Unverified Voracity No Longer Knows When To Drink Tea Comment Count

Brian September 20th, 2016 at 1:23 PM

A look at the Turnley/Harbaugh book. In the NYT:


Keith Washington [David Turnley]

Mr. Turnley said he was granted unprecedented access to the team: He went into locker rooms, he was present at workouts, practices, drills, and he attended every game, including on the road, all so he could capture images unlike those expected of sports and football photography.

“I’m not standing on the sideline,” said Mr. Turnley, who did not use long lenses. “I’m literally in the scrimmages. I’ve been known to be in the huddles and to lay prone in the middle of a play, because I want you to understand and feel what that’s like to be in the midst of that struggle.”

During practice, I imagine? I don't remember a photographer laying down under Graham Glasgow last year. I think I would have picked up on that.

Injuries both ways. Harbaugh said he was "very hopeful" Jourdan Lewis would return this weekend. He did dress against Colorado, so he must have been available in some capacity if there was an emergency. Taco Charlton seems to be dropping hints that he's good to go this weekend as well:

Mone is expected to be out this week with a possible return either next week or the week after. Per Sam Webb, Drake Johnson is exploring the possibility of a sixth year, which necessarily implies we won't see him in 2015. Three weeks in that's a relatively clean bill of health.

Unfortunately for Penn State but encouragingly for people who can add two and two together about Joe Paterno and the kind of people who would honor him, the Nittany Lions cannot say the same thing. Starting linebackers Brandon Bell and Jason Cabinda missed the Temple game. Nyeem Wartman-White left the game with an apparent knee injury and was spotted in a large brace afterwards. PSU just announced he's done for the year, for the second consecutive year.

WR Saeed Blacknall, CB Grant Haley, and DE Evan Schwan also missed the Temple game; as per usual there's no timetable for any of these guys to return. The only guy certainly out is Wartman-White; I wouldn't be surprised if PSU only gets one or two guys back.

Saquon Barkley also left for a period of time, but… uh…

…he looks fine.

This seems to bode unwell for the opposition. Baumgardner on a couple of stats that stick out:

Worst third down vs. Best third down
Penn State's the worst third down team in the Big Ten -- again. After converting just 27 percent of their third downs in 2015, the Nittany Lions have converted -- wait for it -- 27 percent of their third downs so far in 2016. Penn State wants to play with tempo, but it has trouble staying on the field -- as the Nittany Lions are averaging just 4.4 plays per possession. And that's not because they're hitting big plays, as each possession is netting an average of about 26 yards per drive.

Meanwhile, Michigan's defensive is No. 1 nationally on third down. The Wolverines have allowed opponents to convert just 10.5 percent of their third down attempts (4 of 38). Opponents are facing an average of 3rd and 9 against Michigan so far this season, which is rather difficult time and time again.

PSU's OL is just as much of a mess as it was last year, so expect a lot of players in the opposition backfield.

Idiot, diagnose thyself. If you're not aware of David Jones, think Central Pennsylvania's Drew Sharp. He wrote some standard-issue newspaper yammer about Harbaugh. It boils down do "this is just, like, my opinion, man," but holy crap this is some noteworthy lack of self-awareness:

The Wolverines will not win the Big Ten title while Harbaugh is coaching at Michigan. I don't even think they'll win the division.

How can I be so sure? I can't. In a world where being noticed is trumped only by the blatant seeking of full-on notoriety, you can never count out a guy who does it as well as Sharkface.

Jones is a professional troll, and yet. Also that sentence is a disaster barely worthy of a college freshman cramming a ten-page paper the night before.

Jones's theory is that Harbaugh will make MSU and OSU work harder to defeat Michigan. Seriously. The man manages to cash checks, so you have to respect the hustle. Or lack thereof, in this case.

Scary space emperor moment. Zoltan Mesko on a thing that happened to him at the Senior Bowl:

“It was a windy day, raining, a tough day to control the football and I was having a bad day; ended up falling flat on my face literally and figuratively,” he recalled. “Javier Arenas, from Alabama, was the returner and I shanked the ball a little bit inside, a 35-yard punt into the wind, and he catches it on the run and takes off to my left.

