Wednesday Quick Hits: Penn State Game to Start at 3:30

By · Wednesday, October 14, 2009 · 2:02 AM |  Share | Leave a Comment 
  • As expected, the Penn State game will start at 3:30 p.m. and be broadcast regionally on ABC and ESPN.
  • The Big Ten’s bowl new bowl lineup was announced yesterday, confirming most of the previously-reported details and clearing up a few others.  There were four main things in question before the announcement that have now been cleared up: 1) The contract for the new bowl lineup will run from 2010-2013.  2) The Big Ten will play an SEC team in the Gator Bowl.  3) The Dallas Football Classic, as it is being called, will take place on New Year’s Day, giving the Big Ten five games on New Year’s Day.  There is another one on New Year’s Eve, meaning nearly all of the conference’s games will take place within a span of 24 hours.  4) The Big Ten’s opponent in the Dallas Football Classic will be from the Conference USA, which I am glad to hear.  (Adam Rittenberg’s sources suggest that the bowl “will also consider Big 12 opponents,” so take that for what it’s worth.)
  • One strange thing from the announcement was that there was no mention of the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl.  Apparently a deal with that bowl isn’t official just yet, but the Big Ten will likely still have a tie-in with the Detroit game.
  • Zoltan Mesko has been named the Big Ten’s Special Teams Player of the Week for his amazing punting performance against Iowa.  He had the second-highest single-game average in Michigan history — 53.8 yards on 5 punts.
  • Brandon Minor’s rushing touchdown against Iowa snapped the Hawkeye’s streak of 33 consecutive quarters without allowing an opponent into the end zone on the ground.
  • The media no longer have access to football practices mainly due to the specifics of some new plays being discussed in the Michigan Daily.
  • The sale of counterfeit tickets to Michigan football games is apparently starting to become a problem.
  • Brian of mgoblog made the trip to Iowa for Saturday’s game, and he has a report on the experience.
  • I am now tied for third in Big Ten Bloggers Pick’em.
  • MVictors took an interesting look at what should happen to the Little Brown Jug when it runs out of space for scores.
  • Just like they were for the Indiana game, bags will be prohibited from Michigan Stadium for the rest of the season.
  • The basketball team’s media day took place yesterday, and UM Hoops has a recap of what was discussed.
  • Don’t forget, Michigan Madness will take place on Friday night at Crisler Arena.
  • Michigan rebounded from its season-opening loss in hockey last Friday by beating Alaska-Anchorage by a score of 6-1 a day later.
  • Apparently there were a series of conference calls this past summer between Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Minnesota, and Wisconsin to talk about the possibility of creating a Big Ten hockey conference.  The talks didn’t get very far after Minnesota strongly opposed the idea, which isn’t surprising.  As cool as it would be to have some variation of the Big Ten in college hockey, they would need more than just five teams.  Beyond that, they would need to think about the smaller programs in the CCHA, as losing U-M, MSU, and OSU would be a big blow to many of the teams in this state and in the CCHA in general.  A couple of them are struggling to stay afloat as it is, and I imagine losing three big schools would be a crushing blow to the rest of the CCHA.
  • Michigan State’s Glenn Winston is out for the season because of a knee injury he suffered against Illinois this past Saturday.
  • I knew former West Virginia fullback Owen Schmitt was crazy, but I didn’t know he was quite this crazy.
  • Chad Henne and Braylon Edwards, as well as a few other Michigan men, sure played well on Monday Night Football.

