"Rodrick Williams Jr.'s 10-month old, 2-foot-long savannah monitor named "Kill" gets the RB some strange looks when they go for walks together."
An election day special from Tom VanHaaren.
Change we can believe in. Hope for the future.
This isn’t a cheesy political statement, but rather a description of Ricardo Miller. With the season going the way it is, Michigan needs a big time playmaker, and Miller is that player. If you haven’t watched video of the highly touted junior, take a look at his highlights from this year in the video provided:
With two spread friendly quarterbacks in this year’s class, Rich Rodriguez has got to be licking his chops with this commit.
“They use me where ever I can get a mismatch in high school, whether it’s in the slot, on the linebacker, tight end, or the outside,” Miller told me. Miller plays big, fast, and competitive. Along with his competitiveness he brings the kind of character and personality expected from a Michigan Man. Only a junior in high school, Ricardo told me he already thinks about earning the coveted number one jersey. Take a look at what else he had to say.
TOM: Tell me about your visit, all I've heard is good things from you.
RICARDO: I really liked the atmosphere, and the whole stadium. I felt like a part of the team already, and I can’t wait to prove myself. I want to show everybody I’m not just the Ricardo Miller in high school; I can help Michigan turn it around.
TOM: Did this visit really put the cap on the recruiting process for you?
RICARDO: I feel like that visit, it made my commitment stronger. Besides the loss, it was great. I’ll fit in Michigan real well, with my personality and my character. It really made me feel my decision was the right one. It was cool, all the coaches showed me love, and I knew I made the right move.
TOM: When did you really know that Michigan was it?
RICARDO: When I saw Braylon Edwards go for over 3,000 receiving yards, I said that is going to be me. I want to work for that number 1 jersey like he did.
TOM: Have other schools still been trying to recruit you?
RICARDO: I still get Florida calling, Stanford, and Rutgers. But, it’s all straightforward, I don’t really pay attention.
TOM: You're kind of like the spokesman for Michigan in Florida right now, what are you trying to tell other recruits?
RICARDO: I just tell them that no matter what decision you make, make sure it’s a good one. From what I’ve seen, I feel like Michigan has all the tools you need to be that great football player. All this talent going to one team, it’s going to be unstoppable. The SEC, ACC, we’re going beat them all. It will also help you in the process to get to the next level.
TOM: What recruits have you really be working hard on?
RICARDO: I’ve been working on Lo Wood, a cornerback from Apopka. Marvin Robinson, Michigan is still on top for him, but hasn’t made a decision. A future 5 star, Demetrius Hart, he plays running back and corner back. Whoever I can get in contact with that will go to Michigan. Demetrius Hart is excited about Michigan, and Lo Wood after being up there he thinks that Michigan is something special.
TOM: With your team right now, you are used all over on offense, have the coaches told you how they want to use you at Michigan?
RICARDO: They use me where ever I can get a mismatch in high school, whether it’s in the slot, on the linebacker, tight end, or the outside. The Michigan coaches told me that they want me mostly at WR, x and z. But if they want that mismatch, they’ll put me at tight end too.
TOM: Are you excited for that creativity that Rich Rodriguez brings? Being able to make plays specifically for you?
RICARDO: Yea, and just being around guys like that. Someone with that much ability to make a program good is exciting. The spread that he runs, he’ll make plays for me, and they’ll be big time plays, it will be crazy. To be able to make something big happen, it’s stunning. Being the kind of wide receiver I am, playing for Rich Rodriguez is going to be a dream.
TOM: Have you started to build a friendship with Shavodrick Beaver or Tate Forcier?
RICARDO: Yea, Tate I haven’t talked to yet. Beav we talked for a couple months now, just trying to get used to see how his personality is, him as a quarterback and me as a wide receiver. Beav is a cool guy.
TOM: Your Mom is a UM grad, how much did she weigh in on your decision?
RICARDO: I won’t lie; my mom was in my ear about Michigan ever since I can remember. I messed with her when I was younger, and would say I’m going to a different school, and she would say, oh no you’re not. But she’s sacrificed a lot for me, so I feel that I’m gaining another bond with her by going to Michigan.
