Monday, December 29, 2008

Big Will, Southern Hospitality

Big Will Campbell update.

So Big Will says he's down to Florida, Miami and LSU. We'll see soon enough. Count me skeptical. He says he likes the "Southern Family Thing":

In describing what he liked most about Florida, Miami and LSU, Campbell said during the interview that "they all showed the Southern family thing.

The entire interview, with some nationwide type rivals guy is here. I'm still not convinced, this a pretty off the cuff type interview with some "dude" breaking some news. FWIW Big Will mentions Chris Davenport a Defensive Tackle from Mansfield Louisiana, who received an offer from Michigan, but who has verbally committed to LSU:

I'm guessing that Big Will doesn't have a lot of "southern family". I'll also take a stab in the dark and say Will probably has some family in Detroit that he really does like. What part of family is it that Will was thinking about when he called Davenport a real cool guy and declared LSU, Miami and Florida his temporary recruiting leaders? Or was he just toying with the media, and M fans?

Leslie Miles Offers Southern Hospitality.

LSU does have some experience with that southern hospitality, though. There are many types, but this is the type of family recruits can expect to see when they visit LSU:

The NYT just posted an article on the recruiting battle for Jamarkus McFarland. It doesn't have any direct relationship to Big Will, but there are certainly some interesting anecdotal comparisons:

On Oct. 25, McFarland, his mother and his grandmother attended a catered meal at the home of Tigers Coach Les Miles.

“He was very dry,” Adams said of Miles. Adams was further turned off by L.S.U., she said, when she saw hostesses sitting on the laps of recruits.
And, LSU also offers this style of southern hospitality:

Ulitimately, McFarland chose Oklahoma. The "southern hospitality" turned off his mother so much she prohibited him from going to LSU.

One of her dislikes about Louisiana State was that a maid would clean her son’s dorm room weekly.

And though Texas offered parties, drugs and girls, he and Mom said "no" and he ultimately chose Oklahoma. Let's hope that Big Will is having some of the same issues, and comes around.

The NYT article is worth a read. Not only does it offer a small glimpse into the big time sleeze recruiting in the SEC and Texas, but it also says something about Texas Coach Mac "Falt Screen" Brown. For instance:

Flat-screen televisions were in every room, and there were two outside.“Whose house do you like better, Bob Stoops’s, Les Miles’s or mine?” Adams recalled Brown saying.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Tate is the Man

Reading between the lines of these quotes, Rod2 (Rod Smith and Rod-riguez) are very high on Tate Forcier and have all but told him the starting job is his to take. This is a sentiment we expressed some time ago, and the quotes lately have only reinforced the liklihood, bold is our emphasis:


"I'm actually heading out there in less than two weeks. Right away right when I get out there, (quarterbacks) coach (Rod) Smith and coach (Rich) Rodriguez both told me I'm going to be spending most of my time with them learning that playbook. And with (strength and conditioning) coach (Mike) Barwis getting me prepared for next season - that's the main goal right now, to get ready and hope to lead Michigan to a good season next year."

I think there’s always something to work on. I’m only in high school, I have a lot of things that I’ve got to look forward to. If I had to say, I’d say it’s my balance. I have everything you want in a quarterback. I’m not the tallest guy, but I know how to get the job done. I have a feel for the game. I feel the pressure. I have a great feel for everything. I have great arm strength. I have good enough speed. Overall it’s just the balance of me as a quarterback. I’m not over the top on anything, but that’s what the Michigan coaches are going to try to get me to do – be the best of the best. Like I said, that’s why I’m choosing them, to make me be the best that I can be.
And, sounds like the Beav decommitment was on the radar for some time, despite his consistent renouncements of a decommitment:

"What was your reaction to (Shavodrick) Beaver recently decommitting and going to Tulsa?
"It didn't really phase me, I wasn't worried about him. I knew I was going to have to come in and compete regardless of whether it was against him or against Threet. Him leaving it didn’t phase me. They actually thought it was going to happen at the very start. It’s kind of funny when you look at it, I was the third quarterback to commit, but I’m the only one quarterback to stay."


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The Conquering Hereos Philosophy

The rumors of the Conquering Heroes demise were largely overstated. We write this blog for our enjoyment and satisfaction, not yours. If you want to read and contribute, we welcome you. But, ultimately, we have jobs, and family, and choose not to live in our basements confined to the dark, damp, lightless dwellings as do countless other webligans* who flourish the interwebs. And, so it is that from time to time, whether we are too depressed from Michigan's ghastly football season, busy at things that actually matter, or listening to a golden retriever bark at a chickadee from the window, we may not post daily, or weekly, or even monthly. There are no apologies from the Conquering Heroes for our posting habits. It is what it is. We do not write this blog for money. This blog is for our enjoyment, and we hope that if y0u read this blog it brings you infinite enjoyment that cannot be matched by any other life experience, or at least that you crack a smile, or learn something about Michigan Sports.

*"webligan". A noun that describes one, often a basement dweller, who practices acts of webliganism. Webliganism is the act,character and propensity of a person to commit acts of violence, malice, or general discredit to objects or person through the written word posted on interwebs, blogs, or message boards for self gratification. (note: This blog has, and will continue to exhibit fleeting characteristics of weliganism, especially directed to Ohio State Buckeyes, Buckstaches, or Sparty, however, as these occasional references do not envelope the identity of this blog, its authors cannot legitimately be called "webligans")

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Remember It Fondly

As Rod said is his press conference today, each of the senior, playing in their last game at the Big House, will remember this game, in this stadium, on Saturday, moment by moment and play by play than any other game in their career.

This season was always a rebuilding year. How much we never knew. But noone expected this. Yet, through the many coaching errors, inflexibility, and general mistakes, most of which seem to be improving over the course of the year, one thing that might seem surprising to outsiders, those who follow college football regularly but Michigan casually, might be that this team has stuck together, without incident, without any noticeable fingerpointing, despite the single worst season in most of our collective memory of Michigan football. Certainly the staff plays a rll in not only the losing, but also the sticktogetherness this team has displayed. And the effort that the team has played with each week. At the same time, we have not heard about player issues during this awful season, other than Mr. Milano thankyou very much -- which obviously wasn't a problem between he and his teammates. During this season of dredgery, this is no small feat. It is expected. But at other places, at lesser schools, the effort is not the same every week in this type of season.

The players look like they have continued to fight. Continued to play hard. Continued to try to win and never gave up.

As dissappointed as you are, as I am, as we all are following this record breaking season thanks is due to our seniors Saturday. Not only for the years that they contributed to the victorious seasons before this one, but for their dedication and effort in this terrible season.


Doug Doutch
Shakir Edwards
Jason Gingell
Sean Griffin
Brandon Harrison
Tim Jamison
Will Johnson
Brandon Logan
K.C. Lopata
Mike Massey
Austin Panter
Charles Stewart
T2 (Terrance Taylor)
John Thompson
Morgan Trent

In the words of Mike Massey, the sole senior on offense:

"These are the cards we were dealt," he said. "Somebody had to be seniors during the first year.

"I'll feel just as much a part (of future Big Ten or national championship teams) because of what we went through this year."
I will be cheering loudly for each and every one of these seniors, and their parents on Saturday. I hope you will be, too.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Geniusness and stuff.

Schematic Genius?

Charlie Weis is a is a big thinker, a self proclaimed genius. After 4 years of exercising his genius powers at what is now known as Northwest Indiana State, he has taken that program to heights last experienced under Gerry Faust.

