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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Yeah, I've gotten a lot of email of late, as you might imagine. Quickly, quickly:


Did I miss it or did you not criticize Lloyd for the 2 point conversion in the 3rd quarter? [note: this email came after App St. -ed] Of all the gaffes in that game, that one was just crystal clear and indisputable. You don't go for 2 in the 3rd quarter unless you are a zillion behind. It is incorrect mathematically and it sends a message to the other team that you are desperate. Just what A State needed at the time. Bo would have said - "Kick the point, stuff 'em and let's go back and get some more".

UM Ken in Troy - Old Guy - '68 BS, '84 MBA

PS - I have always admired Lloyd's integrity and what he has accomplished. That should not be dismissed. But it is now time for a regime change. The king (Bo) is dead, long live the king!
I did not criticize Carr for that decision because I'm not exactly sure what the right move is there. I lean towards that being wrong because 1) you have not established your field goal kicker and should prefer touchdowns (er... "more heavily prefer" would probably be better) and 2) your offense is racking up lots of yards against Appalachian State and you should expect to score another touchdown. So... yes, I think that was the wrong call but there was so much to criticize some thing slipped through the cracks.

A positive note on recruit Elliot Mealer from an Ohioan:
I got to see '08 early commit, Elliott Mealer of Wauseon. My former high school football team played Wauseon last Friday, and he is probably a little more than 300 pounds, yet stil playing TE. They ran off-tackle to take advantage of the huge down block Mealer provided. They seriously ran the ball 90-95% of the time and 80-85% of runs went to his side. It seemed like he was taking about three or four defending players out of the play every down. Additionally, he played some defense even though he wasn't the focal point of the defense like he seemed to be on offense. Defensively he ended up with three or four sacks against a sub par offensive line and a clueless quarterback.

Watching this game really changed my mind about Mealer. I played against him his sophomore year and my brother played against him his junior year and this year. We both thought he was a bum prior to this year. He changed both of our minds this year and now I'm thinking he might not be a complete bust. With his size and some toughing up, maybe he will see the field when he gets a little older. Its hard to say how good he really is though, because he plays mostly Division 4 and 5 teams (In Ohio, the higher the division the smaller the school).

Elliot Vocke
"Might not be a complete bust"... sweet! It might not matter; if Ohio State offers Mealer (looking more and more possible with Josh Jenkins looking unlikely and targets getting thin on the ground) and Carr retires Mealer, a lifelong OSU fan, is probably one of Michigan's biggest flight risks.

One of the nice things about this blog is that there are a lot of intelligent commenters. The post about who was responsible for the field goal block got a lot of interesting responses; Aaron Lewis provides the most definitive answer over email:

I played football down the road at Albion College. While I was there, a guy by the name of Dave Arnold ( was the offensive line coach so he also was the coach for the FG team. He coached under Dennis Erickson when Miami won the national title and with the Seahawks.

Anyhoo, I played Crable's spot several times on FGs. You DO NOT LUNGE for ANYBODY. You step with your inside foot and simply lean to the inside. Stepping with your inside foot creates a stronger bond, for lack of a better word, with the guy inside you so that guys cannot creep through an inside gap and have more of a direct line to the kick point. Anything and everything must go to the outside for it is the longest and lengthiest route from a time perspective.

That said, Crable and Banks have a second step for their job. Once they step and lean to secure their inside gap, they also must look (literally just turn their heads) to their outside gap and throw up an arm jab once their inside is secure because they are blocking at the weakest protection points. Everyone else (save for the guys playing the exact same position on the opposite end) has direct protection on their outside gap from their fellow lineman. You step to the inside, lean to the inside, and arm jab late to the outside if you can. If you look at the video, the end on the right side has no inside pressure after stepping so he takes on the guy to his outside.

The worst case scenario happened for this team with Banks and Crable. Banks got much too wrapped up on his inside gap with a man who was essentially blocked, taking himself out of the play by willingly washing himself down to the inside. You can see the offensive tackle's left leg is even past the midpoint(!) of Banks stance in the second frame, when Banks right knee should simply be behind the tackle's left knee.

Crable compounds a small mistake into an utter disaster by wholeheartedly going after a guy who is the least threat, essentially taking himself out of the play and opening up the kick for a disaster. Which, of course, it was. I would say that as a senior he should know this, but people often forget that even the most important special teams roles are taken on by guys who have little to no experience at them. Coaches often throw together a mix of veterans (who they assume won't lose their heads) and young players who they want to get on the field, but normally none are comfortable unless they play the same role throughout the season. You could probably say with a more informed opinion, but I have little doubt that Crable did not play that position last year. Nobody plays the same special teams role for three or four years straight save for kickers.

