Unverified Voracity Self-Inflicts Comment Count

Brian August 16th, 2011 at 11:29 AM

I guess I can't be mad at the Dispatch any more. Because we're doing it to ourselves:

beat ohio

If it motivates the players, great. I never want to see it again.

That's one way to put it. How are things on the Michigan State offensive line? Deep. Peachy. Deeply peachy:

Spartans depth sparks offensive line competition

This is their depth:

Converted defensive tackle Dan France has emerged as the leading candidate at left tackle, but the battle at center and right tackle are far from decided.

Redshirt freshman Travis Jackson and junior Blake Treadwell, another converted defensive tackle, are running neck-and-neck at center, while redshirt freshman Skyler Burkland and junior college transfer Fou Fonoti are fighting for the top spot at right tackle.

Er. France was flipped from OT to DT last year despite being 6'6" and now returns to be the starting left tackle. That is a hell of a position switch starter. This was his status in January:

"But in the bowl practice, I was struggling," he said. "I didn’t know the (blocking) techniques and footwork. I never had done pass blocking before. I mean, I sort of did (at tight end) in high school, but I didn’t have any technique or really know what I was doing."

Kirk Cousins might be under siege this year. Let's hope so, because if someone were to bold Michigan's secondary it wouldn't be much prettier.

Hey, here's a Michigan football coach talking. I wonder if he's going to talk about "violence," "toughness," "being physical," and "being consistent":

No, he mostly talked about cheese. Cheese and Will Campbell's pad level.

Of course not. Some news organization I can't be bothered to look up—oh this article says it's the Seattle Times—posted the shocking news there was a Pac-10/Big 10 "consensus" in favor of a plus one game. This was shocking for a little while until it was debunked. Or at least sort of debunked. Check out Jim Delany's reply to that:

"To describe the ADs as supportive, I would call that erroneous," Delany said.

Masterful weaseling right there. This on further expansion, at least, is a straightforward declaration they're not interested:

"No, we're about as comfortable as we can be with where we are," Delany said. "We've said we will continue to monitor the landscape, but we have closed down active expansion. Every period you look at it, but we don't expect anything the SEC does to affect us."

I'm increasingly irritated at the media reports predicting Superconferenceageddon without bothering to figure out whether adding teams like Pitt and Missouri helps or hurts the bottom line. The burden of proof is on people predicting unwieldy, tradition-hurting behemoths but all we get is "this is totally happening because it's an arms race!"

Yes, yes, TV markets blah blah. At times like these I think about Lloyd Carr in his last couple years sighing disgustedly whenever the subject of money came up in press conferences. He believed placing it above all other goals was destructive, he's looking prophetic at the moment.

Zing. I was just hoping Jerry Hinnen would drop some more twitter bombs on the SEC so I could post them up, and then he did:

Gotten the feeling that if Scott and Delany jumped off a bridge, SEC fans would gripe that Slive should have been the one jumping first. "We can't afford to react. You have to be proactive when it comes to bridge-jumping!"

Adding Nebraska had a purpose. Adding A&M to the SEC just dilutes it.

Downing disagreement. Retweets coming from Michigan Hockey Net and Yost Built over the course of the recent Five Nations tournament were rapturous about 2013 D commit (and team captain) Michael Downing. Examples from tourney observer @twharry:

The difference between Downing and DeAngelo is vast. I had no idea Downing was this good. He plays like a vet.

Michael Downing is having another very strong two-way game. Comparing him to Merrill may be unfairly lofty, but they are strikingly similar.

Breakaway going the other way. DeAngelo was way out of position. Luckily Downing was there to cover and Demko made the stop.

And Mark Burns:

FWIW, talked to an ex-teammate of Downing today from CC - said he's the real deal, nat. skill set but little rough around the edges at times

When one of my friends checked out the Friday game he compared Downing to Nick Lidstrom. Apparently the US team was so confident in his positioning they would often send the other defenseman up the ice to pressure the Swiss. A local diary praised his game as well.

So of course a couple scouting reports are mixed at best, contradict the above, and contradict each other. WCH:

Michael Downing has had a very good summer--including locking down a scholarship to Michigan--which has helped turn him into one of the top defensive prospects in the US for his age group. He appears to have loads of potential with a big frame and nice skating, but still has a pretty long ways to go when it comes to decision-making and handling the puck. The pace of play here looked a little faster than what he was used to, which took him out of his comfort zone and forced him to make some bad turnovers. Not many players have things completely figured out by age 16 though, and with a little more experience, he has a chance to develop into a very nice player.