And he only has 6 more years left on his contract. Charlie came into NWIS with a pure bred pedigree. By himself, he molded Tom Brady into the best quarterback in the NFL. He designed new and crazy offenses. He won a superbowl. He leaps 8 story buidlings in a single bound. He discovered that Pluto was not a planet.

When Charlie came to NWIS, he proclaimed that he would tower over all other NCAA programs because he had such an advantage coming from his unique pedigree. His success has been, well, not exactly resounding, despite his overwhelming superiority over any other merely mortal college coach. The Sun Times has captured how well this Weis superiority has turned out. Highlights:

This is his bailout package. Because the most-hyped coach in college football history has been one big failure. Never has so much hope and hype been built from hot air. But when you sell yourself on spec, as Weis did, sooner or later, the finished product comes in.
And the South Bend Tribune chimed in:

All of the schools in the aforementioned sampling faced similar or larger hurdles than did ND in the area of academic standards, coaching changes, lack of tradition and exposure or some combination thereof. And if recruiting rankings are anywhere near an accurate measure of actual talent, none of the schools on that list is in Notre Dame's stratosphere.

So the process of elimination brings you back to the X's and O's, which was supposed to be the one area Weis held an absolute edge.

"I think as you evolve into the college football world, there are many lessons you learn," Weis said when asked about his four-year-old boast of having a decided schematic advantage as a college head coach. "As the pieces of the puzzle come together, the picture gets clearer. When the pieces come together, I'll let you know."

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Jug Win #66

The Big Putty Jug.

Fielding Yost began coaching Michigan in 1901, and was undefeated. On October 31, 1903 Michigan rolled into Minnesota. Yost feared that the Minnesotans would spike the water, and instructed a young trainer, Tom Roberts, to obtain a receptacle to store potable water. Roberts went to a century old version of The Dollar Store, and bought a pottery jug:

The Crazed Minnesotans Kidnap the Jug.

Michigan was ahead 6-0 with 2 minutes left in the game. The team drank from the Jug clean water without a taint of spkeage. With 2 minutes in the game remaining, Minnesota tied the score. The 20,000 fans in attendance rushed the field. Roberts left the Jug behind, it having served its purpose as a safe harbor for Michigan's water. Michigan went on to win the National Championship, which was Yost's 3rd in 3 years as Michigan's coach. The sole blemish in Fielding Yost's first 4 years, was this tie, coming to the crazed Minnesotans.

Jug Reclamation.

Michigan didn't play the Minnesotans again in 1904 following the fans rush onto the field which ended the game with 2 minutes remaining. But, in 1909, Minnesota wrote to the Wolverines reminding them that the Jug had been kidnapped following the fans rush on the field. Michigan accepted the challenge to take back the Jug and won the game 15-6.


Since, that pottery jug has become the most famous game trophy in football. It's been painted and glazed, and bears the record of 66 Michigan victories, only 22 by Minnesota and 3 ties.

But, The Little Brown Jug sounds better that the Big Putty Jug. And, it looks better, too:

66th Celebration Of Jug.

This year, the Little Brown Jug was far from a gimme. Michigan was an underdog for the first time in as long as I can remember. And after the coaches, especially the defensive coaches, put together a nice gameplan which allowed Morgan Trent and D. Warren and Brandon Harrison to blow up Minnesota receivers; and Rich actually purposefully used clock with a lead in the last 10 mnutes of the game, a celebration is long overdue.

So, in celebration of of the first win in 6 games, and in the theme of this victory, I offer you these Little Brown Jugs:

Sweet Victory!

* Thanks to John Woodford, whose archive at contributed to this rendition of the storied Jug.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


That's the number the spread should be if Nick plays the whole game Saturday. Which is possible. Word is that S. Threet may be out with a concussion. Believe it or not, the spread as of tonight is hovering at 7.5 - 8.0. And, it hasn't moved much at all from the open. So, apparently, the makers already knew, or they don't expect a major offensive drop off. I do. And, with Rod's propensity to run the hurry up regardless of how many 3 and outs we have, or the time in the game, it could get real ugly.

If Threet doesn't play, we may get to seee Feagin. They've already burned a year of eligibility for him on special teams, and Feagin has been moved back to qb, at least for now. We'll see. As immature as he may be, it would be intersting to see a speedster back there, just for kicks.

Hope Threet plays. Otherwise it may be a 36 point game.

Conference Call.


Darryl Stonum has been charged with dui. He'll play though. He was disciplined on the 4th when Michigan

Rod is preaching opportunity for recruits.

Drew Sharp asked whether Michigan will be like 'Bama next year.

Asked what he knows about the Jug: "I think it goes back a hundred years"

Monday, November 03, 2008

Purdue Presser!

What do we have left to play for?

The Jug, Dammit. The most famous football trophy in all of college football. Unlike that Big Bunyan Trophy that is secondary to the game, this trophy is something special. The trophy makes the Game, Rich. Obviously the games haven't been enough, maybe the trophy of trophies can.

I won't point fingers

I thought he actually looked calm. He looked better than many of the conferences. He looked like he was in command. And, although I would never expect him to show it, he sounded like he truly thougth/thinks that Shafer is doing fine. And, as much as I question the schemes, the passing yards given up, and the bumbling secondary play, I will be very glad if the coaches have not turned on one another.

This season has evolved into a practice. A year long practice. For the coaches to know the players. The Players to know the coaches. The coaches to know the coaches who aren't part of Rich's infamous "we" from WVA.

But, Rich every one of these next 3 practices are as big as your first 9. The battle for the Little Brown Jug is key. We want the Jug. You will lose some of the pressure that has mounted from Michigan's patient base if you can win the Jug.

That game is followed by the last home game of your first year. Mark my words, other than a victory at Ohio State, there is not one thing that you could do at this juncture that would ease your enty into the 2009 season more that an strong offensive showing vs. NW and giving up only single digit scoring. And while that's impossible, a victory would go almost as far, even if it's 48 -47.

And, of course The Game.

I suggest you start now. Don't downplay the Jug.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

I am Michigan.

Dear Coach Rodriguez:

You talk about "we" interchangeably between your staff and Michigan. How Tiller brought the spread to the Big 10, but how "we" have been running it a long time. And, while I see tremendous hope in the offense when Brandon Minor could not be stopped despite a horrendous offensive line, it frustrates beyond no end that you cannot beat the worst team in the conference, which started a quarterback who has never started a college game. Who played running back last week.

And, while "you" brought your "program" here; you are not "we". Your staff is not Michigan. Michigan is not your staff. You are no doubt hurting. But, you are not Michigan. You have no idea. My neighbor in Section 6 is Michigan. My fellow alumni down the street is Michigan. Together, me, my fellow season ticket holder, my fellow alumus, my neighbor are I.

And I am Michigan.

And I am upset. And, while I can live with losses in well a played game, I am frustrated at coaching errors. I am frustrated by coaches who play freshmen who fumble punts. I am upset by poor clock management. I am bewildered by a secondary who has regressed so far since last year. And, while I know that this loss is merely one, it is one of at least seven and what looks like ten. It is one that I will never forget because it marks your place in my history. I know that not even Bump or Mo, with all of his delay of game penalties, could match this mark. I know that this loss was better played than most this year. But, I believe that Les Miles, or Greg Schiano, or Ron English, or Brady Hoke or god forbid Mike DeBord would not have resulted in this depth defying nosedive.

Still, I want to believe.

