Monkey Punches Comment Count

Brian September 3rd, 2012 at 11:30 AM

9/1/2012 – Michigan 14, Alabama 41 – 0-1

[ED: I retreated into humor; Ace, being there, didn't have that option, and wrote a thing that is closer to the game column thing than this.]

So I've spent a lot of time thinking about this, and have concluded that Michigan's biggest tactical error on Saturday night was not leaving Jerryworld ten minutes into the first quarter and wandering around Dallas until they'd had enough random encounters to go up several levels. Once Michigan had unlocked special abilities like Mystic Separation and acquired the Arm Of Elway, they could have returned to the field and resumed playing on a more even basis.

While this would take about three years and pose several logistical difficulties, there can be no debate this would have been a preferable to the solution Michigan's dunderheaded coaches decided on, viz., not running away at top speed apologizing profusely. By not fleeing to practice their skills on, like, bats and stuff, they ended up losing the game.

Worse, they ended up continuing the game, thus forcing a great many people to watch it. At no point did Al Borges deploy the EMP weapon he must have spent the offseason perfecting in lieu of figuring out what Denard Robinson is good at. So the broadcast continued unabated, except apparently in DC where DirecTV was on the fritz. (Wolverines in our nation's capitol: keep yourselves quarantined. You may be all that's left of us once the PTSD kicks in. You must continue to tell others of our sacrifice.)

As mentioned, a better strategy would have been to exit at top speed while splicing K-Pop videos into the feed.

One of 67,200,113 things that would have been preferable to watching football on Saturday night

But hey, I'm just a guy on the internet. Maybe I haven't thought this through. There are multiple strategies for successfully executing a game like Saturday's.

INVENT A TIME MACHINE. The classic. Go back to the point at which this game was agreed upon and describe to the decision-makers what the consequences will be. Unfortunately, in this case the only part of "nationally televised debacle on par with Chernobyl" that will be heard is "nationally televised," and nothing will change.

DRINK! Not working.

DRINK MORE! Nerft veruking erngerghf.

AFTER IT'S OVER, TELL PEOPLE YOU SUCK AND WILL PUT MORE SUGAR IN YOUR SAUCE. I'm not sure what the analog of putting more sugar in your sauce is but it's probably putting more MAN in your BALL down BY THE RIVER. This move was successfully executed by the guy who replaced the guy who only hears "nationally televised" at his old job and may be replicated here once the guy who only hears "nationally televised" has been safely quarantined in a relatively meaningless BS government job like governor.

Sorry, world, that you think we suck. We're going to try not to suck any more, and look, here's some guy who works for us. Very middle America, this guy. Puts garlic on the uniforms. How cool is that?

GO LIMP. Jesse Williams may believe you are rotten and wander off in search of salmon.




via MVictors

The weird thing about doing this and being this age is that you feel stuck. I did not know I was doing this when I started doing it and have felt grateful for my continued obsession it as various other people ranging from 30-50 have reported back on their waning interest in Michigan football, previously their alpha and omega. There's nothing sadder than the thing you used to think is amazing.

What I felt on Saturday was an intense jealousy of Orson/Spencer, who had a child a couple years back and is having another one. We're getting there, but not quite yet due to PhD things. It would have been nice to have a child to look at halfway through the second quarter and know with 100% certainty that what I was looking at was just a game that did not really matter.

I know this, or at least knew it. (I do not know this and never knew it even a tiny bit.) Now that the career is the game it is hard to figure out what's a reasonable response from a human, what's my response, and what's my response augmented by the fact that I've doubled down on fandom. All of it seems out whack, and never more so than on Saturday when a guy I've met a half-dozen times now, mostly at NYC Alumni Club events, was there. He's one of those magical guys who somehow makes a career out of writing stuff for Spin and the NYT Magazine and magazines that start "New York" and may or may not have additional bits in their name. He's been pitching an article about me at these organizations. He was taking notes.

At halftime I bellowed "THAT'S BECAUSE YOU'RE NOT RUNNING DENAAAAARD" at the television. I knew that this was probably not wise with a man taking notes in the room, but only after I did it. There it was anyway. I'd already spent the entire first quarter telling myself not to say anything on twitter until the die had truly been cast.

So, I feel stuck, you know? I'm 33 now, the age when Jim McManus had his Age of Miracles and went to the World Series of Poker to write about it for Harper's, married and not disjointed and blessed by the cosmos. It's a hell of a football game to watch that makes you wish this stuff didn't have such a hold on you, but the first time I looked at the clock and boggled at how much time was left was in the first quarter.


It'll pass, I'm sure. It's just a hell of a football game to do that do you, to leave you blank and unthinking until you laugh in a way that frightens even you.

Bullets we need for this post so you can't use them, find others

The takeaway. DENNIS NORFLEET WOOOOOOOOOOO. He looked fast! And returned some kicks a moderate distance! And got lit up by Dee Hart! And Fred Jackson doesn't think he can play!

Some other stuff that's not about Norfleet for some stupid reason follows.


Obligatory uniform opinion. Highlighter yellow emphatically not getting fixed, so the shoulder things combine with the pants to give off a blinding aura. If that was the goal—maybe Alabama won't even be able to look at us!—okay. I'm guessing it's not. Meanwhile, Alabama just wears their uniforms because they're Alabama. Their brand seems to be surviving.

At least Michigan got the helmet numbers right, amirite?

Blown out. I debated just posting the Hoke presser and saying "Hoke's voice is all you need to know about this game."

Obligatory Borges stuff. Guh. The best thing you can say is that once you're down 31-0 you might as well get out of there without getting anyone hurt. When the opponents are saying stuff like this

“I thought with the running back being out, I thought (Robinson) would’ve got more touches, because he’s a playmaker, he’s a good athlete, good player,” said Alabama linebacker Nico Johnson. “And I don’t know, it was a shock.”

