So this year I implemented a new policy: all donations not ticketed for site contributors or Phil Brabbs get tallied at the end of the year and then I go spend that money on improvements to the site. This year we've made some adjustments to the comment system:
- Comments have been re-themed to take up less space and hopefully cut down on the phenomenon where a series of replies ends up with comically thin content areas.
- Comments have been ajaxified: no need to reload the page to post a comment.
- The voting system has had a major hole closed: votes on items older than a week do not affect userpoints.
- Another system hole closed: it now costs a point to vote, whether it's up or down. This will prevent people from getting slightly over 20 points with a series of sock puppets and vote-spamming other people. Also, the ratio for posting new threads and diaries has been altered: it's now +1 for up, –1 for down. Comments remain +2 up, –1 down.
There are a couple bugs with the sidebar and placement of some of the new features that should get worked out in the next couple days.
UPDATE: The AJAX was not quite ready for prime time and has been temporarily pulled.
UPDATE II: A lot of users are issuing complaints, which I will address over the next few days. Bear with us.
Help a blog out. So Blogs With Balls is trying to get in on the next South By Southwest and needs internet help. If you could register with SWSX and then thumb-up the BWB topic idea, this would go some small distance towards helping this happen. Do it to it.
Turner return broached, unlikely. In the aftermath of Justin Turner's decision to transfer there have been rumors about a potential decision to reverse that decision once his family talks him off the ledge:
[WTKA's Sam] Webb says Turner spoke to his mom about the decision but not to other members of the family, some based here in Michigan. They are coming up to talk to him and "see what was on his mind" including discussing "even up to and including whether or not he would entertain the thought of going back."
However, Webb thinks that outcome is unlikely. Even if Turner did decide to return his apparent lack of conditioning would probably make him useless this season.
It's a deke. Srsly. Michigan Hockey Net has been posting some old Michigan hockey clips of late; here's Brandon Kaleniecki breaking out the greatest deke in the history of hockey:
"He's got two and that was a weird one!"
And fin. Michigan goes in front of the infractions committee this weekend, at which point the final stories about practice (practice we're talking about practice) get written and attention returns to the stuff happening on the field. I have the vague hope some of the stories will have the perspective Bruce Feldman($), a guy who's travelled the country and seen the inside of dozens of programs, does:
If you've been to more than a handful of college campuses in the past decade or talked to any football coaches, you'd know that what the school was accused of are probably the most minor major violations you'll ever hear about.
Many folks cringe whenever they hear the excuse of "Well, everybody does it," but the reality here is this stuff goes on with top programs all over the country. Quite frankly, there's been much bigger offenders on these rules than what the NCAA has apparently caught in its net.
While it sucks that Michigan got dragged through this, nothing in the final report suggests anything except institutional incompetence and confusion about rules most people are confused about. My favorite evidence of the latter is the NCAA official site declaring the rules "nebulous," "difficult to understand," and "even harder to track."
Feldman is a guy who brings some authority when he says similar violations would be turned up just about anywhere; if he's right about that the main difference between Michigan and other schools is the attitude of the local paper.
Other numbers. Freshmen were omitted from this site's Fall Roster Overanalysis since they don't have a track record, but I did mean to link to Ace's focus on those freshmen. Most guys come in about where you'd expect except maybe the ever-expanding Richard Ash. At this rate, in two years we'll get to find out if having Norman Bombardini clog the middle is a good idea.
With Ace's post and a helpful reader sending a long a saved copy of the spring roster I can highlight a couple additional interesting weight changes:
- Stephen Hopkins is down from a Wisconsin-like 236 to a still-pretty-Wisconsin-like 227.
- Christian Pace put on 21(!) pounds since the spring roster came out. I don't think it's possible for all of that to be good weight but if he's already 280 he should be physically ready to play center in the Big Ten when Molk graduates.
Sauce: weak. Les Miles defending the Elliott Porter oversigning fiasco:
He noted that Porter’s scholarship offer was still good, just postponed a semester. He said if somebody made the same offer to one of his sons, they would “certainly be disappointed that day, but recognize that, long-term, it’s not a bad thing.”
Miles said grayshirting can benefit players who could use time to allow their bodies to mature. “He might take his time to come in shape and to benefit his body and compete,” he said.
This is also called a "redshirt," except in that case you get to go to school like you were promised over a year ago. It's a simple choice between not signing that extra kid and taking the chance at going into 2010 with 83 or 84 scholarships or taking a kid who's been living in a dorm for a month and telling him GTFO.
