05. August 2012 · Comments Off on Manor of Speaking: Kicking it Off August 27 · Categories: 2011 · Tags: , , ,

Mark your calendars:  The U-M Club of Greater Detroit is holding their annual Michigan Football Kick-off dinner Monday, August 27 at Laurel Manor in Livonia.    This event is typically sold out, but because it’s at the Manor they have room if you want to join in.  Details here.

Coach Hoke is expected to join, and I’ll be on a panel with the lovely and talented Angelique Chengelis of The News and the prolific Brian Cook of mgoblog.  (Beg: someone please ask a question about U-M history, memorabilia and/or The Little Brown Jug.)

Again – there is plenty of room and plenty of beer.   Sign up here.

I should have known that when Blake strapped on the winged helmet last Tuesday on Workaholics, things would end badly on Saturday:

blake_workaholics1

work5

Go ahead and grab your crash helmet and dial the “here we go again?” gauge up a notch.   This isn’t a championship caliber team (you already knew that) but clearly all of these conference teams are beatable.

My line lately to people who ask before the game is this—Denard’s going to get six to eight opportunities to really hurt the opponent with his arm.  He’s got to cash in on two, maybe three.   He didn’t Saturday and I’m getting more and more frustrated.   Despite Brian’s speculation, I’m sure they travelled to Iowa City and East Lansing with Borges’ head completely in tact but I don’t get the insistence to put Denard behind center.

image

Speaking of Denard, something not there with his wheels.  Michael Spath tweeted that’s he’s become a “cutter”, as opposed to just beating people to the edge.  I’ve noticed this too and since Michigan State I just haven’t seen that extra burst.

Is he hurt?  Is he trying to tailor his running style because of what the coaches are telling him? 

Dunno, but if Denard can only get to third gear this is going to send me like Blake into the garage.

Bullets:

  • Yes, Michigan got jobbed on a few a calls.  Treezy was interfered with in the first half and if you are going to pick up a flag, it better be uncatchable or a clear cut bad call.  It was neither.   And Hemingway caught the ball in the end zone at the end of the game but I wasn’t expecting them to overturn the original call on the replay.  I’d like to know why the ref was pounding on the ground—was it because he thought the ball hit the ground before Hemingway had possession, or did he think Hemingway caught it but landed out of bounds? 
  • I noticed a couple of the up guys on Michigan’s kick return cheating a little bit early in the first half.  It crossed my mind that Iowa might try an onside kick but..I’m not exactly sure what that was with two minutes to go in the half.   I don’t think it was an attempt by Iowa to get the ball back.  It kills me how these coaches continue to get cute in the final minutes of halves with the kick-off.  Michigan got the ball at midfield! 
  • Highlights for me—certainly the outstanding fourth down stop in the first half, and the two stops to start the second half.  Countess did a nice job (why didn’t we keep him on McNutt?) and I like the way Fitz is running.
  • Lowlights—man, the linebackers struggled.  I thought for sure Demens pulled a hammy on the first Iowa drive but it turns out he was just out of position and just not that fast.  My man Desmond Morgan struggled a bit as well as Spielman pointed out a couple times.  And the WRs—you’ve gotta catch the ball.

Misc:

  • Once again Michigan broke out the 2010 road jerseys for many of the players.   I’m sure it’s the same issue—there’s something that doesn’t fit right with the 2011 gear and that’s embarrassing.  Memo to adidas—fix it!
  • Does Spielman have the flu?  My man was white as a ghost in the shots of him during and after the game, and really had no energy in the broadcast.

 

Brady Hoke big HugProps to Hoke for delivering an emotional moment…with TOUGHNESS.
(That’s toughness in ALL phases, people)

Most were surprised how easy that went Saturday for Hoke and crew and Michigan together the most complete half I can remember.  The biggest factor was the poor play of highly rated QB Ryan Lindley, who seemed out of sorts all day. The U-M defense deserves some credit for that for sure but Lindley didn’t get a lot of help from his receivers who ran poor routes in many cases.

Here’s Lindley trying to connect in the end zone in the fourth quarter and his receiver has a step on Countess – the ball is too high, off target and just sailed:

pigskin

Commence the Miscellanea:

Since I’m not going to tell you anything about how Denard fared on the field that you didn’t see with your own eyes Saturday, try this:

Laces on Lockdown

Denard Robinson Laces

Denard’s “Xs” – In the postgame Denard talked about recent trip to the lanes.   He told the media, “I did all right,” and shared that he bowled 200-160-170 series.   The “X” in Denard’s twitter handle stands for strike, and use can use an X to mark one thing off the list of things that you thought you could do better than #16.

