Unverified Voracity Thtabs Baby With Pen Comment Count

Brian June 5th, 2009 at 1:01 PM

Caption this baby. Caption contests are sometimes compulsory. This is one of those times.


Have at it. Side note: could those two guys look more like Notre Dame graduates? I submit they could not.

Walking on? I had been under the assumption that Kelvin Grady was going to be on scholarship with the football team, but this AA News article suggests otherwise:

Grady met recently with Michigan football coach Rich Rodriguez and received permission to try and walk on with the Wolverines, a university spokesman said Wednesday.

So… Grady might not occupy a scholarship slot. This isn't relevant this year—when he's likely to pick a scholarship up anyway because of low numbers—but provides some additional flexibility in future years. I would assume if Grady becomes a contributor he'll get a scholarship.

How likely is that? Well, his high school coach thinks it's a possibility:

“He’s been training at a very high level in basketball,” Stuursma said. “He has the ability to catch a ball, and learning to run routes comes in a very short time. He is a student of the game and has a very high level of intelligence.” …

“Kelvin on the football field is one of those guys where you kind of hold your breath,” said Stuursma, who also watched Grady change games with explosive kick returns. “He has the opportunity to take it to the house at any time. He’s electrifying and can take over the game with one play, a natural ability you can’t coach.”

Michigan's offense is well suited for zippy small guys, and with Terrance Robinson having some issues catching the ball there's an opportunity for playing time there. His hands must be good, right? And when he fumbles kickoffs he'll be really good at fielding them on the bounce.

Wait… what? After a brief period of about three posts where Adam Rittenberg, ESPN's Big Ten quasi-blogger, linked out to non-mainstream content, he settled down into a familiar pattern: newspaper person links only to newspaper stuff. I don't really blame him, what with corporate monolith considerations and all that. That's just life. But why has he broken this policy to link to an inane list of the "most overrated coaches" at Heisman Pundit?

That content has literally zero value. It could have been farted out by a monkey. Sample insight on Tressel, citing his conservative offensive tendencies: "It's almost as if he is satisfied to lose, as long as it is his way." Did I merely imagine Troy Smith throwing 30 touchdowns and winning the Heisman in 2006? Because if I did, that would be awesome. I pray someone is about to smack me into consciousness on the morning of the 2006 Ohio State game with Tressel poised to run 70% of the time.

There's a ton of funny or interesting content that actually takes time and research being published in the blogosphere.  Here's some great stuff on underdog strategies from Smart Football. Here's an in-depth look at Rodriguez offenses past and what makes them good from When Carcajous Attack(!). Here's MVictors talking with Minnesota's AD about whether a 2010 Michigan-Minnesota nonconference game was actually a possibility. All contain far more value than yet another offseason list put together by some guy BRINGING IT STRONG.

And yet.

There's a disconnect here, isn't there? I actually feel bad for Rittenberg, who has to put out a mountain of ephemeral content like "Top 30 Players In The Big Ten" that serves no other purpose than to generate a tiny burst of link traffic instead of getting to concentrate on pieces with lasting value. But he shouldn't mistake the insistent demands of the page view god for quality content elsewhere.

Speaking of all those posts. Yes, MVictors got the scoop on this weird possibility of a Michigan-Minnesota nonconference game. It won't happen, but it was discussed:

MVictors: Were you interested?
Maturi: There are different kinds of scheduling. When you’re Minnesota and you’re trying to improve your program and to be successful, I’m really thankful to coach Brewster for his willingness to play a tougher schedule.  Saying that, we had already scheduled Southern Cal for next year [2010].  I’m not a real brilliant guy, but I’m not so sure it’s in the best interest of Minnesota football to play Southern Cal and Michigan in back-to-back weeks.   Non-conference, so-to-speak.   As a result, if we had not scheduled Southern Cal I would have been very interested.

That's sort of encouraging, I guess, for folks who would like to see another interesting 2010 nonconference game—ie, everyone—but discouraging if an oddity like that is Michigan's best hope. More over there, including Bill Martin writing a check to Minnesota for a new stadium in a huff.

Meanwhile, this When Carcajous Attack(!) post is extensive and hard to really blockquote from, so let's just hit the outline:

Under what circumstances does Rodriguez’s spread-option offense really start hitting on all cylinders?

When certain key ingredients were present and well-mixed into the offensive game plan, Rodriguez showed a tremendous yield of both offensive firepower (yards gained, points scored) and victories. All of Rich Rodriguez’s most powerful offensive units featured three key components.

I.) Quarterbacks With Wheels

II.) Tailback Tandems from Hell

III.) Slot Machines (and Quarterbacks That Crank The Handle)

There are many examples of Rodriguez's past combined with Michigan's; take a gander.

(Sidenote II: hey, kids and doctors! I see you taking your tables and posting them in image format, which is subpar because 1) the google can't see you, 2) the page loads slower, and 3) no one can C&P your work easily and build on it. Instead of screen-grabbing your spreadsheet program, try Tableizer.)

Grinding. Varsity Blue takes a look at Michigan's offensive line vector and strikes on one major reason for hope going into 2009:

Save the MSU game, the Wolverines beat the opponent’s average in each game over the second half of the season.