…you totally outsmarted them. And yourself. Mostly yourself.  Any hopes you may be harboring that this will all work itself out and Denard's legs will be the primary engine of the offense are looking pretty sickly at the moment. At least we've been here before, and Borges has retreated to plot anew. Usually he comes back with "hey, this guy can run."

The only rationale I can think of that makes any sense is that Borges believed flat-out that Michigan could not run at all and wanted an offense predicated on that. I don't know how much I buy that given Alabama replacing a number of starters and football coaches' general self-belief, but the numbers are clear. From Bill Connolly:

In 2011, Michigan ran the ball 74 percent of the time on standard downs (national average: 60 percent), 40 percent on passing downs (national average: 33 percent). Despite pro-style intentions, the Wolverines catered to Denard Robinson's strengths for the most part and kept things run-heavy, especially when Toussaint caught fire late in the year.

Against Alabama on Saturday, though, the gameplan was quite different. In the first quarter, Michigan ran just five times on 11 standard downs (45 percent) and just once in six passing downs (17 percent). These are Air Raid percentages.

If Robinson has 30 carries against Air Force I'll again descend into the Walter White laugh. (Spoilers, obviously.)

Would have been nice to see what Robinson could have become in an offense that catered to—or even bothered to use—his primary skill. (Everything else would have been terrible, of course.)

Yeah, yeah, Robinson had reads and could have kept the ball blah blah. Planning to get Robinson carries when Alabama's defense decides not to put a guy on him on the read option is not a winning strategy.

Gardner WR stuff. Gardner probably took more snaps at WR than anyone else and looked like a 6'4" version of Darryl Stonum from 2008. He consistently looked over the wrong shoulder on deep stuff and his routes were crap. But he scored a touchdown and could have had a couple more long gainers if he wasn't going up against yet another Alabama cornerback from hell. Gardner didn't get an opportunity to catch that opening slant thanks to that Milliner kid and had a few more potential long completions broken up by the Alabama secondary. Milliner raked one out; a few others never got there.

Once Gardner's away from a 6'2" junior who was a five star and the #2 CB in his class to Rivals, he'll do fine. Unlike Stonum 2008, Gardner did find the ball even if it looked ugly as he did so.

Roundtree. The first interception was debatably interference as Milliner shoved Roundtree to the ground on his route. Penalty or not, that sequence should make Roundtree's shortcomings as an outside receiver clear. He is not big enough, strong enough, or athletic enough to compete with standout corners. His assets are about as wasted as Denard's, though at least in Roundtree's case it's clear he's on the outside because of a lack of other options.

The ground game. Hard to get a grasp on anything, obviously. Michigan was overwhelmed; Toussaint would not have done much better. Aside from one Vincent Smith run that Alabama lost contain on, Michigan got jack on the ground. I can ask questions all day: why was Rawls going east-west? Why was misdirection hardly attempted? Did Michigan come into the game with more than one running play?

It doesn't really matter.

Bubble screens. They existed, and they got eight yards each, and they were Michigan's best plays that weren't chucking it deep. Gallon looked very good on both; there's no reason not to keep going to it when the defense is giving it to you.

In case of Lewan emergency. Move Schofield to left tackle (where he was pwned on his first play), Omameh to right tackle, and bring in Burzynski at right guard. In case of Lewan emergency, we are dead dead dead dead dead dead.

Defense. Ask again later. I stopped paying close enough attention to tell you anything interesting after the first quarter.

The Countess injury is of course a major blow; with Talbott out the door earlier their CB depth has gone from excellent to shaky before game two. Webb says($) expect Raymon Taylor to pick up the slack. The line was always going to get pounded. Somewhat disconcerting to see a lot of James Ross out there unless Michigan had also just packed it in and was screwing around with getting some experience.

Freshmen. Maize and Blue News has a comprehensive recap. Other than Ross (and NORFLEET) the most prominent freshman contributor was Jarrod Wilson, who stepped in as the free safety in the nickel package as Michigan moved Thomas Gordon down to nickel. Pipkins looked like he got some push on a few plays, too.

We did not see much from Chesson and Darboh, but if Roundtree keeps playing like he is that won't last.

Your winner for dumbest burned redshirt: Royce Jenkins-Stone.

Well, at least this isn't particularly unusual. Various recent Alabama scores:

  • 2011 Citrus Bowl: Alabama 49, MSU 7
  • 2011 Arkansas: 38-14
  • 2011 Florida: 38-10
  • 2011 Tennessee: 37-6
  • 2011 Auburn: 42-14
  • National title game: 21-0 over LSU, LSU never crosses midfield.

Other than Georgia Southern, no team has put up more than 14 points on Michigan since Cam Newton's Auburn outfit.

Forever little brother. This is why Michigan State will always be Michigan State, and doesn't even include Delvon Roe:

Michigan is getting Raped right now. I bet Jerry Sandusky is proud lol #ROLLTIDE

Get your yuks in now.

At least it wasn't the most embarrassing thing to happen over the weekend. This GIF of Kentucky fans is destined to go head to head with Rollerblading Raptors Mascot someday:


Don't forget the guy in the bottom corner and the dude left hanging at the top right. This is a gif as complex and layered as Yankee Enthusiasts and will in time take its place in GIF Valhalla.


Inside the Boxscore returns:

Morgan had 8 tackles, but they were all assisted tackles, which epitomizes the game. In all of the one-on-one matchups, we lost. Bama was just more “-er” than us, bigger, stronger, faster, tougher. I avoided watching Bama last season because I hate that “ESS EEE SEE” crap, but there’s no denying how good they are.

As does Hoke For Tomorrow:

I turned off the TV after Bellamy's first career pass attempt/interception and made my way quietly upstairs to bed.  The rest of the family (wife, 5yo son, 1yo daughter) had long since decided that a good night's sleep was a better option than watching Michigan get smeared across the turf in Texas.  I didn't feel any bitter emotions really, mostly concern for the collective knees of Taylor Lewan, Blake Countess, and Brandon Moore.  I guess the Rich Rod years knocked all of the conceited sense of entitlement out of me for real.



