After Tate Forcier left the program the new Michigan coaches were left scrambling to find a late addition to the 2011 class. They found a diamond in the rough with Texas QB Russell Bellomy, and patched the hole. While they picked up Bellomy, the Michigan coaches look for a quarter back in every class. Maty Mauk (6'2", 185 lbs/Kenton, Ohio) was the latest to receive an offer from the Wolverines. Here's what he had to say.
TOM: I guess the main question right now is if Michigan has offered you yet?
MATY: Yes, they offered me yesterday (Thursday). The offensive line coach has been the one recruiting me from Michigan.
TOM: So is that five offers now?
MATY: Six, Illinois just offered too. [Mauk's offers: Bowling Green, Michigan, Notre Dame, Cincinnati, and Missouri]
TOM: I know your brother was at Cincinnati when Brian Kelly was there, so you almost have two separate connections now with Cincinnati and Notre Dame. Are they the two that are at the top right now?
MATY: I'm wide open right now, so everyone (including Michigan) has a good chance.
TOM: Spring ball is going to start to pick up soon and you're not too far from Ann Arbor, are you going to make it up to Michigan any time soon?
MATY: Yeah, I'm going to go up to Michigan sometime in the next couple weeks.
TOM: What do you want to experience on the visit, or what about Michigan is interesting to you?
MATY: The stadium and the tradition they have is great. The offense is going to be a force, and just to meet the coaches.
TOM: Taking visits this early, is this the start of the process for you or do you want to get things done pretty quickly?
MATY: No, I'll probably take my time with everything; I think I'm going to wait. I'm hearing from the schools that have offered and Arkansas, Auburn, Louisville, Penn State, Kentucky, Iowa, LSU, and a few others nationally.
[We'll always cheer for you, oh Var-si-ty!]
You're back! After a bumpy ride following the Great Burn All of 2011, the diarists of MGoBlog have crawled out from whatever rocks, firewalls, and corporate office policies they were under and returned to populating the area right about THERE---->
with a new crop of 200+ word thoughts. Miracle Planet was right: no matter what you do to the Earth, life will always find a way to survive, repopulate, and thrive again. On the other hand one extinction-level event per billion years is plenty kthx.
In celebration of the return of you, I'm going to give you a break from me and head right into the diaries. Save your "tl;dr"s for next week, 'cause it's a biggun'.
Michigan Men's Football (Varsity)
He works for TomVH. He knows the minds of 2012 recruits before they do. He was front-paged twice in successive weeks, and is your Diarist of the Week. Meet (you've met him already) JC3, who provided a fantastic two-part rundown of 2012 prospects.
QBs: Gunner Kiel (IN – pictured right), Rob Gregory (IL)
RBs: William Mahone (OH), Juwan Lewis (MI)
WRs: Aaron Burbridge (MI), Amara Darboh (IA), Stefon Diggs (MD)
TEs: Sam Grant (OH)
Ath: Drake Johnson
OL: Jordan Diamond, Kelby Latta (MI), JJ Denman (PA), Jake Meador (IN), Caleb Stacey (OH), and Ben Bradem (MI)
S's: Bam Bradley (OH), Deshaun Hall (OH)
LBs: Royce Jenkins-Stone (MI), Laron Taylor (MI)
DTs: Vincent Valentine (IL), Danny O'Brien (MI), Matthew Godin (MI)
DEs: Evan Winston (MI), Tom Strobel (OH), Chris Wormley (OH)
If you missed the articles, get your 2012 stalker on now and hit those up. Also: use the comments below to pick your favorite name from above. I can't decide between a quarterback named Gunner and a safety named Bam. Can I have them both?
Also in things you must read if you're a Michigan football fan already thinking about 2012 is umhero's awesome "Roster Balance and the 2012 Class." This hero broke down the dispersion of talent (by eligibility) on the current M roster and compared it with an ideal 85-man breakdown, showing very clearly where our recruiting needs and soft spots are. A sample:
Yes, not kidding, that awesome…like that-screen-you-always-have-to-keep-checking-when-you're-doing-offseason-recruiting-in-EA-Sports-NCAA-Football-[One-Year-in-the-Future] awesome (or at least you did when it was 55 men –signed, guy who keeps going back to 2004 whenever the latest gets too frustrating).
