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09/12/2018 - 7:51pm Your position on taxes has…

Your position on taxes has outed you as WD.

09/12/2018 - 5:06pm This is a big one. They had…

This is a big one. They had a chance to win a job in the fall and didn’t. Now, even if the first guy is struggling, the coach can still stand in front of his team and truthfully say that he’s playing the guys that give the best chance to win.

It’s incumbent on the backup to play so well that he can give the coach cover for making the change, without losing the respect of the team. Hopefully that happens sooner rather than later. But it takes some time, especially for Mayfield, who is just a few months into the program.

09/12/2018 - 4:11pm The team is probably best…

The team is probably best served by having the replacement earn his reps rather than him getting them only by virtue of the other guy not doing well.

There’s a lot of psychological gamesmanship involved in personnel decisions. If the young guys practice well and feel they’ve earned a start, they’re much more likely to go out there with some confidence and maybe play their best. Whereas, if they get a start just because the other guy struggled, they might not have the same confidence. And a bad game can really shake their confidence further.

09/11/2018 - 6:03pm He could also be making a…

He could also be making a point about RPOs, like the spread before it, breaking up the control of capital (football) by the capitalists and bourgeoise (blue blood programs). A revolution meant to benefit the working class.

09/10/2018 - 1:27pm Why is this getting…

Why is this getting downvotes?

09/10/2018 - 11:33am I’m all for it, and SMU…

I’m all for it, and SMU should give them a chance to do it.

You’d get to see them against the starting defense, next to their starting guards, before the defense has given up, and see them block a full game plan. 

Also, I’d argue that if you don’t see them with the ones against SMU, that means they aren’t close to winning the job. We all want to see what we’ve got, but coaches believe they know what we’ve got (and are right about 95% of the time), so if we don’t see them with the starters soon, you won’t at all, barring injury.

09/10/2018 - 2:35am Speaking of efficiency, they…

Speaking of efficiency, they've designed cutting-edge helmets that allow players to see out of them. With their eyes.

The results were fine. I saw him throw one tremendous block in which he drove his man for literally 10 yards! Look for it on UFR, I'd bet it's clipped.

But, with my regular human eyes and a bit of training, I can see that he doesn't look as comfortable in the game yet as a guy who has played a few hundred snaps already, all across the country. No surprise, as Mayfield was playing in his first game, in front of a hundred thousand.

One small, not very significant but illustrative example from the game: after one play, Mayfield went past the huddle, having to turn around and walk back to his teammates. It's on the film. It doesn't mean ANYTHING in terms of gameplay results, but it does indicate that he just isn't 100% comfortable in the game just yet. 

09/09/2018 - 11:49pm More importantly, I always…

More importantly, I always had the wide eyed look of someone who didn't really know what was going on.

09/09/2018 - 9:02pm You misunderstood at least…

You misunderstood at least twice in 4 sentences.

I did not say that the coaches couldn’t be wrong about the better option. Didn’t even hint at the topic at all. But, JBB was only marginally better than Ulizio overall, and he was even pulled for Ulizio in obvious passing downs late in the season. Both played poorly, and JBB was just as bad in his first action as Ulizio had been. To your credit, he ended up better than Ulizio.

I did not say Mayfield didn’t look fine when he was out there. I said he had the wide eyed look that virtually every young player has. That’s not even a criticism. It’s just that until he gets some more experience and gets more comfortable, he isn’t ready to start. If that changes soon, great!

09/09/2018 - 6:54pm I also think neither…

I also think neither Mayfield nor Hudson is currently better than either Runyan or JBB. They both had their crack at taking the job from a guy the coaches knew was going to be a liability and couldn't do it.

FWIW, you know how a lot of people have been really impressed with the demeanor and poise of McCaffrey? For all of his faults, Runyan has shown a similar demeanor. Even when he was physically overmatched against ND, he didn't hang his head or look lost or timid. Compare that to Mayfield in time in this game (I didn't really watch Hudson) -- Runyan carries himself like a starting Big Ten player, Mayfield still has the wide-eyed look of a guy who doesn't yet know what's going on. Again, take it for what it's worth, which isn't much. 