Hinton is gloriously reborn and his article is mostly about Alabama, because obviously. The bit on Denard:

That said, Denard Robinson did not look like a quarterback on the verge of turning the corner as a passer. On one level, it's hard to judge a guy who's being consistently hit and hurried by a defense as relentless as Alabama's, which seems to have an answer for everything on almost every play. But Robinson was well below the Mendoza line tonight in terms of completion percentage (11 of 26), and his two interceptions in the first half were about as ugly – and as costly – as they come.


The first he simply put up for grabs, recklessly lobbing a jump ball in the direction of a receiver who had already been shoved off of his feet and out of bounds by Tide corner Dee Milliner, who found himself all alone to gather in the pick; Eddie Lacy scored three plays, extending 'Bama's lead to 21-0. On the second, Robinson stepped up in the pocket and drilled the ball directly into the chest of linebacker C.J. Mosley, who jogged in for an icing score that pushed the lead to 31-0. In both cases, Robinson had no idea what he was seeing when he put the ball in the air, and seemed more interested in getting rid of it under pressure for the sake of getting rid of, whatever the cost on the other end. Michigan fans have seen that before; all indications tonight are that they'll be seeing it again.

I think that The Hoover Street Rag is not correct:

We have a choice as fans.  We can sulk, we can lament, we can shake our fists in anger.  But I don't think we will.

That would be nice.


In the second quarter, with Michigan trailing 24-0 and backed up inside their 10-yard line, Kirk Herbstreit was talking about Michigan's non-existant running game. The camera panned up to Al Borges in the coordinator's booth. After relaying the upcoming 3rd down play, Borges shook his head in disbelief and rubbed his face. It was the unmistakeable look of someone who had run out of answers, like working your way through a maze and finding only brick walls.

Touch the Banner:

Al Borges deserves some blame, but not much.  Michigan wasn't going to be able to run the ball in this game.  I predicted that Michigan would rush for fewer than 100 yards; the final tally was 69, despite having one of the most electrifying players in the country at quarterback.  Yes, Denard Robinson probably could have run the ball more, especially before he got dinged up.  Would it have made much of a difference?  Probably not.  Where Robinson really could  have made a difference was in the passing game.  He had lots of open receivers early in the game, but he's just as erratic as ever in the passing game.  He kept throwing deep (inaccurately), and completed just 11/26 passes.  The offensive line did a decent job of pass blocking, but if Michigan has to rely on Robinson to win the game with his arm, they're going to struggle.

Erratic, maybe, but I saw a lot of accurate-enough passes that would have been complete if not for Dee Milliner and other members of the Alabama secondary.

Wojo wrote a column. Maize and Brew did a thing. MGoRecruiting returns from the dead to pine for the spread 'n' shred. MLive now TWIS-ing their own readers. Big House Blog is not thrilled with Brandon. Me, I say that whenever you can get less money to play thousands of miles from campus against a team that's signed an extra recruiting class of players over the last five years without getting a home game in return, you have to do it.

At least the server held up, amirite?



September 6th, 2012 at 2:23 PM ^

It was your argument that was wrong. It was you that insisted you must be dumb too if you thought so, I guess who am I to argue?  And no one got insulting until you did.  

But I'm everyone probably wanted me to be awhile ago....because you're not even honest with've found different ways to bitch about the game in every way possible in just about every post you've made since Saturday night. If this is "6" to you, more power to ya.


ah, Math was my worst subject.

Was yours logic? Luckily for my college career, the other subjects were better. Anyway, actually I addressed Denard's running or lack thereof in 6 different posts on different threads in different responses to different points. I was interested and looked back to see if your math was close to correct. Sadly no. Though if anyone would know something about multiple posts on every potential topic, it certainly would be the guy with 33,000 points. So I cede the argument to you there. Let's call it a dozen even though the record doesn't show that. 

I thought perhaps I should reflect a bit given your persistence in looking down on the original opinion. But then I remembered that within x number of run plays, a coach can call a play designed for the QB to run, or the RB. I think they call it a game plan. But then since my math aptitude is weak, perhaps I'm getting that wrong too. 

If it wasn't for your screen name, given the (slight) reality distortion and (larger) condescension field around your responses to me, I'd wonder if you had any Spartan blood to combine with the fabled arrogance of our fan base. Though I suppose Spartan fans would throw out cruder insults than those you chose for me. So you have that going for you.


1 day 5 hoursago Most objective viewers would disagree.

Since you believe "passing to set up the run," and "if we don't pass well we're dead," are inconsistent with wanting more QB runs than 2 in the first half. It's right there in print. Since you do beleive that, we can conclude either that you don't know a lot about football, or that you just like to prove a point and will hold on like grim death to "correct" someone who's opinions you disaprove of. I've wondered before how someone could have so many posts. This may be a small part of how you accomplished it.

And regarding play count, since my comments about passing were pre-game and about game plan, as your sleuthing uncovered, it seems fair to refer to a more standard amount of plays, which is often greater than 55. Meaning a good game plan can include, wait for it, both passing plays and running.

1 day 17 hoursago Can't hate Al.

He's obviously a good guy, cares about the players and is very patient and open with the questions he receives from the media, unlike many coaches. I disagree (sometimes, including last game) that the way he plans and calls plays with our personnel is the only right way, but that's irrelevant. He seems like the kind of guy, along with all of our coaches, that you'd like your son to play for.

1 day 19 hoursago Ok. We've pretty thoroughly established that

you think I'm inconsistent, wrong, maybe dumb, and probably overly critical on the coaches game plan. And that apparently for you, within the 80-90 plays in a game "passing to set up the run" and "we must pass well or we're dead" means  mostly passes except for a few runs up the middle by your mini RB, along with 1 by your fantastic Heisman trophy candidate QB in the first half.  I can live with that.

