Mailbag: Play It Cool, New Banner, Shane Starting Soon, Lochdoggin' It

Mailbag: Play It Cool, New Banner, Shane Starting Soon, Lochdoggin' It

Submitted by Brian on September 11th, 2012 at 1:50 PM


play it cool

The professional approach to replays.

Hey Brian,

After watching Michigan slowly walk to the line after the Gardner not-a-catch-not-a-3rd down conversion on Saturday, I screamed at the tv for Michigan to snap the ball and run a play before the official reviewed the play.  My question is why don't coaches have a set of 3-4 plays that they  have their team run whenever they think a big play might be overturned? In this case, even a quick QB sneak that burns a play and starting over at 2nd and 10 is better than punting the ball back to Air Force.  I feel similarly after teams have long passes that change field position or off a turnover.

I was wondering if numbers and percentages support this theory,and if there are coaches (potentially including Hoke) who may have this package of plays already installed.

Go Blue,

I have heard your frustrations many times and seen teams hurry to the line after a questionable decision almost as frequently. And it never works. When a team hurries to the line in an attempt to defuse the replay threat, the replay guy stops watching the Golf Channel, gets incensed, and always calls down for a review. Always. Without fail.

It's like running away from a crime scene. It's a rookie move. Would that French dude from The Professional hurry to the line? No. He would play it cool, man. He's got all the time in the world.

In re: having a set of quick plays after a turnover or big change in field position, clearly some teams put an emphasis on that sort of thing. We just saw Air Force go up-tempo whenever they'd pick up 10 or 15 yards. That approach isn't free, though. Michigan is emphasizing other stuff.

New banner.

I noticed this live but immediately forgot about it:

Not sure if you noticed or not, but we finally got the new M Banner out for Air Force.  It's been a 3 year project.  We've made 3 different banners for various reasons, and it finally was approved and used for Air Force. 

It looked great.  With the "maize" much closer to the actual maize and much more matching the uniforms.

mgoblue-banner_250Screen Shot 2012-09-09 at 5.59.33 PM

Here are a couple pictures: The 'orangeish' picture I took from the MGoBlue website.  The 'maize' picture, I took from the front page of MGoBlog. (Eric's slide show.)

Just wanted to close the loop on this god awful long project.  (there was still a problem with the poles, so hopefully that will get handled by UMass)


(This will come up because it always comes up: photos make things different colors. Look at the contrast between the banner and the pants in both photos to confirm a very real difference.)

Man. I'm in the cap that thinks maize is not bright-bright yellow, and I'd heard the AD also thought this and was going to move more towards the orangeish yellow color that I thought was the real maize. It's the difference between burnt orange (understated) and Tennessee's goin'-huntin' orange (HEY GUYS I'M ORANGE). I guess that scuppers that. Maize is blinding now. C'est la vie.

Shane starts?


I wrote you earlier this summer about whether Shane Morris would be down for a redshirt next year, to which you said, “yeah”.  Well, two games into this season and seeing how the Denard/Borges fusion cuisine is coming, and seeing how Devin Gardner is progressing as a WR, is causing me to rethink that for 2013.  There are a couple things I think Hoke and Borges are concluding right now: 1) DG will not get that fifth year from the NCAA in 2014; 2) they’ve seen enough of DG at QB to think that he won’t work out as a starter in their system in 2013; 3) they are willing to roll the dice with a freshman Morris starting at QB next year, throwing to a mini-Megatron in Devin Gardner (who will still be the #2 QB).   Like I said, three things.

I know the 2012 season has hardly started, but I get the feeling DG’s move to WR is permanent even if he doesn’t know it yet.  I see Borges thinking he’s done with this transition as soon as Denard ends this season and Shane gives him the best bet to do that, potential magical 2017 season be damned.  What do you think?


I think there's a possibility things work out like you suggest, but not a strong one. Michigan is planning on moving Gardner back to quarterback after the year is over, something that will presumably last through the spring. If Gardner gets beat out, then and only then will he move back. And even then you've got Russell Bellomy with not one but two years of experience under his belt in front of Morris. It's a tall order for any true freshman to beat out experienced scholarship guys in front of him, and Morris seems like a pretty raw kid when it comes to reading coverages since most of his time in high school is spent running for his life.

Let's not do the freshman QB thing. I don't like that thing. If Gardner is Braylon 2.0 the rest of this year, okay maybe. Long way to go on that project.

