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11/12/2018 - 1:12pm Felt like SMU. The coaches…

Felt like SMU. The coaches were so sure we would win that the offensive gameplan felt less like a purposeful effort to play to our strengths and attack their weaknesses, and more like live practice reps to see how players execute moderately difficult assignments. Likewise on defense, even pathetic teams often have one or two guys who are legit talented, and those guys will probably get theirs at least a little. (Also I thought Rutgers' offense playcalling was actually pretty sensible; they just don't have guys who can execute at all.)

The fun and scary part is watching a game where the offense puts up 42 points and still feels like it hasn't entirely clicked. If it does...

10/08/2018 - 8:42pm I'll add to the chorus. Ace,…

I'll add to the chorus. Ace, your writing is second to none, and after years of reading it, I almost feel like I've gotten to know you. All the best to you, and thank you sincerely for giving so much of yourself to enrich our lives.

09/24/2018 - 5:38pm Thank you for this. Bravo.

Thank you for this. Bravo.

MGoBlog is not just another sports site with a message board. What has distinguished MGoBlog, almost since its inception, is that it concentrates insightful observation and analysis of Michigan football. Posts to MGoBlog are, and should be, held to a higher standard than those on other sports message boards. That's the whole point of this site.

08/02/2018 - 11:27am So in summary, at most blue…

So in summary, at most blue blood programs you either retire a legendary coach OR resign/get fired for underwhelming performance -- which is more or less what you'd expect. What makes OSU distinctive is that they've fired two legendary coaches and may fire another. Oklahoma and USC are the only other schools on the list to lose even one legendary coach to scandal, and in both cases those coaches were able to leave on their own terms before the sh*t hit the fan. (Though in truth, that probably just means OSU has had more coaches get caught. Does anyone really thing Tom Osborne was clean? Or that Saban doesn't have at least a few bodies buried somewhere?)

06/19/2018 - 10:24am First thing I thought as…

First thing I thought as well. From which my brain immediately jumped to "Hey Luigi! This new road makes your place look like a dump!"

06/13/2018 - 3:55pm Uh oh! A Prescriptivist and…

Uh oh! A Prescriptivist and a Descriptivist have found each other in the comments section! Will MGoBlog survive? News at 11.

06/13/2018 - 12:45pm From 1.0 to 2.0 was what, a…

From 1.0 to 2.0 was what, a decade ago? Hard to remember. The MGoCommunity was different then, so the response was different too. There was a certain nostalgia for the Haloscan comment format, but the change from 1.0 to 2.0 also meant the creation of the message board, which was such an obvious increase in functionality that the change was quickly received as a good thing.

Which actually nicely encapsulates some of the tension around the 2.0 to 3.0 upgrade -- the functionality on the back end is (reportedly) dramatically improved, but I'm not aware of any substantial increase in functionality on the front end (i.e. for the users). Put another way, this upgrade isn't really for us.

Analogy: MGoBlog 1.0 to 2.0 was MS-DOS to Windows. It fundamentally changed what you could do, and how you interacted with the system. 2.0 to 3.0 is like WinXP to Windows 10. The back end is way more functional, the layout & appearance is different (some would say worse), and if you're the kind of person who's just now moving on from Windows XP, then you're arguably way behind the times. But if all you're going to do is use Word and Excel or surf the web (i.e. most people), then there's also little if any obvious benefit to you the user for upgrading.

06/12/2018 - 11:22am STRONGLY agree. I am a firm…

STRONGLY agree. I am a firm believer that white space can be used effectively to aid readability. But as it stands now, the site is almost unreadable -- and I don't think this is a "getting used to the new layout" issue. If I have the site open on my desktop computer, and the comments are unnecessarily hard to read because the text is so tiny, and at the same time even with the browser window maximized I can only fit three comments (at only two sentences each!) on the screen, then there is a serious problem with the presentation.

If the site is hard to read, then people are going to stop reading it.

This can't be a hard fix, right? Adjusting spacing and fonts? (Is "skin" still the right word?) Is that asking too much?

05/08/2018 - 4:17pm O reps vs D

The complexity of the line calls and the structure of the offense in general has been addressed by other commenters, but the part of the quote that stuck out to me was this one: 

What makes it hard is our defense is so complex, that they break a lot of rules and you have to advance a little bit.

This agrees with something we heard Harbaugh admit with respect to training his quarterbacks, too -- our offense trained against a Don Brown defense that differs in important ways from most of the defenses that our offense faced during the season. Any rep the O line spent preparing for unique wrinkles in the Don Brown defense was essentially a wasted rep. For all the talk we heard about "iron sharpens iron," it now appears that having our offense practice against our defense is if anything somewhat counterproductive.