Also note the headline on this thing "Miles defends grayshirt rule," as if there's some crazy NCAA mandate that requires him to dump Porter. The paper is attempting to move the responsibility for the thing from Miles to an NCAA bylaw. Since that bylaw is "you can only have 85 scholarships," fail.
(HT: Get the Picture.)
When Devine was 3 months old, his father died of complications from AIDS.
When Devine was 11, his mother died of AIDS.
Devine's maternal grandmother assumed custody, but he often clashed with her and he eventually moved out. He moved in with the parents of one of his friends.
Devine was a witness to a shooting late in 2004 in which one of his closest friends was killed by a shot to the chest.
Devine had two children in high school in North Fort Myers, Fla., a girl and a boy, born seven months apart to different mothers.
When Devine was a high school senior, many programs backed off because they thought he'd never get into school; WVU seemed a little sleazy when they went after him and got him on campus. Now he's a senior-to-be forgoing the NFL—where his stock is at maximum since he's not going to grow three inches this year—for a degree. Will that degree have the general aura of jockishness? Almost certainly. Is it a better outcome for him than travelling the wilderness as a JUCO? Also almost certainly. I wish the media narrative about poor kids on football teams getting into trouble was less about scolding "win at all costs" coaches and more about what kind of outcomes various programs were achieving with the marginal players they acquire.
In related news, Demar Dorsey still isn't on Louisville's roster.
Maybe holistic and stuff. I'm pretty sure that Doctor Saturday is just reading the media zeitgeist when he suggests that the only thing that can repair the Big Ten's image problem is a national title, but he highlights a fact that's been true at least since Jim Delany's spectacularly ill-advised open letter bashing the SEC:
The Buckeyes' coast-to-coast run at No. 1 in 2006 in calamity, along with their surprising return to the top in '07, the two losses that still loom over the conference like a giant monolith that periodically drawls "S-E-C! S-E-C!" and has no input to receive data such as "the Big Ten and SEC have split their two annual bowl tie-in games 10 to 10 over the last decade."
When you bring this up to someone wearing SEC pajamas, they invariably respond with "bowl games don't matter except those two Ohio State humiliations." The Big Ten has been a bit down of late since Michigan and Penn State can seem to be good at the same time and USC has managed to lose a game against a Pac-10 also-ran yearly, but reports of the conference's demise have long been greatly exaggerated.
Etc.: A Steve Sharik comment on defending four verts with a three-deep gets front-paged at Smart Football. Holding the Rope UFRs Wisconsin's offense against Miami. I was planning on ranking the ten teams of the aughts for Of The Decade but MATW beat me to it so just consider that post part of the series. I didn't see this but a couple of different places on the internet are reporting that on Hard Knocks last night a Jets coach told Donovan Warren "if you'd played like that last year Michigan would have won some damned games," which is funny but not true. Michael Buckner appears in yet another story about Michigan's infractions—is there no other man on the planet with a law degree who can speculate darkly about possible outcomes?
And my "Michigan football" youtube subscription turned up… 60 Seconds With Taylor Lautner. Who is apparently in "Twilight." When I was a kid our vampire shows were full of smokin' hot chicks, not moody boy-toys. /get off my misogynist lawn.
Remember, all-time updates can be found on the 2011 Michigan Football Recruiting Board. If you have any recruiting tips or questions, you can e-mail them to me at [email protected] or tweet @varsityblue.
Tony Posada Goes Blue
FL OL Tony Posada became the 10th member of Michigan's class last night, and third offensive lineman. Michigan is looking for another one or two (plus potential offensive lineman Anthony Zettel).
"Tony's best football is ahead of him," said Plant coach Robert Weiner. "I mean he is on the upswing for sure and has gotten so much better year to year, even the last few months. He's a student of the game and has all the physical traits to be another great lineman at Michigan. We are all real excited for him."
And finally, video of the commitment itself:
Welcome to the Maize and Blue family, Tony.
IL OL Jordan Walsh committed to Iowa. Michigan had seemed to be the favorite until this, so it's a big blow. Michigan needs at least one guard commit in the class and he was a highly rated one. Best chance there seems like IL OL Christian Bryant.
OH LB Antonio Poole never got a Michigan offer, so it's no surprise that the Wolverines are out of his final 3. He's making a decision soon, but if a Michigan offer comes...