I do agree that next year you'll see the offense flip into what it's going to be going forward even if Gardner wins the job. The OL will be shifting into more of a manball mode, they'll have plenty of tight ends, and they'll have a collection of strapping downfield targets at WR. The spread is dead at Michigan after this year.

Neutral sites are lame, according to the best announce guys ever.

I know you're a fan of McDonough and Spielman and thought I'd reinforce that.  They're calling the USC "@" Syracuse game from MetLife Stadium in New Jersey and have spent a good portion of the 4th quarter talking about how much better this game would be for Syracuse if they were playing it in the Carrier Dome in terms of recruiting and rewarding their fans who have suffered through some lean times and now are starting to get a half decent team again (they're hanging in pretty well, if they could cover a punt they could maybe have a chance).  But instead of having a top five team at home, they have to drive five hours for some ridiculous overpriced tickets.

So kudos to McDonough and Spielman.

Also: the Big Ten sucks, ye gods.

Yes. My thinking flipped on the Alabama game when the ticket prices were announced. At a minimum they were 60% higher than Michigan tickets, and I'd bet the average price was double. A lot of those cost 250 bucks. They had no problem selling those tickets at those prices, so why not move that to a home and home where you get 20k more people in the stadium and aren't cutting Jerry Jones in on the profits?

I don't get the neutral site thing at all. You built your stadium for a reason. Use it. If it's a UConn thing where the stadium they built is actually smaller than the big-game venue, I guess I get that, but even so I'd rather Michigan plays at Rentschler than Yet Another Identical NFL Stadium. That doesn't wow my experience. The opportunity to visit Tuscaloosa for a game does.

In re: Big Ten. Seriously.

A thousand words on branding.

Attached - taken in section 25 before yesterday's Air Force game.


I'm a staunch believer in Brandon but had to admit that this looked ridiculous.  Correct me if I'm wrong, but L to R: 2010-11 away, [some woman], 2012 Sugar Bowl, 2011 UTL, 2012 Cowboys Classic.

"Chief marketing officers and Hunter [Lochmann]’s job description would include building the brand, which is very much about the presentation and the image of the 'Block-M.'  How do we enhance it, how do we expand it, how do we make sure that the image of that brand is consistent with what we want that image to be, how do we present that brand in the most positive light possible?  And this has everything to do with how the brand appears when it's being used — from the uniforms we wear, the branding of our facilities, the branding of our materials, a lot of classic brand management kinds of responsibilities."  - D. Brandon, 4/5/11 (link)

Keep up the good work and Go Blue,

North Olmsted, OH

At least they're making a tiny amount of extra revenue from those—under a million from the UTL jerseys and who knows how much of that was cannibalized from regular sales—that they're spending on people in the athletic department who plan ways to get incremental revenue so they can hire more people to acquire incremental revenue. Also, the man Michigan hired to build the brand has the twitter handle "Lochdog715." Lochdog should use some of that incremental revenue to polish up his personal brand.

Lochdog. Holy pickles.

Boom, Tila Tequila'd

Boom, Tila Tequila'd

Submitted by Brian on October 11th, 2010 at 12:06 PM

10/11/2010 – Michigan 17, Michigan State 34 – 5-1, 1-1 Big Ten


This just popped into my head in the same way a chorus of angels singing hosannas delivered calculus to Newton: they were probably Juggalos.

There were two of them, and they were walking south down the train tracks just east of the stadium as Michigan State bled the final minutes off the clock. I was in the midst of a stream of mostly Michigan folk who'd had enough—my breaking point was the running into the kicker penalty—moving east with the intent of hitting State Street and parts beyond after following the pathway between the field hockey stadium and football's practice field.

I don't remember much in the way of Juggalo-identifying characteristics except the hats. They were those oversized baseball caps with an enormous, off-center Old English D surrounded by graphic frippery I'm pretty sure designers call "grunge." They were carefully placed on the head, maybe 15 degrees from straight. This has been scientifically determined to be the angle that communicates maximum defiance.

The hats, man. These were the hat equivalent of chrome skulls, because apparently the best way to destroy your credit rating is to buy a bunch of chrome skulls. Maybe this is an urban legend but it's too good not to be true: men in a tall building somewhere have determined that credit card purchases of chrome skulls are inevitably followed by default, and will cease lending money to people who make them. If defiant hat angles left a paper trail these guys wouldn't have been able to get a loan in Zimbabwe.

