Showing posts with label Michigan football. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Michigan football. Show all posts

Throwback Thursday: Jim Harbaugh

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Growing up in Ohio, surrounded by family and friends that were all buckeye fans, I remember watching a Michigan quarterback guaranteeing a victory against those buckeyes. That guarantee became truth and it was spoken by none other than Jim Harbaugh

Harbaugh was a four year letterman for the Michigan Wolverines at the quarterback position from 1982-1986. He was a 3 year starter, under coach Bo Schembechler, that began his sophomore season. Playing Michigan St the fifth game of the season, Jim suffered a broken arm and ended his season. 

Coming back in his junior year with a chip on his shoulder, Harbaugh led his team to a great 10-1-1 season. Some say this was the best season Bo ever had as a coach. Although the season started on a funny note, it ended victoriously.  On the first play of the first game back from injury, Harbaugh stepped up to the line to call the play, tapped center Bob Tabachino on the hip and asked him what is it on. He forgot the play count. This was Tabachinos first start at center. The center said "That, to me, he's just so intense and so excited and such a competitor."  Jim never lost his intensity the rest of his career and it has carried over to his coaching as well. During that spectacular year Harbaugh and the Wolverines defeated OSU, and went on to beat Nebraska in the Fiesta Bowl. They finished second in the polls for the season. Harbaugh led the nation in pass efficiency that year. 

His senior year was much of the same greatness we saw in his prior season. Michigan went 11-2 along with a invite to the esteemed Rose Bowl. This is the year I remember the big guarantee. Harbaugh said at a Monday press conference that Michigan would beat the Buckeyes and go on to the Rose Bowl. He delivered on his statement. The Wolverines went into a hostile Columbus environment and won 26-24, sending them on to Pasadena. Jim not only talked the talk but he showed he could also walk the walk. He would then be named the Big Ten Conference player of the year and to the all academic team. Harbaugh finished third in the Heisman voting. 

At the end of his college career he would be in the top 5 in Michigan football history for passing attempts, completions, completion percentage, passing yards and touchdowns. To date he still is 6th in passing yards and 7th for career completions. Jim held the record for NCAA division 1-A passing efficiency(325-399) for twelve years. Also he was the first Michigan QB to pass for over 5,000 yards. 

Harbaugh would be the 26th pick in the 1987 NFL draft by the Chicago Bears. He was their leader for the next 6 years before moving on the the Colts. After a long career in the NFL, Jim turned to coaching. He would eventually become head coach for University of San Diego, Stanford and currently the San Francisco 49ers. He has went from Michigan QB to Super Bowl coach. 

He continues to have the same intensity, passion for the game and desire to be the best, just like what we first saw when he wore the famous winged helmet for the Wolverines. Jim Harbaugh is one of the Michigan greats and one of the reasons I became a Michigan fan. Congratulations Coach Harbaugh on all your success on this throwback Thursday. 

The Curious Case of the Michigan Offensive Line

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Before I jump right into this, I wanted to start with a bit of an introduction to my background. I played football for 10 years, from 3rd grade all the way through high school. I had a few offers to play college ball at D3 or D2 schools, but I (perhaps stupidly) chose to not continue my football career. For each and every one of those 10 years, I played offensive line (and linebacker, but that's irrelevant right now). The reason I'm telling you this isn't because I'm reliving my glory days here, but to sort of let you all know that offensive line play, in particular the play of the center and left tackle, is near and dear to my heart. I watch the offensive line more than I watch any other position, and last season's debacle on the line cut me deep.

Follow me through the jump to hear my thoughts on the current state of the Michigan offensive line, and how I think it'll all shake out come August 31st...

Throwback Thursday: Remembering Bo Schembechler

Thursday, April 10, 2014

"No man is more important than the Team. No coach is more important than the Team. The Team, the Team, the Team."

This was a part of one of the greatest locker room speeches ever given in college football by legendary Michigan head football coach Bo Schembechler

In honor of last weeks unveiling of the new statue of Bo that sits in front of the newly remodeled Schembechler Hall, this first TBHR Throwback Thursday Series piece is dedicated to the late Bo Schembechler.

Spring Game Takeaways: Positives

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Yes, yes...I were all waiting with bated breath for this 2nd installment of the "takeaways" series. Actually, I kinda plan on making this a regular thing during the season, but anyways.

Let's get right to it. Follow me through the jump to see what positives we, as Michigan fans, can take away from the 2014 Spring Game. 