In more general football discussion, the oversigning issue that's now old news at this blog is generating more traction in the news that's not this blog, and in the diaries section, which is this blog reflected. The one to read is JeepinBen's explanation of the difference between a Medical Redshirt and a Medical Exemption. The other one is Zone Left's proposal to stop oversigning by…um…letting kids transfer? You know what: let him explain.
Football etc.: The_Knowledge stopped by to look back in time at The Process, which depending on how far into the future he's from, could mean he's looking back into history, or looking back into a less distant future, or look into the present. One thing's for certain: in the future, people really don't know shit about early 21st century Michigan football.
Michigan Men's Basketball (Varsity)
Beating the Spartans during their Year of Infinite Pain if Spartans Felt Pain felt really damn good. Continuing to beat Big Ten teams since is making the Crisler bandwagoners like me (apologies to any long-sufferers I'm crowding) jump back on board for the ride. Of course, it's hard not to be a cagers junkie once the MGoDiarists have at it. For example, I must now watch basketball because I know things about PORPAG:
A cursory glance shows what Brian alluded to in the front page post, Darius Morris is the sixth most valuable player offensively in the Big Ten, behind Wisconsin's excellent Jordan Taylor, a future top-5 pick, and three seniors. Another glance shows that Tim Hardaway Jr. is the third-most valuable freshman according to PORPAG, behind Sullinger and Wisconsin's role player, Josh Gasser (this statistic loves the Badgers, they have the 1st, 2nd, 14th, 25th, 34th, and 39th best PORPAG players, part of this is probably due to the slow deliberate pace at which they play, and the fact that everyone's non-conference schedule is included in this compilation of this stat, so a team like Wisconsin would be given an advantage over a team like MSU. Still, Wisconsin's numbers are impressive here, near miss against Iowa notwithstanding).
That's the_white_tiger pouring through basketball sabermetrics and coming back to say we're good at basketball.
Another reason to watch this team: unlike the Ellerbe squads that coincided with my Michigan years, this team is really likeable, from honest and intellectual Coach Beilein to a bunch of names matching my 1992 Donruss cards, to Shoot More On The Run You Cocaine Zombie (third reason: can't let such an awesome mnemonic by antoo go to waste). If PORPAG ain't your bag, Michigania (you're thinking: does he know Dan Glasser?) has a the Cliffs Notes of how this team came together.
Michigan Dancing (March Sport)
Just kidding, it's still hoops. Yes, when the wins start coming, we start thinking maybe possibly there could be a spot for us among the
32, 65, 68, 2.6 million squads invited to the NCAA Tournament. Or even the NIT. Both were out of reach at the start of the year, but you know, we won some games, so we can wonder…
What will it take to make the Dance?
Um, chart guy?
No. Well, yes, I'm normally the bolded subconscious of the main page who asks for charts at the end of bad UFRs, but this time I was just telling you the name of 2012's article.
That's what I'm trying to find out.
That's the name of his diary.
2012: What will it take to make the Dance?
Who's talking about the dance in 2012?
Aw, forget it…chart?
As of now the first two are taken care of, but those were the easiest. From here, hoops needs to win 3/5 out of @Ill, @Iowa, Wisconsin, @Minn, MSU. Kenpom has us favored in only one of those games, that being Michigan State's season-ending visit to Crisler (and MSU is in a statistical trough right now that's probably not sustainable). Signs point to this simply being basketball's version of the week after we beat Purdue last year, with Wisconsin and Ohio State on the horizon. But hope springs eternal.
If you'd rather skip to the end of the story, Blazefire has provided a glimpse into the Headlines of the Future. Let's hope his future has more accurate accounts of contemporary Michigan athletics than that of The_Knowledge.
Michigan Women's Softball (Varsity)
Looking for a Michigan sport that won't make you drink and do nasty things to your head? Want a pastime where Michigan just dominates, reloads, and dominates again, all while showing such exuberance and joy in their sport? Is Misopogon trying to screw with you with all of these rhetorical questions just so he can say "broomball" or something when there's two softball pictures above?
But man you're still going to love our softball team, as only South Bend Wolverine can bring it to you.
