Mason NEEDS this, Pistons, after all you've put him through
This comes from the dodgiest of potential sources, the registration-free and largely anonymous MLive message boards -- the source of an unfounded Chris Perry broken leg rumor back in the day -- but it fills in some blanks that I had wondered about earlier. Anyway, the rumor:
Michigan just landed another 4 star QB, but this is a 2007 transfer, not a 2008 recruit. I don't think it will be offical until he meets with Lloyd and staff tomorrow. I am excited, as it is a personal friend of mine. The QB position looks real good for the next 5 years or so.
This can only be instate quarterback Steven Threet, a four star from the '07 class who just announced he's fleeing Chan Gailey Equilibrium. Okay, okay. Unsubstantiated internet rumor, yes. But no one just leaps on a board to say "Michigan got a quarterback transfer" if they're trying to stir things up; no one gets stirred up by that sort of thing. Circumstantial evidence: more than one article in the aftermath of the Michigan camp had with direct quotes claiming Michigan would take two quarterbacks this year. In-state three star Brendan Kay was one of these players hoping for the second quarterback offer; he committed to Cincinatti yesterday. Implication: Michigan filled their need and Kay need not wait on an offer any longer. I buy it; expect a Threet announcement soon.
Assuming this is true, Threet would have an enforced redshirt then four years of eligibility. It would be just as if he enrolled with the rest of his class. Also, irony meters across the state will break if Michigan picks up a quarterback recruit who can only transfer because he enrolled early instead of loses one.
Update: A second source close to the situation confirms this; question mark removed from post.
That headline was going to be "Porter staying" but then I remembered this was Michigan hockey we're talking about. A positive blurb on the official site of the Phoenix Coyotes, who hold his NHL rights, has this quote from the captain-to-be:
Porter is expected to return to Ann Arbor this fall where he will serve as the Wolverines team captain and try to help capture the school's first NCAA Championship since 1997-98.
"I want to finish up my fourth year at Michigan, finish up school, get my degree and then hopefully after that sign with the Coyotes," said Porter.
Standard Michigan hockey paranoia applies, but when the team that holds his rights says he's expected to return you can ease up on the Xanax. Porter is apparently doing well with the Coyotes, playing on a high profile line with Gopher and former fifth overall pick Blake Wheeler:
While Coyotes prospects Martin Hanzal and Blake Wheeler continue to grab headlines (deservedly so), the third member of that line, Kevin Porter, is quietly putting together an equally impressive performance this week.
Though Porter was expected to return, a verbal confirmation of that is always nice to have. The other departure threats also seem likely to stick around. Chad Kolarik has always been regarded an extremely good bet to return. There's some chance Mark Mitera might go -- and that would be disastrous -- but the Ducks don't appear to be making a move to sign him yet. So... um... yay? Jack hardly seems like an early departure at all, so an offseason of losing only Cogliano seems like a pretty good one.
The number one sign you're a Michigan hockey fan: the premature loss of the best defenseman ever and your projected number one center qualifies as "a good offseason." But we've got a Swede!
Stripe versus Swoosh. Fight! Yesterday the university announced that, effective next year, the primary athletics sponsor was switching from Nike to Adidas. This is not something I particularly care about, at least not to the extent that it matters more than $7.5 million per year, nearly double the previous deal. If Adidas put in the best bid, I'm perfectly happy to dump Nike. There's an undercurrent of discontent with the move out there I find odd after the introduction of the controversial Bibby McPiping jerseys that were universally panned and then immediately forgotten about.
Well, the piping's still there and it still irritates. Unfortunately I can't find the exact quote, but something Uni Watch's Paul Lukas said about that one horrible weekend when Florida, Virginia Tech, and a few other teams wore asymmetrical Nike eyesores featuring one neon sleeve stuck with me: the truly grating thing (other than, you know, the uniforms) was that Nike seemed to regard itself as the show, not the teams they sponsor.
