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Date Title Body
10/12/2009 - 6:26pm The negativity is understandable...

...after a close game in which we had a good chance at the end. But Brian's reaction is a little surprising to me, given that his own prediction in the game preview was for a 3-point Iowa win. He underestimated the point totals, but just about nailed the outcome. So why all the angst?

Hey, we're 4-2 right now with a legitimate shot at going 3-3 or better the rest of the way. Sounds to me like we're on track for hitting the center of the realistic expectations for this turnaround season.

10/12/2009 - 5:18pm Tate's game

The strong impression I got while watching the game is that Tate was fighting an internal battle between what he's been told to do by the coaches and what he's most apt to do on his own. I don't say that to fault either Tate or the coaches. He just looked to me like a guy who has been taking golf lessons, and during his swing, he's now suddenly conscious of his hips, his knees, his elbows, and his grip all at the same time.

And of course, playing QB in the Big 10, and especially in this offense, is a bit more complicated than a golf swing. I'm sure the coaches have told Tate a hundred times that they want him carrying the ball fewer times per game, dancing around less in the pocket, etc, etc, which is to say nothing of making the right reads, checking down to the right receiver, and everything else.

It's understandable that this could lead to a young man's "thinking too much." Midway through the season now, I would guess the coaches are taking a harder line with Tate, whereas in the first few games he was given more latitude to just be himself and follow instinct.

Brian talked about "the leap" having been made in offensive production, in an article a few weeks ago. I think this is the second leap that we can look for -- that Tate and also Denard develop the maturity and consistency that is needed at this level. Pure speed and escapability can make some plays and even win some games, but this second leap will be needed to compete for championships.

10/12/2009 - 4:02pm Thanks gs

You've got your priorities straight.

10/01/2009 - 12:53pm I just take it as...

evidence of how much yardage our D was giving up on 1st and 2nd down, on several of their scoring drives. More than 5 yards per play, consistently.

I am also glad Bill Lynch didn't get more aggressive on the handful of opportunities where he had 4th-and-5 (or less) in the red zone during that first half. He went for the field goal each time. Hard to say whether Indiana would have ended up with more points or fewer overall with that approach, but I'm guessing they could have gotten one more TD in place of a FG.

Lynch's risk profile in this game was interesting. Lots of trick plays and formations and wildcat stuff, which were by-and-large successful against us, but they really tended to play it safe on 4th down in the red zone.

09/30/2009 - 6:01pm Stevie Brown

Stevie Brown should always have been a linebacker.

But I for one am glad to see him still contributing on special teams too, where he has consistently excelled since his earliest games at UM. He made a difference in that area against IU.

I think it has been advanced before, but who's for "Special Teams UFR?" As Brian has already explained elsewhere, STs were a big part of the story on Saturday, for field position and hidden yardage.

09/30/2009 - 4:59pm First Half

23 points allowed on ZERO successful third down conversions in the first half. (OK, so IU converted a fourth and short.) That is a bit... unsettling. Maybe the source of a new "getting gashed" metric?!

09/28/2009 - 1:28pm D = Casey at the Bat

It seems to be either a TFL or a 7+ yard gain -- home run or strikeout, and not much in between. Way too many strikeouts on Saturday. Indiana put up 23 first-half points without converting a single third-down opportunity.

09/28/2009 - 1:14pm This sounds right

On that play, notice our front four shifting before the snap with B-Graham changing sides. Indiana appeared to counter by moving their H-back to the short side and running that way.

09/27/2009 - 11:57am A win is a win is a win

But yeah, lots of echoes of 2008 in this one. Negative turnover margin, yakkety sax snaps, two quarters of ineffective offense, and a mostly porous defense. I think UFR or Steve Sharik will show that the 85-yd touchdown run was again due to a bad angle by our walk-on safety. Last year it would have been a loss.

But many good things happened as well. Tate obviously played with enormous heart and courage, putting mistakes behind him and directing the winning drive with a shoulder stinger or partial sep or whatever it ends up being. Among guys who don't get much press, Van Bergen and Kevin Grady had moments where they stepped up with fire and determination.

This game was like the old cliche about a good movie: it put you through every emotion from pure rage to pure joy, and in the end you were glad for the experience. The team will continue to gel through stuff like this.

09/25/2009 - 4:57pm Haven't seen the x-rays, but...

Molk's injury sounds exactly like the one I suffered playing basketball as an 8th grader (close to 30 yrs ago). It was a stress fracture of the bone along the outside edge of the foot, about midway between the little toe and the heel.

