July 28, 2010

Inside The Bloggers Unwashed, Unshaven, Studio: Michigan Edition

As part of Michigan week here at LBU, ITBUUS continues its weekly series with a little Q&A session courtesy of none other than Brian Cook of MGoBlog fame. I believe the man requires no further introduction...and if you think he does, then it's safe to presume you just started using the Internet after a prolonged absence living in an eco-village.

LBU: According to your site, MGoBlog launched in December 2004. What sparked you to begin your long, strange, trip into the blogosphere, especially at a time when the word 'blog' wasn't part of the mainstream lexicon? How does it feel to be the Lo Pan of Big Ten bloggers?

MGoBlog: I was annoyed with the coverage of Michigan football, which I felt was shallow (surprise!) and thought I could do better. I'd written in college and thought I'd be an engineer for a limited period of time and then move on to something else, so I'd been trying to get stuff off the ground since I graduated. This is the one that stuck.

LBU: You've clearly stated on your site numerous times that you're not clamoring for Rich Rodriguez's ouster. How much longer do you give him to turn things around? Is the 3-3-5 defense that he's installing a stroke of genius or something that reeks of desperation?

MGoBlog: It's an ugly situation because I don't think a lot of Michigan fans really got how terrible Michigan was in '08 and how far they came in '09 even though they sucked as much as they did, and I don't think some of them understand how much Michigan did suck in '09 and what a reasonable expectation is in 2010. Also, no one knows what rebuilding looks like because the last person to try that at Michigan was Bo [Schembechler] and 1969 was an entirely different universe when it came to that sort of thing. I immediately discarded any ideas that "this is Michigan" when I saw Nick Sheridan take the field; it wasn't Michigan.

Nothing clears a room full of Michigan fans faster than Nick Sheridan.

So, my requirements are about the lowest you'll see: a 7-5 regular season and approximate yardage parity. That would represent a major step forward from last year and set Michigan up for a do-or-die 2011. That's when the rubber hits the road: Contend for the Big Ten in year four or it's time to move on.

As far as the 3-3-5 goes, I think the change has been seriously overblown. Michigan is going to shift between a lot of fronts this fall. The 3-3-5 will be one of them but I'm guessing we see Craig Roh line up with his hand down about half the time. I think it's an interesting idea, because Michigan can deploy their DL with two DE/3-tech types (Mike Martin and Ryan Van Bergen), one NT (Will Campbell), and one DE/LB sort (Roh); if they can pull off both sets this makes them very hard to prepare for. The coaches keep pushing the word "multiple"; if they can pull off multiple they can make a major step forward. They probably can't. If they can't, they're at least giving themselves options.

LBU: The basketball program inexplicably took a step back last year despite returning just about every key player from the squad that won a game in the NCAA tournament a year earlier. How did things manage to go haywire?

MGoBlog: Hell if I know. Michigan did swing from being a very lucky team to being one of the three or four un-luckiest teams in the country according to KenPom, so that's part of it. I think Michigan fans knew that the team was vastly overrated going into the year, more of a fringe top 25 team than the #15 they got. So part of it was just external observers doing what they do: get stuff wrong.

Past that, all I can offer is the idea that losing the two senior walk-on guards seriously disrupted the chemistry of the team, leaving the two upperclass stars estranged from the rest of the players--DeShawn Sims said something like "I don't know you guys that well, but I'm sure you'll do fine" at the banquet -- and the coach. Manny Harris was suspended for a still-undisclosed practice incident midseason.

I've never been much of a believer in intangibles, but after last year's basketball season I'm coming around.

LBU: Better spring practice highlight video: Tate Forcier's "Weapon Of Choice" or Denard Robinson as "Flash Delirium?"

MGoBlog: That is a tough one. I lean towards the latter because as far as passing statistics go they're about equal, and Denard's ability to give Usain Bolt a run -- ha -- for his money promises ridiculous things if he can replicate that passing performance against a Michigan second team defense that's presumably even worse than the first team defense Michigan fielded a year ago.

He can't, of course, but if Robinson actually ends up starting I expect he'll play better than Forcier did as a freshman. This isn't a hard call to make since he'll be beating out a sophomore Forcier.

LBU: If you were to venture a guess, which Michigan football player would you say wrote this fine masterpiece of a 400-level paper?

MGoBlog: That's pretty old; I first remember seeing it on a local blog called something like "Found at the Fishbowl*" when I was still a student. So... think 2002, 2003. I can offer up a few people it probably wasn't, but athletes are athletes, man. It probably wasn't an offensive lineman or kicker. Beyond that, your guess is as good as mine.

*The Fishbowl is a large public computing area in one of Michigan's main building surrounded by glass walls.

Thanks, Brian!

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1 comment:

  1. When did Michigan get a football team?