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11/29/2017 - 6:03pm 1968 too

Both Dennis Brown and Don Moorehead were knocked out of the 1968 OSU game, and Jim Betts had to come in to play QB.  Betts became a fine safety (All Big 10 in 1970), but he wasn't ready to play QB against the #1 Bucks.

12/02/2015 - 8:41pm Warning Gary

My recollection is Bo warned Gary that Illinois didn't have a man who'd make M's 2 deep.  But wished him luck. And welcomed him back when Illinois canned him before he had had enough of a chance. And ran up some scores, too.

09/07/2015 - 9:39pm "Forward?"

The only other time I heard anyone wrote a "forward" was in connection with a baseball book by Dizzy Dean.  As Brady would say, "this is . . ."

10/27/2014 - 10:17am Dantonio knows who is his audience is...

and doesn't act like he cares what other people think.  He went to MSU to make a winning football team and he's done it with what looks like sound football knowledge and a real understanding of how to get his players  to succeed.  Part of his schtick is the "no respect" line and twisting the knife when he gets the chance, and his players and fans eat it up and holler for more.  MSU had Izzo for basketball and found the nearest thing they could to coach football after they lost Nick Saban, who was and is Dantonio in spades.  What really goes on in Dantonio's head, I don't know, but what he's doing seems to work.  Why should he try to act nobly when intimidation and bombast work so well?  .  


10/25/2014 - 9:29pm most yards is not the same as

most yards is not the same as best passing game.  As Bo put it, he'd rather have a  TD pass to win the Rose Bowl  than 350 yards against (he actually said Kansas State, but it was in 1989) nobody.

DG is a bad QB.  Whether it's because he hasn't been coached well or because he doesn't respond well to coaching, I don't know.  But he was quoted in the Freep as saying he played as well as he possibly could last year in Spartan Stadium, which indicates to me something I don't want to see on M's football team.

12/01/2013 - 9:52pm Pretty high of a great many games

Putting aside results:

1973:  OSU 10   M  10  

2013   OSU 42    M  41  

2004   MSU  37   M  45  (3OT)

2005    M  34    MSU  31

1971   Nebraska  35    Oklahoma 31     

1969    Texas 15     Arkansas   14

1986    M  24   OSU   21

1988    M  34     OSU   31

1997     OSU 14   M  20  (the wretched field conditions, of which M ought forever be     ashamed, notwithstanding)

Other Ohio State games?

For sheer joy?  1969 and 1995.   For cold satisfaction, 1976, closely followed by 1991.

1970 and 1972 weren't televised, as I recall, and I was at Army basic training for the '74 game.   As for 2006, it just misses.





11/02/2013 - 8:12pm You must be too young...

to remember Toledo, 2008

11/02/2013 - 8:07pm Ask Brady

I hope someone has the nerve to ask Brady some tough questions about why these kids got embarrassed before everybody back home.  And why his All-America and captain wasn't taught the discipline even to avoid the kind of penalty MSU had formerly been famous for and which is committed almost always out of selfishness.

09/16/2013 - 6:27pm What gets flagged for holding on runs...

Butt's block was superior until he reached around with his left arm and put it on the Akron's player's back.  The kids need to get the message:  when the zebras see the reach around hand on his back, out comes the flag, almost regardless of how it happened, not excluding the other guy spinning around to present his back.  How to avoid it?  Keep your elbows in tight and keep your hands off the other guy's back, no matter what.  If I were coaching, I'd get a switch and whenever the elbows came out, whack! across the forearms.  Holding penalties on running plays are drive killers.


09/14/2013 - 5:29pm Fundamentals, fundamentals...

Two or three plays before New 98's red zone fumble, a Toussaint run to the Akron 1 was wiped out by a holding penalty when Jake Butt inexcusably and lazily threw his left arm onto the back of the defender he had (actually, very nicely) driven into the middle of the field.  Later Gallon was nicked for holding on what would have been another nice gain for Fitz.    Holding penalties on running plays have driven me nuts since rule changes about use of hands allowed Jay Riemersma  to specialize in it.  What's so hard about keeping one's head up, elbows tucked inside, and feet beneath one's self and moving?

And just before the long pass setting up Akron's 3d TD, Akron's QB was able to scramble for a 1st down on 3d and 10 when Frank Clark thought going inside the tackle might free him for a sack instead of what actually happened, giving up outside contain.

OTOH, it might have been a useful wakeup call.   A lot of these kids needed to find out they've been doing it wrong. I'd like to think Hoke and staff already knew it.

12/06/2011 - 1:03pm Weak or balanced?

I disagree.  This is one of the strongest B1G conferences I have seen in 40 years, even if the top two aren't the 1973 Bucks and Blue (the two best Big Ten teams relative to the rest of the NCAA I ever saw:  OSU on 1-1-74 killed a very good USC team and M was idle due to  the Rose Bowl or nothing rule.     As for this year's  B1G, when did it last have this many good teams who spent nine weeks beating up each other?  Michigan, Wisconsin, State, Penn State, Nebraska,  Ohio (once it got back the suspended players), Northwestern, and Iowa are all very to pretty good teams.  Michigan and Ohio are both teams which have improved continuously during the season.   From top to bottom this B1G is better than it has been in a long time, even if there is no one (or two) dominant team(s).    

