Unverified Voracity Is Holding Out For Shoulder Pad Lasers

Submitted by Brian on April 4th, 2011 at 1:21 PM


Probably not this throwback

Three days later we can say this is probably not an April Fools joke. If you're like me you thought the announcement Michigan and Notre Dame would wear throwback uniforms for their upcoming night game (with lasers!) was a cleverly plausible April Fools joke. It is not so:

"We're going to have throwback uniforms. As they will," Kelly told the Tribune. "I can tell you what theirs look like -- They have a block 'M' on them, and a number, and a number on their helmet. How's that? The adidas [Ed:* (this means footnote)] people at Michigan are going to be (ticked) at me."

Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon told The Detroit News on Friday that while Michigan is working on a special uniform project for the night game with Adidas and is excited about it, nothing has yet been determined.

If I was the AD I'd tell people Michigan was going to come out in throwbacks, then make a derisive wanking motion in their direction when Michigan hit the field in the same classic uniforms they've been wearing since time began. This is one of infinite reasons why I'm not the AD.

The immediate worry is that Michigan's "throwbacks" will be throwbacks in the Ohio State sense—"this stupid-looking stormtrooper outfit has nothing at all to do with whatever we claim it does"—instead of the Lions sense—"they should wear these all the time." If we were still with Nike this would not even be a question. Our throwbacks would come with futuristic lizard scales—mascot appropriate!—and they'd make the wings on the helmet wings of flame because that's rad. Adidas might actually produce a throwback that looks reasonably like what players wore in the long long ago.

As you might expect, MVictors has a list of changes since Bo's arrival. If there's a number on the helmet we're going back to at least 1968—and who wouldn't want to commemorate 1968? BONUS: Doctor Saturday pointed out on twitter that Michigan and Notre Dame were in one of their periodic snits during the 60s and never played.

*[Back in the day when I was editing everyone's Every Three Weekly stories I bought a few usage/copyediting books. My favorite was Lapsing Into A Comma, the one written by a longtime Washington Post grammar curmudgeon. One of the things that stuck is that you are not obligated to comply with the marketing department's wishes when you are trying to write understandable English sentences. Yahoo does not have an exclamation point because that's punctuation in the middle of a fricking sentence(!). E-Trade is not E*Trade because we are not multiplying trade by 2.71 etc etc etc. Adidas is Adidas, not adidas, because it is a proper noun. Do not let marketers define the acceptable limits of language because obviously.]

Do one thing well. Great article from Smart Football on WVU coach-in-waiting/energy-drink-fiend Dana Holgorsen's philosophy on installing your offense:

Dana Holgorsen, West Virginia’s new offensive coordinator and head coach in waiting, has frequently said that his entire record breaking offense can be installed “in three days.” And, now that his three days of spring practice are up, he said on day four his team will simply “start over,” and will run through this install period three or four times during the spring. Wait, what? Hasn’t Holgorsen been a part of record breaking offenses for more than a decade, including the last three (at Houston and then Oklahoma State) as head orchestrator? Doesn’t saying you can install your entire top tier Division-I men’s college football offense in three lousy days seem a little bit like, I don’t know, bullshit?

Yeah, kind of, but Chris Brown (not that Chris Brown (or that other Chris Brown inexplicably wearing a Jalen jersey)) goes on to explain that if you were going to boil down Holgorsen's philosophy in one word it would be "specialization." No one plays, or even thinks of playing, multiple positions in his offense. Receivers are X or Y or Z from the day they show up until the day they leave.

This may go against "getting the ball to your playmakers," but Holgorsen argues the ball will find them anyway. Brown:

The idea is a simple one: with limited practice time and, to be honest, limited skills, kids need to focus on a few things and to get better at them — the jack of all trades is incredibly overrated. While Urban Meyer’s Florida offense thrived for a time with Tebow and his omnipositional teammate, Percy Harvin, I’d argue that this reliance on a “Percy Position” — a guy that can play most every skill position on offense — eventually does more harm than good. I’m all for getting the ball to playmakers in different ways, but I am not — and neither is Holgorsen — a fan of doing it to the detriment of repetitions and becoming a master at your given position.

Michigan did this pretty well on offense, something best exemplified by Roy Roundtree becoming the second-leading receiver in the league as a slot receiver without a ton of wiggle. Michigan also avoided the widespread position-flopping on the offensive line that was characteristic of the late Carr era when someone went down injured.

