Unverified Voracity Exclaims About Thick Air Comment Count

Brian September 17th, 2014 at 12:16 PM

Extremely important fainting goat update. The conversation did not quite go as asserted yesterday, but it's pretty great anyway:

“He told me the play of the week, the special teams funky deal, was a fake punt – the Fainting Goat,” Mays said. “In my mind, I was like, ‘What’s that?’”

Said Paschall: “Book, you’re going to be the goat.”

“I was like, ‘Oh, my God.’ What is he saying?” Mays said.


“I was talking to the guy across from me, saying, ‘Wow, there is some thick air down here in Miami,” Mays said.

God bless Arkansas State.

BEAT THE DRUM EVERYBODY. Ineligible man downfield complainin' is welcome wherever I find it. Pete Roussel notes an egregious event in the Alabama-USM game:


yes the penalty is called when the ball is thrown but not caught; still geez

Remember last year when Taylor Lewan engaged a guy about three yards behind the line and drove him so far downfield he got a penalty and everyone clucked at him about how he had to know better? Why would he have to know better? I think he would not have to.

Offenses are brutally effective already without adding blocking linebackers ten yards downfield on pass plays to their docket.

BEAT THE DRUM PART 2. Yes, we are going to beat this dead horse until it sends seven guys downfield on the snap. "Shield" punting, which we've called "spread" around here because I'm sure you can figure it out*, has taken over college football. Michigan is an exception, and apparently so is Texas. They ate a 45-yard punt return before UCLA's winning drive after lining up like so:


This is actually a little more spread-ish than Michigan, but eight Longhorns are behind the LOS when the ball is kicked.

Like Michigan, the bad way stats are kept somewhat conceals the issue here. Not only does Texas give up a lot of yards per return, they give up a lot of returns, period:

UT’s 10.3-yard-per-punt-return average allowed isn’t miserable — although it ranks 88th out of 128 FBS teams — but the Longhorns are allowing a greater number of punt return chances under Vaughn, and as the UCLA punt shows, a reason could be because his players are late getting downfield. The nine punt returns against UT this year is tied for fourth-most nationally while the Longhorns’ 93 total punt return yards allowed puts them tied for 115th.

Strong used a spread punt at Louisville to good effect; no idea why he's not doing the same thing at Texas.

*[Bizarrely, coaches keep telling me that it is Michigan's NFL-style punt game that they know as "spread." I reject that lingo and all its works. You don't get to call it that. That makes no sense. Unlike coaches who don't want to use seven  gunners, I insist on making sense.]

Also in Texas but better? Four minutes left is a weird amount of time to have in a game. If you're leading and on offense, you need a first down at all costs. If you're leading and on defense you want to prevent the other team from scoring, but if they're going to score you want them to do it quickly, not after 3:58 has left the clock. The paramount thing is to get (or keep) the ball.

So a lot of offenses will grunt their way to a third and seven and then take their shot. Strong elected for a different path:

When Texas got the ball at 4:17 with a four point lead and chose to go "tempo", the ensuing three and out and minimal clock burn was widely panned on the web and in the traditional media.  Of course, it didn't matter.  UCLA scored in about nine seconds on a punt return followed by a good play call against tendency.

Texas had just scored to go ahead with the aid of a hurry-up no huddle; a UCLA player misaligned on a 30-yard run. They continued that with the lead and 4:17 left, and that's… odd. But if you think that's the best way to get a first down, that's at least defensible. Of course, when you lose five yards on a run up the gut you're not going to be bleeding much of anything.

Upshot: coaches don't place enough emphasis on having the ball last when they're in a one-possession game. They're willing to bleed down the field for an opposition four-minute drill instead of being aggressive, and they place minimally useful timeout-sapping over a greater chance of getting a first down.

A stupid reason but okay. We're now talking about revoking the NFL's non-profit status because of "Redskins"?

Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) announced Tuesday that she will introduce legislation to eliminate the NFL’s tax-exempt status because of its refusal to address the name of the Washington Redskins.