The rest of it was just a way of confirming the hats. These were guys who had thought to themselves "wait, how do fuckin' magnets work?" They may have been blazed out of their minds at the time but no one can tell the difference any more. The reader will be utterly unsurprised to find out that as these guys approached the intersection with the Michigan fans one of them shouted "who's the little brother now?"


You. Still you. Always you.

Someone in front of me who was either a really pissed off 6'5" guy with a beard or the living manifestation of my id got into it with them. I get why. I mean, you're an adult with a family and a dishwasher. You've never thrown a rock at Tila Tequila. And these guys—who almost certainly didn't even go to the game because they couldn't afford it given the hats, the time and the direction they're walking*—start talking shit to you.

After the path to State Street intersects the tracks it jogs right to give the football field room. So there is this stream of slowly-moving Michigan fans including me and id guy separated from the Juggalos by just a few feet and a fence. For what was probably only a minute but seemed like forever, then, I'm listening to the back and forth between these guys. It's the usual—id guy is repeatedly asked where he went to school until he defiantly points in the direction of campus and says "here," then says his major is "FINANCIAL MATHEMATICS!!!" when pressed.

That was Saturday: financial mathematicians screaming at Juggalos, and the Juggalos winning. The State meathead directly behind me literally said "bitch! fuck you!" whenever MSU tackled Denard Robinson for less than five yards. On Friday, Tim came back to his apartment to find a trail of blood leading to a passed-out State meathead who'd broken in. The same guys who clumsily spray-painted a bedsheet in 2008 to declare their glorious victory over the worst Michigan team in 50 years reprised their genius. As I walked home every glassy-eyed Stiffler that passed me upped the amplitude of my anger/depression cocktail. Jesus, they were everywhere. They came to Ann Arbor cocky and stupid and left cocky and stupid. Enduring it was brutal. In their eyes, that was probably the point.

That's why Mike Hart's comment cut to the quick so much that three years later it's still the first, last, and only thing on the Juggalo mind. If coaching doesn't work out, Hart should start a consulting agency that visits bitter people on their deathbeds and devises things to say that just stick, nagging, sitting on your shoulder and telling you that's really not okay.

As for the current Michigan program, they took a grim step back against Stiffler U and are now poised on the edge of the same cliff no one knew they were falling from until the Illinois game last year. It is really hard to step back and say "it's just one game" after that travesty at Michigan Stadium, both inside and out, but long experience has taught me that gritting your teeth and just getting on with it is better than screaming the name of your major to the world at large.

*(The tracks are mostly fenced and anyone walking down them at that point is coming from well north of the stadium.)


This guy. I'm about to double this guy's yearly traffic but oh well—this is exactly what I am talking about in blog post form:

And FUCK ROBINSON because it was more than him, Michigan State BEAT THE SHIT out of Michigan across the board, offense, defense, special teams, YOU NAME IT. WE BEAT THE YELLOW BELLY ASS UP AND DOWN THE FIELD.

I feel bad for the MSU fans I know, all fine people who don't own SHAGGY 2 DOPE jerseys, and the guys at The Only Colors but Christ, man. Normal-ish MSU fans were outnumbered ten to one.

Forgotten kindness. I meant to mention this in the aftermath of the Notre Dame game but it slipped my mind until the events of the weekend made me wish I was on the road in South Bend instead of at home against Michigan State: ND fans really are the nicest in the country. There are always Those Guys. In South Bend we had one in the row in front of us a few seats over who kept looking back at us and doing the usual dumbass fan taunting routine. The ND fans around us made fun of him for it. ND spawns the kind of pathology that makes ND Nation the most unintentionally entertaining message board on the internet but the vast majority of the fanbase are just nice people sad about their team.

With Weis gone, I'm not rooting against them in an active way until they're threatening for BCS bowls.

Also something I've forgotten to mention a lot. Drum major David Hines, Jr., probably has the best pregame back bend I've ever seen, and since I remember when the drum majors went from taking off the hat only for big games to doing it all the time, that's probably an all-time record.

This was always going to happen. People complaining about the defense, and there are many: WTF, are you surprised? Are you? Did you sit down at the beginning of the season and look over the post-Woolfolk secondary depth chart and think to yourself "boy, this looks like an average unit we've got right here?" This was already always going to happen last year, when the Decimated Defense Diaries and a simple count of available upperclassmen would have revealed that there was a giant gaping dropoff from the legitimate first-stringers Michigan had at maybe 8 or 9 positions to the second string. Then Donovan Warren, Justin Turner, and Troy Woolfolk departed Michigan's thinnest position. This was entirely predictable:

Plugging the enormous hole at safety would be great, but even if you make the reasonable assumption that Gordon/Kovacs/Robinson is going to be way better than Williams/Kovacs, the massive downgrade at corner means you're probably just treading water. Treading horrible, polluted, razor-blade-filled, despair-laden water.

