Something Else to Pass the Time Until Tomorrow

Something Else to Pass the Time Until Tomorrow

Submitted by Michael Scarn on September 2nd, 2011 at 3:29 PM

Today, I went for a walk.  I left my central campus apartment and headed south on State St., hoping that if I walked slowly enough, by the time I got to the stadium, there would be someone at the gate to take my ticket and let me in.  I seriously even took my ticket along, just in case.  I walked because I could not read another word or watch another video about Michigan Football (yes, when it comes to Michigan Football, you capitalize the ‘F’).   I had no intention of writing anything, but as I walked, I could not fight the urge. 

I walked by the ticket office, and saw a couple dozen people picking up their tickets.  “Who could possibly wait until today to pick up their tickets,” I wondered. But then again, I called the ticket office in a panic when a friend’s tickets arrived in the mail and I had not yet received mine yet.  I hadn’t even checked my mail yet.  They were there.  That day, I took out my tickets, snapped a picture on my phone and sent it to my brother, a Michigan alum living in Chicago, who wasn’t as much jealous as excited, and will be here with me as many Saturdays as work will allow this fall. 

I walked by Schembechler Hall, and thought of Bo.  I never met the man, and am not even old enough to have seen the games he coached live, but have read about and watched everything I can about his legend.  I like to think that his handshake could have told you all you needed to know about him.  Strength, confidence, a touch of brashness and a genuine human-beingness that makes you try to make up words like human-beingness.  Probably what it’s like to shake the hand of a 4th generation plumber, his hands strong from wrenching the steel inner workings of his teams, who loves what he does and couldn’t give a damn if you don’t respect his craft.  I thought of how many people’s lives he must have touched, how many large, grown men probably heard the news of his passing, silently walked to a room away from their wives and children, and wept.  How his death deeply affected millions of people who probably never got closer to him in person than the confines of Michigan Stadium’s railings would allow.  I saw what appeared to be two grandfathers with their grandsons walking to take a peek inside Schembechler Hall.  I thought of how one day I hope I’m lucky enough to do the same.  To pass on what is one of my greatest passions to another generation like so many have before. 

As I walked, I saw a pizza delivery car pass with a Pizza House sign atop its roof, and thought of Rich Rodriguez.  A couple friends and I would occasionally go to the coach’s radio show on Thursdays to drink beer, eat pizza and listen to Brandstatter and whomever the guest of the day was.  There, I met Rich Rodriguez several times.  While I had hot and cold feelings about him throughout his tenure, it becomes much more difficult to dislike a man when you meet him.  When he turns to your table in commercial breaks, asks you about your future and jokes that he wishes he could have a beer with you.  When he meets you only a couple times, you’re nothing more than another fan, and he remembers your name.  When you watch him order the free pizza Pizza House provided him with to take home to his wife and kids.  I thought of how, regardless of your feelings on him as a coach, you have to be so thankful that he brought Denard Robinson to this program.  A young man who redefines his position, loves playing football more than anything in the world, and encapsulates humility and what you want in a student-athlete in a way that is indescribable.  I literally hate that last sentence because it falls so incredibly short of capturing everything great about Denard Robinson.  Ronald Bellamy’s Underachieving All Stars does the best job I’ve seen.  Brian’s not too bad at it either. 

I walked past the Al Glick Field House and noticed something I had not seen before. By the Southeast entrance is a stone sign with ‘2009’ engraved in it.  I realized its significance.  When myself and everyone reading this are long gone, it will remain.  There will be a 232nd year of Michigan Football, and 332nd and on and on.  The magnitude of a tradition that great and sacred filled me with pride. 

I walked past the field hockey fields and thought of Charles Woodson.  Strange, right? But the color and texture of the field reminded me of what used to be at Spartan stadium (yep, they get a lowercase ‘s’ in ‘stadium’) when Charles Woodson went on a solo mission into space and landed perfectly back at Cape Canaveral, with his intergalactic pigskin in tow.  The man in black and white stripes who could not even contain his own amazement as he reached back and made the most deliberate first down signal for Michigan I’ve ever seen.  “Neutrality be damned,” thought that referee, “that was awesome and deserved to be called like a home plate umpire who rings someone up in the bottom of the 9th of a perfect game in game seven of the World Series on a nasty curveball thrown by Cy Young striking out Babe Ruth.” Except more exciting and historic.  (Boom, Fred Jacksoned.) I thought of how Charles Woodson an idol to me in my childhood.  How when I recently found a journal from my elementary school days, scribbled in awful penmanship and grossly misspelled was, “My hero is Charles Woodson.  He plays cornerback for the Oakland Raiders.  He went to the University of Michigan.  I am going to go to the University of Michigan.”  I thought of Saturday afternoons when I would sit with my friends glued to ABC watching every amazing second of every game, then going out in the brisk autumn evening to throw a football around until it got dark.  “I’ll be Charles Woodson,” my friend would say. “No, I will,” I’d argue back.  We all wanted to play cornerback.  Kids who like football do not grow up wanting to play cornerback.  They want to be Joe Montana or Barry Sanders, but after 1997, they wanted to be Charles Woodson, too.  When I played football in seventh grade, I was a quarterback and the smallest middle linebacker in the history of the universe, because that’s where my coaches wanted me to play.  I was number 24, Sir Charles’ number for the Raiders.  I wasn’t number 2 only because one of my best friends on the team had a name before mine in the alphabet and got to pick his jersey number first, that bastard.  When I left middle school and they let us have our jerseys, I scribbled ‘Woodson’ on the back with a Sharpie.  Obsessed probably doesn’t do it justice.

