Unverified Voracity Cowers At Your Enormous Brains

Submitted by Brian on April 15th, 2010 at 11:11 AM

Zeigler: no. This won't be news but anyone who hasn't seen it already should know that Trey Zeigler is headed to Central to play for his dad, which I find a deeply immoral decision that places family above my favorite sports team. In obviously related news, Isaiah Sykes is going to be on campus this weekend. Hopefully his transcripts are not a bloody mess of entrails.

Michigan's also going after Iowa decommit Cody Larson, a 6'9" 230 pound guy with a number of Big Ten schools after him; he could probably contribute more quickly than Jon Horford and his little pencil arms.

Side note: the NCAA has legalized "talking" to recruits when they're hanging around your campus. This is a win for common sense in general and Michigan in particular, since Michigan was guaranteed to be adhering to this rule as strictly as you possibly can and other schools… weren't.

Tate Forcier: mildly dinged. Forcier was spotted in a boot. Angelique Chengelis says it's a minor ankle sprain, the boot is precautionary, and Forcier is expected to practice today. Carry on with your panic about other matters.

You are all geniuses. There is a website that measures the overall stupidity of any particular account's twitter followers. It is called Stupid Fight. It thinks you, the MGoBlog readership, can assemble cars with your minds:


Suck on that, Stephen Hawking. (Also owned: Eleven Warriors, Black Heart Gold Pants, EDSBS, and Doctor Saturday.) When TSB colleague Chris Littman ran a bunch of folks yesterday, MGoBlog came out with a dazzlingly low score of 3. Someone must have posted something about American Idol today. No matter: you are America's only hope.

Another QB opinion. Might as well collect 'em all. Here's the latest impression from MVictors:

I’m basing this purely on the drills but Denard looks solid tossing the ball.   Ins, outs, slants, deep – anyway you want it.   Will be watching to see how he throws into coverage but I’m buying that RR’s got a decision to make next season. … More of what I saw last week, but Gardner’s arm just isn’t on par with Forcier and Robinson right now.

That's based on a couple quick glimpses from the open sections of practice, so take it somewhat lightly but that's another tentative, caveat-laden vote for Robinson. In certain situations.

Meanwhile, Rodriguez is talking up the safeties on the Big Ten conference call:

"What we found more than anything else," he said during his Big Ten teleconference, "was a couple of guys, defensively, in the back end. … I feel better about it now than I did a few weeks ago."

MLive has the whole thing if you want to hear more Gardner panting.

Welcome to 2001. You know, I thought it was weird that the SEC didn't have high definition televisions in their replay booths. How hard is it to get a television in the press box? You tell me. These games are live. Stick a DirecTV dish on top of the stadium and maybe you won't make six soul-crippling errors a season.

So… surprise!

DVSport, Inc., the leader in state-of-the-art high definition (HD) sports replay technology, announced today its new contract with the Big Ten Conference to upgrade all DVSport Standard Definition (SD) replay systems in the Big Ten to DVSport HD Replay™ systems for the start of the 2010 football season. As part of the agreement, DVSport will also provide its SD replay systems to the Mid-American Conference (MAC).

Guh. It's not like this is important to anyone.

Patience? Anyone? I'm about ready to proclaim any and all former players' opinions of Rich Rodriguez to be not worth bothering with, whether they're good or bad. A couple of old Michigan players have knocked Rodriguez in the past couple days, and it annoys me. Amani Toomer:

I don’t think the spread offense has worked that well in the Big Ten. I think Ohio State runs a version of it successfully, but not the straight zone read of Rich Rodriguez. One problem I have with Rich Rodriguez is this. He comes into a  situation and he tries to put his system in. And I always thought the main point about being a coach, was going into a situation, seeing the players you have, and adjusting your system to your players to fit the talent. That’s what Lou Holtz was good at, but he comes in there and tries to adjust the players to his system. And to me that is not a sign of a good coach

Toomer had issues with Lloyd Carr for whatever reason. He just beefs with everyone. Someone send him a link to The Golden Age of Tin and a valium. There is so much wrong in that statement that I've already shot down; I'm tired of it. But I do love this radio guys' follow up to Toomer's comment:

That year with Chad Henne, Mike Hart, Jake Long, players that you would kill for to run a pro offense. There are so few schools that can get those guys.  But to go against those principles and make the system easier on the lineman and not utilize the tremendous wide receiver talent that you guys have had at Michigan just boggles my mind.

Behold the stunning ignorance of the average talk radio robot: Henne, Hart, and Long were gone. So were Adrian Arrington and Mario Manningham. The offensive line in 2008 was a wonky mish-mash with maybe seven halfway plausible bodies, one of whom was a guard that had been a defensive linemen just weeks before the season. I don't know why I bother disputing this stuff. It's self-evidently not the work of someone who cares whether he sounds like an idiot or not.

