Even after a month off I still can't think of titles for these posts that will accurately convey what Im going to try to write about. So Ive decided to go with gimmicky titles and now Im using brothers who were both professional athletes, and who better to start with than the Perez brothers, both of whom are obvious first ballot hall of famers in the late 80's scary Latino players with ridiculous jheri curls, alongside Pedro Guerrero, Alfredo Griffin, and of course the incomparable Tito Landrum, who wasn't from Latin America but from Missouri..................... Santo Domingo, Missouri. O.K. so I made that last city up, big deal, you get the point.
Moving on. Yesterday was the first Saturday of the college football season and the home openers for both Michigan and Michigan State. I didnt catch all of the State game but by all accounts they played exceptionally well, and Im glad for them. I really want the Spartans to do well and root for them to win, but I can't cheer for them when they play Michigan. I took too much pleasure in Michigan destroying the Spartans in East Lansing the year the Wolverines won the title to ever call myself a true State fan. Ill never forget my sisters ex boyfriend talking trash after Sedrick Irvin scored on a fake punt in the first quarter to make it 7-0 and then falling into complete silence after the Spartans failed to score again.
Anyways, I was able to attend the Michigan-Northern Illinois game at the Big House, and my final overall impression of the team after winning their first game is ............... eh. I wasnt blown away by their performance and I wasnt completely depressed either, just kind of average. Of course I am in the overwhelming minority with my opinion. After Northern Illinois converted its first third down conversion, the always melodramatic majority of Michigan fans were already calling for Lloyd Carr's job, many of whom were in mid-season bitching form. Ive never understood all of the hatred and venom directed at Carr. Sure he doesnt get the absolute most out of his players every year and he can be a little conservative at times, but I dont think any one of his decisions has flat out cost us a win in any of his 11 seasons as coach. He wins 10 games a year, and HE WON A NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP! Even the Jesus of modern day Michigan football, Bo Schembechler, didnt win a national title in his 20 years as head coach AND he fired Ernie Harwell, which Im pretty sure Lloyd Carr has never done. But without further ado my breakdown of yesterdays game.
Offense: The offense looked great in the first half and had a good performance overall. Chad Henne looked really relaxed and efficient out there. The offensive line was solid and didnt incur any major penalties, which is always a great thing because one of my biggest pet peeves is holding penalties. I absolutely hate holding penalties, espcially after long runs, because it effects my post-traumatic stress syndrome by giving me flashbacks of the Larry Tharpe era in Detroit. I thought the receivers were great, especially Jason Avant. I wish I would have typed this before yesterdays game so I could have appeared more sage-like, but for some time now I always thought Avant would step up as the go to guy after Braylon Edwards left and have one of those insane Marquise Walker after Terrell left kind of seasons. I mean the guy catches everything thrown his way, as evidenced by that leaping grab, across the middle, of a pass that was thrown about two feet behind him. Steve Breaston on the other hand had a rather mediocre game. I'm sure that Northern Illinois had gameplanned around keeping him out of the open field, but 2 catches for 15 yards was rather blah. I guess some of the blame though could be laid at the hands of the coaching staff. With a talent like him it seems like you would design plays with the express intent of getting the ball in his hands in some open space a la Reggie Bush and Ted Ginn Jr. Mike Hart was phenomenal yesterday. I really enjoy watching this guy run because he refuses to go down. For him to go down he literally has to be wrestled down, tied up and tackled, because arm tackles just won't stop him. Plus hes like a pinball when he runs, just bouncing off people and constantly moving forward, not to mention the power as evidenced by his steamrolling of that Saluki who unfortunately got in his way. Kevin Grady was pretty impressive too, outside of his fumble on the two yard line. I like how Grady runs hard, it seems like hes going full steam by the time he gets the handoff. Im really excited about this backfield tandem of Hart and Grady for the next two or three years. It kind of reminds me of when Michigan had Wheatley and Biakabatukbiakbtuakabu, with Grady being the Tyrone and Hart being the Tshimanga. The rest of the offense was also solid and I liked how sure handed Tim Massaq.......... ,forget it Im not even gonna try that one, finally looked.
Now for the defense, ah yes the defense, now Im not going to dump all over them because they did play reasonably well and they forced five turnovers, which is pretty impressive, and Im a big proponent of the turnover differential stat. However I do think that the defense still is way too slow, something I hoped would be partially remedied after getting exposed so badly in the Rose Bowl. But alas team speed is still a problem at Michigan. I think this may be a result of the old school Big Ten mentality still being into play at Michigan. Everyone knows about the three yards and a cloud of dust and the conservative and defensive minded style of football that has traditionally been played in the Big Ten. This style always demanded bigger stronger players throughout the defense. As a matter of fact bigger and stronger was the mantra espoused by the Michigan coaches. But it really should be stronger and FASTER, because the Big Ten as well as the rest of college football has changed over the last 50 years, and teams even ones as stubborn as Big Ten teams are have begun to use more spread formations and smaller and quicker players or at the very least more athletic players on the offensive side of the ball. Michigan has seemed slow to adjust on defense and it seems each one of their players is out of position. They play corners as big as most safeties, safeties as big as linebackers (see: Ernest Shazor) and linebackers who should be defensive ends. However with Lamar Woodley as a defensive end and Marlin Jackson playing a year at safety, where he should have stayed in my opinion, maybe Michigan is starting to come around a little bit and getting their defense up to speed, literally.
In a random note that justifies watching a 2 A.M. Baseball Tonight, the rapper Daddy Yankee, who was responsible for the horrific "Gasolina" song, was listing off his favorite baseball players for a segment where ESPN interviews a musician whose also a baseball fan. So Daddy, or would it be Mr. Yankee, is listing all the Puerto Rican legends like Roberto Clemente and Ivan Rodriguez as well as perenniel All-Stars like Jorge Posada, when he randomly lists Candy Maldonado, maybe the only time a .254 career hitter who had only a few twenty homerun seasons will be mentioned in the same breath as the other three. Why not the Perez brothers, no love for Pascual. No metion of a guy who once missed a start because he got lost going to Atlantas Stadium and drove around it for hours............ I just realized that I have now written about Pascual Perez, a mediocre baseball player who retired nearly a decade ago not once but twice............in the same post, which means its time to stop writing tonight beginning .............. now.