Good afternoon campers!
Thinking about yesterday’s game, I couldn’t help but flash on a scene from “A Fish Called Wanda” where Otto, the über-stupid former CIA operative attempts to double cross his fellow bank thieves and steal the loot out of the safe where they’ve stashed their loot. He successfully breaks into the safe only to find that someone’s already lifted the money. He pauses, stares blankly at the empty safe and shouts, “Disappointed!”
It’s a great scene – if you recall it you’ll know what I mean – and one that I found myself reprising yesterday as the clock ran out.
And yet, I’m irrationally optimistic. Granted, I’m an inveterate “glass half full” fellow to begin with but I saw things a little differently than the rest of ND Nation (if today’s ‘Sturm und Drang’ is any indication). And I’m going to throw this out: I don’t think, with the exception of USC, we lose again this year. Certainly not next week.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. My stream-of-conscious thoughts:
- Game ball – if one can give one in a loss: Armando Allen. We ought to be talking today about how tough he runs. He may not have that Jahvid Best gear we all hoped for, no one runs tougher in those 3-8 yard grinds. He got fucked on that screen pass TD – isn’t the rule supposed to be indisputable evidence to OVERTURN a call – and shushing the crowd = taunting? In a game that close?! Puhlease… Sully, it’s time for you to give your Armando enmity a rest. He ain’t Joe Knight but I think he’s pretty damn good.
- Game goats: for me, there’s two and neither one is Charlie:
- The Not-Ready-For-Prime-Time-Special teams. Hello, a missed FG barely longer than a PAT, a KO return for a TD and Eric Maust’s pathetic final punt. We obsess on Charlie’s clock management – more on that later – but that group was a repeated buzz kill to the team.
- The Defensive Backs. I thought this group was supposed to be our strength? The group that would allow us to recklessly blitz till the cows come home. They sure didn’t look like it yesterday. And here’s a news flash: not many of those Michigan WR’s will be playing on Sunday. Hell, their best WR didn’t even play. Eek – color me concerned.
- Forcier. I was sooo looking to mock this kid (“Hello, I’m Tate – like the gallery – FOR SEE AY… of the Lyon, France Forciers… and did you know I don’t get nervous”) but damn the kid is pretty good. Far better than I expected and more impressive than either of the Saturday night marquee boys, Pryor and Barkley. That said, I like my freshmen with humility and apparently that wasn’t anything either God or his parents gave him. I hope he gets broken in two and the way he plays, I’m thinking that’s going to happen sooner rather than later.
- One of the popular graffiti expressions in London used to be “Clapton is God”. So is Michael Floyd.
- Jimmy. Count me as a fan; I thought he played great yesterday and would vigorously debate any notion that he was the reason we lost. A criticism, however: he doesn’t throw the deep ball rally all that well and his inability to throw a deep sideline pass is a little mystifying to me. Arguably he was responsible for getting Floyd hurt (and unavailable for the important final possessions).
- Sergio Brown. Don’t count me as a fan - this year’s Mo Crum; a senior who makes one highlight hit per game along with 3-4 other total “what the fuck were you thinking” plays.
- Sam Young. Over-rated. At times it seems he could be considered for Guinness Book of World Records – ‘the largest turnstile on the planet’ distinction.
- Golden Tate. Unlike many of you, I’m not giving him a pass. Players with his pub need to come up big in big games and he didn’t. It’s the Butterfly Effect applied to football, especially when it goes down to the wire. Just because we (he) ultimately scored doesn’t mean he didn’t change the game.
- 3rd Quarter. We were totally dominated, again raising questions about the whole ‘adjustments” void that plagued us last week. And this is where I fault Charlie the most – why didn’t we ever consider the ‘max protection’ thingy and send only two guys out – its not like anyone on Michigan could stay with Floyd?
- Defense. Let’s face it they’re a work in process. And as much as I marveled early on that they’re significantly quicker than they used to be, it also suggests they’re not going to be as stout. No doubt they made Forcier look a little better than he maybe is.
- Offensive game plan. Give Charlie his due – he called a pretty rockin’ game and most everything worked. In my simplistic view, if you score 30+ points, you should win.
- Clock Management. Unlike virtually everyone else in the world, I was okay with us passing on that 2:00 remaining possession. I do wonder about why the deep ball on 2nd down – something safe, in the 4-8 yd range – in hindsight – might’ve loosened the defense up enuf to run. Was that a play call or a Jimmy decision?
- The officiating. I’m not normally one to believe the ‘homer’ effect really ever happens anymore but yesterday’s officials gave me considerable pause. Starting with Armando being pretty clearly not out of bounds and some of those holds…
- USC. The amount of talent they have on their team makes me sick to my stomach. Any of us could quarterback them and they’d go 10-2. And count their guy Barkley another member of the “this is no big deal I was bred for this” school of freshmen. Perhaps they are indeed that much more prepared than 5-10 years ago. Still, couldn’t they at least fake some humility?
- Schadenfreude winner. Tennessee / Lane Kiffin - your QB is horrible and if you’re not racking up wins with your non-conference schedule, forget about it when you start playin’ the SEC boys.
- Brett “You're dead to me, Fredo” Favre. The Browns don’t win but they knocked the snot out of him a couple time. Good.
In closing, I think the vibe about the team this week will be akin to a favorite Pearl Jam / Eddie Vedder lyric (apologies Ungie for repeating this), “I changed by not changing at all”. A line of simple eloquence that was in fact written about getting old… it’s most certainly going to be an accusation thrown at Charlie and the 2009 team. Speaking of Pearl Jam,
Happier Times – Part I (La famiglia Corrigan see PJ at the United Center, 8/09)
Happier Times – Part II (Reunion ’09)
Quote of the week: Michael Jordan, in his seemingly somewhat bitter acceptance speech into the Basketball Hall of Fame: “There is no ‘I” in team but this in “win”. HA!
That’s a wrap. Go Pack tonight! See many of you next week…