fair point that
[Editor's note: Somehow this video featuring Dorsey's been on Youtube since March and no one noticed it. It's a profile put together by LifeSkills, an "alternative high school opportunity for at-risk and drop-out youth providing a unique academic model and a proven record of success." It's one of a few promotional videos put together by the company (another couple feature folks who aren't athletes) and should be viewed with that in mind.
On to Tom.]
As everyone knows, Demar Dorsey's situation with Michigan is in limbo. I was granted an interview with Demar. Since he and his family have been refusing to talk to the media I promised Demar that this interview would be a simple Q&A to leave no room for interpretation.
TOM: Do you read everything that's been in the media about you?
DEMAR: Yeah, I've seen most of the articles. The media didn't really make me upset, because I know the truth about me. It made my parents upset, because once I announced I was going to Michigan, that's when all these articles started coming out. I had to change my number, so no one could get a hold of me.
TOM: That's pretty big for a football recruit to have to go through that. What kind of affect did that have on you and your family?
DEMAR: We just got together and said don't let anything affect you, and just move on. I've been trying to do everything I can to move forward.
TOM: Have those reports affected your perception of Michigan, or its fans?
DEMAR: No, I chose Michigan for a reason, and I would love to be up there. Everybody is always telling me how much they want me up there, and that they're supporting me. My cousin, Denard [Robinson], has been telling me how much love they're showing me.
TOM: So, where are you at with Michigan?
DEMAR: Right now, I'm still signed under my letter of intent, so I can't do anything yet until I hear back from them. They told me that they don't think I can get in with admissions about two weeks ago, or a week ago, but they weren't sure. They had been checking on my grades earlier in the year, and I was on top of it. When I got home one day, my parents said that they were sending back my letter of intent. They were sending me a release form. I'm not sure what that means, or if it means I'm officially not in. I think because I signed a letter of intent, if I wanted to open up my recruitment, I would have to send that back to them. If I can't get in from the admissions, then I have to send that back. My mom said we need to do that, so we have to send it out tomorrow, and we'll go from there. I have the ACT score, and I have the core, so we're just waiting to hear what happens. I haven't heard anything from the coaches yet.
TOM: What's next from here? What do you do if you can't get in to Michigan?
DEMAR: If I can't get in, I'll re-open my recruitment. I have a couple schools that I'm thinking of, I don't want to name names yet. I'll just wait to see what happens.
OR: O LET NOT DO IT
OR: LET'S ALL BLAME THE SHOTGUN-WIELDING BEAR FOR KILLING OUR SECONDARY.
This story is still rapidly developing, but in a nutshell this is it:
"Demar is an NCAA qualifier with a 2.5 or 2.6 GPA and an 18 score on the ACT," said [Boyd Anderson head coach Mark] James. "But he hasn't yet been granted at Michigan."
In one swoop, ESPN's Corey Long clarifies the bizarre split between optimism and pessimism on the "controversial" recruit who could just save the Michigan secondary. The optimism was about his ability to qualify. The pessimism was about whether it would matter. Sam Webb's assertions on the radio that it would be interesting to see where Dorsey ends up if it's not Michigan suggested that the problem was something other than a test score, but James's coach would like to take the thunder out of that:
"Right now I think the plan would be to re-open his recruitment and see what's out there," James said. "If he can't find something he likes he'll probably go to a juco for a year and try it again."
James says the coaches "continue to work on it," and Dorsey gets to twist in the wind longer. At least he's used to it by now.
There are two ways to be qualified. One is to be qualified. The other is to be Michael Oher or Derrick Rose, in which case you are "qualified" via a string of correspondence classes and/or a sketchy test score. Michigan takes qualified guys, but when scare quotes get involved Michigan tends to go the other way. Ask new Bearcat Adrian Witty. Is Dorsey qualified or "qualified"? We don't know until he enrolls somewhere, whether it's Michigan or Florida State or a JUCO. Available evidence suggests the latter, in which case it's better if Michigan doesn't enroll him. But still…
This situation is the Draper/Labadie/compliance dysfunction all over again, with miscommunication between Rodriguez—who went to bat for Dorsey with a provost before signing day and got a signoff on him—and admissions replacing the lack of communication between the football administration and compliance. It's a different sclerotic artery, but the root cause is the same.
