Unverified Voracity Shows Surgeons The Broom

Unverified Voracity Shows Surgeons The Broom

Submitted by Brian on May 3rd, 2013 at 12:55 PM

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more like #gameofthrowns amirite

In ur pocket, disrupting ur mechanics. Bruce Feldman started tweeting pictures of some guy shoving a broom at Devin Gardner and I was like "er?" Turns out one George Whitfield is a famous quarterback-coaching guy. QB Yoda, if you will. The broom is an effort to break a quarterback's mechanics down:

I talked to some front office guys, scouts and coaches, and two AFC East teams did a study of pocket-passing analytics. Both teams found that 60 percent of the time the quarterback had to make some sort of adjustment or escape before getting a throw off. Only 40 percent of the time did he take the designated drop and make a clean attempt at a throw.

If that happens behind millionaire offensive linemen being coached by millionaire coaches in billionaire leagues, you don’t get any higher than that. Two in five plays.

The first thing we do with elementary-aged kids is start them throwing on the run. I don’t care about his three-step drop. You can really improve his football quality of life if you can teach that little guy how to throw on the run.

He's all about the many plays when things don't go quite right and the quarterback has to do something other than make a perfect step-up-and-throw. Gardner still has a tendency to float balls in these situations as he reverts to his wonky high school motion.

Kyle Meinke has a roundup of all the Whitfield-related stuff you may need. He seems to think Gardner is good at football:

Hopefully he'll need less of that than an average quarterback what with Lewan and Schofield keeping him clean.

Gold in them thar hills. Continuing a theme:

Sai Tummala has decided to decline the scholarship offer from Husker Coach Tim Miles and will instead go back home and play for the Arizona State Sun Devils.

Yeah, you vaguely remember Tummala as a guy who walked on at Michigan a couple years ago. He departed for a JUCO, blew up, and was a late signing who apparently had offers from a half-dozen schools including Pitt(!) and BYU(!). John Beilein can pick 'em, man.

In other news, Nebraska's taking a look at a Finnish power forward this weekend. This is now the other half.

I no longer prospect as much though, because the gold nuggets are coming to me. Baumgardner caught up with WI SF/PF Kevon Looney's coach:

"He's definitely interested in Michigan," Looney's AAU coach, Shelby Parrish, told MLive.com. "He likes Michigan's style of play, he likes coach Beilein -- he's very interested in him."

Looney is going to cut down to five and take officials from there. Scout has also been buzzing about potential Elite Camp visits by Devin Booker and Kameron Chatman. All of those guys are in the top 40; Looney is top ten.

UMHoops talked with 2015 C Stephen Zimmerman:

Zimmerman has also been in constant contact with Michigan — he said he’s been speaking with Michigan’s coaching staff about “once or twice a week for the past three weeks.”

“I’ve been talking to them a lot more recently,” Zimmerman said. “They seem like a great coaching staff and everything. It’s a great school.”

Maybe it's the product. Bacon has a different take on the languishing interest from students in showing up for football on time:

Getting mad at your paying customers for not liking your product as much as you think they should, then punishing them for it, is probably not something they teach at Michigan’s Ross School of Business. …

But if the athletic director didn’t ask the students what they thought about the new policy, or why they arrive late or not at all, I have a few hunches.  Because tickets are so expensive now, and games take so long, the current students didn’t go when they were kids – which is when you get hooked on watching the band flying out of the tunnel and the players touching the banner.  No matter how tired or hungover we were in college, we wouldn’t think of missing those moments.

Of course, our habit formed because we knew the game was going to start at 1:05, every Saturday, for years.  Now it could be noon, or 3:30, or 8 – and sometimes they don’t tell you when until a couple weeks before the game.

Why?  TV, of course.  Which is to say, money.

Back then, we also knew Michigan would be playing a solid opponent – every game.  In Bo Schembechler’s 21 seasons, they played 77 games against non-Big Ten teams.  How many were not from major conferences?  Exactly ten.…

When the students can show up for Michigan State, though…

I'm not sure exactly what the problem is, but Bacon is right that the product has lost some of its luster. An annoyingly loud ad is an an annoying loud ad even if it's for renting Michigan Stadium or field hockey; prices are higher; times are random.

It's over. It does not matter that MSU might have a slightly easier schedule than Michigan in the crossover games unless they can beat M and OSU in any given year, but here's a hilarious statement from Mark Hollis:

“You’re gonna have MSU playing frequently in Chicago (against Northwestern),” Spartans athletic director Mark Hollis said this week on “The Drive with Jack” radio show on WVFN 730-AM in Lansing. “Minneapolis is another market that’s important to us. We put all those out there and Jim listened to us."

I wonder why that might be.