Tuesday Quick Hits: Michigan Closes in on Top 20

By · Tuesday, September 29, 2009 · 2:51 AM |  Share | 2 Comments 
  • There is a great picture at U-M’s photo store of Tate Forcier’s dive into the end zone for a touchdown.  Remember, if you want to buy that or another picture, you can take 5% off your order by using the discount code michsc5.  It expires after tomorrow, so make your purchase before then.
  • Michigan moved up to 22nd in the AP Poll and 20th in the USA Today Poll this week.
  • Boubacar Cissoko did not leave the Indiana game because of an injury; he was benched, according to Greg Robinson.
  • UMGoBlog posted a couple pictures that give us the best look at Donovan Warren’s interception at the end of the Indiana game.  It appears that Warren definitely had more possession of the ball than the Indiana player, but both had their hands on it, so it looks like Michigan caught a break by ending up with the ball.
  • Warren jokingly said this after the game when asked about the interception: “We both actually had our hands on it. It was a tugging match from the get-go. We were both wrestling for it and I just Mike Barwised him.”
  • David Moosman took the blame for all of the bad snaps on Saturday.  It definitely is harder to snap out of the shotgun than it looks, but hopefully Moosman shook off the rust and won’t have that problem against Michigan State.  Also, I like how heads up he was in trying to get an offside penalty (it worked once), but I would much rather not risk losing 20 yards and having no flag thrown and just run the play when it is 3rd and less than 5 yards.
  • Zoltan Mesko and Darryl Stonum were the unsung heroes of Saturday’s game, as they accounted for a big difference in field position.
  • John Wangler and Anthony Carter were fittingly honorary captains for the Indiana game.
  • It won’t be decided if Michigan’s game at Iowa on October 10 will be on ABC or ESPN until after this coming Saturday’s games are played.  I’d be willing to bet it will be ABC’s primetime game, especially if both teams are undefeated going into the matchup.  That could be College Gameday’s destination as well if LSU loses this week.  (Otherwise CG will likely be at the LSU-Florida game.)
  • Tom Brokaw was at Oosterbaan Fieldhouse before the game on Saturday.
  • With Chad Pennington out for the season, Chad Henne is now the Dolphins’ starting quarterback.
  • Another week, another Big Ten suspension.
  • Michigan’s basketball student section is up to nearly 2,500 people.
  • The best player in the 2011 basketball recruiting class visited Michigan this past weekend.
  • Casey Prather, a 2010 recruit, is going to announce his decision tomorrow.  He will choose either Michigan or Florida.
  • The CCHA made a rule change for the upcoming season that gives 3 points to teams when games are won in regulation or overtime and only 2 for winning a shootout.  This is definitely a good change, as the CCHA standings were greatly affected by shootouts last season.  Michigan never even went to overtime, let alone a shootout, so if anything remotely close to that happens again this year, the rule change will benefit the Wolverines.

Toney Clemons, Morgan Trent, & Chad Henne Comment on Allegations

By · Sunday, August 30, 2009 · 8:07 PM |  Share | 12 Comments 

Two former Michigan players who played for Rich Rodriguez have commented on the record about the allegations U-M is facing.

One of them, Toney Clemons, left the team earlier this year and transferred to Colorado, citing that he wanted to play in a different offense.  He spoke to ESPN’s Joe Schad, and his comments did not do Michigan any favors.

“The allegations are true,” Clemons said. “Nothing is fabricated or exaggerated in that story. I was there on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. or 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. depending on if guys needed treatment. You were there daylight to nighttime.”

“On Sunday, it was lifting, film, dinner and practice,” Clemons told Schad. “I usually got out around 10:20. I truly don’t want to be associated with the program back there. But I am going to help benefit my teammates back there by speaking and giving testimony.”

Helping which teammates, Toney?  Sure, you’re helping the few current players who spoke to the Free Press and don’t like how much time they have to spend on football, and I’m sure there are others who feel the same way but didn’t speak out.  But what about the rest (majority) of the team?  Do you think people like Brandon Minor and Brandon Graham, who are seniors and want to win this season, appreciate you making this situation even worse for Michigan?  I doubt it.  By now the damage is already done from the report itself, but the more former players like Clemons come out and go beyond simply confirming that the story is true, the worse this situation gets for Michigan.

Another former player, Morgan Trent, who didn’t transfer but simply graduated, spoke to Angelique Chengelis today on the record.

“Yes, we were there all day it seemed sometimes,” said Trent, a former Michigan cornerback now in his first season with the Cincinnati Bengals. “But if you expect to win, that’s the sacrifice you make. I was a senior (last season under Rodriguez) — I just wanted to win, that’s all.”

Chad Henne, who played his last game before Rich Rodriguez took over, spoke to Dave Birkett and echoed similar feelings, saying that putting in more than 20 hours was necessary to become a better player.

“Twenty hours is a very, very small portion of what you do, especially if you’re a quarterback at a high-profile school,” Henne, now with the Miami Dolphins, said in a phone interview Sunday. “Twenty hours isn’t enough for you. You have to be in there by yourself, studying film, no coaches around, and doing it on your own. That’s where the leadership comes in and that’s where, if you want to get better and play better, you have to do it on your own.”

Henne went on to say that while he wasn’t obligated to be there all that extra time, the hours really were already racked up enough just by practicing.  He also shared his thoughts on the players who spoke out to the media.

