I'VE HAD JUST ABOUT ENOUGH OF YOU SONNY
That's Jai Eugene. You recognize the hat, I'm sure. Mr. Eugene is a Louisiana cornerback who everyone thinks is totally excellent (Scout #30, Rivals 250)... the first really high profile corner recruit Michigan has latched on to since Marlin Jackson. Informative update coming; until then Scout has a bunch of pictures and stuff; Rivals has an article.
Also, the basketball team managed to squeak by Purdue 68-65... less than inspiring but better than a loss. Mas later.
Update: There's clearly a strong difference of opinion between Scout and Rivals in this case. ESPN sides with Scout's "yowza!" take, giving him a grade of 7.9 and ranking him #15 overall and the #1 corner:
Eugene has all the tools to develop into a special player at the next level. ... has cover corner written all over him. He is the definition of a fluid football player.
They also chip in some caveats about experience, since Eugene is such a freaky athlete he ended up playing mostly quarterback--much like Antonio Bass. An article announcing his selection to the Army All-American team has a couple additional quotes on his ability (warning! Lemming alert!):
"A quarterback first in high school, Jai has tremendous athleticism. He sees the game extremely well, and has the physical tools to star at corner on the college level," says Scout.com.
"Jai shows big-time speed, instincts, and always gets a good break on the ball," says Lemming. "He takes good angles to the ball and shows tremendous range."
...and finally, this article has a quote from Eugene's coach:
...School's best prospect since safety Ed Reed, an All-American at Miami and first-round pick of the Ravens. "Everybody is looking for cornerbacks with the speed and physical ability to shut down the passing games in college," Destrehan coach Steve Robicheaux said. "Jai will fit the bill."
Destrehan quarterback Jai Eugene already had thrown five interceptions, including picks on the previous four possessions. But when it mattered most, Eugene lofted a pass to Joshua Martin at the 25-yard line, and Martin broke away from the St. James defense to sprint into the end zone for the winning touchdown.
; track supahstar.... as a sophomore.
Tennessee was also recruiting Eugene heavily, thus a series of articles concerning him from orange-clad parts. Here's an extensive one from April concerning him and his infant son (Google cache link; here's the original with Annoying Reg) with some quotes that if I had seen earlier I may have considered Eugene a strong possibility:
"That's [LSU's proximity to home] the only reason I'd stay here for school," Eugene said. "I like LSU a lot because my family can see me. I'd be here more. LSU is great. They have great fans. If I went there, I'd be able to see my son and my family. I'd say I'm 75-80 percent sure I'll go out of state, though.
"...I'll go to whichever college I need to, which one fits me best."
For extra bonus creepiness, check the comments out and revel in Tennessee eating it at the hands of, um, everyone this year. Actual quote: "God does not condone fornication." Yeah, well God doesn't condone Tennessee, either. You can tell because of the smiting. You can check out this video interview and see for yourself that Jai's a personable young man.
Insightful Editorial Summary: OMG YAY. This is the year of defying the curse of the south and picking up really fast dudes. Given Michigan's persistent whiffery on Darrin Walls, Justin King, Victor Harris, and every other major corner target Michigan set its sights on over the past couple years, Eugene's commitment is a unexpected, important bonus going forward. I would not expect him to redshirt, as his combination of freaky athleticism and financial need means that he will probably enter the NFL draft as soon as it makes sense.
Also, this is the second improbable commit who has been eerily projected by anonymous commenter "Matt," in case you're wandering around said comments wondering who to take seriously.
The Larger Picture: A second southern heist of one of the country's best athletes changes the perception of this recruiting class drastically. Michigan still needs an offensive tackle badly, but every other major need Michigan entered the year with has been met. An edge rusher, a second safety, and a tight end would all be nice, but if all of Michigan's commitments stick and reasonably good players fill out the rest of the class at a minimum it will grade out as a B, which isn't bad at all given the down year in-state, the excitement of new coaches at Pitt and ND, and the dismal on-field results.
