Peace, Love, And Understanding

Submitted by Brian on September 8th, 2008 at 12:06 PM

9/6/2008 – Michigan 16, Miami (Not That Miami) 6 – 1-1


Could you maybe throw it at the receivers? No? Well, I tried.

Michigan fans have had a lot of ominous signs presented to them in the first two weeks of the season. There is a walk-on at quarterback. When Mark Ortmann was injured last week, a walk-on replaced him at left tackle. At one point during last week’s game the skill players went like this: sophomore, freshman, freshman, freshman, freshman. Steve Brown is reminding folks of the sucky version of Ryan Mundy. There has been much to fret over. 

But nothing has struck fear in me like what occurred late in the fourth quarter of yesterday’s ten-point win over a MAC team: the students burst into a chorus of “It’s great to be a Michigan Wolverine.”

On the one hand, get it in while you can, kids. On the other: you have got to be kidding me. Why stop there? Let’s rush the damn field.


Game two was a virtual replay of game one minus some opponent competence, and does little to reassure that Michigan isn’t going to struggle its way towards a rinky-dink bowl that won’t actually be in Shreveport but might as well be.

Outside of two Actual Touchdown Drives, the offense was more of the same minus even one downfield completion. The defense was pretty good but Miami’s receivers did them a whole host of favors; it does not look as dominant as it needs to be given the Yakety Sax on the other side of the ball.

Which, like, okay. It kind of sucks that this season is going to be rough but given the cards Rodriguez was dealt it’s understandable. If this was Carr and the future stretched out like tapioca pudding, I would understand it and perhaps participate. But it’s not.

The discontent from some quarters is as obvious as it is petulant. When Michigan got the ball back after their second touchdown drive, the case for Lloydball could not have been more obvious. Every pass you throw is an invitation to disaster. You’re up two scores with around 6-7 minutes left in the game. Your defense has given up six points. You can’t lose unless you do something disastrously stupid, which happens to be your offense’s speciality.

So you do the obvious, boring thing: run-run-run-punt. And then some guy in the stands turns to me and says “not even one pass?” and I die a little bit inside because this man has no idea about game theory and no patience for a transition and was probably one of those guys posting spleen on the internet you may have run across if you’re a glutton for punishment or it’s kind of your job.

That’s an extreme example of a guy who seemed to seize an opportunity to sarcastically grumble about TINYFMF*, but I see lesser examples criticizing Rodriguez for “not adapting his offense” or “sacrificing this season” and all that, and I just think “what are you supposed to do when not even Tacopants can catch any pass thrown more than ten yards downfield?” There is no offense you can adapt to when your quarterbacks are slow white guys who can’t throw and your offensive line is a patchwork melange of who-dats, freshmen, and walk-ons.

Everyone’s permitted their immediate “#&$*!” when Steven Threet launches a pass into the troposphere or McGuffie is swarmed in the backfield or Steve Brown demonstrates his mastery of non-Euclidean geometry. Outside of that your best course of action is patience, tolerance, and whiskey.

*(This Is Not Your Father’s Michigan Football)

Bullets of crank:

  • I just want to note this for the record: you can’t find a Michigan blog out there that has leveled anything resembling criticism of the new regime. Meanwhile, there are plenty of You Shouldn’t Extrapolate But HA HA HA columns in the newspapers. This will be ignored in two years when papers are filled with stories about how Rodriguez is triumphant over the eBays, message blogs, internets, and assorted other insane rabble.
  • The students started a wave when Michigan was up four points in the third quarter. This is unacceptable. Waves require at least a two-score lead. We need some senior leadership in the stands, too.
  • Also unacceptable: the RAWK MUSIC backing to the highlights shown at the end of the third quarter. What is this, Michigan State? After the band takes the field, the only music in the stadium comes from them. Someone find the guy who made that decision and put him in stocks on the diag.
  • I’ll be the last man on earth to say it: Donovan Warren’s audition for the punt return job should be over. He’s not good at it, he’s too valuable to risk, and he refuses to make a fair catch. Boubacar Cissoko had some promising kickoff returns; let him have a crack.
  • Michigan’s problems with underneath coverage continued; the little dreads guy on Miami must have caught 4 or 5 little hitch routes that he managed to turn upfield because a late-arriving linebacker—usually Thompson—did not tackle immediately.
  • I’m worried about Troy Woolfolk, who the coaches seem deathly afraid to put on the field. I’m dying for a 4-2-5 nickel package against these spread teams.
  • I LOLed at the Miami coach’s clock management. Actually, that’s not true. Despite the fact that it was helping Michigan win I was livid because for some reason clock malfeasance drives me crazy, but: Miami was running, huddling, and watching the clock wind down when they were down two scores with six minutes left, and they didn’t even use all their timeouts on Michigan’s final run-run-run-punt drive. What a maroon.
  • Who’s excited for the worst Michigan-Notre Dame game ever?



