Sunday, September 04, 2005

Ahhh Football's Back!

Before I get into my impressions of the Wolverines performance against NIU, I have to tell a story from before the game:

We were in Crisler, watching the Michigan basketball open-gym (by the way, DeShawn Sims is gross...99% sure that was him. He was wearing a Romulus basketball shirt, but there's no way it was Coleman or Smith), and Tommy Amaker was wandering around. He saw a kid who was probably 10-12 years old and went over to introduce himself to the little guy. He talked to the kid for a couple minutes and then asked him "Have you met any of the guys yet?" to which the kid replied that he hadn't. Tommy then called out to Brent Petway, got him to come over, and told Petway to go introduce the kid to some of the players. Petway took him over to the bench where several of the guys were watching the scrimmage, and they all introduced themselves. They let the kid stay with them for at least 15 minutes, and they chatted with him for a lot of the time--it wasn't like he was just standing off to the side with them. Nice gesture, and I'm sure Michigan basketball ended up with a huge fan out of it (if he wasn't already).

To football!

Overall a pretty decent performance out of the vanilla-flavored Wolverines this weekend. They played a capable team and the game wasn't in doubt in the 4th quarter, so that immediately puts it above the Utah and SDSU games of the last couple of years. mgoblog has already done a recap of the game that pretty much echoes my thoughts, but I'll comment on a few things:

--Henne played well for a first game. He was off by a step on the deep balls, but that's timing and he sure didn't miss by much. He threw behind guys a few times, particularly Avant, but again, that's timing.

--Hart is goooood. I still can't believe how much power that kid runs with for his size. He bowled that one guy over on the screen pass who was like 6'3" 255 or so. I felt like Grady had a little bit more of a burst than Hart, but Hart does such an unbelievable job of getting through the hole. I was a bit surprised that Grady saw the field after his fumble, but apparently he's been good in practice about not fumbling. Still, if he wants to see a lot of carries throughout the year, he'd best take after 2004 Mike Hart.

--It took falling during his route to have Avant drop a pass. That kid's hands are just incredible. That one catch that he made when Henne threw way behind him was almost as good as that catch that The Soldier made against West Virginia (though obviously not in as big of a situation).

--As for the defense. 17 points allowed is fine, especially when 1 was the traditionally late TD to make the score closer than it was. 5 takeaways is great, since I was told they reported on TV that NIU only lost 1 fumble all year last year. But the mistakes they were making were so similar to last year it was scary. A better team will make us pay. If NIU doesn't fumble deep in Michigan territory and then give the Wolverines excellent field position after the fumbled punt, the game could have been a scare like Utah was.

-Kudos to Ross Ryan. First for beating out Zoltan Mesko. Second for his outstanding kickoffs. And thirdly for hustling and recovering that fumble. How often do you see a punter recover a fumble on a punt that was only returned 1 yard?

A few other things from the weekend. I didn't get to watch too much of the other games, but I was shocked Boise didn't put up more of a fight against Georgia. Louisville almost sent me into a seizure when they blew that huge lead against Kentucky (but what a play by Brandon Johnson to strip the ball and recover it deep in Louisville territory!). And Elvis Dumervil had six sacks today. Someone block him, yo. Louisville isn't going to be held to 3 points in a half many more times this season. And really...what the hell were those Wisconsin helmets? Just hideous.

Cutdown day in the NFL was this weekend, and the Packers had 2 shockers, letting Cheech Hunt and Raynoch Thompson go. I didn't see too much of their preseason games, but I guess Thompson just isn't the same player after his injuries. Cheech needed to be out of there, and I'm happy that Ted Thompson had the balls to pull the trigger on him. Where does Hunt go from here? Coach5 from the Times4 Packer board offered a suggestion.
Originally posted by macdaddy:
Lets see, where would a good place be for Hunt? Cleveland? Calgary? Phoenix?

New Orleans.


Thompson's release also means that Roy Manning has made the Packers roster. And it wouldn't be the biggest shocker in the world if he ends up starting. The Grown-Ass Man, Dawg has really impressed people.

The final nail was driven into Dale Jr's coffin tonight when his engine let go. Harvick would need a Moses-parting-the-Red-Sea-sized miracle to get in. Gordon should have had a top 5 finish tonight after battling an absolute crap car all night, but a bad call by Robbie Loomis put him 29th in the field, before a couple wrecks allowed him to climb back to 21st. He enters Richmond only 30 points out of The Chase, and Richmond is traditionally a great track for him. I'm still confident. The Yost Built chica disowned Jeff Gordon as her driver for roughly the 17th time tonight.

In unbelievable fashion--over the weekend, I was actually entertained by back-to-back women's soccer games. They pulled off a 3-2 win over Texas, which makes up for the Rose Bowl. Ok not really. Then today, they played to a thrilling 1-1 tie with Texas A&M. Both teams had multiple chances to win the game, but defensive saves kept the Wolverines alive. A&M has a very physical (read: Dirty) team, and they employed an absolutely asinine strategy of delaying the game whenever possible, despite having the speed and stamina advantage over Michigan. They delayed the game to the tune of getting 7 or 8 cards, most of them for the stall tactics, including drawing a red card late in the first overtime. A&M's coaches were not happy. You couldn't pay me enough money to be a referee.

I read an article today from earlier in the week in the Wall Street Journal. The new Arizona Cardinals' stadium will not only have a retractable roof, but a retractable field as well. The idea is that they can roll the field out of the arena to have concerts and whatnot in the stadium, without wrecking the natural grass surface. I think that's just hella-cool. Maybe unnecessary, but very cool nontheless.

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