The Stalactite Of Fear Comment Count

Brian July 3rd, 2008 at 2:34 PM

I'm out for the fourth tomorrow. See you Monday.

I get an email that starts like this about every week:


So I'm searching for reasons to be optimistic about the upcoming football season.

I got the first one ten seconds after Manningham, Mallett, and Arrington all lit out for the NFL or Arkansas. Each one drips through my consciousness, leaving a residue of paranoia. We can't really lose to Utah, can we? Or Minnesota? Or Notre Dame?

SMQB says... maybe!

The main reason I'm so much more skittish about the Wolverines, maybe the sole reason, is because of their nearest parallel entering the season: 2007 Notre Dame. This is not a logical comparison based on probabilities. ND was in the same kind of woeful shape, personnel-wise, heading into last season, and everybody knew it; the Irish didn't get a vote in anyone's preseason top 25, either, off back-to-back BCS games. Losing a slew of quality career starters will do that for a team. But it won't necessarily result in the worst record in school history, or one of the worst offensive performances of all time; there are no demerits for failure to predict depths so completely outside of anyone's experience. Applying the same pessimism to Michigan based on one nearby, at-the-ready example is beyond hyperbole, if for no other reason than the Wolverines won't be facing ten straight bowl teams to open the season; even if they did, two of them would play in the MAC and another from the Mountain West. It's not the kind of schedule that will let any halfway respectable outfit bottom out that quickly.

The incredibly incompetent Notre Dame team of last year also pops up in the season prediction of Nittany White Out, though as a Penn State blog that actually posts things like "Rich Rod is a traitor and a snake" their opinion must be taken with a grain of salt large enough to encompass a decade-long losing streak.

This is what every emailer that starts off with some plea to reassure him wants to know. Nobody expects to beat Ohio State or even make a New Year's Day bowl, but Jesus, did you see Notre Dame last year? Humans are exceptionally good at modeling others' emotions, especially when said others are rivals of yours, and it takes little cognition to arrive at the conclusion that Notre Dame 2007 was Not A Good Time.

Take it from Brian Stouffer, the impresario from the (sadly dormant) House Rock Built and the man who wrote this year's Notre Dame preview for Hail To The Victors 2008:

Under a pale November sky in Palo Alto, Jimmy Clausen accepted a snap from center, trotted back a step or two, and dropped his knee to the ground, sending the final dozen or so seconds of the game clock spinning off into the history books. A strange, sullen silence draped itself over the Irish fans in a crowded bar on the north side of Chicago as it slowly dawned on everybody that the season was finally over. Thank you, sweet merciful Heaven, I thought to myself, taking a long swig from my tenth or fifteenth beer of the night, this godforsaken season is finally over.

Michigan fans appear to be kept up at night by the spectre of that emotion at year's end. And it's not just the Notre Dame parallel that many of the college football digerati draw that bothers. No one outside of East Lansing and Ann Arbor paid it any mind, but the Michigan basketball team just hired an offensive genius from Morgantown, bestowed upon him a rickety roster that was a poor fit for the genius's genius system, and had a Notre Dame of a season.

After a midweek game against Minnesota that saw 100 weirdly enthusaistic Gopher fans outcheer the entirety of a dismal Crisler arena, I wrote a post titled "It's Only Dark In Your Hearts" that concluded like so:

I have four more tickets sitting at a drawer at home; I don't know how many more of them I'll use. [I turned out the answer was 'all of them', by the way. I'm a sucker. -ed]

The idea of feeling like that after a football game against Minnesota haunts many.

So why won't this happen? First... it might. Michigan is unlikely to sink to the horrific depths Notre Dame did solely because of math -- hooray Gaussian distributions -- but failing to reach a bowl would be a real blow to the internet argument capabilities of Michigan fans. And that's totally within the realm of possibility, especially since the Big Ten mandates all 7-5 teams have to be picked before 6-6 teams. So this is not a "ha, that won't happen, you are stupid for attempting to predict the future because my ability to predict the future is much better than yours."

