I didn't want to say it because I love the guy, but since Jason Avant said it himself, I'll talk about it:
"I lost the game on third-and-(8)," Avant said after Michigan's 23-20 loss to Wisconsin on Saturday night in its Big Ten opener. "I dropped the ball. ... That was the biggest play of the game, and I dropped it."He's at least partially right. The three-and-out followed by the long UW field goal drive was a key turning point in the game. But it wasn't all on Avant. Vijay's pointed out something that I think is very enlightening: the way Carr coaches leaves no room for error. The 1st and 10, 2nd and 6, 3rd and 3 (or eight) style means that you have to execute 10, 12, 15 plays successfully to score. When Carr's forced out of that and has to score relatively quickly, it often happens. The margin for the offense in this game was even more razor-thin because of Henne's inaccuracy and the inability of the line to push the UW DL off the ball on short yardage. Thus no points in the second half except off the flea-flicker. Thus 260+ yards of offense in the first half and only 13 points to show for it. Thus kittens with high-powered sniper rifles.
IBFC weighs in with some stuff a little more off the cuff than his usual "this is the final word on the subject and I win because I am awesome" posts, so I can disagree some without being obviously wrong. Read his first and then return to this response, point by point.
- Forget whether he misses Braylon Edwards or not, he is just simply playing significantly worse football than last year. Yes, amen. The receivers are open and Henne just isn't hitting them. There is the occasional dropped ball, but there was the occasional dropped ball with Braylon, too.
- I suspect that we grossly overrated our offensive line. And that's what Tom thought, too. He appears to be right. We've got two 5th year senior guards and a fifth year senior tackle who have crushed the MAC opponents on their schedule but have only been sporadically effective in the run game. I was astounded to find that Martin had like 91 yards on 18 carries, because it certainly didn't seem like that.
- The return of a favorite Michigan script. Okay, agreement here. Where's the beef?
- ...we are learning what a complete and total fraud the entire off-season Terry Malone hype campaign was. Okay. I haven't gone over the tape for Wisconsin yet, but I don't think this is necessarily the truth. People are always complaining about the playcalling in every loss and usually the wins that don't include 30+ points, but at some point you just have to step back and say that perhaps Malone is doing the best he can with a limited set of tools. Down Mike Hart and Jake Long and with an erratic-at-best Henne, all Malone can do is call something and pray. When Avant drops a key third down pass... well, what can you say? He was open, the throw was there, and the man with the most reliable hands in the universe drops the ball. That seems like the summary of the year to me: a good script ruined by Joel Schumacher (OMG BAT NIPPLES). Eventually that's on the coaches, but I'm still in Malone's corner for the moment.
- someone watch our punt returns and explain to me what Hood and Stewart are doing? Hell if I know. It's ridiculous. We never double the gunners and we don't attempt to block punts. We set up neither the block nor the return, and unless the punter launches a 55 yard bomb, Breaston is catching the ball with someone in his face instantaneously. It's inexplicable and maddening.
Press conference contains news, film at eleven:
- On Jeremy Van Alstyne and Mike Kolodziej's injuries: "I don't expect either one of them back this week. I want to make this clear. Jeremy, the reason he didn't play … is he's fought a hamstring injury all fall. It had nothing to do with his effort. That wasn't part of his deal. Mike Kolodziej, there are some tests being taken, and we just have to wait and hope things will work out so he can come back."
- On Doug Dutch's health: "He's back and ready to go."
- On whether he expects Zoltan Mesko to redshirt: "Yes."
- On Jake Long's status: "Day to day. He's more than day to day, but he's working at it." [I've actually got a source on this one: he's still on crutches, so I wouldn't expect him any time soon. He's not "day to day." Also the source reports that Long and Kolodziej are A) very large, B) sweet and deferential, and C) Have strange athletic department people drop by every day to make sure they're in class. -ed]
Who ever voted for Idaho, should have his dick removed.(!!!)
Another indication of failure: Michigan is still in it, at #25. The AP had the good sense to boot us.
Dear SI On Campus "Link Master": Love the page. It's wonderful, etc. One thing: your "THREE BLOGS YOU MUST READ(!!!)" links are not permalinks. Since you're just linking to the front page of a blog, often people click it and get whatever the latest bullshit about kittens is instead of what you actually linked to. Just a helpful critique.
In BlogPoll News... We've added a pair of bloggers that cover teams previously unrepresented: Around The Oval is a tOSU blog and Golden Tornado is a Georgia Tech blog. Welcome, gentlemen, just don't vote for Idaho.
Also! Congratulations are in order for the fine lads of Football Outsiders, who have been hired by FOX to work their statistical mojination in the big time. Aye, 'tis well deserved. (HYYYAARRR!)