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Lloyd Interview

Monday, July 31, 2006 by Tim

This has been on MLive for a while now, so I decided to rip it to mp3 so those who don't have RealPlayer, or want to save this, can listen.

www.umich.edu/~sullivti/lloyd interview.mp3

I apologize for the clicks in the background, but the page had a banner ad that kept refreshing.

Pre-season game preview: Minnesota

Thursday, July 27, 2006 by Tim

Expect a long wait before the next preview (MSU), because I am supremely lazy.

September 30

at Minnesota


Offensive Starters Returning: 7 (QB, FB, 2WR, TE, OT, OG)

Defensive Starters Returning: 5 (DE, 2LB, CB, FS)

Specialists Returning: 0


Offense: Minnesota has always been, and will always be, a rushing team. Losing their two top backs (Laurence Maroney to the NFL and Gary Russell to academic purgatory), will hurt them, but not as much as you'd think. Losing three linemen, including super-stud C Greg Eslinger will be more damaging. However, Minnesota's system is what makes their rushing attack so potent. Like the Denver Broncos of the NFL (who, perhaps not coincidentally, run a similar system), the Gophers could put me in the backfield, and I'd still go for 1,000 yards. Brian Cupito is a third-year starter, and underrated. He will be throwing to a potential All-American in TE Matt Spaeth, and a good receiver in Ernie Wheelwright, along with a less-good receiver in Logan Payne.


Defense: Another unit that speaks to last year's offensive ineptitudes for our team. How did we only score 13 points on this defense? They will start 3 new defensive linemen, who will be undersized, and therefore probably weak against the run. This fact isn't helped by the fact that two new linebackers will be stepping in, and should be protected from blockers. This has the potential to be a big ground game for Michigan. The secondary ranked 97th against the pass last year (and we scored HOW many points on this team?!?!?!), and lost their best player, SS John Pawlewski. Don't be surprised if they struggle again. However, I still think it will probably be easier to run than pass on this Gopher team.


Special Teams: They have to replace everyone, down to the return man. With no known commodities slated to step in, this will be a big question mark.


Other: More revenge for us, on the road once more. It's part of a tough schedule stretch for the Wolverines, but the Gophers figure to be down this year. We want our damn jug back, regardless of whether this is a road night game or not (keep in mind that “night” and “road” don't quite carry the same punch in the HHH).

Bill Martin Podcast recap.

by Tim

You can find this podcast at umich.edu/stadium, or by clicking directly on this link: podcast.

Bruce Madej is interviewing Bill Martin. Bill Martin sounds like an old coot while giving a general exposition on why the facility needs to be updated (short answer: because it sucks. long answer: Traffic flow, restrooms, concessions, handicapped seating, premium seating). Project started 6 years ago, when a contractor was assigned to look at the facilities of the Athletic Department. Michigan Stadium was singled out as the facility most in need of upgrades. Season ticket holders and students have been surveyed to determine need and desire for upgrades. Overcrowding is known as the biggest problem. People are too fat to fit in their seats (would it be cheaper to launch an ad campaign encouraging fans to be not so fat?)

Guiding principles of the project:

  1. Positively impact gameday experience for all fans. You should be able to get up at halftime and do stuff in the concourses without resigning yourself to missing the second half.

  2. Preserve & respect the traditions of the stadium.

  3. Ensure that the quality standard is a “10” for all aspects.

  4. Project is financially feasible. The athletic department refuses to get money from the University's general fund for this project, or at all. Despite this, it is one of the few profitable athletic departments in the NCAA.

  5. Maintain or increase capacity. Yost's original vision was to seat 150,000 fans, putting a second deck all the way around the top of the bowl. That type of size won't happen anytime soon, but the endzones are being left open to allow for the possibility of future expansion.

In order to finance the stadium, Yost originally used club seating (premium seating). This principle is returning, much to the chagrin of douchebags like John Pollack.

Two large structures from approximately goalline to goalline, about the height of the scoreboards. They will have easier mobility for fans. Elevators will be added within the bowl for handicapped seating. More restrooms, concessions, sales. The concourse will be widened, and an additional one added.

