Another nice win as Michigan pulls away in the second half to take down Ron English and the EMU Eagles.  Tip of the hat to English whose squad put together a gutty first half and played hard throughout.   It’s easy to forget about the giant holes in our defensive line when guys are sprinting for touchdowns right and left (or north and south I guess), but it remains a concern. 

Miscellanea:

QB Depth:  As Tate Forcier lay flat on the ground with his face in the turf, visions of sugar plums and roses (which remain on the far right of the possible season outcome continuum) got a bit blurred.  Denard’s two poor passes over the middle show he’s not ready to be the quarterback of this team and that’s not a shock.  Big things could happen with Forcier at the helm but if he goes down and Robinson is inserted, we become a better team than 2008 but not much more.

Speed:  There are many reasons to be giddy about this season, but we’re seeing that promise of speed with three demonstrations that are on par with any burst we’ve seen in years, maybe since Steve Breaston in the 2005 Rose Bowl.  Consider (I’m going to collect these like when fans put up K’s at baseball games):

  • Robinson’s fumble-turned-touchdown run against Western.
  • Stoneum’s kick-off return against Notre Dame, when he was 100% gone well before he reach midfield.
  • And now add Carlos Brown’s 90 yard jaunt yesterday.

Punt option:  This prompted a rare in-game post, but I’d love to see Rodriguez consider dropping in the punt roll-out option with Mesko once again especially on those fourth and short situations.  I hated that thing at first but with Zoltan back there handling it I’m completely comfortable after watching how it was employed last season.   And speaking of special teams, if you wondering how the Wolverines didn’t get a piece of this punt, this will only help a little bit (from the M photostore):

block

The Delany Film Festival:  Boy, I completely agree with Rodriguez on his disappointment with the Big Ten’s decision to step in suspend Mouton.  And it’s a personal slight against Rodriguez, suggesting he’s not imposing proper discipline on his players.  That punch was nothing.  At best, this deserved a discussion after the game with Mouton and maybe some M stadium steps—but that should be left to Michigan to decide.  That said…

…someone needs to tell Rodriguez to suspend the Delany Film Festival.  He was embarrassed by the commissioner and that was wrong, but to start a public campaign to challenge the Big Ten by poring over game films to find players behaving badly?  I didn’t hear the quote first hand, I assume Rodriguez wasn’t joking about this.  The right thing to do would be to have a conversation with Delany to understand why the Big Ten did what they did, share his disappointment and then quietly move on.  He did speak with Delany but that’s not exactly how it went.  If Rich Rod is behind this, one of his trusted inner circle guys needs to tap the Emperor on the shoulder and tell him to direct that energy elsewhere.  Where is that going?  Michigan finds tape of player X kicking player Y, suggests the Big Ten suspends player X, Conference takes no action, Michigan cries hypocrisy, rinse, repeat?  Drop it.

Square Dancing?  Colde English?  Nice to see former Michigan coach Ron English and Rodriguez share a nice embrace at midfield and exchange pleasantries after their hard-fought battle (via AnnArbor.com and the great Lon Horwedel):

shake 
Yikes.  OK, so read what you want but select one of the below:

      a) English is still pissed about not getting a good look from Rodriguez for the defensive coordinator position last year, especially after RR went with an outsider.

      b) There really is a Coach Carr camp that doesn’t like Rodriguez

      c) English was pissed that Denard Robinson tossed a bomb later in the fourth quarter up four touchdowns

     d) English was pissed that guys like Graham and Warren were still in the game with 5 minutes to go

     e) All of the above.

