Bo Schembechler- The Glory is Departed

 

To: Bo Schembechler

From:  GOD

RE: My UM/OSU party

 

Dear Bo,

For a while now, I’ve had the pleasure of watching the annual Michigan/Ohio State football game with a friend of yours, one Woodrow AKA “Woody” Hayes.

Well, Bo you know that Woody can be a little one sided in his game commentary so I’ve decided to call upon you to balance out my game watching experience.  I have to warn you though, Woody keeps talking about how bad he wants a re-match of the 1969 game.  You guys will have to work that one out yourselves.

Don’t worry about bringing anything.  I’ll have it all covered.

Sorry I had to call you before your television segment was filmed- I know how you love the cameras- but there are a lot of people here who want to talk to you.  Some guy named Ufer has been honking a horn for the last 24 years and can’t wait for you to hear his play-by-play from the 1998 Rose Bowl.  And Fritz Crisler and Fielding Yost want to have a long talk about how your teams threw the ball WAY TOO MUCH for their tastes.

Don’t worry about the folks down in Ann Arbor- BTW one of my favorite places on earth- they won’t ever forget about you.  The impact you’ve made on countless lives insures that while you’ll be missed you will NEVER be forgotten.

I have a feeling it’s going to be a GREAT GAME.  Sorry I didn’t run this by you beforehand but I know how stubborn you can be.

GO BLUE!*

GOD

* Come on now- you knew all along whose side I was on.  I made the sun maize and the sky blue for heavens sake!

M Football- Dating Disaster

The University of Michigan?s Football Wolverines invited Brady Hoke’s Ball State Cardinals to the Big House Saturday in a game designed to fill a late and vacant schedule date caused by the extension of the number of allowable NCAA football games to twelve per season. As you know the Wolverines dream season continues to survive, thirty-four to twenty-six, but it wasn?t the expected walk in the park, and it was a near disaster, being too close for comfort. Pre-game, a fly-by by a couple of F-18A Hornets provided some thunder, and I thought the Wolverines would continue to shake the stadium.

This game was expected by most to only be a warm up for the remaining Wolverine games in their pursuit of a Big Ten Title, the MNC, an unbeaten season and the showdown of unbeatens in Columbus on November 18th. Pundits predicted Michigan would provide a over a thirty-point victory margin, and the game would provide the opportunity for the Blue to hone its array of reserves. The point spread for the day was the largest for any game in the nation on Saturday.

Some reserves did play early and late, with Jerome Jackson, and Brandon Minor, adding to the significant yardage gained on the ground by Mike Hart. Some backup DBs were burned with big plays late in the game. The anticipated appearance of QB Jason Forcier did not occur, probably due to the close nature of the game. But the expected point totals did not happen even though the Cardinals dwell near the lower echelons of MAC existence, the Wolverines had already dispatched Central Michigan?s MAC leading Chippewas in impressive fashion, and Michigan produced over five hundred yards of offense.

The Wolverines own errors and the determination of the Cardinals led to early and late Cardinal leads. The Wolverines almost enabled their date with disaster. Ultra reliable Mike Hart fumbled deep in Michigan territory, which resulted in a safety and two Ball State points. Chad Henne threw into double coverage in Michigan?s end and was penalized by an interception return for six. This was all in the first quarter, and accounted for the early Ball State lead.

Suddenly, late in the game the defense did not hold on in two Cardinal scoring drives, and Michigan?s pass defense became a problem. It was not easy not to flashback to 2005 and late defensive failures. And the offense wasn?t doing its part by moving the ball with the game on the line. Again flashbacks caused by a Cardinal lead.

The late Cardinal lead was the result of a pair of nice Cardinal scoring drives. A foolish Michigan facemask penalty played a part. The first drive was against the Wolverines defensive reserves. More of the starters were back for the second drive, which put the upstart Cardinals within eight points of the Wolverines late in the forth quarter. Again a reserve DB was burned.

