Unverified Voracity Eschews True Style

Submitted by Brian on October 13th, 2009 at 1:34 PM

cancer-kicker

Annoying reminder. Acquire your cancer kicker bracelets by donating on the right sidebar and help out Phil Brabbs. You will feel like much less of a heel after you do this. Brabbs and his wife also have a video blog up about their first week with Brabbs on chemotherapy.

Oops. You know, I saw this Daily article detailing this new pitch play Michigan was working on, and I thought "that's really cool, I wonder why more practice articles aren't this specific":

In a rotation that was repeated about four times, a quarterback and running back lined up to practice a simple outside pitch play. Though the play was basic, the pairings were different than usual.

And then Michigan ran that pitch play to pretty good effect against Iowa and then Rodriguez closed practice for the rest of the year. Oh, that's why.

FTR: Rodriguez apparently mentioned "blogs" a couple times when announcing that practice is closed. I'm not sure why, since this place hasn't detailed any specific plays Michigan was running during the open section of practice. Any mentions I've made of plays I'd like Michigan to run (tight end shovel! Denard as Percy Harvin!) are total speculation. Total speculation that should be immediately inserted into the playbook, but total speculation nonetheless.

Hanging by a thread, but possibly a thick one. Boubacar Cissoko missed the Iowa game, of course, and has been indefinitely suspended by Rodriguez for matters on the practice field and in the classroom. Weird little fib here:

Cissoko told a reporter earlier in the day he didn't travel with the team because he was "banged up," but would return in the next game.

I guess that's good? Like Cissoko wants to be on the team and might pull out of his tailspin? Or it's bad because he's a nasty fibber. I don't know. Cissoko Transfer DEFCON should be set at 3. He is still practicing with the team:

"Playing football is important to him," Rodriguez said. “And I think his academics are important. But to what level? It has to be at the right level."

I should clarify something I said on the radio yesterday that caused a message board thread; if I said a Cissoko transfer is "likely" that was in error. I meant to say it seemed possible without putting any sort of spin on how likely, or unlikely, that was to occur. Sometimes in the talking you say things less precise than you want to.

(Side note: every time someone shows up on MGoBoard with inside information they're roundly laughed at and negged, and then their info turns out to be accurate. This has happened with Craig Roh starting, Forcier's shoulder injury being more than a bruise, about which more later, and Cissoko not making the trip to Iowa City. MGoBlog is way more locked down that MLive; yes lol Chris Perry's broken leg but let's take context into account. Even someone with 50 points has put in 100x times more cred than an anonymous poster somewhere else. Information on the internet is usually good.)

The Salters thing. There's been quite a bit made of the Lisa Salters quote about Forcier's interaction with Rodriguez on the sideline just before he got pulled. The exact words, according to AA.com:

When a rattled Forcier came to the sideline, Salters said, “He kind of looked over at Coach saying, ‘I don’t know what you want me to do.’”

That sounds like speculation to me, not a direct quote.

The shoulder thing. Jason Forcier is pinged by the Daily and spills a bit more on Tate's shoulder injury:

His shoulder is more injured than I think the public realizes," Jason said. "It's the same thing (Oklahoma quarterback) Sam Bradford did. Maybe not as severe, but an AC joint is an AC joint. Once you injure it, it's hurt for the rest of the year." …

"(Tate)'s being tough," Jason said. "But he's playing against guys that are over three times his size."

Um… that would make Tate approximately 110 pounds. Which seems less improbable when you're talking about Forcier than any other quarterback hanging around, but still pretty improbable.

Meanwhile, this Rodriguez quote on Forcier's practice time from the same article confirms one of this site's theories about the super-lame offense against Michigan State this year:

"His shoulder really limited his practice time the last couple of weeks, but it didn't bother him too much in the game," Rodriguez said. "

This no doubt slowed Michigan's piecemeal installation of the vast and multivariate spread 'n' shred, allowing Michigan State to tee off on the plays they'd already seen with impunity and preventing Michigan from providing the sort of counter-punch they'd like to. A game against a 1-3 I-AA team should allow Michigan a couple weeks to put in new stuff for Penn State, and Forcier's shoulder should continue to get more cooperative as the year goes along.

Brunnnndidge. Our 2011 PG/SG commit is on the youtubes, pretending to get interviewed by ESPN:

HE LIKES MATH! This actually took place after Carlton's freshman year, FWIW, and two months ago someone called him a lawya in the comments. Law on, lawya.

I'll fight the bear. Iowa's evident effort at targeting Donovan Warren was weird to me, and weird to Troy Woolfolk:

Woolfolk, who made four tackles Saturday, said he was surprised Iowa didn’t challenge him more.