“I have him to the sideline, but one of my teammates is in pursuit as well and pushes me in the back. As Arenas steps out of bounds, my arms go out by my side, and from five feet up my head hits the turf hard. I drag my helmet into the rubber for about 3-4 yards. I looked like a rag doll.”

Mesko said he blacked out for “about two seconds” and couldn’t feel temperature the rest of the game. He never reported the concussion, in part because he didn’t want it to affect his NFL chances, despite experiencing headaches that night and the next morning.

Momentarily blacking out and then returning to a world without temperature must have been terrifying, and Mesko kept his issue a secret because of the prevailing culture at the time. Reminder: Zoltan Mesko is a punter, who mainly enters a football field to do something opponents are prohibited by rule from hitting during. And yet.

Mesko, now retired, has a startup that's trying to mitigate head impacts:

What Mesko and Rizzo came up with is an impact reduction device they call the EXO1 (it is patent pending). Their project now has a team of six Harvard MBA, medical and law students working on it in the form of a company called Impact Labs.

Good luck to him.

Hockey recruits ranked. ISS offers up a top 30 of incoming college hockey players. Michigan lands four on the list: #6 Luke Martin(D), #19 Nick Pastujov(F), #25 Jack LaFontaine(G), and #29 Will Lockwood(F). That's good, and the best haul in the Big Ten, but rather pales next to BU's ridiculous class featuring three of the top four and two more further down the list. 

John Heisman was not to be trifled with. Spencer Hall found this item that explains that Cumberland College score:

Screen Shot 2016-09-15 at 1.00.56 PM

An honorary Harbaugh.

Here is an interesting technique bit from the official site. I'm as baffled by this as you are reading that bolded sentence. Nonetheless, Mike Zordich and some of his charges describe "slide" technique as opposed to traditional back-pedaling:

"It's a little bit easier in the slide technique," said Stribling. "You open up, and since you are going back into coverage at an angle, your (belt) buckle is to the ball, and so you see the whole play develop. It's a great technique, and if you go back to a back pedal, that's easier. But we don't back pedal any more.

"The advantages are that if somebody runs a go route, you're already opened up to the quarterback. If somebody breaks down for a curl, you're already open."

Adjustments to receiver routes can be made quicker if the technique is done right.

"You have to make sure your feet are right," said Stribling. "You have to make sure you are low to the ground and not too high."

That article features some detail on Lewis's injury issues as well:

"He probably worked a little too hard in the summer," said Zordich. "That was probably a little too much torque on his body. Some of the issues he's had in the last couple weeks might have come from that. He had a hell of a camp, but then his back started tightening up and affected his hamstring and quad. He's fighting through these things."

Etc.: Mike McCray profiled. Josh Rosen on the "indentured servitude" of college football. Peppers on the Players' Tribune. Ross Fulton on how OSU tore up the OU defense. Old news about Bo.



September 20th, 2016 at 3:04 PM ^

I muttered those words around the same time, but I didn't scream for it. They still had 45 minutes of football to play. Emergency would be, I don't know, maybe under 2 minutes against an inferior team, defending an undefeated season in a tie game. A situation where there's a clear risk of losing something special unless they pull out all stops. That's just my opinion, though.


September 20th, 2016 at 1:48 PM ^

I've personally always found him to have the best takes on PSU football and the Sandusky affair over the years.  Jones is, of course, the person responsible for the word "JoeBot" becoming part of the vocabulary.   

There are a number of Michigan fans who say stuff like "Urban Meyer and Mark Dantonio are scared and fearful of Jim Harbaugh."  Maybe so, but I disagree: Meyer and Dantonio aren't the personality types to fear a challenge.  David Jones doesn't think those two are fearful either, and thinks they will rise to the challenge of a resurgent Michigan football team.  That, IMO, is not an unreasonable opinion --- and it's definitely not "trolling."