I turned right and headed down the train tracks.  I thought of the men that built those tracks, and I bet they liked Michigan Football.  I’ll bet they were the kind of households where if someone asked to watch a different game at halftime, the father would say, “we only watch one team in this house.  Michigan.” (I’ll confess I stole that from Rudy. And if the timing of black and white TV and railroad construction and televised football don’t match up, screw you for caring.)  I thought of warm apple cider spiked with a little whiskey, bratwursts sizzling and smoking on portable grills, the smell of a cigar or two, and the feeling that everything is right in the world on late chilly fall Saturdays in Ann Arbor. 

I walked through the parking lot and was in awe of the pantheon that is Michigan Stadium.  Or Cathedral.  Or Mecca.  There’s something magnificent about a building that’s awe-inspiring even when it’s completely void of its purpose and patrons.  Like a church you walk around even though there’s no priest or parishioners in it (if you’re into that kind of thing), Michigan Stadium begs to be explored even when you’d be only one of one in there instead of one of 113,000.  I can think of no other stadium in the world I’d rather have my favorite football team call home.    

I walked as close as I could to the tunnel and saw the Rose Bowl Years painted by the player entrance and thought of Lloyd.  A man who I think I’d be proud to be like as a father.  A man who supports Mott’s Children’s Hospital as if every child there is his own.  If you asked me who the best football coach in the country was, I wouldn’t have hesitated to say Lloyd Carr, right or wrong.  Someone who pretty much anyone would love to play golf with, or just talk life.  I’m upset with myself right now for waiting this long to talk about Lloyd.  My attention span is waning and there are only so many analogies and adjectives left in the keys right now.  Suffice it to say, I’m proud to know that Lloyd Carr was a coach for my favorite team.  He’s a great man and a pillar of hope in the sometimes selfish, cold and calculated world of college football.  If he ran for political office, I wouldn’t vote for him, but not because I don’t think he’d be good at it, because I think he’s above that world, and I’d want to protect him from it.

I walked a little further, and this long walk reminded me of Brady Hoke.  A man who would have walked from San Diego.  Yes, it’s been talked about so much by idiots like Drew Sharpe that it’s almost annoying, but I still love it.  Because I believe him.  Like many people, the Brady Hoke hire was scary for me.  I wanted Harbaugh. I don’t resent him for going elsewhere.  I kind of wanted Les Miles, but was a little leery.  I did not initially want Brady Hoke.  I knew who he was only because I am a college football NUT, but I wasn’t excited.  Then, he had that press conference.  Words can only do so much, but sometimes sincerity and emotion can make a big difference.  Brady Hoke belongs at Michigan.  He has already achieved his dream.  Not just to coach college football, but to be the Head Coach at the University of Michigan.  People will feel that.  I doubt there will ever be a time when Hoke really wants to talk about how many hours he puts in, because he doesn’t care.  Not talking about your new salary until after you quit your old job and move your family across the country is kind of crazy.  But it’s not crazy if it’s for your dream.  I think he would have accepted a 10th of what he’s earning if that’s all Michigan could have afforded.  As long as he could’ve provided for his family, he would have been A-OK with that.  You know that question from Office Space about what you would do if you won a million dollars ? What would Brady Hoke do if he won 100 million dollars? He would coach the University of Michigan Wolverines, I think.  Also, buy lots of sausage.  Maybe commision the invention of a time machine to go and convince Chris Farley never to play that Matt Foley guy.  Regardless, I have faith, and maybe it’s partially blind faith, about the direction he’ll take Michigan. But that blind faith is part of what makes being a fan so great.  The hope for the future success for your team and the belief, even the deep-rooted feeling of a knowledge that your team will be great again. It also is part of what makes the offseason so painstakingly long. 

