He's officially gone:
Johnson confirmed his departure in an exclusive interview with The Michigan Daily this afternoon.
"I thought I was ready for a new challenge," Johnson said. "With all my close friends, the seniors, gone now and everything, I thought it was time for me to pretty much go for a new challenge."
Goodnight, sweet prince.
Michigan coach Lloyd Carr announced today that three players â€” tight end Carson Butler, cornerback Chris Richards and defensive end Eugene Germany â€” are no longer part of the program.
Brief impact breakdown...
Richards. Someone else has to join the kick coverage team.
Germany. Flashed considerable talent at defensive end a year ago and may have been a contributor. Probably not a huge impact, as I chalk Carr's bizarre claim that Adam Patterson and Brandon Graham were likely to "move inside" to excessive grumpiness. Was likely to be Tim Jamison to Jamison's Rondell Biggs this year. Hurts depth but with a couple guys with good potential behind the projected starters it shouldn't be a huge deal.
Butler. At least we know now why he couldn't get a snap count right last year: he's miraculously dumb. Two days after the contentious spring kickoff press conference in which he was one of the guys Carr said was "possible... maybe not probable" to return, he gets hammered on St. Patrick's Day and beats the hell out of some student. From the Daily:
One resident said that before the incident, he heard the victim ask someone in the hall if he could use an iron. The resident then didn't see the victim for less than seven minutes.
When the victim returned, blood covered the side of his face and he was having difficulty talking, the resident said.
Why did this happen? Because Chris Richards thought the student was a different guy who was "talking crap" in class:
The student, Walter Myers, told The News on Wednesday that he went to a friend's room to borrow an iron when another person in the room - whom he later identified as Richards - accused him of "talking crap'' in a class.
"I don't know who you are,'' Myers said he told Richards. "I don't know why you're bothering me.''
Richards then punched him, Myers said, before another person in the room joined the beating.
(I'll further note here that the Ann Arbor News had the most comprehensive and interesting article on the galaxy-spanning stupidity going on here, which makes them 2/2 in major UM stories over the past couple weeks after they blew up everyone except Rosenberg about the basketball coaching situation.)
So, yeah, you're gone, and for such a good reason. You don't come into the WQ lookin' for no iron! I'm about to get in an elevator, wait for five minutes when I could have easily taken the stairs, and then furiously swipe my MCard in the door for another five minutes to get into that stuff!
Ah. Anyway. Butler's loss is a definite blow as opposed to Richards (who?) and Germany (possible blow). Though Mike Massey was nominally #1 on the depth chart in the absence of Tyler Ecker -- what is with Michigan and remarkably dumb tight ends? PITCH IT TO BREASTON aaaaargh -- it was Butler who looked a future star. Last year Michigan's new zone running game featured a ton of two-tight end sets that seem infeasible now that the choices past Massey are Chris McLaurin, a guy who moved to tight end because a shoulder injury made OLB unfeasible, Andre Criswell*, a last-second two-star recruit who was a fullback until this spring, and two freshmen, one of whom is currently a 215 pound wide receiver. Will we see more fullback sets? Michigan has one fullback on the roster with the early departure of Will Paul and the move of Criswell, and that's true freshman Vince Helmuth. Michigan's critically short of guys for jumbo sets.
I will note that Ohio State's offense managed to scrape by this year with something called a Rory Nichol at tight end after they lost their own dunderheaded TE, Marcel Frost. With a plethora of receiving targets available -- come on, Arrington, let's get it together -- the actual negative effect on the offense is yet to be seen. I am leery about the possibility that our third-and-short conversions get even worse next year.
*(It's deeply ironic that Michigan picked up Criswell mostly because they had an extra scholarship slot available and gave it to a program guy with impeccable work ethic and character who they had discovered because he was a high school teammate of Butler. The irony reaches mindblowing levels if Criswell takes Butler's job because of it; should he end up an All-American, thousands of reformed Gen-X slackers will have their heads retroactively explode in 1992.)