HOWEVA, I don't think it will. And I think so for these reasons:

1. Rich Rodriguez is not Charlie Weis. Charlie Weis is an immensely overweight sociopath who had never coached a team stricken by youth or, really, accomplished anything whatsoever without the aid of the opponent's defensive signals. Rich Rodriguez forged West Virginia into a national power despite operating with recruits far less highly touted than the ones Michigan has at his disposal.

This is by far the number one reason available. Outside of ludicrous pipe dreams like Urban Meyer or Mack Brown or Pete Carroll, Rich Rodriguez was perhaps the bar-none top candidate for any college looking for a coach. The only reason he was not a ludicrous pipe dream was the poisonous relationship Rodriguez had with West Virginia's dysfunctional leadership. He is proven. Over seven years at West Virginia he took a program that had fallen considerably during the last few years of Don Nehlen's tenure and turned them into West Fuckin' Virginia, and he did it with his system and his coaches and his players as the head coach. Charlie Weis was a below average offensive coordinator who left his team no worse off after he left.

Raise your hand if you think the Bill Stewart era is going to go well at WVU. Yeah.

How did Rodriguez do this? I don't know. I do know that some people can relate to the sort of people who end up as really serious college football players, can motivate them and organize them and inspire them, and that this is a real skill possessed by a very small number of very rich people.

Weis, meanwhile, implemented a half-ass version of the spread 'n' shred he would abandon a quarter into the season, neglected fundamental things like teaching people how to block, and alienated his players to the point where several of them bolted the team midseason despite plenty of opportunities for playing time. It was without question the most abysmal coaching performance at a BCS school since John Mackovic experienced armed insurrection at Arizona. It was three standard deviations below the mean.

2. Lloyd Carr was not Tyrone Willingham. Notre Dame fans' favorite excuse for the failings of Weis E. Coyote -- Tyrone Willingham likes golf -- was legit. The 2004 Notre Dame recruiting class was almost impossibly atrocious:

Anthony Vernaglia ATH 6-4 218 4.5 5.9
Junior Jabbie DB 6-0 185 4.4 -
Maurice Crum LB 6-1 215 4.6 5.7
Justin Hoskins RB 5-11 190 4.4 5.7
Terrail Lambert DB 6-0 185 4.43 5.7
Darius Walker RB 5-11 197 4.45 5.7
Chauncey Incarnato OL 6-6 280 5 5.6
John Kadous OL 6-7 310 5.6 5.6
Brandon Nicolas DE 6-5 260 4.86 5.6
Ronald Talley DE 6-3 233 4.76 5.5
David Wolke QB 6-3 205 4.68 5.4
Abdel Banda LB 6-2 215 4.5 5.3
Justin Brown DE 6-4 225 4.7 5.3
Darrin Bragg QB 6-1 190 4.5 5.2
Leo Ferrine DB 6-0 180 4.4 5.2
Tregg Duerson DB 5-10 180 - 4.9

Take away the names and this could be Michigan State or Oklahoma State or any crappy team that manages a couple of good athletes and backs it up with garbage. It gets worse when you consider that two of the very few contributors were the first rats to flee the Good Ship Weis: Darius Walker entered the NFL draft early (in the same way I could enter the draft: he was undrafted) and Ronald Talley decided he'd rather start at Delaware than start at Notre Dame.

But wait! It's still worse: in reality the class was worse than that as a lot of the guys in it got overrated because they committed to Notre Dame. There is one area in which recruiting sites do fudge rankings, IMO, and that's with the tail end of the class at big deal schools. Almost anyone who commits to Michigan as an unranked or two-star player will end up with three stars if the services have time to rerank them. Normally this is a small effect, but when ND starts bringing in a full class of questionable recruits the big school bump becomes a major factor.

These guys were the seniors and fourth-year juniors on last year's team, and the class after them -- the Willingham-Weis transition year -- was hardly better. Michigan's recruiting has never been close to that dire. The 2005 class was #6 nationally; 2006 was #13. Even with the outflux of talent to the NFL and Ohio State's bench, Michigan has far more talent than Notre Dame did last year. The Willingham classes started out with hardly any talent and then experienced major attrition; at least Michigan is starting from a lofty perch.

