So yesterday was the first time we really got to try out my brother's new double-TV basement setup. The plan was to watch all of the football for 14 straight hours, but once the Wisconsin game ended the kinderfolk had taken over TV2 and put on the movie that the current generation of kinderfolk cannot stop watching: Frozen. During one lengthy halftime, we acquiesced to a volume swap, and soon enough here's this room full of men in MSU and Alabama and Michigan gear intently watching a (double-) princess flick.
|This won the internet' in December. By Red_Lee|
From what I've managed to piece together of the plot from 30+ partial viewings, there's a snowy kingdom with a rich shipping and ice manufacturing industrial base that comes to be ruled by a princess with magical ice powers. As a kid she shoots her sister with it. Later the sister gets engaged to a prince she doesn't bother to scout, and as a result ice princess accidentally locks her country in a polar vortex. Ice princess then runs off, sings "eff it all" and builds ice castles until her sister shows up, at which point she shoots her sister again. So now she has to come back and make things right, which leads to her shooting her sister a third time, and this slowly turns sis into an ice statue. Then ice princess hugs the statue and cries, and everything suddenly goes back to summer because all along she had the ability to de-ice everything by loving something other than herself.
Message received, Disney. Now that Michigan's leadership is actually focusing on the realm instead of the realm's perception of its leadership, it turns out our wealthy little Nordic fantasy land doesn't have to be a barren, frozen waste-tundra after all.
Bronxblue gave the whole coaching search his Best and Worst treatment. Like the rest of us, he found the whole thing refreshingly sensical, like Michigan was acknowledging factors that created bad decisions in the past, and was approaching the pursuit of Harbaugh and Plan B with a zeal for deliberation and responsibility that Dave Brandon put into presenting himself as deliberate and responsible.
He also got into the meta of reporting on this process. As a rule of thumb, the more a media person is saying "trust ME" instead of "trust THIS INFORMATION" the less you should believe him.
[After the jump, a long discussion of the running game next year, and a moment of zen you don't want to miss]
Harbacks. There were a pair of diaries exploring the running backs that Harbaugh had at Stanford, mostly Toby Gerhart, Stephan Taylor and Tyler Gafney. The thing I took away from the first one, was they're big dudes who can block. The smallest of them was 5'10/193 as a recruit; that's Jeremy Stewart, who didn't play much at Stanford but is carving out an NFL career now. There's a reason these guys are having pro success: Harbaugh uses his backs often in pass pro, and recruits the kind of dudes who enjoy it. Michigan hasn't had a back who can block well since Vincent Smith, but we do have some bigger dudes. None of them seem to mind initiating contact as ballcarriers but I bet you Harbuck the one who emerges will be whoever can pick up a blitz.
The second one focuses on vision. He clipped a Gerhart inside zone run that went outside, and was successful because Gerhart read his block and made his cut quickly:
What you're looking at is happening on the edge—this is usually the case zone runs, which often go to whichever side of that edge blocker that the SDE doesn't. Here Gerhart saw his LT already outside the SDE and went for that edge. Gerhart is making his cut even before he has the ball:
And that's huge. The TE is out there to cut off the flowing linebacker (Manti Te'o), and the faster Gerhart can get out there, the more space he'll have to go downfield. Last year you would see M's backs take a step forward then try to bounce outside, giving the defense time to get back in their lanes. The diary also has a Drake Johnson backside power run that tells us nothing: Johnson missed a backside cut and bounced out of the hole created by his blocking, and should have been met by the flowing linebacker except Indiana's MLB tripped over a DE that Mason Cole had blown two yards downfield.
There was a separate diary asking if Harbaugh means fullbacks, which Nussmeier wasn't a fan of. I think there's a spot for them if any learn to block and can also threaten in the run and pass game. You can use an H-back to accomplish most of the same things; if Wyatt Shallman is healthy there's a role for a guy like that no matter what kind of offense you run.
As for the run game as a whole, I expect Cole is en route to stardom, Braden isn't, unless Jack Miller is unseated the OL is best suited to zone, the guards will be fine either way, Harbaugh and the RBs are best suited to power, and it'll be a mix.
METAGoBlog. LSAClassOf2000 decided to analyze the 2014 season from the perspective of the board cussing. I share a piece:
We noted a 31% jump in the use of “fire” this year and over 90% of directly at Brady Hoke. You can see below the moment when, insofar as this blog is concerned, the moment when a great deal of support fell away from the last staff.
Fucks peaked during the Rutgers game thread. Notre Dame, Michigan State, and Maryland brought out the most sucks.
