Out of the Box

Just trying to live life one funny thought at a time

Spartan Football-Taking Offense

Just so we are all on the same page here, I want to let everyone know COLLEGE FOOTBALL IS BACK!! 

This glorious event inspired me to return to tumblr and write a long overdue post. Guess what its about?! You got it, Michigan State University Spartan Football!!

BUT, I’m not hear to bore you with more talk about this nationally recognized defense. If you follow the team at all you’ve read and heard plenty about the Spartan Dawgs. My only message for them is to bring it.

This post is focusing on the other side of the ball. In particular, why there will be no need to read into how much the Spartans are going to “go through some growing pains” as some major media outlets seem to think (Yahoo! this is why nobody likes you!). 

Again, just so we’re all on the same page here, we all loved Kirk Cousins. Outstanding human being all-around and played his way into the Spartan Football history books. But, Andrew Maxwell has patiently waited his turn to lead this team. It became his team the moment we all got done celebrating the bowl victory over Georgia. He’s known it was his job and when called upon during Cousin tenure he’s gave no need to worry.

Judging by some recent articles citing Maxwell’s inexperience you’d think he was a freshman. Funny thing about Maxwell is before he was a college freshman he participated in Nike’s Elite 11 Quarterback camp and was a top 10 pro-style quarterback in his class. And while he redshirted his freshman year of college he was voted the Scout Team Offensive MVP.

You should love a leader that wants to be in the position lead. Last week Maxwell was quoted saying, “Our big goal is to get to the Rose Bowl, the BCS games, and the national championship.” Michigan State players, coaches, and fans have waited a long time to hear a statement like that and have it be more than just a statement. It is now an expectation. These players, coaches, and fans expect to be in the conversation for a long time.

Now that I’ve told you we don’t have a Denard-esqe arm back there throwing wobbly meatballs, let’s talk about who is goin’ up and gettin’ it.

Truth is I don’t really know. But, I’m going to Keep Calm and Sparty On. The same media outlets that are quick to point out the new guy (Maxwell), have a lot to say about the little experience the receiving core has. But, I want to ask you something a couple things about some recent Spartan Football seasons:

What did you know about Devin Thomas before his Junior year? Did you know he had six catches his sophomore year?

Remember when Keith Nichol transferred from Oklahoma, where he was a backup quarterback to Sam Bradford? Remember when he had to wide receiver for the bowl game against Texas Tech? Remember the first Wisconsin game last year?…………………………… I do. I was happy.

My point is, I will absolutely live with the production out of an unsung wideouts like we have had the last few years. Bennie Fowler seems eager to be the guy to step up and fill the role this year. Also, Dion Sims makes for a big safety blanket and by all accounts had an excellent spring. 

Lastly, the running game. It starts and ends with Le’Veon Bell. For good reason, Bell has earned very high praise going into this season. He gained 948 yards all while splitting carries for the majority of the season last year with Edwin Baker. Oh, and he racked up 13 touchdowns too. If you are smart enough to follow me on twitter be prepare for #FreeLeVeon all season long. 

All the speculation will end soon after you read this post. I’ll take my chances with a leader at quarterback that has played in this system for years, with another group of wide receivers with something to prove, a stud at running back, and some Spartan Dawgs to boot. Go Green! 

Nick Lidstrom Retires… What We Gunna Do Now?!

It is said that nobody is perfect. Detroit Redwings fans (like myself) now have to chance to reflect on the career of Nicklas Lidstrom, a man that challenged that statement everyday in his professional and his personal life.      

He won a World Championship in 1991 before he ever graced the winged-wheel. But, when he did in 1992 he was named to the NHL’s All-rookie team. He would go on to play in 12 All-Star Games, 10 of which he was voted a starter. He was awarded the Norris Trophy as the NHL’s top defenseman 7 times. He raised Lord Stanley’s Cup 4 times. His third time in 2002 he was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the Playoff MVP. He also won an Olympic Gold Medal in 2006. This made him a member of the Triple Gold Club, a player to win a World Championship, Stanley Cup, and Gold Medal.

Lidstrom was a measure of consistency throughout his career. From his press conference today you got the assured feeling that he never took his career for granted and never forgot where he came from. He thanked everyone from his coaches and teammates throughout the years to the athletic trainers and the ushers at Joe Louis Arena. 

He also thanked us fans and seemed to make a point of it that it was going to be alright. He cited several leaders that will be on the roster next season. But, there is a physical void that needs filling on the blue-line. Also, the Wings are about due for another weapon up front. This is what I think needs to happen…

  • Step 1.) Sign Ryan Suter. Sign Ryan Suter. Sign Ryan Suter!

Ken Holland has $20 million to work with this summer and today pretty much guaranteed getting dibs on $6 or $7 million of that. No shock value in this statement, but all truth.