09/08/2018 - 9:07pm Not to mention, JBB was only…

Not to mention, JBB was only a marginal improvement over Ulizio, and wasn't really an improvement at all until a few games in after he had improved.

We pulled JBB on obvious passing downs even late in the season because he remained huge liability in protection. It's very likely that as of the day before the Florida game, Ulizio was actually the better option or it was at least a dead heat.

Competition caveat applies, but Runyan played better today than Ulizio or JBB have ever played at Michigan. This should illustrate how small a gulf there was between the two last season -- a pretty good game by Runyan is better than anything they did during the entirety of last season.

09/07/2018 - 11:46pm Saying I practiced for…

Saying I practiced for Michigan is more accurate.

09/07/2018 - 8:12pm If this is where we're…

If this is where we're putting our critiques, my only gripe is that Brian blames Higdon instead of Ruiz on the play action pass.

The protection is a half-slide - they have 3 for 3 on the left (Runyan and Bredeson blocking man, Higdon for the Will) and 4 for 4 on the right (Ruiz, Onwenu, JBB, and TE sliding right against 3 down defenders and the Mike). Ruiz has to block that Mike if he comes. He comes. Ruiz does not block him.

LOOK AT WHERE HIS POST FOOT GOES ON THE SECOND STEP! His feet practically touch! This is dreadful technique, and makes a successful block impossible even assuming he knew what to do. He didn't know what to do, either. 

It's also bad awareness, for two reasons.

First, he should not be in such a hurry to vacate his area and slide right. They have 4 for 4, he has to expect either a lineman slanting towards him, in which case he will have guard help and doesn't have to fly over there, or the linebacker coming. If neither happens, he can help Onwenu with his man. His eyes should be on the linebacker at all times, and if the slant does come, he should use his peripheral and his tactile sense to pick him up. And if a slant were to come, it is likely that the Mike would tip it off by moving right in order to cover the vacated gap.

Second, he should be familiar enough with the protection to know there is run action going on in the backfield, which necessarily will influence the linebacker to step forward. Even more reason to not overlook him, not bail out of position, and expect him to eventually come when he realizes the back is not going out into a pattern. Higdon didn't throw a great block, but this one is on Ruiz, and it should get a -3.

09/07/2018 - 3:42pm In 9th grade, my coach…

In 9th grade, my coach called a QB sneak on first and 10 from our own 1-yard line, just to get some breathing room. Avoid a fumbled handoff or a holding call in the end zone, etc.

QB went for a 99-yard TD. Sneaks are designed to score - every defender but one is blocked and the ball carrier has to make the unblocked man miss. In the spirit of this post, that was a great play call.

09/07/2018 - 3:28pm *an




09/07/2018 - 3:23pm It’s on Ruiz. Even if…

It’s on Ruiz. Even if Bredeson knows what he is supposed to do (pass his man off and block the slanter to his left) he can’t do it without someone to pass him off to. You block from inside out. Letting his man go to block the “proper” man would just result in a quicker sack because Ruiz isn’t there.

09/06/2018 - 7:29pm Repost because you deserve…

Repost because you deserve it: 

This is the best thing you’ve ever written, because it is both really good analysis and, more importantly (to me anyways), tactful in a way befitting the blog.

09/06/2018 - 2:18pm To make matters worse, that…

To make matters worse, that might be THE easiest job for a center. As soon as he sees his man is looping, he must immediately take the guy slanting to him, allowing the guard to bump off the tackle and the tackle to pick up the looper.

This doesn’t even take a moment of thought, this should be immediate and instinctual. Ruiz has no responsibility to his right, because they’re blocking big on big with a back to pick up any extras on that side. He only has to think about the left side. But his pass set is so bad that he’s in no position to block the slanting defender because he isn’t deep enough.