Yes please. If Zak Irvin ends up an upgrade over Tim Hardaway it'll be with defense and rebounding—they have similar offensive games. Irvin seems more inclined than Hardaway to be an impact player on the other end of the floor:

He'll fight for minutes with Stauskas, Robinson and sophomore Caris LeVert -- and he'll do it from day one. But, that's not necessarily a bad thing.

"That's a good thing," he said. "Going against each other every day in practice is going to make us that much better. Defense is definitely going to be the difference-maker, though.

"Those of us who can play defense will be on the floor, especially at the end of games."

Coaches love to hear that.

"I'll play where they put me," he added.

He says his best spot is shooting guard, but he'll probably be a SF/PF at M. Not that there's much distinction in the offense.

Of course. Via WTKA's Ira Weintraub, Sirius is allowing you a chance to head out on the road with… POP EVILLLLL. And what better place to take in the second greatest-evil ever allowed into Michigan Stadium than the home of the first?

One winner and a guest will fly to Grand Rapids for a Pop Evil concert at the Orbit Room on May 17th where they will meet the band, then join them on the tour bus that night, heading to Rock on the Range in Columbus, Ohio for Rock on the Range on May 18th and 19th where they will have the chance to get on stage and intro the band! The prize also includes two nights’ stay in Columbus, OH and airfare home.

If you enter and win this, I will give you every MGoPoint that will fit in a 64-bit integer if you intro them as the worst thing to ever happen to Michigan football. This will get a great cheer from the crowd, and may not even be interpreted as an insult by the band.

Huh. Ace points out that in Football Study Hall's F+ rankings of the last few years of the Big Ten, Michigan's 2010 and 2011 offenses are in a dead heat near the top of the rankings:

IhkVD3NlpZSqH725ssG4-v07d3X-1QJopEs1lkvM2y9FOoJR7g7fZUchP38mEDXvJ6KoSOUVoWeIfPtEOa6eijOnbv6ipn1J9jsNQ07QQ8k9Fu7ByMkosPNT[1]

Let the debates about whether Al Borges and Denard Robinson were a good fit rage in perpetuity. The 2011 crew made their hay with a ruthless devastation of OSU and the UTL fluketasm; they were maddeningly erratic, what with the trash tornado game and Iowa under center debacle. The previous year was fairly consistent until the grim end to the season, but never put the spurs to anyone of consequence.

Other notables: it will not surprise you to see the 2008 offense and 2010 defense on the awful lists; Michigan is in fact the only non-Minnesota/Indiana/Northwestern program to feature. Meanwhile, the two year-turnaround from the second-worst offense in the sample to the 4th-best is kind of amazing. Michigan has been the second-best offense in the league the past four years, but (surprise!) lags on defense.

Etc.: Denard is going to ditch Jags minicamp to come back and graduate. Stephen Ross called Jordan Kovacs personally when the Dolphins signed him. The SEC is chattering about nine conference games now. Also they're going to start picking which teams go to which bowls instead of vice versa. Glockner on the ridiculousness of the Lance Thomas thing from every direction. Michigan is going to be huge at WR/TE. Emmert still under fire.

Sonic Survey Results

Sonic Survey Results

Submitted by Brian on October 5th, 2011 at 10:58 AM

After about a week we had just over 3000 responses, 2983 of them male and 120 female. We are all dudes.

Age

  • high school or younger: 16
  • undergraduate: 287
  • 22-34: 1874
  • 34-49: 760
  • over 49: 166

Attendance

  • Student: 283
  • All or almost all games: 659
  • A few games a year: 1173
  • Every once in a while: 920
  • Never: 68

If anyone wants the full dataset it is available as a csv here.

Graphs? Graphs. I had to shorten some of the Qs so they'd fit on the axis.

Piped In Music: If And When

survey-1

survey-2survey-3survey-4

AFTER THE JUMP: DO PEOPLE LIKE POP EVIL OR NOT?

Unverified Voracity Defeats A Virus

Unverified Voracity Defeats A Virus

Submitted by Brian on September 30th, 2011 at 4:27 PM

What was up with Roh. Mike Rothstein has more details on Craig Roh's fall camp malady:

Before Michigan's fall camp started, Craig Roh went back to Arizona and spent time with his family. His brothers had mononucleosis over the summer, but Craig returned to Michigan feeling fine.

Three days into camp that changed. He was tired. By the end of the day, he ended up in bed with the chills.

Was it possible? Could he have contracted it, too?

He didn't know. What he did know, his father, Fred, said, is he was in bed and uncomfortably sick. The next day, Craig woke up with fever of 102 degrees. He went to the doctor searching for answers, and received antibiotics. Doctors had diagnosed him not with mono but a respiratory infection.

He skipped one day of practice and began to feel a little better. Cleared by doctors, even though his energy level wasn't at 100 percent, Roh returned to practice of his own volition. The sickness, though, had done its damage.

