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Stadium and Main: October 2006

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Off-Topic Tuesday: Jagshemash!

So we’re playing Ball State on Saturday. Let’s talk about something else:

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard of Borat. In the news nearly every day for the last month, including "denunciations by officials in Kazakhstan and an organization of German gypsies," Sacha Baron Cohen’s brainchild has his own movie coming out on Friday. Go see it. I have been anxiously awaiting this movie since I heard about it about a year ago, and I’m even more excited now that my girlfriend lived in Kazakhstan for four months (no, really!). The fact that "The middle of the country is not in on the Borat joke yet," and Fox is only opening the movie on about 800 screens makes me sad, but is not surprising. Thanks, average American! Because of you, we get sweet sitcoms with John Lithgow and 872 CSI knock-offs!

Just go see the movie.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Optimist/Pessimist: Looking towards the OSU game


The Defense is unreal. They’ve held two opponents with decent RBs (Tony Hunt, Tyrell Sutton) to negative yards rushing. Yes, sacks are included in that calculation, but guess what that means? We’re sacking QBs like it’s going out of style! We’re 4th in the country in Sacks. The Offense doesn’t have to be explosive, and it isn’t “built” to be explosive – it’s built to win games. Hart keeps running into stacked lines, but by the 3rd or 4th Quarter, he’s gaining more and more yards and sealing games. We’re wearing defenses down. Field position, Time of Possession, protecting the ball: these are things that we don’t like to hear Lloyd talk about, but apparently they’ve helped us win games. We’re #2 in TOP, #4 in Turnover Margin, and we’ve had more punts downed inside the 20 than I can ever remember. And, by the way, we’re 9-0. We only take our shots when we need to. Otherwise, we’ve avoided putting our Defense in bad positions. And the few times that we have put the Defense in a bind, they’ve come through with big play after big play. In case you didn’t notice, the game at Indiana will be a good tune-up for Ohio State: Mobile QB, excellent receiver, road game. Manningham and the TEs will be back, and we’ll be ready for OSU. Read this and you’ll realize that DeBord will know what to do against the Buckeyes, just like he did against Notre Dame.


Run left, run left, Breaston drop, punt. Ugh. Can we throw on first down more than once a week? The play-calling is so predictable and it is putting Hart in serious danger of injury – might as well throw him to the sharks. If he goes down, get ready for fumble-fest 2006 from the backups, a group that can only find a running lane by accident, but certainly knows how to stumble forward without being touched. The OL is getting worse every game – how bad is it when you’re hoping Rueben Riley can get healthy ASAP? And back to Breaston, is he ever going to wake up? Muffed punts, key drops, weak kick returns. You’re a 5th-year Senior! Time of Possession means nothing (really), and it won’t help us against OSU. We need to score points, brother! We’re injured at too many key positions, and not having Mario and our TEs in a rhythm (or at full health) for the OSU game is going to kill us. Sure, our Defense is good, but the OSU WRs are going to burn Trent, Sears, and anybody else not named “Leon Hall.” We can’t win a shoot-out. Our 3rd-Down Conversion Percentage is 61st in the nation. 61st! We can’t pick up 3rd-and-2s to save our lives. Forget OSU, we’re losing to Indiana.

My take:

Both “sides” here have many valid points, and I probably fall somewhere in-between the two. I hate Time of Possession – I want points scored. My mantra while watching Michigan games is always “Touchdowns, not Field Goals.” The 2002 OSU game is an excellent example of why I utter those words while asleep. However, this Defense is great, so my hope is that they will play well at OSU, and DeBord will find a way to put up some points. Michigan generally plays well against OSU as an underdog. We don’t always win, but we tend to have decent gameplans that are more aggressive. When we’re a prohibitive favorite (1999, 2001, 2004), we often come out flat and “play not to lose.” I don’t know if we’ll beat Ohio State, but it wouldn’t surprise me.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Northwestern game linkfest

General info:

Northwestern (2-6, 0-4 Big Ten) @ #2 AP / #3 Coaches / #2 BCS Michigan (8-0, 5-0 Big Ten)
Game Time: 12:00 Noon Eastern
Game Location: Michigan Stadium
Field Surface: FieldTurf
Weather Forecast (Kinda windy?)
Television Coverage: Nationwide on ESPN. HD broadcast in 720p on ESPN HD.
Local Ann Arbor Area Radio Coverage: WOMC-FM (104.3), CKLW-AM (800), WTKA-AM (1050)
Satellite Radio Coverage: Sirius Satellite Radio – Channel 123 (Michigan announcers)
Other Radio Affiliates: Click here
Line: The line opened at Michigan by 32.5, but quickly moved down to Michigan by 30, and has stayed there. A few books have it as high as Michigan by 34, though, still.