Meanwhile, Dhani Jones "blasted" Rich Rodriguez on Jim Rome:

"I'm not cool with him. I'm at my wits end right now. I mean, you can't come in and explain that you're going to do all this, and then your first year? Terrible. Second year? Alright -- but then terrible. You have to be able to change something if you're really going to make a statement. You have to do it within the first two years, and this is his third."

If you're inclined you can annoy the moderator at Jones's "livechat" on Saturday with questions about why he can't have a little patience that won't get through.

None of this helps. Dave Brandon is an adult and won't be swayed by talk radio, so all speaking out like that does is provide another PR hit against the program. It's juvenile. Suck it up and wait until this year is over.

Michigan Hockey Summer came early. For those unfamiliar, "Michigan Hockey Summer" refers to the hockey team's uncanny ability to have painful, unexpected departures in between the end of one season and the beginning of the next. Michigan sort of had its MHS midseason, when Robbie Czarnik left and Jack Campbell didn't sign over the course of a week. Having already paid their debt to the hockey gods, it sounds like Michigan will escape this summer unscathed. An AnnArbor.com article on Carl Hagelin and Louie Caporusso certainly seems to kill any idea either would sign:

"We want to be the leaders on this team and we want to lead our team to the championship," Caporusso said this week. "We're going to take that responsibility and we're fine with that. That's the position you want to be in. You want people to count on you.

"That's pressure, but pressure leads to excitement."

If those guys come back, which sounds more than likely, the next most likely guy to go is Brandon Burlon, a Devils draftee, and Chris Brown, a Coyotes draftee. Neither is likely to go given those franchises' history with collegians.

Knock on wood, salt, ladder, etc.

Missed an "in before" opportunity. WCH took in the OHL 1 vs 2 matchup in Plymouth en route to the Frozen Four and commented that he didn't think the level of play was particularly high and that an OHL team would probably fare about as well as the USNTDP against college opponents, and I thought "how long before some nearly illiterate CHL fan calls WCH a 'looser'?" Turns out it's approximately eight hours, most of which came between 1 and 8 AM:

You are so full of s--- it scares me…….most OHL teams would hammer the usa u 18 team,Id like to see them play the Windsor,Barrie,Missy,Kitchner,

What is it with major junior that makes defenders so pissy? Whenever I bring up something like "the USHL is on par by the numbers" or "the CHL education package is basically a scam" I get a number of emails in the inbox that amount to long-winded nuh-uhs with zero supporting evidence. It's vastly out of proportion given the tiny number of people who care about hockey period, let alone college and major junior.

Etc.: The Mathlete breaks out the most valuable defensive players last year. Surprise! Brandon Graham is a landslide #1. RVB is the top returner. GQ asks "Do Football Writers Really Know Their Xs and Os?" Attn GQ: no. I don't know my Xs and Os that well and I've been trying for five years.


matty blue

April 15th, 2010 at 11:42 AM ^

and i just want to point out - that's my tweet in the hawking v. mgoblog screenshot.

maybe my ten-year-old "einstein" handle (of which i am deeply, deeply ashamed - it seemed like a good idea in the heady, go-go late nineties) isn't such a bad thing. you know, 'cause we're geniuses and all that.


April 15th, 2010 at 11:48 AM ^

For anyone who has played college athletics, what is the academic support system like? I'm ambivalent as to bringing Sykes on, but I just wonder if Michigan might be too tough for him academically. I really don't want to be mean or anything, but I seriously wonder how kids who struggle a lot in high school survive at a place like Michigan. There are definitely push-over classes in LSA, but even then, it's not a guaranteed B (except in the one course where my professor allowed us to grade ourselves). Do they just force them to have extremely intensive tutoring sessions or something?


April 15th, 2010 at 12:00 PM ^

Athletes get as much support as they need, but must be receptive to it. University of Michigan courses would be no more challenging then any other universities courses for an athlete with learning disabilities. If you have special needs, and many athletes qualify, the support is awesome so long as the athlete is willing to take advantage of the programs.

Kilgore Trout

April 15th, 2010 at 11:50 AM ^

"And I always thought the main point about being a coach, was going into a situation, seeing the players you have, and adjusting your system to your players to fit the talent. That’s what Lou Holtz was good at, but he comes in there and tries to adjust the players to his system. And to me that is not a sign of a good coach"

I guess I just fundamentally disgree with Brian and agree with Toomer on the above quote. The attrition UM had certainly makes this a tough to impossible situation for any coach. I do believe he would have done better though to tailor the scheme to his players instead of vice versa. As a coach, I think you owe it to your players to put them in the best position to succeed and win each and every game. It is unfair to the current players to sacrifice a season for a long term goal. I just don't believe in that. I don't think there's an easy answer to what they should have done, but in my opinion, it's hard to imagine they'd be worse off on April 15, 2010 if they had played things differently in '08.