Elsewhere:

  • Michigan State/Notre Dame:  I’m still trying to gauge what kind of teams Notre Dame and MSU have right now, but what a game in South Bend.  Cousins’ interception was awful and awfully inexplicable considering the game he managed all day (other than when Dantonio put Nichol in, which I don’t understand).  I was impressed with State and I love Blair White.  I see the October 3 game as a toss up right now, maybe slight edge to the Spartans.  All in all, not a bad outcome for Michigan fans: one rival loses, and the other loses their best player.
  • Bad Booth:  One thing I can’t get over is the not-TD catch by Floyd where he broke his collarbone.  I’m not sure what the bigger crime is to the replay officials:  not asking for a replay in the first place (umm, on a frickin’ play in the endzone, is that one we should look at….?) or, after Weis challenged, not seeing that Floyd easily made the catch and had one, probably two feet in bounds.  AT BEST – the replay guys punted saying the didn’t have conclusive evidence that he had enough control, but that’s really a thin argument given what NBC showed.  Why do I care?  That’s incompetence man.  Delany should suspend those guys for the season.  Or punch them.  Or make them run steps with Mouton.
  • Carroll.  Dude, fool me four times, but come on with the love affair of Pete Carroll and his uber-laid back teams, and towel-snapping Friday walkthroughs, and the rock ‘n roll lifestyle blah, blah blah.   He’s now lost to below average UCLA, Stanford, Oregon State and Washington teams in the past few years yet all we do is paint Carroll like a god, often wearing a thong.  Bill Plaschke in the LA Times took a few shots and added this observation, lol:

    The path got longer afterward, when several USC players were seen loudly examining stat sheets in the locker room, never a good sign after a team loss.

[As part of my upcoming 2009 Spring Game extravaganza, I recently sat one-on-one with Michigan quarterback Nick Sheridan.

The junior, who donned a protective boot on his fractured leg, hit on a variety of topics including the leg injury, how that story broke, his progress this spring, dealing with the heavy criticism last season, being an athlete in the Facebook/Twitter era, his relationship with Coach Carr and finally, about ambitions to pursue the coaching profession.

I met Sheridan, who’s grown a pretty respectable beard, upstairs at Schembechler Hall. I deliberately left my jacket there so they have to let me back in.– Greg]

MVictors: So how exactly did you break your leg?
Sheridan: I got hit in practice. It’s hard to tell on film what exactly happened. I think a guy got blocked and his leg whipped around and hit me in the side of my leg.  I also got hit from the front, so when it first happened I didn’t really think anything of it because I was on the ground already. When I tried to stand up I kind of buckled and realized something was wrong.   But I walked off the practice field and I was supposed to see the doc about my shoulder anyway, and I told the trainer that my leg was kind of bothering me. They did a couple tests and one of them said, ‘You might have a broken leg’. I thought he was kidding. He wasn’t [laughs].

MVictors: Is there rehab you can do for that type of injury, or do you just have to stay off it?
Sheridan: I have been staying off it but you have to let the bone heal itself. They told me this morning, regardless of how it feels the bone’s not going to be completely calcified for six weeks. I am doing some rehab to work the muscles around the bone. When you stay off it for a couple weeks, your calf and ankle get weak so I’m trying to keep that up.

MVictors: So what is your role on the team given the injury? Are you standing next to Coach Rodriguez on every snap and talking it up with the other quarterbacks? I assume you are in all the meetings.
Sheridan: Sure, I got to all the meetings, that’s no different. The first part of practice we do individual drills and there’s not a whole bunch of coaching going on there, it’s just drills with the wide-outs and running backs, etc.   I usually ride the bike or do some upper boy lifting during that time. The second half of practice is more 7-on-7 or full team situations, so I go out there and try to take mental reps.

MVictors: I read that you’ve become friends with Tate Forcier.
Sheridan: Yeah, it’s not good for our team to have people that don’t like each other. He’s not a bad person and he comes from a good family and he’s got a good brother, so I definitely get along with Tate.

MVictors: I’ve also heard that you’ve been working closely with Forcier, really helping him get used to Rodriguez’s system, maybe more than the typical level of mentorship you might expect. Is it fair to say that?
Sheridan: It’s probably fair to say that, but I think a misconception of that is by doing that, it shows that I don’t want to play and I’m just conceding the job to him. That is definitely not the case.   Tate being a better football player is going to make our team better whether he’s starting or the back-up or whatever his role is.  I’ve been in his shoes, like getting yelled at by the coaches and not being sure why.  My help to him is going to help our team.

