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Date Title Body
10/14/2018 - 6:14am Jim Harbaugh likes to spend…

Jim Harbaugh likes to spend the season gradually developing certain concepts to spring surprises on key opponents.

Wait.  I was assured by a poster over on Touch the Banner -- in a most condescending way -- that holding back certain looks and plays was a really, really stupid thing to do, and that no good football coaches do that.  And yet here you suggest Harbaugh did just that. :-)

FWIW, I think Harbaugh did do that, and for two reasons: (1) to spring on key opponents, as you say, and (2) to allow the offense to mature to the point where the play could be successful.  The offense has come a long way since Notre Dame.  

Does "OMW" stand for "Oh, my word?" :-)

10/08/2018 - 8:29am Or only x'250' if you are…

Or only x'250' if you are sensitive about your age and wish to express it in base-16 (hex).

10/06/2018 - 8:36pm And he's a terrific blocker…

And he's a terrific blocker coming out of the backfield.  He's productive in all facets of a FB's role.

10/06/2018 - 11:33am Oh yeah! That's a hearty…

Oh yeah! That's a great lunch right there.

10/06/2018 - 10:29am Strange that Florida St. at…

Strange that Florida St. at Miami is now an afterthought.  This was one of the "games of the year" in the '80s / '90s.

That was some great football back then.  The speed of the game was so far above Big Ten play it was like watching two different games.

10/06/2018 - 10:25am I'll go toe-to-toe with…

I'll go toe-to-toe with anyone who says fried bologna is anything but delicious. With a big slab of onion.  Toasted bun.  And a beer.  In a bar with a big TV with the game on.

10/03/2018 - 6:00am They love their Mountaineers…

They love their Mountaineers here in West Virginia.  Perhaps best of all: they really don't have any expectations of WVU being national championship caliber.  It's a fairly healthy fan relationship, from what I've seen.

09/29/2018 - 10:22am It's almost impossible to…

It's almost impossible to make a noon game in September look compelling.  From a visual perspective, noon games get more interesting the later into fall it is -- there's something about the angle of the sun, and the stands with people bundled up.  Night games trump day games visually.

09/29/2018 - 10:11am "That must be the tequila…

"That must be the tequila talking."

If talk is all it does, then he's doing okay.  It's when tequila does other things that trouble starts ...

(I once drank nearly a half-bottle of tequila at age 17.  Can't stand the stuff to this day.)

09/29/2018 - 9:42am The 2011 Notre Dame game…

The 2011 Notre Dame game under the lights at Michigan Stadium rivaled a white out, in my opinion.  I wasn't there, but the effect as viewed on a TV screen was electric, so I have to assume it was all that and more in person.  I will never forget the sight of a 100,000 maize pom-poms being waved in unison to the beat of The Victors.

09/29/2018 - 9:31am For some reason my main…

For some reason my main concern is for the natural grass surface.  I have it in my head Michigan does not play as well on natural turf as artificial.  I'm hoping my concerns are totally unfounded.

09/28/2018 - 3:26pm To this day I vividly recall…

To this day I vividly recall the 1975 Northwestern game, where Michigan prevailed 69 - 0.  By the end it was a raw, wet day and a lot of people had left.  To me -- 16 years old and rabid in my Michigan fandom -- it was glorious.

09/28/2018 - 3:19pm "the upper right hand…

"the upper right hand quadrant of its campus around where the bell tower is - it's picture perfect gorgeous"

Agree.  That's the "original" campus ... before they expanded post WWII with mostly cookie-cutter buildings composed of non-descript brick, glass, and lots of horizontal lines.

I was last there about 30 years ago.  Google Earth shows it way more built up than I recall it being from that era.

09/28/2018 - 3:14pm 50% of the grade is based on…

"50% of the grade is based on student surveys."

And "self-reported" at that.

Weighting:

50% - Self-reported student survey
15% - Campus food grade
15% - Campus housing grade
15% - Local housing grade
5% - Safety grade

09/27/2018 - 4:24pm Great to see Hutchinson…

Great to see Hutchinson doing so well so early.  

09/27/2018 - 2:31pm That's up there with the…

That's up there with the University of Washington ...