I walked back up Hoover and decided to write this, knowing it would get me that much closer to tomorrow.  And tomorrow, I’ll walk back down State St., surrounded by tens of thousands of people who love and believe in the same thing that I do.  That walk will be filled with less thoughts, mostly because I’ll just be awash in excitement and anticipation.  But there’s a few vague words or feelings concepts or horribly cliché ideas that will run through my brain.  Winning.  Pride.  Championships.  Character.  Tradition.  Michigan Football. 

P.S.  In the most uplanned and awesome timing ever, we’re now 24 hours from kickoff.

My Time Spent with Coach Hoke, Part 1

My Time Spent with Coach Hoke, Part 1

Submitted by IncrediblySTIFF on August 6th, 2011 at 11:00 AM

Time spent in my (almost) three short seasons with Coach Brady Hoke.

I was never that good at football. I was a decent blocker, and I could catch most balls that were thrown in my direction, but I was never particularly fast and my route running was, in Coach Hoke’s words himself, “Satisfactory at best.” The main two things I had going for me in my ability to become a member of the Ball State Football team were that I could punt a ball 75 yards in the air easy, and that my best friend from high school was a full ride three year starter at linebacker.

After being recruited to the Ohio Bobcats, the Kentucky Wildcats, the Akron Zips, Ball State University, and Purdue University, I left high school with exactly zero offers save a preferred walk-on spot as a so called “ATHLETE” at Ball State. After graduating high school in the winter, I chose to attempt to walk on to the Purdue Boilermakers before spring ball. The special teams coach there told me I needed to be in better shape and make sure my grades were good, and he would possibly have a spot for me in the fall. The afore mentioned special teams coach took a job with Ball State that summer, and I had already considered leaving Purdue because I wanted to get out of my hometown, West LAFFALOT, so I followed him there and walked on the following spring. This is how I came to have Brady Hoke as my head coach.

In order to put any of these memories into order, I would have to write them all before posting any. Instead, these diaries will be more of little glimpses into my interactions with Coach, absolutely not in chronological order. These are not exact quotes; it is much too hard for me to remember word for word what was said 5-8 years ago.

The Compliance Story

I will start off with one that I posted in this thread; I apologize for those of you who have already read this one.

At the beginning of the season, an NCAA compliance guy comes in to talk about the rules of the NCAA and what the coaches can and can’t force us to do. He tells us about the amount of practice time we can use a week, the amount of time spent in non-practice, football related activities we can spend each week. He tells us that summer ball is and will always be optional. He also talks about receiving improper benefits and what it can do to a football program and coach if you get caught. After he left, first our strength and conditioning coach Aaron Wellman (currently still on Coach Hoke’s staff) comes in and tells us, “That guys a prick. Always trying to make my job harder.”

Coach Hoke then comes in. “I hope you guys were listening,” he starts. “Everything that guy said is true. We can’t force you to be at practice more than X hours each week. I can’t make you come to morning conditioning when you have practice in the afternoon. Hell, we can’t even make you play football here. If you don’t want to wash your hands after you piss, were not going to make you do that either,” he continues, as a few people in the room start to chuckle and understand what our great Coach is telling us. “You don’t even have to go to class tomorrow if you don’t want. In fact, if you guys don’t feel like eating tomorrow, or the rest of your life, be my guest.”

By now, the majority of the room was laughing. Coach Hoke quieted us down and said more seriously, “You will practice, with us, for the maximum amount of hours we are allowed to. Everything on top of that will be voluntary. Those of you who choose to volunteer for these additional hours, you are the ones who make this team better, you are the ones who will stay on scholarship, you are the ones who will see the field and produce on the field.”

Near the beginning of the fall after I walked on, Coach Hoke talked to us a little bit about academics and athletics.

“I want you guys to know that the reason you are attending this great university is to get a degree. Football might have been your deciding factor, but my job is to make sure that you receive an education off the field as well. You can do whatever you want with it; just help me to finish my job.

"To help you guys remember this, I made these numbers.” Coach Hoke then holds up two pieces of paper with a very large ‘1’ and ‘2’ printed on each piece respectively. “So guys,” he bellows, “Remember….Academics…#1,” he says, while holding up the sign that says ‘2.’  Aaron Wellman stands next to him pointing to the sign. Coach Hoke then switches to the #1 sign and continues, “Athletics….Number 2!”  This time Wellman is using a two fingered point at the sign that says #1. Everyone in the room is laughing and nodding their head. Coach Hoke then puts back up the sign that says #2 and says again, “So, academics here,” and switching signs back to the #1, “Football here.  Does everyone understand that?”