What bothered me about the piping was not the piping itself but the fact that Miami had identical piping-bib-woo jerseys done in different colors, as, I'm sure, do several other teams. Nike tries to play this off as a structural necessity required to prevent their space age jerseys from accidentally sending players to the moon or something, but I've seen a lot of shirts in my time -- people just love wearing the things -- and I call bull. Universally identical piping was a Nike branding technique subtle enough to rope Michigan in. I'd rather be Michigan than a Nike school that happens to wear maize and blue. So, insofar as I care for reasons other than "the athletic department gets money they can rule the world with," I support the devil we don't know here.
Internal UPDATE! The Free Press with more delicious details:
There is a "most favored nation" clause in the contract that will keep Michigan as Adidas' top college deal.
Nice! NDNation is throwing a hissy fit; they signed a ten year, $60 million contract in 2005 (Michigan's is the same money over eight years) and are upset about the MFN status and the fact that Michigan is getting "33%" more than ND did. That's what you get when your engineering school sucks ass.
McGuffdate. USAToday w/ Rivals content:
McGuffie still undecided
Sam McGuffie, the nation's top all-purpose back, took a visit to Michigan last week. The 6-foot, 188-pounder has yet to make his college decision, but said he's getting close.
"The recruiting process is getting very overwhelming, but there will be a decision in the next few weeks," McGuffie said. "Michigan has been my favorite for a while, followed by USC, Texas A&M, Oklahoma State and Florida (in no particular order).
"I want to enjoy this process and not make it so pressure-packed."
That Sunday-next decision referenced in Monday Recruitin' appears to be off. It's encouraging that "Michigan has been [his] favorite for a while," but A&M folk are suddenly confident and the public opinion of the internet is rapidly switching. So... yeah. I kind of have to back off earlier confidence. I wouldn't call it unconfident -- I still think he ends up at Michigan -- but this reversal is pretty frickin' weird and I don't know what to do with it. FWIW.
It appears two sorts of people read this blog: students and lawyers. This is for the latter:
Coach Carr has only 116 spots available on his team and he wants you to be part of it. The 2nd Annual Michigan Men's Fantasy Football Experience will be held on August 2-3, 2007. Proceeds will benefit the "Men of Michigan" Prostate Cancer Research Fund at the University of Michigan. Our goal is to advance awareness, research and treatment of the most diagnosed cancer in American men.
We will conduct two-a-days practice installing offensive and defensive schemes coached by the Michigan coaching staff. Participants will attend a typical team meeting in Schembechler Hall, review actual practice film, and suit up in the Michigan Stadium team locker room. You will have your own locker at the Big House and receive an authentic Nike game jersey.
The cost for the two day experience is $2,500 per person and includes meals and overnight accommodations at the Campus Inn Hotel where the team stays prior to every home football game. We have an outstanding event planned and we hope you will join us for a memorable experience. You can reserve your spot on Coach Carr's team or receive additional information by contacting FootballExperience@umich.edu
As noted, all proceeds benefit charity. Last year Jon Chait went and reported back with a fascinating look inside the camp and the program. Anyone who decides to go this year is encouraged to offer up their own impressions. There is a guest post waiting for you.
Did we know this? The Chicago Tribune has an article on Alice Cooper's new golf book -- anyone who's surprised hasn't seen Wayne's World. In it, a potentially awesome addition to Mini-Me amongst the B-level Celebrity Michigan fan parade:
Cooper was born Vincent Damon Furnier in East Detroit in 1948 to a family with French Huguenot roots mixed with Sioux Indian "and a lot of Irish." (He changed his name legally to Alice Cooper in the '70s.)
The Furniers had three vital rules: "You had to be a Democrat; you had to be a Tigers fan; and you had to be a [Michigan] Wolverines fan," Cooper remembers.
(Thanks, Chicago Tribune, for specifying that. It's not like we're the Wildcats.) We can't compete with USC, obviously, but I think Mini-Me and Alice Cooper is a hell of a Celebrity Fan Deathmatch tag team.
Hey... great. A helpful commenter points out this chilling quote from BTN president Mark Silverman in a brief AP article that seems rephrased from a press release:
"We're well on our way toward ensuring that roughly half the subscribers to smaller cable systems across the Midwest have better access to their favorite Big Ten schools and teams than anytime in history," Big Ten Network president Mark Silverman said in a statement.