I will say this — in the old days, neither Ruiz nor Onwenu would be playing at their current weights. They would have either trimmed down or sat the bench until they did. Both struggle with lateral movement despite being athletic enough that they shouldn’t. They are just too heavy.

09/04/2018 - 8:49am He has to engage with the…

He has to engage with the end, in order to slow the end and safely pass him off to the guard next to him. Otherwise, that end kills the QB instead of the looping tackle.

From what I saw, his problem wasn’t that he engaged the end, but that he engaged him poorly and left himself no chance to adjust to a stunt, because he turned his body inside.

Take that for what it’s worth, which isn’t a whole lot because I’ve only seen the game once, and was druuuuuuunk. Not willing to bet any lemons, but that was what jumped out at me.

09/03/2018 - 11:00pm One box they checked is that…

One box they checked is that the inside of the line allowed no sacks and few pressures. Wave your tiny flag for that.

09/03/2018 - 10:58pm Did they not go spread for…

Did they not go spread for like 80% of the game? Am I wrong about that?

I even saw the vaunted 5 wide set a few times, once which led to an immediate sack on the most obvious blitz I’ve seen in a long while.

09/03/2018 - 10:56pm There is no way after…

There is no way after watching film that coaches should tell the media their personnel plans, or publicly trash their players. I’m all for playing Hudson, though. Just no reason to talk about it.

09/03/2018 - 10:39pm In most instances, yes. But…

In most instances, yes. But without knowing the particular protection called on the play, it’s impossible to give a definitive answer. But generally, yes, you at least want to be aware of the heightened probability. 

Stunts work because they mess with the assignment (who blocks who) but also because they mess with the technique (how to block who). Runyan struggled with changing direction all game.

If you’re beaten around the edge, you naturally try to take a faster set, maybe deeper, and your instinct is to turn your shoulders outside. But then, bam, the defender slants inside, and your first instinct is to drop your post foot back (this is a no-no, but happens all the time, even in the NFL, where line play is an absolute shambles) and turn your body right in order to stay in front. But when you turn your body, you’re in no position to then pick up the stunting tackle to your left.

The remedy to all of it is better sets, keeping your shoulders parallel to the line of scrimmage, having your head on a swivel, and having quick feet. Against ND, he didn’t seem to have quick feet or a tendency to stay square. Technique-wise, that can be fixed. But if you just don’t have the foot-speed, you’ll never be able to use the perfect technique, because you’ll need to cheat yourself just to get to the right spot. We will see if our guys have the ability.

09/03/2018 - 5:39pm Again, the key word was…

Again, the key word was relatively. I have hopes that Runyan can have a Huyge-like season. That’s faint praise, but praise nonetheless considering I don’t think any other tackle on the roster could even reach that level. Of course, I’ve never even seen the true freshmen take a practice rep.

Why? Before the ND game, I thought his pass sets were decent and, most importantly, consistent. Compare them to JBB, for example, who you can never guess where his feet will take him off the snap or how long after the snap it will take him to move.

After the ND game, I share your same concerns. He didn’t use his hands well and he couldn’t handle change of direction at all, and when he was beaten with speed, he showed no ability to save the block. 

09/03/2018 - 5:31pm Relatively high on Runyan…

Relatively high on Runyan. Like Brian ranked the tackles as a 1, and I think Runyan can scrape a 2.5.

09/03/2018 - 2:57pm Well, same idea holds for…

Well, same idea holds for Runyan and the young guys. Game reps are the best way to improve, so if he can handle the less talented ends, he might work his way up to serviceable against the better ones. He’s never going to outmatch the defenders, but hopefully he isn’t outmatched like this again.

But you’re also putting the cart in front of the horse — if we can’t block against those guys, there’s no guarantee we can win those games, either.

09/03/2018 - 2:18pm I’ve been relatively high on…

I’ve been relatively high on Runyan, but boy was he overmatched.

Hopefully, NDs ends are the best he’ll face for a while and he can handle the Westerns and Indianas of the world.

