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12/06/2013 - 3:08pm Yep.

Brian, good for you. The quality of writing from the staff here is usually top-notch, and it was a shame to see it get crapped on by idiots on a regular basis. There seem to be only a few commenters here that actually offer useful insights; the rest is just an echo chamber of complaining, flaming, and animated GIFs. I would love to see an up-vote system where only the editors can vote... I'd like to see a curated collection of useful comments instead of having to wade through and endless stream of garbage.

From someone who is mostly a lurker and just an occasional commenter, thanks for all that you and your staff do, and keep up the good work.

09/22/2013 - 11:49am It's lack of experience, not lack of talent

These are just kids, everyone. They're going to make mistakes.

From what I saw, most of the problems were missed assignments: failure to identify the correct person to block. I think that is understandable from a young offensive line, and it is correctable with coaching and repetitions. For the guards and the center, it's a split-second decision of figuring when to chip, when to double, and when to release to the next level. If they make the wrong decision or make it too late, then they're lost. You fix this by giving them hundreds of repetitions until it's second-nature and they don't have to think about it... you can't expect them to reason it out in their head in a game situation as the play unfolds.

Obviously we're all disappointed in the performance of the line, but suggesting that we put in an even less experienced player doesn't make a lot of sense to me. The problem is not with their physical skills.

08/31/2013 - 1:11pm Silver lining?

Well... at least it's an opportunity to develop the younger guys. Better that this happens for CMU than ND.


11/20/2012 - 5:17pm Hint hint

My favorite thing about the MGoQuestions is how they not-so-subtly articulate our collective MGoOpinions, like HEY YOU SHOULD WATCH OUT FOR THAT RUNNING BACK SHIFT and HEY THEY BROKE TENDENCIES LAST YEAR SO WATCH OUT FOR THAT TOO. It's a refreshing change from the usual MSM fluff. Al Borges seems to have gotten wise to this ploy, though.

11/08/2012 - 3:39pm Nomenclature; Offense Line Issues

I've always known a "bear" front to mean that the center and both guards are covered by linemen, so your usage will confuse me for a while. Then again, "okie" had always meant something else to me too but I've come to accept your version of it. So yeah, use whatever terminology works for you.

I'm getting greatly concerned about the interior OL. We need Coach Funk to get whatever magic dust Mattison is sprinkling on the DL.

10/09/2012 - 11:33pm MGoGrowingOnAl

I really think Al Borges is starting to love Heiko and the MGoQuestions. I think he recognizes that there's a level of depth behind the questions that the other reporters just don't give. No fluff, just a sincere interest in scheme and playcalling. There's gotta be a part of that that tickles him.

08/02/2012 - 6:00pm Roll your own in the long run; Twitter for now

The idea of creating your own system is feasible... perhaps starting from an existing open source project, or enlisting MGoProgrammers to help with the effort. The advantages of this are: you would never be subject to cost increases; you could make it look and act exactly how you wanted; and, you could tie it into existing MGoBlog user identities.

The downsides: you probably wouldn't get this up and running in time for the 2012 fall season; you will probably have problems with server capacity with nine thousand simultaneous AJAX-connected users; and you'd have to deal with all the issues of security and robustness that CIL has already got covered.

So with all that being said, perhaps Twitter is the easiest way to go for now. And yes, we'll probably all have to create separate Twitter identities specifically for this purpose.

I do see a potential business opportunity for anyone who wants to create a CIL clone that costs less than they do...

11/03/2011 - 1:10am Trying to agree with you here

@Bellanca, re: "I don't understand the comment, below, i.e., that the differences between cover-2 and cover-4 comprise distinctions without a difference..."

If that's my comment you're referring to, read it again: I said that for casual fans, the differences are minor.

I'm not trying to disagree with you. I'm only trying to explain to some of the other readers here that (a) they probably are misinterpreting your use of "quarters" as "four deep zones", and (b) that it is easy to mistake quarters coverage for cover-2 man if you're not paying attention to shading and how the safeties are reacting to routes. In quarters, if the DBs make a "clue" check on one side and an "alert" check on the other, to most casual observers and fans it will look exactly like cover-2 man.

I am quite sure that Al Borges and Greg Mattison are fully aware of what defense Iowa runs, and that's really all that's important.

11/02/2011 - 4:50pm Not much difference

Just to clarify and hopefully make some peace here: what is described by modern DC's as "quarters" is not a four-deep zone coverage (which is kind of an old-school definition of the term), but rather something quite similar to a cover-2 in most situations. The difference with quarters is that (a) there are specific pre-snap reads that the corners and safeties make, often causing them to change their responsibilities, and (b) the corners rarely will chase receivers inside, instead staying with the widest receiver. It's quite possible that Iowa does run quarters but it's hard to tell with most TV camera angles. And anyway, the difference for most casual fans is small enough that whether you call it "quarters" or "a cover-2 variant" is not really going to matter.

10/11/2011 - 12:51pm Footwork

When Al and Denard talk about bad footwork, it's not just about throwing off the wrong foot. A pro quarterback in this situation (facing a free rusher charging up the middle) moves laterally in the pocket to buy an extra second for the receiver to come free, and also to get a clear view of the passing lane. The chuck-it-up reaction from Denard is basically panic. If Denard scrambles a bit first, the safeties are the ones who have to panic and come up in run-support; if that had happened, Koger would have been hand-wavingly open at the back of the end zone. Fortunately this is something that is correctable with time and practice; it's not a systemic problem and it's not beyond Denard's abilities.

