A very jittery ballot this week.
Does the fact that Shafer sits up in the booth play a role in the defense not making proper adjustments? I understand a OC being up there to possibly change a play, and just being able to see "things" happen, but a DC, for me, should be on the field to communicate with players.
I am sure this will get attention from you or other readers, but why go to a 3 man front against a running team? OK, Purdue might be a passing team, but with a third string QB who is a RB taking snaps, the majority of the plays should have M with 8-9 guys within 5 yards of the line of scrimmage, right? That kills me especially when our best defensive players are on the line.
How is Carlos Brown?
Here's to retaining the jug!
Tackling this in parts:
Re: Shafer in the booth. I don't think that's a major factor. There are hype guys on the sideline like Barwis, and having a guy in the booth is helpful. The problems, IMO, have little to do with motivation.
Re: the stack. I actually bought one of those coaching DVDs about the stack when I thought Rodriguez was going to import both Casteel and it; I'm slightly glad the purchase didn't go entirely to waste but would prefer it was in different circumstances.
Anyway, the 3-3-5 stack was conceived as a run defense for deployment against spread teams. Its base set has eight guys in the box, two of whom are safeties deployed as flankers to the six guys who make up the "3-3" in 3-3-5. And the numbers against Purdue weren't terrible if you excise the 61-yard fake punt, which wasn't run against the defense: Sheets averaged under four yards per carry. Siller had over five per on fewer runs. Those numbers aren't much worse than Michigan's output against various other schools to date.
IMO, where the stack really hurt Michigan was in the passing game, as mentioned.
Re: Brown. He has a sprained foot or something; at this point I think we've seen the last of him. I'd be really surprised if he doesn't transfer*; as of right now he's looking at a senior year behind at least Minor. He's got a redshirt year still, so he could go to another D-I school.
*(Note that this is not based on any inside info, it's just speculation given Brown's situation.)
Friend of Blog Craig Ross provides some sobering numbers:
Net YPPA [Yards Per Play Average] so far this year are remarkable. It is the only singular team quality measure that I have ever found. As I have mentioned, I think the number shows more about “how good a team is” than wins and losses. Plus 3 is a possible NC team. Plus 2 is a top 15 team. Minus 2 is a complete patsy. Now the NCAA is tough because they lump sacks with running yards----so I have adjusted for this. Plus, schedule variations are significant. Later on I will look at BT data only.Team O D Net
1. PSU 7.93 4.96 3.27
2. Illini 7.98 5.54 2.443. MSU 6.56 5.43 1.13
4. OSU 5.44 4.38 1.06
5. Iowa 6.37 5.33 1.04
6. Wiscy 6.08 5.76 0.32
7. Minny 6.46 6.15 0.31
8. NU 5.46 5.18 0.28
9. Purdue 5.50 5.47 0.03
10 Indy 5.82 6.84 (1.02)
11. UM 4.65 6.58 (1.93)
A couple of notes. The foregoing just doesn’t imply that we are the worst team in the BT. We are. It implies the program may be at some risk. You can’t be a bottom 30 team (or worse, as the numbers here seem to indicate---even with adjustment for schedule) and not be at risk for a recession, at best. More about this later.
Second, most of the numbers above make sense. Aren’t Iowa, Minny and NU really the same team? Illinois looks a little bit high, but (a) their punting game (and punt return game) has been weak, the worst in the BT, (b) they are negative in turnovers and (c) my scan shows them to be last in the BT in net penalties. Perhaps they have just been unlucky. Off our games with these teams, I didn’t see much difference between PSU and Illinois.
Third, OSU. They seem a little low but they have, indeed, struggled at times. One thing I might postulate is that OSU astounding defensive numbers have covered some weakness. They have struggled against Ohio U, Wisconsin, Iowa (if I recall). And, of course, they lost to PSU and were hammered by USC. A second notion is that the offensive YPPA are a little low where a lot of passing plays end up with Pryor just scrambling around. Perhaps a true read retains his scramble yards, particularly where OSU is last in the conference in sacks, a false read of the cost/benefit. The most conservative view would be to eliminate sacks from the equation of OSU. Now they are 6.7 minus 4.38 or a plus 2.32, probably about right, with some of the softness retained from the pre-Pryor offense.