Related stuff: "Game Notes," including Depth Chart (PDF) Press conference quotes: Lloyd Carr; Players Football Quartet Semifinalists for Maxwell Club Awards (Henne, Hart, Woodley and Carr) Old-fashioned football at heart of Michigan’s change

The Detroit News: Is Hart Heisman material?

The Detroit News: Arrington’s status unclear

The Detroit News: U-M: Two-minute drill

The Detroit News: Hot seats: U-M, OSU tickets hit $4,270

The Detroit News: Kraus thrives despite adversity

The Detroit Free Press: U-M success begins with quarterback

The Detroit Free Press: Bo watches game at hospital

The Detroit Free Press: Hart: The next three games toughest

The Detroit Free Press: U-M’s Butler holding tight

The Detroit Free Press: When call comes, Rivas always ready

The Detroit Free Press: Arrington court date is Nov. 1

The Detroit Free Press: Buckeyes, Michigan could play twice

The Detroit Free Press: 30-point underdog at No. 2 Michigan

The Michigan Daily: Rocking the Crable

The Michigan Daily: Wolverines prepared to dominate Northwestern

The Michigan Daily: Fitzgerald returns to Big House

The Michigan Daily: Left Guard stays strong (more Kraus)

The Michigan Daily: What’s the real stadium capacity?

Ann Arbor News: U-M’s Butler relishes opportunity as starter

Associated Press: Michigan’s Rivas says he’s ready for a game-winning field goal (more Rivas)

The Sports Network’s Prediction Northwestern Message Board

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Stooping to new lows.

What’s up with Columbus, their cops, and their insane news "reporters?" First, some turds reported that Prescott Burgess had committed to Ohio State, just a day or two before he announced for Michigan. Now, 4 years later, Fox 28 is reporting that he (allegedly) stole some CDs when he was 14 (I guess he lived in that craptastic city for a little bit). But get this... there has been an arrest warrant issued for Burgess! Charges have not been filed, yet, as that decision is up to Jim Tressel the Franklin County prosecutors office. Umm, wuh? No statute of limitations? Nothing better to do? Fresh out of bomb-sniffing dogs? This is unreal.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

3 quick CFB things

- Is this not one of the worst Heisman races ever? I think Troy Smith will probably win, and deservedly so, but it’s not like everybody is in awe of the guy. And couple that with the fact that the rest of the field is average, and it’s a really boring year for Heisman debates. Maybe somebody (Hart? Henne?) will put on a show in the remaining games, but I’m not expecting much debate (or excitement) this December.

- Texas A&M could be the worst 7-1 team in the history of 7-1 teams. Their resume:
Sep 2 The Citadel W 35-3
Sep 9 Louisiana-Lafayette W 51-7
Sep 16 Army W 28-24 (needed a last-minute goal-line stand to win)
Sep 23 Louisiana Tech W 45-14
Sep 30 Texas Tech L 27-31
Oct 7 @ Kansas W 21-18
Oct 14 Missouri W 25-19 (benefited from the idiotic “fumble thru endzone = touchback” rule)
Oct 21 @ Oklahoma State W 34-33 (Overtime)
- Need another reason to "strongly dislike" Charlie Weis and Notre Dame?
Q. What's your reaction to after a win you drop one in the AP Poll, two in the Coach Poll, one in the BCS?

Charlie Weis: Well, the things that surprise me are in that situation - I'll just cite a couple of them, like one of the teams that jumped us [Tennessee] had the same game that we had. Another down, they're playing at home, they're down and they win by a field goal. Another team that jumped us [Florida] wasn't even playing. They're sitting at home eating cheeseburgers, and they ended up jumping us. So that befuddles me.

We go into a game with 27 seconds to go, come from behind, win a thrilling game, and because we win a thrilling game, let's move us down because one team is not playing and the other team had the exact same game, exactly the same. Tell me how that works. Maybe I'm just stupid, just tell me how that works. You're on the AP, tell me how that works (laughter).
I think Tennessee fans would disagree that they "had the exact same game." First, Tennessee went ahead with 3:28 to play, Notre Dame took the lead with 27 seconds left. Second, Tennessee didn’t have to rely on passive play-calling from Karl Dorrell to even get the ball back for a chance to win. And it has to be mentioned: "[t]hey're sitting at home eating cheeseburgers?!" Anybody who’s taken Psych 101 now knows what Charlie does in his free time, as if there was any doubt.

