Mason NEEDS this, Pistons, after all you've put him through
So it seems I've been hired by AOL to be the Big Ten's lead blogger for what will no doubt be the best website in the entire universe: The Fanhouse. This will necessitate some changes around these parts, but fear not. MGoBlog will soldier on. Worried? The Fanhouse is looking for short, digestible posts from 100-400 words. Does that describe anything on this blog? Not really. Unless they get a table fetish or a strange desire for 3,000 words on Purdue's season, all the stuff you love to skim over and largely ignore is staying right here, baby.
Making the move to AOL:
- Portions of Unverified Voracity. The links therein will be posted individually, as the AOL blog is going to be an uberblog you can filter by tags, so posting something about an injury to a Wisconsin player should be filed under "Wisconsin" instead of "Wisconsin / Angry Ravings Against ESPN / Stat Wonkery." Those bits of UV that aren't directly relevant to the AOL blog will appear here, also individually. I'll miss the name but look forward to posting stuff in more timely fashion.
- Any pressing news like injuries or commitments. Longer Googlestalking commit posts will appear here first.
- Fun YouTube stuff. The AOL blog is encouraging multimedia.
Staying are most things that are horrendously long, not directly relevant, or esoteric:
- Further excursions into stat-wonkery.
- The 3,000 word team previews.
- Basketball & hockey coverage.
- Calls for the head of Stephen A. Smith and his ilk.
Also, this marks a transition point. Selling out is going to occur. A few months ago my job and I agreed to not have each other any more, partially due to the fact that instead of doing "things" I was "supposed to be doing" I was "posting on my blog." In the subsequent months I've come to two conclusions:
- I like blogging.
- I don't like engineering.
So we're going to try this for funding. Some of it will come from AOL. The rest I hope can be provided by merchandising (buy a shirt!), affiliate program-ing, generous readers, and unobtrusive text link ads on the sidebar. I won't be adding any flashing invitations to punch the monkey, literally or metaphorically. If it works, it works and I'm terribly happy. If it doesn't I'll cut my hair and become an accountant or something. We'll give it a year or so and then evaluate it.
Practical Applications for You, The Reader: The NCAA Fanhouse is still a week or two away from launching and is in a weird limbo state where I can and should post to it but there's no Wolverine-specific area. There is a me-specific area that you can bookmark/subscribe to, though in the future it might contain the odd post on other teams that I'm picking up the slack on. This you might possibly survive.
My first post @ the Fanhouse is on the terribly interesting depth chart released today.
California running back Avery Horn committed over the weekend, choosing Michigan over a wide array of mid-level Pac-10 teams:
Hanford, Calif., Hanford High School running back Avery Horn had early offers from Fresno State and Nebraska, and with his latest offer from Washington now stands at seven. In between, Michigan, Oregon, Oregon State and Washington State all threw their respective hats into the ring.
Scout and Rivals both have him as a middle-of-the-road three star recruit. ESPN gives him a 78, though their scouting report($) on him is amazingly positive for a recruit they essentially said "meh" about:
He runs much bigger than his size would lead you to believe. Shows an aggressive style and runs with authority. Hits the hole with great burst and is capable of sneaking through tiny creases. Has good lower-body strength, hits the hole quickly and is a surprising between-the-tackles runner who excels at picking up yards after contact. Runs with good balance, flashes a powerful stiff arm and bounces off arm tackles.
It continues like this for a while longer before some minor concerns about size (he's 5'10", 180-ish) and cut fluidity are expressed. Maybe I'm wrong on the "meh," since on second thought 79s are at the tail end of the ESPN 150. I guess a 78 translates to a mid-four star ranking on Scout or Rivals.
Scout has a couple of quotes:
"He's got burst speed. He can really accelerate. He's a track man and ran a 10.5 (100m) twice last week."
That's his coach. Further:
Avery had a great season last year. He scored 24 touchdowns coming on rushing, punt returns and kick returns. Most of them are long runs and he is really jogging in the last 10 yards. He just has so much acceleration. He had 1,800+ yards rushing last year."