The magical 2007 Notre Dame season was a lethal combination of awful coaching and awful talent. Michigan has excellent coaching and okay to good talent. I'm not saying you should make plans for New Year's Day, but this ain't gonna happen en route to 3 and 9:

Clearly, there will be growing pains. A season like Tressel's initial foray at Ohio State -- a bleh 7-5 that would have been 6-6 without JohnNavarre's exceptional generosity -- is well within the realm of possibility. And by that I mean "is the most likely outcome."

This should be fine with you. Michigan needs a year to pupate, and then?



Chicago Blue

July 3rd, 2008 at 2:46 PM ^

I want so very badly to ramp down my expectations for this season for all the reasons others have offered (and more), but I just can't. I have tremendous faith in Rodriguez, I think the incoming freshmen will really give the team a jolt in the arm, and I believe the defense will be sound. That's a big difference between 2008 Michigan and 2007 Notre Dame: we have a defense; they did not. Not even close. They lost to Navy, people. Navy.

Marques Slocum…

July 3rd, 2008 at 3:04 PM ^

of course we had the un-mentionable... we will never hear the end of that. It will follow us until the end of our lives. You a Michigan fan? Appy State bitches! I fully expect to hear that when I am 80 and in some sunny coastal region proudly waiving my block M flag... that day will never leave us. Navy has already left the lore of ND unfortunately.


July 3rd, 2008 at 2:55 PM ^

It should be encouraging that RR's average WVU recruiting class was far more like the "horrible" Willingham classes than even Michigan's worst recruiting classes.  More with less is the order of the day.


July 3rd, 2008 at 3:11 PM ^

I don't like the death butterfly. It looks like it belongs on the side of a conversion van. I can't wait to see what Shaw and McGuffie can do. I'm also looking forward to seeing a Barwisized versions of Brandon Graham. Who thinks Appy State will give LSU a game?

Yinka Double Dare

July 3rd, 2008 at 3:50 PM ^

ASU lost a lot of key guys.  Armanti Edwards is still there and that matters a lot, but Richardson and Dexter Jackson, who were probably the other two main cogs to their offense, are both gone.  And we know their defense wasn't really all that good to begin with.  LSU's QB situation stinks, but I think LSU D will do a better job than ours did, enough so that LSU will win.

West Texas Blue

July 3rd, 2008 at 3:17 PM ^

Wow ND fans weren't kidding when they said Ty liked the golf course more than recruiting. Amazingly that ugly class was ranked #32 by Rivals, and next year's slightly better class was ranked #40 by Rivals. We won't be having a ND-esqe season because we are just too talented to pull that kind of a season off barring major injuries to the team.


July 3rd, 2008 at 3:22 PM ^

Coaching wise, i think we focus on RR a little more than we should when talking about expectations for Next year. We will be a better coached and more fundamently sound football team next year. The position coaches we now have on staff, are proven position coaches that all focus on fundamental football, and teaching the basics, the very thing that michigan has been lacking for the past several years. We will be in better position to make plays, and have better fundamentals to make those plays, and better conditioning to sustain it. All major problems over the past couple of years. Game preperation will be substantial improved. Recruiting is about on par with past michigan years, so you can expect to see the same type players on the field as before. The leaves the only other tow problems facing the season being a new offense, and lack of proven QB. What some are underestimating however is  what a prolbem a new offense creates for the teams we play. The familuarity of michigan, has been our downfall. That is now gone, our true athletic advantage over most teams we play, will finally be reconginzed, as teams can now expect the unexpected. That leaves, for me anyway, the only real concern being at qb, and how is that different than normal when a 4 year starter graduates?


July 3rd, 2008 at 4:58 PM ^

Will make a big difference this year.  Last year is blessedly somewhat hazy in my memory banks, but in which game (or games) did Mike Hart find himself being the only person on the sideline to notice our special teams unit was a man (or more) short?  "Why in god's name is MIKE HART covering special teams?!"  How was it possible that there weren't eleven guys who KNEW they were supposed to be out there?

 I fully hope and expect that will be a big change this year.  I know it's "just special teams," but that attention to detail has to be getting a major upgrade (we at least have a special teams coach this year) - and it's going to seep into every facet of the game.