Switch to SchuttSome nerd I asked Denard about his switch of helmet manufacturers this year.   I was half hoping there was some major reason behind the change (like, ‘my hair fits better in the Schutt’ or ‘The lab determined I’m slightly faster in the Schutt helmet’) but no go.  The switch was simply recommended by the folks in Schembechler Hall.

Old #5 – Speaking of Jon Falk, I wonder if these days they even bother to make minor mends to these jerseys.  Ryan Van Bergen was a couple series’ away from being #5:

rvb

They Really Like each Other – Hoke paused when he was asked to cite something that surprised him (either positive or negative) through four games.   He finally talked about how much the team truly likes each other.  And he noted that that’s definitely not always the case in his experience. #toughness

Tough Hugs – You’ve probably already watched the scene, but Hoke spent some time embracing the SDSU players after the game and it was real, man.   I got mildly verklempt watching the whole thing.

04. September 2011 · Comments Off on Denard Goes Schutt · Categories: 2011 · Tags: , , , , ,

Nice try, Denard.  I’ve got uniform spies everywhere but even I caught this one.  

This season Denard switched from a Riddell helmet, used the past two seasons, to a Schutt model this year.  Here he is in 2009 with the Riddell:

2009 Riddell

And yesterday (from the nice photo gallery put together by Brad at MnB Nation), here’s the Schutt.

schutt denard

A quick text to uniform guru Steve Sapardanis confirmed the switch.  Sap checked his notes and verified that indeed, Denard wore Riddell in the Gator Bowl but trotted out a Schutt at  the Spring game and at the Under the Lights press conference

As I wrote last season, I’m partial to Schutt.  These are the helmets that are reconditioned and painted in Oxford, Ohio each year by a man named Russ Hawkins at a company called Capitol Varsity Sports.  More from my 2010 post:

This May I asked Falk about how Michigan hooked up with Capitol Varsity and Hawkins and he told me relationship goes back to the mid-1960s.   Falk was the manager for his high school team in Oxford and naturally they used the local company for their reconditioning services.  This relationship followed Falk to college at Miami, OH when he handled the equipment under Redskins head coach Bo Schembechler.

When he was reunited with Bo up in Ann Arbor in 1974, Falk found a few issues with the paint job on the helmets and decided to send them back to the crew back home.  Hawkins and Capitol Varsity have handled the Schutt side of the headgear house ever since.

Nice work, Denard.

16. August 2011 · Comments Off on A Nice Day for Football (Photos) · Categories: 2011 · Tags: , , , , , ,

A few shots from practice today:

Troy Woolfolk - MVictors
Troy Woolfolk looking fit working with the DBs

Brady Hoke Watching Kickers 
The boss was keeping a close eye on the kickers

Michigan Players Warming Up
Open punting try-outs (not really)

 

Denard Robinson Taking the SnapDenard grabbing the snap

 

Denard hitting the Tight End
Denard hitting TE Steve Watson

Related:

  • Heading to the Third World
  • Media/Fan Day – Photos
  •  

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    As if you hadn’t heard(!).  I’ll say what I said before—I wish they had more specific references to history.  The guy from adidas basically said that they trolled through the old team photos and found some stripes on the 1890s-era teams, and AD DB suggested that the stained glass (I think Ira has that trademarked now) design is indicative of stitching on the old block M uniforms.  Fine.   I would have had a design that pointed to specific elements from uniforms for a specific team or era of Michigan football history. 

    That being said, I really like the helmets and the gray throwback facemasks.  And—the jerseys definitely look much better on the players and over the shoulder pads.  I think having Denard wear it for the unveiling helped—the dude can make anything look kind of cool, right?

    Denard Robinson in Notre Dame Throwbacks

    And it’s not just that they look better on the players.  The shoulder-pad fitted “sleeves” are shorter on the actual uniform than in the version that the public can purchase.  Thus, there are about half as many stripes and it deemphasizes that aspect of the ensemble (as do Denard’s dreads):

    stripes 

    Here’s RVB’s helmet:

    Michigan throwback helmetthose are RVB’s forearms, not mohair extensions on the sleeves

    It’ll be interesting to see if those number decals stay on the helmet.  I’m guessing a few will be displaced during the game.  Remember the winged design is painted on, not a decal as many assume.  They certainly won’t go through the pain of painting on the numerals for a single game.

    Other stuff:

    * Man, the athletic department can put on a top notch event.  Along with the media and U-M staffers, you had current and former players and various dignitaries and donors on hand.  If you’ve got a venue like that, why not exploit it?