But, Rod, your lips move, and I can't hear what you're sayin'.

I can't explain. You would not understand. This is not how I am.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Hopefully . . .

Joe's Gone Fishin' tomorrow and the snake oil salesman gets him. (P.S. I do know that there's a white margin on the right side of this image, but, I figured, if Michigan's offense can play halfass, and our secondary covers halfass, and our coaches coach at best halfass, then dammit, on Halloween Night, I can post a halfass Tiller retirement image while watching Appalachian State vs. Woffard play for something meaningful!)

Wilford Brimley is Old, But . . .

He's all for instant gratification. In fact he brought it to us, and paved the way for Rich:

"Young people like to throw and catch and run around and high five each other and enjoy having fun playing the game," Tiller said. "I think the style of offense is a fun style, I guess, to participate in."

Tiller, who graduated from Montana State in 1965 with a B.S. degree in secondary education, sounds more like a sociologist when he talks about the spread.

"It's almost, to me, a reflection of our society, in that things can happen in an instant in the spread offense," Tiller said. "I often times refer to our society as being an instant gratification society, so the spread offense fits right in. We've just done our part to help America be better."

Like I said, Joe may be old, but he knows foxy ladies.

Foxy LaFon, that is. Foxy is a secretary for Wilford Brimley. Wilford is happy. Wilford spared Foxy from the 2005 Purdue Purge.

It's come to this. There's nothing interesting to say in preview of the actual game. We're 2 and 6. It's likely this is our last best chance at a win, especially coming off the loss to the bill board toutin' chumps from toiletville.

I guess I could say that Michigan is about last in pass defense, and Purdue isn't very good. But, you already knew that.


Michigan 47, Purdue 200

Oh, that was total first half yardage.

Let's try a score: Purdue 31 Michigan 20.

Go Blue!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Sparty On . . . .

You may have already seen this:

A lot of Spartys I've talked to think it's great. Some thought it over the top.

I think it's funny. Not what the billboard says. The words aren't funny. In fact, even for a Spartan, the words aren't much at all, except to remind each MAC alumnus who saw it that after a big win they don't think about a good game, instead they criticize their nemisis. Were I a spartan, I would be sad.

Which is why I think it's so funny. Picture it:

Mr. Bitter Rivals calls the billboard company days ahead to reserve the space. He has already lined up those fantastic quotes like "Leaders and Best. In your dreams maybe." It took him 12 months to come with these great lines, save the funniest, Holy Toledo" which took about 3 weeks.

Michigan plays another mediocre second half and the guy who was so fortunate to sit in Michigan Stadium instead of Huntington Bank Field is now, literally, peeing his pants over that billboard. He hurries to the car after the win. Starts it up. Hustles on back to 23 North, thinking how badly he wished he could have bought that sign in Whitmore Lake to show all of those Wolverines how great State is. How awesome it was to win in the Big House. But, he is at least comforted that he was able to buy that billboard in East Lansing.

He turns left to merge onto 96 West and he can hardly stop from laughing out loud to the universe. He thinks how great it will be to have all of Spartydom look upon his creation glowing with the knowledge that "Oh Well. There's Always Men's Basketball. Oh Wait. My Bad."; "Roses are Red. Violets are Blue. Your Football Team's Terrible. And Your Basketball Team, Too."; and of course "Leaders and Best? Seriously?? Lately?? You've got to Be Kidding". Because, you know, it just wouldn't be enough to say "Congragulations to the Michigan State Spartans".

Nope, instead, he reminds all of Spartydom that it wasn't a congragulatory moment, it was an opportunity to put down the school that they look up to on the field, in the classroom, and at the workplace.

And here is the Wizard of Rival explanation of why he spent 12 months to come up with wonderful quotes like "Where's the Arrogance Now?"

Yep, I did it, paid for it and sprung it on the Michigan faithful immediately after the game......and here's why.

I have attended every MSU vs. U-M game since 1992 and have never experienced such arrogant, mean-spirited gloating as I felt last year. This premeditated, choreagraphed and orchestrated display of classlessness was led by the little runt Mike Hart.

I've heard Michigan fans say "Act like you've been there". Does that include mocking the opposing Coach by pointing to an imaginary watch like Mario Manningham did last year after catching a TD late in the game?

How about Mike Hart standing 5-yards from our sideline before last years' game and trash-talking until he was physically pulled away. That's what Coach D was referring to when he mentioned "look what they were doing before the game". I saw it first-hand and knew what he was referring to.

Did U-M fans forget when their (heavily-favored) team knelt down at mid-field after the game and openly mocked our team and fans. Then in post-game comments continued to rub our noses in a crushing defeat. Gracious? Classy? No, orchestrated and mean-spirited.

Finally, I have witnessed the unfurling of a 30-foot sign in the visitors section of Spartan Stadium glorifying the arrogance of Michigan fans in games they won in our own back yard (anyone remember the "Pardon Our Arrogance" sign?). They did it again last year and I vowed to myself that I would return the favor in spades this year.

Someone posted that they wished there was a billboard on U.S. 23 so the Michigan fans would see it every day they drove home from work. I tried to get the Whitmore Lake billboard expressly for that purpose but was turned down flat. I wanted all the U-M and Spartan fans returning from the game to see that board lit up immediately after the game. They refused to take my money because they feared the University's response. I even offered to pay them 1/2 of the weekly fee to post it for only 3 hours after the game and was turned down as well. That's the God's honest truth.

Is it gloating? You betcha. Were the billboards designed to rub it in the Michigan fans faces? Absolutely.

If you want to criticize me for being petty and vindictive, I am guilty as charged. But, if your Michigan friend tries to take some kind of moral high ground on this, please remind him that they taught us that this type of response is acceptable and expected in this rivalry.

Or have they forgotten when Jalen Rose rubbed his butt on the block "S" in the Breslin Center.

When a Michigan fan questions why we're so elated about beating a team we were favored to beat, remind him when Chris Webber stood up on the scorers table and did a victory dance after his heavily-favored team beat MSU in OT in the early 1990s.

Hey, we didn't make the rules but now that we know them it's game on.
But, I assume, sir, that you, sir, are probably not a 19 or 20 year old kid. I assume, sir, that you, sir, are not a college student. I assume, sir, that you, sir, didn't jump up on a scorers table in the heat of an emotional overtime victory, but rather spent 12 months of planning this wonderful billboard endeavor and still thought it was a great idea. I assume, sir, that you, sir, were one of the idiots gloating over Michigan State's flag planting turf bouncing brilliance on the gridiron years past.

But perhaps, sir, I have underestimated you. Maybe you, sir, are really so enamored with the University of Michigan that you can't get us off of your mind. Maybe you, sir, are simply one among Spartydom that cannot define himself without saying "Michigan" or "Leaders and Best" in the same sentence. And, that, sir, is why you, sir, are my little brother. And for you sir, in my very best impression of a Budweiser commercial so appropriate for you, sir (and a good deal of your Sparty mates):

"So here's to you Mr. Sparty Bitter Rivals Celebrating A Victory Over Your Arch Rival Like A Real Amateur Guy -- You're an Inferiority Champ."

Newsflash, Mr. Inferiority Champ. After Michigan takes you to the shed at Huntington Bank Field next year, and the year after, and the years after that, we will celebrate our victories and know that we've made it about halfway to a Big Ten championship. We'll be proud of our team, of our school, of our players. We'll save the congragulatory billboards for the National Championship.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


Courtesy of Mgoblog. Tate.



