Sun & Bluesday: Prologue

By Johnny Ginter on August 27, 2013 at 11:15a
44 Comments
ALL OF THE BLING

This fall, 11W will be taking a long, hard look at our bitter rivals up north in a weekly column devoted to scrutinizing their performance from the previous weekend. Each week we will stoically stand firm on the border between civilization and chaos, peering north to observe the goings on among the wildings in Ann Arbor. It's a thankless job, but a necessary one. November is coming.

Michigan is an unknown quantity this season. So much of its identity was wrapped up in Denard Robinson, and now that he's gone, there is what has to be at least a 65 inch hole in the heart of the Michigan Wolverines.

Losing star linebacker Jake Ryan to injury hurts too, and what's left is a motley crew led by a quarterback converted to a wide receiver converted back to a quarterback. There are also guys named Jehu and Taco, which I only include because I find their names funny (and that will continue to be the case until one of them does something mean to Ohio State, in which case their goofy names will be carved into my wrinkly brain with the rusty knife of hubris).

Anyway, since we've already previewed Michigan for our 11W season preview series, today is an excellent opportunity to crawl inside the dark recesses of Brady Hoke's mind so that we can fully understand the evil machinations that power the generously titled intellectual cogs that run the football program at the University of Michigan.

By which I mean we're gonna look at Hoke's weekly press conference and try to make heads or tails of the depth chart.

Since it's Central Michigan week, let's count how many questions Hoke had to field from reporters about his first opponent of the season.

Let's see here... just need to run some quick calculations... add the square root of 56... divide by negative 3.92... factor in the polynomial real number cosine numerator aaannnddd...

One. He was asked one question about Central Michigan.

Does anything about Central Michigan stand out to you?

"They're well coached. Dan [Enos] does a nice job. You look at their offensive line and the pad level they play with. Defensively, how they get to the football. ...I think they're well coached. They beat a good Western Kentucky team, if you look and follow the path of that team in their bowl game. They have a lot of pride. They should. They're a good program."

This answer is kind of amazing because of the sheer volume of cliches that Hoke was able to weave in to it. I especially enjoy the phrase "they beat a good Western Kentucky team" because that implies that the listener was both aware that Western Kentucky is an FBS team that and that beating WKU in the Little Caesar's Pizza Bowl somehow enhances their credentials.

The real meat and potatoes of the conference was Hoke's announcement of his captains, and to no one's surprise Taylor Lewan and Jake Ryan joined Courtney Avery and Cam Gordon as de facto leaders of the team. According to Hoke, Jake Ryan should be back and ready for action sometime in October, but "...We don't want to get him too far ahead without being careful with him at the same time."

Fair enough.

Fitz witzHopefully he doesn't have any... wait for it... TANTRUMS

The assembled beat writers also asked a dumb question about Johnny Manziel for some reason, which Hoke acknowledged by staring blankly and then coming after the guy who asked it with a hammer.

Hoke did address both the quarterback and running back positions. In a nutshell, he said that Gardner is a good leader with great athletic ability who still makes dumb decisions from time to time. At this point, I think that's simply who the dude is, mostly because he's got little room for growth.

Remember, we're looking at a five game sample size from last season, and in three of those games he was average at best. He also threw an interception in each game that he started. Devin Gardner's athletic abilities and decent arm can boost him up to capable at times, maybe even good, but there has to be a consistent running game behind him.

Weirdly, Hoke has six running backs listed on his initial depth chart. Fitz Toussaint is up there, obviously, but as Hoke stated at his presser, "We have six on there? We'll have six travel, and six will play."

Uhhh you sure?

"Well, special teams, whatever it might be. I don't think all six will carry the football, but if they're going to travel, they'll have to contribute." (note: the first game is a home game so no traveling will be involved)

If you're bouncing up and down excitedly for a TMZ EXCLUSIVE PHOTO of Derrick Green walking out of a Dairy Queen while double fisting some soft serve, sorry to disappoint. Not saying it didn't happen, but he's hurt-ish and they're being cautious about bringing him back. Toussaint is the dude for the time being, but it's telling that Hoke was asked a lot of questions about the third down back situation, since no one really expects him to not explode into confetti the first time Shazier or a guy like Shazier levels him.

Right now you get the sense that though Michigan's offense has the potential to be good, it is also in a state of flux. If Gardner gets hurt (and he might), there's inexperience and a walk-on behind him. If Toussaint gets hurt, there are tons of options but no one they completely trust as of yet. They do have a very stable corps of wideouts and a very good offensive line led by Lewan, but this isn't the Ohio State backfield.