Unfortunately—wait. No. Fortunately, in this case we don't have a meticulously documented report to the NCAA featuring 18 months worth of emails between the main parties, so it's hard to tell who's at fault. The proverbial reliable sources have reported that Rodriguez is recruiting with an eye towards NCAA minimums that most programs claim to be above until push comes to shove, while admissions is looking at a larger-than-usual number of players near the borderline and having a little freakout. We've finally gotten some clarification on exactly how Michigan hamstrings itself in recruiting: they'll take kids who scrape by the NCAA minimums (hello Marques Slocum) but only so many.
So here we are, with a kid who said he'd come to Michigan having held up his end of the bargain only to get stiffarmed by some bureaucrats hell-bent on being a hooker who won't do that. If there was a time to shoot Dorsey down it was before he signed a letter of intent, kicked off a media firestorm, and got everyone all excited about having someone in the secondary approximately as fast as Denard Robinson. Saying "we didn't mean it" and kicking the guy to Florida State or a JUCO or somewhere else validates the firestorm, makes other high-caliber guys worried that they will be cast aside when admissions turns him down, and, most importantly, is totally unfair to Dorsey.
Admissions should feel free to say "not again, except maybe a few kids," but after someone in the university greenlighted an offer you can't take it back because you made a mistake. If Dorsey is qualified sans scare quotes and doesn't end up at Michigan, everyone gets hurt for no benefit whatsoever. If he's legal in an extremely technical sense only, well… I'd prefer it if Michigan avoided another investigation, but I would like it even better if people in Michigan's athletic department had a clue what other people were doing.
The posts similar to this one will become a regular weekly update, as they've received positive feedback. Monday will most likely be the day that they come out, unless I figure out a better day during the season. Anyway, on with the show:
6'5", 260 lbs.
As everyone knows, Andre is a former teammate of Craig Roh and Taylor Lewan. Andre told me recently that he would like to make it up to Michigan for his official visit for the Michigan State game. This isn't set in stone, and needs to be discussed with his parents and coach since it's during the season. But if all goes as planned, that's the weekend he'll be up.
Andre was recently in California, and got the chance to stop by USC, which is one of his top schools. Nothing will be known as far his decision, or top school, until he takes his visits. I will admit that the distance to Michigan makes me nervous. All the other schools in his list (Oregon—his dad lives close by—and USC) are closer to home or family.
6'1", 310 lbs.
When I spoke with Mickey recently he told me that he has enough interest in Michigan to consider them for an official visit. He didn't want to say that he would 100% use one of his five visits on the Wolverines, but he's giving Michigan serious consideration. Officials can't happen until September, so he'll have plenty of time to figure it out. An interesting note on Mickey: he's not originally from Louisiana, so he doesn't have the deep-rooted interest in LSU that most kids from his area have.
At this point I believe he ends up at a school outside of Louisiana.
6'4", 215 lbs.
Ed has been on Michigan's radar for awhile now, and he thought he had a great showing at this weekend's one-day camp. Not only did he perform well on the field, but he also got a chance to have a good conversation with the coaches afterwards. He's really hoping he gets an offer sometime soon. The coaches will review the tape from the camp and go from there. This could go either way, as far as an offer being extended. Linebacker recruiting is going well for Michigan. It's not completely necessary to get the offer out right away, assuming that Davis would commit to Michigan with the offer in hand.
6'0", 200 lbs.
Speaking of linebackers, here's a new name to add to the list. Temple plays for Warren Central, in Indiana, and was recently nominated to the Army All American game. Warren Central has quite a few D1 recruits, amongst them Kris Harley and Kiaro Holts, and sent Chris Graham to Michigan a few years ago.
Nick is really hoping for a Michigan offer and said they are is definitely high on his list. He's been in contact with Coach Tall. The coaches are currently reviewing his film. Temple believes the Michigan coaches will extend an offer soon. Take a look at his highlight video:
6'6", 315 lbs.
Tony plays for the powerhouse Plant team in Florida and is one of the better offensive line recruits in the country. He still maintains that Michigan is high on his list after backing off an early statement that they were his outright leader, and will be coming up to Ann Arbor sometime this summer. He's not sure of the exact date, but he's shooting for a commitment by the end of the summer so it needs to be soon. Tony has already seen Florida and USF, but is unsure of what other stops he'll make before his decision.
Despite the distance, Michigan has a really good shot here. He's quiet, and doesn't like to tell too much, but he always speaks highly of Michigan. A Florida offer would change that.
Apologies to the locals: this is pure meta.