Yikes. Way to lower expectations. Hopefully that's just an awkward, easily misinterpreted public statement and not a reflection of revised ambition.
Okay, so Jim Carty responded to the Friday "Les Miles sux" post and didn't even make any uncomplimentary comparisons about my appearance. I feel heelish; well played. But I still think Miles is a tremendous long shot for a hypothetically available Michigan job. Carty offers up the hiring of John Beilein as evidence that the Michigan of the 70s and 80s and even the early 90s no longer exists:
Here's but one example: When it was first suggested Michigan hire John Beilein to replace Tommy Amaker, the overwhelming opinion among old guard in-state media, and old guard fans, was that Michigan would never approach a coach with a huge buyout, let alone a coach with no Michigan ties and a track record for job hopping.
Time and time again, I was told I didn't know Michigan when I pushed Beilein for the job.
This is not a valid comparison. One: people who said that Michigan would never pay John Beilein's huge buyout were right. Michigan contributed not a dime to it; Beilein and his magic lawyer later got the amount knocked down considerably. Two: Tommy Amaker had no Michigan ties when he was hired and no other candidate suggested or seriously rumored had any. There are precious few Michigan ties around the coaching ranks aside from a couple of NBA assistants. Three: Beilein's job hopping wasn't out of line for any coach working his way up the prestige latter.
The attributes Beilein brings to the job are pure old-school Michigan: an innocuous, genteel public persona. A reputation for cleanliness beyond compare. A focus on fundamentals, execution, and outworking the opponent. The only thing even slightly new school about Beilein is the size of his contract, and Michigan's unwillingness to pay a market rate has been overblown by the media -- primarily Terry Foster -- from day one. Amaker had a market contract when he signed and would have kept pace with his coaching peers if he had achieved any success. His 900k buyout was a "deferred compensation" account he was getting either way. Beilein reinforces the existing stereotypes of Michigan's priorities. They would like to win, yes, but only in a certain way.
Hiring Miles would be a virtual 180 from the Beilein hire, the equivalent of grabbing John Calipari or Bob Huggins. Each has experienced a lot of success with highly recruited athletes; each has been dogged with unproven but persistent rumors about the sort of programs they run; each maintains a sketchy public persona. The problem with Miles isn't that he dropped the f-bomb at an alumni function, it's that he followed that up with intemperate comments about USC and is further whining in the press about how tough the SEC is and how that justifies LSU's candy nonconference scheduling. Maybe the Jerry Springer crowd (w00t cultural references ten years out of date, Simmons has nothing on me) digs his combative style, but dollars to donuts the Michigan athletic department sees it as unprincipled and undignified, especially after last year's Urban Meyer campaigning. Hiring him would be a major departure for the athletic department; the Beilein hire only reinforces that.
This concludes my speculation on the motives and thought processes of others. Personal opinon follows.
Should Miles be given a shot?
I guess he might warrant an interview; I would be disappointed if he was the guy. I assume that LSU and Okie State are the sorts of places that will overlook a lot in the hopes of winning some games, and while Michigan isn't Stanford they do have some standards. If Miles' advantages lie mostly in his willingness to be sketchier than the average bear then he is of little use to Michigan.
Personally, I believe that they do. Okie State was like a slightly better version of Minnesota when Miles was there, and his consecutive two loss seasons at LSU are fairly impressive but are built on a Saban-collected gold mine of talent. While Carty's right that dismissing those results out of hand is excessive, I am disturbed by the widely held opinion amongst SEC fans that Miles is the stupidest coach in the conference. Even LSU fans seem kind of unimpressed.
LSU seems to be a ramshackle train of enormous talent that implodes on a regular basis because it is lax, undisiciplined, and plain dumb. Take Miles away from the ridiculously fertile recruiting grounds of Louisiana and slap his hand when he tries to import guys who can't spell "cat" in three tries and visions of Michigan State dance in front of my eyes. My personal preference is for either a proven tactical expert like Jeff Tedford or someone who will just recruit his ass off. What, exactly, is Les Miles good at? He must be good at something, but I don't know what it is.
