Monday, December 12, 2011

Consider the Smoshtrycz, 12/12/2011

Unseen Things: So, due to the lameness of not living in Michigan/ESPN3, I was not able to actually watch the Oakland game. I did listen to it via MGoBlue audio, which brings me to why I'm giving a game that I wasn't able to actually watch its own section. From the very beginning until the very end, the guy doing the audio kept referring to an "Evan Smoshtrycz," and based on the box score and the flow of the game, this guy is pretty good. Whoever recruited this fellow/allowed him to play basketball with human beings... awesome. Evan Smoshtrycz is seen above, running the floor/savannah and exceeding expectations. Yes, the mispronunciation was a flimsy excuse to post the above but it's there and what's done is done. 

I'm not going to attempt to dissect a game I didn't watch, but a few things: 
  • This was Hardaway's second sluggish start in the past three games. Hopefully this doesn't become a trend.
  • When Stu Douglass dunks a basketball, flawless victory is assured. Interesting that Vogrich came off the bench before Stu, but with the latter dropping 13 and just being capable of doing more things than Vogrich, I don't think that's significant. 
  • On a serious note, it's nice to see Smotrycz starting to put it together. I've talked about how I think he could be a real good player for us once he learns what he can and can't do and slows down a little bit when he's trying to make something happen with the ball in his hands. Twenty points, nine rebounds, and not fouling out is not a bad day for a 90% ostrich, 10% man (okay I'm done). As Rod Beard notes, Smotrycz is the definitive X-factor. If he can continue to chip in at least 8-10 points, an appropriate number of boards, and not kill his game via excessive fouling, then that is a fine player we've got there complementing Burke and Hardaway. 
  • Looks like Akunne missed his first shot of the year...UNACCEPTABLE. 
  • Burke, awesome once again; 38 minutes played in this one, though, is not so awesome. 
  • Another quiet outing offensively for Zach "True Grit" Novak but in place of scoring points he was all like "hey guys, how about an 8:1 assist to turnover ratio?" and everyone was like "yeah, that sounds cool." So, he did that.
  • The Wolverines absolutely shot the lights out in the second half, edging the Golden Grizzlies by 10 in the second half; if it wasn't for a ridiculous run by Oakland in the first half, Michigan probably would've won by 15-20. Regardless, this was a solid win (or non-loss, I guess) and Michigan has the fortune of playing a few cupcakes before the Big Ten schedule begins. Michigan takes on Arkansas Pine-Bluff tomorrow at 7 ET on ESPNU. 
Familiar Territory: On the heels of a shaky performance against Braxton Miller, the secondary looks to bounce back against Logan Thomas and the Hokies. Coach Hoke speaks to the aforementioned performance: 

"That’s alarming," Hoke said. "(Virginia Tech's) quarterback has ... (29) touchdowns this year. They’re very good at what they do, and we have to be tighter in coverage. We have to be better in zone. All those things are part of it.”
I'm in the process of watching the Clemson game again (due to it being on at the same time as the B1G Title Game, I wasn't able to the first time around), but for now I'll say that although VT has played a pretty weak schedule, Logan Thomas is the real deal. I've referred to him as the Dollar Tree version of Cam Newton before, and I still think that to be the case. In addition to the dynamic David Wilson, VT skill's players at these two positions are at least as good as Ohio State's, and at quarterback Thomas is certainly more dangerous at this point in his career. I'll have to watch some of the game footage that MGoVideo has so conveniently put it to get a feel for the quality of the OL and wideouts; I would guess that the overall talent of these position groups lags behind that of Ohio State's respective groups, but I'll have to see for myself. 

On the flip side, I don't think Michigan/Mattison will be as susceptible to being surprised by the opposing offense's capabilities like they were against Ohio State and Bollman's surprisingly aggressive game plan. So, there's that. 

Norm Parker Retires: As you probably already know by now, long time Iowa DC Norm Parker is retiring; this is a big deal for the Iowa program, and I'm not really sure that they can replace a guy like that. Although Iowa's defense was fairly average in most statistical categories this year (42nd in scoring defense, 68th in total defense), Iowa has thrived for years on that side of the ball with seemingly very little talent and an ability to turn people like "Tyler Sash" into above average college safeties. Every year when you sit down to read a preview of the Iowa game, you'd be liable to find the same widely distributed sentiments vis-a-vis Iowa's defense. You know what they're going to do. They do what they do. They don't blitz. They do what they do regardless of the circumstances. Seriously, they don't blitz. 

You always think these things will end up being in your favor, but, much of the time that has not been the case. There's something to be said for picking one thing and doing it very well. It gives a program a certain identity that allows it to say "this is what we do" and have recruits know it. With Parker's departure, I have a hard time seeing Iowa not continuing to decline as that 2009 Orange Bowl-capping season continues to get smaller and smaller in the rear view mirror. Ferentz is locked in at Iowa through 2015, but that won't quiet the Ferentz to the NFL chatter. I doubt he goes anywhere; he's getting paid a ridiculous amount of money at a place where he won't get fired after a couple of bad years like he would in the NFL. As much as his coaching persona fits in the NFL, he'll stay IME. 

You're Hurt, I'm Hurt, Everybody's Hurt!: Rothstein on Woolfolk and JT bonding while injured. It is oh so fluffy but that's not always a bad thing: 

His parents bought him a recliner, one he sat in on Nov. 6, 2010 -- the day after surgery -- watching the Wolverines play Illinois in Michigan Stadium and was close to tears.
Floyd watched the rest of Michigan's regular season games in 2010 from that recliner, fighting his emotions each Saturday and often texting Woolfolk because the players who were likely to comprise half of the Wolverines' starting defensive backfield last season couldn't drive the 20 minutes they lived from each other to watch games together.

One of my first memories of Woolfolk on the field was against Eastern Michigan; it was late in the game and I think he got burned for a touchdown (it didn't matter because the game was already put away). I was a freshman and so was he. I don't think either of us expected what would happen the next few years. I'm glad that I'm going to be able to watch his last game as a Wolverine in NOLA this January; it's been a bumpy ride but I think he'd tell you that it was all worth it in the end. 

Mo' Money Mo' Problems: As a result of Michigan's Sugar Bowl berth, Brady Hoke is getting some extra money. This is all well and good, but given who Brady Hoke is and the bowl that we are going to be playing in, I feel that a pile of sugar would've been a much more appropriate bonus: 

No, this will absolutely not be the last time this appears before the bowl game. 

More? Couple of Michigan honorable mentions in Pro Football Weekly's All-American Team. Jim McElwain, Alabama OC, gets the Colorado State coaching, when was the last time they were relevant? By the way, thanks for Caleb Hanie, Colorado State. Thanks. Auburn tailback/only good thing about 2011 Auburn football Michael Dyer is suspended for the bowl game against UVA; adjust your bowl challenge pick 'ems accordingly. 

1 comment:

  1. I will give you all of the credit, but I must use that Simpsons video for my unfamous blog. I must!!