Adding Greg Frey to the coaching staff has allowed Drevno to more fully take on the role of offensive coordinator
Pep Hamilton and Drevno have a nigh telepathic connection thanks to their days coaching together at Stanford
Donovan Peoples-Jones appears to be everything he was advertised as being; Drevno said that with DPJ, “…there’s no letdown, man.”
Grant Newsome is not practicing yet
When asked about Grant Perry, Drevno said it’s an internal matter and didn’t elaborate further
Everyone is being rotated through different spots to find the best five (and the best fit) on the offensive line
Drevno praised Cesar Ruiz’s rapid processing of information and his ability to quickly get off the ball and to the second level
You’ve got a lot of new guys. What’s your impression through the first day of spring?
“Really good. They worked really hard. They’ve done a nice job in the classroom the last couple days. Like we’ve said, just in terms of the winter condition there’s some very athletic guys that we’ve recruited, especially at the wide receiver position and other places on the offense, so it’s been really good.”
The football classroom?
“Yeah, the football classroom in terms of just the last couple days we’ve met and it’s been good. And they carried it over into today, which is really nice to see just them doing it at a high level. They learn fast and can fix problems.”
Is Mason [Cole] going to be practicing at multiple spots to make sure you get the right fit as far as tackle and center goes?
“Yeah, we’re rotating guys through there and we’ll see who the best five guys are.”
[Hit THE JUMP for more]
We Couldn’t Have One Without the Other
1. Post Mortem, Tourney Thoughts
starts against 1:00
Jack Stack broke Ace’s will to be wakeful. Oregon’s plan was to leave Michigan’s shooters so wide open from three we’d get confused and miss: congratulations you found our weakness. Also turnovers went the other way from normal, and we vastly underestimated Jordan Bell. Are we happy or sad about Oregon depantsing Kansas?
2. Basketball Beyond
starts at 20:02
A run through the roster for 2017-’18 by position, and we do it from 1 to 5 even though it makes way more sense for next year’s team to reverse that. X as Darius Morris, Brooks comes Nova-approved, RAHK all night long, Mathews is a wild card, Robinson is what he is, Ibi is probably another year away, DJ has a DJ-like understudy coming in, and if Moe is Louisville Moe all year he’ll drive us back to the 16. Also: theories on bigs development, and developments in the B1G.
3. Gimmicky Top Five: The Best Player in the NFL (That you can draft out of Michigan next month?)
starts at 53:00
Michigan’s entire starting defense isn’t eligible for the NFL Draft because McCray is still around. But that still leaves plenty of players to choose from, plus Jake Butt, in deciding who will be the best five pros out of—deep breath here—Glasgow, Godin, Wormley, Taco, Gedeon, D.Hill, D.Thomas, Peppers, Stribling, Jourdan, Kalis, Braden, Mags, Butt, Darboh, Chesson, and Deveon Smith. Did I forget anyone?
4. Ace’s Aceless Hockey Podcast
starts at 1:08:10
We welcome special guests Anthony Ciatti (@Ciatti) and our hockey beatwriter/otherjobdoer David Nasternak (@NastyIsland) to discuss how this was, by Corsi, the worst Michigan hockey team ever and ungh it was so unbelievably bad yuck blech argh. Oh right and options to replace Red, which don’t include any Red Wings but do include the two best hockey coaches in the country, AND Mel.
“Koroleva Ne Pomerla”—The Ukrainians
(cover of “The Queen is Dead” by The Smiths)
- “Oxford Comma”—Vampire Weekend
- “Forever for Her is Over for Me”—White Stripes
- “Across 110th Street”
THE USUAL LINKS
- Brown thinks Gary and Hurst are the best Anchor-3T combo in the nation
- Mike Wroblewski was talked up as a guy who knows the scheme so well that he makes calls for not only his but other position groups; Brown has to tell him to let other guys make their calls, a first in his career
- Current combatants at Peppers’s vacated VIPER spot: Khaleke Hudson, Jordan Glasgow, Josh Metellus
- Hill and Long have first dibs on the corner spots, but the plan is to let everyone compete and see what happens
- On the defense’s youth: “I’d rather be talented and young than not, than the alternative; have a bunch of veterans and you’re going, oh my god, what am I gonna do?”
- Devin Bush is flipping between Mike and Will. Brown feels like he’s got three guys for two positions between McCray, Wroblewski, and Bush
“How are you guys?”
Good, how are you?
“Glad to be coaching ball, that’s all I know. Good first day. Guys worked hard, really did. The youth on our team…you know, you can look at it and say ‘Oh, we got a long way to go,’ which we do, but it’s just such an energizing feeling when you go out there and you’re actually walking off the field going ‘Damn, we functioned pretty well today.’ So, you know, excited about it.
“It’s a good group, but kind of an interesting blend. So there’s enough guys that have been around that will demand execution and demand effort and energy that I feel like we’ll be in great shape.”