09/27/2018 - 2:22pm Agree ... this is top-notch…

Agree ... this is top-notch content.  I really like Seth's writing style.

09/24/2018 - 1:35pm That was a wonderfully…

That was a wonderfully enjoyable podcast.  Thanks for helping me get through a long layover in the Charlotte airport.

The podcasts are definitely getting more polished and snappier as the season goes on.  Very nicely done.  

09/23/2018 - 2:17pm If he doesn't have buy-in…

If he doesn't have buy-in from some of the players, he'll soon have players that do buy-in ... and those that won't will be gone.  Nebraska's 2018 recruiting classes was 23rd nationally, 4th in the Big Ten, and just a notch behind Michigan.  Of the 23 enrollees, 8 were from Florida, 3 from California, 3 from Texas, 2 from Georgia, and 2 from Alabama.  Only 1 was from Nebraska, so they're definitely going outside their borders to get talent.  2019 is shaping up to be similar in terms of national and Big Ten ranking.

 

09/23/2018 - 12:38pm Okay, how about like…

Okay, how about like Michigan losing to Ohio State 42-7 in 2008?

09/23/2018 - 12:05pm Probably the same feeling I…

Probably the same feeling I had watching Michigan lose to Mississippi State 52-14 in the 2011 Gator Bowl.

09/23/2018 - 9:05am "When he gets going, he’s…

"When he gets going, he’s thunder."

The quote of the press conference.

09/22/2018 - 7:03pm Frost is cleaning up a mess…

Frost is cleaning up a mess.  He ran into a buzzsaw today.  He'll get Nebraska back to being a good team.  Great?  Time will tell.

09/19/2018 - 7:28pm I'm serious.  It's all in…

I'm serious.  It's all in how quickly a guy can shift to the higher gear.  Denard Robinson was also a 4.3 40 guy, but he was wicked fast in steps 2 through 6.  That's when he'd leave would-be tacklers looking silly.  Watching the video of Dax Hill it looks like he's got that extra gear he goes to when he's turning the corner.  It's also what he'll use to fool quarterbacks to think a window is big enough, but Hill will close it more quickly than expected ... and thus INT.

So, "sneaky speed"  = fast top-end speed and that extra gear to get past pursuit angles, fool guys trying to beat him to a corner, get interceptions, etc.

09/19/2018 - 2:39pm Oh my goodness ... that…

Oh my goodness ... that speed relative to everyone else is amazing.

Harbaugh has got to be thinking, "Two way player."  Has to be.

The jet sweep may just work with Dax ... he looks like he has sneaky speed.

09/19/2018 - 10:56am I've never seen the inside…

I've never seen the inside of a football weight training room, so everything I write here is just me being a guy on the internet banging on a keyboard ...

If I were to guess, I'd say it's a question of priorities.  Given the somewhat limited time an athlete can spend in the gym (in other words, I don't think it's restricted by the NCAA like practices are), other activities take a higher priority.  They look for guys who have natural lateral agility, and they'll accept whatever that ability is.  

Maybe ... I don't know.  Given how important it is to be able to move side-to-side, you'd think they'd alter their priorities for guys playing tackle.

09/19/2018 - 10:36am Then there's also the…

Then there's also the ability to move laterally quickly.  Some of that can be worked on and taught, but the rest is likely what's built into a guy that size.  For an example of someone not agile laterally, see those GIFs of the poor FSU guard-made-a-tackle guy.  Bless his heart, he tries to move in step with the DE coming off the edge, but he falls way short.

09/18/2018 - 6:31pm I saw a film study of…

I saw a film study of Peppers for his final year at Michigan, and the gist of it was Brown needed Peppers' speed to help contain the edge.  Hence he didn't put up flashy TFL or sack numbers.  What he was doing was helping make the Michigan defense better overall by plugging a hole Brown needed plugging.

09/18/2018 - 4:36pm If they drop Rutgers and…

If they drop Rutgers and Maryland, and decide they simply must bring two others in, then I could make an argument for West Virginia and Pitt.  I'm not saying that's better than just dropping RU and MD.  But I like the geographical balance of it.  And the renewal of the Backyard Brawl.

09/18/2018 - 2:20pm You're generous with a…

You're generous with a number of "40ish".  I'd put the number somewhere under 20 for teams with a plausible chance of appearing in the four team playoff over the next five years.

