Watercooler Guide to 2009 Michigan Football: Offense Part 2

Welcome to the Watercooler Guide to 2009 Michigan Football. This is the second in a series of articles designed to give the average Michigan fan a fairly moderate understanding of various topics related to the upcoming 2009 season. With this helpful guide, you'll be armed with the knowledge that will help you sound like you know what you're talking about, and the confidence to back it up!

There are many places where this knowledge will come in helpful. Such venues could be, the office watercooler, the local sports bar, neighbor's backyard bbq, a friend's basement, or the pregame tailgate.

In this edition, we'll look at two vital roles in the offense...the receivers and the offensive line.

Offense Part 1 lives here.

Incoming 2009 freshman not yet enrolled are in italics.

Receivers
83 Jon Conover, Jr.
3 Justin Feagin, So.
Cameron Gordon, Fr.
Thomas Gordon, Fr.
21 Junior Hemingway, So.
84 Elias Kos, Fr.
13 Greg Mathews, Sr.
9 Martavious Odoms, So.
37 Ricky Reves, Jr.
7 Terrance Robinson, Fr.
18 James Rogers, Jr.
12 Roy Roundtree, Fr.
82 LaTerryal Savoy, Sr.
20 Michael Shaw, So.
Je-Ron Stokes, Fr.
22 Darryl Stonum, So.
49 Benjamin Sutton, Jr.

We have a ton of receivers. As we should. When you regularly need to line up 4 or 5 receivers with each formation, having at least a dozen, or more, on the roster is absolutely necessary.

There are a few names that most Michigan fans will recognize coming back. Greg Mathews is maybe the last standout receiver left from the Carr administration. He will most certainly be counted on this year at the wideout position. He's tall, has good speed and has the most game experience of any receiver we have. Among some of the younger ranks, guys like Darryl Stonum, Martavious Odoms, Terrance Robinson and Roy Roundtree are the standouts that will be counted on to "catch the baton" so to speak.

Last year was a very odd year, receiver-wise, for the Wolverines. We had sub-par QB play, coupled with WRs learning how to play in a totally foreign offense than what they were used to...led to less than ideal output for what we're usually accustomed to (Arrington, Breaston, Manningham, etc).

We're always going to need tall receivers who can outrun a corner or safety...but in today's modern spread-option, smaller more agile slot-type receivers are where the rubber meets the road. Guys like Martavious Odoms, Justin Feagin, Michael Shaw, Terrance Robsinson, Roy Roundtree...those are the typical slot-type WRs that this system needs in order to thrive. Taller, more traditional WRs still need to pull their weight in order to keep defenses guessing. Darryl Stonum, Greg Matthews, LaTerryal Savoy, James Rogers, Junior Hemmingway, Jon Conover...these guys are just as vital as their slot counterparts to making this offense tick.

But no position is more important than the...

Offensive Line
56 Ricky Barnum, Fr.
61 Zac Cuillo, So.
79 Perry Dorrestein, Jr.
74 John Ferrara, Jr.
72 Mark Huyge, So.
63 Rocko Khoury, Fr.
62 Tim McAvoy, Sr.
57 Elliot Mealer, Fr.
50 David Molk, So.
60 David Moosman, Sr.
70 Bryant Nowicki, Jr.
65 Patrick Omameh, Fr.
71 Mark Ortmann, Sr.
91 Tom Pomarico, So.
52 Stephen Schilling, Jr.
Michael Schofield, Fr.

Quinton Washington, Fr.
64 Kurt Wermers, Fr.

The 2009 edition of the Michigan offensive line is oddly much better than most skeptics will say. First of all, every guy from 2008 is back. They are bigger, stronger, faster and better. And not to mention, smarter and more experienced. And also not to mention some younger guys will likely see their way into the starting rotation throughout the season.

A lot of times when a team struggles, it has to do with lack of production from the OL...and that might have been the case last year...at least a little bit. But it was never the lack of blocking or protection that really hurt Michigan in 2008.