For me it happened as I was playing defense, shuffling to my right, and the offensive player started to drive in that same direction. He stepped on my foot/ankle just as I planted, causing my foot to roll under with his weight and mine on it.

I was able to finish practice just as Molk was able to finish the game, but it was hurting pretty bad within a couple hours, and definitely affected weight-bearing ability and lateral movement. I was out 4-6 weeks and missed most of the season. There was a well-known college hoops player in the Grand Rapids area who had the same injury and was seeing the same podiatrist I was at the time.

FWIW. Not saying this is Molk's exact problem, but I can identify.

09/25/2009 - 4:03pm Don't forget Iowa 2005

My memory of the OT victory over Iowa in 2005 is that John Thompson and Jerome Jackson basically won the game for us, although it wasn't a single spectacular play for either of them.

09/25/2009 - 3:38pm Pardon me

Brian, your superstitions are showing. :-)

Brandon Graham never sacks anyone again.

Didn't we try this approach once before with liveblogging?

09/23/2009 - 6:07pm Enjoyed this...

...especially since I remember all those other guys from years ago.

Having Tate available and at his best makes it a lot easier to bear with D-Rob's more freshman-like flubs, but we have to also keep in mind Tate's 6-8 months of additional time in the program due to early enrollment. Both will keep getting better, and I'm with the others around here who look forward to more offensive sets that put both of them on the field together. You half-expect a big play every time #16 trots out there.

Relative to 2008, the improved QB play is obviously a huge factor in this year's success. The other two key problems on offense last year were turnovers and tempo (i.e. failure to achieve it), and those have been measurably better as well.

09/22/2009 - 8:59pm Home and away

How many of our 4-0 starts had all four games at home, as we do this year? Losing the first road game of the season is hardly unfamiliar territory.

09/21/2009 - 2:52pm About the LB/DE playing time

I'm wondering how much of the PT decision is made by RR himself, and how much by GERG or the position coaches. RR has the well-publicized soft spot for walk-ons; have the other coaches (voluntarily or otherwise) also bought into that? Are the scholarship guys just not earning it during the week?

09/20/2009 - 7:32pm Roh's pick: definite lol moment

I was wondering which game they were both watching on the booth monitors at that point, because it wasn't the one in Ann Arbor!

09/20/2009 - 7:28pm Couldn't tell...

...whether the EMU defender got his shoelaces or it was just a turf monster.

Not that it matters for anything, but did anyone else think CB's TD that got reviewed/confirmed wasn't really a TD? I was looking at it with single-frame step on my DVR, and thought the ball was about 6 inches short of the goal line when his entire leg was already on the ground.

I found myself disagreeing with the review official 2 or 3 times during this game, and of course also with the PI call on Booboo.

09/20/2009 - 11:07am Hail, Kevin Leach

Leach ended up leading the team in tackles against EMU.

09/18/2009 - 7:14pm I tend to agree

I wish the foul had been flagged during the game.
I wish RR would have done "something" by way of a statement, refering to stairs, Barwis-torture, or "internal discipline" appropriate to the offense.

And after neither of those things happened, I wish the B10 would have responded with private arm-twisting rather than public conviction. This is, in my opinion, just grandstanding and opportunism by the conference office. And it sets a bad precedent.

09/18/2009 - 6:58pm It's not moral equivalence

Rather, it's evidence of the First Axiom of Self-Preservation, observed by nearly all bureaucrats at nearly every level:
Whatever else you may do, first and foremost try to make yourself look relevant and good.

09/18/2009 - 3:27pm I want...

- More passing attempts than rushing attempts for D-Rob
- Sightings of Sheridan, the Coner, and Conover on the field
- No touchdowns allowed
- FIFTY points scored by us

09/17/2009 - 5:08pm It would only be fair...

...for Zoltan to take up as Vice Weapon Of Choice, since Tate has already made an appearance as Vice Space Emperor.

09/17/2009 - 2:31pm w00t for...

...non-whiffed TE blocking.

09/16/2009 - 7:13pm Remaining steps

Ah yes, with 11 of 13 steps to go (or 10 of 12, if you prefer), as one of our "mathletes" was quoted as saying this week, "there's more than 90% of the season left to play." He undoubtedly studied at the feet of Yogi Berra. :-)

Putting on my Capt. Obvious hat... Defense wins championships. An explosive offense means you'll be competitive in most games, and will win some.

The sense of foreboding I had after two games last year is not present this year. Barring injury in our key positions, I don't really dread the thought of watching any of the remaining games in '09. But I'm not looking for a B10 championship either.

09/14/2009 - 10:47am I like it

Moosebeasts, half-velcro guys, dwarves, and baling wire. Oh, and space punters. My kind of contraption!

09/10/2009 - 8:53pm Why not Tay...

Tay Odoms was unexpectedly quiet last week, after being the leading offensive producer in 2008. I was surprised that Grady-19 was doing most of the slot/electron stuff against WMU.

09/10/2009 - 4:49pm The Koger TD

One other little detail maybe worth noting on the waggle TD pass to Koger: they ran it to the left, resulting in a tougher throw for Tate as a right-hander. Really nicely done, and all the more impressive given that little difficulty factor. IIRC the old Griese-to-Tuman version usually had the QB rolling right.

01/22/2009 - 1:51pm You're most likely right

Prob'ly true, but every once in a while, money and prestige take a back seat to geography, family happiness, or whatever other "personal issues" may be in play for these high-profile guys. GR himself went from the pros back to the college game.

01/22/2009 - 1:35pm Missed out on Trgovac

ESPN is reporting today that Mike Trgovac is leaving as D-coordinator of the Carolina Panthers. Guess we missed out on a chance at bringing him back to Ann Arbor by a couple days.

12/09/2008 - 2:20pm Thanks

Glad you enjoyed it!

12/09/2008 - 2:14pm I agree Ernis

but Michigan Football coaches are among those public figures whose behavior is scrutinized far beyond anything that makes sense (by those who have to sell a story and profit from the misfortunes of others). All the more so for RR, given his rocky transition from Morgantown to AA. Coaches earning the big bucks do need to sort that out for themselves and be mindful of it as part of their responsibilities -- even if it isn't really sane. You can scream at your players, but not at a waitress.

12/08/2008 - 8:49pm In a sane world...

Nobody who knows anything about football, or about the specifics of the situation at Michigan, should be calling for RR to be fired after one season. As long as he demonstrates some improvement in the coming seasons and doesn't create a Moeller-esque scandal, RR should have at least a 3-4 year honeymoon period.

12/08/2008 - 8:22pm Ha! That's pretty funny...

Heh heh, no, it was nothing so... um, exotic. I just meant that we had a farm, but nobody in the family depended on it for their livelihood. We had some livestock and planted corn and hay for a while, but all of it was more a hobby or lifestyle choice than a way to make money.

12/08/2008 - 5:27pm thanks

Thanks for your comments. Writing about personal memories and experiences is always a bit dicey, as you don't know whether readers will identify with the material or just find it dorky. So I'm glad you got something out of it!

11/25/2008 - 5:57pm You Couldn't Be More Wrong

Wow, I didn't quite see that one coming. But c'est la vie on the internets, I guess. Certainly no offense was intended.

For the record, I'm neither racist nor from Ohio, and I'm of the opinion that if we all can't laugh a bit at ourselves and our differences, we stand very little chance of overcoming them.

Flag down Brian and get him to wield the ban-hammer if you're that exercised about it, but I can tell you as someone who has about a dozen close relatives representing two races different from my own, reality is quite different from what you imagine -- at least in this case.

11/19/2008 - 3:00pm It's even worse than that...

The media don't just fabricate the news. They are people who day-in and day-out are seeking to profit from the misfortunes of others.

I implemented your "STOP IT" strategy myself about 10 years ago, and have not regretted it.

11/14/2008 - 8:28pm Whaddya expect?

It's just so rare than we can catch Brian in an obvious error! Why, here it's as easy as throwing an accurate bubble screen. Oh wait...

11/14/2008 - 8:24pm Amateur Hour (another for Opong-Owusu)

Couldn't resist when this came to mind, for Opong-Owusu:

If a bigger star
Hawaiian War Chant would change
to recite your name

11/12/2008 - 8:08pm turning point

I mean this in the best possible way, but a good number of us thought the turning point was the Wisconsin game. Then came Toledo...

I think what the Minnie game showed was that if we can get a solid team effort from the defense, plus one standout (or much-better-than-expected) performance on offense, we can win -- and win convincingly at that.

What's the hallmark of freshmen at critical positions? In a word: inconsistency. They've got the raw tools, but not the experience or discipline. I don't look for the inconsistency to go away in the remaining two games this year.

09/29/2008 - 4:13pm For this week...

John Thompson for Kick Returner.

Could it really hurt?