Lots of news, so a special weekend UV.
Ohhhhh, C-YA. This is the time of year when various persons announce they're heading to the NFL, and the preliminary news is pretty good for Michigan fans. Michigan State WR Devin Thomas and Illinois RB Rashard Mendenhall are gone. Also gone is Indiana WR James Hardy, though Michigan doesn't play IU next year.
And then there's an ESPN report that Mario Manningham is staying in school. This is just a TV thing -- no article yet -- and ESPN hasn't been rock solid about Michigan football in recent weeks, but that's still encouraging. Maybe he got a second-round grade back after a season of ups and downs?
Inverse C-YA. NJ S Brandon Smith committed to Michigan at the Army All-American game. Smith is a mid-four star who started off in the top 100 most places, but has steadily dropped as the year's progressed. Reports on him were mixed at the AA bowl practices.
Some inverse, some conventional C-YA. The latest on the assistants situation from WVU:
Defensively, West Virginia is pretty much set. Defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel agreed on Friday to stay with Stewart and the Mountaineers, and that was a huge save for the newly named head coach. Defensive line coach Bill Kirelawich is also staying on board and Stewart hopes and thinks he can retain safeties coach Bruce Tall, although Tall isn't expected to give him a definite answer until today. Only secondary coach and recruiting coordinator Tony Gibson has been lost.
Offensively, though, the only coach remaining is first-year wide receivers coach Tony Dews. Offensive coordinator Calvin Magee planned to join former coach Rich Rodriguez at Michigan right from the start, while quarterbacks coach Rod Smith and Greg Frey made their decisions Friday to also join Rodriguez.
The Mountaineers also figure to lose much of the strength and conditioning staff, including strength coach Mike Barwis and skill development coach Chris Allen. They are also expected to inform Stewart of their final decisions today and Stewart fully expects them to be leaving.
Differences from yesterday:
- Casteel officially staying
- Dews officially staying
- Tall still waiting
- Barwis and his S&C staff now strongly expected to go to Michigan.
Would have liked to get Casteel, but other than his decision to stay that falls out just about perfectly for Michigan fans hoping to see Stripling and Campbell retained. Michigan now has a sizable hole to fill at defensive coordinator; as mentioned yesterday, Wake Forest's Dean Hood seems like a natural fit except for his expertise as a secondary coach. If Rodriguez knows he can get Hood maybe it would be best to leave Tall at WVU and start looking for a linebackers coach.
Five West Virginia assistant coaches, including assistant head coach/offensive coordinator Calvin McGee, are headed to Michigan to follow former Mountaineers' coach Rich Rodriguez, according to a person briefed on the decision.
The five are McGee, offensive line coach Greg Frey, quarterbacks coach Rod Smith, safeties coach Bruce Tall and defensive backs coach Tony Gibson. Strength and conditioning coach Mike Barwis is also headed to Michigan.
No indication yet from DC Jeff Casteel or WRs coach Tony Dews. If Casteel -- still "weighing his options" according to the article -- decides to stay, the hot name on the internets is Wake Forest DC Dean Hood, who was Rodriguez's DC at NAIA Glenville State way back in the day and the guy Casteel learned the 3-3-5 from. One complication: Hood doubles as Wake's secondary coach. That would make for a crowded situation there with Tall, WVU's safeties coach, apparently on his way and Tony Gibson already at Michigan; there would be a significant void at linebacker.
I kind of hope Dews decides to stay at WVU, as that could (should?) lead to Soup Campbell's rehiring and the only complaints about Michigan wide receivers over the past decade or so have been along the lines of "arrrgh, why doesn't our bionic devastator catch literally everything?"
Update: All kinds of contradictory stuff flying around now; the Michigan AD has confirmed both Magee and Gibson, though.
Definitely coming: This morning, WVU AD Ed Pastilong told something called a Hoppy Kercheval that QB coach Rod Smith and OL coach Greg Frey were leaving for Michigan. That's as official as it gets.