Let's be glad M has a team to be proud of and this senior class can graduate with a good taste in its mouth.  As for  Schadenfreude, that is for meaner and pettier  people than the M community I know.


08/04/2011 - 12:32pm Why gild the lily?

  • You can cheer because this program, this team, and this school care more about being worth cheering for than whether or not you're cheering. 
    • Well said, Misopogon. 
    05/30/2011 - 5:43pm Michigan bias is irrelevant

    Brandstatter's point is well made regardless of where he went to school and regardless of whether he is a fan.  Ohio State has strayed from being a University which was proud of its student athletes and worked at making their experience great (the Woody days).  Hell, Ohio State's faculty after the 1961 season voted not to permit the football team (a "national champion") go to the Rose Bowl.  After the 1940 Michigan game, the fans in the Horseshoe gave Tom Harmon a standing ovation after he single-handedly destroyed the Buckeyes, a feat of sportsmanship seldom equalled by anyone.   Those are things more to be proud of than a modern national championship fielding the likes of Clarett and Katzenmoyer.

    Yes, Michigan had some guys who weren't perfect.  Hell, they had some guys who committed felonies (after Michigan football).  But it was never a part of the coaches' plan.  Bo, Mo, and Lloyd preferred to lose rather than to shame the school. 

    This is a step toward leveling the playing field in the Big 10.  Can the SEC be that far behind?  One can only hope.


    01/13/2011 - 12:00pm thanks, but

    Thanks for your thoughtful reply.  I really was looking for information because I am genuinely befuddled as to how the program sank so far so fast. 

    Is it possible for you to be objective for a second and we can agree that the offense should be better? 

    I think it very possible that the offense will be at least similar to what it was considering the number of players eligible to return.  As for making progress, I think "objectively" a great deal of the statistics rung up were directly attributable to the remarkable individual talent of Denard Robinson, and, no, I don't expect he'll get worse.  I also think that the offense had a lot of trouble scoring against better defenses (something hardly unique to Michigan's situation, true), even to the point of near ineffectiveness (Ohio State, Mississippi State),  How was that problem on its way to solution? 

    So if you are the most jaded RR hater. You have to say the offense, defense and special teams all should improve next year barring a complete disaster. That is how they are making progress.

    What I am reading is that (1) young players will get better because growth and experience will make them so, and (2) injuries to defensive backs are largely to blame for the defensive problems of last year.  What I was looking for was an analysis of what it was that RR was doing, as opposed to a general maturation process,  that would lead to better things.  Where did I miss it?

    And, no, I didn't want him to fail, much less am "the most jaded RR hater."  That would have been unfair to all those kids who deserved to have the best coaching they could get.  My real question is whether they got that during the past three years, and, if not, why not?

    Thanks again for your reply. 

    01/12/2011 - 10:01am Rethinking DB

    Dave Brandon has been on a pretty long honeymoon.  Can anyone explain why?  The timing of the firing and the announcement in January of a "nationwide coaching search" strike me as capricious as opposed to carefully planned, unless he decided months ago to can RR and hire anyone, and when Harbaugh was unavailable, to choose Hoke, and the rest was just theater.

    I would also like to see a detailed explanation (not a set of conclusions) why RR was making progress and would have been a success soon.  Really, I would.

    Any takers?

    01/10/2011 - 11:46am No brief for the Freep

    I didn't "defend" the Free Press.  My argument is that no newspaper (or blog, for that matter) caused 3-9, 5-7, 7-6, multiple losses by embarrasing margins, a defense that probably demoralized the poor kids on the team, or Michigan fans preparing to watch their favorite team play with only the faintest hope that team might win.   Even assuming Nemesis and Loki were mendacious, can one hope that the NCAA investigators separated wheat from chaff and relied on evidence other than what was printed on litter box liners?

    As for quoting Nemesis, did you read the quote?  Even the OP would likely not have written such a paean to St. Richard, Missionary and Martyr. 

    I envy you your acquaintance with Mr. Carr.  Would you be good enough to share more of his thoughts?

    01/10/2011 - 1:35am The fault lies not in our stars...

    Michael Rosenberg and Mark Snyder can take personal responsibility for a part of Rich Rodriguez's failure

    The same Michael Rosenberg, who, when Rich Rodriguez was hired, wrote:


    Michigan hired a great coach Sunday. Not a good one, like Greg Schiano. Not a very good one, like Les Miles. A great one.

    Rich Rodriguez basically invented the spread-option offense. He has done an outstanding job by any measure at West Virginia. For years, the Mountaineers were considered well-coached overachievers under Don Nehlen, and Rodriguez has somehow improved on Nehlen’s success.

    Rodriguez fits Michigan’s most fundamental criteria: he is a proven head coach from a major conference, he is young enough (44) to potentially stay in Ann Arbor for 15 to 20 years, and he has recruited the Midwest.

    For the Michigan football fan who has complained incessantly for the last 10 years, Rodriguez might as well show up at this morning’s press conference dressed in wrapping paper and a bow.