PA S Mike Caputo committed to Wisconsin.
The Orlando Sentinel previews Dr. Phillips high school, home of FL RB Demetrius Hart and all the other D-1 prospects in the Panthers' lineup. As recruiting news goes, Auburn is back in the mix for Hart. His is becoming the kind of recruitment that followers shouldn't invest too much in on a day-to-day basis, and just see how it all shakes out in the end. Hopefully, that end will come in 23 days.
FL TE/WR Kelvin Benjamin plans to take an official visit to Michigan:
His plan as of now is to take all of his official visits to out of state schools. “I fixing to set one up with West Virginia coming up, so West Virginia will be the first one I take. Then, I’ll take one to Michigan, the (USC) Trojans, Oregon and probably Marshall.”
At the very least, that vindicates my insistence on leaving him on the board. If he does make it onto campus, there's always a chance at him.
Tom talked to FL OL James Elliott, who is visiting Ann Arbor tomorrow. Rich Rodriguez will be on his way to Seattle immediately after practice, but Elliott will have a chance to meet the headman when he returns for an official visit. He knows numbers along the offensive line are starting to get tight, and if he wants to pick Michigan, he'd better pick up the pace.
I'd removed him from the board long ago, but apparently NJ OL Keith Lumpkin has Michigan in his top group. He's trimmed his list to ten, including the Wolverines. Michigan's recruiting along the offensive line might get wrapped up pretty soon, so Lumpkin will have to visit soon if he's serious about Michigan.
MI DE/DT Damon Knox picked up three Big Ten offers last week ($, info in header), and his Rivals profile now shows that Illinois, Michigan, and Michigan State are those three. Knox reportedly has issues with his grades, so those offers are probably conditional upon improvement in the classroom. His film is impressive:
Knox was also a top performer at the Michigan Football Showcase (video), and is he can get his academics in order, he could fill out to be one of the defensive tackles in Michigan's class.
(Re-)Added CA LB/DE Woodson Greer, who holds a Michigan offer. Despite that, he seems unlikely to leave the West Coast.
IL DE James Adeyanju has locked in official visits to Wisconsin, Boston College, Nebraska, and Illinois. Michigan is in a group of six schools vying for his fifth and final visit. As of now, he's a backup prospect for Michigan, and will likely take that visit elsewhere.
OH CB Commit Greg Brown intends to enroll early at Michigan ($, info in header). He's the only current commit that has publicly mentioned early enrollment.
FL CB Dallas Crawford isn't naming favorites, but which school does he list first?
“I plan on making my decision before signing day but not before the season ends... I have my top schools, Michigan, Miami, LSU, Wake Forest, North Carolina, West Virginia and Tennessee.”
That's a positive sign, but we'll have to wait until December or January to find out whether he likes Michigan enough to come up North. Crawford's teammate, WR/S Sammy Watkins, missed the team's first practice, and is a much longer shot for the Wolverines. If Rich Rod can land Crawford, however, it can only help.
OH CB Doran Grant is the subject of the latest Sam Webb profile in the Detroit News. He's down to a final 10 including Michigan, and will trim to a final 5 soon, also likely to include Michigan.
"It is a good vibe (at Michigan)," Grant later added. "I'll probably say that they are going to get an official visit. I'll say that now. Michigan is going to get one, hands-down."
Ohio State ad Michigan State are still on top, but the Wolverines remain in the hunt. He will make his decision a couple weeks after his senior season ends.
Has OH RB Warren Ball committed to Ohio State? He's playing it coy, but even if he hasn't committed, his tone ("that's my dream school") makes it seem like only a matter of time. Maybe his teammate, 2011 Michigan Commit Chris Rock, can convince him otherwise?
Fluff on MO WR Dorial Green-Beckham. He's now on a "no fluff links" policy, so until there's actual recruiting news about him, he won't appear in this space again.
After a brief server outage, here come the Hello. GBW is reporting that FL OL Tony Posada out of Tampa Plant High School has committed to become the 10th member of Michigan's 2011 recruiting class.
|3*, #75 OT||NR OL||3*, 78, #34 OT|
At 6-5 and already over 320 pounds, Posada is expected to be an offensive tackle at the next level. We'll get started with the ESPN evaluation:
Posada has great size along with enough explosion and playing strength to dominate defenders at his present level of play. Has the height and weight we like to see for the offensive tackle spot at the major level of competition.
