30. December 2014 · Comments Off on Business Time | Harbaugh Presser Photos · Categories: 2014 · Tags: , , , ,

 

Harbaugh taking a break from family time to deliver Blue Steel.  Or is that Magnum?  Either way, after he gave me this look I had no choice but to split. 

And update: the winner on Twitter goes to Ace (/sigh):

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Runner up:

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 weeee:

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Maize Watch

Hackett’s “maize” watch.  Lovely timepiece but not sure that’s a color tone I want to see on my beloved helmet or uniform.

 

 

M ring

Harbs crushed more Diet Cokes than John Daly, probably to help soothe that raspy throat.  Also note the U-M Club of Detroit M ring.

 

 

Lloyd Carr showed respect by rocking the khakis.

 Saint Hackett
Saint Hackett

Coach Carr and Captain Jansen

 Harbaugh

More stuff later on.   Related:

 

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UGPtop[2]

Son of a BISCUIT I want these guys to turn this around.  It’s a little odd to me because I still see the pieces of a decent team but the results are a wreck.  Yesterday – with a the exception of a few breakdowns I thought the defense played pretty damn well (Jake Ryan – Manster.  Jourdan Lewis – fun to watch).  Derrick Green, when he was in there, looked like a seasoned back – he was patient and found the holes.  And once again, we outgained our opponent yet failed to score a TD.

Gardner.  I don’t know what I’d do with 98.  He’s losing confidence with every interception – he’s becoming more tentative and locking on.  That’s fine against Miami but we’re not going to out-athlete the rest of the schedule.  If you bench him now I just wonder if that’s a point of no return for his confidence.  So I guess there are a couple options?

1. Start Gardner with a limited playbook.  It sucks to say that about a 5th year senior but sorry.   Shorter passes with the occasional sideline heave to Funch, and he’s got to run more. I’d encourage the big guy to take off for 5-7 yards more with more frequency.   I feel like we’re still on that treadmill of doing what we think a Michigan team should do, as opposed to what we could do with the players (namely 98) that we have.
2. Start Morris with a limited playbook.  Mix in Gardner in the slot or in the backfield to mess with everybody and possibly get some of 98’s confidence back.

But what do I know, man?

Other question – So we have a good if not darn good defense (take stats through 4 games for what they are worth, but we’re #8 nationally), right?  Why do we keep punting in the opponent’s territory?  Hagerup’s been pretty bad, but the reason we are #123 (of 125) in net punting is that he’s become Poocherup.  Even if you take out the 66 yard punt return from the equation (after a bad punt and horrible coverage), we’d still be ranked in the 110s nationally.  Dude. 

More »

threeandout

I just finished John U. Bacon’s Three and Out and I need to talk to somebody.  For a while.  Same thing will happen to you.

If you landed on this page, I don’t need to suggest you buy this book—you probably already bought it or certainly plan to.   You really don’t have a choice now, do you?   (It drops October 25 – get it now on Amazon).

This isn’t a full review.  I was lucky enough to receive a beta version of the book and its content is subject to be tweaked, added or removed.  But I can offer a few thoughts.  For starters, I’ll note that it’s painful enough to relive the past three seasons just from memory.  Now try it in 3D and HD, complete with unreleased scenes, quotes and outtakes.  And did I mention cockroaches?

I give credit to Bacon for writing this—no one held a gun to his head to do it—and he surely knew he’d be ruffling a feather or two twenty by putting this out there.  As Brian mentioned, everyone seems to be upset about the book.   Most people will be talking about Lloyd Carr, who is charged with conduct unbecoming a Michigan Man yet, it is strongly noted, didn’t speak to Bacon for this book so in several cases we rely on the perspective of RichRod and/or his staff.

As you’d expect, Bacon deftly tees up the history of football at U-M, and more importantly, its place as a driving force that shaped the CFB landscape.  His insights into how Rodriguez developed his offense are fascinating.  I laughed out loud at some of the lighter moments and cringed as JUB described the some of the postgame speeches after yet another brutal loss.  Two chest pounds from me to Moundros.  I’ll get into more at a later date when the real deal arrives.

Like most matters concerning Michigan football, I’m guessing your feeling about Bacon’s book will be driven by the type of fan you are, or said another way, your clan.  So I thought, why not revive The Clans and attempt to run down how each group might feel after reading 3&O?  [If these groups don’t look familiar, give this post a read as a primer (includes chart!).]

Here you go:

Clan Who Are They? Comment on ‘Three and Out’

Bo Clan

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Former Bo players and those associated or feel very closely tied (e.g, alums or “Bo signed my hat when I was 9” folks) to that era. 

Defense wins championships, people.

Since Hoke Hire: Happy. They are satisfied that Hoke will uphold Bo’s legacy.

Naturally, they are pleased that Bacon provided proper deference and respect to Bo and how his transition in ‘69 was handled.  They understand, as Bacon deftly described in 3&O, how Bo’s departure from U-M (and when he died) impacted the athletic department and this program.

These guys know that this type of book never would have surfaced in Bo’s day—he would have squashed Bacon’s MacBook like a bug with one swipe of his famous ruler.  But then again, none of this mess would have happened if Bo were around either.  It’s Chicken and Egg (with Bacon).   

