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More Michigan Penn State Q & A with There is No Name on My Jersey

Just because we can, here's a little more on the There Is No Name On My Jersey Maize n Brew Q&A. You can also check out my answers over at There Is No Name On My Jersey in a little while.


Part II of MnB's Penn State Q & A with There Is No Name On My Jersey

TINNOMJ:  What strategies will Michigan employ to try to ruin not only the day for the Lions but also crush our budding hopes for a national title?

Maize n Brew: Is hoping not to cleat yourself a strategy? Honestly I don't have a clue how Michigan intends to attack the lions defense. Whether we're even competitive in the game offensively depends on the arm of Steven Threet. If he's out, we'll run aimlessly then loft dead ducks at you linebackers and watch them be returned for touchdowns. Awesome.

If Threet's playing, I think Michigan's got to go deep on the Lions' secondary, irrespective of how good it is. Michigan has to be able to establish a running game. Until they prove they can throw a forward pass, especially one past the linebackers, there's no way they'll soften up the running lanes or be able put points on the board.

On defense, blitz and pray. The secondary's been questionable enough to let everyone and their mother know that if a QB's got time, Michigan's in serious trouble. The only way to mask it is to blitz like crazy in an effort to force some bad decisions or get enough guys on the line to stuff the run. If we can't do either, it'll be ugly.

TINNOMJ: The Michigan faithful seem to be getting restless at the half-way point. Where do you fall in this civil war and how do you think it will play out?

Maize n Brew: I like Rodriguez. He's folksy and corny in all the right ways, and he's a proven, damn good football coach. The people getting all restless just seem to forget how hard it is to be as good as Michigan has been for so long. Hoover Street Rag ( did an outstanding piece on the lean years for just about every top program. To borrow steal from his piece, I give you Penn State:

Penn State Eight fallow years since 1968 (1976, 1984, 1988, 1992, 2000, 2001, 2003, and 2004)

Penn State provides us with an interesting case because it has had the same coach during the entire tenure of the period being examined, Joe Paterno. The data shows us a few strange things, for starters, JoePa seems to lose focus during leap years (maybe it's the Presidential campaign, who knows. It does make 2008 all the more remarkable, if only in coincidental fashion, then again, in 1980 and 1996, PSU had ten-plus win seasons capped by Fiesta Bowl victories. So it's just sort of random.) Paterno's "down" years include a losing season in 1988, and then the "Lion in Autumn" period in the earlier part of this decade. Oh and how has Penn State been since 2004? 11-1, 9-4, 9-4, currently 6-0, so yeah, maybe you can teach an old lion new tricks.

The fact that Michigan hasn't had a losing record since the 60's means people need to chill the eff out. Get a massage. Go to the Vu. Or whatever crazy people do when the certainties in their world get turned upside down. What are we going to do? Fire a guy before his contract is up?

We're not Notre Dame. (Zing!)

TINNOMJ: We all know RRod has a great system, however, he doesn't seem to have the players to execute the system this year.  Why not just run a more conventional offense for a year until you can get the proper personnel?

Maize n Brew: Honestly, might as well get the growing pains out of the way now. This team is ridiculously young. Almost all the skill positions are going to eventually be four year starters and the bulk of the offensive line depth is mostly underclassmen. Why put off the suffering another year? At some point Michigan was going to struggle implementing the system. So I think it's better to do it now while Rodriguez basically has a free pass for two years. Then bring the pain on all you Mfers after the spread is installed.

TINNOMJ:  PSU makes a lot of the "White Out" and having a great home field advantage.  As an opposing fan, does that worry you at all or are we just really full of ourselves?

Maize n Brew: As a visual effect, it's cool. But outside of that? Yeah, no one cares.

TINNOMJ:  Please give me the names of two players wearing the Maize and Blue (one offense, one defense) who are going to make some big plays on Saturday.

Maize n Brew: Steven Threet is the key to the game. If he doesn't play, we're boned. But someone's gotta catch the ball and do something with it afterwards, so I'm picking Mighty Mouse, Martavious Odoms. If he and Threet can get on the same page it's going to be magic for us and hell for everyone else. Odoms is a fast, shifty little bugger in the Noel Devine mold, expect as a receiver. Think Steve Breaston, except a better pass catcher. I'll take Odoms as my Offensive playmaker.

On Defense Brandon Graham. He's our best defensive player against this type of offense. Big, fast, aggressive. Capable of getting up field to screw things up. If he has a big game, booyah. I'd also give a nod to Terrance Taylor, who's simply a badass, but DT's against the Spread have a tuff time.

TINNOMJ:  Are you more in favor of tradition or innovation?  Or, just to blow your mind, is Michigan's road back to their tradition lay in innovation?

Maize n Brew: Mind = Blown.

You're either moving forward or you're dying. Innovation is the key to success as just about everything and College Football is no different. Michigan's stood pat for the last 5 years and has paid for it. Look at the fall out in Columbus as teams are basically saying the same things about Tressel as they were about Carr. The way to back to the top is by implementing new things and by doing that you restore the tradition of Michigan being relevant in the National Title discussion every year.