Unverifed Voracity Is On Message

Submitted by Brian on August 11th, 2008 at 2:47 PM

The latest and greatest. Mysterious Michigan insider-guy Maizeman has been offering inside bits on Michigan practices since the internet's paleolithic era, mostly over email to a select group of Chosen Ones. Now he's doing it on Go Blue Michigan Wolverine, a blog open to the public. He must not fear silent ninja reprisals from Rodriguez like he did from Carr.

I have no way to check the veracity of these things and no idea who this guy is or how he survived the regime change with super-powerful insider mojo intact, but at the very least his posts are interesting. They may even be accurate. Some snippets follow; there's a lot of [sic] in here, just deal. Post the first:

Dorrestein vs. O'Neill:

Who would be first Offensive Tackle in game in case of injury? As of now Dorrenstein. O'Neill will put increased pressure on him as camp continues. O'Neill is simply a better athlete and could possibly play both Offensive Tackle spots although both Dorrestein and O'Neill seem better suited for Right Tackle. In Coach Rod's system, the only Offensive Line position that seems to have its special needs is Left Tackle and that makes Ortmann a very important player to stay healthy.

Sagesse and Kates:

Have been getting snaps at Defensive Tackle sometimes with second group and sometimes Sagesse is with third group. Both seem to be in good shape and are going multiple snaps when they are in the scrimmage. Martin has been with third group and has had some good battles with Khoury and Barnum.

And on the QBs:

Another problem that I saw in spring and continues in fall is Michigan's new version of the "check down" pass. What they do is take one of the slots and he will run a flare toward the sideline (which means does not take steps down the field, but "drifts" to the sidelines. When Quarterbacks feel pressure they are told to get rid of the ball which more times than not is just throwing a short pass to the slot who has run the flare toward the sideline.

This is why Coach Rod is recruiting those elusive slot type players because they will be asked to get about five-six yards out of virtually nothing. So far, our Quarterbacks are throwing this pass excessively often and think it is due to lack of confidence.

At least the checkdown route is no longer a drag that takes six seconds to open up. There's considerably more on GBMW; click through if you're tantalized.

Tacopants explained. Dr. Z gets to the bottom of Chad Henne's occasional passes to Jason Avant's eleven-foot-tall imaginary friend:

The third observation, who might be No. 1 by the end of the season, is second-round draft pick Chad Henne, a big arm from Michigan. Sometimes the ball flies on him, and I asked Dolphins' offensive coordinator Dan Henning to please give me a technical critique of the flight of his passes. I can ask the 66-year old Henning questions like that because ... listen to how far back we go. About a century ago I selected him as my All-Met High School quarterback for St. Francis Prep in Brooklyn.

"When he's wild, he's either wild high left or wild low right," Henning said. Noticing my idiot look, he elaborated. "You're serving in tennis. Serving to the ad court, you'll probably be wide low right, and in the deuce court, wild high left, so what we're trying to get him to do is open his body, pretending he's in the deuce court, to get the ball on target." I got so excited with this analogy I tried it myself and served an ashtray through a pane of glass, but the point is young Henne has one of the great quarterback technicians in the game to work with him.

I think my problem in Chicago was that I never selected anyone for a high school all star team in 1945.

Just because he's skinny does not mean he can't play DE. I can't remember where the first couple instances of the idea that Michigan played a 3-4 last year came from, but the disease has now struck a third person and can be officially denoted a trend:

Ezeh is the Wolverines' top returning tackler and the team's only starting linebacker retained from last season. He had 68 tackles from his spot at inside linebacker in UM's 3-4 defense and contributed four tackles for loss, two sacks, and an interception.

This is followed by a note that Michigan is "now" running a 4-3.

Wherever this idea originated, it's wrong. The only time last year Michigan had a fourth linebacker on the field it was in certain short-yardage situations and walk-on Max Pollock was the extra strongside linebacker. This was very rare. The confusion probably stems from the frequent deployment of nominal linebacker Shawn Crable as a defensive end, but this only happened against spread teams and on passing downs in Michigan's nickel package. And even if you want to claim that as some weird variety of the 3-4, Crable was usually playing with his hand down as a member of a four-man line. Michigan would line up in a 3-3-5 from time to time, but this was an exotic and not a base defense.

Wheeeee! High amongst the quotes that make Michigan fans want to punch a wall is "Michigan is straightforward" or "has no surprises" or "just lines up and runs directly at you again and again and it makes me, a USC Trojan, so bored after we crush them into dust." This era has apparently ended:

"Especially with the speed of the game and special formations," said Minor, a front-runner along with Carlos Brown to replace Mike Hart at tailback. "Last year, it was basically almost the same one formation, the I-set form. Now, there's no telling where we'll line up. We can do so much, and it's real good. I love it, because the defense doesn't know what to expect."