    Have you been begging for a spread offense? Coach Rod practically invented it. Do you want a defense that can stop the spread? Rodriguez’s defense will face the spread every day in practice. Have you been begging for fresh blood? Rodriguez, with no ties to U-M, might as well come from another continent.

    That was in December, 2007.  This site's spam filter doesn't permit a link to the entire piece.

     Don't blame the newspapers.   Drew Sharp tried for years to get Lloyd Carr, or at least some of his assistants, canned.  He wasn't alone.  And Lloyd left on his own terms.

    One man is responsible for the end of the Rich Rodriguez era at Michigan.  Accept it.  Who doesn't think that Brandon started his evaluation the moment he hired on as AD?  And who really thinks Rodriguez made a strong case to stay on? 

    Now let us hope that Brandon handles the hiring better than he did the firing.

    12/11/2010 - 11:06am Extension?

    Hmmm.  DB won't say now that RR is going to be the coach in 2011 but is also contemplating an extension of his current contract, which has three years to run if M wants it to run that long?  

    12/10/2010 - 11:31am Probably the right answer

    RR is clearly an insurance policy if whatever this other option Brandon is chasing can't be worked out by January. I know people don't like it said that way, but thats the only logical explanation.

    I agree that this analysis is the most likely scenario.  If Brandon had decided to keep RR he probably would have announced it because (1) it would be better for recruiting than uncertainty, (2) it would show him to be a decisive CEO type (Brandon is clearly possessed of a non-zero vanity),  (3) it would keep the assistants focused on the task at hand instead of scrambling for their next jobs, (4) there is more than a non-zero chance RR can be successful, notwithstanding his disappointing (other words also come to mind) showing to date, and (5) it would give him and his talent scouts a full year to find another Tressel in the small schools (something Martin should have begun doing in 2005, despite LC's hope that one of his assistants would succeed him).  But DB knows a lot of alumni are very unhappy and he is a little concerned that one more year might do lasting damage to what he so felicitously calls "the brand," so if he can get a definite crowd pleaser like Harbaugh, he leaves it open.  Thus, RR's job is hanging by a thread, but the DB won't cut that thread without someone to replace him.  DB is Lincoln to RR's McClellan.

    Some people think DB is actually using the time to reflect and to think.  I am not one of them.  He is likely either using the time to find out if he can get the sexy choice in January or he is unwilling not to fire RR if the Gator Bowl is another embarrassment.  As for the second, I don't buy that, because if Penn State, Wisconsin and Ohio State weren't embarrassment enough, a debacle at the Gator Bowl won't be either.

    If DB hasn't yet decided on a course of action, even this waffling one, he's not the right man for the job.

    12/07/2010 - 10:31am How about...

    a comparison to Gerry Faust?  Terrifically successful where he was before arriving at Notre Dame, incredibly enthusiastic about having arrived at Notre Dame, and perhaps the most gentlemanly major college football coach ever to live.  Take a look at Under the Tarnished Dome.  Once, after someone, I don't recall who, unmercifully ran up the score on an outmanned Notre Dame team, he headed across the field to shake hands with that other coach.  When asked why he would do that, his reply was something like, "that's the time you most need to do it."  Gerry is quoted as having said, "I had only 26 miserable days at Notre Dame; that's when we lost. Other than that, I was the happiest guy in the world. I loved walking on the campus, loved being there, loved being a part of Notre Dame."  .  He was replaced by Lou Holtz, a very different sort.

    My point is that however wonderful Coach Rodriguez is as far as wanting to be a "Michigan Man" or  visiting the sick and comforting the afflicted, it is separate from his technical ability to help football players succeed during games.  And I have yet to see any negative comment, even from the likes of Sharp and Valenti, about his support of the Mealer family or visting hospitalized children.

    As far as Bo insisting on being supportive of the program when troubles happened, his actions showed he wasn't stubbornly insistent on a single style of play or staying the same no matter what. The man won with QBs as disparate as Tom Slade, Denny Franklin, John Wangler, and Michael Taylor.  When he arrived at Michigan he said there would be changes made, true.  Many of those were to facilities like nails instead of lockers for the coaches.  And in his first three years, his overall record was 28-5, 20-2 in the conference, and a defense which gave up 321 points in three years.

    So, does RR remind me of Bo, or what?  What.

    12/06/2010 - 4:06pm Treacle = Euphemism

    Many are embarrassed at the treacle displayed at the football team bust with the song and speech and all. (As if treacly displays weren't the standard fare at most such events.)

    "On a BBC radio program in the late 1940s, philosopher Bertrand Russell playfully conjugated an "irregular verb" as "I am firm; you are obstinate; he is a pig-headed fool" (citation below)

    More examples may be found at and;f=70;t=012294.  Doubtless more are readily found.

    As for the Kipling, it is less treacle and more akin, albeit  more masculine and literary,  to the use of Cinderella Man and It's Great to be a Michigan Wolverine, than to Groban ballads to help unite and motivate young athletes.

    Thus, If is inspiring;  Cinderella Man is ( a wee  bit)  treacly; You Raise Me Up is maudlin.

    Monday, 12-06 The Detroit News reported:

    Rodriguez was told that his speech drew a significant amount of negative reaction.

    "Has it?" Rodriguez said. "Everybody is going to have opinions on things. That's fine."

