For live updates of the games I'm attending, follow me on Twitter @varsityblue. If you can help out finding articles on any of the commits, @reply me on Twitter or e-mail me, and I'll try to include your contribution.
Performance of the Week:
MI WR Shawn Conway
Last Week: Seaholm came back to beat Andover 35-21. Conway was the star, and I was there, so enjoy the highlights:
(Apologies for the lack of HD and production value in editing - the MGoAccess to equipment is no more. If you want that to return... you know where to find the Beveled Guilt button).
By my count, Conway finished with six receptions for 134 yards (22 ypc), including a 60-yard touchdown. He also had one punt return, which he took back 65 yards for a touchdown. Defensively, he had one pass breakup (would have been a 96-yard pick-6 if he had realized it was third down, not fourth) and five tackles.
Now for the scouting report: Conway was by far the best athlete on the field, and the second-tallest guy on either team (Seaholm has one massive offensive lineman). The Maples' quarterback was as bad as advertised, and even his "good" passes downfield were wobblers. For that reason, Conway had three purposes on offense: 1) Catch screens 2) Run fly or post routes for hopeful jump balls 3) Serve as a distraction for the defense, either by alignment or by running deep to open the field underneath.
He was effective in all three roles, and with a good QB situation, he could pile up huge numbers. A lot of the hopeful jump balls came on plays he was behind the defense, but had to slow down or stop to let the ball get to him. He didn't come down with any passes by leaping above defenders, but he didn't really get a chance due to the passing. You can find full game highlights here.
Conway also came in for a round of fluff from the Detroit News this week:
Fahr was up front with the Michigan coaches and told them of the incident at Seaholm. "I did not hold anything from them," he said. "He got caught. I got guardianship of him and I think I can turn him around. I told him if I don't do it, then drop him. They said we believe in you and we are going to trust you."
Conway knows he has a fresh chance in life and vows to take advantage. He is not certain what he wants to study in college, but is leaning toward engineering. His goal is to play in the NFL and make a better life for his family.
The rest of the story centers around his adoption by Seaholm coach Chris Fahr. It's a great story, and I strongly suggest you click through to read the whole thing.
|Shawn Conway 2010|
|North Farmington||W 26-6||4||32||8.00||1||3||137||45.67||1|
This week: The Maples travel to Bloomfield Hills Lahser at 7pm on Friday.
FL QB Kevin Sousa
Last week: Lake Nona fell to Harmony, 17-50. Sousa has lost Matt Mendez, who was projected to be one of his top WR targets this season, for the year with an MCL tear. That could limit his stats a bit - especially considering the Lions had 11 drops(!) of Sousa passes on Friday. Our very own TomVH caught up with Sousa to get his stats:
17 of 39 for 256 passing, 2 TDs
15 rushes for 184 yards.
There should be highlights on Youtube sometime this week.
This week: Lake Nona heads to Oak Ridge at 7:30pm on Friday.
OH OL Jack Miller
Last week: St. John's defeated Birmingham Brother Rice 17-14. No mention of Miller in the article (caution though: Prepseer is a huge Brother Rice and Michigan State homer).
This week: St. John's hosts Sandusky at 7 on Saturday at Toledo Rogers High School.
MI OL Jake Fisher
Last week: Traverse City West was pounded by Grandville 42-14. Fisher caught a touchdown pass:
Brett Kenny finished off a nine-play, 70-yard drive in just 1:30 with a 3-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jake Fisher on a well-executed fake hand-off and quick hit over the middle. That knotted things up at 14-14 with 26 ticks left in the opening half.
There are 2009 stats on the TC West website, so hopefully as the season goes on, they'l start having 2010 stats as well.
This week: TC West hosts Essex (Ontario) at 5pm on Friday.
FL OL Tony Posada
This week: Plant hosts Hillsborough on Friday at 7:30.
OH DE Chris Rock
Last week: St. Francis DeSales crushed Maumee 41-0. No mention of Rock in the article.
This week: DeSales welcomes New Albany at 7:30 on Friday.
MI DE/LB Brennen Beyer
Last week: Plymouth fell to Howell, 10-18. Beyer forced a fumble in the game, though the game article gives the impression that Howell was focusing on him on the other side of the ball, limiting him from being involved in the offense.
This week: Plymouth faces Wayne on Friday at 7pm.