September 8th, 2008 at 12:16 PM ^

Honestly, the game last year (outside of us winning) was terrible.  This will be more of a dust up between mid-tier MAC programs than last year's fiasco with a poor team (us) and the worst team in history (ND).  This will be two poor teams yelling TIMMAY (southpark style) at each other.

I'm just praying for no Yakety Sax on us -- snaps over the head, DL parties at the Threet/Sheridan backfield residence, pick six TDs for ND, etc.

Blue Durham

September 8th, 2008 at 12:19 PM ^

Who’s excited for the worst Michigan-Notre Dame game ever?

Me.  There has been a few games in the series where one team or the other has been totally overmatched, and resulted in a game with little drama. 

This game, almost anything can happen, except for a lot of scoring (by the offenses, anyway). 



September 8th, 2008 at 12:25 PM ^

Note also that the 4-point lead wave was started with M on defense.  This is so unacceptable.  It seems as if the student section has less of a handle on the situation at hand than Oldie Olson with the pleasant sounding keys and alumni season tickets.  We should publish a pamphlet or something to straighten everyone out.


September 8th, 2008 at 5:27 PM ^

That the wave should never be done. On defense we should be making noise and paying attention to the game. While possible, neither of these occur while the wave is going on. Also, lots of inappropriate booing come out of failed waves, which is never good.


September 8th, 2008 at 12:31 PM ^

I vote for Matthews returning punts this weekend.  Let him sit back there and fair catch them all.  Crazy sh*t happens in South Bend, I am terrified of Warren or some n00b making a huge, game-changing mistaken on a punt return.  Let Odoms/Cissoko/Stonum get their feet wet at home.


September 8th, 2008 at 12:58 PM ^

Seriously now, the students are just looking for something to be excited about. RichRod's first win (fingers crossed), an actual lead, outgaining Miami of Ohio in total yardage, tackling tiny electron slot guy with dreads, A Zoltan punt that matches insane Miami punter's punts, these are all things we get irrationally excited about.

Hey, we're still mildly enthusiastic for our 7-5/6-6 season and Alamo Bowl appearance. I've never been to San Antonio.


September 8th, 2008 at 12:36 PM ^

I would not mind if the "WAVE" carried itself outside of the stadium and took the "KEYS" with it. Both could dissappear or be replaced in my mind.


September 8th, 2008 at 12:45 PM ^

1. The wave (in all sporting events, not just UM football).

2. The "you suck" chant on 4th down (along with the accompanying "claw chop", it just looks effeminate to me).

3. The Zoltan "Z" hand gesture (yay we're punting!)

The keys are acceptable to me... not my favorite by I can live with it.  In general I can't stand being in the student section anymore, probably because I graduated 4 years ago and I'm just too far removed from that whole scene.


September 8th, 2008 at 1:08 PM ^

I hate the "you suck" when we're losing or tied, but seriously, what do you expect us to do?  I don't participate in situations when we clearly suck more than the other team, but go ahead and get the band to stop playing temptation in those circumstances, that's the only way to stop it.

Also: uh, did you watch the game last week?  We were never actually losing to Miami(NTM), although it may have seemed like it.


September 8th, 2008 at 1:18 PM ^

The Claw is an abomination that represents nothing more than
an old Daily sportswriter's personal efforts to reinvent Michigan
tradition and never should've happened. The correct hand motion is the mock first-down gesture.

HOWEVA, the "you suck" cheer is the one goddamn cheer the students actually do simultaneously. It's uninspired, but it's loud as hell and clear as day. You complain when the students aren't loud enough and then you complain the one time they're loud and united. Damned if they do, damned if they don't.

matty blue

September 8th, 2008 at 1:39 PM ^

...a "loud and united" chant, 6-8 times a game, of an exceedingly lame, semi-offensive, and unoriginal "you suck?"  that's it?  man, our standards are so low around here it's pathetic.


no.  have some class (anything i don't want my six-year-old to hear is out of bounds), pay attention (i.e. no more fucking wave) and be loud loud loud for 60 minutes.  that's all you need to do.


September 8th, 2008 at 1:51 PM ^

Be realistic -


- Getting 15,000 people to do the same thing at the appropriate time is difficult. Any co-ordinated cheering must be simple. 


