Unverified Voracity Says Up Periscope Comment Count

Brian August 17th, 2016 at 1:02 PM

BTN preview. BTN had their day at Michigan and came back with some video and some nonsense—on the television a person said that Michigan would be running a lot more man coverage, which is a literal impossibility. I'm not doing a recap post this year since specifics were thin; MGoVideo has the show up if you missed it.

The most interesting bit was Howard Griffith and then the rest of the crew advocating for Ben Bredeson to start immediately at left tackle because he is "elite":

Dave Revsine did have a couple of things of interest, including a Rashan Gary-Bredeson battle:

Bredeson got some rep at the UA game as the only guy who could even sort of slow Gary down, and here he sort of slows Gary down. Given the roster tackle reps for Bredeson are an inevitability—he can play it even if it's not an ideal spot and options past the starters are extremely questionable. Sufficient tackle reps to convince onlookers that Bredeson should play now are a bit of a surprise.

A bit more from Revsine:

And yes Gerry DiNardo said some nice things. I can never take them seriously:

"When I saw them in the spring it was like a war at the line of scrimmage. It was what you imagine it looks like at Alabama and all the downhill teams."

"How Michigan football returned to its smashmouth roots" was written before the 2013 season and remains the single least correct thing ever put on paper.

Let's infer things from this still shot. Via Chris Evans:

That appears to be ones versus ones. Items:

  • David Dawson is at right guard. Kyle Kalis was spotted in a non-contact jersey earlier in fall camp so that's probably an injury issue rather than Dawson making a move past an established starter; he appears to be the top backup option at guard.
  • Evans is in an H-back spot, not at tailback, His best fit on offense is as an OSU-style H-back in the vein of Jalin Marshall or last year's version Braxton Miller. While Michigan's offense doesn't have a dedicated spot like that, they did end up with a guy more or less in that role: Jabrill Peppers. With Evans impressing and Peppers around the offense figures to use a hybrid RB/WR guy on a lot of snaps, especially because you can do a lot worse than having De'Veon Smith block for you.
  • Michigan is very spread out across the defensive line and features both Wormley and Gary at defensive end. Wormley is likely to split his snaps close to evenly between DT and DE; reports that Gary will start get another bit of weight to them.
  • Pretty sure that's Peppers man up over a tight end I assume is Butt.

This is a good amount of data from a still shot.

It's a competition. All those #1 jerseys handed out? It's a competition like everything else:

“The one is not really given to me. Right now, I don’t really know what I’m wearing,” Crawford explained at Michigan’s Media Day. “I’m just wearing it right now, so we’ll see. There’s a couple players that want it. Whoever gets on the field first is going to get it.”

The hybrid space player breaks out. Excellent Andy Staples article on Jabrill Peppers and his ilk:

Since 2008, when the NCAA adopted the current clock rules and spawned an era of up-tempo offense, defensive coordinators have tried with little success to devise a system that can match up with an opponent who won't allow the defense time to substitute. The answer, it turns out, wasn't a scheme but a person. What those coordinators were seeking was a human Swiss Army knife, a player who can successfully operate on any of the defense's three levels and move effortlessly among them from play to play. With such a player on the field, a 4–3 base can morph into a 4–2–5 nickel without a single substitution or presnap move to tip off the quarterback. That 4–3 could also transform into (what appears to be) a blitzing 3–4 by walking the hybrid player to the line of scrimmage. Of course, the hybrid doesn't always have to blitz when he drops deep into the box (the area that encompasses the width of the offense's down linemen and extends about five yards beyond the line of scrimmage). He might bail and cover a receiver. Or he could come screaming off the edge faster than any defensive end or linebacker an offensive tackle has ever seen.

BC's Matt Milano, FSU's Derwin James, and Duke's Jeremy Cash are also this variety of hyper athletic linebacker/mean-ass safety. Read the whole thing for a picture of what Peppers's role will be this year.

Doctor Blitz. The Ringer's Jack McCluskey on Don Brown:

BC sent so many defenders into the backfield that it produced four players with at least 14.5 tackles for loss (no other team had more than two). Yet the Eagles failed to land a single player in the top 20 in that stat — they didn’t have transcendent talents like Clemson’s Shaq Lawson (25.5 TFL, 12.5 sacks) or Penn State’s Carl Nassib (19.5 TFL, 15.5 sacks) inflating their numbers. Their best pass rusher, Matt Milano, led the team with 17.5 TFLs (tied for no. 21 nationally) and just 6.5 sacks (tied for no. 72 nationally).

