Being Manball, what are the requirements?

Submitted by iawolve on April 14th, 2011 at 11:02 AM

I have been thinking about our transition to Manball and I wonder if you can just start doing Manball without becoming Manball. I imagine a few things in the transformation like:

  • Hanlon walking around like Burgess Merdith in Rocky yelling in a raspy voice to the lineman that they need to "eat lightning and crap thunder"
  • Running backs carrying FJ on their backs while running through drills, like Luke carrying Yoda on Dagobah, while he imparts thoughts like "be the offspring of Bo Jackson and Barry Sanders before the 4000 yard season you can"
  • Lewan actually getting hurt from the cage match fight with Borges for not sufficiently drive blocking and not from training drills


I assume there is a book for how to live Manball, not sure if the board has any thoughts on what Manball requires or how to live Manball.


King Douche Ornery

April 14th, 2011 at 5:26 PM ^

Attempt at humor, at immitating Brian, and at life, even.

I'm for killing Manball. In fact, I'm for killing everything Brian says because without people trying to sound like Brian and making gratuitous sissy points grabs, this board might get back to being readable.

I mean, we finally got rid of Rodriguez. Things ARE looking up.


April 14th, 2011 at 11:30 AM ^

The requirement is ignorance of the offensive system SDSU actually ran last year and a mistaken belief that Borges is Mike DeBord wearing a mask.  

Maize and Blue…

April 14th, 2011 at 12:08 PM ^

Hoke's two offenses that were successful played very little "manball".  It helped that SDSU played six of the twenty worse Ds in the country last year + a 4-7 FCS school.

Hoke's a talking head giving his audience what they want to hear.  I cringe when I listen to him because half the time it sounds like he's talking to someone who has never watched a game of football in their life. 




April 14th, 2011 at 12:32 PM ^

It helped that SDSU played six of the twenty worse Ds in the country last year + a 4-7 FCS school.

SDSU plays in a small conference, so they invariably play some terrible defenses.  It's not like their schedule suddenly got easier last year.  Nor did they have, on paper, much more talent than anyone else in their conference. They played pretty much the same caliber of teams as always, with pretty much the same caliber of players as usual, only this time they set some offensive records.  



April 14th, 2011 at 12:18 PM ^

No, all it requires is taking Hoke's own words at face value. Basically everyone agrees that they hope a lot of Hoke's talk of downhill running and compressed fullback spines and "return to Michigan football" is nothing but coachspeak, since this team isn't built for that stuff and attempting it any time in the next two years will be ugly. It's just odd that Hoke's strongest supporters lead off their defense by claiming that Hoke's speeches are intentionally misleading.

Now, SDSU's offense has indicated that Hokeball is not manball - but then again Hoke himself has said "Michigan is different", and I rather doubt his "POWER!!!" rhetoric was quite so tuned up at SDSU. So who knows until fall?

Anyway I don't think MANBALL is directed so much at Hoke or Borges (clearly, Borges has never really run a manball scheme), rather it's a barb at the section of the fanbase that believes anything other than three yards and a cloud of dust is sacriligious. And anyone who claims that segment of the fanbase and that attitude doesn't exist, or that that segment had nothing to do with the fall of RR and hiring of Hoke to replace him, is just as ignorant of reality as those who are unaware of SDSU's shotgun 4 wideout sets.


April 14th, 2011 at 12:38 PM ^

Hoke's speeches aren't intentionally misleading.  I don't think he is playing to his audience or hiding anything at all.  What he says does not contradict what he did at SDSU.  It's more that Brian and others have misunderstood what he's said - specifically, when he said that he did not believe in using zone blocking 100 percent of the time (something that everyone, RR included, would agree), Brian interpreted this to mean "0 percent of the time."  If he had actually watched SDSU play, he would not have come to that conclusion. 



April 14th, 2011 at 1:23 PM ^

He also called the spread, with obvious derision, "basketball on grass".

But anyway, why do we assume that Michigan 2011 offense will be SDSU 2010 offense? Did Hoke spend as much time talking about power running at his press conferences in San Diego? He certainly didn't talk about "returning to Michigan football" in San Diego.