- Not everyone is a big fan. Going to the game is the Thing on Saturdays for students. I'm sure you know that not everyone there is a big football fan, and that's never going to change.


- Are people really going to get on the student section - the one area of the crowd that consistently makes noise, as the problem in the crowd?  

matty blue

September 8th, 2008 at 1:58 PM ^

...and no, i don't mean to put down the students.  as you say, they're responsible for most of the noise...but if it were me, i wouldn't even worry about coordinated cheers, just raise the general noise level about 50%.

 speaking of which, i should also say that i was surprised at the noise level on saturday.  it wasn't anything really, you know, IMPRESSIVE, but it was certainly better than i expected.  is it me, or is it getting louder in general?


September 8th, 2008 at 2:18 PM ^

Dude, you can't hate on the Michigan wave. Most waves are a dime a dozen, but the speed-up-slow-down-reverse-double-cross wave is possibly the most original Michigan tradition out there. Just don't do it in a close game.


September 8th, 2008 at 12:40 PM ^

I'm still excited--reasons follow.

1. You can't be the 2007 ND of 2008 if you just beat the 2008 ND.

2. Every win is another step closer to a bowl and another week of happiness.

3. Keeping ND on the mat is excellent in all circumstances. And, it's harder to enjoy the massive suck of ND if they beat Michigan.


September 8th, 2008 at 12:46 PM ^

cheer was totally appropriate and really fun.  It was an expression of the lack of expectation and the ability to just watch and be a fan.  Watching Lloyd's teams toward the end meant hanging out with a cloud of doom on every play.  Free of the 40 year reign of Rock-Rock-Rock-Punt and all the pain and suffering that went with it, the first win of the new era is worth celebrating.


September 8th, 2008 at 12:47 PM ^

Totally with ya on all that B-Rye.  Sorry, B-Rye is pretty lame.  Think of it more as Stewey saying B-Rye to Brian on Family Guy.  Now funny?  No?  Anyway,

  • That wave really annoyed the ba-jebus out of me.  I'm thinking, "F, we are dangerously close to losing to a MAC school.  WTF are you waving for?"
  • Ortmann's injury:  God help us.  Oh wait, God's on ND's side.
  • Those "highlights" made me giggle a little.  It made me think that Michigan is way too close to ND right now in terms of arrogant embarrassment.
  • I co-sign on Bu-Bu as punt returner.  Little dude looked great out there on kickoffs.  Maybe RR doesn't trust him?


September 8th, 2008 at 1:40 PM ^

Maybe it was just euphoria after having a lead given what happened against Utah, but I never really felt like Miami had control of the game, or a legitmate chance of taking it.  Well, maybe on the pass that Harrison broke up, but even that was short lived.


September 8th, 2008 at 12:49 PM ^

Overheard in the student section after the wave:

"That was awesome, but I wish we could have done the split wave!  Wait, who has the ball right now?"



September 8th, 2008 at 1:39 PM ^

I think Brian is being a little bit too Grinchy about student behavior.  I'm trying to remember back when I was an undergrad-- you just want to have fun at the games.  A win is a win, why not say it's great to a be a michigan wolverine?  Would Brian prefer the students sulk the whole game with their arms folded and frowns on their faces?  Let them enjoy their time and be rowdy with waves, chants, whatever. 


September 8th, 2008 at 1:59 PM ^

But I have a proposed solution, which would make all parts happy: Bring
back the theme from "Across 110th Street" for the highlights if they
need to be accompanied by music.  Hearing the theme to Michigan Replay once per game would be a wonderful way to keep a wacky but awesome tradition alive.


September 8th, 2008 at 2:24 PM ^

Totally agree on moving Warren out of punt return duties.  He's athletic, but doesn't seem to understand the job.

Rawk music may be a Rita Rod special.  She's been known to dabble in that since here WV days... yay, former cheerleaders.

Michigan Arrogance

September 8th, 2008 at 2:47 PM ^

"Dude, you can't hate on the Michigan wave. Most waves are a dime a
dozen, but the speed-up-slow-down-reverse-double-cross wave is possibly
the most original Michigan tradition out there. Just don't do it in a
close game."


chitownblue (not verified)

September 8th, 2008 at 3:37 PM ^

I'm completely unclear as to why the wave should be confined to particular times. Only on defense? Is there some sort of defensive juju elicited by the wave?


September 8th, 2008 at 3:53 PM ^

Actually, yes. After four years in the band and now three in the student section, I CAN say that "you suck" is the best the students can do. I have accepted that and decided to be glad they're actually saying something -- ANYTHING -- loudly and together. I say this with resigned complacency, not defensively.