that is nice bonus change
Rumors of an unfortunate nature. This is always a fine line to walk, but I think both of these nasty football-related items have tripped the threshold of credibility and should thus be reported. Keep in mind that the following are rumors of the message board variety, though they're ones that have multiple credible sources:
- Kevin Grady tore his ACL and will miss the 2007 season.
- Carlos Brown has been absent from practice for the past week and is likely to transfer to an SEC school so he can play running back.
As always, there is a nonzero chance both of these things are false, especially the latter since there is a chance Brown could change his mind. (It's unlikely a hypothetically torn Grady ACL leaps into self-mending action.)
There is a possibility that Nasty Happening #1 helps convince Brown to forgo Nasty Happening #2 since he'd be third string at worst this year with an eye on moving up, but that's widely regarded as a longshot. Those prone to gnash teeth at every departure of a "speed back" Michigan can't fathom using properly will do so here, but Brown was beaten out by a player in his recruiting class who showed some explosive speed of his own on a couple long runs. If he's really dead-set on being a running back he's probably wise to do it elsewhere.
The wider view: yuck. The losses are piling up this offseason. To date only one projected starter, Carson Butler, is gone, but Michigan is now dangerously thin at many positions. The backup QB is a true freshman. There are two tailbacks on the roster (a third joins this fall). The starting fullback is a true freshman. There's one tight end with a snap's worth of experience. There are only four defensive ends. While we haven't sustained major damage yet, our shields are down and the next concussion missile is destined for our hull.
At least it will be louder maybe at some point in the future and stuff. The Daily has an interesting article on the possibility of luxury box renovations embiggening the volume level in Michigan Stadium. A university professor has been drafted to evaluate the changes and he came to a startling conclusion:
The University is working with Architecture Prof. Mojtaba Navvab - who was also a consultant on the acoustics of Hill Auditorium - to evaluate the acoustics of the renovation plans. During one game last fall, Navvab stood just off the 50 yard line and took readings of the noise level. He found that the volume ranged between 77 and 87 decibels - about the same noise level as a loud office.
Using computer models of the renovation plans, Navvab predicted that the volume in the stadium will increase to a range of 85 to 95 decibels - just under the volume of the inside of a New York City subway. That means the stadium would sound almost twice as loud as it does now.
That alone should swing the opinion of anyone who is still on the fence about the changes. (Decibels are a logarithmic measure of volume for anyone doing some subtraction and scratching their heads.) One suggestion: when you go to the trouble of creating a interesting and informative graphic, maybe you should make it bigger than this?
Bobble. Our new women's coach has been immortalized in the same fashion that Bill Laimbeer has:
(He's on the left.)
One of these things is not like the other. There are five people on an ESPN front page poll asking about the "most promising teenager" in sports. Four of them:
- The slam-dunk #1 and #2 picks in the upcoming NBA draft
- the NHL's youngest-ever winner of the Art Ross award, a guy who scored 120 points this year
- a two-time Grand Slam event winner and former WTA player of the year.
New blogs...? There are other things for you to examine this offseason written by Michigan students. Frequent commenter Colin has embarked on his own blogging enterprise (suggestion: adopt catchier name). Law student and former Detroit News columnist(? really? Suggestion for tons of traffic: dirt on Foster) Scott Warheit tackles mostly sports but occasionally hours of 24 at Quo Vadimus. And improbably-named freshman Ace Anbender covers the entire Detroit scene at the Ace of Sports.
Etc.: King Kaufman has an entertaining interview with blogger/author Derek Zumsteg. Branch falling in NFL drafters' eyes. Michigan Sports Center fisks Bob Becker like whoah. The NHL press is really hammering this Marty Turco, choker thing. Simmons on NBA tanking -- I'm a sucker for weird proposals to fix sports.
Ending weeks of speculation, Corperryale Harris of Detroit Redford said he is honoring his signed letter-of-intent to attend Michigan.
Kelvin Grady announced yesterday that he'd honor his LOI and it sounds like Alex Legion may be persuaded to stay as well:
Legion, who returned to Oak Hill on Monday, said he expects new U-M coach John Beilein to visit him sometime this weekend in Virginia.
"I'm starting to like Michigan more and more," Legion said.
Is nice. Beilein's first foray into recruiting Detroit is a success.
Good news: Kelvin Grady has officially announced that he's staying with Michigan($). Desultory cheer from the beleaguered plebeians.
Also good news: there's a site that just popped up named MustSeeGames.com that has a selection of Michigan high school games from the recent state playoffs, including the Kelvin Grady-Anthony Crater matchup in the class B semifinal. I've pulled everything Grady did that was interesting (and a couple things that, in retrospect, aren't very interesting) for your edification:
(Right-click and 'save as': Downloadable original.)
If Manny Harris sticks with his commitment I have two games of his to execute something similar with, including one in which he goes for 41.