Last year, Dorian Shaw lead the way for Michigan in the home-run department, going deep 21 times. One of those shots broke the letter A on the now-rechristened "lumni Field" scoreboard. And while Nemitz was the senior pitcher on staff, Taylor led the way for much of the year, going 26-4 with an ERA of 1.44. The highlight of her year came in April when, on the 10th she tossed 5 perfect innings as Michigan mercy-ruled Minnesota 9-0. Not two weeks later, Taylor was on the mount again, and once again was perfect through 5, as UM mercy-ruled PSU 8-0.
All you need to know is Michigan mercy-ruled 19 games last year out of 57 played. Let me rephrase: a full third of the Softball team's games ended with the Wolverines winning by so much so early the other team cried uncle (actually, it's a rule, but still!). The girls also beat Ohio State in football, shut out the Packers in Green Bay, and brokered an intergalactic peace treaty with Zoltan's space empire. Taylor and slugger Dorian Shaw are both pre-season player of the year candidates, and either is likely to beat out Denard for the Heisman.
The ladies won their first two games of this season – the first in a mercy – this weekend.
Michigan Men's Ice Hockey (Varsity)
Unfortunately nobody wrote a diary about the hockey guys. But then no other Michigan sport, varsity or otherwise, swept Ohio this weekend. This was utterly necessary. Also: mmmm beating Ohio State at things: this be a wonderful Valentine's gift, si Caporusso?
Two wins against Ohio State in two nights – thanks, Louie, it's just what I wanted!
Michigan Men's Aerial Flyovers (Club?)
So the story goes, Orson of EDSBS, styling himself Earl of Blogville, found a form for requesting a flyover for his son's 1st birthday.
So of course some Michigan fan who has to actually answer such paperwork all the time is going to come along and write a Diary about how he's doing it all wrong. Follow Zone Left, not Orson, if you are serious about getting one of our military's planes to buzz your locale. Please coordinate with me before planning anything…Zone Left, the paperwork should be on its way, along with a million gajillion MGoPoints to cover any expenses.
Michigan Men's Wrestling (Varsity)
…is really good this year we hear. AceUMer has a loooooong diary that breaks down every match. The Wolverines went into this weekend with a lot of promise, but Iowa can scrap, man. The full preview is worth checking out.
Michigan Paintball (Club)
What's awesome is he named the one on the right "Crippleboy.jpg"
I am 100% not kidding. There's a diary (again) this week on our Paintball team. In fact, it's a really long diary: a 1,700 words-long diary. And it's also really interesting, with detailed rundowns of each game from Michigan's latest tournament. Our paintballers even got their own Angry Michigan [Position] Hating God when the "Snake" position claimed both the team's best player, and then subsequently its captain. Can they recover from such devastating blows and fight their way back to win the match that gets them to the Championship round? Nope. They totally lost that game.
Michigan Water Polo
It's on the board.
People, this athletic department is huge! No wonder Brandon didn't have time to interview more than one candidate –ZING!
Michigan Bloggers Etc.
I don't quite know what to make of J.Swift's humor piece where Wiki-Leaks supposedly turns up dirt on The Process in Wyoming and it's…poetry?
I do, however, know what to make of this from-the-board parody of The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald by MGoBLueForLife. I'm re-naming it "The Wreck of the R.R. Fitzgerald" because 39 people apparently read the name of the post and figured it was an attack on our former coach. It's not – as the 33 people who read it can attest it is a work of brilliant entertainment that captures the fan experience of spending the last three years aboard a high-tech vessel (that did have some flaws) that was wrecked by an indomitable shitstorm. Bonus: I crap on the SEC in the comments.
|WHAT||Michigan v. Indiana|
|WHERE||Ann Arbor, MI|
4:00 PM EST
February 12th, 2011
|THE LINE||Michigan -6.5|
If Michigan wants to make the tournament, this game is a must win. Hell, if they want to make the NIT, it's probably a must-win. Take care of business today, and you can worry about bigger goals later. Enough said.
With a few games under each team's belt, it's finally reasonable to look at the stats. If you need an explanation of the stats, check out Ken Pomeroy.
|Michigan v. Indiana: National Ranks|
|Category||Michigan Rank||Indiana Rank||Advantage|
|Mich eFG% v. IU Def eFG%||59||117||M|
|Mich Def eFG% v. IU eFG%||179||40||II|
|Mich TO% v. IU Def TO%||25||134||MM|
|Mich Def TO% v. IU TO%||236||178||I|
|Mich OReb% v. IU DReb%||308||118||II|
|Mich DReb% v. IU OReb%||42||135||M|
|Mich FTR v. IU Opp FTR||344||329||I|
|Mich Opp FTR v. IU FTR||61||199||MM|
|Mich AdjO v. IU AdjD||45||91||M|
|Mich AdjD v. IU AdjO||76||56||I|
The Wolverines are having a much better season than the Hoosiers, but the stats are nearly even. Part of that is a tougher schedule for the Wolverines. Though Michigan went down in Bloomington in embarrassing fashion, Indiana has yet to win a game on the road this season.
