Best and Worst: Maryland

Submitted by bronxblue on October 5th, 2015 at 12:17 AM

This went up late because family visits + small child + overwhelmed spouse = limited times to rewatch a bloodbath.  Also, thanks BTN for telling me the complete opposite channel to record the game, so I got to watch the first quarter of the rock fight between Minny and NW. 

Best:  Old-school Complaining

John Bacon mentioned in his latest book the old adage that a certain percentage of UM fans couldn’t be happy unless they were unhappy.  While I take umbrage with that statement on two fronts; namely, (a) because it feels akin to the “you can’t be critical about sports unless you played it” spouted off whenever basement-dwelling bloggers point out that maybe, just maybe, your offense/defense is terrible for very justifiable reasons, and (b) because you could literally say “some people aren’t happy about X because they are overly critical of it” about virtually everything in modern society, it is undoubtedly true that the UM fanbase has been home to a fair bit of self-flagellation even during the good times.  Now, obviously the “good times” haven’t been around these parts for about a decade, and much of the melancholy has been earned in A2 through the various transitions. 

But now, for what feels incredibly authentic and organic, UM seems to be “back” to what it was during most fans’ lives.  This isn’t Brady Hoke riding a bunch of turnovers and great short-yardage defense into a BCS bowl.  Now, UM now beats up on bad teams, sticks around against good teams, and generally doesn’t mess around too much either way.  Yes, Carr had this tendency to lose a couple of games a year he probably shouldn’t have, but he still averaged over 9 wins a season over 13 years, and only had 1 year with less than 8.  Moeller was a bit more up-and-down, but you could pencil those teams in for 8+ wins a year, and, well, Bo was Bo.  Sure, we have a couple Bump Elliott and Bennie Oosterbaan diehards in the group, but the point largely stands.  Fans can once again expect competency from their football team, and like those fateful words you absolutely will hear blare from Michigan Stadium speakers this season, you don’t know what you got, till it’s gonnnnnnnnneeeeeee.

And that’s what was lost since The Horror and the subsequent fallout.  UM fans talk about expecting Big Ten titles and expecting national championships, but you just have to look at the history books to see that the latter has been more wistful thinking and reality for half a century.  For a litany of reasons I won’t get into, UM football felt like the treasury bonds or CDs of college football; you weren’t going to get amazing returns year in and year out like some of the meteoric programs (e.g. Miami, FSU, Oregon, basically the whole SEC at some point or another), but you also weren’t going to suffer through any sustained downswings when that volatility inevitably went bad (e.g. Miami and FSU when the NCAA started paying attention).  You just kept chugging along at your sensible winning percentage, letting basic math carry you on to the most wins (and best winning percentage) in college football history.

Even that last Carr year was mostly by-the-book after the first two games of the year (and yes, I know that’s the “how was the play otherwise, Mrs. Lincoln” of college football), but the rest of 2007 wasn’t particularly eventful save for the offensive explosion against Florida in the Citrus Bowl.  But once RR took the helm, that competency was thrown out the window.  Losing to a terrible Toledo at home?  Sure.  Getting blown out in the second halves against turd-tastic Purdue and Illinois squads?  You betcha.  Win a game 67-65 because the other team finally fails on a 2-pt conversion?  Somebody check Carr’s blood pressure.  Squeaking by Akron and UConn by a combined 7 points in consecutive weeks?   Mmm hmmm.  Having the ignominy of losing to BOTH offspring of Jim Delaney’s fever-dream expansion onslaught?  Rock on Kennedy.

What was taken from UM fans this past decade wasn’t an unrealistic sense of superiority over every opponent on the schedule; that ain’t ever going away.  But what WAS taken was a sense that UM would field competent units that could comfortably beat the vast majority of inferior teams every year; that they could take care of business against the teams that shouldn’t stand a chance.  That’s how UM has looked thus far this season, even with the loss to Utah – a team that treats each week as business as usual, doesn’t get flustered when a couple of breaks go against them, and just grinds your Oregon State’s and Maryland’s of the world into a fine dust with minimal consternation. 

So now fans can get back to the usual complaints and concerns, about not winning a game by enough points, of pollsters not respecting UM enough to bump them up into the teens, and about momentary lapses of efficiency and performance and not whole months of incompetency.  I’m not sure Harbaugh has UM anywhere close to the top of the college football hierarchy (though when you look around, it’s getting harder and harder to find truly elite squads beyond a handful), but he absolutely has them back to back to the point where fans worry about the how of a victory, not the if

Best:  Making It Look Hard

Piggybacking a bit on this point, the biggest change between this year’s defense and the past couple is how hard it seems for other offenses to do anything against them.  While previous teams haven’t quite reached these heights in past seasons (#3 in S&P+ defensive rankings), they have always comfortably been a good-to-very-good defensive squad since Hoke took over.  But they always had hiccups, always had these weak spots where their deficiencies were exposed rather spectacularly.  Whether it was Gary Nova throwing for 400 yards, or Carlos Hyde running for 226 yards on 27 carries, or numerous punt returners flying down the field for big gains, it always seemed like teams could move the ball against UM if they were even a bit creative. 

And what made it worse is that, especially early on in a season, you deluded yourself into believing that maybe, just maybe, Akron is better than you though under Terry Bowden (he coached at Auburn!), or maybe Gary Nova was a fringe NFL QB, or Tyler Lockett was an amazing player (okay, that last one turned out to be largely true).  Then you’d watch them play other teams and realize that, no, they just looked good against UM, and that seemed to happen far too often. 

But not this season.  Even though Utah had some success moving the ball, it still looked like far more of a slog for them than against anyone else on their schedule.  And since that first game, UM has just been muderballdeathing offenses to a degree that hasn’t been seen around these parts since, I don’t know, 1997?  I know Brian and Ace debated about 2006 on one of their numerous audio discussions, but that was a veteran-laden unit that existed just before the vast majority of offenses really incorporated spread elements.  Ball State gave them trouble when the second unit allowed 2 straight scoring drives late in the game, and both OSU (led by spread-y Troy Smith) and USC exploited weaknesses in the secondary as well as in space.  They were elite when playing right-handed, but if the opposition had a little Dread Pirate Roberts in them things went pear-shaped.

But not anymore.  This defense probably doesn’t have the pure star power of that 2006 unit, but it seems to be more complete, more adaptable, than any we’ve seen in years in Ann Arbor.  For the second week in a row, the offense held a Power-5 offense to about 100 yards of total offense.  Yes, Maryland is all kinds of terrible on offense, but they threw for about 60 yards less (76 yards) than their next lowest total (138 yards against Richmond, which was offset by 341 yards on the ground) and their rushing total of 29 was 85 less than they put up against South Florida.  Hell, they put up 173 yards on the ground against WVU last week, and that was a game they trailed 38-0 at halftime. 

To put it another way, Maryland had as many first downs by penalty as they did by rushing, which was accomplished by Ross on his first carry of the game.  At no point could Maryland hope to muster anything resembling an offensive flow after that first drive, and only sniffed the UM redzone when UM turned the ball over.  Like Doomsday in the DC universe, the defense seems to take your best punch then react, adapt, and destroy from that point on.  I’m sure there will be a Superman who’ll come along and vanquish/expose some holes in the unit, but right now it just looks like even competent offenses are trapped as soon as they step onto the field.

Best:  The Old Guy

It’s weird to call anyone who’s about a decade younger than me the “old guy”, but Desmond Morgan (along with Ryan Glasgow and Jourdan Lewis) feels like the heart and soul of this defense, and so it was great to see him have another nice game.  The interception was the highlight, but he also had two pass breakups and led the team with 9 tackles.  Bolden, another senior, played pretty well next to him, and Lewis was his usual dominant self in coverage.  And while the loss of Ojemudia is going to be felt by the line, especially when it comes to holding the edge, the increased production by guys like Hurst and Godin makes me believe that they’ll be able to compensate reasonably well.


Depending on how you look at it, the fact UM has a negative turnover margin and yet is still dominating teams is either amazingly impressive and showcases this team’s elitism or portends some heart-breaking future losses if it continues.  I’m leaning toward the prior, but Rudock threw another pick that wasn’t really his fault (Sione had the ball in his hands and just popped it up) and fumbled on a bad play, while Isaac put the ball on the ground twice, nearly losing it deep in UM territory, and found himself stapled to the bench shortly thereafter.  While there don’t appear to be a large number of teams left on the schedule who could make UM pay dearly for their continued struggles in the TO department, they still won’t be beating MSU, OSU, or PSU if they cough the ball up as many times as they have this season. 

