Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Stuffing the Passer - Wheel in the Sky

Episode 6 is live, gang, and it sort of wraps up the loose threads from the story arc we started the season with. So, yeah, basically it's exactly what I assume this week's finale of Breaking Bad is going to be like: everyone talks out their differences, has a few laughs, and learns a valuable life lesson from a giant talking rat.

On a related (okay, not really related) note, there's a short snippet of "We Can't Stop" in this episode, and after listening to it a number of times in the course of editing, I realized it's actually a decent song*. I guess I never really gave it a fair shot, so yeah, that's my counterintuitive #slatepitch for the day.

Okay, enjoy!

* I was not on drugs while editing**.
** Really.

All your trash ends up here, in the sewer.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Stuffing the Passer - The Baptism


Do you reject Saban and all his empty promises?

Thursday, September 12, 2013

After Further Reviewing - 4th Quarter Offense Vs. Michigan

Okay, sorry for the delays in today's AFR (not in any way affiliated with mgoblog's exquisite Upon Further Review series). You know, Ragnorak...

O23 1 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 4-4 Under Penalty False Start Martin -5
Defense shows pressure.
O28 1 15 Shotgun Empty TE 0 1 4 Okie Zero Pass Dumpoff Jones Inc
Pressure up the middle forces dreaded rollout, Rees gets rid of it. Would have had nothing even if caught. (TA, N/A) 
O28 2 15 Shotgun Empty TE 0 1 4 Nickel Over Pass Middle Screen Niklas 13
M Defense dials up too much heat, big zone underneath the dropping LB's, easy pickup. (CA, 1)
O15 3 2 Shotgun 4-wide 1 0 4 Nickel Even Pass Flash Screen Daniels -2
Two defenders in close coverage blow this up before it even gets going. Toss is a little high to do anything, but play is DOA anyway. (MA, 1)
O17 4 4 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Okie Zero Pass Post Jones Inc
M brings the entire earth on a blitz. Right call launching it for Jones in man coverage, but the pressure prevents Rees from stepping into the throw. Somewhere in the distance, a raven caws. The moon has gradually turned blood red during this drive. (IN, 3)
Drive Notes: Turnover on Downs, 20-34, 14:23 4th Q.
N48 1 10 Pistol 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel Even Run Power O Atkinson 16
Guard pulls and makes a solid smash block to open up a seam, Atkinson turns on the burners. There is a barely-perceptible earthquake. As crowd noise subsides, we can hear that all of the dogs in the city are barking furiously.
O36 1 10 Pistol 3-wide 1 1 3 Nickel Over Pass Hitch Brown 11
Big cushion on Brown, quick-hitter with some yardage afterwards. A fissure opens in the parking lot and belches a geyser of steam behind the south end zone. Ravens begin amassing on top of the press box. (CA, 1)
O25 1 10 Shotgun Empty TE 0 1 4 Nickel Over Pass Corner Jones Inc
Rees rolls the dice on a corner route, just can't pinpoint it because Tommy Rees. Press box is now covered in ravens, Herbstreit shoos some away with a broom so the broadcasters can actually see the action. The linesman notices a strange red pool slowly oozing out of the locker room. (IN, 3) 
O25 2 10 Shotgun 3-wide 1 1 3 Okie One Pass TE Out Niklas 2
Can't pick up pressure, Rees flings it out to the flat to take what he can get. A comet blazes across the night sky, bathing the stadium in odd midday light for a big 3rd down play. The linesman now realizes it's a stream of blood flowing from the locker room, and takes a few steps toward the center of the field to keep his shoes dry. (CA, 1)
O23 3 8 Shotgun Empty TE 0 1 4 Nickel Over Pass Dig Jones Inc
Timing route blown up by LB making well-timed drop. Play suspended briefly as ten thousand snakes escape from the steam fissure. A raven plucks out Musburger's right eye (consummate pro, he doesn't miss a beat brodcasting). (BR, 2)
Drive Notes: Field Goal, 34-30, 9:30 4th Q. Goes in the books as a 40-yarder, but the goalposts fell over during the snakequake, so all Brindza had to do was kind of roll the ball past the 10 yard line. (+1)
N35 1 10 Shotgun Empty TE 0 1 4 Nickel Over Pass Sack N/A -9
Good coverage, line can't hold, Rees can't escape pocket. River of blood now slashing through the southwest corner of the field. The first few reanimated corpses from Arborcrest Cemetary have found their way into the stadium, but pose minimal threat because they're stuck in the line for the bathroom. More to come.
N26 2 19 Shotgun Empty TE 0 1 4 Nickel Even Pass Hitch Brown 10