09/18/2018 - 9:47am I'm in the NE and it's been…

I'm in the NE and it's been 80%+ every single day since Aug 1

I'm in central WV and it's been the wettest summer any of the old-timers here can remember.  Rain almost every day since May.  A few days here or there without ... and the farmers were working until dark to get hay up.  

I'd love to hear from a meteorologist what seasonal weather pattern shifted this year to bring so much moisture, both here in WV and for y'all up in the NE.  It seems the weather map shows a line of rain from Tennessee up through WV, PA, and NY almost every day.  Jet stream?  Mgoweather?

09/18/2018 - 8:47am There's an acronym for it --…

There's an acronym for it -- EAMC (Exercise Associated Muscle Cramps).  That according to the National Institutes of Health (link).

Interesting start to a paragraph a bit down in the article: "The clinical presentation of EAMC is easily recognized, but its cause continues to be unresolved."

This is offered: "The dehydration–electrolyte imbalance theory is the most common among health care professionals."  But then: "Overall, the dehydration–electrolyte imbalance theory has limitations" (it goes on to list some of the limitations).

In the summary: "It is likely that the cause of EAMC is multifactorial."

Conclusion: nobody knows for certain.

PS -- a hat-tip to Hotel Putingrad above ... pickle juice is referenced in that article.

 

09/18/2018 - 6:45am I also listen to the games. …

I also listen to the games.  Early in the SMU game there was a play where I started to count off the seconds between Brandstatter's first words and when he got around to letting me know what actually happened.  One Mississippi ... two Mississippi ... three Mississippi.  It was well over 10 seconds before he finally mentioned yards gained, and several seconds later before he got around to mentioning the down and distance.

This is not common.  I listen to other football games on Sirius radio, and every other broadcast team I hear comes across as crisp, concise, and professional.  I have nothing against Brandstatter personally, but he's simply not a good play-by-play announcer.  Michigan should get a real play-by-play guy and let Brandstatter and Dierdorf do color.

09/17/2018 - 9:27am throw it 7 to 8 feet in the…

throw it 7 to 8 feet in the air

In the end zone, yes; elsewhere be careful if there's a safety roaming around behind Gentry ... slight overthrows or tipped balls could become interceptions.

09/16/2018 - 12:48pm I also see the defense…

I also see the defense misses Mo Hurst!

The more I watch college football, the more I come to understand the importance of a defensive line that gets into the backfield and disrupts plays.  Hurst was that guy.  Remember when Auburn beat Oregon for the NC?  Nick Fairley was the guy.  When Clemson pasted Ohio State 31-0 in the playoff game, I recall thinking how dominant Clemson defensive line was in that game.

Without that guy a halfway decent offensive line gives the QB a few seconds, and that's all a good quarterback needs.

09/16/2018 - 11:39am I'll offer what Thunder…

I'll offer what Thunder/Magnus has over at Touch the Banner:

When Michigan goes to its trips looks right now, it looks like a team that is just dabbling in the spread. ... They put three wide receivers out there, run inside zone, and use the antiquated playbook of a high school staff that had no idea how to throw the ball effectively.

09/15/2018 - 9:58am Two laugh-out-loud moments…

Two laugh-out-loud moments here: (1) the line about listening to Josh Groban, and (2) the #DIV/0! prediction.  Fantastic stuff.

I sense a revived determination in Harbaugh.  This game is going to be something like 56-3.  Prediction: Patterson throws 20+ passes in this game.

09/14/2018 - 4:27pm I like your thinking.  The…

I like your thinking.  The only flaw is I can't see SMU getting within range for three FGs to give them 9 points.  I think Michigan's D holds them scoreless through 3 quarters, and if they score at all, it'll be 3 or 7 very late in the fourth.

09/13/2018 - 11:35am That could be a money…

That could be a money-raising activity for the university, with proceeds going to a scholarship fund or something:  sell a very limited number of "fly on the wall" slots to people who want to observe the behind-the-scenes of Michigan football.  Make participants sign a non-disclosure agreement, and set expectations that they're to sit quietly and not interfere.  No more than one "fly on the wall" participants in any meeting or activity.  $1000 an activity.  Heck, I might treat myself to a birthday present for that opportunity.

