Unverified Voracity Punches A Police Horse, Probably

Unverified Voracity Punches A Police Horse, Probably

Submitted by Brian on February 5th, 2018 at 1:11 PM

Sponsor note. Hey, if you happen to be in Philadelphia and punched a police horse last night, you need a lawyer. Please don't call Richard Hoeg, who does not handle that kind of law at all.

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But if you had the idea for a company that sells football helmets for police horses, then you would call Richard Hoeg, who does do that kind of law: contracts, LLCs, S corps, and the like, for entrepreneurial sorts who can survey the urban chaos our Super Bowl inflicts on local communities and finds a way to make it slightly better. For horses. Or people, I guess. If you have a company that helps people, Hoeg Law will also help you. I've never heard Richard say "we only handle horse companies." And that's the sort of thing that I think you'd bring up. Right?

Brandon Graham Michigan

The Gang Wins The Super Bowl,  thanks to Brandon Graham. Obligatory Philly chaos:

Congratulations to Brandon Graham, who was one of the few bright spots on the whole dang team when he was an upperclassman. I remember doing the UFRs for his senior year and pleading with anyone to listen to me that dude was an All-American. Nobody did except maybe Matt Hinton(?). Graham worked his ass off despite the very Rich Rod carnage all around him and was deservedly drafted in the first round; took him a minute to find his footing but that'll do. Everyone who's met him also thinks he's the best dude ever.

In other Super Bowl takes, this article from SBN was extremely prescient after watching that Big 12-ass game:

Last September, Sonny Dykes sat to watch the NFL’s season-opening game between the Chiefs and Patriots. Dykes, recently the head coach at Cal and then an offensive analyst at TCU, has coached college football since he was a graduate assistant at Kentucky in 1997. He noticed something about the pro game he was watching.

“Watching that game, I remember thinking, ‘This looks like a college football game,’” Dykes tells SB Nation. “They were both playing kind of college offenses, were really diverse in what they were doing, were using a lot of misdirection, were using some quarterback run, both teams. I thought, ‘Wow, this is kind of fun to watch.’”

The Chiefs used a series of misdirection and option plays that have long been common in the college game. They conned New England’s defense all night and scored 42 points in a surprising win. The Chiefs were near the tip of a spear that now includes pretty much the whole league, including the team they beat that night and the Eagles team the Patriots will play in Super Bowl 52.

“Ten years ago or maybe eight years ago, even, everybody in the NFL ran the same offense,” Dykes, now SMU’s head coach, says. “It was all kind of an I-formation, under center, you know; everybody ran the same stuff. All of a sudden, you started seeing a little bit of the college game proliferate a little bit in the NFL.”

New England didn't punt, gained 600 yards, and lost. Oh and there were multiple missed extra points. Big 12? Big 12.

The other thing that jumped out at me as I watched the second of two NFL games I consume annually: holy hell that catch rule. Philly's winning touchdown saw the WR catch the ball, get two feet down, and then take a full step to the endzone before he hit the ground. Both Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth were absolutely convinced it was not a catch.

Which is nuts, because... uh, that's nuts. I will repeat my previous assertion: once you get foot #3 down by taking a step you're a runner and have caught the ball. That's a catch, and the Pittsburgh play earlier isn't.

Also, in the fourth quarter of a tight, all offense Super Bowl, Cris Collinsworth marveled that the football game he was watching could possibly live up to the halftime show. This was after several hundred plain old play action passes were dubbed "RPOs," like—just hypothetically—a two year old who had just discovered the word "wine" at Thanksgiving and may have repeated it at maximum volume for the sheer delight several hundred times.

I just dunno man.

Sample size! I have maybe been googling David DeJulius's free throw stats, for no reason, really. This is what I have found.

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Hooray! Also, here's this from that Orr game when he blew up:

DeJulius continued his strong play in the second half and was extremely efficient, finishing with 49 points on 13-of-19, including 9-of-11 from deep range in the 92-82 victory. He also converted 14-of-15 free throws and had seven assists and three turnovers.

I get nervous when they show him shooting just one free throw in the highlight videos but apparently that's just because free throws are boring. May they again be boring.

Also in high school stat news, Colin Castleton might be able to continue Michigan's stretch five offense...

Miller said he runs a motion offense and moves Castleton around the court to try and make it harder for teams to focus on him. "We let him back screen, we get him on the perimeter and let him flare and curl to the basket," Miller said. "We're perfectly fine with him shooting 3s." In fact, Castleton is his team's best 3-point shooter at 38 percent.

...after a year of eating nothing but meatballs.