Assistants? Thanks to MGoGrendel for collating the board's assistant rumors and recruiting info so I didn't have to. With each potential assistant coach there's a list of the guys they were the primary recruiter for. Vince Marrow, the Kentucky coach Michigan's been trying to poach, comes with a laundry list of Ohio recruits.
While we're on the assistants, I wanted to address Roy Manning as potential RBs coach, because I know guys who know Roy. We've been pegging him as an OLBs/WDEs guy because that's what he played in college and the pros, but I remind you it's not unusual at all for a position coach to not be at the position he played. He really did get thrust into the fire at CBs coach, but I for one would prefer they find a way to keep him on staff. Via all the CBs he played with, his acumen for learning is such that Michigan may be fine leaving him where he is. His former teammates rave about him, and stuff that trickles out of Schembechler Hall from his charges says he's going to be a big time head coach one day.
If the Playoffs had been four all along? The Sparties in the room were asking this question all last night, since they're convinced the Rose Bowl win last year would have translated into a national championship. We had a diary from Moonlight Graham that counted the number of times Michigan and its rivals would have gone to a four-teamer if it had been in place since 1936. Four of Crisler's 1940s teams would have gone, Bump's 1964s, six Bo teams, Desmond's senior year, and then '97, '03, and '06 from Lloyd.
Etc. The year at MGoBlog according to our top mod, and the same's appreciation of MGoBlog diary that rightfully became the readers' appreciation of LSA2000 thread. Total 247 composite rankings puts M in top ten. A five-star hire tends to net five-star recruits. NFL grinches trying to steal our Harbaughmas.
Best of the Board
HOW GRAD TRANSFERS WORK
Michigan could use a quarterback of the non-18-year-old variety, and Stanford's Kevin Hogan has elicited interest for being a Harbaugh-recruited quarterback who might be seeking a grad transfer landing spot. I've stated I won't take that seriously until I hear it's being pursued, and I have some clarity on whether Michigan's academic side and how that would work. Alum96 chimed in with some data points that suggest anything that would happen would happen in June.
This appears to be real:
Thirty-seven thousand followers and one tweet. His 19 follows are @umich and 18 varsity sports. Thanks to BurselysFinest for pointing it out. Apparently he didn't want to keep his since-deleted Stanford account, which is fortunately preserved by SFGate. What we have to look forward to:
He is a Jack Bauer-loving, roof-fixin', banana split-craving, Greek god admiring, egg-like-thinking, Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald-quoting lunatic, and he's ours!
SI also decrypted some apparently recruiting-related tweets in 2010. I wouldn't expect any more of those; Michigan's violations hunters would be all over that before you could misspell "ConnecTEcutt."
A man who lives in Ann Arbor went out for dinner in downtown Ann Arbor. Half of Alabama's class promptly committed to Michigan.
WHEN THE BAUGH WAS UNDER CENTER AND THE ALBOM WAS OVER DEADLINES
Before he became a schmaltz-peddler who puts his real time and effort into his volunteer organizations, Mitch Albom could write about Bo like nobody's business. Mitch republished his pre-Rose 1986 article, which includes this bit…
"YOU'RE OFF THE TEAM!" he began.
Harbaugh swallowed. "What?" he said.
"IS YOUR NAME JAMES JOSEPH HARBAUGH?" Bo screamed.
'Yes...," Harbaugh squeaked.
The coach slammed down a police report. "This is your name on this report! Assault and battery! Drunk and disorderly conduct! Damaging school property!"
"Bo, I didn't do any of that!" Harbaugh said.
"IT'S IN THE REPORT!" the coach screamed, his face within inches.
"WELL I DIDN'T DO IT!" Harbaugh screamed back. It was the first time he retaliated so strongly. Schembechler stared at him for a long time, then said,
"Well you better clear it up."
…of Bo confronting Harbaugh over an ultimately false allegation of breaking a dorm fire alarm.
WHERE WE LEARNED EVERYONE WEARS A FEZ UNDER THEIR ABNORMALLY LARGE HATS
Thanks to the reader who bought everyone beers at Ashley's, and the readers who stopped by, bought the MGoStaff a round, and complained that their wives and girlfriends just don't understand why they spend so much time here.
Also thanks to the lady readers in that thread who came forth to stand up to various MGo-disapproving spouses. You can too be all girl and all blue. Of course they all went on to report that their husbands are sick of MGoBlog and all things Harbaugh, i.e. sympathizers.
BIG TEN EAST DEPTH CHARTS
Your Moment of Zen:
Here's Sarah Harbaugh clearing the air on $8 Walmart khakis and who's really responsible for Jim's outfit: