Monday, November 27, 2006

Break from protocol

The Football Bust is traditionally a night used almost exclusively to recognize the achievements of Seniors on the team. However, in what Coach Carr termed a departure from protocol, he singled out junior QB Chad Henne for recognition near the end of the program. Coach Carr announced that in the days following the OSU game that Henne came to see him and announced that he would be returning to Michigan for his senior year (no surprise there really). Coach Carr then had Henne stand up and be recognized while the banquet crowd cheered for the junior quarterback. It was kind of an odd moment. I'm not quite sure what the real reasoning behind it was but I know Coach Carr must have had something in mind. I just cannot figure out what that might have been. Go Blue!

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Hart & Harris named co-MVP's by teammates

At the 86th Annual Football Bust held tonight at Laurel Manor, Mike Hart and David Harris were both awarded the Bo Schembechler MVP Award for the 2006 season as voted on by their teammates. That award presentation capped a four hour long program that saw 27 seniors take to the podium and thank their parents, god and coaches (not necesarily in that order) again and again. Approximately 1,800 people attended the event. Go Blue!

Friday, November 24, 2006

Two men, one picture and very different paths

The picture to the right was taken on the field of the Rose Bowl on January 1, 1977. O.J. Simpson, a former Heisman trophy winner for USC, was present to watch his Trojans take on Coach Schembechler's Wolverines (led by QB Rick Leach) in the 1977 Rose Bowl game. Both Coach Schembechler and Simpson were in the news again last week but for very different reasons. Their careers took wildly divergent paths in the almost 30 years since this photograph was taken. While Coach Schembechler's passing was being mourned across the nation, Simpson was being lambasted in the press for his participation in a book (now canceled) that was entitled, "If I Did It." The dichotomy of the lives of the two men could not be more stark. However, back on 1-1-77, their paths crossed and they were just two guys talking football. Who knew what the future held for each of them. Go Blue!


Monday, November 20, 2006

Three and out

There has been a lot of talk about the personal foul call against Shawn Crable with 6:49 to go in the game as being a turning point. Michigan was trailing 35-31 at that point in the game. Although that was important, I believe Michigan's previous offensive series was equally as important. LaMarr Woodley had recovered a fumble with about 12 minutes to go in the game. The offense took over at their own 32 yardline trailing by four points. On first down, Mario Manningham dropped Chad Henne's pass. On second and 10, Mike Hart rushed over left tackle Jake Long for 7 yards to the 39 yardline. That brought up the key play of 3rd and three. Although many people felt that Michigan should have called another Mike Hart run to the left side, Michigan instead went with a pass. Unfortunately, Henne's throw to Steve Breaston was incomplete and Michigan was forced to punt. The Wolverines inability to move the ball on this drive when they had the chance to take the lead was a devastating setback. Although Michigan had a good day offensively, the Wolverines were only 4 of 13 on third down conversions versus the Buckeyes. There was none bigger than this third down Michigan failed to convert with approximately 11 minutes to go in the game. Again, when you review the game, it was more than a personal foul penalty that led to Michigan falling three points short in this game. Go Blue!

*Note: Photo of Chad Henne (7) by Ankur Dholakia/The Detroit News

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Day of big plays allowed

Next to turnovers, the thing Coach Carr hates most is giving up a big play on defense. Well the offense did not turn the ball over against OSU but Coach Carr was less than pleased that the defense yielded so many big plays to the Buckeyes' offense. Ohio State scored rushing touchdowns on plays of 56 yards and 52 yards. It also scored a touchdown on a 39-yard pass play from Troy Smith to Ted Ginn, Jr.. On the day, the Buckeyes' amassed 503 yards of total offense and 42 points against Michigan's defense.

Michigan entered the game with the nation's #1 ranked rushing defense having only yielded an average of 29.9 yards/game through eleven games. However, OSU was able to rush for 187 yards and 2 touchdowns. Michigan's defense had problems with missed assignments and poor tackling on several plays throughout the afternoon including the two long touchdown runs. The biggest problem the Michigan defense had, however, was getting pressure on OSU QB Troy Smith. The lone sack of Smith occurred on the OSU offense's first drive when Rondell Biggs pulled him down with one hand. For much of the first-half, Smith had enough time to pick apart the Michigan secondary. Michigan changed things up in the second-half and forced three turnovers (an interception and two fumble recoveries on bad snaps) but OSU still scored two second-half touchdowns.

Although the Michigan defense came up with three turnovers, the defense did make two key errors in the second-half. First, at one point while OSU was driving, Michigan only had ten (10) men on the field forcing it to burn one of its timeouts which it desperately needed at the end of the game to stop the clock. Secondly, on 3rd and 15 with just under seven minutes to go in the game, a personal foul penalty gave OSU a first down and the Buckeyes scored a TD three plays later. Defensive Coordinator Ron English needs to sit down with his players and review the film to correct the plethora of problems the Buckeyes exposed during the game so that Michigan will be ready for the Bowl game wherever the Wolverines end up playing. Go Blue!

*Note: Photo of Head Coach Carr(left) and Def. Coordinator Ron English by John T. Greilick/The Detroit News

Personal Foul

Filing this post under "Even a broken clock is right twice a day" I note that I posted on November 6, 2006 that, "Mistakes (i.e., costly personal foul penalties) simply cannot occur on November 18th." Unfortunately, that is exactly what did occur. On third and 15, OSU QB Troy Smith threw an incomplete pass as he ran out of bounds with Michigan trailing 35-31 with 6:49 to go in the game. However, LB Shawn Crable hit Smith helmet-to-helmet and late (pictured above) and Crable was flagged for a personal foul. The penalty gave OSU 15 yards and an automatic first down at the Michigan 23-yardline that kept the Buckeyes' drive alive. OSU capitalized as it continued to use the clock and then capped the drive with a 13-yard touchdown pass from Smith to Brian Robiskie with 5:38 to go in the game. Michigan was then down 42-31 and the Wolverines simply ran out of time as they were only able to cut the lead to three before the clock expired.

My post on November 6, 2006, was about the team in general and DE Tim Jamison specifically because Jamison (as noted in the post) had twice this season committed costly personal foul penalties. Unfortunately, Crable did not heed that lesson or my warning as he hit Smith unnecessarily. Never a team to pass up an opportunity, the Buckeyes consequently converted the new set of downs into a touchdown three plays later. Although the personal foul penalty on Crable was a play Michigan would like to have back, it is not the reason the Wolverines lost the game. In fact, Crable's play on defense had kept Michigan IN the game up to that point. Michigan wins as a team and loses as a team and the loss to OSU certainly does not fall on one player or on one play. Nevertheless, that is a play that should (and could) have been avoided. That is now three times this season that the Michigan defense has incurred a costly personal foul penalty that allowed an opponent to put the Wolverines in a bad situation. Defensive Coordinator Ron English needs to reign his troops in to the extent that they do not make costly mistakes at key junctures of a game. Go Blue!

*Note: Photo of Shawn Crable (2) and Terrence Taylor (67) running OSU QB Troy Smith (10) out-of-bounds by Ankur Dholakia/The Detroit News

Despite loss to OSU, Michigan still #2 in BCS...for now

The new BCS Standings have been released and Michigan is still in the coveted #2 slot just ahead of #3 USC. However, USC has two games remaining and if the Trojans win out they would almost assuredly move ahead of the Wolverines. Michigan(11-1) is now ranked #3 in the USA Today Coaches' Top 25 Poll and remain #2 in the AP Poll. However, the AP Poll is not used in determining the BCS Standings. Incidentally, USC's two remaining games are against Notre Dame and UCLA. Even if USC were to drop one of those games, Wolverine fans should not make non-refundable reservations to Glendale, AZ. Southeastern Conference teams Florida (#4) and Arkanas (#6) are still very much alive if either of them win out. The final BCS standings will be released December 3rd and then Michigan fans will know for sure the fate of their beloved team. Go Blue!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Paying respects to Bo

As reported on, Bo will be laying in rest in a closed casket on Sunday, November 19, 2006 at the St. Andrews Episcopal Church located at 306 N. Division (on the corner of Division and Catherine) in Ann Arbor. The public is invited to come and pay their respects from Noon to 3:00 p.m..

Also, as previously posted, there will be a public memorial service (celebration of life) for Bo at Michigan Stadium on Tuesday, November 21, 2006 at 1:00 p.m..

Lastly, per, if you would like to honor the former University of Michigan coach with a donation, the Schembechler family has asked that you support the U of M Cardiovascular Center's Bo Schembechler Heart of a Champion Fund.
You can support the fund by sending a donation to:
University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center Bo Schembechler Heart of a Champion Fund 300 N. Ingalls 8B02 Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109

Go Blue!



All the pre-game talk about whether there should be a rematch seemed superflous as I was merely focused on The Game as it was "Win and You are In." However, now that the game has been played and Michigan came up on the wrong end of the 42-39 score , it seems as if I should at least contemplate the possibility of a rematch in the BCS Championship game. The issue is debated by the Detroit Free Press columnists. Over at the Freep, Michael Rosenberg entitled his article, "Let's Play 2" but Drew Sharp provides the counter-point in his article, "...then again maybe that's not a great idea." The Free Press then provides a BCS Primer that details what has to happen for a rematch to transpire and the authors conclude it is unlikely that a rematch will occur. Also in the Detroit Free Press are excellent photo galleries of the first-half action and the second-half action. Go Blue!

Ohio State 42 Michigan 39

Michigan played tough but came up just short in a 42-39 loss to the #1 ranked Ohio State Buckeyes before a stadium-record crowd of 105,708 at Ohio Stadium (the Horseshoe) in Columbus, Ohio. Following are links to the game recap, box score, player participation charts, and postgame notes. Much analysis to follow (when I can compose myself). Go Blue!

M/OSU game will be played on new grass

New sod was laid at the Horseshoe for this game at the cost of Sixty Thousand ($60,000.00) Dollars. The Buckeyes have experienced severe problems with the turf this season and this is the second time this year that the grass has been replaced. It will be interesting to see how the new sod holds up this afternoon under tough playing conditions. Go Blue!

Last minute reassurance

For those of you getting nervous as the last hours tick away before kickoff, read the article over at by Stewart Mandel explaining why he thinks the Wolverines will win today's game. I'm just trying to kill the last few hours before kickoff. It's too bad that kickoff is at 3:30 p.m. rather than noon this year. Oh well, it will be here soon. Go Blue!

The wait is finally day is here!

The epic battle is ready to commence in just a few hours. In what has been dubbed The Biggest "Big Game", the Wolverines are playing for the Big Ten Championship and a shot at the BCS Championship. The game has been analyzed from every angle. The time for talk is almost over (thank goodness). Now it is time for action. This game is the reason players come to Michigan. To play in this game. Take it to 'em Wolverines! Go Blue!!!

Bo Schembechler Public Memorial Service to be held Tuesday at Michigan Stadium

Michigan athletic director Bill Martin said Friday night that a public memorial service for Bo Schembechler will be held at 1 p.m. on Tuesday at Michigan Stadium. Private services had not been announced. Schembechler is survived by his wife, Cathy, and sons Geoffrey, Matthew and Glenn E. III (Shemy). His former wife, Millie, died in 1992; another son, Donald (Chip) Schembechler, died in 2003.

The Detroit Free Press has an 8 page special section on Bo in today's print edition. Here are some of the highlights:

Go Blue!