So, ya, Lloyd yells at officials and can be short with reporters, but at least he doesn’t pull this crap. His vanilla "I don’t worry/care about the polls" comments almost sound poetic compared to Weis' whinging. The only time Lloyd has ever even remotely, possibly complained about the polls was after the final 1997 polls when he joked that maybe coaches weren’t as smart as writers (since Michigan won the AP title, Nebraska the Coaches’). It’s going to be funny when Notre Dame plays Tennessee or Florida in a BCS Bowl after losing to USC. Get ready for your whoopin’, Charlie!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Post-Iowa thoughts

Now it’s time to start looking forward to Ohio State:

- That was the type of game I was expecting: Mistakes and penalties on Offense (primarily in the 1st Half), “boring,” close pretty much the whole way through, but a Michigan victory. I’ll take it. I would have taken a 1-point win. The funny thing is, despite our crappy play, we covered the 13.5-point spread.

- Carson Butler looks faster than any TE we’ve ever had, and he probably is. Getting him experience this year is going to pay huge dividends down the road.

- Is our OL better without Rueben Riley in there? While Alex Mitchell isn’t a true Tackle, neither is Riley (that was the whole fuss this off-season). And with True Freshman Justin Boren already showing that he can run-block well, maybe we should keep Riley off the field? After all, our inability (or refusal) to run to the right side of the line has to be due (at least in part) to Riley’s limited mobility. I love Rueben’s toughness, but if he isn’t 100%, he’s probably doing more harm than good.

- Another solid performance by the Defense. It’s getting to the point where I’m spoiled: If somebody runs for 10 or 12 yards, I’m really upset. I thought it was an average defensive performance, and we held them to 6 points. That’s pretty nuts.

- Everybody talked about the “6-game stretch” from the game at Notre Dame to the game against Iowa. Taking a look back, one could make a good argument that our best game during that stretch was at Notre Dame. If you would have told me that before the season started, I would have laughed in your face.

- I’m getting a bit frustrated with the lack of holding calls in the Big Ten. Yes, it is a conference-wide “phenomenon,” but when you have the best DL in the conference (or the country?), it hurts you the most. Woodley and Jamison were both tackled multiple times with no flags thrown. And seeing that we aren’t getting those calls at home, I don’t expect to get them at OSU, which is going to drive me crazy.

- If you saw the OSU-Indiana highlights, you likely saw Ted Ginn throw a TD pass to TE Rory Nicol off of a reverse. As soon as I saw that, I convinced myself that OSU would try a similar play against us, only it would be a “throw-back” to Troy Smith who would be running a wheel route out in the flat. If you see that highlight again, notice that Smith was wide open after pitching the reverse to Ginn. I’m sure Ron English is 10 steps ahead of me.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Iowa game linkfest

Side note for those who’ve missed it: More Big House renovation designs/sketches. It's starting to come to life – looks good so far. Here are five different articles/blurbs about the design, timeline, etc. I’ll highlight the article, because despite the propaganda, it is the most thorough. Others:

Michigan Daily
Ann Arbor News
Detroit Free Press
Detroit News

On to Saturday’s game…

General info:

Unranked AP / #23 Coaches / #23 BCS Iowa (5-2, 2-2 Big Ten) @ #2 AP / #3 Coaches / #3 BCS Michigan (7-0, 4-0 Big Ten)
Game Time: 3:30 p.m. Eastern
Game Location: Michigan Stadium
Weather Forecast
Television Coverage: Split-National on ABC. Coverage Map here. HD broadcast in 720p on ABC HD.
Local Ann Arbor Area Radio Coverage: WOMC-FM (104.3), CKLW-AM (800), WTKA-AM (1050)
Satellite Radio Coverage: Sirius Satellite Radio – Channel 155 (Michigan announcers)
Other Radio Affiliates: Click here
Line: The line opened at Michigan by 13.5 and moved to Michigan by 12.5 in the first day. Back up to Michigan by 13 on Tuesday, but has settled at Michigan by 12.5, depending on the book.

