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.



April 14th, 2011 at 11:55 AM ^

1. help the defense by playing a more ball control game

2. being mentally tough enough to handle adversity

3. not losing bowl games by 40

4. winning more than 7 games

I happen to think we didn't play "manball" under Carr, mostly due to the fact that our guys had grown fat and out of shape by the end.  We should all be welcoming this new mentality.  It will lead to success.


April 14th, 2011 at 11:56 AM ^

If someone was cool enough to take all the best clips of spring practice, throw in some 80's hard rock music, and turn it into a MANBALL MONTAGE of Rocky-style TRAINING to beat Ivan Drago - I mean, Ohio State.....that would be amazing

death by wolverine

April 14th, 2011 at 12:01 PM ^

To take the serious route on Manball, I look at it like this. Manball is what Wisconsin played against us last year. They ran it and ran it and ran it. It's doing what you want and the other team can't to anything about it. It's not about a gimmick offense that tries to put players in wide open spaces. It's one on one,beating your guy and nothing they can do about it.


April 14th, 2011 at 1:52 PM ^


05 Texas

06 Florida (though a hybrid pass-run)

08 Florida

10 Auburn

Pro Style-

'01 Miami

'02 OSU

'03 LSU and USC

'04 USC

'09 Alabama


With '07 LSU being kind of a hybrid multiple offense style team.


So actually, there's a slight edge to pro-styles teams, if you've been watching the last decade. But suffice to say, it's pretty close, and you can win with any offense if ran well. The real difference? Just about all those teams (other than Auburn...and maybe LSU in '07) had really good defenses...

King Douche Ornery

April 14th, 2011 at 5:37 PM ^

Those spread offenses of Auburn and Oregon last year were relegated largely impotent by good defense.

Same with the Oklahoma-Florida game. I believe those offensive juggernauts combined for 38 total points.

Keep on dreaming abou the spread being the greatest bestest thing ever.

Execution is execution; being better is being better. Defenses are seriously catching up to the spread. Besides, it sucks. Every team lines up, stands there, turns and looks at the sidelines, then does one of four things: Handoff to the running back that takes 14 minutes to get off; bubble screen; quarterback faking handoff then running (another 14-minute play), or up the middle into a big wall of defense.

Does the spread work? Sure--any offense works when the team running it is good and has superior athletes. But is it the ONLIEST thing ever? No way.


April 14th, 2011 at 6:51 PM ^

I'm curious which Auburn and Oregon teams you are talking about that had impotent offenses against good teams.  Seriously I would love to know this.  Oregon was held under 37 points twice, and Auburn put up massive stats in the best conference in college football. Neither team had a particluarly great defense yet their offenses carried them to undefeated regular seasons.


April 14th, 2011 at 12:46 PM ^

Yeah, I totally agree. It's a battle of wills. It's about not giving in. I don't think it has to do with physical strength necessarily as it may imply. I do think there's an aspect, especially on the line of scrimmage, of beating up your opponent. I view it as more of a philosophy: a way of life.

I've been manballing every single aspect of my life.


April 14th, 2011 at 2:25 PM ^

"It's not about a gimmick offense that tries to put players in wide open spaces. 

I'm sorry but that makes zero sense to me.  I hope our offense puts lots of people in open space.  What would the alternative be?  Hoping our wide recievers are always covered and our running backs have no holes to run through.  Yeah, that sounds much better.

Also, it is not a gimmick, just becasue most people don't understand it does not make it a gimmick.  It might not be" smash mouth" in your face football, but it involves out smarting the defense not just running them over everyone still has to block.  You say you want to beat a guy one on one, well hell if you do that on offense that means that there is one guy left unblocked to take on the ball carrier.  That is why good offenses almost always have at least one guy that requires the defense to commit an extra defender to them.  Guys like Denard and Braylon who required an extra guy to help, that opens up someone else.  That leaves someone else in wide open space which is why we had guys wide open last year because to steal a saying I learned from Mattison when I was younger we "changed the math" to take away one of their guys.  Can you do that with a prostyle offense? Yes, but it requires elite players at the skill positions and outside of Denard we don't have those guys. 

What happens to teams like Wisconsin when they can't run the ball and impose their will?  When teams can line up against them and go one on one or change the math in favor of the defense?  They tend to lose those games (I am from WI and have seen it many, many times)That is why manball is not always a good idea and why we really won't run it as much as people think.  Or just go out there and play linebacker and let Odoms crack block you, then come back and tell me that isn't whatever the hell manball is.

death by wolverine

April 14th, 2011 at 3:26 PM ^

"What happens when teams like Wisconsin when they can't run or impose their will?"

What happens is they could lose. I never said that Manball will make you undefeated. Teams lose somtimes no matter what offense they run. I was just tired of seeing us look awesome on the first drive and then get figured out and not even score again. Against good teams anyway.


April 14th, 2011 at 6:52 PM ^

or it could have to do with the fact that we might score on the first drive, punt the next three and the other team would be winning 28-7.  At that point your game plan is pretty much shot to shit and when you're a running football team a 21 point deficit is hard to overcome with that first year QB. 


April 14th, 2011 at 4:19 PM ^

it is not a gimmick, just becasue most people don't understand it does not make it a gimmick. 

Actually, I think our opponents (at least the decent ones) understood it fairly well.  That's why we had trouble putting points on the board as the season wore on.