The defense is off from hopeful expectations in that post but the reason is obvious. The depth chart is what it is.

The doom. I never thought Denard Robinson's problem throwing the ball would be a refusal to take off and run after the timer in the head expires. On all three interceptions he should have just run after he sat in the pocket for two or three beats. The second one was just death—pump-fake, hesitation, slant on the goal line? Guh. I think we all expected Denard would have some issues throwing the ball but three huge mistakes in one game is fatal unless you're going up against a team making those mistakes back at you. Michigan gained 263 yards in a half and had ten points from it.

FWIW, Touch The Banner suggests Denard's first two interceptions were just poor throws against man coverage. I haven't had the benefit of replay yet.

The frustration. The game's killer sequence occurred when Jordan Kovacs tackled an MSU TE three yards short on third and ten only for MSU to catch a break on a false start. On the ensuing third and fifteen Michigan couldn't tackle Keshawn Martin after he caught like a five-yard hitch and they converted. The ensuing touchdown drive was the distance that put Michigan in desperation mode. That's a ferret-puncher right there. Makes you want to go find a ferret, and punch it.

Also you can add many drops, a hopeless MSU pass getting deflected to a receiver, and another missed field goal.

Punt? I know you're down seventeen and it looks grim but a comeback isn't totally out of the realm of possibility… until you punt with like seven minutes on the clock. Apparently Rodriguez owned up to that as a mistake afterwards.

Long runs. I'm going to have a lot of fun figuring out the basic off-tackle runs that Michigan State hit for touchdowns. I'm just hoping Ezeh was not involved so that someone else can come in for the tsking. I do know that on the second one the right side of the line was Patterson and JB Fitzgerald at DE, which got run directly at and did about as well as you would expect. That one's probably on the DL at least somewhat. I'm sure Cam is at fault, too, because I said I like him and he would be important and that he was really good at filling on run plays. This is how the world works.

Cam also had an opportunity to undercut a receiver and intercept a long pass that he did not take; I believe that drive was the one on which MSU ended up in third and thirty-two, so it didn't end up mattering much.

The usual Vincent Smith complaining and counter-complaining and etc. You probably don't want Smith ever getting another third and one carry whether you're on Team Smith or Team Whoever Else. I couldn't believe Michigan 1) went with another inside zone to a back who almost never gets one yard after contact, let alone yards, and 2) didn't get it. Hopkins may have fumbling problems but at some point Michigan's fail on third and one is just as damaging.

Also, the difference between Smith and Shaw was painfully apparent and relevant on a run during one of Michigan's early drives when he broke into the open field with nothing between him and the endzone and got tackled by a linebacker coming from the inside. Shaw probably scores there; Michigan got a field goal on that drive IIRC.

Silver lining. Hey, Penn State looks winnable!


Torrent if you hate yourself. Pregame and in-game shots from Michigan Exposures:


In Rod We Trust with the default "everything is FINE do not PANIC" post. Postgame pressers from Robinson, Van Bergen, Roundtree, and Rodriguez. Parachute landing video:

Unverified Voracity Unveils App

Unverified Voracity Unveils App

Submitted by Brian on September 14th, 2010 at 6:41 PM

App: extant. The MGoBlog iPhone app is live in the Apple App Appstore:


It's free, and will still be inaccessible on Gameday when 100,000 people try to text their buddy "DENENENENENAAAARD." But if you're on an iPhone it's better than webbin' it. Guilt at lack of Android app: severe. If there are any Android developers out there interested in a revshare deal to create one, email me.

Send us your sons. Since it's football season we'll forgo the full breakdown of Glenn Robinson III, Michigan's freshest basketball recruit and the son of Glenn Robinson (II, I guess), that guy who played for Purdue and was in the NBA forever. Robinson is a 6'6" wing who will arrive in 2012 (ie, the year after Carlton Brundidge and Trey Burke). Robinson's a three star rated #118 by Rivals who picked up an offer in August. UMHoops doesn't have a google-stalk yet but it's just a matter of time.

