Dear Diary Can Take Or Leave It If I Please Comment Count

Seth September 12th, 2014 at 3:40 PM


A brave man once requested me
To answer questions that are key
'Is it to be or not to be?'
And I replied 'Oh why ask me?"

It's Korea out there in user-generated content land, and it's my job to triage. The only way to make it through sane is Hawkeye-level satire, and making fun of people who take themselves seriously, and not looking too hard at the antics of certain people from Toledo. Okay Radar, state your business, in one word or less:

  • Reshp1: 289 yards for zero points.

One word or less.


  • Glewe: Mental toughness.

That is two words.

  • Glewe: Mentaltoughness.

Ah, you're a football coach I see. Try an English word.

Didn't you go already?

  • Dnak438: I wrote another one.

Oh. Well thanks. I'm still putting it in etc.

Etc. Worse. Students. Plays. Wallpaper.

[After the jump: the pain grows stronger, watch it grin.]

Best of the Board



OSU lost its band director but is still kicking our butts in halftime show concepts; this one included the Batmobile (with smoke coming out the tailpipe!) and the theme from M.A.S.H. with a not very subtle suggestion for all of us. Wait, what are the words to this song again? Did they really just suggest…? Well damn, band. No, I am way too impressed to be offended.

I see this, then think about MMB's ode to Dave Brandon for last year's Game, and I has a sad.


There were a couple of threads with coach-type unaffiliated people making the obvious observation about the cornerback play that doomed Michigan last week.

Theory: the defensive changes really didn't do Countess any favors.

A snippet from a guy who played college football:

Simply put these db's are not being coached correctly and are being allowed to get away with poor technique. Very poor. In press coverage, yes the objective is to disrupt the time and rhythm of an offense. Even more importantly, be physical as most receivers hate to be hit and to block.

I mean, yes. It was a failure exactly on par with running a 3-3-5 and not ever blitzing a linebacker. If the corners are playing press-man and they let the WR get a free release inside, you've neutered the ONE THING that makes this strategy successful. Roy Manning's friends are my friends, and they universally told me that he's going to be a major program head coach some day. They won't say this but having Roy coaching this position appears to have been a "let's put him somewhere because we need this guy" decision by Hoke, and you are seeing the results of a guy who never played cornerback trying to teach a new style of defense to cornerbacks. They will say that press technique is very hard to get down because receivers can do so many different things to you. Teams that do it consistently groom upperclassmen for the job.

Where do they go from here? I don't know. They're limited in staff but if there's some loophole where they can fly in Todd Howard for emergency CB coaching they should do so immediately.

If Michigan decides not to scrap AGGRESSIVE, which they can probably roll with Taylor and Lewis if not the rest of the depth chart, the greatness of Countess that got the #2 jersey on him in the first place is going to be the casualty. Having Blake play up in the WRs' grillz is Jake Ryan in reverse: a read-and-react dude being asked to play RRRAAGGHRRR. Countess is an NFL-level dimeback—the kind of heady player who can thrive in a cover 2 defense—and even under better circumstances (like, if they had a guy who knew anything about playing cornerback coaching cornerback)—there's just no way you can turn that guy into Darqueze Dennard. Countess's game is quick-thinking and baiting interceptions so that the QB won't trust himself to throw that direction.


Compiled by Wolverine Devotee:


The three at right are the latest. WD's reaction is "Again?" Mine is "Nailed it!"

As you can see, they had an aesthetic problem the last few years in that there were three to six completely different designs they might wear on any given day, let alone colors, and all of those designs had problems. The weasel was always awful, the "MICHIGAN" throwbacks got weird when they emphasized the M, playing around with various striping patterns and whites just made them look more NHL, and the Rangers-style angled "MICHIGAN" would look silly except when you remember Steve Shields [EDIT: gah I meant Turco; anyway it was the script Michigan when both played]. The swapping was disorienting and would have killed any chance of instant recognition if it wasn't for the winged helmets. Is that Team Sweden? A Buffalo throwback? The Predators? Chris Pronger-era St. Louis? Oh it's us! Also I am not a fan of big stripes down the sleeves, and am a dark navy extremist. The darker the better; leave the royal spectrum for Delaware I say.

All they've done is simplified the Block-M, which was the favorite when I did that uni bracket years ago, and used that design across three color schemes. With the hockey uniforms, the wings already make us unique; the jerseys should just remind you we're a classic. WIN. WIN. WIN. Please stick to these three for the next 20 years (they won't last more than a year but I can ask right?)


With this board, you can turn anything into a charity drive. Reshp1 suggested having the half-fulls go up against the half-emptys, and whoever amongst the teeth-gnashers who turned out to be wrong have to donate that.



A reader gave us his season tickets, and this is how I chose to give away the first pair: name the person you would take and let the readers vote with their reader moderation buttons. Right now it's a dead heat between Darker Blue, Kjydmd, and GodwinWolverine95.