04/26/2018 - 9:48am easy to reconcile

The key concept is "passive" vs "active." For purposes of this response, define active racism as when you purposefully target hate speech (or actions) at someone of another race because of their race. The creation of structural racism owes a lot to such people. The persistence of structural racism, however, owes more to people passively living their lives in the current system without pushing to change it. That's not active racism, and most of the people going about their lives without actively working to address racial injustice probably don't consider themselves racist. Indeed, many of them may be quite disgusted by active racism, and would bristle being labeled with that same term. I believe this answers your question -- if you use the word "racist" without qualification to refer not only to people who are actively racist, but to anyone who has a bias or does not actively work to end structural racism, you're going to offend a lot of people who don't use that same expansive definition of what racism is. Whether structural racism can be meaningfully addressed without action on the part of those who currently only passive participants in it is a debatable question (my guess is no), but calling the passive folks "racist" is more likely to irritate them than it is to prompt them to do real soul searching.

01/15/2018 - 1:09pm rant away

I would listen to that rant.

12/04/2017 - 11:59am Naivete of youth

Haloscan is like that kid's show or movie you fondly remember from your childhood, that doesn't actually hold up on re-watch as an adult but that you love watching again all the same. Looking at it objectively and with hindsight, it was vastly inferior to the current setup. But it's hard not to be nostalgic for the old MGoBlog.

11/30/2017 - 3:43pm Crawford

Crawford underwhelmed in the pass-catching and onside-kick-handling departments but has a clear edge in run blocking. As the offense became increasingly run-heavy in the latter part of the season, run-blocking is where Crawford earned his playing time. If they stay run-heavy next year, I'd expect Crawford to continue to get a lot of time even if other receivers look better in the passing game. And he did show flashes this year; consistency will be the challenge (which could of course be said for the whole offense!).

11/14/2017 - 1:27pm parking

Which they should be unless they think parking three blocks away is a travesty.

This is it exactly. Ann Arbor is slowly evolving from something a lot like suburbia only with a "downtown" into something with a core that is structurally quite urban. In suburbia, you park in a gigantic parking lot in front of Kohls, then go out to move your car halfway across the lot before you go inside again at the Best Buy next door. Parking multiple blocks away from your destination is simply not part of the mentality. You don't have to have lived in a big city to see parking a few blocks away as "not a big deal," but there are people for whom parking in Ann Arbor really is the most difficult parking experience they ever encounter. And those people mostly belong to the subset of people who might go downtown, and therefore need to be appealed to. You and I may think these people are naifs, but their attitudes do have a real impact and can't be ignored entirely.

11/13/2017 - 1:13pm live practice

Also Maryland putting together a semblance of a functional run game by running plays not entirely different from those in the Ohio State playbook may have been a great gift to Don Brown: now they have live reps and game film to point to when they attemt to correct whatever needs correcting, which we can hope will only benefit a defense full of first-time starters who did not necessarily play a lot against OSU last year.

10/31/2017 - 10:30am Carr special

Giving Angelique a hard time was a Lloyd Carr specialty, too. Always got the impression Carr enjoyed their exchanges. Harbaugh's a little harder to read -- smiling shark and all that -- but we know he shuts down completely when he doesn't appreciate the line of questioning, so I have to assume the fact that this exchange even occurred means Harbaugh was enjoying it as well.

10/11/2017 - 8:47am Excellent piece

Thanks for this one, Adam. This would have been a great read even if I knew nothing about hockey, or sports in general.

Also, if you scored an interview with Mel for this piece (and it sure sounds like you must have), I'd love to read whatever else you can share from that conversation!

10/10/2017 - 4:26pm Cole, too

Cole had a shot at the same defender earlier, and also dove at his feet instead of driving through him. If Cole gets his guy, and JBB only has one guy instead of two to think about (and gets that guy), Higdon is off to the races.

Also, always fun watching Wheatley destroy someone.

10/10/2017 - 1:13pm Coaching staff

" I think the coaches ... probably thought that the early success on the ground was not going to last once MSU made some adjustments."

My hypothesis is that Harbaugh & co continue to make NFL-style coaching adjustments against college coaches (& college players). That is, they quit while they're ahead, assuming their opponents will compensate and that a successful play will only be successful once, rather than going back to the well again and again until it goes dry. Against good coaching staffs, you have to do this -- witness our own defensive adjustments. And it's certainly highly preferable to the sort of banging your head against a rock until it breaks that we saw under Hoke. But it's also frustrating to watch a team go away from what's working when it's still working, and wonder, "wouldn't that have worked again?"