The structures won't destroy the classic architecture of Michigan Stadium. There will be some negative response, but after the structures are added, people will appreciate them.

The renovations will be funded by donations, and the premium & enclosed seating area charges. The general fund will not be used. The revenue streams from the boxes will help the department once the project is paid off.

John Pollack is a moron, says Bill Martin. The enclosed seating is the right thing to do for the future of the athletic department. Football is the moneymaker for the department, in order help all the other sports, we need the maximize the revenue.

Recruits like the bowl, but they may be turned off by the oft-noted lack of structures to trap in the sound. These will do that, and give the team a competitive advantage on the field.

Next step of the project: receive architectural plans, and have them approved by the regents. This will take place in the fall. At this time, the public will be tapped for feedback about the structures.

The department hasn't begun to solicit the sales of suites to the public or corporations yet, but people have contacted them. Once the final prices of the renovations are known, the prices of the suites will be determined.

No alcohol will be allowed in the suites.

Bill Martin podcast on renovations

Wednesday, July 26, 2006 by Tim

Head over to MGoBlue.com to check out a podcast interview with Bill MArtin, where he talks a bit about the planned renovations to Michigan Stadium. I'll give a little more thought on it sometime later.

...I've been a fairly useless blogger lately.

ESPN article on Mike DeBord

Friday, July 21, 2006 by Tim

Sorry, it's on Insider, so you won't be able to see it unless you subscribe.

Link.

Lamarr Woodley gives back to his community

Tuesday, July 18, 2006 by Tim

Teaming up with fello0w Saginaw native Clifton Ryan (MSU Defensive Tackle), Wolverine Lamarr Woodley is giving back to his hometown.

Read about it here.

Pre-season game preview: Wisconsin

by Tim

September 23

Wisconsin


Offensive Starters Returning: 3 (QB, OT, OG)

Defensive Starters Returning: 8 (2DE, DT, LB, 2CB, FS, SS)

Specialists Returning: 2 (P,K)


Offense: This unit was good last year, but other than two key players (and one other random dude), nobody is back. Quarterback John Stocco, who suffers from reverse-Brady Quinn syndrome (read: is severely underrated) is back, and should be the biggest contributor on offense. However, who will he throw to? Wisconsin didn't have any outstanding receivers last year, and there's reason this year's crop wasn't starting over them. The Badgers also lose the man who was their MVP by a country mile, RB Brian Calhoun (I think he deserves to at least be mentioned as last years Big 10 Player of the Year). Wisconsin is a school that never is short on running backs, but the replacement definitely won't be as good. Other than Stocco, the only proven talent on the offense is OT Joe Thomas, who is great. The rest of the line, however, probably won't be. If Thomas is healthy after blowing out his knee in the bowl game, expect our Des to not be flattening Stocco as often as we'd like.


Defense: If defensive end Matt Shaugnessy and Jamal Cooper are healthy, this should be a decent line for the Badgers. They should be good but not exceptional at stopping the run. Two linebackers graduate, and the talent behind them isn't that deep. All four secondary players return, but that may not necessarily be a good thing. While the safeties are fairly good, the corners simply don't have the athletic talent to play with our Wrs, and the only thing keeping them from falling on their faces last year was Coach Ron Lee (now Michigan's CB coach). They can still create turnovers, so the passing should be good, but if Henne is having a bad accuracy day, that could spell trouble.


Special Teams: Brian Calhoun was great in the rturn game last year, but there should be capable replacements.


Other: This, like too many other games this year, will be revenge time for Michigan. will probably be down after graduating so many players and losing coach Barry Alvarez to retirement. However, Bret Bielema will be an unknown commodity. This game is between San Diego State and Indiana for the Badgers, which is a little easier than our Notre Dame-Minnesota sandwich.


Conclusion: I see this as a should-be win, but most of our games were like that last year as well (and we all know how that turned out). The home crowd (or lack of a Wisconsin home crowd), should propel Michigan to victory.

