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.