Coaches started dogging him, Roh got down on himself when he didn't play that well the first couple games, but he had his epiphany and now he's picked it back up. Hopefully we see him hit the level of performance everyone was projecting before the season.

Hatchdate. Austin Hatch is a few days away from returning home:

Per Caterbury HS head coach (and close friend) Dan Kline… Michigan recruit Austin Hatch will come home Oct. 9. Kline said rehab went amazing.

FCOA costs. The Bylaw Blog breaks down the full cost for full cost of attendance scholarships:

Q: How much would it cost?

Because the proposal covers all sports, cost depends on how many sports an institution sponsors. Stanford’s associate AD of business strategy and revenue enhancement estimated it would cost the school $750,000. Stanford runs the largest athletic department in the country, so that number might be considered to be something of a maximum.

To figure out a rough estimate of cost, we need to figure out the average athletic department. The NCAA’s membership report has the average number of men’s and women’s sports sponsored by FBS, FCS, and non-football institutions. The NCAA’s sport sponsorship and participation report lists which sports are sponsored by the most institutions. So combining the two, we can figure out an “average” athletic department and estimate the costs based on scholarship limits. And those costs are:

  • FBS: $504,400
  • FCS: $436,400
  • Non-Football: $282,400

Obvious in those figures is the effect of football. An FBS football team can expect an increased scholarship bill of up to $170,000 while an FCS program should set aside $126,000. The range for athletic departments that fully fund all their teams would probably be somewhere between $200,000 and $750,000.

Good by me; any schools sponsoring sports can hack a small amount out of administrative and coaching salaries to cover that. And if you can't, the rule is conference-based. Not everyone will have to adopt it. Those that do will have to do it for all athletes.

This won't have much of an impact for Michigan's bottom line or recruiting prospects in major sports since everyone they're recruiting against will immediately adopt the FCOA proposal. It will help a bit in hockey, especially if schools in the NCHC can't make that decision without making it for their entire athletic department. Is the MAC going FCOA? What about whatever conferences North Dakota and UMD are in?

BONUS: The Bylaw Blog shares my skepticism that the four-year scholarship proposal is anything more than window dressing unless the same restrictions on revoking scholarships mid-year are applied for the period.

Break even? I what aah? The Mathlete's numbers on the Hoke fourth and two:

Brian is in love with it, but how much was it worth? Punt from 48 gets to the 17. Team down 14 with the ball around the 17 with 2-3 minutes left in the first half win about 8.0% of the time. A successful conversion gives Michigan a 93.2% chance of victory where a failed attempt drops your chances to 88.2%. To break even, Michigan would need to have a confidence that they had about a 75% chance of conversion. National average on 3rd and 2 is about 58.5%. Michigan has been a top 25 level 3rd and short team so the decision was probably about a break even if you account for Michigan’s offense.

This case is a bit closer than I expected, but if you believe our offense was bound to score, which it obviously did, a 21 point half time lead is good for a 97.1% chance of victory. Even if Michigan can get a field goal and run out the clock, an average conversion rate makes the decision break even

If this seems like a weird result given the other Mathlete chart…

punt-tebow

…it is an effect of being up 14-0. If the score was tied the win percentage effect would be a landslide in favor of going for it. If you're measuring by projected margin in the final score it's a large +EV decision, but if all you care about is having one more point than the other team it's about break-even for average teams going up against each other. At the time it seemed like the defense could fall apart at any time, which still swings the decision to an easy go-for-it to me.

You need to get another MBA. Angelique Chengelis put up a story on In The Big House, which everyone hates, that included this quote from our new Chief Marketing Officer:

"It's gaining traction," Lochmann said. "We know there are people who love it and some people who hate it, but our core customers — the players — they want to hear it."

This sentence displays a lack of knowledge about public relations, marketing, economics, taste, and common sense. The "core customers" are your customers, who hate In The Big House.

Meanwhile, the Defilement is hinted at further in a caption:

“We’d love to get into the Big House and play it,” says Pop Evil lead vocalist Leigh Kakaty, who grew up in Grand Rapids.

Let's murder our brand for WWE entrance music.

pop-evil-grooms-dogs

Yay. This debacle will go down as Dave Brandon's halo.

More Trouba. Local hockey expert Jim Lahey on Michigan's newest commit:

Trouba is a total package defenceman with elite ability. Looked like a man among boys in AAA, and that pretty much continues in the USHL. Has excellent size, will probably grow an inch or so and end up somewhere in the range of 6'2 215lbs as a pro.

Trouba makes a clean, smart first pass out of his zone and plays with perfect position on breakouts. Stays calm, never panics, and consistently loses the forechecker completely behind the net to create odd man rushes. This won't happen at the next level as often, but he shows the poise needed to create good breakouts at the next level.