09/29/2017 - 9:13am Smarts & Experience

What I love about that clip -- just before the snap, Thomas and Hill glance at each other as if to say, "you know what's coming, right?" That's definitely an RPS play -- having both safeties scream forward at the snap risks getting 6 dropped over your head -- but it's a lot less risky when your film study tells you what's coming. Love it.

09/29/2017 - 9:09am Echo that

I echo that -- I think this is your best one yet. Nice work Misopogon.

09/20/2017 - 12:28pm Gone Plaid

It's a reference from the movie Spaceballs

09/11/2017 - 3:28pm hiding wrinkles

I don't think hiding wrinkles is something Harbaugh does. He seems more to me like the type to show absolutely everything, and force the other team to prepare for an impossibly large number of contingencies.

Of course, showing everything requires you to be able to yourself do everything, which brings us to the second part of the question. I suspect that certain 'obvious' things are missing from the playbook because it's a young team with a finite amount of practice time, and they probably simply haven't installed everything yet and/or perfected it in practice to the point where the coaches feel confident calling it in games.

08/18/2017 - 3:20pm How long can you wait?

If you can wait another 4 months, buy it at the end of December. No one buys cars in December, so it's slow and dealers will be willing to cut a deal. More importantly, new models come out in September, and by December the dealers are itching to get the last of the past year's models off the lot. (This does mean selection of previous models will be poor, so if you're picky about certain options (or paint color!) then this may not be the best approach for you.) And they're extra motivated to do this before January 1st, because there are various license taxes they may have to pay otherwise (though this detail may be heavily dependent on details in your state).

08/08/2017 - 4:16pm citation

It's a personal pet peeve that science reporters almost never link the original article. Pretty sure it's this one:

Topical tissue nano-transfection mediates non-viral stroma reprogramming and rescue

Paywalled of course, but those on campus should be able to read it.

08/08/2017 - 4:04pm "Alkaline water"?

"It was proven that cancer cannot thrive in an alkaline environment so intuitively it makes sense."

Cancer can't thrive in bleach or gasoline either, but that doesn't mean you should drink either of those (please don't!).

The pH inside your body is very, very tightly controlled. Your blood, for example, has a pH between 7.35 and 7.45, and if it deviates much from that window you get very sick very quickly (look up "acidosis" and "alkalosis" for more info). Meanwhile your stomach has a pH of about 1, which is acidic enough to cause chemical burns anywhere in your body other than in the stomach itself. These two facts alone should be enough to demonstrate that the pH inside your body is totally unrelated to the pH of whatever you eat or drink; otherwise our own digestive processes would kill us. (And if you take a bullet to the stomach this can be exactly what happens.)

I'm not a medical doctor, but I am the kind of doctor who can tell you that "electronically charged ionized water," while fancy-sounding, is a meaningless term. Baking soda is sodium bicarbonate. If you dissolve it in water, you will get a solution containing hydronium ions, bicarbonate ions, and a little bit of dissolved CO2. This solution is useful for scrubbing rust off pans, and if you add papier mache and vinegar, you can make a volcano with it; aside from that, there's nothing particularly magical about it. Or if your point was that you want a solution more alkaline than that, well, you can dissolve sodium hydroxide in water. This makes a better cleaning solution (look up "lye") but will also give you a chemical burn if you drink it or handle it without gloves. Either way, there is no basis for a belief that it cures cancer.

06/20/2017 - 10:44am key word is 'slight'

I don't think the point was height so much as girth. The average American definitely is heftier than the average Dane. And football is definitely not a game for 'slight' individuals.

06/15/2017 - 5:10pm global average

To be fair, global average temperature is a TERRIBLE metric to use to explain information about the climate to the general public. Climate scientists understand that a 2 degree change is a big deal and a 4 degree change catastrophic. The general public knows that the temperature might change outside by 4 degrees in just the time it takes them to drive to work in the morning. 

What's equally scary to me is that I don't remember learning (at least as part of formal schooling) about the basics of the exponential formulas that underly, say, interest rates until at least high school analysis class -- a course which was only taken by, I'm guessing here, maybe 25% of the students? Certainly fewer than 50% -- and that's at a very well-to-do suburban high school. And now 15+ years later, probably 90+% of those students now have mortgages and 401ks?

Point is, it's not surprising when people have a hard time making sense of things they've never really learned about in the first place.