And though the Eagles had been vulnerable to giving up big plays on the back end in Brown’s first few seasons in Chestnut Hill, by Year 3 they got the personnel and the scheme to the point where they were solid on both ends. In 2013, Brown’s first year helming the defense, BC gave up 47 passing plays of more than 20 yards (tied for no. 97 nationally); in his last year, it gave up just 29 (tied for no. 10).

Someone is also using CFBStats.com, and well. That stat about 20 yard pass plays is clear evidence that Brown's reputation as an attack guy is warranted, and extends even to situations where his teams are getting burned on the back end as a result. Michigan probably won't have an issue as severe as BC 2013, but the Boring Old Jarrod Wilson days are probably behind us, for good and bad.

Hype hype hype hype. Michigan's gotten a lot of it this summer and there is naturally a tendency to check on this since Michigan hasn't been a truly elite team in a long time. (The Sugar Bowl was fun, sure, but if we're being honest that team was crazy lucky.) Dan Murphy analyzes the situation an article; he also gets a telling quote from Jake Butt:

“We were struggling with toughness our first few years,” Butt said about his underclassmen days under the former coaching staff. “Down the stretch of games when our backs were against the wall we struggled and we lost a lot of games. Coach Harbaugh identified this, and he made the changes necessary and it worked for us last year. I think it will continue to pay off for us going forward.”

Brady Hoke talked a lot about toughness but he wasn't having four-hour practices.

Injuries across the league. Michigan hasn't been hit yet, knock on wood. Others have not been so fortunate:

Thing I don't care about anymore. Harbaugh blazing people on twitter was fun over the summer, but it's more or less football season now. Now we talk about football. I do not care about Harbaugh ending an interview early because Mark Snyder has the social grace of an autistic llama on PCP, or moistly goateed Jim Rome turning that into #content, or Harbaugh spending ten seconds of his life googling "Jim Rome Jim Everett".

It does not matter. Rich Rodriguez was nicer to the media than any Michigan coach ever has been or will be and they stabbed him in the back at every opportunity. The media read Goodnight Gorilla to Brady Hoke every night and Michigan fans still abandoned the stadium in droves rather than watch his offense-type substance. I don't think it's a negative. I don't think Ty Duffy's right when he says it's a positive:

Harbaugh has spent two years playing the pied piper and dropping the occasional crumb on social media. Every media member is talking about him. Every major college football coach is answering questions about him. He’s been forced to reveal nothing. He doesn’t demand media members go along with it. He knows they will.

Everyone is talking about Michigan. Harbaugh has kept everyone’s attention deflected away from Michigan’s quarterback battle, from Jabrill Peppers being poised for a breakout year, and from Rashan Gary arriving on campus as the No. 1 overall recruit.

Harbaugh has been “handling” the media, masterfully, since he arrived in Ann Arbor. The implication is that “the media” are going to turn on Harbaugh and somehow this fact will have some grave karmic implications for him. Spoiler: it won’t.

It's nothing. It is noise made by people who don't really understand what they're watching. Andy Staples doesn't care. He can write a thing about hybrid space players. Mark Snyder has nothing other than press conferences to live on because he's never cared to learn one thing about the sport he covers even after 20-some years.

Here's the thing: a large number of people like open contempt for sports press since so often they're contemptible.

This is not a problem for most fans because given the chance they'd stuff most of the media in a broom closet.

Anyway. This admittedly longish section is the last I'll mention it unless something really amazingly tone deaf happens.

Etc.: They're run/pass optioning safeties now. Also still getting illegally downfield. Gentry as a tight end. Harbaugh hides at Coach and Four. The Hoover Street Rag turns ten. Probably not.



August 17th, 2016 at 2:41 PM ^

Duffy posts some interesting things at time, but I remember years ago I posted something about how I didn't like an article he wrote because it glossed over a bunch of stuff with RR and he came to the site to basically fight with me and insinuated that the MGoBoard represented Brian's take.  It was weird.


August 17th, 2016 at 8:01 PM ^

He had numerous issues (well documented in UFRs and obvious to skilled observers) that won't correct. I suspect JH has been less than enthused with him after being in "some positions that you never want to find yourself as a football player" in the Utah game.

Mags can slide to G and probably a better spot for him if Bredeson is relatively ready for RT.


