TO THE HOT TAKE CANNON
Note: A big thanks to Paul for getting an interview with Coach Ryan and Captain Kylie Neschke to supplement this preview. While he isn't posting much yet, his work behind the scenes is invaluable.
While soccer is no new subject on mgoblog, women's soccer and more importantly, Michigan soccer are new to this realm. As the official first sporting match of the season (men's soccer plays an exhibition first), the women's team will be spotlighted in our first season preview of the year. I'll be trying to preview each non-revenue team over the next 4-5 weeks, following those up with roundup posts during the actual year.
Our women's soccer team has actually been rather successful in the 15 seasons of its existence. Their overall record is 164-118-42, with 2 Big Ten Tournament Championships and 9 NCAA appearances. Each of those championships and post season appearances were under coach Debbie Rademacher, who stepped down following the 2007 season to be spend more time with her two young children. During her tenure, Michigan saw talents such as Big Ten POY in 2002 Abby Crumpton who still holds the record for points in a career (116) at Michigan.
The team was most successful from '97-'99 when the team was at the start of its NCAA streak of 8 seasons in a row. The team went 49-17-3 in that three year stretch lead by all time goal leader Kacy Beitel and all time saves leader Carissa Stewart. The team would see the next few years each have double digit win totals and NCAA appearances until 2005 when the team would finish with a sub-.500 record. The 2006 season saw a return to the post season, but it would Michigan's last to date. The 2007 season was a sour one, seeing Michigan go the dreaded 3-9 with 6 ties.
Following that season, Greg Ryan stepped in.
Greg Ryan was a big of a hire as Rich Rodriguez. There, I said it. Ryan not only ranks among the winningest coaches in NCAA women's soccer, but he also had just finished a three year tenure as a coach with the US National team, compiling a 49-1-9 record with a bronze medal in the 2007 FIFA Women's World Cup. He was also an assistant on the 2004 Olympic team that won the gold medal.
At the college level, Ryan has lead four different teams to a 189-91-23 combined record. He began his career with Wisconsin, taking them so far as the NCAA championship game. He also led his alma mater SMU (where he was an All-American) and lead a rebuilding job at Colorado College.
His philosophy to bring Michigan back to a winner is skill, smarts, and scoring:
We’ve really made a major shift in philosophy from just athletic, big, players to just recruiting soccer players and they may be big, they are athletic, but our number one goal is that they are very, very skillful,they are very smart and they are just very passionate about playing the game of soccer. So what the outcome in the field will be is that we will be able to possess the ball much better than we ever have, we will be able to attack better than we ever have and most of the players that I’m recruiting now, whether they are backs or whether they are forwards or midfielders, can score goals. That has been a huge problem for this team -- they just don’t score enough goals. They can defend well, but don’t score enough goals. So as I am looking at players, even the defenders, I'm recruiting goal scorers.
Woo! Fewer 0-0 ties! While I've yet to find any recruiting class rankings for this upcoming class, Ryan's 2008 class was ranked #16 by Soccer Buzz magazine. Coach Ryan has already targeted 5-6 commits in the class of 2010, all "high level attacking players."
[The team, the outlook, and the swanky new stadium en route after the jump.]
For all of you abroad or
just in need of Big Ten Network stream [UPDATE: service available outside US and Canada only], your dreams have been answered. The BigTen Network has announced the beginning of The Big Ten Ticket, a streaming video service of all BTN football and basketball games. From their press release:
Fans will be able to select from three service options: the "Single-Game Pass," the "School Pass," which covers every Big Ten Network football and men's basketball telecast for one school and the "Conference" pass, which covers every Big Ten Network football and men's basketball telecast for every Big Ten school during the 2009-10 season. Fans will be able to make their selections at www.BigTenTicket.com beginning in late August.
Pricing has yet to be announced, but I have to assume it will be comparable to CBSSports XXL, which is $15 a month and $120 per year. During the baseball season, the Atlantic Sun conference (ASun.tv) carried individual games for $6, monthly subscriptions for $10, and yearly subscriptions for $70. I imagine for a conference-wide package, you'll pay a little over this, as the Big Ten has a little more monetary value than the Atlantic Sun (that said, they show EVERY home game and not just the few that make it on BTN).