09/12/2018 - 9:15am I think the more interesting…

I think the more interesting question is: after Moeller, who would have been the very best candidate to take over?  An argument can be made for Carr, but I'm sure there were other innovative coaches who could have preserved the tradition and built for the future.

09/12/2018 - 7:17am His record at Michigan:

His record at Michigan:

Year  Overall   Big Ten
1990  9–3        6–2
1991 10–2       8–0
1992  9–0–3    6–0–2
1993  8–4        5–3
1994  8–4        5–3

His most aggressive call was Grbac to Howard when 4th and 1 from the 25 yard line against Notre Dame in 1991.  But I recall being in Michigan Stadium in the 92 and 93 seasons just livid because of some really passive play calling at times.  Very much "play not to lose" type calls.  His 93 and 94 seasons were not great.  

09/11/2018 - 12:07pm A variation would be to have…

A variation would be to have some set of players see action in, say, two games early, then hold them in reserve for the tougher part of the schedule.  But I think that I'm overthinking it as well.

The coaches have to have some strategy for this.  It's probably not a precise formula.

09/11/2018 - 9:18am I vividly recall the same…

I vividly recall the same moment.  I was watching a hall TV monitor at work.

9/11 will forever be one of those "where were you" moments.  

That was the day after I had put down my dog of 17 years.  It was a rough two days.

I left work at 5:00pm that night and drove on the D.C. beltway into Virginia.  Normally that's bumper to bumper, but that day I had the beltway to myself.  I saw fighter jets in the sky.  It was like something out of the Twilight Zone.  Really eerie; very memorable.

09/11/2018 - 9:05am Michigan threw 18 passes in…

Michigan threw 18 passes in the game against Western Michigan.  I would not be surprised to see a number north of 20 for the SMU game.  It won't be 40, but it won't be 15.

09/11/2018 - 8:58am A question I would like to…

A question I would like to have seen asked -- though I know for certain no real answer would be given -- is the thinking and strategy around playing freshmen under the new 4-game redshirt rule.

In the podcast the other day there was a brief discussion about that.  One approach is to take the opportunity to get the freshmen on the field in these early game.  However, that limits the opportunity to use the players later in the season if the wish is to preserve the redshirt.

I would imagine the freshmen are organized into groupings: (1) player is too good to keep off the field, so no redshirt; (2) player is really good so we may need for depth later, so use judiciously in early games; and (3) player needs further development, so let them see action in early non-conference games and then redshirt for rest of season.

I wonder what players might fall into each of those categories?

09/10/2018 - 11:54am Those are tough to judge…

Those are tough to judge because camera angle is so important.  The best camera angle they don't have: a camera mounted on the top of each upright, pointing straight up.

I'm going to guess that's why it's not reviewable: the two officials under the uprights have the best angle to judge the ball and whether it sails inside or outside.

09/10/2018 - 11:45am Enjoyable podcast!

Enjoyable podcast!

09/10/2018 - 7:50am I really enjoy these…

I really enjoy these articles.  Win or lose, it's a nice way to keep the football juices flowing into the Sunday / Monday cycle of the week.

On one of the plays that sprung for a good gain (Higdon, I think), Ben Mason came out of the FB position and blocked two guys, opening a hole on the right side to allow the gain.  I have to believe there'll be a helmet sticker or two for that play.  

I didn't watch the game (no TV where I'm at), but I listed on Sirius radio.  Dierdorf could not say enough good things about the Patterson to Peoples-Jones pass in the end zone.  I watched one of the highlight videos here and that play was a thing of beauty.  

09/09/2018 - 12:38pm For several years now my…

For several years now my evaluation criteria for Michigan has been:

Decisively beat the teams they should beat, and play competitively against better teams.

Discarding the ND game (because we don't yet know what kind of team ND really is), the WMU game gives us a sense Michigan can accomplish the first part of the equation.

Next week with SMU definitely falls into the "decisively beat" category.  It'll be interesting to see if the coaches can keep the team focused and hungry, and not get sloppy and stupid.

09/08/2018 - 4:06pm Starters in too long --…

Starters in too long -- extended live action practice?