    He made clear he did not want to continue discussing the banquet.’s-Rich-Rodriguez-isn’t-worried-about-criticism--‘I-have-a-job-to-do’#ixzz17MpkqnQR

    Demonstrating he either received effective instructions or he is a fast learner.  If he does stay, let us hope it is the latter.

    12/04/2010 - 10:21am You're welcome

    Thank you for the compliment. 

    12/03/2010 - 6:48pm Did it go something like this?

    "It's my great honor and privilege to be here tonight with members of the great 1985 team and with tonight's honorees and a great senior class. 

    "The 1985 team had a great year, ending with a 10-1-1 record and a number 2 ranking, notwithstanding that they weren't ranked in the preseason top 20.  I'm proud to be here and humbled to know I share something with such a great group of Michigan men.  Here, too, are Coaches Moeller and Hanlon, and let me tell you, they are tough acts to follow.

    "Everyone knows about Denard Robinson's great play this year, and he was great and I am expecting he will get even better.  He truly deserves to have won the Bo Schembechler Award.   Steve Schilling is the first three time winner of the Hugh Rader award, which he and Dave Molk, who came back from a tough injury,  share for the 2010  season. Jonas Mouton and Mike Martin are deserving winners of the Roger Zatkoff and Dick Hatcher  defensive awards. Mark Moundros, one of our co-captains, won the Robert P. Ufer Award for being the player most like the late, great Bob Ufer in his enthusiasm and love for our great University.

    "We're also all proud of Zac Ciullo, who is this year's recipient of the Dr. Arthur Robinson Award for scholarship.  Zac will be at Michigan's Law School next year.  While Zac didn't play as much as some others, he is a valuable member of our team and it has been my great privilege to have worked with such a fine young man.

    "These young men are especially distinguished because every young man in the program is special, and for anyone to stand out from such a great group takes quite some doing.

    "I wish there was time to  name all of  the great seniors  who made this year special for me and the staff, and who provided invaluable leadership to the younger men on the team.  Every one of them deserves praise for the success we have enjoyed this year.  I know they wanted, and deserved, even more success, but any shortcomings are my fault, and not theirs.  All of them have inspired me and the staff to work harder so they may enjoy even more success in the future, and so they may share in the joy of seeing the next generation of Michigan men do well on the field.  And trust me, the hard work all these young Michigan men have done will earn them success, both on the football field and in life.

    "Tonight is about all of the young men on our team and in our program, each and every one of them, whether he's an All American,  a starter,  a member of our scout team, or a student manager.  Because they all work so hard and all of them are essential to any success the team has.  Let's have a big round of applause for all of those fine young men.

    "And tonight is also about honoring the past.  Specifically we honor a great team of 25 seasons ago.  But we also honor the traditions and the love everyone in the Michigan community has for a great University and great teams, and great people.  I am blessed to have been accepted into that community, and I pledge to do my best to be worthy of that honor.

    "And, so, to celebrate a great group of seniors and the great 1985 team, let's all rise and join in singing The Victors ! "

    Didn't it?

    11/29/2010 - 5:07pm Michaelangelo undid years of work on the Sistine...

    The genius  Buonarotti's Sistine Chapel ceiling is one of the great art works in human history.  While in progress his patron chafed and was impatient.  We, centuries after, regard it with wonder and awe.  It took a long time and was little to look at until it was finished.

    So far RR's work reminds me of that ceiling when all Michaelangelo had finished was the plaster prep for the frescoe to come.  But there is less assurance that what is to come will be reminiscent of Michaelangelo's realized vision.

    I recommend to the readers:

    As for "Tresselball," Jim Tressel is one of the great coaches in NCAA history.  He is almost what  Bo would have been had Bo had  first call on Ohio's talent. 

    11/26/2010 - 5:42pm Indisputable?

    There are certain facts that are indisputable:

    1.  Bo walked into a program that already had excellent talent and leadership.

    Yes and no.  Jim Mandich and Tom Curtis were returning all conference lettermen.  But many of the 1968 starters graduated.  Dierdorf was not a 5 star recruit (neither MSU nor OSU offered him a scholarship).  Reggie McKenzie was not highly regarded as a freshman.  Don Moorehead, Henry Hill, Barry Pierson, Marty Huff, Dick Caldarazzo, Garvie Craw, etc. were not future NFL players.  Bo and his staff had a lot to do with making them good football players.

    2.  We used to dominate a conference that was comprised of TWO major football programs and the little eight.

    Yes, and the same smart alecks who wrote that had previously written of Oklahoma and the Seven Dwarves.  The Purdue teams with Mike Phipps, Gary Danielson, and Mark Herrmann were dangerous opponents.  So were many of MSU's teams (Muddy Waters and John L. were far in the future).  Hayden Fry had some very tough Iowa teams.  Tony Dungy was a very good player at Minnesota in the early 70s.  Michigan and Ohio State were at the top, true, but they had to work hard to stay there.  And there were some serious non-conference foes in those days.  Texas A&M was well regarded, and Bo's boys beat the Curtis Dickey-George Woodard-Tony Franklin team 41-3.

    3.  We rarely contended for a national championship because of early season losses, losses to OSU, or New Year's Day heartaches.