This is particularly true against MSU and PSU, which have two of the best margins in the country mostly because they don’t turn the ball over themselves at all (2 TOs thus far by MSU, 3 by PSU).  This stat probably helps to explain how MSU has been able to stay undefeated despite some mediocre defensive numbers, and how PSU keeps pulling off wins despite a janky offense.

Worst:  Running Game Shotgun

At first blush, you’d look at about 200 yards at 5.0 ypc with 2 TDs on the ground and say that UM had a pretty good performance against Maryland.  And, yeah, it certainly wasn’t a terrible, 27-for-27 performance, but much like last year it was a meh day on the ground with a massive run skewing the numbers.  Last year it was Joe Kerridge on a fake punt for 52 yards, while this year it was Chesson taking another sweep to the house for 66 yards.*  Throw that carry out and you have about 160 yards at 4.4 ypc, with Johnson and Ruddock doing most of the damage.  Isaac definitely seemed off all day, and I’m wondering if perhaps that UNLV run was more the aberration than the standard as he works his way back into football speed; he’ll bust a play or two, but he doesn’t seem quite in the groove as an every-down back right now.  And Derrick Green, despite getting a decent number of carries, never seemed able to get anything beyond what his line could generate, repeatedly getting stopped on short yardage because he either couldn’t hit the right hole or seemed unable/unwilling to lower his shoulder and run over people.

I suspect that Smith will be back next week against Northwestern, but I fear that his ankle might not be 100%.  While he certainly has had his rough moments, he remains by far the best running back in the backfield, and UM is going to struggle to move the ball against the Wildcats if he struggles. 

* Brian has been saying that in order for TEs like Poggi and Williams to be out on the field, the offense needs to throw the ball to them a couple of times just to make the defenses treat them as viable options.  But right now, it seems like UM just needs to throw to Chesson a couple of times a game to make people not cheat too heavily on all of these WR runs he is scoring on. 

Meh:  Blame it on the Rain

Quick, guess which four QBs have the following stats:

Name ComP % Passing Yards YPA TDs INTs Rushing Yards Rushing TDs
Player A 60 956 6.5 5 6 73 2
Player B 59 866 8.2 5 5 127 1
Player C 53 824 6.6 5 2 -55 0
Player D 64 1039 7.9 7 2 163 3

Player A is Jake Rudock, Player B is Cardale Jones, Player C is Christian Hackenberg, and Player D is C.J. Beathard.** 

My point isn’t to say that Rudock has been a revelation at QB, but that compared to everyone in the conference not named Connor Cook, he’s been remarkably solid, especially after that first week.  On paper the passing game wasn’t particularly impressive again (50% completion, 180 yards, around 5.6 ypa, 1 TD:INT), but given the conditions it felt like a managed performance, the type that you expect when your defense is stupefyingly dominant and the only way the other team is going to pose a threat is if you gift wrap it for them.  And his numbers in the first half were very Rudock-ian (12/18 for 121 yards and 20 yards on the ground). 

About the only number that is particularly distressing is the low YPA, but that should tick up as his comfort level with the receivers (and the overall offense) improves and the running game continues to pull defenses in and open up those easy YAC throws to guys like Butt and Darboh.  Again, Rudock isn’t going to be a gunslinger, but he seems to be taking what the defenses give him, and at this point in the season you can’t really ask for more.

** And yes, Beathard has put up good numbers, but in his first game against a good defense (Wisconsin is still a top-20 outfit), he went 9-for-21 for 77 yards, 1 TD to 1 INT, and 12 yards on 9 rushes.  Yes Iowa won, but that wasn’t a particularly inspiring performance.

Best:  Didn’t (Really) Kick to Will Likely


Will Likely is The Danger for Maryland this season.  Everyone knew not to kick to Will Likely in any situation where he could likely hurt you.  Michigan played a bit with fire, giving him a couple of returnable punts, but nothing seemed particularly dangerous, and he never got close to really breaking anything even on kickoffs.  Given the wonky weather, I’d call that mission accomplished.

On the other side of the ball, Peppers had another great punt return and generally looks like he’ll bust one soon enough.  He just makes guys miss in that first guy miss more times than not , which is something Dennis Norfleet always seemed to struggle with.  If I’m Rutgers, MSU, or Indiana, I would be exceedingly careful where I punted in those games.