I Am Disturbed

Best comment I've heard from Rodriguez all fall.

"The number of big plays was really disturbing".

He sounded upset. I've got to say, that this might have been the best example of a genuine statement from this staff that they realize they have failed in coaching. Finally. Hey, I can accept the fact that you tried to come up with a scheme, tried to get the players to learn the plays, but couldn't do it. This is significant progress from the continued mantra about how well the team is improving in practice, and how the offensive staff has THE gameplan and preparation, but execution failed. I'm actually glad hear this self critique, which seemed genuine, even if directed at the defensive staff. After all, Rodriguez knows he's responsible for the D ultimately.

On the other hand, the clip may also be one of the best examples of poor coaching and strategy. On a critical 3rd and 3, State is offsides, but the call isn't made. The left side of the line doesn't move. Threet throw downfield to Matthews incomplete, as the offense apparently tries something of a trick play. The same thing happened in a game between Tulsa on Sunday night, only the penalty was called. Shaun King was doing color on the game. He explained that the play is called the Freeze Play. The idea is to emphasize the off sides. But, why? If its offsides, run the play with all 11 players.

"We tell them assume the penalty won't be called."

Then why would you handicap yourself by throwing the ball away on a 1 receiver route? If the penalty isn't called, then you've got more than one option by not runnig the "freeze". And if it is, it's a Free Play, not a freeze.

I like Steven Threet. I think he's been tough. From watching only 8/12ths of my first season of this Spread thingymajigg Rodriguez keeps talking about, it's clear to me that he has improved, and that he can run the ball to a degree. He is light years beyond the 2nd string quarterback in abilty, if not decision making. But, in the comment for the video above, there was a reference about Rodriguez knowing what has to be done to win.

And if there wasn't any question to what he was referring, it should be clear here when he may as well have said "We expect Tate Forcier to compete and start":

"Some of the needs will be addressed in recruiting, which is obvious".

We've Got To Get More Athletic on Defense

Sunday, October 26, 2008

A Wide Angle View.

There are a lot of things that aren't clear from watching tv. You can watch all of the replays from Musberger and Spielman, and even watch twice, but not understand what really happened on any given play. The pesrpective of watching the o-line protect and the pass receivers run routes is something that just can't get unless you watch the game from the stadium.

So, what did I see against State?


The defensive line. Obviously. Brandon Graham and Terrance Taylor player particularly well. Brandon Graham was a terror. TT had several outstanding plays and had pretty good penetration for most of the game. And, although I have said this before, I will say again that the Bawis Ginsu Ninja Warrior training techniques appear to be paying off for these guys, because they do not look tired on the field, not even in the 4th quarter.

Now, you would think this stamina would be paying off on the field, yes? No. It isn't. It may next year.

The defensive backs. Ok. You're going to call me nuts. And that's fine. But, it is very clear that our dbs are talented and fast, and hit hard. This was not expected coming into the season. Morgan Trent played well last year, and D. Warren was solid for a freshman. Both of these guys showed glimpses of their former selves Saturday, despite the carnage.

Offensive line. This isn't an actual positive. It is a relative positive. I expected worse. They played relatively well, and there was less backfield penetration on running plays than I expected. Pass protection could have been better, especially in the 4th quarter, but all in all, not as bad as I had anticipated.

Running backs. Brandon Minor played ok. He played tough. We need a second option. Carlos Brown anyone?

Wide receiver blocking. A Michigan tradition has been maintained. The receivers more often than not got a head on a man and made decent blocks. On a couple of bubble screens, the blocks were maintained well.

Field Goal Defense. Awesome. They were in on the kicker each kick. Tremendous rush from the left side of the line.

Kevin Koger. He is the real deal. We may not have tight end of his caliber since Jerame Tuman.


Everything else? That would be a copout, so . . .

Defensive Backs. How can you list them as a positive and negative? Easily. Although there is talant at the corner position, the coaching staff has wasted it. The defensive backs positioning is poor. As a unit, they look and play confused. This = points. I am very concerned. The level of confusion is astonishing for 8 games into the season. I'd think about a play by play analysis, but there were just so many I can't pick. Boubacar has some speed, but his lapse cost a touchdown against Sparty. Unlikely Morgan Trent makes that mistake.

Quarterback. I've given the nod to S. Threet this year. And, frankly, he's played close to the level of Chad Henne is his first year. Threet obviously has a lot less talent at receiver to throw to, and a line far worse than Henne had. Henne also benefited from a pro style passing game which has utterly escaped this staff -- more on that later. But Threet threw too many interceptions, and missed some passes that should have been made. On Stonum's drop in the end zone, the ball should have been thrown about a second earlier. It ended up late, and slightly off target. And, whether by design of the coaching staff or Threet's mistakes, he throws too many balls down the sideline which should have been passed in the middle of the field, including a missed post pattern on the Brandon Minor touchdown/nontouchdown.

Wide Receivers. When will Daryl Stonum learn to catch? Same for Matevious Odoms. A couple of big drops by these guys really hurt.

Clock Management. Please, please, please someone consider hiring an assitant coach to tell the offensive staff that when you're going 3 and out, in your own end, at the end of half you might want to consider moving away from the hurry up offense? With 3 minutes left, Michigan runs the hurry up, 3 and out, and punts the ball away to State with too much time on the clock and after having used no timeouts. With the timouts remaining, State had the option to run the ball, and immediately scored. Maybe it happens anyway, and Michigan did go down the field before haltime and score after State was up 14-7, but this just has to stop. It is pure stupidity. I could actually understand this to a point, if 3 and out wasn't the norm. But it is.

Uuugh. There is a serious lack of improvement on Saturdays from the offense. Rod says we just can't see all those wonderful strides made in practice -- he said it again in the press conference. I don't believe it. I believe he is simply too stubborn to be able to adapt to a downfield passing game, which is what the personnel on this team is better suited for than a quarterback lead running game. In fact, it is just damn depressing to watch our pass patterns becuase it is clear that there is nothing even remotely resembling a sophisticated pass offense.

Sidewayz Yards. And I suppose that we knew this coming from the run game, but on Saturday it looked like every Brandon Minor carry was a sweep running sideways. I trust Rodriguez on this one, and assume this was at least in part because the Threet running option was minimized in an effort to keep him healthy throughout the duration of the game.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

State Week!

Mark Dantonio.

He's going to use what he has to motivate his players. Huh. Well here it is:

Little Brother. Little Brother. Little Brother. Little Brother. Little Brother. Little Brother. Little Brother. Little Brother. Little Brother. Little Brother. Little Brother. Little Brother. Little Brother. Little Brother. Little Brother. Little Brother. Little Brother. Little Brother. Little Brother. Little Brother. Little Brother. Little Brother. Little Brother. Little Brother.

Feel better, Mantonio?


Brandon Minor has Brandon Graham covered.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Wow. Another Presser!

I think this makes three.

The over under is 5. The Huge show. Really. Here goes.

Rod says that competing in practice equals will. I don't agree. You can practice as hard as you want. Compete every play. But, ultimately, that does not have anything to do with, nor does translate to having players and coaches, and a Unit that has the will to win, the will to overcome the adversity in the game, and to take it to the next level. At this point, the next level is a victory.

Feagin has repped some. But doesn't sound like he's a viable alternative based on what appears to be an insurmountable lack of experience.