“I really think whoever’s saying it really doesn’t want to be there,” Henne said. “If they’re saying that then they’re not really worried about the team, they’re not worried about what they’re going to do during their season and they’re kind of just giving themselves up. That’s just negative talk right there. So whoever it is just really doesn’t care about the team, I would say.

“If they’re complaining about that, then they don’t want to be the best they can be and that’s their own fault.”

I couldn’t agree more.

Tuesday Quick Hits: Michigan in Talks with UMass for 2010 Opener

By · Tuesday, April 28, 2009 · 3:02 AM |  Share | 2 Comments 
  • Michigan is in negotiations with the University of Massachusetts to schedule a game between the two schools to open the 2010 football season. The 2010 opener will be the first game after the completion of the Michigan Stadium renovation, and although I would like to see a high-profile team face U-M to christen the project, that will probably never happen. Michigan is scheduled to play an FCS team this fall (Delaware State), and in the future it will be rare for a non-conference schedule to include four FBS teams. Michigan is resistant to scheduling home-and-home series because it doesn’t want to lose the revenue of an extra game at the Big House. Couple that with the fact that it is getting tougher and tougher to schedule games against FBS teams and we should expect more of this in the future.
  • While on the topic of scheduling, Michigan State announced yesterday that it has agreed to a home-and-home with both West Virginia and Alabama. These games will be played over a four-year span starting in 2014, and there will be lots of hype surrounding them. I wish Michigan would do something like this, but it’s unlikely to ever happen with Notre Dame on the schedule every year. As stated above, Michigan wants to have as many home games as possible, and since every other year they play at Notre Dame, it makes playing a home-and-home series almost impossible based on their way of thinking.

    This is precisely why I wish Michigan would leave ND off the schedule every once in a while. That isn’t going to happen since the contract was renewed a couple years ago and includes no breaks, but MSU is actually doing just that twice for two seasons at a time. One of those breaks will be during the WVU home-and-home, meaning the Mountaineers will basically replace the Fighting Irish on MSU’s schedule. This is exactly what I wish Michigan would do, as it would change things up every once in a while and allow U-M to continue to maximize its revenue. It’s evident that every year the schedule will include three cupcakes (one FCS school and two MAC teams) and Notre Dame (I guess you could say four cupcakes in some years). Considering the non-conference schedule is repetitive and features no real hyped up matchups, a home-and-home with an Alabama or a West Virginia — okay, maybe not WVU — would be great for a change.

  • In the future, Chad Henne and Pat White will compete for the Dolphins’ starting quarterback job. This is pretty interesting, as it pits the Lloyd Carr type of QB against the Rich Rodriguez type of QB. Either way, this is a good recruiting tool for Michigan.
  • Seven former Michigan players who were undrafted already signed free agent deals with NFL teams.
  • Steven Threet has decided to transfer to Arizona State.

Wednesday Quick Hits: Seantrel Henderson Visits Michigan

By · Wednesday, March 25, 2009 · 3:07 AM |  Share | Leave a Comment 

More on Greg Robinson

By · Wednesday, January 21, 2009 · 1:40 PM |  Share | 5 Comments 

Now that Michigan has hired a new defensive coordinator, many questions exist going into the future. First, who is Greg Robinson?

Most recently, Robinson was the head coach that ran the Syracuse football program into the ground, going a pathetic 10-37 in four seasons. He did coach the Orange to an upset victory over Notre Dame this past season, but that was really one of the only positive moments during his tenure. To put it nicely, Robinson is not a very good head coach.

Here’s the good news: Robinson does have a long track record as an assistant in both college and the NFL. He was UCLA’s defensive line coach from 1982-1988, a time when the Bruins had much success. Before jumping to the NFL in 1990, he was UCLA’s offensive coordinator in ’89. I’m not exactly sure why he went from coaching the defensive line to offensive coordinator, but it unsurprisingly didn’t really work out well.

From 1990-1993, Robinson coached the defensive line for the Jets. He became the Jets’ defensive coordinator in 1994 and then had that same job with the Broncos from 1995-2000. While in Denver, the Broncos won two Super Bowls and had defenses that were both great and average depending on the season. Eventually, Robinson ended up moving on to Kansas City from 2000-2003 and struggled, to say the least. Part of the problem was a lack of talent, but his three years in KC did not go well, leading to a return to the college game.

Robinson was the defensive coordinator of the 2004 Texas team, which Michigan fans should remember because of the 2005 Rose Bowl. Michigan actually racked up 37 points against Texas in that game, led by Chad Henne and Mike Hart, who were both true freshmen, and Braylon Edwards, who caught three TDs. Steve Breaston also played a big part in the game by setting a Rose Bowl record for return yards.

Texas’ defense that season was decent, but it actually improved statistically in 2005 after Robinson left. Part of that is because Vince Young became such a great player in 2005, which made life a little bit easier for Texas’ defense. Plus, only one season doesn’t exactly tell you a whole lot. Just because Michigan’s defense stunk this past season doesn’t mean Scott Shafer is a horrendous coach, for example. You can only take so much away from one season.

Following his one season with Texas, Robinson became Syracuse’s head coach, and well, I’ve already discussed that. He was fired after this past season and speculation about his future included rumors of him returning to the NFL or college as an assistant. As we now know, the latter turned out to be accurate speculation, as he is now Michigan’s defensive coordinator.

I’m not necessarily in favor of or against this hire, as I’m honestly just not sure what to think. Robinson has had success and failure in his coaching career, though failing as a head coach says nothing about him as a defensive coordinator. Some coaches are just better as coordinators, so I’m really not too concerned about how bad he was at Syracuse. However, recruiting-wise I am not exactly confident in Robinson’s abilities. Nothing has shown to me that he will be a great recruiter, but honestly, I don’t care all that much. I would rather have a defensive coordinator that is a great coach instead of one that is a great recruiter.

In the short-term, the biggest thing to keep an eye on is what happens to the rest of the defensive coaching staff. The only coach that could end up leaving is Jay Hopson, based on the fact that he is from the south and there are some rumors about him getting offers to return to the south. If Hopson were to leave, it would likely mean that defensive tackle commits Pearlie Graves and DeQuinta Jones, who were recruited by Hopson, would opt to go somewhere else. Both already have been taking visits and don’t even sound like they are all that committed to Michigan anyways, so losing Hopson would probably result in them decommitting. Both may do that even if Hopson stays; it’s just more likely they will decommit if he goes.

In the long-term, obviously the thing to watch is what happens with the defense. I doubt that it could get any worse than last season, but that’s not saying much considering last year’s defense was the worst in Michigan history. If I had to make a prediction about a Greg Robinson type of defense, my guess is that it won’t ever be one of the elite defenses in the country, but it won’t ever be worse than average, either.

I would take an average to above average defense after last season, especially if the offense gets better. Michigan will win more than 3 games with a decent offense and a decent defense. Down the road, obviously the hope is that Michigan will win much more than three games. For right now, though, the next step in rebuilding is to simply make a bowl game. With Greg Robinson coaching the defense, I think that is much more of a possibility than it would have been with Scott Shafer at the helm.

For more on Shafer, check out Varsity Blue and MGoBlue, which has comments from Texas coach Mack Brown and former Texas linebacker Derrick Johnson in the article.

It Was Fun While It Lasted

By · Friday, October 17, 2008 · 8:26 PM |  Share | 1 Comment 

Over the last 11 years, Michigan has won 9 consecutive games against Penn State. The winning streak has featured blowouts, comebacks, the first overtime in Michigan Stadium, and yes, a last-second touchdown that ruined Penn State’s perfect season.

I hate to be a pessimist, but Michigan is not going to win tomorrow. About 24 hours from now Michigan fans will no longer be able to say “We own Penn State!” Instead, the Nittany Lions will be on the winning side of this series for a change and will get to celebrate victory over Michigan. Again, I hate to be so negative, but Michigan will be lucky to keep this respectable. After all, Penn State is the #3 team in the nation and will get to let out 11 years of frustration on Michigan.

Although all good things must come to an end, let’s take some time to look back on the impressive winning streak. It all got started in 1997 when Michigan went on the road and played one of its best games of the season. Penn State was highly ranked and Michigan went into Happy Valley and beat down the Nittany Lions. That win gave them momentum for the rest of the season that would eventually lead to a national title.

Here is a rundown of this amazing streak that Michigan has compiled (thanks to WolverineHistorian for the videos):

1997 | Michigan – 34 :: Penn State – 8

As mentioned, Michigan won this game in impressive fashion. U-M actually outgained Penn State 416-169 en route to this victory that led to a celebration at University President Lee Bollinger’s house.

Video:


1998 | Penn State – 0 :: Michigan – 27

Michigan dominated Penn State for the second straight year. This was the first time PSU had been shut out in 130 games.