Grady appears to be an actual point guard who can get penetration whenever he wants to. His handling is superb, though he faintly reminds me of Jack Johnson at times when he trusts it too much and nearly gets himself pinned to the sideline or the timeline. Grady didn't get caught against Flint but dribbled himself into trouble a few times. This is forgivable because he then dribbled himself right back out of trouble. He also broke Flint's frequent trapping easily and looked to push the ball up the floor when he had broken a press or had an advantage after a missed shot. This only met middling success but Grady's speed and decision-making on the break was excellent; only an inability to finish by both his teammates and himself held down their totals. Unfortunately, his jumper was meh and, as noted, his ability to finish when he gets to the hoop was lacking. He did knock down a couple threes, but if Michigan's relying on Grady to score they're going to be disappointed. In all other ways he appears superior to Jerret Smith. (This may be less of an endorsement than you think. Somewhat shockingly, Smith led the team with a 43% three-point shooting percentage.)
Since EGR spent most of the game in a 2-3 zone, Grady didn't do much of interest on defense aside from the pair of steals on the tape. Mostly he'd come out to man up on Crater (who's clearly talented but has a tendency to take really bad shots and force things that aren't there) briefly, then retreat when the ball moved to the wing or inside. He has a rep for tough ball defense, but it wasn't apparent in this game.
Grady should be a useful player when surrounded by guys who can knock down kickout jumpers or finish inside. His ability on the break should be helpful if Legion and Harris show up; Michigan will be fielding a team of athletic guys between 6'4" and 6'9" that can all get up and down the floor, and his intelligence and handle should help Beilein cut down on the turnovers that have plagued Michigan's program since time immemorial. A role player but the kind of guy you can win with if he's got a couple of guys to set up with good looks. Cough. Cough. Legion, Harris, cough, subtlety.
The Ann Arbor News reports that Beilein has settled on one member of his staff:
Two weeks after leaving for an assistant coach's position with Illinois State, Mike Jackson is back with the Michigan men's basketball team.
Jackson resigned Monday at Illinois State and will be the first member of new Michigan coach John Beilein's staff.
Jackson was supposed to be the member of the staff closest to Legion and Harris, so this can't hurt with their re-recruitment.
Another in the very occasional series.
I once heard that U of M is the only public school in the Big Ten that does not treat its out of state scholarship athletes as in state for tuition purposes. A friend explained that all others do, which would provide for a huge savings in the amount of scholarship tuition that the University pays, especially considering that most athletes come from out of state. If this is indeed the case, changing the rule would amount to a savings of millions of dollars, which would go a long way toward catching Michigan up in terms of facilities and coaches contracts. What is your take on this?
I have also heard this but don't know if it's true. Fortunately, a helpful reader who's name I've sadly forgotten pointed out a publicly available copy of the '06-07 Michigan athletic department budget. It projected that Michigan would pay 12.1 million in student financial aid last year. Details:
Financial aid to students: The athletic department grants the maximum allowable scholarships to all varsity sports. Total grant-in-aid equivalencies are approximately 335 with an estimated in-state to out-of-state ratio of 30%/70%.
Athletes are compensated for more than just their tuition. They get room and board and books and scads (scads I say!) of Entree Plus, so the calculation isn't quite as easy as dividing 12.1 million by 335 and saying "a-ha!". But the average cost for a year of tuition at Michigan appears to be slightly over 10k for in state students and slightly over 31k(!) for out of state students, though many athletes go to school in the summer. Assuming everyone does and the 10k is actually 15k, if all 335 grant-in-aid equivalencies were charged at instate levels only five million of the 12.1 would actually be going to tuition and each player with a full scholarship would be given $21,000 per year for living expenses. And that's erring on the conservative side. No freakin' way.
It's true: Michigan charges out-of-state student-athletes out-of-state tuition. I can't speak for what other schools do, but at places like Texas this is much less of an issue. Does it really matter? I don't know. Michigan is running a sixteen million dollar surplus but, as everyone constantly points out, is slipping behind in the facilities arms race and will likely be applying much of that surplus to shiny new palaces down the road. If other schools ignore the soft costs of a few extra students, their palaces will be shinier and their Godzillatrons more Gozilla-y.
Yes, this is still the #1 Michigan blog in the Central Asian Steppe, thankyouverymuch. Look, I've totally got proof:
couple of questions about the WV basketball coach beilein. the buzz seems to be that he's good or great at x's and o's and is a good guy, etc., and that he does "more with less" but doesnt recruit that well.this worries me a bit. shouldnt we be looking for a coach that does "more with more ?"ok so we havent been awesome lately but a michigan basketball coach should be able to recruit some pretty good talent. the detroit news is saying he's a "safe" choice. thats neat and all, but shouldnt we be trying to win some games at this point. now, because it was the detroit news that said it, i thought two things:1. theyre probably wrong... and2. isnt that a little unfair (at least) b/c didnt beilien have two pretty good runs with his WV teams? and didnt they look pretty good doing it?so what do you think? is recruiting going to be a problem?jack from kazakhstanbtw. mullets in kazakhstan totally out of control.