Craig sent this before the Minnesota game, FWIW, so the numbers are now less violently ugly. Also, Michigan played actual teams (Utah and Notre Dame) in the nonconference portion of the schedule, unlike many of the meh teams in the Big Ten, so their numbers will naturally be depressed relative to their peers.
In that vein:
So After being a Michigan fan since the tender age of 5 I finally was able to take in a Wolverines game this weekend with a little cloud of doubt hanging over my head, ok, it was more of a huge thunderstorm of doubt if you want me to be completely honest about it.
I walked into the Metrodome with the expectation of walking out disappointed with yet another Michigan let down. After seeing Sheridan in week 1 against a Utah team that is better than I'd given them credit for and his few series against Penn State, seeing number 8 taking the first snap I was sure I was in for a long afternoon. Then something crazy happened, Michigan moved the ball up and down the field and it was on. Where did that come from? So now what? When Threet is cleared does he take back the starting job or did Sheridan's complete control of the offense do enough to take the starting job? I was really expecting yet another 2 score lead to go down the toilet and the offense to lay down as it has in the Big 10 season.
I actually left the stadium excited about the possibilities of what could be...a possible 5-7 season seemed like a far fetched idea a few weeks ago but I'm cautiously optimistic now. I think a win against Northwestern is completely within reach and an upset of an OSU team that isn't as potent as they've been in the past. Am I crazy?
Back to the Minnesota game though...how great is it that midway through the 3rd quarter we owned the stadium? The sound Hail to the Victors echoing through the building...simply the best experience of my 26 years on this earth.
Whoah, whoah, whoah. The Minnesota game was an extremely encouraging step forward for the program but it doesn't change the overall picture of the year much. With Northwestern flailing a bit of late—down their top two running backs and maybe their quarterback—a victory against the Wildcats certainly looks possible. Vegas has installed Michigan a 3.5 point favorite.
But… uh… Ohio State: no. I'll be fine with a relatively close loss there. You, my friend: crazy. Also, Matt: you should probably go to more Michigan games.
Do you think a contributing factor to the Minnesota win might have been that the Gophers were looking past us or didn't take us seriously? Is it possible that one bright side of this whole debacle of a season is that, for the next couple of years, teams might not be as "up" to play us as in years past and we might not get everyone's best shot? Or, as I suspect, are you of the opinion that all of this kind of thing is just sportswriter cliche that has no basis in reality? Thanks, I'll hang up and listen.
Scott in Chapel Hill
I don't actually think the "up" thing is complete fiction, but I think it manifests itself more in preparation time spent against a particular opponent. For example: though Michigan tipped its snap count much of the year, no opponent exploited that until Michigan State did. They also pulled out a transcontinental, and did various other things that made it obvious they had spent a large chunk of their opponent-specific prep time on Michigan.
Whatever disadvantage came from being Michigan and "getting everyone's best shot" laid in trick plays and special surprise schemes and whatnot, stuff like that. And I do think that next year we'll see considerably less of that than Michigan would in a normal year. MSU and OSU will still do it, but I don't think we're going to get everyone's wacky halfback pass package.
As far as Minnesota not taking Michigan seriously, I think the prospect of acquiring the Jug for three years was plenty motivation for Minnesota to provide their best shot. As far as explanations go, I favor "Minnesota is a fraud created by awful scheduling and turnover margin."
Update 10/11: Linked to articles on FL LB Mike Marry, GA S Donovan Tate, FL WR Jeremy Gallon, MD RB Tavon Austin, GA WR Jamal Patterson, FL S Angelo Hadley, NC LB Hawatha Bell, SC S DJ Swearinger, FL S Vlad Emilien (and FL CB Mywan Jackson).
