to play football, not to play trumpet
|Last week's ballot|
I like how this ballot turned out, given the wacky circumstances of this week, but I'm not super-enamored with it. As always, suggestions are welcome.
Please don't pay too much attention to the delta values, as they never seem to work properly on my ballot.
A couple points to consider:
- Texas was pretty close to jumping Florida, but the Gators' resume overall is still more impressive, despite the fact that they should have lost to Arkansas.
- Should Georgia Tech be ranked ahead of Virginia Tech? Probably not, because the Hokies are GT's only big win on the year, while VT has a few good wins to its credit.
- I don't know what to do with Ohio State. I don't think they deserve to be ranked where they are (obligatory lolpurdue), but looking at wins, they should be. I guess there should be an "embarrassment level of loss" metric to take into account.
- Some of the teams toward the back end of the poll seem to be only vaguely deserving of inclusion. However, the teams on my "consideration" list (see the chart after the jump) don't seem to be any better. Which teams am I forgetting about that deserve a shot?
As always, the full resume chart is after the jump. In future weeks, I think I'm going to trim it down, and only include each team's top 5 wins, along with all the losses for every team on the chart. A 63-6 shellacking over a 1-AA team shouldn't really be relevant to separating teams (and if it is, I can look at it on a case-by-case basis). The main reason for this, of course, is that I'm breaking the tables on the MGoTemplate.
The WH highlight reel:
A fan-shot version of Vincent Smith's first touchdown as a Wolverine:
And a standard-definition torrent from Ten Yard Torrents. Will update when an HD torrent gets posted.
- Liked opportunity to play in front of 106k, and the fans supported the team, despite lack of an exciting opponent.
- Liked that a bunch of older guys were able to get their first real playing time. Even ST starters didn't play in the second half. Guys are happy because their teammates got to play. So many close games prevents quality reps for the depth. A lot of fun to let the scout team guys get real playing time.
- Carlos should be cleared up by Monday. Molk might be back for the PSU game, and he should be able to practice this week. No new injuries happened today.
- Tate practiced well during the week. They wanted to give him some game reps, but the first couple series went well, and they didn't need him. They knew tuesday that Tate would be able to play. If he was needed all game, he could have (but they planned on playing Denard). Wanted to get Denard some passing reps. Sheridan will be a great coach some day. Cone knows the system, great to get him some reps.
- Planned to give Shaw and Smith the most carries. Wanted to give Kevin a few as well. How importat was it to get the backups some carries? You need at least 3-4 tailbacks, because they often play 2 at once, etc. It's critical to get the lower guys some reps. VS and MS physical for their size. Cox is on the scout team, but he got a chance to prove himself today.
- Beginning of the year, this game would be used for evaluating. Middle of the year, it's a rest week, and time to give reps to depth players.
- James Rogers moved to CB this week. Asked a couple weeks ago if he could help out on defense.
- Wanted to run the offense, but didn't want to show anything new or throw the ball too much.
- The coaches are "very mindful of the guys we plan on redshirting" Justin Turner will redhsirt.
- Guys are ready for PSU. They were talking about the Lions as soon as they started going back up the tunnel.
- RR knows the team is where he wants it when the 2s are almost as good as the 1s.
- JT Floyd was out with what might be the flu. Cissoko still suspended - day-to-day.
Kevin and Kelvin Grady
- Never talked to each other about scoring TDs in the same game. "These are the type of opportunities and moments you work for" - Kelvin.
- Both brothers are competitors, never worried about scoring touchdowns together.
- Kevin loves running the ball, it was god to get the opportunity to do it again. Kelvin's TD - he didn't do much, coaches just made the right call against the coverage.
- Team had no problem with intensity - You shouldn't need the opponent be a big one in order to get up for a game in Michigan Stadium.
- Kelvin still loves his hoops teammates, and they support him in football.
- Wasn't expecting a huge workload, but was prepared to make the most of it.
- Never worried about whether or not he needed to redshirt. He wanted to do whatever the team needed.
- Smith wasn't aware of all the things he was doing, just worried about running the ball.