Pre-season game preview: Notre Dame

Sunday, July 16, 2006 by Tim

September 16

at Notre Dame


Offensive Starters Returning: 7 (QB, RB, FB, WR, OT, OG, OC)

Defensive Starters Returning: 9 (2DE, 2DT, LB, 2CB, SS, FS)

Specialists Returning: 0


Offense: All hail Lord Jabba! He is an offensive genius, this unit cannot be stopped! This unit was indeed good last year, but let's give credit for that to Weis, rather than Brady Quinn (who I see as one of the most overrated players in a very very long time). Despite losing a starter in Maurice Stovall, the Wrs will still be good with Rhema McKnight returning from a medical redshirt season last year. That's right, before you give Weis credit for finding a diamond in the rough in Jeff Samardzija, a player that Ty Willingham refused to start, keep in mind that he wasn't supposed to start last year, either! I think he is a great player, though not a burner, and he will be a legitimate threat opposite McKnight. RB Darius Walker is still just a slightly quicker Hart-lite. The offensive line will probably be the weak point, with Weis's recruits unable to step in right away. Also, Quinn loses his safety valve (and one of his favorite receivers) in TE Anthony Fasano.


Defense: This was a big weakness for the Irish last year, and I expect that trend to continue. Had our offense not sucked last year, we could have put up 30 points on the Notre Dame defense. (Even as poorly as we played, a missed read for an easy Touchdown, and goalline-gate took away 14 points that we should have had). The secondary and the line both return all their starters, with Tom Zbikowski being the highlight of the backfield, and DE Victor Abiamiri being the supposed stud up front. The Irish lose probably their best defensive player in LB Corey Mays. The line is weak aside from Abiamiri (who I see as overrated), and we should be able to run the ball against the new linebackers. The secondary, despite all returning, was pitiful against the pass last year.


Special Teams: P/K DJ Fitzpatrick is gone, so the Irish will be looking for a new leg. Tom Zbikowski will probably handle return and boxing duties for the Irish again. I didn't see Zbikoski as much of a threat last year, but he did manage to take two all the way back, so be wary.


Other: This will be a big-time game for us. Although Michigan (unlike, say, an Ohio State) famously does not circle dates on their calendar, I see this as the biggest game of the year (yes, even bigger than the third weekend in November). Going against a team that will probably be ranked at or near #1, with a revenge/chip-on-shoulder attitude, this game will tell the tale of the whole season. The game is also sandwiched between a Penn State home game and a Michigan State road game for the Irish, so it's questionable whether they can afford to circle this date as much as we can. Our schedule, with this game flanked by home contests with Central Michigan and a down Wisconsin team, is decidedly easier. The home-field advantage of all the fairweather ND fans may be a factor in this contest.


Conclusion: To be honest, we should have won this game last year, and I feel the same way about it again. With a good but not great offense, and a still weak defense (but watch out when Weis's recruits start hitting the field), this game should be winnable. I see it as pretty much a tossup, and hope it is the game that derails ND's presumed National Championship train.

Pre-season game preview: Central Michigan

Thursday, July 13, 2006 by Tim

I'm going to be beyond lazy and not even format this.

September 9

Central Michigan


Offensive Starters Returning: 7

Defensive Starters Returning: 6

Specialists Returning: 2 (P,K)


Offense: Central Michigan is in desperate need of a replacement for their quarterback, Kent Smith. He was just a decent MAC talent, but he did a whole lot for this offense. Expect this team to mostly run the ball, will RB Ontario Sneed returning, and a running QB threat if Duane Brooks starts over Dan LeFevour. The talent on this team is nothing above MAC-level, however, but two of the best players on the unit are WR Damien Linson and another decent tackle for the Des to go up against.


