The first of more than a few planeteam retrospectives. From BTN:
— Michigan On BTN (@MichiganOnBTN) March 22, 2017
From the blog world, Hoover Street Rag probably has an aero engineer on staff and so has all the details of what exactly happened with that plane:
The MD-83 turning onto Runway 23L at Willow Run International Airport (KYIP) would never be able to takeoff, but no one on board knew that. The right elevator was jammed in the down position, and the pilots had no chance of ever being able to raise the nose enough to lift off.
Designing and flying a safe airplane is about delicately balancing huge forces. Gravity's remorseless tug must be balanced by lift; thrust is balanced by drag. If you do this right, you get steady level flight. To turn, you have to slightly perturb this arrangement. The ailerons on the wings bank the airplane (this is called the roll axis). The rudder rotates the plane left or right (yaw). The elevator, meanwhile, rotates the nose up or down (pitch).
The tail (or the empennage, if you want to sound fancy) on most conventional airplanes consists of a vertical stabilizer, sticking up like a shark fin and housing the rudder, while the horizontal stabilizer sprouts from either side of the tail, each containing half the elevator.
And Holdin' The Rope:
After 20 minutes, Michigan trailed by two -- but it felt like it should have been much more.
After 40 minutes, Michigan lost by one -- but it felt like it should have been much less, another outcome, a different narrative track.
Various Harbaugh stories, as per usual. David Lombardi's article on Stanford assistant Tsuyoshi Kawata is interesting on its own; it will be of special interest to Michigan folks because of Harbaugh doing Harbaugh things:
Kawata could barely speak English, but he was looking for an entry point into coaching in the United States.
Kawata had thought about what he was going to say to Harbaugh before he entered his office. He told Harbaugh that he was a major influence in his football education, and that he remembered him as "Captain Comeback" from watching his games in Japan on grainy television broadcasts.
"I told him that story to make his mood better," Kawata said with a laugh.
"Do you love football?" Harbaugh asked.
"Yes, Coach, absolutely," Kawata replied.
"Come and join us," Harbaugh said.
"It was one of those deals where, all of a sudden, Jim hired him and didn't tell anybody," said Shaw, who was Stanford's offensive coordinator at the time. "So [Kawata] walked out onto the field, and it was like, 'Who is this guy? He's on the field? He's got a clipboard?'"
"Hired" in this context means "gave an unpaid internship to," but I enjoy the idea of coaches showing up at practice not knowing if there's going to be a mysterious new guy.
Also in Harbaugh is this story his brother told Peter King:
Last Memorial Day we did vacation together. My wife and I have a cottage up north in Michigan on Lake Huron. We get Jim to drive up with the kids and all that, and we have a basketball hoop in the front yard in the driveway, and we were going to play a little game with the kids, and we just started shooting around, and next thing you know it was a 4-on-4 game.
It was Jack, who is two-and-a-half, Addy, who is six, Katie, who is four-and-a-half or five at the time, Allison who is 13 or 14 and she is a little basketball player, and Jim and me and Sarah, my wife. We're playing, and you can picture the kind of game it is, right? Allison happens to hit a couple jumpers and we're playing to seven, and we're up maybe 5-1. Next thing you know, Jim starts going over the top of Allison for rebounds, he's boxing her out 10 feet away from the basket.
Next thing you know, it's 5-5 and Jim has made all the shots for his team of course. I'm like, you know, maybe Addy would like to touch the ball? Maybe Katie or Jack could dribble a little bit now and then? It goes 6-6 and a long rebound comes out the side, he goes and gets it. I see Allison happens to be over there, so I see him going to the basket, he's going to take Allison to the hole, you know, he's about 6'3", 235, so I'm going to go cut him off. I get him with my right arm bar across his chest and I'm trying to body check him into the pricker bushes behind the driveway, and he just powers his way to the basket, lays one over the top, a reverse layup off the board, and all he could talk about is how he won.
He picks up Jack and says, 'Doesn't it feel great, Jack, to win? Doesn't it feel great to win?' An hour later we were crossing paths in the backyard to go get a soda or something, and he looks me right in the eye and he says, ‘Hey John, have you won anything yet?’”
This isn't even surprising, down to the wicked burn he delivers his relatively normal brother. Relatively normal brother is a long-time NFL coach, which has a 100% derangement rate, and yet.