"He had one kick return last year that was over his head, caught it about an inch off of the goal line, and ran it back. That was a 99+ yard run back. That was a school record."
Central Valley messageboard CVHSPreps.com has slightly less outlandish numbers:
Horn rushing = 168-1345 (8.0) 19 touchdowns
Horn receiving = 7-157 (22.4) 1 touchdown
Horn passing = 0-2-0-0
Horn KOR = Four touchdowns
He started slow and didn't have a 100-yard game until the league opener against Redwood where he ran for 209 yards on 21 carries and scored three touchdowns including a 75 KOR. His other big game was at Lemoore when he tallied 202 yards on 24 carries.
Another poster echoes the speed theme from earlier:
Horn is similar in that he has something you cant teach... SPEED! Avery can flat fly and is one of the fastest in the state, which is what has improved his stock. The football camps and track meets in the off season have helped him more than his rushing stats. I would say right now he is being recruited as an athlete, because of his 100 times. Again, size and speed are the two things you cant teach, and with speed like Horn has, he could play several positions besides RB at the D1 level.
And, finally, a probably-irrelevant-but-fun story:
I wouldn't consider this guy the biggest hitter this year because he didn't really have the opportunity to hit that many people...but he laid down probably the biggest hit I saw this year....Avery Horn got to see some action at safety against Lemoore and absolutely blasted Lemoore's TE. The kids helmet busted off his head...a few pads inside ended up on the field...and the kid was bleeding from his face...don't remember him returning....last I saw he was sitting on the bench with a towel over his head....remember that one J??? He also had his fair share of punishing hits on tacklers when he was running the ball...the kid is built
Editorial Opinion: Horn's commitment might be disappointing for those holding out hope for Robert Hughes or John Clay, but neither of those players is likely to end up at Michigan and in Clay's case it's debateable how heavily Michigan pursued him in the first place. Those disheartened by the lack of a fourth star next to Horn's name on various recruiting websites should take heart in his relatively early offer -- he's had one for at least a couple months -- and decent offer list. Also, the main question about his future has to do more with his size than anything else, and all of a sudden I want Michigan running backs to be slightly larger than protons. Hmmm... wonder why?
Still, it's a comedown from the projected 1-2 OMG shirtless punch of Clay and Hughes when this recruiting year was fresh and therefore destined to be Teh Best Evah. Michigan might take one more wide reciever, but other than that is done with offensive skill position talent and has one guy who is unquestionably the man (Ryan Mallet). Maybe Hemingway if you believe ESPN over Scout and Rivals. That's a little disappointing. It does help that there's good reason to believe players like Helmuth, Webb, and Horn are underrated because they're small or under the radar or fullbacks. Won't somebody think of the fullbacks?
Probably an short-lived feature as the words "Lloyd Carr" and "hotseat" become inextricably intertwined over the next few weeks. First, Terry Hutchens of the Indianapolis Star:
1. Lloyd Carr, Michigan: Three or more losses in a season is unacceptable at Michigan, and that has happened to Carr in seven of the past eight seasons. Last year's 7-5 record, and a 1-4 career mark against Ohio State's Jim Tressel put Carr firmly on this list.
Exactly how unacceptable can three losses be if Carr is still around?
And this is just a bunch of Iowa students and thus shouldn't be taken particularly seriously:
A national title and five Big Ten championships would put a college football coach up for sainthood on most campuses.
In Ann Arbor, fans yawn at those accomplishments and scream for more.
After 12 seasons at the helm, Lloyd Carr's seat as head coach is hotter than a race track after Ricky Bobby shakes and bakes on it.
I always suspected that sports journalists had a requirement along the lines of "Lame Pop Culture References 101." Now we have proof.
Kolodziej weird-condition-type thing is AOK? Apparently:
"They were just checking up, everything's good," he said. "It wasn't much of a situation. I'm good to go."
Whether or not he'll play is a murkier issue, given Carr's previous statements on the offensive line that claim Alex Mitchell has worked his way into the starting lineup. If Bihl fails to impress once again, Michigan now has the option of sliding Riley back inside to guard and Kolo could draw in at RT, but he probably isn't going to be the first option at season's start.