Defense: The key player on the CMU D is DE Dan Bazuin. This guy is an All-American contender, and likely the best player Michigan will face OOC (except against Notre Dame). If he doesn't have a good game, the Chippewas will struggle. If he can be stopped without double teams, I will feel quite comfortable at our tackle situation, despite the impending presence of Ruben Riley (who inexplicably seems to have his only good games against the best talent he faces). Linebacker Thomas Keith is good, but second-team All-MAC is not quite on par with Big 10 talent. The secondary should be pitiful, so expect Henne to throw the ball all over the place if the line can keep Bazuin out of the backfield. In this game, the offense will probably be able to work on finding that tough receiver to go over the middle (my leading candidate: future badass Adrian Arrington), and maybe getting Steve Breaston some touches in space, getting the ball to him like he should be used, instead of running the fly route.


Special Teams: Punting and Kicking are going to be handled by returning players, though I wouldn't expect them to happen at a high level. WR Damien Linson willl handle return duties.


Other: The Wolverines will probably be looking forward to Notre Dame, but this team probably isn't anywhere near good enough to pull off an upset despite that fact. This is probably CMU's circled game on the calendar, but that won't be enough either.


Conclusion: Another probable win for the Blue, with another game that they should use to experience the game at full speed, and against real opponents.

Pres-season Game Preview: Vanderbilt

Wednesday, July 12, 2006 by Tim

September 2 Vanderbilt

Offensive Starters Returning: 7 (RB, FB, 2WR, 2OT, OG)

Defensive Starters Returning: 6 (DE, DT, 2LB, CB, SS)

Specialists Returning: 2 (P,K)

Offense: Vanderbilt is expected to be a primarily passing team, despite losing demigod Jay Cutler. Their aerial attack will be headlined by sophomore WR Earl Bennett, and with QB transferring in from Arizona, they will have a signal caller who is a veteran, even if he is not experienced in the Vandy offense. Under a new NCAA rule, since he is a grad student, there is no one-year period that he will have to sit out before playing. Bennett will be a good early test for Leon Hall at the corner position. Though he isn't as good as some other Wrs that Hall will face, he should serve as a good measuring stick. Vanderbilt's tackles, who both return after starting last year, are also decent, and should be an indicator of what our Des will be able to do in terrorizing quarterbacks. Obviously, with most of the rest of the line new, and the level of talent that Vanderbilt is expected to have, I don't see them having much of a successful game running the ball on us.

Defense: Vanderbilt's defense last year wasn't any good, and they shouldn't be any better this year, especially after losing their only All-SEC player in LB Moses Osemwgie. Their D-line is fairly thin, and again, at a school like Vanderbilt, the possibility of sleepers being stars is very low. The running game should click on this day. Their secondary is also weak, returning one corner and the strong safety. It should also be a successful passing game for the Wolverines.

Special Teams: Bryant Hannfeldt returns after pulling double-duty as kicker and punter last year. Earl Bennett will serve as a fairly dangerous return man.

Other factors: none

Conclusion: If Michigan doesn't score a lot of points or hold Vanderbilt close to scoreless, it could be a grim sign for the rest of this season. However, the Commodores shouldn't be too much of a challenge, and it should be a good first game in front of the home fans.

Commit #9 Comes out of nowhere

Tuesday, July 11, 2006 by Tim

TE Steve Watson has become Michigan's ninth commit for the 2007 recruiting class. His dad, Steven Sr., played in the NFL, so he's got the pedigree.

A four-star TE from Denver, some believe he may actually be underrated. He is the second tight end in the class for Michigan. This means that other top TE prospects, like Kyle Hubbard, will be left out in the cold for waiting too long.

I promise that I'll start posting my game-by-game season preview sometime soon, but I've just been really lazy lately.

Jake Long named to Outland Trophy Watch list

Wednesday, July 05, 2006 by Tim

MGoBlue.com reports that redshirt junior OT Jake Long has been named to the preseason watch list for the Outland Trophy, an award given anually to the nation's best interior lineman.

Dear Mike Debord

Tuesday, July 04, 2006 by Tim

Use Steve Breaston like this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4_nCxx4xzy0&search=michigan%20sports

Not like this:

http://iblogforcookies.com/iblog/C1947790811/E1248343416/index.html

(thanks to ibloogforcookies for providing video s in link #2)

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