Preview: Minnesota 2012

Preview: Minnesota 2012

Submitted by Brian on November 2nd, 2012 at 12:25 PM

Previously here: Ace FFFF!


WHAT Michigan vs Minnesota
WHERE Gopher Stadium
Minneapolis, MN
WHEN 12:00 PM Eastern
November 3rd, 2012
THE LINE Michigan –11.5
WEATHER partly cloudy, dry, around 40

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Run Offense vs Minnesota


ra'shede hageman is the best defensive lineman in the history of the big ten, it's just the guys around him who are completely terrible at all things

After years in which it seemed any offense helmed by Denard Robinson would be pretty all right in this category, Michigan is suddenly thrown into a state of higgledy-piggledy by Denard's elbow injury and mass confusion on the part of any Michigan player tasked with obstructing the progress of an opponent. Will Denard be healthy? Was there a mass hallucination induced by helium poisoning last week? If Denard's not healthy will Michigan just say "screw it" and roll with Devin Gardner?

I know the answers to all these questions with unerring certainty but refuse to tell you. You should have been nicer to cats as a child.

The good news is that Minnesota's defense remains as porous as it has invariably been since Glen Mason got the boot for not making the Gophers respectable enough. Behold their Big Ten schedule:

Opponent Att Yds TD YPC
Iowa 24 185 2 7.7
Northwestern 33 210 3 6.4
Wisconsin 52 357 5 6.9
Purdue 31 201 0 6.5

Nebraska at least had some blips of competence in there. Minnesota has none whatsoever, except I guess very dead walrus that is Purdue football at the moment probably racked up a lot of those yards after they'd fallen behind 44-7. Even so, in four tries against Big Ten competition they haven't even come close to getting their opponents under six yards a carry. If Michigan can't run the ball on these guys, Denard or no, it's sackcloth and ashes time.

We may see a revival of the old-timey plain old zone read in this game. The inverted veer is a great play that tends to give the QB the ball. The old-time zone read is at this point a well-defended play that tends to give the RB the ball. Michigan's desires are clear .

The nice thing about the zone read with Denard is that even if you're not running the guy you're still using him since the defense has to account for him. A low chance of a Denard keep is still something you have to respect. Unfortunately, Michigan hasn't been running the true zone read in a long time. For whatever reason they prefer to block the backside end and then do something else with the threat of the QB running—often nothing.

In this game, helping the run offense along with the threat of Denard on the outside is a good idea, and if they cheat then you can use one of your roll-the-dice Denard carries on the guy in a lot of space. Most of these don't even have to be reads. Just run the ball, but use Denard's legs to block someone. It's more reliable than asking your OL to, amirite?

Key Matchup: Michigan blockers attempting to block the correct people versus Minnesota defenders managing to stay between the white lines most of the time. I'm betting on the former.

[Hit THE JUMP for freshman, come out to play]

Unverified Voracity In The Community

Unverified Voracity In The Community

Submitted by Brian on October 26th, 2012 at 3:56 PM


midnight maize

Predictorama. Everyone predicts Nebraska-Michigan:

  • Athlon: M 31-27: "This matchup is relatively even, but a slight edge goes to Michigan. Taylor Martinez and his receivers will test the Wolverines’ secondary, but Nebraska’s defense will struggle to stop Denard Robinson. Expect Michigan’s defense to make one play late in the game that seals the victory for the Wolverines." [NO PRESSURE GREG]
  • BWS: Martinez will complete more deep, downfield throws in this game than Michigan has allowed all season, but none of them go for touchdowns; they're heaves to wide receivers who can out-leap and out-muscle Michigan's corners. However, Michigan holds Nebraska to near 150 yards rushing. It's boom-or-bust for Nebraska's offense. Michigan finally gets a good kick/punt return. Nebraska rallies late but Michigan clutches to the win. Michigan 27 - Nebraska 24
  • Maize and Brew: Ultimately I think both offenses find some success running the ball, but there are a lot of stalled drives that go 40-50 yards and end in that awkward no-mans-land between "why are you punting" and "why didn't you punt". How the teams approach these situations and who has the most luck on X-and-short will ultimately decide the game. When it comes to this, I like Michigan's odds. Michigan 30 - Nebraska 27
  • Holdin' the Rope features Who Are You And Why Do You Care?: Prediction based on everything but football: Nebraska 21 - Michigan 17.
  • M&GB: While Nebraska will score some points, Michigan’s offense should be able to move the ball with relative ease. The offensive line will get enough push against an overmatched front seven and pave the way for a big day on the ground. The ‘Huskers have done a good job this season of matching up with opposing receivers, so look for another big day from tight end Devin Funchess as well when Denard does need to pass. Michigan 42 – Nebraska 24. [ed: yow]

The MZone also has their Know Your Foe series featuring Nebraska mascots past:


I'm surprised the entire state isn't a raving insomniac mess after that business and Li'l Red.