“I was like really shocked,” he said. “I asked myself, 'Why aren't they attacking me, the fresh, young blood in the water.' They just kept going to Donovan.”

Iowa got some completions on Warren but it cost them, and the stuff they did get was often of the miracle-throw or safety-bust variety. It seemed foolhardy. Iowa did chuck a couple fades at Woolfolk but neither was completed.

Flowers for Algernon. Michigan Monday is getting pretty stupid of late:

For the game, the Wolverines carried the ball 45 times for 195 yards, a decent 4.3-yard average. Last week Michigan State held Michigan to 28 yards on 28 carries, so obviously things were better than the last time out, but I’m far from convinced that the Wolverines’ running game is “back”.

Of those 195 yards, 53 of them came on a drive in the third quarter where the Wolverines ran the ball almost exclusively from under the center. The drive ended in a touchdown, but the fact that Michigan had to go away from their true running style should be cause for concern. To further badmouth the running game, we need to also mention Michigan’s final two drives of the game, which saw Denard Robinson inserted for a benched Tate Forcier. Michigan started the first drive with 7:42 remaining, down by nine points. Iowa was more than happy to let the Wolverines run the ball the rest of the game, and that’s essentially what they did, rushing for 50 yards on their last two drives.

Basically, over half of Michigan’s rushing yards came when Iowa was happy to see the run or when Tate Forcier was under center, meaning the zone read was pretty well shut down again.

Blather about "true running style": inane.

Rodriguez's true running style is "whatever works," and I kind of doubt Iowa was happy to have Michigan run the ball down the field for a touchdown on a drive that started with eight minutes left, especially once the ball got inside the 20. Michigan didn't turn in a dominating day but consistently creased the Iowa OL and got good yardage all night; they did not break big runs because part of the reason for the consistent success was Iowa laying back with two deep safeties and waiting for Michigan to screw up, which they did. There's plenty to criticize about a Michigan team likely headed for a December bowl game of no note, so why twist yourself into knots in an attempt to knock down the one consistently good aspect of the team?

Outside perspective. Okay, we're off the high of the Notre Dame game and discontent and arguing with people who are yet more discontent still. At this point, though, it's clear that the true disaster projections—which seemed a possibility as Michigan nervously prepared for the Western Michigan game—have gone by the wayside. We're left with those preseason projections, which built in the information that Rich Rodriguez is a very good football coach. Doctor Saturday provides some perspective:

The fact that the Wolverines were banged up, outgained, and reckless with the ball and still only fell by two with a realistic to chance to knock off a conference frontrunner on the road would have been regarded as a very optimistic step five weeks ago, when we were unsure of Rodriguez's grasp on the team. Premature Heisman sites were launched and visions of New Year's Day had begun to dance in September, but this was supposed to be a 7-5 team struggling through growing pains en route to the Champs Sports, and it's beginning to shape up as exactly that.

Whee bowls. The Big Ten has picked up the Gator Bowl, which will be a boring SEC-Big Ten matchup but at least it's a boring SEC-Big Ten matchup that's slanted in the Big Ten's favor. And then they're adding some new thing in the Cotton Bowl:

A new bowl game to be played at Cotton Bowl stadium in Dallas will have the No. 7 pick from the Big Ten, which likely will face a team from the Big 12 or Conference USA. The Cotton Bowl Classic will move to Dallas Cowboys Stadium beginning in January, and the new bowl is expected to be played around Jan. 1.

This bumps the Motor City down to #8 and essentially cancels any relationship between the Big Ten and it unless there's just a glut of 6-6 teams one year. Hopefully this is never relevant.

Concussion pants. Notes on Michigan's concussions: both Tate and Brown are good to go for Delaware State.

Etc.: Bowl projections have Michigan in the Champs, Insight, or Alamo against Kansas, Wake, Oklahoma State, or UNC. Bowl projections aren't very useful right now. MSU folk have put up their UFR-O equivalent; this one's way less depressing than the one that handles the other side of the ball.

Comments

Blue_Bull_Run

October 13th, 2009 at 1:41 PM ^

As ridiculous as that thread was, it fits the timing of when RichRod closed practice. That thread also had a semi-ominous/paranoid post about the staff monitoring fan sites.

The problem with that, however, is that the source was a friend of a team manager's; therefore, closing practice to the media wouldn't prevent that type of leak.

cjpops

October 13th, 2009 at 1:59 PM ^

I'm not the type of guy to say, "I told you so" but, I TOLD YOU SO.