I think this point's be addressed here and elsewhere plenty, but to be fair to Jack 1) he wrote this a long time ago and 2) it contains a critical update on the mullet situation in Kazakhstan.
Anyway: as Friday's UV highlighted, there was no discernible difference between the recruiting rankings of a team that got its coach fired and one that won two national championships back to back. And Michigan fans were livid about Amaker's crappy recruiting. Beilein doesn't have to recruit like Thad Matta or Roy Williams to have a shot at a national championship. He came thisclose to a Final Four with no guys who even sniffed the NBA and it's not like he's going to recruit worse than he did at West Virginia. Even the worst case scenario here is fun forays deep into the tourney alternating with rebuilding years.
We'll get a sneak peek at his recruiting ability in the next week or two as he tries to sell his system and his program to Legion and Harris. Will he keep both? I don't know. That News article over the weekend made it sound okay for Legion and bad for Harris, but Harris has always expressed a desire to stay close to home so his parents can watch him play and I doubt he'll find a situation more conducive to lots of playing time anywhere else. His stock has risen greatly since he signed his LOI, however, and there are a lot of schools who would love to shoehorn him into their class. Legion's always been jumpy, but his shooting is a natural fit for the Beilein offense and he seems interested in the possibility of playing in an offense with a point. Chances are he loses one, but if he manages to hold onto both most of the concerns about his recruiting ability will be dispelled within a few weeks of his appointment.
Brian,You probably like to use your own material on the blog, but maybe you too have noticed an interesting phenomenon with Michigan fans when discussing prospects for the next basketball coach.
Now that you mention it... yeah. Hell, I was vehemently opposed to Sean Miller for no other reason than his product hair.
The proprietor of the Georgia Sports Blog chipped in some personal observations of the 1-3-1, which is deployed on occasion by Georgia:
When Harrick [who you'll note was totally a product hair guy. -ed] was here we ran the 1-3-1 with Damien Wilkins (Super Sonics 6th man) at the top of the key. And we had our PG under the basket. The long ultra athletic and muscular Wilkins (6'5" and 210 lbs or so) drove teams nuts up top. But as all your articles pointed out, we couldn't run it much. Too exhausting for our PG on the bottom.
We used it as a change of pace to just wreck a team's tempo and kill momentum.
Today, we run it under Felton...and it works ok...unless we're playing:
1. the princeton back cut you to death approach
2. long athletic wings and post leapers like GT that brutalizes us on the baseline
3. Florida. They just shoot over it, through it, around it, etc.
We also drop our 7'0" shot blocking project into the middle of that scheme, and he has a blast with it. He's worthless on offense and man defense, but he's a disruptive force in the 2-3 and 1-3-1.
br />That defense with Michigan type players, will drive teams bat shit crazy playing you.
We're actually a pretty good rebounding team defensively in that set. But it's because our guards are our best rebounders. Our big men don't do much rebounding in the 1-3-1....well...they don't do much rebounding period actually. So there's that.
Sadly, I think Paul overestimates the "Michigan type players" we've had in recent years, but more food for thought on the 1-3-1. Beilein played down his use of the system in a post-PC interview The Wolverine posted, claiming that this year's team played almost exclusively man-to-man down the stretch. In the NIT championship game, however, the 1-3-1 was back with a vengeance. Flexibility? Oh, John. You say such sweet things.
And this one's really old, but awesome:
I went to Chicago last weekend for the Big Ten Tournament. It wasn't the best of times, what will all the OSU victories, but one event did stand out. Per NCAA or Big Ten policy, there was no alcohol in the stands at the United Center. (This is in contrast to, say, Joe Louis Arena, where I can drink and watch college hockey at the same time.) The only place to get a drink was at a bar that's built into the east side of the building off the concourse. Needless to say that at 11:00 AM CST on a Friday, while most of the stands were empty, the bar was packed to the gills.
After OSU put us down, my buddy and I headed to the bar to get a drink before Purdue/Iowa. It was really hot in the bar (filled to capacity on a warm day) and I removed my Michigan sweatshirt to reveal my "Charlie Weis should probably eat less" t-shirt. I became an instant celebrity. People stopped me to take my picture, complete strangers grabbed my shirt so they could read the entire caption, everybody loved it. There was even a slightly intoxicated Purdue fan who walked up and talked my ear off for five minutes about how ND steals all of their recruits. I just thought you'd like to know.
Charlie would later reveal that the slightly intoxicated Purdue fan was Scarlett Johansson. BUY SHIRTS!