Justin Boren's injury is progressing well and he should be ready to play in a week or two. This is relevant, since Carr said he'll play on the season preview edition of Michigan Replay. (Also mentioned as freshman contributors: WR Greg Mathews, RBs Carlos Brown and Brandon Minor (grumble grumble), DE Brandon Graham, and S Steve Brown.)
DE/OLB Chris McLaurin, a redshirt freshman, has moved to tight end after shoulder surgery:
Redshirt freshman Chris McLaurin, who underwent shoulder surgeries last spring, has moved from linebacker to tight end. He said coaches felt tight end would be better for his shoulders and knew he had played the position at Orchard Lake St. Mary's.
That's either a weak excuse or an ill omen for McLaurin's future.
(Note that this is the Free Press's Mark Snyder again breaking news.)
Pat Forde does not read MGoBlog. Lloyd Carr features in a really long article with this as its premise:
Used to be, a national title was the ultimate employment security blanket -- a veritable lifetime contract extension. These days, it might not even buy you a decade.
Despite backing this claim up with no data, he raises the stakes later, implying that it's do-or-die for the four coaches (Carr, Larry Coker, Phil Fulmer, and UK basketball coach Tubby Smith):
Now the wait is over, and prove-it time has arrived for the four embattled champions.
Too bad Forde didn't see this article, which features direct quotes from Bill Martin and Bo that directly contradict his thesis:
"Anybody that wants to get rid of him has to get rid of me first," Martin said. "He's not on the hot seat with me." That could be arranged at a lot of locales. But getting rid of Carr and Martin would mean taking on Bo Schembechler -- and that still seems like a scary proposition, even in Bo's near-dotage.
"There isn't one [critic] out there with guts enough to come up to me and say we need to change coaches," said Schembechler, who hired Carr decades ago. "I know there's some of that talk out there, but they don't tell me.
"The guy is quite a guy, so I don't mind standing in front of him. I'm not going to let those people do that to him, and I still do have some influence with some people up here. So he'll quit when he wants to."
Wait a minute... that's the same article. Pat Forde doesn't even read Pat Forde!
Elsewhere in Irritating-Carr-Hotseat stories, Dennis Dodd plays stopped clock by, oh, I dunno, listening to what the athletic department says and declaring Carr's job safe. Es miraculoso!
Seriously maladjusted recruitniks should start monitoring Jim__S's new blog; if that doesn't include you worry not. I've got it covered.
Someone today is going to be MGoBlog's millionth hit unless a statistical improbability strikes. I cannot be there in person for said millionth hit because I am attending a wedding (fear not, ladies, it is not that of MGoBlog; shrine destruction is not advised). To that person: congratulations! Thanks.
To all other visitors: plain old thanks. The reason words keep appearing in this space is because people continue reading them. I've never subscribed to the rock-band "f the consumers" approach: the reason I do this is because people seem to like it. Everyone who has stopped by and decided it was worth returning: thanks. Those who have left comments or sent emails: double thanks. For those fans of opposing teams who have weathered snarky, unfavorable projections in stride: triple thanks. This enterprise has been more rewarding than I could have ever guessed.
Changes are a comin' to this space but they're made in the hope that this thing can become something of a profession. Perhaps this is a foolish goal but damn if it doesn't sound romantic, at least to me. We -- and I do mean "we" -- are going to give this a go. As anyone who saw "Michigan" placed in the tossup category of the OSU preview knows, I'm something of a romantic and I hope that this is but the beginning.
Second star to the right and straight on 'till morning. Go Blue.
Now starting at WR for Wisconsin: not Marcus Randel-El. He's injured and out for the season. Also hitting the injury trail is projected NU starting QB CJ Bacher. Mike Kafka has been named starter for the opener.
(via Maize N Brew)
Mysterious hand signs can be found at The Realests. Braylon Edwards and Mike Hart are both seen flashing this mysterious symbol:
(If Braylon isn't wearing a pink shirt he wears NO SHIRT.)
What does it mean? I don't know. If it was four fingers then one, they'd obviously be flashing Zoltan Mesko's jersey number. But four plus two? It is the mystery.