Worst:  The /b/ Announcing Team

Glad it was noticed by others, but after last week’s Spielman/McDonough crew had some great insights in the game against BYU,  Matt Millen and the guy who drew the short straw to be stuck in the booth with him.

Millen has never been particularly insightful, and today was no different with his proclamations that if Maryland followed UM’s blockers, they’d be able to tackle UM runners, and that if you bring pressure as a defense you can disrupt and offense.  I mean, I know this guy was a super-successful GM of the Lions, but I actually felt dumber listening to him ramble on for 3 hours. 

But that’s kind of standard-issue for college football outside of the marquee games; there’s a reason you get sent to cover UM-Maryland at noon, and it isn’t because somebody upstairs likes you.  What did get me was the vitriol he directed at players, usually for Maryland, throughout the game.  He called efforts pathetic, questioned the intelligence/decision making of Caleb Rowe rather bluntly when he threw the Lewis INT, and various other quips and degradations.  I’m certainly not advocating a ban on any critical analysis during football games, but for a guy who had a terrible draft record and who helped, I don’t know, “build” the first 0-16 team in NFL history, questioning the decision-making of a college kid being chased by 300-pound linemen intent on crushing parts of innards while trying to throw a ball in heavy winds is a pot calling a kettle black AND to see if Mike Williams is still available.

Best:  Bring on the NERDS!

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So yeah, apparently the ogres at UM are going to be playing some smarty-pants next week.  Both teams have great defenses and wonky offenses; I’d argue NW’s is wonky because of talent, while UM’s is more about execution.  If Smith is healthy, I’d give the edge to UM at home.  Hell, if he isn’t I’d still give it to UM just because I’m fairly certain Michigan can still scratch out 100 yards of offense, while the jury is still out about the Wildcats against UM.  Regardless, this could very well be the first of many marquee matchups featuring UM this year, so let’s keep the good times going.



October 5th, 2015 at 4:21 AM ^

In the old-school complaining.

Nothing is more frustrating than the B1G network announcers repeatedly saying "Miami of Ohio really thinks they can win this game." Miami has been at the bottom of the MAC the past few years and Michigan was the opposite of intimidating to them. Good times.


October 5th, 2015 at 9:17 AM ^

Yeah, that always drive me crazy. I caught a couple minutes of the MSU game and they were doing the same thing for Purdue, which was hilarious given that Purdue should at least in theory be able to compete with a conference foe. But they were still pumping them up like a bad MAC team, which they probably are.


October 5th, 2015 at 12:04 PM ^

Mario was having a great game.

We were 33 rows up from the bench. The first 10-15 rows were mostly Michigan fans and we gave Mario a standing ovation as he came to the bench, for which he returned a smile.

As the trainers evaluated him, you could see his head drop. I knew the look. My son had the same look when I told him he'd torn his ACL - the just-when-things-were-going-great-now-this-look.

Greg Mattison came over, talked to Mario, and patted him on the shoulder. So did several players.

He got another ovation from the Michigan fans as he walked to the locker room on crutches.

It sucks, and I hope it is not as bad as reported.


October 5th, 2015 at 8:31 AM ^

"UM has just been muderballdeathing offenses to a degree that hasn’t been seen around these parts since, I don’t know, 1997?"  I have been following Michigan football since the 1970s.  I wouldn't pick 1997; they gave up a ton of points early to Iowa, and needed the offense to bail them out.  To this old curmudgeon this year's defense reminds me of 1985.  Shut out defending National Champion Miami; gave up less than 100 points all season.  Fourteen points in 16 quarters of football, including two Power-5 teams and a prolific BYU?  That is just crazy talk.

Other Andrew

October 5th, 2015 at 8:59 AM ^

I think that's a pretty harsh assessment. Yes, the D gave up a 53 yard run to Tavian Banks. No, they didn't make any other significant mistakes and generally dominated a strong offense.

The secound touchdown was a 1-yard drive set up by a Griese interception. The third was a Tim Dwight punt return on the last play of the half. The final Iowa scoring, a FG, was also wholly set up by a Dwight kickoff return.

Total yards for Iowa? 187. So yes, condemn the defense for the 53 yard run, but the rest of the day they gave up only 134 against an offense that averaged 383 per game on the season (inclusive of this one).

Also, hard to say that the offense "bailed them out" when the offense gave up the interception that set up the one-yard drive and also couldn't get a first down to end the half that set up the punt return touchdown.