2 days 14 hoursago As was pointed out to you on another of

your commetns criticizing my fairly mild and in no way calling for coaches scalps criticisms, Hoke said "a couple." And QB keepers are not the only kind of runs there are for Denard, which I assume you also know, just as you know trying to run does not always equal Smith up the middle, just as my previous posts pre-game saying we needed to pass successfuly does not necessarily equal stright drops and passing into NFL sized passing lanes. You really want to argue that the game plan was sound? Ok I disagree, but that's your choice. I never have called for the head of Al Borges--I disagree with his game plan. And I suspect that at some point, since Al Borges is a great guy and introspective about his game planning, that, just as he has said before, he will say that he might have made a mistake. I'm not sure why it bothers you but ok.

2 days 14 hoursago Um, I said pass to set up the run.

The opposite of what you are saying. Thanks though. Also that quote was from before the game was played--you know, before the facts from the game we played that you are using to criticize had, you know, occurred.

2 days 15 hoursago How is that Boom?? WTF?

It's not contradictory at all, not even a little. Both of you guys are much smarter than this so you surprise me. You do know that both running and passing are part of football. And you both know that in football it is important (usually) to do both, to varying degrees, to win games (apart from Nebraska in the 70's/ 90's I suppose, and Oklahoma in the 70's).

So you both also know that you can do either A- pass to set up the run, or B- run to set up the pass. Both are possible and happen quite commonly in football at all levels. So the fact that, in a thread about what our offensive strategy should be for the game, I said that if we couldn't pass well we were dead (a truth) doesn't mean "let's have one designed run for Denard in the 1st half" . In your minds, does "we must pass well to win" mean the same thing as "let's not run Denard, I think we should make Denard throw into NFL passing lanes from the pocket all game?" Come, that is ludicrous criticism, as well as a failure of reading comprehension. Sheesh.

EDIT: and since you have been through my recent posts I wonder why you didn't post this quote, using your terminology "from five days and twelve hours ago" which said "my general philosophy would be to pass to set up the run."  You can see it right there on the same page.

2 days 19 hoursago LSU had a terrible QB who was poor at passing and only

decent at running. We have, arguably, the best running QB who ever played college football. 

2 days 19 hoursago Sure, let's give up midway through the 1st quarter.

"Brady, I know it's midway through the 1st quarter, but we are outmatched. Let's save Denard for the real season, the B1G, and run Vicnent Smith from now on k?"  Yes, that seems like a good coaching strategy. I certainly hope we give Borges more credit than that, because if he and Hoke actually did that, it would be an insult to every fan and football player on that team

2 days 20 hoursago RR recruited every good player on our team today.

So there's that. 

2 days 20 hoursago Ya, they schemed for it so

let's not even try! I will never understand this point of view as long as I watch football. When you do one thing well, and another thing poorly as an offense, it makes zero sense to go into a game not doing the thing you do well, and doing lots of the thing (Denard in pro set) you don't do well. If they scheme fo stop Denard running--scheme to find a way to get him running instead of giving up before you start.

2 days 20 hoursago Herbie also said

that "Michigan is not yet where they want to be in terms of returning to the elite (paraphrasing), but after a couple more of Hoke's excellent recruiting clases they will be. This would be a much more competiitve game in two years." Which in my opinion, is an undeniably true statement, both for now and for later.

I agree that we are better than many SEC teams, but this much is true: as one of the (let's say) 3-4 elite teams in the B1G, we do not stand up to the 3-4 best teams in the SEC, as I think the result against LSU would be similar. And both of the top two SEC teams are WAY better than the top couple B!G teams.

3 days 3 hoursago So what's your argument?

That we aren't as bad as the rest of the SEC (outside Bama and LSU) as people thing we are? That is really not much of an argument, and looks to me like a severe over-reaching for the slightest glimmer of positivity. That's ok I guess, but it doesn't really prove anything.

I think it's now very clear, to both objective and non-objective viewers alike, that the SEC praise from the media the last few years is, as tempting as it was to believe otherwise--very true.

3 days 4 hoursago Both metaphor and indictment.

It was also an indictment of Borges IMO, and that indictment is right on. By any measure, the game plan on offense was terribly misguided. Having said that, as Don and others have stated, we would have lost anyway even with a proper plan. they are better than us, flat out.

3 days 4 hoursago Every word of this

is right on.

4 days 3 hoursago Would you rather lose trying what you do best?

Or lose by trying to do the things you've NEVER done well before, while not trying to do the only thing you've ever done well at? I know the answer for me, I guess yours is different.

4 days 3 hoursago Not valid points at all.

You don't not run your best runner in a huge showcase for your program because you are getting ready for the B1G season. If a coach did that, he should be fired. I'm not saying that Borges did that or that anyone should be fired, but not running Denard on purpose because you want him healthy later is exactly the same as not trying to win the game. It would be flat out wrong and an insult to the rest of the team.

4 days 3 hoursago Come on. So the answer is giving up?

I hate this argument. So because we all know how good Bama is on defense going in and we had no Fitz, we just ASSUME we will not be sucessful running the ball? Denard had ONE designed run the first half, and spent the rest of the time throwing into NFL sized passing lanes from the pocket. Anyone who has watched him every day should have ASSSUMED that would be a disaster, and it was. 

Yes we probably still would have lost but would you rather lose trying what you excel at, or lose not trying that and instead trying what you've never excelled at?

4 days 3 hoursago If you think this doesn't affect recruiting, you don't

know what you are talking about, flat out. A regular respectable loss would be fine, but this wasn't that. No, our current recruits are fine, but when your goal, as ours clearly is, is to go the the elite athletes all over the country and actually compete against the Bama and LSU's of the country for certain guys, getting beat down and outclassed on national TV hurts those chances. In this national tiitle era and the nationalization of the game, the best athletes will even more so go to where they think they can win the NC.