The spring game was our first real look into who's going to probably be the starting 5 up front.

LTLGCRGRT
StarterMark Ortmann
5th Sr.
6-7 284
Stephen Schilling
Sr./Jr.
6-5, 304
David Molk
Jr./So.
6-2, 283
David Moosman
5th Sr.
6-5, 292
Mark Huyge
Jr./So.
6-6, 291
BackupPerry Dorrestein
Sr./Jr.
6-7, 310
Elliot Mealer
So./Fr.
6-6, 299
Tim McAvoy
5th Sr.
6-6, 297
John Ferrara
Sr./Jr.
6-4, 280
Patrick Omameh
So./Fr.
6-4, 276

Of course so much can and will change between the spring game and September 5th, but this seems like the package that Michigan is going with right now.

It's interesting to note the changes from 08 to 09 in terms of playing weights. Ortmann went from 294 to 284. Schilling went from 295 to 304. McAvoy from 288 to 297. Not huge numbers of course, but noteworthy. Most of the other guys stayed pretty much the same. And, these are roster weights...not always the most trustworthy or honest.

The OL is a position where there is usually quite a bit of shake-up early in the season. Any one of those 10 guys probably can play any of those positions...and some already have. I think we had something like 3 guys playing center last year.

Injuries can and will happen. If we just get to Sept. 5th injury free, we'll already be doing much better than we did last year.

Perry Dorrestein, Tim McAvoy and John Ferrara will likely see quite a bit of playing time again this year. One thing that was nice about 2008 being so awful, was that a lot of these guys got great experience. Stephen Schilling was injured last year, actually...so were most of the other starters...so experience is a huge benefit for this group.

Also making their way into the conversation will be freshmen Ricky Barnum and Rocko Khoury. Red-shirt sophomore Dan O'neill decided a few weeks ago he was no longer interested in playing competitive football, and left the team. Not such a big blow. The highly touted recruit from 08 really never panned out to be the kind of lineman the coaches had hoped he would be. He was still quite young, but his prospects for playing time were nil at best with so many good guys ahead of him.

No doubt that 2009 will be that much better due to the further development of the offense and how well the skill players can adapt to the 2nd year of the spread. But one thing that did not change with the new scheme was the importance of consistent OL production. For the first time since I can remember, Michigan brings back it's entire offensive line, intact. Couple that with the experience that the backups gained last season, and Michigan is looking very good up front.

Watercooler Guide to 2009 Michigan Football: Offense Part 1

Welcome to the Watercooler Guide to 2009 Michigan Football. This is the first in a series of articles designed to give the average Michigan fan a fairly moderate understanding of various topics related to the upcoming 2009 season. With this helpful guide, you'll be armed with the knowledge that will help you sound like you know what you're talking about, and the confidence to back it up!

There are many places where this knowledge will come in helpful. Such venues could be, the office watercooler, the local sports bar, neighbor's backyard bbq, a friend's basement, or the pregame tailgate. 

In this edition, we'll start off with one of the most debated topics of all: The Offense, Part 1.

Overview
The 2009 edition of the Michigan football offense will look very similar in style to that of the 2008 offense. Rich Rodriguez didn't become the architect of the spread-option only to abandon it after one bad season. The one thing that folks will most certainly recognize, are the basic formations. The QB (whomever that may be) will most always line up in a shotgun formation, the lineman (all but the center) will be in an upright stance, and there will be usually 1 running back lined up left or right of the QB. Receivers and/or tight ends can and will be all over the field. Anywhere from 3 to 5 receivers can line up in any number of formations in this style of offense. Often, you'll have 2 wideouts and 1 or 2 slot receivers. We'll got into more what this means in a minute.