I guess we have to put the Notre Dame game in some sort of perspective, so here's Eric in Dayton putting it in perspective of Michigan's worst losses since Bo. For each he listed the result of the season, except where the blowout loss WAS the end of the end of the season.



For one he didn't take MBA classes that ask questions like "what iz LEADERSHIP?" Leadership just means making good decisions when you're responsible for doing so; a strategy is only repeatable in like circumstances; and innate traits are innate. I have great scorn for questions like "identify a leader and describe one characteristic and one strategy" because they imply that what made that guy successful is repeatable.

But if we must play: The strategy is the Two-Guard Offense, which he has been running for 30 years with much varied talent, so he knows what he needs to recruit for it, and how to adapt it to his talent, and how best to teach it. The innate trait is adaptability; Beilein avoided the same fate as Rich Rod by scrapping his own 1-3-1 defense as soon as it wasn't working. In a more subtle but perhaps more telling example, going up against a Syracuse outfit that could hardly have been constructed better to deal with that Michigan team, Beilein tweaked his offense in a way nobody had seen before (because he never had a player like that before) to key it from McGary in the post. I'd place adaptability just before ethics in the traits that make Beilein a great coach, but both are crucial.

Loyalty and magic recruiting juju will get you a decent grade from any professor who'd ask that question, but loyalty is only as strong as the thing you place it in, and what seems like scouting magic is really just an effect of a guy who's spent an extraordinary amount of time adapting lots of different things to the thing he knows. Beilein's "loyalty" level is rather weak—he'll have no compunction about benching leader/11th year senior Jordan Morgan when the NCAA breaks the charge rule, for example. What made Beilein the last coach in the green room is the his understanding of, and his will to do good.

Yes, this is a business lecture from a poor guy on the internet who's managed to fail two businesses before turning 35. But I've seen several businesses built on the same premise as Beilein's program—MGoBlog among them—and can vouch that surviving your ass off until you learn enough to not suck anymore while being so ethical as to attract other ethical people who want you to succeed is a viable model.

ETC. Annual turnover margins since '84 show Michigan used to be better at football than a majority of teams they faced. One of our soldiers came home. Let's make a Special K playlist. He went to Eastern Michigan!

Your Moment of Zen:

Brian eating his lemon, from the unified lemon thread:



September 12th, 2014 at 4:01 PM ^

Ah, a song known as Suicide is Painless written by a 14 year old?  Is this really where we are right now?  Also, if Manning is so important to keep on the staff, why not let him just coach the position he played, or RBs which he has actually coached in the past?  It's not like forcing Manning into a position where he looks bad as a coach is going to help his career either.

Ron Utah

September 12th, 2014 at 4:16 PM ^

Dude who played college football that says our CBs are coached poorly has NO idea how our CBs are being coached.

The truth is that almost anytime you get beat on a play in football it looks like your technique was poor.  Watching the film, it looks like Countess is trying to play with proper technique, but Will Fuller is quick and fast and stuff and doesn't make it easy to jam him at the LOS.

What does seem clear is that Countess is not built for press man.  But you're being either ignorant or malicious if you're claiming that Manning doesn't understand the basics of press coverage, even if he wasn't a CB coach before this season.  Even if you make the assumption that Manning has no idea what he's doing, Mallory is still there, Mattison is still there, and those guys aren't going to let Manning coach the CBs into futility.

Honestly, I put more of the blame on Mattison for sticking with what wasn't working for too long; it was clear early on that Countess and Hollowell simply couldn't execute against the ND players.  But believe me, the U-M coaches all understand the basics of press coverage.


September 12th, 2014 at 4:38 PM ^

I didn't think I made that assumption. I think we pretty much agree except that while the basics of press coverage are easy to understand, GETTING IT DOWN is really really hard unless you're a natural.

There's a huge gap between "has no clue what he's doing" and "isn't coaching his competency." The latter is what I am really suggesting. Stopping a guy like Will Fuller is hard but doable; good coaches and lots of reps and talent make that possible. Roy hasn't developed a teaching system, and probably doesn't feel at all confident yet in pointing out problems as they're occurring. At the very least I think we understand now why Countess was getting passed by guys in spring and fall. I don't think it's such a great leap to think that if Manning is seeing his guys just can't do press that he's not confident enough yet in himself to tell a guy like Greg Mattison "you can't do the defense you want to; you're making the 2nd best cornerback in the conference look like shit."

Criticizing a coach on the internet is tough because so many people will assume you're like "FIRE THIS GUY!" or at the least they should move him. I think the most we should be asking at this point is that Roy is getting some more help. No WAY that guy is going to be a Lloyd Carr or Nick Saban defensive backs coach his first year when he's never played or coached it before. And no, Mallory and Mattison et al. can't be over his shoulder when they've got their own units (and in Mattison's case the entire defense and half of Michigan's recruiting, and being basically Hoke's associate HC in all but name) on their plates.


Shop Smart Sho…

September 12th, 2014 at 6:08 PM ^

But Space Coyote agreed with the opposite side of your point, so I think we're all supposed to think you're wrong.