Space Coyote

September 20th, 2016 at 1:54 PM ^

His goal is essentially to troll everyone. I mean, he basically wrote an article for PSU fans saying "we suck, we will get rolled by Michigan, but hey, they will get beat by other teams because those other teams have guys that are crazy about football".

Meyer and Dantonio want to beat Harbaugh and Michigan, no doubt. I don't think, however, it is really possible to motivate them more. They'd want to crush Michigan anyway, it's both schools primary rival and a major hurdle they must jump in order to win championships. When Jones qualifies that with essentially "do I know any of this? No, absolutely not. I'm just throwing a bunch of shit into an article and getting paid", I think he's admitting he doesn't really care, he's just getting a pay check.


September 20th, 2016 at 2:18 PM ^

Jones is absurd ---- Sharp is definitely a troll and is also, of course, a plagarist.  Sharp should have been fired back in January, but well, we know the Free Press' history in that regard.  I say this as someone who used to live in Detroit and has 10+ years of familiarity with Sharp's work.

I've also read Jones for a double-digit number of years now on the PSU beat.  He understands football and, if one reads the aggregate of his work, has had perfectly reasonable takes on PSU football and the Paterno/Sandusky affair.

Just the opinion of one familiar with both Sharp & Jones.


September 20th, 2016 at 9:43 PM ^

Yeah, that's pretty much the end of any credibility as either a professional or an adult.  I understad Penn Staters have lower standards, but even they should be ashamed when their trolls go that low.

Just the opinion of one familiar with both professionals and adults.


September 20th, 2016 at 3:44 PM ^

kid who knows his neighborhood team can't beat the next one over because it's too weak, and hates that fact and the idea that the coach leading that neighborhood team is pretty damn good but hates him because he sees him as a loudmouth jerk and can't get past it. So, he rationalizes withoout  any semblemce of reason or understanding that the next best thing is to root for their comeuppiance  by its actual rivals, and then projects his own attitude about beating that team onto  the pysche of their rival coaches, knowing that such reasoning can't be wrong. Why, because they are traditioinal rivals. and that's how rivals feel. right?

What a stupid assinine POV. We Aren't good enough to beat you but I know teams that are and want to kick your ass because Harbaugh. Do I know this for sure, no, I just feel it should happen the way. So, if We Aren't good enough, at least we know there are others who will give you trouble even if We Are never again good enough to beat your coach and team over the lifetime of our neighborhood battles. Oh well, sucks to be We Aren't good enough PSU.


September 20th, 2016 at 7:19 PM ^

in the games.  

From my experience in reading him ---- no, he doesn't.  IMO, he's objective on PSU and the B1G in general.

Fair enough if U-M fans are offended by the column.  I don't understand why though.  We'll all find out soon enough whether his prediction is correct or wrong.  Right?


September 20th, 2016 at 9:53 PM ^

I don't think we are offended so much as we are amused.  Like Drew Sharpe, Jones has no claim to credibility and is as homer a writer as I have read.  I don't understand why you think the whole sharkface and the assumption that Dantonio and Meyer only focused on beating Michigan after Harbagh got there is anything but laughable.

Other than an insult that I haven't seen before, there is lierally nothing in this article that isn't total strawman argumentation and hack trolling.  Harbaugh will never even win a division title at michigan?  Come on.  No one believes that, not even Jones.  Pure clickbait.


September 20th, 2016 at 2:41 PM ^

You read the same article, correct?  Because it's the same dreck guys like Sharp peck out in between naps.  It's...nothing.  It's him getting some early, I don't know, twitter uproar by crapping on the local team, then says Jim Harbaugh, who has coached exactly 1 season in the Big 10, will never win it because two other coaches don't like losing to UM.  And then he rambles incoherently about how UM is apparently going to look past MSU, but oh no Dantonio won't let that happen, because he's a tough man and he doesn't like popular people and oh man, he'll pull up his team by its bootstraps and show Harbaugh what a team he has.  And yeah, everybody thinks Meyer is a good coach, and he'll be tough every year.  This isn't news, and the author is just repeating comment threads he's sifted through to pad out the word count.