Takes care of his own end, does not allow himself to get pushed around in front of or behind the net. Superb zone awareness.

And the United States of Hockey:

Jacob Trouba already has four assists on the young season. The recent University of Michigan commit is going to do very well against USHL competition thanks to his tremendous strength and toughness. The big test will come against the college teams where there’s going to be less time and space, forcing Trouba to make quicker decisions. The first major test for Trouba and his teammates comes right away as the U18s will take on Trouba’s future school Monday at Yost. The fellas from The Pipeline Show caught up with Trouba about his recent college commitment and the way he plays.

Another note on Trouba: TPS brought up that some have compared Trouba to former NTDP defenseman and current Anaheim Duck Cam Fowler. If you know me, you know I hate comparison scouting reports. While it may give people a basic picture of what a player might play like, they are often taken as gospel by those that read it and that’s pretty unfair to the prospect.

Trouba and Fowler are similar in these ways: They are American, played at the NTDP, are good offensive defensemen. That’s it. Trouba plays with an edge and brings an important physical element to his game. He has good offensive instincts and a powerful shot. Fowler is a heady defenseman that makes plays with his skills, defends with good positioning and is a pure puck mover. I’ve seen both play multiple times and I just don’t get the comparison. Jacob Trouba plays like Jacob Trouba. /dismount soap box.

Is it just me or does Michigan have a much better track record of reeling in elite, top-ten-pick defensemen than forwards? Michigan's last top ten pick at forward was Eric Nystrom, and even at the time people thought that was a huge reach. Trouba, JMFJ, and Mike Komisarek were all top ten picks.

Etc.: Hockey exhibition preview from somewhere in Canada mostly notable for naming the opponent the "UOIT Ridgebacks." We have declared Minesota a "Maize Out." RIP Maize Outs. Holdin' the Rope takes stock a third of the way through the season.

Unverified Voracity Braces for Rawk

Unverified Voracity Braces for Rawk

Submitted by Brian on September 29th, 2011 at 12:50 PM

They are coming. Hide the mascara. I'm still waiting for the last few survey responses to roll in but, man, people hate In The Big House. This may be an effect of this blog's readership but with the vast bulk of the responses coming from the 22-34 range I'm guessing the results would not be good amongst the much older general population.

So, like, what to do about this?

image

That is a show at the Blind Pig the day before the Nebraska game in November. If this is a prelude to these guys showing up inside Michigan Stadium I think my head might explode. The only consolation would the groomers getting an Ashlee Simpson reception.

HIRE THESE PEOPLE NOW. So. We have the dog groomers above inflicting their terrible garbage on Michigan Stadium, and then there's Minnesota. Land of misery and no money and people who know what they're doing when it comes to internet videos that transcend irony. Go ahead, watch this with your jaundiced eye. You'll give up your cynicism about 30 seconds in when Goldy Gopher spins his head 360 degrees:

So… I'm just saying… we should fire the entire marketing department and replace them with whoever did that. This is in no way a joke.

GODDAMMIT AGE OF IRONY. I can't even say "this is in no way a joke" without it seeming like an ironic joke. It is not.

Good times. News that the God Hates Figs lunatics will be picketing Ohio State brings back nostalgia for that one time when I was an undergraduate and they hit up Michigan for some fake outrage or another. Tactical error: holding up "M = figs" signs while wearing Kansas City Chiefs jackets. At the time, KC's quarterback was Elvis Grbac and #1 WR Derrick Alexander. A fig to fig connection, as it were, which we loudly let them know about.

Unfortunately for OSU fans, the only Buckeye on the Chiefs' roster is backup DB Donald Washington, so they'll have to come up with something else. Just pretend they're Michigan fans and you'll do fine.

Speaking of. This popped up on the tubes recently. It is an anti-anti-gay PSA that you, the wine-and-cheese-consuming Michigan fan, will be hectored with at some point in the near future:

So that's settled then. No one is ever going to say something inappropriate again. This is all your fault, double-bird guy.

Hey, good point. Taylor Lewan hasn't had a false start/holding meltdown yet, so that's cool:

This year, that has been a point of emphasis. The result?

Zero penalties through four games.

"I'm due, aren't I?" Lewan said, laughing. "I've definitely noticed that. I've been very cautious about penalties. I'm not ever going to let up, just got to be smart. Got to be a smarter player."

What's more, Lewan hasn't even been close to a holding penalty that I've seen. He's been a dominant run blocker and hasn't picked up a pass minus. He's a third of the way to All Big Ten.

You have a Nard dog? Wait, what?

