mesmerism! presidential assassinations! circuses on fire!
Your top ten, with enthusiastic Mormons (and Bears!) in:
|3||Southern Cal (2)||22.4||2.1||--|
|9||Brigham Young (1)||15.5||4.0||11|
The remainder plus the extracurriculars, including a ballot spike, are at CBS Sports.
I live 10 miles from Scripps Ranch, but never got a chance to see Tate play down here. However, I do have an idea about the teams he's played down here and the teams he's playing up there, and after watching all the youtube clips I'm having troubling thoughts about the possibility that some linebacker might remove Tate's head from his shoulders early in the season. This makes our depth chart look like this:
- Next of Kin
- The Guy We Put In The Formation Because We Can't Direct Snap To The Other Team
What do you think of Tate's ability to avoid tackles, and more importantly, decapitation?
It will help a lot if Michigan ends up with a consistent counterpunch to the scrape exchange Western was running most of the day. Smart Football has a primer on the thing if you want detail. If you just want a sentence: on a scrape read the backside defensive end automatically crashes down on the TB and quarterback contain falls to a linebacker or, sometimes, a cornerback. Since the quarterback is supposed to read the defensive end, that means he'll keep the ball and then meet a linebacker, often in the backfield.
This is a frequent response to the zone read. Last summer, I UFRed the West Virginia offense against Rutgers and saw Schiano's guys do this on almost every play:
(Big original here.) This is a variant on the scrape where the backside DE is tasked with the gap on the backside and it confused West Virginia for a while until they started running the QB directly at it and busting Slaton into the open field. A lot of teams are going to play games with Michigan in an attempt to screw up their reads.
It's not good. Tate was keeping the ball a lot and then dancing past linebackers and corners for 3-5 yards.
You've already seen a couple of counter-punches. One is the backside veer that looks like a zone read but sees a fullback or h-back pull to wipe out the normally unblocked DE. The idea here is for the back to quickly hit the gap between the DE and the DT, as it's just been vacated by the scraping linebacker. Done properly, it sees a running back shoot immediately into cavernous space, as Brandon Minor did on touchdowns against Wisconsin and Purdue. (Viddler's finally really killed my account dead, so I can't bring it to you. Lo siento.)
The other counter-punch you've seen was deployed frequently against Western: the zone read to a bubble or long handoff. Unless the opponent is getting super-aggressive you'll usually see soft coverage behind the corner version of the scrape—it's basically a corner run blitz—and since the corner to your side is coming up to take you, the wideout over there tends to be wide open.
A more direct answer to your question: yes, I'm sure the coaches would rather have Tate throw and other people run. Rodriguez on the 23 carries his quarterbacks provided:
"That’s probably more than we’re accustomed to," Rodriguez said. "We probably gave more, particularly to Denard in the first game, just so they would get the experience."
That is likely to be their high water mark for the season, Forcier particularly.
Although I don’t think that recommending voluntary workouts makes them involuntary, the NCAA is probably going to come up with some new vague description of non-countable time. My question is that every D-1 coach since the beginning of time has used extra drills, runs, etc. as a requirement for disgraced players to earn their way back onto the playing field. If I recall correctly even the oft revered Lloyd Carr had Manningham do weeks of extra stadium climbs to make up for failing two drug tests. If there is any fallout from this probe will it change the way coaches administer in-house punishment from now on?
I don't know about Manningham and stairs, but it was public knowledge that Adrian Arrington had a strict 6-AM stairs regimen to get through if he was going to remain on the team after a couple of disciplinary instances.
A couple of people have mentioned this: these workouts are most definitely not voluntary, as the alternative is finding another school, and yet no one's ever brought this up. The only thing I can think of is that the Arrington punishment and other like things fit underneath the eight-hours-supervised a week.
