Hello everyone, Six Zero here with a new installment of:
SIX QUESTIONS WITH MAGNUS
Inspired by the official site’s “Two Minute Drill” series and TomVH’s famous Q&A segments with potential recruits, this weekly feature highlights some of the more famous personalities here at MGoBlog. Without pulling back the infamous veil of blog anonymity, we’ll get to know some of your favorite posters better and possibly shed some light on their definition of why it’s so darn Great, To Be, A Michigan Wolverine.
Before we begin today, I'd like to thank Tim for the Diarist of the Month recognition. But really, all the thanks should go the featured members, not me-- they're
the ones that honestly make these so fun to read. (No homo.)
+1 to Oregon Alum for correctly predicting this week’s entry. Yes, of course it’s about time we featured the one and only Magnus. Treasured by many, hated by a select few, respected by all… Magnus plays a very specific role in the hallowed halls of MGoBlog—and to my surprise it wasn’t easy to put a finger on exactly
what that role is. And that seemed like the perfect place to
start in this exclusive MGoProfile interview:
1. It’s strange… I couldn’t imagine an MGoBlog without your two cents, and yet, unlike Mathlete or Jamiemac, it’s hard for me to nail down your specialty. So, in your own words, what role does Magnus play at MGoBlog?
Well, it all depends on perspective. From my perspective, I'm a fact-checking, football-loving, generally level-headed fan who spends too much time on the internet. To many readers, I'm a pot-stirring Devil's advocate. I'm sure the true answer lies somewhere between those two extremes. Regardless, I like to think that I have an eye for football talent and schemes, along with an ability to relate those observations in terms that can be easily understood by experienced and novice fans alike. I'm also funny on occasion, but that usually only happens late at night when I'm lonely, trying to woo female Brian Posehn doppelgangers on eHarmony.
(Note: I simply cannot express how disappointed and confused I became after actually googling ‘Brian Posehn,’ but I suppose that’s another story). How did you discover MGoBlog? And, given someone who patrols these waters, so to speak, what do you like best and/or least about our community?
I discovered MGoBlog during the 2006 football season. I had been writing blog posts about Michigan football on MySpace, but none of my friends cared because most of them were MSU fans. After I wrote a post about how deep Michigan's backfield was behind Mike Hart, none of my friends commented. Actually, I think one of my female friends commented and said, "I like reading your blogs, but when I see that they're about football, I stop reading." So I decided I needed to find some more like-minded individuals. The thing I like best about MGoBlog is the variety of contributors. We have bloggers, coaches, Mathletes, Facebook stalkers. I think there's even a girl or two. If someone has a question, the answer is only a forum post away. Least liked is the meltdowns. I didn't really "arrive" on MGoBlog until halftime of the 2007 Michigan-Northwestern game. Haloscan was going nuts when Michigan was down 16-7 at intermission, and I called everyone "pussies" for the ways they were acting - renouncing Michigan fandom, calling for Lloyd Carr's head, etc. The game wasn't even close to being over, but I'm pretty sure I was threatened with death. Meanwhile, Michigan scored 21 unanswered points in the second half and won the game, 28-16.
2. Ah yes, the vortex of negativity that is the LiveBlog. From what I’ve seen, you haven’t posted your own diaries since somewhere around the Shavodrick Defection. Certainly this has much to do with the creation of touchthebanner.blogspot. Tell us about the formation of the blog, and how it stands out from other blogs about Michigan football.
My blog posts on MGoBlog were met with some ill will. People reacted negatively to my "Pink Slips" series, which tried to identify weak links on offense and defense. They thought I was being too negative about players, but I was also saying, "Hey, I think this backup might be pretty good." Then Shavodrick Beaver, a 2008 quarterback who was supposed to enroll early, spurned U of M for Tulsa at the eleventh hour. The board went crazy, and I responded by essentially saying, "Let's all calm down. Forcier is better, and we still have until February to pick up another QB in this class, anyway." People weren't too happy with my mindset. Of course, the guy who replaced Beaver was Denard Robinson, who's arguably the team's most exciting player going into 2010. After that I started posting at Touch the Banner more often. I'm no computer whiz, but I figured I'd show off my Neanderthal programming skills and mediocre football knowledge over there. That way MGoBloggers wouldn't have to read my opinions unless they found them worthy of visiting another site. It gives me the freedom to say what I want, and I try to make it different by offering analysis on current and potential Wolverines. I also created an offer board that attempts to track every Michigan scholarship offer, which I hadn't seen elsewhere. Brian does a great job with his UFRs, which I devour, but I try to offer a different perspective. It's also a chance for me to make predictions - about game outcomes, player development, etc. - and check later to see if I was right.
Sounds like coachspeak. You’re a coach, correct? Tell us—why football? What makes football the king of the jungle?
Yes, I've been coaching football for several years now. Football is the quintessential test of overall athleticism. Speed, leaping ability, hand-eye coordination, strength, courage, spatial intelligence, endurance. And on any given play, you might get the chance to demolish someone and make him forget his birthday. It's also a test of leadership. I've been on and coached some teams with all kinds of talent but poor leadership, and the results have been less than satisfactory. I learn way more about a kid by how he practices, how he treats his teammates, how he responds to coaching, and how he reacts to pressure than seeing him in class every day.
3. Many Bothan spies died to give us the knowledge that our own Magnus, so named for his resemblance to a fearsome Viking warrior, was indeed once a member of the Glee Club. Tell us about this experience and how it relates to your passion for Meeshigan football.