He says the rumors have been unbelievable. Clemson. Decommits. Etc, etc. He clearly doesn't get it. He has been treated with the ultimate Kid Gloves. It is amazing, to me, that he would even hint at fans, or anyone, complaining about his performance. Read Mgoblog. Read it this year. Read it last year. Read it in '06. Do the same for the other blogs. The amazing thing is that Ricardo has been given a free pass for a 2-5 season where the team has looked like it is often without a gameday coach. Yet, many of the same people chastised Lloyd Carr because we didn't beat OSU in '06. Listen, Ricardo, if you think you have it bad now, imagine what will happen if you go 2-5 next year.

Of course, all of this is compounded by continued remarks that He Ricardo is going to rebuild Michigan. Here he says the goal is to get Michigan back to a top 10 team. Hello? Where is that we have been the last 10 years?

2007 AP #18/espn #19
2006 AP #6/espn usa today #9
2005 unranked
2004 AP #14/espn usa today #12
2003 AP #6/espn usa today #7
2002 AP #9/espn usa today #9
2001 AP #20/espn usa today #20
2000 AP #11/espn usa today #10
1999 AP #5/espn usa today #5
1998 AP #12
1997 Nat'l Champs!

So yeah. We must have just sucked.

Rich: Suck it up. Knock it off. Coach your offense. Coach your players. Hold a few less press conferences. And, maybe talk to Lloyd about how to draw up some sophisticated pass routes. We like you. We are giving you a chance. We want you to succeed. But, we don't want to be reminded how awful the Michigan program performed before you, our savior, appeared on the scene!

Transcript of Monday Presser here.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

No Fake, It's a Bruised Elbow

Injury Telegraph

Remember the days when Lloyd Carr was asked about the condition of an athlete and the reply went something like this:

"Chad is a little knicked up. I'm not telling you whether it's a hair follicle or a torn acl, but it will be a game time decision"

Those days are gone. The oddsmakers and our opponents probably appreciate knowing which arm they should go after when Threet drops back in the pocket. Prime example from Mlive:

University of Michigan quarterback Steven Threet pointed to a spot on his right arm just above the elbow Monday.

"Basically from about here down, my whole hand tingles," he said, describing the sensation he felt in two recent games. "It's not necessarily pain, because you can play through pain, but I can't grip a ball."

And, Freep:

"It's more just a matter of not being able to move it," Threet said. "It's weird to describe because you think it's a bruise on the back of your elbow, but it just stops (the arm from stretching). I can't use my right hand to touch my right shoulder at points during the game."

A little misdirection wouldn't hurt, would it? The article also goes on to quote Threet as having taken shots during each of the last 2 games. To help reduce swelling against Toledo, and for pain relief at half vs. They Are.

In fact, we even know how and when the injury occurred:
The tingling sensation, which first occurred when Threet was tackled out of bounds and landed on his elbow during the second quarter of an Oct. 11 loss to Toledo, caused him to miss the second half of that game. It also forced him from last Saturday's Penn State loss in the third quarter.
Running Threet.

Clearly Rod isn't going to adapt his offense. He had the opportunity early when it looked like Michigan's personnel simply wasn't going to be up to the task of running the qb zone read as the predominant play in this offense. There are spreads that utilize short passes, yes? Yes, there are.

This isn't necessarily a complaint. I obviously think flexibility would have been productive for this team. This team did not have to be 2-5. On the other hand, I assume Rod saw some light flashes in practice that gave him hope. I can live with that decision (unlike poor clock management or ridiculous in game strategy).

But now it is painfully obvious that Michigan cannot win if they have to rely on Nick Sheridan. No offense to Nick is meant here. He is a walk-on, though, and it really shouldn't surprise anyone that our offense stalls when a short, relatively slow, walkon quarterback with a poor arm plays quarterback. He does what he can, but he just doesn't have enough sockets in the ol' toolbox.

Knowing this, wouldn't you do what you could to preserve and protect Mr. Threet? Sure, running off tackles and zone reads with the quarterback was semi-productive, but only in a perverted sort of way. Kind of like taking a short cut out of the parking garage over those spikey backward tire hole puncher things. Multiply that by two if you don't have a spare tire.

Monday, October 20, 2008


I dunno about any rivalry, but that Bunyan Trophy. . . . That's somethin'.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Hail to the Victors Valiant . . . .

Alex Hunt Kills It.

Alex Hunt and the Michigan Wolverines Volleyball team kicked the Hoosiers in Bloomington Saturday. Hunt had 16 kills and 4 blocks in a phenomenal effort versus Indiana.

Game Recap here. Michigan stats:

   Michigan               |     ATTACK      |SET| SERVE |SRV|DEF|  BLOCK |GEN
1 Rood, Veronica...... 3| 5 3 11 .182| 1| 0 0| 0| 1| 0 1 1| 0| 5.5
2 Karpiak, Beth....... 3| 12 3 25 .360| 0| 0 1| 0| 1| 0 4 0| 0| 14.0
6 Bruck, Karlee....... 3| 6 1 9 .556| 0| 0 0| 0| 1| 0 4 0| 0| 8.0
8 Hunt, Alex.......... 3| 16 3 32 .406| 0| 0 0| 0| 3| 0 1 0| 0| 16.5
17 Zimmerman, Lexi..... 3| 3 2 8 .125| 51| 0 1| 0| 8| 0 6 0| 1| 6.0
18 Paz, Juliana........ 3| 13 5 34 .235| 0| 2 1| 0| 13| 0 2 0| 0| 16.0
3 Donhoff, Sloane..... 3| 0 0 0 .000| 2| 0 2| 2| 11| 0 0 0| 0| 0.0
5 Bower, Megan........ 3| 5 2 12 .250| 1| 0 0| 1| 7| 0 0 0| 0| 5.0
12 Busch, Maggie....... 2| 0 0 0 .000| 0| 0 0| 0| 0| 0 0 0| 0| 0.0
16 Hance, Kerry........ 3| 1 0 3 .333| 1| 1 1| 0| 6| 0 0 0| 0| 2.0
Totals.............. 3| 61 19 134 .313| 56| 3 6| 3| 51| 0 18 1| 1| 73.0

Michigan plays Iowa, at home at Cliff Keen arena Friday at 7pm. Get out and support the Wolverines. Go Blue! I look forward to singing Hail to the Victors in a winning effort (or least a competetive one).

Being John Beilein.

Mark Snyder of the Free Press relates his starring role. An interesting look into the game day prep at Crisler.

Slurs from the Peanut Gallery.

Lou Holtz puts his ass in his mouth in criticsm of Rich Rod, and ineffectively explains his comment.

Note to Rod Smith.

I Am Available Saturday. If Steven Threet can't go on Saturday, I am willing, and I can't do any worse than Nick Sheridan. If I get hurt, the season ticket holder to my left could also fill in at the same level as Nick. Please give me a call, we want to help.

And, as long as I'm on the subject of how to keep Steve Threet a little bit healthier, here's Rod Smith's comment from the Detroit News:

Smith said maybe the coaches consider running Threet less -- he had 14 carries for 50 yards in the game -- but the injury came on a pass play.

"The thing is, Steve didn't get hurt on a run, he got hurt when he was throwing," Smith said. "He got hit on a sack, on a play-action, the kid came from the back side, and that's when he hurt it. He ran the ball well. He likes doing that once in a while."

The drop-off at quarterback is the issue now. Sheridan, who started the season opener, entered with the game tied and took a safety, giving Penn State its first lead. He was 3-of-9 for 5 yards and clearly struggled, as did the entire offense.