This whole NCAA violations ridiculousness has made me miss the days of Carr's stern skepticism and distance with the media. Would Carr have let two freshman talk to the media so candidly? Will this cause Rodriquez to clamp down on which players are made available for interviews (what is the policy now?)? If the Free Press has to eat their words, what would be the ramification in the press corps for them?
Thanks and GO BLUE!
Since the freshmen were interviewed at Media Day, I don't think you'll see that access curtailed except to certain members of the media who abused it. More broadly, I know all player interviews have to be approved by the department and you might see the freshmen harder to get at in the future, especially if you are on the Enemies List.
The thing is: it's not like the freshmen here said anything that they shouldn't have. They merely described their summer conditioning activities. No "everybody murders" here, just a description of lifting and working on coverage and watching film. It wasn't even particularly candid. It was just a boilerplate description of activities every football program does. If there's someone at fault here, it's not them.
As to the Free Press ending up with zero after an investigation: the ramifications will be zero. They'll probably get an award anyway. No one at the Free Press is going to get a one-on-one with anyone associated with the program, again, but pulling credentials is a guaranteed media firestorm and who wants another one of those?
One question: Is it louder?
It didn't seem obviously louder except a few times when there seemed to be an echo, which implies that noise is getting reflected back into the stadium. It wasn't exactly a tense game, though, and Michigan Stadium doesn't get really loud unless it's called upon to do so. If Notre Dame has the ball for a key fourth quarter drive that's when we'll find out.
I should point out that other people think it's way louder, although I can't find that tab I thought I had open.
So, Michigan kicked off the 2011 recruiting class a week ago with a commit from OH CB Greg Brown. HOWEVA, in order to get all our previewin' done before the season, an informative update had to wait until today. Brown hails from the alma mater of Charles Woodson, whom you may have heard of, and has been a Michigan lean for a long time.
Don't be scared at those "NR"s across the board, as the recruiting sites haven't yet started evaluating juniors, aside from a few big-timers. Brown plays both CB and WR for the Little Giants, but is expected to primarily play defense in college. Jim Stefani brings a little info on Brown:
2007 Honors: Top 12 Ohio Freshman Watchlist (January 2008). One of the top sophomores in Ohio. Sophomore starter at DB. Very quick, speedy, athletic, great body control, fine ball skills and has fluid hips. Very impressive at the 2008 Michigan summer camp and was rated by some onlookers as the second best CB at the camp as a mere freshman. Very impressive at the June 2008 Ohio High School Coaches Associations 7-on-7 event. From a program that has produced the likes of Charles Woodson, Rob Lytle and Bob Brudzinski over the year. His father played at Iowa.
A Fremont Ross staffer has called Brown "the next big professional athlete to come from Ross."
Michigan, Michigan State, and Central Michigan all offered after seeing Brown in camp. One MGoHeuristic is that camp offers (especially to guys without a lot of offers overall) carry heavier weight, because the coaches have evaluated the prospect in person, which gives a better indication of skill. Ohio State did not offer, though he did attend their elite camp.
I couldn't find any first-hand statistical information, but UMGoBlog says that he had 30 tackles in 5 picks during his sophomore season (pseudo-confirmed by ESPN). He's also played both QB and WR offensively in the past, so word on stats in that department.
FAKE 40 TIME
Basically every database has Brown listed at 4.4 seconds. It's not terribly precise, so that could mean anywhere between 4.40 and 4.49. Until we get a more precise measurement, I'll give this a mere 1 FAKE.
Scouting Ohio has a brief video, and promises to have more later:
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
Brown's enrollment at MIchigan is still a long, long way off. He could blow up over his last two high school seasons, or he could falter and become a lesser-rated guy. Still he's among the early top-15 lists in the state of Ohio, which often means low 4-star or high 3-star status.