Books on Bo

Over the years much has been written about Bo and he was also the subject of many photographs while the Head Coach of the Wolverines. Since his retirement from coaching in 1989, Bo participated in numerous Michigan Football books that have been published. However, for insight as to the man behind the legend, the definitive book is "Bo" by Bo himelf and co-author Mitch Albom. (book cover pictured above). This book (published in 1989) details the life of the ultimate Michigan Man who guided so many young men so successfully for 21 years. While many of the other books Bo participated in provide his recollections about certain games, players and practice stories this biography provides a rare look at the man himself. For any young Wolverine fan who is watching The Game and is curious to learn more about the legend who just died that the announcers keep talking about, reading this book is a great way to learn about the Coach who made this generation of success possible. Go Blue!


Friday, November 17, 2006

Glenn E. "Bo" Schembechler 1929-2006

Coach Bo Schembechler died today at the age of 77 on the eve of the biggest game in the history of Michigan Football. He will never be forgotten for how he transformed the Michigan football program after he arrived in 1969. He made the Wolverines the best of the best, both on and off the field. Here is some biographical information about the greatest Michigan coach that ever walked the Wolverines' sideline:

  • Born: April 1, 1929
  • Hometown: Barberton, OH
  • College: Miami of Ohio, 1951
  • Prior Coaching Experience: Ohio State, 1952-53 (graduate assistant); Presbyterian College, 1954 (assistant);Bowling Green, 1955 (assistant);Northwestern, 1958 (assistant);Ohio State, 1959-1963 (assistant);Miami of Ohio, 1964-1968 (Head Coach)
  • Career Record: 234-65-8
  • Years at U-M: 1969-1989 (21 seasons)
  • U-M record: 194-48-5
  • Big Ten Record: 143-24-3
  • Record vs. OSU: 11-9-1
  • Bo vs. Woody: 5-4-1
  • Big Ten Titles: 13
  • Rose Bowl record: 2-8
  • All Bowl games: 5-12
  • National Coach of the Year: 1


Bo Schembechler died today at age of 77

Here is a link to the Detroit News report regarding Bo Schembechler being rushed to Providence Hospital today because of a "cardiac episode" while taping the weekly college football show, "Big Ten Ticket" at the Channel 7 studios this morning. Bo died at the age of 77 years old. Words cannot describe how much he will be missed.


Thursday, November 16, 2006

Bringing in the big guns

It is the week of The Biggest "Big Game" and, therefore, everyone is pulling out all the stops. Things are no different here at Michigan Football Saturdays where, for the first time, I am publishing a post on this blog authored by someone other than myself. I invited the most knowledgeable Wolverine football fan I know to give his analysis of this Saturday's game. Without further ado, here is football guru Mike Rossi's take on The Biggest "Big Game":

Forget history. Forget precedence. Forget Jim Tressel’s apparent choke hold over Lloyd Carr in the past five seasons, going 4-1. All past games in the storied rivalry between Michigan and Ohio State become irrelevant when surveying the matchup between the two top ranked teams this weekend. Michigan hasn’t had a dominant defense and offensive juggernaut like this since 1997, the year they pulled away from Ohio State, winning 20-14, and going on to win (split, for Nebraska fans) the National Championship.
This time around it will be Chad Henne, Mike Hart, Mario Manningham, Lamar Woodley, and Leon Hall leading Michigan in place of Brian Griese, Anthony Thomas, and Charles Woodson. Lloyd Carr has done a remarkable job of fixing the problems this season that began to tarnish his legacy in recent years. Last week against Indiana, Carr proved he had a game plan to contain a rushing quarterback, holding Kellen Lewis to 11 rushes for only 5 yards. Troy Smith will pose a much larger threat behind Ohio State’s offensive front, but Ron English seems prepared and armed with a defense led by Lamar Woodley and Leon Hall. Another key for Michigan will be its running game. Ohio State has only allowed an average of 90 yards per game this season, while Michigan hopes to see Mike Hart, fourth in the country in rushing yards, have another big game in his best season yet. One big question mark for Michigan will be its breakout receiver, Mario Manningham. Averaging 20.7 yards per reception, 9 of his 26 receptions have been for touchdowns. However, since his arthroscopic knee surgery in October, Manninghman only has two receptions for 11 yards, which came last weekend against Indiana. If Manningham is at full health, his big play making ability will allow Michigan to spread the field and set up its potent running game. As any matchup between these two teams, the score is virtually unpredictable, but I’ll predict a Michigan win at 24-23. If Lloyd Carr can beat Jim Tressel at the Horseshoe in the biggest game of his coaching career, it will make this season the most unforgettable for Michigan and Ohio State fans alike. Go Blue!

Thanks again to Mike Rossi for taking the time to provide his analysis for Michigan Football Saturdays. Come back anytime, Mike!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Henne throws caution to the wind

QB Chad Henne (junior) is Michigan's fearless leader on the offensive side of the ball. He is often referred to as the "Field General" as he has exhibited great command and poise while directing the offense. Henne has significant experience as he has started every game of his college career. The OSU game will be his 36th consecutive start as the Wolverines' quarterback. Michigan has amassed a 27-8 record during the span Henne has been the starting quarterback. That record matches up favorably against the records posted by past great Wolverine quarterbacks such as Steve Smith (26-10 from 1981-1983) and Rick Leach (28-6-2 in his first 3 seasons from 1975-1977).

Although the Wolverines are 0-2 against the Buckeyes during Henne's tenure, Henne has had considerable statistical success in Ohio State games. In 2004, Henne became Michigan's first true freshman QB to start a game at Ohio State. (Note: Leach started as a true frosh in '75 but in Michigan Stadium). In that '04 game, Henne completed 27 of 54 passes for 328 yards with 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. Henne's 54 pass attempts were the third highest single game total in school history. In 2005 against OSU, Henne went 25 of 36 (69.4%) for 223 yards and a touchdown at Michigan Stadium. Offensive Coordinator Mike DeBord's game plan for 2006 will likely have Henne throwing the ball approximately 25-30 times versus the Buckeyes. It should be noted that Henne has thrown 30 or more passes in a game only twice this season (Penn State: 30 passes; Iowa: 33 passes).