M drops into coverage, Rees makes the right read. Light drizzle of flaming sulfur begins. Brady Hoke briefly catches fire, but seems unperturbed. Everything right of the right hashmark is under the blood river. Musburger has been picked clean to the bones. Can't see Herbstreit, although can barely make out him reciting a muffled rosary on the broadcast. (CA, 1)
N36 3 9 Shotgun Empty TE 0 1 400K Nickel Even Pass TE Seam Niklas 21
Probably should have been a too many men penalty (R-1), as it appears that the entire Communion of Saints have lined up for Notre Dame here. South half of stadium now completely overrun by walking dead, although they appear neutral vis a vis the football game so I didn't count them in the formation totals. M fortunate Niklas had to steer back toward center of field away from blood lake, otherwise might have been gone (BL+1). (DO, 2)
O43 1 10 Shotgun Empty TE 0 1 4 Zombie Horde Pass In Daniels 12
Communion of Saints now in heated battle with the Army of the Underworld in the far end zone, so ND back to 11-man formation. Zombies might not technically be partisan but by this point they have formed a wall that, along with the blood lake, is more or less incorporated into M's defensive scheme. Good stop-fade by Daniels, picks up decent yardage before being bitten repeatedly by undead ghouls. Would have liked to see him pick up a few more YAZB. (DO, 2)
O31 1 10 Shotgun Empty TE 0 1 3.5 Zombies Over Pass TE Hitch Niklas 11
Communion of saints roundly defeated by Satan. Drat, they would have helped on this drive. Fans in north stands being dragged screaming into maw of hell. Only counted 3.5 receivers, as TJ Jones is huddled in a ball on the far hash writing something. ESPN chyron is blocking the paper, but it looks like it's his last will and testament. Good underneath throw by Tommy. (DO, 2)
O20 1 10 Just Tommy 0 0 0 H'fffftth Pass Fade Daniels Inc
The earth splits in half right after the snap, swallowing all of ND's offense except Rees (fortunately in shotgun). H'ffffftth the Horrid emerges from the chasm, belching fire. Rees spots Davaris Daniels dangling upside down in one of H'ffffftth's tentacles, but isn't able to thread the needle. Also, H'fffffth has ripped Daniels' arms off. (CA, 3)
O20 2 10 All Living ND Players 13 22 38 Blood Mountain Pass OutJones 7
H'ffffth devoured by ten thousand ravens, mercifully, but his death rattle awakens mighty Vulcan, causing a pressure fault that forces a 500-foot cliff of bedrock up between the Irish and the end zone. The blood river's flow is diverted down the narrow canyons of the mountain, causing a flash bloodflood that obliterates all life between the hashes. Rees spots Jones with some space in the flat and makes the quick out. (DO, 2).
O13 3 3 Trebuchet 4 12 30 Grogshabroth Pass Catapult Jones 7
Not enough time on the clock to take the switchbacks over blood mountain, so the team constructs a hasty trebuchet from the timbers of what used to be Michigan Stadium. Rees hits Jones perfectly in stride after he's launched. Jones appears on a trajectory to land in the end zone, but, gawdammit, Grogshabroth has finally arrived. He swallows Jones in one mighty gulp at the 7 yard line. (DO, 3)
O6 1 GTommy & Amir 0 1 0 Ragnorak Pass Slant Carlisle INT
Grogshabroth abandons his defensive responsibilities briefly to devour Satan and his armies whole (and does so in, like, no time flat). Towers of flaming sulfur have engulfed everything but about a ten yard circle around the LOS. I think Tommy could feel the pressure of the world ending and sort of rushed this pass, bouncing it off Amir's hands. Countess makes a good read on the deflection, but on the replay it looks like the earth implodes and disintegrates BEFORE he's able to get a foot on the ground (R-1). Total screw job by the refs, but seeing as these are our final seconds on Earth, best not to dwell on it. I hug my wife and baby one last time.
Drive Notes: Interception, 30-41, 1:46 4Q. Goodbye, earth. 

So now what?

Well, if you're reading this, it means you were one of the two dozen humans still alive, blown clear of the earth's implosion on the craggy cliffs of what used to be the Flannan Isles of Scotland. I reckon you've got about three or four days left until your asteroid's weak gravity field loses its grip on its thin atmosphere and you all asphyxiate. I'd probably use this time to catch up with Breaking Bad on DVD.
Why didn't we bring in the fullback to block Grogshabroth?

We don't have a fullback on the roster. Also, Grogshabroth is 800 feet tall with nine horrid mouths full of rows of diamond-sharp teeth. We'd probably have to double him with a tight end/tackle.
So who's the Heisman frontrunner?