    We didn't win a national championship because of some of those things.  Bo's teams finished in the top 10 16 of 21 years, including ten in a row (1969-1978), with a #2,  two #3, two  #4, one #5, and two #6 finishes.  I call that being in contention for a NC.

    4.  Our bowl record under Bo was abysmal.

    Granted, 5-12 is not a good winning percentage.  And I won't argue with those who say that there are no good losses.  But of those 12 losses, none were by more than 8 points.  Eight  were to teams in the top 5, three of them teams which won or shared that season's NC.  Twice the losses were the consequence of first half crippling injuries to Michigan's QBs (Lawrence Taylor took out John Wangler's knee in the '79 Gator Bowl;  Steve Smith was hurt early in the 1983 Rose Bowl).   In Bo's first bowl game he himself was in the hospital, and the team played with a marked air of depression and sadness, and even then gave up only 10 points to a #3 USC team chock full of eventual NFL talent.

    "Abysmal" is a word for the debacle versus Tennessee (17-45), the Horror, the 2007 Oregon game, and too many games in the most recent three seasons.  The last three seasons are the only ones in the last 40 in which a Michigan team has been regarded before and during any given game as having zero chance to win.  Tressel is 5-1 against Lloyd, but all of the games (except perhaps the '07 game, where it was obvious Michigan had no offense), were games, not  exhibitions where OSU was so dominant it appeared it could name the final score whenever it chose to do so.  It has reached the point where Ohio State fans don't get excited about the game.

    What's going to affect recruiting is being an embarrassment game after game.  However much Michigan's fanbase and alumni love Michigan and its traditions, a teenager in Ohio or the South won't value it any more than the average reader of this blog values the merits of reading Homer in the original Greek.  And those same teenagers aren't going to be impressed by a lack of criticism on message boards or local newspapers.  If RR keeps losing, it's going to get harder, not easier, to get athletes to come to a place they'll regard as cold, gloomy, and far from home.

    11/21/2010 - 12:55am Where's Jerry Jones?

    Why is it a good thing that the AD is on the sideline two quarters of a football game? It reminds one of Jerry Jones and Dan Snyder, neither of whom has enjoyed much resent success.


    11/20/2010 - 9:39pm Whither Barwis?

    "sometimes you miss tackles because you're just not strong enough yet."

    The roster lists 8 DL (not counting John Ferrara), 6 LBs who have been in the program since Fall, 2008 or before.   Rogers and Kovacs, too, have been in the program at least that long.  Barwis was touted as a miracle worker.  What happened?  Can someone explain?

    Wojo makes the point that once Michigan was the team that was physically dominant.  And they were.  But they aren't now.  They hadn't been in some past years.  Some contributors to this blog blamed Carr and Gittelson for that, and Barwis was supposed to be the solution. 



    11/20/2010 - 11:32am Merci Bon Voyage!

    I hope their rewards include joining in a rousing chorus or two of The Victors after today's game, next week's game, and their final game.

    We all should wish a happy lifetime for each and every one of these doughty young men.

    And a Freep commenter offered this, which rates repeating here:

    I'm a Michigan fan, but because I know this forum (and the MSU ones) have been inundated with aggressive posts both ways from opposing fans, I'm going to say that I wish every senior the best of luck in his final home game, no matter who he plays for. Playing the final game on your home field is something you rememebr the rest of your life, and I wish every player representing our state the best final home-game memory they can possibly have. Get a hit you'll remember, boys!

    Per the hated Freep, here is a longer list of M Seniors:

    DT Greg Banks

    TE Jon Bills

    OL Zac Ciullo

    WR Patrick Collins

    OL Perry Dorrestein

    LB Obi Ezeh

    OL John Ferrara

    LB Rasheed Furrha

    LB Kevin Leach

    LB Mark Moundros

    LB Jonas Mouton

    NT Adam Patterson

    S Jordan Reilly

    WR Doug Rogan

    CB James Rogers

    DT Renaldo Sagesse

    OL Stephen Schilling

    K Scott Schrimscher

    S Karl Tech

    DT Dominique Ware

    TE Martell Webb


    11/19/2010 - 5:35pm You can call a cat a fish...

    There is no such thing as a "Rivalry of the 2000s."   Fomer Supreme Court Justice and Nuremberg Prosecutor Robert Jackson, while Attorney General said in 1940 :

    “The qualities of a good prosecutor are as elusive and as impossible to define as those which mark a gentleman. And those who need to be told would not understand it anyway."

    As with a rivalry. 

    11/16/2010 - 9:02pm They were actually pretty good

    In 1985 rankings went only 20 deep.  That Illinois team had Jack Trudeau for a QB, had a regular season of 6-4-1 (with losses to USC and #10 Nebraska), and a bowl loss to Army.  The week after the tie with Michigan, Iowa beat them 59-0.  In those days, many teams fared poorly in the weeks after Bo's and Mo's boys beat the tar out of them.

    11/16/2010 - 3:30pm Thanks for this one

    That 1985 team was something special.  Note where the AP had them ranked as the season went on (the 1984 season after the loss of Jim Harbaugh had a very tough second half).   And very few of them went to the NFL.  Shows what coaching and attitude can do.  The mars on the record were a 10-12 loss (4 FG) to Chuck Long at Iowa and a 3-3 tie at Champaign.  