What about Adrian Arrington?
Still hanging on. Apparently attended this week's press conference. Not in the habit of kicking the shit out of random civilians.
I wonder if this will result in an offensive lineman moving out to TE. A few classes ago Michigan brought in two tight ends with the intention of moving them to the offensive line. Mark Ortmann has established himself as a contender for the right tackle spot and is likely to valuable to move, but Tim MacAvoy seems buried in the interior. If we need a guy to come in on third and one to plow someone he might be our best option, though he's likely to be too clunky for regular deployment.
Comments were broken this morning but are fixed now. Lo siento.
- Top 9 games in Michigan history: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3
- Deadspin-style regional previews: West | Northeast | East | Midwest
One of the unfortunate parts of college hockey fandom is that I have virtually no knowledge of anyone outside our league since it's impossible to get either CSTV or ESPNU on cable. So I can't tell you all that much about the Fighting Sioux except that Ryan Duncan shouldn't get the Hobey over Hensick. One thing I think may be in our favor: North Dakota's Toews-Oshie-Duncan line -- popularly referred to as "the DOT line" even though calling it the "TOD" line opens up all sorts of Flanders jokes, I mean seriously North Dakota let's get on the ball here -- is close to the be-all and end-all of their scoring. The Flanderses all score more than a PPG, but one other forward does more than 0.6 -- Brad Miller with 10-13-23 -- and he's an outlier. NoDak's fifth forward has 15 points on the season.
I'm generally not hockey-savvy enough to pick up on matchup issues, but this one will be glaring: watch who we put on the ice against the Flanderses. Since we have last change we have the luxury of putting Jack on the ice whenever Christianity threatens. Unfortunately, if the rest of the year is any indication this also means sending Matt Hunwick and his turnover machine onto the ice. If I was Red Berenson I'd break my pairings and send Mitera and Jack out there versus the DOT line, though both have played RD this year. I'm sure Jack can handle LD. This would be the world's most perfect situation to have Dwight Helminen around, too, but alas there is no equivalent shutdown center available. It'll be fascinating to see whether or not Red matches Hensick up against them or not. I think I'd rather see another line blend to get Cogs on the ice with Porter and Rohlfs, who are our most defensively responsible forwards. Cogs' backchecking is far superior to Hensick's just because he's Helminen fast and I don't want to see any Flanderses on an odd-man rush. I kind of doubt we'll see these changes, but there it is: my strategic plan for tomorrow. Shut down the Flanderses, try to get Kolarik and Hensick to hook up for a couple goals, and get the hell out of dodge.
And thus... hope. The cycle begins anew. Unlike last year's identical matchup, in which every reasonable Michigan fan expected a brief burst of pain and then a soothing white light, Michigan has a reasonable chance of beating North Dakota tomorrow. It's a shame that this team has played whack-a-mole with its fans' hopes, losing to Bowling Green or Lake State or Ohio State just when they seemed to be rounding the corner and pushing towards the Michigan hockey of old where no team would have prompted an insane burst of profanity just because Michigan had drawn them in the regional.
In my effort to make all Michigan sporting events as melodramatic as possible, I pondered some sort of hockey post about this team that was alternately titled "Hope Exists Only To Be Crushed" or "Hope Is A Thing That Flutters" as my manic-depressive fandom swung wildly from one pole to the other. A goalpost or two fewer against Notre Dame and we're in Rochester or Grand Rapids against some ECAC teams or Maine or something and hope is fluttering its ass to St. Louis to make hotel reservations right now. But just as our heads started poking its way out into the neon sunshine of the arcade, down came the hammer. And it's Denver and the absolute best team in the country and then a hotly debatable second and, uh, Air Force, and hope is a distant country with extremely strict entry visas and customs guys with submachine guns and a dictatorial type with a limp and a cigar and a 300,000 person rally, all of them screaming "Death to Michigan" with inflamed fervor. What a shame it seems that the JMFJ era and the TMFJ era will end with their respective figgins on gibbets a mile high, sending out a warning for any CCHA teams who dare venture west of Chicago.
