Tuesday, October 25, 2011

People In America Excited About A Book, 10/25/2011

I'd like to do some more generic daily news/links type posts from this point forward--like I did occasionally over the summer--but I never had a uniform name for them, like MGoBlog's Unverified Voracity or EDSBS's Curious Index...eventually I'll think of a somewhat witty name for this thing that nobody will read (the old school Conan-esque self-deprecation is strong here, y'all). I haven't really been able to keep up with the schedule I outlined before the season started but the weekly game recap, rankings opinions, and Friday feature are still there, so I'm looking to fill out the middle part of the week with something. So, here goes.

Three and Out: As everybody is aware, John Bacon's "Three and Out" is officially out there for the hoi polloi, and AnnArbor.com states the obvious in noting that Bacon probably isn't winning him some friends with this one:

John Bacon didn't make any new friends and might've lost some old ones with his book, "Three and Out," that looks at the Rich Rodriguez era in Michigan football.
"The main figures have made their displeasure with the book and author clear," Bacon said.

I won't be getting my copy until probably early next week, but coverage of the book thus far has already been pretty extensive, a fact that should lessen the brunt of some of the book's more surprising revelations. I'm looking forward to reading it (and not looking forward to it at the same time), but once I get through it I plan on posting a general review here (as will everybody else, I'm sure). As a general preface, I will say that anybody who plans on reading it should stray away from making ridiculous black and white assertions about any of the key figures described in the book, but that should be common sense. People are often more complex figures than anyone can imagine, and I'm sure this book will be a testament to that. 
At the same time, as a 22 year-old who grew up with Michigan football under Lloyd Carr (and as a freshman at Michigan in 2007 who saw Lloyd's final season unfold), it will be hard not to come away a little bit disillusioned...but, you probably already know that if you're reading this. 

The other prevailing impressions from the book thus far: Bill Stewart keeping Casteel was disastrous and like the most Bill Stewart thing to do ever, the coach at West Virginia faces some of the weirdest political currents ever, and Denard Robinson fucking rules.

The New Guys: Going back to the same source, Kyle Meinke talks about the bye week with respect to several freshmen expected to see increased roles going forward, namely Frank Clark, Brennen Beyer, Thomas Rawls, Blake Countess, and Raymon Taylor. We've already seen all five of them to some extent, with Countess obviously receiving the most playing time, often looking like Michigan's best corner as a freshman. 
Perhaps most newsworthy is the fact that Jake Ryan has officially supplanted Cam Gordon as the starter on the strong side. I'm not exactly sure how I feel about this, but it is what it is. Gordon got in on special teams against State but didn't do anything else, so maybe Hoke and Mattison believe that it's just too late to expect him to jump back in and be the guy he was supposed to be. It's unfortunate, really...as much as I've lamented the disappearance of Martavious Odoms after his offseason injury issues, Cam's demotion is equally sad. 

Either way, I hope that Gordon will get some time going forward. While Ryan has been pretty good for a freshman, he's been an outright liability at times; that is to be expected, of course, but that doesn't mean that Cam can't potentially work his way back in in time. As the coaches seem to understand, this is the perfect time to work some of these guys in, as these week should hopefully serve as a sort of tryout for a lot of these guys. 
Other than that, Taylor is a guy who intrigues me athletically. He saw some time as the nickel earlier on in the season, and while I don't think he should get tons of time, his above average speed leads me to believe that he could be useful as a Brandon Harrison-type blitz monger. As for Rawls...shoot, it can't hurt to try him? Either way, we can't run the ball as few times as we did against State and expect Toussaint and Smith to get going. I expect us to come out and run the ball a lot in this game...if we can't do it successfully then we are in major trouble. How the line accounts for Kawann Short will be a major factor in getting this done. 

Optimism Abounds: WolverineNation collects the opinions of the various Michigan folks on why "this time it's different." So, that's nice. Former MGoBlog recruting guru TomVH says that Michigan is "doing very well in California," which hopefully means that a Payton commitment is forthcoming. I'm not a recruiting expert by any means so I don't really know what to make of the delay in his announcement after visiting South Bend this past weekend, but for now it seems that our chances are just as good as anybody else's. Either way, Michigan going back to the old recruiting formula of recruiting Michigan and Ohio (and Pennsylvania), and pulling skill guys from California is hard to argue against, as exciting as the brief Florida connection was. 

Redemption Song: Yeah yeah we only talk about guys that play for Michigan (is that still something we say?), but it's nice to see former recruit Demar Dorsey hopefully getting back to Division I ball. It's easy to be a cynic these days, and while he will never play for Michigan I hope that he continues to turn his life around. You can say that his academics weren't up to par and that he shouldn't have been recruited in the first place (that's a different issue entirely), but you can't fault him for trying when so many others like him have entered the somewhat ignominious structure of JUCO-level ball only to never resurface. 
Submitted Without Comment:

More? Big 12 "voices desire" for Mizzou to stay put, also translated to "PLEASE DON'T GO." Some not good news for OSU tailback Jaamal Berry...probably won't have much of an on-the-field impact but there it is. Ramzy of ElevenWarriors touches on the upcoming "Oversigning Bowl"...as great as the game will be, it's a  shame that this undercurrent has to exist.Can't wait for the game against NFC South contender Alabama next year! Oregon looking like it will continue without the services of Cliff Harris...somehow I think they'll be alright. Also, this is a thing

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