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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Posting is light today since I have to UFR the entire game now so it can go up tomorrow.

I've yet to figure out exactly what to do with Alan Weymouth's contribution... this week it goes here. Editorial comments interspersed.

An outstanding performance by our defense. I mentioned that my biggest concern was our secondary and I must say, they answered the bell this last week. Our tackling was crisp (Morgan Trent might be the best tackler on the whole team) and coverage in general seemed very good. I was quite surprised that PSU didn't go after Warren more. You can bet your bottom dollar that Saint Sweater Vest will.

[Run Up The Score saw a lot of inaccurate Morelli balls and bad reads in his version of UFR; I have the game now but haven't started looking at it. Will be interesting to compare. I do think that maybe we shouldn't be getting too enthused yet... Morelli is not good at the football. -ed]

The game ball though, goes to the defensive line. He might not show up in the stats, but Will Johnson had an outstanding game. He was able to put pressure on Morelli up the middle and cause alot of problems for Penn State up front. We all saw how good Brandon Graham can be this week as well, but I can also see why the coaching staff rends it's clothing over the guy as he blew a couple of assignments that resulted in long PSU runs...the 19 yarder by Austin Scott, and I also believe he messed up on the long run in the fourth quarter. He was playing DT on the long Scott run, and "pinched down". It doesn't appear to me, that this is what was called, as it left a large gap that could not be filled by the LBs. On the 38 yarder in the fourth, Warren blitzes from his CB spot, and has outside contain...I think BG was supposed to take the inside gap, and if he does this is a 2 yard loss instead of a 38 yard near TD.

LB play was pretty darn good..and I take my hat off to Thompson and C.Graham this week. Again, the DL is making things, much, much easier for these two. My only beef here is, they didn't recognize those draws early enough to shut them down near the LOS. Getting hurt on those once or twice is understandable, but you need to adjust quickly. Same thing with screens. If our LB corp can recognize the screen developing, and get that shut down, we'll be able to let the front four loose a little more. Part of the reason we saw a decrease in the pass rush, was our inability to get these two plays shut, the staff reined in the front four a little to help.

[What I don't understand is why the WLB would even start chasing here. I know there's this eleven-hats-to-ball mentality, but your first responsibility has to be to the misdirection, right? Michigan in general and Chris Graham in particular have always been vulnerable to plays that exploit our linebacker's tendencies to go scurrying off at the slightest hint the play is going to one side of the field. See: That Goddamned Counter Draw. Once you verify that the ball is gone, go, but there seems to be little value in biting on a long handoff pump fake. -ed]

I know you had problems with the way our offense went about it's business last week, but I didn't. The run game was working..and though it was boring to watch, it was very effective. Mallett's limited knowledge of the playbook kept the staff from revealing some of what they could do until late in the game. Penn State's defense was very good, very fast and well coached. They will adjust to what hurts them, so as a OC, I think holding some of that stuff back a little, allowed it to be used in the fourth quarter when it was needed. They let loose the reins a bit at the end of the second quarter, and Mallett threw a frosh like pick that cost us a FG attempt.

The strategy at the end of the game was solid as well. I too think they might have allowed him to throw on first or second down, rather than force him into a third and long situation, but with the run game going decently I can't argue too much here. Toward the end, they played some man though, and any pass we attempted would have been either a slant with some risk of a pick-6 involved, or a longer throw that was less likely to be completed.

I would have punted also. The defense was playing well. They had Penn State backed up and without a T.O. Sure there was enough time to get the ball down the field, but given Morelli's performance and knowing that running the football was nearly completely out of the question, the staff knew it could turn loose our DLs and get pressure. For once, playing percentage football was the right thing to do.

I watched only a little of the OSU/NW game. If Henne is back (the real Henne, and not that impostor who appeared in the first two games) we shouldn't have much problem with the Cats. Our biggest enemy will be us. This team SHOULD understand that you have to prepare for every opponent..but will it? It's a classic letdown game opportunity for a staff and a team that is prone to just that. The goal here should be to have this game put away early and let Hart rest. Carr needs to allow Henne to throw the ball, even if it means we score an embarrassing number of points..I just don't know if Carr will do it.

[I believe Mallett will probably play this weekend. -ed]

I'm not too worried about the injuries at RG. I thought McAvoy looked very good for a guy who got thrown into the middle of a big game. Nowhere near as physical as Mitchell, but he agile and was able to get out on the LBs better than Mitchell or Ciulla. He got pushed around a little, but showed some tenacity, and the ability to lower his pads and hang in there. Once he gets some experience, I think he might not give the job back...we'll see. Schilling got some high praise from Carr this week, but I'm not sure why. Technique wise, we was good. He's got excellent agility for a OT, but he's not strong enough or physical enough IMHO. He's just a pup though and he'll get better. I thought he struggled a bit in this game, and basically forced Michigan to run toward Long. Some credit needs to go to PSU though.

[Weymouth ends here. On with other folks. -ed]


Considering Ball State's almost upset against Nebraska yesterday and at the big house last season, like it or not, you have to consider Brady Hoke for the Head Coaching search for Michigan, no? It shows he has the creativity and coaching ability to go against higher talents and out-coach the opposition.I would love to see a feature on him just like you had one for Jeff Tedford.

Thanks and keep up the great work.

Uh... wow. Though Brady Hoke has done more at Ball State than, say, Mike Debord did at Central, a Hoke hire would be the absolute worst-case scenario. Hoke was a defensive line coach for a half-dozen years in the late 90s and early... uh... 00s hired to be Ball State's coach primarily because he's an alum. At Ball State he's 15-31 in his fourth season and hasn't won much of anything. His biggest accomplishments are close losses to Michigan (a game that was out of hand despite a fluky safety and a pick six until Johnny Sears made his thrilling debut) and Nebraska. If we are going with a MAC coach, it should be Brian Kelly... even if he's not in the MAC anymore. Central before (under DeBord) == awful. Central under Kelly == MAC champions. Central post-Kelly == awful. Since there is a clearly more attractive candidate in his genre ("back-up plans who would obviously come"), Hoke is not a serious candidate.
Hey man, whats going on. You obviously know your michigan football, but I have a question that I am dying to get answered. I have been to games up in A2, and have been to some buckeye games, I have seen both mich fans and osu fans wearing them. I am looking for a hat, it is like a hat an old irish golfer would wear. A newsie/ flat cap/ gatsby hat with a fuzzy yellow ball on top, and says "go blue". I have searched all over the internet and have found nothing. So I am on last ditch effort attempts to find one. If you know anybody that has one, or you know where I can get one, it would be much appreciated. Thanks.

GO Blue!

Uh... I dunno. Can anyone help this guy out?
Hello Brian,

I was wondering, have you ever heard a version of The Victors and thought "hey! that was awesome." ? Obviously the Michigan Marching Band does a great job, and I love the song that plays in the background of those warm-and-fuzzy-feeling Michigan hospital commercials. Which is your favorite? Do you have any unique/cool versions? I love that song, but its so hard to find new styles of it online or through iTunes. (I mean, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir apparently recorded it, but thats about it for selection.)

If you could help me find The Best Victors Ever, that would be much appreciated!

Thank you,
Katie Cunningham
I have no alternate versions of the Victors save the "Hoover Street Rag" thing they play post-victory, which happens to be on the MMB CD I own. This is also a "can any commenters help" situation. Can you?