Congrats to him, I guess, because he pointed out correctly that a fanbase that makes excuses for an old man who allowed child rap to occur on his watch for over a decade have their priorities out of whack.  A blind squirrel sometimes finds a nut.  But this is the typical crap article you see on these "<state>live" sites.


September 20th, 2016 at 3:31 PM ^

I'm not going to comment on an article without reading it.  

Ultimately, he gave an opinion and a prediction.  He'll either be right or he'll be wrong.  I do think the "Harbaugh makes Meyer/Dantonio fearful" bit is overplayed (and let's be honest, you hear that here a decent bit) and doesn't really make objective sense.

Admittedly the below article mimics my own opinion a decent bit ("The Paterno commemoration is something I didn't love but will tolerate given it was a likely one-off, tactical move by the PSU administrations to throw the Paterno Loyalists a fairly meaningless bone") --- but I found this article from Saturday decently thoughtful and relatively unique.  Drew Sharp definitely could/would not have written this.



September 20th, 2016 at 4:48 PM ^

than stand on one side of the fence or the other, just saying I recognize that and am neutral makes you feel better because not having an opinion on an issue that has torn the Penn State football program apart on the culpability of its great coach and benefactor in enabling a child molestor to prey upon kids for deczdes, is like claiming you see the problem but don't want to get involved. That attitude prevailed in Europe during the Holocaust, as well.

Not linking neutrailty here with Holocaust indifference, but to applaud a writer for claiming without reason that some coach will never take his team to a Big Ten title, when the evidence exists that the man has won at the highest level wherever he's coached no matter what program or team he coached, and then applaud someone for failing to take a reasoned POV on an issue that divides the very fan base he writes for on a daily basis, and finds no fault with someone who is paid to have an opinion about a school he covers, makes me think that you live in a pretty Vanilla world, after all. Let's not offend the already offended or defensive folks. They might not like it.


September 20th, 2016 at 1:53 PM ^

Jones's theory is that Harbaugh will make MSU and OSU work harder to defeat Michigan.

Ah yes, the old Michigan-should-have-hired-low-so-no-one-could-have-see-them-coming strategy. 

so stupid...

Space Coyote

September 20th, 2016 at 1:59 PM ^

Was a big thing that Saban started using quite a while ago. Some NFL scouts for a while were miffed that "Alabama DBs don't know how to back peddle". Then they realized that wasn't really a big deal and was just a different way of doing things. I personally like the technique better myself.

Also, the third down stats help show that Michigan is mostly fine on a down-to-down basis. It has some assignment/scheme busts that it is working through (I'd personally like to see them simply things a bit more on 1st and 2nd down to avoid some of those), but for the most part it is every bit as dominant as it was at this point last year.


September 20th, 2016 at 3:08 PM ^

Doesn't the technique have a weakness against out-cuts, because the defender is naturally facing inside?

If that's the only weakness, I think all colleges should use it, because there are only a handful of college QBs who can exploit that with deep outs and such. But it would also explain why NFL scouts are averse to it, because I see 10 yard outs 15 times per offense every Sunday. And maybe the scouts are right, guys like Kirkpatrick and Milliner have really underperformed in the League.

Space Coyote

September 20th, 2016 at 3:23 PM ^

Because your back is to the sideline, you have to fully turn to defend out cuts while a receiver only has to do 90 degrees (you also can't necessarily break quite as fast on hitches). But yes, at the college level, that's far less of a concern for the outside defenders. Unless in press coverage, it also requires an outside shade or straight up, it's difficult to play with an inside shade because then you can't really see the receiver.

Space Coyote

September 20th, 2016 at 5:30 PM ^

Most nickel CBs and Safeties will still use a backpedal, as it allows them to cover all those intermediate routes better. The closer a guy gets to the formation, the more likely someone is to use a pedal (though, for instance, a shuffle may be used on a TE because you can play some distance outside of him in certain coverages and still react to the sideline if need be). So in the slot, it's typically backpedal or squat (with help over the top).