  • Step 2.) Sing Zach Parise or Alexander Semin

Parise is going to get a good look from several teams, but he is most likely going to come cheaper and I think more bang for the buck with the intangibles he brings. Plus, I’ve wanted him in Detroit since the last Olympics. I expect Juri Hudler to be back if we get one of these guys cause Head Coach Mike Babcock likes him too much to let him walk.

  • Step 3.) Lock up Darren Helm long term

His speed makes him a difference maker. Not having him in the lineup down the stretch was a killer. When it comes to restricted guys he is priority one. Next comes Justin Abdelkader, but if he doesn’t fit the budget I guess I’ll take Kyle Quincey back on the blue-line (I just threw up in my mouth a little writing that, but there are holes everywhere back there cause Brad Stewart is leaving. And, not to ramble along with this parenthesis but, anybody can feel free to give John Ericsson some man seeds so he can grow a pair this off season!). 

So, if you made it through my two cents worth on the Detroit Redwings offseason I will now remind you that this blog was about how Nicklas Lidstrom will be sorely missed by in Hockeytown for what he did on the ice and for who he was off it. One thing that stuck out the most to me as I snuck off to my desk to watch the press conference was Lidstrom pretty much saying, “Time catches up with everyone…” it reminded me of a former coach of mine saying, “by the time you think the game has passed you by, it most likely already has.”

Nicklas Lidstrom played his game at a very high level and made the choice to, as he put it, “Walk away from the game before it walks away from me.”

I hope you enjoyed my first blog in a while. Feels good to be back. Sad subject, but well worth my time. If I misquoted any of the press conference or you just didn’t enjoy the read, forgive me. We all can’t be Nicklas Lidstrom. 

Bounty-Gate is over, But The NFL Might Have A Much Bigger Problem

On Tuesday, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced the punishment for four player who participated in a New Orleans Saints’ “cash-for-hits bounty.” Johnathan Vilma (as of right now) will miss the entire 2012-2013 season. Anthony Hargrove will miss eight games, Will Smith will miss four, and Scott Fujita will miss three. 

After the news broke I almost tweeted to the fact that Roger Goodell went above and beyond reasonable expectations on these suspensions. I am not and will never be the commissioner of the NFL. As a matter of fact, I never have played a down of organized football in my life. BUT, you’ve already read the first two paragraphs of the blog and I promise I will make an interesting point by the end of it.

Goodell is clearing trying to make a statement, but I think it is misplaced. Half of the players suspended play for different teams now. It is fair to punish Hargrove’s Green Bay Packers or Fujita’s Cleveland Browns? Also, many people think this could effectively end Vilma’s career (he’s not going to get younger in his time off). 

There has been much discussion on talk-radio and sports-talk television shows over the past few weeks. Quite often you’ll hear a former NFL player claim that hear a coach or play encouraging players to “knock a guy out” is not uncommon. You could call this locker room talk. After the punishment was handed out to members of Saints coaching and front office staff, I think it would have been hard to hand out a penalty that people would consider a slap on the wrist. 

However, the most disturbing news from the NFL came just a few hours later. Former All-Pro and NFL Man of the Year, Junior Seau, passed away from an apparent suicide. He was an icon of the game for my generation certainly. He was a star on and off the playing field. The Junior Seau foundation was established in 1992 and has raised over $4 million for youth organizations. 

For a man that seemed, from all accounts, happy in his retirement from the NFL there are  few questionable incidence. In October 2010, he survived a 100-foot plunge off a cliff in his SUV after a domestic dispute with his girlfriend.

At this time, I’m sure people everywhere sat back and wonder how and why this happened. I hope for the sake of the NFL this unfortunate incident was not caused as a result of concussions from Seau’s playing career. 

I talked to a friend today and he mentioned to me that this might be the beginning of the end to the NFL we know and possibly organized football. I would say that this is the first bona fide superstar athlete that I can think of to tragically take his life. I’m sure the Seau family is looking for answers right now, and they will never forget May 2nd 2012. But, if Seau is found to have the effects of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) I don’t think people will even remember who got suspended from the New Orleans Saints 10 years from now. In the big picture, bounty-gate is just another dark cloud in a very gloomy day in the NFL. 

My New 5 Year Plan

It’s been a while, I know… I’ve been busy bouncing ideas in my head about where I was going to find a topic for my next blog post. I’m promising a baseball post soon, and the wound is just too fresh for me to talk about my Red Wings. But, it’s funny what you find when you aren’t looking for anything.

As you may or may not know I currently reside in Houston, TX and I live with my aunt and uncle, who also are my godparents. They have two sons. One of them is 28 and works in oil and gas trading down here and the other is a Junior in High School. My younger cousin is right in the thick of making the decision on where he will attend college in the near future. He receives four to five info packages a day from schools all over the country. Today, he received something from Michigan State University. I told him it was his lucky day, but he immediately dismissed the idea of going to school on the banks of the red cedar. 