April 14th, 2011 at 5:40 PM ^

I don't get this argument and it needs to stop. The reason we, as well as most college teams, score less points later in the year is because they play better defenses. We played pretty much the same schedule as we do every year and we scored quite a few points. I don't remember anyone saying the offense was bad chad henne's senior year when they only scored 3 points against OSU


April 14th, 2011 at 6:02 PM ^

There can only be one reason?  I don't agree.  Yes, defenses (except for Illinois) seemed to figure us out and many of our points were scored later in the games, once the result was not so much in doubt.  So no, the argument "doesn't need to stop".

Our offense sputtered for more than one reason.  Better defenses seemed to handle us pretty well and we played better defenses later in the year.  Of course, the offenses we played against later in the year didn't provide any evidence for your theory that most college teams score less later in the year (48, 57, 52).

By the way, your one-game example from 2007 is funny.  Yes, we scored only 3 against OSU, but our final five games saw the following offensive production - 34, 28, 21, 3 and 41.  We scored 24.6 ppg on the season and 25.4 in the last five.  We scored more that year in the end of the season.  Perhaps what "needs to stop" is the mis-use of stats where a closer look reveals the opposite of what was reported.


April 14th, 2011 at 9:01 PM ^

Oh, they averaged 25 points per game. What did our sputtering offense average for the year? Also, its funny we question why our offense scored late in games and then take half this post to trumpet SDSU's offensive output against TCU (as they were down 3 scores most of the game)


April 15th, 2011 at 10:34 AM ^

What did our sputtering offense average for the year?

Well...If you read my post, you'd see that I listed the average.  Or, you can always google it.  If you are asking about 2010, you can google that as well.

...take half this post to trumpet SDSU's offensive output against TCU

You should share what you're smoking.  I haven't once mentioned SDSU or TCU in this thread.  I'm not sure what your deal is, but your theory about offensive production decreasing as a season wears down is refuted by the facts of the year you specifically cite (2007).  In any event, there is reason for more than blind optimism this year and some folks (although maybe not the majority here) are excited for the future.  Others (i.e. you) seem to prefer being stuck in the rut of the very recent past.


April 14th, 2011 at 6:47 PM ^

You are correct other teams figured it out to a degree.  I was thinking more about the fans who say it is a gimmick, they are the ones that don't understand what is going on.  While our offense did slow down you can't really blame it all on them.  It is hard to make adjustments when you are only on the sideline for three plays and the other team scores a TD.  (Plus sometimes I think we were just to bullheaded to change)  There was also a lot of pressure on them to score 50 every game and I think that sometimes that pushed the young guys to try and do to much.  Figure in crappy field position all the time because of giving up TD and then only getting to the 20 on an even worse KR.  Those things are hard to overcome when you are playing against a team that is talented and well coached.  But, yes all college coaches have figured out how to stop (or at least slow them down) the spread, except maybe Ron English.  Not all of them have the talent to do it though. 


April 14th, 2011 at 4:19 PM ^

It's not about a gimmick offense that tries to put players in wide open spaces. It's one on one,beating your guy and nothing they can do about it.

And what, if you're spreading the D out they're just standing there while the O doesn't have to do any work to beat them to that wide open spot?

I mean, seriously?


I don't really care one way or the other what offense we run as long as it gets the job done, but the implication that you don't need to do anything in a spread offense is just asinine.


April 14th, 2011 at 7:06 PM ^

They can't be, they are a one back set.  Which means no FB and three WR.  According to what I have been reading that would make it a gimmick.  However, the QB lines up under center most of the time, but they still run some gun.  I really don't know if they run enough from under center to over come the three WR's on the field though.  Someone should make an equation of how much FB you need on the field.  Perhaps if you run it with two TE's that will make up for the lack of a FB.  Also, I could be mistaken but I believe they run some zone blocking, which would be a strike against manball.  Other than all of those issues I would say it's probably as close to manball as you can get.


El Jeffe

April 14th, 2011 at 1:04 PM ^

How do all of these seasoned MGoBlog readers (looking at you, jmblue) still not get Brian? He's a cranky, sarcastic, deeply loyal, and frequently pessimistic young cuss who occasionally gets his bitch on. So what?

The only thing dumber than trying to figure out how to run MANBALL, as if that were a real thing that actually existed in reality that is real, is complaining that Brian is being no fairsies to Brady Hoke by invoking the MANBALL meme.

Criminy, people.


April 14th, 2011 at 1:28 PM ^

The annoying part about the "manball" meme to me isn't that it's unfair to Brady Hoke.  If Brian doesn't like him, that's up to him.  There are certainly players/coaches I don't like.

The annoying part about "manball" is that it's inaccurate and - as you can see in this thread - gives the wrong impression about Michigan football.  It's like if I started calling Rodriguez's offense a "passing spread."  It's not.


April 14th, 2011 at 8:24 PM ^

Whereas "Tacopants" was an accurate description of an actual player on the Michigan roster.

MANBALL is snark, a joke. It is not what we will run (not even Brian suggests that) - it is what crotchety blue-hairs think we should run, what they think is Michigan Football run by Michigan Men. When they hear "toughness" and "downhill running", it is visions of MANBALL that make them tingly in their Depends. It is why they hoorahed the hiring of Hoke and harrumphed the rise of Rodriguez.

You are not the target of the critique inherent in the MANBALL meme, nor is Al Borges, and not really Brady Hoke. Stop taking it so seriously, because most of the people who do are the ones who get so irritated by its use.