Sunday, August 31, 2008
When Michigan got the ball with about 1:30 left in the half, I chuckled to my friend standing next to me "...if Lloyd Carr were still the coach, we would go into a shell and walk thru the tunnel, but not Coach Rod, he is going to score..." The next moment Sheridan threw a bad interception and Utah marched right down and scored a TD before the half expired. Game over.
I can't say that I am shocked or even that mad. Utah is not a pushover and we kinda are at this point. I know this overhaul is going to take some time. I saw some things that I loved. The defense was shockingly bad in the 1st half. If we get to 6 wins (and a bowl bid) I will consider the season a success. Anyone that thinks that this will be easy or that RR needs to be fired should consider finding another college football program, because a quick fix is not going to happen.
First the good: 1) Mid-construction stadium. Easy to manage if everyone continues to use "their" gate and avoids walking the concourse. North concourse editions are beautiful---new MDen, big concession stands out of the way of traffic, and two new, for now, 'secret' extra women's restrooms (NO waiting!!!!). Inside the stadium the additions are perfect! They don't intrude on the character of the bowl, and in fact, add nicely to the interior intimidation factor. Sunset did come early, but given the wok-like nature of the bowl in a cloudless 90 degree day, I don't think that is a negative. Talk to everyone in November. It'll be freakin' freezing by noon!
2) Crowd noise. Really. Especially in the 3rd quarter when everyone was down in the mouth and the heart about the missing defense and the high-school caliber offense. I like that the team didn't quit, nor did the fans (at least those who could stand the heat---literally/figuratively).
3) The band.
4) At least now we know what we have and can make adjustments/coach kids up?????
The bad: 1) The defense---supposedly this year's savior???? I'm missing Ron English right about now. I'm sorry, but a new scheme that is supposed to be used to seeing the spread in practice SHOULD be able to stop the damn thing. The only thing that I can think of is that it's the players....I mean these are many of the same guys as before. Seriously---Morgan Trent? a force in the secondary??? please. And I can't tell you how many times Obie Ezeh had his BACK turned to the play, took the wrong angle, or just got plain pancaked. I'll be very interested to see Brian's UFR
2) Play calling. After the first quarter I too could tell what was coming next.
The ugly: 1) Quarterback. Either one of them. Inaccurate, immobile, inexperienced, in trouble. I know they are young and that they are total noobs, but I at least thought their mechanics would be better than they were.
2) Overall execution. bleck.
Overall: I saw flashes of fun and brilliance if we had the right personnel. I saw Rich Rod's stubbornness and gambler mentality. But, um, why doesn't he talk to anyone on the sidelines??? Like does he coach via headset??? He rarely spoke with the players. Weird. I didn't expect a win and I don't think we got drubbed. I just think it's gonna be a long ride this season and it will still be fun a lot of the time and really frustrating many times. Change is hard......I just want to see improvement at this point.
Sweetest moment?? After Lloyd Carr received his award at half-time he chose to walk up and out of the stadium thru the student section. The students gave him a rousing welcome and Lloyd returned the love by pausing to take pictures, talk, sign things etc---I think it took him another 10 minutes to get out of the bowl.
Cool moment??? The flyover. All pilots were Michigan Grads. Air Force bitches. Air Force. oh--and they looked REALLY hot on the sidelines in their jump suits with Michigan hats. mmmmm men in unis.......
And finally, new tradition: In honor of the shotgun, we did (and will) shotgun beers before heading to the stadium.
Saturday, August 30, 2008
Friday, August 29, 2008
We play Utah on Saturday and it will be the first measurable step in the new era of Michigan Football. The Schembechler Era has ended and we start all over with Rich Rodriguez at the helm. To list all the changes that have occurred since the last time a Michigan football team has played would be repetitive. Suffice to say, Utah has had a tough time game planning for us - because no one really knows what to expect. So what do we know about Utah...