Just watching 30 minutes of practice Monday made it easy to see exactly what he was talking about. The Michigan offense never seemed to show the same formation on back-to-back plays.There were two tailbacks in the backfield, an empty backfield, wide receivers motioning into an empty backfield to become tailbacks, slotbacks turning into quarterbacks, quarterbacks turning into wide receivers, tight ends lining up in the slot and so forth.

There were more looks on display in 15 minutes than an entire season under the previous coaching regime.

Too bad the A11 is probably illegal.

Por ejemplo. Wild-something-or-other a la Darren McFadden is in the house:

Don't be surprised to see tailbacks Brandon Minor and Carlos Brown in the backfield at the same time.

"It's a lot," Minor said, when asked how often the two are lined up in the backfield.

I have no idea what's going to happen this fall, but I am sure that Rodriguez will throw the kitchen sink at opposing defenses.

Comments

Kilo

August 11th, 2008 at 3:02 PM ^

Maizeman is LEGIT.  Been on his list for about 3 years and he is borderline prophetic.  Read his stuff, and reflect on it later this season.  I am positive you'll be impressed.  Nobody is 100% in this business, but he is as close as they come.  Truly impressive knowledge of the game of football, especially as it pertains to Michigan.  I will see if I can dig up some emails from prior to last season.  He was way ahead of the curve on a lot of things.

Tim Waymen

August 11th, 2008 at 11:57 PM ^

If Phil Steele reads this, he'll come after you with a butter knife so that you agonize in pain as he takes two hours just to break skin. 

Only Phil Steele makes correct predictions.  He called for Nebraska to have a bad year. He called for Tebow to win the Heisman.  He knew that RR would leave WVU and end up at Michigan.  He knew that Bill Martin wasn't in his sailboat...he was cruising in his submarine.  He knew that LSU would become the first 2-loss national champion.  He knew.  Phil Steele knows all and will own you.

wolverine71

August 11th, 2008 at 3:54 PM ^

It's gonna be exciting football this season. I'm getting a feeling 10-2 isn't to far off base. Hopefully all the defenses get confused by the different formations. This is why RichRod's spread is different than most. He won't let anybody catch on and he has the ability to make it different each and every play.

WolvinLA

August 11th, 2008 at 5:05 PM ^

I don't think he said 10-2 is likely, but that's it's feasible. Let's say we lose to Wisco since it's still early in the year, we beat the teams we should, we pull off wins against PSU and Ill since both those teams should be good but not great, and we lose to OSU again (fuck). Although I'm not gonna bet my beer money on that, it's possible. Crazier things have happened (I needn't go into that).

Musket Rebellion

August 11th, 2008 at 5:48 PM ^

Obviously you haven't been paying attention. We are going to go undefeated. We'll destroy our non-con schedule outscoring them 207 - 12 (a field goal each) then continue our renewed assault on an powerful Big Ten crushing infidels like PSU and Illinois in the process. Wisconsin, Barwis' wolves will march on (haha, see how I did that there, march on... get it?) their testicles. We're going to ABSOLUTELY DOMINATE tUoOS at Ohio Stadium and Tressel will cry into his wine cooler soaked depends for the next 100 full moons. We're pretty much the best team ever and Brandon Graham will have 42 1/2 sacks. Just you wait and see.

Then we'll play Pitt for the NC and lose. Can't win them all though.

Clowns.

Cannibal6

August 11th, 2008 at 7:31 PM ^

According to an interview w/ Calvin McGee (via countdown "fluff" on MGoBlue), KC Lopata hit a 56-yarder, and Calvin thought it got tipped. Hoping we don't need it, but milkshakes and eeeBarwis have apparently hit all facets of the team.

chitownblue (not verified)

August 11th, 2008 at 7:41 PM ^

I strongly think that kicking power, or "leg strength" is mostly technique, and not brute strength. So I'm not sure we chalk this up to Barwis.

wolverinekeith

August 11th, 2008 at 8:29 PM ^

I too have been on Maizeman's email lists for some time now.

Guy is consistently correct.  There are things he admits he knows little about - recruiting, for instance - but in terms of development and other issues, he's got a strong track record.   

Musket Rebellion

August 11th, 2008 at 9:01 PM ^

I've got this awesome tape where Barwis pisses on KC's leg and it instantly gains 6 lbs. of solid muscle. Later Barwis and Lopata go out to California and kick down redwoods for a few hours. Who gives a crap about million year old organisms?

Tim Waymen

August 11th, 2008 at 11:53 PM ^

How about we stop making optimistic predictions and just focus on the negative?  That way, we won't jinx ourselves, we won't look like ND fans if the team ends up struggling, and if Michigan actually does well then it will be the feel-good story of the year.  So for now, let's assume that the team will have to rely on the defense to return turnovers for TDs or to at least put KC within 56 yards of the goal post.