    Opponent Rank Date Site Result Attend.
    Notre Dame   -/13 09/14 H W 20-12 105,523
    South Carolina 19/11 09/21 A W 34-3 74,200
    Maryland 12/17 09/28 H W 20-0 105,282
    Wisconsin  5/- 10/05 H W 33-6 105,491
    Michigan State  3/- 10/12 A W 31-0 78,235
    Iowa  2/1 10/19 A L 10-12 66,350
    Indiana (HC)  4/- 10/26 H W 42-15 105,629
    Illinois  4/- 11/02 A T 3-3 76,397
    Purdue  9/- 11/09 H W 47-0 105,503
    Minnesota  8/- 11/16 A W 48-7 64,129
    Ohio State  6/12 11/23 H W 27-17 106,102
    Nebraska  5/8 01/01 1 W 27-23 72,454
    Totals 342-98 1,065,295
    1 - Fiesta Bowl, Tempe, Arizona


    Captains: Brad Cochran, Eric Kattus, Mike Mallory
    All-Americans: Mike Hammerstein, Brad Cochran
    All-Conference: Mike Mallory, Brad Cochran, Mike Hammerstein, Eric Kattus(TE), Mark Messner, Clay Miller (OT)
    Most Valuable Player: Mike Hammerstein

    Some of the other heroes:  Assistant coaches: Alex Agase, Tirrel Burton, Lloyd Carr, Jerry Hanlon, Jerry Meter, Gary Moeller, Bob Thornbladh, Elliot Uzelac, Milan Vooletich


    courtesy of



    11/10/2010 - 6:35pm Tackling

    Nice post.  Too many kids got away with bad form in high school against inferior athletes.  Too many of them also like to do what they feel are highlight reel moves.  Good tackling requires contact with the chest or shoulders and driving with the legs.  Too many kids leave their feet, either to "launch" themselves or drop to their knees in an effort to get low and get leverage.  Too many times coaches assume the kids can tackle.  And in 2007 Lloyd assumed Mallet could take a snap from under center.  And in the Indiana game, RR assumed Denard could take a snap from under center.

    But with low scholarship limits, it is hard to get practice hitting, and it is very hard to find out who the tacklers are when there is no hitting.

    10/11/2010 - 1:56pm It was Roh

    I don't think he would have made it before the pass was thrown, but he definitely came to a dead stop with nothing but grass between him and Cousins.

    06/25/2010 - 7:24pm It was Lawrence Reid

    Yes, I remember, too.  It was Lawrence Reid (not Reed), and he didn't just lateral, he flung it (underhand/sidearm)  out of bounds, demonstrating the value of the quality coaching once to be found  in Ann Arbor.

    My iconic moment is Billy Taylor rumbling down the left sideline, November 22, 1969, closely followed by Barry Pierson's punt return the same day.

    12/14/2009 - 10:09am And you think Majors didn't get a fair shake?

    In 1956 there was another candidate, too. A fellow named Brown, who was a senior at a school in upstate New York called Syracuse. And Johnny Majors was the guy who was robbed?

    The ND SID bragged about this one. The yokels who went by regions beat up each other (McDonald and Tubbs from OU and Majors from Tenn), and Hornung won after the other candidates' voters tore each other up. As for the best player, the Syracuse halfback who went on to a pretty good NFL career, there was no Heisman voter in Tennessee or any other SEC town in 1956 who would have voted for an African-American.

    Maybe they deserve to keep losing until that debt is paid in full.

    And another ND QB, John Huarte (no, there is no other reason to remember this guy) won in 1964, beating out such second-raters as Gale Sayers, Dick Butkus, Fred Biletnikoff, Floyd Little, and Tommy Nobis, among others. Of course, that year M was a Rose Bowl winner, with such players as Bill Yearby, Tom Mack, Bob Timberlake, and Jack Clancy, and more.

    11/26/2009 - 9:34am My memory is a funny thing;

    when first I saw Doyel's article, I remembered a fine phrase Barbara Tuchman used in The Guns of August to describe a British general's analysis of a defeat: "with that marvelous incapacity to admit error that was ultimately to make him a Field-Marshal, ...”

    My mother used to say, "it takes a big man to apologize when he's wrong, and a bigger one to apologize when he's not."

    Capt. Kirby York, as played by John Wayne in Rio Grande, though, said "[n]ever apologize, Mister. It shows weakness."

    More people listened to John Wayne than to my mother.

    11/25/2009 - 10:39am Michigan is more important

    than any individual, even the demigod Rich Rodriguez.

    I was under the, perhaps mistaken, impression, that the reason BM and MSC chose him, notwithstanding the contract issues, was dissatisfaction with not having been in the BCS hunt every year. Putting aside the merits of that objective, one might infer from RR's statements that he is "building a program," that he first had to tear down the old one. 2008 was a teardown year, and 2009 is year one of the rebuilding, which includes game experience for young players. Unfortunately, one cost of that is a bad senior year for those few seniors in the class of 2009-2010.