    * The podium was flanked by two other more traditional uniforms and yes, they will be used in the other home games next season.  Check out the back:

    2011 Michigan jersey

    * It was also announced that Desmond will be honored in some form at the Notre Dame game.  I asked Brandon if they are considering retiring #21.   His answer was basically a ‘we’re looking into the matter’ and ‘we’ll get back to you at the right time’-type response:

    "We’re considering a great deal the whole concept of retiring numbers, not just as it relates to the situation with Desmond," Brandon said. "We have so many great players, and we’re always trying to figure out how to honor them in an appropriate way. We do have a tradition here of retiring jerseys, a policy and a program we’re taking a look at, and we’ll go forward."

    As Mark Snyder of the Freep suggested to me afterwards, knowing the marketing machine, any announcements such as retiring jerseys would be a separate media event and marketing campaign.  Spot on.  I think it’ll happen.

    * This is unconfirmed, but word on the street (HT: Mike) is that Elvis Grbac and Desmond may re-enact this as part of the game festivities.

    * They passed out these throwback tees on the way out of the stadium.  (It has the under the lights logo on the back).  I really like it and I’ve seen this style logo out there somewhere—I’m trying to recall when and where:

    tee  

    * One more bit of scuttlebutt (HT: Mike).  Word is that the iconic maize Michigan stadium usher jackets are being scrapped this season for a new color (blue) and a new design.  You can panic for 1 hour then move on:

    ushers 

    * Update:  I forgot to mention the Brandon announced there will be some special guests and some type of acknowledgement of the 10th anniversary of 9-11.   Also, he noted that the cheerleaders will be throwing back as well, maybe like this?

    Want one of the jerseys?  Pre-order from my boys at Moe’s starting June 17:

    moes

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    30. March 2011 · Comments Off on Coach Mattison’s Ring (with Audio) · Categories: 2011 · Tags: , , , ,

    mattison

    The media met with Michigan defensive coordinator Greg Mattison at midday today.

    My favorite portion was near the end, when someone cool asked him about why he wears his ‘M’ championship ring, then he talked about the Big Ten championship game & finally Angelique asked him about Denard.

    Clip:

    _

    * Photos from yesterday’s practice.   And speaking of photos, one guy that Mattison likes (but admits he’s got a ways to go) is Cam Gordon.  From yesterday’s practice:

    IMG_2929

    More later on Hoke and his comments, but thought I’d share a couple quick photos.

    hoke enters crisler

    Here’s Hoke emerging from the Crisler tunnel, his first public appearance before the Michigan crowd.  After people figured out who he was he got a very nice reception.  Hoke did not speak at the game and sat courtside with Dave Brandon and his wife and daughter.

     

    denard victors This man was also there and the camera panned on him during the break – the crowd went nuts.  When he heard the crowd roar and saw his face on the big screen, I saw him mouth, “Aww mann,” and break out that huge smile.  Here he is finishing off ‘The Victors’ with authority.

    While fans certainly wanted these two ships to meet and hug, it didn’t happen.  Hoke did chat with Governor Snyder for what it’s worth.   I was kind of hoping Hoke and Coach Tweet (Barcari Alexander) would get to get together a shout at each other about how much they love Michigan.

    09. October 2010 · Comments Off on Michigan State (Pregame – Photos) · Categories: Archive 2009 · Tags: , , ,

    I’ll post a few here, my favorite first:

    denard robinson pregame michigan state

     

    The legend Mark Messner no doubt recalling his epic battles with Tony Mandarich, here with his two sons before the game:

    003 - messner boys

     

    1964 team captain Jim Conley says ‘Hail!’

    1964 Michigan captain Jim Conley

     

    Off topic, it was an incredible day there for tailgating.  Here two wild and crazy guys lost their football in the 18th hole pond and took an unprecedented means to retrieve it:

    003 - goof balls2

    The Screaming Eagle dropped in pregame:

    parachute drop in

    25. September 2010 · Comments Off on Bowling Green Postgame: Still Feeling Alright · Categories: Archive 2009 · Tags: , , , , , , ,

    The favorites off my camera from the post game:

    Gardner feelin’ alright:

    devin_gardner_displeased

    Thumbs up from Shaw, who’s doesn’t dole out the thumbs up for anyone in my experience:

    feeling_alright_shaw

    Tate and Denard reflecting briefly on the big day:

    forcier and denard

    "How much of this stuff do he think we can stand?  So much rhythm, grace and debonair from one man?" (What, no ascot???):

    sauve

    Denard chilling as the clock winded down:

    seven

    QB Force got a huge cheer from the crowd when he came in.  I asked him about after the game; he definitely heard it and appreciated it:

    tate

    Not too bad?

    Elsewhere: