One Final Quick Hits

By · Monday, June 7, 2010 · 11:04 AM |  Share | Leave a Comment 

Monday Quick Hits: Michigan Wins Third-Straight Club Lacrosse Title

By · Monday, May 17, 2010 · 10:24 PM |  Share | Leave a Comment 
  • The Michigan club lacrosse team won its third-straight MCLA title on Saturday, downing Arizona State 12-11 in the championship game.  It certainly seems like it’s only a matter of time until lacrosse gets bumped up to the varsity level, but I just hope it happens sooner rather than later.
  • Michigan was trailing Northwestern in baseball 14-0 yesterday after only 2.5 innings.  The bad news obviously was that Michigan played so bad that it was down 14-0, but the good news was that it had plenty of time to get back into the game, and that is exactly what they did.  Michigan slowly but surely chipped away at the 14-run deficit and eventually tied the game on a 2-run homer in the bottom of the ninth.  Then, in the bottom of the tenth, Mike Dufek hit a walk-off home run to give Michigan the unbelievable 15-14 victory and to keep Michigan near the top of the Big Ten standings with one week left to play.  This was such a ridiculous game that it made SportsCenter, which isn’t too surprising considering teams don’t often come back from 14-run deficits and win on a walk-off homer.
  • The softball team received the No. 2 overall seed in the NCAA tournament and will be hosting a regional this weekend.
  • MGoBlue put together a piece on softball’s Bree Evans, who was seriously injured during a game last October but is once again healthy and playing for Michigan.
  • Michigan’s game in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge is going to be at Clemson on Tuesday, November 30.
  • Gil Brandt, the former longtime VP of player personnel for the Cowboys, said that whatever Rich Rodriguez told scouts about Morgan Trent was not why Trent dropped to the sixth round.  In fact, Brandt gave his own scouting report on Trent and explained exactly why the former Wolverine was only a sixth-round pick.
  • Mike Hart doesn’t regret using the phrase “little brother” to describe Michigan State after Michigan won the rivalry game in 2007.
  • If he could do it over again, Drew Henson would have stayed for his senior season at Michigan instead of signing with the Yankees.
  • Marvin Robinson is going to join the football team at some point in the next couple of weeks.
  • Johnny Sears has signed with the Bengals.
  • Dayeesha Hollins has left the women’s basketball team and is going to transfer somewhere closer to home.
  • Isaiah Sykes ended up deciding to play college basketball at Central Florida.
  • There may be some rule changes coming to NCAA hockey.
  • MVictors has a good post examining what exactly went down between Bo Schembechler and Ernie Harwell during that whole saga in the early 90s.
  • Purdue reinstated Justin Siller, the quarterback who torched Michigan in 2008.

Dave Brandon Quick Hits: A Look at Michigan’s New Athletic Director

By · Thursday, January 7, 2010 · 2:11 AM |  Share | Leave a Comment 
  • You can click here for Michigan’s press release on the hiring of Dave Brandon and here for statements on the hiring from current Michigan coaches, Lloyd Carr, Bill Martin, Steve Hutchinson, and Jeff Backus.  Hutchinson and Backus both are involved with C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, which Brandon has worked with as one of the heads of the fundraising campaign.
  • Brandon’s first connection to the University of Michigan was when he came to Ann Arbor, initially as a quarterback, and played defensive end for Bo Schembechler from 1971-73.
  • In more recent times Brandon’s main connection to Michigan switched from being a former athlete to serving on the Board of Regents, which he did from 1998-2006.  Also, Brandon has been connected to Michigan via C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, as alluded to above.  He and Carr co-chair the fundraising committee for the new hospital.
  • Business-wise, Brandon is best known as the CEO of Domino’s Pizza, but he was involved in a countless number of other companies and projects as well.
  • Brandon has also been active in politics recently.  He served as the campaign chair for Dick DeVos during the 2006 Michigan gubernatorial race, and more recently he was being mentioned as a possible choice for the Republican nominee in the next Michigan gubernatorial election.
  • As a thank you to the U-M medical staff for saving their twin sons in 1980 (they had a rare blood disorder), the Brandon family donated $4 million to the Michigan Difference campaign in 2006.
  • Brandon’s salary at Michigan will be $560,000.  In addition, he will receive deferred compensation each year worth $100,000.  Brandon made $3.2 million from Domino’s in 2008, so you can tell that his love for Michigan had quite a bit to do with him taking the athletic director job.
  • Although Brandon shared that he intends to be the athletic director for the next ten years, his initial “appointment” will last for five years and will officially begin on March 8.  Bill Martin doesn’t actually retire until September 4, so he will become a consultant when Brandon takes over the job.
  • Jerry Jones threw his support behind Brandon when he was a finalist for the job of NFL Commissioner.  Brandon ended up pulling out of the race, though.
  • AnnArbor.com has a video interview with Brandon.
  • Also at AnnArbor.com is a list of interesting tidbits about Brandon.  Two of the tidbits included on the list are that he was a national finalist in the Punt, Pass, and Kick competition as a 13-year-old and that he had dinner with Bo Schembechler the night before Bo died.
  • Crain’s Detroit Business has a regular interview with Brandon.  (One of the things mentioned in the interview is that Domino’s will not become the official pizza of Michigan because Brandon wants to avoid what would be viewed as a definite conflict of interest.)
  • Adam Rittenberg took a look at what Brandon had to say about the football program and more specifically Rich Rodriguez.  Brandon didn’t really say anything worthwhile about Rodriguez, but he really didn’t have to.  The fact of the matter is that if Michigan wins Rodriguez will be in good shape.  If Michigan doesn’t win then I think you can figure out what will happen on your own.
  • A recap of Brandon’s introductory conference call can be found over at mgoblog.
  • The Michigan Daily interviewed Mary Sue Coleman about the search process and the hire.
  • MVictors has a couple pictures of Brandon from his playing days at Michigan.
  • Just in case you were wondering about who is replacing Brandon at Domino’s, his successor is J. Patrick Doyle.

