Inside the Boxscore - Team 135, Game 1

Submitted by ST3 on August 31st, 2014 at 1:31 AM

     This summer, I found myself riding a bullet train through the French countryside on my way to Paris. I must have been the only one on the train who was wondering why it had to be traveling so fast. The reason I wanted that train to slow down was that I was reading Bo' Lasting Lessons, by Bo Schembechler and friend of the blog, John U. Bacon. Read stories about Michigan football or wander around the Louvre looking at centuries-old artistic treasures? I prefer the former.

     In prior seasons, I've tried to have a recurring theme running through the diaries. The first season was based on stupid things B1G Network announcers said during games (does anyone else remember, "trash cans full of dirt?") The second season I did this, it was more of the same, but sadly, the B1G announcers didn't provide as much material. Perhaps my season 2 diaries are best characterized by having an unhealthy focus on uniformz. Last season was my own version of Memories from my Father. For this season, I picked up a few things from Bo's book and will format the diary accordingly.

     But before we get to the links, (yes, I'm adding the play-by-play link because that has MOAR numbers, and if there's anything I like more than reading 43,000+ words about the upcoming season, it's numbers from actual games) let's set the scene by comparing the competitors. On one sideline, we have:

Team 135
Mason Cole
Devin and Devin
Space, bitches, space

On the other sideline, we have:

Team 1
Lamb and Lamm (lambs being led to the slaughter? Yes, exactly that.)
Dada and Bobo. Say what you will about App State, their roster overflows with NOTY candidates, and I haven't even mentioned Simmsy McElfresh or Johnny Law yet. Osvaldo Sombo made a tackle. Everybody Sombo!
Trail, bitches, trail

I wore my Space t-shirt a week ago in front of my 9-year old, and realized he's not quite ready to see daddy wearing t-shirts with bad words on them. We reached a compromise. I can wear that shirt if I put masking tape over the "b-word."




Seniors First
* Bo treated seniors differently than the rest of the team. He gave them perks such as first class seats on flights for road games, but expected them to be leaders in return. So we'll discuss the seniors first.
* Gardner was 13 for 14 for 173 yards with 3 TDs passing and no turnovers.
* Jake Ryan's move to Mike is a work in progress, but he did have three tackles, a TFL and a QH.
* I get the feeling Frank Clark may have been trying too hard. He picked up a ridiculous penalty for jumping the shark, I mean, the shield.
* Delonte Hollowell had 1 pass break up and Ray Taylor had one tackle. The numbers weren't there, but you can't make tackles when the guys you are covering aren't targeted because they are covered well. All the DBs played really well. Jourdan Lewis was in textbook blanket coverage all afternoon.
* After not starting (lemon-time!) Desmond Morgan led the team with 6 tackles.
* Brennan Beyer had a tackle and a QH.
* Wile missed a FG from 48 yards that would have been good from 50, or 55, or 60. That kick was curving in and just needed a little more room.
* Hagerup punted once for 46 yards. I thought it had a low trajectory, possibly setting up a return, but Chesson was down there in a hurry. Chesson as a gunner is a good memory from last season.
* Joey Burzynski started. The running game really took off when Kalis replaced him. Sorry Joey, but it's true. He might be able to play B1G football at his size, but not when he's next to another smaller lineman like Miller.

Ground Beef
* What do you call a cow with no legs? Ground beef. Yep, my son is still telling that joke. What do you call Michigan's rushing attack? Ground beef, at least for one game. Smith and Green are both listed at 220 pounds. They were running with more aggression to my eyes. Pick a hole and go, and they went.
* Green, Smith, Funchess, and Gardner were the stories of the game. Gardner and Funchess were expected. Getting 100+ yards each from Green and Smith was a nice surprise, considering we were missing Glasgow, starting Burzynski, and starting a true frosh at LT. Have we figured things out, or is Appy State that bad? Time will tell.
* Green had a long run of 62 and Smith had a long of 61. It was almost a, "whatever you can do, I can do better," type situation. Both were caught from behind. They may lack the home run speed of a Denard or Wheatley, but I'd be happy with a bunch of doubles and triples this season.

24 Points
* I'll have to re-read Bo's lasting lessons to get the quote, but I remember him saying something about feeling good if the offense could score 24 points because he felt his defense wouldn't give up that many. Appy State scored two late, meaningless TDs.
* 26 players recorded defensive statistics, so pretty much everyone Brian wrote about in the season preview.
* I'm not really going out on a limb here by thinking the heroes of the defensive UFR are going to be Willie Henry Jr. and Jourdan Lewis. Each player only had 3 tackles, but Henry was such a disruptive presence on the line, and Lewis was running step-for-step with whoever he was matched up against.

* After last season, I thought I would spend some time looking at TFLs. I don't recall the exact numbers, but I think we averaged around 9 or 10 TFLs given up per game last season. In our first game of this season, against a weak Appalachian State defense that gave up 350 yards of rushing to Michigan and their questionable offensive line, we still gave up six TFLs. I'm aware that sentence makes no sense.
* Of the six TFLs, one was a sack and one was a pass to Canteen. So we really only had 4 of those awful TFLs from the running backs. Two of those were from Green and two were Hayes, and the combined yardage lost was only 6 yards.
* I like Green and Smith, but put me in the Smith camp for who should be the 1A. In addition to Green's 2 TFLs, he also had three carries that gained no yards. Smith's shortest run was for +2 yards. I just think Smith is a little more decisive at this point and is more likely to gain some positive yards. But it's still early. The nice thing is that it appears both are running like veterans and have left the tentative play typical of freshman behind them.