I've held off on discussion of the defense for a reason, which is that come Saturday, I have a feeling that there might be a lot more to discuss. Not that I expect the game to be particularly close, but Central Michigan has a good offensive line and the Man They Call ZURLON, so it could be an interesting test for their linebackers and defensive line.

All of which we'll be discussing after the game next week with a very special guest, so stay tuned.

44 Comments

Comments

Codeezy's picture

Beautiful name for this. 

Buckeye419er's picture

This just in, wait..yes.. uh huh... yea. Okay it's official. Michigan still sucks. Now back to regularly scheduled programming.

mh277907's picture

But they almost beat South Carolina! And Devin played pretty well against Minnesota! Annnnnd Iowa! If I had to guess, he will probably win the Heisman because he tore up the summer camp circuit! And obviously their running game is going to improve because they are replacing three mediocre starters with three new people... And Denard was a QB so losing him doesn't hurt the running game.
 
Wow, I need to stop going to MGoBlog for a bit..

buckeyebobcat

Johnny Ginter's picture

yeah i love brian and i think he's a literal genius, but his love for michigan spills over into hyperbole sometimes. this can be good or bad depending on the situation, but uhhh i would prooooobably not rate devin gardner a 4.5 out of 5 at this point in time.

ShowThemOhiosHere's picture

He's a solid B+

Class of 2010.

Arizona_Buckeye's picture

I'm sure there is NO homerism over here, though...

The best thing about Pastafarianism? It is not only acceptable, but advisable, to be heavily sauced

Doc's picture

I think this is a great idea.  Bucknuts did/does AACC Mondays and those are fine reads.  It gives us an idea of what is going on with the Skunkbears all season long.  Having Johnny write this is pure genius.  We'll never know what are real facts and what are made up.  But still laughing the entire time. 

"Say my name."

hit_the_couch's picture

If Gardner gets hurt, the next experienced guy in Bellomy already tore his ACL or something. They may have to thrust in a frosh.

And then I told her...i'm no weatherman, but tonight's forecast is calling for several inches!

Doc's picture

Johnny, you forgot to give Hokey Pokey a grill.

"Say my name."

Matt's picture

Next week's special guest better be Brian from MGoBlog; God help you if it is not, because I will grumble and read the column anyway if it isn't.

TMac's picture

So it is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you can win a hundred battles without a single loss.
If you only know yourself, but not your opponent, you may win or may lose.
If you know neither yourself nor your enemy, you will always endanger yourself.
~Sun Tzu, The Art of War

Mirror Lake Jump's picture

That photoshopped picture of hoke gave me a chuckle.

NitroBuck's picture

It was photoshopped?

Ferio, tego

Goalscorer9's picture

is the special guest Hail? lol

hail2victors9's picture

No, I'll be on my private jet flying back from Ann Arbor to Centerville during Johnny's only open time slot.

Those who stay will be CHAMPIONS!
~Bo Schembechler

buckguyfan1's picture

Nice job Johnny, I thought there was no way to make Hoke look like a bigger douche... But you did it!

The Butler's picture

Next time, can we see some crunks on Hoke? Or at least that little sparkle that is on the teeth of every cheesy dude you have ever seen (Maybe take the one off of the sunglasses)? 
 
You should have a photoshop contest to pretty up Hoke. Lord knows he could use it...

hail2victors9's picture

Not that I expect the game to be particularly close, but Central Michigan has a good offensive line and the Man They Call ZURLON, so it could be an interesting test for their linebackers and defensive line.

Michigan was gashed for 232 and 290 yards (261 avg.) vs Alabama and Air Force to open the season.
I predict that Zurlon and company will have much less, come Saturday.  What say you, Ohio Statians?

Honestly, there's not a whole lot of good that can come from games like these.  Sure, it's a glorified pre-season game and you can "learn" about yourself or whatever, but you're expected to win big and dominate.  Anything other than a blowout is [often] perceived negatively.

Those who stay will be CHAMPIONS!
~Bo Schembechler

gobucks96's picture

You need to find someone to get reps replacing Ryan and let's face it UofM's offense needs to get the ship righted before playing a bigtime opponent...

Iwearmocs's picture

I'll be honest, I know its Michigan, but this was a little too snarky for my tastes.  I like the idea of a weekly Michigan preview/recap (know thy enemy) but I'd prefer it to be more serious/anaylatical (like the Ozone's Michigan monday) then a sarcastic edsbs type article.  Just my opinion though.

Doc's picture

At the end of the Bucknuts AACC Mondays there was always a little bit of snarkyness.  It can't all be serious.  Plus Johnny is writing this thing.

"Say my name."

Arizona_Buckeye's picture

....today is an excellent opportunity to crawl inside the dark recesses of Brady Hoke's mind so that we can fully understand the evil machinations that power the generously titled intellectual cogs that run the football program at the University of Michigan.