The Wolverines are playing some of their best ball of the season right now, whereas IU lost to Iowa last week... at home. Two of their most important contributors, Maurice Creek and Christian Watford, are injured and likely to miss today's game.
Pomeroy likes Michigan, 68-63, but I'm a little more optimistic, especially with IU's injury situation. I think Michigan comes away with a 65-53 victory in Crisler.
College football in a nutshell, according to Finebaum callers
Oversigning continues to be a hot topic now that beat writers are aware of the subject and are keeping an eye out for stuff like a half-dozen players evaporating from the Ole Miss roster in the wake of Ole Miss oversigning by twelve:
In the Ole Miss notebook in Wednesday’s Clarion-Ledger, you probably read the lead note about the impending transfer of WR/KR Jesse Grandy. That’s somewhat significant news, considering how valuable he was as a freshman and the depth at wide receiver.
Later in that note, though, there are a couple of other names mentioned: Dele Junaid and Jared Mitchell. Both were scholarship players who are not on this roster that the school distributed Tuesday night, shortly after the news of Grandy’s departure broke.
But here are four more scholarship players from last year who were missing, as we noted early Wednesday afternoon on Twitter: RB Martez Eastland, OL Terrance Hackney, DE Lekenwic Haynes and DL Alan-Michael Thomas.
Hope you enjoyed your year or three in Oxford, but it's off to South Ballsack for you. Enjoy your degree from something that's not technically a community college anymore, unless it is, except you probably won't be getting one anyway. Don't brush the APR on your way out.
Hopefully this keeps up to the point where the SEC has to do something more than obfuscate the problem and actually, you know, does something about it. Here's Mike Slive:
It was two years ago that we took the initiative and put in an SEC rule that 28 was the most you could sign [in one class] and understanding that the rest of the country might not do that. The rest of the country followed suit and copied the SEC rule nationally and made it 28.
The SEC took an "initiative" to implement something far weaker than the Big Ten and Pac 10 had for decades after Houston Nutt signed 37 kids one year. That implementation is a paper tiger, but Slive's waving his PR magic wand because he's a company man. The SEC's done nothing except implement a cosmetic change. Florida going bats about it forced Slive to gesture towards discussion later this year, but at no point will he ever suggest that the SEC is anything but a forward-thinking bastion of nation-leading ethics.
In contrast, the Big Ten actually grasps the issue:
Do those exceptions relate to the rule that allows three over the [scholarship] limit?
CH: Correct. This is the difference between our rule and what the NCAA rule is. If you have 20 scholarship slots available, our rule would allow you to sign 23, where the NCAA is a firm number. We allow oversigning by three in football. Some have used it, not everyone has. On a year-to-year basis, there are fewer than use it than not. And even within those instances, we may be looking at oversigning by two or even one.
Meanwhile, Nick Saban's feeble attempt to justify his massive oversigning was torn to shreds by anyone who wrote about it. (He then had the audacity to complain about players breaking verbal commitments! Alabama is the only school in the state that blacks out scholarship numbers from FOIAed requests!) Moments later we found out we can add Saban to the list of coaches who yoinked scholarships from players after they had moved into the dorm:
So Jones was asked to delay his enrollment until January. He had to move out of the dorm, and he won't be on an athletic scholarship until next semester. He can't practice with the team, work out with the team or travel with the team.
Instead, he'll be a part-time student this semester, taking nine hours, and he'll live in the condo his parents had leased for his older brother to call home and for the family to share on football weekends.
"It's disappointing when you don't really expect it, but we understand it," said Leslie Jones, the mother of Harrison and Barrett. "We have no hard feelings. We're very grateful for the opportunities our sons have."