While Michigan?s defense was throwing everything but the kitchen sink at the Cardinals, it was impressive. Woodley, Crable, Branch, Taylor and especially Harris, were making tackles all over the field. But then they changed personnel and the defense melted, but the Wolverines were finally up to the task of preserving the victory.

The date with disaster was turned into a victory celebration finally as the clock and Brady Hoke?s hopes expired on a Ryan Mundy end zone interception.

The game went like this. Michigan drew first blood in the first quarter, even though the Cardinal?s owned the quarter on the scoreboard as it ended, while totaling only twenty-eight yards.

Michigan formulated a seventy-six yard first quarter drive that ended with Jerome Jackson falling in for a one yard TD. He had been in the endzone on the previous play, called a TD on the field but overruled by review. M 7, BSU 0.

The defense held and a nice Cardinal punt was downed deep in Michigan territory. Mike Hart coughed it up for a safety, and the Cards retained possession of the ball on a free kick by Zoltan Mesko. M 7, BSU 2.

Then Chad Henne threw into coverage and it was intercepted and returned for six. M 7, BSU 9. Oh, OH!

In the second quarter, the legs of Mike Hart produced an eight play, seventy-four yard drive, with Carson Butler snagging a seven yard TD pass. M 14, BSU 9.

Michigan?s offense diddled to a stop, so Mike Rivas was called upon to hit a twenty-two yard field goal ending a three-play forty-nine yard drive. M 17, BSU 9. A TD here would have helped relieve the tension later, but they stalled and got only the three.

Then Brandon Minor made a major run for a forty-yard TD. This guy is going to star at Michigan. He can turn the corner better than any other back they have. M 24, BSU 9.

The Cardinals answered with a three pointer on a nice 52 yarder. M 24, BSU 12. So ended the first half.

The band put on its nicest performance of the season so far, featuring TV musical themes and producing the outline of an automobile, boat and other items appropriate to the music. The outlines the band formed were recognizable from my near end zone seats, as they showed up perfectly on the scoreboard screens. A Star Trek actor conducted music from Star Track, and got the ovation of the day when he ended the performance by shouting Beat the Bucks.

Mike Hart bulled in from the run, after an impressive twelve play, eighty-yard drive to make it M 31, BSU 12. Everyone relaxed as did the defense as starters were replaced.

Surprisingly, Michigan gave up a fifty-four yard pass play and all of a sudden its M 31, BSU 19.

The Blue could only answer with another Garrett Rivas field goal. M 34, BSU 19.

The Cardinals then damaged the defensive pride of some of the starters, but again a back up DB was the main victim, with another big play and a score after, this time coming on a three-yard run culminating a three play-drive. M 34, BSU 26.

What are the lessons to be learned? Pass defense appears to be a real problem. Michigan?s pass defense gave up two hundred fifty yards and some damaging big plays. Credit some of that to BSU?s Stan Parrish, our old QB coach, who now handles OC duties for BSU. The Wolverine?s time of possession and a ton of offensive yardage were more than adequate, but where were the points? Michigan settled for two late field goals instead of TDs that would have put the game away.

Again the run defense was outstanding, but penalties and allowing long plays is anything but outstanding. Injuries are still a plaque. Was Prescott Burgess hurt for the second half, and where was Kevin Grady? Is he out for the season or will he be back? Jake Long appeared to shake off an injury.

While Mike Hart had twenty-five carries for one hundred fifty-five yards; Brandon Minor had one hundred and eight yards; and Jerome Jackson had lugged six for sixty-eight yards, and all had a TD, the offense did not move the ball at crunch time, failed in the red zone twice, dropped passes, and made costly mistakes. They have to do better and should be very coach able this week.

Chad was seventeen of twenty-five for one hundred fifty-five yards, one TD and one interception, and showed some mobility on occasion. Again Michigan ran on most first downs, with varying results. The offense did log good time of possession again. Before the game Michigan was the best in the nation in offensive turnovers.

Steve Breaston was a Henne target for seven completions for fifty-yards, Carson Butler had four for forty-nine and a TD. While he had a drop he is maturing. Mario Manningham played but was not Henne?s target, but seemed to run well.