Mutterings abound in the aftermath of the Season of Infinite Pain, and they're coming from everywhere--mysterious message board !nziD0rZ, reputable newspaper people, talk radio ravers, and the maniacs that compose the bulk of all sports fans who bother to post on the Internet. In general, they concern coaches and their roles on the Michigan staff... or potential lack thereof. Rosenberg's latest contains a lot of unverified voracity that's nigh blog-worthy:
Lloyd Carr is about to do something about it.
Since the season ended, Carr has met with each of his coaches individually and told them he will make changes to his staff. That probably doesn't mean outright firings, but it will mean a significant shuffling of responsibilities.
Like demoting a coordinator.
Maybe even two.
This, coupled with natterings from the aforementioned insiders that hint darkly at things going bump in a "locked down" Fort Schembechler that is on edge unlike any time in recent memory, has the Internet fanbase a tizzy with rumors.
well the wind is blowing, where am i going
off a bridge and falling, nobody's calling
on the ground and laying, nobody's praying
why can't you be nicer to me?
- QB coach, uber-recruiter, and all-around Boy Genius Scot Loeffler is being promoted to offensive coordinator. Or co-offensive coordinator. Or being given more responsibility in the offense. Or pissed off and about to leave.
- Former offensive coordinator Mike DeBord, who went splat at Central Michigan, is going to retake the post or co-retake the post and is being set up by Carr as his designated successor.
- Terry Malone is ceding some responsibility, or all responsibility, or has been shot.
- Jim Herrmann has a silly mustache.
- Also he may be relieved of his linebacker coaching duties, or his defensive coordinator duties, or just left to stand because that's how we roll. The mustache remains intact.
- Defensive backs coach Ron English is either about to leave for the NFL, about to be defensive coordinator, or about to undergo a strange procedure that leaves him crippled but able to deflect passes with his mind, like that cat.
- '07 uber-recruit QB Ryan Mallet of Texas has been told that Scot Loeffler will be offensive coordinator/mayor by the time he arrives and is polishing up for an unprecedented run of twelve Heismans.
- Former coach Gary Moeller is coming back to be defensive coordinator or something. Yeah, far out, dude.
- Ohio State is about to get hammered by the NCAA.
- Bobby Petrino is about to be the new coach.
- None of this will matter because Carr is still the coach and OMG LLLLLoyd is a LLLLLoser. oneoneone. two.
In short, all hell has broken loose. Up is down! Left is right! Cats and dogs sleeping together, mass hysteria! It looks like the only thing we can be sure of is that Notre Dame is really racist.* Hold to that one piece of knowledge in the swirling maelstrom of uncertainty ahead, my friends.
*(OMG joking, Irish fans.)
I did this last August, but I think now is a good time to bump this to the top. Recent events and all. Yeah, we've been there.
Hey, we're up 31-21. We're gonna win.
Um. That guy is kinda fast.
OMG THAT IS UNPOSSIBLE.
Shock, Horror, Disgust, Fear, Wailing; The Beating Of Your Chest, Rending Of Your Clothing, And General Renunciation Of God; In Brief, A Short Glimpse Into The Very Bowels Of Hell
AAAIGH! Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?*
Possessed By The Devil, A Murderous Rampage**
Mr. Hat says: Find the Herr-mann. Smite him. Eat him, eat all of him.***
* (Pure blasphemy.)
** (Look ma, I'm a New York Times headline writer!)
***(mgoblog does not condone the smiting and subsequent consumption of anyone, even people with redundant German last names and no ability to stop mobile quarterbacks.)
...now that you mention it. No doubt others have/will touch on the general unpossibility of Vince Young, but it bears repeating: um, dude. Seriously. Bullets, baby!
- Our long national nightmare is over. No offense to the USC players, who seem as blameless as college kids with inexhaustible sources of hotties willing to do anything and access to vast quantities of alcohol can be, but no one without a direct tie to the school was rooting for them thanks to ESPN's general insufferability in regards to the Trojans. Now it can be told: there is no doubt that the 2005 Trojans are the greatest one loss team in the history of college football. And proud we are of all of them.
