The Hot New Thing in the NFL: Ancient Big Ten Offenses –

Bo Harbaugh

The Hot New Thing in the NFL: Ancient Big Ten Offenses –

In the NFL, schemes are constantly evolving. Plays can become outdated in the span of a quarter. But a handful of teams are adjusting to life in the modern game by borrowing strategies from a most unlikely source: the boring offenses of the 1970s Big Ten.

The NFL has spent the past few years getting smaller and faster, with speedy wide receivers who are as light as 170 pounds. Knowing that, NFL linebackers and defensive linemen also shed weight, creating a league of (relative) Smurfs.

But, NFL observers say, the league is now experiencing a backlash from a cabal of coaches with heavy Big Ten influences who prefer, well, heavy players. Their idea? Find the biggest players you can find and run simple, powerful schemes. It is a trend that former NFL scout Daniel Jeremiah, now an analyst for the NFL Network, said was the story of the off-season—the explosion of bigger players to counter the shifty speedsters.

Welcome to My Nightmare

Dave Brandon woke up in a cold sweat.  Was it real?  Did it really happen?  Yes, he had ignored Sailboat Bill‘s crowning moment of stupid heresy and scheduled Appalachian State for a redux. Yes, he too went for the seemingly easy dollars of a 1-AA cupcake school as a 2014 home opponent, without even looking at whether the cupcake was made from glass shards and live piranhas – like Appy State last time (2007).

But that was for sure in real life.  This felt different.  Dave felt like he was seeing glorious Michigan Stadium through the eyes of some random fan.  It looked different, too – there was a crescent  tier of upper deck seating down one side line and around one end zone, like a larger, less ugly Soldier Field. The tier entirely shaded the original bowl underneath; the luxury sky boxes were gone. Dave’s heart skipped a beat at seeing that, then he somehow realized that the preferred seat licenses fees must have been increased to compensate for those lost dollars. The new upper tier seats undoubtedly included a solar premium surcharge on both the PSLs and the dynamically priced single game tickets.

Now Dave would have an extra 50,000 screaming Michigan fans to fleece, their pockets bursting with $.  Time to bump water up to $10 a bottle, and re-ban seat cushions (in favor of selling a 6″ x 9″ sheet of anti terrorist bubble wrap seat cushion – $12 each when you buy two).  All these dollars coming in.  Dave started to feel stirrings, uh, down there.  It’s was the strip club business model***, legitimized by the Michigan “Wow” factor.

***If a customer leaves with even $1 in their pocket, you failed, and heads will roll. As it were.

The surging suddenly died, like he had accidentally imagined his ex-wife naked and slathered in flour.  The game was underway, but there was no TV coverage.

“Oh heavens!  How can I maximize brand penetration by monopolizing the media footprint to oversaturation minus 1 without at least BTN coverage,” he thought, while trying to drown out the piped-in generic RAWK music the focus groups had settled on.

Then, it got worse.  Dave (as this generic fan) surveyed the stands.  There were probably 10 or 20 thousand people there watching the game.

Karma:  Even worse Dave, they’re trying to move to better seats without paying the $100 relocation convenience fee.
Dave: The Horror, the horror.
MGoBlog: No, Appy State is the Horror.
Dave:  WTF?  Did we finally reach “peak 0il surcharge”?  Did greed force a move on the demand curve from Supply minus 1 to Supply+130,000?  Did we accidentally switch the regular turkey legs with golden goose legs and not notice we killed it?   Naah, must just be MDOT fucking up the roads to get here and not telling anybody.  Or the finale of “Pants off Dance off” or something and TiVo is offline.

Dave was suddenly relieved that there were no TV cameras after all.  Officially, Michigan had filled the stadium for EVERY home game since 1975 or so.  (Just pretend that 1987 Minnesota did not happen.  Or the Rich Rodriguez years.) For his own use with Mistress Wanda and her rods of obedience, he wanted to document this low attendance phenomenon.  He reached for his camera, but it wasn’t there, thanks to the new 0.1″ or shorter limit on camera lenses.

He reached for his phone and snuck down to the lower bowl.  The aisle doors were locked.  And, he did not have the right ticket to even look through the glass if security noticed him.

“Dammit.  I wish I was me in this vision. Rules are for customers; I am a visionary.”

So, it was off to the end zone seats, slinking along the rows, jumping from section to section, rather than walking the concourse and risking a confrontation with a ticket checker.  Once there, he pulled out his Michigan (R) branded special edition Samsung BFG9000, the official phone of the Wolverines, and the only phone immune to the EMP emitters placed throughout the stadium to discourage bloggers and other fee-avoiding criminals.

Any other use of this telecast or of any pictures, descriptions, or accounts of the game without the AD’s consent, is prohibited. ”  We take that shit seriously. - Dave Brandon

Dave whipped out the bfg and logged into @DollarDave on Instagram.  He clicked the shutter.  Instead of a realtime picture of the nearly empty stadium, the phone opened up a googlemaps bird’s-eye view of an empty stadium in winter.  Dave pounded the camera on a bench to teach it to respect the process.  The image updated to a google map shot of a full stadium.  Instead of this sunny August day, with the team beating down a weaker opponent, it was some gray november rainy slopfest of a game.

No matter.  Dave had seized control of all the images broadcast from the stadium with haterware and electronic hobgoblins. He had managed the brand messaging like Gene Simmons  on Celebrity Apprentice.  He could defeat those goddamn bloggers, and preserve the lie of full stadiums and happy, if penniless, fans.  After all, without “(officially licensed) pics, it didn’t happen.”