Update 7/8: Linked to articles on IL QB John Wienke (a second; video interview), PA WR Vaughn Carraway, TX S Keanon Cooper, AZ CB Marc Anthony, NJ S Brandon Smith. Video of MI CB Boubacar Cissoko. Added TX DE Damion Squire. Linked to Arizona blog post w/ mentions of AZ CB Marc Anthony, AZ TE Dion Jordan, and AZ OL Zach Schlinck. Linked to articles on VA WR Deion Walker, OH OL Zebrie Sanders, IL DT/OL Garrett Goebel, PA CB Jared Holley, IL QB John Wienke. Removed IL DE Glen Foster (Illinois).
Editorial Opinion: A less eventful week than last, which featured three commits and a bunch of guys off the board. Youtube has some stuff, though. New QB recruit John Wienke:
And five-star cornerback Boubacar Cissoko:
MGoBlog scouting report: damn, that kid's legs move fast.
TX S Keanon Cooper has Minnesota(!?) in the lead at the moment, but hasn't visited anywhere except relatively local Texas Tech and has Michigan in the pack slightly behind:
Growing up, Cooper admits he used to follow Texas Tech and Michigan and loves the tradition at Ann Arbor. "Michigan is always competitive and play against top competition every week," Cooper said. "The coaches are great and they have been there a long time."
With Wisconsin also high on his list, it's evident Cooper doesn't mind leaving home for college. Despite another team leading, that's a relatively positive update to me, as it further indicates the Big Ten is a likely option. And the last kid from somewhere other than Minnesota that chose the Gophers over Michigan was... um... I don't know. Someone very confused.
PA WR Vaughn Carraway still maintains a Michigan lead, but I am somewhat skeptical he ends up in this class. Despite a rumored push from Michigan State, it still seems likely that instater Fred Smith ends up committing relatively soon; with three recruits last year and Stonum already in the fold, a sixth wideout in two years is unlikely unless it's someone like Jonathan Baldwin. If Michigan would take Carraway as a defensive back he could still find a spot in this class, but...
Early on some schools were recruiting Carraway for cornerback as well, however he says that now everyone wants him at wide receiver. "A lot of schools told me that it was up to me and I like playing receiver more," he said. "I like having the ball in my hands and getting it into the end zone."
...I don't know if either player or school thinks that an option. The Michigan lead is slight and he has attractive options like Tennessee, for a given version of "attractive" that does not include the uniforms. It wouldn't be a surprise to see Carraway end up elsewhere eventually.
AZ CB Marc Anthony has a top three of Michigan, Cal, and Nebraska:
"It's a big football program and I love their tradition," Anthony said of the Wolverines. "They are known for their defense and I did really well at their camp. They offered me afterward and told me they can see me playing as a freshman. I plan to learn everything I need to know because my goal is to play as a true freshman."
Anthony appears to be Michigan's top cornerback target at the moment; earlier he had named Michigan a solid favorite.
Meanwhile, PA CB Jared Holley has a Michigan offer; this recent article doesn't mention Michigan at all.
OH OL Zebrie Sanders is a longshot:
Sanders, ranked No. 34 in the Midwest by Scout.com, said he favors Georgia slightly over Florida and UCLA and those three lead solidly over Clemson and Michigan. All of his favorites have offered.
Offensive linemen are getting thin on the ground. In-stater Deontae Pannell has an offer and a top three of Michigan, Penn State, and Michigan State but says Michigan trails the other two; Arizona guard Zach Schlinck is supposed to think highly of Michigan. Other than that there are a bunch of guys who have talked highly about Michigan but don't seem offer-worthy and guys Michigan has offered who don't seem particularly interested. One or two more linemen would be nice, but Michigan might have to wait for the fall to pick up a late-emerging senior.
I removed VA WR Deion Walker last week, but he does plan on making an unofficial. If he expresses further interest, I'll re-add him.