August 17th, 2016 at 1:25 PM ^

Is my only comment about the BIG Network preview. When asked about Michigan waiting to name a starting QB, he said "you should name a #1 right away. If you treat someone like a #1 he's going to play like one"

Blue Ballin'

August 17th, 2016 at 2:17 PM ^

Reading my mind, kb. I don't think I'm all that thin-skinned about what I perceive to be anti-Michigan remarks made on BTN, since they are numerous. Almost every comment he made about U-M was a slap. And as much as I thought his comment about Jabril was a poorly crafted turd of a remark, I yelled at the TV (it did not answer) when he made his comment trying to compare JH to Brady Hoke, saying "you see where he is now!" His toadying little Junior Turd co-host is right there with him.

Note...he will never say one unkind work about OSU, its players, or most of all, about their revered head coach, no matter who he might be at the time. He's an OSU grad and a homer who is still butt-hurt from his numerous ass-kickings at the hands of U-M. End of subject. He had no business on the show. His hot wife is the only good thing about him, and this brings even her good judgment into question.

Also agree with JH when he said (and I'm paraphrasing) that 'more people want to see us fail than want us to succeed.' Thought it was good that he had to balls to say it to people's faces. There was no whining to it...just a statement of fact. Maybe I'm wrong, but that's my take.


August 17th, 2016 at 2:24 PM ^

It is one of the best board books (i.e., books for kids 0-3) of all time. 

And I mean that. I literally have read it over a hundred times to my kids, when they were younger.

For those who care about this sort of thing, Peggy Rathman's other, less available at Meijer/Target/etc books are top-notch as well. I particularly recommend, "Officer Buckle and Gloria."

We now return to non-kids book programming.


August 17th, 2016 at 1:25 PM ^

I've listened to and liked Jim Rome for years. He's wrong here. The argument here is that Coach Harbaugh is not answering questions. He did though. He answered the football questions, answered the question about suspended players and that it would be handled internally. End of discussion. Why do the media guys insist on pushing the issue. Report what Coach tells you. No need to act like Woodward and Bernstein uncovering the Watergate scandal. Report football. Can't wait for the season- Go Blue!

Sent from MGoBlog HD for iPhone & iPad


August 17th, 2016 at 1:45 PM ^

Why does the media need to report the punishment or even care that somebody has to run steps or stay clean or get better grades or whatever they need to do to get back in Harbaugh's good graces? There doesn't seem to be a public record of an arrest or citation, so what makes Snyder think we need to call kids out?


August 17th, 2016 at 2:55 PM ^

To play Devil's advocate, some of the shadier things that happened at other schools were kept out of the public record as well. Those programs were able to sweep a lot of it under the rug by handling things internally. I'm not saying at all that that's what's going on here obviously, but having the press ask questions and press the issue isn't a bad thing (as long as it's not a self-important douche nozzle that's trying to destroy the program for personal gain)


August 17th, 2016 at 1:27 PM ^

Thanks for pointing out how well Harbaugh is at taking the spotlight off of the team. I know some won't get it but Brian will - he's CFB's Jose Mourinho. Mou takes shots at Arsene Wenger and other managers seemingly for fun, he's rough with the media, and wins like hell. His players (usually) appreciate it and play hard for him because he's the one that takes the majority of the pressure by making himself the story. /end cross-Atlantic analogy.

Pepto Bismol

August 17th, 2016 at 2:57 PM ^

I originally said it looks like they have darkened the midfield block M from last year, but now that I think about it and look closer, that's probably the Glick field (like every other practice pic we've seen) and I'm an idiot.

Still like the maize pants with the whites though.  Offense looks great in Evans' tweet.





August 17th, 2016 at 1:38 PM ^

The defensive formation shown on the still shot just begs for a QB draw.  There would be no one to stop it for fifteen yards.  Seems like a LB in the middle is a must.


August 17th, 2016 at 1:50 PM ^

D-linemen don't necessarily attack the gap they're in front of; that just makes the O-line's job easy.  They're going to attack from an angle or otherwise try to confuse the blocking.  That A-gap is someone's responsibility, so I'd expect a slant or a stunt or one of the safeties crashing down on the snap.

Of course it could also be a bluff, but it's not like Doc Brown to leave a gap completely undefended from a lack of oversight.


August 17th, 2016 at 1:47 PM ^

What I glean from this, and from what people have said in the offseason and in the past, is that things have only as much importance as people are willing to attach to them- or, as Game of Thrones put so succintly, "Power resides where men believe it does." 

Twitter wars, toughness, treating the media well, treating them contemptuously, "this way is right," "this way is wrong," whatever.  People believe in the things they want to believe in. 

And as a corollary.  I re-read that DiNardo article from 2013, and...


Just like the spread makes your defense soft, the West Coast offense makes your defense tough.

That's a man choosing to believe what he wants.