Michigan Football: Nussmeier and Spring Game

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Let's take a deep breath first, people.  Right now, as we know it, Michigan Football on the offense side of the ball is still in the learning stage of getting to where it needs to be.  Granted this is the first televised practice its easy to jump to conclusions and as fans, we will.

Doug Nussmeier's voice at the conclusion of Saturdays practice was close to gone judging by what the Wolverines had shown on the field.   From dropped passes from wide receivers and missed assignments from the offensive line it was a long day for Michigan's offense.

Spring Game Takeaways: Negatives

Monday, April 7, 2014

Hello again, Michigan fans:

After watching, re-watching, and watching the Spring Game over the past few days, I've come away with several negatives and several positives that we can legitimately take away from the game. As always, bad news first, good news later, so follow me through the jump to check out the negative takeaways:

Michigan Football: Penn State Announced As "Under The Lights III" Opponent

The University of Michigan confirmed on Monday afternoon that they would be playing their "Under the Lights III" game when they bring in the Penn State Nittany Lions on Oct. 11, 2014.

Michigan Spring Game Recap, Part Two: Defense Looks Fast And Physical

Sunday, April 6, 2014

We already took a look at how the offense performed in the Spring Game, but now we shift our focus over to the defensive side of the ball, where the Michigan Wolverines 2014 football team showed some good things after an off-season shakeup on the coaching staff and with the personnel.

Check out my take on what the defense displayed after the jump.

Michigan Spring Game Recap, Part One: Not Much To See On Offense

The Michigan Wolverines football program held their annual Spring Game at The Big House on Saturday afternoon, giving the public their first official look at 2014's team. 

While mostly a practice session with a scrimmage portion at the end, the Wolverines definitely showed some positives and things that still need to be worked on. 

Stick around after the jump for my observations from this year's game on the offensive side of the ball.

Michigan Spring Game: Five Players To Watch

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Today is Michigan Football's annual Spring Game at The Big House, and while it may be more of a practice instead of an actual game, there are some players to look out for today.

Devin Gardner, Quarterback

Gardner won't exactly be tested today, as he'll be wearing a no-contact practice jersey, but we should be able to see how comfortable he is in new offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier's new pro-style offensive attack.

There will not be a ton of designed runs for Gardner in this system, but today will show us that he has a handle on the new system and is building a good rapport with his teammates.

Jake Ryan, Inside Linebacker

Ryan is healthy and a proven talent on this team, but a big defensive shake up in the off-season has moved him over to middle linebacker, where he more or less becomes the quarterback on that side of the ball.

He is more than capable of being an impact player at this position, and calling the shots now should make everyone else better around him. Ryan has all the tools to be an elite defensive playmaker, and we should get to see how he is adjusting today.

Derrick Green and Deveon Smith, Running Backs

Ok, so this is more than just one player, but they are tied in together in more ways than one. Not only are they extremely similar players, but they will also split carries in the running game for the Wolverines this season.

Both are downhill runners and have the potential to be very good backs in this offense. Their success is indirectly tied in with how well the offensive line performs (we'll touch on that a bit later), but I am eager to see how the two look compared to their freshman seasons.

Freddy Canteen, Wide Receiver

Many thought the Wolverines settled when they ended up with Freddy Canteen instead of Artavis Scott in the 2014 recruiting class, but by all accounts, this true freshman slot receiver appears ready to make a big splash.

Canteen has had a very good spring showing and hasn't been shy about saying he wants to play early and play often. With guys like Jeremy Gallon and Drew Dileo graduated, the opportunity is there. Today will be the public's first chance to see if he can seize it or not.

Dymonte Thomas, Safety

Going into his sophomore season, Thomas is a guy that many are looking to that can emerge as a playmaker in the defensive secondary. He has shown flashes of the great athlete that he is, but did not get many chances in that rotation last year. He is now being given that chance.

If Thomas can live up to his potential, the thought of him and freshman Jabrill Peppers in the same secondary over the next few seasons has scary good upside.

Honorable Mention: The Offensive Line

This group could be given an article of its own (and will be, soon enough).

Aside from Kyle Kalis and Ben Braden, there are several unknowns in this group, and today we may get a clearer picture of who is in the lead to land these other positions. Keep an eye on them.

First Look at Team 135 in Saturday's Spring Game

The University of Michigan Wolverines are hosting their annual spring football game on Saturday, April 5th, at The Big House. Michigan has a lot of bright spots on the team, and are littered with talent. However, there is uncertainty around the team, questions marks plague the depth chart, and Saturday will give people a measurement of where they are versus where they want to be. 