Henne's greatest strength is his ability to manage the game for the Wolverines. He plays well under pressure (see the game at South Bend vs. ND and the white out in Happy Valley vs. Penn State), he doesn't turn the ball over and he makes throws with pinpoint accuracy. Fans can't ask for more out of their quarterback. Go Blue!

*Note: Photo of Chad Henne (7) by David Guralnick/The Detroit News


Adrian Arrington set to return to court on 11-15-06

WR Adrian Arrington (Jr./So.) is set to return to the 14A-2 District Court with his attorney Christopher Easthope on Wednesday, November 15, 2006 at 8:30 a.m. (case no. DR2-06-0002495). Whether or not the case is resolved at this second pre-trial, it is fully expected that Arrington will be allowed to play in this Saturday's game versus Ohio State. UPDATE: According to this report from Joe Schad of, Arrington's attorney set the case for a final pre-trial on Thursday, November 30, 2006. If the matter does not resolve on that date, jury selection will commence on December 4, 2006. In the interim, it is expected that Arrington will play versus Ohio State on Saturday. UPDATE II: The case against Adrian Arrington was dismissed as the prosecution's key witness failed to appear at court for the final pre-trial conference as required. Go Blue!

*Note: Photo of Adrian Arrington (16) by John T. Greilick/The Detroit News


Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Tom Slade died Sunday at age 54

As I previously posted, former QB Tom Slade was battling leukemia. He succumbed to the disease on Sunday night after a tough fight. He was 54 years old. Dr. Slade was the quarterback on Bo's 1971 team that went 11-0 during the regular season and were just 14 seconds from perfection. Years later, Dr. Slade served as a color analyst for Michigan football games on WUOM-FM. Dr Slade was a successful dentist in the Ann Arbor area and he had Coach Schembechler as one of his patients. Dr. Slade is survived by his wife, Pam St. John, his sons Andrew and Spencer Slade, and his sister, Valerie Slade. Funeral services are scheduled for Thursday at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Ann Arbor. Go Blue.

*Note: Photo of QB Tom Slade (17) conferring with Coach Schembechler on the sidelines from Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan


Troy Smith: You can't stop him, you can only hope to contain him

Ohio State QB Troy Smith (Spring '06 grad/Senior) has enjoyed considerable success during the previous two M/OSU games during which he led the Buckeyes to victories. In 2004, Smith rushed for 145 yards and a TD while passing for 241 yards and 2 more touchdowns. He devastated Michigan's defense again in 2005 when he passed for 300 yards and a touchdown while he rushed for 37 yards and another score. This season the Wolverines' defense, now coached by defensive coordinator Ron English, must find a way to contain Smith in the pocket. It is interesting to note that Smith has not been scrambling out of the pocket as much this season. On the year, Smith has posted the following numbers through eleven games:

170/256 66.4% 2,291 yds. 26 tds. 4 ints. 168.69 effic.

58 rushing att./221 yds. 3.8 avg. 1 td.

Smith's numbers have put him at the front of the pack of Heisman Trophy contenders. He can clinch the trophy by having a big game Saturday while leading the Buckeyes to a victory. However, the outstanding Michigan defense will have something to say about that. Containment is the key word for Saturday. The fantastic front four (DE LaMarr Woodley, DT Alan Branch, NG Terrence Taylor and DE Rondell Biggs) has done a great job all season of maintaining containment but they have obviously not faced a QB of Smith's caliber. If the F3 (Fantastic Front Four) can maintain containment the defense will have a successful afternoon. If not, it could be a challenging day for the secondary. As Coach Carr said at his press conference on the Monday following the Ball State game, "...when a quarterback breaks containment; your coverage breaks down, and a lot of times a guy is going to make you pay for that." Michigan cannot afford to pay that price Saturday so it is imperative that the Wolverines' defense maintains containment at all times. Go Blue!


Big games often turn on turnovers. Michigan has done a masterful job of avoiding turnovers this season. For the year, the Wolverines have turned the ball over just ten (10) times with seven interceptions and three fumbles. That puts Michigan as the 3rd best team in the nation in avoiding turnovers and only one behind co-leaders Brigham Young and Notre Dame who have nine each this season. The fact that Michigan's offense has been so efficient in avoiding turnovers has helped the Wolverines achieve the #8 ranking in the nation in turnover margin (+1.09/gm). However, Ohio State has been even more productive this season and leads the Big Ten and is ranked 3rd nationally with a turnover margin of +1.27 per game. The Michigan defense is ranked 22nd in the nation in turnovers gained with 22 takeaways (11 fumble recoveries, 11 interceptions) on the season. As long as I'm speaking of turnovers (or the lack thereof), I would be remiss if I did not give an update on Mike Hart's streak. Although he has fumbled the ball twice this season, he did not lose the ball (technically) either time. Thus, his streak for consecutive touches without a lost fumble currently stands at 726. There is nothing that Coach Carr likes more than a player he can count on in a big game to hold onto the ball. Expect Hart to carry the ball almost exclusively on Saturday for Michigan. If a backup does get a few carries it will most likely be Jerome Jackson not Kevin Grady (who is recuperating from an injury and has had issues with holding onto the ball). Go Blue!