While I also find the name distasteful, why don't we revoke the NFL's non-profit status because it in no way fits the definition of a nonprofit enterprise? The idea that the NFL can skate on millions of dollars in taxes because [no reason given] is equally offensive. Possibly more so, because one situation is a private enterprise being offensive and the other is the government being idiotic.

I mean, if there's one class of industries you can tax the living hell out of without seeing them move their labor force, it's pro sports.

(No polo.)

It's profile o-clock. Jeremy Clark:

"Of course everyone wants to play, but (last year) I was still learning the process and there were guys in front of me who knew the calls and everything, so you can't get mad if you don't know what you're supposed to be doing out there," Clark said. "This year, I feel like I'm learning it well."

Dueling Bryan Mone Piece #1:

“The thing you realize quickly about Bryan is the genuine concern he shows for everyone he comes in contact with,” said Benson, Mone's prep coach at Highland High School in Salt Lake City. "And it's genuine. He truly cares about everyone around him. I don't know if I've met a kid with a bigger heart.

"He's one of a kind. Truly one of a kind."

Dueling Bryan Mone Piece #2:

"My brother has always been my motivation, because growing up he couldn’t really feed himself or do all types of stuff, so I had to grow up soon enough to help out my mom and my sister,” said Mone, who had another older brother who died from leukemia.

Mone began caring for his brother in earnest in sixth grade, but didn’t feel comfortable with all his responsibilities until a few years later.

“I started getting used to it in junior high,” he said. “I knew what I had to do to take care of him.”

Designated official site softball-tosser on Jack Miller:

Jack Miller is many things.

He's best known as the starting center and anchor of the offensive line for the University of Michigan football team. But he's also a political science major, and thinks he might someday become a lawyer or run for public office.

He's a music lover -- especially Dave Matthews and jam bands -- and takes aim during deer and duck hunting seasons.

Miller also is the great-nephew of former Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland, who texts him after every game and remains a huge inspiration.

Spence suspended further. Noah Spence's ecstasy suspension was three games, and now it's at least four after he failed a test before Kent State. If Ohio State follows the usual policy here he would be out for the year, as most teams go 1) nothing, 2) one game, 3) quarter of a season, 4) whole season for failed drug tests. Spence has apparently entered rehab.

But you have a legitimate reason! I don't understand why Brady Hoke keeps saying things like "I don't feel like it" and this latest…

…when asked about injuries. He has a legit reason. He can just say "I don't want to help Utah prepare for our game by telling them which personnel we'll have available." This is 1) the truth and 2) not insulting to the intelligence of anyone coming across his answer.

It is not good when your contempt for the media gets in the way of obviously better and more honest answers. See: Gibbons, Brendan.

Etc.: Tip times set times set for a number of basketball games. Article on how Michigan sticking by Devin Gardner despite "fans' pleas" for Shane Morris cites no fans pleading for Shane Morris. In fact cites reporter's question about Shane Morris indirectly by including Nussmeier answer to it.


Space Coyote

September 17th, 2014 at 12:30 PM ^

Illegal down field needs to absolutely be an emphasis. Not only are you blocking LBs when guys are running routes, defenses have no way of reading keys anymore. It's becoming impossible to stop things.

I do think that Punt formation is much more "shield' than pro-style. From that alignment, you can't utilize the techniques employed in a pro-style punt, the gaps are too wide. That's why there are two personal protectors. It's essentially a shield punt with the third guy moved to a wing position, even the personnel is closer to shield personnel than pro-style (I presume they are trying to get another guy down field with the wing and the two protectors can stop the A-gap rush, but... I'm not quite sure how they are supposed to protect out of this alignment successfully when the splits allow you to bring three up the middle). On second thought, it's like half-shield, half-prostyle, it has the weaknesses of shield protection and the weaknesses of pro-style coverage. It really looks like the worst of both worlds.

Lastly, about the NFL non-profit status, this is something all pro-sports leagues manage. It goes back to the days of "are leagues monopolies" and "collective bargaining" and all those sorts of things. Part of the way they got around all that, IIRC, is that they submitted that they were "non-profit" in the sense that they are a community asset (not the correct phrase, but along those lines). Essentially, they improve the quality of life in the communities they are in, so they are someone able to get around taxation because they "lose" money for the public good. Something along those lines is the "reason", however much BS it is, especially now-a-days.