One of the biggest questions is who will replace Taylor Lewan? Not every day does a 19-20 year old man-child stroll into your facility and say he can play, so they will have some work to do at the left tackle position. Early-enrollee Mason Cole has impressed the staff at this point, so would Brady Hoke pull the trigger on the young man from Tarpon Springs, Florida? If he continues to hold his own, and progress at the same time, it could be hard to go against the 6-4, 285 true freshman. If he can fill the void left by Lewan, Michigan could be in good hands for the next 3-4 years. 

For those who are wondering about a quarterback competition potentially upsetting Devin Gardner, think again. 

"I'm a competitor, I'm going to compete and they'll pick the best quarterback when it's time," Gardner said, "(But) I'm the quarterback of the team." (- Tom Fornelli,

Gardner will benefit greatly from new offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier's guidance and grooming, so it really isn't a concern about who Michigan will be starting at quarterback. There has been whispers by some that Gardner could be competing for his job, but unless Shane Morris of Wilton Speight catch lightning in a bottle, Gardner is the guy at QB. Many question Gardner's decision making, and are quick to jump on him after some mistakes; some warranted, other times not so much. Morris, Speight and Gardner were all All-Americans, but that doesn't necessarily guarantee success. You guys remember Bubba Starling? Rankings or accolades in High School don't necessarily mean success in college. Point being, just because your roster is littered with talent, doesn't mean they are all going to pan out. Gardner has done well to this point, given the circumstances people could say he may have overachieved, and deserves to be the week one starter. 

It will also be a game that I will be focusing on the defense pretty heavily. The linebacking core has been shuffled, Jake Ryan will now play middle linebacker and it will be interesting to see how he is adapting to the role. The secondary is also interesting to me; Blake Countess is my guy to watch, but I want to see what Dymonte Thomas can do as well. This is a game where chemistry could be developed, without any pressure of "losing" the game. As far as the defensive line goes, they will be the unit that has the most to prove. The group has vastly underachieved, so Saturday will be the right time to make strides at hitting their potential, or at least make some head-way. 

My sleeper pick in the game will be Freddy Canteen. He has impressed almost everyone who has seen him in practice so far, so he will have his audition for the slot receiver position Saturday. He was one of the least talked about players in Michigan's recruiting class, but that has since changed, which is a great sign. Moe Ways could also be a nice piece to the puzzle if he could play to the best of his abilities this season. 

Michigan's spring game will begin at 2:00 pm EST on Saturday, April 5th in Ann Arbor. The game will be played on the Big Ten Network

Former Alabama Lineman Chad Lindsay To Visit Michigan This Weekend

Friday, April 4, 2014

It was reported late last month that the Michigan Wolverines were looking to add an offensive line transfer from the Alabama Crimson Tide, offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier's former employer. It now appears that it may be a step closer to happening.

Chad Lindsay, an offensive guard, will be visiting Michigan this weekend during the annual Spring Game at Michigan Stadium, according to CBS Sports' Jeremy Fowler.

Doug Nussmeier Has Installed 80-85 Percent of New Offense, Hoke Says

Thursday, April 3, 2014

New offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier has installed 80-85 percent of Michigan's new offense, according to head coach Brady Hoke.

Speaking to the media on Thursday afternoon, Hoke stated that the Wolverines have hit the ground running in Spring practices in terms of what they are throwing at players on the offensive side of the ball in the new scheme.

Devin Gardner Will Run Less in Doug Nussmeier's Offense

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

When offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier was hired earlier this year, it was said that he was bringing an offense with him that was more of a pro-style look, meaning that his quarterbacks would be taking more snaps from under center and there would be more elements of a one-back, power running game.

One of the biggest keys to success in 2014 is of course developing redshirt senior quarterback Devin Gardner, but they also want to do keep him healthy and on the field at all times.

The Big House Report Podcast: March 31, 2014

Monday, March 31, 2014

This week, we talk to former Michigan basketball player Anthony Wright about the end of the season for this year's Wolverines hoops squad and his take on the place of labor unions in college athletics.

You can listen to the latest episode here or on the YouTube link after the jump.

Michigan's Road Schedule to be Largest Obstacle of the Season

Saturday, March 29, 2014

If you ask anyone what might hinder Michigan this 2014 season, most would point to the offensive line, and you've have some scattered fingers pointing toward running backs or the defense. I agree, those are obviously areas in need of improvement. What's missing from that scope, though, is an incredibly challenging schedule.