I have had it confirmed from the Network that the Big Ten Ticket will only cover those football and basketball games and nothing else. This means the women's basketball games streamed last year will most likely continue for free. The lack of other Olympic sports coverage is a big disappointment.
I assume this will work like an ESPN360, showing every game and allowing you to replay it later in a TIVO style. with the ability to skip most commercials. For those of you who watched any of the streamed games, the new system will also use the same computer detection software that became available at the end of last season:
The video player automatically detects the optimal settings that your computer will allow, and automatically adjusts for any change in capacity and connectivity. Simply use your computer as you need, and the player will do the rest.
The service will become available in the next few weeks on www.BigTenTicket.com, which currently takes you only BTN.com.
You can't have one without the other? I earlier profiled DT Commit Terry Talbott, so let's take a look at his younger brother Terrence.
Terrence, meanwhile, is a cover corner with a ton of athletic ability. "He's a true cover guy. He's a great open field tackler with an unbelievable amount of athletic ability. He has a 38-39 inch vertical. He has a lot of great things going for him."
Of course he's going to say good things about his players, but it sounds as though Michigan may be in on an underrated athlete, no? One major point of contention, however, is his height. Terrence is listed as short as 5-8.5, or as tall as 5-11. I would wager that just under 5-10 is probably the safest bet for an accurate height.
Cincinnati, Connecticut, Illinois, Kentucky, Wisconsin, Marshall. Terrence was unofficially offered back in June, and had that offer officially confirmed near the end of July. Kentucky and Wisconsin really wanted both brothers, from the sounds of things.
A rudimentary search for stats turned up no results. If anyone else has better luck, let me know in the comments.
FAKE 40 TIME
4.47, as listed by Rivals, is pretty fast. For a guy who has offers from the likes of Kentucky and Wisconsin, rather than, say, conference contenders, it's probably a little on the low side. I'll give it two FAKEs.
Scouting Ohio brings the goods:
That big hit at 0:21 is on fellow Michigan target TE Alex Smith (HT: Carcajous).
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
Terrence is not an elite player, or at least the recruiting sites don't think so at this point. Without a breakout senior year in which he proved all the doubters wrong, he's probably a low 3-star guy. That likely means a redshirt year and a couple years on special teams duty before he gets a chance in the defensive rotation.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
MIchigan is sorely lacking in DBs, so gaining a commitment from one is, obviously, a good thing. They'll still keep taking all the DBs they can get their grubby little paws on (I'm looking at you, Christian and Ifill). The only notable affect this has on the class at large is that it means they inch closer to the scholarship limit.
The Talbotts are teammates of 2011 QB (and the #1 prospect in Ohio) Braxton Miller. Taking these two certainly won't hurt Michigan's chances with Miller.
Time for a bit of googlestalkin' each of Michigan's newest two commits. First up: DT Terry.
|3*, DT #50||3*||2*, 73, DT #115|
Talbott is a slightly smaller, and currently low-ranked, defensive tackle prospect. Here's ESPN on him:
If he stays inside he will need to add serious bulk to his frame. Looks on film to have the build to be able to add more good size... Works to try and generate some power from his lower body when he engages a blocker. Needs to work on being able to shed from the block. Will flash the ability to explode off the ball and get into a blocker and power his way into the backfield. He can be disruptive when he does this, but will usually drop his head down and can run by the play or get caught up with the blocker. He is a solid wrap-up tackler. Plays with a good motor and will pursue to the ball. Displays adequate speed and short-area change-of-direction skills. While build-wise a move to end may be a better fit, long term skill-wise staying at tackle may be better.
Duane Long, an Ohio State recruiting analyst:
Notice how often he does not use his hands. Needs alot of work. He is just beating his opponents with elite level explosion off the ball. I have not heard measurables listed yet but the words "physical specimen" are being thrown about.
As a caveat, those things were said when he still thought Talbott would end up at OSU, but those words are not to be taken lightly either way.
Not to be left out in the effusive praise train, Wayne coach Jay Minton says:
"He's very big, very explosive and has a great change of direction," Minton said. "He's got an uncanny ability to get to the football and control the line of scrimmage. He creates a new line of scrimmage."