Some of the guys at Pro Day today, Taco and Chris [Wormley], were saying that they think this defensive line group is maybe more athletic than the group that’s departed. Is that fair?
“I think with Rashan and Mo Hurst…I have to tilt my head back and think for a minute. [He really is tilting his head back.] I don’t know, I’m not sure there’s a better tandem Anchor-tackle in the country. I’m very confident with Bryan [Mone]—here’s the key: we played eight guys last year. Four are gone, but we’ve got a first team with Bryan Mone—and Chase Winovich is such a better player.
“I think back—I did a bad thing yesterday. I went back and watched practice #3 of spring last year. Hooooly moly. What was that? We’re just so different, and those first four guys are really, they’re setting the tone. We’ve got some youth there that I’m very excited about. I thought Donovan Jeter, his raw ability today, thought he showed some really good signs, which is good.
“The Sam-Mike-Will thing: getting Mike McCray back. (W)robo, Mike Wroblewski, there’s another guy where I’m watching him in practice last year [and] just can’t even believe it’s the same guy. You talk about a self-made football player, but a guy who knows it all. Here’s—I’ve never had to do this before. He’s telling the secondary, making their on-rights and lefts call, he’s making the tight call, he’s making the detach call for the outside linebacker and it’s finally like, ‘Hey Robo, you need to shut up and let those guys make those calls themselves.’ ‘Oh yeah, Coach, yeah, yeah, yeah.’ That’s how well he knows the scheme. So him and Devin Bush and Mike McCray. Furbush was good.
“We got Uche goin’ at Sam and Khaleke Hudson was our VIPER today. Arrows up; really excited about him. Glasgow was a VIPER today and that young secondary, Lavert Hill, David Long, Josh Metellus, Tyree—Tyree Kinnel has just quietly done a nice job.
“So, we’ll see. There’s a lot of youth there. St. Juste, he’ll be an interesting guy as we move forward. Ambry Thomas, again, another interesting guy. J’Marick Woods and Jaylen Kelly-Powell, all those guys are good players. The nice thing is I don’t think there’s a lot of guys that are misplaced. They’re in the right place in terms of their level of competition.”
[After THE JUMP: on the concept of the VIPER and an excellent, in-depth response to criticisms of Peppers’ game]
I guess he really really didn't want to play fullback [Eric Upchurch]
Per Sam Webb, Kingston Davis is set to transfer.
— Sam Webb (@SamWebb77) March 24, 2017
Davis got a few carries early last year before an apparent redshirt. Meanwhile the quick emergence of Chris Evans and Kareem Walker navigating some rocky early waters makes the depth chart look tough indeed for anyone in the same class, as Davis was.
With Davis's transfer, the expected departure of Shelton Johnson would bring Michigan down to 85 before spring practice. That means no fifth years are potential cuts even if everyone else sticks it out.
3/23/2017 – Michigan 68, Oregon 69 – 26-12, season over
There are few things more haunting in sports than coming up on the short end of a bonafide one-point basketball game. There are so many points and so many opportunities to get two more or prevent two more that it is impossible not to inventory all the slight tweaks in the universe that could have gotten you one step closer to the promised land, or at least destruction at the hands of Kansas.
The wide open DJ Wilson layup and two Duncan Robinson threes that were halfway down stand out in this regard. So too does the late Oregon free throw miss that Wilson couldn't box out on. And then there is the blizzard of threes that did not go halfway down, for reasons.
Oregon's approach seemed to be "leave Michigan blitheringly wide open from three and see what happens." Michigan took more threes than twos, and if any of them seemed unreasonable it was only in aggregate. There will be some complaints about Michigan launching early in the shot clock, but the vast majority of Michigan's 31 attempts from behind the arc were preceded by my inner monologue—and sometimes the external one, too—yelling "shoot that." A couple of ugly ones should have been rhythm catch and shoot opportunities that Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman and Mo Wagner, collectively 0-8 in this game, passed up on to dribble themselves into worse shots.
This is certainly a way to play against a John Beilein team. Usually it's a way to get your face melted off. The shattered corpse of Oklahoma State basketball would like a word at this point. That word is "aaaargh."
Michigan hit a respectable 11 of 31—36 percent. This was not enough. It was not enough even though they won the style contest on defense. Oregon only got up 10 transition shots, which they did poorly on. A third of their shots were the two point jumpers Michigan strives to force and Oregon is very bad at. They hit 25%.
If you'd told me all the peripheral numbers from this game beforehand I'd have taken it in a hot second. I would not have believed you if you'd told me that despite those numbers Michigan's offense would look like a hamster searching for a wheel for big chunks of the game.
Dana Altman's combination of the half-ass press a bunch of teams run now that the shot clock is down to 30 and 40% matchup zone got Michigan off balance. A plan to punish the incessant switching by replicating the second half against Louisville ended up with some poor Wagner shots and turnovers; Wagner spent the last ten minutes on the bench in favor of Duncan Robinson, who seemingly couldn't guard anyone on the floor.