Rondell Biggs, Mark Bihl, Steve Breaston, Tyler Ecker, David Harris, Obi Oluigbo, Willis Barringer, Ross Ryan, Carl Tabb, Brian Thompson, Jeremy Van Alstyne, Darnell Hood, Turner Booth, Alijah Bradley, Jeff Kastl, B.J. Opong-Owusu. Prescott Burgess, Leon Hall, Jerome Jackson, Garrett Rivas and LaMarr Woodley, have played their last football game in Michigan Stadium. They will be missed next year. What a group!

While this game wasn?t a blow out, and was hard hitting on both sides, the Blue did ultimately prevail. No MAC team has ever beaten the Wolverines, but Brady Hoke and his charges definitely won a moral victory Saturday and gave their best, but that won?t satisfy Brady. And Saturday?s performance won?t satisfy Coach Carr, and shouldn?t. Post game radio interviews mentioned a serious locker room. It should be.

Ten in a row isn?t bad in any body?s book. Now it needs to be eleven. The Hoosiers were embarrassed by Minnesota, and will want to defang the Wolverines to make their season, etc., etc. At least it will be on TV other than ESPNU, so most can see it.

Having been taught a lesson by Ball State, no doubt the Wolverines will be loaded for Hoosiers. The Bucks struggled with Illinois, winning by seventeen to ten, if that makes you feel any better.

Saturday?s game is not just a warm up before the Buckeyes, it is an obstacle that must be scaled for a successful season. It is as important as any game this year. I believe these Wolverines have the ladder to success, even if they do slip or slide, one way or another, once in a while.

Thank you for reading this far, come back next week, and Go Blue!

Andy Andersen

M Football- JUGgernaut

The Michigan Football Wolverines rescued the Little Brown Jug from the inhospitable Gophers that had held it hostage for a year, and avenged last year?s disturbing loss to the Gophers, with their 28-14 whipping of the  the University of Minnesota?s determined football team at the Metrodome in Minneapolis/St. Paul Saturday Night.

In my opinion, it was one of the finest Chad Henne performances that I have been privileged to observe.  He was extremely poised, showed some mobility and escapability. And was on target for most, if not all of his passes.   He tossed twenty-four passes, and completed seventeenfor two hundred eighty-two yards and three TDs. He hit his receivers downfield in stride.  With a few exceptions, his offensive line usually gave him time. He threw no interceptions, and Michigan did not lose a fumble due to the athletic ability of Steve Breaston who gathered up a Kevin Grady miscue and advanced it.  Chad?s three TD passes were in the first half.  Two were tossed to fast developing WR Adrian Arrington, and one to Super Mario.

Adrian caught three passes for fifty-nine yards, for a 19.7 average and two TDs.  Mario caught a couple of great 1st down passes in the second half, but dropped one catch able pass.  Still he again had a great game by snagging five passes for one hundred thirty-one yards for an eye-popping 26.2-yard average per catch and 1 TD.  The offense was without the services of Tyler Ecker for most of the game due to a sore ankle, and understudy Carson Butler is evidently in Carr?s doghouse.  Mike Massey got some valuable experience and made a few catches, and Brian Thompson saw action.

The offense generally held up its side of the bargain in this game, using a blend of running and play action, and down the field passes to gather a substantial first half lead.  Mike Hart made some outstanding runs, and late in the game sprinted fifty-four yards into Gopher territory to help seal the win.  Hart is a Houdini in traffic, seeming to be tackled and going down two or three yards past the point of contact, slipping out of the pile.  He is also attached to the football in the wildest melee.

Steve Breaston had some nice catches, snaring five for forty-eight yards.

As for his punt return work, it is a little perplexing that this far into the season the opposing team?s gunners are allowed to close on Steve in the manner they have.   He had a two and one half yard return average on punts.   For a man of his demonstrated abilities, it seems to me Michigan is not setting up the situation to afford him success although every team works very hard to prevent that success.