He'll come in 2011, and with Michigan's growing depth in the secondary, should be able to take a redshirt year to get acclimated (unless, of course, he proves to be a top-top prospect). After that, he'll make the standard journey from special teams as a freshman, to backup duty as a sophomore, and probably grab a starting spot by the time he leaves campus.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
It's a long, long way out for the 2011 class, and the 2010 group isn't even complete yet. Assuming Michigan gets a couple more CB/DBs in the 2010 class, there won't be a huge need in the 2011 class. If there's another guy out there who's a top prospect and shows interest in Michigan, the Wolverines would likely take another corner.
Commitment article from local paper.
If you can help out finding articles on any of the commits, we'll try to make it as comprehensive as possible. We were only able to make it to 1 high school game this week (sorry to spoil you last week with 4 games), so that's listed at the top. In future weeks, the 2011 commits (of which there are currently 1) will be included as well.
MI RB Austin White
Last week: Stevenson lost to Howell 14-28. Austin rushed 16 times for 119 yards and 2 TD (12.44 YPC). He also caught 4 passes for 59 yards, and had a 53-yard touchdown grab erased due to penalty. Paul and I were there, so experience the glory of HD:
In all honesty, if Stevenson's coaches would have just given Austin the ball more (and you can't argue with his production), the Spartans would have had a much better chance to come away with a win.
This week: Stevenson (0-2) at Salem.
|Austin White 2009|
MI QB Devin Gardner
On two occasions in the first half, Gardner heaved up nice touch passes to the end zone only to see the ball slip through teammates fingertips and fall harmlessly to the turf.
Devin finished 19-30 passing for 389(!) yards. He also had a 66-yard rushing touchdown on the game's first play, and finished with 10 rushes for 102 yards with another touchdown (2 total).
This week: Inkster (0-2) has the week off.
|Devin Gardner 2009|
|East Kentwood||L 33-52||19||30||389||3||1||63.33||12.97||10||102||2||10.20|
SC QB Cornelius Jones
Conelius Jones ran for 45 yards and a touchdown and threw for 125 yards and another score as Spartanburg traveled to Northwestern and knocked off the Trojans 20-10 Friday night.
No word on attempts.
This week: Spartanburg (2-1) v. Sumter.
|Cornelius Jones 2009|
TX RB Stephen Hopkins
Last week: Marcus beat Plano West 35-25.
Senior Stephen Hopkins scored his third touchdown of the night, this one from 8 yards out with 6:13 to go, to put the Marauders up, 35-25. Hopkins combined with juniors Dagan Newsome and Rufus Mason for more than 300 yards on the ground.
Hopkins finished with 28 rushes for 128 yards and 3 touchdowns.
This week: Marcus (2-0) @ Fossil Ridge.
|Stephen Hopkins 2009|
|Plano West||W 35-25||28||128||3||4.56|
TX RB Tony Drake
Last week: Skyline rocked Kimball 51-2. Drake rushed 8 times for 69 yards (8.63 YPC) and a touchdown.
This week: Skyline (1-0) v. Arlington Bowie.
LA Slot WR Drew Dileo
Last week: Parkview rocked Christian Life Academy 60-14. Dileo had a 50-yard touchdown grab.
This week: Parkview (1-0) @ Arcadiana.
MI WR Ricardo Miller
Last week: Pioneer pounded Dexter, winning 45-0. Ricardo had 55-yard and a 45-yard touchdown grabs for the Pioneers. Miller photo appears courtesy of AnnArbor.com.
This week: Pioneer (2-0) v. Saline.
|Ricardo Miller 2009|
OH WR Jerald Robinson
Last week: Canton South falls to Canfield, 7-10. No word on Robinson's stats.
This week: Canton South (0-2) v. Ravenna.
MI WR Jeremy Jackson
Last week: Huron defeated Tecumseh 41-14. Jeremy had an interception for the Rats, but no receptions.
This week: Huron (1-1) @ Temperance Bedford.
OH WR DJ Williamson
Last week: Harding rocked Youngstown Chaney, 58-0.
This week: Harding (1-0-1) v. Akron Buchtel on Saturday evening.