If you're looking for fault with the 1997 defense, you're going to have trouble finding it to begin with. Regardless, the Iowa game is not the best place to look.


October 5th, 2015 at 11:47 AM ^

One will be hard-pressed to find any glaring faults with the '97 defense, even in that Iowa game... That defense was truly elite. And, to be fair, the '85 defense had trouble stopping Nebraska's power option in the Fiesta Bowl and needed the offense to help out. I'll say in the last 30 years of Michigan football the '85 and '97 teams definitely were the top 2 defenses we've fielded.


October 5th, 2015 at 9:11 AM ^

You may be right, but I was 4 at the time, so I only remember that team through stories. But that was probably the best Bo team, and probably would have had a great stake in the title had they not tied Illinois 3-3. But in teams I actually watched, 1997 is the best analog. Plus, I said since; UM had some amazing defenses decades ago.


October 5th, 2015 at 10:30 AM ^

Yeah I know he had two on Saturday...he's got to do better holding onto the ball when he gets sacked (though that was a 4th down play so the impact was minimal). And I'm sure he wants to take back that across-the-body dangerous throw that led to the INT, even though it wasn't directly his fault that Houma bobbled the ball to an opposing defender.


October 5th, 2015 at 10:39 AM ^

I'm somewhere b/n reasonably confident and optimistic that Rudock is going to show steady improvement from here, but I think your assessment to date feels like you're trying to sell me something.

1.  The interception was such a bad decision that he owns if, even though he miraculously managed to hit Houma.  When calculating responsibility, we don't need these things to add to 100%.

2.  Yds/Att are not solid and the TD-interception difference is poor.  His 117.4 efficiency ranking is not in the top 100 for QBs that the NCAA lists. QB's in the B1G with better figures are Cook, Laviano (Rutgers!), Sudfeld, Bethard, Stave, Jones, Armstrong, Bough (Purdue, albeit small sample), Lunt and Hackenberg at 118.2 who ranks 98th.

Maybe you give him a boost for competition relative to some of these guys.  Even so, no way TO DATE is his play solid even by B1G standards.


October 5th, 2015 at 4:25 PM ^

I don't think the INT was that bad; he hit Houma in the hands.  Yeah it was in traffic, but that's the type of throw you want your QB to make if he can locate it reasonably well which he did. The fact he still throws behind guys bugs me more than the turnover.

The YPA is bad, but I also think some of that is because he hasn't really gotten many of those missed-tackle 75-yarders that other teams get.  That's in part on him, but it also seems to be a deficiency in the offense given the fact that Chesson and Harris haven't really helped downfield.

As for the rest of the stats, my point is that he isn't terribly behind other guys in the conference. And he hasn't really been asked to throw the ball all that much beyond Utah; the fact that guys like Liviano and Armstrong have better QB ratings is as much due to their mediocre teams and needing to throw a bunch of catch up than evidence they are better QBs.  

Moonlight Graham

October 6th, 2015 at 9:01 AM ^

I am holding onto hope that quarterback play is mirroring 2013 MSU where things started slowly for Maxwell and Cook while the team was propped up by their solid defense. They won games with ugly-ish offense until they got a bye week and then faced Nebraska. 

Our 2015 schedule does not line up to be the cakewalk MSU had, unfortunately. But we're only 1 game into the B1G season and I don't think Cook really started to roll until until a few games in. 

If I stick to my "Rudock=2013 Cook" theory then we're sort of on schedule, but running out of time and Rudock is piling up way more turnovers (Cook only had 6 INT's all year). And our schedule is more difficult. At this point in the season they were facing Indiana and Purdue back to back while we're about to face the #16 and #3 teams in the country. 

So ... I don't think that's going to hold up. Might just need to do the unthinkable and allow the season to play out, and trust Harbaugh. 

You Only Live Twice

October 5th, 2015 at 10:49 AM ^

about this Monday morning is reading this diary.

Enjoyed your commentary on the D especially.  Yes, this is a welcome throwback to another time when such a competently managed defense almost always spelled doom for the other team.  I love it!

Indiana Blue

October 5th, 2015 at 11:10 AM ^

I am so glad you mentioned Millen's pathetic, idiotic, lame attampt at commentary.  Stick to X's and O's - though it's debatable whether he has any interesting knowledge of that subject matter!  