I attended the third(!) Blogs With Balls this weekend in Chicago, where I talked to a great number of people, had a great number of drinks, and was on a panel. The five minutes which seemed the most relevant to people I talked to and were the most-discussed on the twitters afterward consisted of an interrogation of the ethics panel launched by Orson Swindle that I, like a member of Flipmode Squizzod,—which is the squad—popped up in the midst of to deliver a verse. This post is just a document of what everyone said and will avoid any opining, though my opinion is kind of obvious because it's part of the transcript.
Video here, with the relevant section at about the 21 minute mark.
We fade in as the ethics panel opens it up to questions:
JASON MCINTYRE (The Big Lead): Let's start with everyone's favorite blog… let's go with Spencer Hall first.
SPENCER HALL (Every Day Should Be Saturday): I just want to be clear—I'm taking notes for future reference—it's okay to use whatever you want as long as you get pageviews, right, regardless of ethics? [Aside: this sounds like a ridiculous strawman, but it was essentially what Josh Zerkle, Alana G, and McIntyre had argued throughout the panel, with the academic from Minnesota mostly concerned with how funny rape was or was not (her vote: not) and Jonah Keri being way too nice.] We're all clear on that? Right, okay. Anyone horrified?
The other thing I wanted to do is I wanted to ask about sourcing. That wasn't really a question, that was just a statement. I just wanted to have it and I have the microphone.
What do you do to source a rumor? What is a source for you? Do you advance faster than the standard three source or trusted source [garbled] in the media. What do you do, and what have you done in the past? This is two part question so you have to come back to me, and then I'll give the mic to someone else.
JOSH ZERKLE (With Leather): I personally don't like breaking stories. It's not something that's part of our format; it's not something I'm really interested in doing. It sounds like work. I'm not big on doing the research and following up and calling people on the phone… I'm not a phone guy.
To answer your question, it's something I try to stay away from. It's not really my bag; so many people do it better than me that I just try to stay away from it.
ALANA G (Yardbarker): Yardbarker really isn't in the business of making much original content except sponsored blog content and our athlete blogs. On behalf of bloggers in general, I think the three sources thing was a rule that came out of old journalism—they probably teach it in journalism school right?
JONAH KERI (Bloomberg, WSJ, many things): …And it might not be wrong.
ALANA: It's an arbitrary rule for what it is and if you want to have the kind of blog that just runs off one rumor that your cousin's person who works at the Q told you about Delonte [bangin' Lebron's mom] and you want to print that and you continually do stuff like that and you're able to make a successful blog out of that, then hey that works for you. And half your rumors are going to end up being false because you only rely on one source and in that case your credibility will be duly affected. Maybe if you're only half-credible you'll still get a lot of traffic because it's an interesting site. So I think it depends on… I think it will bear out in your credibility at the end of the day from your readers.
ZERKLE: Spencer, let me give you an example. This is something I found out about but never ran; I guess I can share it with everybody. [Laughter.] Not exactly breaking news here, but I was at a wedding in Cincinnati a couple years ago and I ran into a woman who had dated Shayne Graham, and she told me that every time Shayne Graham meets a woman he asks her if she's willing to sign a prenup.
KERI: The vast fortune of Shayne Graham! [Laughter]
ZERKLE: 970,000 dollars a year really goes quick. That by itself is really thin for a story, and I'm not going to be on the phone asking "did Shayne Graham ask you to sign a prenup?" It's more legwork and it's tough to put together a body of work, and then if you don't have enough to get a story… it's not a great use of my time, especially when I'm trying to do nine, ten posts a day.
ALANA: That would have been a funny nugget though, if you had just posted "hey, I have no idea if this is true, but my friend told me this story… could be totally false but I thought it was pretty funny, they might have made it up, but I thought it was funny." And then people have the comments, the jokes… that might not be your bag but…
ZERKLE: Yeah, but as I said I couldn't confirm it so I try to shy away from that stuff.
HALL: Yeah, but what would you [McIntyre] do? I mean, you break stuff. How do you verify a source?
MCINTYRE: Uh… it depends on the story.
HALL: Take the Mark Sanchez model story. [Laughter, including from McIntyre. Note: at this point Hall and McIntyre start talking over each other, so it gets a little confusing.] What did you do—
MCINTYRE: I did absolutely nothing. There are plenty of cases where I will do nothing and run with something and I'm wrong.
HALL: So you did nothing because…
MCINTYRE: I have made plenty of mistakes.
HALL: …I planted that rumor…
MCINTYRE: I wouldn't be shocked. I wouldn't be shocked.
HALL: …and you just ran it…
MCINTYRE: That's not… a few weeks earlier Deadspin had a story where—
HALL: That's true. On April First. On April Fool's Day. We just slipped that by the gate! We were like "maybe we can do this"!