Musket Rebellion

August 12th, 2008 at 8:25 AM ^

Waymen, we aren't saying don't be optimistic. We are just saying that to think our defense, which was decent to kind of good last year, will keep an offense that is bound to struggle, at least early, in any position to be 10 - 2 is a bit self-defeating. It is especially stupid to think that just because Mike Barwis can bench press 30 llamas and once tickled God that everyone will be running 4.2 40s and Kicking Competency will suddenly be able to nail 50 yarders in deep REM sleep. We aren't negative, we are just cautious because the rest of Wolverine fandom seems to think that the revolution will be quick and painless when in reality this is just the first step in the many glorious miles that Rodriguez has to take us. All will be well, just to expect instant gratification is something that we are not partaking in.

Tim Waymen

August 12th, 2008 at 10:03 AM ^

I'm not telling you what or what not to expect.  I'm just saying, be pessimistic so that we don't influence negative karma, or some new age stuff like that.  If we are too optimistic when we shouldn't be, then Michigan-hating god will make sure that we are disappointed, like he did when he came down to Terrelle Pryor in the form of a 1999 black Corvette and talked him into going to OSU (yes, kind of like in Knight Rider or maybe even Christine).

West Texas Blue

August 12th, 2008 at 9:07 AM ^

Scanning through the various posts on Maizeman's blog, his observations of Michigan practices indicate that Rich Rod is going to fully implement the zone read option this year, even if we are going with Threet or Sheridan.  That scares me; perhaps Rich Rod's "we'll adapt to personnel" statement was B.S.  I guess the staff fully believes in the scheme and feels that the QBs won't fail in it.

chitownblue (not verified)

August 12th, 2008 at 9:51 AM ^

His "system" has turned out 3800+ yard passing seasons, and 1000+ yard receivers who average over 20 yards a catch. If you think his "system" is limited to what you've seen him do with Pat White, you're wrong, Pat White's physical skills (awesome runner, mediocre passer) dictated the play-calling. When he had Shaun King, he threw the ball over and over. When he had a dual threat, like Woody Dantzler, he ran AND threw a fair amount.

HE WILL CALL PLAYS THAT HIS QB'S ARE CAPABLE OF RUNNING.

If you think he's going to have the QB run the ball nearly 300 times this year...you're wrong.

chitownblue (not verified)

August 12th, 2008 at 10:20 AM ^

Tim, I know what I wrote was in response to West Tx blue - not you. And I think Musket's were as well.

Tim Waymen

August 12th, 2008 at 10:33 AM ^

Now I'm just confused.  Musket did respond to a comment by me, and I know this because he specifically addressed me in it.  Which comment by you are you referring to?  The sky in the head?

I personally don't know what Maizeman wrote.  It seems to be for scout subscribers only.  I would like to know what he wrote.  I don't know what to expect, but I don't think that 10-2 is even possible.

One interesting thing that NCAA 09 demonstrated to me is how the zone read can be done with a slot WR coming from the weak side so it's pretty much a triple option.  The tailback acts as a FB in that case and the WR is basically a slotback.  That seems pretty cool.  You probably all knew this already, but I just feel that my football knowledge has vastly improved in the past year as I knew basically nothing in the past.  So if not the football team, I will be this year's feel-good story of the year.

Musket Rebellion

August 12th, 2008 at 11:32 AM ^

The sky comment was for West Texas Blue. I did respond to yours Wayman, but just about the optimism thing. Really I'm just poking fun whenever I can, not necessarily at particular people, but a theme, or idea that we are going to be a juggernaut. I don't personally think that you suscribe to that.

West Texas Blue

August 12th, 2008 at 2:21 PM ^

Eh, I don't think the sky is falling.  I should've said "surprised"
instead of "scared"; a little overaction.  I'm quite aware of the different offenses that
Rich Rod has run.  Maizeman's posts stated that alot of spring practice
had QBs running the zone read option, alot more than he expected.  I
just thought it was interesting that two non-mobile QBs were spending
alot of individual drills on it (again according to Maizeman).  I was
just commenting what he had said; not even sure what is accurate or not
on that site.  Hell, never came across it until Brian's post had a link
to it.  Relax fellas.

Tim Waymen

August 12th, 2008 at 2:51 PM ^

I get what you're saying.  Honestly, I didn't even consider the possibility that chitown might have been referring to my comment.  It's cool, I don't care even if you were.  My comments had more of a light-hearted nature to them rather than a serious "the sky is fallling" or "we're going to surprise everyone" type of comment.

Don

August 12th, 2008 at 2:56 PM ^

Just watched the video on MGoBlue of the position coaches hosting get-togethers at their respective homes. It's clear that family values and togetherness are in retreat at Michigan, and that Rodriguez is destroying the fabric of the entire program with this insidious ploy.

jeag

August 13th, 2008 at 12:29 PM ^

Deadspin commenters didn't tear you up too bad. You got some actual, non-snarky, non-sarcastic compliments, which if I remember right, almost never happens. The Rick Reilly comparison must have stung a little, though.