MVictors: Good news tends to flow out out of any spring session, but this year some of the scuttlebutt out of practice is that you, in particular, looked markedly improved, that you had a confident control of the offense, sharper passes, and so on.  Does that reflect your perception of your performance before you went down with the injury?
Sheridan: I felt better. Obviously last year for tough for everybody and I didn’t play as well as I would have liked, and I’m not hesitant to admit that.  But at the same time I’m so confident in my ability to play quarterback here and I don’t think some of my poor performances were indicative of my ability as a quarterback. I take full responsibility for not playing well but I haven’t lost confidence.

Being in this system for a year and being able to kind of take a deep breath after the season and look back at what you could have done better, you definitely feel more comfortable coming into spring. And being a year into the weight training program, as opposed to having to adapt as we did last year, now we’re just trying to get stronger and faster. I definitely felt better.

MVictors: Missing these final couple weeks, how big of a set-back is this for you?
Sheridan: It is a setback, but it is what it is. I can’t change that. Obviously I’d would have liked to have these last ten or so practices. I’m still getting better by watching and taking mental reps and it’s not the same and I know that, but I’m trying to make the best of it.

MVictors: Does being out these last couple week hurt your chances in the fall?
Sheridan: I’d be foolish to say it wouldn’t hurt me a little bit. I won’t be as fresh on the coaches minds going into the summer but I don’t think the competition is closed because I missed a few practices.   I know the competition will be open.

The perception coming out of last spring was that I didn’t have a good spring, and that Steve [Threet] was better than I was and that he was going to be the starter.  I had a good [pre-season] camp and I started the opener.  We don’t play in May.  We play in September so I’ll have a full summer.  I’ll be healthy in a month and I’ll be ready to go.

MVictors: Is there any long term risk to the leg injury?
Sheridan: No, I broke it pretty clean so I should be ready to go. Spring classes start May 5th and I think we start working out that day so I should be good to go for our first day of summer work-outs.

MVictors: Switching gears a bit.  Everyone’s seen the photos on the internet of Matt Leinart and Michael Phelps at parties.  What do the coaches tell you about Facebook, Twitter and the perils of getting caught in a bad situation?
Sheridan: It’s not a constant reminder about what you should do, but since I’ve been here coach Carr and coach Rodriguez have had people come in and talk to us about it.  I think the university had a Facebook seminar for athletes a year or two ago, we were supposed to go there when we were freshman just to warn you it’s out there. It’s different and you are aware of it. If you go to a party, and people are doing things as an athlete you don’t do, or you don’t want to be associated with, you’ve got to be careful. My mom freaks out about it. [laughs]

MVictors: Does that change your college experience?
Sheridan: A little bit. I think it does. But you know that’s just part of the responsibility of being a student athlete here and particularly, of being a quarterback at Michigan. You are held to a higher standard. A lot of people recognize who you are so it does change things a little bit.

On Facebook, you get people and you have no idea who they are and they want to be your friend. You’ve got to be careful with who you accept as friends, and with your profile. I have a Facebook and my friends are always getting on me, ‘Your Facebook is so boring, there’s nothing on there.’ [laughs]   I’ve got people that I don’t want to look at my profile and I have to keep it super restricted.

MVictors: Speaking of people watching you, I believe it was the Michigan Daily that broke the story of your fracture because someone saw you walking around campus with a brace on your leg.
Sheridan: It was kind of creepy actually. It happened on the last play of practice and there wasn’t any media around at that time.   After I went to the trainer [as discussed above] I left on a boot and crutches, but classes were over for the day. The next day I had a couple classes and by the end of the day there were stories circulating on the internet that I had seriously broke leg or blown out my knee–all sorts of things.  I think I read one saying ‘Nick Sheridan was spotted here at this time’ and it was right outside South Quad, so I’m like, ‘Who’s hiding in the bushes at South Quad?’ [laughs].  It’s kind of weird, and that just shows the new age of media and how people are able to transfer information so quickly.