All of us are Purdue. Don't ask me to explain.

I award Jerry Kill the Award for Most Walrus-Looking.


in the communnnity

hmmm. Post idea.

Ryan profile. Via Mike Rothstein comes an extended look at Ryan the Barbarian. In retrospect, this was obvious:

Jake noticed that several kids had stuffed animals they had won in an arcade game in the lobby. He put his arm up the drop portal -- the one the toys usually popped out of -- in an attempt to circumvent the system and grab a stuffed animal.

"The guy had to use the butter from the popcorn machine, rub all over his hands, way up there, to get it out," Susan said. "He was stuck up there for a while."

And thus began Michigan's unique strategy of scouting claw machines across the Midwest, offering anyone with their arm stuck up one.

Hyman profile. This from the Daily:

On the way back from Boston, with Boston University the clear leader in the clubhouse, the Hymans detoured to Ann Arbor for a stop.

It would be their last.

Zach and Spencer sat across from Red Berenson in the coach’s office, while Berenson laid out why they should be Wolverines. It didn’t take long.

“Ten minutes into Michigan, we had completely forgotten about every other school,” Spencer said. “It was over. Zach and I were sitting in the (Ross Academic Center) and we looked at each other and it was like, ‘Yeah, we’re going to Michigan.’ ”

Big test tonight for that surging fourth line.

Check on the blocking. Press conference regurgitating here but let's bring that out from behind a jump to confirm that, yeah, Joe Kerridge is in the process of Wally Pipping one Stephen Hopkins:

“I think Joe’s had a pretty daggone good stretch here," coach Brady Hoke said Wednesday. "He’s practiced well. You look at the iso’s and some of the things that he’s doing in practice, and then when he gets out there on the field. That’s a big part of it.”

Hopkins became the starting fullback midway through last season when then-starter John McColgan suffered an injury. He started every game at fullback until sustaining the hamstring injury before the UMass game in Week 3.

Now, it appears he's out of a job.

Brandon Moore isn't playing much after returning from injury either, but I don't think many people are surprised about that.

See no evil no longer works. The NCAA is set to adopt the long-in-the-making penalty revamp that will finally make head coaches responsible for their assistants breaking NCAA rules:

"It's a tougher penalty structure, there's no doubt about it," Southern California athletic director Pat Haden said in an interview conducted prior to USA TODAYSports' acquisition of the document. "The point is, for head coaches -- and this goes for any sport -- you have this responsibility. You need to be constantly vigilant and you need to be constantly coaching your coaches about how important it is to play by the rules." …

Head coaches can avoid penalties for violations committed by their staff if they can document vigilance about potential red flags. For example, the document states that a head coach should ask about how unofficial visits are paid for and advises head coaches to ask their assistants if they suspect a third party or handler is involved in the recruitment.

The rules are supposed to go into effect Tuesday; hopefully they'll have some impact. Always tough to tell.

Puck drop tonight. The CCHA's parting gift to Michigan starts this weekend as what might be the conference series of the year will see the Saturday game bereft since it's on at the same time Nebraska-Michigan is. The athletic department is selling half-price tickets to both games this weekend, which says something about where Yost attendance is when you can't even sell out a 7:35 Friday game against Miami.

Whether Yost is present or not, they'll drop the puck. MHN on the Redhawks:

Miami is led offensively by a strong group of underclassmen.  Five of their top six scorers are a freshman and sophomores.  Sophomores Blake Coleman (4-1-5 in 4gp), Austin Czarnik (2-3-5 in 4gp), and freshman Riley Barber (3-2-5 in 4gp) are all tied for the team scoring lead.