Again: I hope.


The Barking Sp…

July 3rd, 2008 at 3:19 PM ^

Not that there's anything wrong with that, but you have to understand that butterflies, no matter how mean looking or tough they can sound while softly fluttering from flower to flower, don;t represent fear in any way. It's like naming you team the "Fighting Swans" or the "Mighty Napkins". I don't want any "Death Butterfly". They can't even sneak up on you because they fly all willy nilly and shit.

The Barking Sp…

July 3rd, 2008 at 3:23 PM ^

That we can still swear on here. Yes, that was a totally gratuitous insertion of the word "shit". I just wanted, nay, NEEDED to see if instead of "shit", this would be like other blogs that act as if swear words will bring about the destruction of HAHAHAHLOLZ American Values (not to mention the world), and replace "shit" with "####". No swearing, NO PEACE!


July 3rd, 2008 at 3:27 PM ^

That's right. It wouldn't be hard at all to avoid getting touched by the death butterfly. An iron butterfly is a totally different story, however. An iron butterfly comes at you with a thousand ton wall of mind-blowing sound! I think gsimm is right on about the position coaches. It seems like some of the most frustrating losses over the past few seasons have been due to shitty preparation and no intensity. Minnesota three years ago is a perfect example. It seemed like no one cared at the end; plus the game clock wasn't working. It was surreal.


July 3rd, 2008 at 3:29 PM ^

of our final record. Seriously. Even if the new offense is total FAIL we aren't going to see "playing not lose" anymore. Our players will be the best conditioned we've seen in years (maybe ever!) and our D won't be bad. No worries.

Blue Durham

July 3rd, 2008 at 3:38 PM ^

I think we have been so used to Michigan underperforming due to being ham-strung by predictable formations/playcalling/down and distance and sub-par conditioning resulting in the team (especially defense) being gassed in the 4th quarter. I think the absence of these handicaps will mostly make up for the loss of some key personnelle and lack of depth at some positions. This is still a talented team. Also, opposing teams are going to have a difficult time preparing for Michigan, unlike in the past. How many times did I hear, after a bowl game, opposing players and/or coaches said nothing surprised them about Michigan, they know what we wanted to do, etc. Yes, opposing teams will have tapes on West Virginia, but they will not know how (at least for the first 3-4 games) RR is going to utilize any of the Michigan players. Another disadvantage turned into an advantage. In short, I too expect a bowl season (but no, not the BCS championship bowl game) and a final record of 8-5 or 9-4. Given the schedual, 7-6 would surprise me more than 10-3. LSU will be ready for Appy State for what happened to Michigan. Not close to an upset.


July 3rd, 2008 at 4:05 PM ^

As GSimms said, Henne was graduating after last season anyway. Regardless we would have a new QB. Guys not fitting the system? The coach will make it work.

That is not why I am excited though...

If for one reason only, it would be to see our boys in Maize and Blue born again hard... GSimms is right, there will be a stress on the fundamentals, conditioning and attitude like nothing in recent history...

I can't wait to see some O Lineman other than Long finish his block and absolutely bury his guy into the dirt... I want to see a reciever knock the $hit out of some safety who doesn't see him coming on a running play.... I want to see defenders laying the wood, and making (not missing) tackles... Swarming D, getting 11 guys to the ball... Everyone thought D Warren had a little nasty streak going at times, I bet we will see even more from him, and a whole bunch of guys with a new attitude out there.

These are the same coaches (for the most part) that turned Mundy into something functional (if not good) in less than a year. When we had him, he was apathetic at best.

If anything we should be glad the old is gone. The same regime that brought us innumerable missed tackles, backbreaking runs up the middle through a whole swarm of guys who missed the play, classes of O Lineman that never developed (shouldn't Jr OL be ready to start?), and plethora of other guys that just sat on the bench, or just plain didn't get after it consistently. That regime brought us one great game a season.

I think we are going to have a whole team full of guys who are going to be chomping at the bit to get out there and knock the snot out of somebody.

Not a year from now, this year.

If that isn't something to be excited about, I don't know what is.