    If Rodriguez is, as the despised Michael Rosenberg wrote when he was first hired, a "great coach," things should improve quickly and drastically. When that happens, the issue of how long to keep him may change to "how long can we keep him?" That is the best situation, and I hope it comes to pass.

    If things do not improve quickly and drastically, the tougher question is how long to wait. It becomes a choice of being perceived as fickle or bull-headed, neither of which will help in recruiting a replacement, much less the effect on recruiting athletes.

    I didn't like the choice when I first heard of it, if only for the reason that I thought the contract issues argued against it. But once the choice was made, I accepted it and wished him well, because I want Michigan to succeed, for the sake of the kids who work so hard as part of the team; for the sake of the band members who work so hard at their art, so their experience is even happier; for the sake of the students, to make their years in Ann Arbor more enjoyable. Not for me; I'm old, and I've had more years of enjoyment from Michigan football than anyone has a right to expect. I saw the magical 1997 season, and I hope a new generation of Michigan men and women soon gets to see one like it.

    Last, if RR is going to win a NC, he's got to be able to get there first. It is demonstrably true that SEC and Big 12 and Pac 12 teams can beat any one Big 10 team in a bowl game. It is more questionable whether they can beat eight of them in ten Saturdays in Great Lakes region weather, and Michigan must do so even to get a chance to play in the BCS championship game.

    11/21/2009 - 4:21pm Lay off Lloyd

    Whatever Lloyd Carr's weaknesses, he did not "strip the shelves bare," a statement implying purposeful destruction. Nor did he "screw the team on his way out." Prior to the 2008 season he said he was excitedly looking forward to seeing the spread in action, but he did not "want to interfere with what Rich and the staff are trying to do..."…

    The kids today showed they do have some talent, even if they could use some physical maturation. If they had performed in Champaign and against Purdue and MSU the way they did today, things may well have been different.

    We'll see next year what the coaching staff has learned from this year's experience.

    11/21/2009 - 4:01pm The personnel showed themselves better

    than some have thought or said. Today's was a much better effort than Illinois, Purdue, or Wisconsin. The kids showed there is talent there, and it will come out more as they physically mature, provided they are coached properly on shedding blocks and tackling as well as what schemes to run. These kids have a lot of ability, much more than they have been given credit for, especially by such as Dollar Bill, who said:

    "We're in a transition and we all have to be prepared to stay the course," Martin said earlier this week. "Is our record a surprise? Sure. Do I totally support Rich? Absolutely. You don't want to make excuses, but take a look at our personnel. We have only 71 players who came here on scholarship. We've got freshman going against fifth-year seniors in a lot of places.

    "We didn't have a lot of candidates to replace Lloyd's best players in his last season."

    Today "the personnel" showed they have a lot more heart and talent than they've been credited with. A lttle physical maturation and some quality coaching, and they'll do themselves proud.

    And Brandon Graham put on a heck of a final show. Everyone who enjoys M football will miss him.

    Bill Martin, I won't miss.

    11/19/2009 - 3:15pm They actually thought well of

    Andy Katzenmoyer and Maurice Clarett.

    11/19/2009 - 3:05pm kudos to brainshall

    Well said. I don't rate awarding points, and probably never will, but well said, anyway.

    11/11/2009 - 1:15am All losses are not equal

    Well said. The win against Delaware State counts as nothing at all. The Iowa and MSU games, I submit, were pretty good efforts. But Illinois, Penn State, and Purdue were debacles, and these debacles must be limited.

    Not that there weren't debacles in the past. The 2002 Citrus Bowl was perhaps the worst effort by a Michigan team in the past 41 years, and I don't go further back because I simply don't know. The 1991 Florida State whipping was more in the nature of culture shock than anything else. Likewise the 1992 Rose Bowl loss, although that was a loss to no doubt about it steroid monsters (Steve Emtmann).

    And one more thing. RR should be saying that any blame falls on himself and the coaches, even if he and they do not deserve it, just to try to preserve the kids' confidence in their own ability to improve.

    11/11/2009 - 12:47am Well said, slappy09

    I agree with your point. But I don't think it necessary for him to concede being outcoached. Just to be encouraging about the kids on the team and saying something like he and the coaches have not yet found the way to bring those kids the success their effort deserves.

    RR should drop acting like Wouk's fictional Lt. Commander Philip F. Queeg, the man who never made a mistake.

    11/11/2009 - 12:17am How low can I go?

    I guess a lot of scorers are hillbillies offended by reading someone write Coach Rodriguez is one of them.

    11/10/2009 - 2:02pm Congrats to Brian for returning to reality

    I didn't like the RR hiring for lots of reasons, none of them particularly relevant now that the decision has been made. I really hoped I was wrong, because I would rather Michigan succeed than I be right.

    Congrats to Brian for finally accepting that RR is not the second coming.

    Still, I want Michigan to succeed. Even if the cost is that the hillbilly who blames the players first does too.

    Those who love Michigan and will work hard will be champions.

    11/10/2009 - 12:18am Coach Sharik rocks

    You really are sharp. If one of my dreams comes true, you and I will sit down over 100 beers and I will tell you about M football kids from before your puberty and you will teach me some football.

    RR should get your resume.

