Visiting for Montana

alabamagrizzly
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Joined: Wed Mar 28, 2018 5:15 pm

Wed Mar 28, 2018 5:36 pm

Hey Leatherneck fans. I’m here as a visitor from Montana via Alabama and my wife and I are coming to the game this year. First off, good luck and may the best team win. Secondly, I see y’all got a coaching change also. Hopefully ours should be an upgrade(although I supported Stitt all the way to the end). I see yours is an internal hire, and your third coach in five years? How do you think your program will fare from the change? Lastly and most importantly, where is a nice place to stay and are there any cool touristy things to do around Macomb? We’ll be rolling in fri afternoon and heading to Chicago after the game. I’m guessing the game will start about 3pm. Is that the usual start time for early fall games? Thanks in advance for any info you give and if y’all wanna talk the upcoming match up, I’m more then willing.
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ST_Lawson
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Wed Mar 28, 2018 7:20 pm

alabamagrizzly wrote:
Wed Mar 28, 2018 5:36 pm
Hey Leatherneck fans. I’m here as a visitor from Montana via Alabama and my wife and I are coming to the game this year. First off, good luck and may the best team win. Secondly, I see y’all got a coaching change also. Hopefully ours should be an upgrade(although I supported Stitt all the way to the end). I see yours is an internal hire, and your third coach in five years? How do you think your program will fare from the change? Lastly and most importantly, where is a nice place to stay and are there any cool touristy things to do around Macomb? We’ll be rolling in fri afternoon and heading to Chicago after the game. I’m guessing the game will start about 3pm. Is that the usual start time for early fall games? Thanks in advance for any info you give and if y’all wanna talk the upcoming match up, I’m more then willing.
Welcome Grizzly, glad to have you.

Coaching change - shouldn't be much of a change in the short-term actually. Our new HC was the former Assistant HC and Co-Offensive Coordinator, has a great relationship with many of the current players and the kids that they were recruiting before Coach Fisher left, and kept a large portion of the existing staff. Hiring him was essentially a "stay the course" hire...we like the direction we're headed and the style of play we've been putting on the field, and wanted to continue heading that direction. Long-term it's harder to say, because we don't really know much about the kids he's recruiting/recruited yet. As you probably know, it usually takes 2-3 years before you really see the quality of a coaches' recruits. Anyone who is a Junior or Senior for the 2018 season, was recruited out of high school, and redshirted, they were recruited two coaches ago. It'll take a few years of seeing Coach Elliott at the helm before we can really get a solid read on his recruiting ability, but I like what I've seen so far.

Places to stay - here's a list of area hotels: http://www.makeitmacomb.com/stay/. Since I'm a Macomb resident myself, I've never actually stayed at any of them myself, but I've heard that the Hampton Inn is the nicest (also the most expensive) and the Best Western Macomb Inn is decent too as is the University Union (which would be REALLY close to the football field...like less than the length of a football field away from Hanson Field). The Star Motel, America's Best Value Inn, and Macomb Inn are on the lower end...less expensive, but...well...you get what you pay for. The others are somewhere in between mostly. Others on here who don't live in Macomb but frequently visit might have their own opinions on these though.

And touristy things to do - what kind of stuff do you like to do? We don't have a ton of tourist-type things here, but might be able to come up with something to keep you occupied while you're in town (and provide recommendations for things to stop and see along the way up to Chicago).

Anyway, we're glad to have the Grizzlies back in Macomb...it's been a while since the last visit and I love seeing high-quality teams come to town.
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alabamagrizzly
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Wed Mar 28, 2018 8:31 pm

Thanx ST. It has been a long time since we’ve been there but even longer since we’ve won a game against y’all. I had to go back to a 7-0 drubbing in 1964. Hopefully we can even the series this year. You look like you got a lot of returning talent but a couple big shoes to fill also. I like your two headed running back attack. Are they in the backfield together a lot a just a real even 1-2 punch? I see that Norris’s got a lotta weight on McShane, the two sport guy. Your LB did a lot last year but maybe Moon can pick up a lot of that production. That wrecking ball you have on the D line will definitely help.

We’re returning a lot of potential talent but except for the QB, a lot of em possibly haven’t been as coached up as they could. Atleast that’s the overall consensus of the outspoken fan base. Bringing in a whole new system and mostly new staff with about 200 years coaching experience(no exaggeration) and head coach that treats every year like a blank slate will make for an interesting spring and fall camp. Shoot we don’t even know if our Sr RB who’s also #5 on the all time rushing TD list will be the starting guy this year. About the only sure thing is Josh Buss, our DPY candidate last year, will be a beast, IF they use him correctly.
alabamagrizzly
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Wed Mar 28, 2018 8:38 pm

Also ST, thanks for the info on places to stay. Every bit helps. Im not really the tourist type. Just wondering if there is anything real interesting that should be checked out. We’ve checked out some things to see in Chi but any inside info would be cool. We’re only spending Sat night and most of Sun there and then it’s off to Ohio to visit some friends. Then we’re heading back home Tues. From Fri to Tues it’ll be about 1,700 road miles. Hopefully a Griz win will sweeten the trip.
leatherneckcountry
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Wed Mar 28, 2018 10:23 pm