Video: Click Here

1999 | Michigan – 31 :: Penn State – 27

Michigan got behind by 10 points after having a lead, but Tom Brady brought Michigan back from behind. Brady ran for a touchdown and threw a TD to Marcus Knight in the final minutes to give the Wolverines the lead. Larry Foote would recover a fumble forced by Ian Gold shortly thereafter to clinch the Michigan win.

Video:


2000 | Penn State – 11 :: Michigan – 33

Coming off of a disappointing 54-51 loss to Northwestern the week before this game, Michigan needed a win desperately to get the season back on track. Thanks to a big game by Anthony Thomas, the Wolverines did just that and again took it to the Nittany lions.

Video: Click Here

2001 | Michigan – 20 :: Penn State – 0

Michigan’s offense was nothing spectacular, but its defense was straight up dominant. Penn State was shut out at home for the first time in 36 years in this Michigan victory.

Video: Click Here

2002 | Penn State – 24 :: Michigan – 27 (OT)

Chris Perry scored on a 3-yard touchdown run in the first overtime ever played in Michigan Stadium. The touchdown set off a celebration where the players went over to the student section and actually started climbing up a tarp to get closer to the fans.

Video:


2005 | Penn State – 25 :: Michigan – 27

After a 2-year break in this series, Michigan and Penn State got back on the field to play each other and put on a show in the Big House. Mario Manningham caught a 33-yard pass for his first touchdown of the fourth quarter before he scored the most memorable TD of his career. With only 1 second left on the clock, Chad Henne found Super Mario on a slant pass for the game-winning touchdown. This would end up being Penn State’s only loss of the season.

Video:


2006 | Michigan – 17 :: Penn State – 10

This game will forever be known as the “quarterback massacre.” Michigan’s defense knocked two of Penn State’s QBs out of the game to give Daryll Clark some playing time. Clark is actually PSU’s current starting QB, so hopefully he goes through a similar experience (not getting injured, just getting sacked a lot).

Video: Click Here

Photo that best sums up this game:

2007 | Penn State – 9 :: Michigan – 14

Ryan Mallett started this game for Michigan and actually ran for a touchdown. Mike Hart added one in the fourth quarter, and the defense held tough, limiting the Nittany Lions to only three field goals.

Video: Click Here

Tuesday Quick Hits: Preparing for Saturday

By · Tuesday, August 26, 2008 · 2:07 AM |  Share | Leave a Comment 
  • Michigan’s weekly release is out for the Utah game. (The next few notes are from the weekly release)
  • Lloyd Carr will be recognized for winning the 2007 Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year award during halftime on Saturday.
  • Former Michigan football players Bob Chappuis, Ron Kramer, and Dan Dierdorf are going to be alumni captains on Saturday and will be honored during the first commercial break of the game.
  • “The Rich Rodriguez Radio Show” will be on WXYT every Thursday at 7 p.m. Jim Brandstatter and Doug Karsch will serve as the show’s co-hosts, and Rodriguez, an assistant coach, and a player will be interviewed during every show.
  • Terry Gannon and David Norrie will be the announcers for Michigan’s game on Saturday (on ABC). Gannon will handle play-by-play duties and Norrie will be the color commentator. Jeannine Edwards will serve as the sideline reporter.
  • Along with the Michigan Radio Network, Westwood One is going to broadcast the Utah game. Tom McCarthy and Bobby Ross are the announcers for the nationally broadcast call of the game.
  • Don’t forget that Inside Michigan Football premieres Thursday at 6:30 p.m. on FSN Detroit. If you miss the original airing of Inside Michigan Football you can catch it at “midnight Friday” on WXYZ (ABC Channel 7 in Detroit). According to my channel guide, that airing actually begins at 12:05 a.m. Saturday. Also, the show will be broadcast again on FSN Detroit at the following times:
    Thursdays at 10 p.m. if there is no conflict with Tigers, Red Wings, Pistons games or postgame shows. Fridays at 11 a.m.; Saturdays at 9:30 a.m.

  • MLive has a video of Rich Rodriguez’s press conference from yesterday. MGoBlue has the full transcript.
  • One of the things mentioned in the press conference was that Kevin Grady is suspended for Saturday’s game.
  • Reminder: “Big Ten Legends: Lloyd Carr” is on the BTN this evening at 6 p.m. At 7 p.m. the Big Ten Network will be showing the 2000 Orange Bowl that featured a Michigan win over Alabama in overtime.
  • Chad Pennington was named the Miami Dolphins’ starting quarterback, meaning Chad Henne is the team’s backup.
  • The Big Ten Network and Time Warner Cable have finally come to an agreement.
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