Also on special teams, Garrett Rivas missed a relatively easy second half field goal that could have helped seal the victory.  Zoltan Mesko the punted well and on one occasion bounced a punt at the one that Steve Brown was waiting for and leaning into the endzone, caught.  While it was ruled a touch back it was an extraordinary effort by Brown.

The kick offs were unexceptional, mostly short, and one was out of bounds. I wonder if special teams coaching by committee works that well. Special teams are about the only area of coaching concern to be considered regarding this game.  Well, maybe the flagging intensity of the defense in the last eight minutes of the game is a bit of a concern, too.  For a short while, it seemed almost a reversion to last year?s defensive form, but the defense was outstanding for most of the game.  When the camera shows Coach English it is apparent that he never loses his intensity.

While the defense was very effective at times, and held the Gophers for many series, they did give up a pair of TD passes. It was a game a little out of this year?s pattern where the defense carries the offense.  Saturday they seemed about equal with the offense perhaps a bit better.  The offense managed to possess the ball for a good part of the game.

Later in the game Minnesota?s QB Cupito fired quickly, and hit receivers seemingly at will to the narrow the gap from 28-7 to 28-14.  The alarm claxons began to sound for most fans.  When the Gophers successfully crafted an onside kick recovery it began to seem that despite all of Michigan?s efforts and fine plays, and positive time of possession, a TD, another onside kick and TD could bring misery. But Minnesota drew a critical penalty, and dropped some passes and another score did not materialize for them, as they failed in four shots inside the Wolverine ten.

CB Charles Stewart had a rough outing, drawing a critical interference penalty, missing a tackle, and getting burned a couple of times for both Gopher TDs.  I think that in run support he is better than Morgan Trent, and therefore played a lot.  He also gained a lot of experience in this game, not all of it positive, and perhaps learned some lessons.  He is talented and will improve with seasoning and he had a dose of that Saturday night.

Michigan received the opening KO and gave the ball to Mike Hart.  Mike ran for a couple of first downs in his first two carries, Steve Breaston caught a seventeen?yard pass and the Wolverines were moving.  Adrain Arrington caught his first TD pass as a Wolverine, on a beautiful pass and catch for sixteen yards and six.  Both sides converted all their EP?s on the day.  Wolverines 7, Gophers  0.  And that was it for the first quarter.

Adrian decided that one TD was nice, but two would be better so he caught an even more impressive one of thirty-seven yards early in the second quarter.  These two drives are among Michigan?s most impressive drives of the season, the first consisting of ten plays for eighty yards and the second a seven play seventy-seven yard drive. W 14, G 0.

The Gophers did not crawl back into their holes, but displayed an annoying tendency to fight back by producing a twelve-play seventy-five yard drive of their own which resulted in a TD after a review overturned the call on the field due to ?indisputable evidence?.  Nice Gopher pass and outstanding catch.  W 14, G 7.

Mario Manningham again contributed by making a 41-yard TD reception to complete an eight- play eighty-two yard drive, which was every bit as effective and welcome as the first two.   Manningham makes it look so easy.  W 21, G 7 as the first half ended.

The winning margin was already on the board at the half, and the fact that the Wolverines were able to sustain three long drives is reassuring for the future and confirms that the offense is developing. 

The halftime adjustments of the Gophers increased their defensive effectiveness in the third quarter.  Both teams were scoreless.

Kevin Grady finally bulled in on a one-yard run in the fourth quarter to put the game out of the clawing Gopher?s reach after a five play forty-yard drive.  W 28, G 7.

The Gophers spent the remainder of the game trying to catch up, managed a final TD, and certainly did not quit the struggle at any time, sustaining a five play, eighty-four yard drive.  Another nice pass and catch against a slightly more passive Wolverine defense, and it was W 28, G 14 as time expired.

This is a satisfying victory for Wolverine fans as the Gophers attempt to plant their flag on our field after their surprising win in the Big House last year was disrespectful.  The jug is back where it belongs, where it is supposed to be.  Michigan?s defense is solid and the offense seems to be maturing in the right way.  They have five wins and no losses.  A lot is right in the Wolverine?s football world.