The game was just... off. With virtually every ticket in the sweaty palms of Kansas fans the arena was near-empty at tipoff and dead throughout. That gave a tense, taught game an unfortunate NBA D-League or NCAA hockey regional vibe, and while I don't think that caused the ugly game it certainly reinforced it. It was weirdly muted for one of the most important games of the college basketball season.
It was ugly to the point where a final score close to 70 for both teams is unexpected. Michigan perpetually felt eight points behind and suddenly they were in the lead with two minutes left, sort of like the Oklahoma State and Louisville games. And then.
In the aftermath you're left grasping at opportunities spurned, at whatever air eddies pushed this ball a micron away from a good-enough trajectory, at this breakdown or that breakdown that would go almost entirely unremarked upon if not for the fact that Oregon had N and Michigan had N –1.
An inch; a point; it's been a year of almosts for Michigan athletics.
Rather satisfying all the same. Losing a one-point Sweet Sixteen game is no shame. It's a hard thing to do, winning basketball games against good teams. Michigan picked up a banner, got a measure of Louisville revenge, and was amongst the best teams in the country for a full half season. Over the full span they finished 20th on Kenpom.
This wasn't a return to the Burke/Stauskas years but it was a solid top 25 season.
The Walton; the Irvin. I pulled the "Zak Irvin is happening" tag out of mothballs for this game because he was happening, man. His late surge as he re-found his excellent-third-banana level was such that everybody had to stop complaining about him. This is a monumental internet accomplishment. He held Michigan in this game, hit tough late-clock shots, and was clearly on another level from Duncan Robinson as he checked Oregon's perimeter guys.
Building on that? Obviously much hinges on the return of Wilson and Wagner. I'd guess with their tough final games and the super deep draft—DX has Caleb Swanigan 30th!—both will return for another year of that sweet Beilein development. Both guys are potential lottery picks if they continue to improve at a decent clip. Right now there are sufficient questions that they'd be borderline first rounders.
If Michigan does not have any unexpected departures you're looking at something like:
- Xavier Simpson/Eli Brooks
- MAAR/Jordan Poole
- Charles Matthews/Duncan Robinson
- DJ Wilson/Isaiah Livers
- Mo Wagner/Jon Teske/Austin Davis
Michigan does have an open scholarship they could use on either Mo Bamba—uh not likely—or one of the late risers they've done so well with; there are also a number of intriguing transfer options. Since Brooks and Poole may not be impact freshmen, an immediately eligible backcourt scorer would be real nice. You've probably heard about faintly ludicrous Chippewa Marcus Keene and his 37% usage. Keene shot 82/51/37 on incredible volume and had an excellent assist rate on a bad MAC team that was nonetheless 56th in offensive efficiency.
There's also New Mexico guard Elijah Brown, another 30%+ usage player with decent efficiency. His three point shooting fell off this year but he was near 40% a year ago (on 226 attempts); he gets to the line and his excellent FT shooting implies that his rough two point percentages are more about his situation than his talent.
Or Michigan could go the Matthews route again and attempt to acquire the services of blue-blood transfer Chase Jeter, who's leaving Duke after two injury-plagued years. Jeter is a 6'10" post and would have to sit out, so he's not an ideal fit for the roster. I'd still poke around there because the rate of big washout is so high. You can't count on both Teske and Davis being around in two years. See: all of college basketball.
Tourney coverage complaint. There are way too many fouls that don't get replays to check on them. DJ Wilson's second was a potentially dubious call on which a second look would have been very helpful; instead nothing.
Also in complaints: I have no idea how anyone can listen to Reggie Miller and think "I should pay this person to do this thing."
44 minutes. Yes, a lot of it is dated now.
Still Ira in for Sam, who’s in a place with better meat right now.
- First weekend recap: Michigan beat Louisville two points at a time. Weekend vs. very tough teams showed what a Beilein offense can be when all five guys are firing.
- Beilein now versus when he got here: totally different offense, totally different defense. Moe is the first 5 who can shoot that B’s had since Pittsnoggle and that one guy the year after Pittsnoggle.
- The rest of the tourney: Big Ten has acquitted itself well, the refs not so much.
- Nerd-out on the seeding: advocating better metrics but don’t make it all about advanced stats either. Right now they’re just using RPI, which is bad.
- Oregon preview: Almost as up-tempo as Oklahoma State—don’t let them take a three! Vegas takes into account the loss of Boucher and the fact that Michigan is playing like a 2-seed.
- Kansas in case: Bill Self-destruction in March is a thing, but Kansas has some ATHs. Ira makes a good argument that we’d rather face them than Purdue?
- Rundown of the rest: Who do you like for the Final Four?
- Spring Football! Brian points out which guys he wants to hear nice things about.
You can catch the entire episode on Michigan Insider's podcast stream on Audioboom.