Also also:

No word on his free throws though.

Boiled up. Purdue AD Mitch Daniels writes an op-ed for the Washington Post about the one-and-done rule being bad and dumb, and while he's necessarily compromised by being the head of an organization that doesn't actually pay its most important labor, he still brings more heat at the NCAA than I've seen from someone inside the sausage factory:

When the FBI revealed its findings about the corrupt connections among shoe companies, agents, a few big-time college programs and coaches, and the Amateur Athletic Union or AAU (the first “A” increasingly looks like a misnomer), no one near the sport was shocked. The existence of this part of the cesspool has been in plain view for years. Those in a position to stop the scandals spawned by the “one-and-done” era — in which many top-tier players were required to enroll in college for one year before bolting for the NBA — have been either powerless to do so or actively interested in perpetuating the status quo.

When it was discovered that, at what we’ve always considered an academically admirable school, championships had been won by teams loaded with players who took completely phony classes, most of us were sincerely shocked. We were stunned again when, after years of cogitation, the NCAA delivered a penalty of . . . nothing. It was a final confession of futility, confirming the necessity of this special commission, if any meaningful change is going to happen from the collegiate end.

Unfortunately none of his policy solutions—removing freshman eligibility, leaving early entry scholarships filled for four years, or adopting the college baseball zero-or-three model—are, like, good. Or even implementable, in the baseball case. I still fail to see how one-and-done stands up legally since the collective bargaining of the NBAPA is taking away rights from people who aren't members; IANAL but I'm surprised one-and-done hasn't been sued into oblivion by some Lavar Ball sort.

Etc.: ESPN's Paula Lavigne on the OTL investigation of MSU. PSDs no longer tax deductible. Cooper Marody executes some jock jams.

Unverified Voracity Wonders About The Bearded Lady?

Unverified Voracity Wonders About The Bearded Lady?

Submitted by Brian on December 19th, 2017 at 12:16 PM

Last call for XMas tales. PEOPLE OF EARTH: FAILURE IS IMMINENT. No, this isn't about Dave Brandon. This is about YOU. If you order TODAY a copy of Hail To Old Blue will get to its proper location by Christmas.

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Or you can pick up a copy at Underground Printing, Literati, or Nicola's. All of them are fine establishments containing our book. Literati also has unauthorized copies of Crag Ross's books. (To be clear: they are unauthorized by Literati, because Craig just signs them and drops them off.)

The inscrutable crocodile. As the kind of person who sits in his bunker and plots various ways to destroy my mortal enemy Instagram whilst almost entirely ignoring the NFL, this insane thing has eluded my attention for far longer than anything that could cause this picture to exist should:

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Tom Brady's slow descent into madness is now manifesting itself as a series of bizarre webcomics that involve centaur, jockey, and Captain Planet versions of Brady himself, some sort of pudgy leprechaun who is about to touch his nipples, Walker Space Ranger, a crocodile dressed like Captain Picard during a holodeck episode, several anime animals engaging in some sort of... activity, and—most bizarrely—Gronk in a lab coat pouring what I can only assume is trademarked, patented GronkJuice(tm) onto a chicken wing. 

That paragraph was one sentence.

Anyway. This clearly needs a crack investigative team breaking down the ins, outs, what-have-yous, and thoughtcrimes being committed. Charlotte Wilder was born for this job.

  • Speaking of lasers, the plans inside the Dolphins’ briefcase appear to be for some sort of giant, inter-galactic laser.
  • Oh my god, do you think that because I’ve been imagining that the social media room underneath a TB12 workout facility looks like a lair, they drew a lair?
  • Sorry, I know this isn’t about me.
  • Is that guy wearing a lab coat by the picture of Ben Steeler Gronk?
  • Yes, because in the comic after the Houston win, Gronk showed up wearing that same lab coat. He’s also wearing glasses and says, “the computer data is telling me...”
  • Get it? It’s funny because Gronk is not generally seen as a rocket scientist. They were in space then. Now they’re underwater. Or possibly underground.

I think that's a compliment? I don't know. She did a really good job analyzing this nonsense Tom Brady webcomic? Hell, I've covered the last 14 years of Michigan football. I have no room to criticize.

Speaking of NFL things that don't make any sense. This isn't a catch, people! Why are you mad about this?

Any player that hasn't clearly established themselves as a runner has to maintain control through contact through the ground and this dude certainly did not do that. Even the current 65-page version of the catch rule the NFL deploys isn't at fault here. This particular incident was even explained with poetic beauty!

“The receiver, in the end zone, did not survive the ground,” was the explanation on the field by referee Tony Corrente.