TOM: How do you think your commitment to Michigan will have an effect on Michigan’s efforts in Florida and the south for your class?
RICARDO: By me committing and being from Florida, you don’t see too many wide receivers leaving the state. So I hope I show kids they can go anywhere, I have a positive influence on other recruits. They’ll start to think, if he’s going there maybe I should check it out, there must be something good about it.
TOM: You are miles ahead of most recruits your age, is almost a relief to know that you can focus on your senior year?
RICARDO: You don’t know how many letters and phone calls I got before I committed. My High School coach gave me the keys to the mailbox at school, and told me to go get the mail. It’s down now, and I get a lot more time to myself. I don’t worry about this coach calling, and that coach wanting to talk to me. Coming from where I come from, this is the greatest opportunity I’ll ever get. People used to tell me I was an average player, and I didn’t listen, and I feel like I can be an outstanding player.
TOM: Is there anything you want to really focus on getting better at? Since college is a big jump, what have the coaches told you to work on?
RICARDO: They feel like I basically have the essentials, but just stay focused. It’s a big step and transitioning to Michigan and a college atmosphere, I just need to stay focused on the task at hand. There are thousands of people screaming your name, and you have to be ready for whatever is thrown at you. My focus level has to be high; there will be a lot of obstacles. With my character and personality I should be fine. You can always improve, and I just want to keep improving.
TOM: Is there any possibility anyone could get you away from Michigan?
RICARDO: No, no, no. Honestly people asked me that after the visit, and I told them after seeing that atmosphere, there’s no way I’ll give up that opportunity. Rich Rodriguez said as much as you’re committed to me I’m as committed to you.
I am enjoying this beverage.
Into the limo, you sonofabitch, no arguments.
Hey, there's a beverage here!
Brian is shoved in and awkwardly takes a seat facing the rear. The door is slammed behind him.
Start talking and talk fast, you lousy bum!
We've been frantically trying to reach you, EBay.
Where are my goddamn wins, you bum?
Well… we, I don't…
They did not receive the wins, you nitwit! They did not receive the goddamn wins. OUR STREAK WAS IN YOUR HANDS.
This is our concern, EBay.
No, man… nothing is fucked here, just…
NOTHING IS FUCKED? THE GODDAMN PLANE HAS CRASHED INTO THE MOUNTAIN.
Come on, man, just give it some time. We'll get the wins, it'll just take some time.
I—the royal we, you know, the fan we—he'll get the wins, exactly as specified—look, I've got certain information. Certain things have come to light, and, uh, has it ever occurred to you that instead of running around blaming Rich that this whole thing might just be, not, you know just such a simple, but uh—you know?
What in God's holy name are you blathering about?
I'll tell you what I'm blathering about! I got information—new shit has come to light—and, shit, man… we started a walk-on at quarterback!
Well, sure, look at it! Ridiculously young offense, gives turnovers all over town, including to known Domers—and that's cool, that's cool—but I'm saying, he needs time, and of course they're going to say he doesn't need any because they gotta feed the monkey—I mean, hasn't that ever occurred to you? Sir?
No. No, Mr. EBays, that had not occurred to me.
Well, okay, you're not privy to all the new shit, so, uh, you know, that's what you read me for. Speaking of, would it be possible to get some comped Rose Bowl tickets? I'm just worried with the demand and all…
Brandt, give him the envelope.
Well, okay, if you've got them right here.
We received it this morning.
Since you have failed to achieve, even on the modest EBay that is your site, since you have stolen my wins, and since you have unrepentantly betrayed my trust…
[opens envelope, looks inside]
DEAR MICHIGAN FOOTBALL PROGRAM,
It is our deepest regret to inform you that you are not qualified to take on the third-place MAC team in Detroit. We are probably going with Wofford instead.
…I have no choice but to tell these EBay bums that they should do whatever is necessary to recover their bowl streak from you, Brian of EBay. And with Brandt as my witness, tell you this: any further harm visited on my program will be visited tenfold upon your head.
By God, sir, I will not abide another Motor City Bowl rejection letter.
INT. COFFEE SHOP
The EBay and Michael sit at the counter, both staring off into space, both absently stirring their coffee with little clinking noises.
You want a bowl? I can get you a bowl. There are ways, EBay, you don't want to know about it.