- Can we shut up about Mack Brown now? Blah blah blah never win big game blah blah blah never beat OU blah blah blah never does anything with all his talent... totally bleeding ridiculous given the state the program had fallen to under Mackovic and the powerhouse Sooner teams that kept Texas down for so long. That's what they said about Tom Osborne. Look: winning national championships is hard. No matter how much goddamn talent you have. Football is a game where it's near impossible to get through a season without having at least a few games balance on a razor's edge. Look at USC, undoubtedly the best team ever: a desperate sneak against ND, a squeaker against Fresno, a late rally against Arizona State, and a loss to Texas. A few plays here and there and they could have ended up 8-4.
Can't people just accept that not everything is ordained from on high by talent and skill?
- Also can we learn our lesson? All talk about "greatest ever" anything should be banned after that ESPN fiasco. Who knows? No one. Who can prove anything about anything? No one. So can we stop the inane assertions of the finest performance, best quarterback, best game ever? I don't care. It was a great game. Vince Young is a great player. That's enough.
- A blessing and a curse. The game reasserted the case for replay in no uncertain terms, even though it did not work flawlessly. A couple of plays--the Vince Young pitch and a linebacker's near interception--were not reviewed, but several critical ones were and there were a couple overturned calls that were critical to the game. The infamous Jim Augustine--the man who blew the Chad Henne "fumble" in the MSU game--was the review official, so you knew there would be screwups but on balance the game was improved by its presence. Any Penn State fans want to check in with elaborate conspiracy theories about how the Witvoet crew was conspiring against Penn State tonight?
- Speaking of insufferable. By the way, Fouts, the refs were checking with each other to see whether Bush had stepped out of bounds on his leaping touchdown in order to get the call right, not because they "don't see anyone like Reggie Bush in the Big Ten," you smarmy ridiculous-bearded hippie.
- Thanks, Keith. Fading, sure. But, like Johnny Cash a few years back, anyone focusing on his momentary confusion from time to time and harping on his declining form is missing out on the last days of an inimitable voice that the world will soon be poorer without. Much poorer.
So... is it September yet?
1/3/2006 - Michigan 63-70 Indiana - 10-2, 0-1 Big Ten
Yeah... so that's why I sort of hate college basketball. When you are me and shamelessly parochial in your sporting interests, most of your viewing time is occupied by watching the teams you support. The opponent changes but one team remains a constant, though the uniforms flip from home to away on a regular basis. When I take all the drawings that form my impression of this particular sport and animate them into a flipbook of This Is... NCAA Basketball(!!!) the signal that emerges from the noise is heavily influenced by the one team my viewing revolves around.
What do I see? Turnovers. Awful passes. Stupid decisions. A bonus ten seconds wherein college teams get to sit around doing nothing in particular. Big guys camping out in the lane, rendering driving useless. A three point line better suited for sixth graders. Scores reminiscent of offensively proficient lacrosse. Sun Belt-esque refereeing. In contrast, my opinion of the NBA must be hilariously divergent with that of the general populace since my chosen team therein plays a brilliantly effective, efficient, and intelligent brand of basketball. But what can you do? My brain has all this data. It has to do something with it.
I spent a large portion of the Indiana game cursing the stupidity of everyone on the floor, though I hope you'll agree it was not totally outside the realm of reason. Michigan hung around Indiana largely on the strength of Graham Brown rebounding everything and... um... good defense I guess (except when it wasn't), but there was no point during the game where it felt like Michigan could assemble any semblance of offense aside from the occasional three pointer when Indiana forgot that Michigan was capable of little else. Eventually I started hoping that Michigan would start jacking up contested three pointers, since the alternative was a contested two pointer or a turnover. Grim. And totally expected, just like Courtney Sims finding himself opposed by a mean man who fights for position and ending up neutralized.
Perhaps this is an overreaction to an abberrantly bad game, but let's be serious: if you were to pick any game from the Amaker era against reasonable competition and peg the under/over on turnovers, 20 would not be a totally implausible estimate. 16 would probably get you even money. Why is this? I don't know. Amaker seems set on running a motion offense he doesn't have anywhere near the personnel for. As I understand it, the motion offense relies on big men who can pass competently and shoot from outside the post. Michigan has no post who can do the former and only Chris Hunter is capable of the latter. It requires every player on the floor to be able to read each other's intentions and make intelligent cuts for easy baskets. Michigan tends to throw the basketball out of bounds several times a game because intentions may as well be ancient Sumerian cuniform to them. The similarities between the basketball team and football team are depressing: the expectation is for the position.