[Ed-M: Update: there's more to the story - According to the boys' high school coach in the comments below, he's back on scholarship. Also, Saban had a long talk with the family about the grashirt situation, wherein he probably explained...]. This is followed by the quote that always shows up in these stories:
"College football is a business, and you have to treat it as a business."
Yea, and the legions of SEC fans filled the comments to call the reporter a quisling and the player a piece of meat, and other people were depressed because the people Bud Light commercials work on can still operate computers, and people compared the attempted education of poor kids to Wall Street.
|WHAT||Ohio State @ Michigan|
|WHERE||Yost Ice Arena
Ann Arbor, MI
|WHEN||7:35 PM Fri/Sat|
|THE LINE||College hockey lines, junkie?|
Record. 14-13-2, 9-11-2 CCHA. OSU's gone 2-4 the last three weekends, splitting with Notre Dame and Michigan State and getting swept in Alaska. They've got a –5 CCHA goal differential but had a strong effort against (terrible, terrible) nonconference teams. They're +9 for the season.
KRACH is not impressed: it has them 28th, ahead of only BG and Northern Michigan in the CCHA.
Previous meetings. Michigan split in Columbus in early December, losing 3-2 in OT on Friday before winning 2-1. Friday was a sinfully ugly game in which Michigan had the bulk of what chances occurred. On Saturday Michigan bombed Cal Heeter with 48 shots but couldn't break through until the third when Luke Glendening gritted in a goal; Wohlberg punched in the game winner with around five minutes left.
Both games were low on quality chances and featured plenty of aimless play between the blue lines.
Dangermen. OSU's middle of the pack in scoring at 32nd. Their top guys are linemates and seniors John Albert (11-20-31) and Sergio Somma (15-11-26); junior Danny Dries has 13-11-24 but did the bulk of his damage against OSU's weak nonconference schedule. There are three more guys with seven or eight goals and then it collapses—OSU has no scoring depth.
They also get nothing from their defensemen. Shane Sims is the only D with more than one goal and the only guy who seems like he might be generating scoring chances with his passing. The rest of the corps have the scattered assists you'd expect from guys who happen to be on the ice when other people do stuff.
Heeter. Also ugly uniforms.
Defense and goalie and whatnot. Junior and guy named like he lives in a van down by the river Cal Heeter has played all but 22 minutes this season. He's been good. He's got a .920 save percentage despite facing almost 30 shots a game. That puts him in a four way tie for 20th nationally (72 goalies are ranked) with Shawn Hunwick and a couple other guys.
As mentioned, the defense is comprised of simple defensive guys save Sims, an Islanders draftee. None stand out statistically and I don't remember anything useful from the first series. They do seem to be good. Michigan struggled to generate anything earlier and while that was also the case last weekend that OSU series still stands as the ugliest and least exciting of the year.
Special teams. Your power plays per game:
|PP For / G||4.7||4.3|
|PP Ag / G||4.3||4.7|
More evidence the OSU D is pretty good at being boring, solid defenders can be found in that power plays against number. 4.3 is low, and the OSU D corps does not take a ton of penalties that generate power play opportunities. OSU's maintained their PP advantage through the conference season, so that's not an artifact of the nonconference schedule. Meanwhile, after the dumb penalty orgy over the weekend Michigan exactly inverts OSU's numbers.
Michigan (17.7%, 32nd) has a slight advantage on the PP against OSU (16.9%, 37th) but is slightly worse killing penalties at 80.7 percent (39th) to OSU's 81.5 (35th). Yes, Michigan's specialty units are both in the thirties.
Michigan Vs Those Guys
Attempt to stay awake through both games. It's going to be tough. There's going to be all this luxurious ice out there and it will be easy to forget about the puck and just lay down for a nice nap. While it's unlikely anything actually happens while you're getting a bit of shut-eye, if it happens in the offensive zone you'll have to deal with offsides and whatnot.
Hunwick non-reprise. Michigan lost that OT game largely because Hunwick gave up a terrible goal on a shot taken from the half-boards on a a harmless rush. He's been very good every since.
Maybe the line blender will work. Red revamped his lines for the first time in over a year, placing Caporusso with Hagelin and creating a new second line of Wohlberg, Treais, and Moffatt that should/could/might wake up Rust, Lynch, and other forwards who are scoring less frequently than Scooter Vaughn and three of Michigan's defensemen. Rust and Lynch can go out there to shut down OSU's secondary scoring, leaving the line that hypothetically could score to eat up OSU's exceedingly weak bottom six.