And the United States of Hockey:

Michael Downing - Canton, Mich. — The big defenseman served as the captain for this U.S. outfit. He’s pushing 6-foot-3, but has some good mobility and offensive instincts. Despite the size, however, Downing was getting out muscled and hit hard by smaller players. The more muscle he can tack on, the better in the coming years. He’ll also need to do a better job in his own end, but he appeared to improve defensively as the tournament went on. Despite the defensive deficiencies, I really liked his offensive game. If he can develop defensively, he could be a. pretty solid blueliner down the road. Draft eligible in 2013

Another Burns tweet did mention Downing needs to fill out quite a bit, so at least there's some consistency there. Downing maintains he's 110% committed to Michigan and is not a goalie, so he'll probably show up. I'm actually drawing a blank on the last Michigan D commit to skip out for the OHL before he hit campus. Seems like it's a F/G thing.

The Blip …is what I called the 2008 Wisconsin game in last year's Plays of the Decade feature. It was a briefly intoxicating lie about how good that team could be that presaged the less brief but no less deceitful starts the next two years; as such it's both an emblem and an enormous outlier.

Holdin' the Rope takes us way back when:

I sat and wondered how we could spring a comeback from so much flailing incompetence. I had faith, but it was that kind of belief that eats at itself if exposed to the light.. It's propped up by rubber bands and paper clips and a little bit of measured delusion and naivete.

Somehow, Michigan pulled itself together and willed themselves through a halfway decent touchdown drive in the third quarter, capped by Kevin Koger's first touchdown reception. A promise of a bright future. Michigan went down the field on the arm of Steven Threet, the legs of Sam McGuffie and Kevin Grady, and the hands of Martavious Odoms and Greg Mathews. Greg's last name only had one "t," but people managed to always get it wrong, and they probably still do. This wasn't Henson, Terrell, Walker, and A-Train. It wasn't Henne, Manningham, Arrington, and Hart. It wasn't Navarre, Braylon, Avant.

Etc.: Notre Dame is taking its sweet time figuring out where its hockey team is going to hang out. MGoMix is going with songs 1-5 and 6-10. Trailer for the Willis Ward movie is good. Shakin' the Southland's DrB talks 3-4, 4-3 under, and multiple fronts. Money quote:

In the one-gap 3-4, you have a blend of the 4-3 and the older two-gap system. You can take a guy that is a ‘tweener’ and put him at DE or OLB. You can take heavy interior linemen that are skilled at pass rushing, and put them at DE positions even if they don’t run 4.6-4.7 in the 40. The fact that it is a one-gap system and easier to teach means they can rush the passer without regard for the linebackers and put what talent they do have to good use.

I do not advocate the one-gap 3-4 over the 4-3, each has its uses. I do prefer the one-gap over the 2-gap version because it disguises the bubbles in the front better, and is simpler to teach. I'm all for adding fronts that simply teach guys new places to stand without actually changing everything they're doing. In most cases, the fronts are exactly the same, but with different personnel.



August 16th, 2011 at 11:41 AM ^

you don't see these two words together often.
Usually "shallowness" or similar.
It's like seeing "buckeye integrity" - doesn't quite roll off the tongue.


August 16th, 2011 at 11:49 AM ^

Considering that DT is historically one of the toughest positions to recruit, it's strange to see MSU switch so many people FROM DT to the offensive line.


August 16th, 2011 at 11:59 AM ^

I disagree that A&M dilutes the SEC. They would be somewhere in between the 50th and 75th percentile in terms of prestige (not on par with adding oklahoma or fsu) but the world needs doormats too. And yes, markets blah blah but Texas is a big state and people like football there. More than any state the SEC is currently in. It's a big deal and there is a lot of revenue there. At worst they'd be a revenue neutral play for the SEC.
That said I'm happy the big 10 hasn't added Pitt, Syracuse, Missouri, rutgers (yet).


August 16th, 2011 at 12:18 PM ^

and there isn't really another candidate that would bring something similar to the conference. Gains from adding Texas to the footprint would be offset by the redundancy of another team in South Carolina or Virginia or Florida or wherever, and while Texas A&M-Alabama would be fun to watch in football, Clemson-Mississippi in basketball maybe not so much.