Damn, Tony Corrente.

The problem is nobody knows what a damn catch is. Here's a four part catch rule that is as unambiguous as is possible (for the NFL) and solves many many problems:

  • A receiver has to secure the ball and get both feet down in bounds to start the catch process.
  • Once he takes a step after both feet come down he is a runner and has caught the ball.
  • Receivers who do not take a step between possessing the ball and either going to ground or touching out of bounds must maintain possession through contact with the ground.
  • Maintaining possession means the ball does not touch the ground. If the receiver is now out of bounds and he bobbles the ball, forcing the catch process to start over, it's incomplete.

The end. The above-linked SBN article has a controversial Dez Bryant non-catch that this version of the rule makes crystal clear:

Catch, step, runner, complete. No controversy. Steelers' play above: no step, ball touches ground, incomplete, no controversy.

There will of course be edge cases where the situation at the moment of possession makes it unclear whether a catch is a catch, but those four steps are the clearest and least controversial a catch rule can be. If you wanted to go even farther towards clarity you could let a catch stand if 1) the WR got his feet in bounds and 2) the ball never hit the turf even if there was a bobble after the WR went out. I think that's not a catch but if you said it was then it's pretty simple: did you keep the ball off the ground after establishing a foot (or two) in bounds? Yes? Catch.

The quintessential Bush blitz. Blitzology—hey!—breaks it down.

Really interesting and effective pressure concept from Michigan defensive coordinator Don Brown. The Wolverines are in a 3-3 nickel personnel package.

The Rush:
The front slides the 3 down linemen to the strong side and has all 3 LB's walked up to the weak side. The Mike is initially in a 3 point stance. 
The effect is a 4 man version of America's Blitz. The Will wraps around to the fill the role of the inside rusher in the America's blitz concept. Because the defense bluffs the weak side overload the protection doesn't identify the concept as America's blitz and pass it off. The RB is forced into a really difficult block, scanning all the way back across the formation to pick up the Will as he wraps around.

Frequently the "N" was actually Noah Furbush, but that wrap blitz was largely responsible for Bush's blazing start to the season. Teams did adapt, but then Michigan threw other stuff—largely Khaleke Hudson—at the opposition.

To be fair, this is correct about 20% of the time. Whoops, Tampa Bay Times:

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Although... that appears to be an ad, which means the Outback Bowl itself doesn't know who's in this year's game. Which is fine. I mean. It's the Outback Bowl. No1curr. Except MSU fans.

Good lord, dude. ASU AD Ray Anderson is rapidly charging up the ranks of Most Incompetent AD Ever, and he's got the bravura of a Wall Street trader to go with it:

"The athletic department there is perceived there as a cluster," Sun Devils athletic director Ray Anderson said. "Their athletic director, now Phil Fulmer, in the athletic director's world is a pariah. It is not a good situation."

Their AD is a cluster? Bruh.

Do I hear a senior season? ESPN's latest draft rankings have Mo Wagner #68 despite his clearly improved rebounding and... possibly improved defense. We've seen guys (GRIII most prominently) leave one year after they put their name in but withdrew, and that's always a possibility. But if Wagner's leaving after the year it's probably not for the lottery.

Don't expect Rashan Gary to fall in the same boat, though.

Some bad grades. Since all we get these day from PFF are glimpses you don't get a lot of negatives unless the situation—cough cough, OL—absolutely demands it. South Carolina's 24/7 site is looking for weaknesses in the Michigan D, though, and they came up with:

Defensive end Carlo Kemp (49.9) - A sophomore who is listed as a backup, Kemp has played 367 snaps on defense. He has graded out at 48.2 against the run and 55.6 in pass rush.

Linebacker Noah Furbush (50.6) - Furbush is also listed as a backup and has played 138 snaps this season. He’s performed much better against the run grading out at 64.6 and has struggled in coverage at 45.9.

Two backups. (I think they might have flipped those snap counts, FWIW. Furbush got way more snaps than Kemp this year.)  The conceit of this post is "three at the top and three at the bottom," but...

The “Three at the top” needed to be expanded to five as each player listed graded out as “elite,” a designation given to players who achieve an 85.0 or higher. The “Three near the bottom” was cut to two given that no other player with 75 or more snaps played had a grade below 70.

...ain't nobody else at the bottom. The five elite guys are Hurst, Winovich, Hudson, Bush, and Hill, all of whom are at 87 or better.

Yes, this means that PFF is also grading Michigan's safeties well. Metellus's rough OSU game had a lot of internet people waving Brian Smith goodbye happily because they thought Metellus and Kinnel were bad. They were not. They were good. A B+ unit.