"Expected" to come: The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette says Rodriguez has locked down two of the three main targets:
In addition to the expected exit of assistant head coach and offensive coordinator Calvin Magee, who attended Rodriguez's introductory news conference Dec. 17 and then returned to help the Mountaineers upset Oklahoma, 48-28, in the Fiesta Bowl, the entire weightlifting staff and at least one other offensive assistant are poised to go, too.
Strength and conditioning director Mike Barwis, considered critical to the Mountaineers' rise to a Top 10 program, is expected to take director of skill development Chris Allen plus assistant strength coaches Parker Whitman and Kenato Tamura to Michigan.
The article says DC Jeff Casteel and safeties coach Bruce Tall are on the fence.
Er... wait one second on Barwis. The local Morgantown paper is subscriber-only, but various WVU message boards are reporting an article in it today with this quote:
"I'd love to stay," Barwis said. "I think West Virginia is in a great situation as far as where the program is. I love the state, it's where my wife's from and I'd love to be there next year.
"I think this is the best thing that could have happened to the program. Coach Stew is a man who's a proven leader, the kids respect him, coaching staff respects him, I'm happy for him and his family."
Some WVU fans celebrate this as "Barwis staying!" while others note that doesn't sound concrete, which it doesn't; there are further people saying that the article was definitive. Not sure which article is more current.
Not coming: At least one offensive assistant yet to be determined, TEs/special teams coach Bill Stewart, and DL coach Bill Kirelavich.
Status as of now:
|Head Coach||Rich Rodriguez||Will be taped to state capitol building if he ever returns to WVU; pretty solid.|
|OC||Mike Magee||Came with RR to introductory presser, mentioned in Post-Gazette article; very solid.|
|QBs||Rod Smith||WVU AD said so; 100%.|
|RBs(?)||Fred Jackson||Obviously on the staff, but some consternation about where, exactly, he'll coach as Magee did RBs at WVU. Magee was a TE in his playing days and has coached the postion before; maybe they'll move his responsibilities with Stewart playing Bobby Williams at WVU. Think he'll stay at RB.|
|WRs||Tony Dews? Soup Campbell?||No idea. Dews may be in line for a promotion if he stays and seems amongst the more interested in the idea; Campbell has put out a steady stream of NFLers.|
|OL||Greg Frey||Like Smith, 100%|
|DC||Jeff Casteel||English is gone to Louisville and Rodriguez has said he would like to import the 3-3-5 that Casteel's developed; he would be the guy for the job. Reportedly considering an offer to stay at WVU, though. Alternative: Tenuta? Doubtful.|
|DL||Steve Stripling(?)||It won't be the WVU guy, so this is an obvious spot to hire one of the better-respected members of the Michigan staff back for some extra continuity.|
|LBs||?||Casteel also coaches linebackers, so if he comes that will be squared away. If he doesn't this is likely to be an outside hire.|
|CBs||Tony Gibson||Gibson has been employed by Michigan since the introductory press conference.|
|Safeties||Bruce Tall||Rodriguez wants Tall on his Michigan staff, though he is reportedly on the fence about whether to stay or go. Like Dews, could be looking at a promotion if his coordinator goes and he stays.|
|Special Teams(?)||?||If Casteel comes and coaches the linebackers and Jackson is shifted to WRs -- why they would do this, I don't know -- and Magee continues coaching the RBs, Michigan can blow a spot on an exotic like a TE/Special teams coach; more likely, IMO, is that there's a reshuffling and there's no specific special teams coach unless the guy who's just doing safeties picks up the responsibilities.|
Okay. Yesterday the Blade started a kerfuffle about a potential Mallett transfer; the Freep then shot that down by talking to his mom. Now two competing stories, one a sort of back off -- welcome to the club -- from the Blade entitled "UM's Mallett Weighs Transfer":
Michigan associate athletic director Bruce Madej said yesterday no paperwork has come across his desk about Mallett's transfer and that as far as he knows, Mallett is still enrolled at Michigan.
All that sounds well and good, but is strictly above-board stuff from athletic department members at both schools and is likely to be boilerplate. Angelique Chengelis, on the other hand:
As has been expected, quarterback Ryan Mallett is seriously leaning toward leaving Michigan after one season, according to sources close to the program. ... "I would be dumbfounded" if Mallett didn't transfer, one source said Thursday night.
Loud noises, indeed. I have nothing on this save one report from someone at the Citrus who talked with a person connected enough to predict a couple of Michigan's trick plays. Said person indicated that Mallett was outta heeeeere like Doug.
Chengelis is connected, the Blade had what seemed like an independent report, and all the Mallett-could-stay stuff seems to be phrased like "well... no officially official decision has been officially reached." IMO: gone.
Presented without comment.
Well, this will just increase the factor of crushingness. Mario Manningham?
Even though many have assumed Manningham will turn pro, he insisted that isn't true.
"I'm going back," he said. "I want to get my degree."
When a reporter told the receiver he seemed to be joking, Manningham didn't back down.
"I'm being for real," Manningham said.
Probably just afterglow; the deadline to declare is the 15th. We'll have to keep fingers crossed about not only Manningham, but Arrington, Taylor, and Jamison. From a Carty article:
Junior wide receiver Adrian Arrington said he would talk to Rodriguez this week about how he'd fit in next year's offense before deciding whether to opt for early entry to the NFL Draft. Arrington said the decision was currently 50-50. Juniors Mario Manningham and Terrance Taylor refused to discuss whether they'd return to Michigan or turn pro after the game.
If this Mallett transfer comes to fruition, I would assume Arrington would take that as a sign to leave. Manningham and Taylor's silence indicates that they're giving the NFL serious consideration at the very least.
Trent is staying according to the first article, not that he was regarded a major threat to leave.
Right, about that: Mallett's mom doesn't know anything.
"No decision has been made," Debbie Mallett said Thursday night of her son, the freshman quarterback â€” currently â€” at Michigan.
"Everybody thinks they know what Ryan's doing. But Ryan has not made a decision yet. All these sources? They never came from anyone here."
Classes started yesterday but I believe Mallett can transfer whenever he wants since the season's over. Until we get something definitive from him, it'll be a festival of speculation.
Elsewhere in the attrition beat. The Free Press listed guys returning, leaving, early (er) entering, and possibly transferring, dumping Mallett, David Cone, and Jason Kates in the latter category without even the vaguest hint of an explanation. We all know the score with Mallett. Kates missed some bowl practices; I've heard the reason was a relatively minor violation of team rules but if this was pattern behavior it could have been the last straw. Cone... well, he wasn't going to play before unless a meteor hit -- he was behind a walk-on this year -- and certainly isn't going to now; perhaps Rodriguez is encouraging him to find a place he can play. I have also heard that Rodriguez is scouring JUCOs for QBs in anticipation of a rough depth chart next year; it will be interesting to see the results of that.
Take heart. Take heart, Matt Zemek and that guy who wrote about Michigan's win being for "smashmouth" and "three yards and a cloud of dust" in the aftermath of a career day for Chad Henne: as long as Fox Sports is paying Jay Mohr to put crayon to paper, you are not the worst sportswriters on the planet. Mohr on Carr's retirement:
I am still trying to wrap my head around the Lloyd Carr "retirement." After five Big Ten titles and a national championship, out you go. I am a big believer in "what have you done for me lately," but the guy did have a 75 percent winning percentage. That seems like a lot of "doing for you lately."
But unfortunately, Lloyd couldn't consistently beat THE Ohio State University. His record was 6-7 against the Buckeyes, and that may have been what did him in. Never mind his winning records against Notre Dame, Michigan State and Penn State. If you don't consistently beat your archrival in college football, you lose your job. ...
Good luck Rich, and don't say I didn't warn you that you won't last long in Ann Arbor. Lloyd Carr had to coach in Bo Schembechler's shadow. It may be harder to coach in Lloyd Carr's shadow. A 75 percent winning percentage throws a lot of shade.
Jay Mohr pays less attention to college sports than I pay to Jay Mohr, or he would have known that Carr was expected to retire voluntarily even before the season started. And yet he still gets to write this thing. So I'm going to write this thing about Jay Mohr.
JAY MOHR: PEDERAST OR AL-QAEDA MEMBER?
