A new, refreshing wind blowing through Ann Arbor?

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As we will say over and over and over again before the day’s out, it was just the first of 12 regular season games that will be played by most schools.

And this post involves a team that won their first four games of the 2009 season before falling off the face of the football earth, losing seven of their last eight.  But, still, there seemed to be something different about the 2010 Michigan Wolverines on Saturday.

In particular and most shockingly noticeable, it appears Rich Rodriguez has the key, prototypical piece in place for his version of the spread offense, something he’s lacked during his two seasons in Ann Arbor.

Whatever it was, whatever it will be, Michigan’s impressively solid 30-10 win over UConn gave rise to renewed hope that, this time, Rodriguez’s Wolverines are indeed climbing out of their two-year maize malaise.  And, if you want to lay that hope at the feet of anyone, toss it many times over in the general direction of Denard Robinson.

If you squinted hard enough at your television set, hard enough to blur away the dreads and turn a “16” on the back of the uniform into a “5”, you would’ve sworn you were witnessing Pat White v2.0 on the Big(ger) House field.  Robinson was a mirror image of Rodriguez’s résumé-stuffing weapon while at West Virginia, rushing for 197 yards to set a school record for quarterbacks.  11 of his 29 rushes went for first downs.

As spectacular as he was in the running game, he was equally efficient — and deadly — in the passing game.  Out of 22 pass attempts, Robinson completed 19 of them for 186 yards and a touchdown.  

Perhaps most importantly, and given the -13 turnover differential Michigan had during their ’09 swoon, Robinson either carried or threw the ball 52 times, and had exactly zero turnovers. 

Granted, the Wolverines will face stiffer defensive tests than what the Huskies threw out on the field Saturday, but the Huskies aren’t exactly some Div.1-AA creampuff or a Sun Belt school looking for an opening day payday; UConn finished 8-5 last year as a member of a BcS conference and were 45th in rushing defense.

Yep, I can hear you and you’re correct.  It’s way, way too early to declare a corner having been turned for anyone, let alone a school that’s been so miserable the past two seasons.

Based on today’s performance and Robinson’s potential, however, that corner is closer than it’s ever been during Rodriguez’s time at Michigan.  And, given the hot seat he’s currently squatting on, this latest hope couldn’t have come at a better time for the embattled coach.

In Baker Mayfield, Texas set to face yet another QB who wanted to be a Longhorn

Baker Mayfield
Associated Press
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Jameis WinstonJohnny ManzielAndrew LuckRobert Griffin IIIJ.T. Barrett. Oh, don’t mind me. Just recounting the number of quarterbacks with ties to the Texas football program that never received a sniff from Bevo’s famous snout.

Add another to the list, perhaps the most inexplicable of all: Baker Mayfield.

Mayfield played at Lake Travis High School in Austin, a powerhouse program in a state that specializes in them. Lightly recruited out of high school (he reportedly held only an offer from Florida Atlantic), Mayfield and his family reached out to the nearby program to see if they’d take him as a walk-on.

They said no.

“They told us he had five scholarship quarterbacks, so there wasn’t any need of ‘Bake’ coming out there,” James Mayfield, Baker’s father, told George Schroeder of USA Today. “I popped off that they had five scholarship quarterbacks that couldn’t even play for Lake Travis. That’s where our relationship stalled out.”

On one hand, it utterly boggles the mind why Texas would decline a successful high school quarterback willing to pay his own way on to the team, especially considering the state of the position at the time. On the other, one would see why Mack Brown‘s staff would pass on a kid with only an offer from FAU who says UT’s quarterbacks couldn’t start for his high school team.

Instead, Texas signed Tyrone Swoopes and Mayfield enrolled at Texas Tech. He won the starting job as a true freshman, transferred to Oklahoma, walked on and then won the starting job there.

And now he’s set to face the hometown team he at one time wished he could play for.

Mayfield has completed 88-of-135 throws for 1,382 yards with 13 touchdowns and three interceptions – good for a 178.52 passer rating, which ranks fifth nationally – while adding 138 yards and four scores on the ground. His counterpart, redshirt freshman Jerrod Heard, has connected on 42-of-76 passes for 661 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions (131.74 passer rating) to go with a team-leading 67 carries for 318 yards and three touchdowns.

“As perverse as all this has been, he’s where he wanted to be,” James Mayfield said. “He’s living his dream. If he had to do it all over again, he’d do it, with the same outcome.”

Appalachian State announces five-year extension for head coach Scott Satterfield

Scott Satterfield
Associated Press

One day after it was revealed its head coach was the second-lowest paid in college football, Appalachian State announced a five-year contract extension for head coach Scott Satterfield.

“We have the right coach leading our football program in Scott Satterfield,” Appalachian State AD Doug Gillin said in a statement. “In nearly three years as head coach, he has stayed true to his convictions, built the program the right way and set Appalachian State football up for sustainable success both in the Sun Belt Conference and at the national level.”


Satterfield had earned $375,000 annually, ahead of only Louisiana-Monroe’s Todd Berry at $360,000 a year.

Satterfield, 42, is 14-14 in his third season at the Boone, N.C., school. He led the Mountaineers to a 7-5 mark in their debut Sun Belt season, and has the club at 3-1 to start the 2015 campaign.

“It’s exciting for my family and me to know that we’re going to be at Appalachian for the foreseeable future,” Satterfield added. “I’m living a dream by being the head coach at my alma mater and can’t wait to continue to work hard to help this program reach heights that it has never reached before.”