- Freshman year is for getting the experience down, in the future he can worry about moving up the depth chart.
- Hasn't scored since his junior yr of high school. Brandon Smith scooped the ball to Graham a bit.
- Every game is taken personally. Today was to try to get everybody out there "Get everybody to live their dream of playing in the Big House" Ohene Opong-owusu was a captain today. He was hustling, etc.
- With 2 sacks today, and 3 good weeks, the number is starting to climb up. He's really come on lately.
- Try to keep guys focused in the locker room this week. Trying not to miss assignments this game. About last year's PSU game: "Last year was last year, this year we fight for 60 minutes."
- The Big Ten is up for grabs. The goal is 10-2 "It can happen." You never know what can happen in the big 10. Never lose hope, the goal is a big 10 championship.
- Vincent Smith is tiny and strong. "You ain't seen him with his shirt off. He's cut up."
- "Just going out and having fun with my team. that's all this was."
- Felt great to throw 2 TDs. Safety came down on the Grady TD pass. Knew what was coming. Sometimes the pass to the wide open guy is the hardest one. Don't want to overthtrow or underthrow. Had to throw it to webb because he was so open when denard got his head around.
- Bounce-back from 2 losses is a big deal. The team can re-focus, put past games in the past. It's not hard to do, because your teammates tell you it's ok to make a mistake. You just need to get back on track. Against Iowa, Denard was calm. The interception had nothing to do with his nerves.
- Don't try to do too much. Improving as a passer every day. Coach and teammates helping him out. Reading the defense is what Denard is working on now. Always room for improvement. Better than he was when he first got here.
- More comfortable to get in rhythm, rather than one series at a time? Feels comfortable any time he goes into the game. Both he and Tate want to play, but they don't worry about who's on the field. They just want the team to win. Even Cone and Kennedy got reps today.
- Vincent Smith's running style is fun. He ran loose, and hard to tackle.
- On his fumble, a guy ripped it from behind just as he was going to secure with his second hand.
There is a new and improved Liveblog Chaos Mitigation Post, which you should definitely check out before you start posting willy-nilly. Think of the moderators.
I said I'd come back to this when I have video, and now I do. In last week's Iowa game, the linebackers became extremely aggressive against the run. This usually worked out pretty well. Iowa had a lot of problems running the ball, and what success they had was usually due to the NT getting blown too far back off the ball for Mouton—it was usually Mouton caught in the wash, with Ezeh flowing to a point farther outside—to flow to the ball. There were a couple instances in which the linebackers zipped into the wrong hole, but all told it was an encouraging performance, especially for Ezeh. Ezeh picked up a +4.5, his first positive outcome of the season.
Here's an excellent example of the linebacker's new aggression. It's first and ten late in the first half. Iowa's got the ball and is playing conservatively. They start in an I and motion the outside receiver in:
Here's the snap. You can see Martin already off the ball. Woolfolk has gone in motion to cover the receiver who shifted; this is man coverage:
A half-second later, Iowa is shifting the line left and running a zone stretch. It's hard to see the line from this angle but from the top to the bottom:
- Stevie Brown is holding the outside against an Iowa TE.
- Craig Roh has gotten sealed inside by his guy. I think this is because Michigan's line was slanting away from the play at the snap and then had to try to adjust. Look at Martin in the picture above: he's heading straight upfield. In the picture below, he's behind an OL and trying to come around.
- Ryan Van Bergen and Martin are in a big heap of bodies, with three blockers trying to take on two linemen. They don't crease and they don't allow anyone to get to the second level, so that's a win for Michigan.
- Brandon Graham isn't doing so hot but it doesn't matter. He may be preparing to shoot upfield in the event of a waggle.
And then you've got the linebackers, who are moving forward already, well before the handoff point. Both of them are headed outside.