August 16th, 2011 at 1:20 PM ^

Generally, Brian is correct. Very few realistic expansion opportunities exist that would make sense for either the SEC or B10. But where Brian is wrong is that A&M clearly would be a big winner for the SEC, and opportunities to pick up a school that would be a clear win do not come along often (e.g., the B10 has been trying to lure ND for 20 years without success). The fact that the SEC made a run at A&M a year ago should be proof to anyone that the SEC sees the value proposition in adding the Aggies. There is no reason to think that the SEC will not take full advantage of the continuing dysfunction in the B12 to again attempt to bring A&M into the SEC's portfolio.

What this means for the B10 is less clear. I believe (and I wrote this a few days ago) that the B10 still has ND in its sights and, if A&M's move to the SEC results in the collapse of the B12 (and it probably will), the B10 will look for an opportunity in the resulting chaos to make another pitch to ND. Short of that, however, I do not see the B10 expanding in response to the move by A&M to the SEC. Many people believe the B10 has a good chance to add UT under such a scenario. I do not. I believe the B10 and UT will have discussions, but unless the LHN is either neutered or dropped entirely, I do not see the B10 and UT being able to reach a mutually acceptable arrangement.

And the B10 will not add teams like Maryland or Pitt or Syracuse or Missouri just for the sake of having the same number of teams as the SEC. It is hard to see how adding those teams will benefit the existing members of the B10, either financially or otherwise, so unless the B10 can get ND and needs to pick up a 14th team for balance, I expect that Delany's comments about the B10 being content right now are the truth.


August 16th, 2011 at 12:00 PM ^

The piece on the D-line coach along with everything that Hoke and Mattison have said suggests to me at least that consistent, give it everything you have effort was lacking along with technique, which seems like a scathing indictment of Gerg,  Or am I reading too much into this?  I wrote our D off last year based on youth, but this seems to go way beyond that.

Blue in Yarmouth

August 16th, 2011 at 12:52 PM ^

we don't need any further information to indict Gerg...the mans go to move for inspiring players was to rub a stuffed animal in their faces. Gerg was an incompetent DC and if not for his flowing silver locks he would have been run out of town on a rail  long before he actually was.

What I am not sure I agree with (in your post) though is that consistent effort wasn't given last year. Sorry, but I just don't buy that. I watched every game last year and didn't (not even once) see anyone giving up on plays or games no matter how out of hand they were. The guys played their asses off all season. The problem last year was a defensive coaching staff that had no idea how to put the personnel in a position to succeed. We can argue about whose fault that was, but I don't think it was a lack of effort on the players part.


August 16th, 2011 at 1:23 PM ^

I didn't mean to suggest that the players didn't give effort last season nor did I mean to suggest they gave up on plays,  Like you, I saw all the games including seven live at the Big House.  As I think we both know, there are different levels of intensity and it is very difficult to maintain a certain peak level of performance on every play, and a consistency from practice to practice. If in three weeks the coaches are still saying the same things, I think it will be a cause for concern.  My guess is that won't be the case.

Away Goal

August 16th, 2011 at 3:24 PM ^

Last year I saw Jonas twice shy off tackles on players who looked to be going out of bounds, only, they didn't go out of bounds and instead continued on up field, one for a TD.  Not sure if that is giving up / lack of effort or trying to play smart and getting burned.


August 16th, 2011 at 5:57 PM ^

Yes that's true but it had nothing to do with effort. It's because any time Mouton hit a player near the sideline the officials would throw a flag for a late hit. The NCAA and NFL have made such a mess out of sideline hits. Now offensive players will fake going out knowing the defensive player has to slow up. Then the offensive player will continue down the sideline for an extra 2-3 yards. It's total crap but losing 2-3 yards twice in a season is better than giving up 15 yard penalties.

I don't like seeing defenseless players being hit especially when they are just feet away from metal benches and dozens of unsuspecting players and coaches (espcially old coaches like JoePa) but too often officials throw flags for late hits when the offensive player's 2nd foot hasn't even touched out yet. It puts defensive players in a difficult situation especially someone like Mouton who has hurt his team before with a late hit.

Blue in Seattle

August 16th, 2011 at 1:51 PM ^

I'm hoping that Brian just didn't have time to view the entire clip.  Because after the coach speak was done, Doug Karsh nailed him on smiling after saying "Craig Roh".  Then there was a pleasing gush of sincerity coming out.  Add to that the article on the "one gap versus two gap" defense and I am seriously pumped to watch this defensive line put their hands in the dirt on 3 Sept!

Also, since a lot of questions have focused on the DL, that is the part of the defense I now have confidence will perform well.  Now the LB's is a topic that I haven't heard mentioned much, especially on who the SAM will be?


turd ferguson

August 16th, 2011 at 12:11 PM ^

My expansion idea hasn't changed since last year.