April 15th, 2010 at 12:00 PM ^

Come up with a system that wins football games starting a redshirt freshman and a walkon at quarterback, and with 3 or 4 offensive linemen who have any business starting a Big Ten football game.

You will win many, many coach of the year awards.

Kilgore Trout

April 15th, 2010 at 12:20 PM ^

I'm not a coach and winning a bunch of awards. It's that I'm a dude who lives a normal life and likes to follow things he finds interesting and form his own opinion about them.

That being said, if I was given a strong group of returning starters on defense and a ton of question marks on offense, I would run a ball control offense, try to limit possessions and give my strength (defense) every opportunity to win me games by trying to maintain balance and giving them as much rest as possible. If that means a 3 and out takes 2.5 minutes of clock time instead of 40 seconds, I'm at least a little better off.

That's what I'd do on play station at least.


April 15th, 2010 at 2:05 PM ^

Here's the problem with your reasoning, Kilgore. RR has coached one type of offense for a while, and coached it very well, probably better than anyone. You don't hire Jay-Z for your party then ask him to sing opera.

But let's say RR comes in and changes his playbook around completely to suit the players he had. Now we have an offense who is by and large untalented, and coach who is unfamiliar with what he is coaching. Is this a recipe for success?

And let's just say it works OK, and instead of winning 3 games, we win 6. We make it to a bowl. Do we then completely change the playbook to RR's real system, and year 2 is our major transition year? Now in RR's second year, you have an offense full of guys learning a system for the first time, instead of year one. Or, do you keep using the old system and have your HC run a system he doesn't know very well and isn't comfortable with? If you want to keep the old system, you don't hire the new system coach, flat out. If want to revolutionize your system, you need to deal with the growing pains. You can argue that RR never should have been hired for whatever reasons, and that might be a valid argument. But once he's here, you can't fault RR for doing anything other than what he does best.

Kilgore Trout

April 15th, 2010 at 3:38 PM ^

I think that's a pretty reasonable argument. If we stick to the assumption that RR will eventually get his system worked out and implemented and UM will begin to dominate the Big Ten, you're dead on, and I'm wrong. I can live with that. In fact, I'd be happy to live with that.

I think it is a little more complicated though. First off, he has to survive to get to that point. If, like in your scenario, he had phased it in and UM had won six games and made a bowl and had managed to repeat that in '09, his leash would be a lot longer to get to the point he wants to get to. It seems to me that he took an "all in" approach and now has to get results this season, or he's toast.

On another note, you would hope that someone with the amount of success that Rodriguez has had who has risen to such a high level wouldn't be so one dimensional in his knowledge base as to be as much of a fish out of water with a different offense than people here claim he'd have been.

Anyway, I appreciate the argument, you make a lot of sense. I don't necessarily agree with it all, but I can see where you're coming from.


April 15th, 2010 at 6:09 PM ^

Here's an analogy from my personal life.

I used to have a buzz cut. It worked well for a while, it wasn't flashy, but it was easy to maintain and unoffensive. Few people loved it, but no one hated it. It got the job done.

But it had run its course. I was ready for something new and different, something to put me over the top. I had an idea what I wanted, so I decided to grow my hair out a bit. HOWEVA, I had a couple months where my hair was in that awkward state where it was too long to be a buzz, but not long enough to comb or use product, it was in a transition stage that was worse than before.

We are in that awkward half inch long hair stage now. It's not yet better than our old buzz cut, but once we get enough length to work with, we'll be picking up all the proverbial chicks.

Blue boy johnson

April 15th, 2010 at 1:27 PM ^

RR was hired to bring change and a new program to Michigan. RR was/is attempting to build a program. We can speculate what he might have done to win more in 2008 and 2009, and your suggestions are reasonable, but they are not what RR was brought in to do and they are not what RR knows best. If we wanted to maximize victories in 08 and 09, RR would have never been hired.

EDIT: Don and Magnus among others had already made the points I raised. I'll just move along here:)


April 15th, 2010 at 12:53 PM ^

That being said, if I was given a strong group of returning starters on defense and a ton of question marks on offense, I would run a ball control offense, try to limit possessions and give my strength (defense) every opportunity to win me games by trying to maintain balance and giving them as much rest as possible. If that means a 3 and out takes 2.5 minutes of clock time instead of 40 seconds, I'm at least a little better off.

So they are running an offense that Rodriguez doesn't know and still works poorly. How many more wins do they get that year? 1? 2? And now they have to spend 2009 doing some screwed up mishmash of the 2008 offense and what they actually want to run. With that, this spring they would finally be learning to do what Rodriguez really wants them to do instead of having three years absorbing it in its entirety. How much worse is the outlook for this season in that scenario?