Friday Quick Hits: Why No Night Games?

By · Friday, July 31, 2009 · 2:10 PM |  Share | 7 Comments 
  • Rich Rodriguez isn’t a fan of the atmosphere at Michigan Stadium, as he thinks it can be much louder and rowdier.  I do not disagree with him, but it sort of seems like some of the things that may be on the docket to improve the atmosphere will come off as cheesy, such as more piped-in music or other stuff you would find at a minor league baseball game. 

    I’m all for improving the atmosphere, but there are ways to do that without going down the minor league baseball route.One way to greatly improve the atmosphere, for example, would be to have a night game.  It probably would be the loudest crowd in Michigan Stadium history since people would have all day to tailgate and drink, and in general night games produce more excitement.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like night games will happen any time soon, as security apparently is an issue due to a lack of lights in parking lots around the stadium.

    The easy solution to fix that problem is to add temporary lights to the parking lots.  That wouldn’t come cheap, but this is where the TV network comes in.  I would bet that ESPN would love to hype the first night game in Michigan Stadium history, so you tell them the only way that will happen is with temporary lights in the parking lots and give them the bill for it.  If they don’t want to pay, then there will continue to be no night games at Michigan Stadium.  I’d be willing to bet ESPN wouldn’t mind footing the bill, though.  They are all about hyping things up, and if it was for the Notre Dame game, for example, ABC would have its primetime game for that week.

  • If you haven’t received them already, check your mailbox, because football season tickets have arrived for many.
  • Lloyd Carr’s outlook for this coming season is optimistic.
  • Michigan’s athletic department brought in the fourth-most revenue in the entire country, coming in with just under $100 million.
  • Cass Tech’s Dior Mathis recently released his current list of schools, and Michigan came in fifth.  Oregon and Michigan State are at the top of his list, and it doesn’t seem like he has a ton of interest in the Wolverines anymore.  Obviously things could change once the season gets here, especially with so many former teammates on Michigan, but right now the Wolverines are a little out of the picture it seems like.
  • Maize n Brew recapped what Zoltan Mesko had to say at Big Ten Media Day.
  • Bo Schembechler came in 36th place in the Sporting News’ list of the greatest coaches of all time.
  • EDSBS put together a hilarious look at Rich Rodriguez and Jamie Foxx meeting in Chicago earlier this week, topped off by this LSUfreek-produced masterpiece (referencing Foxx’s song Blame It):
  • UMGoBlog found a Michigan-styled ice cream truck with tons of autographs on it in a junkyard.  Talk about a random collectible to find.

Thursday Notes: Five More Added to Alumni Game

By · Thursday, April 2, 2009 · 12:35 AM |  Share | 1 Comment 
  • The official roster won’t be out until next week, but add Larry Foote and four others (see below) to the list of alumni flag football game participants.

    Mark Bihl – C, 2003-06
    Ron Bellamy – WR, 1999-2002
    Thomas Wilcher – RB, 1985-86
    Aaron Shea – TE, 1996-99

    Wilcher is actually Cass Tech’s coach, so it’s nice to see he will be part of the game. That can’t hurt with the recruitment of Dior Mathis.