At the handoff point, Roh has gotten himself a tad bit farther in the backfield. There are still no creases and no downfield blockers. Ezeh is heading outside into the crease between Brown and Roh. Mouton's waiting a bit in case there's a cutback; his designated hole is somewhere between Roh and Martin:
The handoff's made, and Mouton reads that there's nothing in the middle and heads outside. Ezeh's already in the hole, about to meet the fullback…
…who he crushes:
The key in the above frame is that Ezeh got outside the fullback, forcing the tailback behind him and into the help, which could be Roh or RVB but in this case is Mouton, who's running untouched into the path of the tailback…
…for a TFL:
Here's the video:
In real time you can hear, and feel, the crunching destruction of the pwned fullback. Michigan's been doing this for a while now. Contrast several plays against Iowa and Michigan State on which the linebackers flow downhill immediately with this, the opening play of the Notre Dame game:
Yes, they're flowing to the ball, but the hesitancy is obvious. This happened a few times.
The problem comes when opponents go to play action and two tight ends get wide open at the same time, but I don't know if that's their responsibility. With Michigan going to more man coverage since the insertion of Woolfolk at corner, Mouton and Ezeh can be responsible for the two guys in the I; the tight ends are not their problem. In an ace set, that's not the case, but at least one of them was innocent on Moeaki Disaster II.
I'm not sure if this is better play from the linebackers or Robinson removing responsibilities from them and telling them to go forth to rampage. The multiple times Iowa got guys wide open on play action waggles, and Michigan State's success with tight ends, suggest that Michigan has traded one problem for another here.
Editor's note: Tom's back after a happy hiatus with a roundup on the defensive prospects. Items in blockquotes are direct quotes; items outside are impressions gleaned from Tom's conversations with the below recruits.
In light of the depth chart, defensive players are now the focus of recruiting. Michigan has 19 commits on board and will look to fill the rest of the open spots with defense. Here's an update from most of the recruits left on the board:
Bobby Swigert. He will be visiting for either the Penn State, or Ohio State game. He wants to make a decision relatively soon.
Cullen Christian. Cullen is visiting November 21st, and making his decision on November 24th.
“Michigan still leads.” –Cullen Christian
Michigan is in good position to land Christian, and always have been. A lot of the current commits have been contacting him, letting him know how much Michigan wants him.
Marquis Flowers. He’s focusing on his season, and will start evaluating schools once his season is over. He’s not sure if he’s going to visit Michigan. He said he will probably visit, but he’s not sure.
"Notre Dame is really the only visit I have set up right now. I'm going to make my decision either at the Army All American game, or at signing day. I'm just going to take my time with it." –Marquis Flowers
By the sound of how he was talking, he hasn’t put a lot of stock or time into his recruitment yet.
Rashad Knight. Knight is visiting for the Ohio State game, which is shaping up to be a huge game for recruit visits. He doesn’t have any leaders as of now. He has never been to Michigan before, and wants to wait to see the campus before naming any leaders, which is a good sign for M.
Aramide Olaniyan. He recently took a visit to UNC, and (surprise!) he liked it. Everything is still wide open with him. Until his parents get to see the campus of the schools he’s really interested in, he won’t make a decision.
Josh Furman. Josh just visited Virginia Tech. That scares me a little, and I can’t get a feel for what he’s going to do.
Tony Grimes. Grimes will be visiting with his teammate, Clarence Murphy, for the Ohio State game. They have said before that they both want to go to school together. Michigan is one of few schools that have offered both prospects.
"As of right now, Michigan leads for both myself and Clarence (Murphy)." –Tony Grimes
Grimes will be deciding on signing day, and I’m assuming so will Murphy, otherwise that would ruin the surprise.
John Fulton. He has interest in Michigan. We’re not in his top group, he’s an outside shot, but there’s still a shot. I spoke with him the other day, and didn’t sense that much interest, FWIW.
Dietrich Riley. Will take a visit after his season is done, he’s not sure if it will be official, or not.
"They pretty much call every week, so I definitely know that they're interested. I'm just waiting until everything slows down." –Dietrich Riley
He said he liked that they have shown so much interest. This will be a wait and see. He’s one of the better prospects out there, and is being recruited for both safety and running back.
Some names that might still pop up. Ricardo Allen, Dior Mathis, Sean Parker.