I would say in my time at WIU that this is the first time we go into a season and I think we could be on either end of the spectrum. We have three talent back returning though I think we could see Ratkovich lining up as a WR a lot. We have a very good QB but the biggest question are who is he going to throw to hopefully that takes care of itself last year i was sitting here thinking the same thing and we had a Wr break pretty much every single season record. The O line has one guy with playing time. We have a lot back on defense except in the DB department that is an area of serious concern for me mainly because we were awful in that area 2 years ago. Starters will be pretty split between Nielsen and Fisher players. I think we will be more of a run team than last year we used the jet sweep a ton last year and I hope we do it again this year. We also need to be much more discipline than last year it was one area that we were sloppy in.
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ST_Lawson
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Wed Mar 28, 2018 10:33 pm

Yeah, we definitely lose a few key players: LB Brett Taylor, WR Jaelon Acklin, C Jacob Judd, who will all likely be getting a serious chance at the next level, plus a few other guys that have a decent shot at continuing their playing career in some fashion. Like you said, Moon could step up at LB, probably not at the level of Taylor, but is a very respectable LB in his own right. Khalen (pronounced like Colin or call-in) Saunders is just about the fastest and most athletic D-lineman I've seen in a long time.

Last year's interceptions leader, DB Justin Fitzpatrick, is back for his senior season as well, and we've got a good amount of talent overall in the backfield, so I'm not too worried about that area. I'm very interested to see what Fitzpatrick chooses to do with his future after this season too; he's extremely talented in many areas...as a football DB, as a solid defensive outfielder on the baseball team, and as an award-winning sports broadcasting student. Just one of those kids that has a lot of options open to him in his future.

As you mentioned, we will likely be more run-based this year on offense...McShane and Norris being our primary backs. Not sure if they use the terms much anymore with the versatility of many of the players now, but McShane is more like a traditional halfback...good hands for catching short throws, good acceleration through gaps, breakaway speed. Norris in this case would be the fullback, sometimes blocking, sometimes pushing the line, good for a solid few yards when you need them like in a 3rd and 3-type situation.

O-line might be kinda young, so that's one spot we're a little concerned about, and we don't really know how WR is going to play out yet. Our very good QB is back for one more year, so if he's got anyone to throw to, that should be ok. Then again, we were kinda worried about that last year with two of the best WRs in Leatherneck history both graduating at the same time, then Acklin just kinda came out of nowhere and broke nearly all the school receiving records for game and season (and a few conference records). Hard to tell at this point if there's another Acklin waiting in the wings or not.

We'll know a lot more once we get through spring practices (which we pretty much just started) and have our spring game on April 20th.

So, things to do in/around Macomb. Well, if you're going to be in town from Friday afternoon until after the game (which, like you mentioned, will probably be at 3...that's usually when the early season home games are for us), I'd recommend checking out the downtown square...there's shopping, we have some pretty cool looking sculptures around the area (here's the original brochure, although most of those sculptures shown have been purchased and replaced by new ones...the locations are the same though), as well as a ton of very interestingly designed "Rocky dogs" (Rocky is our bulldog mascot) all over town, but many of which are in the downtown area and on campus (although I'm partial to one in particular in front of the Regional Office of Education just about half a block south of the corner of the downtown square).

Often during certain weekends in the summer and fall there is a car show downtown with a live band (I haven't seen the schedule of that to see if it'd be going on that weekend or not yet) and the weekend you guys are in town is also often the weekend that we hold our annual Balloon Rally (much of which takes place right across the street from the main parking/tailgate lot for the football game).

As for dinner, I'd highly recommend stopping by either the Jackson Street Pub which is a mile or so west of the square, closer to campus, or Chubby's (which is on the square). Both are known for having great horseshoes (a sandwich/dish that is unique to central Illinois). If you're really hungry, get a horseshoe, if not...go for a pony/ponyshoe (trust me, even a pony is plenty for most people). If you're at Jackson Street, I highly recommend the breaded tenderloin horseshoe, and at Chubby's, I'm a big fan of the buffalo chicken horseshoe.

Anyway, I'd imagine that would keep most people busy for an afternoon/evening around town. We'll know a lot more specifics about the fall schedule once we get into summer, so be sure to check back in with us once things get a bit closer to the start of the season.
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sealhall74
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Thu Mar 29, 2018 9:23 am

Scatching my head right now for touristy things to do relatively close to Macomb. Honestly, if I had to pick one close or within a short drive, it might be heading due west for about 30 miles to Keokuk, IA and if your timing is good, you can watch a barge go through the lock and dam system there. A lot of locals there will hear the alert whistles blow and jump in their cars and head over to the river to see it. When I was a student, I even made the drive to Keokuk a time or two just for an drinking trip. That was when the old bridge was there and they had to stop traffic and raise a section of the bridge to let the boats go through. Believe me, there is no experience quite like getting out of your car in the dark of night on a creaky old steel gate bridge over the Mighty MIssissippi when you have had a few beers under your belt.