Much of the tension of the past 3 seasons has been alleviated by Hoke’s arrival, his rhetoric & his actions on and off the field.    While some are not happy that Carr didn’t vocally support RichRod (as discussed in 3&O), Hoke has gone a long way in a short time to heal old wounds.

The Rebellion image

Bloggers, message-board hounds, recruitniks. Statistical analysis shows, nay, proves that an innovative offense (RR/Chip Kelly) is what is required in Ann Arbor.  And you never punt, man. Carr’s tendencies became maddening in the final few years, and rumors of Carr steering recruits away from U-M make them slam down their X-box controllers in rage.

Since Hoke Hire: Mix in Greg Mattison and a top 5 recruiting class and they’ve cooled down.

“You removed the chart Dooley, so gloves are off!”

This book is right in their wheelhouse.  Bacon points out in painful detail all the obstacles that RichRod faced (and yes, a few he created) along the way.  They cheered each time Bacs mentioned “The Horror” or their homebase, mgoblog.  Would have liked to seen more detail on the internal politics of RR’s handling of (or lack thereof) the defensive coordinators. 

This is a bit of revenge on those responsible for setting the course for the Michigan offense to head back to the Stone Ages and..   [oh, wait a second..they stopped reading this –Bri’Onte Dunn just updated his Facebook page.]

Corduroy Jacket w/ Patch Clan
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Affiliated with the University/Ann Arbor elite who feel we devote too much money to athletics, and feel the stadium expansion is wrong on many levels. They chuckle outwardly at people who spend their Saturday afternoons sandwiched between overweight men in a football 
stadium or in front of their televisions shoveling ‘Funyuns’ into their faces.

Since Hoke Hire: Less drama = less to poke fun at, but these guys don’t really care.  Glad they don’t have to hear “ain’t” anymore; not crazy about Hoke’s affection for “daggone”. 

Would like to suggest to Bacon that “The Hill” [the administrators/brass at the school] is worthy of a little more respect than being portrayed as an annoying group of bureaucrats who directly or indirectly mess with athletic department business.  

All that said, they’ll read this (it’s a book afterall) so they are prepared for the cocktail parties and tailgate chatter.  Yes, they chuckled aloud at the stories of overweight adult autograph-hounds (“It’s for my kid. Really.”) that appear now & again in the book.

In Rod We Trusted image

Die-hard Rich Rod-backers with close ties to The Rebellion. RR should have been retained. Their support was hardened by the negative media coverage coupled with the idiotic ad hominem attacks by sports radio callers and national drive-by columnists/hosts.  He never was given a chance.

Since Hoke Hire: Still pissed, but their numbers are diminishing.

Know one of these guys?  Expect a signed copy of 3&O for Christmas.  They’ll also pick up a copies for their favorite haterz.

RichRod was never given a chance in this town and everyone will now see the truth how he was chewed up by all these distractions.  You and yours should write RR and his staff an obsequious note, begging for forgiveness. 

While you won’t hear them (there’s maybe a Baker’s dozen of these people remaining), they will sprinkle Boos on Carr when he’s honored before the Nebraska game this season.

Lloyd Loyalists

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Former Carr players and those (alums) who feel deep ties to that era. Feel Carr’s Legacy is unfairly represented by many, including the Rebellion and In Rod Clans. 

Since Hoke Hire: They won, Hoke is excelling and they’ll remind you that one of Carr’s assistants should have been hired the first go round.

There are no mixed feelings here.  This book is unfair and one-sided.  John U. Bacon is clearly suffering from a form of Stockholm syndrome from being embedded with Rodriguez and his staff for the past three years.

They feel Carr did the right thing by not talking to Bacon about this book, because, as happened to RichRod again and again, his words would surely backfire and/or be misconstrued.  Besides, Carr’s record with his players and with U-M stand on their own.  And what would he possibly have to gain from engaging in he-said, she-said at this point? 

They will be quick to point out a story or two in the book where they feel Carr was misrepresented & will use that to fuel a Clintonesque attack to discredit how Carr was represented in the entire tome. 

Cotton Pickin’ Blues image

The vast majority of "regular" M fans. Beyond sanctions and horrible & embarrassing results, they bleed Maize ‘n Blue. But the OSU, MSU and bowl poundings put them over the edge with ol’ Rich Rod.

Since Hoke Hire: Thrilled with Hoke.  Most of these fans will have selective memory about their support for RichRod.  (“I knew that guy was wrong for this job..I knew it!”)  No they didn’t.

Disappointed in so many Michigan people involved in the book and really hate seeing the dirty laundry out there. 

But they are fully behind Hoke now and RichRod is now just a character in a few of their knee-slapping jokes at tailgates.  
 

Fierce Pragmatists
image  “..football, hmm..”

Group that was good with Rodriguez & think he deserved one more year.  That said, they understand that DB had to fire Rodriguez as much for the "sense" of Rodriguez in the media and among the alumni and fans, as for the 15-22 record.  The man had become a toxic asset.