That's our Nard Dog. Thomas Nardo, Iowa's newfound starter at defensive tackle and owner of the porn-iest name in the starting lineup with Shane DiBona on the sidelines, was named the Big Ten's Defensive Player of the Week for his efforts against Louisiana-Monroe on Saturday.  Nardo had himself a pretty monster day for a defensive tackle: 12 tackles, 2.0 TFL, and 0.5 sacks.  He doesn't do much to help our problems keeping contain on the outside, but he's exactly the sort of plugger we need to keep from getting gashed up the middle.

This aggression will not stand, Iowa. There can only be one Nard Dog. Shotguns at noon on November fifth to settle it.

More relevantly: this Nardo kid is a fifth-year senior walk-on (sounds familiar) who "won't make anyone forget" a half-dozen Iowa DTs of the recent past but is offering "solidity to an Iowa defensive line that was looking woefully porous earlier in the year." Which… whoah. Iowa suddenly has Michigan's defensive personnel?

Apparently they also have a bomber already on par with Stanzi, so don't chalk that win up just yet. Not that any Michigan fan is chalking up a win against a Big Ten team not named Minnesota.

Stick, baby. Fresh hockey commitment Jacob Trouba is a big deal, like top-half-of-the-first round big deal, and unfortunately these days that means his commitment will be questioned until he shows up on campus. He's even been drafted by one of the more convincing OHL programs, and by "more convincing" I mean "freer with under the table payments."

Anyway. Through no fault of his own, Trouba has the profile of a flight risk. Therefore he gets to answer questions about it whenever he's interviewed. An example:

I asked if Michigan fans have a reason to feel confident that they would see him wearing Maize and Blue next year.

"Yeah they do, I'm a Michigan Wolverine," he stated, "That's why I wanted to wait this long; just so I knew, I didn't want my mind to change over a year and I really wanted to know what I wanted to do next year. I wanted to wait because I didn't want to back out on any decisions, I wanted to stick with my word. I waited until I was sure with what I wanted to do."

Example two. Example three.

Prominent CHL defections usually occur because the player in question is tired of cooling his heels in a lesser league, especially Canadian Junior B. (FWIW, AHL equivalencies imply the USHL is not much worse than the CHL, if it is at all anymore.) Once a kid is locked into his final year before he'd be in college he's usually set. John Gibson is a prominent exception to that, but he was staring down a platoon (at best) with Tiny Jesus. Trouba has no such concerns since he'll probably slot right into the top pairing a la Merrill, and he's got no reason to make a college commitment after he's already been drafted by one of the league's Lane Kiffins.

So… I don't think he'll bolt. If he sticks he makes Michigan's 2012 class pretty impressive. F Boo Nieves is frequently projected as a late first-rounder. D Michael Downing was the third pick of the USHL Futures Draft and was the captain of the U17 5 Nations team. D Connor Carrick is on the NTDP and Michigan took him pretty early. Still need a goalie. Who wants to play behind Trouba? Bueller?

BONUS: While w'ere talking hockey, Michigan Hockey Net and local MGoUser Yesman221 have season previews. (Yesman is a a bit conservative with freshman deployment, FWIW.) There won't be one forthcoming from me due to football season, but Ace might have an official one.

Full cost, sort of. It sounds like the NCAA will bump scholarship awards:

A committee weighing a number of potential changes is expected to recommend that the value of individual scholarships be raised by as much as $2,000 in the top-tier Division I, moving them closer to covering the athletes' full cost of attending school. Full grants currently cover only room, board, books and tuition.

The proposal covers the gap between "full cost of attendance" and the current scholarships as long as that is less than 2k. A step in the right direction. There's also a push to allow multi-year scholarship awards, except it's apparently a push to better market the current system:

Multi-year scholarships also are seen as an athlete-welfare issue, and Swarbrick said his committee favors that proposal even though it might not bring athletes the security many expect.

"The process for nonrenewal of an annual grant probably would look just like the process for terminating a four-year grant," he told ADs. "… But we did think the statement that would be made about our commitment to student-athletes was worth doing and made this a change worth pursuing."

So… he'd like to make a statement about committing to student athletes without actually committing to student athletes. The NCAA has always been at war with the English language.

Etc.: Why Wisconsin is a parasite. Via EDSBS, Les Miles's head on wrestler's bodies. The Octonion dissolves. Hipsters and Denard Robinson.

The Poseidon Adventure Begins

The Poseidon Adventure Begins

Submitted by Brian on September 5th, 2011 at 10:55 AM

9/3/2011 – Michigan 34, Western Michigan 10 – 0.75-0

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Melanie Maxwell / AnnArbor.com

Q: What is awesome about the above photograph?

A: Brady Hoke's Joe Paterno impression. Look, ma, no headset.

