Wednesday, October 15, 2008

I guess he wasn't blonde enough

It really must suck to be a starting Michigan defenseman this year. First captain Mark Mitera takes a skate to the knee, now a fellow political science major Steve Kampfer has been allegedly bodyslammed out of the season just in time for the Northern Michigan game. And that's not all, as i'm sure everybody who's read the Daily or MGoblog now knows the alleged assailant was a football walk on (undoubtedly a third or fourth string fullback) and ex-wrestler Mike Milano.

If Milano did assault Kampfer at 2 in the morning on sunday i'm curious to know why. Maybe he was frustrated that Kampfer's team was winning and his wasn't. Maybe they had different political views, or maybe Kampfer just wasn't frickin blonde enough.



Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Relief from the frozen front at Yost.

One of the greatest goals in Michigan history was scored by Aaron Palushaj this past weekend. I was in the stand watching it instead of looking at it from a media perspective as i could have been but i saw it nonetheless and it was glorious. Taking on three defenders is dangerous in hockey and he got mugged on the way to the goal, so much so that the ref was going to call a penalty before the puck went into the net, by which time he had waved it off. It could be a season changing moment for the winged helmets on ice.

After Fridays game there were undoubtedly a group of bloggers who would be willing to write off Michigan as unable to compete without Mark Mitera in a tougher more physical CCHA compared to years past. However the St. Lawrence Saints came out with the same game plan that NMU came into Yost with last year and got out played at their own game by the maize and blue. Palushaj's goal aside this game was determined in the corners, by the hits who was tough who could endure more of the beating, clearly by the end of the game the answer was overwhelmingly clear. This year's Michigan hockey team is incredibly well conditioned and is ready for a hard hitting season this year.

Goaltending looked good, the team as a whole was imperfect, but perfection is a hard thing to ask for, especially so early in the season. The first line looked good with Hagelin, Rust and Palushaj. It seems clear to me that Carl Hagelin has been lifting some weights this past summer because he was not merely toughing it out in the corners and in front of the net, he was giving it back to the opposing defenders. Watching this team play last weekend makes one wonder if the hockey conditioning coach could work with Barwis on the football team.

The only things in the immediate future that i am regretful of is that Michigan's next two games will not be televised from Marquette, and that WOLV will not be able to present anything to you hockey related until November.

Stay tuned for a preview of Northern Michigan.



Two Agonizing Saturdays, and one trashed apartment

As a lifelong Michigan football fan it is hard to imagine a Wolverine team that has no idea to either defend against the pass in the secondary, nor block for the run on the line.

When one grows up watching Charles Woodson, Marlin Jackson, Cato June, Leon Hall, and Earnest Shazor break up passes, make interceptions and punish recievers trying to get yards after the catch. It is hard to watch this year's team play these last two weeks.

When one grows up watching Steve Hutchinson, Jeff Backus, Jake Long, and Ron Payne create huge holes for Anthony Thomas, Mike Hart and Tshimanga Biakabatuka (i refuse to call him Tim) to pick up yards through. It is hard for one to see running backs as talented as Brandon Minor and Sam McGuffie struggle to get past the line of scrimmage due to missed assignments.

A few weeks ago, no one would talk about these problems because the problem of holding onto the football was too glaring. Turnovers still hurt, and by the lord the amount of turnovers committed early in this first half of the season are appalling enough to cause Bo Schembecler to turn in his grave. However even a back who knows how to hold onto the football as well as McGuffie can't do anything without some room to run with.

I understand the amount of youth at receiver and with the depth the winged helmets have at running back i see no reason to change the run-first strategy Rich Rod has in place, however he has got to work on run blocking. These players didn't do too much run blocking under Carr because he depended more on bigger stronger players to hold off the pass rush. Now the emphasis is more on the faster stronger players who can get out of the blocks like a sprinter and drive defensive linemen into the ground like air under the feet of Usain Bolt. Nobody on the line seems to be capable of doing this and since teamwork is essential on the offensive line more than any other area of the field it is essential that somebody start doing it and doing it now.

Brendan Harrison will be sorely missed after his graduation after this season. Donavan Warren has shown amazing amounts of moxie in his two years here so far and has shown calm under pressure, his absence last Saturday undoubtedly caused the regrettable fall of a record last Saturday. Morgan Trent is fast, he can jump and break up passes, and he still is not a great tackler, i'm not asking for him to be Charles Woodson but at least get a hold of the guy. If Charles Stewart misses another potential interception on a play that results in a touchdown he will be run out of town on a rail.

My rage not only led me to write this cliche ridden piece of crap article it also led me to throw stuff all over my already fairly dirty off campus apartment in the face of exams this week. A loss to Toledo is just plain unacceptable on any level for any era at Michigan, even a transitional one.

In spite of that i am not one of those who believe that Rich Rod should be fired immediately. I think that he should seriously re-evaluate where he recruits for in the future and try to keep his players more disciplined in the future.

Is this season a lost cause, technically no because if Michigan beats Penn State they have a winning record in conference play. However with an abomination of a secondary the wolverines looked like they might be having the wings from their helmets clipped by Joe Pa before he dies, i'm just curious if i'll have the stomach to watch it without snapping.