As to why I want to marry Borges, larger bald men may just be my bag, baby!


September 20th, 2016 at 3:29 PM ^

In Saturday's game, Colorado used its version of the play that befuddled Michigan a year ago and enabled the Spartans to climb back into that matchup. The second play was a huge bust-up TFL for Peppers, who was then abused on the very next play that attacked the primary defender that the Buffalos sought to concentrate their gameplan on: Michigan's safeties, and attacking them deep and in confusion of coverage. That was the modus operandi for play one and the second was to force the safeties to play run support and the next one to force a coverage bust to get a receiver open deep against Thomas or Hill. They did that. On second down. Every play they ran in the first quarter was likely scripted based on film review of Michigan not only this year but last as well.

And understand something, Colorado has juice as an offense and defense based on experiene and talent. Their corners, Witherspoon and Azuride are excellent defenders. They took away Chesson and played tough press on Darboh and gave up the underneath and perimeter which Michigan gladly accepted allowing Butt to have a big day dragging across the formation and allowing the Wolverines to use toss plays, jet sweeps and tunnel screens to get outside and wipe out the downfield lack of leverage in speed and bulk. That choice was deadly clinical.

So, when pepple complain about not attacking a team that wants to deny what they see as your strengths, you counter with what you know they ene't prepared to stop, and you keep running it and  variations off of it, until they do. That is good coaching. And Harbaugh was up against an old compatriot and his own former DC. When they showed reaction shots of Jim Leavitt working his ass off on the sideline, drenched in sweat, the most telling picture was that of getting beaten again on the outside by a Darboh screen that went the distance before half. Leavitt wasn't beaten, but he sure looked like a guy who had been outsmarted.


September 20th, 2016 at 10:05 PM ^

That third down stat is the most misleading stat of all time!

Looking at the bigger picture, we see that, while Michigan has only given up 4 third down conversions, they've given up 9 fourth down conversions (62% success rate defended, good for 17th in the country), but also 33 first-and-second down conversions, for a very middling 15.3 first downs yieded per game.  That's much worse than this point last year.

IOW, Michigan's third-down stat only looks so good because they give up so many first downs that teams don't even need to get to third down more than about half the time.


September 20th, 2016 at 2:03 PM ^

Talked to Turnley at their book signing and he said they've got another book coming next fall that captures this season.  His photography is just fantastic.  2015 was a special season, let's hope 2016 is one for the ages.


September 20th, 2016 at 2:36 PM ^

After we house MSU, can you guys ask Harbaugh in the press conference if he thought about hanging 250 on MSU to crush Madden's record against Cumberland, or if he thought that would make Dantonio whine too much?

Everyone Murders

September 20th, 2016 at 4:02 PM ^

Great link to EDSBS, and an interesting angle on that story.  But the run-up was primarily motivated by Cumberland coming to GA Tech earlier in 1916 with a bunch of ringers, and pile-driving GA Tech 22-0 in a baseball game.  Heisman was both the Yellow Jackets' baseball coach and their football coach, so he had no love for Cumberland whatsoever.

It was no accident that the final score in the football game the following fall was 222-0.*  And while it allowed for a good dig at sportswriters as evidenced by the EDSBS piece, that score was 100% driven by revenge (a dish best served warm, straight up Cumberland's collective ass).

*Cumberland tried to back out of the football game having a sense of what might be coming their way, and Heisman went all lawya-lawya on their ass, promising to enforce a cancellation penalty he knew that Cumberland could ill-afford.

oriental andrew

September 20th, 2016 at 3:20 PM ^


Interesting stuff. Looks like an external attachment to the front of the helmet. And of COURSE Mesko's invention would work "over space and time", he being the Space Emperor of Space and all...


EXO-1 spreads the force of a hit to the head over space and time, resulting in a reduction of damaging accelerative forces.