On a day that lacked much in the way of emotional import—Brock Mealer did not touch the banner, Denard Robinson did not introduce himself by plunging from the heavens, mostly I felt hot or wet—the thing to do was read too much into the future of Michigan football based on little. We're going on even less than the rest of college football is after their opening-weekend bludgeonings since Mother Nature and inflexible regulation prevented a full game from being played. Things are fuzzy.

They'll remain that way for most of the season. Hell, they'll remain that way until Michigan's OL/DL depth chart crisis passes in two to three years. But I got the things I wanted the most, the things I spent large sections of the offseason hoping for, arguing would be true, or declaring to be the only sane thing a sane person could do.

Those were:

BRADY HOKE IS NOT RICH RODRIGUEZ IN RE: COORDINATOR MEDDLING

Rodriguez's problem was never his selection of defensive coordinators, it was his refusal to trust them to do their jobs. The thing about Hoke is this: he does. At SDSU he hired Rocky Long to run a 3-3-5; Rocky Long ran a 3-3-5, and it was pretty good, and now he's the head coach. He hired Al Borges to run a passing-oriented West Coast offense; Borges ran a passing-oriented West Coast offense that wasn't quite as good as Michigan's in FEI's eyes but was still top 20. If he "gets" anything it's that he's a former defensive lineman with a narrowly defined set of assets that does not include being a genius of any variety—he's never been a coordinator. So he's hired two guys with very long, very successful resumes to do that stuff for him.

PRO STYLE IS INSANE STYLE

Switching to an actual pro-style offense would be doing exactly what Michigan did last year when it installed the 3-3-5 despite the total unsuitability of its personnel for the scheme.

DON'T FRIGGIN TOUCH ANYTHING OR I'LL CUT YOU

denard-shotgundenard-shotgundenard-shotgun

MOAR SHOTGUN PLZ

Check, check, good enough. Michigan was 70% shotgun.

The offseason was spent exploring the a disconnect between Brady Hoke's words and his teams' actions. The fear was that This being Michigan, for God's sake, would change his attitude from "whatever works" to "the expectation is for the position." That latter was the infamous Carr-era slogan that symbolized a stubborn adherence to out-executing the opposition. It led to things like a thousand Mike Hart zone stretches where he made four yards only after dodging guys in the backfield. I really, really did not want to go back to the days when Michigan's running plays could be described as "left" or "right."

Brady Hoke's words said the first play Saturday would be power; Brady Hoke's team ran the QB stretch that was amongst the most frequent playcalls a year ago. As the game progressed it was clear there had been quite a few modifications. It was also clear that there was enough of the Denard offense in there to go to it when Michigan needs to.

This would have been obvious to all if Denard hadn't chucked a QB Oh Noes well behind Drew Dileo on Michigan's final touchdown drive. If that's accurate Dileo scores on a play eerily similar to those of last year and everyone except Craig James is talking about how different the offense isn't.

That's good right now, and better down the road. It's been a long time since Michigan fans could say their head coach hired the best people for the job and let them get on with it.

Non-Bullets Not About Football

Brady Hoke knew this would happen. On the way back to the locker room his team speared themselves some dinner.

hoke-trident

Increment the Grimsrud meter. Last year when Michigan decided that terrorists were likely to explode the stadium with sealed, clear bottles of water, everyone complained until David Brandon rolled his eyes and offered the plebes a freebie for the opener because it was hot.

On Saturday it was ninety degrees and you could buy a not-even-cold bottle of water for four bucks, get a complimentary three-ounce dixie cup, or hit up the Absopure stations. At least until they ran out:

Connor Dean, a Michigan student working at one of the Absopure Hydration stations at the stadium, said his station had exhausted nearly its entire 450-gallon supply of water by halftime.

Dean said a hydration station would typically go through about 225 gallons of water for an entire game. “This is crazy for a normal game,” Dean said.

The athletic department got lucky as hell that the skies opened up shortly afterwards. Even as it was the number of people conking out because of the heat overwhelmed Huron Valley Ambulance:

With temperatures on the field reportedly reaching 120 degrees, the heat overwhelmed fans at Michigan Stadium. Huron Valley Ambulance says the high number of heat-related cases it handled caused it to call for backup from the Ann Arbor Fire Department.

HVA officials said a count of the number of fans who've been treated for heat-related concerns would not be available until later Saturday, and they were too busy to provide even an estimate.

"It's extremely busy at Michigan Stadium,'' said Terry Pappas, communications supervisor for HVA. "We have multiple heat-related incidents and the Ann Arbor Fire Department is helping.''

If it's really about safety, the Absopure stations should be handing out 25-ounce bottles of water that cost ten cents instead of providing little cups you have to wait for and can't get back to your seats effectively.  The athletic department's horseshit doublespeak about safety and convenience increased those issues so they could hawk some extra bottles of water. They're using 9/11 as cover. That's appalling.

