Two Weeks Departed

I know, I know. Its been a couple weeks off for Scot Loeffler Inc. But I assure you, I haven't been absent from the two great victories by our beloved Wolverines the last two weeks. I just started a new job...and have been immersed in a brave new world, and thus, my posting frequency to this blog has suffered.

And you, the loyal reader, is paying the price.

As I settle down into my new life, I hope to be able to juggle my ever-expanding workload, and the previous free-time that I once enjoyed.

And now...on to the latest.

No, I did not attend the last two home games. So my record in attendance so far this year remains at 0-2. Hopefully we can make it back to at least .500, but my fall's social agenda seems to be filling up.

My first impressions after two weeks is that, obviously the defense is doing better. Much better. No touchdowns in two games. No matter who you are or who you play, that's good. For some reason, Terrance Taylor and the rest of the defensive line remembered how to rush the passer. And lets not assume that some, or most of those aren't coverage sacks. I'm sure at least a few are.

But I think college football fans all over the country learned three things the past two weeks: Jimmy Clausen, Anthony Morelli and Dan Connor are all overrated. Jimmy and Anthony especially. I'll give Connor some cred for usually playing well, but who has Penn State beaten this season? Exactly.

On the other side of the ball, Ryan Mallett is the real deal. He's got a vision and arm that most freshman just don't have yet. He needs to work on his mobility (Navarre anyone?), and of course the mental clock that goes off in you head when you know its time to run out of the pocket.

I love Mike Hart. Is he a Heisman candidate? Absolutely. Is he a Heisman winner? Not yet. His guaranteed win over ND, and actually delivering it, earned him a ton of praise and cred from the national media. But then again...the national media is rarely right about who should win the Heisman.

Anyways, this week, Michigan's Achilles heel is going to be back this weekend in the form of Northwestern's spread offense. Sure, this is the same NW team that got trounced by an inconsistent Ohio State team last week. And since the game this week is on the BTN, and I'll be golfing anyway...I'll just have to leave this one up to the college football gods to work out. I really like our chances though.

I doubt I'll have time to give a detailed description and preview of Northwestern, but then again, if you're the kind of fan who needs an in-depth breakdown of NW, then you're probably not the demo that I'm going for. Stick to the basics and keep it simple, that's how Scott Loeffler rolls.

See you next week. Go Blue!

Getting Back Up

My apologies, I started a new job this week and its been just nutty trying to get time to post. But rest assured, its business as usual here at Scot Loeffler Inc.

Not a lot of time to post today, but some brief thoughts on last Saturday.

Unless you've been living under a rock, you know how bad Michigan sucked the last two weeks. Unfortunately I was in attendance for both occasions. However, maybe the tide will turn this week when I tune into ABC at 3:30 to watch the game from my comfy couch in my suburban Detroit home.

It will actually be a nice relief from the booing jackasses who are calling for Lloyd's head. My wife and I had to leave the Oregon game at the end of the 3rd quarter, not because we couldn't watch Michigan struggle, but because we couldn't stand the idiots around us who paid good money to show up and boo Carr, the offense, and the defense. In these guy's minds, there was no room for error. I felt like I was at a Lions game.

I went on record last week stating that I do not blame the coach for this mess. And I will stand by that. Why? Because its just 2 games. And its just football. Why should a guy get fired because he lost 2 games? We've been 0-2 before, and we will be again. In my humble opinion, a true Michigan man should not be so fickle. Winning against a spread offense is not easy...obviously.

Maybe I'm just too forgiving. I don't know. Maybe when I signed up to be a Michigan fan many years ago, I realized that I was going to be a fan win or lose. If you can't handle when times are rough, then obviously, you aren't much of a sports fan. Every team struggles. Every team loses. Get over it, move on. Its like they say, when you're down, you find out who your real friends are. So true, so true.

But what I do know is Carr and the boys have another game in 3 days. And even though Notre Dame is struggling as well, I don't believe there could be a bigger game in the storied rivalry than this year's game. Its the battle of cellar-dwellers. Its the battle of little giants. Its the lesser of "who cares?". But to Michigan and Notre Dame players, its the game they've been waiting for. Someone has to win. Who wants it more?

Someone Has to Pay for Applachian State: An Oregon Preview

Inspired by Lou Holtz's rant this morning on Sportscenter, I give you my Oregon preview.

Everything happens for a reason. You don't just lose to Appalachian State like that. There has to be a more underlying purpose. Call it not being prepared, call it being over-confident, call it bad field-goal blocking...whatever. The point is, most honest Michigan fans can tell you that this loss has been brewing for a couple years. Ball State last year was too close for comfort, Vanderbilt earlier in the year, etc. The time was right for a monumental loss.

But the big question now is how will they respond. Its only fitting that Oregon comes to town sporting an offense that is eerily similar to ASU. Its only fitting that the whole Oregon team seems to compare very well to the team that just embarrassed the winning-est college program of all-time. If one had to sum up this game with one word, that word would be redemption.