I'm guessing you bumped into large doughnut stuffed crust meat lovers pizzas, oodles of deep fried food stuffs, and giant bags of orangey coated crunchy bits!!!
 
 

The best thing about Pastafarianism? It is not only acceptable, but advisable, to be heavily sauced

Johnny Ginter's picture

i'm actually gonna try and keep the fat jokes to a minimum (at least as far as it relates to hoke) because i feel like that'd get real old real fast in a weekly format

vitaminB's picture

I agree.  Plus it's too easy.  You're better than that.  Great write up.  I hope you get a little something extra for having to watch those MeatChicken bore fests.

gwalther's picture

It's almost old already...almost. So I appreciate your approach here.

Class of 2008

Arizona_Buckeye's picture

Uff - if we can't make Hoke fat jokes then what are we left with?!?!  Sigh....

The best thing about Pastafarianism? It is not only acceptable, but advisable, to be heavily sauced

Oyster's picture

We can always fall back on his mastery of the English Language.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cPxPSzz0LBY

Arizona_Buckeye's picture

Hilarious...

The best thing about Pastafarianism? It is not only acceptable, but advisable, to be heavily sauced

IBleedSandG's picture

That was actually painful to listen to. What a fat ass.

We don't give a damn for the whole state of Michigan, we're from O-HI-O!

gwalther's picture

Uff - if we can't make fat jokes, what are we left with?

how about his shitty coaching? #noheadset

Class of 2008

TraptnMI's picture

If you haven't noticed, urbans looking a little pregor lately. I would suggest he finishes one of his wife's Spin your ASS off classes and take care of that ticker of his. Heart is everything!

" It's real good whatcha done Anthony, real good ! "

hspbuy1's picture

Shouldn't that read 100% Saxy?  'cuz he sure looks like he blows!

hspbuy1

gobucks96's picture

I gotta wonder when his speech patterns begin to hurt him..

buckz4evr's picture

I think I am the only Buckeye fan in the entire world that thinks TTUN is underrated by the national media.  Given the circumstances, I thought Gardner did well for the few games he played.  The coaches, as has been stated before, blew how they handled their QB situation last year.  And didn't Gardner go to the same QB guru as Braxton?  I expect a big improvement this year.
If their coaches can get it together this year, I believe they can have an excellent season.  NC excellent, probably not, but very good.  They certainly have some young talent.  Basically it comes down to the coaches and QB play.  Personally, I think they should be a top 10 team.  That would bode well for us.

Arizona_Buckeye's picture

And I'm guessing that he Gardner will continue to play the Buckeyes as good as he did last year... a couple of picks, a few fumbles, and that incredible Zach Boren photo op!!!

The best thing about Pastafarianism? It is not only acceptable, but advisable, to be heavily sauced

hail2victors9's picture

I'm just going to go with Legends-division-champion-level "excellent."  Get that far, and you have a chance to be conference champions, and ultimately heading to Pasadena.
I don't think Alabama will be as good as last year, but I still don't think Michigan is ready to go toe to toe with the likes of them. 

Those who stay will be CHAMPIONS!
~Bo Schembechler

TraptnMI's picture

 
'Your not. The team to the west of me concerns me like it does every year. This year will be the launching point for success year after year. They have their shit together for the first time in 12 years. I know our coaches don't take Mitchagain as lightly as our fans do. Little to no respect plays large in the minds of players being DISSED. kARMA's  a  Mother Fucker!

" It's real good whatcha done Anthony, real good ! "

ShowThemOhiosHere's picture

CMU 63, TTUN 10.  You heard it here first!

Class of 2010.

gwalther's picture

Yeah right, bro.. Sure.. AND BEN AFFLECK WILL BE THE NEXT BATMAN. Lol. Smh.

Class of 2008

ShowThemOhiosHere's picture

OK, how about TTUN 44-10.  That would be my serious prediction.  No sarc font here.

Class of 2010.

hail2victors9's picture

41-16 OSU over Buffalo.  You heard it here first! ;)

Those who stay will be CHAMPIONS!
~Bo Schembechler

teddyballgame's picture

Maybe if Tress was coaching...

marley86's picture

 When Brady Joke talks,  he screams stupidity.  His assistants are what is pulling TSUN out of the Rich Rod toilet..While I admit 100% that I despise and loathe their entire existence, Brady Joke has got to be the one of the worst faces of a program...EVER.  I would, however, like to watch Borgias and Joke fight to get to the Twinkie truck first...what a blood bath that would be.....GO BUCKS!!! 

pjtobin's picture

I'm all for keeping an eye on our enemies. They still suck though. 

Bury me in my away jersey, with my buckeye blanket. A diehard who died young. Rip dad.