It's true: Michigan was an outstanding rush offense in three games, average in two others, and poor against MSU. That replicated over the course of the season would shoot Michigan into territory not quite as lofty as that experienced by Rodriguez at West Virginia, but close. And if you remember Michigan State's snap-jumping excess in last year's game…

As we now know, there weren't really variable pauses between the hand clap and the snap, which allowed Michigan State to jump the snap count time and again to mostly good effect. They picked up a few offsides calls, but they also got incompletions, stuffed runs, and sacks because their guys were moving before Michigan's OL could even get out of their stances.

…you know that there was a significant mitigating factor in Michigan's single subpar rushing effort in the season's second half, one that's unlikely to be repeated with a more experienced center and line.

And what's more, Michigan returns literally everyone relevant to that performance with another year of experience and Barwis under their belts. This is your major reason for hope in 2009.

Loeffler Jr.? Loeffler on his younger doppelganger:

Q:Was it exciting to see Nick Sheridan get playing time last fall?

A:Nick Sheridan, I love like a son. He loves Michigan and is going to do everything that's asked of his coaches and is an impeccable young man, and one day he'll be one heck of a football coach.

That's all.


Other Andrew

June 5th, 2009 at 1:42 PM ^

He's got a freaking ball point pen, right? Who signs a baby with a ball point pen?!? Whatever it is, it ain't right. And yes, those two dudes are the most quintessential Notre Dame grads ever - right down to the Sam Adams.

panthera leo fututio

June 5th, 2009 at 2:00 PM ^

Brian, do you have any theories about why it is that ESPN's blog coverage for all other sports is so much inferior to the coverage it provides for the NBA? I think Henry at Truehoop does an excellent job providing links to and some original content on the analysis of the strategies, techniques, and culture of the game that goes well beyond standard quotes, injury reports, and throw-away lists. ESPN's blog coverage for other sports: not so much.

Why isn't ESPN's blog coverage of cfb nearly as strong? Is it that the acquisition of Truehoop was just some freak occurance? Or maybe the various people in charge of content for the different sports have different conceptions of content value? Or could there be something inherent to the different sports that makes them more or less amenable to really good, centralized blog content? E.g college football fans might be more team-specific in their interests, and so links to excellent, more-or-less team specific sites (like MGoBlog) stand to hurt ESPN page views more than they help.

panthera leo fututio

June 5th, 2009 at 2:44 PM ^

Thanks. It just seems really weird to me that an organization with so many resources would do something (blogging in all sports other than professional basketball) so poorly. I guess I'm trying to figure out whether this is due to incompetence, indifference, or a more deliberate content decision.

Tim Waymen

June 5th, 2009 at 2:04 PM ^

Maybe this is really obvious, but the first thing that came to mind was the quick scene in Talladega Nights (overrated movie) when Ricky Bobby tells a fan, "I'd love to sign your baby!"


June 5th, 2009 at 2:26 PM ^

"Most people assume that b/c I'm not Jewish I don't know how to do this. Well, you can ask Rick Mirer about that...Anyway, I'll just make a little mark and then it's just a quick snip."


June 5th, 2009 at 3:30 PM ^

...in the background is captivating.

Oh yeah, caption --
LH: Hey, one day he myeth grow up to be a Nothdur Dame quarterback. Heeths already got more hair than Jimmy Clawthin.

Elno Lewis

June 5th, 2009 at 4:07 PM ^

That content has literally zero value. It could have been farted out by a monkey.

Yeah, what next? So easy a caveman could do it?

Come on, Brian. We have feelings too, you know.


June 5th, 2009 at 9:01 PM ^

Low blow, Brian. I mean, I know ND grads can be woefully immature at times, but most of 'em aren't short enough to be picked up like that.

And - Tableizer! Where has this thing been all my life? I need this.


June 5th, 2009 at 11:35 PM ^

"Brains!!!" Notre Dame alums caught in the act of the secret ritual of offering the brain flesh of a first born child to former head football coach Lou Holtz. The University is under NCAA and FBI investigation.


June 6th, 2009 at 1:37 AM ^

LH: "Now hold still you little whipper snapper, every good little leprechaun needs a mustache... someone get Charlie to come over here and sit on this kid!"


June 6th, 2009 at 9:48 AM ^

(Guy in back)
My parents weren't too happy about my radical choice in facial hair, but there comes a time in a man's life when he needs to be able to look in the mirror and say "this goatee and sideburns combo looks bad f'in ass".


June 6th, 2009 at 11:20 AM ^

"I actually feel bad for Rittenberg, who has to put out a mountain of ephemeral content like "Top 30 Players In The Big Ten" that serves no other purpose than to generate a tiny burst of link traffic instead of getting to concentrate on pieces with lasting value."

Funny, the reason I feel bad for him is that his parents must have dropped him on his head as a child because he's an idiot.

zoltan the destroyer

June 7th, 2009 at 8:24 PM ^

Rittenberg does a fine job covering the Big Ten. Sports blogs in general crank out ephemeral content like recruiting news and rumors and stories. You make a living doing mostly this- the hubris is staggering.