C'mon BTN, do you really want a guy insulting specific football players or units braodcasting on your network ?  I have NEVER been enlightened or entertained by this so called "expert" at any time in my life.

Go Blue! 


October 5th, 2015 at 11:24 AM ^

Michigan played a bit with fire, giving him a couple of returnable punts, but nothing seemed particularly dangerous, and he never got close to really breaking anything even on kickoffs.

Credit the special teams coverage unit.  Watch them stay in their lanes, mirror Likely's movements, and not overcommit on pursuit.  The clips I've seen are things of beauty.

Wolverine fan …

October 5th, 2015 at 11:30 AM ^

The worst GM in modern NFL history. Hurled a gay slur at a former player. Drafted Charles Rogers and Mike Williams, among others. He might be a worse announcer than he is a person or GM. Thanks, BTN, for hiring this bum...


October 5th, 2015 at 11:57 AM ^

rushing yards and extrapolating performance as being poorer if you just remove one carry that went 66 yards for a score. So, the play inflates the overall total and average gain. But claiming this anomally is somehow not a function of what the offensive gameplan or effort actually entailed is a stupid point at best and irrelevant when you consider that all the plays that didn't produce scores allowed that one end-around to happen because the defense wasn't prepared for it. And that's how any big play happens when it's blocked and executed well as that one was.

It's like complaining that the passing game is terrible because you didn't hit any bombs but you still set up and scored on a pair of well-executed screen passes that took advantage of a defense over-leveraged seeking to prevent the deep pass from occurring.

It's not that every play yields big results but that every play's yield produces a certain defensive reaction that enables you to counter with a potential big play whether it's an end-around, a toss sweep or a tightend screen. They don't always work, but you get the results you should have gotten when you execute the play in response to the defensive reaction to what you are doing generally.

Every play counts as part of the total. While every play is designed for a specific goal, not everyone will result in a score. But sometimes a handoff to your fullback works befter than a bublle screen. Do you discount the yardage because of the playcall or the result of the play because it seems so pedestrian. No. Whether or not the Oline is dominating the LOS based on yardage or first down numbers, you win by scoring TDs. And when you get one on a big play, it just means you're Oline is more efficient on that play than all the other plays it blocked. I'd rather be efficient, it saves time and energy.


October 5th, 2015 at 12:15 PM ^

that for Michigan's defense to be considered elite, it would have to start forcing turnovers. Which it did on Saturday. The next step is to score points off turnovers,

You can see the demeanor of this unit went it goes out on the field and is lining up presnap and then adjusting before the play begins. There just seems an aura of confidence about preparation and response that some teams exude when they feel good about themselves and their capability.

This defense feels very good about itself. Now, that's not to say that it can't be effectively attacked. But what it's going to take are teams like Ohio State with lots of speed in their backfield and on the wings who can take advantage of Michigan's linebackers.

Maryland had passing success when it threw slants and rolloouts early on. Then their receivers stopped catching the ball and Michigan reacted. I thought Michigan could have broken Maryland's back early in the game after trapping them inside the one and then allowing the Terrapins to escape with a pass completion on third down. Stop them there and Michigan had at worst a short field to work for a score.

The best of Michigan football this year is the gameplan each week and how it's executed on both sides of the ball. The worst I would say is the inability to completely meet the requirements of that gameplan and failing to take better advantage of it. You could make that complaint evey week and be correct but what we are seeing now is a team responding and closing the gap in better execution of what the staff has drawn up based on the overall ability of this team to do it. You can see improvement every week and that is the best sign of good coaching.



October 5th, 2015 at 12:28 PM ^

I think that is a great point about the practice of subtracting out big plays when considering the efficacy of the offense. Setting things up and executing them well should be considered in the averages and rankings. We don't subtract out the worst plays and say well the offense would have been good but for those.

Having said that I think looking at how you made your yards can be illustrative and it is fair ro say that our bread and butter running between the tackles part of the offense was not effective against Maryland.


October 5th, 2015 at 4:24 PM ^

But he crossed the line on Saturday. Sheer idiocy.

I don't mind calling players out, but learn the lingo. You can be polite, and as an announcer it's expected.

Even his somewhat-decent points (the "they cut the field in half for Rudock" seemed to agree with what I was seeing) were ruined through either a) bad timing, or b) bad delivery.

It seemed he wasn't happy to be there. And I sure as hell wasn't happy either.