FREE PIZZA. Students with a vague interest in the basketball team (at last count this was around 411 of you) should be informed there is an open practice scheduled for 5:30. The magic words:
At 5:30 PM and pizza will be served to students at the Junge Family Champions Center connected to Crisler Arena. The open practice will begin at 6 PM and students will be allowed to watch from the bleachers. Michigan coach John Beilein will be mic’d during the hour long practice and afterward the team will remain on court for a meet and greet.
Might as well go, right? Get in on the ground floor.
Mighty Motor City. Yeah, even the Motor City Bowl looks pretty good at this point, especially since it would mean Michigan won four of its last five. But this is the sign of a bowl game with self-image issues:
Michigan, which has been in 33 straight bowl games, would be contractually obligated to play in the Motor City Bowl if the Wolverines earn the required six victories and assuming co-bowl founders Perles and Ken Hoffman select them.
"They would have to go," Perles said. "They have no choice."
Michigan wouldn't turn down the extra three weeks of practice, or the opportunity to revengify(!) the MAC.
Maybe not so scary? Minnesota is 6-1 so far but they've been pretty fortunate:
Minnesota's 4 wins outside the league were over Northern Illinois (a solid 4-3 MAC school), Bowling Green (a not-so solid 3-4 MAC school), Montana State (IAA), and Florida Atlantic (a 2-5 Sun Belt school). In Big 10 play, the Gophers knocked off Indiana (only one win versus a IA foe) and Illinois (4-3) and lost to Ohio State (7-1). However, in those 3 Big 10 games, the Gophers are only averaging 304 yards per game, while allowing an average of 419 yards per game. The biggest difference between this season and last is that the Gophers have forced 20 turnovers in just 7 games after forcing only 14 all of last season. Turnovers are a significant determinant of wins and losses in football games, but they are also very random events. If Minnesota's turnover capabilities dip, their record should follow suit.
Then again, they beat Illinois, and we know what Illinois did to us.
I agree, but then… I disagree! Change the clock rules one iota and you know one thing: the Wiz will be on your ass. The results to date in Clock Fiasco 2008:
Marty's weekly look at the average number of plays and time of a game for the past four seasons, plus the Week 7 numbers:
G Plays/G Time/G
2005 717 140.71 3:21
2006 792 127.53 3:07
2007 792 143.43 3:23
2008 460 134.62 3:11
Wk 8 52 136.67 3:12
Assuming the real number of plays is somewhere around 142, the 2008 version of More Commercials Plz is about half as damaging as Hated Rule 3-2-5e was. This is getting towards indisputable.
However, the Wiz characterizes this as a result of the "40/25 rule". I don't think the play clock is actually the source of most of the decline. IMO, the source is mainly the restart of the clock on out of bounds plays. Preseason projections had that change sucking 4-5 plays out of the game; this is the bulk of the decline.
So what's the solution? One man's suggestion: shorten the playclock by a few seconds, probably four. That'll reduce the time spent sitting around staring at opponents, and increase the number of plays without lengthening game time.
|3||Penn State (1)||23.2||0.8||--|
Total Ballots: 77
Texas kicker Anthony Fera is decommitting according to GBW, and this is his profile picture on the ol' Facebooks:
Using stunning powers of deduction, I deduct that Fera is highly likely to end up at PENN SHHHHTATE.
2) With KC Lopata done at year's end and Bryan Wright struggling through a number of back and hip injuries, a kicker in this class is a must. Back around the time Fera committed, the other main candidate was Floridian Brendan Gibbons, who remains uncommitted. I would assume Michigan takes a hard look at him.
3) I don't think this one is a major blow or anything—it's a kicker—but four decommits in one year is pretty rough, and there remains the possibility of one or two more. I said it would be bumpy; Michigan really needs to hang tight through the next few months, at which point the upward swing should be apparent and the toxic media environment will ebb significantly.
4) [PSU righteousness] I CANNOT BELIEVE WHAT A SNAKE AND A LIAR JOE PATERNO IS ARGH ARGH ARGH. [/PSU righteousness]
BONUS Facebook news-like substance from Tom VanHaaren: Bryce McNeal's leaning towards Colorado and responded to an out-of-touch "Good luck at M!" wall post with "I'm not going there." Said response was phrased in such a way that made it clear he has no intention of recommitting ever-ever. He gone. Like Newsome gone.