  • According to Rich Rodriguez’s Facebook fan page, a “key member” of the national championship team will be announced later today as another player in the game.
  • WTKA is going to be at Michigan’s practice a week from today from 3-6 p.m. Rich Rodriguez will be interviewed at the beginning of the broadcast, and others, including Mike Barwis and Jon Falk, will be interviewed as well.
  • The College Football Hall of Fame opened a Michigan-Ohio State rivalry exhibit yesterday. (HT: The Diag)
  • Al Montoya shut out the Colorado Avalanche in his NHL debut last night.
  • Brandon Naurato and Tim Miller signed with an ECHL and an AHL team, respectively. Aaron Palushaj is apparently going to decide in the next few days whether or not he will return to Michigan for another season.
  • Tom Izzo loved Bo Schembechler for his 3 yards and a cloud of dust attitude and how he coached.
  • John Bacon gave his ideal last lecture Tuesday night as a result of winning the Golden Apple Award. Varsity Blue, MVictors, and The Michigan Daily have recaps of the event. I really wish he was still teaching classes at U-M. I probably would have had to wait a couple years to take one of his classes since his wait lists are always so long, but the wait would have been worth it.

    UPDATE: Thanks to a reader for the heads up, I now know that Bacon will be teaching again this fall. He was just taking the winter term off. Good to know for sure.

  • The Michigan Daily looked into the history of why “The Victors” was written.
  • USC head coach Tim Floyd is headed to Arizona.

    UPDATE: Or not. ESPN changed its story, and it was just reported on PTI that Floyd is going to stay at USC.

Friday Quick Hits: Getting Ready for the Weekend

By · Friday, January 16, 2009 · 10:44 AM |  Share | 3 Comments 
  • Michigan plays Bowling Green in hockey this weekend. Tonight’s game starts at 7:35 p.m. ET and will be streamed on MGoBlue. Tomorrow’s game has a 5:05 p.m. start time and will be played at Bowling Green.
  • At 8 p.m. tomorrow night, Michigan and Ohio State will square off in basketball on the Big Ten Network. The 1989 national champion basketball team will be honored at halftime, and Rumeal Robinson was recently interviewed since he is part of the festivities. All I can say is that it would probably be better if Robinson didn’t do any more interviews like this, as some of his comments paint Michigan in a pretty bad light. Yes, we’ve already lived through the Fab Five scandal, but we don’t need to do it all over again with the ’89 team.
  • The head coach of the 1989 team during their tournament run, Steve Fisher, is unable to attend the reunion on Saturday because he is too busy with his own team, San Diego State.
  • Bill Frieder, the coach that Bo Schembechler fired before the tournament in 1989, was not invited to the reunion.
  • Tyrone Wheatley was hired to be Eastern Michigan’s running backs coach.
  • Michigan lost to Michigan State in women’s basketball last night by a score of 41-37.
  • A former Michigan soccer player was picked fifth in the MLS draft.
  • Ohio State cornerback Donald Washington is going to enter the NFL Draft.
  • USC quarterback Mark Sanchez is also going pro, much to the dismay of Pete Carroll, who acted like a douchebag at Sanchez’s farewell press conference.

Wednesday Quick Hits: William Campbell Speaks

By · Wednesday, September 10, 2008 · 2:00 AM |  Share | 4 Comments 
  • With Michigan and Notre Dame playing on Saturday, Charlie Weis’ “to hell with Michigan” comment has been brought back up by the media. Michigan players were asked about it and most said that they will just let their play on the field do the talking for them. Weis himself was also asked about it and used Bo Schembechler as his excuse for saying it.
    “Anyone who is a Michigan fan should know and understand that that comment pays respect to Bo and his mentality when playing an opponent,” Weis said. “As a matter of fact, (Bo’s son) Shemy Schembechler and I had a big chuckle over this, this summer during training camp.

    “Take it for what it’s worth, but I think that’s a very respectful comment toward Coach Bo’s ‘to hell with Notre Dame.’”

    Oh, please. I had no problem with the comment Weis made because it was done in front of a bunch of boosters. Weis was simply playing to the crowd, and even if he wasn’t, it’s not like the comment was offensive or anything. What does anger me a little bit, though, is Weis’ excuse for saying the comment. He didn’t need to give an excuse in the first place and it just looks foolish to say that the comment “pays respect to Bo.” So did the comment about how you’re going to have to listen to Michigan and all their excuses pay respect to Bo, too? Didn’t think so.

    Personally, I’ll defer to Dana Jacobson when it comes to my thoughts on Notre Dame.