MCINTYRE: Right. A few weeks earlier Deadspin ran a story about the Arizona State coach getting in a fight with Mohammed Ali and they basically got—
HALL: Right right right, but this is what you did. We're not talking about what Deadspin did.
MCINTYRE: But everybody makes mistakes on their blogs. Yes, that was a bad mistake. That's not even—
HALL: But it got you pageviews, right?
MCINTYRE: No it didn't. It didn't generate any pageviews.
HALL: It didn't? Then why did you post it?
MCINTYRE: It was the middle of a Tuesday. That's why I ran it.
HALL: That's why you ran it? Okay.
ALANA: But Spencer, people are still reading The Big Lead because they like the site and they think that it's worthwhile, and they know that Jason makes mistakes every once in a while.
BRIAN COOK (MGoBlog): I think the thing that Spencer seems irritated about and I'm honestly irritated about is that the ethics that are being presented by this panel are like "just do it." And that sucks for somebody like me who does break real news about Michigan sports and I have to contend with the idea that I'm a blog. And that's because of you. [McIntyre]
ADAM JACOBI (Black Heart Gold Pants): [claps feverishly]
EVERYONE ELSE: [crickets]
ALANA: Why do you have to be lumping yourself in with everybody else when you are doing stuff that's of a different quality or of a different…
HALL: [paraphrase, I was there but this is too quiet to make out.] But we're talking about advertisers here [referring to earlier panel] who don't see individual blogs.
ALANA: Right, but if you guys don't like what's happening with other blogs there's not much you can do to stop what I'm going to do on my blog. But you can promote what you're doing on your blog and better market to people what you're doing.
HALL: [inaudible, but given the response to this probably about the Sanchez thing again.]
ZERKLE: Was there any kind of follow-up to that? I mean, you're calling him out now but did you personally write anything after the fact saying "yeah I totally fooled the shit out of McIntyre." I mean, did you call that at all.
ZERKLE: Well, that might have been something to do, if you were concerned about the credibility.
NICOLE LAVOI (U of Minnesota): That's not ethical either.
HALL: What do you think I'm doing now?
ZERKLE: Well, it's two and a half months after the fact. So… good job, I guess.
HALL: This is in front of an audience.
SARAH SPAIN (ESPN 1000 Chicago, WGN, various other things): So is the answer basically that if your decision is to be a blog that isn't as ethical and does the funny stuff and that misses every once in a while, that's you're decision? That if your decision is to be a reputable blog that stands behind its sources and writes from a perspective that is all fact, then that is your decision? And the better man wins?
ALANA: Well, yeah. There's newspapers like the New York Times that are very reputable and very rarely make mistakes, and there are newspapers like the National Enquirer that tell you people are getting abducted by UFOs. And so those are two different markets I think by now, and the market has borne out that these have different levels of reputation, of credibility, and readers and advertisers know that.
KERI: I'm going to disagree with you on that. The New York Times is notorious for running stories with anonymous sources. And they're interviewing "high level government operatives" about whatever, the War In Iraq and they're saying "oh yeah, well, you know, there are Al Qaeda and so we're going to go to war and blah blah blah." We were basically led into something that was not justified because of anonymous sources. There are all kinds of mainstream media outlets—the biggest of the big, Washington Post, New York Times—I mean, I've written for a bunch of them and they make the same mistakes that bloggers do. Everybody lacks credibility.
ALANA: What I'm saying is that with blogs—I understand you guys' [Spencer/yrs truly] frustration because right now we are all blocked in together and people at Proctor and Gamble don't necessarily know who Deadspin is versus the Big Lead versus whatever, MGoBlog, so you know right now it seems like we're all being lumped together and you guys are feeling hurt by things that other blogs are doing. But if we do our jobs right it will all eventually bear out so that everyone has their own reputation, just like the National Enquirer has a different reputation from the Washington Post.
At this point the mic has worked its way across the room to yet another of the infuriatingly-thick-on-the-ground Ohio State fans, this one from Cleveland Frowns, and the throwdown ends.
Pulling the content a little closer to home this week in an effort to keep a higher R squared value with the MGoBlog readers!
As always, this analysis only considers games between two D1 opponents and takes only plays during competitive game situations into account.
Not all great offenses are created equally
If we are going to know what it takes to become a great offense under Rich Rodriguez, we must first know what it will look like, because great offenses can take on many different appearances. Below is a play success distribution for my top rated offense last year (Georgia Tech, option baby), the top passing offense (Captain Leach Texas Tech) and a look at West Virginia from 2007, Rodriguez’s last year at the helm. I went ahead and threw in the BCS’s worst, Washington St, just for comparison.
