Thursday, January 03, 2008

WTI: Capital

Geoff: That was the best bowl performance I've seen by Michigan in a long time. Probably the most enjoyable one since Alabama in the 2000 Orange Bowl.
Jeremy: I couldn't stop thinking, "Did I drink so much that I passed out and it's now January 2009?"
Geoff: It was crazy. Empty backfield, passing to set up the run.
Craig: I had that moment of "this could be something" when Arrington had the behind the back catch. And I just thought...wait a second, we CAN win this game. Which was, by the way, the first time I have believed that since the pairing was announced.
Geoff: Me too. But I held out from getting too attached until just before halftime.
Jeremy: It was clear Lloyd would have none of that conservative talk after the "screen pass that might have been" to the lumbering 6'7" 350 lb lineman
Craig: Agreed. We've been down this road far too often.
Geoff: Though getting Jake Long a TD would have been the cherry on top.
Craig: Mike DeBord went into the secret folder in the playbook labeled "Plays NEVER, EVER to be used, under penalty of death."
Geoff: DeBord needed a companion piece to '06 Notre Dame.
Craig: By the way, Manningham was amazing, but Arrington was other worldly yesterday. He did things that should not be allowed under the physical laws of this universe.
Geoff: He was operating on a completely different plane.
Craig: And Henne reminded people that, when healthy, he's as good as any quarterback in the country.
Jeremy: He made himself a lot of money yesterday.
Geoff: This is a victory that's going to age well. I like having the next 9 months in front of me.
Craig: Which makes me sad, because yesterday was "the Awesome Power of a Fully Operational Mothership"
Geoff: And one operating without training wheels.
Craig: Did you feel like yesterday, Mike DeBord was like "Well, I need to update my resume. We're using everything..."
Geoff: He went all-out to add a few more clips to his reel.
Craig: You know, if Butch Jones gets the WFVU job, there would be an opening at Central...
Jeremy: Let's hope Mallett enjoyed the display
Craig: He genuinely seemed to be into it on the sideline, for whatever watching the backup quarterback is worth.
Geoff: Maybe he's just a kid who likes watching his team win, but he didn't look like a guy about to transfer.
Craig: By the way, is it possible that while not "good", three of the four turnovers were of the non harmful variety because they were so deep in the Michigan end (credit to Florida for driving 80 yards to convert off the one)?
Geoff: They were definitely harmful because they took, at minimum, six points off the board. But at least they weren't handing the points to Florida.
Craig: Was there some kind of strange karmic balance, wherein because Manningham and Arrington and Matthews did not have the treacherous hands, Mike Hart was required to do so?
Geoff: Theoretically, I wouldn't have been shocked if Hart fumbled. But TWICE?
Craig: You could just see on the first one, he was just incredulous, like "Really???"
Jeremy: You could see it in his face too. The first time he was smiling, because of course it's going to be overturned.
Geoff: I was waiting for it to go to review.
Geoff: The second time, it was the same play as the Penn State game, except this time a guy put a helmet right on his hands.
Craig: My point was, Hart was trying to get every last inch, the Florida player did what you're taught to do, dislodge the ball.
Geoff: Oh, and Terrance Taylor blocked his second kick of the year. This time it was a Florida field goal attempt, but he also blocked a PAT during the EMU game.
Craig: I liked that he got the "great work kid, but an idiotic penalty" pep talk from Coach Carr.
Jeremy: By "pep talk" do you mean Carr roaring in his face for several seconds?
Craig: Something like that...
Geoff: Anyway, it was a near-perfect ending to Lloyd Carr's tenure as football coach. I wonder what he'll be doing as an associate athletic director.
Craig: A lot of fundraising for the university, a lot of charity work, auditing a class on Kipling's works, meeting Maureen Dowd...
Geoff: I think he'll find a way to get involved in keeping athletes on track to graduate. So much of his last locker room speech revolved around his guys finishing their educations.
Craig: And I loved that about him, by the way, that it wasn't fake; he genuinely wanted that to be one of his big points.
Geoff: The only other guy I've heard talk that much about getting your degree is Red Berenson.
Craig: Hey, I smell a segue!
Geoff: A segue to a GLI championship?
Craig: I was lucky enough to be at both nights of the GLI and it may have been some of the best hockey I have seen in ages at any level. On Friday you had Michigan just coming out hot and doing it right with the 6-0 win over the skating Friars, with Billy Sauer turning away 44 shots.
Geoff: I watched the 6-0 demolition of Providence. That was something else.