Theory of Kalis confirmed. PFF is revealing various draft grades they have, and while Michigan is going to have a bunch of guys picked it looks like OL won't be among them. The only one of Michigan's three graduates to even make their charts is Kalis, and he sticks out like a red, red thumb in their guard listings:
Kalis is the guy with the most red on his profile. He's relatively good at screen blocks and getting plus run blocks; he's bad to terrible at everything else. That fits with the Theory of Kalis: physically talented but error-prone.
Also worth noting: the guy on the line above him who's got a very draftable grade and a lot of green on his row is Kyle Bosch. Glad to see he bounced back after personal issues caused him to leave Michigan. Also, ugh that only increases curse level of the already-thoroughly-cursed 2013 OL recruiting class.
Hockey coaching name. Providence's Nate Leaman has turned two schools with little history of hockey success into powers. He's in Hockey East and he's taken the Friars to the tourney four straight years. Big talk that he's not available:
There aren't many jobs in the NCAA that could be better than his current situation. And there's reason to believe that any interview and offer from another program would be matched by Providence in a second.
Asked recently about the terms of Leaman's contract, Providence athletic director Bob Driscoll joked that it's a lifetime contract. To wit: Leaman will be the head coach of the Providence College Friars as long as he wants to be.
"I would never hold him back in something he wants to do," Driscoll said. "But my assumption is that he's very happy here. I believe he'll be here for a very long time."
We'll see if Michigan even pokes around with him.
“We starting with questions or…am I breaking into a speech here?”
MGoQuestion: You’re a few practices in now. Are you liking Mason Cole better at tackle or center?
“You really haven’t, uh…just playing hard, seeing who goes where as we go as an offense. As we get through the summer we’ll figure out—the first play of the Florida game, we’ll know who the starters are.”
So is the offensive line kind of a long-term project, long-term development then?
“What do you mean?”
When you say you want to take the summer to evaluate this.
“What’s beautiful about Coach Harbaugh is ever position is being challenged and every position is open and we’ll find out when we get to gametime who the guys are.”
How important is versatility on this offensive line?
“I think it’s important anytime you have players. When you’ve got guys that can do multiple things it helps. It helps alleviate stress. It helps when you can bring players along. You want guys to do a lot of things. As a player you want the versatility going forward when you’re trying to chase that NFL career.”
Have you met and talked to Grant Newsome yet? Obviously he’s got a road that he’s been on to try and get back.
“Yeah, I have met with Grant Newsome, and he’s a wonderful, great person. As far as him as a player, I don’t handle those questions.”
[Hit THE JUMP for an interesting bit about the schemes Frey has coached]
"Access to the legal system requires money; also that was holding." [Fuller]
The most interesting man in the world. Jim Harbaugh is (probably) the only football coach in history to land a Politico interview and come off more educated on the topic of said interview than most elected officials:
Politico: What was the response to the tweet when you sent it out?
Harbaugh: Mostly positive, varying to some degree of people’s awareness. There's issues that people just don't understand. One of the biggest issues that got me most fired up is how fines and fees are being used to punish the poor. I've learned how the devastating effect it can have on lives of low income Americans. I mean across the country 48 states have increased civil court fees since 2010 and they're using those fees to pay for government services and not just courts but roads and generating millions and in some states billions of dollars.
But basically the crux of it is when people can't afford to pay a fine or a fee for things like a speeding ticket or municipal violation then they get additional fees. Late fees can start piling up and these fees can double, triple, quadruple the total amount due and if somebody has an inability to pay that fine that can quickly snowball into a driver's license suspension or driver time. People aren't even able to go to work. So you can't pay a fine or a fee and then you lose your driver's license. You're not able to get to a job, and a lot of people, I mean, they’ve got to work.
Also Harbaugh quotes the Federalist Papers in this interview. It is quite an object, the interview.
Bamba (center) yukking it up with fellow BOYCOTT THIS COMPANY
A version of reality including this guy would be nice. Brendan Quinn hits up the [Boycott This Company Until There Is At Least One Ugly Person In Any Of Their Commercials Ever] All-American Game, to focus on the guy Michigan is recruiting: Mo Bamba. Nobody thinks Michigan is actually going to get this dude but MAYBE:
"There's a significant difference between greed and hunger," he said. "When you're greedy, you just want things. That's your only need. But when you're hungry for things, it's a mixture of need and want, which is more logical to me."