Bumped FL S Vlad Emilien, OK DT Pearlie Graves to blue.
Editorial Opinion: Recruiting board lives here.
Many guys booted off the board. In order of personal hurt caused:
- CA DE Keenan Graham was never a strong possibility and Michigan already has a couple of excellent DEs locked up.
- Ditto for SC DE Chris Bonds but that guy still lists Notre Dame. Some people.
- FL QB Eugene Smith committed to WVU; Michigan has its QBs in this class.
- SC S Devontae Holloman never seriously considered M after his decommit; Michigan still needs two or three guys in the secondary.
- CA WR Shaquelle Evans plays at a position of need because of the last guy on this list and committed to Notre Dame.
- MN WR Bryce McNeal decommitted.
And so, yeah…
I'm getting a little antsy about getting the class to 25. They have 17 now and are likely done at QB, RB, and slot receiver. At this point three kids appear to be favoring Michigan: MI DT Will Campbell, OK DT Pearlie Graves, and FL S Vlad Emilien. If those guys commit Michigan is up to 20 and is done on the DL, leaving them to haul in five more guys assuming they suffer no more decommits. (More about that later.)
There are a number of good possibilities on the line and Michigan will likely end up with two of them. But there are currently no outside WRs on the board I see as strong possibilities (and TX WR commit Dewayne Peace has to be considered a soft verbal at this point). In the secondary, I think FL CB Mywan Jackson stays closer to home (I'd bet on UNC for both he and teammate Angelo Hadley at the moment), leaving no obvious candidates to commit. People felt pretty good about MS S Dennis Thames after his summer visit, but Thames has maintained absolute radio silence since and any information on his decision is months old.
Michigan is going to pound on the doors of anyone they think can help who's committed to a team undergoing a coaching change—they've already started with a bunch of Clemson guys and have been calling SC S and Tennessee decommit DJ Swearinger—and that will probably add a few names to the board; Rodriguez might have to pull out the snake oil to get the class full.
Speaking of commits undergoing transition: one guy who would seem to make a lot of sense is OH CB DJ Hunter, a Rivals250 guy who committed to Tennessee early in the year. Cornerback is Michigan's A1 priority at this point (with A2 being outside wideout) and if Hunter's leery about a coaching switch, Michigan should be on him like whoah. Tennessee also has a commit from top 100 receiver Je'Ron Stokes that Michigan might take a crack at.
About the blue.
Yes, as noted above a couple of guys are now expected to commit at some point. OK DT Pearlie Graves took a visit earlier this year and then everyone forgot about him until recently, when a Rivals guy called him up and he said something to the effect of($) "I am very likely to end up at Michigan"; Scout jumped on him and got a similar quote. He's in blue.
Also in blue is FL S Vlad Emilien, not because of anything so direct but more a general buildup of positive feeling. In Emilien's interview with Tom VanHaaren earlier, he announced a top two of Wisconsin and Michigan; buzz has it that Michigan was the more impressive of his official visits. Emilien visits Stanford this weekend and decides the 23rd.
I have no reassurance on MI DT Will Campbell this week, but rest assured you should be assured.
Also noted above is Michigan's interest in the newly available DJ Swearinger; I'm going to hold off putting him on the board until such point as Swearinger mentions the interest is mutual.
GA WR Jamal Patterson, currently committed to Stanford, is another guy who might be on the board in the near future:
“Michigan has been recruiting me extremely hard lately,” Patterson said this evening. “But Stanford is still number one.”
Patterson, a member of the AJC’s The Georgia 150, has offers from nearly every major college football program in the nation, with the exception of Georgia.
Again, we'll see if Patterson schedules an official before putting him on the board. (It does sound like that's going to happen, FWIW.)