The Team, The Team, The Team
* Mike McCray blocked a punt that Ben Gedeon returned for a TD. If the LB depth chart proves to be too difficult to crack, perhaps Ben would make a good fullback. J/K.

* He's going to be good. He ran up on a punt and prevented App State from getting the frustrating extra yards from the roll.
* Peppers was covering a guy, and I thought, "Oh great, there's an 8 yard completion," only Peppers covered 4 yards before the receiver turned upfield and limited the play to four yards.

Beth MOwins School of JournAlism
* I Attended the Beth MOOOwins school of jOUrnalism this sUmmer. According to Beth, the key to doing play-by-play is to randomly Over-anunciate your vOwels. That's the key to doing a Beth MOwins imitAYtion. Just blAst the occAsional vOwel at mAx vOlume. Especially the O's, she loves her O's.
* What does Joey Galloway bring to the game besides extreme narcissism?
* Early in the game, Beth shared this surprising gem with us, Devin Funchess' jersey has the #1 on it, on the front AND the back. Amazing. All this time I thought players had different numbers on the front and back of their uniforms, the better to trick the opposition.
* Thanks to Beth for pointing out Michigan's famous Union Hall. Brought back a lot of memories. Good old Union Hall.



August 31st, 2014 at 8:28 AM ^

I didn't understand the Clarke penalty.  He was jumping up, arms extended, to block the punt.  He wasn't trying, from what I saw, to leap over the "wall" and tackle someone or anything.  Can anyone here explain that rule?

"Great writeup, ST3, and great choice for a theme.  BLL is probably my favorite Michigan football book.  There will be plenty for you to mine in the chapter on motivating the non-star players.  Bo's treatment of his walk-ons and scout team players really showed the quality of his character.



August 31st, 2014 at 9:02 AM ^

The rule was adopted last year:

"No defensive player who is inside the tackle box may try to block a punt by leaving his feet in an attempt to leap directly over an opponent. (1. It is not a foul if the player tries to block the punt by jumping straight up without attempting to leap over the opponent; 2. It is not a foul if a player attempts to leap through or over the gap between players).  PENALTY:  15 yards previous spot and automatic first down."

Given that, I think it was a good call.


August 31st, 2014 at 11:50 AM ^

make because the play looks like the penalty interpretation, not the actual occurrence of it upon further review. Clark did leap up and the fact that he went over the punt-block shield was because his legs were taken out the blocking backs who actually flipped him over the pile. He actually leaped between the shield members. So he got flagged, because any rule change becomes a point of emphasis in actual enforcement. 

Again, the intrepretaton of Clark's action may have been judged illegal and penalized, but, in fact, I don't think his actions actually meshed with the language of the infraction. 


September 1st, 2014 at 10:22 AM ^

I concur.  It appeared that Clark jumped up, not over the blocker  If officials can interpret Clark's actions as attempt to jump over an opponent because his trajectory was not exactly perpendicular to the surface of the playing field, it seems all the punting unit must do to secure an automatic first down is go for the legs of any defender who leaves the ground.  In no way was Clark trying to use his opponent as leverage or gain any advantage to block the punt. 


August 31st, 2014 at 9:22 AM ^

He was Charles Barkley "Turrible".  Fastest man in the stadium?  My Ass.  Or maybe Denard's.  I am sure that is what old Joey would be looking at if they were to race.


August 31st, 2014 at 10:38 AM ^

made a comment after Funchess 2nd TD, I think, that the Appalachian State players had to make that play. I was left wondering how, by growing 6 inches in the middle of the play? That was the perfect example of what Brian's been writing about that plagued our guys last year. If the QB makes the perfect throw and puts it in that 6 inch window, there's nothing you can do on defense except say nice job and move on.

Blue in Seattle

August 31st, 2014 at 1:05 PM ^

His second TD was the stiff arm to the DB. You are talking about the "grab the rebound" TD, i agree with your assessment though. The defender was exactly where he needed to be and his hand was lined up with the ball. Unfortunately Funchess reached over and in front of his hand and grabbed the ball first.


August 31st, 2014 at 9:34 AM ^

Both announcers were poor, and the camera work was even worse.  There were a lot of times where the play was not where the camera was pointed, there were not nearly enough replays and there was one time when we stuffed App St for a big loss back to their 5 yard line to bring up 4th down, the TV went to a commercial and we came back to 3rd down on the 11 yard line with no explanation of what had happened to make the previous play not count.  Someone explained on the blog that App St had called a time out just before the play, but to those of us watching on TV it went totally unexplained.


August 31st, 2014 at 11:24 AM ^

Glad this is back - love the recap.

I kinda miss the days when every UM game big enough that they didn't send the Q team out to cover it, but I kinda hope Galloway doesn't find his way back to A2 too often.

An Angelo's Addict

August 31st, 2014 at 11:53 AM ^

Awesome write up and love seeing these back up! Also, thank you for pointing out how awesome the app state players names were. Every time BoBo Beaufort (was that his name) came on the field I was dying


September 1st, 2014 at 11:17 PM ^

His fair catch could easily have bounced into our downfield blocker who would never have seen the ball. Peppers saved the yards but also the chance the ball could have bounced bad for a TO.