Bamba is a different cat, it appears, and hopefully that will take him to Michigan instead of the one-and-done factories down south. I mean, it's not going to. But maybe! But no.
If he did do the thing he isn't going to do that would be kind of good though?
With my own eyes, I saw Bamba grab a rebound near the shot clock during Tuesday's practice. I mean, I think I saw it. Watching Bamba can sometimes feel like bearing witness to Paul Bunyan swing an ax. The facial expressions of the NBA scouts sitting baseline told the story of this young man's mythology. After watching Bamba stretch, a veteran sportswriter covering the event approached me to say: "He's got joints I don't have."
Bamba sees himself as a stretch four and if there's anyone on the planet who can effectively sell his development of enormous inside-outside guys it's John Beilein. Dude has two 6'10"+ potential first round picks* collectively shooting 38% from three on his roster. Neither was as highly recruited as Bamba, to say the least.
Yes, this section has been a waste of time. Unless! But no.
Chris Collins might not be nice, but it's the system that rewards him. It wouldn't be worth mentioning except for the fact that so many people went to Medill and enjoyed telling us about pristine Northwestern being everything that's right with college athletics, usually two seconds after they slammed Jim Harbaugh. But since they exist and they did:
On February 3, 2015, the Northwestern men's basketball team somberly walked to the visiting locker room of the Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln, Nebraska, after a 16-point loss to the Cornhuskers.
The team, now 1-8 in the Big Ten, sat down to meet, as it always does after games. Coach Chris Collins, then in his second season at Northwestern, turned to freshman point guard Johnnie Vassar.
According to Vassar and another person who was present, Collins yelled, "Johnnie, you fucking suck."
By any reasonable standard, Vassar had little to do with Northwestern's struggles. A seldom-used reserve, he had played one garbage-time minute against the Huskers. Yet, according to Vassar and another person who was present, Collins continued to berate the backup guard.
That's VICE's Kevin Trahan at the beginning of a lengthy article describing the lengths Collins took to get Vassar off his team, which took some doing in the era of four-year guaranteed scholarships but was nonetheless accomplished. It was accomplished by forcing Vassar into a demeaning "internship" that was mostly janitorial work and then juking timecards to boot him. One catch, via a D-I compliance officer:
"You can't push them off to another obligation," the official said. "There's nowhere in the NCAA manual that says anything about that. If they say, 'you need to do 40 community service hours,' no, you don't. It doesn't say anything about that." Another NCAA Division I school compliance official confirmed that analysis to VICE Sports.
Northwestern booted Vassar off the team after a year and then did whatever they had to in order to get his scholarship available again. Chris Collins seems like an incredible dick in the process. And not even a competent one:
One card spells Vassar's name wong; one has only another person's name on it (with that person's name crossed out); one says "Johnnie V" and has another crossed-out name; one is blank; and three have Vassar's name spelled correctly, but in handwriting that appears to be different than Vassar's.
None of this is news; what is news is that Vassar refused to suck it up and go quietly despite it being much, much easier to take the hint and move on. I admire that bullheadedness. Someone's gotta be Curt Flood.
The Vassar story once again exposes how the NCAA's terrible incentives force players and coaches into adversarial relationships annually. You should not be surprised if dicks like Chris Collins do well in a system that is set up to reward dick behavior. It forced John Beilein into similar last year when he no doubt encouraged Aubrey Dawkins and Ricky Doyle to find greener pastures.
A solution to Vassar's problem should be easy: allow him to keep his scholarship without impacting how many scholarship kids Northwestern can recruit. That costs money, and that's historically been a stumbling block because the SWAC and Colonial type schools without any outnumber those in power conferences; with autonomy there should be nothing stopping the Power 5 from allowing someone cut from a team to continue on scholarship, medical hardship or no.
Speaking of non-Bamba options and transfers. Per Some Guy, Michigan is on Washington PF Noah Dickerson's list of potential destinations as he transfers away from Washington.
Dickerson doesn't look like a great fit: he's not a stretch four in any way—he is 1/10 on threes in his career and his 68% FT rate last year does not suggest he's a butterfly waiting inside a pupa—and would likely have to play the 5 at Michigan, where he'd join Teske and Davis as 5-only contemporaries.