09/03/2018 - 7:26am There is no reason for a…

There is no reason for a program of Michigan’s stature to EVER open the season on the road.

And really, there is no reason for us to ever schedule a competitive non-conference game. If we win our conference, we will be in the playoff, having beaten OSU, MSU, PSU, and the Western division champ.

09/03/2018 - 7:13am Stick a lemon up your butt.

Stick a lemon up your butt.

09/02/2018 - 12:06am Because God hates you…

Because God hates you. Because you touch yourself at night.

09/02/2018 - 12:05am At the end there, we also…

At the end there, we also had a QB ball security issue. Can’t just have someone poke the ball out of your hand.

09/02/2018 - 12:02am Just root for your own team,…

Just root for your own team, man. What kind of person does this kind of trolling?

09/01/2018 - 8:21am Put a lemon up your butt if…

Put a lemon up your butt if we lose.

08/30/2018 - 3:27pm This is a different argument.

This is a different argument.

08/30/2018 - 12:17pm I’ve never met a hooker who…

I’ve never met a hooker who takes bitcoin, and I’ve met more hookers than the average guy.

08/30/2018 - 12:16pm The cost of attendance for…

The cost of attendance for in-state students (tuition, room and board, books, misc.) at UM in 2018 is roughly $29k a year. That is substantially lower than the median income of Michigan residents.

So in reality, the student athletes make less in 4 years than the average Michigander does in 4 years.

08/30/2018 - 11:57am Nebraska Chili.

Nebraska Chili.

08/30/2018 - 11:43am Hate to be the contrarian on…

Hate to be the contrarian on here, but simplified schemes tend to mean more predictability, which has always been the #1 complaint of all football fans of all teams for all time.

I don’t really want simple schemes, I want guys who’ve been coached up to understand the permutations of the plays so much that it becomes simple for them to execute.

08/30/2018 - 11:19am Irrelevant attempt to shift…

Irrelevant attempt to shift the issue.

He brought up Smith’s DUI to demonstrate the imperfection of using criminal convictions only. Plea bargains are a perfect example of that. I’m fact, the persons actions are sufficient to bring charges for crime A. For the sake of expediency, and for many other reasons, the state allows the person to plead guilty of a lesser crime, crime B.

That was his point, and you know or should have known it. Bringing up Harbaugh’s plea is irrelevant. It does not exculpate Smith. But even if it did, that isn’t what’s at issue, because he didn’t bring up Smith’s DUI as a piece of character evidence. He brought it up to criticize your reliance on criminal convictions to the point of ingnoring all other evidence.

But I’ll indulge you. Harbaugh also drove drunk. It was for this, and his punching of Jim Kelly, that I was worried about his temper when he was hired. There, you have your “what about” defense. It’s irrelevant.

08/30/2018 - 11:09am As a kid, I stole a toy from…

As a kid, I stole a toy from Meijer. That I was never investigated, accused, or charged with a crime does not mean that I didn’t steal the toy. It doesn’t even begin to suggest that I didn’t steal the toy. In fact, in light of the fact that I did actually steal the toy, it can be read as a criticism of my local PD and the anti-theft measures of my local Meijer.

But Section 1 would offer that fact in defense of me. He’s pulling a real Giuliani.

08/30/2018 - 10:52am Due process does not apply…

Due process does not apply to message boards.

08/29/2018 - 1:46pm I hope you're right. But I…

I hope you're right. But I believe this line of thinking to be the most commonly-believed and least evidence-supported claim in all of football fandom.

I can't recall a single QB who has been able to consistently play well behind a poor protecting line.

Will he be able to make a few plays by scrambling? Sure. Can you build a good offense around scrambling? No.

Will he be good at getting the ball out on time? I hope. Can a poor-protecting line hold of a rush until the ball can come out "on time?" No, that's why they're poor-protecting. Can a QB be so good that he can consistently get the ball out ahead of time? No, because that's not a thing, since the times are based on physics, such as just how fast a receiver can run to a spot.