I've always taken pride in trying to be a well rounded individual. When I was in high school, we had quarterbacks, linebackers, and linemen in choir. I was never embarrassed to be a singer. And I'm an ugly guy, but any fella in a tuxedo looks just a little less repulsive. So when my high school choir director found out I was going to U of M, he recommended that I join the Men's Glee Club. Much like MGoBoard, there were guys with all kinds of interests who had a singular passion. One had been a walk-on football player. Another works for the Obama administration. Another joined the Armed Forces. And on football Saturday mornings, 20 to 30 of us would walk around to tailgate parties, sing Michigan songs, and try to sell our CDs. All those songs you hear the marching band play on Saturdays? Glee Clubbers might be the only people in the stadium who actually know all the words . . . and are dorky enough to sing them.
Hey, I have a UM Glee Club CD that gets played often during the months of September and November (I’m a big fan of “Go Blue, Let’s Go Blue!”), and there's nothing like rockin' out with that ol' thing on a Friday morning to get you good and nuts about the next day's game. And you can all quote me on that.
4. So when you’re not reciting the words to the second verse of “Varsity,” what do you like to do for fun on your own time?
Like I said above, I pride myself on at least attempting to be a well rounded individual. I work out six days a week when it's not football season, and I'm beginning the process to become a personal trainer. My girlfriend and I hike the nearby mountain trails. I sing in a choir, and I just started singing in a rock cover band - Tom Petty, White Stripes, Oasis, Radiohead, the Toadies, etc. I go to a lot of concerts and read music magazines like Magnet and Paste. The sound quality of an mp3 is atrocious, so I refuse to go digital; I have 600+ CDs and counting. One of my goals for this summer is to read a book a week. I tend toward fiction like Chuck Palahniuk and Bret Easton Ellis, but I also have a fascination with Mafia memoirs and instructional football literature. The only thing I won't try at least once is jumping from something high in the air. If God had intended for us to fly, he would have made the ground softer.
Sweet—you had me at Radiohead. Describe the perfect meal.
Well, my mother is Italian, which means she knows how to cook. The meal would start with a recipe for chili that she commandeered from a local Coney Island. It's not soup so much as it's spicy, liquid meatloaf. That would be followed by her lasagna and meatballs. The dessert would be my grandfather's homemade cannoli with chocolate chips in the cream, along with my grandmother's two-layer banana cake with cream cheese icing.
5. Great, now I'm literally drooling all over my 2007 Student Shirt here. Can you explain why you are a Michigan fan?
An elementary school friend asked if I wanted to go with his family to a game one Saturday, and I took him up on it. I still have the ticket stub. On November 4, 1989, Michigan crushed Purdue, 42-27. The only three guys I remember from that game are Leroy Hoard, Tony Boles, and Erick Anderson. I remember thinking, "My entire town could fit in this stadium." Actually, my entire hometown could have fit in Michigan Stadium four times over, but I don't think I knew my times tables at that point. So I was hooked. Some of my best childhood memories are from my entire family sitting down on New Year's Day to watch the Rose Bowl or the Orange Bowl or the Outback Bowl and watching Michigan play. It meant so much to me, my mom even looked up from her Ladies Home Journal two or three times a half. She just liked to see the rest of us happy when Michigan won.
6. Finally, the staple last question-- who's your all-time favorite Wolverine?
This is probably a cliche, but Tom Brady. He was just so cool under pressure, like against Alabama in the Orange Bowl. Brady threw the ball 46 times in that game, and he completed 34 of them, with four TDs, to win in overtime. That game was unbelievable. And from my perspective, it helps that he staved off Drew Henson for the QB job. I played against Henson when he was a Brighton Bulldog, and he beat us late in the game. I still hold a grudge against him for that. You too, Dave Pearson.
Drew Henson… it took me a long time to forgive him for skipping town for the Bronx bombers. Any specific stories about playing against Henson, Pearson, or any other Wolverines??
In the lead-up to our playoff game against Henson, there was literally a preview headline that referred to him as "God." On Brighton's first series, he hit a wide receiver named Steve Schaft on a slant route that went about 65 or 70 yards for a TD. Henson didn't do a whole lot for most of the rest of the game. They kept running a fullback dive out of the shotgun and we were stuffing it all day. The story goes that he drew the following play up on the sideline during a timeout: Near the goal line late in the game, they ran another fullback dive, but Henson pulled the ball out and ran around right end for a TD. I doubt that play wasn't already in the playbook, but that's how the legend goes. Dave Pearson didn't do anything special except hit me really hard. He was large.
Given that the guy’s recently cracked the 24,000+ MGoPoints barrier, it goes without saying that he does his fair share of posting and then some. And, really, I think that’s where Magnus does his best work—walking a fine line between humor and documented fact, displaying a well-above-average understanding of the game, questioning validity when needed, and holding all of us to a reasonable standard of intelligence, credibility, and yes, even grammar. He’s a stamp of authenticity, and a voice that stands out in the crowd. He’s the guy three rows behind you who yells out everything that you’re thinking during the game. He’s the gray-haired celebrity judge on Iron Chef America who isn’t necessarily liked by everyone, but is nonetheless respected because he knows his business. He’s freakin’ Magnus, and around here
we all understand what that is.
And yet, for a guy who deals in such high volume, it’s surprising how little we know about him. I enjoyed gaining some new perspective on the guy behind the wisecracks and the insight, and realizing that there’s much more iceberg below the water that we just can’t see. I guess that could be said about all of us, and that’s what
these Profiles are all about, Charlie Brown.
I’ll see you all next week for another edition of MGoProfile!