Unverified Voracity Rants Unhingedly

Submitted by Brian on January 13th, 2014 at 2:42 PM


Let's smother this meme in its crib, okay? In the aftermath of Nussmeier's hire you can't throw a rock without hitting an article that broaches the possibility of a QB controversy next year. [Picture at right: Adam Glanzman.]

Gentlemen. Let me first say that you are upstanding writers of things on the internet and I respect you all greatly. That dispensed with:

















Right. I have high hopes that Morris and his cannon arm will develop nicely, but a senior Gardner coming off a season that's statistically quite promising despite having absolutely zero help from his running game is not getting replaced. Period. Guy was literally playing on a broken foot for most of the OSU game and still put up 41. He smoked Notre Dame. He had a lot of wobbly moments midseason, but when you're getting sacked 21 times in a month that will happen.

I'm sure there will be some rumbles about competition; I will believe each and every one of them just as much as I believed Saban to Texas.

200 pounds of twisted blue steel. Via MVictors, here is an OMG shirtless Bo in 1976 post heart-surgery:


1981 Rose Bowl. Here's all of it. Dick Enberg, not Keith Jackson, unfortunately:

Goodbye, Jeremy. A Gallon tribute:

Goodbye, NCAA. Underclassmen are leaving college for the pro ranks in increasing numbers, with last years record high of 73 already broken. This draft may feature as many as 100 underclassmen. This is partially due to CBA changes in the NFL that have prevented rookies from getting big first contracts, which changes the equation as to whether they should stay or go:

The new system doesn’t remove huge contracts.  It delays them.  To get a huge contract, a player must have at least three years in the NFL.  And so it now makes sense to get to the NFL ASAFP, and to put in the time necessary to get the second contract.

The increasing money all around the kids probably isn't helping, either.

While this hasn't affected Michigan or—sigh—Ohio State much (Roby was gone either way), Notre Dame has taken a couple of unexpected hits, first RB/KR George Atkinson then TE Troy Niklas.  Atkinson's departure is firmly on the "nuts" side of the scale since he's unlikely to get drafted at all; Niklas is projected as a second-rounder. ND has also lost WR Davaris Daniels to academics for the upcoming semester, but he should be back for fall as long as he crosses his Ts and dots his Is instead of having someone else do it.

A familiar name. Notre Dame is still looking for an offensive coordinator, and it might be someone you've heard of.

A source told Blue & Gold Illustrated that former Michigan offensive coordinator Al Borges, current Buffalo head coach Jeff Quinn and Quinn’s former assistant Don Patterson are on the short list.

Yuuuuup. Unfortunately, twitter is no longer showing the cavalcade of Michigan fans responding to Steve Lorenz's tweet on this topic, otherwise I would count up the AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA-variant responses and compare them to the LOL-type responses.

Meanwhile in "really?" Bobby Petrino has swiped Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham for a reported five-year guaranteed contract of one million dollars per year. Louisville is throwing money at their problem like you would not believe, but unlike Doug Nussmeier, Grantham's track record is pretty iffy. Georgia yards per play of late:

  • 2013: 5.4, 54th.
  • 2012: 5.2, 34th.
  • 2011: 4.5, 7th.
  • 2010: 5.2, 39th.
    Georgia was in that 30-40 range just before Grantham showed up, so this is a guy with the best coordinator contract in all the land and he's had one legit defense in the past four years.

I wonder what the real numbers are. The GoDaddy bowl reported attendance of 107% of capacity. This may be slightly optimistic.


On the whole, bowl attendance declined marginally this offseason, but with the rampant number-fudging going on attendance could be collapsed and the official numbers would just be bolder and bolder lies.

Sounds familiar. The Seattle Seahawks have a pass defense that is almost unprecedented in the recent history of the NFL. How do they do it?

Quietly, the Seahawks have achieved a 13-3 record and home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs by exploiting a loophole: NFL referees are reluctant to throw endless flags for pass interference and defensive holding, even if defenses deserve them.

"They look at it and say, 'We may get called for one but not 10,'" said Mike Pereira, a former NFL vice president of officiating who is now a Fox analyst.

League insiders say this divisional-round matchup between the Seahawks and Saints, the NFC's top passing offense, may be Seattle's rule-bending masterpiece.

"They just seem to not care about the rules," said New York Giants wide receiver Louis Murphy, whose team was routed 23-0 by Seattle this season.

This is also Michigan State's strategy, not that Michigan could protect Devin Gardner long enough for anyone watching that particular game long enough to find out. The Seahawks are masters of the art, trading off less than one pass interference penalty a game (they picked up 13 on the year) for play after play where routes are disrupted and balls fall incomplete.

Since the NFL is the NFL, I'd expect them to come down with some sort of point of emphasis ruling, but college doesn't respond nearly as quickly and the penalties are far less punitive, so the jam-and-grab style with big corners projects to be effective into the future. Jabrill Peppers fits that mold, and once you put a bunch of weight on Channing Stribling he does as well.

Small changes. The NCAA is exploring allowing athletes to do stuff other than athlete, so the Boise State running back whose name I can forget can make hats and rappists can rap, etc.

