Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Wolverines Win One for Lloyd

Michigan 41
Florida 35

Wow. Fantastic game. Needless to say, the Wolverines needed this one. They looked better than they have all season. I'll tackle this in a "random bullet points" fashion:

  • DeBord pulled out some plays from the never-before-seen section of the playbook (from page 723 - a throw to Jake Long?). IMHO, the most brilliant play was the screen pass to Butler. Michigan lined up with the four guys to the right, and from that formation they always run the bubble screen (or WR screen, whatever you want to call it) to Manningham, and Florida knew it and had everyone leaning that way. Butler was wide open on the other side and it went for big yardage. Kudos to DeBord for this game, but I don't understand why we call plays the whole year to set up deception in the bowl game. Pull those plays out all year! Anyway, the game film should be a nice audition tape for DeBord's next job, wherever it may be: "You see, I CAN be creative!"

  • Mike Hart fumbling twice was shocking. It doesn't diminish his stellar career, or make him any less of a great player in my mind, but it does somewhat tarnish the "legend" of Mike Hart. However, he still had a great game, and he still goes down as one of my all-time favorite Michigan players. He'll be hard to replace next year. I hope McGuffie lives up to the hype. RR's offense seems like it would suit him well.

  • Coach English will be heading to Louisville to coordinate their defense. They need help on defense, and he'll do well there.
  • The way Henne played made me fully understand how badly his shoulder must have been hurting earlier in the season. He was dead-on with almost every throw. Another senior who topped off a wonderful career with a great game.

  • Despite giving up 35 points, I thought the defense played rather well. They contained Tebow, and only Harvin really had a good game. Almost all of the blitzes that were called were exceuted perfectly. Coverage (except of Harvin) was usually very good. Tackling, in most cases was very good. Jamar Adams had some big hits. I don't remember one instance of Florida throwing deep.

  • Harvin is scary. I think I pulled a muscle from tensing up every time he got the ball.

  • That one-handed catch by Arrington on the sidelines was sick. That should be on the best catches of the year list. He also made another one across the middle where he juggled it and caught it against his hip. I hope he stays. He could be a monster in RR's offense.

  • It's funny how last year all of the "pundits" were saying how the long layoff hurt OSU and Michigan in their bowl games. This year, that same layoff allowed Michigan to get healthy, and they looked anything but rusty.

Go Blue!


Adman said...

To your last point, same with USC. They got healthy and kicked butt.

And completely agreed on DeBord. Dude -- your job is to do that each and every week, not just show you're capable of it once every few years.

How about Morgan Trent? He had a great game as well. Can't wait until next year. It certainly is great to finish off the season with a big bowl victory! Go Blue!!

Taxman said...

Classic game and great win for Lloyd to be carried off into the sunset. UM looked like the hungrier team on both sides of the ball. The O-line did a great job protecting Henne. The D was consistently aggressive and really beat up Tebow. Harvin got his but he will against anybody - what a talent. But UM would not be denied. Adrian Arrington was monstrous. Mike Hart ran tough for 32 carries and got made some key plays despite the unbelievable fumbles. Henne made many NFL throws - across the field, down the field between defenders...very confident.

It's nice to go into the offseason smiling with a big win over a SEC power. Will be very interesting to see who stays and goes....i would not blame Mario or Adrian for leaving as they are both potentially first round guy. They would probably be top 10 type guys if they stay and that's a lot more money than being drafted between 25 & 45 but it's still a possibility they bolt. I think Arrington was very tight with Lloyd this season. And not sure what Mario wants to do.

The spread will work with Mallett. You don't have to have a mobile QB - it helps but Mallett ran out of the shotgun his whole career in high school.

It's going to be an interesting exciting new era. Mostly, happy for Lloyd to finish the way he did and for those seniors to win a bowl game on their way out.

Go Blue!

Taxman said...

Here is a nice piece from summing up the emotions of the bowl and the whole Lloyd thing - you don't often read national pieces about this part of Lloyd even though we all know the love for Lloyd by the players has always been there.

Carr's Great Ride

By Matthew Zemek

3. The end of Michigan's win over Florida is as good as sports gets. Lloyd Carr's victory ride into the coaching sunset should tell you all you need to know about the meaning and value of sports in our lives.

Yeah, in a certain sense, sports are just games. But when you look at the emotions, words, gestures and sentiments that flowed from Lloyd Carr, his brother coaches, and his Wolverine players after the victory over Florida, it quickly becomes apparent that these "kids games"--for all the wretched (financial, social, physical, corporate) excesses they have indeed unleashed on American society--are nevertheless arenas in which lessons and meanings can be conveyed. The Michigan men, young and old, who were part of the Lloyd Carr victory lap are men who have been nourished and edified in ways words will never adequately express. Collegiate athletics have certainly enabled the members of the Michigan football program to become better human beings, and for the past 27 years--13 of them as a head coach--Lloyd Carr was a core part of that process of men-molding in Ann Arbor.

Seeing Carr's poignantly glorious exit from the college football stage is a moment and memory that ought to remain with every sports fan for a long, long time to come. The level of intensity showed by his team against the Gators proved how much a large family cared about Carr himself. The whole game, but especially its emotional end, told a story not of one bowl battle, but of the deep bond between a group of several dozen young people and a coach who profoundly affected each other over the past few years.

The proof of the power of Lloyd Carr's life lies in this statement: Ordinary men don't get large numbers of young people to pull together the way the Wolverines did against Florida. There must be something special about a guy who could inspire such excellence from a team that was so fully written off against a high-caliber opponent.

Yes, it wasn't a BCS bowl, and it didn't have the theatrics of Boise State's Fiesta Bowl win a year ago, but if you really care about sports with a deep and abiding passion, you'd know that the very purpose of athletics found its soul once again in the 2008 Capital One Bowl, when Lloyd Carr and Michigan became victors one more time. It doesn't happen routinely in this industry, but when it does, it's breathtaking: Yes, Lloyd Carr's swan song gave college football a genuinely spiritual moment of astonishing beauty and