(EDIT: "You" is no one in particular. I'm basically referencing everyone who thinks that Forcier should've finished the Iowa game no matter what and that going with D-Rob was a bad decision)

Tate is definitely, really, injured. In a big way. He can play through it with "treatment," but, is in no way near 100%. Especially important because he's a little guy (just ask his brother). Did anyone else notice him sliding more on runs to avoid contact?

Denard needs to start and play the majority of the Delaware State game. He needs the experience so that he can be of more value than just a runner if Forcier is injured further.

mbrummer

October 13th, 2009 at 1:59 PM ^

I always hate when sideline reporters say " Coach X told me: then proceed with a quote that is not even a direct quote but a paraphrase of what is said." It's really annoying when they come out of the halftime with these perfect "quotes" they somehow managed to get while the coach was walking out from the lockerroom to the field.

There is a dead givaway that it's not a direct quote. They arent reading the quotes, usually they are just talking to the camera, the chances of memorizing such things is small.

I wish sideline reporting was just injuries and that's it.

Sgt. Wolverine

October 13th, 2009 at 2:19 PM ^

"I wish sideline reporting was just injuries and that's it."

Cosign. I wish coaches had the freedom to pull a Lloyd Carr with sideline reporters whenever they feel it's warranted (which would be most of the time). His "Why would you ask a dumb question like that?" retort remains one of my favorite moments in Michigan football history.

bcsblue

October 13th, 2009 at 2:00 PM ^

Stupid I know because the larger point still stands. But those clips were when RR was not coach of WVU. There was talk leading up to that game, that WVU would put in some new stuff. More I form and what not.

Also this will probably be solved today when the Big Ten officially releases the bowl slate. But Rittenberg claims "The Big Ten will face the ACC in the Gator Bowl" So... ACC or SEC?

InterM

October 13th, 2009 at 2:53 PM ^

But if you go back and look at WVU's Sugar Bowl win against Georgia a couple of years earlier, you'll see that the first touchdown was a 52-yard run by Slaton from the I formation. (I would include a link but I'm web-challenged!)

imafreak1

October 13th, 2009 at 2:23 PM ^

Michigan Monday has been beating the drum for the last 2 weeks that Michigan cannot run on the Big Ten and that for some reason "this offense" requires break away runs to be effective.

So, when Michigan went on the road against a good run defense and ran for almost 200 yards with no break aways, he had 2 choices. He could admit that his pet theories were not supported by this game or he could mutilate the data to fit his theory. He made a poor choice.

I don't think you even need to debunk the 'I form' rationalization because not only is that Michigan Monday's idea of what the Michigan offense is (and not Michigan's) even without the 53 yards Michigan still had almost 150 which still pretty good. The idea that any team is perfectly happy to exchange a 9 point lead for a 2 point with over 3 minutes left is just stupidity beyond belief.

I'm interested to see if mgoblog takes on the BHGP suggestion that "Iowa did win, of course, and sandwiched between MIchigan's two scores was a 30-14 drubbing that could have been worse." Because sure, it could get a lot worse if you just keep magically winking away Michigan's points! How's 30-0 sound?

caup

October 13th, 2009 at 2:51 PM ^

the more threatening Michigan gets, the more snarky and stupid that running article will get. And when he has nothing to crtiticize on the field, he'll be going after Rich tooth and nail.

That writer's smugness and stupid logic makes me wonder why I even read that crap anymore.

I hope for the day when Michigan Mondays becomes a prime locale to pluck "This Week in Schadenfreude..."

caup

October 13th, 2009 at 5:57 PM ^

I did not know they changed writers. That explains why "Michigan Mondays" went from a pretty good source for getting an unvarnished assessment of the Michigan football team to degenerating into what it has now become: a poorly written, factually inaccurate, overly antagonistic heap of pablum that is blantant pandering to their Buckeye readership.
It's kind of a shame, really.

bronxblue

October 13th, 2009 at 5:40 PM ^

One minor point to make about BHGP "ignoring" two UM scores - many of this board (me included) said the same thing after last year's ND game. Sure, ND had a huge lead because of some dumb UM turnovers, but the argument was that the stats and score after that lead showed UM played better than ND. Well, that may be true, but teams play differently when they have double-digit leads in the first half, especially in a driving rain storm. I guess my point is that fanbases, by their nature, try to look for a silver lining or a rationalization after the fact.

mendrygal

October 13th, 2009 at 2:23 PM ^

Anyone else see the 17 minute leg-humping that ensued after MNF last night? Don't get me wrong, it was great to see Chad come out, look fantastic, then get instant props from a network that suprisingly didn't somehow work Tiger or Lebron into the interview. Also, great replay of big Jake still pancaking folks in the big leagues.

