it's supposed to be creepy and self serious and gross
An annual tradition also coming to an end this week: I talk with Puppet Wrangler In Chief Brian Stouffer about the Notre Dame game as ridiculously as possible. Part One is at House Rock Built and features a TOO SOON joke plus icky Canadian emo breakup rock. This is part two.
I am bolded; Stouffer is not. This is just for readability, and not meant to imply any jinx-inducing superiority.
Let's talk Irish running game. Brian Kelly going to bother with it at all? He seems to hate it.
I think even Brian Kelly can find a little love in his cold black heart for our run game this year. The OL is looking pretty dominant, and now we've got three guys that we can swap out at RB, so there's going to be a lot of fresh legs and hard running. If we can force more defensive resources to respect the run game, that's all the more space opened up for the happy-go-bomby portion of the program.
How's your front seven? Up to the task?
Michigan has some whizbang on its DL this year with Frank Clark and a horde of defensive tackles. Everyone has high hopes that ogre/man Willie Henry will get technique religion this year and starting hurling dudes around; Ondre Pipkins looked good in limited time in his first game back from an ACL tear.
The linebackers were iffy as M replaced last years starters at ILB with a SAM linebacker and Joe Bolden, one of the backups, and then we're pretty sure Desmond Morgan is out... which is bad because he was Michigan's best LB Saturday and last year. In a game where they figure to spread 'em out it will be important for Michigan to win that battle at the line. This is kind of the opposite of Michigan OL versus ND front seven.
Wow... that sounds like confidence. Confident Brian Cook frightens and confuses me. Your secondary is supposed to be awesome and experienced too, yes? Are you guys the 85 Bears? You have to tell me if you are. Otherwise it's entrapment.
The secondary! They return everyone except a middling safety and have about six corners plus a solid FS; the other SS spot is a bit of an issue that may cost Michigan. I like Jeremy Clark long term, but he made a couple of silly errors to set up both App State touchdowns.
And all that stuff about how defense X is going to be aggressive is actually true: Michigan is mostly a man press team now, throwing in enough zone to prevent you from running all the pick routes but generally in your face and against easy yards. It's kind of unprecedented. Of course, this is all hypothetical until they play a real team. I am optimistic, not even cautiously so. Michigan fans have been pointing at this year as a breakout one for the defense since Mattison arrived, basically, and now it's time to put up or shut up.
But not the 85 Bears, because we do not have a dance.
the NFL is so spectacularly copyright litigious that the actual Super Bowl shuffle is not on the tubes
How do you expect Notre Dame's WRs to deal with a lot of in-yo-face coverage? That Robinson guy is rather tall. I wonder who is father is.
None other than William "The Refrigerator" Perry.
THAT DON'T MAKE NO SENSE PAWWWWWL
And now you know... the rest of the story.
Okay, now that we've referenced both Paul Harvey and Paul Finebaum (#truedetectiveseason2), I'll um answer your question. What was it? Oh, receivers. Yes. Karl Malone or whoever's kid is big, but I haven't really seen him play like a big man and fight for the ball. The other receivers are undersized, and while they were fun to watch hauling in bombs in the open field, I'm not sure if they're going to excel at fighting in tight spaces.
I think Michigan might use more safeties than Rice's "NOOOOOPE." That was so bizarre. You're RICE! You can't stick with those guys. RICE: "WE LIKE MATH BUT HATE LOGIC" Me: "That's not logical." RICE: "HAHAHAHA!"
Everyone hates rice.
Do you still have Butt? I read somewhere you hurt your Butt. Sorry about your Butt. Do you have a replacement Butt?
We broke our Butt but our Butt is just abutt ready to butt in on this game. Everyone's been told Butt will not butt in but Butt himself thinks Butt is ready to get his butt in there and put someone else on their butt. But, we don't know about Butt until he either suits up or does not suit up. Butt.
And no we don't have a replacement Butt our other tight ends are offensive linemen who aren't good at blocking.
In a year full of terrible Butt news, this is the worst Butt news yet.
I am not entirely sure what the Other Brian means by this but I assume he's referring to this woman recently convicted for a LETHAL BUTT INJECTION. She was convicted of "depraved heart murder"… and wire fraud. Personally I would have let the wire fraud go.
We may have digressed somewhat here.
But... Oh, right. Yes.
Ask me something non-posterior-related. Quickly.
Who draws the Funchess matchup? HE'S LARGE AND IN CHARGE!
Gawd he's still around? He's so big. Are we allowed to swat at him with a tennis racket?
Adidas Tennis Orc Ladies: tried briefly in the 1980s and quickly discontinued
I think so. He doesn't react to non-metals.
Arggh. Welp, We don't have anyone who can actually match up with him, so I think the idea is to "contain" him -- that is to say, let him catch infinity red zone touchdowns but hope he doesn't suddenly discover he can run a 3.9 40.
Although there are weird magicks in this series. 300 pound tight ends routinely bust 99 yard runs.
That seems pessimistic. I thought you guys were deep in the secondary even without Russell?
Deep, but not "hey look at all the 6'5" defensive backs we have lying around" deep.
Well... I think that about covers it unless there are extreme special teams outliers.
Michigan does have a punter who may blast it 70 yards or shank it 25. So... yeah.
And they use old-style punting, so if he does blast it 70 there might be some fireworks.
Yeah, no. Special teams should be mercifully boring this year. Hopefully. I s'pose it's onward to prediction time.
pictured: mercifully boring special teams
Considering we nailed the prediction PERFECTLY last year, we've set a pretty high bar for ourselves.
Yeah. I dunno, I kind of think the front sevens and OLs are a wash, and then I like Michigan's passing game more with Russell and Collinsworth out. There is the road factor. For whatever reason, Michigan's been worse than you might expect on the road. And then there is the WTF factor. The game feels closer to a pick 'em to me than Vegas thinks.
Plus all bets are off for THE END OF FOOTBALL
Yes. If a ball doesn't deflect off four guys to someone's great profit or loss what's the point of anything?
I suggest we make the prediction the same way we did last year. One word at a time until one of us, both of us, or EVERYONE is dead.
All right. I think we should do two. Last year you got stuck with a lot of articles.
Two it is. I have won the coin toss and elect to defer.
In the gruesome finale of the epic battle between cultures steeped in
butts and cloying arrogance, two men wearing only each others' flayed scalps battled viciously until all that was and all that will ever be deflected off an unsuspecting postal worker.
As our universe imploded, the postal worker thought, "Not again."
This terrifyingly apropos picture about the end of the world coming when death loses 45-10 to Alabama is in fact the first GIS hit for "Postal Apocalypse." Death ain't played nobody, Pawwwl!
It has been nice knowing you. I hope your football team evaporates in a steam that smells like Werther's Originals Saturday and then you re-hire Charlie Weis.
And I just hope everyone has a good time out there and makes some good memories.
THAT IS JUST SO NOTRE DAME
A sincere thanks to Brian for bugging me to do this every year. I will miss it.