Etc.: Ann Arbor average home price went up 8% this year; went up 11% last year. Again, I apologize to Juggalos for comparing them to Michigan State fans. Good luck at the Supreme Court, Juggalos. Harbaugh visits the tiny town of Garber, is greeted like movie star. Pioneer parking makes bank.

Unverified Voracity Addresses Elephant

Unverified Voracity Addresses Elephant

Submitted by Brian on November 8th, 2011 at 12:56 PM

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the 2009 Penn State Behrend Sports Camps flyer.

The elephant in the room. Everyone else feels compelled to write something on the events unfolding at Penn State, and I do too. I don't have much to add to the universal revulsion and calls for firing:

In response, Penn State did not call the police. They did other things, but they did not call the police. Joe Paterno did not call the police, and Tim Curley did not call the police, and Gary Schultz did not call the police. The graduate assistant who witness the act did not call the police. Penn State President Graham Spanier did not call the police. A reported child molester and rapist was living and working in their midst, and working in a program that brought him into contact with boys, and not one person called the police.

Co-sign. Penn State fans are right there, too, FWIW. There's a small band of holdouts but it is a distinct minority.

The reason I'm writing this bit is not the actions in question but the reaction of the major players once they became public. While the actions themselves are terrible the ass-covering reaction of the school's president and Paterno are at least 341st on the list of terrible things that have transpired. This is part of Paterno's statement:

If true, the nature and amount of charges made are very shocking to me and all Penn Staters. While I did what I was supposed to with the one charge brought to  my attention, like anyone else involved I can’t help but be deeply saddened these matters are alleged to have occurred. …

As my grand jury testimony stated, I was informed in 2002 by an assistant coach that he had witnessed an incident in the shower of our locker room facility. It was obvious that the witness was distraught over what he saw, but he at no time related to me the very specific actions contained in the Grand Jury report. Regardless, it was clear that the witness saw something inappropriate involving Mr. Sandusky. As Coach Sandusky was retired from our coaching staff at that time, I referred the matter to university administrators.

No. When you heard the sad thing about your former DC, knew goddamn well this was a second offense after a 1998 incident that is likely the reason for his sudden retirement, and decided it wasn't worth talking to the police because your mind rearranged it into something "inappropriate" instead of evil, you gambled. When a kid was raped after you gambled, you're done. You did not "do what you were supposed to." You were supposed to call the police.

As for Spanier, Black Shoe Diaries already lost its mind for me:

"Unconditional support"?  "Complete confidence"?  "Highest levels of honesty, integrity, and compassion?"

Seriously?  It was appropriate that these things were investigate thoroughly a decade ago.  Regardless, this is a completely abominable response to any crisis, most especially this one.

These are obviously vetted and carefully chosen words, which have the added effect of making Graham Spanier look like an idiot -- and that is casting Spanier in the most favorable light.  I don't think he's an idiot, for the record, but the remaining alternatives are much more sinister.

Even after it is crystal clear huge chunks of PSU's athletic department were complicit in Sandusky's activities they still go this route:

Who do you think you're kidding? At least own up to your massive, incomprehensive failure. Or cancel your press conference an hour before it is supposed to happen. Is there an athletic department in the country that can say "we were wrong"?

Paterno's apparently gone, as was inevitable the moment the grand jury report was released. His name should be off the Big Ten championship trophy. Either that or I want one of the post game interviews to go like this:

Q: You've won the Big Ten championship! What are you going to do now?
A: Spend a decade enabling a child rapist!

If they could stop running that Big Ten ad where Paterno says "we believe in people" (except when they are reporting serious crimes) that would be cool, too. His legacy is now Pedobear wearing JoePa's glasses.

Is this fair? Should we forget all the good Paterno has done in our "rush to judgment"? Yes, and yes. This is a failure so massive it wipes out every positive thing about JoePa, of which there were many.

Forget with consumption. Now that we've talked about horrible crimes you're probably in the mood to buy a shirt. I know I am. You are in luck, as three fabulous options have been added to the MGoStore:

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I find it odd that people want to commemorate a concept that means Michigan's quarterback is throwing the ball five feet over his receivers' heads, but commemorate away. Also I'm going to pitch Underground that all MGoShirts should feature someone pointing at something.

Good news for people who love bad Seinfeld references. I just wanted to type that header. Now I've done it so I guess I have to say something about the unexpected commitment of Pioneer RB/WR Drake Johnson. That thing is: reminds me of James Rogers. Instate sleeper with excellent straight line speed but reputed to be more of a track star than a football player, recruited as a RB, may actually end up at WR (or, you know, in the secondary after a five year sojourn across every position on the depth chart).