Monday, November 13, 2006

The "Old Man" weighs in

Harkening back to the glory days of the 70's and 80's, former coach Bo Schembechler stepped to the podium and participated in the Monday morning Football press conference. Coach Schembechler's comments covered a variety of topics. When he was asked on how much he would prepare his team to play OSU when he was coaching, Coach Schembechler responded, "Every day. It was our strategy here at Michigan to do something to beat Ohio State every day, and even if it's in the first meeting to talk about it. But we're going to do something every day. So that's nothing new." As for whether Coach Schembechler will address the 2006 team prior to The Game, he stated that, "I don't anticipate that. You have to understand, these kids that are playing are three years old when I coached, so I don't think they remember much about what I did. Although they practice in a building with my name on it, and I hang around there, I get to know some of these guys. I know a lot of players, but I don't think that will happen. They can handle that themselves." As for predictions, Coach Schembechler merely responded, "I don't make any predictions, none at all. I'll just tell you one thing, it will be a whale of a battle. Unless I miss my guess, it will be a heck of a battle." I don't think the "Old Man" will be missing his guess. Go Blue!


Michigan/Ohio State week on ESPN Classic

To get ready for The Biggest "Big Game" you may want to watch previous M/OSU battles on ESPN Classic. Following is a list of classic games that will be shown the week of Nov. 13-Nov. 17 (note: times are EST):

  • Mon. (10 a.m) - 1988 (U-M, 34-31)
  • Mon. (2 p.m.) - 1979 (OSU, 18-15)
  • Tue. (10 a.m.) - 1969 (U-M, 24-12)
  • Tue. (2 p.m.) - 1987 (OSU, 23-20)
  • Wed. (10 a.m) - 1974 (OSU, 12-10)
  • Wed. (2 p.m.) - 1995 (U-M, 31-23)
  • Thu. (10 a.m.) - 1997 (U-M, 20-14)
  • Thu. (2 p.m.) - 1996 (U-M, 13-9)
  • Fri. (10 a.m.) - 2002 (OSU, 14-9)
  • Fri. (2 p.m.) - 2003 (U-M, 35-21)
  • Fri. (4 p.m.) - 1988 (U-M, 34-31)
  • Fri. (5 p.m.) - 2005 (OSU, 25-21)

Also, if you would like to own an audio or video copy of some classic Michigan Football games then you should check out the site of Art Vuolo, Jr. Mr. Vuolo has archived rare footage and makes tapes available on CD's (audio) or DVD (video). Audio copies of games are $12 and video copies are $18. Mr. Vuolo was a guest speaker at the U of M Club of Downriver's "Beat Ohio State Bust" and it does seem that he provides a much sought after service. Go Blue!

The Biggest "Big Game"

The Michigan Athletic Media Relations Dept. has set up a special comprehensive page on their website for what has been dubbed The Biggest "Big Game." It is fantastic. The page has detailed information about every aspect of Saturday's game. If there is anything you need to know about this year's game, you can probably find your answer here. Go Blue!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Is Mario Manningham back to 100%?

Wide Receiver Mario Manningham used the Indiana game as an opportunity to continue to work himself back into game shape prior to the Ohio State contest. However, he only pulled in two receptions for eleven yards against the Hoosiers. Although prior to his injury Manningham was QB Chad Henne's primary deep threat, Mario has yet to catch a pass longer than eight yards in the two games since his return. It was Steve Breaston who caught the 62-yard touchdown bomb from Henne against Indiana. It was almost as if Manningham and Breaston switched roles in the offense. The question is will they switch back for the Ohio State game. Manningham had been averaging 22 yards per catch prior to his injury. Breaston, on the other hand, has averaged 11.2 yards per catch this season. As for whether Manningham is back at full speed, Henne had these things to say at the Monday press conference:
"I definitely think guys came out and played well. Getting Mario (Manningham) out there getting full speed, and also Steve Breaston coming out with a big game I think just builds a lot of confidence up for our players. Each game, that's what we pride ourselves on, trying to get off to a fast start and put points on the board fast."
"Mario is definitely rehabbing a lot and getting down there and getting stronger. He definitely looks to speed at practice and he did on Saturday in Indiana. Just to get the ball in his hands and let him make plays is what we need to do with a player like him because he can make anything happen in just the snap of a finger."

Additionally, when he was asked if Manningham looked up to full speed, Henne responded, "He definitely did, because Saturday he was running routes well and especially a couple of crosses where I hit him, he definitely looked full speed." That is welcome news for the Wolverine faithful as Michigan wants all of its offensive weapons to be fully loaded for this Saturday's game. Go Blue!

*Note: Photo of Steve Breaston (15) and Mario Manningham (86) celebrating Breaston's first touchdown vs. the Hoosiers by John T. Greilick/The Detroit News


Leon Hall sets all-time record for pass breakups

Senior cornerback Leon Hall recorded three pass breakups versus the Hoosiers bringing his career total to forty-three (43). That means that he broke the old mark of 41 that was held by Todd Howard (1998-2001). Hall is having an outstanding senior season as he has broken up a career best 18 passes and made three (3) interceptions. Hall was recently named as one of eleven semi-finalists for the 2006 Jim Thorpe Award which is presented to the nation's top collegiate defensive back for on-field performance, athletic ability and character. Hall is one of only two Big Ten Conference players on the list of semifinalists. (Ohio State's Antonio Smith is the other). The Thorpe Award's current list of 11 semifinalists will be trimmed to three finalists on Nov. 20. The winner of the 20th annual award will be announced during the ESPN College Football Awards Show on Dec. 7. The official presentation of the Thorpe Award will be at a formal banquet in Oklahoma City on Feb. 12, 2007. Hall hopes to duplicate the feat of Charles Woodson who won the Thorpe Award in 1997. Go Blue!

*Note: Photo of Leon Hall (29) from Northwestern game by John T. Greilick/The Detroit News


Michigan remains #2 in BCS heading into game vs. #1 OSU

#2 Michigan (11-0) and #1 Ohio State (11-0) kept up their winning ways setting up their showdown this Saturday, November 18, 2006. However, many of the teams behind them suffered upsets and there were massive changes in the rankings. Following are the BCS Standings, the USA Today Top 25 Coaches' Poll, and the AP Poll. However, all that Michigan and Ohio State are focused on is November 18th. It's win and you are in. See you in Glendale, AZ on Jan. 8, 2007. Go Blue!