Do they involve eating two large pizzas every night?
11/1/2008 – Michigan 42, Purdue 48 – 2-7, 1-4 Big Ten
As you might have noticed from such posts as "Brian goes to Auburn-LSU," I have an Auburn friend in town. You also might have noticed that Auburn sucks exactly as much as Michigan does this season. In general, this is some small comfort to both of us.
However, this friendship has caused me to pay more attention to Auburn's fortunes, such as they are, and write things about Auburn's botched hiring of spread guru Tony Franklin, and this is where the uncomfortable comparisons start.
If you missed the story, a précis: Auburn fires offensive coordinator Al Borges in December last year, replacing him with Troy State OC Tony Franklin. Franklin's newly implemented "Spread Eagle" racks up 423 yards against Clemson in a Peach Bowl victory. Auburn had eight days to practice it. Clemson was the #6 defense in the country. Woo!
Expectations are high coming in to 2008, whereupon Auburn implodes spectacularly, has an internal hissy fit, and fires Franklin midseason. A couple weeks before the firing Tommy Tuberville starts saying things that make it clear he's not really on board with this spread noise; Smart Football notes that whatever Franklin is running at Auburn isn't the Tony Franklin System(tm).
Underperforming unit, head coach focused on the other side of the ball but with a tendency towards one particular system the coordinator does not run, midseason philosophy shift… it's hard to avoid the parallels between Auburn adopting a shotgun formation and then running tank-sized power back Ben Tate on ill-fated zone stretches and Michigan's bizarre decision to adopt a 3-3-5 stack that, as far as I know, Shafer has never run before. Michigan proceeded to give up 48 points and 559 yards to a 2-6 team starting its third-string quarterback. Said quarterback was a running back three weeks ago.
This is where fail picture goes.
We have two unpleasant choices here: Shafer elects to pull Will Johnson, one of his better starters, for a freshman Boubacar Cissoko and having the move backfire spectacularly, or Rich Rodriguez dictates that change from above. I prefer Door #1 because then the 3-3-5 against Purdue is just an idea that really didn't work, not a sign of internal strife. Internal strife is bad.
So now everyone's guns are trained on Scott Shafer, coordinator of the Worst Defense In Michigan History and designated scapegoat for all (well, half) of Michigan's ills. Arguments will rage between the Fire Him Now and the Probably Fire Him Next Year camps, and interwebs blood will be spilled and people will be virtually roasted alive and it's going to be very dramatic on the message boards and so forth and so on.
Already the inbox is filled with emails asking whether Shafer needs to go. My answer is "probably not," but just like the guy who was asking whether Stevie Brown is shaving points I can no longer say so for certain.
- Hey, at least MINOR RAGE was back in good effect; on one of his touchdowns he ran through a couple tacklers like a giant parade balloon version of Mike Hart. I don't think anyone was surprised when he left the game injured; the only surprise is he didn't have to have a limb amputated and actually returned.
- The other standout was Martavious Odoms, obviously, who was the king of variance on special teams: touchdown, ridiculous punt muff providing someone else a touchdown, etc. I'm pretty sure Purdue's kick coverage team was horrible, but any progress from the return units is welcome, and several times Michigan was one guy away from busting a touchdown.
- As the year progresses I am increasingly skeptical Threet is a long term solution. I don't know if the elbow injuries had anything to do with it, but he refused to keep the ball on the zone read despite Purdue selling out to stop the running back. (If you go back to the liveblog you will see several "keep the #*$@ing ball, Threet!" requests from yrs truly.)
His accuracy was also spotty, especially on screens and the like, and if that doesn't improve I don't see how he can maintain a long-term grip on the starting job. For his sake I hope the elbow injuries are a major drag on his performance; otherwise it's Forcier/Beaver time in 2009.
- They futzed around with the offensive line some but eventually went back to their normal starting configuration, I think. Molk definitely got back in there, and I believe Ferrara got booted. I'll check the film on UFR.
- Did Michigan really burn Justin Feagin's redshirt on some kick coverage? WTF?
Hello; if you're new to this madness check out the Live Blog Chaos Mitigation Post for details on what's going on below. Starting soon.