Anyway, the fact remains that most people here don't think Hoke will actually run "manball", and even Brian has called it a "platonic ideal". But Hoke's rhetoric certainly implies "manball", and is clearly designed to win the support of the fans who think football = statue QBs, handoff runs between the tackles, and Big Ten championships against outmatched opponents followed by embarrassing losses in the Rose Bowl.

So in that sense "manball" is a useful term to describe the idyll to which Hoke must pay homage, even if it doesn't represent a real thing we'll see on the field.


April 14th, 2011 at 1:39 PM ^

Are passing ones? The true running one is pretty rare. Even Auburn didn't run it with their QB THAT much. Other than Rich, it's been Tebow Florida, and Oregon, mainly. Doesn't mean it hasn't worked successfully, but spread is a broad term.

And you talk to people, and hear that Hoke was basically running a Michigan program at SDS, so saying he wants to run one at Michigan isn't all that strange.

And your characterizing of what some fans think football is really is as silly as saying the "wussball" represents going 15-22, losing to your rivals by multiple touchdowns, and only beating Purdue in November, with embarrassing losses in the Gator Bowl, if you make a bowl". Which is completely unfair, and ignores the success lots of spread teams have had. Just as that view ignores teams like Alabama and USC that have own with MANBALL. (I should trademark that....)


April 14th, 2011 at 3:50 PM ^

Of course my characterization of manball is nonsensical. That's the whole point. There is an element of the fanbase (often with deep pockets) that are firm believers that the spread is not real football and will never work in the Big Ten. And they would probably take your moniker of "wussball" to accurately describe the Rich Rod scheme (how often did we hear griping about how "small" our players were?).

They are fools. But they exist, and seem to have the ear of the AD (hell, the AD may even be one of them, since he hasn't been involved in football since his glory days with Bo and yet seems to want to inject himself personally into the day-to-day affairs of the football team - I think Hoke knows football has changed since 1969, I'm not sure DB does). Hoke does well to play to this audience, as long as he doesn't try to turn Denard into John Navarre (which I don't think he wil).

Anyway my point is that MANBALL is a perfect term to describe the mythic schemes of yore championed by the sort of people who reflexively deride innovation as newfangled hooey that will never work in the Big Ten. It is unlikely to describe the 2011 Michigan offense.


April 14th, 2011 at 1:32 PM ^

first, which, as the basic offensive football play, should come first, where has he ever said MANBALL? He's talked about toughness, but damn, I hope that's not lip service, I'd like to see more toughness, on both sides of the ball. I'd like to be able to convert 3rd and 1 without going into a shotgun that has a 50-50 chance of losing yards rather than gaining one. Or have 4 shots at the goalline, and you know, get in. Or not let a team run every single play in a half. Toughness isn't necessarily a bad thing. So no, not everybody hopes it's just coachspeak. Coachspeak was hearing it before, and not seeing it. I hope he can institute it.

Now do I hope for 100% MANBALL with the current personnel? No. But then I don't hope for it with any personnel. I hope this time around we mold the talent to the players we have, while teaching them new things, meshing the systems in transition, rather than just jumping into the fire. But even when it's all Hoke's guys, I would hope (and think) we won't be all 3 yards and a cloud of dust. Lloyd, for his conservative nature, passed more than he ran in the end.  With a more passing scheme offensive, I would think we would too. 

So, I don't think we've heard as much as some have, and in some respects, it's a good thing, and in others, it's not really that different than what we were doing under Rich. The difference was when Rich would say it, no one would believe it except places like this that would point out the running numbers, and now everyone believes it, to the extent that the same people forget what we were doing before, that they were defending it, and now thinking it was a bad thing. The main difference is we're hopefully not depending on our QB to do it until he breaks anymore.


April 14th, 2011 at 8:12 PM ^

I think the idiot is the person who thinks changing coaches is going to transform a team from not tough to tough.  Or that saying you're going to be a tough team is sufficient (if you believe this, you're the fucking idiot, not me).  That's assuming our teams weren't tough to begin with, which is ridiculous. 


April 14th, 2011 at 11:34 AM ^

At first I was gonna get all mad at the continued use of "manball", but I just enjoyed thinking about Jackson as Yoda too much. Kudos to for making the tired meme actually kind of funny.

st barth

April 14th, 2011 at 11:48 AM ^

Nobody has made the obvious connection that MANBALL requires testicles?  

I was going to do an image search for "MANBALL"...but I'm too scared.