09/06/2011 - 12:17pm Strange coverage scheme or Herron out of position?

Does anyone have an explanation for the defensive alignment where Herron is sprinting out from an interior linebacker position to cover the split end on the opposite side of the field? I think I saw this at least three times, with each result being an easy completion for Carder.

Herron Poor Coverage

08/25/2011 - 3:06pm Numbering convention

It's based on the numbering scheme given to defensive line positions. You could look at the UFR FAQ, but you may find a better diagram here:…

Numbering schemes vary by coach and team, but the term "five-technique" generally refers to the position outside the offensive tackle's shoulder (not head-up on the tackle), particularly in a 4-3 alignment.

08/23/2011 - 12:35pm APR?

Any word on his academic standing? I would hate to see this hit our APR.

08/22/2011 - 1:01pm Reminds me of something...

Here in Raleigh, the Carolina Hurricanes have a similarly dreadful arena-rock theme song. The chorus is "C'mon, c'mon, c'mon, let's go, C'mon, c'mon, c'mon, let's go, C'mon, c'mon, c'mon, let's go Canes." The first line of the first verse is "Carolina has a fun hockey team". I cringe and apologize every time I bring my Red Wings friends into the arena and that songs starts to play. If Michigan ever adopts anything like this, I really will want to die.

07/29/2011 - 2:26pm HIT?

"Reps to failure"? Does that mean High Intensity Training is back? Did we hire back Gittleson too?

01/10/2011 - 3:15pm When was the last time the fanbase was united?

I sure remember a lot of grumpy FIRE LLOYD CARR people and the "" web site a few years ago. Even Bo had his critics as he neared the twilight of his career.

The fact is, as long as Michigan loses more than zero games per season, there will always be angry alumni and fans who complain the current coach isn't good enough. Those will be the guys who make the most noise and start campaigns to get the coach fired. It's up to the athletic director to tune the loudmouths out... and perhaps not change coaches every three years.

I am irked that David Brandon is saying "be happy with whatever I decide". There will always be critics of his decision, and he needs to be able to answer that criticism.

01/06/2011 - 4:28pm Parting Gift?

I wonder if we could send him some sort of medal or trophy, or at least a note... you know, as a gesture for putting up with all the crap he's had to deal with. It would be nice for him to know that a lot of us did appreciate him and what he did during his time at Michigan. I doubt he'll read MGoBlog and see this post.

11/23/2010 - 3:15pm Doing It Wrong

The only way this defense works is if somebody beats a block against an offensive lineman who weighs 40 pounds more than him. Letting an offensive guard plow one-on-one into Mouton just plays into Wisconsin's strengths.

If we're trying to use our speed to our advantage, then I'd rather see the defensive ends pack in tighter, and rely on our linebackers to flow over the top to contain the stretch plays. That's actually doable in the context of a 3-3-5; we're just not calling it. As Brian says, this is not a stack. We're doing it wrong.

10/14/2010 - 3:44pm Power I

I believe what you called "Full House" is normally called "Power I".

10/12/2010 - 5:37pm Patterson?

I looked at this play extensively ( Who is the DL to the left of Martin? Is that Patterson? Whoever he is, I think some of the blame is on him. He lines up directly over the right tackle and that tells me he's got two-gap responsibility on that side (the B and C gaps). If that's the case, it seems like he shouldn't be turned to the side, moving down the LOS towards the playside, because that completely negates his chances of covering the B gap and closing down that cutback lane himself. Note that Baker passes within a couple feet of him, while his back is turned. That can't be right.

I agree that Ezeh is not to blame here; I'm pretty sure he's supposed to go over the top and defend the bounce-out.

Also note that the TE was covered on the play, so this was an obvious running formation. We thought that was weird a season or two ago when Michigan did that, but this play shows some of the personnel advantages this formation can give you.

10/07/2010 - 12:17pm Got burned trying cover-3 too

We got burned trying to play cover-3 against this formation too, for a touchdown. When you drop three deep, you don't have enough defenders to cover the in route and the out route from the bunch, as well as the slant route from the far side and potentially the tailback coming out of the backfield. My guess is that if Indiana reads cover-3, they send the tailback out instead of keeping him in to block. Here's my mini-picture-page version of this:

It's a play specifically designed to beat zone defenses. So you can respond by playing man-to-man and hope that your young corners can keep up with Indiana's veteran experienced WRs, or you can have your young safety jump routes and hope that he doesn't mess up and get beaten over the top. I think GERG's decision was: better to get beat underneath than to get beat long... bend, don't break. I don't necessarily agree with this approach, though, and as the season goes on, we're going to have to trust our secondary to make some plays.

11/13/2009 - 11:38pm Tate denies the rumor

From Pat Forde's twitter: "Just got the definitive answer to Tate Forcier transfer rumors: 'No!' That's a text from Tate."

12/16/2008 - 4:35pm English?

So... any chance RR tries to lure Ron English back?

10/06/2008 - 1:06pm Unbalanced formation

I'd like to hear some speculation on that weird unbalanced formation. I can think of two reasons for that lineup: one, to try to catch the secondary out of position and spring some blocks downfield; or two, to have Mathews sweep around and get the ball on a reverse. It can't be a tackle-eligible play since the left tackle is ineligible by number. Thoughts?