But waiting in the wings, to spoil our fun, and with more humility than is their usual characteristic, are the Michigan State Spartans of John L. Smith.  This next game is one born of desperation for the Spartans.  Their backs are to the wall.  Smith will conjure up at least one trick play to fool the Wolverines.

Notre Dame stole a victory and the Fighting Illini flat out humiliated them at the Spartans own homecoming Saturday.  Coach Smith as a Coach appears to have huge emotional ups and downs.  He will have his charges fired up.  The Michigan game is their season every year. but that is especially true this year as  Coach Smith can see some Bobby Williams writing on the wall.

The health of MSU?s Drew Stanton who left Saturday?s game late perhaps with injured ribs, not to return with the game in the balance, will be a subject of speculation all week, but you can bet that he will be there raring to go, raring to perform well in his last shot at the Wolverines..

Michigan must be ready for the Spartan?s best shot. It may be necessary for Mr. Woodley to renew his acquaintance with Mr. Stanton.  Football is a game of emotion so on a given Saturday any team?…  Sorry Spartans, not this time.  Go Blue!

Andy Andersen

Notre Dame Return to Glory?

 

Saturday evening will bring answers to questions that Wolverine fans have had since the beginning of the season.

 

Is the defense really that good?

 

Is Mike Hart fully recovered after an injury-plagued 2005 campaign?

 

Can Chad Henne get it done on the road in a big game?

 

How will fans remember the last phase of Lloyd Carr’s career?

 

Yeah, that’s the elephant sitting in the corner at Schembechler Hall right now.

 

There’s no doubt that Carr’s teams have heart.  But over the last couple of seasons they’ve been unable to win the big games.  Ohio State, Notre Dame, and Bowl opponents have owned the Wolverines.

 

Sure Michigan has been competitve but that’s a small consolation for Wolverine fans.

 

One of the things that Lloyd Carr tells recruits is that if they come to Michigan they will PLAY in big games.

 

But will he be able to tell recruits that if they come to Michigan they will WIN big games?

 

I’m not saying that Michigan football will collapse if the Irish prevail in South Bend on Saturday.  Surely the Wolverines could concievably rally and win the Big Ten.  The world will not fall off its axis.  Recruits will still flock to Ann Arbor and Michigan will still win its share of big games.

 

But if the Wolverines lay an egg in South Bend you have to seriously question the likelyhood of the team making amends for last season’s 7-5 record.  And anything less than a stellar season will mean that Lloyd Carr’s legacy will continue to tarnish.

 

So Wolverines- what will it be?  Another season of quiet desperation or a return to greatness?

 

The Irish are heavy favorites on Saturday.  The game is in South Bend where the Wolverines historically have a hard time playing well.  The stage is set for the Irish to exact revenge for the 38-0 beating they took at the hands of the Wolverines a few seasons back.

 

Sauce foir the goose.

 

The Wolverines will show that they ARE back by defeating the Irish on national television.

 

They will show the college football world that last year was an aberration.

 

Surely the Victors will ring throughout Notre Dame Stadium on Saturday and the Wolverines will reclain their place among the college football elite.

 

Go Blue!

GAME 2- MICHIGAN 41 CMU 17 Game Grades

 

2006 MICHIGAN FOOTBALL GRADES

 


Game 2 Scoreboard


“We think we can run the ball on any team.”

Mike Hart, RB

“Our whole offensive line we just want to run the ball, that’s what we’ve worked hard on.

Jake Long, Michigan Offensive Lineman 
 

Phil’s Game Grades

Offense A
Defense   B  
Special Teams   A- 
Coaching B
Overall   B+


A systematic demolishing.  The most exciting thing about this game was the hour long lightning delay.

Offense-  41 points- that’s more like it.  Lots of people got to touch the ball during this one.

Defense-  Another good game but the secondary looks like might be suspect.  Next week against Notre Dame will tell us more.

Special Teams-  Two nice field goals and some kick returns.

Coaching-   This game didn’t tell us much except that we need to worry about our defensive secondary.