03/09/2017 - 5:20pm Not for warmth

Sleep sacks are not to keep your baby warm. They are to keep your baby from realizing he/she has hands, which he/she can then use to do things like scratch the side of the crib, or pull out a pacifier and throw it across the room, or smack themselves in the face and then be shocked because they don't yet understand that this is a bad idea, or otherwise do all sorts of things other than sleep. You realize this when they start to roll over and it's no longer safe to keep their arms pinned at night, and they suddenly stop sleeping, or wake up suddenly every time their arms move in their sleep. Not that this is happening in our house right now, for the second time...

01/02/2017 - 2:23pm Curse of the NFL?

Harbaugh seems to go away from using plays that work before they stop working. I wonder if this is in part due to time spent in the NFL against better coaches (and players) who have both the practice time and the experience to catch on very quickly to what you're doing. Could Harbaugh be in the habit of giving our opponents too much credit? I read choosing not to run the fullback dive on the 1 yard line as the offensive staff figuring that with a month to prepare, FSU would have been anticipating Michigan's most obvious playcall in that situation. In fact, FSU was out on jet skis instead of in the film room, and from the replay, it looked like the dive would have worked. Seems like our staff outsmarts itself sometimes. Still, I'd much rather that than Hoke-ian "we will run this until it works" despite repeated evidence that it's not going to work.

09/14/2016 - 2:56pm silent

"You'll never get the entire stadium to be silent."

That's not actually true; the entire stadium has been silent before. Like, pin-drop, hear the heartbeat of the person next to you silent. Granted, that was the moment of silence before the first game played after the 9/11 attacks. So let's hope we never have a reason to repeat that moment. But for a moment big enough, it is in fact possible to get all 110,000 to be quiet at once  --  and it was a truly profound thing to experience. If that could be organized for the Penn State game, whoooo boy would that make a statement.

09/12/2016 - 1:36pm Not a vision problem?

It looks to me like on that run, Smith's original intent is to hit the left side A gap (which I guess becomes the B gap once the fullback goes through it? Point being he's trying to go to Poggi's left). Two steps toward that gap, he realizes the MLB is going to get to Poggi's outside shoulder, so Smith redirects right. He isn't able to change direction quickly enough, so he ends up running into, rather than around, Poggi's block, but in the process he also draws the other UCF linebacker to the same spot. As a result, Poggi gets a two-for-one, Smith bounces off Poggi's back, and runs to daylight on the right side.

To me, that's not a problem with Smith's vision. It's actually his vision working as desired -- he sees his gap isn't going to be open, takes one step right to get a 2-for-1 off his fullback, then takes another step right to break loose. Seems patient and disciplined to me.

11/21/2015 - 11:43am Original Punt/CounterPunt

Is [the] purpose of this piece to always have one guy pick against UM and build a construct on how it will happen?

Surprised to see a guy as steeped in Michigan football as alum96 asking this question.

Yes, in the original incarnation of Punt/Counterpunt, the one that used to appear on the last page of the free gameday programs, that was the format: one guy picked a win (or blow out), the other picked a loss (or narrow win if an upset pick were really that unbelievable). My recollection was that Punt and CounterPunt roughly alternated whose turn it was to predict the win and whose to predict the loss; maybe they flipped a coin? (Nick can probably clarify, since he's been part of this column since long before MGoBlog existed.)
Don't remember what year they stopped doing free programs, but it's great that Brian has picked up this series and revitalized it here. These columns are as good as they've ever been; keep 'em coming!

09/10/2015 - 1:28pm /godwin'd


09/08/2015 - 11:37am design

Maybe Fisch designs the passing plays, but then Drevno is the one who actually calls them? Fits with Fisch's role as "passing game coordinator" that he would design the route combinations, etc.

08/19/2015 - 12:22pm ding ding ding!

We have a winner. Everyone is so focused on the culture change explanation that they miss the more likely one: Harbaugh is famous for attention to detail, right? And famous for going 100%, with full enthusiasm, at whatever he's doing, right? You can bet that if he actually had access to a submarine, then the players would literally be eating and sleeping onboard. Since he does not, he's patterning meals and sleeping arrangements as closely to those on a sub as he is able. The lack of fancy chefs, etc probably means nothing more than that.

06/10/2015 - 1:31pm scary

Just remember: the only thing scarier to Alabama fans than the idea that Harbaugh set up this entire camp just to evaluate one prospect, is the idea that he didn't set up this entire camp just to evaluate one prospect. The first means Harbaugh is keeping up with the Sabans. The second means the writing is on the wall.

06/05/2015 - 11:40am edit!