George MacQuaid. He's played one season of rugby at Cambridge in the 1970s. He seems to be the most athletic person still alive.

What does it mean for the future?

Hopefully one of the chunks that used to be earth will collide with a planet in a habitable zone sometime in the next few million years. If there are some well-preserved microorganisms in some of its air pockets, we might be looking at life in a few billion years and college football a few billion after that. Maybe we'll renew the rivalry then.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Stuffing the Passer - The Road to Purdue


Thursday, September 05, 2013

Blogjammin' with mgoblog

In many ways, my pre-game chats with Brian Cook at mgoblog resemble the rivalry-flavored substance that is the Notre Dame-Michigan series. We never talked to each other at all between 1910 and the 80's. Then we had a few strange, furious, and memorable exchanges of point-blank fire under the creepy gaze of Tom Hammond. Then something something Fielding Yost something something the Klan, yadda yadda yadda, three year hiatus. Now we're back together for one penultimate blogjam before the end of the series (or the End of Days, whichever comes first).

Typically we dress up in costumes for these things, but this being such an austere event we merely retired to my drawing room with fine cigars while wearing Victorian era suits and overcoats. Also codpieces.

Part 1 is over at mgoblog. We pick up the conversation talking about Devin Gardner. I've included the lead-in for context.

fightinamish: Okay, so now my turn to hold the questioning stick.

Right, so Devin Gardner. Tell me about him without using the phrases "rose-scented adonis", "harbinger of all happiness in the world to come", or "timeless, wondrous merman". I know, this will be difficult.
You didn't prevent me from comparing him to Vince Young, so he's Vince Young. Except fast! And even more good-looking! And capable of morphing from man to fish in certain situati--right. Hmm. He's an explosive athlete who is too willing to unleash his inner Rex Grossman right now and has fits of inaccuracy. He could be insanely, insanely good; he could be pretty good but way too prone to turnovers. 
One thing about him is his incredible red-zone efficiency. He can throw and scramble and even when he's scrambling he has a knack for flinging balls to receivers who just saw their defenders leave them. Maybe a hidden key. 
And he smells like jasmine.
.... sorry hold please ...
(Editor's Note: I spend a few minutes cleaning baby vomit off of my shirt.)
... okay, back now. all good ... 

Right, so that sounds impressive. I guess the question is will the line be able to give him enough time to make flowers bloom in the stadium with the magic of love? I'm not sure if you've heard, but there are some large, strapping gentlemen on the Irish defensive front who would strongly prefer that not happen. 
And, just between you and me, they are ill-natured. Hungry and ill-natured.
I am aware of these gentlemen, as I was innocently picking flowers around last year at this time when they deprived me of my virtue. I cannot tell you yes or no with certainty, but Michigan's tackles both return and are both rather good at chaperoning. Last year Shembo had some success against Schofield and that will remain an issue, but Notre Dame will have to be careful not to get too eager and vacate lanes, because unlike Denard, Devin is aware that his legs are valid implements even on called passes. Seemed to me like Notre Dame had a number of issues with this against Temple. 
I'm more worried about what Nix might eat in the run game. 
Specifically, I am worried he might eat the run game.
Yes, Nix got bigger in the offseason, which is something I only have the vaguest understanding of. All I know is when I put my wife, son, and cat in a burlap sack, hoist them over my shoulder, and stand on our bathroom scale (you should try this sometime, it's fun), it reads 0.98 Louis Nix Units. He now has an event horizon.

It will be interesting to see if Michigan can run this play successfully.
Our new center is popularly described as "undersized." In context this is adjusted to "possibly nonexistent."
"A rounding error"
Well... that is interesting to me. Is that something you think can be schemed around?
Michigan's best hope is to run the zone stretch and have him dart around that gentlemen and then, like, hope to exist. 
Nix is pretty nimble for a guy his size but planet-sized DTs can only put up with so much running and whatnot. 
If Michigan can stay on the field, get him moving sideline to sideline, maybe they get to his backup. Who is not Nix. This is important.
What's the weather forecast? The temp at kickoff on Saturday was poached testicles degrees, and it looked like it affected Big Lou. I think. I'm not sure, I spent the whole second half talking to my dead great great grandfather.

Finbar McGloin Stouffer. Killed in a duel over flapjack recipes, 1852.
A pleasant mid-70s dipping into the 60s late. He should be a happy black hole.
Maybe you should try tape recording yourself fore one day... 