4 days 3 hoursago Sorry, you are not in great position to

be a point elitist given this thread you've started IME. The spread vs. pro set debate is irrelevant concerning this game, as is the easy pass you've given Borges because he doesn't have NFL personnel as in M years past. The OC's job is to use the personnel he has to their greatest advantage and score points. I don't care what formation Borges uses, but to have 1 designed run for Denard the entire first half, and using him as a pro style QB and asking him to throw into NFL size openings this game, is frankly, stupid. As is the sight of Vincent Smith's 5'6 frame pounding it up the middle again and again. That is stupid as well. And I don't even think that's a matter of opinion.

Despite these words, I too support Borges and especially the entire coaching staff, but that offensive game plan was just dumb. I'm not saying a better plan would have meant victory, but I firmly believe a better plan would have prevented the national embarrassment we all suffered through.

4 days 13 hoursago Nope, disagree.

We didn't, and won't, get anything out of this game, at all, nothing. Now, that doesn't mean you're wrong that scheduling the game was good, I'm neutral on that decision. But getting humuliated, outclassed and demoralized probably isn't going to teach us much. Maybe I'm wrong, dunno...

4 days 13 hoursago I have a lot of faith in the coaches, except I admit,

my faith is GREATLY shaken in Al Borges. Sorry, but that game plan was brutal. Similar to the couple pf debacles from last year where we went all I-Form.




September 7th, 2012 at 8:22 AM ^

Part of the problem for me initially was that while I seldom note the names of posters, I do know yours and remembered respecting your posts in the past. So criticism from someone you don't discount hits more than from someone you do. It should help reinforce this that I even consulted someone in person who follows football as closely as we do, just to see if I was wrong in my point that advocating passing first to set up the run, and then complaining that Denard didn't run much, were mutually exclusive, as you believe (he agreed with me, not that it matters). Based on an internet conversation I did that!

So we don't see the same things. Even in the last post I counted the times I commented specifically on lack of running game ("you made the same point a dozen times") and your reply was about all my posts. So, huge disconnect. But I respect you, and if I was indeed the first to insult, then I was wrong to do so, and I apologize. I'm a big believer in confronting arguments, but not people.


September 7th, 2012 at 12:27 PM ^

I said I wasn't going to post again, but I will just because you've been the bigger man.

When you made your little list of the things you felt I was accusing you of/calling you I tried to specifically point out the ones that I thought were argument based, and not the ones that were "stupid" or know nothing or whatever you had up there (not looking at it again) that were personality based. Because I thought you reactions were more emotional than intellectually deficient. It was just over and over on the sky is falling, and it didn't seem like you. And hey, I understand, I've been there. I don't really recommend it, but you can look up some of my posts after 2010 was a rough week for me.  Had a mod nicely send me an email saying...hey, you're getting redudant...might want to cool it a little. I obviously am not that classy, and more than a bit argumentative.

But really, there are no hard feelings.  If I respond that much, it's usually to someone who has a general opinion I respect. There are a number of posters on here who have been accused of having the exact same views as me who I've had similar discussions/arguments with. Just as knock down. Still respect what they post. You can be more right than wrong and still be wrong. I've done it. And I try (TRY...sometimes I fail and still get drawn in) to avoid these long back and forth's with those who are redudant with the same argument. But you're no one trick pony. You threw out know nothing about football, I thew out some stuff...whatever. It got heated, it's over. I don't take an internet posting board that seriously. just always up for a good fight.  But it won't linger with me. I appreciate your response, and perspective.

And this is way longer than the couple of sentences I planned, so I'm (probably) out...


September 3rd, 2012 at 12:50 PM ^

The outcome certainly sucked, but everything surrounding this game was awesome. The build up to kick off was intense. I don't ever want to go back to the MAC non conference scheduling. I'm glad we played the game.


September 3rd, 2012 at 12:04 PM ^

Yes it was a tough loss, but I think most of our struggles come from playing a great Alabama team, and not because Michigan is suddenly awful. Alabama kicked the ass of LSU when LSU was having one of the best seasons of any team in a generation. Point being that Alabama is good, not that Michigan is bad. I can't wait for the rest of the season. Everyone needs to get ahold of themselves and gain a little perspective.


September 3rd, 2012 at 12:08 PM ^

Norfleet and bubble screens. That is what I shall remember about this game. And this write up. Hilarious stuff.

Any chance Borges didn't run Denard in order avoid injury in a game where UM wasn't going to win anyway?


September 3rd, 2012 at 1:04 PM ^

Countess and Lewan off the field, then.  If you're afraid of players getting hurt, you shouldn't be coaching football.


Our coaches had better have been planning based on how they best thought they could win the game, not conceding it from the start and simply looking to protect players.


September 3rd, 2012 at 12:08 PM ^

The good news is that we can learn from this game, knowing that we will never have to play a team that much "-er"er than us this year. DG made some great plays to get rid of Bama CBs, and against lesser competition he should be even better. Similar things could be said all around. I don't think we played like shit, we were just dominated, and we won't see ourselves in a position like that again.

As far as Al Borges I really don't blame him that much, I didn't think we had any chance to run the ball period, and fully expected him to air it out whenever possible. In the end it didn't work out, but what were the chances of that going in to the game anyway? What were the chances that we were going to be able to run right through Bama's front 7? Exactly. I honestly don't think he's a great offensive coordinator, but with the right talent our offense should be legitimately great in the next few years.


September 3rd, 2012 at 12:28 PM ^

I'm honestly not all that doom and gloom in terms of the future.  Borges knew how to beat the 'Bama defense.  As TBB said we had good routes and open guys.  Also good pass protection from the line.  The problem was aside from that Gardner TD, the only good passing were Gallon and Dileo leaping for the ball and doing cloak device type of stuff.  If we more actual real and experienced outside WRs, this might have gone differently.  I don't really think the run game was going to be there for anyone.  'Bama clearly said 'beat us through the air' and we didn't.  They had guys up on both edges and watching the middle.