The design of this offense is to both spread out the defense, and get the ball to players in space. What that means is, to get the ball (often by passing) to running backs or receivers usually out near the sidelines where there are less defenders. The key to this style working is having skill position players who are very fast and very agile. If a player, let's say WR Martavious Odoms can get the ball on a screen and only has one defender within 5-10 yards of him, this is an ideal situation. He will be depended on to allude at least one guy. After that, it is up to his speed and quickness to gain extra yardage. Depending on the player, and the defensive formation, these types of plays could go for 5 yards, or 95 yards. That's part of the beauty (and frustration) of the spread-option.

***Player's names in italics are true-freshman***

Quarterbacks
16 David Cone, Jr.
5 Tate Forcier, Fr.
Denard Robinson, Fr.
8 Nick Sheridan, Jr.

No question the most dissected and pivotal position on the field...no matter what style of offense you run. But in the spread, this position is the heart and brains of the operation.

Last year we saw a very bad QB battle between two guys not really designed to handle this type of offense at this level. Steven Threet and Nick Sheridan did a modest at best job last year. Both showed that even with sub-par talent, this system can and does work. Sort of like putting a 400-hp motor under the hood of a Ford Pinto. We had flashes of brilliance, but those were clouded by just not having the right players to run this system efficiently.

This year will be a turn in the right direction. Steven Threet has transferred to Arizona State. Last year's walk-on starter Nick Sheridan, now under scholarship, remains on the roster...but will likely drop to 3rd...or 4th on the depth chart this season.

Right now, the front-runner for the starting job is true-freshman, dual-threat style QB Tate Forcier. Tate is the younger brother of former Michigan backup Jason Forcier who left to pursue his degree at Stanford. Tate enrolled early back in January, along with 6 other recruits, to get a leg up on training for 2009. He participated in spring practice where fans got a really good look at his ability in the spring game in April. The general consensus was that Forcier did well in the scrimmage. For those who like stats...he threw 11 for 13, 141 yards and 4 touchdowns (and he ran for one). Of course those are scrimmage stats...which really don't mean much...but still, pretty good.

Tate Forcier Spring Game Highlights:
 

Incoming freshman Denard Robinson is also a dual-threet style QB who will most certainly contend for the starting position as well.

Robinson will make his way to Ann Arbor this summer to begin workouts with the team and start to get reps with the offense during summer camp. Most contend that Forcier is in the driver's seat as far as being the starter this season. But I predict we'll see both QB's on the field at least early on. The problem with 2 true-freshman as front-runners for the job is that we really won't know anything about how good they are until they see some real game experience. It sucks, but that's the reality.

Running Backs
23 Carlos Brown, Sr.
15 Michael Cox, Fr.
Jeremy Gallon, Fr.
24 Kevin Grady, Sr.
Teric Jones, Fr.
4 Brandon Minor, Sr.
35 Jimmy Potempa, Jr.
2 Vincent Smith, Fr.
Fitzgerald Toussaint, Fr.

For all of the inexperience we have at the QB position, we more than make up for at running back. Back for their senior years are Minor, Brown and Grady. These three guys are primed to have the kind of season we've all been waiting for them to have.

Minor should carry the load for the 2009 season. He's a big, tough back and actually has some decent speed. He has more than enough ability to put together a 1500 yard season. He won't get as many carries as Mike Hart did in the pro-style set he enjoyed during his tenure in the backfield. Minor will split carries with fellow seniors Carlos Brown and Kevin Grady. It was thought that Grady, who had some issues with drunk driving charges, might be kicked off the team. However he will be back for his final season in Ann Arbor.

Carlos Brown is also a bright spot for the offense with potential for great success. He can break long runs and pull away from linebackers with his speed. Expect to see Grady in the backfield for short yardage and goal line situations.

Freshman Vincent Smith enrolled early this spring to get a leg up on the competition. He wowed us with this YouTube clip:



We could also get away with listing the QB as a potential running back. In this style of offense, the QB is just as likely to run the ball as he is to pass. Tate Forcier showed us this spring that he can and will run the ball if nothing is open downfield.