Okay, so Michigan's defense. What's the gameplan for containing the only quarterback since 2011 to have scored a rushing touchdown in this series? 
I mean, Denard was fine and Devin seems talented, but they're no Tommy Rees on the keeper.
I see what you did there. I think Michigan will start out playing soft, hoping to get to Rees with four guys (prognosis: iffy, but better than last season) and avoid giving up the big play with either Jarrod Wilson or Courtney Avery stepping in for Kovacs. With Notre Dame's kicking game and seeming lack of redzone offense, bend but don't break seems like the way to go, at least early. 
If Notre Dame starts shredding this, Michigan will have to get more aggressive.
That seems acceptable. How's the secondary? If Tommy can keep throwing with the accuracy he had against Temple, then he won't be giving them as much help as he has historically.
Two guys are back from last year: Taylor (he of the interception not thrown by Michigan but rather caught) and Thomas Gordon (who I don't think ND fans have even a vague memory of). Michigan gets back Blake Countess, losing JT Floyd. Frankly that should be a major upgrade. The worries are twofold: Kovacs needs replacing. Wilson was pretty bad in the bowl game, but had a nice opener; Avery is a converted nickel corner who was supposedly going to start before he had his knee scoped. If disaster strikes, it'll likely be there. 
The other point of potential concern is in the nickel, which Michigan will probably be in a ton of. Michigan folds Countess inside and brings in true freshman sleeper Channing Stribling. He's tall, but he's young. 
I'm worried about explosions there as well. 
Just bits of defensive back cartwheeling out of the stadium, framed in the lights.
Can any of them catch a 270 pound tight end from behind?

Think carefully.
Cam Gordon now plays defensive end on passing downs by the way.
And does well with it. So... yeah, that was our safety.
But let's not talk about past coaches. This, at least, we can be united in.
One thing fans of our two programs will always agree on: the desperate need for somebody to invent memory-erasing football roofies.
If Lacuna, Inc. was a real thing there would be a line stretching from Houghton to Detroit, and everybody in it would be holding a folder that said "Greg Robinson."

Erm, ugh. They'd have to open a Robinson-erasing franchise in South Bend too. So should we talk about special teams (grisly and mortifying) or just move to the prediction finale?
Actually I think we should talk special teams because Michigan... might not actually be grisly and mortifying. As long as Dennis Norfleet doesn't fumble.

Editor's Note: I typed norfleet.gif like six thousand more times here. We skip ahead to...

/norfleet.gif forever.

Editor's Note: We've just been notified that is not Norfleet. Fightinamish is currently running around in the backyard sprinklers chanting "Norfleet! Norfleet!" We prefer not to ruin it for him. If you feel the same way, then keep a lid on it, guys.
On the other hand, Notre Dame is playing a kicker at punter and... well, some sort of terror artist at kicker, it seems. 
What happened to that guy? 
He was at 80% for his career!
I... ugh. Tausch's quacker FG attempt was not pretty, but somebody who knows more about the fine arts of kicking did sort of a frame-by-frame on that and showed that it was just a mechanical mistake planting his foot in the wrong place. I think that can get straightened out, although he does need to attempt his next field goal from the ladies' tees with his pants around his ankles.

I don't think the pants thing will help... unless they're Nix's pants. 
It does seem like Michigan has a potentially sizeable advantage here as long as their paleolithic approach to covering punts doesn't burn them. 
You got a returner guy back there?
Aw, hamburgers.
TJ Jones had some sharp-looking returns. I almost thought I was hallucinating again, but my dead great great grandfather said he saw it too.
Well, if Michigan doesn't get great hangtime he'll have two guys 20 yards from him as he tries to undo the world. Hurray. At least Norfleet. 

Oh, great, you've gone and summoned him again.
Editor's Note: [sigh]
Okay. Prediction time.
Right, I was thinking since this game is usually so unpredictable, how about we do something different? We'll make a joint prediction by alternating words one at a time, elegant corpse-style.
A capital idea.
I win the toss and elect to defer. Your text will be in blue, mine in red. Begin:

In 2013, an unheralded short player dances through thirteen defenseless flailing cheerleaders. Blood gurgles from the Temple of Grogshabroth, who announces the cancellation of Earth. Victory for none, blood for all.

Period. Outstanding. I'm taking that straight to Vegas.
I'm just glad the world ends before the series does.
Do we have a Ragnorak escape clause in our contract?
Not if Bill Martin negotiated it. 
Well, sir, I hope your team drowns in a pile of fetid puppy limbs.
And I hope superintelligent ape archaeologists find the skeletons of your team in the queue for the bathrooms of a recently-unearthed Michigan Stadium, their fossilized bladders still full and distended.