On defense we saw some flashes out of the younger players and hope for the future.  Overall though lack of depth and skill in the front seven meant we couldn't get 'Bama off the field and they ran whenever they wanted.  

It's about what I expected.  You can see the type of players Hoke is recruiting have potential to play at Bama's level.  We just haven't rebuilt the depth chart to be anywhere close to that level across the entire unit.  This is going to be an 8-4/7-5 year and it could get ugly if we lose players at a few key posistions.  Grind your teeth and try not to set the place on fire and scare off the #1 recruiting class in the country.  This season is going to suck, but the overall rebuilding seems to be going decent enough.  This was painful, but not was painful as Ole Miss.  Here you could see the team knew what to do, the physical tools were not yet in place.  



September 3rd, 2012 at 1:04 PM ^

This is probably a sound argument overall, but the question remains: when we DID run, why did we run our least effective available option? Even Hopkins probably had a better chance of getting yards than Smith To The Outside. If you're really worried about Denard's health try Hopkins or Hayes/Norfleet or keep trying Rawls hoping that he starts figuring something out by carry 10 or whatever. Just don't do the thing you definitely know wouldn't work even against, like, Illinois.


September 3rd, 2012 at 1:45 PM ^

Alabam's interior line though is massive and we're still in an age where our offensive line is designed more for movement than mauling people.  I'd say running for the edge was a smarter choice than trying to drop the hammer up the gut.  

I'm a little curious as to why Hayes or Nofleet wasn't deployed for that role, but I'm not going to scream loudly about it.  Maybe they showed flaws in practice that meant that Smith and Rawls were really the best options on the table, as painful as it was to watch Rawls try for the edge on some plays.  


September 3rd, 2012 at 2:35 PM ^

writing off the entire season based on one game against a caliber of team that Michigan won't see again for the rest of the season? The Big Ten is not very strong this year, the primary goal of winning the conference is still attainable. Sorry, but throwing in the towel on the season after one game and saying it will be a 7-5 or 8-4 season at best is an overreaction. I will agree that staying healthy at thin positions is paramount though and  injuries could potentially derail things . 

Just for clarification this post is in respone to CRex's first post in the thread, not his post directly above this one.





September 3rd, 2012 at 9:33 PM ^

Funny like a clown?!  It's actually true.  Is it funny because you think it's absurd?  You really think Al Borges is coaching on a D-1 level and didn't know what to do against a pretty bland (but verrrrry, very good) defense?!  He knew how to beat it.  However, he just can't video game his players to do what he wants to win the game;  they have to do it themselves (and sometimes, they just can't).

Swayze Howell Sheen

September 3rd, 2012 at 10:45 PM ^

although this will be marked as trolling too, i think it's funny to assert that Al B. "knew what it took to beat 'bama" as if that is some kind of undebatable fact. that seems highly UNCLEAR after the whooping we took.

you know, sometimes you have worse players. and sometimes a coach can take those worse players and still win a game. the fact that we were so far away from that hints, to me at least, that perhaps Al B. didn't really have much of a good idea at all.


September 3rd, 2012 at 12:17 PM ^

Im glad we didnt run robinson, we were never winning that game, we got outclassed in every way at every position from hc right on down through a fg kicker that probably had enough leg for 60 yarder.  Robinson got knicked up as it was, having him get slammed by the bama defensive line 30 times because the o-line got beat wouldnt have really helped all that much.


September 3rd, 2012 at 12:21 PM ^

that the offensive line did a decent job of pass protecting.  In fact, outside of Devin (aka Dennis) Norfleet that has to be one of the few positive things I took from the game.  The majority of Denard's pocket passes were not hurried.  That's the sad reality - the kid still cannot hit open receivers past 15 yards.  Which makes the game plan all the more puzzling? Surely, Borges knows this, right?


September 3rd, 2012 at 12:37 PM ^

I've been watching Michigan football for something like 33 years or more. As a kid (i was five 33 years ago) i would actually cry when Bo lost another bowl game and crushed my vicarious dreams. So i get the angst that fills this place after a loss ... but, um, i was five.

Where was Denard going to run? Just saying "run Denard more" is not a tactic much less a strategy. Somebody explain what they saw in the Bama defense that showed there was room for Denard to run. The running plays that saw Vince get so much nothing were clearly designed for a guy named Fitz. He probably wouldn't have a had a lot of success either but he might have had more than Vince.

Denard needs to be able to do two things to beat good defenses: throw accurately and/or run as his second or third checkdown once the field opens up. The former would be preferable, but the latter would be effective. He may not have the skills for the former, but i don't understand his unwillingness to do the latter.

And for the record, i'm not seeing a year five RR Michigan team do any better than this in this game, although i would like to see Borges mold the gameplan to Denard's strengths more.


September 3rd, 2012 at 12:50 PM ^

Are we the only major team Alabama is going to blow out this year? No, it will happen again, most likely more than once, and then everyone will see it wasn't just us, Bama is just too darn good. Until then most of us, and America, will continue to think we're terrible when in reality we aren't.


September 3rd, 2012 at 1:04 PM ^

This is good stuff.

As an older guy with kids, I hear Brain on the kids and career angst. Having children gives you some perspective on sports and no longer allows you the luxury of wallowing in self pity. However, it also brings the career angst more into focus as there are now little ones that depend upon you and other fathers to measure yourself against.

I have not found that age has lessened my interest in football. True, a parent's interest must be more focused and hence the less interested may fade. I just focused on football. It is a family friendly hobby since you can do it from home and include the children. I often handle all parenting duties (for all but the most important games) while watching the game. A DVR makes this easy.

In terms of the game, we feared Michigan was out gunned. We may have harbored hope it was otherwise but this result cannot be a surprise. As far as the details of the defeat, they would be painful regardless so focusing on them is a bit dishonest. Losing is never fun and the details are always ugly.