The Big Picture
Michigan is hovering around the 3/4 borderline after three straight losses and needs to pick it up if it expects to reach Joe Louis Arena with an at-large bid already in its pocket. Falling down the standings has created a huge mess of teams that are relevant to Michigan's PWR ranking and makes it hard to pick out specific events that you're rooting for this weekend other than "root for everyone in front of and directly behind Michigan to lose (unless Michigan played them)." That means anyone good in the CCHA, Merrimack, Union, Dartmouth, and Colorado College are your enemies.
As for Michigan itself, they're 12th in RPI and will maintain that if they go 4-2 down the stretch. Ohio State at home is probably their second-easiest series—Northern's goal differential is awful—and after the ugliness the last two weeks a sweep would go a long way towards calming fears about breaking the tourney streak. A win and a tie would be fine, a split disappointing. Anything worse is time to head for the lifeboats.
The Wall Street Journal declares college hockey arenas "the cathedrals of sports" and gives Yost the nod for best crowd. Caporusso is now e-famous. Yost Built previews OSU and adds a little bit more information to what we know about 2013 commit JT Compher:
USHR had him ranked as the #4 forward at the Select 15 camp this past July: "Aggressive and good-sized, with a sense of the game and anticipation. Competitive, too. Blocks shots."
Site update. It took a little longer than we thought it would but we have restored commenting abilities for IE users. This serves as your regular reminder that you should switch to Chrome or Firefox. Also, users should be able to upload avatars again. Also I updated the "MGoElsewhere" menu a bit so it contains links to twitter feeds for both Tim and Tom.
The destruction of the innocents. Basketball beat Northwestern 75-66 yesterday as Jordan Morgan went ham (11 of 13, 27 points) against the Phantom of the Opera and John Shurna failed to exist. Shurna's been limited much of the season and apparently picked something new up recently. His last three games are a DNP against OSU and two games in which he played around 25 minutes but only attempted 5 field goals. Michigan may have gotten a little fortunate there.
I don't have a ton to say that UMHoops didn't cover in the link above but some praise is in order for Morris, Hardaway, and Douglass for setting up Morgan's monster night. Almost all of Morgan's baskets were assisted and even on the ones that weren't his teammates were setting him up in excellent position. Example: Douglass had an excellent post feed—in a year when any post feed is a rarity—that allowed Morgan to immediately spin baseline for a layup. Northwestern's D is terrible so this may stand as a career game for Morgan but it was good to see him be so efficient after that Ohio State game where going up soft cost Michigan badly. Morgan started the game off in similar fashion before becoming ruthless.
Meanwhile, at one point I exclaimed "shoot that!" when Hardaway passed up an open three. Progress all around. I wasn't even that mad about the terrifying Northwestern run because it was four straight three pointers, two of them challenged to the point where there could have been a foul.
Kenpom moved a bit afterwards. Not losing a game Michigan was only mildly favored in pushed the season prediction to almost exactly 17.5-13.5 and increased the chance of reaching 9-9 and therefore the bubble to 16%. Slightly beating the prediction moved Michigan up to 52nd, one spot behind Michigan State.
More fodder for next year's optimism. The Only Colors tracks an individual stat called PORPAG that sort of mimics baseball's VORP. (The usual caveats that basketball is a team game and you don't know about defense, etc., apply.) A quick glance at their top 15 shows Darius Morris sixth. That's excellent. More excellent still is that only four players in the top 15 are going to be around next year: UW's Jordan Taylor, Morris, Shurna, and IU's Jordan Hulls. The rest are seniors or Jared Sullinger. So not only is Michigan returning everyone but the rest of the Big Ten is getting hammered by graduation.
This is not a throwdown. So one part of the now confusingly diverse Maize 'n' Brew crew got sick of my repeated assertions that The Process was the worst way to acquire any new head coach, Brady Hoke or not. The result was this very long post that asserts Michigan's most recent recruiting class is "awesome" and makes other arguments that I don't even know what to do with. Since that post's been disputed by another of that site's contributors and effectively countered by a long message board thread here that's surprisingly light on snark and image macros. I'll forgo a response (other than, you know, this) because Mets Maize made it pointless:
One Small Step for Hoke, One Giant Leap for Hokeamania
There you go: the events of the last month delivered with maximum pith. Nothing has changed the fact Michigan had a candidate pool of one in their coaching search that started in January that they were probably going to start no matter the result of the bowl game.