"We've got to find some plays somehow once Steve goes out," Smith said. "I thought Steve did some good things. We've got to get someone to step up and get ready to fill his shoes if he's not in there."

R0d, just because I couldn't perform any worse than Nick Sheridan doesn't mean we'd have any better chance to win, so let me help you out.. Could you consider running spread offense with 4 wideouts and quick passes from Threet to the wideouts, or is that just too complicated an adjustment? Maybe mention that to Ricardo, huh. And, in case you haven't scouted your opponent for Saturday yet, their dbs, are shall we say, suspect.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

This Is A Clock. It Keeps Time.

Time is Important in Football.

Three minutes left in the first half. Michigan's ball on the 16 yard line (or so).

Ricardo: "ok, guys let's go out there and run the hurry up as fast as we can, line it up, snap it, and go 3 and out. We want to use as little clock as possible."

Fred Jackson: "Coach, I really think maybe we should try to use that 40 second clock some, force some timouts and punt."

Ricardo: "You must be crazy! We have a program. We have an attitude. We never use more than 15 seconds between players regardless of the situation. Clock management, we don't use them big words in Appalachia, Freddy"

Fred Jackson: "You know, I've coached a long time, and I really learned a lot about the will to win, about game strategy, and about clock management while I was on Coach Carr's staff, Rich, and I just think you're dead wrong. Heck, Lloyd once told me we that game we lost down in Columbus in '06 that we just didn't use enought clock on offense. We just left the defense left out there by themselves."

Ricardo: Aw, shucks, Fred, you know that we ain't never worried about clock management! I once heard some guy named Miles talk about it, but he didn't seem to know what he was sayin'"

Fred Jackson: "No, he didn't. I do, though."

. . . . . .

Meanwhile, Michigan runs a no huddle on first and second down for 2 yards, after which Penn State calls timout. And, yes, you guessed it, results in one of a long line of 3 and outs. And, instead of giving Penn State the ball with no timeouts and less than 1:30, we give it up with 2 minutes and 1 timeout.

. . . . . .

With about 20 seconds on the clock -- about 40 seconds after time would have run out had Michigan forced a timeout after first down or refused to run a hurry up offense up by 10 points in the 1st half, Penn State scores a touchdown. Had that nasty Michigan tradition of clock management been employed, best case scenario is a Penn State field goal.

. . . . . .

Fast Forward 30 minutes

. . . . .

After 39 straight points, Penn State beats the 24.5 point spread. Unbelievable. I saw the single worst half of Michigan football in my life. Michigan loses 46-17. And, Darrin Clark, Penn State's quarterback is interviewed after the game:

Stupid Reporter: "Darrin, what was said at halftime?"

Darrin Clark: "Not much, really. The last drive of the first half really gave us a lot of confidence, and we knew we could come back out in the second half and play our game."

. . . . .

Of course, there were many more problems. Of course, any time that Nick Sheridan takes a snap and Michigan is not up by at least 40 points with 10 minutes or less left in the game should be chalked up as a likely loss. Of course, the offense in the second half had problems under both Threet and Sheridan.

Yet, really, the difference in the game, the point where we knew Michigan was done, the point that singlehandedly guarenteed that the Good Guys would lose their first of 10 meetings against Penn State was Penn State's touchdown at the end of the first half due to Ricardo's clock management. Sorry, I mean lack of it. It is a sad day, indeed, when the opposing quarterback calls out Michigan's head coach as the confidence inspiring source of its 39-0 comeback.

Oh; and No, I don't really believe we lost the game becuase of this. As soon as Nick Sheridan walked the field, the game was lost for good. What is amazing is that Threet came back in and played after he had been sat for injury. Begs the question, yes? Is he hurt, or did he sit? I assume he was injured. I assume that Ricardo's statement that he would play both regardless was horsecrap. If it wasn't -- Wow. As we, and anyone who has watched Michigan this year knows -- Nick Sheridan might be able to start at quarterback for a large high school team. Other than that, not so much.

But, if you don't believe me already, which you should after the Illinois first half, The Clock, will guarantee games are lost that should not be with Ricardo until something changes. This year. Next year. And yes, even in that year when we might be playing for a big ten championship. And that is simply unacceptable.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Where Can I Return My Defective Rodriguez?

I was angry. For about 6 minutes (instead of 6 weeks). Which may be the most telling of signs about how far and how fast Michigan has fallen.

We were forgiving, almost as an entire fanbase. We have chastised fumbles, and pointed out poor strategy decisions by Rodriguez, but here, and most everywhere, the Michigan fanbase has treated Rodriguez with kid gloves during this "rebuilding" period. We have trusted that the "rebuilding" was a necessary evil to institute this spread thing which Rodriguez brought with him.

The kid gloves are off. Our trust has ended.

In one half season, with the most difficult part of the season left, Rodriguez has managed:

1. to lose as many games as Lloyd Carr ever did in a regular season;
2. to lose to a Mid-American Conference team for the first time ever;
3. to accumulate the worst record through 6 games since Bump Elliot's 1967 team, which went 1-5 and finished 4-6.
4. to amass one of the worst performing offenses in the nation: 109 of 119 (Offensive Genius??)
5. to be dead last in fumbles lost (the ncaa doesn't track fumbles not lost but is there any doubt Michigan would be last there as well?)

Some have compared the transition we're seeing to Bo's start in '69. We've heard about swearing by coaches, and we reminded that Bo was no angel. We're reminded about how the practices under Bo and Rod have both been tough. We're told that the players run, run, run in practice, all of the time under Rod, and that Bo also had his team running crazily during practice. We've heard that players quit between 68 and 69 because practices were so tough, and see the comparison to the players who left early or transferred.

But, Rodriguez doesn't appear to be anything like Bo. Not even Bo's first year as Michigan head coach did Michigan get blown out as badly at home as they did by Illinois. In 1969, Bo's squad lost by 23 to Missouri in Ann Arbor. The score was 17 - 40. But, Missouri was also damn good, ending as co-champions of the Big Eight and going on to an Orange Bowl berth. Illinois will not be a champion of any type this year.

The Missouri loss was a turning point for Bo. After being crushed at home by Missouri on October 4, 1969, Bo's teams went on to win every home game played until November 22, 1975. 41 games. 6 years. 72 months. 2,240 days. Michigan won 4 big ten championships and finished in the top 10 every year. It took Rodriguez all of 6 days to lose his next game.

When Bo's team next lost at home, they lost to Ohio State, which was ranked 4th in the nation coming into the game, won the big ten, and was ranked number one in the country at 11-0 until they lost in the Rose Bowl to UCLA. Rogriguez lost to Toledo. The first ever Michigan loss to a MAC team. And a team which will likely finish in the bottom half of its mediocre conference.

There may still be Rodriguez apologists after today. Those who claim that Michigan lacks offensive talent. That we don't have the players to fit the system of this offensive genius.

I suppose apologists could argue that fumbling is merely random and that players fumbling have nothing to do with coaching. Some have. They are wrong. Fundamentals are taught. Holding onto the ball is emphasized. You won't hear me or anyone else say coaches can prevent fumbles altogether, but when that frequency of fumbling is so far above the average over six games, there is clearly a coaching issue. But, hey, it does take a player to fumble.

But, it doesn't take a player to botch clock management. Against Wisconsin, Michigan ran a hurry up offense on it's 10 yard line with about 2 minutes left in the half. They could have run, huddled, and ran the clock out. Instead, Rod runs a hurry up offense which forces a punt.

