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Wednesday, July 13, 2005

It's on again! At Straight Bangin'!

Which unheralded player on your team will be the hardest to replace? Which seemingly inconsequential player could make the biggest impact?

Michigan lost only a few players last year, and most of them were heralded (Edwards, Baas, Jackson, Shazor) or not particularly good (pick a linebacker, Adam Finley, Larry Harrison, Markus Curry), but there's one guy that should be the boring chorus of Michigan responses: fullback Kevin Dudley. Dudley was Michigan's most badass fullback since Chris Floyd in glorious 1997, the kind of guy who finished his career with one carry and no touchdowns but left dozens of crippled linebackers in his wake. Ask Derrick Johnson, who did almost nothing (1.5 tackles) in the Rose Bowl except one admittedly sweet forced fumble on Max Martin. Now he's being foolishly passed over by NFL teams instead of doing his impersonation of the really fast truck in Frogger.

Michigan will miss him. The fullback position is a bit of a mess. Roger Allison will miss the season with a mysterious nerve injury that may end his career. The projected starter is looking like Will Paul, a guy who is currently still listed at defensive end. With four of five offensive linemen back and a three-headed monster in the backfield, Michigan should be grinding its opponents to dust... but that iso play which is a staple of the playbook needs someone like Dudley to lay down the law, Judge Dredd style.

The seemingly inconsequential player with great impact will be strong safety Brandent Engelmon, a lightly recruited player stepping into Ernest Shazor's shoes. Shazor was noticeable, whether it was crushing Minnesota runnigbacks in the backfield or killing Dorient Bryant or blowing coverages against OSU or overpursuing against MSU. mgoblog would prefer to not think about Engelmon in any way whatsoever. If the year ends and I can say to myself "I have no recollection of Englemon doing anything last year," I will be a happy man. Just don't screw up.

Which regular-season game that won’t feature your team would you pay the most money to see this season? Why?

I might go with Spurrier here but I think South Carolina's quarterback situation (i.e., not having any) is going to prevent the Cocks from being competitive against Tennessee and Florida. Visor aside, if I'm going to pay big bucks to watch someone play, there has to be the prospect of watching grown men cry. This quickly narrows the field to a select number of games: Texas-OU, Michigan-Penn State, and whatever game knocks Florida State out of bowl contention once and for all. The second is disqualified for affiliation reasons. The last is too vague. So, we're going with Texas-OU. Don't Texas fans have to start killing themselves pretty soon? How many points would OU have to win by to cause a mass suicide in Dallas? The number keeps getting lower every year; a few years ago we were talking 120. Now... I think the number is 8. Let's see some carnage.

Bonus: From Brent of the theoretically archetypical ParadigmBlog--Which rivalry game would you most like to attend?

Since I have Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer on the brain, it would have to be the Iron Bowl. Cool name, a (new) rooting interest, and a reputation as absolutely insane no matter what the teams' records are.

If your team were a rapper, who would it be and why?

I'm not much into the rap. But I am into pretentious indie music, which possesses a great Michigan analogue: prolific and excellent folk-ish troubador Sufjan Stevens. Witness these similarities:

Relocated To After CollegeNew YorkNew York
Performance LevelConsistently very goodConsistently very good
Fatal FlawTends to lose one game a year to a totally inferior opponent in an unlikely and heart-rending fashion.Tends to put one bizarre, meandering 12-minute track on each album; often they feature lyrics like "People Mover, bad decision."
Backup SingersN/AJesus H. Christ
Jesus ChristOpinion mixedIn favor of
TraditionExtensive and beautifulPlays the banjo beautifully
Stance on public display of wangExtremely opposedUnknown
Disposition of crowdsSedate but dedicatedDitto
Opinion of fans towards othersWe're better than youDitto