Hopefully we'll start seeing some reason for optimism other than Mattison soon. Nothing in the intervening weeks qualifies, not even Jason Whitlock's endorsement.
Wasted effort. The Sporting News's Dave Curtis went to some trouble to find out that converting third downs is a good idea. It's gotten play a few places because it's February 10th and the long hard college football offseason has started. I don't like this because I am all mathy and stuff and this…
All five BCS bowl winners ranked among the nation’s top 13 teams in third-down differential. The differential statistic, not officially computed by the NCAA, takes a team’s third-down conversion rate on offense and subtracts its opponents’ third-down conversion rate.
…is not useful at all. "Drives are good," it says.
Worse, it places undue emphasis on third down itself when first and second down are equally, if not more, important. This has unfortunately succumbed to linkrot but back in the day I did an analysis of third downs by distance and frequency, coming to the unsurprising conclusion that short was good and great third down conversion rates are often more indicative of what you did before third down than anything else. Just looking at third down rates is goofy because first and second down contribute to the distance you have to go—you're really looking at "first and second and third down conversion rate," which is fine if you want to look at that. Just don't make it seem like third down is really really important when your number doesn't control for the effects of first and second.
Old news. I got distracted writing posts on the 4-3 and Tim Hardaway that ballooned into way longer thing than I thought they'd end up being, so some items fell through the cracks. You've seen these already if you read anything other than the front page here.
One: Wojo interviewing Brady Hoke. Amongst the increasingly familiar Passion For Michigan, Denard As NFL Vick, and Tremendous Toughness segments were a couple of things that are not familiar. One was Hoke saying he was "pissed off" at Michigan's factionalism the past three years, which is a refreshingly blunt way for a coach to say anything. The other was the admission that beer had a role in shaping Hoke's physique:
Q. Did you just drop a hint you were a bit wild back in your college days?
A. Uh, yeah, for two years I really didn't have the best goals in mind. I wanted to play football and try to drink every beer in Muncie, Ind. And I tell parents that on visits.
I'm trying to ignore the bit that follows wherein "funnest" gets deployed. Football coaches and grammar, man.
Hoke comes off as likeable, down to earth, etc. Even if you're of the opinion that ADs tweeting out old Jason Whitlock articles as evidence in favor of anything is awful, at least the guy he hired has a solidly positive rootability factor.
Q. How often do you chew a kid's tail?
A. Oh, usually daily.
Do yourself a massive favor by taking that out of context.
Two: De-emphasizing Denard, a little bit. This is almost a week old and has the freshness of Abe Vigoda but:
"To a degree … we're blowing a lot of it up," new Michigan offensive coordinator Al Borges said. "In our offense, I don't see Denard rushing for 1,700 yards, and I told him that. But I could see him rushing for 1,000 yards, and I could see him throwing for that 700 or 800 he didn't rush for."
Hives hives hives hives hives… mmm smaller, treatable hives. Borges later praises Denard's completion percentage as a couple other coaches make noises about a running game that looks "a little different" and emphasizes more "downhill" running. It then throws this in at the end:
Michigan was eighth nationally in total offense, averaging 488.69 yards, 13th in rushing (234.54), 25th in scoring (32.77) and 36th in passing (250.15).
…and returns ten starters. I'll come around on Al Borges after he's got a tall strapping fellow bombing it for 10 YPA but the chances I don't spend next year bitching about the misapplication of Denard Robinson are slim. I'm not even sure how you get him 1,000 yards if he's taking snaps from center. You can only run so many waggles and Incredibly Surprising QB Draws. As always, I hope to be pleasantly surprised. Hoke uber alles.
Etc.: Michigan picks up a 2013 hockey commit; JT Compher is a forward from Illinois who seems high-end, like first-round OHL pick and easy NTDP pick high-end. We'll see if that holds up as he ages. Mets Maize on the Northwestern game. More justified hockey grumbling. Spring game will be April 16th. Michigan football documentary series planned. The Wolverine Blog points out that the guys who "couldn't shoot ever" now can and that's probably another thing we can add to the list of reasons Darius Morris is awesome. Scot Loeffler becomes Temple's OC.