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.