Or woefully fail to see clear audibles. Versus Illinois, in the third quarter, Michigan was on the goal line, going into score. The Illinois defense lined up with nobody over center. Threet took the playcall from the sideline. Instead of the coaches noticing the obvious qb snea which looked like it would have ended with Threet running clear until Section 8 row 7, Rod calls a pitch sweep which started 6 or 7 yards deep.

Or to call an atrocious game. In Michigan's last drive against Toledo, Sheridan led Michigan to the 10 yard line with about 40 seconds left. After a 9 yard gain on first down, it was 2 and 1 on the 10. The next to playcalls were passes. Why not run the ball and get a first down. There was pleny of time left. There was no reason to hurry up to kick a game tying field goal. Take advatage of time and the situation and the downs. Michigan likely would have won the game had it run the ball once or twice in that last 40 seconds, picked up a first down and managed the clock.

Toledo. Wow.

So. . . . how'd that volleyball team do?

The Preparation and The Plan Is All There?

With due respect, Coach, you may want to reconsider

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Stamina, Speed, Skill and Will

Barwis is a maniac. Rodriguez an offensive genius. Schaffer an agressive s.o.b. But that is not all it takes.

Champions aren't made in gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them: A desire, a dream, a vision. They have to have late minute stamina, they have to be a little faster, they have to have the skill and the will. But the will must be stronger than the skill.
-Muhammed Ali

Stamina. Check.

Speed. Check.

Skill. Defense Check. Offense, half check.

Will. Maybe not. According to Rod:

"You can run full speed and still be soft. It's a physical ballgame, and there comes a point in time where you have to play physically. You can't catch people. You can't allow them to block you -- you've got to want to block them. ... Unless we become a tougher football team mentally and physically, we'll have a lot of problems."

He wouldn't go into detail about what he would do to correct the problem, but he said some of the responsibility falls on the coaches because it's their job to motivate the players who are not self-motivated.
Hopefully, that is intended a self reflection and not that of the players. The lack of will or softness as Rodriguez called it is primarily on the offense. Granted, there is tremendous youth, and it is not entirely fair to place blame on a coach if a player isn't motivated. But it is in good part the staff's job, from position coach, to coordinator, to head coach. There is no reason for a team ahead 14-3 to lose a game like Michigan did Saturday. There was a lack of will. Hopefully, the Rod staff knows something about will, and they haven't let what was a mentally strong team under Lloyd Carr become mentally soft.
The difference between a successful person and others is not lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but a lack of will.

— Vince Lombardi

I think they do know something. I don't think they have let it go. But, another game like Illinois, another game where offense loses its focus and drive, and we need to begin to wonder.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Dirty Little Secret?

Did You Know . . .

Tony Mandarich did steroids at Michigan State. Amazing. How'd we all miss that one? Michigan might have beaten MSU that year but for the steroids. We only lost 17-11.

I kind of felt sorry for Mandarich. Everyone knew he was juicing. He was the 6th pick in the draft. He had great expectations, and went to a team, Green Bay, where he could have been a hero. LA Times:

Mandarich: There are other factors that were involved that nobody knows about that were way more of an effect on why I had the huge downfall in Green Bay than steroids (such as) drug and alcohol abuse. I was injecting a drug called staydal ... and it was euphoric. I went from doing one injection on that one day, and a week later I was doing between 5 [to] 7 shots a day for the next three years.

Armen Keteyian: You went into Green Bay essentially a drug addict?

Mandarich: Mmm hmm, not the same, not the same person they drafted. I got to the point where it was a struggle to workout three or four times a week because the priority of getting high was above the priority of working out.

Instead, he was gone in 3 years, and had a lot of personal problems.

The real story here is not the revelation that he juiced. It's that it is now obvious MSU's "investigation" regarding the widespread steroid use on the "87 Spartan team was a fraud. It's long been rumored that a large portion of that team was juicing, and that George was complicit. Perles:

"Twenty years ago, we went through with an investigation because we suspected things," Perles said. "We checked it out and there wasn't a problem. There was nothing there.

"Obviously, now if he says this you've got to believe him. You've got to take him at his word. But how it slipped through the cracks at the Rose Bowl and with the NFL and him being the second draft pick, I don't know."

My, My, . . . . Maya Sakura

Tony and his wife are now photographers. They shoot models. And, boy, do they shoot models. I didn't attach the shot (or three) above for the heck of it. It's a Mandarich. So is this.

In my little corner of the world, Tony has gone a long way toward redeeming himself.

I Can't Hold It Anymore.

Rodriguez comments.

Rod's big ten call audio is here. Our offense isn't clicking. Really?

Because It's West Virginia.

I've thought that, perhaps, there's just too many people, incuding me, picking on the appalachian americans. Really, I'm sure Bill Stewart is a very nice man. The fact that he is Barney Fife in a parellel universe isn't his fault. But, just when those thought slowly creep into the crevices of my brain . . . .

Another example of why we make fun of them pops out. Seems a driver in West Virginia had a few too many and decided he'd drive home. What resulted, however, is, shall we say . . . felonious odiferous?

Cruz was pulled over early Tuesday for driving without headlights, police said. According to the criminal complaint, Cruz smelled of alcohol, had slurred speech and failed three field sobriety tests before he was handcuffed and taken to a police station for a breathalyzer test.

As Patrolman T.E. Parsons prepared the machine, Cruz scooted his chair toward Parsons, lifted his leg and "passed gas loudly,'' the complaint said.

Cruz, according to complaint, then fanned the gas toward the officer.

"The gas was very odorous and created contact of an insulting or provoking nature with Patrolman Parsons,'' the complaint alleged.

Cruz acknowledged passing gas, but said he didn't move his chair toward the officer nor aim gas at the patrolman. He said he had an upset stomach at the time, but police denied his request to go to the bathroom when he first arrived at the station.

"I couldn't hold it no more,'' he said.

Cruz said the officers thought the gas incident was funny when it happened and laughed about it with him.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Wisconsin Wrap

Mostly Stuffed Curds.

Michigan's defense stopped Wisconsin cold in the 2nd half (and for that matter, most of the first as well). But for the last game-almost-tying drive, Wisconsin was held in check. The numbers for the 2nd half didn't turn out quite as impressive as it seemed at the time. In large part because the last and 2nd to last drives did cover 141 yards.

The 2nd half numbers for Wisconsin:

Rushing yards: 47
Passing yards: 195

Consider that for the vast majority of the 2nd half, Wisconsin's game plan was to grind the clock and the game, the 47 yards is pretty impressive. Equally impressive, until the 2nd to last drive (that one ending in a fumble) Wisconsin's longest drive was 42 yards (their first). Wisconsin's remaining drives were all 3 and out (or less): -3, 7, 0 (interception return for TD), and 9.

Defense Returns the Favor.

The Michigan D did its part to make up for the first half fumblerama with an interception return for a touchdown and a key Brandon Graham forced fumble deep in Michigan territory. The key forced fumble, plus another in the first half with three sacks gave Brandon Graham Defensive Player of the Week honors.

Kill Brandon Kill.

Brandon expects to continue the performance against the Illini. How do you neutralize Illinois quarterback Juice Williams: "Gotta attack him early. Hopefully he'll crack."

It hurts.

David Gilreath, Wisconsin WR, sounds devastated:


I know you have noticed how the motor for these guys keeps going. I haven't seen hands on hips on the defensive side of the ball yet. You do remember TT last year, yes? That's changed.