Most Michigan fans who have tried to block out the 2008 season as much as possible will always remember Sam McGuffie. He came to Michigan with promise of being the great white hope for Michigan's spread-option future. But one too many shots to the head were enought to send McGuffie packing to Rice. He just wasn't cut out for the Big Ten. Way too many concussions and not enough time to prepare for life in college football.

Tight End
46 Jon Bills, So.
86 Kevin Koger, So.
88 Brandon Moore, Fr.
96 Mike Therman, Jr.
80 Martell Webb, Jr.

The misconception is that tight end is not as important in the spread-option offense. I can see how one might make that assumption. But TE is a vital role in this offense. It's like having a big slot receiver who can block for a scrambling QB. Its also a guy who can give a scrambling QB a short pass option. Don't think that just because the spread depends on small quick players that the big tough guys aren't just as important.

We have to replace 5-year senior Mike Massey who was the primary TE last season. Up and coming sophomore Kevin Koger impressed coaches with his play last year, and is poised to assume primary TE duties this season.

Coming up next, we'll take a look at Offense Part 2, which will include receivers and lineman.

State of Blog

Disclaimer: This post is an editorial of the state of my blog, not all blogs. It is a random, slightly coherent stringing together of thoughts about sports, disappointment, blogging, time and effort.

Is this thing on? WOW...what a stretch of nothing to write about. I'm not one to blog just for the sake of blogging. This is just a very slow stretch of time between actual football being played and actual football being played. There is no question that the frequency of posts around here have come to a grinding halt. I can attribute this to two key factors:

• I have much less time to write with my sudden and most uncompensated new responsibilities that my work-life has now bestowed upon me. I'm not complaining. There's nothing wrong, especially these days...with being busy with real work. I am happy to be so, but not at the expense of my time being able to write for this site.

• It is the off-season. And with that comes less and less to write about that anyone actually cares enough to read. Breaking news and new recruits are obviously things worth mentioning. But it's too early to preview opponents and breakdown position battles. Couple that with my earlier point and you have a perfect recipe for less and less posts.

And it's not that I have a loyal readership of thousands per day. Quite the opposite. Maybe a couple dozen or so. But for me, that's great! I'm happy to have the readers I have and more than happy to continue with the modest success I've enjoyed so far.

But there's a broader theme to this editorial. And that is this: This is getting harder and harder to do. Not from a writing perspective. Coming up with stuff to write about and actually doing it are easy...all you need is time and an internet connection.

What I mean is, having the stomach to do so.

In case anyone hasn't noticed, being a Michigan fan...or Detroit sports fan (or both, like me), these past few year's have been miserable, save for the Red Wings in 08.

The Lions are perpetually the worst team in the NFL. 1 win this season will be a 100% improvement over last year. How nice is that? The Pistons are ripe for total collapse. Unless Dumars whips up some magic in the head office this off-season, Pistons basketball will be back to where they were 10 years ago.

The Tiger's, albeit doing well in the AL central, still are not convincing any fans that they have what it takes to make a run in October. Run support is not there, and their division is soft.

Most recently, our beloved Red Wings...the only team in town which you can guarantee would bring it when it matters...laid down completely in the last two games of the Stanley Cup final. Maybe they were all playing injured like everyone said they were...but that doesn't take away the fact that watching those last two games was heart-wrenching.

And most importantly...Michigan football, I hate to say it, is stuck in reverse gear right now. And try as he may, the best Rodriguez is going to be able to do this year is try and get us into neutral. 6 wins and 6 losses is where I see this season ending. Michigan will reluctantly turn down a courtesy bid to play in the Motor City bowl...because a 2nd loss to a MAC school in one season is just not good for any BCS conference team.

Two straight losses to Penn State and Michigan State and Notre Dame...and an unthinkable 6th loss in a row to tOSU is too much for this blogger to handle. My heart hurts just thinking about it. But that's the reality that we all need to start accepting for this season. It's going to suck.