Whoops! McGuffdate! He was announcing his college choice on Sunday; now he is announcing next Sunday on the same show Daryl Stonum announced his choice. It's essentially down to Michigan and Texas A&M; there were some reports that A&M was making a last-ditch attempt to sell him on being an Aggie. There's some low-level internet panic; I'm unmoved. McGuffie should be a Wolverine in a couple weeks.
The argument that Michigan is a weird place, relatively speaking, that does things differently than most athletic departments is one that you can get a lot of traction with since it has the benefit of being true. There's no other major program in the country that would have a serious undercurrent of panic in its fanbase at the prospect of a man who went 12-34 in the MAC ascending to the head job. In other places, guys who win one of four games at non-BCS schools and are immediately followed by another guy who is so successful he springboards to a better job within three years are put in charge of special teams and forgotten about. But Michigan treasures loyalty, continuity, and propriety above all. So when Jim Carty says this...
Overall, Michigan is a unique situation. Don't underestimate how much that will matter.
It's a place where the next coach will not only need top-tier football coaching and recruiting skills, but a background that shows he can navigate an elite academic institution. It's also a place where hundreds of former players are actively involved with supporting the program. Those players, and Carr, will have a voice at the table.
...he's right. Mike Debord does have a shot at the job despite his unpalatable resume.
Too bad he's talking about Les Miles, who does not and, even if he does, should not. "Michigan is a unique situation" is not an argument for your most successful collegiate coaching alumnus, a guy who is currently at major SEC program that just got done hosing Notre Dame. Miles is the obvious 1A candidate based on his resume. Most places would snap him up without blinking. But Michigan is a unique situation and Miles is, um, unique too.
First of all, the guy has a verbal diarrhea that fits in at Michigan about as well as John L Smith controlled his emotions. This very week Miles said a bunch of intemperate things about the Pac 10 on a radio show that stand in marked contrast to Carr's reticence to do anything that could be construed as campaigning during the Michigan-Florida election window last December. A few months ago he told an alumni gathering that LSU has "a new rival in fucking Alabama," which is not only a sentence that can change directions radically based on punctuation ("we have a new rival in fucking: Alabama!") but the sort of public utterance that would cause the Michigan establishment to get woozy and collapse, Southern Belle style, into Mary Sue Coleman's arms. All it took for Gary Moeller to get fired was one bad night at a restaurant. Les Miles has bad nights twice a year.
And that's just the tip of the iceberg. When Mike Gundy replaced Les Miles as coach he instituted, um, something other than anarchy:
"Several players said the day [new OK State Coach] Gundy replaced Les Miles as head coach he established guidelines that players attend class, be on time for team meetings, adhere to workout routines, represent the program well and play hard."
Nine kids thought these were ridiculous guidelines and left the team. And though CoachRatings.com is anything but scientific, the difference between Carr and Miles is illuminating. Carr scores a 9 of 10 and is described as a "mentor/role model" or "well respected" by eight of ten rankers; the other two went with "assertive." Miles scores a 4.4, the worst of any coach on the site save Rich Brooks and 0.5 points lower than John Mackovic, a man who had a full-scale revolt on his hands at Arizona. Five of eight players described Miles as "corrupt." Corrupt. Not mean or stupid or smelly. Corrupt.
So, yeah, it's pretty ironic that Carty links a Motown Sports Revival post and bashes it for being unrealistic. (Especially because the MSR post is explicitly presented as one man's wish list.) Rich Rodriguez has "never worked with the sort of academic restrictions he would have at Michigan," but the Okie State-LSU doubleheader qualifies Miles. Anyone with a "passing knowledge" of Bobby Petrino's background and personality knows he's not a fit for the Michigan job, but a guy who can't go two months without embarrassing himself and his school is AOK.
Lloyd Carr may not be in a position to designate his successor a la Bo, but if he says "over my dead body," that guy is out. I have a better chance of being Michigan's next head coach than Les Miles does. But it is a "unique situation," according to Carty, and Miles' "unique qualifications" make him a strong candidate. There are things that are wrong at 90 degrees to right -- orthogonal wrong -- and then there are things that obviously dropped in from a mirror universe. This is the latter. Stick to selling delcious sandwiches, Subway Jim.