Space Coyote

September 17th, 2014 at 1:32 PM ^

For one, it almost gets blocked from the A-gap because there are only two in the shield. So worst of that world. Next, the punter kicks it to the center of the field. My feeling is that, by the way the players eventually release and the formation, this punt is supposed to be angled to the punters left into the sideline. Some guys not only stay too long on their blocks, but they chase, which is like the one sin for punt protection (it pulls you out of your lane/zone, and it makes it so it takes longer for you to release).

All together, it was just a mess of a punt setup. I think I get the idea. I think what Texas is attempting to do is get the benefit of the shield punt in the direction the ball will be angled, but then also get the protection afforded by a pro-style protection for the punters right foot. Given the situation and UCLA's ability shown ability to block kicks, they feel the need to protect the kicked and don't want to go full pro-style. Because the punt should go left, spreading players out more to the right should, in theory, only make their route to the ball longer, so bunching them isn't a huge flaw against the shield punt construct. But all that theory equates to what I see as a worst of both worlds type thing.


September 17th, 2014 at 2:26 PM ^

defenses more than consistently calling illegal blocking downfield. Why defensive coaches think pace is the problem is beyond me? It's not the pace. It's the blatant disregard of calling the actual rules in the rulebook.

Alabama is playing for the national title (or at least the SEC title) if Auburn's tying TD is nullified. Backside is a WR 5 yards downfield blocking on a run play.

Whatever defensive coaches have been in the rules committee for the last 10-15 years should be shot and banned from ever doing anything involved with football again.



September 17th, 2014 at 12:44 PM ^

I still can't figure why in the world the NFL ever achieved non-profit status in the first place. In what world has the NFL ever not been for profit? (The 'trade association' thing is a huge stretch at best) This is literally an entire organization of the richest 1% of people in the US where the average player makes over $1,000,000 per year and the highest paid employee makes $44 million/year.

It's truly an insult to the entire premise of a 'nonprofit' to have the NFL be labelled a nonprofit. An organization that basically uses breast cancer awareness to make more money, stands by the blackout rules so they can make more money, and insists on having teams build new stadiums with public money so they can...(wait for it)...make more money.

They are just as much a money hungry corporation as the next guy in the Fortune 500


September 17th, 2014 at 1:13 PM ^

Because they don't make a profit.  It's that simple.

"Profit" is a bearded guy on a hill making predictions about -- OK, sorry, that wasn't funny.  "Profit" is what money you have left over when you deduct expenses from revenue; after taxes it's the money that goes to the owners/investors.  This is a very specific thing.  There are notoriously elaborate ways businesses go out of their way to look unprofitable, but here's the easiest way -- if you own a business, you're the investor AND CEO, so you just pay yourself whatever you need in "bonuses" to ensure you're always losing money.  So, this isn't hard.  All the high-ups in the NFL are obscenely rich, but the NFL itself does not make money.  Ergo, non-profit.  Size is irrelevant.

This is really an anti-trust issue, or a tax code issue (because SOMEONE'S getting all that money), which is rather wibbly-wobbly in terms of how you approach it.  No one likes monopolies or taxes but we can't get rid of them either.  This is as far as I can go without making this political, because the only answers to how society tackles taxes or monopolies is politics.  We will stop there.  Just want to clarify the whole "non-profit" thing.

/ late father was a CPA, wife is a CPA, and I stayed at a Holiday Inn last night or something

Blue In NC

September 17th, 2014 at 1:22 PM ^

I don't think it's quite that simple.  Nonprofits are subject to reasonable executive compensation limits.  You can't just be a CEO of a nonprofit and earn $1 billion per year.  I don't know what these guys earn but I assume it's way more than reasonable.  If the IRS closely examined it, those items would be on very shaky ground I assume.