Since Hoke Hire: Real happy with Hoke’s success, cautiously optimistic about the future.

Oh man.  First off, a stiff Bourbon.  Second off, they eat up this kind of thing. 

As deep thinkers, they are clamoring to form book clubs support groups to work through the key scenes and heartbreaks to recall their memories and match them to Bacon’s account and behind-the-scenes new info.

These fierce pragmatists know there are two sides to every tale and it hurts them, almost literally, that Bacon couldn’t get Carr to offer his perspective on the past three years. 

The Second Estate image
 

Much like the Second Estate of Pre-Revolutionary France, they make up a tiny portion of Michigan fans, but they control a disproportionate amount of influence.  They are Champions Lot parkers.  They’re guys that Brandon sees and immediately knows he needs to go chat up.  (Note that Brandon, himself, would be of the Second Estate).  DB is loyal to them, but he is also well aware that he needs them.  They are Cotton Pickin’ Blues generally, they want wins the right way–no scandals, no embarrassment, no negative press.

Since Hoke Hire: Couldn’t have gone better. Got their man, didn’t have to pay a fortune, Ohio State is sinking and Hoke stays on message.

They feel Bacon’s story is a mere interpretation of the past three years, but it is incomplete, one-sided and worst of all, detrimental to the Michigan brand.  Privately, many of them will tell you they enjoyed seeing Bill Martin worked over.  Also privately they will tell you that they respect Bacon’s work.

All that said, they will work with Brandon to quiet the buzz about the book.  Where possible, they will refute and discredit some of the facts/stories in the book through influential back channels.  Watch out.

The Decatur Clan image

The fanatical faction of Michigan fandom, named for Capt. Stephen Decatur of the U.S. Navy who famously said, "Our Country! In her intercourse with foreign nations may she always be in the right; but right or wrong, our country!"  Basically "I love the guy in charge, no matter who it is today.  Go Blue!".  

Since Hoke Hire: Go Blue!

What book?  Like some former coach used to say, “It’s in the past!” 

Go Hoke, Go Blue, Beat [insert nickname of next team we’re scheduled to play]!

24. July 2011 · Comments Off on Joining Spartan Nation (audio) · Categories: 2011 · Tags: , , , , ,

You know I’ll be in East Lansing for the JDRF Walk on August 6th.   Well, I recently took another step on Spartan turf by joining Hondo Carpenter on Spartan Nation radio heard across Michigan on 1080 AM or via spartannation.com.

Apologies for the audio in the first few minutes—I hope it sounded better live and it gets better after the start.

We discussed the state of the MSU-Michigan rivalry, Coach Carr’s legacy and much more:

19. May 2011 · Comments Off on Coach Carr Recalls Corngate (WTKA interview) · Categories: 2011 · Tags: , ,

Hats off to WTKA and Jeff DeFran for scoring this uninterrupted 30 minute+ interview with Coach Carr just a couple days after word came down that he will be enshrined in the college football Hall of Fame.

It yielded one classic moment but I’m not sure Jeff got the joke.  DeFran asked Carr about watching football now that he’s out of coaching, and Carr reminded him that he indeed attended the Iowa game a couple years ago:

DeFran didn’t laugh.  I did.

How soon we forget those few days when Lloyd Carr’s appearance at the Iowa game (apparently as a guest of Iowa assistant Soup Campbell) set the Michigan fanbase ablaze?carr-iowa

Here’s the full interview from WTKA:

Empty Crisler Arena
This is midway through the first half – this is real

Made it up to the game last night and it wasn’t as close as the 78-64 final score.

– It’s a little frustrating to sit and watch. The offense pretty much looks for an open three and then clanks it off the rim. The good news? It seemed like they were getting good looks at the rim before then tossing the brick.
– The highlight of the game was DeShawn Sims’ three-quarter court heave to end the half. The place erupted and that was nice to see.
– Newsflash: Eric Gordon is amazing. Michigan kept it relatively close near half because Gordon was on the bench with three fouls.
– A few local AA-list celebrities at the game including:
* Coach Carr with wife Laurie at mid-court. He got a huge cheer when they showed him on the screen.
* Coach Rod with a few new staffers (see pic). Both coaches spent some time with Florida grad and supreme hotness Erin Andrews.
* Joe Dumars courtside checking out the talent.
* Sam Webb of WTKA.

– As far as the arena, it was at best 40% full with large portions of the Maize section empty. Four of us walked up to Crisler without tickets. A few different fans handed us free tickets within minutes.

Elsewhere:
– Carty reacts to the Jay Bilas comments. He inserted the entire Bilas comment on Beilein in the post then reacts. Check it out.
– mgoblue.com publishes Coach Rod’s entire new staff. Glad to see he retained equipment manager Jon Falk, keeper of the Little Brown Jug.
– MLive published the audio of Rich Rodriquez’s interview with Jim Rome from yesterday. I’ve got it here:

Update Postgame:

Eric Gordon: Money!

And in case the Indiana blow-out wasn’t out of your mind yet, the IU Blog Inside the Hall runs a little film session on Eric Gordon demonstrating the super frosh’s ridiculous range. The set? You bet: Crisler arena.