Related stuff: "Game Notes," including Depth Chart (PDF) Press conference quotes: Lloyd Carr; Players Harris Named Butkus Award Semifinalist Woodley Named Semifinalist for Rotary Lombardi Award Woodley Receives Big Ten Player of the Week Award

The Detroit News: Rankings matter little

The Detroit News: Michigan: 2-minute drill

The Detroit News: Burgess, Crable sport modified mohawks

The Detroit Free Press: Tough breaks for U-M DBs

The Detroit Free Press: Undefeated Michigan is running on all cylinders

The Detroit Free Press: Catching on (Arrington article)

The Michigan Daily: Arring it out (more (better) stuff on Arrington)

The Michigan Daily: ’Real deal’ Wolverines take on Iowa

The Michigan Daily: Iowa limps into Ann Arbor

The Michigan Daily: Behind enemy lines: Iowa QB Drew Tate (interview)

The Ann Arbor News: Keeping focus

The Ann Arbor News: Mitchell loses weight, gains a role

The Ann Arbor News: Dream coming true (Michigan ‘D’ is good)

The Ann Arbor News: U-M benefits from strong leadership

Ann Arbor News: Temptation is there for U-M to look ahead

Ann Arbor News: U-M secondary has luxury of depth

Grand Rapids Press: Something special in the air for U-M

The Sports Network’s Prediction Iowa Message Board Iowa Message Board

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Knock on wood, or buy me a Coke...

or something like that, because CBS Sportsline is putting all sorts of whammies, jinxes, and general hexes on Michigan by putting a "Countdown to Michigan at Ohio State" clock on their College Football page. Just when I was starting to feel some sense of calm, these idiots have to go and do this. Great.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

General CFB thoughts

More than half-way through the season already?!

- In case you didn’t notice, Michigan controls its own BCS destiny. I say this because some Michigan fans (a neurotic bunch, no doubt) are still analyzing the BCS Poll and fretting. Ohio State, USC, and Michigan are the only 3 unbeaten BCS big dawgs left. Forget about WVU, Louisville and the rest of their ilk – the computers aren’t going to give them any love, and neither are the humans (that sounds weird). If we win out, we’re in the BCS Championship Game. If we win out and lose to OSU, we go to the Rose Bowl. If we lose to Iowa and OSU... well, that would stink. Let’s hope it doesn’t play out like that.

- Is the SEC really that good? I find it funny that when the Big Ten champ finishes with a conference loss or two, and everybody beats up on each other, it’s because the Big Ten is weak. But when the same thing happens in the SEC, it’s because the SEC is the “best football conference in America.” It would be one thing if the SEC had played a tough non-conference schedule this year. But one win over Cal is really all they have to show, not to mention potential SEC West champ Arkansas getting blown away at home against USC. But, you know, they’ve got SPEED and Tim Brando and all that good stuff.

- On a related note, Wisconsin is good. You know, the Wisconsin Badgers, who destroyed SEC superpower Auburn in last year’s Capital One Bowl? And yet Auburn enters the season ranked #2 and will be a fixture in the Top 10, while Wisconsin has only lost at Michigan and is still ranked in the 20s? Say wuhh?

- Vandy! Finally breaking through with a nice win over Georgia. I said they were the best 0-3 team in the country. Now they’re the best 3-4 team in the country. If they can beat South Carolina at home, and Duke and Kentucky on the road (a feasible task), they will be bowl eligible the year after losing their best QB ever. Tee Martin style.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Let me tell you a story about 2004

Before I begin my PSU game observations, I can’t help but remember something random from the 2004 season. I went to the game at Purdue that year (16-14 win, Shazor hit/forced fumble), and afterwards some sweet Michigan fan was slapping hands with everybody and saying “BCS, BCS, BCS.” Well, the BCS almost went out the window the next week against MSU (Triple Overtime win). There are no guarantees. I don’t care that Iowa lost to Indiana. In my mind, it makes them more dangerous – this week is their season. The win at PSU was huge, but if the team changes its “one game at a time” mentality and starts looking forward to OSU, we could be in for another nail-biter. Now, on to PSU:

- Game ball has to go to the DL. That’s the kind of pressure I’ve been waiting years to see. Ron English is getting lots of credit for the Defense, but give some to DL Coach Steve Stripling, who has made big improvements in just a few years.