TX LB Kellen Jones
Last week: St. Pius X was blasted by Sealy, by a score of 6-57. Thanks to reader Michael Scott for pointing me toward a site where I could find scores of Jones's games. Also, thanks to our very own TomVH, I have full stats for both of the last two games. Apparently, St. Pius X threw four interceptions and took a safety, so it was a terrible game for them offensively. Jones had 13 tackles and two forced fumbles.
|Kellen Jones 2010|
|Trinity Christian||W 33-7||11||5||1||0|
This week: St. Pius X plays Episcopal on Friday at 7:30.
OH CB/S Greg Brown
Greg Brown, Tylor Trautwein and Co. are doing a great job leading this team. Leading by example, I might add.
No other mentions of Brown, though Whitmer apparently covered him very well on offense.
This week: The Little Giants travel to Tiffin to face Columbian at 7:30 on Friday.
MI CB Delonte Hollowell
Next Week: Cass Tech travels to Denby on Friday at 4pm.
MGoBlog Ballot - Week 2
|1||Boise St. Broncos||4|
|2||Ohio St. Buckeyes||-1|
|3||Alabama Crimson Tide||1|
|4||TCU Horned Frogs||7|
|12||Florida St. Seminoles||2|
|13||Virginia Tech Hokies||-4|
|17||Oregon St. Beavers||3|
|18||Penn St. Nittany Lions||6|
|20||North Carolina Tar Heels||-3|
|21||Notre Dame Fighting Irish||--|
|Dropouts: Auburn Tigers, Georgia Bulldogs, Stanford Cardinal, Washington Huskies, Connecticut Huskies, West Virginia Mountaineers|
SB Nation BlogPoll College Football Top 25 Rankings »
- Yes, Boise #1. They beat a good BCS-conference team in a virtual road game.
- I might be dinging Oklahoma a bit too much. Utah State could out together a Idaho-like run this year, and actually be a decent win by the end of the year. On the other hand, typically high-flying Oklahoma beat them by single digits at home.
- Should I move Texas down a little bit?
- I'm totally fine moving Florida down that much. They didn't crack triple digits in total yardage until well into the second half. And this came at home against a crap Miami (NTM) team.
- I considered leaving Michigan off my ballot so as to not tempt the CK award, but they were one of the few teams to curbstomp BCS-conference competition (and the Huskies were being talked about as a Big East Title contender before Saturday).
- Everything else looks OK to me. Let me know where I've gone horribly wrong.
Following Rich Rodriguez's time with the media yesterday, we also talked to TE Kevin Koger, RB Mike Shaw, LB Obi Ezeh, and DL Ryan Van Bergen.
"I think a couple people were shocked, because not a lot of people picked us to win." He was pleased with the team's performance.
Denard's performance - "I know he was doing what the coaches were coaching him to do." With his speed, if he doesn't need to stop his feet nobody will catch him. When Denard came in last year, teams knew it was a run. Now, they can't expect that. "He did take a lot of hits on Saturday, he did get hurt once."
"If it ain't broke don't fix it." The run worked well on Saturday, no need to worry about chucking the ball downfield more often. Teams have put 8 men in the box to stop the run. They might put more DBs in the box. "You really can't tell until you watch film." When they do that, you'll see more passing.
The big focus for WRs and TEs in offseason was dropped passes. They needed to work on their focus, ad it's paying off.
Everybody wants to make their blocks on every play, so it's not their guy that makes a tackle. Big play ability is always there with Michigan's team speed. Have to make your blocks "that could be the difference, so you never know." Downfield blocking "all comes down to effort. If you want to block, you block. If you don't [want to], you don't."
Kevin could notice a difference in crowd noise with the new boxes. You can hear the echoes off the boxes. "I think 113,000+ had a lot to do with it also."
Kevin traveled but didn't play a couple years ago at Notre Dame. He's ready to experience it for the first time. Players talk about "how loud it was and how tall the grass was."
"It was a good game. Coming out with a packed crowd like that, it was a lot of nerves, but we got through it and had a good showing against UConn."
"So far, so good" for Denard. "You never expect anybody to go out and have the game that he did." When he pulls the ball down, he's as good as a running back. If he stays healthy and everyone keeps blocking for him, it'll be all good. "Anybody can get a big run in this offense. It's so spread out." UConn wasn't ready for Denard's speed. Once teams key on Denard, it'll open up lanes for others. "As of September 4th, it was Denard's show." It's hard to compare Denard's command of the offense from last year. "What the coaches asked him to do, he did well - more than well."
