Sponsor Note. Had ol' Richard Hoeg on the podcast a couple weeks back, whereupon he both gave us an excellent Gimmicky Top Five topic and executed it well. It was about restoring the credibility of the NCAA with some rule changes, and he impressed with the depth of his thought. "Probity," I thought. "This person would be a good lawyer to have." And he can be your lawyer too, if you're starting up a small business and have a need for founding documents, contracts, and the like.
Also he had no preference between Rich, Richard, Rick, Ricky, and Dick, so if you're picky about names that's five options right there.
Turkeys on the loose. Via Bakers and Best, The Great Markley Turkey Hunt Of 1967:
In January I came across these two photos while browsing through the Bentley Historical Library image bank (the Bentley serves as the historical library and archive for the university). In the past ten months I have told anyone who will listen (and then some) about these pictures. Each time I find myself incapable of fully describing my thoughts on them. Most people react in the way that Ben Wyatt did to Li’l Sebastian. I fear the same will happen here, but I have to try anyways.
I mean, how ridiculous are these? Perhaps it was the fact that it was 4 AM and I had long since given up on falling back asleep, but all I could do when I first saw these was laugh. I was scrolling through a collection of photos from The Michigan Daily, and juxtaposed against campus protests and national conventions they became even more absurd. This feeling of delight and joy quickly moved into deep curiosity. I suddenly had to know everything I could about the story behind these pictures.
Someone had, presumably intentionally, released several turkeys for students to catch in the muddied Markley courtyard. Why? Who sponsored it? Whose idea was it? How many students participated? Where did they get the turkeys from? Was this an annual event?
Some 30 students…celebrated Thanksgiving early yesterday with an Interhouse Assembly-sponsored turkey hunt in the Markley courtyard. Winners were awarded four complementary Thanksgiving dinners – turkey of course – and a splendid time was had by all. – The Michigan Daily, 11/18/1967
From the Bentley Library I knew that both photos were taken by student photographer James Forsyth of The Michigan Daily. Scrolling through several years worth of microfilm turned up an advertisement on November 15th (at right) and a front page photo and description (quoted above) on November 18th. I found no other record in the five years before or after, leading me to believe this was a one-off event.
Perhaps one of the descendants of these unfortunate fowls became the Insane Killer North Campus Turkey of 2015, thus restoring his family honor. The moral of the story is that turkeys should be loosed upon campus more frequently than once every 48 years.
Going long. There have been rumblings about Michigan doing something to tamp down the Harbaugh Goes Somewhere rumors for a year or so now, and... uh...
...yeah, now seems like an amazing time for such a thing. So naturally it's former Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn who first broaches the possibility of a conversation-stopper:
What that would look like is unknown. How much oomph it would have depends on the buyout, and all that, but since the yammering about Harbaugh's job is invariably done by dim bulbs a LIFETIME CONTRACT(!!!) should be fairly effective at silencing the noise even if it isn't absolutely ironclad. Those people ain't reading the fine print.
Going deep. Hopefully this Smart Football post will be relevant to our interests going forward. It's about the post route, which we've seen Donovan Peoples-Jones wide open on a ton without results until last week:
The trick to throwing the ball deep down the middle past all eleven defenders is (a) find a way to bring up the defense’s deepest defenders so you can throw the post behind them and (b) if those defenders stay deep, don’t throw the post. The way to accomplish both of those goals is to construct a sound concept around the deep post that can provide answers versus a variety of coverages — and strike like lightning whenever the opportunity is right. And for my money, there’s no better way of accomplishing those goals than the Mills concept.
The basics of the play are straightforward:
- the outside receiver runs a post route, breaking towards the near goalpost (hence the name “post”) somewhere between 12 and 15 yards;
- the inside receiver runs to a depth of 10 to 12 yards and either breaks inside (known as a “dig” or “square-in”) or runs a hook or curl back to the quarterback;
- the backside receiver runs some sort of route to draw away the coverage, such a corner route, a fade or “go” route or a hook; and
- the remaining eligible receivers (runningbacks, tight-ends or slot receivers) run underneath routes to be checkdown options if the defense covers everyone else.
Together, the play is typically run with play-action to further pull up the linebackers and safeties. And, as the Fun ‘n Gun heyday era clips below show, Mills could be as beautiful as it was devastating.
Michigan's currently getting DPJ open by being very very bad at passing, but if you see DPJ on a post while a TE runs a dig or 12 yard hitch under him, that's Mills.
Getting rid of it. One of these things is not like the other, from PFF via 24/7:
1. Brandon Peters: 5-8 for 112 yards and zero turnovers when blitzed
Before the redshirt freshman went down with an injury on Saturday, he was excelling when Wisconsin would bring pressure, hitting plays to Donovan Peoples-Jones and Zach Gentry down the field among others and had a strong feel for the pocket throughout the game.
By comparison? John O'Korn went 0-5 in similar situations and looked like he has most of the season when the pressure starts to collapse the pocket a bit.
Small sample sizes but the larger picture looks much the same unless O'Korn is able to break the pocket.
Oh. Right. Cease panic. Bill Connelly once again futilely attempts to calm the raging waters with his logic, stats, and whatnot.
S&P+ projected Michigan to win, on average, about 8.9 games in 2017. If I had taken returning starting quarterback Wilton Speight — lost for the season with injury back in September — out of the equation, their projected wins probably would have fallen to about 8.5.
They are currently 8-3 following a loss to Wisconsin, and they will probably be 8-4 after Ohio State leaves town this coming Saturday evening.
Oh, the horror. Oh, the crushing disappointment.
When I wrote, “From a narrative perspective, though, 2017 will be interesting,” this is almost exactly what I meant. When we peer into the future, we can stomach some disappointments in the name of long-term success. When we’re living through those disappointments in the present tense, however, it feels like the sky is falling.
The defense is performing almost exactly as projected; Michigan was projected fifth in Def. S&P+ and is eighth. The offense has been a bit worse than expected (projected 40th, currently 69th), and Speight’s injury hasn’t been the only cause. But it hasn’t helped, and it probably isn’t a coincidence that the Wolverines’ hopes of an upset in Madison ended virtually the moment that emerging QB Brandon Peters also went down.
Good luck, Mr. Connelly. Let's just check the ol' comments to see how it's going. And...
Do we really expect Michigan fans to want to hear context when they're about to be 1-5 in 3 years vs MSU and Ohio State?
...why type anything ever?
Etc.: Jake Butt has music opinions. Larry Prout profiled. Preseason basketball tournaments are a racket, and here's the worst one. Nobody coaches kickers. That seems fine since they're all super good in the NFL? Braylon Edwards remains Braylon Edwards.