July 3rd, 2008 at 4:19 PM ^

The biggest thing I'm looking forward to seeing is that killer instinct and swagger that our team has been lacking for the past...really..10 years. I want to see our team play with an attitude of expecting to win. I want to see our guys hitting and walking around with that swagger that the '97 team had. Record aside, it will be alot of fun to see how RR utilizes the tools he has this year. I think we lose 3 games but next year will be amazing.


July 3rd, 2008 at 4:49 PM ^

... I wouldn't expect our season to be as bad as Notre Dame's: 1. Our defense was second best in the conference last year ad we return many. The D Line should be fantastic and our corners a big strength. 2. How much worse can our offense get? I am being serious. We all focus on losing Hart, Henne/Mallett, Manningham, Arrington, Long, Kraus and Boren. And for good reason. But Henne, Manningham and Hart were part time players last year that led Michigan to the 10th best offense in the Big Ten. It's easy to think how much worse the offense will be without those players, but does anybody really think we'll have the 10th best offense this year?

J. Lichty

July 3rd, 2008 at 5:36 PM ^

M returns an excellent front four led by potential AA Brandon Graham, Linebackers will be better with a year under them and good recruits from whom one is likely to step up, the two best corners in the conference in Warren and Trent. Safety is a bit of a concern, but even though none of them are boxers or friends with a guy who has too many consonents in his name,they are far better than ND's. Apart from Laws, ND had no one on defense last year. On offense we lose a lot of talent, and the O line terrifies me, but there will be a lot of skill and at the skill positions and RR knows offense better than Charlie the Tuna. There are games where the O will struggle, but I think they will be able to put up some points against most teams on the schedule by employing something unheard of in AA -- deception and misdirection. RR will at least get a medium level performance from the talent on this roster. And our kicker and punter return. Shedule is another huge fact alluded to by Brian. Althoug ND lost to Navy it also had a pretty tough schedule. Ours is not so bad. I am not printing my ticket for pasadena, but a 3rd or 4th place finish in the B-10 is not out of the question. Really apart from OSU - every other team in the B-10 has just as many question marks as Michigan. Wisconsin is replacig a QB; Illinois loses its best offensive player and still has erratic performers at QB; Purdue is Purdue; NW, Ind and Minn are Mountain West, Mac and Div. I-AA schools respectively. Little brother has a huge talent lag. We have 2 MAC opponents. I think Utah may be the third game on the schedule. PSU on paper should be tough, but we do have a good track record against them. This is really just not a season to overly pessimistic about and I would say 7-5 would be very disappointing with this defense and the skill on offense.


July 3rd, 2008 at 6:57 PM ^

"The best corners in the conference.." Malcolm Jenkins might have something to say about that. Just saying. I always feel more confident heading into a season with a proven D and questionable O rather than vice vursa. (See 2000, 2007, etc). Seems like the years where we're suppose to have an amazing O and suspect D, things turn out badly. Love all the optimism out there....but this team will lose 3 games for sure. Just too many question marks, both on offense and defense. One team will undoubtedly sneak up on us, happens every year. Despite what some are saying about ND, the trip to South Bend is going to be a huge challenge for our team this year. Ditto Happy Valley and Columbus. If we finish 8-4, imo, that would be a great year all things considered.


July 3rd, 2008 at 6:57 PM ^

I honestly think, and I have been saying this a too much. That Michigan's low ranking is a cumulative force that has no real backing other than it's history. If you tell yourself over and over,"Michigan is weak, new coach, lost all their good top older players." You'll miss the reality that there's strength in,"New coach and medium to young players as well." Different attack, or different form of energy, but if coupled correctly, the potential is there. And another over looked thing is pride. Pride about being a new hybrid form of Michigan. These guys know that they will forever be that,"Ohh yeah yeah you were there that first year of Rich Rod werent you dog. You were the new regime and all that." They know damn well what their legacy is. My hope is that they overcome fear or the fears of failure. I've heard Coach Weis give a lecture and there is some fear mongering there, lol.....he has a lot four lil verbals. But I want this class to see beyond the yelling and start the cycle. They have a chance to open up with a 3 pointer or a lead off base hit. No ones asking them to hit home runs, just get on base you know. Do the little things like block and tackle....sorry for the fishing reference....if that is a fishing reference. But the pressure is only there if it's reinforced. And to do that would be unfortunate. All together now........I can almost hear the roar of the crowd......and see the headphones of Rich flying off and the scamper for 6........what I really am hoping for is the players, moving in time, representing the staff that recruited them as well as who they are playing for.