Weird commit to take before figuring out where Bri'onte Dunn is going to end up, but my moles tell me Fred Jackson says he can transform into a helicopter. That will be helpful on short yardage. But seriously folks, it'll be interesting to see how Johnson and Thomas Rawls work out as the first of the Hoke tailbacks. Both are major sleepers, but running back is a spot where sleepers seem to do better than they should at a position that prizes athleticism—Hart, Le'Veon Bell, Wisconsin person du jour.

All 22… [Homer noise]. Dedicated NFL followers are peeved at the league's implausible reasons for not releasing the endzone camera angles that show every player on the field ("fans would jump to conclusions after watching one or two games"). Smart Football:

The proffered reason — that it would result in too much criticism — is so silly that it can’t possibly be true. But if it’s not true, then what is the real reason? … two possibilities: first, either we really would fail to comprehend the complex array of movement on the field by twenty-two supremely athletic but human men, and thus we need the gentle paternalism of the cameraman and producer to show us, in a kind of cinematic baby talk, “See, with this close-up the quarterback throws a pretty spiral to the receiver”; or, second, football isn’t even a game so much as it is a product to be branded in a particular way, and by restricting the All-22 the NFL can by Orwellian imagery of extreme close-ups and slow-motion shots emotionally convey to us the narratives solely how they want to in the way they want to. In either case, there it’s control of the message; the only question is why, and all the answers are depressing.

This is the same attitude that leads to the Paterno reaction (not the action, the PR): belief that enough people will be snowed that you don't have to care about the ones who aren't. It works enough to be the default strategy even when no one in the world is going to believe you, like in the recent OSU and PSU cases*. That's the only play in the playbook.

On the other hand, it's not like anyone's offering views of the whole field to me. I asked the SID about it a few years ago and got a polite, expected rejection. I think the thing the NFL fears is fans making criticisms that aren't ignorant.

*[Because I don't want to find @ramzyn leaping out of my mailbox with a machete tomorrow, let me clarify that I'm not comparing the two actions that led to the PR blunders, just the PR blunders themselves. The reaction to both the Gee/Smith circus and the Spanier stuff was "who do they think they're kidding?" The PSU stuff has an order of magnitude of extra rage on top of it, obviously.]

What is a catch anymore? Additional Hoke comment on the Hemingway 49% touchdown:

"I thought Junior made a catch," Hoke said Monday during his weekly news conference.

In bounds?

"Oh, yeah," he said. "I thought he caught the ball (and finished the play)."

Hoke downplayed the significance of it after making that statement, FWIW, and that's about what I want from the coach: an honest opinion delivered calmly.

Anyway, this section is not about that. It's about what constitutes a catch these days. It used to be, sonny, that if the ball hit the ground it was not a catch. Nowadays there's the whole control-to-the-ground, ball-not-moving, is-it-or-isn't-it-thing. And I don't like it. Back in my day, these things were clear. Now anything close gets sent up and then sent back inconclusive.

I'd prefer it if a ball that hits the ground before the receiver has the opportunity to make a football move with it was just incomplete. That's clear. If that was the rule we wouldn't be talking about the Hemingway non-catch because it would have been obvious.

Iowa skill position coveting update. Patrick Vint of BHGP relates that McNutt was an athletic quarterback until year two at Iowa, when it was discovered his hands are covered in a mild adhesive and he is pimp. Also he explains the Coker recruitment:

…he committed to Iowa between his junior and senior seasons at Dematha.  You were right on the offers, but only Minnesota and Iowa were recruiting him as a full-time halfback; everyone else saw him as a fullback/h-back.  Obviously, we know how that works out.  But the other thing is that he wasn't necessarily "missed" as much as completely under the radar.  He was injury-prone as a sophomore and junior, and his numbers weren't that impressive.  Both Rivals and Scout had him as a low-3*.  His senior year was monster, though, getting him the fourth star and some late attention from VT/Miami/Auburn (IIRC on war eagle), but Iowa had an ace in the hole: Dude's an astrophysics major, and Iowa's been all over that s--- since Van Allen in the 50's.

Yes, our beast of a starting halfback is an astrophysics major.

Must be nice to watch your meh tailback recruit hulk up during his senior season.

Etc.: Patriot-News front page is powerful stuff. Mike McQueary is next on the list of people who are coming in for well-deserved abuse. Hockey recruit updates. UMHoops previews Michigan's bench.