MVictors: Do you have a problem with the news of the injury being made in that manner?
Sheridan: I was able to call my mom and dad that night and tell them. It’d be a shame if I got hurt and it leaked to my parents or a family member and they thought I was seriously hurt and I wasn’t. But that’s just kind of how it is. It’d probably be different during the regular season when Coach Rod addresses the media every day.  Brandon Graham was getting text messages from his buddies saying, ‘I heard you knocked Sheridan out’ [laughs]. He showed me and we were laughing.

MVictors: You’ve been around this program a while and you know that Michigan quarterbacks are criticized a lot. You caught more than your share last year and some of it got personal. How do you handle it? Do you block it out, do you feed off it?
Sheridan: I think you approach it a number of different ways. Some of it’s like, ‘This guy doesn’t know what he’s talking about’ and you just block those things out. Some of it you do feed off it a little bit, like people saying you can’t play here or you are not good. That motivates you to prove them wrong, but that doesn’t change your focus.

I just try to get better every day. And I’m focused on my teammates; gaining their trust and proving to them that I can lead this team and I can play and help us win.  If the media says I’m too short or too slow or can’t play, that’s fine, they can think what they want.

The only thing that bothers me with that is my family reads that stuff. And it’s unfortunate that lots of people see what you do as a player, whether good or bad, and often it’s taken for what you are as a person.  Having constant negative things written about you, especially during last year when it was such a tough year for everybody.  It’s hard for my family.  I know my mom doesn’t enjoy reading that stuff, and I’m sure my brother doesn’t. Or my sister getting heckled at school.

MVictors: Did that happen [heckling at school]?
Sheridan: There’s some things [that happened] but they are just kids. I was probably one of those kids when I was I was little. I understand that’s just kind of how it is. But it’s tough for my family members, I wish they didn’t have to read or hear about it but it’s everywhere.

MVictors: Every single Michigan quarterback that I can recall has, at one point, been the target of some serious criticism. Even Tom Brady.
Sheridan: Nobody liked Tommy when he was here, and he turned out alright I guess. [laughs]   John Navarre probably took more of a beating than anybody. Even Chad [Henne], who was maybe the best quarterback that’s played here, maybe that ever will play here, and they were talking going into his senior year that maybe Ryan [Mallett] was going to play over him. You just hear unrealistic things.

MVictors: I interviewed long time equipment manager Jon Falk downstairs recently, and he told me that the win at Minnesota last year was one of the most special that he’s experienced in that rivalry.  What did that game mean to you?
Sheridan: It meant a lot. We hadn’t won in so long and it had been so tough. The week before we had just lost our seventh game and we were out of bowl contention.  I don’t know if anyone expected us to win and they were pretty good.   It felt good to win and I was really happy for the seniors who had to endure so much, and for the coaching staff.   It was pretty special.

MVictors: Was there any satisfaction for you personally in that game?
Sheridan: There was some sense of satisfaction. Not to take any blame away from me, but I had been thrown into some tough situations that would have been difficult for any quarterback. I didn’t want to make excuses, you get your opportunities and you make the most of them. I was unable to do that in a couple relief appearances, if you will.  I felt like I was practicing much better than I was playing on Saturday and it felt good to show people I could play.  I really felt good for the seniors.   It was good to be able to hold onto the jug for the next couple years.

MVictors: Do you still talk to Coach Carr?
Sheridan: Yes. I did talk to him a little bit during the season. I think very highly of Coach Carr and look up to him as a person. I do keep in contact with him although I haven’t talked with him recently.

MVictors: Did Carr give you any particular advice last year?
Sheridan: He’s given me advice whether directly or indirectly, he’s always influencing his players and I’m still a Coach Carr player. I’m a Coach Rodriguez player as well, but I still have a lot thanks to give to Coach Carr for what he taught me, whether he was teaching me or teaching another player and I was observing him.  But he gave me a couple points of advice that were between he and I, but I’m very appreciative of it and I think very highly of him.