People make mistakes and you can’t help the helpless. I’ll tell him some stories about the good times possible around the EL, but not till he’s old enough.

It was in his misfortune I saw my opportunity and I’ve created a new five year plan: Step 1.) take the info packet and use the code to get information about Michigan State University (some notable discoveries include homogenization of milk and the anticancer drug cisplatin… that’s fucking interesting)… Step 2.) Take a campus visit as my cousin Nick… Step 3.) Let hime be smart his senior year of high school while I “work to save money for college”… Step 4.) Apply as Nick to MSU and get in… Step 5.) have a blast in the dorms, AGAIN… Step 6.) actually these step could repeat exactly how the last three years of college went and I would be content… Step 7.) At this point I hope you think this blog is funny enough that I can make money by blogging. 

Sadly, I know that nothing I could come up with will be as great as http://onthebanksoftheredcedar.tumblr.com/… 

soupsoup:

Here is why Facebook bought Instagram

This news was the centerpiece of my day today and this is a very informative article from “The Daily.” I use Instagram occasionally to share some of my photos, but I do check it on a daily basis to sees what friends of mine have posted. The most interesting part of this story for me is the fact that Instagram HAS 6 EMPLOYEES… Nice payday for those people.

soupsoup:

Here is why Facebook bought Instagram

This news was the centerpiece of my day today and this is a very informative article from “The Daily.” I use Instagram occasionally to share some of my photos, but I do check it on a daily basis to sees what friends of mine have posted. The most interesting part of this story for me is the fact that Instagram HAS 6 EMPLOYEES… Nice payday for those people.

(via thedailyfeed)

The World's Game: XI, A New North American Soccer Magazine

xiquarterly:

North American soccer has a lively blogosphere and twittersphere covering its continued growth. Occasionally, great pieces of writing or an arresting photograph catch the eye; all too often, though, what insight beyond the headlines there is out there becomes submerged…

Very interesting. It’d be awesome to see some college soccer profiled in here as well!

It was all good just a week ago…

The anticipation started with a brief voicemail from my cousin last Wednesday. The only words I could make out from the muffled message: final, four, and tickets. I probably had the look of a third grade boy after the cute girl in class passed me a note.

The offer was four tickets at $200 each for what is sure to be a memorable weekend at the Final Four in New Orleans, Louisiana. I thought for sure that this was fate. There is no way I could get some tickets to fall into my lap and not have Michigan State not be there, right?

Then, Thursday nights Sweet Sixteen game went sour. 

As the clock in Phoenix reached zero the bar I was donating money to was emptying. Somewhere in beautiful East Lansing, Michigan couches were burning. Blame filled social media feeds everywhere. 

Head Coach Tom Izzo placed much of the blame on himself. Citing that he made have made some wrong decisions leading up to the game. This goes a long way to explain a uncharacteristically lethargic looking group of Spartans. I would argue that any team from the Big Ten Conference would have struggled against the full-court, high pressure Louisville defense. 

So, I can’t help but to think about trading spots with Ohio State. More specifically, I wonder if I would trade losing the Big Ten Title game and the #1 seed in the West region for OSU’s #2 seed and play a short-handed Syracuse team for a shot at the Final Four? 

In my career at Michigan State as a member of the soccer team we came VERY close to earning a trip to the Elite 8, but fell just short. So, I have no idea what trip to a Final Four would have been like. However, I can say that I have a Big Ten Championship ring and it my most prized possession.

I will say that I have been trying to look at the glass as half full these days. Last week, the Spartans may have lost, but they learned they will add a Mr. Basketball from the state of Michigan, a player that led his team to back-to-back state titles, and a McDonalds All-American. 

I might not have tickets to the Final Four this year, but please believe I’m keeping the calendar clear and money in my bank account for late-March, early-April for the next few years.

Just another March for Izzo?

March Madness is officially in full swing and my bracket is officially in the trash. But, I still have plenty to look forward to thanks to Tom Izzo (my biological father) and his Michigan State Spartans. It has been an unforgettable season and even more so if you take a look at where this team has come from in since last season.

Twenty-two days after the season schedule was released, Delvon Roe ailing knees forced him to retire from the game. This left the Spartans looking very thin in the frontcourt (on paper). In addition, there were some questions of who would run the offense. Some members of Spartan Nation were left in a panic. Big Ten experts said the team was a “notch behind Ohio States and Wisconsin.” Even the official team website claimed the Spartans had a “different look.” 