Keep your friends close and your enemies closer

With the old adage in mind of "Keep your friends close and your enemies closer" I thought it would be a good idea to keep an eye on the Buckeye Nation this week. Therefore, in preparation for M/OSU week, I'm going to be reading the following sites in addition to the usual pro-Michigan sites that are linked on the right side of my blog. First, there is OSU Coach Tressel's site at It is a look behind the curtain to see the wizard of the Buckeyes' Football machine. This guy really has an ego. Next up is the school's official football site. You can find at this site all the statistical and historical information about the Buckeyes that you could ever need or want. Lastly, you may want to read what I consider to be the best of the plethora of Ohio State football blogs: Men of the Scarlet and Gray. I have had a link to this blog all season and this promises to be an interesting week of posting over at their site. Watch for any interesting tidbits of information and enjoy reading. Just remember to keep a close eye on those Buckeyes. Go Blue!

ABC-TV Broadcast team set for M/OSU game

The announcing crew for the M/OSU game will consist of Brent Musburger (play-by-play); Bob Davie and Kirk Herbstreit (color analysts); Bonnie Bernstein (OSU sideline) and Lisa Salters (M sideline). Although Ms. Bernstein and Ms. Salters are both excellent journalists, their combined talents do not equal the talent of the one and only Erin Andrews. Ms. Andrews should rightfully be doing the sideline reporting for both teams during The Game. As for the crew in the booth, I think those guys do a good job but I prefer to listen to announcers prone to pro-Michigan homerism. Therefore, I'll be watching the television picture but turning off the sound so I can tune in to the call of Frank Beckmann and Jim Brandstatter on the radio. Click here to find out where to tune the dial in your area to listen to the broadcast from the Michigan Sports Network. Go Blue!


Coach Carr points to M/OSU game as one that has everything a person could want

The drum beat has started in the build-up toward the M/OSU clash on November 18th. Today's Detroit Free Press has an article containing quotes from various players and coaches regarding next week's game. Also, Michael Rosenberg wrote an article entitled, "Bring on the Buckeyes." Over at the Detroit News, there is an AP article, entitled "Finally, No. 1 Ohio State vs. No. 2 Michigan is a reality." Also in the News, legendary columnist Jerry Green wrote an article entitled "Border battle reaches uncharted territory." Mr. Green provides some history of the storied rivalry including some interesting behind-the-scenes details of the 1973 "Rose Bowl Scandal" where the Big Ten athletic directors chose OSU over Michigan after the teams played to a 10-10 tie. The 1973 game was the last time both teams were undefeated and untied entering the game. Unlike 1973, I can assure you there will be a winner declared on the field this year rather than a vote of the Big Ten athletic directors. Go Blue!

*Note: Photo of Coach Carr from the Indiana game by John T. Greilick/The Detroit News

Michigan/Ohio State Rivalry Site

Everyone knows of the great football rivalry between Michigan/OSU. Many refer to it as the greatest rivalry in sports. That rivalry, however, did not prevent the two schools from working together on a comprehensive Michigan/Ohio State Rivalry Site. The site, which explores the history of the football rivalry, was developed using the collections in the Bentley Historical Library at the University of Michigan and the Ohio State University Archives. This collaborative site is both informative and entertaining and I refer to it often. I figured that as this is one of the most important weeks in the rivalry's history that people might be trying to find details on past games. Consequently, I have added a permanent link to the site in my column of links to the right of my page. Read up and enjoy as there are only six days to go until kickoff. Go Blue!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

1969 game: Best game prior to this season

The 1969 game between Michigan and Ohio State is widely considered the best game in Michigan football history. It was Coach Schembechler's first Michigan/OSU game and it commenced a rivalry between himself and OSU Coach Woody Hayes that is now referred to as "The Ten Year War." Ohio State entered the 1969 game with the #1 ranking and riding a 22 game winning streak including a 50-14 thumping of Michigan the previous year. Michigan (7-2) was ranked #12 under first-year Head Coach Schembechler and Michigan was considered a huge underdog to the Buckeyes. However, before a then record crowd of 103,588 at Michigan Stadium the Wolverines defeated Ohio State 24-12 to send Michigan to the Rose Bowl! A Michigan win in the 2006 game would rank right up there with the 1969 victory as one of the greatest victories of all-time. Go Blue!

Hoosier daddy? A: Steve Breaston (2 tds.)

Fifth-year senior Steve Breaston showed he is ready for the Buckeyes next week as he scored two touchdowns today versus the Hoosiers. The scores were his first touchdowns of the season. The first score came on a 62-yard bomb from Chad Henne. It was a perfect strike and Breaston cruised into the endzone (pictured at right) while doing his best Mario Manningham impression on the play. The second score was something Michigan fans have been waiting for all year from Breaston: a punt return for a touchdown. He broke a return for a career long 83-yard punt return for the touchdown. For the day, Breaston totaled 231 all-purpose yards on six touches and the two touchdowns. The scores come at a great time for Breaston as it will boost his confidence heading into Ohio State week after having a solid but not great season in his final year as a Wolverine. A confident and dangerous Steve Breaston cannot make Ohio State Coach Tressel happy. Go Blue!

*Note: Photo of Steve Breaston by John T. Greilick/The Detroit News

Michigan 34 Indiana 3

Michigan defeated the Hoosiers 34-3 at Memorial Stadium as the Wolverines ran their season record to a perfect 11-0. Michigan dominated the game from the start in their final game prior to their season ending showdown with the #1 Buckeyes next week. Following are links to the game recap, box score, player participation charts, postgame notes, and photo gallery. As always, much analysis to follow. Oh yeah, I almost forgot, I might also post about the upcoming Ohio State game this week. It seems like it is kind of a big game or something. Go Blue!