- OK, the hit on Morelli. Here’s my take: First and foremost, it wasn’t helmet-to-helmet. Shame on ESPN for running that on their ticker the entire night and into the next day. If you re-watch it, there was no helmet contact, not even on the facemask area. It’s one of those plays where they probably could have thrown a flag, but I honestly think a neutral fan would have been like “that’s a weak call.” Think about it this way: If Morelli gets up with no problem, do you want a flag on that play? I highly doubt it, unless you’re a total PSU homer. You’ve got Brent Musburger calling for a flag on the play, and Kirk Herbstreit (a former QB) and Bob Davie (a former coach) saying it was totally clean. Musburger’s argument had something to do with Branch “wrapping his arms” around Morelli. Huh?? I tend to find that if you have Brent Musburger on your side, you probably don’t have a valid point.

- For some reason this game reminded me of the game at Northwestern last year. Lots of pressure on the QB, a few mistakes by our DBs, and a fairly impressive performance. The main difference was that the final score was not indicative of how the game played out. It really should have been something like 24-10 or 27-10, but life goes on.

- It seems clear that Morgan Trent will be thrown at until he can make plays consistently. And by “make plays” I don’t mean pass interference on 3rd-and-long. Plenty of “insiders” and die-hards are criticizing the coaches for not playing Johnny Sears earlier in the season, and they might have a legitimate beef.

- Sometimes I hate being so right (end sarcasm). Carson Butler got his false start penalty, but actually would have gotten a 35-yard gain if Henne’s pass hadn’t been batted down while Butler ran free. This was one of the few plays where Henne was visibly upset with himself afterwards, and rightfully so.

- Was it just me or did Breaston look a little faster after the catch this week? As far as punt returns go, something needs to change there, because Breaston keeps getting blown up. I was frustrated with Breaston’s 3rd Down drop when we were trying to kill the clock, but he made a few other good catches and runs, so he gets a pass... for now.

- I was a bit disappointed in the punting this week. Mesko’s first two were pretty bad. Kudos to Obi Oluigbo for forcing another fumble, this time on a punt return. With the score still 0-0, that came at a critical point in the game.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Penn State game linkfest

General info:

#4 / #5 Michigan (6-0, 3-0 Big Ten) @ Penn State (4-2, 2-1 Big Ten)
Game Time: 8:00 p.m. Eastern
Game Location: Beaver Stadium
Television Coverage: Split-National on ABC. Coverage Map here. HD broadcast in 720p on ABC HD.
Local Ann Arbor Area Radio Coverage: WOMC-FM (104.3), CKLW-AM (800), WTKA-AM (1050)
Satellite Radio Coverage: Sirius Satellite Radio – Channel 125 (Michigan announcers)
Other Radio Affiliates: Click here
For those at the game: Hear the Michigan announcers on Pennsylvania’s 96.5 FM.
Line: The line opened at Michigan by 7 and quickly moved to Michigan by 6 once the Manningham injury news became public. It has moved a bit more towards Penn State in the past few days, settling to Michigan by 5.5, depending on the book.

Related stuff: "Game Notes," including Depth Chart (PDF) Press conference quotes: Lloyd Carr; Players

The Detroit News: The prodigal son returns

The Detroit News: Michigan: Keys to the game

The Detroit News: One game at a time works for U-M

The Detroit News: Ann Arbor man is jailed (Carr stalked!)

The Detroit Free Press: Breaston pumped up

The Detroit Free Press: Super Mario out vs. Penn St.

The Detroit Free Press: Henne’s home truth

The Detroit Free Press: So far, so good for Wolverines

The Michigan Daily: Varsity could find pitfall in PSU

The Michigan Daily: Nittany Lions aim for revenge

The Ann Arbor News: Big plays, players spark 6-0 start

Associated Press: Michigan-Penn State features top backs and run defenses

The Sports Network’s Prediction Penn State Message Board Penn State Message Board

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Some keys

Getting a bit nervous about the PSU game. Must type thoughts to prevent freak out:

- Mike Massey, this is the biggest game of your career (so far). Here’s the situation: PSU wants to prevent the big play, and has accordingly been burned by TEs most of the year (especially against Minnesota and ND). PSU also has a great LB corp that leads the 2nd-best Run Defense in the Big Ten. With Tyler Ecker limited by injury, and potentially unable to play, Massey needs to carry the load. I’d expect another false start penalty from backup Carson Butler before I’d expect a 35-yard gain from him (though I’d love to be wrong here). So Massey needs to get open and make catches, hold his ground on zone stretch runs, and pick up blitzes.