Craig: That was followed by one of the singularly most entertaining GLI games I had seen in my life (1997-present) in the Michigan Tech victory over State.
Craig: I must say, it's hard not to like Tech when you're not playing them. The Huskies were playing on 110% scrap
Geoff: Definitely. It's hard to root against most of the teams from the UP.
Craig: And Michigan State ran into a goalie in Nolan who was that insane combination of good and lucky.
Craig: Couple that with State losing the Champs Sports Bowl in the middle of that game, and it was just a bad night for little brother.
Geoff: Brian Hoyer just threw another interception.
Craig: So that set up Saturday, which had Providence beat a demoralized Michigan State followed by a game that can only be described as epic. It's my conclusive proof that a game with just one goal can be the most compelling thing possible. Posts left and right, great glove saves, great blocker knockaways, an ever-increasing level of chippiness, lots of power play chances but Nolan up to the task EVERY time, and finally, in the second overtime...making it work.
Craig: Billy Sauer deserved tournament MVP honors and he is emerging as the goalie we all wanted him to be when he got here as a 17 year old. The defense stepped up, including Scooter Vaughn, of the California Vaughns. Tristan Llewellyn and his new game show sensation sweeping the nation..."Is it British Enough...with Tristan Llewellyn?" Porter making more of a case for the Hobey Baker with each game. And a nice way to get off the schneid in the GLI and aim towards the next six weeks, which will tell us much more about the team than we probably want to know. But if Sauer can keep playing at this level, Michigan is for real.
Geoff: It's been a special season for this team, and I want to watch them as often as I can.
Jeremy: Any thoughts on that e-mail we got?
Geoff: Ah, the email. Eric asks,
"Ok, so you guys probably have at least a little more insight into the workings of the MMB than I do. Why, during the Capitol One Bowl, did they play their entire pregame and halftime facing the sideline opposite the Michigan section?"
Jeremy: I suggested that because the Michigan section was opposite the press box, which is ultimately the "focal point" of the performances, and on-the-fly adjustments are hard to make.
Geoff: Yeah. We generally play to the press box, even if our fans are on the other side.
Jeremy: It's possible that even if they wanted to, they couldn't start pregame from the press box sideline because of equipment or people with field/press passes already taking up too much space. (Remember, pregame entry lines form on the sideline during away trips). To the MMB readers, if this was ever addressed on the trip, certainly chime in and let us know.
Craig: Honestly, looking at crowd shots, was there a Michigan side yesterday?
Geoff: There was a Michigan corner. That was about it.
Craig: I know there was, but it just felt like 9:1 Florida/Michigan ratio.
Geoff: Not bothering to play to the opposite sideline is something of a pet peeve of mine.
Jeremy: We even saw bands playing to both sidelines at once this year, so we know it's possible.
Geoff: Yeah. And we should also note that the band took the Modern Broadway show with them to Orlando. So that's three times this year Carl has had to avoid saying "Springtime For Hitler."
Craig: And Germany...
Jeremy: That's right where ESPN started showing it, too. I was hoping maybe the commentators would tell us the song.
Craig: I looked around the room at the viewing party yesterday with three other MMB fans and we all smiled at the fact that that was where they came in.
Craig: So, shall we wrap this up gentlemen?
Geoff: For hockey, we have the USNTDP next Tuesday, a home and home with Western, then things start getting real with ND and MSU in back to back weekends. Good luck to them as they come up against the meat of the schedule.
Craig: It's going to be fun to watch...and helpful in ignoring the Beilein transition...
Geoff: And good luck to the departing assistants from the football team.
Craig: Agreed...and hopefully there will be more than Fred Jackson back...
Jeremy: I'd hire Jeff Casteel right now.
Craig: And to Mike Hart, here's to hoping we see you back in Ann Arbor in 25 the new boss.
Jeremy: Craig, I think that's definitely going to happen.
Craig: Todd Collins should be a candidate when Rich Rod is done, he has an advanced degree in Saunders Offense...
Craig: To Coach Carr, I've said all I can, so I now merely say thank you.
Geoff: Thanks to Coach Carr for everything he's done for this program over the last 28 years.
Craig: To the Seniors: You will not be forgotten. Whether that's a good thing or not remains to be seen.
Jeremy: Adrian Arrington said it very well: "He took a lot of boys who thought they were men and turned them into real men." That is no small task.
Geoff: And I think we're done. Thanks, guys.
Craig: Thanks Geoff, Thanks Jeremy! Happy New Year.
Jeremy: Great start so far! Goodnight.

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