But if TJ can just stickhandle through a couple guys and JMFJ can make the Flanderses ghosts and Sauer can just hold it together... so I'll watch. With a brick posed over a butterfly, I'll watch. Hockey's weird.
Good God, y'all:
(WCCO) Minneapolis WCCO's Mike Max has learned that the University of Minnesota may be close to announcing a new men's basketball coach, and the newest name in the mix is Tubby Smith of Kentucky.
In a meeting Tuesday night between Smith and University of Kentucky officials, a resignation from Smith was expected. Word is that Gophers athletics director Joel Maturi was on a flight Wednesday afternoon to Lexington to meet with Smith.
Confirmed and replicated everywhere. Good? Bad? Who knows? Minnesota is obviously acting fast as hell on this one in an attempt to get this over and done with before Smith seriously considers other options. Probably throwing a bucket of money at him, too. The choice between Smith and Beilein and Lowery and Miller is one of preference: Beilein has been successful recruiting nobodies; Tubby has been more successful -- vastly so -- recruiting the best talent in the country... until the last two years, when the rumor has it that a Smith fed up with AAU coaches burning him time and again cut ties and,not coincidentally, the rankings of players who sign up to play for UK. If you remove Smith's presence at arguably the premiere program in the country, how good of a coach is he? And did Michigan screw up by not throwing their hat in the ring here? I don't know. I'm sure Drew Sharp does and will come out with an article all about how this proves Michigan's irrelevance, but I'd rather not be forced into a decision right now about a guy who has some questions. (Yes, even though I strongly endorsed him earlier in the week.)
Update: Friend of Blog Russ Levine notes that the UK opening suddenly makes Michigan the second best job available, and second in the sense that Ohio State was second in the Not Fiesta Bowl. Potential impact on our coaching search? UK won't stoop to hiring a Miller or Lowery but might cast an eye towards Beilein. You have to think that they'll start with Billy Gillespie and work their way down before considering a guy who hasn't proven he can recruit at the level UK expects.
Who has? Well, what about Thad Matta?
Update 3/21: Linked to articles on NC DB Robert Blanton, NJ LB JB Fitzgerald (lol). Noted that GA DT Omar Hunter has his offer now. (woot) Moved MI OL Dann O'Neill to committed. Added IL RB Jason Ford, NJ LB Brendan Beal. Removed OH TE Kyle Rudolph (dropped us), OH LB Devoe Torrence (OSU). Moved PA DT Lucas Nix to OT, where he's getting recruited by a lot of schools. If he ends up here OT is a much more logical place for him to play.
Editorial Opinion: Lost in this weekend's Amaker firing, at least here, was the commitment of instate OT Dann O'Neill, which was expected sooner or later but is still nice to have given last year's fiasco. O'Neill seems like a solid four star at this point, a guy closer to the top 100 than three-star status. At 6'7", he's a tackle. Michigan has now locked up two of the top three prospects in the state. (The third is DCD RB Jonas Gray, who Michigan still hasn't offered, though Florida has. Gators lead...
Jonas Gray: Received a UF offer and almost committed. UF leads. Holds offers from Michigan State, Florida, Minnesota, Illinois and Colorado.
...or do they?
Jonas Gray: Now says Michigan State and UF are his top 2 of the teams who have offered.
Gray's offer list is surpassingly weird: CU, Illinois, MSU, Minnesota, and frickin' Florida. The only confirmed RB offers I've found are to CA's Darrell Scott and the incomparable Sam McGuffie. Wonder what the holdup is?)
Anyway: O'Neill is a hugely important pickup and the first of what should be a five or six guy OL class. And he's a tackle. Three cheers for all that.