Nauvoo, IL is only about 10 miles north of Keokuk on the Illinois side and has a lot of historic sites related to the Mormon Church when it was in that area. I have done it not too long ago and I think it is worth the drive from Macomb.

Most here wont like me to say this, but when I go to Macomb to see football games, I usually stay in the Quad Cities (about 90 miles north). Coming from the south, it might not be a good option for you. I prefer the Bettendorf Courtyard because I can easily hop on the interstate and get to Macomb in about 80 minutes if I push it a little but there a lot of other hotel options in that area, including some with "Casino" attractions (Isle, Jumers) if you are into that. There are also quite a few touristy things to do in the Quad Cities in the way of museums and historic sites. I grew up in a very small town (Alexis) about half way between Macomb and the Quad Cities. When we took our field trips in elementary school, we went to the Quad Cities. Iirc from about 50 years ago, one year it was the Black Hawk State Park and Indian museum there. The John Deere Pavilion is in Moline and is a top area draw. I have never done it but you can do your best Farmer Jones impersonation with the big equipment simulators there.

If Jimmy V was a programmer like me, he would have said it like this: while (!(succeed = try()));
alabamagrizzly
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Thu Mar 29, 2018 1:29 pm

Thanks seal and ST for the good info. I’m definitely gonna be gettin me one of them horseshoes fri night, the buffalo chick sounds real good, and check out the square. Not sure how many other Griz fans will be in town but for an FCS school, we generally travel pretty well. I’d expect a minimum of 1,000 and probably more then that.

As far as a quick run down of our team.

QB) Our Fr of the Year candidate from last year and a former UNLV transfer will be battling for the starting job. Most fans hope Jensen, the returning starter gets it but the transfer, Sneed, is familiar with the new coaches even though he never played for em. He’s got better running ability but Jensen has the QB tangibles that you just can’t teach a kid.

RB) Calhoun(5th all time in rushing TD’s with nearly 30) and Lee are the Sr retuning starters but there’s a couple young kids that could make a push with the new staff in place(you’ll see a recurring theme here that no returning starters job is safe which the new staff has made openly clear).

WR) A LOT of talent here cus that’s all our old coach recruited. Curran and JLM are big time and after that, we got some good young guys(Akeem and Toure) ready to step up. Calhoun who is the RB’s twin is definitely capable of making big plays too.

TE/FB) A new position to our team since our old coach did away with them three years ago. Bingham the TE is the best natural fit and could be a star at that position.

OL) One returning starter and a whole bunch of question marks. Some good raw untapped talent but it has yet to be battle tested. Still expecting a JuCo transfer or FBS drop down here before fall.

DL) Shaw and Sims are beastly at the DT and Favaroso really developed at DE as the year went on last year. The other DE battle will be interesting with three pretty solid recruits battling it out.

LB) Buss is the man and on the DPY award watchlist two years now and a finalist last year and already on this years list. Who many thought the new MLB would be has switched to FB but there is several good recruits to fight for the other two spots.

CB) ???? Nash is the only returning starter who started the last half the year. He’s a So with three other decent So recruits and a Jr who switched from WR during the off season will all be battling for these slots. Big question marks.

S) Sandrey’s a stud and should start. Epperly the lone Sr and Robertson, the Ari transfer will be battling for the other along with the coaches son who’s a RSFr.

ST) Our P and K are pretty solid and if JLM does return duties, watch out. Ask UNI fans about JLM in ‘16. On one PR there was about 10 missed tackles. He’s electric.
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RedNeck
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Sun Apr 01, 2018 1:10 am

Sounds like you are on a very tight time frame. If time permits I would suggest 2 hours of your life in Galesburg. You will be driving right around it. Might as well delve into it.

Knox College, Old Main, Lincoln Douglas. Obviously you are adept at the Internet I will leave it at that.

Iron Spike Brew Pub. One does not need to drink (though I recommend it) the food is outstanding.

http://site9348006.92.webydo.com/AboutUs.html

Galesburg, is as good as it gets for old Architecture that hasn't been laid waste by the wreaking ball. Only other place in Illinois that might be better is Danville (20 miles East of the University of Illinois, used to be a reallly big deal).

Enjoy the game. Hanson Field has ZERO on Wash Griz Stadium so just root for your team. Yes, you will be Underwhelmed by the facilities, But it will be Autumn and it will be football and life will be good.
wiu712
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Sun Apr 01, 2018 9:30 am

I have to second the recommendation of Nauvoo, IL.

Nauvoo is 45 miles northwest of Macomb. The Mormons were in Nauvoo 1839-1846. More details about Nauvoo are available here: https://www.historicnauvoo.net/

Carthage, IL is halfway between Macomb and Nauvoo. It was at the Carthage Jail in 1844 when an angry mob entered the jail and murdered the Prophet Joseph Smith his brother Hyrum. There is a historic site there: https://www.lds.org/locations/carthage- ... g=eng&_r=1

In 1846, Brigham Young led the Exodus from Nauvoo. They arrived in Salt Lake in 1847.
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