Apparently posting We Are ND was the right idea for the wrong reasons. We have officially Freekbass'd ourselves, as the Dog Groomers' song was played three times to amaze and delight people who would rather hear these guys…

the-dog-groomers

we are… DOG GROOMERS
we will… SHAVE YOUR DOG'S HAIR INTO A PLEASING SHAPE
also we have a band!

…than the Michigan Marching Band.

We're worse. While they've got a rapping hobbit, We Are ND was an internet-only phenomenon quickly clarified as a student project. It aired once at some banquet or something. We're playing music from The Best of Hot Topic in the stadium. This is the inevitable result when middle-aged middle-managers from Middle America try to be cool: massive failure.

What was so bad about a guy in the band beating out a steady rhythm as the crowd chants "Let's Go Blue"? Why does "This is Michigan, for God's sake" apply to running power off-tackle but not keeping the stadium atmosphere intact? Is there someone in the athletic department who really wishes he was running a regional arena in Charlotte, NC, with an ECHL team and regular WWE visits? Why does the guy on the left still look like an accountant? Who is the guy on the right kidding? Is the bald guy in the middle just photobombing this shot? I fear these questions are unanswerable.

In the spirit of ND Nation banning "Michigan sucks" posts, I will end taunting ND about We Are ND until piped in music is excised from the stadium. We are We Are ND 

Meanwhile, our band is metal. Western's band said "screw this" and showed up in white T-shirts and shorts so they wouldn't die. Ten of them still had to be treated for heat issues. Michigan's band roared out of the tunnel in full dark-blue regalia; while we don't have casualty numbers for them the mere fact that none of them died before completing the anthem is metal. One firehorse for the band.

image

Analogy to mandatory minimum sentencing goes here. The NCAA's CYA guideline about lightning strikes was the reason Michigan couldn't finish (or all but finish) yesterday's game. The sun had already come out by the time the teams finished getting off the field for the first delay, and that was the reason there was more than a few minutes left on the clock when the seriously dangerous storm rolled in.

Anyone looking at the weather radar could tell you that by the time they delayed the game it was perfectly safe, but lawsuit avoidance rules everything around me, and thus we get a silly abbreviated game that makes the value proposition of a 70 dollar ticket to watch Western Michigan play even dodgier. Boo.

Argh. So last year I'd get to my seat and tweet personnel stuff I noticed in warmups. This year I did the same and just got a bunch of replies that can be summarized as "duh." This is because the U announced suspensions/unavailability an hour before the game. Next time it would be nice if M could do that earlier or not at all. kthxbye.

Non-Bullets About Football

Depth chart/practice rumor updates. The offense was as expected. Brandon Moore got some time as the second TE, which is good.

On defense, Frank Clark had gotten hyped up this fall but it was Brennen Beyer who got a ton of time as a rush end. His main contribution was opening a few cutback lanes for Western. Also infrequently seen: Brink and Heininger. I'm guessing that's an artifact of playing a passing spread… but we'll see a passing spread next week. I'm hoping the massive substitutions were because of the weather and that RVB/Martin/Roh will get way more time against ND. Herron was a surprise starter at WLB and Avery started opposite Woolfolk.

I received a bunch of tweets predicting Carvin Johnson would not score well in UFR, and then he was replaced by Marvin Robinson. Will be interesting to see if that works out.

So weird in so many ways. The game would have been short even if it was long, if you know what I mean. There were all of two drives in the first quarter and Brandon Herron robbed Michigan's offense of two opportunities. As a result the offense only had five and a half drives to work with. They scored 3.5 touchdowns and went three and out twice.

Short term prognosis: grimmer? Less grim? We'll have to see what the UFR looks like but Western went up and down the field against Michigan in a manner reminiscent of everyone against last year's D… and scored ten points. Michigan forced two turnovers with QB pressure and held the best quarterback in the state to 5.9 YPA.

Hack out the Kovacs sacks and WMU averaged 4.9 YPC, which is not good when you're playing a MAC team with two fresh JUCO transfer backups at guard. Also hoping that's a result of the heavy rotation.

The offense had those three and outs, and because of the weird nature of the game that was enough for their output to seem somewhat worrying. They did give the impression they were about to blow the doors off when the game got called, having just blown down the field in three plays and moved the ball into the Western half of the field when the game was called.

Pressure existed. When Mattison figured out rushing four wasn't getting home he turned things around by blitzing like mad. One series late in the first half saw him go cover zero three straight times. On each play a Michigan player would tear up the middle unblocked, forcing Carder to chuck it off his back foot. JT Floyd made a play on the first; the second two were hypothetically open but Carder couldn't get it right because he was busy eating someone's facemask.

Hurray lack of GERG.