Like the Wolverines, the RedHawks welcome a pair of freshmen in the crease who have split playing time.  Freshman Jay Williams is 2-0-0 with a 1.94 GAA and .915 save percentage.  Fellow classmate Ryan McKay is 1-0-1 with a 0.48 GAA and .984 save percentage.

After two weekends in which the play on the ice was dominating against lower-level competition this is an acid test. Racine will get the start for M.

BONUS: The only word we'd had on Michigan's nonconference scheduling after the move to the Big Ten was something Red tossed off about having little desire to continue "so-called rivalries" against Miami and Notre Dame, which was disappointing. Red seems to have reversed his opinion somewhat, though:

Berenson said on Inside Michigan Hockey this week that Miami is interested in scheduling non-conference games after the CCHA disbands.

I'm guessing scheduling ND is out of the question after they ended the football series in the most dickish way possible.

I'm nervous that Michigan's going to run out 14 games against Bentley next year. Any indication they're not is welcome.

Meanwhile, here's my contractually obligated reminder that the Michigan schools and a guest—probably Bowling Green—should ditch the GLI for a State of Michigan Championship that would be awesome. The trophy could be a mitten the size of a man the winning captain has to put on. Yeah.

Squash. It was known at the time that Rick Pitino was theees close to becoming Michigan's basketball coach a while back when the Amaker hire was made, and good Lord what—

“The day that I committed to Louisville, I signed an agreement to be the next head coach of Michigan and I was fired up to be the coach at Michigan," Pitino said. "The athletic director at the time, who’s no longer there (Bill Martin), was playing squash and my wife came up, she just didn’t want me to go to the west coast, UNLV, and be away from the children. She agreed, okay let’s go to Michigan."

She eventually convinced him to change his mind, and due to one of Martin's squash matches, Pitino informed Michigan of his decision via voicemail.

"I tried to call the A.D. at Michigan between 12 and 1," he recalled. "I had a false name. I would give him a fake name and he would call me back. I couldn’t get a hold of him because he was playing squash. The secretary said he demands that he doesn’t get interrupted unless it’s an emergency and if you want you can leave a voicemail.

"I left a voicemail and went to Louisville and I’m really happy I did."

What qualifies as an emergency to Athletic Director Bill Martin?

  • 50% off sale at Squash Unlimited
  • Opportunity to hire nice man who wears turtlenecks but has no coaching acumen
  • Molasses explosion
  • 30% off sale at Squash Unlimited
  • Member of immediate family diagnosed with rickets or beri-beri, ONLY rickets or beri-beri don't come to me with any of this scurvy business eat an orange for crissakes
  • 1975 America's Cup highlights VHS arrives via Pony Express
  • Champagne reaches 56.7 degrees
  • Anything at all not related to the most important part of his job

People in charge of things are just in charge of them. There is not necessarily a reason.

Lewan draft stock. Doing okay you guys:

Michigan's Taylor Lewan matched the physical challenge presented by hated in-state rival Michigan State and their 6-6, 278 pound defensive end William Gholston. … Just as Lewan did in 2011, the Michigan left tackle controlled Gholston, demonstrating enough lateral agility and balance in his kick-slide to maintain the edge and the great length and strength to lock up his opponent. Gholston lacks the explosive burst to give Lewan a stiff challenge in pass protection but the Spartans also sent smaller, quicker pass rushers against Lewan, including linebackers on the blitz. Having only played on the offensive line since his senior season of high school, Lewan demonstrated the improvement in pass protection scouts are hoping to see from him to warrant the frequent comparisons he's gained to former Wolverine star Jake Long.

Lewan has specifically improved in his patience as a pass blocker, recognizing spin movies and sliding laterally rather than lunging. As he has throughout much of his career, Lewan was also consistently able to knock defenders off the ball in the running game. Despite his height, the 6-7, 310 pound Lewan played with good pad level, winning the battle of leverage against Gholston and other MSU defenders.

Let's hope he stays anyway.

Etc.: Quinton Washington picture pages WSG Campbell, Roh, and Floyd. John Beilein will live forever. John Beilein says things to media members. Downing, Motte, and Compher feature in USHL prospects article. How do improve NCAA rule enforcement: outsource it. How Northwestern busted the 80 yard Venric Mark TD. Denard Robinson's mechanics. Injuries hit Horford (apparently minor) and McGary (minor, still recovering).