- Mike DeBord needs to be aggressive and make appropriate adjustments. Michigan and PSU fans alike expect a lack of deep passes due to PSU’s defensive style (“keep everything in front of you”) and Manningham’s injury. But if they’re there, we need to recognize it and take advantage. Michigan leads the nation in Time of Possession, and I’m hoping we can control the clock and run the ball against PSU. What I’m worried about, though, is whether we’re prepared to win a game where we can’t do so. We haven’t faced that situation yet, partially due to some good play-calling by DeBord. If we end up in that type of game, then I’ll be having flashbacks to 2005. The key differences? Henne is looking better, and the Defense is, well, playing Defense (with a capital “D,” mind you).

- Win the 1st Quarter. Michigan played a lackadaisical 1st Quarter against Wisconsin, and ended up in a close game in the 3rd. In every other Michigan game, the Wolverines have played well in the opening Quarter, and it has led to fairly easy victories. Taking the PSU crowd out of the game and demoralizing the PSU team would be huge this weekend. Coming out flat and falling behind could be disastrous.

- Can we rattle Morelli? His completion percentage (56) isn’t too hot, and he probably (knock on wood) won’t burn us for 3 TDs since he only has 6 on the season (with 5 INTs). So I say blitz, even if the front four is having some success. PSU’s Offensive Line isn’t terrible, but they had to replace a ton of guys after last year, and their best Tackle (Levi Brown) is coming off an injury. MSU avoided sacks by rolling Drew Stanton out. Minnesota did so by throwing quick passes. If PSU doesn’t adopt either tactic, we need to get pressure on Morelli and force some turnovers.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Paterno loves to talk recruiting, and that’s a problem

While the average fan probably doesn’t care, some Michigan die-hards are a bit upset that Joe Paterno keeps saying that Chad Henne committed to Penn State before deciding to go to Michigan.
"We tried to recruit him and, in fact, he had committed to us verbally and then he changed his mind, which he certainly was entitled to."
Don’t get me wrong – maybe Henne did privately commit to Penn State. Maybe he sat in Paterno’s office and told him, or called him up one day during the summer. But why bring this up, JoePa? I follow recruiting like a mad man, and I can assure you that Henne never publicly announced any intentions to go to Penn State. So what good can possibly come out of a comment like this? Does Paterno like taking cheap shots at Henne? Are the grapes really that sour?

In the recent past, Paterno made some statements about USC WR Dwayne Jarrett that irked Trojan fans, as well:
”There is a great wideout in the country now playing for one of the best football teams in the country, if not the best football team in the country, New Jersey, we never even looked at because of the academics and things like that. We could take a step backwards, but that is not what I wanted to do for Penn State and I am not going to do it for Penn State.”
As one USC fan commented:
“Paterno has absolutely no business singling out USC receiver Dwayne Jarrett (that, "New Jersey receiver") or Michigan's Tim Massaquoi as being liars and academically questionable. That is flat out nobody's business. And Joe made it public. What did they do to him? Anyone? Nothing! I have no problem with his criticism of programs, but leave the kids out of it, plain and simple. This wasn't some tiny error, it was WAY out of the line for Joe, or anyone to say the things he did. That's my problem. He hasn't apologized yet, and luckily Carroll and Carr respect him too much to basically bring the noose out and critcize (sp) him, they're classy guys, going above his lack of class in this specific pair of examples. But it was wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong what he said. Someone apologize, please. How about Joe?”
While I don’t necessarily consider Pete Carroll “classy,” nor remember Paterno specifically questioning Massaquoi’s ethical or academic integrity (it was more of a veiled shot at Michigan’s recruiting practices (i.e. PSU was honest with Massaquoi about his future position (TE), Michigan wasn’t), I agree with the gist of the above quote. Why does Paterno think it’s OK to keep blabbing about former recruits, especially when his comments are negative, controversial, or (at best) back-handed compliments?

Memo to JoePa: Stop bringing up sour grapes involving 18-year-old kids. Stop singling out players that don’t play on your team. Mind your own business.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Mario back to full strength by the OSU game?

It sounds possible. Since Lloyd says it's good news, I'll be optimistic for a change. We shall see...

Late post-MSU thoughts

I was at the game this weekend, and didn’t get back to DC until last night, so forgive my tardiness. Plus, I haven’t watched the game on TV yet, so this is all based on Section 9 views...