Running backs. Toussaint's getting good reviews everywhere and it'll be no different here. To me his most exciting moment was an eight-yard run late when he was cutting behind the backside tackle. He momentarily looked like he'd head inside of Lewan, sucking the linebacker inside, then burst back behind him to pick up good yardage. That was a "whoah, he can do that?" moment reminiscent of his high school film.

My only complaint is that on his long run he tried to truck the safety instead of angling away from him and probably cost himself 10 more yards. That mentality is helpful when he's running up the middle, maybe.

Kovacs preview 2012 preview. There is a 100% chance this is one of the images used for Kovacs next year:

jordan-kovacs-murders

Via David Guralink @ the News. Also here is Alex Carderp and Taylor Lewan making nice with his second most hated enemy: referees.

Things I miss. A couple tactical decisions that seem suboptimal:

  • The spread punt. I thought it was remarkably effective at holding down return yardage because it gave you six gunners instead of two. When Michigan punted, if the returner got past the first two guys he had 15 yards before the next wave showed up. The only disadvantage is the near-impossibility of faking from it.
  • No huddle offense. I liked the concept of tempo as something you were capable of shifting on a regular basis, and it seemed like a good idea to remove the burden of calling audibles from the quarterback.

This is not an endorsement of Rich Rodriguez. Hoke uber alles.

COUCHDATE! Alex Carder, pictured above, just turned the ball over three times and averaged a terrible 5.9 YPA—more than a yard less than the national average—against last year's #108 defense. What do you think this means, Graham Couch?

This weekend — considering the performances of Carder, Denard Robinson and Kirk Cousins — in everyone's eyes, it should be a viable argument, even if not a certain one.

… Even though I truly believe Carder is the best college QB in the state, this column was an interesting social experiment alone, though it wasn't intended to be. … the argument against Carder by so many who had barely heard of him — and the manner in which they argued — was absurd.

It was an interesting social experiment: can a beat writer actually get criticized for being an embarrassing homer by a fan of the team he's covering? Survey says:

As a Western alum living 2k miles away, I really wish the Broncos had a better beat writer.

Sorry GC but I hate your style and you come off as a whiny, rambling, non-objective homer. I can appreciate the passion you have for defending our boys but just put the shovel down because you're digging a deeper hole for yourself. Just stick to the facts and give us information about our teams. You lose all credibility and professionalism as soon as you try to sell the reader your opinions.

Circle gets the square. /gameshow'd

Elsewhere

Slideshows from AnnArbor.com, MNB Nation, MNB Nation again, and the Detroit News. "Michigan Rewind" for WMU.

AnnArbor.com surveys the changes at the golf course and find people are happier this year but still a little peeved that there had to be any changes at all.

MVictors and John Kryk find previous times when Michigan games have ended before full time. They're mostly from the days when you could accidentally play a 23-minute third quarter before anyone noticed. Greg also explores whether or not Brandon Herron's interception return TD was the longest in Michigan history or if Tom Harmon has him beat.

Shooting Blue returns with a long gameday review. Pop Evil "could only be worse" if the lead singer clubbed seals while Godwinning himself. Maize and Go Blue hit up Oklahoma this weekend and returns with a trip report.

Column type things: Wojo references the "numbingly familiar" defense. Get Rid of the Seaward is enjoy its first Michigan season in a while with normal LDH levels, which means cancer remission. Denard on Toussaint. Maize And Go Blue recaps the game. Holdin' the Rope:

As the rain fell and Brady Hoke patrolled the field as if he'd been around for a while already, as if it was undeniably his field and his program and not one that had just been handed to him only 8 months ago, it was hard not to come away with certain vague feelings of goodness, that something that was more good than bad had just transpired, a feeling of warmth that may or may not be ephemeral. The Era of Good Feelings continues. James Monroe's got nothing on Brady Hoke.

Aaaaaand the Hoover Street Rag "writes under the influence of muscle relaxers and pain killers."

More bullets can be found at TTB

Apparently it doesn't matter who coaches the special teams, whether it's an offensive or defensive guy, etc.  Some Michigan fans hated that defensive backs coach Tony Gibson was in charge of special teams because he was one of only four defensive coaches under Rodriguez.  Now an offensive guy (tight ends coach Dan Ferrigno) is coaching special teams, and they're still bad.  Kick returner Kelvin Grady doesn't look like anything special and made a bad decision to leave the endzone.  Brendan Gibbons had a low extra point attempt blocked.  Western Michigan averaged 31 yards per kickoff return and consistently had excellent field position.

and The Wolverine Blog.

And if you're looking for a few bullets on Michigan State, A Beautiful Day For Football provides. Sounds like that OL is going to be a problem. Also Minnesota and Northwestern had meaningful outings—Heiko will debut a weekly thing covering opponents tomorrow.