I'VE HAD JUST ABOUT ENOUGH OF YOU SONNY
Yeah, Michigan got off the BU schneid yesterday, but good god, man:
TOT-FG 3-PT REBOUNDS
## Player Name FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF TP A TO BLK S MIN
25 Brown, Graham....... f 1-3 0-0 3-4 1 2 3 4 5 0 4 0 1 17
32 Abram, Lester....... f 4-7 1-3 1-2 0 4 4 3 10 0 2 0 0 32
44 Sims, Courtney...... c 1-2 0-0 3-6 2 6 8 2 5 1 2 1 1 26
04 Horton, Daniel...... g 6-10 2-3 7-8 0 1 1 1 21 1 2 0 4 38
05 Harris, Dion........ g 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 2 0 0 1 0 0 7
01 Smith, Jerret....... 0-2 0-1 0-0 0 1 1 0 0 3 2 0 0 21
15 Shepherd, Jevohn.... 2-7 0-0 1-1 3 2 5 1 5 1 0 1 1 20
24 Coleman, Ron........ 1-3 0-1 0-0 1 1 2 0 2 0 2 0 2 14
31 Hunter, Chris....... 1-5 1-2 0-4 1 3 4 3 3 1 3 1 3 18
50 Ba, Amadou.......... 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 7
TEAM................ 1 3 4 1
Totals.............. 16-39 4-10 15-25 9 24 33 16 51 7 19 3 12 200
Mmm, that's an ugly meatball. Note the further appearance of the Incredible Disappearing Courtney Sims, who launched all of five shots against an America East team featuring no one taller than 6'8". Ryan didn't buy my theory that Sims got sent to the bench for being useless against decent defenders, but this is the kind of thing I'm talking about. Michigan's defensive rebounding also dipped ominously to 66%. Michigan escaped with a win only because the Terriers couldn't throw a Jew into all the money they stole from Michael Jackson (OMG j/k!) as BU went 18 for 52.
Another grim note: Harris' extended absence was due to a foot injury that sounds ready to linger painfully all season:
The right foot injury that has bothered Dion Harris since the summer flared up in practice this week and forced the University of Michigan junior to miss most of Tuesday night's game.
That sounds like it could be something like plantar fasciitis, which would likely ruin his entire season.
The good news? Michigan did force 18 turnovers of their own with what sounded like hounding defense and Daniel Horton saved Michigan's bacon with efficient scoring. Ironically, Michigan probably would have been better off had he jacked up a three every time down the court instead of attempting to get his frontcourt involved in the game.
I couldn't watch the game, being DirectTV-free, but "Cheapo" on the Wolverine did. I highlight some concerning statements:
...I believe that TA was frustrated with the some of the players' lack of energy and focus. There were a few minutes in each half where the UM starters (Abram aside) seemed to go listlessly through the motions. By the way, in the second half there were a couple of doozy UM defensive breakdowns--e.g., one half-court layup with ABSOLUTELY NO ONE stopping the guard.
Fourth, I agree with the poster who said that Ba was inserted partly as a lesson that those with hustle and effort play. FWIW, Ba looked a lot better than I expected. He's all thumbs when he receives a pass (his confusion/fall after receiving a pass near the court's out-of-bounds line looked pretty funny). But then, most of the UM bigs were bobbling passes under the bucket. More importantly, Ba tried to box out, whereas our other bigs seemed to not want to focus on that aspect of the game (I can't believe the number of offense rebounds BU snagged!).
Urgh. That's the kind of stuff that bothers me about Amaker. Two seniors and a junior in the starting lineup and the scrubbiest scholarship player on the roster gets to play because he understands the idea of standing between his man and the rebound.
I mean, if Tom Izzo was a cartoon, this is probably what he'd look like:
AAAAAH! REFEREE I WILL EAT YOUR SOUL!
This is how I envision Amaker:
"Fundamentals make my tummy ouch."
Let me quote myself:
What is Amaker doing during practice? I hope it's more than "let's play really good this weekend, guys!" followed by Abram raising his hand and saying "let's play well, Coach," followed by Amaker saying "Yeah! That's the ticket!"
I dunno, I like my student-athletes to be scared #$%*less by their coach. I mean, not Bobby Knight scared, but Red Berenson scared. I could see Amaker in a Care Bears episode as Friendly Mr. Coachy.
Ohio kicker Bryan Wright has committed to Michigan. Wright would probably redshirt next year and then step into Garrett Rivas' shoes in 2006, except with more oomph: Wright broke his school's all-time field goal length three times last year, topping out at 57 yards.
BuckeyePlanet is always useful for Ohio prospects and their thread on Wright does not disappoint:
This kid is the real deal. I saw him in the game this year against Niles. Salem lined him up for a 57 yarder, and I couldn't believe they were doing it. The kick was dead center of the uprights, but was just (and I mean just) short. It would've definitely been good from 52 or 53, and probably from 55. And he was absolutely crushing the ball on kickoffs. It's rare to see a high school kid kick it anywhere near the end zone, and he was consistently kicking it through the end zone. I know it might be hard to believe if you haven't seen him play, but he is definitely worth a scholarship--it would be ridiculous if we didn't offer him one. No doubt in my mind. This kid would be starting here next fall, no doubt. Just imagine how good he'd be if he's already kicking 50+ field goals and touchbacks.
So yay and stuff: replacing Rivas is important and it sounds like we have someone capable in the bag; we even have the luxury of redshirting him and finding out if he's a capable collegiate kicker. Given that the big-time prospects are thin on the ground this year and we don't have a pressing need at many positions, this was a good year to take a kicker. Thumbs up.
Defensive recruiting summary coming later today.
(note: due to a consistent morning time drain on Wednesday, you can expect the poll at about noon going forward.)
Hurray, that's the poll hurray. If you're interested, you can see all the individual ballots here.
Risers: Georgia Tech's schizophrenic year continues with a win over then #3 Miami and boosts them from out of the poll up to #19. Also of note is Ohio State (finally) hurdling Notre Dame after a fairly throttling victory over Michigan--yes, despite the whole come from behind thing. Fresno State going toe-to-toe with USC probably hurt Notre Dame more than Ohio State's win, though. Speaking of Fresno, they didn't rise after that narrow loss but nor did they drop, remaining static at #15.
Outrage!!! I still think the mid-majors get too much credit for not losing to meh teams.
Wack Ballot Watchdog: As discussed below, Kyle King freakin' hates UCLA. Sporting Fools, who I hasten to point out is not a Michigan fan, 50YL, has Ohio State #5 and Penn State #6 despite the head to head and the fewer losses, etc. Boi From Troy is still voting for Cal and is singlehandedly fighting a private war against East Coast Bias(!).
Now on to the extracurriculars. First up are the teams which spur the most and least disagreement between voters as measured by standard deviation. Note that the standard deviation charts halt at #25 when looking for the lowest, otherwise teams that everyone agreed were terrible (say, Eastern Michigan) would all be at the top.
No, we still don't know what to do with Texas Tech. Voters have the Red Raiders anywhere from #15 to #25 and no particularl slot got more than six votes. This would all be very clear if they had played, say, Wisconsin and Virginia OOC.
Ballot math: First up are "Mr. Bold" and "Mr. Numb Existence." The former goes to the voter with the ballot most divergent from the poll at large. The number you see is the average difference between a person's opinion of a team and the poll's opinion.
Mr. Bold is Kyle King, AKA The Mayor (of the non-city of Georgia). This appears to be one of those weeks where the winner of this category has a lot of slightly strange things in the ballot but few large differences--his #3 is VT, Auburn is #6, Ga Tech is a little high at #14, etc. Two things do leap out: Fresno State at #10, up six from last week, nestled snugly in front of #11 Notre Dame, and UCLA way, way down the ballot at #21. I guess I can see UCLA's awful run defense, series of close calls against bad teams, and absolute demolition at the hands of Arizona causing you to knock a one-loss team down a ways, but that's a ginormous outlier: no one else has the Bruins worse than #16. Bad mayor!
Mr. Numb Existence ParadigmBlog, and yes, I do find it amusing that the top two blogs in this category are both Michigan fans.
Next we have the Coulter/Krugman Award and the Straight Bangin' Award, which are again different sides of the same coin. The CKA and SBA go to the blogs with the highest and lowest bias rating, respectively. Bias rating is calculated by subtracting the blogger's vote for his own team from the poll-wide average. A high number indicates you are shameless homer. A low number indicates that you suffer from an abusive relationship with your football team.
The CK Award goes to the WV Law Dog for the second consecutive week, this time for having WVU #7. Interestingly, Kyle King is now showing up on this half of the bias list after spending quite a bit of time early in the year on the Straight Bangin' list.
The Straight Bangin' Award is now the property of Bruce Ciskie, who I believe is a repeat winner. Bruce totally omits Wisconsin from his ballot. He's been steadfast all year in his belief that the Badgers are overrated and his ballots reflects that.
Swing is the total change in each ballot from last week to this week (obviously voters who didn't submit a ballot last week are not included). A high number means you are easily distracted by shiny things. A low number means that you're damn sure you're right no matter what reality says.
Mr. Manic Depressive is actionBERG, who radically revamped his ballot after getting some heat for it in this space. The Texas teams take steps back to more reasonable slots in the poll (TCU down six to #16, UTEP down to #25), a lot of teams that were seemingly way underranked made major steps forward (Ohio State up 5, ND up 4, etc. He's probably the only voter to seriously punish Fresno, though, dropping them from #11 to #20. It's not a Numb Existence ballot, but it's not an auto-Bold one any longer, a nice middle ground.
Mr. Stubborn is Rob in Madtown, who hardly moved anyone at all: Miami dropped four, Michigan dropped a few, a few teams went out. 'Bama dropped one spot.
|1||Texas||Certainly has a better D than USC...|
|2||Southern Cal||... but yeah, that Bush guy is alllllright.|
|3||Penn State||Don't get used to it: everyone on both lines is gone; entire secondary gone; Robinson gone.|
|4||Ohio State||Goddammit. Final score doesn't really capture how thoroughly Michigan got waxed. Losses to #1 and #3.|
|5||LSU||Clear SEC frontrunner.|
|7||Notre Dame||No, I'm not leaping FSU past them.|
|8||Auburn||Okay, okay, I believe.|
|9||Miami||That's a buzzkill, isn't it?|
|10||Oregon||Commenters were near unanimous about this.|
|11||Georgia||Functional DNP vs. UK.|
|12||Alabama||Oof. Sorry, Warren.|
|14||Fresno State||No, I shant punish for that loss, but FSU still hasn't beaten anyone outside Boise.|
|17||Georgia Tech||Total omission from first draft.|
|21||Texas Tech||Okay, okay.|
|22||Michigan||Well, who else?|
|24||Iowa||Tate is still a very good quarterback. Bit of an up and down year, but a quality team.|
|25||Boston College||A quarterback short of an intimidating team.|
Games I Saw: Michigan-OSU, USC-Fresno.
Help requested: What should I do with Oregon? Better suggestions towards the bottom are appreciated.
Update: Bumped Oregon two spots as commenters were nigh unanimous in their corrections; also moved Georgia Tech in at #17 after forgetting about them in the first draft.
First... Obviously I've been in a bit of a sulking mood, what with the football and the sky that David Foster Wallace would most assuredly refer to as "gunmetal" and Robert Earl Keen would term "Nashville suicide weather" plus a nasty head cold. The "sad boy music" has been on heavy rotation. It's in times like these I look to movies for a pick-me-up, and since I am viciously anti-spoiler I usually go into these things blind.
So, uh... yeah... a piece of advice. If you find yourself in a similar state don't watch Requiem for a Dream. Just don't.
Programming Note: The meaningless UFR for D versus IU will go up probably late today, as I charted it. It's pointless but I strive for completeness. The UFRs for OSU will be posted early next week in order to reduce the flecks of spittle reaching the reader's cheek to an acceptable level.
We ain't done bitchin' yet. No sir. Braves & Birds:
In a way, it's worse to know what fate is about to befall you like a condemned man. On the other hand, at least there was no surprise when the Buckeyes marched the length of the field and saved their season while casting their arch-rivals into a winter of discontent.
ParadigmBlog attempts to gauge the state of the program and finds that most other teams can be thoroughly unhappy as well. RBUAS has a selection of newsbits for your perusal. Foremost among them: Lamarr Woodley will return for his senior season. Also some guys are out for the bowl game.
What about the poetry? One of our warrior-poets has done bad:
Eugene Germany, a redshirt freshman from California, was arraigned over the weekend on one count of larceny from a person and two counts of resisting police.
The cosmic stupidity of grabbing a girl's cell phone on South U, a campus thoroughfare full of bars laden with people at 12:40 AM, pales in comparison to the disappointment experience at this sentence:
Two officers in the area joined in the chase, tackling Germany as he ran, reports said.
Those officers must run a 4.4.
Okay okay that's cute and all. But seriously if we lose to BU for the third straight year, I'ma kill someone. BU is all hyped up about a visit from the us, we're trying to avoid a three-year stretch more embarrassing than that time CMU took two of three from State.
"Certainly, at the end, when we took a two-score lead with five minutes to go, we felt the way we had played defense the first fifty-five minutes that we were going to win the game. We let them score on that first drive too soon. We missed a tackle on Santonio Holmes on the touchdown play, and so they didn't have to take enough time off the clock."
"That (pooch punt) is a play we work on every week," Carr said. "I felt very confident that Garrett Rivas would get it down close to the 10. That bought us 20 yards, which is two first downs. I just felt we had to do that for our defense. That's why we did it, and I would do it again."
I'll be under the basement stairs shivering if you need me.
Update: Oh, yeah. Michigan scorin' machine TJ Hensick is going to be on CSTV's "Tuesdays at the Rink" interactive interwebs chat feature at 2. Ask him piercing question about his availability for his senior season or something.
It's time for everyone's favorite creepy Nabokov-inspired pastime: recruiting. As the season has progressed actual events have seriously impinged on my ability to obsessively cover the projected future events (one million national championships, natch), but now that actual events have ceased actively tormenting me except in all too frequent 'Nam flashbacks, we can return to the magical fairyland that is the Future.
In the future, cancer will be totally awesome and Michigan won't play a zone looser than the morals of Betty Grable (harlot! zing!). In the future, space hamburgers will be made in space and Michigan will be a rough-and-tumble unit with aggression bordering on maniacal. In the future, the pain of all oppressed peoples worldwide will be redirected into the state of Ohio via lasers (natch) and Michigan will win. And stuff. With these players!
A note: the recruiting board has been updated and is presumed accurate for the offense. If you have any corrections, tips, or unlinked articles to add, comment or email me.
Needs: Michigan attempts to take a quarterback every year. A recruit this year is looking at competing for the job with Jason Forcier and Unnamed '07 Recruit as a redshirt sophomore after Henne leaves.
Commitments: Michigan took a flyer on Statesboro, Georgia QB David Cone, who draws comparisons to Elvis Grbac for being an inexperienced passer stuck in an option offense and to John Navarre for being a big, gumpy white guy.
Prospects: Most of the other high profile quarterbacks Michigan was after either committed elsewhere or were outperformed by Cone. Michigan is still going after Florida's Tim Tebow but he's expected to stay in the south. There's a 95% chance Cone is it.
Completely Useless Opinion: I'd prefer it if Michigan landed a bigtimer every year, but failing that I think Cone's commitment is okay. You can tell a lot from how Michigan approaches a particular player's recruitment. In Cone's case, he showed up to camp, stood next to more touted prospects like Neil Caudle and Pat Devlin, and came out a Michigan commitment. Michigan immediately ceased seriously pursuing everyone outside of Tebow. They like him and actively chose him over guys with bigger reputations. He's certainly a risk but he's not going to be walking into a situation like Henne's where he'll be asked to start as a freshman. He'll have at least two years to get comfortable.
For more on Cone, check out this recent article from the Savannah Morning News. I likes me a quarterback who says things like this:
"It's a situation where we don't want to deviate from what's been working for us," he said.
Smart kid; probably good at reading coverages; if I see him whip out "excoriate" at any point I will commence agitating for him to usurp Henne immediately upon matriculation. Blizzam SAT verbal section!
Needs: Almost none. Michigan took Kevin Grady and Mister Simpson last year and allowed Simpson to redshirt. Next year, then, they'll have two juniors, a sophomore, and a freshman even without any commitments.
Prospects: Michigan is pursuing a few backs, but all seem like longshots.
Completely Useless Opinion: We probably don't take a tailback, which is fine.
Needs: Also almost none. Three freshmen came in last year and two--Mario Manningham and Antonio Bass--appear to be budding stars chock full of speed almost southern in its vast quantity. The third, LaTerryal Savoy, has also impressed the coaches despite being given a redshirt. He's reputed to be more of an Avant type.
Commitments: Florida WR Greg Mathews, a four-star to Rivals and three to Scout. Mathews is big (6'2") but has surprisingly slow 40 times listed (4.72 on Rivals, and an OL-like 4.9 on Scout) that may or may not be reliable. Mathews just finished saving his team from an early exit in the Florida state playoffs by catching 8 passes for 213 yards, 126 of those in the fourth quarter after briefly leaving the game with an injured hip and cramps.
Prospects: With Mathews in the fold Michigan is down to a selection of instate sleepers who might get offers late in the process. Foremost among them is PSL MVP Dominque Douglas, who caught 24 touchdowns this year.
Completely Useless Opinion:Mathews would have gone to Miami if offered a scholarship; obviously the Hurricanes passed on him. How much should this color our perception of Mathews? Probably not much. Miami already has a commitment from a top-100 WR in Sam Shields and is heavily pursuing OMG 5 Stars(!) Vidal Hazelton, Percy Harvin, and Damon McDaniel. They have bigger fish to ply. His speed does seem almost caucasian in its paucity, but he seems to be doing fine on a high school level. He might not have the explosive burst of Manningham and Bass, but we could use a bigstrong possession alternative to said speedsters.
Michigan may offer Douglas or Adrian Cannon late if a scholarship opens up, especially if either shows an aptitude for defensive back.
Needs: Michigan probably needs one. Tyler Ecker is a senior next year and there are only two other tight ends on the roster, though Michigan likes both. Redshirt freshman Mike Massey is clearly a work in progress but should be an excellent receiver in time and Carson Butler is a 6'6" supafreak who could be a major difference-maker if he pans out.
Prospects: Michigan is reportedly looking at some instate guys who are flying under the radar.
Completely Useless Opinion: Michigan struck out on a couple of high profile targets and is left scouting the region for someone to fill the roster. Don't expect a star.
Needs:You always need offensive linemen, but Michigan recruited a whole unit last year and thus will go somewhat light this year in a small class. The primary area of need is tackle. When the 2006 class emerges from their redshirt year, Jake Long will be a senior if he's not in the NFL and there will be three sophomores battling for the left tackle job. Other than that there's nothing.
Commitments: Ohio G/C Justin Boren, son of former Michigan linebacker Mike, chose Michigan over Ohio State early in the year. Boren, an Army All-American, is ranked in the top 50 by both Scout and Rivals.
Prospects: Michigan is in a good position with two heralded face-mashers in Florida's Sam Young and Washington's Steve Schilling and is heavily recruiting three-star OT Perry Dorrestein from Illinois. Florida prospects Daron Rose and Jim Barrie are also possibilities, but seem ticketed for local schools.
Completely Useless Opinion: Offensive line is the position grouping where recruiting rankings matter least, but it would certainly be nice to pick up Young or Schilling. Either would significantly improve the outlook in the post-Long era, simply by dint of numbers. Three guys to man two spo
ts is a little hairy.
Depends heavily on how the offensive line class fills out. Michigan entered this year with very little required from its skill position recruiting what with Grady, Bass, Mario, etc, but a distinct need at quarterback and tackle. Striking out on the top quarterbacks is disappointing. Cone is a risk no matter how you slice it, though I do have faith in their ability to identify talent and the pattern behind his recruitment does look positive. If a big timer comes aboard in '07 then we're fine and will have a hell of a battle when Henne graduates. This seems likely, by the way. As far as offensive tackle, we are in on a number of prospects that would satisfy the need but I don't know that we can count on any of them.
As of now this class appears to be in the C range. A commitment from a high profile offensive lineman or two could bump it up to a B- or B.