Etc.: Urban loses Mike Vrabel to BOB's new Texans regime, which is a surprise. Vrabel's supposed to be Urban's ace recruiter; I'm not waiting for OSU's recruiting to fall off a cliff.

I know we no longer have Borges, Hoover Street Rag, but I say you should cram your existing OC-O-Meter philosophy onto whatever OC we currently have. Illinois was ranked, but they just lost to Northwestern so they will no longer be ranked. Probably ever. Meanwhile, Tre Demps is the Big Ten's Marshall Henderson.

Michigan's program is worth as much as an NFL team despite vastly lower revenues. I do not wonder why this is.



January 13th, 2014 at 2:52 PM ^

I'm glad someone else had the same incredulous reaction to the idea of a QB "controversy" or even a "competition". It's backup QB syndrome to the max, but what's astounding is that we ACTUALLY SAW THE BACKUP QB and while he was better than expected, he was a clear step and a half below the starter. Also has any QB ever lost their starting job after their last game involved 451 yards and 5 TD, half of which was on a broken foot? I'd wager not.


January 13th, 2014 at 5:12 PM ^

For all of the talk about Nuss and the QBs, when I think of next year, his development of Devin and Shane come third in my list of priorities given it's obvious Devin will start.  Frankly if Nuss gets the same production out of Devin as this year, that's fine as long as he improves the offense in two other ways.  
1. Major offensive line/TE blocking improvement.
2. Schematically close the gap with Narduzzi and Narduzzi defensive derivatives (stacked boxes/blitzes).
Frankly these two items are 95% of all I care about with regard to what Nuss does this year.


January 13th, 2014 at 3:05 PM ^

Regarding the pass interference...yes, UM should do that. Please. But the problem is that for all the good things Mattison does for the D, playing his secondary off is something he seems to have a penchant for. Maybe it's just the idle talk if a team that has little to actually complain about, but I remember Raven's fans annoyed with soft corner coverage under Mattison. Just because UM will have larger corners doesn't mean they'll actually play tighter. I really hope they do. It's leaving a great strategy that can help your team unexploited. And I truly believe that a great secondary will allow the front 7 to get more aggressive in shutting down the run and sending pressures.

Also of note, I do find it ironic that officials actually calling PI like it should be called cost MSU it's only game of the season.

Sac Fly

January 13th, 2014 at 4:06 PM ^

He took heat in Baltimore from a bunch of mindless NFL bandwagoners. If enough people say it or they hear it on the radio, the average NFL fan will back anything without doing any research.

His secondary was thrown at more than almost every other team in the league and still finished top 10 in completion %, YPA, and interceptions.


January 13th, 2014 at 5:16 PM ^

I wonder about just the opposite actually.  I hated seeing, especially early in the season, quick 5 yard hitches because the CBs are 7-10 yards off the WR.  How can you expect the pass rush to get there when the QB has a simple read and throw within 2-3 sec?  I wonder if it's not the CBs, but that they didin't trust the safeties to bust spectacularly if the CB got beat.  But in the MSU way, you just man-handle the WR so they can't even get into a route.  It's a great strategy.  I think it would help the pass rush.


January 13th, 2014 at 8:04 PM ^

Goes two ways. The offense (only other teams, not Michigan, well, maybe this year) is reacting to the defense. If the corners are playing tight, you won't see as many of those quick hitches and screens. It all comes down the the Dline. If they can get pressure, it forces the offense to react in ways they'd prefer not to, and frees up the CB's to press a bit more. 

True Blue Grit

January 13th, 2014 at 3:07 PM ^

instead of Gardner are the types who are never happy with anything, or at least can ALWAYS find a negative in any situation no matter how good it is.  They're the same ones who kept calling for Gardner to play QB when Denard had a bad game.  Logic has little sway with these "fans".  


January 13th, 2014 at 4:43 PM ^

I wouldn't say that I was in the "Devin over Denard" camp, but I would have preferred Denard as a RB with Devin at QB (just not done mid-season).  As for Morris v. Gardner?  Seriously?  Yeah, I'm excited about what the freshman can bring....as he sits on the bench and watches a 5th year senior put on a show.


January 14th, 2014 at 11:46 AM ^

However, I am excited to see how Morris will grow under the mentorship of Nuss. I loved how Morris throws the ball, and I think once the wide receivers get used to catching bullets he can be dangerous. I am not comparing him directly to Tom Brady because Brady is perhaps the best if not one of the best quarterbacks ever. But, I do see a resemblence with Morris throwing the ball with confidence and love how strong an arm Morris has. I believe he could grow into a great quarterback. The reason I was so excited about watching Morris play during the bowl game was because of the potential I saw for him in the future. 