Friday, November 10, 2006

Garrett Rivas is all-time scoring leader

With the 10 points (two field goals, 4 extra points) Garrett Rivas scored against Ball State, he became Michigan's all-time leading scorer as he surpassed Anthony Thomas (336 career points). Rivas' performance against Ball State also earned him the award of Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week. On the season, Rivas has converted 15 of 18 field goal attempts and 33 of 34 extra point attempts for a team-leading total of 78 points. Rivas is tied for 7th in the nation with an average of 1.50 field goals per game. In the Big Ten, he ranks second in field goals made and field goal percentage (.833). Rivas' field goal percentage is tied for third the third-best season mark in school history. Additionally, due to an injury to Ross Ryan, Rivas has also assumed the kickoff duties since the sixth game of the season. He is averaging 61.9 yards per kickoff during 2006. The one thing Rivas has not had to do this year, however, is kick a game-winning field goal. He may get his chance November 18th. Go Blue!

*Note: Photo of Garrett Rivas (38) from 2005 Penn State game by John T. Greilick/The Detroit News

Hoosier daddy? Find out at Stadium & Main linkfest

The weekly link to the blog that provides all the links about the week's opponent. Head over to the: Stadium and Main: Indiana game linkfest. Enjoy. Go Blue!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

86th Annual Michigan Football Bust

The 86th Annual Michigan Football Bust will be held on Monday, November 27, 2006 at the Laurel Manor in Livonia, MI. This year's Bust has a new autograph session feature at 5:00 p.m. Dinner will be at 6:00 p.m. The master of ceremonies is U.S. Rep. Joe Schwarz. The Bust will honor "Michigan Legends from the 1950's" as well as, of course, the members of the 2006 team. The event is put on by the U of M Club of Greater Detroit. Tickets are $65 each. For a less expensive event, do not forget about the Beat Ohio State Bust on November 13, 2006 sponsored by the U of M Club of Downriver. Tickets for that event are only $10 in advance and $15 at the door. Go Blue!


Monday, November 06, 2006

Controlled Fury

There is a difficult balance that players have to strike between playing with abandon and playing with discipline. The hope is that the players can achieve a "controlled fury" while on the playing field. Sometimes, however, the players end up playing with more emotion and less control. Tim Jamison (90) seems to sometimes end up playing out of control and it is costly. Jamison (jr.) is a very good backup defensive end who excels at the outside pass rush. He is an emotional player and what is his strength is also his greatest liability. In the Wisconsin game, Jamison swung at a Badger player and struck him in the helmet after the whistle had blown and Jamison was consequently flagged for a 15-yard personal foul penalty. Coach Carr was none too pleased and had this to say about it at the time, "I was very disappointed in the personal foul penalty that led really to their score there at the end of the half, in the second quarter. That drive may have gone the other way. Maybe it wouldn't have. We lost our poise there. That's part of learning to play. You can't make those kind (of mistakes), you can't lose your poise because it hurts your team and certainly it did there." Thereafter, Jamison began to play more under control until the Ball State game when he incurred another costly personal foul penalty. This time it was not purposeful. Nonetheless, the face mask penalty (pictured above) on third down negated LaMarr Woodley's sack and gave the Cardinals new life. Ball State (which was down only a touchdown and a two point conversion) was then given a first down on Michigan's six-yard line before evenutally being stopped. Playing with emotion is great but it is also necessary to play with control. Mistakes (i.e., costly personal foul penalties) simply cannot occur on November 18th. Emotions will be running high on that day. What the Wolverines (and Jamison in particular) need is a dose of precision. Woodley and Branch are masters at the balancing act of controlled fury. Jamison needs to model himself after either one of his linemates. Go Blue!

*Note: Photo of Tim Jamison (90) by John T. Greilick/The Detroit News

Make It So Number One

The best thing to happen on the field on Saturday actually occurred when the players were not even on the field. It occurred during halftime. Capt. Jean Luc Picard (a/k/a Patrick Stewart) directed the Michigan Marching Band for two pieces at the conclusion of the halftime show. Mr. Stewart is in Ann Arbor with the Royal Shakespeare Company presented by the University Musical Society to perform Antony and Cleopatra; Julius Caesar; and The Tempest. During halftime of the Ball State game, Mr. Stewart conducted while the Michigan Marching Band played the theme from "Star Trek" with the band standing in the formation of the "Star Trek" symbol. Capt. Picard then announced over the Public Address system that Michigan should boldly go and beat the Buckeyes! While the crowd cheered wildly, Capt. Picard then commanded, "Make it so number one!" The crowd then went bonkers and the band launched into a rendition of "The Victors." The Wolverines better do what they were told. Capt. Jean Luc Picard is not one to be ignored. Go Blue!

*Note: Photo of Patrick Stewart from The Ann Arbor News

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Triple Threat

Michigan had three running backs yesterday with 30+ yard carries each. Mike Hart had a rush for 42-yards while Brandon Minor had a long run of 40-yards and Jerome Jackson posted a 30-yard run. Each of these three tailbacks also scored touchdowns yesterday versus Ball State. For the game, Hart (25 att./154 yds.) and Minor (12 att./108 yds.) each went over the century mark in rushing yardage which makes them the first Wolverine backfield tandem to do so since the 2003 season (Chris Perry & David Underwood vs. Houston on 9-6-03). All told, the Wolverines rushed for 352 yards versus the Cardinals. Not able to join in the fun was #2 tailback Kevin Grady who did not dress for the game. He sat out with an injured shoulder he suffered during the Northwestern game. It is unknown how long he will be out but his backups are playing extremely well in his absence.