Either we protect better or Patterson is in trouble. QBs can't mask consistently poor protection, I'm afraid.

08/29/2018 - 1:36pm  

It's a Michigan fan blog…


It's a Michigan fan blog. The season is approaching. Of course it's going to skew positive.

Just wait for the first loss. The same people who think we're winning them all will believe we will never win again.

08/29/2018 - 12:08pm I’d be willing to bet $1…

I’d be willing to bet $1 that Runyan overperforms the low expectations.

Right tackle scares me to death. This is probably the least confidence I’ve had in a single position on M’s OL in 30 years of watching. Coupled with the fact that whoever it is will be pass protecting next to Onwenu, who I don’t think is ready to pick up any of his teammates’s mistakes, makes this doubly terrifying.

My best hope is that I’m plain wrong. It’s allegedly happened before.

08/28/2018 - 12:25pm Let me say I disagree on…

Let me say I disagree on your assertions as they pertain to Zach Smith. The evidence might not reach beyond a reasonable doubt, but as a commenter on a blog and not a juror, I’m applying a preponderance of the evidence standard. I think he’s likely a wife beater. 

The PD changing his arrest record also casts some doubt on the evidence itself.

08/28/2018 - 12:21pm I didn’t even begin to imply…

I didn’t even begin to imply a Courtney Smith only wants money. But in our legal system, money is the primary form of recovery. To that end, I hope she gets all she wants.

And I’m sure she would like to get Meyer fired, which I mentioned as her retributive peace of mind. But our legal institutions don’t work that way, by and large. 

Again, Meyer should have been fired. He should have been fired because he failed his employer (amongst others, including Courtney Smith). But I don’t think he should have been fired in order to provide peace of mind for Courtney Smith. That’s a bridge too far, and one that is rightly, in my estimation, not a legal remedy for her.

08/28/2018 - 12:14pm What if the monkeys evolved…

What if the monkeys evolved from aliens, too?

mind blown

08/28/2018 - 12:13pm This should be your new…

This should be your new shtick. ;-)

08/27/2018 - 1:58am There’s also a third option…

There’s also a third option.

I’m a decent person, so I am against domestic violence and would like perpetrators to be punished. But I have never connected the Meyer issue to Courtney Smith, because firing him wouldn’t affect her in any meaningful way.

At this risk of sounding callous, I don’t care about Courtney Smith at all as it pertains to Meyer. I hope her ex is punished to the full extent of the law, I hope her divorce settlement left her in a good position, and I hope she never has to deal with such a relationship in the future. I hope she lives a wonderful life. I just don’t see Meyer being fired would matter to her, other than some sort of retributive peace of mind.

Nor do I want OSU to fire Meyer to help Michigan. I suspect they’d hire another top coach, continue to recruit well, and be a top program immediately.

If I’m honest, the people who are framing this as a matter of justice for Courtney Smith are just as deluded as those of us who are framing it as a matter of it helping Michigan. Both are fundamentally misreading the real issue.

I just think that people and their institutions should do the right thing, and I think firing Meyer would have been the right thing morally and ethically. I also think it would have been the right thing for OSU - they wouldn’t have to deal with the current negative backlash, they might have even garnered some praise for having done the right thing, and, as I said, I don’t think the football team would have suffered in any meaningful way.

08/25/2018 - 9:48pm Outside of a Penn State- or…

Outside of a Penn State- or Michigan State-level of institutional criminality, I could never stop supporting Michigan.

But if this situation had occurred at Michigan, I would immediately stop supporting the coach. And although I’m very likely the least influential Michigan alum in the world, I would do everything in my limited power to get him fired. 

Because no man is more important than the team, no coach is more important than the team. The team, the team, the team. This mantra is in our bones.

I don’t care if he is the best coach in the history of coaching, Urban Meyer has brought disrepute on his program. I wouldn’t stand for that at Michigan.