- MSU is so dumb. So many stupid penalties, such a horrible game plan. With Michigan up 24-0 with 11:22 left in the 3rd Quarter, MSU proceeded to go on a seven-minute, thirty-five second drive, which (fortunately, for them) ended in a touchdown. At that point, the game was over. Michigan dominated the Time of Possession in the first half (17:55 to 12:05), yet MSU decides to bleed the clock while trying to make a 24-point comeback? Go deep, fools! Our Safeties aren’t that good. Apparently MSU forgot that we have Mike Hart at RB and Lloyd Carr as Head Coach. Lloyd must have been loving watching the time tick away.

- Solid run defense, again. Burgess looked good from where I sat. He had a few big hits, at least.

- Jamar Adams needs to bat down that 4th Down pass. I’m sure Lloyd gave him the whole “field position” talk afterwards. MSU had a short field and scored on the next drive thanks to that INT mistake.

- Henne was a bit off, but nothing much to complain about. He missed a wide-open Manningham on a waggle rollout / deep post, and got a bit lucky on Manningham’s second TD (tipped ball). He had a few nice check-downs to Breaston where he didn’t get nervous in the pocket. He’s looking more confident, but this week at PSU will be a huge test, especially without Manningham.

- Word was going around about Hart’s apparent ankle injury, so I was relieved to see him back out there on Special Teams for MSU’s onside kick.

Manningham done for the year?

So Lloyd denied everything, as usual, in yesterday's press conference. But it looks like Mario might be out for the year. Most message board freaks have consulted their doctors, who apparently say that he could be back for the OSU game if it is a certain type of tear, and if everything goes 100% right. If not, it's likely season over for Mario.

And not to put salt in the wound (no pun intended), but I guess this type of injury often flares up later on down the road (more tears, swelling, etc.).

So if the game at PSU wasn't a "trap" game before, then it is now. I have confidence in the team, but I feel terrible for Mario. He was leading the nation in TD receptions and could have gotten an invite to the Heisman presentation if he kept up his pace.

Friday, October 06, 2006

MSU game linkfest

Reminder: Wear maize, or else?

General info:

Michigan State @ #6 Michigan (5-0, 2-0 Big Ten)
Game Time: 4:30 p.m. Eastern
Game Location: Michigan Stadium
Television Coverage: Nationwide on ESPN. HD broadcast in 720p on ESPNHD.
Local Ann Arbor Area Radio Coverage: WOMC-FM (104.3), CKLW-AM (800), WTKA-AM (1050)
Satellite Radio Coverage: Sirius Satellite Radio – Channel 130 (Michigan announcers)
Other Radio Affiliates: Click here
Line: The line started out at Michigan by 14.5 and moved to Michigan by 16.5 within the first day. Was briefly taken off the books at some locations due to Drew Stanton’s alleged injury (I assume). But it has settled to Michigan by 15, depending on the book.

Related stuff: ”Game Notes,” including Depth Chart (PDF) Press conference quotes: Lloyd Carr; Players

Detroit News: National pundits starting to tap Wolverines No. 2

Detroit News: U-M isn’t looking past MSU

Detroit News: John L. starts to feel heat

Detroit News: Wolverines are wary of wounded Spartans

Detroit News: English preaches simple approach

Detroit News: Michigan: Keys to the game

Detroit News: It can be done (Reliving the 1990 game/debacle)

Detroit News: Pick your poison

Detroit News: MSU has capable backup

Detroit Free Press: Wolverines expect different MSU team

Detroit Free Press: The Free Press uptight meter (Lloyd wins!)

Detroit Free Press: Never one to be tied down, Woodley grows into top lineman

Detroit Free Press: Bruise Brothers: Heavy hitters friends since Saginaw days

Detroit Free Press: Strength vs. strength

Detroit Free Press: MSU back not fazed by U-M’s top-ranked run defense

Detroit Free Press: Lineman has motivation (Rondell Biggs, and the cheapshot from last year’s MSU game)

Michigan Daily: Bo knows class (Schembechler attending lectures at Michigan?!)

