Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Miscellaneous Minutiae, 8/28/2012

Just so y'all know where I'm at right now: yesterday, I went through my Insanity workout and only had to stop for a breather 2 or 3 times. Adrenaline level=HIGH. 

Funny, I too think Denard is pretty great

The Roundtree is fully operational. Good news: Roy Roundtree is 100%, according to Roy Roundtree. Either the arthroscopic surgery he had on his left knee August 10th was as "minor" as is being said, or Roy Roundtree has in fact become a robot.
He knew when he took his first hit, and didn't feel a thing in the knee, that he would be good to go.
Also, displays a stoic, dare I say it robotic lack of emotion:
It was scary. My parents were really worried. I was like, ''Y'all don't have to come up here. I'm a big boy.''
 This is an interesting strategy, becoming a robot. However, if there was a time to do it, it's now, as I'm convinced that Nick Saban has a secret T-1000 lab somewhere in Tuscaloosa where he produces space eating linemen and pass-rushing linebacker bots. Fair is fair.

Of course, given that the theme of the week is brinkmanship: if Robotree was in fact not 100%, I highly doubt he would be advertising that fact. Anyway, since he has apparently made the transformation, somebody should tell Brandon to get Roundtree that special "beating press coverage" system upgrade.*


Advanced stats and 2011 Alabama. I am admittedly somewhat behind the curve when it comes to advanced stats in college football (I'm a little more comfortable dealing with them in college basketball), so I'm not yet at a point where a lot of different stats mean much to me. With that said, even as someone without much of a statistical background, I know many people, especially in the Michigan fanbase, are all about that sort of thing. I'm not sure if this made the rounds a few weeks ago, but Brian Fremeau did an extensive FEI Profile of Alabama's 2011 team, producing lots of fancy charts and graphs for you to parse and marvel at how dominant last year's Alabama team was.** Seriously, take a look.

Near the end, there's a Michigan is advanced stats'd in the PFEI section ("program rating"...technical explanation included therein). Check it out. I'm pretty sure if you just stare at the screen long enough, you'll absorb the information contained therein via osmosis (pretty sure that's how that works). 

**Also, be happy that Michigan is not facing that team, and no Alabama fan, your defense is not going to be "as good if not better" than last year's defense (people are actually saying this). Stop it. 

HE AIN'T RESPECTIN' US PAWWLLLLL. This is why Brady Hoke is awesome. On whether or not he perceives Michigan to be the underdog, said "no" and then expanded a bit on that answer (and I truly mean "a bit"):

“I like Michigan,” Hoke said. There was a brief silence at the roundtable, and reporters quickly realized there was no further explanation coming, so they changed the subject.
One of these days I would really love for Hoke to say this sort of thing, detach the microphone from the podium--behind which he awkwardly yet authoritatively stands like a grizzly bear in a polo shirt--and just drop that thing. Could you imagine? No, no you can't, because it would just be too much for one brain to handle.

Actual underdogs. Matt Hinton comes in with his first non-introductory (reintroductory, I guess) post, talking about the state of the "underdog" in the current landscape of college football. It is as detailed and well-written as you'd expect, and is food for the college football fan's soul. I'm not talking like "bro I watched 3 straight hours of SportsCenter last night wanna debate and trade sports takes?" kind of "hardcore" fan, the kind that takes the team to learn Generic Small School With An Insane Economic and Traditional Disadvantage's QB's name, and the offensive coordinator's, and said team's 2011 record, and so on. In the middle of this post, however, is a pretty cool little detail:
The best candidate to break through: SMU defensive end Margus Hunt, a former Estonian discus champion who was offered a scholarship by June Jones before Hunt had ever played a down of organized football, based on a workout after plans to revive the Mustangs' men's track-and-field team fell through.
Estonian discus champion. Need I say more?

Alabama depth chart speculatin'. It doesn't seem that Alabama has released an official depth chart yet, and won't until who knows when (it was supposed to have been yesterday, but that didn't happen). As such, everybody is left to their speculative devices. Andrew Gribble of al.com takes a stab at naming the Tide's 22 starters. No real surprises there, although I have to question Deandrew White starting opposite Kevin Norwood. I think either Kenny Bell or Christion Jones get the starting nod, but in the end it really doesn't matter. All of these guys will play, especially since it seems like Alabama doesn't have a prototypical H-back to replace Brad Smelley's production (an underrated presence in Alabama's 2011 offense).

The same goes for the defense, obviously. Quinton Dial might start, but expect to see a lot of Ed Stinson at that end position (a guy who formerly played the "Jack" LB position). At linebacker, CJ Mosley might not be a starter but he'll be in there as Alabama's speedster, passing down 'backer; I get the feeling that Denard and Mosley might become close friends by the end of the night.

In case you were wondering, here's another update on the Alabama scout team guys wearing Michigan players' numbers thing: three guys have taken up the numbers 44, 25, and 90. The more you know.

AJ McCarron on Michigan. The Alabama signal caller has been doing his homework on Michigan:
"Summer, I broke everybody down. I kind of work with one of our GAs, Jeff Norrid. He helps me a bunch. He knows everything there is about defense," McCarron said. "Through the summer, we broke each opponent down week by week but probably in the past two, two-and-a-half weeks, we've watched ton of film on (Michigan). Me and him are up here at least 3 1/2, four hours a day. We'll come an hour or so before practice and then the rest after. So we've done a tremendous amount of breaking them down."
Also, a moderately interesting point (i.e. not completely sanitized coachspeak) from the head coach himself:
UA coach Nick Saban said the Wolverines' third down defense is what he called "pro style."
Of course, as Spielman's pleading near the end of the Ohio State game goes to show you, going with a "pro style" (i.e. more complex) scheme is not always the best idea. Still, things worked out pretty well last year, and Michigan is looking at a serious upgrade in overall talent and athleticism across the board, making those pro style schemes even more effective than they were last season.

In any case, it will be interesting to see what Mattison's gameplan for this Alabama offense will be. How much Okie will we see, for instance? Aggressiveness is an inherent part of his defensive mindset, and with the strength of Alabama's offensive line, it might be "sell out [on the run] or get out." But, I'll leave my probably uninformed opinions on the game itself for the preview post on Friday.

More? Hinton on the Toussaint "will he or won't he" thing. Not going to read the comments, not going to read the comments, not going to read the comments. Roll Bama Roll Hate Week thread with the hurr and the durr. I wonder if Michigan fans know that they all worship Kid Rock.

Basketball coverage will sadly go back to being very minimal here for a few months, but here are some notes on Michigan's finally updated roster from UMHoops. A couple height/weight points of interest there.

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