Omar Hunter, the guy from Georgia who was so darn excited about Michigan a few weeks ago, has his offer. GBW claims we are the favorite:
He has numerous offers, but U-M has offered now and is his fav.
There's an opening on the DL all of a sudden.
Robert Blanton's Michigan quote in this Scout article is priceless:
"Michigan was my first offer," he said. "It was my sophomore year. I've been there two times. I attended their camp last summer and got to meet Coach (Lloyd) Carr and talk with him for a while. We went into his office and he showed me his custom-made putting green he has. I couldn't believe it. Then he told me I had the offer. That was great. I really like everything about Michigan. They have won more than any other team in college football...they dominate. I like that."
We have a lockdown on any and all recruits who want to play putt-putt in the head coaches' office. Pimpin' Lloyd Carr aside, Michigan must really want Blanton to offer him as a sophomore. He's from Jamar Adams' school and we've got a good shot at him, but he's playing it close to the vest.
(Is this further evidence to throw on the Charlie Weis is a Enormous Tool pile?
He asked me how I'd feel if I got an offer from Notre Dame. I told him it would be amazing, I would love to get an offer. Then he said 'okay you do.'
I just can't envision that going down. "Son, how would it feel to get an offer from Notre Dame?" ...as if he expects the recruit to break down and start blubbering as if his life's one true goal had been accomplished. I'm pretty sure I would regard Weis with the same scorn no matter where he coached, but could he coach anywhere other than Notre Dame? "Son... how would it feel to get an offer from Purdue?" Yeah. Not so good.)
JB Fitzgerald has us in his top three:
"I can't say I have a strong favorite or favorites," said Fitzgerald, who reports a 4.7 forty time. "I want to see what each school has to offer before I rule anyone out. Right now, I'd say I like Rutgers, Michigan and USC. If I got an offer from the Trojans, that might change things a little bit.
"I took an unofficial to Michigan the second week of February," he said. "I liked the program a lot. They really showed off their tradition....how much of a part of life it is to them. I got to sit down with Coach (Lloyd) Carr for 20 minutes and that's when I got the offer. Then he sat with me and my dad at the basketball game that night. I can't say enough about what a great guy he is. He is so down-to-earth and easy to talk to. All the coaches are like that there."
"Easy to talk to"... some Detroit beatwriters might like to contest that description. Fitzgerald goes on to talk about USC in an alarming fashion. Trojans haven't offered but if they do I think they become solid favorites.
We lead for NY S Brendan Smith, though slightly:
"I grew up following Michigan," Smith said. "I just love their style of play. They are a fast-paced team and they know how to control the game. They also have really good academics and are well respected in both football and academics.
"They are the only school that has told me what position they want me for," he said. "They are saying safety. Everybody else is telling me that I'm an athlete."
JB Shugarts has a telling quote:
They are reconstructing their facilities and the campus is really nice," he said. "The program is really family-oriented and I like that coach Jim Tressel will be around for a long time."
Dollars to donuts our competition is hammering the Carr retirement thing into the ground... what an odd thing to say unless someone else isn't going to be around a long time. It's a valid thing to bring up; we just have to hope that the other attractions of Michigan can bring classes good enough to keep us afloat until Ron English becomes head coach and turns us into an OMG shirtless beacon on a hill.
The Detroit News recaps the recent shenanigans within the program; mostly stuff you've heard before except for this bit:
And backup defensive end Eugene Germany was ticketed for marijuana possession in Ann Arbor on Feb. 12, according to court records. But Germany, who admitted responsibility and paid a $50 fine, recently was granted a release from his scholarship so he can transfer.
With the assumed dismissal of Butler, that would bring us to two of the three bad actors called out in the spring press conference already gone; now we're just waiting on Arrington's fate. Dude: you're from Iowa. Let's get some sensibility up in this place. You can either return to the land of cows and corn or play in the NFL. This is not a hard decision.
Gracias to commenter RossMBA, who pointed out that my assertion about the unimportance of the Germany possession charge was really wrong here.