He has a number of strengths:
Flashes explosion off the ball with good pad level and fit for his height; brings his hips with a good base and the leg drive necessary to sustain contact.
His agility is also singled out as a positive, though they say that quicker pass rushers, primarily from the linebacker position, could give him trouble. Other points to work on:
Will need to work on all aspects of punch, location and extension however his arm length and quick hands should be an asset.
Uh, that's actually really brief. ESPN, per usual, gives the above raving review, then follows it up with a lofty... #34 offensive tackle ranking. How can a guy whose only weaknesses are "might have trouble picking up a blitzing linebacker" and "has a little technique work to do on his hands" be ranked so low?
Elite Scouting Services puts a decidedly non-elite effort into breaking down his game:
Up front the offensive line for Plant will be led by Tony Posada. He is a big kid who moves well. Posada also played very well in their state title game. He will have the chance to really blow up this fall if his play on the football field continues to improve.
Tony also has enough flexibility to move inside and play offensive guard, which is always a plus when recruiting offensive linemen. The more spots a recruit can play, the more opportunities he might have with a program. Coaches like linemen who provide multiple possibilities instead of being tied to one position and having to then recruit other linemen to fill a specific need.
Tony is a bulldozer; think somewhat of a taller Justin Boren. The biggest difference is stength.
Despite "stength" being listed as one of his weaknesses, he has shown impressive strength in winning a regional title in the shot put, then finishing sixth in the state. Still, if there's even the slightest question about his strength, that 320-some pounds is not all good weight.
Posada was offered early, at least back in February. Kansas, USF, and Wake had also offered at that time. According to his Rivals profile, his other BCS-level offers included the likes of Duke, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisvulle, Missouri, Rutgers, South Florida, Tennessee, and Texas Tech.
The conventional wisdom on Posada was always that a Florida offer would be nearly impossible for him to turn down. When it became clear that an offer from the Gators was never going to come (despite performing impressively at their camp), Michigan became the heavy favorite. However, South Florida came on strong in the end, causing Michigan to stave them off down to the finish line.
Posada is an offensive lineman, and therefore doesn't have stats. He was, however, part of a dominant Tampa Plant running game last year (more on Plant in a moment). TJ Glover and James Wilder both ran for nearly 1,000 yards, and the team on the whole rushed for 2,945 yards on their way to a state title.
FAKE 40 TIME
Rivals credits him with a 5.39-second 40-yard dash time. That doesn't sound FAKE at all, but given the fact that he's well over 300 pounds, it still qualifies for one FAKE out of five.
There are no Posada-specific highlight reels available, but a bunch of Tampa Plant material is out there (Posada is #75):
Here's another game, and you can peruse Youtube for more.
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
There's a huge disparity between descriptions of Posada and his actual rankings. He's certainly not under-the-radar, playing at one of the most visible programs in the nation. So what does it all mean? I would guess based on photographic evidence and measureables that he has to get in much better shape to be ready to play in college, in addition to the technique work mentioned above.
Tony's an offensive lineman, so he would probably be a lock to redshirt even if he didn't have conditioning and technique question marks. During his first year in Ann Arbor, he'll work to rectify those issues.
After a redshirt, Tony would hopefully be in decent shape to play (he certainly has good size). There will be more playing time available at tackle than guard, and he's a combo prospect who projects at either position. As a redshirt freshman and sophomore, he could get some playing time before sliding into a starting position as a junior and senior.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
Posada is offensive lineman #3 of four or five in the class. That means there's only room for a couple more. Chris Bryant,
Jordan Walsh, and Nick Martin seem like some of the most realistic prospects to fill any remaining OL spots.
Offensive recruiting is almost completed (a tight end, and outside receiver, and Dee Hart are probably the only three positions left on that side of the ball). Defensive tackles, another linebacker or two, and defensive backs are the emphasis from here on out.
Plant is a powerhouse program, routinely pumping out tons of talent. In this year's class alone, 5-star RB James Wilder and 4-star QB Phillip Ely will graduate from Plant. Getting a foot in the door for future years can't hurt Michigan's recruiting efforts. The Panthers will play on ESPN on August 27, against Manatee in a preseason state title rematch.
Monday came and went without an announcement about playing Alabama in Jerryworld, and with a few "not quite yet" type announcements from key players. See the title of this Rivals article($) ("Brandon: Exciting news is coming") for one. My source re-iterates: it is happening, with all three parties set on an agreement and just waiting to announce it when everything gets dotted and crossed.