OH OL Christian Pace
Last week: Avon Lake fell to Brunswick 7-24.
This week: Avon Lake (0-2) v. Elyria.
OH DT Terry Talbott
Last week: Wayne defeated Canton McKinley 27-14. There's no specific mention of Talbott, but the defense performed well:
Four big plays — including one on defense — catapulted the Warriors to a 27-14 victory over Canton McKinley...
Wayne’s defense unleashed a “trifecta” — sack, fumble and TD — as the Warriors forced four turnovers and improved to 2-0
After seeing how dominant he can be a week ago, I would be shocked if Terry wasn't directly responsible for some of that defensive wizardry.
This week: Huber Heights (2-0) v. Glenville on Saturday evening. This should be a hell of a game. I'd recommend checking it out, if you're in the area.
PA DE Ken Wilkins
Last week: Trinity falls 22-36 to powerhouse Canon-McMillan.
This week: Trinity (0-1) @ Greensburg Salem.
PA DE Jordan Paskorz
Last week: Hampton defeated Blackhawk 21-13.
This week: Hampton (1-0) v. West Allegheny.
OH LB Antonio Kinard
Last week: Liberty beats Niles 29-12. Kinard caught a 24-yard touchdown pass, and also came in for some praise from his coach:
Whittaker said Gutierrez and Michigan recruit Antonio Kinard are the heart of his defense.
“They were all-conference linebackers last year,” he said. “We’ve come to kind of expect them to make those types of impact plays and they have made many.”
This week: Liberty (2-0) @ Campbell.
FL S Marvin Robinson
Last week: Lake Region lost 0-9 to Winter Haven. Marvin had 20 tackles(!), in addition to a forced fumble and an interception. 43 yards on 8 carries (5.38 YPC).
This week: Lake Region (0-1) v. Kathleen.
OH CB Courtney Avery
Senior QB Courtney Avery broke a couple of tackles and burst up the middle on a 54-yard TD run less than three minutes later.
Avery finished the game 14-26 passing for 202 yards, and he ran for 40 yards on 7 carries.
This week: Lexington @ Cameron.
OH CB Terrence Talbott
Last week: Wayne defeated Canton McKinley 27-14. There's no specific mention of (either) Talbott, but the defense performed well. See above for details.
This week: Huber Heights (2-0) v. Glenville on Saturday evening. This should be a hell of a game. I'd recommend checking it out, if you're in the area.
It was with some trepidation that I agreed to be on Mitch Albom's show last week during the jihad reaction*. But I figured, hey, what the hell, the worst thing that happens is some guy listening thinks I might be worth reading. So I go on, and express my point of view. Albom asks some pointed but fair questions, and I hang up. Fine. But the next 30 minutes or whatever are then dedicated to the proposition that I am just an example of Michigan fans "circling the wagons"; none of the points made are actually addressed. Instead I am dismissed as the Google Master from the MGoBlog… by Mitch Albom of the Free Press.
While the rest of the planet has moved past the idea of true objectivity, grizzled newspapermen still cling to the idea that a fact is a fact and the manner of its presentation and the context its surrounded with have no impact on how that fact is received. Albom asked me "do you think the writers of this piece have an agenda?" in a fashion that made it clear that this would be the journalistic equivalent of crossing the streams. Sure, they heard tell some guys down yonder tried it once but that's why there's this big smoking crater and everyone's kids have three heads.
I responded "well, agenda is a loaded word" because the context I was in—hey there you go—but my immediate thought was of course they have an agenda. Albom might as well asked me if I thought the reporters were robots. (A man without an agenda @ right.) People who are not robots have agendas, motivations, desires, and so forth and so on. They want to be tall and have hair and people who read their writing who can actually remember what the writer identifies himself as. Or they want a shiny prize. Or they want to jump off a sinking ship.