It doesn't take a Michigan engineer to figure out that Countess was mostly really good last year, and has looked mostly bad this year.  Two changes have happened since last year for Countess; his coach and the system he is supposed to run.  Seeing as the former has a direct impact on the latter, it seems easy to recognize that the problem lies in the coaching of the system.

I find it nearly impossible to believe that these guys are being taught to play press coverage without attempting to jam the WR at or near to the LOS.


September 12th, 2014 at 9:13 PM ^

"Roy hasn't developed a teaching system, and probably doesn't feel at all confident yet in pointing out problems as they're occurring."

Come on. You really are just talking out of your ass. It's amazing how much you seem to know about the details of practice and the relationship between all the coaches. You really think Manning is seeing major errors and letting them slide because he's not confident enough? We're talking about often egotistical testosterone-fueled dudes here. I doubt Manning is Woody Allen in practice. "Um, excuse me, um, coach, if I could, um, perhaps..."

"Mallory and Mattison et al. can't be over his shoulder when they've got their own units."

Again, I'd guess you have no idea what you're talking about. Surely the secondary as a whole is working together a good deal of the time. And surely Mattison can at least take a second to look at the secondary in practice, no?

I also really don't think Countess is the 2nd best cornerback in the league unfortunately. Hell, he might be 3rd best on the team at this point.

Regarding the guy who claimed to have played ball, no one knows who he is. Although with some sleuthing that I don't care to do, if he is legit, it shouldn't be hard at all to find out. He said his cousin was Amani Toomer and he talked about the positions he played. He lost me when he talked about how bad Frank Clark was since no one who knows what they're talking about who watched the tape agreed with that at all.

Having said all that, the criticism of the defense as a whole in which the entire point of the new strategy fails miserably when one guy goes down, or not adjusting quickly enough or having a backup plan, is definitely justified. But that seems to go on Mattison. And Mattison himself said mulitiple times in the presser after the ND game that he didn't really have a backup plan already in place if things didn't work.


September 12th, 2014 at 4:42 PM ^

...a good point on WTKA a day or so ago, namely that it's not a good sign (I'm paraphrasing) that the defensive coaches thought (seemingly) all offseason that Countess could be part of a press man scheme and then, after the ND game, said, " know who's not at all built for press man?  Blake Countess." 


September 13th, 2014 at 12:02 PM ^

Paul Fricker was between the pipes for the first M hockey game I ever saw. Dan Lerg was the captain. Steve Richmond, Murray Eaves, Bruno Basseoto, Brad Tippett, and and big defenseman named Richter were among the top players. That was 78 or 79 and tickets were a little over $3, if memory serves. The coach was Dan Farrell.


September 12th, 2014 at 4:40 PM ^

Col. Sherman T. Potter: Why are you dressed like an Italian usher? 
Colonel Flagg: Can you keep a secret? 
Col. Sherman T. Potter: I'd like to think so. 
Colonel Flagg: I'm disguised as Ling Chow. A Chinese double agent. 
Col. Sherman T. Potter: Funny, you don't look Chinese. 
Colonel Flagg: Neither would Ling Chow if he was dressed like this. You follow? 
Col. Sherman T. Potter: As far as I'd like to. 
Colonel Flagg: I'm off. 
Col. Sherman T. Potter: I couldn't have said it better myself.
Colonel Flagg: Have you ever heard of the Malaysian Chest Implosion Torture? 
Radar: [intimidated] No. 
Colonel Flagg: That's because it hasn't been invented... yet.


September 12th, 2014 at 5:07 PM ^

I'd love to see that same chart with only current/previous UM coaches on it. Too easy to throw stones at Hoke by selecting a few very successful contemporay coaches, we could be more fair and put up all the Big ten coaches in past 8 years for example...



September 12th, 2014 at 5:20 PM ^

It's a question of who you want to compare to. The chart has good coaches at our rival schools and main competition. I don't want a coach who is better than the dregs of the B1G, I want a coach who goes toe-to-toe with OSU, MSU and ND (sigh). Other Michigan coaches may be interesting, but Bo was in another time with 105 man rosters, Rich's will just be depressing, and Mo's was too short. Lloyd's would be the only one worth comparing.


September 12th, 2014 at 5:34 PM ^

completely different circumstances existed for each of those coaches, and not one of them was left the train wreck that Hoke inherited. 

You make a great point with comparing with previous UM coaches, but it would still be interesting to see the trajectory of their 1st few years, Carr  had some poor 8-4's in him too.

Maybe it could show coaches who took over and had to completely redo previous coaches recruiting/scheme? 

For example  Hoke, Butch Jones (TENN),Bo Pelini (Neb), everyone to coach at CO since 2001


September 13th, 2014 at 2:19 AM ^

The OSU band video wasn't bad, but to really impress me they need to have Thing snapping around 2:45. (Bonus points if they managed to work Cousin Itt in there.) Ah well, better luck next time, guys.