The Sam Webb article that contained this information has disappeared behind the Detroit News' paywall, but in any case: said article detailed the decommitment statuses of the rest of the class. Basically, there's little reason for concern except on TX WR Dewayne Peace and LA DT DeQuinta Jones. Jones is planning to take some official visits to places like Alabama and Oklahoma State; Peace may do so as well. At this point both are better than 50-50 to stick, IMO, but losing either would not be a shock.
Re: pessimism about the Jackson/Hadley duo:
"We were going up there together," Jackson said. "But we are supposed to go to a family get-together this weekend so we will visit Michigan after the football season."
Sometimes recruits have conflicts and can't make games: AZ OL Taylor Lewan was scheduled to come in this weekend but has a playoff game and can't make it. This sounds like a conflict that could have been avoided and that usually indicates something of a lack of interest on the recruit's part.
OTOH, Hadley on the delay:
Hadley has a trip scheduled to Michigan on Nov. 15, but isn't sure he'll make it. "I'm not sure if I'm gonna go because of our playoffs," he said.
Despite the Wolverines struggles this season, Hadley says that hasn't hurt them in his eyes. "They don't have a full-built program yet," he said. "They are working hard to recruit better players and get things going."
You tell me. At the moment I think they'll stay more southerly, but with a visit in their pocket Michigan can come from behind. Jackson was extremely enthusiastic after his unofficial in the summer.
Yeah, the tailbacks this weekend are pretty much all dead. Northwestern is down to their third-stringer:
Senior running back Omar Conteh is the latest key player lost for the season. Conteh sustained a left knee injury on a noncontact drill during practice Wednesday and underwent surgery Friday to repair a ligament. Conteh had moved into a starting role after Tyrell Sutton suffered a dislocated wrist Oct. 25 at Indiana and underwent surgery. Sutton could return for a bowl game.
Simmons had four carries for –3 yards last year and has 18 for 53 (2.9 YPC) this year, though the vast majority of his 2008 carries came against Ohio State and are thus maybe a little pessimistic.
Meanwhile, Brandon Minor is questionable with… um… hurt stuff. The rumor was a separated shoulder; Rich Rodriguez downplayed that but said both shoulders and his ribs were hurting. The full text for you to parse as you want:
"He's got sore ribs, a sore shoulder and a sore wrist. He won't practice tomorrow, questionable for this weekend. Again, probably the first 48 hours after the game is the most critical as far as recovery. He's obviously banged up in several areas, so we'll see and know a little bit more by Wednesday." On if Minor has had a x-ray or MRI "Yeah, they're doing all that, all the medical stuff. I don't know to the extent of whether it's truly separated or not, but he's not in a cast or a sling. Obviously, he couldn't have gone back in the game, I don't think, at the time, and he's certainly not ready right now. We'll see in the next few days."
"He's got sore ribs, a sore shoulder and a sore wrist. He won't practice tomorrow, questionable for this weekend. Again, probably the first 48 hours after the game is the most critical as far as recovery. He's obviously banged up in several areas, so we'll see and know a little bit more by Wednesday."
On if Minor has had a x-ray or MRI
"Yeah, they're doing all that, all the medical stuff. I don't know to the extent of whether it's truly separated or not, but he's not in a cast or a sling. Obviously, he couldn't have gone back in the game, I don't think, at the time, and he's certainly not ready right now. We'll see in the next few days."
Someone get Carlos Brown healthy so he can once again bear the brunt of Angry Carlos Brown Joint Hating God's wrath.
Less displeasing to the arbitrary whims of providence are the quarterbacks. Steven Threet's concussion is still giving him issues but Rodriguez seemed hopeful he would be available; Northwestern starter CJ Bacher is practicing and may be ready to go after missing the last two weeks with a hamstring injury.
Also, David Molk had a nasty toe thing (which Rodriguez erroneously believed caused him to miss some time late); he will be fine for this weekend.
I'm sorry to have to bring you this news if you've ordered shirts from MGoStore and haven't gotten them, but: I'm getting a lot of complaints that people have been charged and shirts have not been received. Multiple contact attempts have not been successful.