Did Michigan get their man with Rodriguez? Should we have pitched harder for Les Miles? Did Rodriguez screw up Pryor's recruitment? Are we turning into Notre Dame? What the hell is going on here?

These are the questions that I think a lot of people are asking themselves, but are too afraid to ask because we all know what the answers are. And I think the truth hurts for a reason. Because we know that 2008 was awful, and that so far we have no reason to think that 2009 is going to be much better.

We still have two QBs with zero experience. And a walk-on that will literally drive season ticket sales down if he's on the field this season.

Call me a pessimist, but when Sparty, Irish and Nittany Lion fans are all giving you shit and tOSU fans have stopped giving you shit because they feel sorry for you...how low has the program fallen? When will Michigan football actually mean something again?

I started this blog about two months before we lost to Appalachian State. Since then, we went from #3 in the country to unranked the next week. Bent over for Oregon. Had a big win against an 0-2 Notre Dame. Beat a decent Penn State again. Got past a mediocre Sparty squad. Got blown out by Wisconsin on the road. Forgot to show up against tOSU at home. Somehow beat Florida in a bowl game, Said goodbye to Lloyd, respectability and Michigan football as we knew it. Lost the recruit of the century and our best lineman to our biggest rival. Stole Rodriguez away from WVU. Said hello to a bunch of players who's names we'd seen on the roster but never on the field. Started a walk-on QB in the 08 opener. Watched a miracle comeback against Wisconsin. Lost to Toledo (f-ing TOLEDO!). Lost to all our rivals and were humiliated by tOSU yet again. Didn't go to a bowl. And said goodbye to the only decent QB we had on the roster.

So yeah, this blog has been nothing but unicorns and rainbows!

I'm a little disappointed that things haven't exactly gone a little smoother with our beloved program. Part of me looks at everything we've gone through these past two years and wonders how it all played out like this. If Lloyd didn't leave, what would 08 have looked like?

Would we have lost 9 games? Probably not. But it's likely we would have lost to Penn State and tOSU. And if that was the case, would Lloyd still have been the coach after 08? Would he have been run out of town by the heretics for a 6th straight loss to the Buckeyes?

We still would've had to replace Henne, Hart and Long. We would've kept Manningham, Arrington, Boren and Mallet. Would those 4 guys (and the pro-style offense) been enough to make a run at a Big Ten title in 08? My guess is no. A new year's day bowl? Probably. The Big Ten is a little down, so maybe another Capital One bowl appearance.

It's likely that Rodriguez would have stayed in Morgantown if not for leaving for Michigan. Hard to say how good the Mountaineers would've been last year with him as coach. Probably pretty good.

Maybe I'm just getting stubborn about Michigan football. Maybe I need to embrace the future and stop thinking about Bo and Lloyd and how different things are.

I can't believe how much things changed on that Friday in November of 2006. Michigan was on top of the world. About to play in the game that would define this program for years to come. The biggest and most hyped Michigan-tOSU game in history.

And then, on the eve of this historic game, our hero died.

With him, died the spirit and essence of Michigan football.

Looking back now, it all seems so poetic. No one could have written that script. One of the titans of college football. The most important man in the history of Michigan football. An epic leader of men and builder of champions...gone a day before the biggest game Michigan had played in a decade.

Things have changed so much for this program since then. We've all moved on, of course. But things still don't quite feel the same. And maybe that's the point. Why should they? Maybe it's time for another book about Michigan football to be written. Maybe the future of this program will be twice as bright as it's past. Who knows? Sports are full of questions and doubt. Just as I still doubt that Michigan made the right choice by hiring Rodriguez. But I'm willing to give the man time. We owe it to ourselves to believe that greatness is possible.

And lets face it, a 3-9 season will fill even the most positive supporters mind with doubt. And I don't want to be blamed for doing that. Rodriguez may be the hero we need right now. We just don't know. One season is not enough time.

