Best of Brews: On the Gridiron

Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE

Continuing the look back at some of our favorite pieces from last year. This time, we look at football writings.

A Tale of Tackles: Assessing Michigan's Defensive Line Play vs. Alabama - DGDestroys breaks down the Bama tape to find out that Michigan's defensive line wasn't all that bad -- something that would hold true through the rest of the season.

Although many people were looking forward to getting a chance to see Big Will Campbell and Pee Wee in action, Washington represented as much of a question mark, having ascended into a starting seemingly from nowhere. Although Michigan trotted out a line of Ryan-BWC-Roh-Beyer for the first series, Washington would come in and play the second most amount of snaps behind BWC, at 38%. He mostly played the 1-technique, while being frequently spelled by Pipkins and Richard Ash.

Then and Now: Some Thoughts Before Entering the Heart of Darkness - HoldtheRope with a little perspective entering Big Ten play.

There's no need to rehash that fateful September, back when I was just a naive little freshman with dreams of avenging the final bitter salvos of the 2006 season. We all know what happened, and I only mention it all to make the tenuous connection that this team and that team both started 2-2 with senior quarterbacks and a not insignificant amount of preseason esprit de corps squandered. Like you, I hear "2007" and immediately think of that and that. It's instantaneous, not unlike the tidal wave of adrenaline that shoots through your body when you realize that something is about to fall off of your desk like a Medieval caravel careening off of the edge of the flat earth and into an abyss of Nothing.

Passing the Torch - One of our newer authors, Big House Jack, talks about the Denard to Devin transition.

Now the torch has been passed, as Denard passes into legend, to Devin Gardner. There are still two more games where Denard will wear the winged helmet, however it's all but apparent that his time is done. Yet he will still contribute. He will still be a leader. Even if Denard does nothing but take meaningless snaps from now on and never throws the ball again, he will still do whatever he can to help Michigan win. That's Denard for you. Denard Robinson is Michigan. He is a Michigan Man.

Enemy at the Gates: The Future of Michigan Football, the Threat of Urban Meyer, and the Rivalry Renewed - The first piece we ran when I took over as site manager: a long look at the Ohio State rivalry, Urban Meyer, and the shape of things to come.

It would be easy to sit here and compare Urban Meyer and Brady Hoke as indicative of opposing ideologies. Paint a picture of two diametrically opposed forces, a good vs. evil struggle between the modern rock star coach with a million-dollar smile and big promises of national success and the old school model more akin to the gruff men that stomped up and down the sideline, didn't have headsets, made up their own words, and distrusted anyone that wasn't a player or a coach himself. This is sportswriter schlock that helps feed the everlasting narrative that sports can always be distilled down to a struggle of morality or values. It also ignores the basic fact that life is too complex and people too prone to contridiction to draw thick lines of demarcation. Both men are exceptional coaches not because of each's cult of personality, but because on a day to day basis they work hard, make good decisions, recruit tirelessly, and surround themselves with the best people. Success in coaching is like success in anything else: finding a way to maximize every moment and decision that you make on a daily basis. Because these two men have shown themselves so capable of this, for the first time in a long time --- most likely 2006 but maybe earlier --- the rivalry is once again a Rivalry. Michigan has a capable field general and a powerful foil, and well, Ohio State has the same.

Introducing the Two-Deep: Trying to Define Denard Robinson - The capper to our summer intro posts, a long ode to Denard Robinson, and everything he has brought us.

It has been a dream. The last three years of Michigan football have in many ways had a fuzzy, half-conscious quality that accompanies our subconscious meanderings during sleep. The events unfolded like always -- games were played, recruits were signed, time marched past minutes into days into years -- but none of it seemed real. The structure was there, but everything that happened was a mix of the unfamiliar and the strange. It was for long stretches a nightmare. Michigan football was, for many years before -- longer than most of us can remember in fact -- a remarkably stable football program. By the time Denard Robinson's showed up on campus Michigan football was in it's darkest depths of losing and irrelevance (the hangover from 3-9). He participated in the fast starts and Big Ten losing streaks of 2009 and 2010. He solidered on opposite the worst defense a modern Wolverine team has ever fielded. And with a little help and a new direction he ushered in the march toward redemption, a triumph in The Game, and a BCS bowl win. All the while there has been no player that more completely embodies the turmoil, the rapid change, and the schematic shifts of the last three years than Denard Robinson. At first he was a project quarterback. A pure athlete with impure skills, thrown into the fire as a true freshman because at points the offense needed some sort of spark. Even when everything else went wrong, Robinson showed he was capable of things we couldn't fathom with the waking mind.

B1G 2012 // Seven Long Years Lost in the Woods: What Beating Ohio State Means to Me - My own wandering tale of dealing with The Streak and the 2011 win in The Game. Taken from close blog-friend Off Tackle Empire.

The Game had been played before 2003 -- a lot of times, actually -- but that was the first one that I truly experienced. In the time before my freshman year at Michigan, I sat at home watching the game on a static-y TV set in my living room with my father and sister. The game might as well have been played on the moon. The broadcast coming through our antiquated antenna hookup -- in, gasp, standard definition -- certainly made it seem that way. It was all somewhat foreign to me. Thousands of people screaming and cheering (and little did I know it yet, asking those in front of them to sit down) for a team that existed mostly as an abstraction in my mind. There was little connection past it being a team I liked playing a team I knew I didn't like without much idea why, other than the obvious explanation that it had always been that way, and I'd be a fool to go against the grain.

Little did I know what lay ahead when I took my seats to watch The Game for the first time.

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