OTOH, he drew a buttload of fouls and was an excellent rebounder and interior scorer. The most fun thing about him is wondering how you have the #1 pick in the NBA draft and a dude with an 115 ORTG on average usage who pulls down rebounds at an 11%/23% rate and go 9-22. Lorenzo Romar, man.
Exit Melo Trimble. The Maryland guard is headed for the NBA draft and will hire an agent, figuring that another year under Mark Turgeon isn't going to get him solidly in the first round. The locals are a little cheesed off:
With 1,658 career points to his name, he would've had a chance to chase the No. 1 spot on the school's career scoring list next season, but he'll pursue a professional career rather than local immortality.
He probably figures that when you lose in the first round as a six seed in the NBA nobody gets on your case.
An onlooker or two literally fainting at something Gary does
this spring would be nice. [Bryan Fuller]
Our annual rite. The Question:
What do you want to hear out of spring practice?
Adam: There's depth on the D-line. Not "there are humans and they are large and they have played football before so yes, they are football players" depth. I'm looking for reports gushing about how much the backups have developed.
We've seen this a bit with Michael Dwumfour in last season's bowl practices. That assuages fears about NT depth a bit; Mone still has to stay healthy for a full season, but at least five-star Aubrey Solomon is available and, if his high-school highlights are any indication, ready to enter the rotation.
Every other spot on the line, though, is returning a starter with a fair bit of on-field experience and really unproven backups. Rashan Gary will start at SDE/Anchor, but he'll need Carlo Kemp or Donovan Jeter to spell him. Mo Hurst is the best 3Tech in the conference; positional nomad Lawrence Marshall or true freshmen James Hudson and Deron Irving-Bey are ostensibly his backups. Chase Winovich got to live out his dream and actually chase things down last fall, and if Don Brown's effusive practice reports are any indication then he should continue to do so this fall. There's a veritable stable of options behind him in Reuben Jones, Ron Johnson, Corey Malone-Hatcher, Luiji Vilain, and Kwity Paye; this group has a combined four games of collegiate playing experience. There's a ton of talent along the line, but it still has to be cultivated if Greg Mattison is going to have the eight-man rotation he prefers.
|Kemp has been around long enough now that we have a photo of him in the old jerseys. It’s time for one of those guys to emerge. [Fuller]|
Ace: Charles Matthews is hitting his jump shots. Wait. Shit.
/reaches over to Acebot
Ace: Okay, Cesar Ruiz is on track. With the depth at tackle in its current state, Michigan needs interior linemen to step up so there’s at least the option of shifting someone (probably Mason Cole) to tackle to get their best five out there. While there are a couple other bullets in the chamber in Jon Runyan Jr. and Stephen Spanellis, freshman Cesar Ruiz seems like the best bet to crack the starting lineup, whether at center or guard. He’s far from your average true freshman interior lineman: he played center, not tackle like most D-I OL prospects, at IMG Academy, so he’s already acclimated to playing on the interior. He was consistently talked up as the best interior lineman at the Under Armour All-American game. He’s got the build at 6’3, 320. Michigan doesn’t need him to be the star this year that he should become; it’ll be encouraging to hear that he’s on track.
[After THE JUMP: can you play tackle? No asking seriously do you have eligibility and really quick feet for your 6’7/310 frame?]
[Ed-S: NastyIsland=David Nasternak=our hockey beat guy and general doer of things.]
(Patrick Barron) It might look decently filled in, but the entire upper ring is tarped off
Did you watch any of the NCAA Hockey Tournament last weekend? Maybe. Probably not. Did you attend one of the Regionals? Hahaha. Did anyone? [see above picture] This seems…less than ideal. College hockey is fun! Local arenas and atmospheres are intense and intimidating. Couldn’t this sport tap into this energy and utilize one of the main positives that differentiates collegiate athletics from professional sports? I think so.
WHO GOES? 16 NCAA hockey teams.
The number of teams should stay the same. Does more than 25% of all of college hockey making the NCAA Tournament seem a little high? Sure, but the numbers work well and one of the repeatedly mentioned goals is to increase the growth and visibility of the sport, in general. So, 16 it is. Continue using the same selection method: Pairwise Rankings and Conference Tournament winners. Avoid conference matchups in the First Round, obviously.