September 17th, 2014 at 6:43 PM ^

Non-profits are subject to regulations, so yes, the most obvious tricks are limited.  They don't necessarily use obvious tricks.  But we're not going to turn MGoBlog into an accounting forum.  I only found it pertinent because the same "non-profit" complaints are leveled at the NCAA.  Their "non-profit" status has little to do with how they operate overall; it's just that both use accounting tricks to structure themselves a certain way for tax purposes, structures defined by legislation making this a political -- and we'll stop there again.

We can hate them for plenty of reasons a lot closer to football, is my point.


September 17th, 2014 at 12:46 PM ^

"He can just say "I don't want to help Utah prepare for our game by telling them which personnel we'll have available." This is 1) the truth and 2) not insulting to the intelligence of anyone coming across his answer."


If this is a better answer, it's only marginally so.  I think it's overstated to suggest that teams prepare differently based on injury reports, except for truly exceptional players.  

MI Expat NY

September 17th, 2014 at 1:02 PM ^

While I agree with you, at least the answer would demonstrate less contempt for the press.  That's the real problem.  The press has a job to do as fan interest dictates that reporters gather and report news on the football program.  Though it may be debatable how much it matters today in the information age, media has historically helped drive fan interest which has helped turn college sports into the multi-million dollar business it is today.  It is not a good look that Hoke shows such contempt for the men and women of the media who are a legitimate cog in the business that has made Hoke a millionaire.  It may ultimately cost him if he starts losing games, can't imagine he'll have much good will left with the media.  


September 17th, 2014 at 1:40 PM ^

I think that's the issue: there is no more good will. Hoke lost it last season. Why else the constant injury questions that they know won't be answered? And why else the questions about the non-answers? It used to be, "What is wrong with Funchess?" It's now, "Why won't you talk about what's wrong with Funchess?" That second question is new and serves no purpose other than to rile people up.

He is hostile to the press, but the press is being just as hostile.

Also, Brian mentions Gibbons here, and he has a point. But does anyone else see how Hoke's quoted statement alludes to Gibbons? Some have asked why he's gone from boo-boos to nothing at all; does this quote maybe shed some light on that? He tried to protect Gibbons (wrongly, I think) and got in some trouble with the press for it. So now, he says nothing.

Space Coyote

September 17th, 2014 at 1:55 PM ^

He doesn't talk injuries. He did a whole presser basically only saying "Next Question". He's been colder, more withholding, and all that than Hoke even currently is. When MSU was losing, the media took issue with it. Now that MSU is winning, no one seems to have an issue with it. It's SOP. It's the way the program is run and that's fine.

Winning is the only difference. People wouldn't care if Michigan won more games last year.


September 17th, 2014 at 2:00 PM ^

The kids have almost certainly signed HIPAA releases.

Even if they haven't, Brady Hoke is not a "covered entity" under HIPAA, so its rules do not apply to him, unless Student-Athletes are employees of the University, which I don't want to get into.  But anyway, Mr. Hoke has said that he will give information about injuries in specific cases (when they are season-ending), so it is clearly not HIPAA that is constraining him here.

Space Coyote

September 17th, 2014 at 1:52 PM ^

Let's just look at Michigan for this example.

Does Hoke talk about Funchess? Funchess is essentially a star player relative to the college game. He changes the ways defenses will play Michigan, cover Michigan, etc. So does Hoke not talk about him? And then, because Funchess is a star player, does he still talk about other players because "We think Funchess is good enough not to talk about, but you're not good enough to not talk about"?

Next, let's look at Michigan's defense. Bolden has had trouble at covering the seam, something Morgan has been much better at. Ryan, while improving every week, still has some SAM attributes and probably can get pulled out of plays by misdirection. Morgan is a bit less athletic. Each of these things, depending on which player plays, would allow certain schemes to be repped and utilized come game day. If you know a guy is out, you don't rep the schemes that take advantage of that player, and instead rep more schemes that take advantage of other weaknesses.