- If this has happened to you, please let me know and we'll try to fix things.
- I will be switching t-shirt providers to an established company in January.
I'm really sorry for the inconvenience.
High… lights? I think that's the word. Wolverine Historian for the win:
Them. Us. As you can read in plentiful detail in the upcoming This Week In Schadenfreude*, Notre Dame fans have about had it with Charlie Weis. BGS was moved to note the rampant inexperience plaguing Notre Dame's coaching staff:
Notre Dame has the following on the sidelines:
A defensive coordinator in his second year as a defensive coordinator.
A offensive coordinator in his first year as an offensive coordinator.
A head coach in only his fourth season as a head coach.
Michigan, on the other hand:
- Scott Shafer is in his eighth year as a defensive coordinator.
- Calvin Magee is in his fourth year as an offensive coordinator.
- Rich Rodriguez is in his sixteenth year as a head coach.
As Rodriguez says, this is not his first rodeo. He's proven he can do this at two places lacking in resources; give him time to prove it here.
(FYI: I actually could not log in to the Fanhouse the past couple weeks because they key fixer of these things was out of the office, which explains TWIS's regrettable absence.)
And now for something no one cares about except me! College hockey realignment is apparently on its way:
Conference expansion is on its way, folks. Because of the looming demise of College Hockey America, don’t be surprised if the WCHA and the AHA go from 10 to 12 teams, with Bemidji State and Nebraska-Omaha joining the WCHA and Robert Morris and Niagara going to the AHA.
This isn’t just opinon. I can’t divulge my sources, but this is what is being discussed by conference commissioners. And it makes sense.
The CCHA would lose UNO and pick up Alabama-Huntsville, the last CHA straggler, leaving college hockey with four twelve-team conferences and one ten-team outfit (Hockey East). This is all well and good, I guess, as it keeps the remnants of the CHA in Division I, but I'm not a huge fan.
Adopting the above proposal has two negative effects:
- It basically forecloses on any future expansion. Anyone wishing to start a team now has no conference to slide into. When UNO started a program, they could get into the CCHA. When there were 4-6 independents they could band together for an autobid and give themselves a purpose. Now every conference is basically full and anyone joining college hockey is looking at a pointless existence as an independent.
- Adding more teams to the various conferences further restricts already-sparse nonconference games. Michigan plays either 34 or 36 games a year depending on whether they have an exemptions (ie, whether they play in Alaska or not) and 28 of those are spent playing other conference members. That leaves only a few opportunities to play teams outside the conference, which makes those games incredibly important when it comes time for PWR to arbitrarily decide who gets in.
College hockey should really consider shattering the mega-conferences they have into smaller units. As of now the only chance there is for more teams to enter college hockey is the far-off idea that Canadian teams will join the NCAA and six or so will enter en masse as a conference.
Deep in the hart of lameness. Dude, would you believe this was a home game for a top five team?
A Maize 'n' Brew diarist provides a trip report from Texas-Baylor and it, as the title suggests, "puts Michigan fans into perspective." Okay, this is the fourth quarter of the Baylor game but that's like a 50% full stadium. And it wasn't a whole lot better earlier:
The stadium never filled up. The stadium was no more than 70% capacity at any time. (box score says 97,000, i say bull)
Apparently UT has no dedicated student section:
Students are peppered in with random fans everywhere but bottom of the home side. Tailgating for students is non-existent near the campus as well. Those living out on West Campus past the Drag may have some house partying going on, but that would be like partying at Greenwood or the far side of Washtenaw at Michigan. It's just so far out of the way, its not worth going. The majority of freshman dorms are only a block away from the stadium. My sister was totally unaware tailgating even took place.
I was a little disappointed with the lack of howling banshees in the upper deck at the LSU-Auburn game, but Texas appears to take apathy to a level even beyond that you might find at a Michigan-Indiana game.