WHY CHANGE? There are a few well-known issues with the current set-up:
Poor Attendance: A couple Regionals have better attendance than others. Generally, those in the northeast tend to do better because the distance between schools and sites is not as far. Sites with a participating host team also do a little better because there is a rooting interest. However, the random Midwest Regional in an AHL/NHL arena is usually…sparse. I have been to a few of these and it is not entertaining.
No Reward for Dominance: If a team has had a good season and managed to secure a #1 seed, there is no guarantee that their matchup or playoff site is to their advantage. The committee will try to place higher seeds closer to home, but…sometimes, teams are sent to Minneapolis and get paired with Minnesota in the first/second round. Or one of the schools from Boston. That seems like punishment. There have been countless debates about whether it’s better to be in a certain location or be a certain seed. This should never happen! Being a higher seed should always mean receiving a reward!
[Hit THE JUMP for David's elegant solution to the worst postseason in sports]
It's their team now. [Marc-Gregor Campredon]
I'm not ready yet. A memorable season and the collegiate careers of Derrick Walton and Zak Irvin are over; the postmortem will come when I've had a little more time to collect my scattered thoughts. In the interim, a six-part mailbag question about next season has sat in my mailbox for the last few weeks, and while I'm not quite prepared to look back, I'm ready to look ahead.
I'll get this caveat out of the way now: Moe Wagner and DJ Wilson haven't made decisions about their potential NBA futures. This post makes the not-entirely-safe assumption both will be back. DraftExpress' latest 2017 mock doesn't feature either player; in fact, only Wilson makes their 2018 projection. In Chad Ford's latest update, Wagner is a "stock down" after Oregon while Wilson held steady as a late first/early second projection who "most [scouts] think needs another year of school." There's a decent chance both stay. If not, there will be plenty in this space on the ramifications for 2017-18.
Now that we've addressed the elephant, here are one reader's most pressing questions heading into next season and my attempts to answer them.
Can X make the leap? [Bryan Fuller]
Will we have the necessary performance from a Lead Guard to succeed?
We can gush all we want about the big guys and the allure of Charles Mathews, but Michigan's offense has only reached its potential when there was a lead guard at the controls -- Burke, Stauskas, Morris (to a lesser extent), and the 2017 version of Walton. Can Michigan reach that potential with Simpson/MAAR having the ball in their hands most of the time?
Xavier Simpson came along at the perfect time. He got a year to learn from Derrick Walton, get his feet wet, and process the intricacies of John Beilein's offense. As a drive-first, shoot-second player, he'll step into the ideal lineup to fit his skill set. Simpson's iffy outside shot would normally put a ceiling on the offense; the Darius Morris squads topped out at 38th in offensive efficiency on KenPom. Those teams couldn't play five-out, however. With Wagner and Wilson, this team can and will.
That should leave ample room for Simpson to operate off the dribble. While we only saw flashes of his scoring ability as a freshman, it's worth remembering he was capable of scoring 65 points in a high school playoff game. As he got more comfortable within Beilein's offense, he began to display his playmaking ability, especially off the high screen. He showed no fear of the nation's leading shot-blocker in the BTT semifinal:
In the conference title game, he displayed a Morris-like ability to both see and make a pass from a difficult angle:
Simpson isn't going to be a dead-eye shooter like Walton; hopefully he can use the leadup to next season to refine his outside shot enough where he's at least not treated like Tum Tum Nairn. Regardless, I expect he'll be a relatively efficient offensive player because of his quickness, court vision, and the surrounding talent; he won't need to be the number one or possibly even nos. 2-4 scoring option. As long as he keeps his fouling under control he should be an upgrade over Walton as an on-ball defender.
I'm not entirely sold on Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman as a primary ballhander; he still seems to decide before he drives whether he's going to shoot or pass. He'll take on more late-clock possessions because of his ability to create decent looks for himself outside of the offense. Unless he has a major breakthrough as a pick-and-roll ballhandler, which isn't entirely out of the question, he'll still be better-suited as an off-guard. As I'll discuss later in this mailbag, however, I believe Eli Brooks is going to have a role on this team.
[Hit THE JUMP for Ultimate X Factor and much more.]