They were beyond horrible at this on defense. A quick list of players who switched positions just last year: Cam Gordon, Thomas Gordon, Marvin Robinson, Craig Roh, Renaldo Sagesse, Adam Patterson, Ryan Van Bergen, JB Fitzgerald, Jordan Kovacs, and in one sense or another every damn player. Michigan moved from a fairly straight 4-3 under with an "okie" blitz package to a 3-3-5 to a 4-2-5 nickel back to a fairly straight 4-3 under to a 3-3-5 again, except they ran everything too and went from primarily 4-3/3-4 against MSU and Iowa to a straight 3-3-5 against PSU. It was a complete disaster that eventually undermined even what looked like an offense ready to put the throttle all the way down and probably justified Rodriguez's quick firing.

Random mental exercise: boil down other coaches' philosophy into single word.

  • Lloyd Carr, Jim Tressel, Mark Dantonio: execute
  • Rich Rodriguez: numbers
  • Chip Kelly: pace
  • Gus Mahlzahn: bewilder
  • Bret Bielema: hampeople
  • Danny Hope: whimper
  • Pat Fitzgerald: MacGuyver
  • Jerry Kill: kill (this should be Jerry Kill's philosophy in all things)
  • Mike DeBord: waste

Restate position on trash talk. Good. Draymond Green:

And then to lose twice, it still bothers me. Because it’s Michigan and I hate, just, it makes them feel like they’re better than us. After them not winning at the Breslin for like 13 years, however long it was. And now they feel like this is their state. And this is Michigan State’s state. We own this state, it’s our state. And it gives them the hope and a crazy reason to think this is their state. And I completely disagree with that 100 percent.


  • Beat Michigan State 61-57 at Breslin
  • Beat Michigan State 70-63 at Crisler
  • Finished with better overall record
  • Finished with better KenPom ranking
  • Advanced to second round of NCAA tournament
  • Came up three points short of Sweet 16 bid
  • Did not start elf who bakes cookies
  • Is better than Michigan State's basketball team

These reasons probably do not qualify as crazy, especially when there are zero seniors departing. (Via UMHoops)

Rankings that may or may not mean anything. Scout is the first off the mark with a top 100—actually, a top 300. Blue In Cleveland compiled players of interest. I'll whittle his whittling down to guys Michigan seems to be in the top three for:

Stefon Diggs is listed as #2 at SAFETY!, 5*,- 16th overall
Zeke Pike #3 QB, 5*, 25th overall
Jordan Diamond #9 OT, 4*, 40th overall
Sheldon Day #9 DT, 4*, 64th overall
James Ross #2 MLB, 4*, 72nd overall
Royce Jenkins-Stone  #7 OLB, 4*, 105th overall
Chris Wormley #13 DE, 4*, 112th overall
Danny O'Brien #14 DT, 4*, 131st overall
Ron Thompson  #5 TE, 4*, 137th overall 
Terry Richardson #8 CB, 4*, 139th overall
Kaleb Ringer #8 MLB, 4*, 206th overall

The two OL commits picked up three-star rankings, which whatever. They're OL. Even final rankings for them are wobbly; these are hardly extant. Matt Godin landed just outside the top 300, FWIW.

As I said when Hoke was hired, he's got a combination of a great in-state class, several out-of-state guys who were Michigan leans from birth (Diamond, Wormley, Day), and a strong Ohio class in a year where OSU is light on scholarships. That was before all this Tressel whatnot went down. Hop out to a good start and hold on to it and he could bring in a much-needed shot in the arm.

It just keeps going until the day it stops. More Ohio State WTF:

Ohio State officials were aware Jim Tressel had forwarded sensitive emails to quarterback Terrelle Pryor's mentor in Jeanette, Pa. during an initial March 8 press conference ….

During that original press conference, Tressel was asked by Yahoo! Sports' Dan Wetzel specifically if the coach had forwarded the emails to anyone else. Tressel seemed to answer yes but he was interrupted by AD Gene Smith who said that information was part of the investigation. It is not clear how far back that Ohio State officials knew about the additional concealment of the Sarniak information.

Smug popcorn consumption image macro goes here.

Etc.: Also in that UMHoops post: Glenn Robinson III picks up a couple positive reviews in early AAU action and Michigan is still getting mentioned for 6'6" German PG(!) Patrick Heckmann. Now we get to speculate about Max Bielfeldt's loaded family paying his way instead of Illinois fans. More realistically, he would be an option if Darius Morris enters the draft. MGoBlue practice videos up the music drama. Zoltan's working at a private equity firm during this whole lockout business. Hockey commits Tyler Motte and Evan Allen score all three goals in a Honeybaked win over Shattuck for a U16 national tourney title. Charlie Sheen's Detroit appearance… not so good.



