Unverified Voracity Burns More Boats

Submitted by Brian on October 16th, 2009 at 12:05 PM

Liveblog help. The liveblog needs more assistance, lest the current moderators die in a hail of comments. If you've participated in the commenting frequently, have a decent bank of MGoPoints, and would like to help out, please email me.

Madness! Madness-type object that's not at midnight goes down tonight at 9PM in Crisler, with doors at 8 and a "barbecue" from 7-8 on the east lawn, which sounds like a good idea except it's mid-October. Dylan has a primer for you. In celebration of the basketball team's achievements and in an attempt to make money, allow me to present MGoBlog's sweet basketball shirt:


It is, as per usual, by Six Zero. I know what you're thinking, guy who took Spanish in high school, but you're wrong: "sofa" is irregular and takes a masculine article. I looked it up three times.

While we're on the basketball team, Big Ten Geeks has a two-part preview of the season that focuses on tempo-free stats. The first part shows what you already know: Beilein's second year was a huge leap forward from his first. They ask this question;

Michigan already made a huge jump from 112th to 50th in Pomeroy's ratings - is it reasonable to expect another big jump into top 20 territory?

Note that leap goes only to 50th, not the 40th you'd expect from Michigan's tournament seeding or the 32nd-ish you'd expect from their advancement to the second round. I expect the team to improve this year, but I'll be marking improvement from 50th.

The Geeks then attempt to answer their question with an array of tempo-free charts comparing Michigan's first two season under Beilein to West Virginia's first three. It appears the offense can expect another step forward in eFG%, but is probably maxing out in 3FGA/FGA and minimizing TOs as much as humanly possible.

Note: a reader gave me the idea for this shirt but a search of the ever-expanding, world-encompassing inbox does not turn up who it is. If it's you, email me and claim your reward.

Bombshell! This is what passes for the biggest story in the Free Press's world:


That's right: "Mom popped hood so boy could get gun, kill" and Taylor Swift (!!!) get second billing to the Free Press FOIAing the University for grade records—the one thing actually covered by the FERPA law that athletic departments abuse willy-nilly—multiple times and Rodriguez saying this:

I have mentioned publicly several times that the football team last year achieved the highest average GPA ever, and I'd like to set the record straight on that statement. Last fall, in order to boost academic performance, I asked the Academic Success Program for the highest-ever team GPA and challenged the players to beat it. The ASP doesn't track team GPAs, so they provided me with an estimate based on their experience dealing with individual performance. They did not make it clear that the number was just an estimate and not an exact calculation

The bastard. In a TLA, LOL. This is getting has long been comical.

Wolverines, for real. They're remaking Red Dawn, for some reason, but at least they're doing it with proper respect for wolverines:

For former Michigan players Sean Griffin, Charles Stewart, Darnell Hood and Brandent Englemon, playing high school football players -- for a team named the Wolverines, no less -- in the remake of the 1980's movie "Red Dawn," came, in some respects, almost naturally.

"It's just football," said Griffin, a 2008 U-M graduate and former long snapper.

It's not just football, it's a titanic struggle against communism in a dystopic alternate reality, Sean. Let's get with the program.

I once went to the world's worst staging of any play—they sang "Silent Night" at the end—just because Jamar Adams and Jake Long and Chad Henne were vaguely in it, so I guess I have to go see the remake of Red Dawn now. The dangerous precedents I set.

Happy fun time forever hurray! Rick Leach finally followed through on his promise to bring down the thunder on someone for not being all in for Rich Rodriguez. As you've no doubt already found out because I've been studiously avoiding the topic to the point where Doctor Saturday himself pinged me to inform me about this event, it was Lloyd Freakin' Carr:

This morning former U-M QB Rick Leach dialed up WTKA’s Michigan Insider with Sam Webb and Ira Weintraub to sound off about the report that Rodriguez backed off the claim that the team hit the highest GPA in team history.  Leach painted it as another attempt by the media to discredit Rodriguez, paraphrasing: “turning a good story into a bad one.” 

But then Leach took aim at former coach Lloyd Carr, asking folks to investigate where and with whom Carr sat at the Iowa game. … Per Leach, this act is effectively waving a “middle finger” at U-M. 