This actually comes from UM football spokesman Dave Ablauf, but it's certainly news nonetheless. Redshirt freshman corner JT Turner has asked for (and been granted) his transfer release from the University of Michigan. The request was made yesterday.
Now, onto the GERG:
The biggest questions for the defense on the whole are "How much can we develop by September 4th? How far can we take this defense by September 4th?" The goal is to be an excellent defense at that time. Robinson: "I like our movement on defense." Team success will come down to how the coaches are able to utilize people on that side of the ball.
The main changes in the defense this spring came in the usage of terminology. They went to some of the terminology that the defensive coaches (all of whom have been with Rodriguez since the West Virginia days) were familiar with. This was a suggestion that Rodriguez made that Robinson immediately thought was a good idea. Robinson had to take on a lot more terminology, but he's been around the block a few times, and had to do it before, including moving from defensive line coach to offensive coordinator at UCLA over the course of one offseason.
The change worked well in the spring, and by now "it's pretty much second nature for everybody." Prior to the terminology switch, there was potential for some messages to get lost somewhere in the chain, but now everyone's on the same page.
Robinson has used 3-3-5 and nickel concepts throughout his career, including in the NFL. With the prevalence of spread offenses in today's game, there's a need for a more athletic group of midrange players.
Robinson really likes coaching the linebackers, and this year's crop in particular. Linebackers are "the glue of the defense" between the defensive line (the heart of the defense - pumping everything) and secondary. Being right in the middle allows Robinson to work with all position groups more easily.
There has been some change since spring, as the players have been through summer workouts. The coaches are able to get their full attention during the beginning of summer camp, because most of them aren't in school.
It's "too early" to single out any freshmen that have emerged as potential contributors. The team isn't even in pads yet. There are still some young guys that the staff feels good about.
Lots of guys came back from the summer in great shape. When asked how Will Campbell looks: "He's very handsome." Marvin Robinson "walks around the building looking pretty good." (Second GERG evaluation of a player's appearance. [Ed: I bet Will Campbell tells his teammates how awesome GERG's hair looks.]) Robinson is one of the freshmen who has intentions on getting onto the field right away.
The defensive line has plenty of experience. Craig Roh, Mike Martin, and Ryan Van Bergen, and Greg Banks (who has "played a good amount") were all singled out. Craig Roh is a good athlete. He can run, is a good pass rusher, and is also a smart player. His intelligence allows the coaches to give him a variety of responsibilities (of which a hybrid player has more) with confidence he'll be able to carry them out.
Obi Ezeh is working very hard. He has "good intentions" but is aware that he has a battle for a starting spot with Kenny Demens and Mark Moundros the other contenders. Robinson is a "real fan" of Jonas Mouton. He has the physical abilities, and can process information well. He really wants to up his game. Kenny Demens and Mike Jones are challenging for playing time. Jones was injured last year, which held his progress back.
Moundros was a good selection by his teammates as defensive captain, though the whole senior class is filled with leaders. It's easy to see why Moundros was selected, because he has great work ethic, he's smart, he's tough, he loves football, and has a giving mentality. When GERG first arrived at Michigan, he saw Mark Moundros and thought he might be a linebacker before being informed he was the team's fullback. The position switch will work well because "he has linebacker skills."
Kevin Leach, Floyd Simmons, Thomas Gordon, and Josh Furman are some of the players at safety/linebacker hybrid spots. That's a competitive situation, and far from a done deal yet. They're willing to give up a bit of size at the position as long as there's still physical play. Stevie Brown was a good example of this.
Jordan Kovacs is the guy who's taking first reps at his position right now. There's nothing set in stone this early, of course, and there hasn't been enough time for anyone to make a push for his job. He's the type of player who makes everyone around him better with his communication.
In the secondary, Woolfolk is the experienced guy, and they feel very good about JT Floyd "showing a lot of progress." His spring was good, and it seems like he had a good summer. Cameron Gordon is mature, and a hard worker. Unfortunately, that doesn't mean he's ever seen a live snap at this level. Vladimir Emilien and Jared Van Slyke have both gotten plenty of reps in practice, but even they don't have much game experience.
The backups at corner include two true freshmen, Cullen Christian and Courtney Avery, and walkon Tony Anderson. [Not sure if James Rogers was just an oversight, or if he's unlikely to contribute this year].
JT Turner - :glances at Dave Ablauf, Football Media Relations Guy: "I don't know what's going on there." [See top]