One big issue that Michigan teams seem to always have is how well they deal with adversity. I think back to the OSU game last season when we were down by a couple scores at halftime, and then were able to come back on the road in a brutally hostile stadium against the #1 team in the land. We came back and made that a game, of course we ultimately lost, but I was able to look by OSU friends in the eye and say that game did live up the hype...and of course I would love to play them again in a rematch.

Of course that never happened and we flew to Pasadena and laid down for USC. But the point here is that, for the first time in a long time, we fought back. Michigan stood up for itself and played like Champions. Give us two more minutes on the clock last November 17, and we would've been the team getting trounced by Florida in the National Championship game.

I want to be reminded of that feeling this weekend. I might be in the minority, but I still believe in Lloyd Carr. He's the embodiment of what a Michigan man is. He's loyal, he's honest, and I don't believe there is a cleaner program in college football. He wins the majority of his games, and I think he knows how to get the best out of his players. Just read some of the pre-season transcripts of player interviews and you can see that his players don't just enjoy playing for him, they love him. I think there's a lot to be said for that.

So this weekend will be a true test. Oregon is good, they're very good. But in all honesty, players don't come to Michigan to play against Appalachian State. They come here to compete...and this is their chance. The rest of the season depends on this Saturday. There's just simply no other way to put it.

So lets get down to the nuts and bolts of Oregon.

Like I said, this is going to look a lot like ASU. Spread attack, fast QB and lots of receivers. They'll do whatever they can to spread out the middle of the defense and run tons of slants and play action shotgun. They don't huddle and they audible like crazy. Sound familiar? They have the potential to score quickly. So if Michigan can do some of the same stuff they did against ASU in the second half, then its going to be a lot closer game.

Defense is suspect against the run. They gave up over 200 rushing yards against Houston last week at home. So I like our O-Line and Mike Hart against they're defensive front. And that right there is going to be the key to this game. If Michigan can control the line of scrimmage and the clock, they can avoid getting into the trap of having to consistently punt back to Oregon. The best way to not get burned on defense is to keep your defense off the field as much as possible.

They have a pretty quick and able defensive backfield. Which will probably blanket our big three receivers pretty good. So look for some short dump offs to the backs in the flats, screens to the receivers and plenty of looks at the tight ends underneath. I like Hart and Minor to carry at least 40-50 carries between them.

I would like to predict the outcome of this game, but since I'm going tomorrow...I won't try to jinx myself. After being in attendance last week, I need to wash that bitter taste out of my mouth.

Or I'm just a glutton for punishment...either way. See you all next week.

Go Blue!

Reaction

I have honestly read or watched nothing concerning the overwhelmingly shocking loss to Appalachian State on Saturday...

...until tonight.

Oh my...oh my.

First of all, my reaction from being at the game on Saturday was total shock. And not just shock that Appalachian State was so good...but that Michigan was so bad. It hit me at halftime. After watching ASU score 3 unanswered touchdowns in the 2nd quarter, my head was about yo explode. My wife and I stepped out of the stadium with about 3 minutes to go in the half to get some air and try to make some sense of what we just saw. But there was no other way to explain it...Michigan was simply out-coached, out-played, and out-everything. It was then that I realized that we could actually lose this game.

What I saw that I liked was a renewed sense of motivation in the 3rd quarter. They totally shut down ASU's very, very fast spread offense. But thats about it.

Michigan was way unprepared and way too over confident.

My reaction to the reaction I have been reading from Michigan fans is both expected and knee-jerking.

Lloyd Carr is not the one to blame. Seriously. Sure, he is the head coach, but he's not on the field. The adjustments were made at halftime, and I think the coaches did a good job giving Michigan the best chance possible to win the game.

The fault lies squarely on the shoulders of the offensive line and Chad Henne. I can not see how any ASU player could have gotten into the backfield to make Henne scramble. Or, to tackle Mike Hart as soon as he gets the hand off. The combination of poor blocking, and Henne making passes that he should have completed his freshman year will forever be the main reason why Michigan fell two points short on September 1, 2007.

Lloyd Carr, Mike DeBord, Ron English and Bill Martin were not on the field Saturday. Period.

As a former player, I can tell you that there are simply some games that you know you will win. And for whatever reason, you never think that you could lose. Not one Michigan fan can tell me that they thought for a second that Appalachian State could hang with us. As a player, its the same feeling. You're over-confident, and a coach isn't going to scare you with a Div. 1AA team saying that they are fast. You just played USC and Ohio State...you know what fast is.

This game was lost in the heads of the Michigan players long before the kickoff. Appalachian State was not a better team...but someone forgot to tell them that.

But, the game is over. Hopefully the lessons have been learned. Oregon is next. I'd hate to be them.