  • The BTN interviewed Steven Threet.
  • William Campbell’s reason for de-committing is explained in this article. He basically made the decision to de-commit so when he took official visits coaches would know his interest is legit. Even so, it still sounds like he will end up at Michigan. Obviously things could change once he visits other schools, but for the time being it still looks like he will go to Michigan.
  • The Hoover Street Rag put up a post about how you do the wave at a Michigan game. The post really was necessary as the wave during the Miami game was an epic failure. Not only was it started when Michigan was up by only 4 points, but it fizzled out time after time before finally making its way around the stadium. Even then it didn’t make it through its usual routine as the wave died when it was supposed to change direction.
  • Miami (Ohio) has been a recurring opponent for Michigan in the past, but it’s not likely that the two teams will play again anytime soon, at least not in Ann Arbor. Miami wants to start scheduling home-and-home series, and since Michigan would never play a game at the RedHawks, the Wolverines will have to schedule a different MAC team every few years.
  • Varsity Blue posted an interesting video showing how both Steven Threet and Nick Sheridan did when running zone read plays.
  • Minnesota’s starting running back is out for the season due to a knee injury.
  • Although he hasn’t been deemed eligible just yet, USC does want Nick Perry to join their team officially.
  • Beanie Wells is going to play against USC on Saturday.
  • Speaking of that game, I wholeheartedly agree with Maize and Blue Nation as I will be cheering for USC to destroy Ohio State. Yes, it would make the Big Ten look bad, but honestly, who the hell cares? I couldn’t care less about what people think about the Big Ten. Reality is, Ohio State winning hurts Michigan more than a USC victory does. The Buckeyes have put together an amazing recruiting class already and a win over the Trojans would set them up to go to the national title game for the third year in a row. Chances are they would get beat down by an SEC team, but just getting there is impressive enough.

    Look, I realize people already hate on the Big Ten enough as is and an Ohio State loss wouldn’t help this conference’s perception, but that means nothing for Michigan. An OSU win does mean something as it would be yet another accomplishment the Buckeyes can add to their already impressive resume. Not only would that hurt Michigan’s recruiting in and around the state of Ohio, but as OSU’s recruiting continues to improve, it only makes beating the Buckeyes down the road even harder than it already is.

Monday Quick Hits: Miami Game Observations

By · Monday, September 8, 2008 · 3:30 AM |  Share | 1 Comment 
  • Before I get into the Miami game, I want to mention that Tom Brady reportedly is out for the season with a torn ACL. Brady’s knee was hit by a Chiefs player and it flexed. Immediately it was known that something was wrong as Brady went to the ground and was screaming in pain. If the reports about him being out for the year are true, New England is screwed. Their starting QB will be backup Matt Cassel or someone from the outside, such as Chris Simms, who is being brought in for a workout today.
  • The announced attendance for the Miami game was 106,724, which is the lowest attendance for a Michigan home game since 1997. That was before the capacity was raised to 107,501, showing you the effect of the current renovation on attendance this season (and next season, too). As the game was getting underway a huge block where visiting fans normally sit under the south endzone scoreboard was completely empty. Fans filled it in as the game went by, but there was no one there leading up to kickoff.
  • The quarterback controversy will continue this week as neither Steven Threet nor Nick Sheridan separated themselves from one another. Personally, I think Threet should be the starter. Threet ran the ball well and sells fake handoffs better than Sheridan, although he can’t hit an open receiver to save his life. At the same time, I don’t have any trust in Sheridan if he has to throw the ball beyond the line of scrimmage and don’t believe he ran the offense any better than Threet did.

    I’m sure we’ll start to figure out who the starter will be later on in the week assuming Rodriguez doesn’t name someone in his weekly press conference that will take place today. My guess is that Threet will get the start, but just as we have seen in the previous two games, chances are Sheridan will play as well.

  • I really would like to see Michigan line up in the I-Formation more often. They did so maybe five times against Miami and usually gained quite a few yards on each run when the QB was under center instead of in the shotgun. Being in the I-Formation allows Michigan running backs to work with better holes as the blocking seems to be better, and fullback Mark Moundros got a carry, which was cool to see for a change.
  • Starting left tackle Mark Ortmann went down in pain due to an elbow injury. Ortmann left the game and never returned as the injury appeared to be very painful. Bryant Nowicki replaced Ortmann, which should tell you just how little depth Michigan has on the offensive line. Even one injury can be devastating, and if Ortmann is out for an extended period of time that’s exactly what this injury will be.
  • During and after the game I wondered why Michael Shaw only got 2 carries, but it turns out he left with a groin injury. That makes much more sense now as Shaw gained 45 yards on the only 2 carries he had, leaving me to wonder at the time why he didn’t play more.
  • Brandon Minor scored a touchdown on the only carry he had during Saturday’s game. He saw such little playing time due to a wrist injury that is still bothering him.
  • Greg Mathews did not play due to an injury, but should be back against Notre Dame this coming Saturday.
  • After the game was over the team made their way to the student section to sing “The Victors.” There have been random times in the past where the team would celebrate a win with the student section (’02 vs. Washington, ’02 vs. Penn State, ’04 vs. MSU, and ’05 vs. PSU), but that was only because Michigan won in dramatic fashion or on the last play of the game.