MVictors: Is Coach Carr available to players?
Sheridan: Yes, he has an office nearby and if you want to talk to him you can get a hold of him. If you need to talk he’s always going to be there for you. I think that’s one thing that’s very special about him; he’s always in your corner and always there to help you if you need it and I’m very appreciative of that.

MVictors: One of the things that I’ve heard is that, down the road, you’d like to be a coach. Is that true, has that always been a goal?
Sheridan: Yes, but some people think that I came here as someone who didn’t want to compete and that I just came here to learn and to be a coach, etc., etc.   I don’t know how that got blown up. That’s not the case at all.

I came here because it was the best school I got into and the it was the best opportunity to be a part of something special.  I could come here and play Michigan football, that’s why I’m here.

Probably since eighth grade my dad’s been a coach and I’ve been around football my whole life so I can’t imagine not being around it.  Since then I’ve wanted to one day be a professional, college or maybe even high school coach.

MVictors: If you had to pick one thing from what you’ve learned from Coach Carr to apply to your skills as a future coach, what would that be?
Sheridan: Probably his overall demeanor and how he interacts with his team, versus the media and outside people and how he definitely separates those two and protects his players to the public. Also the way he has handled adversity and criticism and all those things that come with being the head coach at Michigan. I definitely respect that.

MVictors: Same question for Coach Rodriguez, understanding that you’ve had less time to spend with him.
Sheridan: His passion for football and how he pushes his players and tries to get the most out of his team. He’s relentless in trying to do that, and if, down the line I’m able to coach, that’s something I would try to take from him.

[Ed 4/9. For the last two questions, Sheridan made it clear that his comments weren’t intended to point out a deficiency in one coach or the other, rather to highlight a key strength for each man in Sheridan’s perception. Also– caught a few typos thanks to transcribing audio at midnight.]

13. December 2008 · Comments Off on Leachapalooza: The Best of Rick Leach (WTKA 12/9) · Categories: Archive 2008, Bo Schembechler, Fans, History, Lloyd Carr, Media, Ohio State

I waded through the audio of Rick Leach in studio at WTKA 1050AM this week and boiled it down to a eleven noteworthy clips, each about a minute, give or take. You can download all the clips here for your 2009 road trip and tailgate mixtapes.

Here you go. Be patient, the clips need to download for you to hear them. Oh, and is it me, or does Leach have a borderline WWE voice?

On the Les Miles hire and some of the “garbage” that went on:

When Don Nehlen called Leach and what that meant to him:

Contrasting Michael Rosenberg’s perspective, on how Bo would support Rodriguez:

Click here for the rest of the clips: More »

Angelique Chengelis of the Detroit News dropped into Lloyd Carr’s office in Wiedenbach Hall this week and tried to get your former coach to bite. He didn’t. Of note:

Former Michigan quarterback Rick Leach said early in the week on an Ann Arbor radio station, in response to a question about Carr, that he wishes the former coach would come out publicly to support Rodriguez.

“As far as I know, there’s been no comment, nothing come out publicly to support him, and to me, and I guess since I speak my mind, my feeling is, I guess silence speaks 1,000 words,” Leach said. “I wish he would, because many people came to his side when he needed help.”

[Ed: Here’s the audio:]

Carr, however, said he made his intentions clear from the beginning.

“I’ve talked with Rich several times, and I told him I would not be making any comments publicly because I didn’t want to have anything that I said be misconstrued,” Carr said. “However, I told him if he ever needed me, I was available. I would be there.

“And he made it clear that I was always welcome. I think our relationship has been very positive.”

To the folks who insist Lloyd Carr come out and say something: What exactly is he supposed to say?

That he supports Rodriguez and the direction of the program? Bill Martin did that early in the season and it came off like a fart in church. Is Carr supposed to rally the Michigan fan base, or the old school Michigan backers like Leach? And I understand LC’s concern about it being misconstrued (Carr: “Any true Michigan fan who doesn’t support Rodriguez should get a life”).