    Still and all, IMHO coaching is the most important single thing in college football. There were reasons other than recruiting that Bear, Darrel Royal, Bo, Woody, Lou Holtz (someone I have always despised, but perhaps irrationally), Tom Osborne, and the like were long time winners. Just as there are reasons that John L. Smith and Bob Davies epitomized the Peter Principle in college football. The only knock I have on Lloyd Carr, really, was he was too loyal to people who just weren't very good at their jobs (e.g., Andy Moeller as an OL coach). I refuse to accept he didn't do his best to bring good athletes to Ann Arbor.

    Sometimes people are just unlucky. The maligned 1984 team was very good until Harbaugh broke his arm. What would have been the case if Lawrence Taylor hadn't blown up John Wangler's knee, or if Antonio Bass hadn't lost his entire career to injury, or if Corey Zirbel (or Bill Dufek, in an earlier time) hadn't lost his entire career to injury?

    On the other hand, I still have a hard time accepting Shawn Crable's and Gabe Watson's wasting gigantic god-given talent. But, then, I am one who thought if Braylon Edwards had had half the work ethic and sense that Walter Smith had, we might have forgotten AC and, maybe, even Jerry Rice.

    The beer's on me.

    11/09/2009 - 11:55pm Unfair grade for this comment

    Whoever decided to grade this comment -4 is being unfair.
    Although anyone who thought Boubacar was a top-flite recruit didn't take into account his dislike for contact.

    11/09/2009 - 1:47am Thanks for answering

    Actually, I had my tongue firmly planted in my cheek when I offered ## 2, 3, and 4 of my list. Unlike many of the contributors, and despite the attrition, I put a lot of faith in the development of players. Randy Logan came as an offensive player, as did Ian Gold, Greg McReynolds, and Jim Betts. Dave Gallagher was recruited as a LB and got one of the last scholarships. No doubt there were many more. I have a hard time accepting that among all the players on the squad, there aren't 11 who, properly taught, can hold the Purdues and Illinoises of the world to four touchdowns.

    I watched a lot of Michigan football from 1969 to 2007, and a lot of the plan I perceived was not merely acquiring superior talent, but in turning decent athletes into fine football players, and turning fine football players into good football teams. The 1985 team had a ferocious defense, but few who went to the NFL (Mark Messner was a high draft choice, but was not a big NFL success).

    I'm not old enough to have seen the Mad Magicians of 1947-48, but I suppose that would be an example of the success of a complex strategy. Was Texas's putting the ball in Vince Young's hands a complex strategy? Did USC have one? Boise State, I will concede.

    As for enjoyment, there are certain Michigan football memories I most enjoy. Like the Ohio State game which featured a total of ten penalty yards for both teams combined (Michigan won, and it was in the 70s, but I don't remember which year). Like knowing Michigan had star defensive linemen who became physicians (Dave Gallagher, Dom Tedesco). Like considering the career of Rich Strenger, who came as a TE, was converted to tackle, rode the bench behind Muransky and Parris for 4 years, but continued to work and develop and became All Conference and Hon. mention All-America despite being a starter only one year. There are lots more, but I think I am making my point.

    Coach Sharik, thanks for the feedback. I'm flattered you thought my post worth comment.

    11/08/2009 - 11:05am Just throwing out possibles

    Thanks for even looking at my sorrow and depression caused stuff. I didn't mean to imply that I was arguing any of the seven listed items. I was only tossing out possibles, or even impossibles. Naturally, I don't think the D has quit trying. These kids surely work very hard and try very hard with every breath they take. They have to have some sort of athletic ability or they wouldn't be in uniform.

    I could have listed more possibilities, like Bo actually sold his soul to Satan in exchange for forty years of success, but the price would be Satan would curse the Wolverines thereafter.

    Thus, it keeps coming back to coaching.

    11/08/2009 - 9:51am Misplaced maybe, but still angry

    We have been watching this for not nine games, but 21, and now 22. But some of us have been watching for hundreds of games, and are still shocked. There are some of us who actually saw Tom Curtis and Thom Darden on the TartanTurf. And it's not exactly like showing up for Thanksgiving and complaining because one doesn't like turkey. It's like showing up at Mom's for Thanksgiving and dinner is cat food, Dad has disappeared, Mom is covered with tats and piercings and living with an elderly biker who's into grunge, and ...

    I enjoy Coach Sharik's analyses and find them enlightening. Is there any hope for this team, now or in the future? What is the problem? Is it any of these:

    1. The players are just young and need to develop and mature physically, and they will, given time;

    2. The players completely lack athletic ability due to inept Carr-era recruiting, and no one who has been on campus since before January, 2008 can possibly play D-1 football;

    3. All of the defensive players have concentration periods shorter than 10 seconds;

    4. All of the defensive players have quit trying;

    5. The coaching staff has all of them completely confused;

    6. Too many of them are trying to be heroes instead of doing their own jobs;

    7. The coaching staff has panicked and is trying too many things all at once ?

    Michigan football has for me been a longtime source of recreation and pleasure, and I would like to have it back. I concede I don't have the skills set to offer cogent and coherent analysis and suggestions, and I rely on Coach Sharik for that. Scolding I can get from anyone.