Michigan Daily: One last chance (More on the Biggs thing)

Michigan Daily: ’M’ looks to axe Spartans for Paul

Michigan Daily: Behind enemy lines: MSU QB Drew Stanton (Q&A)

Michigan Daily: Varsity should keep upper hand on rivals

Ann Arbor News: U-M’s Taylor a pillar of strength in the middle

Ann Arbor News: Special teams trio a reason why U-M is 5-0

Ann Arbor News: Michigan prepares for a “fistfight” with MSU Michigan State Message Board Michigan State Message Board

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Stuff I think I know about MSU

Not so nice stuff:

- They will have trouble pass-protecting against us. MSU is tied for 71st in Sacks Allowed, and our Defense is tied for 17th in Sacks. This doesn’t take into account that MSU lost Left Guard Dan Zynn to an ankle injury last game, and he was their third different starter at LG this year. Our DL should smell the blood in the water – especially considering QB Drew Stanton’s apparent rib injury (or wrist injury, or whatever it really is/was).

- They will have trouble defending the pass. MSU is 80th in Pass Efficiency Defense. Michigan is 17th in Passing Efficiency. As I mentioned after the Minnesota game, we need to keep going deep, particularly on the Post routes.

- They won’t stop Mike Hart from falling forward. MSU is 104th in Tackles For Loss.

More respectable stuff:

- They can keep drives alive. MSU is 15th in 3rd Down Efficiency.

- They might hold Breaston in check. MSU is 14th in Net Punting.

- They can at least try to run on us. MSU has the 9th best Rushing Offense. Michigan has the nation’s best Rushing Defense. Should be an interesting battle.

- This isn’t your father’s John L. Smith-coached team. MSU is a respectable 46th in Fewest Yards Penalized Per Game. Compare this to the allegedly “disciplined” Wolverines, at 62nd in the nation.

Ye olde stats are from here.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Obligatory pre-MSU propaganda

Maize Out – wear maize to the game Saturday. Weather (no rain, fingers crossed) is looking like long-sleeved t-shirt or hooded sweatshirt. As my mom would say: "layers." Spread the word – maize is the new black. Get your friends onboard. Arrive With Five!

Get peppy!
"Stop by Elbel Field on Friday, October 6, at 6 p.m. and start getting pumped up for the big intrastate rivalry game: Michigan vs. Michigan State. Lloyd Carr, the Michigan Marching Band, the football team captains, the Michigan cheerleaders and other special guests will be on hand. The rally is free and open to students, faculty, alumni, family and fans. Come on out and show your Maize and Blue spirit at this pep rally, brought to you by the Alumni Association."

Monday, October 02, 2006

Post-Gophers post


- A very “Michigan” 28-14 win. Could have won 42-10, but made a few mistakes at inopportune times, and played Herrmann-esque Defense to give Minnesota some life at the end of the game. Whatever, I’ll take it.

- Keep running the post routes this week. MSU’s secondary might not be as bad as in past seasons, but until teams show they can stop these routes (by both Manningham and Arrington), I say keep at it. Henne is playing these quite well – looking off the safety and everything. And he would have had another TD against Minnesota if not for an overthrow.

- Having Hart carry the ball so many times makes me a bit nervous (31 in this game). I’m hopeful that in the 3 weeks prior to the OSU game, he won’t have to play much (Northwestern, Ball State, at Indiana), but I don’t want to see him get worn down or injured over the next 3 games.

- Then again, Grady is not looking so hot. He had another bad fumble, and I just don’t trust him on 3rd or 4th and short.

- Not the best defensive performance, but good enough. We lost outside containment a few times, and got lucky when Minnesota dropped a few passes. CB Morgan Trent did not play (broken hand), but could be available this week. And after seeing Charles Stewart get picked on a bit, we probably need him.

- A bit worried about TE depth. I haven’t check around since Saturday, but Tyler Ecker didn’t play (but should be back) and Carson Butler was suspended for the game. Mike Massey is fine, but we need some more bodies there.

- No sacks this game, and I’m not sure what to make of that. The DL got good penetration on many running plays, but never got to the QB. And it’s not like Minnesota wasn’t passing – they threw 34 times. I hope it was an anomaly.

- MSU will give us a game. The fact that they have choked the past 2 weeks means nothing – they’re MSU, that’s what they do. But what they also do is play us tough (except for 2002, I guess). This game is their season. They’re playing for their coach’s job. It’s gone to overtime the past 2 years with virtually the same “talent levels” on both sides. They have nothing to lose. I’m not predicting an MSU victory – just saying that if you think it will be a cakewalk, you’re probably one of those people that guaranteed a victory over Notre Dame last year. It’s a rivalry game – stuff happens.

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