Electron Erectshon

July 3rd, 2008 at 7:59 PM ^

We have a pretty favorable home schedule. 8-4 should be a real possibility with the toughest games being IMO, Wisconsin (H), Penn State (A), Purdue (A) and Ohio State. I find comfort in recalling just how bad Lloyd and his staff were on game day. We're going to throw teams for a loop this year. Our playbook hasn't evolved in over 10 years so teams won't know exactly what to expect from us. If we get through ND undefeated I say we go 10-2 and fuck up everyone's office bracket Sean Higgins style.Aug 30 Utah - WIN (tough game but RR's first in A2 so it's gotta be a win for symbolic purposes, just like Lloyd losing his first and last games at home last season - symbolic of his time here when trying to win big games without players named Woodson)Sep 6 Miami (Ohio) - WIN Sep 13 Notre Dame - Toss up since at ND but I'll take our defenseSep 27 Wisconsin - probable loss but game is in A2 so we'll have a shot Oct 4 Illinois - possible loss but game is in A2 Oct 11 Toledo - WINOct 18 Penn State - probable loss since game at PSU & they're dueOct 25 Michigan State - WIN (fuck sparty)Nov 1 Purdue - possible loss (Tiller's farewell)Nov 8 Minnesota - WIN (they're shit)Nov 15 Northwestern - WIN (game in A2) Nov 22 Ohio State - possible win (if we would have hired Brian Kelly)

Tim Waymen

July 3rd, 2008 at 9:53 PM ^

From wikipedia: "The invention of the breathalyser provided law enforcement with a non-invasive test providing immediate results to determine an individual's BAC at the time of testing. It does not, however, determine an individual's level of intoxication, as this varies by a subject's individual alcohol tolerance. Also, the BAC test result itself can vary between individuals consuming identical amounts of alcohol due to gender, weight, genetic pre-disposition." Also, some scientist tried using a breathalyser with binaca, and he registered .81 for up to 18 minutes. Funny shit.


July 4th, 2008 at 2:16 AM ^

Maybe I'm a delusional homer... but I can't bring myself to predict any losses... I say we go out and beat the snot out of the whole lot. I'm expecting to win every one. I hope the team feels the same way.

The Barking Sp…

July 4th, 2008 at 2:20 AM ^

What the fuck is "swagger"? That's one of those "Aw shit, I have no idea what I'm talking about, so just insert it here" words. Nobody has swagger. Like Mike Tyson said, "Everybody has a plan, till they get hit in the mouth". What the fuck does that have to do with anything? Nothing, dickhead. I just felt like putting it there. If you don't like it, I'll swagger you, you mother swagging swagger.

Tim Waymen

July 4th, 2008 at 3:08 AM ^

I don't know just how much ND's o-line can improve just over the course of the summer. I doubt that they'll improve much. I expect Clausen and the defense to improve, but unless the o-line improves, ND's offense will be torn apart by Michigan's defense. I wouldn't expect ND to score much against us, but that doesn't necessarily mean that we'll win.


July 4th, 2008 at 8:49 AM ^

swag-ger (v, n)- to walk or strut with a defiant or insolent air; to boast or brag noisily; ostentatious display of arrogance (See Charles Woodson during the '97 season)


July 4th, 2008 at 9:32 AM ^

  • Michigan 1 game
  • Penn St. 1 game
  • Purdue   1 game

every other team will start season
with a losing streak.

not sure if this is of any importance, (pretty sure it isn't)

but does show how down the conference was last year.

makes me think Mich football could finish year with anywhere from 8-10 wins.


July 4th, 2008 at 11:30 AM ^

...all of the hype and publicity that Navy FINALLY beating Notre Dame IN SOUTH BEND NO LESS(!) would have generated. This should have been an ESPY-worthy feat. No one talks about it. It's like it didn't even happen. Stanford over USC in the Coliseum? Didn't even happen. BUT WHOA, HOW ABOUT APPY STATE, HUH!?!?! BLEAHHHARGH!