But that's not even the extent it goes, let's look at Michigan's secondary. Taylor, Wilson, Peppers, Countess, and Hill have all been banged up at some point or another. Some may still be out come Saturday. Not only do each of those players and the other players have strengths and weaknesses that may be targeted (fades on Lewis, expect more zone when Countess plays, etc), but the schemes Michigan will run very well may be different. If there are multiple players out in the secondary, Michigan is much more likely to play more base 4-3 Over Cover 4. If some of those DBs are back, namely Wilson, Michigan may go to more nickel Cover 1 and Cover 3. That may provide them the possibility of moving Peppers to NB, where he's more athletic to blitz (like zone behind) than Countess, but may be more susceptible to eye discipline issues. Those are big deals.

And trust me, that stuff comes up to coaches, it makes a difference. And each individual player is scouted. Here's Kiffin doing a quick and dirty scouting on UCLA. It includes "Soft; plays high", "Takes plays off, don't keep him in the game", "good hands, good effort", "runs around blocks". Those sorts of things dictate blocking assignments, where you run and throw the ball, etc. It does make a difference. Is it the thing that makes the biggest difference? Absolutely not. But it is a real difference. On the flip side, no one but the opponent and gamblers are hurt by Hoke not talking about injuries.


Walter Sobchak

September 17th, 2014 at 12:48 PM ^

People need to get over the name Redskins.  First off, the Native Americans being referenced used to paint their faces red, so it is not equivalent to "blackskins", and second, using their name as a mascot is showing reverance to what fierce warriors the Native Americans were.  

We need to grow up and stop being so sensitive to everything. 


September 17th, 2014 at 1:54 PM ^

Many American Indians are offended by it.  Some admittedly are not.  But "many" is enough.

If I call someone Ned, and he says, "Hey, my name is John," I'm going to apologize and say, "Oh, that's my mistake."  And I'll call him John from there on out...And this is a very generous way of painting the Washington situation.   


September 17th, 2014 at 2:16 PM ^

That's not a lot.  And then they're self-applying it.  There's a big difference there.

All of the American Indians I've ever known thought the term was a slur.  And they were not people who went around looking to be offended by things.  They had lives to live. 

It's also not about being offended, as such.  It's about being demeaned.  You might be offended if I say I don't like your mother's apple pie, but you'd presumably more upset if I knew you offline and insisted on referring to you as "Captain Idiot Jerk-Face."  I doubt that in latter instance you'd shrug your shoulders and say, "Well, everyone is offended sometimes."


September 17th, 2014 at 3:55 PM ^

More to the point: if anyone is legitimately offended by a team's mascot, the feelings of that one person are more important than the mascot.

No one could ever possibly be legitimately offended by the Lions, Eagles, or Jets. Name your team after a non-human and you're in the clear. Your mascot is not important. It does not count more than a real, actual person.

And before someone chimes in with the cost of changing the mascot, Dan Snyder has millions of Washington Red Whatevers jerseys to sell you.


September 17th, 2014 at 5:57 PM ^

That isn't necessarily so, is it?  There have been many individuals that have petitioned Notre Dame to change its mascot.  This mascot, a caricature of an irishman, was derived from a term of derision academics from Notre Dame would use to mock their adle brained athletes.  It's right there on the ND website for anybody to read.  As for the Irishman cartoon mascot, it's pure racism.


Became this:

Irish: Fighting Irish


September 17th, 2014 at 6:43 PM ^

...the history of the Irish and American Indians in this country aren't exactly the same.  But I'd be happy to stop using the term "Fighting Irish" if people are really hurt by it. 

Another note:  Everyone should drink anytime a discussion of racism in contemporary America is turned toward the history of the Irish in this country.  It's the go-to talking point for ignoring the realities faced by people of color! 


September 17th, 2014 at 7:51 PM ^

There's also a difference between ND and Washington. The Washington Redskins is the name of the team and has been since the team has been there. Notre Dame football had no mascot for years. "Fighting Irish" was coined by a sportwriter and stuck as an informal nickname before finally becoming an official mascot.

I'd still say that Notre Dame shouldn't have made the nickname official, and that if people wanted it changed, they should change it. But at least Notre Dame didn't create it.


September 17th, 2014 at 1:00 PM ^

Which ref on the field is responsible for watching for illegal man downfield? Wouldn't you think the umpire or head referee would notice this? In this picture the umpire is totally oblivous to the offensive lineman 5 yards behind him.