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Stadium and Main: <strike>Win</strike> Won it for Lloyd!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Win Won it for Lloyd!

Slow ride... take it easy!This is going to be all over the place, and a lot of it isn’t even about the game itself:

Before I get started…

Raise your hand if you thought “here we go…” after Brandon Minor caught the ball with a foot out of bounds at the 7 yard line to open the game. I was so dispirited about the whole thing that I was actually happy we got a good spot on that play. The close-up showed that he stepped out at the 6.

What a huge win

I’m not talking about a huge win for Carr or the seniors. I’m talking about national perception. Fair or not, Michigan was being viewed as a program that was “slipping.” The losses to OSU, the bowl losses – 3 (maybe 4) straight years of offseason negativity following some disappointing finishes. So to come out and beat a media darling program like Florida, with its “genius” coach and Heisman-winning QB – that is a big win.

Let’s post an incorrect headline and then not back it up with actual info (because we can’t)!

The Express is a free mini-newspaper published by the Washington Post. In today’s edition, one headline on page 13 read “Michigan’s Passing Attack Torches Florida.” Fair enough. Right next to it, another headline read, “Vols Continue SEC’s Dominance Over the Big Ten.” And they wonder why they’re losing subscribers. This is the Washington Post, not the Tuscaloosa News. So, I guess the SEC has “dominated” the Big Ten by going 6-7 against its teams in bowl games over the past 5 seasons? You can make fun of the Jim Delany press release all you want (and deservedly so, especially regarding the academics argument), but the bottom line is that the Big Ten and SEC are generally on par with each other. The numbers don’t lie. Mainstream media: Enough of this crap!

Florida: Lloyd’s second-favorite state?

Michigan was 5-2 under Carr in the Florida bowl games (Outback, Citrus, and Orange). They had 2 wins over Florida (in Florida, remember – a virtual road game for us). And the only losses were to Alabama in Gene Stallings’ last game, and to the 2001 Tennessee team, which was probably a Top-3 team and should have been in the BCS.

Get me that DVD!

Somebody who is smarter than me needs to pass this along to the media folks at U of M. I’m sure they’ve already thought about this, but in case they haven’t: Michigan needs to release a DVD of this game, complete with extras, interviews, locker room speeches, everything. In the past few years, Michigan has sent out a DVD to season ticket holders. A fully-loaded DVD of the Michigan-Florida game would be fitting. I don’t want a season recap (too many low points) – I want a DVD of this game, because you know that ESPN Classic ain’t gonna show it.

Big Ten SPEED kills

1 – TE Carson Butler running down the sidelines like Antonio Gates on the clear.

2 – CB Morgan Trent coming from outside of the frame to track down and tackle super-speedy Florida RB/WR Percy Harvin. This play saved Michigan 7 points, as Florida ended up getting a FG blocked.

3 – WR Mario Manningham reversing field on the entire Gator defense.

A few thoughts on the last few minutes

- The defense at the end of the game was a thing of beauty. That felt and looked like a Michigan defense: 8 plays, 4 yards, zero first downs, sustained pressure, and a bunch of incompletions: Game Over.

- On offense, of course I was one of those people hoping that Lloyd would go for the jugular instead of the last field goal. And in hindsight, it appears he might have tried to. After re-watching our final 3rd-down play a few times, I think that Henne checked into the draw to Minor. My guess is primarily based on this logic: If the draw was the original call, why was Minor in for Hart? In fact, one final Lloyd nitpick: Why was Minor in for Hart under any circumstances?

- After the last FG put us up by 6, I said to my friend Ben, “the boards and the blogs are going to melt down after we lose by 1.” It was a similar situation to OSU 2005, where a first down seals the game but you get the sinking feeling that Lloyd would rather “play it safe.” The difference? In 2005, there was virtually no argument for playing it safe. Against Florida there was a legitimate one, all things considered (score, timeouts, field position, FG kicker, etc.) Thankfully it worked out, because I was ready for Brian’s head to explode. Part of me is convinced that Lopata’s kick was blocked and returned for a TD, and that I’m currently living in some sort of psychotic dream where we won, Lloyd got carried off the field, and snowflakes are actually little bits of vanilla ice cream.

Finally…

You’ve probably read this AP article somewhere today. I found it funny that the middle-aged white dude who wrote it (Larry Lage) thought they were saying “Lloyd, take off your coat,” instead of clothes. He’s not a DJ Assault fan? Shocking! Anyway, that’s comical stuff and a good article.

This was just a great football game – and isn’t it nice to end the season on a high note for what feels like the first time in forever? Wasn’t it great to see our team playing with passion and intensity (well, except for Minor’s brain fart on the opening kickoff)? A few times I was worried that we’d get flagged for all of the fake gator chomping and post-whistle jostling. Maybe I just should have taken Ron English's approach: "(Bleep) that! We're doing it for Coach Carr!" They did it, alright. Hail to the Victors!

6 Comments:

Blogger 'Eff said...

Not to nitpick your nitpick, but Hart was in on the final 3rd down. He was lined up as a wideout, which makes me think it was a designed draw, with Hart serving as a distraction.

11:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good blog post - great win for Lloyd and the team, especially the seniors. I agree with you and I was also eager for the knockout punch late in the game when UM opted to run on three consecutive plays and try for the field goal. Given the aggressiveness all day on offense, I thought Lloyd might try to deliver the final blow on that series. I hated to give the ball back to FL with a chance to win on a TD even though our defense had been fairly dominant. It harkened back to Carr decisions of the past to play conservatively and get burned in the end. Fortunately, it wored out this time.

11:01 AM  
Blogger e said...

Still not sure that I am genetically related to you since I was at the gym during the game (but I did glance up at the TV to make sure MI was ahead, if for nothing else than to ensure you weren't having a heart attack)--I am happy for YOU that they won!

- e

10:21 PM  
Blogger Nick said...

'eff - Good call. I finally saw Hart on that 3rd down play - at the top of the screen as a wideout.

One other "Hart as receiver" note - He was wide open at the bottom of the screen on the trick play pass to Arrington (which was picked).

11:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great point on the DVD - the AD absolutely needs to produce one.

2:29 PM  
Anonymous MHawk23 said...

Just a response to your comment about Michigan playing it safe during their last offensive possession. After they punted the camera got a shot on the sideline and I swear Lloyd Carr asked one of the assistants why we hadn't thrown the ball.

That to me is an indication that Lloyd's biggest fault may have been his loyalty to his coaches. Mike DeBord is an offensive idiot and I'm glad he's gone. If Lloyd had hired someone else in his place a long time ago, I would think Michigan would have a few more wins.

2:53 PM  

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