The most obvious and universal agenda to want your work to be important. I'm always annoyed when I've got this cool theory that the stats don't bear out. I then have to actively remind myself to present the full story when I (usually) try to make my case anyway. Most recent example: rugby punting reduces long returns. There's a natural tendency to ignore or downplay things that detract from your argument, especially when you've put a ton of work into it. Everyone wants their work to be meaningful.
So no one gets away without having their motivation examined anymore. No one. Jim Carty just put up an interesting post about "faith-based reporting," which is the idea that increasingly the people in the room at press conferences are working for GBW or the Wolverine or this site and make little pretense about being generally in favor of Michigan winning football games. Unsurprisingly, I disagree with large swaths of it (around 50%) but no section more than this one:
The suggestion that Rosenberg shouldn't have worked on the piece is nothing less than bunk, as I've covered above. He's a terrific journalist - just recruited to contribute for SI.com, incidentally - and one of the most fair people I know. Nothing he's written in the past would be cause for him to be removed from this piece. The suggestion that the Freep somehow took advantage of the freshman because it didn't fully brief them on their full agenda is similarly silly.
That's gone, man. The days when people could be expected to take it on faith that the reporters in question were noble just-the-facts truth-seekers, ma'am, has been steadily evaporating for 30 years and boiling off since the people formerly known as the audience started firing back. I do not care what people who personally know the guy think. I automatically suspect bullcrap in all ways that fit into conventional narratives or wishful thinking too easily, whether it's LOL NC$$ hates SEMO or Andrew Maxwell casually outing MSU on the MSU official site. There is no way I'm exempting a columnist who's regularly deployed false assumptions in the pursuit of Rodriguez or a newspaper that headlined said columnist's ill-researched Justin Feagin column "Win at all costs poor formula for Rodriguez." Carty interprets the Deadspin post defending Rosenberg's objectivity as legitimate; I don't see how anyone who's followed the Free Press' inflammatory headlines and snotty opinion pieces can come to that conclusion. A preposterously long breakdown of said article is at the foot of this post. I've thrown it behind the jump because it's tedious.
My base assumption is that unnecessary lack of transparency is always in the service of concealing dishonesty. And there are plenty of instances of concealment or outright dishonesty in the article in question:
- Misrepresenting quotes from two freshmen. Even leaving aside the questionable ethics of asking players questions about a piece you're planning without disclosing the unusual focus of the piece, the quotes from Hawthorne and Stokes are flat misrepresentations of what they said. At no point did they say any of the activities were "required," and in fact literally everything they list can and likely will fall under the NCAA definition of a noncountable hour. The problem with quoting the freshmen is not that they were not briefed on the agenda of the piece but that quotes were blatantly misrepresented.
- Providing anonymity for flimsy reasons. I'd be surprised if a single current player is one of the anonymous sources providing damning quotes. It's certain that at least some of them come from departures. And there are no potential repercussions for a departed player outside of what happened to Toney Clemons at Colorado, who was told "don't do that again" and directed to release a statement that made him seem like less of a dip. That is not sufficient justification for anonymous quotes in a story that you think makes a case for major NCAA infractions.
- Cloaking the distribution of current and former players. Even if you provide anonymity to the departed players, there's no reason to cite ten people interviewed for the story, drop the bombshell of "current and former," and not clarify whether or not the only current players in the story are the aforementioned duped freshmen. There is zero reason to not put "current" or "former" between the words "anonymous" and "player" after the anonymous player drops a damning quote.
- Ignoring the extremely obvious context. As previously stated, "everyone does it" is not a moral defense (which, IME, is unnecessary) but it's certainly a technical one.
In a media environment where you are always (rightfully) under suspicion it's imperative to show how the piece came together, to forthrightly address reasonable criticism, and provide the primary-source data that you used to construct the story.