January 13th, 2014 at 3:14 PM ^

Fortunately, Sports Reference has the attendance data, or rather, some numbers in the attendance column. Going back to its days as the Mobile Alabama and GMAC Bowls, the average attendance has been 37,806. According to their own site, Ladd Peebles Stadium holds 33,471 if configured for football, so they could very well be worried because this year's attendance is down from the 113% attendance that they normally average. 

turd ferguson

January 13th, 2014 at 3:20 PM ^

I agree on the pass interference thing.  Here is my impression of MSU's defensive strategy:

Play with extra guys in the box to stuff the run and generate some pass rush.  Have your corners play physical at the line of scrimmage to disrupt routes and throw off timing.  Figure that between this disruption and the pass rush, most routes won't develop as cleanly as offenses like.  Then, dare officials to keep throwing pass interference flags on you - which they won't want to do (aside from the ND-MSU crew) - by hanging on guys as the play progresses.  At that point, to take advantage of your defense, an offense will have to overcome extra guys in the box (if it wants to run) or a pass rush, heavy route disruptions at the line of scrimmage, and pass interference (if it wants to throw).  Even if they're getting single coverage, few Big Ten passing offenses are capable of that.

I really think it's a smart strategy for Big Ten right now.  I'd like to see Michigan move in that direction.


January 13th, 2014 at 5:12 PM ^

I hate that teams do it, but it's on the officials to do their job right.

The other thing ND had that Michigan doesn't is good TEs.  IIRC the PI flags were thrown at the corners covering the wideouts, but if you're going to spread an aggressive box-stacking, single-covering defense you'll want some big TEs that can donkey a linebacker on the run AND reach up to snag a pass while the safety's pulling on his jersey.  There are advantages to being 260 pounds that Gallon and Funchess just couldn't make up for in their own ways.

Magnum P.I.

January 13th, 2014 at 8:03 PM ^

Yep, I think there's definitely something there. It sounds like sour grapes, but this might help explain the almost impossible consistency that Narduzzi has had with a bunch of picked-over two and three stars. If you can reliably throw off the opponents' passing game, that changes everything for your defense. You can play reckless, balls-out aggressive from the linebacker position because you're not always hedging. Safeties can take more chances in run support and blitzing.  

I'd like to go back and look at some game tape of MSU and see the approach their corners and linebackers take. It seemed like, against us, the middle linebackers (and safeties, at times) were just flooding the gaps on every play, never dropping back into coverage. Do the corners force receivers outside to take away crossing routes that would typically be the linebackers responsibilitiy? 


January 13th, 2014 at 8:53 PM ^

I don't think it's about the linebackers as it is the safeties.  The linebackers opted to blitz Michigan because Michigan had the worst O-line in the country.  Against teams with more competent blocking, like Purdue (I can't believe I just typed that), they do cover the short passing game and they're good at it.  The key, I think, is covering the wideouts man-to-man and sending the safeties to blitz.  Hyper-aggressive play like that is risky, and the downside is that you're exposed deep which is why more ethical DCs are reluctant to try it.  MSU gets away with it because the corners blatantly cheat on every down and dare the refs to not call it.  Most three-star corners can't cover Gallon without safety help and the price is a 70-yard TD, but I could "cover" him if I just grabbed his jersey until Gardner got sacked, or pushed him off his route.  This allows Narduzzi to dedicate as many as nine defenders to the run/blitz game.  With those numbers you don't need five-star talent and for the sake of pants it wouldn't be about "execution".

I also think Borges got out-maneuvered here when he went max protect -- we weren't sending slot receivers on crossing routes because they weren't on the field.  That played right into MSU's hands because against the worst pass pro in the FBS lacking a single true TE they weren't going to use their linebackers for coverage anyway, so it became a simple matter of the rush getting there before the wideouts could break open.  And while Gallon and Funchess were going to eventually get open -- against cheaters or no they're two of the best receivers in the B1G -- the blitz's arrival was going to be anything but eventual.  MSU wasn't going to lose that battle, all day.  I think the linebackers' only coverage responsibiilty was the screen game, which Michigan's is good but is precisely why Narduzzi made sure his D had it dead to rights.

Not that anything was working -- the O-line was just too bad -- but I do note that Dileo had some of his most productive games against MSU because shifty sticky-handed slot receivers are a good deterrent for aggressive linebacker play.  I don't remember when he got injured but if he was healthy, Borges elected to not use him in favor of TEs who couldn't block.


January 13th, 2014 at 3:19 PM ^

1 meme that should definitely not die in it's infancy...

Doug Nussmeier coordinated the moon landing.

Doug Nussmeier coordinated the break in at the Democratic National Committee Headquarters, left for Michigan, and then Watergate happened.


January 13th, 2014 at 3:27 PM ^

Man, that brought back so many memories and great things I always attach to my love of Michigan football:

OMG that Defensive Line, the AC jerseys (how were those legal??), the bands uniformz, the band's haircuts!!, Gary Moeller's haircut!!, Johnny Wangler to Anthony Carter, OMG that Defensive Line, Stan Edwards three yards and a cloud of dust, Ali Haji-Sheikh (and the UM announcer's different voice inflection every time he said it), LOL at Merlin Olsen saying "6'6" 280 pound offensive linemen" (280?  Wow...), holy crap was AC fast, holy crap did AC look like a toothpick, OMG that Defensive Line!!