So there you go: blame to both Crable and Banks and the Michigan special teams coach, who doesn't exist.

Question on the Offense UFR...I was at the game and it seemed like a recurring problem was Henne struggling to get the play off as the play clock was winding down. Tough to tell if this would be Henne's fault or Debord's but it just looked like Henne was rushing the calls to get the snap off (while trying to set guys in motion or check to another play) and maybe this led to some of the false starts because everyone was out of synch?

Did you notice this being as much of a problem as I am remembering it?


I did not notice this particular issue in either game except in certain instances where the playcall got in late and the result was either a timeout or the world's most disastrous delay of game call. But I could be wrong. Commenters?

And then:

I'm glad I didn't have a blog following last week's loss, because I probably would have put some shit out in a rage that was regrettable later. I'd just like to point out, though, that your unconditional surrender was included in the ESPN Page 2 piece, and I was kind of embarrassed to think that everyone reading that would see UM as a program surrounded by fairweather quitters. (You're making me look stupid, panda jerk!)

Much more importantly, such a statement also reinforces the existing culture among a lot of younger fans that they should throw in the towel as soon as anything goes wrong with the team, and that only undefeated teams really deserve their support. Even when I was on campus (2000-2004), that attitude was way too widespread, and when someone as widely read and respected as you puts their imprimatur on that behavior, it can only make things worse.

I would ask as a favor on behalf of all UM fans who don't want our fan base to be labeled as - and who especially don't want to it actually become - spoiled, golf-clapping, whiny and spineless that you please refrain from surrendering our superiority again. I can understand surrendering for the season, but not for all time. I also truly think that almost any group of fans can concoct a list of Times My Team and the Universe Generally Tried to Fuck Me in the Pooper, and the lists would be largely comparable. I don't think we're unique in that regard, even though it certainly seems like it as a fan. The Lions, on the other hand, have a list that is head and shoulders above anyone in sports.

Go Blue,

Brian Druchniak
(STW P. Brabbs)
And also:

I'm all for profiles of potential coaches, and the limitless optimism you and I usually share certainly would be suspect at this point, but come on already! My friends and I have thanked the big guy upstairs many a time for having intelligent, entertaining discussion of M Football (read: not or anything mainstream) finally, and we need you -- stop bitching out and sack up! Please:

1. Ditch the Emo Week banner with the crying already - it was funny and appropriate for a week, but we're Michigan after all - let's act like it.
2. Rally the base with the ups and downs -- obvious down being "defense = suckitude," but optimism is possible in watching the offense rack up 300 yards in the first half -- if we stop throwing picks and getting freak "lose points" moments (Brown's fumble with the cast on, two sacks that pushed back/eliminated the possibility of field goals, etc.) and if Henne hadn't gone down, the 2nd half could have at least made the score look respectable. The Big Ten doesn't have the speed/schemes to screw with us, etc. We have to believe the defense can not blow this much all year, and if they even bandaid it, the offense should dominate as they mature together.
3. IT'S NOTRE DAME WEEK -- let's do it proper (although humor is probably necessary) with some Holtz-laughs, some bashing of Rudy, etc.

4. Notre Dame stat of the week:
*Charlie Weis 20+ point losses in his last 13 games: 5
*Lloyd Carr 20+ point losses in his 13 year career: 3

5. Positive coaching search omen worth mentioning:

1930s -- Kipke suffered four 32+ point losses; he was replaced by FRITZ CRISLER.
1960s -- Elliott suffered three 32+ point losses; he was replaced by BO SCHEMBECHLER.
2007 -- Lloyd suffered one 32 point loss; he was replaced by _______________???

Before those two guys you have to go back to the 1800s for 32+ point losses, which were obviously wiped clean by (a) happening during the first 10 years of the program and (b) Yost being God.

Sorry for the ramble -- just please come back and be badass for Michigan again. If you fold up in the blogosphere because of a couple of losses, those other bitch bloggers (i.e., the terrorists) win.

These men are right. In our time of trial we must remember our hatred. Hatred makes us strong. We are weak without it. I have declared this "Emu" week. I dedicate it to all the ways in which Jimmah Clausen and Charlie Weis are the very embodiment of earthly evil. I will be relentless.

Hey... Clausen, the spiky-haired douche with fey gestures store called... they're all out of you!

I'll work on it. I'm rusty.