Note: "Brian is a bad voter" is not useful feedback. It just makes me vastly ashamed with no idea how to un-shame myself. As for the feedback I did get: I know people are uncomfortable with Texas Tech because I am, but what can I put above them? Boise? A Pitt team that lost to Bowling Green? An LSU team with a shaky resume?
No, I don't think Georgia Tech is that good but I don't think a lot of the teams on the list are that good. I'm confused as hell.
I did move Northwestern down a few spots and Florida up a few; I also put Alabama back at #2 given that Georgia throttling, but I'm a little suspicious of them still given their consistent underperformance against meh teams.
Introducing some original reporting on MGoBlog: Tom VanHaaren is the official Recruiting Intern and will be publishing interviews with various prospects.
The Junior recruiting class for Michigan is starting to take shape, well before the current class has even wrapped up. As Michigan fans, we've heard of the speed and skill that a Rich Rodriguez built offense can bring. We are starting to see that take shape with recent commitments from Ricardo Miller and Jeremy Jackson. There's a good chance we could see more this coming weekend as well. I caught up with Jeremy Jackson to ask him what he thought about his season, other recruits, and Michigan.
TOM (MGoBlog): How’s your season going so far?
JEREMY (JJ): I'm trying to get to 5-4, that's a big accomplishment at my school.
TOM: What are your goals for this year and next year? Where do you want to be at when you go to UM?
JJ: I want to make the playoffs my senior year. They haven’t talked about speed, but my Dad just told me to keep working hard every day. I ran a 4.58 at camp, and I’d like to get that down to a 4.4 or 4.5. I want to improve my weight, and I can’t really improve my height at all, so I’ll focus on those. I’m assuming they want me to gain weight, they haven’t mentioned it. Rich Rodriguez isn’t influencing me on my speed either; it’s just a goal of mine. My route running and catching ability are my strengths right now, which helps.
TOM: Has it always been a dream to play alongside your dad?
JJ: I never really thought about playing with him coaching me, because he’s never coached my little league teams. It’s weird but it’ll be great.
TOM: Does your dad feel the program is moving in the right direction?
JJ: Oh yeah, he told me to look at this year, but don’t look at this year. He told me not to pay attention to the negative criticism, and don’t worry about any negative media. With this year and next year’s QB and recruiting class, Michigan will be fine. When I get there, they’ll be in good position. I just want to focus on High School.
TOM: If you were Rich Rodriquez right now, what would you tell recruits about the season?
JJ: Michigan is going to have the best facilities in the nation by 2010, Rich Rodriguez ran a great offense at WVU, he’s a winner, and it’s just a down year. And the defense, coach Schaeffer runs a great scheme. We’re going to have a great defense; it’s just a matter of time. Tate Forcier and Beaver are coming, and they’re both really good.
TOM: You have a strong tie with the team, but how do you think losing has affected some other recruits?
JJ: Seeing the season, they see other teams that are successful now; but they can’t look to see the future. They shouldn’t look for the future. It’s hard because a lot of people say things like “your team sucks.” That’s the worst part is when people say bad things about Michigan, other coaches and fans.
TOM: It seems like you’ve developed a friendship with Marvin Robinson and Ricardo Miller, do you guys talk a lot?
JJ: I Talk to Ricardo a lot, not Marvin as much. I talk to him and joke with him a lot. Not always talking about football, which I like.
TOM: Are there any other recruits from your class that you think would be a good fit, or that you really want on your team?
JJ: Christian Lombard, he’s a good lineman, I’ve been talking with him a lot. Dad wants me to talk to Travis Hawkins. I want to work on Dior Mathis and Devin Gardner. Ricardo’s been working on Lo Wood a lot; he’s been getting in his ear.
TOM: Florida seems to be the new addition to the pipeline, is there a buzz in Florida right now? What are the kids from Florida saying about Michigan?
JJ: They want to come. Look at Michigan's commits: Vincent smith, Brandin Hawthorne, Jeremy Gallon. It’s only going to get better. It’s going to spread. Ricardo’s from Orlando, he keeps working on kids. Michigan is going to grow there. Get real relationships with high school coaches. But people are always going to do negative recruiting; coaches are already talking to Ricardo trying to get him from Michigan.
TOM: Is there anything with the new Coaching staff that’s different from the old that stands out to you? Good or Bad?
JJ: Both staffs were nice. I see more energy from all the new coaches. Real fast tempo. The old coaches weren’t bad. The new coaches will be good though, everyone wants to win and they show it. I train with Barwis, he’s taught me how to train and eat. He’s a great coach. Barwis got me faster and stronger. He has speed training, it’s not really doing that much, you just learn how to run. They condition and lift hard, but the speed drills gets you faster, and it’s not too hard, but it works.