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

9 questions about the University of Michigan you were too embarrassed to ask

Notre Dame and its allies are preparing for a possibly imminent series of football plays against a school called the "University of Michigan", in retaliation for President Hoke's suspected use of Geneva Convention-violating poultry metaphors against civilians. They've already launched some nasty verbal volleys, but things are likely to get "kinetic" sometime around Saturday night.

If you found that sentence confusing, or aren't exactly sure why Notre Dame is gearing up for physical competition against the University of Michigan (also sometimes called The Univ of Michi), or even where the Univ of Michi is located, this article is for you. What's happening in An-Urbur (pronounced "Ann Arbor") is really important, but it also can be confusing and difficult to follow for casual Notre Dame fans who only follow their team and their traditional rivals, and as such do not know anything about the Un of Mi (another nickname for the University of Michigan).

Here, then, are the most basic answers to your most basic questions. First, though, a disclaimer: the University of Michigan is a complicated place. Many things about it (i.e., its exact location, enrollment, fight song, and school colors) are the subject of fierce debate among historians. I'll do my best here to give you a basic background primer.

1. What is the University of Michigan?

The University of Michigan is a public research institution. It was formed in 1817 by the British as part of reparations mandated by the Treaty of Ghent after their unconditional surrender to the United States following the War of 1812.

2. Why with all the fighting?

Short answer, the relationship has been fractious since the 19th century, when Notre Dame was colonized by Michigan and run by the Raj, a ruthless proxy dictator. A series of guerrilla uprisings and violent repressions took place over that span, usually in the large enclosed fields on the two campuses. These were bloody affairs, often involving points totals well into the double digits.

Oh the humanity.

Following the Paprika Act of 1910, Notre Dame launched a nonviolent popular uprising led by head coach and guru Frank Longman. Following Notre Dame independence, the two schools enjoyed 92 years of peace, never once devolving into on-field football combat to resolve their problems. Tackling and hitting gave way to icy indifference. In fact, both Universities moved their campuses 25 feet further away from the other each year, explaining the now-179 mile gap between them.

3. So why are things heating up now?

Oh, right. So after nearly a century of peace, the two sides resumed open hostility in 2002 with a series of violent annual skirmishes. Neither side was able to obtain a permanent advantage due to wildly amateur battlefield tactics on both sides, and by 2012 the conflict had ground into a gruesome and unwatchable stalemate.

Exhibit A

Pivoting off of a victory at the Battle of South Bend in 2012, Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick used his newfound leverage to sue for peace, courageously handing a peace treaty to his counterpart at the University of Michigan on the very field where the battle was fought.

4. Why didn't the peace last?

As events in America's recent past have shown, it's not that simple to extricate yourself from a decade-long conflict fraught with historical grudges. The treaty calls for a phased withdrawal over the next few years, but that still means both sides will still be around for a few more fighting seasons.

The obvious question as the cessation of hostilities approaches, though, is what do we tell our last wave of players we send into harm's way? To paraphrase the Secretary of State, how exactly do you ask a player to be the last man to get tackled for a mistake?

5. I hear a lot about how Russia and Iran both love the University of Michigan. What up with that?

Nobody loves the University of Michigan.

6. This is all bleak and hopeless. Can we take a music break?

According to Wikipedia, Iggy Pop dropped out of the University of Michigan.

7. Will dropping bombs on one or both of these teams help?

What? No. Why would you think that?

8. Are you sure? I feel like blowing something up somewhere would be a good thing.

That's... what? No. No. Jeez.

9. Hi I have no attention span and so I just scrolled here to the bottom for a summary oh hey look videos of puppets bye bye.

Okay, bye. Now that that weirdo's gone, here's a summary:
  • The University of Michigan is a school.
  • Their nickname is the Wolves or Wolfpack or something.
  • No matter what you've heard, Vladimir Putin does not like them.
  • They have a coach, who is rumored to be named Chester Bradyhoke. This is unconfirmed.
  • Lots of young men with promising futures will get tackled on Saturday, many of who will not get up for several seconds or perhaps even a minute or more.
  • Violence can only be concealed by a lie, and the lie can only be maintained by violence. (A. Solzhenitsyn)

God help us all.


Further reading: mgoblog, the Free Michigan Army's main digital propaganda arm.

Stuffing the Passer - In Hoc Signo

Well, it looks like the Irish were able to hold off the mighty Temple Owls, even with some Sockface-related shenanigans with the quarterbacking depth chart. This week's episode picks up in the aftermath of the QB1 coup. Enjoy.