Special ITYSO Bonus!
By the way, that thud you just heard was Courtney Sims officially falling off the All-Wonk Team. (The guy's a one-man assault on the very concept of stats: he looks good on paper because he stockpiles inordinately beautiful numbers against inferior opponents.)
This here blog in the preview:
There's no questioning Sims' shot blocking and post ability, but he has shown little fire or competitiveness in his first two years at Michigan, often getting dominated by players with half his physical gifts but twice his determination. Sims got shoved out of position far too much for a player with his size and skill, failed to rebound effectively, and often disappeared for long stretches at a time, especially when matched up against high-quality opposition.
Grim satisfaction? Sure. Would I rather be wrong in this case? Sure.
Basketball coming up this afternoon. For now, Big Ten Wonk has a recap par excellence for you.
Joey would undoubtedly refer to this as "peep game" but my flaccid indie band tendencies prevent me from knowing what in the sam hell this means. In any case, even though you undoubtedly do not care about the Edmonton Oilers in the slightest, I must point out "Covered In Oil," undoubtedly the finest blog anywhere. I mean:
Man, if you had told me a month ago that Ty Conklin would be between the pipes for the Oilers first shutout of the season, I would have called you a filthy little liar and slapped you right in the mouth. Then, I probably would have felt bad for overreacting and bought you a caramel Drumstick or something, guilt-ridden but resting assured that my point had nonetheless been made. That point being Ty Conklin is bad.
Huzzah, etc. One of the best things about this whole "college football blog community" thing that magically happened is that I know various southerners--probably based in Atlanta and wondering if they should drink whiskey or Drano after the Sugar Bowl--peruse this space on a regular basis and regard any and all hockey posts with puzzlement and bemusement. Yes, kids, when water gets cold it turns into something hard and slippery.
Er. Anyway, you may now continue your dirt-track racing careers.
Introspection and bitching from around the web. Alamo Farce fallout was truly radioactive. Commisseration occurs from various places on the ref screwjob. Paul Westerdawg:
Worst officiating ever. At least when Al Ford and his crew killed the Dawgs in 1999 vs. Tech, they didn't have instant replay as a resource.
Yeah... Michigan got f***ed pretty thoroughly. Having to burn two timeouts for replays ended up costing them big time, and the circus that was the final play was just a fitting end to an all-around ass-raping by the semi-trained monkeys from the Sun Belt.
Every coach knows that if players do run onto the field during a play, the penalty is harsh. Nebraska's entire team ran onto the field during the game-deciding play -- yet not a single yellow flag. That's spectacular officiating ineptitude. Maybe the Sun Belt Conference zebras working this game were anxious to head to the locker room and didn't care about doing their jobs properly. Whatever the explanation, "Sun Belt Conference officials" will now be synonymous with incompetence, while "Alamo Bowl" will now be synonymous with botched game supervision.
Back at the Michigan ranch, Johnny freaks everyone out by quoting "Hurt," but makes it clear in his lead that killing yourself... eh... could possibly be avoided...
Please, open the garage door before you start the car, untie yourself from the train tracks, spit the mouthful of bleach into the sink, drain the bath before you toss in any appliances, and fire that .38 into the sky, for another voice of delirium commands your attention, and like you it has absolutely no idea what has just happened. So gather round, pop the last of your 12 dollar New Year's Eve champagne, because calamity of this caliber loves company.
...but only because then there won't be anyone to bitch to. I sort of expected Joey to ignore this advice and post a recording of his grisly demise at the hands of a shotgun blast, but he lives(!) and posts something aptly titled "Make It Stop." Indeed. Stop, don't git it git it. Etc.
Vijay, more mature than the rest of us combined into Bitchy Whiny Blogger Voltron, has emerged from a private cocoon of sorrow with a State of the Program Address which I'll respond to later; it deserves fuller consideration since it'll be the topic du jour for the duration of the offseason.
I did this. Before when I ran across dumb internet things and created derived dumb Internet things with them, they died quietly. Now they liiiiive... on the blog!
Alamo Aftermath, y'all. Caution: it sucks.