I find this wonderful in all ways and love everything forever. Like everyone else who reads a lot of Michigan message boards, I've heard dark stories about Carr and Eastern regent James Stapleton—a guy who thought Brian Ellerbe's firing was racist!—and what some brilliant, anonymous person called the "shadow government" in Ypsilanti, all of the vague beyond the point of usefulness and extremely irritating. I've never found anyone worth citing, even if I maybe kind of believe certain aspects of it. Which I think I do. But I haven't heard anything worth publishing. When and if I do, I'll publish it.

Bracelet note. If you clicked the button on the top right to donate to Phil Brabbs and get yourself a cancer kicker bracelet, there is another step you have to execute: email [email protected] to tell them how many you'd like. Details here. Video blog from Brabbs and wife here.

A question about quarterbacks that is not that question. NKOTB Burgeoning Wolverine Star brings the still frames and the analysis to ask "hey, was that last INT Junior Hemingway's fault?"

denard post snap3You can see Hemingway two steps beyond his guy, loping down field. He pulls up, thus turning a potential deep completion into an easy interception. This guy's answer: no, it wasn't Hemingway's fault. If he'd kept going on his route he might have had a chance to break the play up but watch the  video; watch how long the safety is just waiting for the ball to come directly to him:

Receiver or no, that is not a good throw. Especially with Odoms hand-wavingly wide open underneath.

Inside vs outside zone. I've struggled to recognize the differences between inside and outside zone plays for a long time now, but Chris Brown (Not That Chris Brown) has illuminated it for me, and for you:

On outside zone plays, the "covered" offensive linemen (those with a defender lined up directly in front of them) will take a little bit more of a lateral first step and try to "reach" the defender -- that is, get their body in position to seal the defender from chasing the ball outside. The running back aims for a point outside the tight end, though he can cut it upfield wherever a seam appears.

Michigan hardly ever gets outside the tight end, or outside the tackle, because defensive ends are coached to get upfield and force the play back inside of them. When they do get outside the tackle it's usually a big gainer. A large number of Michigan's outside zone (or "stretch") plays end up going between the tackle and the center; the guard to that side of the field releases downfield to get a block on a linebacker.

Anyway, this causes people to start flowing fast to the sideline, at which point it's time to hit them with a counter. The simplest zone counter is to just execute the same play with a slightly different goal:

Once the defense begins flowing too fast to the sideline, Wilson will come back to the inside zone. The rules are the same -- covered and uncovered -- except this is more of a drive block as the aiming points are inside. The play often results in a cutback if the defense is flowing fast for the outside zone, but the difference between the outside zone is one of technique, not assignment.

So instead of trying to get around your guy with a reach block and sealing him, you just shove him down the line and have Minor cut behind you.

Here's an a-ha I just had. You know how Michigan was blocking the backside end much of the day? All those must have been inside zone plays. These days unblocked DEs tend to crash down on the backside, turning cutback lanes into minimal gains. Blocking that guy gives your moosebot tailback the opportunity to cut back on the inside zone without getting an unblocked DE in his face.

Etc.: Guess what Pryor's running now? The spread 'n' shred. Also this counter draw play OSU is running is something Michigan should put in the Robinson playbook. You can sign up to support Michigan Stadium's World Cup bid. There is a student protest today at City Hall to fight for State Street's right to party. The Beastie Boys would be proud. Correction: the Beastie Boys 20 years ago would be proud. The current Beastie Boys are very disappointed you're not thinking about Tibet.


the Bray

October 16th, 2009 at 12:25 PM ^

That Pryor/OSU play is pretty much what MSU ran against Michigan in 2004 with Cobb... the TD that put them up 27-10. Dowdell in the shotgun, Cobb to his right... they both sort of roll to their right a few steps, the line acts like the play is going right... and then Cobb comes back towards Dowdell to take the handoff and run approximately 184 yards. We were burned by that play a couple of times that day, if I remember correctly, but never for the yardage that one let up.

It's at the 1:40 mark of Wolverine Historian's highlights:


The rest of the clip goes fairly well too, I'd say.


October 16th, 2009 at 1:06 PM ^

That was my immediate thought when seeing the clip. It's run a little differntly but the concept is sound.

If you didn't notice go back and look at the interception and notice Minor running right down the middle of the field. The safeties would close this up a little bit, but based on Minor's running that game a dart over the lb's head could have been a td. If he had a step to size up those safeties he could have raged into the end zone after blowing them up. Well at the least we're in pretty good fg position. Damn football is frustrating.


October 16th, 2009 at 12:54 PM ^

It DOES seem like if he had kept on his route he would have been in place to break the play up. I don't know if DRob was throwing a GO while Jr thought he was supposed to cut back or was just surprised to see it take that long for the ball to get to him. Don't know.