Look, I’m guessing it hasn’t been easy for Carr to stay away from the program. These are still 99% his players and he cares about these guys. It’s been a selfless act to stay completely away. He deserves credit for that and more importantly, and I think old schoolers would agree, Carr’s earned the right to determine how he supports the football program.

Related:
– Leachapalooza: The Best of Rick Leach on WTKA 12-09
Where in the World is Lloyd Carr

01. December 2008 · Comments Off on Lloyd Carr Chuckled at this · Categories: Archive 2008, Lloyd Carr, Media, Rose Bowl

Thanks to an October 25, 2007 post on the NY Times sports blog The Quad, we know that Lloyd Carr is a big fan of Times columnist Maureen Dowd [see Another Side of Carr by Pete Thamel]. It prompted me to write this post which included this spicy meatball:

Well, if Carr isn’t too busy with consulting on the Eastern Michigan coaching search, he read Dowd’s column on Saturday. She was filling in for fellow columnist Frank Rich and scribed a piece on the state of the print news industry, in particular, the trend that some papers are firing staff and outsourcing their news to India. Seriously. Paying by the article, one thousand words for $7.50.

Dowd found James Macphearson, the man who runs Pasadena Now, an online news site covering the town where you want to be each January first. Here’s a snip:

So, he thought, “Where can I get people who can write the word for less?” In a move that sounded so preposterous it became a Stephen Colbert skit, he put an ad on Craigslist for Indian reporters and got a flood of responses.

He fired his seven Pasadena staffers — including five reporters — who were making $600 to $800 a week, and now he and his wife direct six employees all over India on how to write news and features, using telephones, e-mail, press releases, Web harvesting and live video streaming from a cellphone at City Hall.

Wow. Now, while Coach Carr might laugh at the thought of columnists losing their jobs I doubt it. But surely Lloyd would get a chuckle out of this, emphasis mine:

[Dowd] checked in with one of his workers in Mysore City in southern India, 40-year-old G. Sreejayanthi, who puts together Pasadena events listings. She said she had a full-time job in India and didn’t think of herself as a journalist. “I try to do my best, which need not necessarily be correct always,” she wrote back. “Regarding Rose Bowl, my first thought was it was related to some food event but then found that is related to Sports field.”

What do we want?
Pasadena Now!
When do we want it?
– Ehh…NOW!

P.S. At 359 words, this post would be worth a cool $2.69 baby!

11. November 2008 · Comments Off on Angel on WDFN: Players asked for 4-man front (audio) · Categories: Archive 2008, Little Brown Jug, Lloyd Carr, Media

The Angel, back on Shep, Shave and Shower on 1130AM-WDFN this morning:

Notes:
* Angel said Brandon Graham went to the coaches and requested they run the four man front.
* Talked about the significance of the Little Brown Jug before and after the game to Rodriguez and drew some comparisons to how Carr treated it (thank you).
* A caller bitched about the late hit on Odoms. Chengelis agreed it was a late hit and said Odoms should be ready this weekend.
* Said Threet has a shot at getting back Saturday?
* On Minor, Rodriguez said he’s dealing with a bunch of nagging injuries. Angel thinks Minor will be on the shelf this weekend.

Elsewhere: Don’t miss Jim Carty, Esquire on WTKA 1050AM this morning.

[Ed: With Iowa upsetting undefeated Penn State this weekend, in the next edition of eBay Watch, let’s look at another situation where the Hawkeyes faced an undefeated squad late in the schedule, this time just a couple years ago against the Wolverines.]

A couple weeks ago on eBay, a seller offered up what was described to be folder belonging to a Michigan coach. The photos were blurry, but the description claimed it belonged to someone on the Wolverine staff and held diagrams, notes, plays, and whatnot related to the game against the Iowa Hawkeyes held October 21, 2006 in Ann Arbor. Michigan won the game 20-6 thanks to a solid defensive effort and strong game from Henne and Hart. The win moved the #2 ranked Wolverines to 8-0 on the season one step closer to a collision with the #1 ranked Buckeyes. It’s amazing that all this was happening a couple years ago.