So, I’ve got to get this bar open and I’ve squandered all my time on writing this.  I’m going to continue writing these little memoirs if ya’ll would like me to, the next one that I already started on is entitled “BRADY HOKE…THE PUNISHMENT FITS THE CRIME”

Thanks for reading…

EDIT: Just want to add this second disclaimer. I know these first two stories I've posted scream "OMG COMPLIANCE NOOO." I posted these two stories because these were two of the first interactions I had with Coach Hoke. I wouldn't worry too much. I don't know that I have any more stories about the NCAA compliance guy and Coach Hoke that go together, you can take what you want from what I have to say but please don't take 10 minutes of the countless hours I've spent with Coach Hoke and say, "Augh! compliance VIOLATIONS!"

Hoke Hatred From Behind Enemy Lines

Hoke Hatred From Behind Enemy Lines

Submitted by Michael Scarn on August 4th, 2011 at 2:34 PM

Warning: filled with fat jokes about Hoke and comparisons to fat famous people (which are already beyond old hat and about half as funny as ones about Chuck Weis because Hoke is about half as fat as Chuck Weis).  Besides that, just a good way to get your blood pumping for the end of November:

http://www.elevenwarriors.com/2011/07/this-guy-gets-it

 

What I'm saying is, Brady Hoke is, from a cultural standpoint, the perfect guy to coach the Michigan Wolverines football team. He is a pompous toad who squats upon the lilypad of elitism. Everything he has said after opening that gaping maw he calls a mouth has infuriated me to the point of violence, and I am starting to believe that nothing short of Ann Arbor being terrorized by Woody Hayes' rotting corpse would get him to stop talking about how awesome Michigan football is. More than any Michigan coach I can remember, I want to see his jowls shake with shame and sadness after yet another loss to Ohio State. His very existence has made me into a worse person, more vengeful and petty than ever before.

 

SDSU @ Michigan #7 Under-the-Radar Storyline game

SDSU @ Michigan #7 Under-the-Radar Storyline game

Submitted by hart20 on July 29th, 2011 at 3:28 AM

Rivals has us that game as the #7 Under-the-Radar game. We all aleady knew the underlying storyline, but it's nice to see that the game has more than just our attention. 

Here's what the article had to say:

 "In another story line no one possibly could have seen coming, new Michigan coach Brady Hoke will face the school he just left. Hoke went 13-12 with the Aztecs (including 9-4 last season) before leaving for the Wolverines. Hoke has a track record of starting slowly (4-8 in both of his first seasons, at Ball State and with the Aztecs). Does that mean San Diego State should be favored in the Big House?" 

The other Big Ten teams featured are Nebraska (twice), OSU, and Notre Dame (We all know they're pretty much Big Ten). I do disagree with LSU vs Oregon being #1. I don't think it's very under-the-radar at all, that game has National Championship  implications. The article's a good, quick read for anyone looking to kill a few minutes.

http://michigan.rivals.com/content.asp?CID=1244185

Edit: I don't know how to put in a text box, so any help would be appreciated. I tried "</blockquote>" but that didn't work.

EDSBS on B1G Media Day

EDSBS on B1G Media Day

Submitted by JeepinBen on July 28th, 2011 at 4:37 PM

Definitely worth a read

http://www.everydayshouldbesaturday.com/2011/7/28/2300879/a-summary-of-big-ten-media-days

Highlights: 

 

BRADY HOKE: The best summary of a Brady Hoke speaking engagement is to imagine Lloyd Carr using a gigantic Matt Foley puppet to address the media. The similarity in cadence is eerie, right down to repeated citations of "We're Michigan" as a justification for just about any statement Hoke wanted to make. ("I should have a large pizza up here hot and fresh right now. Why? Because we're Michigan, that's why.")  It's now all too clear why Dave Brandon hired him: because they thought he was a fat cousin of Lloyd Carr, or at least come Lama-ish future incarnation of his still-living spirit raised in the deep obese South or something.

He was fine, but seriously, this cast of coaches is the exact opposite from the polished evangelists of the SEC. Hoke looked like he'd smeared his hair flat with some half-and-half he'd gotten from the media's coffee bar.

Grade: B+

 

Here's Fickell's Picture:

 

 

BRET BIELEMA.You have to admire Bret Bielema for many reasons. He withstood the pressure of becoming the successor to Barry Alvarez and improved on his master's work, taking Wisconsin to the Rose Bowl in 2010 and maintaining the high standards of his predecessor while seeking to modernize Wisconsin's facilities and training methods. He also made it to Big Ten Media days after drinking in the sun for three days straight on a barge with Polish boatmen, a feat whose difficulty cannot be gauged.

Screen_shot_2011-07-28_at_2

 

Grade: A+

 
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