TOM: How does Rich Rod see you fitting in? I know you want to play early, has he said that’s a possibility?
JJ: Yea, just come up there and work hard every day. I have an advantage to learn all the plays; I’m going to ask my dad teach me the plays. My dad will help me with all the plays. Commit to the training. It doesn’t seem necessary to enroll early, I already have an advantage. I go home every night, and my dad will get in my ear if I don’t work hard.
TOM: It seems like Tate Forcier has a good chance of being your QB, have you reached out to him at all? What’d you guys talk about?
JJ: I talked with him and his brother Jason, I talk to Jason more. He’s excited. I talked to Tate about his brother and how I know him. I really like Jason, but my Dad said Tate is going to be good. My dad compared his arm to Chad Henne. He’s not going to sit around and run, he’s gonna pass more.
TOM: It seems like your class might have a chip on their shoulder coming in, or something to prove. What do you hope to prove or accomplish at Michigan?
JJ: I haven’t gotten that far. I know the juniors that are committed now; they all love Michigan and want to play there. The ‘08 class wasn’t Rich Rod’s recruits. 09 has gotten a little better, and ’10 is going to be killer.
TOM: Let me hear your pitch of why another player should choose Michigan?
JJ: Michigan traditionally has won the most games in college football, over 110,000 people are at every game, you’re always on national TV, there’s a great chance to play in NFL, the best coaches, best strength class, best facilities in ’10, the best education, I don’t see why you wouldn’t want to go here.
Swanky. Reader Paul Scudieri sends in this freakin' awesome jack-o-lantern:
Itchy and Scratchy. The MSU brawl has hit the papers; MSU defenseman AJ Sturges is the kid in the hospital. As for this weekend, this is your operative sentence:
Charges stemming from the fight have not been filed and would not be filed until the end of the week or early next week, Daley said.
Dantonio, meanwhile, on MSU's actions:
He also confirmed that the East Lansing Police investigation of an off-campus fight does involve football players and is "disappointing" to him. The next word on that situation will be when the investigation is complete and a decision is made on charges.
One whole dollar says the investigation manages to stay open until around 7 PM Saturday.
What? Dantonio on last year's game (which, for the record, is over):
No pun intended, but we were up by 10 with seven minutes to go. And you know what? It isn’t over and it still is not over.
What does that even mean? What can it possibly mean? This is the most mystifying thing to come out of Dantonio's mouth so far, and that's saying something. No pun intended.
Tape review. In a terrific piece from Adam Rittenberg at ESPN, he sits down with a couple Northwestern players and goes over game tape with them. The article is especially relevant because the tape they're going over is from the MSU game. Interesting bits:
Sutton also looks for team-wide tendencies when he reviews film. "Last week, we played against Iowa, and their linebackers read the pulling guards, they read the linemen," he said. "These guys center on the running back, so wherever the running back goes, that's where these guys go. They don't green dog a lot. They blitz a lot.
"They're a fast-flow team. As soon as they see run, they're going downhill."
Green dog is when linebackers blitz after recognizing a running back is in pass protection. "We look at D-linemen, too," Sutton said, "and so far, what I've seen from each of them is they just bull-rush. They don't try and spin. It's just to see if you can contain on the bull rush."
That was before the Northwestern game; later in the article the players discuss how MSU broke tendencies (or at least learned to not tip their plays) during that contest. There's also discussion about Michigan State's tendency to nail players after the whistle.
I'm a gunner. Yost Built, in discussing MVictors' extensive Dave Shand interview, provides an awesome story about the incorrigible Dom Ingerson and Tommy Amaker's response. (We've got a swear involved, so beware.)
I was sitting behind the Michigan bench at Crisler and Dom Ingerson jacked a three from about 3 steps behind NBA range, made it, and then celebrated so much that his man beat him down the court and hit a three of his own. Amaker immediately called time-out and got the team in a huddle. He started diagramming a play (no doubt something brilliant like "Pass the ball to LaVell Blanchard and have him dribble out the shot clock and brick a three") or talking to the team or something when, all of a sudden--and keep in mind it was dead silent in the arena at this point--he spins around, points at Ingerson and screams, "FUCK YOU!"
Yes, folks, Brian Ellerbe's recruiting was worse than Amaker's. Considerably worse.