No single example of the differences between these two teams is more illustrative than the drop off between Fitz and Vinny Smith versus BAMA's 3 headed TB monster. Michigan does not yet have the depth required to play with the elites.

I think the coaches knew, as we knew, running on BAMA especially without Fitz was not going to work. Even with Denard. The game plan was to pass first but the WR lost their one on one match ups. The fault did not lay with Denard, at least his early passes were mostly on the money, but with the WR. I assumed this would be the gameplan because I knew running on BAMA would be nearly impossible. Slamming Denard into the line 35 times would only serve to get Denard beat up.

Speaking of elites; bear in mind, Michigan did not lose to the SEC. They did not lose to the Big Ten. They can tweet all they want but the only team MSU beat this weekend was Boise State. Michigan lost to Alabama something a lot of SEC teams are going to do and not look any better doing it.


September 3rd, 2012 at 12:51 PM ^

I know I may get negged to the high heavens for this, but I feel ok this morning.  Did I feel bad on Saturday night, yes.  Did I feel bad sunday morning, not so much.  I am glad we played this game.  The game showed that we are no where close to where we want to be.  And Coach Hoke knows this.  We played to the best that we could do under the circumstances.  Bama is the better team and tougher team.  We will come back.  We never gave up and kept playing.  Maybe it was coaching, maybe the players were not big enough or fast enough, but I know we can come back.

Forget about the other fanbases making fun of us.  I am sure the SEC teams that played Bama are quiet right now.  This is a life learning lesson for the kids.  We need to get better and gives us goals for this year to try to accomplish. 

In a way, this was my worst fear, that we were going to get blown off the field, but I am glad we played the game.  Sometimes the toughest lessons are learning from a beatdown.  We will come back stronger than ever.  This was a great wake up call.  We are not  yet near the Bama's of the world.

Some, not all Michigan fans need to realise that we are not there yet and this was a good wake up call for them also.  Also, one thing that helps, avoid all college football programs and other shows for this week.


September 3rd, 2012 at 12:57 PM ^

Don't worry about redshirt burning. Look at the Tide: recruit well and you can lose players and replace them. We hadn't recruited well for years until last year/this year. When RJS graduates/leaves, we'll have another guy ready. If anything, the arm tackling necessitated the playing of all three freshman LBs. The vets weren't getting it done.


September 3rd, 2012 at 2:45 PM ^

But blaming the oversigning is just an excuse. We went the wrong way with recruiting for a few years, taking fewer OLs and DLs, loading up on smaller S/LB and "deathbackers," not to mention the 5 WR class. And we lost a few of those to attrition. Even without the oversigning, we'd have had a smaller, weaker team in this game.


September 3rd, 2012 at 1:04 PM ^

Fans will reach for defense mechanisms after a game like this.  That's normal.  It's very hard to swallow that a team could be 27 points better than us.  It's comforting on some level to say, "Well, it wouldn't have been that bad if we'd just called this play more often," and thus imply that the loss was in some way self-inflicted.  But honestly . . . we could have brought Darryl Stonum back onto the team, reinstated Toussaint and Clark, and given Denard 25 carries, and I think we still would have gotten killed.  We're not at Alabama's level.  That's hard to accept but it's almost certainly the truth.

Say we'd have given Denard 25 carries, and he'd have finished with 80 yards rushing.  Would we feel better?  Since he only carried it 10 times, we can maintain a happy  little self-delusion that our own playcalling stopped us, not Bama.  But that's probably a major stretch.  I didn't see a whole lot of running room on the few designed running plays for him.  It took a major effort for him to score that TD, and another one to convert the 4th and 3 (which ended up being overturned anyway).

Denard's strength is running, not passing.  That I agree with.  But given that Bama's strength (run defense) is even stronger, I can understand our gameplan.  There was basically no way we were going to win going with a ground-heavy gameplan.  Their run defense is better than our run offense.  Our only realistic shot, I think, was to have some early success against their slightly-weaker pass defense, and hope that it would cause them to loosen up their formations and then open up the ground game.  Denard's first few passes actually looked pretty good, but were mostly dropped or broken up.  After that he seemed to get frustrated and started rushing his throws - and we were screwed.






September 3rd, 2012 at 1:05 PM ^

I agree on with the point about Robinson's passing.  He made plenty of solid throws that would've been completed if not for excellent play by Alabama's DBs.  I honestly think he improved a decent amount as a passer, but it just didn't show against one of the best defenses in the country.  I don't recall any backfoot throws where he desperately chucked the ball into double coverage 40 yards down field, except for one where he threw it to Roundtree and it was nearly picked off. 


September 3rd, 2012 at 1:10 PM ^

This game was a tuff one to swallow. I have been given the buisness from sparty and buckeyes since saturday night. I hope this woodshed pounding lights a fire under some butts.That being said i will be a the game saturday with my6 year old son for his first game at the big house. Win or loose we bleed maize and blue.


September 3rd, 2012 at 3:18 PM ^

This was bad, but it was no Appy State.  I remember "watching" that on a laptop, on a site where all you could see was a little virtual football field, with arrows and a little football moving in the direction of the team in possession.  I was absolutely stunned when I read/heard we missed the last second FG.  Not only were we supposed to win that one, we were supposed to win it handily.

Then there was that Colorado St. (?) game we lost in the last seconds with the Hail Mary pass.  A shocker that demoralized the team for a couple games at least.

Then there was the Iowa game I took my daughter to in AA. We lost what?  34-14.  Something like that.  I had to drive home next to all those damn Iowa fans.

This was an ugly loss, but from a shock and awe standpoint I don't think it beats the foregoing losses in that category.  After all, we weren't supposed to win this game.  And how many freshmen did we have to play?


