Big Ten Bloggers Roundtable: Week 9

By · Wednesday, October 24, 2007 · 12:10 AM |  Share | 6 Comments 

Black Shoe Diaries hosts Week 9′s Big Ten Bloggers Roundtable.

1. Pretend for a moment you’re the little Japanese guy on Heroes. You can close your eyes, clench your fists, crap your pants and go back in time. If you could go back and change one play for your team this season, what would it be?

Without a doubt, it would be this play:

If Michigan would’ve just been able to convert a field goal (and Shawn Crable would’ve blocked), then the greatest upset ever would’ve never happened. Sure, the game itself would’ve had everyone questioning how good Michigan was considering it came down to a field goal, but by this time the game would’ve been far from the mind of most as so many other upsets did take place.

On top of erasing the embarrassment and all of the crap I’ve taken and will still take for years, Michigan would have only 1 loss and believe it or not, would be right up there in the national title hunt. Let me say right now that I don’t think U-M would’ve been rated that highly, but considering they are playing very strong right now, I could see them in the top 10 if that opening game loss would’ve never happened.

2. We’re now two-thirds of the way through the season. Everyone likes to debate who will be the Big Ten Coach of the Year. I want to know which Big Ten coach is a complete moron that should be demoted back to fullbacks coach on a team that runs the spread offense?

I’m torn between the coach Michigan just played this past Saturday and the one that U-M will play this coming Saturday. The former is Illinois coach Ron Zook, who is quickly turning into John L. Smith. Sure, he can recruit (although Slappy never could do that), but the team he puts on the field is far from what it should be with the talent he has from those recruits. Switching your quarterback at the end of the game over and over is just plain dumb in itself, but also having a team that is so undisciplined in such crucial moments doesn’t help your case either, or it does in regards to this question.

The other coach that I was talking about above is Minnesota’s Tim Brewster, who will play Michigan in Ann Arbor on Saturday. Brewster has turned a bowl-caliber team into a 1-7 laughing stock in just two-thirds of a season. I don’t blame him completely since Minnesota probably shouldn’t have fired Glen Mason in the first place and then definitely shouldn’t have hired Brewster, but going from a bowl to 1-7 obviously has a lot to do with the head coach.

Since I put more of the blame on the athletic department for causing Minnesota to go 1-7 and lose to a I-AA team (Who does that? Oh yeah, nevermind.), I’m going to go with Zook on this one since he just seems like a big moron when it comes to coaching.

3. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife. But the Bible doesn’t say anything about your rival. Which current Big Ten player do you most wish played for your team?

This is a tough one. There are a few that really stand out to me, but the one that has my attention the most right now is Michigan State’s Jonal Saint-Dic. Saint-Dic has been an absolute beast this season when it comes to forcing fumbles as he has already set the single-season record for the Big Ten and is closing in on an NCAA record. Since fumbles can change a game so quickly and shift the momentum completely, I wouldn’t mind having Saint-Dic on Michigan’s roster, especially since we’ll see him in a week and a half.

BONUS: It’s probably too early to start thinking about next year. Well, unless you’re Minnesota in which case you’ve been thinking about next year for a month or so already. Assess your team’s future. Was this year your chance to make a run or is this just a rebuilding year with greater expectations in 2008? Or do you plan to suck in 2008 just as much as you suck now?

This was definitely the year for Michigan to make a run at a national title. Looking back to the start of the season, if the Wolverines could’ve just done what I said in the answer to question 1, then they would’ve been in discussion for the national title game simply because so many teams have 1 loss and by the end of the season it could be 2 losses that puts a team right outside the top 2. Regardless, looking into the future, we actually got to see what 2008′s backfield could look like on Saturday against Illinois. With Mike Hart out and Chad Henne leaving for parts of the game, it was Ryan Mallett and Carlos Brown in the backfield, which really is a preview of next year. Brown played very well, but Mallett did struggle. I think once Mallett becomes “The Man” in practice he will adjust and play much better, so there is great hope for the future.

6 Comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    I would disagree with the comment about Tim Brewster. He was brought in mainly to recruit and generate excitement about the program, and he has done a great job at both so far. Even under Mason last year Minnesota was not that great and struggled to get to a bowl. Mason was a poor recruiter who alienated the fan base and blew way too many big leads, though he was a good game coach. Minnesota should probably not be 1-7 but they have very little talent on their team, and lost a lot from a mediocre team last year. Brewster should be given at least 3 years to recruit before judgment is passed on him.

  2. the one that usually posts says:

    One thing is for sure, Gingell is one heck of a fast runner!

  3. the one that usually posts says:

    On the subject of forcing a fumble, do they teach that type of thing at Michigan? I rarely see anyone from the team try to strip the ball? I guess when you have tackling issues as the team has had this year, you probably are going to focus on the fundamentals of tackling instead of stripping the ball.

  4. Andrew says:

    i totally covet any decent LB, especially Dan Conor, or even the J’s Leman or (shudder) Laurinitis. Crable has been good, but Graham/Thompson/Ezeh/Whomever have been less than solid overall. Any of those guys (but especially my LB mancrush Conor) would be awesome to have.

    also, any decent RT’s out there?

  5. Andrew says:

    one other comment, this time regarding mallet. i think his future is very bright. right now, it’s the ultra-conservative playcalling and his lack of familiarity with vast portions of the playbook that are holding him back. next season should be very very different with him under center. we’ll also have some experienced depth at RB in minor, grady, and new guy matrix… er, mcguffie.

    i do wonder about our WR corp. Arrington is done. Will Manningham return, or bolt with Hart, Henne, Long and Arrington? We’ll have Greg Matthews, Toney Clemons, Junior Hemmingway, maybe Lateryal Savoy, and some frosh. Only Matthews has significant experience. TE will be deep, at least.

    Also, who replaces Long? I was hoping it would be Schilling, but he has underachieved on the right side thus far.

    and aren’t both Adams and Englemon done this year?

  6. AD says:

    Okay, I just can’t let the moronic post on #2 go. Look, if you don’t like Zook, that’s fine. I mean, he’s very easy not to like– he’s more than a bit awkward in speech and demeanor. But to say he’s the “most moronic” coach is just ridiculous. Look, Charlie Weis has three pretty good recruiting classes under his belt, and look at Notre Dame. True, Illinois has a long way to go in terms of game play and discipline, but Illinois’ turnaround from last year to this year has been nothing short of miraculous. Give him credit where credit is due. And THEN make fun of him for his frantic side-line pacing, stupid quotes, and penchant for water-skiing. That will give you a little more credibility.

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