One of the few down notes in the running game against Ball State was that Mike Hart suffered a fumble in the first quarter. However, due to a quirk in the official scoring he did not lose his streak for consecutive touches without a lost fumble when he fumbled the ball out of his own endzone for a safety. Apparently, it was not scored as a lost fumble because Ball State never recovered the ball. Although Ball State was credited two points for the safety, Michigan kicked (free kick) the ball to Ball State on the next play. The fumble was not scored as a turnover. The bottom line is that Hart's consecutive touches streak without a lost fumble is still alive at 688 although it is slightly tarnished at this point. Another small down note was the fact that Hart carried the ball twenty-five (25) times against Ball State. He should have been limited to twenty carries maximum especially with Minor and Jackson running effectively. Hopefully, the coaches can keep Hart's number of carries down next week versus Indiana so he is fresh and ready to go for November 18th. Go Blue!

*Note: Photo of Mike Hart (20) and Jerome Jackson (24) by John T. Greilick/The Detroit News

When is a win not a win?

Michigan defeated Ball State 34-26 and the Wolverines ran their season record to 10-0. This is only the second time since 1975 (1997 being the other) that the Wolverines have been 10-0. Nevertheless, to hear some of the Michigan faithful describe the game against Ball State you would think that the Wolverines had lost yesterday. Some particularly disgruntled "fans" in my section were even shouting "Fire Carr" during the game. Michael Rosenberg wrote an excellent article in the Detroit Free Press cautioning fans not to panic as Coach Carr does know what he is doing. Over at the Detroit News, Angelique S. Chengelis wrote that Michigan held off Ball State late and that Jake Long considered the game a reality check.

This week was originally scheduled to be Michigan's bye week. However, when the NCAA deemed that teams could play a 12 game schedule the Wolverines filled the bye week with the Ball State game. However, after nine (9) consecutive games many of Michigan's starters needed a rest. After last week's win versus Northwestern, Coach Carr commented that the Wolverines were a tired team. Thus, Coach Carr rested a lot of the starters for long stretches versus Ball State. This not only gave the worn down starters a breather it also gave the coaching staff a chance to evaluate some of the reserves who have not been able to play much this season. Although the game was closer than many would have liked, it allowed many reserves a chance to play and see game action in a pressure situation rather than just garbage time. In the long run, that will be beneficial to the team. Go Blue!

Michigan beats Ball State and maintains #2 spot in BCS standings

The fact that Michigan did not post a large margin of victory in its win over Ball State did not affect its position in the BCS standings as the Wolverines remain the #2 team in the nation behind the Buckeyes. Michigan also maintained its #2 ranking in the USA Today Top 25 Coaches' Poll and the AP Poll. Michigan only has a road game versus Indiana left on its schedule before it travels to Columbus for the big game with Ohio State on November 18th. Go Blue!

Michigan 34 Ball State 26

Michigan played their final home game of the season in front of a crowd of 109,359 and celebrated Senior Day with a 34-26 victory over Ball State. Michigan is now 10-0 on the season for just the third time (1974, 1997, & 2006) in the past 33 seasons. Following are the links to the game recap, box score, player participation charts, postgame notes, photo gallery and player/coach quotes. As always, much analysis to follow. Go Blue!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Beat Ohio State Bust

I know this is Ball State week not Ohio State week but for those of you who are looking ahead to the Buckeyes you may want to add this event to your calendar: the annual Beat Ohio State Bust put on by the U-M Club of Downriver. The Bust will be held on Monday, November 13, 2006, at 6:00 p.m. at the VFW Hall in Trenton, MI which is located at 2763 Veterans Parkway (just east of Fort St. and north of West Rd.). Stan Edwards has been confirmed as a guest and other former players are expected as well. Additionally, the Club is still working on arrangements for the appearance of Tyrone Wheatley and Jerry Hanlon. Also, an HBO film crew may be there filming a documentary on the Michigan/OSU rivalry. Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the door. The event is open to all Michigan fans. For information and to register, contact Bill Richardson at Go Blue!

Adrian Arrington's pre-trial is adjourned until November 15th

Adrian Arrington appeared in the 14A-2 District Court as scheduled yesterday with his attorney Chris Easthope. Per an agreement of the parties, the pre-trial was adjourned to Wednesday, November 15, 2006. Incidentally, that is three days before THE game with Ohio State. As reported by Mark Snyder in today's Detroit Free Press, Arrington will be allowed to leave the state of Michigan for the Wolverines' final two road games at Indiana and Ohio State. He also was granted permission to visit his family in Iowa for Michigan's Thanksgiving break. Go Blue!


Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Senior Day!

Prior to Saturday's game against Ball State, the University of Michigan will honor twenty-four (24) Wolverine senior football players who will be playing their final game at The Big House. This year's senior class has compiled a four-year record of 35-11 and has a 25-5 Big Ten Conference mark during that period. They were part of back-to-back Big Ten championship teams (2003-2004) and have finished no lower than third in the conference. Following is a list provided by the Athletic Media Relations Dept. of the fourth-and fifth-year seniors who have used all of their eligibility:

  • Willis Barringer, S
  • Rondell Biggs, DE
  • Mark Bihl, C
  • Turner Booth, LS
  • Alijah Bradley, RB/WR
  • Steve Breaston, WR
  • Mike Carl, S
  • Tyler Ecker, TE
  • David Harris, LB
  • Darnell Hood, CB
  • Jeff Kastl, QB
  • Mike Kolodziej, OL
  • Obi Oluigbo, FB
  • B.J. Opong-Owusu, S
  • Rueben Riley, RT
  • Ross Ryan, P
  • Carl Tabb, WR
  • Brian Thompson, TE
  • Jeremy Van Alstyne, DE

Fourth-Year Seniors:

  • Prescott Burgess, LB
  • Leon Hall, CB
  • Jerome Jackson, RB
  • Garrett Rivas, K
  • LaMarr Woodley, DE

Make sure to turn out Saturday and cheer for this great group of Wolverine seniors! Go Blue!