Sounds like a very talented player. As with many of Michigan's commits, his rankings are limited a bit by a slight tweener status. However, he'll develop into a true DT at Michigan.
Arkansas, Cincinnati, Connecticut, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan State, NC State, UCLA, Wisconsin. Michigan offered Terry in early June. According to Ohio State recruiting guru Duane Long (in the article linked above), he was one of the best prospects at the OSU camp, and was close to a Buckeye offer:
We are kicking around alot of names right now with the camp but I am not going to be surprised to see this one as the next Buckeye offer.
Terry is a defensive tackle for his Huber Heights Wayne team, and therefore does not accrue any meaningful statistics.
FAKE 40 TIME
4.8 per Rivals, Scout gives us another decimal point in precision, and says 4.87. Though Terry is a DT, he's an undersized one who will have to put on a bunch of weight when he gets to college. As a 265-pounder, that's a feasible time, and receives only one FAKE out of three.
Scouting Ohio is pretty awesome for video any time there's a commit from The Buckeye State:
ESPN also has a non-embeddable highlight video of their own.
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
Athletic but undersized, Talbott is cruisin' for a redshirt in his first year in Ann Arbor. Michigan can afford this, as they lose basically nobody on the defensive interior following the 2009 season. He'll put on weight, learn to refine his technique, and hopefully be ready to contribute in the 2011 season. At that point, he'll probably be an explosive, penetrating tackle, like the fellows that gave Ohio State a world of trouble in the 2006 and 2007 National Championship games.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
Michigan is thin on defensive line, so Talbott helps shore that up. If an elite prospect like Sharrif Floyd were to favor Michigan, they certainly wouldn't turn him away. The biggest affect these commitments have on the rest of the class is filling the thing up.
Profile of (non-twin) brother the cornerback later today. The Talbotts are teammates of 2011 QB (and the #1 prospect in Ohio) Braxton Miller. Taking these two certainly won't hurt Michigan's chances with Miller. Post-visit interview by TomVH.
This is not absolutely confirmed, as I didn't even think to ask about it, but the new jerseys are practice jerseys only. The home uniform will not be changing, and I don't think the away ones will either.
A couple quick things from Rodriguez's post-practice presser:
- Brandon Minor, though he was limited today, is just about healthy. He should practice full-go tomorrow, and if not, definitely at the next practice (Monday).
- Toussaint's injury is a shoulder or bicep problem, but nothing serious. Still, from the way Rodriguez talked about him, Fitz might be heading for a redshirt this year (lots of RBs, only need to play the ones who are ready).
- Still no word on Jason Forcier's status in joining the team. They believe they'll hear any time now.
- Hemingway is going to be an important player for the offense - it sounds like he might even be the #2 split end.
- Stokes is going to start out at outside receiver - there was no mention of slot for him.
- Roy Roundtree, on the other hand, will play both inside and outside receiver positions.
- About 10 true freshmen will probably be contributors this year. Though he didn't mention anyone by name at that time, expect Will Campbell, Vlad Emilien, Vincent Smith, and Je'Ron Stokes to be among them.
- Stevie Brown said the defense is improving a lot under new coordinator Greg "GERG" Robinson (duh).
- They work a ton on fundamentals and especially tackling.
- Teric Jones is pretty impressive at corner (he had a pick yesterday) despite being new to the position
- Dave Molk says that the offensive line really came together over the course of last year, and his becoming comfortable with making calls from the center position was a big part of that.
- The QB situation is much better this year than last because now there are 3 viable options.
- Mike Martin (who Dave has to battle in practice) is "one strong bastard."
- Carlos Brown feels as healthy as he has in a very long time.
- Denard is a fast kid, but he and Carlos haven't settled who is faster. Carlos is just glad that Denard is on his team.
...and speaking of Denard, Carlos also mentioned that the segment of practice that was closed to the media involved some scrimmaging. Denard apparently broke off a pretty big run during that segment. You should be able to catch it on tonight's Big Ten Network special. Tune into BTN at 10PM to check it out. You may even be pleasantly surprised at the crew's impression of the 2009 Wolverines.