So while we meander out way through this long and arduous off-season, things can and will get a little slow around here. But it's not because I have any less interest in Michigan football, but simply because I have less to write about, and much less time to do it in. Things will loosen up by this summer as hype about the 09 season ramps up and we start focusing in on whats going on.

Stay tuned for more from us in the coming weeks. And of course, thanks for reading. Go Blue!

Vincent Smith: Spring Ball Hero

NICE!


Found on mgoblog, YouTube credit.

Kelvin Grady, Schedules and Michigan YouTube

• Kickoff for our home game versus Indiana on the 26th of September has been slated for noon...on the Big Ten Network no doubt. This is the conference opener for Michigan this season.

• It seems that rumors of Michigan basketball player Kelvin Grady (brother of Michigan football player, notorious drunk driver Kevin Grady), has been looking to bring his athletic prowes to Rodriguez's offense. Link to mgoblog. He played backup point guard for the last two years, so no doubt he'd probably fit into a running back/slot role. Or, who knows...he could battle Denard and Tate for the QB gig. Either way, he's got three years starting next year to step up and make some noise.

• In an effort to make the 2009-2010 basketball schedule as tough as possible, Michigan has scheduled Kansas for a road game on December 19th. It is likely that Kansas will be a top-5 team next year. Here's to Martin and Beilein for keeping the schedule tough...hopefully we'll do the same when scheduling our football home opener for 2010.

• From everyone's favorite Michigan football YouTube sensation, WolverineHistorian, has recently posted the video from the Michigan-Indiana contest of 1998. This was the homecoming game from that season, and I was lucky enough to be in attendance with a couple friends of mine. We set in the nose-bleeds, but it was a sunny day and Michigan won...and the peasants rejoiced. Gotta love the classic ESPN music and the infamous halo around the Big House.

Jon Jansen

When I played organized football, I played offensive line almost exclusively. In junior high and my first year on varsity I played center. My junior year I was moved over to right tackle. Being tall and stuck right in the middle of the line didn't exactly bode well for our short QB...the back of my helmet has its fair share of football scuff marks.

I moved to right tackle in '96. Just so happens that I was #77 and I was a huge Michigan fan. And just so happens that Jon Jansen was also #77, starting right tackle, and a junior at Michigan. The stars aligned and I had an automatic role model.


The definition of consistency, he set the secord for most starts in Michigan history with 50. He never missed and game. His teamates nicknamed him "Rock".

Jansen was drafted in 1998 to the Washington Redskins (37th overall pick) where he has started 123 games at right tackle over the past 10 years. He tore his achilies in 2004, and has battled with nagging injuries since then. Last year he lost his starting role, but regained it by mid-season.


Just about a week or so ago, Redskins owner Daniel Snyder and head coach Jim Zorn met with Jansen to discuss their move to cut him from the team. They said they wanted to move the team in a new direction, and a 10 year veteran pro-bowler is not what they are interested in. They graciously offered to allow Jansen to retire as a Redskin, but Jansen declined.


 Zorn was quoted to the Washington Times that Jansen was still a very solid run-blocker, but struggled in pass-protection.
“Throughout the off-season, the minicamp and the first (organized team activities), I wanted to solidify the position, and there just wasn’t any change in Jon,” Zorn told the Times. “You don’t throw on every down, but you have to be able to pass-block. It wasn’t easy for me to say that to Jon, and I know it wasn’t easy to hear.”
So now the Clawson, MI native is going to return home. And pending a physical, will sign a 1-year deal to play for the Detroit Lions.
“I want to come in and compete as hard as I can,” Jansen said. “If I end up getting some playing time, that’s great. If I can support the offensive line in whatever role, that’s great. But again, I’m a competitor. I want to come in and compete as hard as I can.”
Sounds good to me. Any signs of life on the offensive line for the Lions will go a long way in hopefully regaining some sense of respectability this season. And maybe having a decorated NFL veteran in attendance on the Michigan sidelines this season will benefit recruiting as well.