The Paul Johnson option is working with big plays, rather they are taking out the bad plays. Over three-quarters of Georgia Tech’s plays go for positive yardage. This balances out no strong tendency towards big plays. The end result is old school football: lots of long drives and moving the chains.
At the Captain’s helm, Texas Tech had nearly a quarter of all of their plays go for no gain. As always, there are tradeoffs. For Tech they came in the form of the 10-20 yard gain.
Under Rodriguez, West Virginia saw something different than either of those two. Even with a run-pass split close to Georgia Tech, the distribution of the spread 'n' shred was much different than the Option. Where the Yellowjackets saw a heavy dose of positive but small gains, the Mountaineers had a solid lead in everything from 4-20 yards. The end results where similar with both teams producing touchdown drives with regularity, but the path was much longer for Georgia Tech. West Virginia’s ability to get the somewhat big play allowed them to shorten drives, add possessions to the game and eliminate some of the variance through an increase in scoring chances.
How close are we?
As everyone knows, we are much closer coming in to this year than we were last year. Here is another chart to support that notion.
There are many charts to look at that show the dreadfulness of 2008, so we won’t dwell on that. What is becoming clear is that the shape of 2009 is becoming quite similar to West Virginia 2007. The big difference, and its a big one, is that Michigan still has a lot of plays going for no gain, where West Virginia was able to get 5+ yards out of those same plays.
If Michigan is going to mirror the West Virginia offensive success, it appears to have a made very clear first step last season.
How does this compare to previous years?
The biggest difference between the Carr era and the Rodriguez era in terms of yardage gained distribution is the passing game bump from the Carr era in the 10-20 yard gain range. The Rodriguez system is more geared towards to the 4-9 yard gains where the Carr offense excelled in the 0-3 and 10-20 yard ranges.
What does this mean for 2010?
The cliché: Take the Next Step.
It looks like framework of what Rodriguez wants to do is in place after two rough years, but the execution is still behind his days at West Virginia. The offensive line now has two years in the system and for the first time there is a quarterback (in fact two!) who have both experience and talent. As I noted in a previous diary, a jump from average in 2009 to good in 2010 is certainly a good possibility and with a break or two and improved quarterback play, it could go from average to great.
Blogs With Balls picked a surprisingly inconvenient time to happen. A weekend in early June should be the most boring, torpid time of the year for a college football (/basketball/hockey/baseball) blog, but over the weekend Michigan dealt with a scary injury to one of their players, an assistant coach departing, and all hell breaking loose when it comes to college football expansion.
I dumped about a thousand words worth of up-to-date speculation, opinion, and head-shaking at The Sporting Blog, but here's an addendum directed at Michigan's place in all this:
Is this good or bad?
Probably good? I owe Frank The Tank an apology for considering his Texas Death Star scenarios a law-addled fever dream: guy was on the money. Now that the fate of the Big 12 is seriously in play, Texas can shake loose and the Big Ten can swoop in and claim the Longhorns and associated Big 12 teams to create a superconference worthy of the name. I still think 16 team conferences are stupid pretty much without exception, but a 16 team superconference formed by adding a few Big East schools and Big 12 North refugees goes beyond that into the realm of depressing.
The Pac-10's main advantage when it comes to wooing Austin is also its main disadvantage: the Pac-10 does not have a CIC-type organization and is (evidently) not as hung up on the possibility of admitting the Oklahoma teams. In short, they do not have a "Tech problem." The Big Ten has a Tech problem because the wide-ranging institutional cooperation on the academic side has seen Penn State and Texas go from approximately equal centers of research to Penn State peering down at Texas from atop a $200 million dollar pile of Big Ten money.
Is Notre Dame seriously in play?
Eh… probably not. Big 12 disintegration leaves the Big East intact and removes much of ND's motivation to join a conference.
Do you have a wild guess to how this works out?
Absolutely not, but I think Texas prefers the Big 10 to the Pac 10 and it will be a fight between UT and the Texas legislature's insistence on tying Baylor and Tech around the Longhorns' necks. If Texas wins that fight the end result is probably the addition of Nebraska, Missouri, Texas, A&M, and then a wildcard team the league would prefer was Notre Dame but probably won't be.
I wonder how the triumvirate of hate schools (Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota) look at this. They'd probably be put in the Big 12 division (otherwise you have to break them up) and would have their worlds more rearranged than anyone else.