The Free Press did none of this. Worse than that, there are sections of the story that are clearly disingenuous. That kills your credibility. That goes double when you are on record as the sort of extreme Rodriguez skeptic that would trot out a host of weak sauce in a column that slams Rodriguez for doing literally the exact same thing John Beilein—who you've never said a discouraging word about—did when he broke his contract. It goes triple when you couldn't be bothered to do the simple legwork of calling Justin Feagin's high school coach or checking his juvenile record before launching a broadside at the sort of kids Rodriguez is bringing into the program. (And don't give me that "I'm not saying, I'm just saying" stuff. Couching your work in disclaimers doesn't change the thrust.)
There was a way to go about this in a fair manner: disclose the names of the transferred kids. Clarify where the damning quotes are coming from. Provide appropriate context (45 hours a week) for the allegations. Don't misrepresent quotes from kids you're about to hang out to dry.
I've heard a lot about how I'm a Michigan fan. I've heard a lot about how I identify myself as Brian. I haven't heard one word about the actual content of my criticisms. Eventually, it becomes clear the lack of response is because they simply don't have one.
*(For the record: this isn't my jihad. The whole jihad bit is a reference to the first Jihad, which was way closer to an actual jihad. It was launched when an incredibly credulous West Virginia reporter announced that Rich Rodriguez had shredded every last document concerning West Virginia football.
I mean, really, which side here is a technologically deficient society bitter about its fading glory and hugely resistant to change? That's what I thought.)
The Michigan win yesterday was huge for the program on the field, and was also a help in the recruiting department. The first game of the season was taken in by a handful of committed recruits from this year's class and plenty of the top players in 2011.
MI WR Ricardo Miller, the new mayor of Ann Arbor, was pleased by his now-obligatory appearance. "It was a good win," he said, "and it was a real good atmosphere. I was with some of the other kids, and they liked it too. I know Dior [Mathis, the Cass Tech cornerback] liked it a lot," Miller said.
When asked what the difference was between this game, and the game he attended last year, he told me, "Well, first, we won. That part was great, it was a good feeling." Miller continued: "The second was that everyone just seemed more with it. The players seemed like they were more in the game than last year."
Ricardo also mentioned the fans' support for the team and Rich Rodriguez, "A lot of people have jumped on the wagon, it seems like. They won, and everyone was happy. I didn't like that they weren't supporting him before, but I know there was a lot of fans there showing him how much they care."
Miller made a point about how living so close to the Big House will prepare him to see the field next year: "I'm going to every home game, and every time I go into the stadium, I get less and less nervous. So, each home game for me is going to help calm my nerves for when I actually get to play."
Ricardo Miller gallery by Paul. It's from Pioneer's 32-28 win over Inkster.
On the defensive side of the ball, PA DE Ken Wilkins and OH CB Courtney Avery (right) made it up for their first ever Michigan game. Both were excited about what they saw. "It went real well," said Wilkins. "I loved it. The fans were crazy, it seemed like they all knew my name. The Victors Walk was crazy too, it was just nuts. I was honestly surprised, I didn't know it was going to be that loud, and that crazy."
The coaches and the game gave Ken a better look at how he'd be used in the game. "I talked to Coach Robinson a little before the game," he said, "and I think I'll be used like Craig Roh*. He had a really good game, so it was just exciting to see that in person."
Courtney Avery said the game was a good way to get to know his future teammates. "I had met Ricardo before," he said, "but I had never met Kenny." Avery was impressed with his first visit to Michigan Stadium: "This was the icing on the cake. I was amazed at how many people were there. I loved the atmosphere all together. It was cool to see the game in person, because you get to see how excited the sidelines get, and the players that aren't on the field," said Avery.
The visit also gave Courtney a chance to see how he'd be used on defense. "I talked to Coach Gibson, Tall, and Rodriguez before the game," he said. "During the game, I was just watching the corners and their technique. It was cool to see how they play, and that I'll be out there soon," Courtney said.
*[Editor's note: Wilkins is being brought in as a deathbacker but given his size and Michigan's depth chart, I'm betting he ends up in the Brandon Graham role eventually.]