Magnus

October 13th, 2009 at 2:37 PM ^

yours is not the only blog on the Michigan internet. To assume that Rodriguez was referring to MGoBlog when he mentioned the generic word "blogs" is probably a little narcissistic.

Regardless, although it wasn't your doing, there was a post about the aforementioned Daily article on the message board. Technically it's still on your blog, even though it was in the message board area. I would never have read that Daily article if it hadn't been posted here, so the fact that this message board exists kind of contributed to the information being disseminated.

Anyway, that part isn't your fault, but it's just kind of indicative of how this generation's information gets passed around so quickly.

MVictors

October 13th, 2009 at 8:34 PM ^

I don't recall a specific/stated rule on what you can report on during those 20-30 minute glimpses of practice beyond "no video" and sometimes, no cameras or phones. If there was one you think they would have explained it to a guy like me, new to the scene this season.

That said, I assumed that you don't write or talk about a specific play that they were running. Angelique and Sam joked about this today WTKA as if this were a given no-no.

That said, they give you 30 minutes you'd think that if they were concerned about some secret getting out, they'd run those drills/formations on the other 19.5 hrs of supervised practice during the week, not when the media is on the field for a quick peek.

I'd love to hear Tim's take. It's disappointing that everyone is shut out - I wish they would have identified the problem, spoke with the offender and solidified the policy with everyone else.

Elno Lewis

October 13th, 2009 at 2:52 PM ^

it was I who revealed all those plays. My blog is not on the internet, that is why it is so hard to find. its more like a newsletter. you know, the paper kind. I have no idea of how Ferentz got his hands on it except that i might have mailed a copy to every coach in the Big Ten.

a2bluefan

October 13th, 2009 at 3:34 PM ^

Given our lack of bowl last year, I tend to feel like any bowl we make it to this year will be of note... if for no other reason than because it will be the first game of a decades long streak of bowl appearances every year.

Also.... I thought I read somewhere that the Alamo Bowl had ditched its Big Ten affiliation? Or did I dream that up in some drunken stupor?

blue in ak

October 13th, 2009 at 4:23 PM ^

"Well, when Forcier came over to the sidelines, he said 'Coach, I really could go for an In-and-Out burger right now. I know there's always Blimpy burger when we get back to Ann Arbor, but I really would like some Animal-Style fries. Also, what did you think about Obama getting the Nobel Peace Prize? That really is mud in ASU's eye. And, oh yeah, isn't it cool that we're not going 3-9 this year? Yeah, I'm pretty pyched about that. What? I don't know what you want me to do?'"

chitownblue2

October 13th, 2009 at 4:50 PM ^

Yes, people nailed, off the top of my head, Roh starting and Wermers transferring. Maybe O'Neill as well?

They also whiffed on Donovan Warren transferring, Nick Sheridan starting, and Mathews as the "inside source".

So, whatever, they're no unimpeachable, and I see no issue with questioning them.

We know this: the original poster on the Cissoko thread said Cissoko was kept home for "attitude". Cissoko said he was kept home "because he was banged up", and Rodriguez said he was suspeded for "academics". These are three very different explanations (Cissoko's seems to be a lie, at least).

Further, I think there's something, frankly, wrong, and sort of disgusting about speculating about the future of a college kid in a public forum with admittedly no backup. Maybe I'm too hardline on this - but I think these kids deserve their privacy. I'm not saying Cissoko is not thinking about transferring - I have absolutely no clue. But I'd prefer to let these kids manage their business until the point that they make a public proclamation themselves, or they end up on the police blotter. The uneccessary speculation leads to a situation where the thousands of people who read this site, should Cissoko choose to stay, believe he was going to transfer, whether he was or not. Then you get a situation where you've almost poisoned your readership to this kid.

This website has thousands of posters who handle personal criticism so poorly that they post screeds complaining when someone takes away an ephemeral little MGoPoint, but has no problem lobbing actual personal critcisms on kids they don't know, and know little of. It's sort of gross.

Magnus

October 13th, 2009 at 7:24 PM ^

I don't know if I completely agree with this.

The thing about rumors that don't come true is that sometimes it's hard to prove they were wrong in the first place. If I recall correctly, the rumor was that Warren was CONSIDERING a transfer. There's really no way to prove that wrong. Even if he was, he wouldn't necessarily come out publicly and say, "Yes, I was considering transferring." Most players would pass that off and say, "I don't know where that rumor came from," just to save face and preserve team unity.

Again, you can't believe everything you read. You have to pick and choose. With the Cissoko rumor, there was plenty of evidence that his staying home was connected to behavior rather than illness/injury. It also made some sense that people like O'Neill and Wermers would transfer, considering their places on the depth chart.