Before it's too late, you might want to consider editing your post so that "Michigan" is spelled correctly...

05/20/2015 - 8:46pm thanks

Appreciate the correction.

05/20/2015 - 2:03pm Really, Jay?

"took time to talk to me rite out of school"

Really, Jay? 'rite' and 'school' only three words away from each other?

Look, I realize that a 140 character format can be restrictive. But this was only 126 characters! You had room! FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY, PLEASE USE CORRECT GRAMMAR WHEN ACTIVELY REPRESENTING THE INSTITUTE OF HIGHER EDUCATION WE LOVE! Why is this so, so hard?

I realize I'm more up on my grammar high horse than most, but seriously, this kind of thing is embarrasing to Jay, the University, the idea that football players have brains as well as athletic talent... I'm on board with your message, Jay, I really am, but could you please take an extra 5 seconds to reflect before you attack twitter with enthusiasm unknown to mankind?


05/02/2015 - 11:21am USNews

The question isn't really whether a fellow message-board poster is taking US News rakings too seriously. The question is whether a high school student who hasn't actually spent multiple semesters on each campus is taking the rankings at face value. Having degrees from both institutions, I can speak with some authority in saying that academics are a wash. (And at that level, how good an education you get has far more to do with you personally and what opportunities you take advantage of than how many Nobel laureates are in residence on campus.) But I wouldn't expect a high school senior to know that. The attitude that "#1 is #1" may indeed be exactly the attitude a competitive high school athlete would take.

It's funny, actually: US News rankings are a lot like recruiting rankings. They're accurate in broad strokes, but if you take the exact numerical order too literally, you're missing the forest for the trees, and could easily come away with a false impression.

[Edit: this post was supposed to be a reply to Pinky above]

04/21/2015 - 3:14pm ncaa problem

They actually can't do this. The NCAA rules for having a championship game stipulate that your conference must (1) have at least 12 teams and (2) have those teams split into divisions, with the winner of each division meeting in the championship game. I personally agree that it would be nice to have a championship game without divisions, but it's not actually an option under current NCAA rules.

04/07/2015 - 2:07pm H4=?

Yeah, remind me again what H4 even stands for? If I check this site 5+ times per day and can't remember, how is the casual reader ever supposed to catch up? I'm sure that over time, a clever inside joke akin to "Hokepoints" will present itself. Until then, no need to force it. "Breakdown" or "Technical Dossier" or something not necessarily hilarious, but usefully descriptive, seems like a better title for this series.

Title-snark aside, this was an excellent article. Thanks!

04/04/2015 - 10:39am upvote

on mobile, so consider this an upvote

04/04/2015 - 10:38am odd

An odd interview that jumps all over the place would be no surprise from Coach Harbaugh. At the same time, I don't think it's the interview itself you're sensing. I think Dodd may just not be a very good writer. This article reads like a first draft: most of the material is there, but not yet organized into a coherent story.

04/03/2015 - 10:18am not just driving either

I strongly believe that poor driving habits are not a reflection of someone's ability to drive, but a reflection of a much deeper inability to cope with the existence of other people around you. You see this with people walking on sidewalks, pushing shopping carts thru Costco, even moshing at rock concerts. It really is possible to do your thing, drive fast or slow, whatever, without always being in someone else's way and/or constantly putting others in a position where they're in your way. It just requires you to actually pay attention to what's going on around you. And it is shocking how few people are capable of it.

03/26/2015 - 3:39pm sarcasm?

Are you being sarcastic, and I'm just missing it? Because this fanbase was starting to get very restless with Lloyd by the time he retired. (Not the sane members of the fanbase, true, but 'fan' and 'sanity' do not necessarily go together.)

03/25/2015 - 6:54pm I resent that

This board hasn't become populated with self-righteous and holier-than-thou dbags. We've been here all along. In fact, I'm pretty sure we founded the place. /get off my lawn.

03/25/2015 - 5:43pm To underscore this

I briefly worked for the company that (at least at that time) made all of the ink for Coca Cola. There are no fewer than EIGHT Coca-Cola reds, because if you want red ink on an aluminum can to look like it's the same color as red ink on a cardboard box, you have to use different color red inks. Likewise, it's not at all trivial to get the maize in the jersey to match the maize on the helmet and have them both match the maize on the field.

That being said, there's still no excuse for not having them all match. It might not be trivial, but it's certainly doable. Though apparently we can't expect such sophistication from a supplier who can't even make a jersey durable enough to survive a B1G basketball game... 

03/23/2015 - 4:39pm So, like

most of the Hoke era, then?