Relax, all right? My old man is a television repairman,
he’s got this ultimate set of tools. I can fix it.

Leaving the stadium I caught dejected defensive coordinator Scott Shafer outside section 22 gripping the handrails, head down drenched with sweat. He was waiting for the crowd to clear so he could get down onto the field and into the lockerroom. Shafer looked like someone just shot his dog; here’s a terrible photo but you get the idea:

Scott Shafer

Obviously this was huge emotional experience for all the coaches and players and you can understand if these guys were devastated. It was really ugly for most the game and if not for a few breaks and dumb Utah penalties this game could have been out of hand early in the second half.

A few takes:
* I had a hunch we’d lose this game but not like that. A lot of people left the game midway into the fourth quarter when M was down 15 and I didn’t blame them, the game seemed way out of reach. RR’s got to find a way to run the ball. Can you imagine this team trying to hold a lead and eat clock? We’re miles from a Chris Perry 22 play drive that kills 11 minutes.
* Apparantly the quarterback race wasn’t really close- Rodriguez said both guys might play but he didn’t want to put Threet in there or he would have in the second quarter. I’m not going to trash Sheridan but will offer that two of his first half passes (one was picked) were the worst I think I’ve ever seen in this stadium. I’m guessing those watching on TV might not grasp how really awful some of these passes were.
* I couldn’t believe Utah didn’t let that ridiculous kicker Sakoda aka Kicky Longstocking try another 53 yarder in the third quarter, a few minutes after he had just nailed one into the same direction. That dude was just silly.
* We ran into a few Ute fans after the game downtown – they were great. A couple of them wanted to put a foot in coach Kyle Whittingham’s keister for shutting down the passing game in the second half, but other than that, they were thrilled to get this win. Looking at their schedule, these guys think they just might make some noise if they can beat rival BYU.
* Yes, we would have lost big to Central Michigan.

New Stuff:
* They’ve got a team of guys on the sidelines that hold up signs across the field indicating the special teams unit that may hit the field on the next play:

Signs

* Yes, we’ve got a male ‘twirler’ in the marching band, a nice gent from Dexter who seemed to have a good command of the baton. Somehow I had already heard or read this which officially makes me a bonafide nerd. What’s next, a dude tending bar at Fraser’s Pub?

Signs

* I’ve now seen four teams this season run that whack-ass punt formation: Eastern Illinois, Central Michigan, Utah and the M. I guess I don’t see what’s wrong with what we had last year but I give Mesko a lot of credit, he hit some really nice punts on the run especially the one that appeared to be a run or punt option in the fourth.

* The crowd was as hyped up before a game as I can remember. The players end their pregame routine with this drill; players run in a giant circle around Barwis then gather in the center. As described by the Ann Arbor News:

Michigan strength and conditioning coach Mike Barwis stood in the center of a circle of players during pregame warm-ups. As usual, his enthusiasm was evident – screaming at players and bumping shoulders with them as they ran toward him. The energetic drill, Barwis said, is nothing more than an exercise in spirited preparation, extending his job duties into game day.

I caught it on video:



6 Comments

  1. Steve in Florida

    Impressive video…NOT! I can appreciate the fans’ enthusiasm watching the players run circles around the Great Barfus, but they should have saved some of that running for the game! It is going to be a LONGGGGgggg year. It’s a good thing they are in such good condition.

  2. Just watching the game in the second half did the D pick up? Seemed like they found some fire. Agree with all on Sheridan, don’t understand what he did to get the nod to start. Threet seemed a lot better! Male baton twirler? Does he have any self respect?

  3. Webmaster

    Josh, on the D, yep it was an impressive stretch in the second half. Utah did kind of shut down its passing game but those guys on d were pretty relentless and almost helped M steal that game.

  4. my take from the TV side of things:
    The lack of pressure from our defensive front is worrisome. RR knew this, but elected to go with a 3 man front on key 3rd down plays, thus providing a completely non-existant rush. i would have preferred to see some additional rushers or blitz packages to disrupt the tempo. the utes had all day in the first half to throw.

    our ground game is worse then ive ever seen i think. i cant remember a time when there were fewer holes being created by the O line combined with an RB that didnt seem to have anything special to offer. Its a sample of 1 game given, but its not like we were playing a BCS caliber team here. We had no effect on the UTE D, they were playing in our backfield it seemed.

    sheridan was really really bad. bad decisions and poor accuracy when he had men open. it didnt help that our receivers didnt get much seperation from the DBs all day (were they cheating cause our ground game was so ineffective?), but when they were open in key spots the balls were not where they needed to be. add in a few high pressure choke spots and i think we have a winner of the below average QBs: Steven “Don’t call me ‘Sedale'” Threet.

    without being able to spread the feild and offer deep nor run the ball with any effectiveness at all, the job was made easier for utah. our defense may be able to man up like they did in the second half and win us some games this season, but our offense looks like its going to give us an longer season that i thought. could be historic if RR doesnt find a way to move the chains with a ground game.

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  6. A couple of things that stood out to me (aside from all the previously mentioned area’s of concern). The no huddle, when losing yardage on 1st down is ill advised. These kids need a little time to get their crap together after getting dropped in the backfield. Give the QB a chance to demonstrate some leadership and calm things down. I also noticed on numerous passing plays that the right side of the line stood up with no one to block. They continued to stand there.

    I know it’s a moot point now, but why didn’t someone like, oh let’s say Bill Martin pull Rich aside before giving him the keys to the car, and tell him to wait until he had “his” kind of players in place to gradually switch to this style of offense? It didn’t need to be this way. And if I never hear the name Barwis again…I’ll be okay with that…

  7. I was at the game in section 8 about 1/3 of the way up. It seemed the new construction was helping it be a bit louder. Any thoughts?

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