Then Dave woke up, and started brainstorming the next “Wow” factor.  Dancing robot wolverines?  A M-shaped ferris wheel?  How much could we charge?  Fantasizing about the dollar bills pouring into the vault, Dave was now Scrooge McDuck.  He dove into the treasure, as he again drifted off to sleep, grateful that the horrific vision of fan revolt and empty stadiums was probably just the bad dream aftereffects of too many official Michigan corn dogs last night.

Or was it…

Not soon enough

Can football season come.  Meanwhile, the greatest:

Anthony Carter

One Frame At A Time: Anthony Carter

Watching that video, I felt the same anticipative stirring of the Michigan Stadium crowd — or, on the road, the same petrified silence — when AC touched the ball that I’ve only experienced at Michigan with Denard Robinson; there’s greatness, and then there’s pure electricity, and each had them in abundance. That feeling alone captures more than numbers are capable, but the numbers still speak volumes:

  • In Carter’s final three seasons, Michigan completed 366 passes as a team for 5,383 yards. Carter caught 124 of them, covering 2,219 yards. Of the Wolverines’s 51 passing touchdowns in that span, Carter hauled in 26, more than half of the team’s total. He was an All-American in each of those seasons.
  • Despite playing in a remarkably different era from those around him in the Michigan record book, Carter still ranks fourth in school history in receptions and second in both receiving yards and touchdowns. Of the top five players on each of those lists, only one played any part of his career before the 1990s: Desmond Howard, a freshman in 1989.
  • He also ranks as Michigan’s second-most prolific kickoff and punt returner, trailing only Steve Breaston in both categories.
  • Carter recorded 14 100-yard receiving games in his career, a mark surpassed only by Braylon Edwards. Jack Clancy, the previous record-holder, set the mark in 1966 — at four.
  • AC still — still — holds the NCAA career record for average all-purpose yards gained per play: 17.4, with 5,197 career yards on 298 touches.

I could go on. Needless to say, my opinion on Michigan’s greatest receiver has changed. From a pure football perspective, there’s so much about his game to love…


Things people find in attics

Summer conditioning letters from Mike Barwis Fritz Crisler, for one…


The back story (via 8 Barrel):

To those of you who bleed Maize and Blue, know someone who does or just might find it interesting, attached is a letter from Fritz Crisler to an incoming player.  It was forwarded to me by an acquaintance of a descendant of the addressee, who found it while going through the man’s personal effects.  Interesting training regimen in ’41.

Wait what?

Sugar Bowl 2012

Reforged In Fire | mgoblog.  Michigan won?  What?  Where the fuck was I?  Oh yeah, passed out asleep on the couch. I saw it go to 17-17, then it was 2 a.m. and ESPN was blaring everything that happened that day EXCEPT the Sugar Bowl.  No score on the crawl.  No telltale upcoming blurbs about the game.  It may as well have been 3 days ago.

Anyway, congrats Michigan.  The offense looked nothing like Rich Rod’s.  Thankfully, neither did the defense.


Beer Goggles

Lincoln : Continental Lincoln : Continental | eBay.

Lincoln Continental Town Car
what part of “It costs a month’s salary” do you not understand?

This ^^ is what happens when:

  • It’s football Saturday
  • Michigan last #beatOhio in 2003.  (Ohio does not have a win for last year, but that is not a Michigan win)
  • Ohio:  Beaten.  Back monkey: removed.
  • Blue beers are in order.
  • FWIW, Blue Moon and PBR have 33 and 20% more alcohol than Coors Light. (You found that out the hard way last night).
So here’s to you, Ohio [state].  We honor you with:
  • failure to monitor (the buzz or the beer count)
  • lack of institutional control (eBay (and later Facebook) under the influence).  No blogging while buzzed has broad application, and had no effect this day.
  • Improper inducements – those red leather seats aren’t gonna get boned on themselves.  Also, “moon” roof refers to the verb, not the noun.  Pussy and beer are the only things that resonate with you at the moment.

So, now Raoul own this glorious barge, this rolling boudoir of hookers and blow. He just has to find a way to pay for it, and a place in Michigan to store it until fetched.  Seemed simple enough last night.  Either that or get ready for the old eBay account to be “negged into Bolivian.”

Ohio: Beaten.

Michigan 40 Ohio 34

Now comes gravy time.  Any bowl.  Any where.  Just let us keep on rolling.

Finally beating the Buckeyes didn’t just end a humiliating streak: At 10-2, the Wolverines are guaranteed to move into the top 14 in the final BCS standings, and virtually guaranteed — assuming bowl officials consider the prospect of a sprawling, revved-up Michigan fan base a more attractive draw than a revved-up Kansas State fan base, or deflated, dejected Oklahoma State fan base if the Cowboys lose to Oklahoma — to receive an at-large invite to their first BCS bowl since 2006. It’s a catharsis, but it isn’t just salve on a wound. Beating the Buckeyes was further, final confirmation that Hoke has fulfilled his promise: Yes, shotgun offense and all, this is Michigan again, as Michigan fans have always understood it.

Whether Hoke’s version is actually better than the version Rodriguez would have delivered if he’d been granted a fourth season with a veteran team of his own making and a new defensive coordinator, we don’t know. But those questions are beside the point now, anyway. It’s Hoke who’s delivered the 10-win season, the (likely) BCS bowl, the end of the subjugation to Ohio State and the first sense of sustained progress and goodwill since Schembechler’s death. Michigan is back. Now comes the business of staying back.


Michigan buries Buckeye angst beneath long-awaited BCS breakthrough – Dr. Saturday – NCAAF Blog – Yahoo! Sports.