Steve Schilling from the Freep:

"There were a lot of times Coach Barwis put us through workouts where a lot of people would have quit, but he wouldn't let us quit," Schilling said. "Getting through those workouts in the summer, the hard practices in camp ... that mentality has been set into the team from the start."
‘I don’t think we get very tired during games".

‘Conditioning, I feel like we can outlast a lot of teams." and
"There's always the will to win, and when you have that, that's good, but when you have the conditioning we have, you have some tools to use, too."
Brandon Minor:
‘I’d have to say it’s the conditioning part. At the end, you could see they were tired, but we kept on going.’
Run Baby Run.

While Brandon Minor only carried the ball twice, he had the run of the game, and looked pretty fast doing it. He says it was set up perfectly, from the News:

"It was set up perfect because the two linebackers blitzed, so I just had to beat the safety one-on-one and outrun the corner," Minor said. "I just give it up to my linemen for holding their blocks."
Monday's Off.

This isn't anything new, but it does seem a good idea to get the emotional ups out before the week starts. Rodriguez from Big 10 presser:

“The way we approach the practices and the way we’ll approach each game, we’ll think about it for the 24 hours right after, and then we’ll move on. That’s one reason we practice on Sundays and give them Monday off, so we can get that game, good bad or indifferent, out of our system. A lot of people during the week may still be talking about it, but there’s so many challenges in front of us and so much work we’ve got to do, because we’re very average in a lot of spots and below average in areas, so we’ve got to get that corrected.”
Just Execute.

R2 claims that there isn't a difference between the offensive game calling from the 1st half to the 2nd despite dramatically different results agains Utah, ND, and Illinois. I'm not buying it at this point. But, FWIW:
“A couple games, we have started off scoring on the first drive and then didn’t do anything for the few series after that. It’s funny, some of the same plays that were working effectively at the end of the game were the ones we were calling at the beginning of the game; we just executed better. It’s more of a matter of execution as opposed to plays. We’ve got to look for things that maybe get confidence and get our quarterback in rhythm. That’s the plan anyway. For us, it’s just the plan of executing early and not having those turnovers. Those are the things that are killing us, taking away possessions and any chance we have, so we’ll continue to stress that.”
Obi says the difference is from a lack of urgency. From the Blade:
‘We usually go in at halftime losing and come out with more of a sense of urgency that we should be playing with the whole game,’ Ezeh said. ‘That’s kind of what our aim is, to play that way the whole game, but we haven’t been able to do it. Hopefully we can come out and do it against the Illini.’
And this falls into Rod's life philosophy:
"If I ever had a team that did (quit), which I haven't, I would be more embarrassed," Rodriguez said. "If I ever had a team that somebody said they looked like they quit or they were soft or they were lazy, that would be the most embarrassing thing somebody could tell me. I've told the team that. Worst thing somebody could tell you is that you're soft or lazy.

"If you run the wrong route or have the wrong technique or make a bad decision or something, that's not good, (but) we can get those corrected. But if you're soft and lazy, that's something you can control every day in every game."

Shafter Gets After the D.

About Scott Shafer:

Nose tackle Terrance Taylor jumped on the ball in another example of the kind of hustle for which defensive coordinator Scott Shafer meticulously watches.

"He sees who's flying to the ball, who's turning around, running," Graham said. "A lot of people were turning around a lot of hats were on the ball. We were hitting them high and low."

Shafer, who pays attention to the number of times defenders don't go all out during a game, counted fewer "loafs" than at any point this season, according to Graham.

Michigan Stadium Rocks Recruits.

From Freep:
"There were a whole lot of people and it was crazy,” said South Carolina offensive guard Quinton Washington who was in Ann Arbor for his official visit. “It was real live – the (most live) I've ever seen anything and just a fun experience.”

"That crowd was so hyped. Even when they were down 19 points, the crowd was still cheering them on,” added Pahokee, Fla., linebacker Brandin Hawthorne, another official visitor who has already made a verbal commitment to Michigan.

Jordan Barnes: “I think we came out with a win because we are so much more conditioned than everybody else,” Barnes said. “Even when they were down at halftime, the (team) was still into it pretty well and I liked their commitment.”

Last Complaint Until the Chinchillas Come Back

Ridiculous. Atrocious.

"At same time, if it is a lack of discipline from carrying ball in the wrong hand to not putting it high and an tight when contact is about to hit you then we need to as coaches, and we got to emphasize that."

Yes. You do.

Video: "The return game is atrocious," says Rich Rodriguez about his special teams

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Victory grabbed from the Clutches of Defeat!

After watching 90 minutes of 11 wet chinchillas trying to catch an acorn on a slip-n-slide, this was an unexpected victory. Let us hope for more downfield passing, less option pitches, and maybe some glue.

And, maybe this meeting will help:

Highlights of Wisconsin here.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Let There Be No Mistake

There is 5 minutes left in the first half, and whatever happens the rest of the game, one thing is clear. Rich Rodriguez has a VERY SERIOUS problem here. I have NEVER, EVER seen a Michigan (or for that matter any "good" team) ever fumble the ball like Michigan has the last 2 games. There are some that may blame players. It is not so. There is a complete and total lack of fundamentals, even from those who should know better (Greg Matthews and Morgan Trent); but it IS THE COACHES JOB to teach (and practice) basics. PERIOD. This is uncacceptable.

Like hold the ball in your armpit, not as a loaf of bread.

And hold the ball in your outside arm.

Moreover, with 1:30 on the clock in the first half, instead of trying to burn the clock ON YOUR 10 YARD LINE Michigan chooses to run the hurry up offense. This is very basic strategy. Very basic. Also unacceptable.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Wisconsin Preview

Wisconsin is 3-0, as usual. Unlike most years, Wiscy did schedule a nominally difficult presason game against Fresno State. On the road.

While Fresno may not be the BCS buster many that claimed heading into that game, it was a big test. Wisconsin passed 13-10. I watched a good deal of that game, and it was competitive though it probably should not have been as close as it was, especially since the homer refs really piled it on for the home team. Don't discount the significance of that win, the Bulldogs were jacked, the fans were rabid, the WAC refs were pulling hard for the home team, in a game on national television, on a weeknight at 10:30 edt. All of that in the single biggest game that Fresno State has ever played at home (possibly ever, ever).

Wisconsin's remaining schedule is typical Badger fare, beating Akron 38-17 and Marshall 51-14. As you probably already know, they had last weekend off. What, if anything, can we learn from the Fresno game?

Fresno rushed for about 200 yards against Rutgers and Toledo in 24-7 and 55-54 wins. Wisconsin held Fresno to 118 yards on 33 carries for a 3.5 yard average. Fresno veraged 5.3 per rush against Rutgers. 5.0 per rush against Toledo. That is significant. Wiscy also held Akron to 70 yards on 22 rushes. And 29 rushes for 75 yards by Marshall. All in all, expect a stout run defense, and a significant number of bubbles and short passes to the short fast guys.

Wisconsin's offense is . . . . Wisconsin's offense: Large thundering cheese curds in front of lumbering sausage. We've seen it before, and we'll see it this year, and again and again . . .

Michigan will have to pass to move the ball. Steven Threet has looked good, and has been officially graced with the starting role. If he can pass as well as he did against Notre Dame, the game should be competetive; provided Michigan doesn't turn the ball over 6 times, or fumble twice inside of its own 20!