Welcome home Jon. Good Luck in Detroit.

Incoming: Christian Pace

Now that the BBQ at the Big House has come and passed...as suspected, offered athletes are starting to send in their verbals. The first verbal post-BBQ is Ohio OL Christian Pace. Pace hails from Avon Lake...a suburb of Cleveland. He stands at 6-3 262lbs. Not exactly left tackle pedigree, his prospects are most certainly going to put him on the interior line. He's a good center with a big frame who had received offers from other Big Ten schools such as MSU, Northwestern, Iowa and Illinois. He also had offers from Notre Dame, Pitt, South Carolina, Colorado, Stanford, and Florida State.

Rivals ranks him at 3 stars, and the #5 overall center. He is the 12th commitment for this class and the first OL to make Michigan his home for 2010.

Incoming: Jordan Paskorz, Exciting 2010 Schedule News

Work/real life has been pretty crazy these past couple weeks. Even now that I have a couple minutes to get a chance to post here, I still don't know when it will finally slow down at least a little bit. So I am taking this small opportunity to update us on some of the recent news.

First of all, welcome Jordan Paskorz!

Michigan picked up this verbal last week, but of course we're just getting around to posting about him now. He's a 6-4, 225 lb. LB/DE from Allison Park, PA. He had received offers from Michigan, Minnesota, Pitt, Virginia and Bowling Green (more on them later). Rivals and Scout both rank him at 3-stars. Actually, Rivals lists him as a Weakside DE...which I think is odd that they would be so specific about a high school athlete, given that once he gets to Michigan, its really a toss up where on the defensive line/backfield he'll eventually end up. Either way...he's a welcome addition to the 2010 class and we're happy to have him coming to AA.

Speaking of recruiting...Michigan hosted their 2nd annual BBQ at the Big House this past Saturday. News is still filtering out as to what actually went down and how many recruits were in attendance. Initial estimates put the number of recruits at about 24 or so.

This is a tradition started last year by Rodriguez and staff to bring potential recruits (mostly HS juniors) and their families to Ann Arbor to meet the staff, see the facilities and get to know each other a little bit. I am a big fan of this. First of all, it gets the families and coaches together in a friendly informal atmosphere to talk and discuss their sons opportunities. And mostly, it's a great setting for an event such as this. Nothing sells the program better than grilled brats on the 50 yard line of the biggest football stadium in the world with Rodriguez proclaiming to them, "This could all be yours!"

When the Big House is finally finished and ready for the 2010 season, we will get to see two pretty bland opponents as part of the non-conference schedule. UMass and Bowling Green have been added to the 2010 campaign as home games. UMass will travel to the Big House on September 18th, and BGSU will be the following week on the 25th. Neither will be the opener for the 2010 season...that is still being decided. Hoepfully a decent opponent will be hosted to celebrate the opening of the newly completed renovation.

Right now the 2010 season looks like this...

9/4 - OPEN
9/11 - at Notre Dame
9/18 - vs. Massachusetts
9/25 - vs. Bowling Green
10/2 - at Indiana
10/9 - vs. Michigan State
10/16 - vs. Iowa (HC)
10/23 - BYE
10/30 - at Penn State
11/6 - vs. Illinois
11/13 - at Purdue
11/20 - vs. Wisconsin
11/27 - at Ohio State

For the record, as a graduate of THE Bowling Green State University, I can not complain about the Falcons being added to the schedule. Sure, it ain't sexy...but when those orange and brown helmets come running out of the tunnel...you'll feel the goosebumps! These two teams met for the first time on Sept. 2, 2000, resulting in a 42-7 Michigan victory.

As for UMass...well, I guess we just need to get used to the fact that FCS opponents on the schedule is going to be a reality for the foreseeable future. Blah.