The Barking Sp…

July 7th, 2008 at 1:42 AM ^

That's why we're football fans in the first place. Especially if you like Purdue or Indiana. But really, he's One of us, isn't he? And he has as much self loathing as the next guy. I mean, how would you like to create something and then every couple thousand years have to wipe the place out and start over? And remember, to "God", a couple thousand years is like 8 seconds. Maybe not even that long. And how some if he's so cool, the best name we can come up with for him is "God"? I mean, I'd be pissed if I created a race of fucktards and they named me after a swear word! Sure, some putz is out fucking his sheep in the mountains one day, and the Man sends a burning bush down to him, and he says "God DAMMIT! I was just about to blow!" and the Bush says, "YOU rang?" From that day forward, the voices in the heads of Moses, et al, is named "God Dammit". Man, that would suck.


July 5th, 2008 at 11:21 AM ^

This is why I'm not in self destruct mode about this year and have high expectations for the future- "Taylor has made a number of adjustments in the off-season, including his training. He claimed he returned from the Capital One Bowl in January weighing 327 pounds. Now, thanks to Michigan's intense workout regime, he's below 304 and plans to be at 295 by Aug. 4 when twice-a-day practices begin." "The NFL scouts are watching, and Taylor knows it. While Michigan has sent a few recent defensive tackles to the league -- Gabe Watson in 2006 and Alan Branch in 2007 -- both had a reputation for dogging it". Taylor admitted to being out of shape after last year and said: "I didn't feel like I really did anything I thought was great."


July 5th, 2008 at 8:28 PM ^

My high school coach was an Army Ranger in Korea, he conditioned us bigtime because he knew we couldn't expect to win based on talent. Our DC (his son) told us practice was conditioning, and there wasn't a lot of standing around. Being well-conditioned gives two advantages - you can execute better physically and mentally, and as the game rolls on you get a psychological advantage because you expect to play better than the opposition. When I got interested in coaching, I was somewhere between surprised and shocked to learn that many programs didn't have dedicated conditioning, and how much time was wasted in my opinion at practice.

The Heffalump

July 6th, 2008 at 3:03 AM ^

You won't have as bad a season as everyone is saying. I can't believe I'm agreeing with you after all the Alabama/Saban has too many recruits, numbers won't work nonsense. I actually agree with you about your season. You were wrong about Saban btw. So, so wrong. I'm not one of those "we dodged a bullet not getting Rod." Alabama fans either. I think he's a great coach who is going to make any team he coaches a contender. I would have loved to have gotten him if he hadn't turned us down, though I'm happier with Saban. Who you were wrong about. Please beat Ohio.

MMB 82

July 6th, 2008 at 10:14 PM ^

(This is a test, with some relevant posting material included) My question- does RR have to go COMPLETELY to a new system, or can he put in something similar to what we saw in the Capitol One Bowl and bring it on gradually?? I have wondered if he didn't have a hand in the game plan for the bowl game....

The Barking Sp…

July 7th, 2008 at 1:38 AM ^

Wow, how Scout-neurotic of you to post some useless ass shit like dat. Why didn't UM just hire your fucking genius self and eliminate the middle man? Poor fucking Rich Rodriguez, all he has to go on is 20 years of coaching experience, and you waltz up in this mug and he's totally *PWNED. Yeah, fucking Lloyd Carr let Rodriguez draw up the game plan. Is it too hard to accept that Lloyd was finally, THANKFULLY calling it quits and he just said, "Aw gee, we have all these good players, what do you say we actually let 'em do something! And you never know, Mike (DeBord), maybe DickRod will have an 'accident' sometime before next season, and you can still be my successor"

By the way, what the fuck is with having to scroll down for half an hour before the Blog comes up? Like my teacher back in first grade said "That's alot of wasted paper there, Mr Sphincter". I of course, very respectfully said, "I'm sorry, did I ask you for your opinion, Biyatch? Why don't you teach me something REALLY important, like how to fuck an older woman in the ass?"