    Rich Rodriguez stated in his postgame press conference that the players asked him to do this, so it appears we have another new tradition. As I said in the game recap, I like it.

  • Defensive tackle recruit and one-time commit William Campbell was at Saturday’s game. He talked with John Heuser and gave the impression that Michigan still is at the top of his list for now. Campbell simply is re-opening his commitment as he prepares to visit other schools. I don’t get why he decided to actually decommit considering his plans always called for him to take visits, so I don’t necessarily understand what changed.

    Regardless of the fact that he did decommit, what scares me most is this:

    Campbell said his top three schools are Miami (Fla.), USC and Michigan, in no particular order.

    If Campbell even gets on a plane to USC I’ll consider Michigan’s chances of landing him to be zero. USC has been able to land the top prospect in the state of Michigan the last two years, and both of those players at one time were considered leans to U-M.

    The first to head west for USC was Ronald Johnson, who reportedly silently committed to Michigan on two separate occasions before suddenly deciding to go to USC. Similarly, Nick Perry was strongly considering going to Michigan until he visited USC. RoJo hosted him and that was that as far as his recruitment went.

    All I can say is that if Campbell visits USC, I won’t exactly have a very good feeling about him coming to Michigan.

  • No offense to Donovan Warren, but can someone else please return punts? Warren has done a good job of catching punts, but his returns have been pretty bad. Considering Michigan has such a tough time moving the ball offensively, punt returns are a big way that they can improve their field position. I just don’t see that happening with Warren back there, though, as he hasn’t been able to make the first guy miss.
  • Boubacar Cissoko returned kickoffs and did do a nice job. He broke one that went all the way to midfield, but a penalty brought it back. Still, he showed signs that he can take one back to the house at any given time.
  • Kevin Grady returned from his suspension and gained 6 yards on 3 carries. He is definitely a situational back that will primarily get the ball in short-yardage situations. Beyond that he isn’t going to get a whole lot of playing time as his strength is powering forward to pick up yards rather than make defenders miss.
  • Am I the only one that wishes Michigan would bag this running punt formation and let Zoltan Mesko go back to being an NFL-caliber punter? Mesko has struggled in the new formation and doesn’t have the distance on his punts like he used to. He was the recipient of a couple nice bounces on Saturday to pad his average, but I really miss seeing him just boom the ball down the field.
  • Links to a photo gallery and the video of “Michigan Rewind” can be found over at MGoBlue.
  • My early thoughts on the Notre Dame game are that Michigan has a chance to win, though it won’t be easy by any means. It’ll be tough considering this is the first road game of the season, but it’s not like Notre Dame is a great team or anything. At times against San Diego State their offense looked just as bad as Michigan’s has this season. Both offenses will likely struggle, so this game will probably come down to defense. If Michigan’s defense can play like they have the last one and a half games then the Wolverines should leave South Bend with a victory.
  • Notre Dame is actually very lucky to be 1-0 right now. San Diego State, who lost to Cal Poly in week 1, was leading Notre Dame 13-7 in the fourth quarter and had the ball inside the 1-yard line. That is when one of their players fumbled the ball right as he was about to cross the goal line. Notre Dame fell on it and drove down the field for a touchdown to go on top 14-13. SDSU was done at this point as the wind completely went out of their sails. ND added one more TD to put the Aztecs away by a score of 21-13.
  • This week’s polls are out and there is no change at the top. Ohio State dropped to 5th in both polls after greatly struggling against Ohio. East Carolina is 14th in the AP Poll after destroying West Virginia, and somehow Notre Dame got 3 votes in the Coaches’ Poll.
  • Michael Rosenberg published an excerpt from his book on Bo Schembechler and Woody Hayes.
  • Braylon Edwards and Michael Phelps are pretty good friends. Edwards worked out with Phelps once during the offseason and actually told him that he would double Phelps’ gold medal total in Beijing by the way of touchdown passes. Edwards said that before the Olympics actually happened, so if he wants to come through on his statement he’ll have to catch 16 or more TDs this season.
  • Speaking of Phelps, he is going to host Saturday Night Live this week and will be on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno today.
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