I'll have to go searching for the Smart Football article Brian linked to once that pointed out the lack of commitment to any one particular offense was the best way to ensure that nothing was ever executed successfully.

That's what I'd do on play station at least.

As we all know, success on Playstation directly correlates with the ability to do it in real life.


April 15th, 2010 at 12:01 PM ^

Okay, let's say Rodriguez DID run a more pro-style offense in 2008. Lots of I-formation, double tight, etc.

How does that help us in 2009? We'd have a bunch of linemen, running backs, tight ends, wide receivers, and slot receivers who would be learning a "brand new" offense in 2009 once Forcier/Robinson rolled into town.

Rodriguez's job was to build a program, not squeeze every last victory out of 2008. Our offensive players were better in 2009 because it was their second year in the system. They should be even better in 2010 because they've spent three years in the system.

I see what you're trying to say, but I disagree wholeheartedly. Rodriguez is his own man; he can't/shouldn't try to coach like he's trying to be Lloyd Carr.

Kilgore Trout

April 15th, 2010 at 12:32 PM ^

I appreciate the reasoned tone.

I guess my point is that what he did in '08 wasn't necessarily supposed to help us in '09, in my view of the world. How did Krenzel-ball prepare for Troy Smith?

I would phase things in. I don't think that building a program and squeezing every last win out of a season have to be mutually exclusive. I don't think he should have tried to be like Lloyd Carr, I never said that.


April 15th, 2010 at 12:46 PM ^

I'm not sure what your point is. They ran the same system. The plays were altered slightly, and Smith had a different skill set than Troy Smith.

But Troy Smith wasn't a run-first guy. Under both Smith and Krenzel, OSU ran the ball a lot and played from under center; the zone read option wasn't a part of their offense (or it was only a small part).

Rodriguez is capable of tailoring his offense for different styles of players. Shaun King, while a decent runner, was not in the same category as Woody Dantzler or Pat White. Therefore, King had great passing numbers while White and Dantzler were known for their running accomplishments.


April 15th, 2010 at 12:44 PM ^

I continue to be amazed at how many people there are who still think that RR should have run LC's offense in 08 (and somehow also teach his own system and recruit to it). It is not as simple as being a baseball manager who likes to play long ball, but doesn't have the bats so he plays small ball for a year or 2 until he acquires some and then switches to home run derby. It also amazes me to hear people say that he sould have been able to switch to a new system in year 1 and keep right on winning 8+ games a year from the get go. And this includes a lot of the local (Detroit) sports talk shows.
Get a clue, people.


April 15th, 2010 at 12:03 PM ^

You need to go re-read The Golden Age Of Tin too. Sure, tailoring the scheme to the players sounds nice, until you realize the scheme you think he should have tailored was 70th in total offense the year before, and that was before boatloads of NFL talent was replaced with inexperienced underclassmen. The offense would have stunk anyways, people blaming the scheme are just looking for excuses to fit their preconceived dislike of Rodriguez.


April 15th, 2010 at 12:40 PM ^

Others have noted this below, but it would be idiotic for a coach to entire a new program and try to run the existing system when he had absolutely no experience implementing one. What is he going to do - pull out the Madden/NCAA football playbooks and just pick-and-choose? I liked Toomer as a player, but he has been out of touch with the program for years, and he needs to just keep his mouth shut about coaching staffs. I mean, he played for Gary Moeller - not necessarily a visionary himself. if UM starts to win, I just hope that they don't interview Toomer so that he can run his mouth about how proud he is of UM football, how the coaching staff is running a solid offense, etc.


April 15th, 2010 at 12:03 PM ^

At the hockey banquet a few weeks ago while accepting 1 of his 3 awards, Hagelin said, "we're all officially coming back" when referring to the juniors. Cap and Rust were at their table nodding in agreement.


April 15th, 2010 at 3:32 PM ^

I had a debate with my friend from Toronto about Canadian junior hockey vs. the NCAA. There was no convincing him until I happened to have a game on the TV when he came over one evening and he sat down and watched it.

After the first period, he looked at me and just mumbled, "you were right." As the game wore on, he actually started to enjoy the experience until by the end, he was cheering as hard for Michigan to pull out the win as I was.

We're planning a trip up to Yost this next season so he can see a game and experience the atmosphere.

BTW, he went back to Toronto and almost got into a fistfight with his Brother-In-Law over the same argument we had, except now he was defending college hockey and all the benefits that came with it. LOL! He's already trying to recruit one of his little nephews to come play south of the border.


April 15th, 2010 at 4:50 PM ^

Hey, I think NCAA hockey is played by mostly almost men, and has a great deal more depth to every roster then the CHL. I have explained the different player types that go through each route and have been partial to a lot of Mr. Cooks arguments. But please, chill on CHL bashing. It is Canada's College football. So broadly making fun of its entire fan base because of some sparty style rebuttles isn't fair.