I say the entire pre-expansion Big Ten and Pac 10 merge to form a super-conference.  In fact, we'll call the division with the Big Ten teams the "Big Ten" and the division with the Pac 10 teams the "Pac 10."  Then, at the very end of the season, maybe on January 1st, we'll have the winners play in a conference championship game.  Maybe call it the "Rose Bowl" or something.  Then the other conferences can arrange similar mergers and conference championship games.  Maybe call them things like the "Orange Bowl" or, I don't know, the "Sugar Bowl." 

No, actually, I'm all for a very modest playoff, but this expansion thing is getting silly. 

Oh, and I'd take a Nick Lidstrom in Ann Arbor.  Any chance that we can keep him for 20 years?


August 16th, 2011 at 12:33 PM ^

Lloyd sighed disgustedly at just about every question.

Reporter guy: What'd you have for lunch, Lloyd?

Lloyd: *Sigh*, I had a cheese sandwich and a Faygo Red Pop.


August 16th, 2011 at 12:37 PM ^

I think the SEC should expand, but they already have enough high-quality teams.  Now they need four tomato cans disguised as decent teams that can help them expand their market.  A&M and Texas Tech would make a great package deal.  If the rest of the Big 12 gets tired of kissing Longhorn ass, the SEC might be able to pick up two more of their teams.  

If they want to keep the quality level high, they could pick up a couple from the ACC.  With the amounts of money that are at stake here, the tacit agreement between SEC presidents not to add a team from a state that is already represented is as good as the paper it is written on.

I'm all for four superconferences, a breakaway division, and a de facto eight-game championship playoff starting with the conference championship games and ending with two semis disguised as bowls and the plus one championship game.



August 16th, 2011 at 4:27 PM ^

from a state that is already represented.  That definitely limits their choices.  Looking to the east side of the SEC, one would think FSU and Clemson would be high on the list but the SEC already has Florida and South Carolina which would negate FSU and Clemson.  So you're left looking at the North Carolina, Virginia and Maryland schools.  None of which is that good in football (VaTech being the expception) and most of which have much higher academic standards than most of the SEC schools.


August 16th, 2011 at 12:40 PM ^

We're fairly certain that adding whatever big programs you can won't hurt your bottom line.  They almost always either bring a major market or a rabid fan base to the table.  So it would be with average programs like Missouri and Pitt. The less spoken about aspect of the agenda of super conference mania is it moves everyone closer to a playoff system that the big conferences do want.  

Dual motivations: These marginal schools like A & M get the security of a strong future super conference. The power brokers of the major conferences get something entirely different: the growth of a super elite division of football schools aligned in maybe 4 conferences that will sit above the current FBS.

Then the slow expansion of the post season to actual meaningful games would begin. The big schools and conferences want a playoff because right now they aren't making nearly what they can on the post season. They just don't want to enter into a playoff system that includes smaller conferences who don't have a big following or TV cache. Once they enter into that, there is no backing out. Look at basketball and the trend towards more not less inclusion of marginal teams.

 The more seperation they can gain via the super conference structure, the easier it is for them to control the postseason. There's probably hundreds of million if not a billion dollars annually to be made in an actual playoff system. They want that money, but they don't want to open up anti-trust suits from discgruntled states who have teams in small conferences.

Never forget that in this climate, even with the existence of cable networks and conference title games in these conferences,  you still have a lot of major athtletic programs who are sucking wind financially. The last big profit center untapped is in a real postseason rather than the current one (which is a financial dud overall). It's the mother of sport's spectacles and it would literally print money.  It's wise to look at every move being made by these conferences with football in light of their collective desire to tap the gold of a playoff.

All the BCS is, is their miniature way of excluding the smaller leagues butstill trying to grab some extra money the old bowl system was pissing away every year by playing games with diminishing ratings. It is the system they can get away with for the moment, but barely.


August 16th, 2011 at 12:45 PM ^

At times like these I think about Lloyd Carr in his last couple years sighing disgustedly whenever the subject of money came up in press conferences. He believed placing it above all other goals was destructive, he's looking prophetic at the moment.

Wow, did I just hear Brian say something nice about Lloyd Carr? Color me speechless.


August 16th, 2011 at 12:56 PM ^

When you hear Jerry Montgomery talking about consistency at the end of that video, you can close your eyes and almost hear Coach Hoke's voice coming out of Montgomery's mouth.  Nice to see this staff is all on the same page.