April 4th, 2011 at 3:40 PM ^

I laughed watching the HLN piece on the booing and watching the people going out of the theater.   They looked sooooo indignant.  Sheen got the last laugh for a bunch of reasons:

1.  As Sheen said, he got their money.

2.  They wasted their money to watch a train wreck, then got mad that they were watching a train wreck.

3.  Sheen got standing ovations in Chicago the next night.

Either way, they lose.  Either they were a crass crowd for booing, or they were ignorant for wasting their money, or they were even more ignorant for being mad at getting exactly what they should have expected.  

What a bunch of bleeping losers.



April 4th, 2011 at 1:52 PM ^

...softening of the rhetoric? How much longer will it be until "probably" is removed from this sentence?

It was a complete disaster that eventually undermined even what looked like an offense ready to put the throttle all the way down and probably justified Rodriguez's quick firing.


April 4th, 2011 at 2:18 PM ^

How is that a softening? Brian has been saying that the defensive failings undermined the offensive progress since at least the Penn St. game:

The actual progress: Michigan has the #1 yardage offense in the Big Ten by a huge margin. The gap between Michigan and #2 Ohio State is considerably bigger than the gap between Ohio State and #7 Iowa. The prophesied Rodriguez Leap, which did happen last year, happened again this year. Rodriguez is what he was sold as.

That progress looked like enough to get Rodriguez through 2010 into a prove-it 2011 until some walk-on shredded Michigan for 28 first-half points. If Progress means not being Minnesota, Michigan is failing.


April 4th, 2011 at 6:39 PM ^

my +1 meant "yes, Nike would totally destroy one of the classic uniforms in all of college sports and then have the same look on their corporate face as someone who just puked all over himself and is trying to pretend it's a new fashion", not "yeah, that would actually look good."

To Nike, every school is a World Football League uniform waiting to happen.


April 4th, 2011 at 2:02 PM ^

The first night game in M Stadium history, against ND, with both teams fielding good and exciting teams?  You don't need to add sugar (or salt) to a chocolate fudge sundae.

Yinka Double Dare

April 4th, 2011 at 2:09 PM ^

I think with Fitzgerald's offensive philosophy being MacGuyver, we can also call Rodriguez's defensive one MacGruber.  Maybe the right pieces are there, maybe not, but it doesn't really matter because he's going to dick around with it enough that it explodes regardless.


April 4th, 2011 at 2:13 PM ^

I think in college football with so little time to practice and with such turnover that simple but unique is the way to go.   If you are unique people have a hard time practicing against it and if it's simple your kids can master it.   Think Georgia Tech.

If you have the top talent it doesn't matter as much, but overall simple is more consistent.  Fans of Penn St and Iowa probably bitch up a storm every time they get diced up by a good qb sitting in those zones, but over the long haul it is probably best in college to play 1 or 2 things really well and live with the few weknesses than try to dial up up a new play.

The great irony will be that you would think RR would thrive to have this kind of defense that wasn't high risk, but wouldn't get chewed up so his offense could work. 


April 4th, 2011 at 2:53 PM ^

I hope the throwbacks bring back the white socks from the Bo era, I like those better than the blue. I'm also okay with a gray facemask with numbers on the sides of the helmet. But keep them as close to resembling actual throwbacks as possible with allowances for technological changes in equipment.


April 4th, 2011 at 3:06 PM ^

over the whole goddamn asinine throwback crap. Our unis and helmets already are essentially throwbacks. The fact that other programs—such as Sparty—have changed their makeup and hair color and lingerie every fifteen minutes over the last 50 years doesn't mean that we need to stoop to the throwback crap.

[email protected]

April 4th, 2011 at 3:58 PM ^

Of course, for three straight football seasons, MSU has beaten U-M head-to-head and in the standings, and Spartans still hear, "Okay, but that doesn't mean you're like, better than us now" from Wolverines. One season of the basketball shoe being on the other foot doesn't mean regime change.




April 4th, 2011 at 8:07 PM ^

Who are these unseen Michigan fans to whom you attribute these quotes?  Do they actually know anything about Michigan history and Michigan's dominating historical record over MSU?    Perhaps more importantly, do they actually exist?  If I were a Michigan fan in this day and age, I would never be caught saying something as obsequious and message-board-foddery as "Yeah but that doesn't mean that you're better than us now."


April 4th, 2011 at 6:07 PM ^

Way to go Zoltan for having an actual career idea for his life post-football.  It's nice that he's using the lockout to actually do something productive and not just making trouble.