History: Although I could find no reference on the official school web site, the University of Utah was originally established in 1850 by Mormon Leader Brigham Young. The school was originally named "University of Deseret" (Deseret was BY's proposed state name for what eventually became Utah). The initial institution closed in 1852 for financial reasons. 15 years later it reopened as a commercial school. It was officially renamed University of Utah in 1894. It serves as the flagship public research university in the state and is one of ten institutions that make up the Utah System of Higher Education.
Nickname: In the earliest days of University the students and alumni referred to their athletic teams as both the "Utes" and the "Redskins." Since 1972 all UofU athletics teams have been called the "Utes" in honor of the American Indian tribe for which the state is named. The Utes inhabited that area of the country for at least 1,000 years prior to the Mormon arrival. In 2004, the NCAA banned schools from using Native American nicknames and images. Utah was one of several schools to apply for and receive a waiver.
This from the Mighty Utah Student Section (MUSS) "Due to the sensitive nature of the mascot issue, we need to be particularly careful not to perpetuate any Native American stereotypes. For example, do not wear war paint, dress in traditional Indian headdress, or do anything else that would be disrespectful to the American Indian nation or the Ute tribe. Do not use the tomahawk chop, although usage of the index and pinky fingers to form a “U” is acceptable."
Mascot: The University's mascot, "Swoop" represents the red-tailed hawk, a bird indigenous to the state of Utah. Swoop was introduced in 1996 after a campus contest to name him. Boring.
Logo/Helmet: Utah uses a simple yet elegant "U" as it's primary logo. There has been surprisingly few changes in their football helmets over the years. They moved to the current "Washington Redskins" design in 1975 and have not really changed since. Personally I like the "UU" version from 1965.Fight Song: The fight song (Utah Man) was originally written as a beer-drinking song in 1904 by then football coach Harvey Holmes and his team. It has been labeled as sexist, old fashioned, difficult, offensive and dated. The last attempt to change the lyrics was in 1984 when a university vice president suggested changing the lyrics. His decision was vetoed and the song remains.
Academics: Ouch. According to the US News and World Report rankings, Utah is the 127th best National University, tied with the New Jersey Institute of Technology and University of San Francisco. Utah is ranked just above the cut-off line of the unranked/Tier III schools. Rival school Brigham Young University is ranked 113th. If Utah were in the Big Ten (cough 11) - they would rank 12th, by a long shot (Michigan State and Indiana are tied at #71).
I am a Utah man, sir, and I live across the green.
Our gang, it is the jolliest that you have ever seen.
Our coeds are the fairest and each one's a shining star.
Our yell, you hear it ringing through the mountains near and far.
Who am I, sir?
A Utah man am I A Utah man, sir, and will be till I die; Ki!Yi!
We're up to snuff
We never bluff
We're game for any fuss
No other gang of college men dare meet us in the muss.
So fill your lungs and sing it out and shout it to the sky
We'll fight for dear old Crimson,for a Utah man am I.
Athletics: The Utes participate in the Mountain West conference, along with their rival Brigham Young University. The Utah/BYU game is dubbed The Holy War - for which the winner receives the Beehive Boot. They have been playing college football at Rice-Eccles Stadium since 1927. The Utes have the highest winning percentage in the nation for teams who have been to more than 10 bowls (10-3). They have won 23 conference championships. In 2004 Urban Meyer coached the best season in school history, going undefeated (12-0) and became the first school from a non-Bowl Championship Series conference to play in a BCS bowl game when they demoralized Pitt 35-7 in the Fiesta Bowl. Urban left for Florida soon after.
Utah has also had long term success in men's basketball (9th most wins among college basketball programs). The Runnin' Utes have made 28 NCAA Tournament appearances and have made 4 Final Four appearances. They won the NCAA Basketball title in 1944. They are currently coached by former Michigan State assistant Jim Boylen.
However, Utah's greatest success has been in women's gymnastics, where they have won 10 NCAA championships. Oh yeah, their ski team has won a bunch of championships also, go figure.
Famous Alums: Famous University of Utah Alum include athletes Alex Smith (the top bust in 2005 NFL draft), Andrew Bogut (the top pick in 2005 NBA draft), NBA player Keith Van Horn and former NFL coach George Seifert. Non athletes include Nolan Bushnell (Co-founder of Atari and inventor of Pong); Ed Catmull (Co-founder of Pixar); Jim Clark (founder of Netscape); Stephen Covey (author of the bestseller The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People); E (as in Elwood) Gordon Gee (President at Ohio State); Robert Jarvik (inventor of the Jarvik-7 artificial heart); Willard Marriott (founder of Marriott International and Evelyn Wood (speed reading innovator).
The Game: I am optimistic, but I honestly have no idea. There is so much we don't know about how the Rodriguez system will function with these Michigan players. I asked my son to simulate ten Utah at Michigan games on NCAA09 (XBox 360 version) and Michigan won nine out of ten battles (Brandon Minor won the MVP four times and Steven Threet three times). However, that does not mean anything if you consider you could have simulated one hundred '07 Appy State games -- and Michigan would win all of them. Utah returns a ton of players and are favored to win the Mountain West Conference. I still like the Michigan defense and super ninja freshman Sam McGuffie to beat Gordon Gee's favorite team.
Michigan 24 Utah 14
Go Blue !!
Thursday, August 28, 2008
For many, the return of football marks the immutable march of time, sweetened by memories of years gone by, and held firm by familiar traditions, linking together into an unbroken chain of time and emotion.
Like confirming "your" tailgating/parking spot. And who brings what. Time to pack up the grill, check the utensils, find the power cord for the 6 foot tall inflatable football/wolverine/Michigan thingy. Time to rally the troops and double check who's got salami, who's got beer, who's got the ice, who's got dessert, and "how many are you bringing?".
Time to check the weather to see what to wear, and time to check the paper to see what to TiVo.
Time for the last minute scramble for "who's got extras!!!?!!!".
This year, the time to pack up for the stadium will be earlier as we all figure out how best to manage the new environs (and exposed iron) of The Big House.
The March of The Band from Revelli, down Hoover and up Green.
A Mich-i-gan Wol-ver-ine.....
New/Old for this year, a restart of a tradition not seen since the 1970s----the football team will once again take Bo's "Victor's Walk" to the stadium, beginning at the Public Safety building near Crisler to follow the band in to the locker room where pads and helmets and pants await.
No team captains this year, until the season is done. Each senior will be eligible to be chosen week by week until the final choices before the brawl in November. And, the addition of honorary captains for each game, culled from each era of Michigan Men.
For Utah---1940's halfback Bob Chappius, 1950's end Ron Kramer, and a member of the 1969 championship team Dan Dierdorf, O-line.
New too the Coach, the team, the scheme. Gone will be OUR complacency given that we used to all be able to tell the play simply by the personnel and formation. NO, now we too will have to be alert, amazed, astounded and confounded by this new offense and the re-worked defense. Here's a little reminder of what we're gonna need to understand......
So, once again, that magical time is upon us, replete with memories and moments. Chip Loehmiller (bastard!), "Remember the Florida State Game!", 1997. Your first game as a student. Your last game as a student. Road trips. Home games. Hibachis. Breakfast beer. The crowd's cheer--Des-Mond How-ard, Des-Mond Howard.
All that will come with you on Saturday, yet everything will be new again. Using the cheap newspaper program handed to you by that "hey want one of these" guys as a fan to cool you and as a map to inform you. How big is their #60, he's gotta be like 6'7" 300, right? Is our guy a redshirt freshman or a sophmore? Who's number 12 again????
Oh yes, friends, it's gonna be grand.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
If you want the entire BigTen schedule, you can grab the PDF here.
This time of year is both joyous and nerve racking for me. Too many saturdays I have lost all the pleasure of watching games thinking about what comes next. Maybe it comes with the lower expectations, but after last year's brutal start, I vowed to enjoy each week as if it were standing alone. November 22nd will come soon enough. There is a lot of football to enjoy between now and then. Utah is first.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Just a word of advice to any adult seeking the company of a 15 year old girl that you met on an internet chat room, you are better off meeting Chris Hansen than me and the business end of a M1911A1 .45 Caliber Pistol.
There's a glaring difference between the letters, however. Bill Martin speaks to the economic forces involved, the duplicity of Comcast, and the benefits of the BTN:
"The Big Ten Network is about more than just the 40 football games produced each year. We will have at least 13 men's basketball games on the BTN, at least seven of which are conference games. In total the BTN will broadcast 140 men's basketball games and 55 women's basketball games. In the past, coverage of our men's basketball game was sporadic at best (last year 10 games weren't covered at all, and 11 games were syndicated with limited local coverage), and coverage of women's basketball was virtually non-existent. When the BTN achieves its distribution goals, coverage for all of our sports will be much broader and deeper.The Big Ten Network is also more than just sports - it is really an extension of our schools, with 660 hours of campus programming and a dedication to no alcohol advertising and event-equity for men's and women's sports. We believe the network is totally in line with the values of our conference, institutions and fans."
Gene Smith's letter?????
"As the network enters it's second season, we are proud of all the Ohio State programming on the network and we are proud of how the network represents the rest of the Big Ten. In its first year on the air, the Big Ten Network featured more than 200 hours of Buckeye programming, including four football games, 22 men's and women's basketball games and two Buckeye classics, the 2003 National Championship victory over Miami and the thrilling 2006 defeat of Michigan." (emphasis added)
This is not sour grapes. Michigan was unprepared and paid the price. Appy State deserved to beat us last year. I know that lightning rarely strikes twice... but how fun would it be to see the Mountaineers shock the world again ?
Monday, August 25, 2008
I was part of the last class ever recruited by Bump Elliott, and the transition from Bump Elliott to Bo Schembechler was hellacious. You're recruited by this father figure in Bump, who's a gentleman and just a great guy. He represented the University of Michigan as well as any person ever has. Bump went into administration after the 1968 season, and Michigan hired this guy whose last name you couldn't even pronounce. I remember when they first hired Bo, all the sportscasters in the area where butchering his name pretty badly.
Bo came in a immediately established his program. He told us. "We know how to win. We're from Miami of Ohio. We come from a winning school that has produced many top college coaches who know what they're doing, so you guys need to have confidence." Then the papers started running articles about the "cradle of coaches" and all the great coaches from there.
We started a conditioning program that was like boot camp. There were a lot of guys who didn't believe in what he was pitching. We went through winter conditioning, we went through spring football. In the first spring he was there, all the kids went home after the spring term was over - except us. We stayed another week and one-half and played football because Bo hadn't gotten his 20 days of spring practice in yet.
Now, go back and replace Bump with Lloyd, Miami with West Virgina and Bo with Rich Rodriguez.
Sunday, August 24, 2008
All is right with the world.
Why is that you ask????? Oh because this morning, while sitting on my porch, sipping my Roadhouse Joe from Zingerman's and reading the New York Times (damn straight) I heard the unmistakable sweet sounds of scales being played by the Michigan Marching Band. Followed quickly by these wonderful refrains........
Friday, August 22, 2008
The purpose of this film is to demonstrate in a very scientific way why it is a bad idea to allow 18 year olds drink in dorm rooms and carry movie cameras. There is no truth to the rumor that this is Sru and Whet.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
"Rehired" by Rich Rod upon his arrival, after you read this I think you will agree that Rich Rod would have been a fool NOT to keep Coach on staff.
I don't think that there are enough superlatives to describe Coach Jackson. I'm serious. He has spent 17 seasons with the Wolverines, and his resume is amazing. He is originally from Baton Rouge, LA and was an all-conference QB at Jackson State. He graduated from there in 1972 and graduated with a masters of arts from Michigan in 1975. Just ponder that one for a minute--regardless of football. MA from Michigan in 1975, within the sociocultural context of the 70s. Impressive.
He began his coaching career at Flint Southwestern (where he coached Rick Leach) and also won state titles as the track coach in 1975 and 1977.
He then rocketed to Toledo, of the MAC, to serve three years as the offensive coordinator, quarterbacks and wide receivers coach under Chuck Stobart from 1979-81. Stobart worked for Bo at Miami and Michigan as well as John Cooper (of blessed Michigan memory).
The 80's brought Jackson to the Big Ten where he spent 1982-1986 at Wisconsin. He coached just about every part of the football team's offense and coached NFL All-Pro Al Toon of the New York Jets.
But then he hit the coaching merry-go-round:
1987 = WRs Coach, US Naval Academy
1988 = QBs and WRs coach, South Carolina
1989-1990 = Offensive coordinator and QBs/WRs coach, Purdue
1991 = QB Coach, Vanderbilt
Until.....in 1992.....Coach Jackson came to Michigan to work for Coach Gary Moeller. And the rest is history. Coach Jackson has served as the running backs coach since then and also served two seasons as the offensive coordinator in 1995-96. Check out his RBs successes since his hiring in 1992
Jackson's Michigan All-Big Ten Performers:
1992: Tyrone Wheatley (1st)
1993: Tyrone Wheatley (1st)
1994: Tyrone Wheatley (1st)
1995: Tshimanga Biakabutuka (2nd)
1999: Anthony Thomas (2nd)
2000: Anthony Thomas (1st)
2003: Chris Perry (1st)
2004: Mike Hart (1st)
2006: Mike Hart (1st)
2007: Mike Hart (2nd)
And let's not forget Chris Floyd, Chris Howard, Aaron Shea, and B J Askew
FUMBLE FREE: 5 POINTS OF SECURITY
Coach is a quiet, kind man---at least while the women are around. He taught me how not to fumble a football, explaining why his running backs rarely give up the rock. (or if they do, they sit)
When you get the ball on the handoff you want to make sure that the ball is placed squarely in the crook of your arm, resting on your forearm (1). You use your index finger/hand to control the tip of the ball (2). Next, flex your elbow to bring the ball into your chest (3) and (4) your biceps. To really make sure the ball is secure in traffic, bring your other arm over and cradle the ball from the top (5). Done.
Jackson has been recognized for his coaching skills with his selection as the American Football Coaches Association National Assistant Coach of the Year for Division I-A in 2001. In addition, Jackson was a finalist for the 2000 Broyles Award given to the nation's outstanding assistant coach. And he has 19 post-season bowls to his credit. But you don't hear or see much about him. I think it is because of Coach's quiet humility and not because of issues with race and coaching in football.......at least that's what I hope. But you have to admit that it seems damned strange that he hasn't become a head coach somewhere.
Here are the top 10 things about Mike Barwis that you did not know:
10. Mike Barwis can sneeze with his eyes open.
9. Mike Barwis beat the sun in a staring contest.
8. Mike Barwis can strike a match on a bar of soap.
7. When Mike Barwis crosses the street, the cars have to look both ways.
6. Mike Barwis had his tonsils removed with a chainsaw.
5. Simply by pulling on both ends, Mike Barwis can stretch diamonds back into coal.
4. Mike Barwis can slam a revolving door.
3. Mike Barwis uses tabasco sauce instead of visine.
2. When Mike Barwis wants an egg, he cracks open a chicken.
1. Mike Barwis doesn't own a can opener, he just chews through the can.
I look foward to reading all your added Mike Barwis Facts.
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
As a photographer, when I first saw this photo (on the banner of this M blog) I was very impressed. The simplicity and color make this photo memorable. Only later did I discover the image was captured by a Michigan student during the 2005 Penn State game, which made it even more special.
There is nothing I could have added via Photoshop or any other image manipulation tool to increase the beauty of what MightyBoyBrian has provided.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
100 University presidents have called for a lowering of the legal drinking age to 18 claiming that attempts to increase the drinking age have led to dangerous and clandestine drinking behaviors.
They call themselves the Amethyst Initiative as the word Amethyst is derived from the Ancient Greek words meaning “not” (a-) and “intoxicated” (methustos). According to mythology, Amethyst was a young girl who incurred the wrath of the g-d Dionysus after he became intoxicated with red wine. Amethyst cried to Goddess Diana for help. Diana immediately turned the girl into a white stone. Upon discovering what had happened Dionysus wept, and, as his tears fell into his goblet, the wine spilled over the white rock, turning it purple.
The purple gemstone amethyst was widely believed to be an antidote to the negative effects of intoxication. In Ancient Greece, drinking vessels and jewelry were often made of amethyst and used during feasts and celebrations to ward off drunkenness and to promote moderation.
The Amethyst Initiative supports informed and unimpeded debate on the 21 year-old drinking age, calling upon elected officials to weigh all the consequences of current alcohol policies and to invite new ideas on how best to prepare young adults to make responsible decisions about alcohol use.
Included in this progressive group??? BUT OF COURSE, tUOS' President E. Gordon Gee---who must be Alfred E. Neuman's dad.
Coach Rich Rod sauntered up to the BTN desk and just charmed this ol' girl to mush!
When asked what he felt the team still needed to work on most he replied, "Oh quite a bit--I still have my voice, but we've got 2 good weeks left."
He says the team is not ready for a game yet particularly because of all the young guys. All the little things still need to be taught. But they are getting better slowly.
Coach DiNardo pointed out that 8 of 11 teams in the Big 10 are running some variety of the spread. Rich Rod says that they keep changing his version of the spread, not really to stay ahead of the pack, but instead to more readily fit the personnel and their offensive skill set. The play calling will be geared to what the kids can do.
Get ready for a load of frosh on offense: McGuffie and Shaw at tailback/Odoms and Robinson at the slot/Darryl Stonum outside receiver are all true freshman who are gonna play right away.
At QB, Threet and Sheridan are very similiar, both are very intelligent guys, and according to Rich Rod they picked up the system, terminology, and signals much quicker than anticipated.
"We're just trying to get 'em to manage the game. A quarterback in our offense is like a point guard that can shoot the three, if his 3 point shot's not fallin' then he's gotta be a distributor and be smart with the ball." (sigh. oh richie....)
O-line is still a work in progress--lots of growin' pains. Only one starter coming back--Steve Shilling. True freshmen on '2 deeps' which Coach notes is "really scary". Just today they moved John Ferrar, a D-lineman, over to the O-line where they think he can be a starter. Still looking for 6-7 guys that they think they can win with.
Coach won't talk about number of wins or whatnot, he just wants to compete every game and deserve to win each one. First goal will be conference championship every year. He's going to be relying on the more experienced defense to start things out while the offense evolves.
And, I have to say, I'm warming up to the BTN, at least as far as Michigan coverage goes. ESPN's Dream Job winner Mike Hall is an announcer and he still looks like Doogie Howser! Why'd he leave ESPNU? More chicks in Chicago than Charlotte, NC.
The other announcers leave much to be desired, and I'm thinking that I can do a better job reading the teleprompter (if they put it on the big font that is).....
oooh.....can you feel it???
Monday, August 18, 2008
Women's softball will no longer be an Olympic sport next go around, mainly because of a "lack of competition". That's right, get rid of the sport because the USA keeps kicking everyone's ass.
As one of the players rightly pointed out, no one has asked Michael Phelps to 'ease up' ...... no, he is celebrated for his ass-kicking of the world.
But this isn't really about softball.
Nope, this is about trampoline.
The olympic sport of trampoline.......
Are you kidding????
Softball = SPORT
Trampoline?? = NOT a sport
Saturday, August 16, 2008
* Kevin Grady has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor drunk driving charge this week. Pretty hard not to after you've blown a 0.281 on the drunk-o-meter. Grady must either spend three days in jail or perform 24 hours of community service. He also must serve 12 months of probation and pay $3,290 in fines and fees. But, it hasn't kept him from practicing with the team.......Which I think is crap.
* Zack Putnam, RHP, will skip his senior season with the Wolverines to sign with the Cleveland Indians for $650,000.
* Jim Carty likes it! He really likes it! The Stadium, that is.....
* Janos Baranyai, an Olympic weightlifter from Hungary inverted his right elbow (DON'T look if you get grossed out easily. I'm serious) while trying to snatch 148 kg during competition this week. The good news is that he didn't break anything and may be able to return to his sport....yiiccch
* Apparently the USC football team has been plagued by tinea cruris during this month's camp. USC = University of Scratchy Crotch????? ha ha
Friday, August 15, 2008
No, this time we gotta give little brother his due, as our favorite agriculture college to the north has gone big time. Olympic sized. John 'Trey' Rogers, full professor in the Department of Crop and Soil Science Services, is THE expert in turfgrass management specializing in sports turf construction, establishment, and management. And, in case you are looking to be the next Carl Spackler, he is also the coordinator of the 2-year Turfgrass Management Golf Course program.
Professor Rogers is in the news these days because he and his team are responsible for the modular installation of the Kentucky Bluegrass turf in China's National Stadium, The Bird's Nest. Each module of turf weighs 1,100 pounds and the field will require 5,500 modules. The advantage is that each module can be removed and replaced without taking out the whole field. There is improved drainage and stability for the surface. It can be grown in advance, offisite, and then installed as needed. Rogers first installed his modular system for the 1994 World Cup at the Pontiac Silverdome as well as the 2004 Athens Olympic turf in Greece. Partnering with GreenTechIT, MSU is being paid $270,000 for the deal. Check out MSU's Field of Dreams.
Ok--so, off to the science--courtesy of HowStuffWorks, because while I do have a degree in biology, I sure as heck didn't take any botany!
What we commonly know as 'grass' is from the Gramineae family of plants. Grass stems, called culms, grow up from the base of the plant (the crown). In most grass species, the culms are hollow and rigid, except at the nodes -- joints that join stem segments together. Narrow leaves extend out from the culms, above each node. The leaves alternate in direction. That is, if the first leaf on a culm grows to the right, the second leaf will grow to left and the third leaf will grow to the right and so on.
The lower part of the leaf is called the sheath, and the upper part is called the blade. In most grasses, a ligule surrounds the connection between the sheath and the blade. A ligule can take the form of a thin membrane or a fringe of hair-like projections.
Like the leaves on a tree, grass leaves serve to collect energy from sunlight through photosynthesis. The photosynthesizing chlorophyll in the leaf gives grass its green color--and the stain on your knees.
Now, believe it or not, but grass has sex! Why yes! And, it can go both ways, asexual or sexual....
Asexual reproduction in grass is called tillering. (it's just so easy sometimes) A tiller is a shoot derived from vertical growth of an axillary bud and is a complete unit with roots, stem, and leaves. There are two types of tillering: intravaginal and extravaginal. ( I kid you not ) Intravaginal tillers grow vertically, close to the main shoot. Extravaginal tillers penetrate the enveloping leaf sheath and grow horizontally away from the main shoot for a distance before beginning vertical growth. This type of tillering results in the spreading or creeping growth habit of sod-forming plants. If this horizontal growth is below the soil surface, the structure is called a rhizome; if the growth is aboveground it is called a stolon. Rhizomes may be either continuous, producing tillers at progressive intervals, or terminal, producing 1 tiller when the apex turns up and emerges from the soil. Stolons have continuous growth and form tillers at progressive nodes. All young tillers are dependent on the main shoot for carbohydrates until they have developed their own root systems and mature leaves. After the tiller becomes independent, it remains in vascular connection with other tillers.
Sexual reproduction in grasses involves small flowers known as florets. Florets grow together in small groups called spikelets, which collectively form inflorescences. This stage of flower stalk development is occasionally referred to as the "boot" stage. At this point, 4 or 5 upper internodes, along with the attached leaf sheaths, elongate very rapidly. This short phenophase is referred to as head emergence phenophase. The inflorescence reaches near-maximum height shortly after emergence, and flowering and fertilization soon follow. The feathery stigma (female part) spreads out. The anther filaments elongate and expose the anthers (male parts), which dehisce and liberate pollen. Wind- promoted cross pollination is the most common process of sexual reproduction in grasses. Moved by the wind, pollen may land on the stigmas. About 30-40 hours after pollination, fertilization occurs which then produces seeds.
Wow. Anyone have a cigarette?
Here's a random idea about a non-sport use for all that grass.
Thought you guys might like.....