball and get first downs, not as necessary to throw downfield for big plays. Can block downfield better. Consistency in blocking need to improve the most. Guys were in the right place, but didn't sustain blocks, or didn't get downfield. Didn't get downfield as well as we're capable. On D - just lost contain a couple times. Special teams were very average. KOR and KO units were below average.

Worked so hard on the passing game because they knew UConn was going to bring safeties down to help against the run. "Watching the film, we played hard, we played well at at times, and we took care of the football offensively." Can still execute a lot better on O. Not having big plays on offense gave the defense rest with long drives, but Rodriguez would prefer to execute well enough to get the big plays.

On Denard: "He graded out relatively high. He made a few mistakes, which you would expect in his first game as a starter." Made a couple negative-yardage plays. You rarely see a first-time starter command the game like he did.

Shaw and Smith: "They ran better than they blocked." Usually they're better blockers. Wish they could get back the negative-yardage plays. The other backs need to prove themselves better in practice to play.

Pretty much satisfied with the offensive line play. Liked the effort. No "high grades" on the OL - partially because it's tougher to grade out well with Coach Frey. "A couple guys didn't play nearly as well as we thought they would," both at the point of attack and on the second level, but they were solid as a group.

The defense had a few plays they'd like to have back. "We got what we thought we'd get." ND will be a bigger challenge than UConn. Tackled pretty well, only a few missed assignments.

Muffed punts - "This year is this year, last year is last year." It was Gallon's first game action, and it came on a windy day with a tough punt. "He'll be fine. I have no concerns whatsoever." Not worried about kickers' performances in the wind. Drew Dileo mishandled the missed extra point.


Roy Roundtree is listed as doubtful with internal bruising, they'll re-check him later in the week. Carvin Johnson is "very doubtful" with a sprained knee. Junior Hemingway should be able to go, but they won't know until later this week.

Still concerned with youth of team. Guys will get beat up. The outside people have been saying whatever "You go in our building, it's been a little bit different the whole time."

Denard - "He's a pretty humble guy anyway. I'll talk to him about staying humble. I think that's in his nature anyway." Just one bad day away from being a goat. Positive press is like poison - it's OK as long as you don't swallow it. He needs to trust timing and progression before he takes off. He has been getting better at that, and did very well Saturday.

Denard was sharp - "My concern coming in was the wind more than anything else." Biggest thing was where his eyes were going to be. If their eyes are in the right place, they'll make the right decision. "He's smart enough to figure out that hey, you're just one bad play away from everybody saying 'you can't do this' or 'you can't do that'." Guys know it's a big stage.

"You could sense earlier on that [Denard] is a guy who, not only does he have the physical abilities, but he has the type of mental makeup you'd like to have at the position." It all comes with learning. Denard and Tate will still have some mistakes, have growing to do, but they have bright futures. "I'm always concerned with our players' concerns. That's what coaches do." It's a team game, not an individual game. TV may try to sensationalize something.

Is Rodriguez concerned about Tate? "Why? Is there a reason to? Oh." Coach wasn't making a big issue out of it - TV was. It's no surprise that he's disappointed to not play. "I want all my players to be happy all the time. Inevitably, 110 of them probably won't be. If we win, you expect most of them to be happy or fake it. I don't blame guys for being unhappy if they don't play. That's human nature." RR will talk to the QBs, "There shouldn't be any problems... If he crosses the line as far as being a team player, we'll worry about that."

Devin - "We think that Devin has proven that he's ready to play." He's at the point where he'll help win games this year.

Probably could have repped more OL in the game. Players have to give the staff confidence that they'll be able to execute.

Obi - "Yeah, I thought he played pretty well. I really did." Jonas Mouton and Mark Moundros played well, too.

Young DBs have been getting a lot of reps, they have to "grow up in a hurry." They'll have great futures, just need to get them ready. Pleased with play of Floyd and Rogers. "JT's continued his performance. We think he's been pretty good all camp." Team is thin in secondary, esp. losing Carvin Johnson. Put the next guy in and see what happens. Thomas Gordon played well, Floyd Simmons will get some play "We have a lot of confidence in Floyd."

Competition at PK is still ongoing.

Notre Dame

Brian Kelly's scheme - "There's a lot of similarities. Studying them and studying us, every spread has a little different emphasis at certain times." RR's spread is a bit more run nowadays. Cincy pass, now at ND looks like he'll mix it up a bit. They'll study last year's ND film for personnel, but coaching staff is new so have to see what those guys did at previous stops. Both teams will run a bit of stuff that they didn't last week. Michael Floyd and Kyle Rudolph are big weapons, but they have talented RBs and QB as well. Have to tackle well in space against ND. "If we can't get 'em on the ground, and we can't cover 'em..."

ND 3-4 look, sometimes 4-man front. "Everybody's multiple defensively. nobody runs one front and run coverage anymore." They brought some pressure, but mostly worked to contain Purdue's players last week.

RR has only played Kelly one time. Played at Cincy in 2007. Dews worked with Kelly for a year at Central, so there's some familiarity there. He's had great success. They have a lot of talent. They recruit nationally, even if they haven't been pleased with the record the past few years.

ND - "I'm sure their players and our players understand it's a rivalry." This is the first rivalry game each season. A section of West Mich is always asking about ND. New coach, lots of excitement.

At ND Stadium "They are very passionate about football. Every seat will be taken. Theyr'e into the game. It's a very intimate setting." Always seems to be raining when RR goes there "The grass is high - because of the rain, I guess." Younger players - "We've got to get them to grow up in a hurry." Have to learn to keep your poise, and have a sense of maturity on the road. 25 or 26 guys on the travel squad for their first road trip.

Noise is biggest challenge "We'll crank it up this week, and try to get our skill guys offensively to get used to the crowd noise." Very crisp against UConn, doesn't expect any against ND.

Keys to winning: 1) take care of the football. Lost the game with that last time at ND. 2) Understand you'll face adversity - they'll make plays. 3) Don't give up big plays, because they have big play talent. 4) Make big plays offensively ourselves.

It helps to have Division-1 experience when you start coaching at a bigtime institution. "It's invaluable coaching at the small-school level." You have to worry about all the details of running the program. Have to learn very quickly from a recruiting and teaching standpoint. "Sometimes you have to get creative." Try new things, which will be innovative at the higher levels. Rodriguez and Kelly are both familiar with that.