Fast forward to November where the Spartans took the court in the national spotlight first at the Carrier Classic against North Carolina and then a matchup with Duke at Madison Square Garden. While the team fell short in both games (Duke shot FORTY free throws by the way) the whispers started. There is a lot to like about this team, We’re going to be alright this year, Thornton is killing me…

Fifteen straight wins later, include impressive road victories at Gonzaga and Wisconsin, and the tone was set! But, the road through the B1G Conference had its bumps as usual and in the end there was a three was tie for the B1G Regular Season Title. Along with a nail-biting loss to Ohio State at home Izzo and company lost stud freshman Branden Dawson to torn ACL.

It seemed to me the national media hopped off the bandwagon pretty quick. I’m sorry to say it, but I had my doubts as well. I worried about depth and who was going to step into a bigger role. I had grown tired of early, and honestly, disappointing exits in the B1G Tourney. The road to the title game of the tourney was going to be difficult too. Having to beat a Wisconsin team for the third is no joke.

But, the Spartans put those worries to bed in very impressive fashion. In fact, I celebrated pretty hard with some Spartans pretty hard Saturday night. Now, I don’t know if it was the confidence in the way the team had played or the MASSIVE hangover, but I was relatively calm playing Ohio State for the championship knowing what was at stake. Brandon Wood Austin Thornton more than filled any “void” created by Dawson’s injury. Adrian Payne and Derrick Nix have grown up in four months and have been very impressive.

Caught up in this whole season is the constant of Tom Izzo. After the Spartans clinched a share of the Regular Season Championship he was quoted saying, “it’s minuscule to what we have a chance to accomplish down the road.” He has shown the slightest of satisfaction as to what the team has done this year because he wants more. The greatest part about that is so do his guys.

The Spartans have the leadership. Draymond Green is a special player and person. You will see his jersey hanging in the rafters at the Jack Breslin Student Event Center soon. Enough said. 

The Spartans also have the experience. We saw the seniors show up in the B1G Tourney and we have guys that were on the last Final Four team. They want to get back. In addition, let’s talk about opening the season playing North Carolina and Duke. Playing them back to back says something about your program. Add the fact that one of these games was on an Aircraft Carrier and the other was at The Garden. Translation: Tom Izzo- “I’ll take my guys against your guys anywhere, anytime.”

So, I welcome the label “weakest 1-seed.” I guess we’re just a notch behind… for now.

A reaction to “Don’t Put Me In, Coach”

In my first official blog post I want to channel a blogging legend in the sports community. Mark Titus played college basketball for Ohio State University from 2006-2010. He went to the promise-land of college hoops and was a part of the winningest class in Ohio State ball history. The kicker: he scored a total of 9 points in four years. But, in those four years he became an Internet sensation for his blog, clubtrillion.blogspot.com. Recently, Grantland.com released an exclusive excerpt from Titus’s book about his career as a ‘benchwarmer’ on Ohio State University’s men’s basketball. 

Titus’s story is something I am all too familiar with. Back in my heyday I was a backup goaltender on Michigan State University’s men’s soccer team. But, two things made me cringe when I read the excerpt. 1.) I HATE Ohio State University 2.) I feel like Titus threw a teammate and his coach under the bus.

My first problem cannot be addressed. I was born in the state of Michigan. I went to Michigan State University and I bleed green. In other words, it is my birthright to hate the scarlet and grey.

Throwing Head Coach Thad Matta and a teammate under the bus in public fashion is a low blow. Especially if the teammate is Daequan Cook, somebody Titus was a teammate with for FIVE years (four years AAU and one at OSU). Granted, all I know about their friendship or lack-thereof is a brief exchange before the national championship game that may have lasted all of 20 seconds, but I just wouldn’t call a guy out for having an off-night. We’ve all had them, and for the overwhelming majority of us they weren’t on national television. 

I hate Thad Matta as much as the next guy, but Titus made the choice to attend Ohio State. Also, he was going to be a team manager on Matta’s staff before he walked-on to the team.  I just don’t get the resentment. 

I suppose at the end of the day Mark Titus has had the last laugh. His blog gained national attention, he is a contributing writer for Grantland, and his book has received good early reviews. He may never care what my first blog was ever about, but for what it’s worth I loved him referring to Joakim Noah’s ponytail as “a wad of pubes” and some of his locker room antics.

I guess I just want to emphasize the fact that when this blog gets millions of hits and I release my tell-all book, all my friends and teammate are safe from libel.

My friends know me as Goose. I am a washed up backup GK trying to make it in the real world. My real world consists of struggling to stay in shape, watching quality television (sports), and getting somebody to laugh at my attempt at humor daily… Hope you enjoy the blog!

My friends know me as Goose. I am a washed up backup GK trying to make it in the real world. My real world consists of struggling to stay in shape, watching quality television (sports), and getting somebody to laugh at my attempt at humor daily… Hope you enjoy the blog!