September 3rd, 2012 at 1:32 PM ^

Jebus, why is everyone being so emo? Did anyone actually think we would win this game? Do people not understand that we are only two years removed from a previous regime that hemorraged players and didn't seem to think that playing defense or recruiting offensive linemen should be a priority? 

The 'Bama game goes down as an L. Not three L's, but one L. Yes it was an ugly L, a confidence-shaking L, but only an L. The players and coaches will learn from it and move on. We're simply not on the same level as Alabama yet. This game gave us an idea of how far away we are. There are a half-dozen things you can shake your fist at, but that's really all it boils down to.


September 3rd, 2012 at 2:11 PM ^

I didn't think we had a chance in this game but it still hurts to watch the team get totally dominated and manhandled in every single possible way.

I guess different people just react differently... there are those for whom "Fever Pitch" (the book, not the movies) makes perfect sense, and those for whom it doesn't. But it surprises me that one side can't understand why the other side reacts the way that it does...


September 3rd, 2012 at 1:24 PM ^

and move on to another career that is simultaneously less frustrating and more fulfilling. He can retain the title of Editor Emeritus if he wants to pen the occasional paean to DFW or to post baby pictures of little Brain after he/she arrives.


September 3rd, 2012 at 2:03 PM ^

who cares LESS about Michigan and Michigan football.

Frustration is the name of the game when you're a Michigan fan -- sky-high expectations usually followed by disappointment. Then again, I was a student from 1993-1997, so every year we ended the year ranked lower than our preseason ranking (I graduated in May 1997, so before the NC year).


September 3rd, 2012 at 1:50 PM ^

I can't believe how down everyone is after this game. Honestly, I can't.  And I was actually at the game. I couldnt change the channel or play xbox instead.

Did you guys actually expect us to compete? Win? Our top skill guy on offense not named Denard didnt make the trip, making our backup QB our best option to score points. Borges didnt call a great game, but the guy's not a magician. 

I'm just trying to picture a scenario where the Debbie Downers are happy. Obviously, a win (wasn't going to happen). So now we're debating margin of loss. A Charlie Weis moral victory. GTFO.

As a program, you're either getting better/building or regressing/getting shittier. We're trending up. This is just another hurdle. If you're sad because some people on the internet and/or Robert Smith says we're overrated, I don't know what to tell you. Oregon got similarly stomped by LSU last year in the Cowboy Classic and still had a pretty good season. All is not lost, dudes. All is not lost.

Full disclaimer: I have a baby. Born in May. Cute sonovagun.


September 3rd, 2012 at 2:00 PM ^

^This^ Michigan is fine, and getting better every day. Saban has a 5 year head start on us, that pretty much sums it up. We didn't lose because we're fundamentally unsound, or doing things wrong, we lost because they're already "there" and entrenched, and we're still just "on our way there." 

Sidenote: The announcers were dickbags for most of the game, even going so far as to make fun of Michigan and make it sound like our team was a bunch of little kids pretending at football, instead of being fair, or concilitaory, or just plain calling the game. The whole thing felt like an ESPN sponsored Alabama PR show. On top of that 3 of our best players were getting injured in the process, so the whole thing left me feeling a little indignant. The best sports there were the Alabama fans. They were exceedingly gracious.


September 3rd, 2012 at 4:09 PM ^

How many freshmen did Bama have to  start? (And that OL would make almost any RB look like a 5*.)  A lot fewer than UM, I'd guess.  So, yeah, Saban is further down the road.  I think the mere fact that there is so much keening going on in this blog indicates that we expect Michigan to win every game (maybe not so much under RR), which underscores what a great football tradition Michigan has.  The big issue in my mind is whether we can get fired up for AFA.

Re the announcing, it goes both ways.  With some exceptions, the announcers always seem to gush about the team that's winning, if for no other reason than there's so much more to talk about.  Let's face it, there wasn't a whole lot to talk about positively with Michigan's performance.


September 3rd, 2012 at 1:33 PM ^

than after any of our 21 bowl losses over the years, especially the last two Rose Bowls to USC, which for some reason some people continue to think weren't butt-kickings all on their own. Or the Tennessee debacle. Or seeing FSU light us up for half a hundred on our own field. Or Donovan McNabb run and pass over, around, and through our entire defense with one shoe off. Or Troy Smith tormenting us for three straight years.

I wonder if there's another program in the country that has 21 bowl game losses since Jan 1970.


September 3rd, 2012 at 3:35 PM ^

Or ever? How many have won 16 over that time? 6 programs have lost more bowl games than Michigan....including Alabama. Who have lost 13 and tied 1 over that time period, and that goes to 17 if you go back to an arbitrary 1965 (where Michigan loses no more games).

(Fun note- Texas Tech has lost 21, Out of 34)


September 3rd, 2012 at 7:22 PM ^

The schools with the most bowl losses (ties broken by fewest wins):

  1. Tennessee 24
  2. Nebraska 24
  3. Arkansas 23
  4. Ohio St. 23
  5. Texas 22
  6. Alabama 22
  7. Texas Tech 21
  8. Michigan 21
  9. LSU 20
  10. Florida 19

The schools with the fewest bowl losses (not counting schools that have never played in one):

  1. UNLV 0
  2. Florida Atlantic 0
  3. Idaho 0
  4. New Mexico St. 0
  5. Eastern Michigan 0
  6. Louisiana-Lafayette 0
  7. Florida International 1
  8. Akron 1
  9. Buffalo 1
  10. Alabama-Birmingham 1
  11. Kent State 1

Must be nice to be a fan of one of those schools that's never been scarred by a bowl loss.

M Fanfare

September 3rd, 2012 at 1:42 PM ^

1969 #9 Missouri at #13 Michigan, week 3:

                       1      2     3     4      Total

#9 Missouri     0      24   0      16    40

#13 Michigan  3      0     14     0     17

Anyone remember that game? No one? Yeah, let's save the woe-is-me until the rest of the season plays out.