By Walter Cronkite
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Hey... remember when Jay Mohr had that comedy reality TV show and only his buddies got on and he introduced us all to that really fat guy from Oklahoma who isn't even funny in that "hey, he's really fat!" sort of way that even the most talentless hacks can pull off? Yeah. I saw that guy on Celebrity Fit Club. He's been loosed into the realms of C-level celebrity reality shows. He'll be on VH1 for the next 20 years. And this is all Jay Mohr's fault. Obviously Jay Mohr is either a sex offender who's only attracted to baby fat or in Al-Qaeda.
Jay Mohr: you ruined America.
Hidden advantage? Bill Stewart's hiring at WVU is probably not good news for Mountaineer fans -- hello Bobby Williams -- but might have some beneficial effects for Michigan fans. One: Central Michigan head coach Butch Jones, a former Rodriguez assistant, won't be the next WVU HC. The two might be able to link up at camps and stuff and help each other with instate recruiting. Two: if you were a little leery of Rodriguez displaying maximum croni-style by bringing his entire staff to UM, Stewart will likely hold on to a number of WVU assistants. The WVU Rivals site is already reporting that DL coach Bill Kirelawich will stay with the Mountaineers, presumably opening up a spot for Steve Stripling. WR coach Tony Dews might stay, too, which might open up a spot for Soup Campbell.
The downside is that he might pick off someone Michigan should really want. One of the three, OC Calvin Magee, is already committed to Rodriguez, but S&C guru Mike Barwis and DC Jeff Casteel (who I've really come around on after doing the research that went into Tuesday's "Yay 3-3-5" post and Wednesday's Fiesta performance against one of the nation's best offenses) could be convinced to stay. Casteel in the aforementioned Rivals article:
"Hey, as a coach, what would be a better place to be," he said. "I mean, I've coached in the Sugar Bowl (victory over Georgia in 2006) and the Fiesta Bowl. This is pretty good," said the architect of the most consistent portion of the 2007-08 11-2 team.
("Most consistent"... woo unbiased reportybits!) That's
not committal, and since WVU is paying Stewart beans -- one of the benefits of making a dumb hire -- they might have the funds to hold onto a coordinator.
FYI. From Winged Helmet:
Here are WVU's recruiting rankings for the last 5 years and Oklahoma's
WV 46, 47, 31, 52, 23
OK 4, 8, 3, 9, 14
I hope they're playing "Scrabulous." A reader forwards this little earthquake on his Facebook newsfeed:
Hello! Given the traffic numbers around these parts, most of you came aboard during this season. Those of you who were around this summer get free hats.* Those of you who were around last summer get free lycra bodysuits.** If you are still around, you should know the following things about the offseason around here:
- Posting will slow. When things are happening, I'll generally keep up an in-season post rate of 2 or 3 a day, most of considerable length. This usually happens around signing day and in the week or two before the season. If the hockey team and basketball team are doing things of note, that may be any time until March or April. If not -- and this season the basketball team definitely fits under "not" -- there will be about one post per day.
- Basketball will not have a lot of effort dumped into it. They're really brutal this season and I'm just not that into college basketball. Hideous refereeing, that kiddie three-point line, and games against Northwestern are detraction enough when your team is better than the Wildcats. When it's debatable? Not so much.
- Hockey will get regular coverage. I know 99% of you don't care. This is your fault, and you should feel shame.
- Attention will wander. Not everything around here will be Michigan-related during the summer. I'll occasionally post about the Pistons and other things.
- Projects will be undertaken. I have heard the cries for a more structured comment system and will endeavor to make that a reality; give me a couple months. I tentatively plan to move to wordpress, integrate a vbulletin system, and resurrect MGoBoard now that there's sufficient traffic for people to use it. This is a major reason for the offseason slowness: the extra time allows me to do other things.
Also planned: more stats and stuff.
- The book returns. Last year I edited Hail To The Victors 2007; a 2008 version is in the works. Charts! Graphs! Hopefully something by Johnny from RBUAS!
There will be a number of UFRs: one for the Citrus, one for the Fiesta, and a couple other WVU games of recent vintage. I hope to get the Pitt game and maybe another loss or two and explore what can go wrong, but haven't found those online yet. Let me know if you find it.
*(Offer not valid.)