Michigan's Offense Starting to Click; Will Have to Live up to Expectations in 2014

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

It's been just a few short months since newly hired Offensive Coordinator Doug Nussmeier was brought in by Head Coach Brady Hoke to run his offense, but it seems to be paying dividends already. 

Now, the Michigan Wolverines seem to be adjusting to the power-running game just fine, and have even said that it is much simpler to learn. Nussmeier has made a living off of the stable of running backs he had while coaching at the University of Alabama, and looks to replicate that success with De'Veon Smith and Derrick Green. Two RBs that have a load of potential, who just a year ago would not see a steady workload until late in the year, look to build on the momentum they had at year's end. 

Green was a highly touted recruit coming out of high school, and was, by many sites and scouts, dubbed the Nation's number one running back recruit. He came into his Freshman season overweight, and looked like he was not in football shape. He had just 83 carries for 270 yards and 2 touchdowns in his Freshman campaign, but will now be the back that gets majority of the carries for the Wolverines. He has the physical build to withstand a grueling season, it will be up to him, and quite frankly the offensive line, to live up to the high expectations of Wolverine Nation. 

Smith had far less attention during his recruitment, but has been a gem since he stepped on campus in Ann Arbor. He totaled 117 yards on just 26 carries in 2013, but he showed, in spurts, that he could be a nice addition to the offense. They may not be numbers that fly out of the statsheet, but the are encouraging, given the portion. 

Michigan has been looking for a running back that they could lean on ever since Fitzgerald Toussaint last rushed for 1,011 yards in 2011. Toussaint was nearly a non-factor in the offense in 2013, but then again, so was Michigan's offense as a whole. Toussaint is now an alumnus of the university, so it will be a "next man up" mentality for Green and company. 

The focus has been shifted to the run game now, but let's not forget that Michigan has weapons elsewhere, too. At Wide Receiver, they have Drake Harris, Freddy Canteen, Moe Ways, Amara Darboh, and potentially Devin Funchess. There are big-play potential players on that list, and should be able to make up for the numbers that Jeremy Gallon had last year in a breakout season. 

At Quarterback, they still have Devin Gardner, which is great news regardless of how people felt about his 2013 season. Many people blamed Gardner for the failures on offense in 2013, but do not realize that he was just 40 yards shy of eclipsing 3,000 yards passing, and totaled 21 touchdowns through the air; He also totaled 483 yards and 11 touchdowns rushing. Those numbers did not happen by accident, and let us also remember that he did so while running for his life. Gardner is more than capable of handling the starting QB position, and he should be the starter, but that's a conversation for another day. 

It will be a run-first offense, but Nussmeier will know what he has by the time fall practices roll around. He is an intelligent coach, and has a good reputation around the country, and has groomed some big time talent, most notably AJ McCarron. There was a stretch in 2011-12 where McCarron threw 291 straight passes without an interception, so that should make Michigan fans extremely happen considering Gardner did have 11 interceptions last season. Limiting Gardner's turnovers is key for this offense. 

In 2014, the expectations will be higher than in 2013, so many are looking for this year to be the year Michigan represents the Big Ten in the Rose Bowl, so the offense will need to click. It will not be easy to live up to those expectations, especially after finishing 7-6 last season, but as Hoke said when he was introduced, "This is Michigan," so he will have to live up to his words, for God's sake. 

Spring Positional Battles: Defense

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Hello again, friends.

I'm back again with the 2nd part of my spring positional battles series, this time focusing on defense.

Let's get right to it after the jump:

Michigan's Secondary Looks To Be Unit Of Strength Going Forward

With the commitment of 2015 four-star cornerback Garrett Taylor, the Michigan Wolverines seem to be looking at a shift in philosophy of sorts in terms of how to build their defense.

In the last couple of classes, Brady Hoke and staff have focused their attention on the defensive side of the ball to bringing in some of the more athletic secondary prospects in the country, and it should pay off in the future.

TBHR Podcast 3/24/14: Sweet Sixteen Wolverines and Garrett Taylor's Comittment

Monday, March 24, 2014

In this week's episode, we talk to our very own David Mormino about the Michigan Basketball program being in the Sweet Sixteen and the NCAA Tournament picture overall.

Also, we talk to Maize N Brew's Joshua Henschke about the commitment of 2015 cornerback Garrett Taylor and where the Wolverines go next with that recruiting class, along with his recent article on the basketball team featured in the Detroit Free Press.

You can listen to the show here.

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