Crist concussion certain. Dude, Dayne Crist was concussed. This is from Brian Kelly:

"We had just got clearance from the TV tout to take the field. We were under a minute. That's when he said, 'Coach, I just don't remember this play.' You could look at him and you could tell that he wasn't fully in charge. So that's when we made the decision to make the change."

I'm not saying Kelly's a bad guy (though I'd be disappointed in RR if he'd done something similar) or that making a decision like that is easy, but at some point there should probably be a guy unaffiliated with either school who makes a decision about whether a player who's "dazed" can return at all. If you're out most of a half, have trouble seeing out of one eye, and are having memory issues, that's a "maybe next week" sort of injury.

TWIS for you. Some miscommunication led This Week In Schadenfreude to get posted late but you'll want to head over there for the awesome animated GIF created from the Terpstra on-field video and the Nation's reaction:

ya know what?
by jddomer (2010-09-11 19:34:34)

f--- you, and anyone who thinks this game was OK. F--- YOU!!!!!! I hate michigan with the white hot heat of 1000 suns. We should NEVER lose to thses f---ers. EAD. These fuckers should never beat us, especially like this. And, being unfortunate enouogh to be born in that godforsaken f---ing state, I will ahev to listen to the "we are better than you" shit for yet another year. F--- you.,
Where is my Jack? seriously. I need a bottle, and I need it now. Until we are 10-1.

Most of you just laughed like mad scientists, and that's okay.

This looks familiar. Via a reader comes this report of a new tradition at Marshall that seems slightly ripped off from your favorite team:

Marshall Tradition

They're still getting the hang of it:

They started a “new” tradition where the players hit the M[arshall] Club banner on their way out onto the field.  Its quite a circuitous  route as the come out of their locker room which is in the North end zone, run up the hashes to the 50, make a right hand turn, and boom! hit the banner. Best part was they didn’t set the banner at an appropriate height (probably 10’) and only a handful of the players were able to hit it.  Lots of missing going on. 

You're welcome, WVU readers. We try to give something back.

More walk-ons necessary. So the annual walk-on tryouts went down:

More than 30 students participated in tryouts for the Michigan football team Monday afternoon. Rodriguez said six or seven will receive an extended look during a two-week trial period.

“A couple really caught our attention,” he said. “They might have a spot on the team.”

Keecker? plz?

Major injuries. Michigan isn't the only team getting it in the nads from Angry Blank-Hating Gods. Purdue's #1 receiver and only remaining scary offensive threat in the aftermath of Ralph Bolden's injury is out for the year, which is especially painful because Smith is a senior who has taken a redshirt and will have to apply for a sixth year he may or may not get.

Also gone is Ohio State starting strong safety CJ Barnett, though Ohio State has the depth to find a suitable replacement. Not so much Purdue. Penn State's Gerald Hodges, their version of Mike Jones, will miss 4 to 8 weeks as well. MSU lost its third-string TE, so they're totally screwed.

Steal my thunder. I was totally going to do this but BWS beat me to it:


This is not the 31-yard Roy Roundtree touchdown that kicked off Michigan's scoring. It's a play on the previous drive that ended with Robinson gaining a few yards on that QB off tackle or whatever you want to call it. Look at the WRs: they're running routes. I'm not sure if this is an option for Robinson he misread, a mistake, or a proof of concept for the 'Tree TD, but Michigan saw the results and got seven points out of it. More details at the link above.

RBUAS alert. Johnny talks about the wonder that is Stephen Hopkins. No, not really:

The Saturday morning before last I woke up on an inflatable mattress on the floor of a friend’s apartment in Ann Arbor. You know how the rest goes.
If you type in Denard Robinson on Google the first suggestion is "Denard Robinson Heisman." He doesn't know what they say about him on television because he doesn’t have cable. Notre Dame let him in the interview room, the first time an opposing player has been allowed in there since 1997. Dick Vitale spent Saturday afternoon telling Jalen Rose over Twitter that Denard Robinson was awesome, baby. Lebron James said he was “a monster out there right now.” Denard Robinson is operating from a different dimension. We can all only swarm to the crater where he crash landed and pick through the debris for souvenirs.

Etc.: Get your Denard wallpaper. Backstreet's back after the Ohio State win. Big Ten Hockey from the BC perspective. Personally I doubt it has any impact on further Big Ten Expansion. Brabbs dominates some more cancer. Blue Seoul picture pages the crap out of everything, including the Tate-RR hugz. Tom Brady on the cover of SI. LOL wrong Michigan QB guyz.