I won the auction for about 20 bucks to get a closer look. Now, I wouldn’t post this stuff I felt it would jeopardize some Michigan football ancient Yostese secrets. And while there were notes about specific players, I’m not posting anything that is/was damaging to player on either team. The coaching staff from 2006 is completely gone save for Fred Jackson and I guessing this book would be completely worthless to anyone without a time machine.

If you wisely read Brian Cook’s Hail to the Victors 2008 before the season, you got a little insight into the Carr coaching staff with the wonderful article titled ‘Rock Star’ by author Craig Ross. Ross wiggled his way into a quarterbacks’ meeting led by former QB coach Scot Loeffler, here’s a snippet:

Loeffler: “What are the boys doing to us? Chad Hen-ne. (It eventually becomes clear that “the boys” means “the defense.”)
Henne: “They are skying us and we are in chili with a dino.”
Loeffler: “Rock Star!!!!”

Ross later described his head as all this was happening:

My head was spinning. I was trying to write notes as quickly as I could and still pay some attention, trying to learn something from what was going on. I was lost. It was hopeless.

It felt a bit, perhaps exactly, like Ross after thumbing through this folder for the first time. The volume of information for this single game is stunning. You hear coaches get annoyed when the media/pundits suggest a certain play or strategy was ill-conceived. I always felt if we got behind the curtain we’d certainly see things quite differently after realizing that the team’s preparation is several layers deeper than anyone on the outside could ever understand. The sad thing is, a folder is a mere glimpse–this was the prep for a single team.

I collected a few snapshots of the more interesting items in the binder, most of it is just jibberish to me.

Here’s portion of laminated sheet (perhaps toted on the sideline that game?) with a bunch of sets:

The folder also holds notes after the film was broken down. It appears as though Carr and company actually performed a play-by-play Upon Further Review-like assessment of each play and score for each player. The scoring system was basic:

  • a minus (-) for a bad play
  • a zero for an average play
  • a plus(+) for a great play

The results are tallied up to provide some sort of score at the end. The folder contained two worksheets. One rated the performance of the tight ends on each Michigan offensive play. Next to each play was a players’ intitials (CB – Carson Bulter and BT – Brian Thompson), a few notes, and the rating using the +/0/- system (click to see the full sheet):

The evaluation of the punt team was in the binder, including notes on each punt by Zoltan Mesko (click for full size):

Coach was a little tough on our man Zoltan on the first couple punts IMO but remember that given that the team was undefeated, I bet the expectations of the coaching staff were pretty darn high.

Also included probably fifty pages of various formations and diagrammed plays, and a few sheets with the practice schedule for the week. Not a surprise, the cadence of the practice was documented in detail for each unit, down to the minute. Here’s one of the full practice sheets. A few snapshots:

First, each day the team practiced the 2 minute drill. Not a surprise, but I like that the situations were detailed from the field position, the time left, the number of time-outs, and down and distance:

Each practice had a special announcement, here’s the most common:



Click Here

The original Little Brown Jug, photo from Minnesota
The original Little Brown (White?) Jug, from Historic Michigan Football Photos.

Surely Coach Rod has a lot on his mind and the history of the Little Brown Jug is likely not one of those things. Just after the hire last December I wrote the following:

Count me as a one who will be disappointed if during his Monday press conference on November 3, 2008, Coach Rodriguez fails to recount the history of the Little Brown Jug, as Coach Carr did each year during his tenure

Here’s to hoping we’ll get some mention of the Jug today.

Update: Here’s today’s press conference broken down into clips thanks to MLive. Mention of the jug? Yes but barely. Rodriguez mentioned the jug as something that they have to play for this week and said that it’s “neat”. It’s really NEAT man!:

Video: “11/3 Monday Press Conference Rich Rodriguez from MLive”