Also, hilarious to see Hoke standing in the background watching Montgomery work at about 2:47.  Hoke looks like he really wants to jump in and say something, and is fighting it because Montgomery's got it covered.  Mattison praised Montgomery the other day for being good enough at his job that he can manage with two other D-Line coaches constantly looking over his shoulders.  From this clip, looks like he's handling it just fine.

I gotta say, I'm really excited about this coaching staff.

True Blue Grit

August 16th, 2011 at 12:59 PM ^

I'm glad to hear in the video that BWC is making some good progress.  We need him playing consistently well this fall to be successful on defense.   I think between Coach's Montgomery, Mattison, and Hoke, we're going to eventually see the great Michigan D-lines of the past.  And that's where championship teams start. 


August 16th, 2011 at 1:49 PM ^

DT's other than Mike Martin (Patterson, Sagesse, and long time starter, Air) combined for 2 TFL and one sack last year (and that is with Martin missing a nice chunk of the season).  To replace that black hole with a 320 pound murder machine from Detroit (or just a competent Big Ten DT) would have an enormous ripple effect throughout the defense.  Martin (not being quadruple teamed) and RVB (getting to play outside as more of a pure pass rusher) will have a much easier time, and an exponentially better d-line makes the linebackers jobs easier and allows the secondary to spend less time in pass coverage while not having to offer so much run support.  Combine that with improvement at both the second and third level of the defense and you have a recipe for a big leap up the defensive rankings.


August 16th, 2011 at 1:47 PM ^

I wish state was our first big ten game this season. I bet that line is going to be a mess. Of course ND and Ohio get first cracks. Not to mention rival of rivals central.

Blue in Seattle

August 16th, 2011 at 2:10 PM ^

I agree with Brian that the bowl expansion "stories" are just rumor posting for the sake of clicks.  If someone really wanted to investigate a key aspec to the relationship between conferences, playoffs, and TV revenue maximization, then they have to explore what is going on with the bowl games.  This not only includes the very rich TV watching market in the winter, but also the shenanigans that bowls are playing with where their money goes and what it does to the "less than elite" football programs.

Afterall, the biggest benefit from Nebraska joining the Big Ten was the addition of the Big Ten Championship game.  A game played at a neutral site, but completely controlled by the Big Ten conference.  The BCS system has already proven that money is out there in the middle of January for College Football (meaning the NFL isn't really a competitive market share situation, there is more untapped Eyeball viewing time available to expand the market that the NFL doesn't have the resources to exploit!)

On top of that the Big Ten is conservative and thoughtful in it's decision making.  But it has shown to be innovative, since it was the first conference with it's own TV Network.  The SEC still doesn't have one (yes a deal with ESPN, but NOT their own branded Network), and the jealous Longhorns have gone off and done what they normally do in their very arrogant way by copying the Big Ten and one upping it by creating their own University Network.   This move by Texas A&M is interesting because it's bringing the unhappiness to the light of day, and can be timely if the LongHorn Network falls on it's face.  But A&M needs some support to show up eventually or they will have to tuck tail and go back to their doghouse in the Long Horn Conference.

Of course the SEC is going to play hard to get, they KNOW they are the hottest girl at the dance.  And the Big Ten knows that things are great now, and that IF anything gets decided it is just going to increase the pressure on our long time sweetheart ND.

But the motivation is all on the unhappy teams of the Long Horn Conference.  If someone else doesn't make a move in support against UT, I don't see why the SEC, Big Ten or Pac 12 needs to do anything.

I don't really expect much else to change until we see how the LHN plays out.



August 16th, 2011 at 3:14 PM ^

Unless I completely misunderstood Brian's point, that sign is at Michigan.

I'm okay with it as long as after the Michigan victory this year they put up a similar sign that says how many days since Ohio's last victory over Michigan, and the count starts with the 2009 game (currently it's more than 600 days).

Sac Fly

August 16th, 2011 at 3:23 PM ^

If you read the articles written by spartan's they act like this line is going to be amazing. I have actually heard spartan fans call fou fonati the best JUCO transfer in the country, he had offers from powerhouse FIU and western michigan. He might have only gotten an MSU offer because him cousin is domata peko.


August 16th, 2011 at 6:20 PM ^

But I have read, both from Sparty posters on this board (I believe) and at least one national magazine (though I've read so many the analyses have all blurred into nothingness) that their OL was being replaced by higher-rated starters.  May have been a different team

But the argument was, yes they're replacing starters, but the guys coming up were much more highly rated than Dant's previous players.  Any Sparty wish to reply?  Doesn't sound like it from either of those articles.