Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Miscellaneous Minutiae, 2/21/2011

A Site Note: If you haven't noticed, Maize N Brew is back to producing daily content. I've been invited to contribute on a semi-regular basis. I put up my first piece on Monday, on the topic of Saturday's game. I also put a word in on the subject of Big Ten power rankings. If you read this blog, odds are you are more than interested in looking for additional sources of Michigan-centric information/editorializing/stupid photoshopping to keep you occupied while at work, so you'll definitely want to check Maize N Brew out; a link is available in the blog roll down there to the left if you'd let to jump off from here.

In short, go check it out.

The Importance of Being GRITTY: Andy Staples decided to run through the notable under-the-radar sorts that made significant impacts on college football squads far and wide. Naturally, Michigan features prominently. Jordan Kovacs, Patrick Omameh, and Will Heininger Nathan Brink [derp--the list is for 2012, obviously, so no Heininger] all make the list.

If you're the sort that thinks of the negatives first, I will oblige you by saying that, yes, the fact that these guys were forced into action speaks to our talent level and/or our touted talent's inability to perform (and, certainly, be coached with any level of competence..I'll leave it at that). Now that that's out of the way...man. After years of watching schools like Wisconsin and Iowa manufacture solid to pretty good anonymous walk-ons (particularly at safety), we finally have one of our own. Jordan Kovacs is no longer a nice story: he is pretty darn good, period. Think about how far he's come since getting dusted by Darius Willis--a slow Indiana tailback--in 2009. Don't look now, but in light of my TIME IS RUNNING OUT Denard alarum...Kovacs only has one more go at it himself. Savor that sweet sweet safety competence before we have to head back to the great void of uncertainty that comprised most, if not all, of the post-1997 years (depending on how strongly you feel about the Adams and Englemon pairing).

Omameh's story is no less impressive. If I remember correctly, Omameh was one of those guys in the first RR/Lloyd class that RR brought in just before NSD. Omameh had some issues transitioning to the new offense this season, but he got better as the year went on. With another year left to go for him, I'd expect some All-Conference consideration coming his way. A 2-star project to make it to the starting lineup is impressive--depth chart notwithstanding-- in and of itself, but anything after that is just gravy. Hey 2-stars and walk-ons: Ann Arbor is where the magic happens.
 /Omameh'd

After all the Brink hysteria leading up to the opener last year, Heininger was the unheralded walk-on guy that actually became a legitimate piece in the DL rotation. As Brian noted in his UFRs, he was more than a last resort plug-in; he actually MADE PLAYS at times. Injuries in his last two seasons partially derailed what could have been another impressive story. As great as Kovacs has been, to become a contributor on the defensive line is a different beast entirely. Heininger will prove to be an underrated loss going forward. But, Brink should hopefully be able to follow in Heininger's gritty shoes.

Things That People Write When They Have To Say Something About Nothing: Tom Fornelli, in what was probably a throwaway, offhand comment, but still:

Yeah, I don't think anybody was expecting Denard to actually to put the football through the hoop from full court, but the coming up short or just missing wide right is a bit disconcerting, no?

BENCH DENARD FIRE EVERYBODY RUN FOR THE HILLS. Denard, I know you run a 4.3...but why not a 4.2 or a 4.1, even? I am disconcerted. Even Dr. Saturday picked up on this theme, writing in a similarly humorous fashion while also joining the legions of people who continue to spell Hemingway incorrectly. I would blame the authors of these articles, but I think that the grotesque monstrosity called "the offseason" is more to blame here. Commenter "Chaz"--who you can tell from his name is probably a really cool dude who knows a lot of important things and you would definitely not not want to hang out with--takes the time to extrapolate the following from Denard's performance at Crisler:

Thank You. Someone else realizes he's really not that good. He's a good athlete but not a good QB.
Indeed, Chaz. Fire Denard, everything is terrible, etc.

Northwestern: Sobocop Redux: It seems like the afterglow of the OSU game has not yet worn off, but here we are with another game to watch. Michigan travels to Northwestern to play at Welsh-Ryan, a venue that has not been kind to us in the last couple of seasons. If I remember correctly, even when we won in 2008-09, it was in OT. Nick Baumgardner gives you 4 things to watch for tonight, and 1 and 4 are of the most interest to me.

Morgan on a 5-playing Shurna sounds like a 20+ point effort waiting to happen (from Shurna, that is). Of course, I'm sure Shurna will see his fair share of Smotrycz. As for #4, I will say that I have a less than optimistic view of tonight's potential outcome. For the record, I think Michigan finishes 3-1, with the one loss coming tonight. It sounds like Welsh-Ryan will be sold out, and many Northwestern folks seem to be building this up like it's the biggest game in program history. I doubt that is actually true, but Michigan is a top 11 team* and the Wildcats will be fighting for a tourney berth, which will all but slip away into the great abyss if they lose this game. I won't be previewing it, but most of the stuff from my first preview still applies.

Also, yes: Sobolewski will be referred to as Sobocop for the rest of his time at Northwestern. Insult or encomium? It doubles as both, I guess. Northwestern fans, feel free to appropriate it as your own.


*


Home Sweet Home: Despite a 10-year deal with Emperor Palpatine Jerry Jones, the Aggie-Razorback series will move to campus locations for the 2012 and 2013 games. With Texas dropping off the Aggie schedule, I think Arkansas could more than adequately fill that hatred vacuum as the years go by. Taking this game to College Station and Fayetteville will go a long way toward that goal. As weird as Texas A&M is as an entity, they're like kerosone: all SEC teams need is a match and you've got a rivalry.

In any case, more games on campus sites=good. Obviously, these two are now in the same conference and this was inevitable, anyway, but as a general rule I think that these games need to be played at campus locations. Brian has mentioned this over and over again, but as someone who has spent several years in Alabama, having the chance to watch the winged helmets take the field at Bryant-Denny would have been a surreal, pseudo-transcendent experience. Instead, we're playing it in the alien spaceship from Independence Day also known as Cowboys Stadium. I can't wait to guilt myself into buying $400+ tickets for nosebleed seats in a stadium in Not Even Dallas...fergodsakes.

More? Hey, NFL teams, a protip: you want this man on your team. The Cock of Victory from the WLA: OHIO BEATEN. Add "trees" to the list of "things that Nick Saban doesn't care about." MnB preview of the Northwestern game tonight from the_white_tiger.

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