NOT saying he caused the INT, but it seemed he could have done something to help prevent it.


October 16th, 2009 at 1:26 PM ^

For former Michigan players Sean Griffin, Charles Stewart, Darnell Hood and Brandent Englemon, playing high school football players -- for a team named the Wolverines, no less -- in the remake of the 1980's movie "Red Dawn," came, in some respects, almost naturally.

That should start out "For four former Michigan players..."


October 16th, 2009 at 1:38 PM ^

Love him for his enthusiasm, but I think Rick Leach went a little over board with the flipping the bird comment.

I don't see a problem with Lloyd sitting in an Iowa box (presummably as a guest of an Iowa coach). According to Sam and Ira on WTKA, Lloyd sits in Rita's box at home games.

That said, I think Rick is right to call Lloyd out on his lack of public support for the program. At a time where our programs integrity is being questioned time and again, the guy best positioned to speak with authority on the subject of integrity continues to remain silent.

Sure, it is Rich's team now. But Lloyd could drop a comment here or there, and that would go a long way towards stopping the infighting. (He could even do it in a retractable way.)

Bo didn't let Mo hang out there, and he didn't let Lloyd hang out there. It was their team, but Bo still stood behind them.

So Rick, maybe should should partially appolgize, while restating your frustration that Lloyd is not publically supporting the Team.

And Lloyd, publically support the Team!

Go Blue!

the Bray

October 16th, 2009 at 2:03 PM ^

I've heard Lloyd was sitting with the wife of Eric Campbell. Obviously, since Campbell coached for Lloyd at Michigan and now coaches at Iowa, the logical deduction is that OHMYGOD!! LLOYD CARR IS SLEEPING WITH SOUP'S WIFE!!


October 16th, 2009 at 2:31 PM ^

Regarding the practice time (non-)controversy, I don't blame Lloyd for not publicly supporting RichRod since the players making the accusations are holdovers from Lloyd's regime. If he says anything in support of Rich, he sells out his own players without having actually accomplished anything. Lloyd offering his support for Rich doesn't affect the investigation or its outcome one way or another, so why should he comment on it publicly?

Lloyd and Rich barely knew each other when Rich came to Michigan, so we can't expect them to be chummy, especially when Rich's style is so dramatically different from Lloyd's. Also, Lloyd is not dumb; he knows about the flood of emails Bill Martin received slamming him and his staff during the last few years of his regime and can read between the lines of Martin's "exciting brand of football" and "the game has changed" comments. He's heard all the raving about Mike Barwis. Lloyd understands that Martin and others thought Michigan had stagnated and needed something new. Nobody who leaves a job is going to be crazy about the guy hired to replace him if the new guy was brought in specifically because he was completely different. Everyone has an ego. But that doesn't mean Lloyd is actively trying to sabotage Rich or the program. All of this talk about Lloyd and Rich is just another effort to make something out of nothing.


October 16th, 2009 at 2:05 PM ^

IMO I think it would be a good idea if the two of them got together for a quick presser and just lay things out there.

Rich Rod could quickly say that he has appreciated all that Lloyd has done and how he has left him alone to run the program his way and Lloyd could quickly say how he likes the direction the program is headings in, tells the Michigan family to get behind their coach, and finish by saying he loved his time with Michigan and is now stepping back to let someone else lead.

Maybe Russell Crowe comes in at the end and holds up both of their arms for pictures and we can all move on.

Musket Rebellion

October 16th, 2009 at 2:25 PM ^

My sources, namely one gsimmons, say that Red Dawn is the greatest football movie of all time. It's got football, it's got thrilling action, and bombs. BOMBS PEOPLE, BOMBS!

How could you not see this movie?


October 16th, 2009 at 4:37 PM ^

"Receiver or no, that is not a good throw. Especially with Odoms hand-wavingly wide open underneath."

It looks to me that (obviously, I guess) that DRob didn't see Odoms, especially since he was momentarily obscured by the ref.

Also, If you watch Odoms, he also seems to stop momentarily in his route. I'm not sure why he did that, maybe he thought DRob was going to scramble or something. It also appears that he wasn't in the clear, or rather out from behind the ref until DRob has already started his throw down the field.

And on the pass itself, had the WR not stopped his route it would have at least been a chance at a jump ball, IMO.

Oh well. Crush Del. State tomorrow. And then on to PSU... Go Blue.