Coaches look for stability and consistency in RBs. Shaw and Smith didn't fumble, etc. in camp, which put them ahead. There was no discussion of who was going to go in "when our numbers were called, we just went in there and did our thing." He's always hard on himself after a game. "I feel that I have a lot of room for improvement," especially in blocking and hitting creases harder.
He's talked to Roundtree, and they watched the play on which he got injured. Roundtree was thrilled to be involved in a big hit - he likes to be in on the action.
The O-line was a huge plus - even more than Denard. They've made big strides over the past couple years. They'll lead to a lot of big plays this year.
As for his academic situation in fall camp: "I am a student-athlete, and to not be eligible is not something I think the University of Michigan would stand for."
It's always a rowdy crowd at ND. Both teams have a lot to prove. "A lot of attention in the national spotlight."
The first three-and-out "that was nice" UConn's hurry-up didn't work out to start the game. "Our coaches got us really prepared for that game."
Fumble recovery - "In the right place at the right time, and kinda had my wits about me.... Kinda reminded me of the Michigan State game last year, when I had a fumble recovery and got smacked in the face."
The D-line was amazing. "A lot of people don't really hear about the efforts those guys put out." Hopes Martin knows that he appreciates the effort.
"I'm my worst critic," but Jonas played awesome. He was getting in the backfield, wreaking havoc, reading his keys, everything gelling well. "I felt comfortable out there too." Everyone makes mistakes - not perfect but a good game.
"Obviously things didn't go the way you wanted or you planned last year," and Obi used that for motivation. "I just want to win." All the seniors want to leave a legacy. There are more important things than last year.
The time of possession helped the defense. "It's fun when you don't have to play like 80-some plays a game." There will be times that Mich doesn't dominate possession, and the D is in good enough shape to handle that.
ND - Big game, big stage. Want to make a statement. "With that all being said, it's still a game, and just like last week you need to prepare, focus in, and practice hard." Everybody has a different version of the spread, so you have to prepare for ND differently. ND has explosive players at their disposal. "Our coaches are gonna come in with a gameplan obviously and we're just gonna focus in and execute to the best of our abilities."
Ryan Van Bergen
Did the team make a statement on opening day? "I think we did a pretty good job. I wouldn't say we had a performance that was perfect." There's a long season to progress, and young guys will come along during the season.
"I probably thought that in spring ball, probably first or second week" that Denard had really come along as a passer. He's accurate, which he struggled with last year. Completing passes will open up the run for him.
DL Coach Bruce Tall tries to rotate guys in and out along the line, to give the starters a rest. Even with the defense out there a long time, they can have depth and stay fresh. Mike Barwis has done a fantastic job with conditioning. Everybody on DL is leaps ahead of last year - which means a lot because they were in great shape last year too.
Position change "My role hasn't changed that much. It's a little bit nicer that I don't have to worry about a double team every play." BG gave him a lot of help.
He's "absolutely" happy to see somebody else have to chase Denard around.
Pressure on the QB. "Obviously I don't think we recorded a sack. We did a good job of putting pressure on the quarterback and forcing some bad throws." UConn went heavy protect a lot of times, but they're hungry to get some sacks.
Obi - "He just really resilient. He's gonna come back just as hard if not harder if he makes a mistake." Always a leader. He and jonas both motivated. Rubs off on the rest of the d.
Secondary - "I they played well." Don't have a veteran back there who's a bigtime leader. Those guys played well, weren't deer-in-headlights. Bounced back if they gave up any big plays.
Note: some of this is pretty elderly due to the season preview extravaganza last week.
Hey… like… does anyone have ND tickets they want to sell to their favorite blogger? Email me if so.
ND Week. Here we go.
Funny. The Funny or Die guys are Michigan alums, you know. They've got a movie premiering at the Michigan Theater October 8th. They also have a Ralph Williams shirt:
Zero. The Fulmer Cup has closed, and Michigan's score checks in at zero. Woo! This follows their one point from last year (Boubacar Cissoko's disorderly conduct charge) and their two from '08 (Darryl Stonum's DUI), and just goes to show what a program of renegades Rodriguez is building around these parts.
The Cup only runs in the offseason and therefore missed Justin Feagin's Bogus Journey, but since Michigan State would have put up 40 points from the Posse Roundup & Engineer/Woman Beatdown, a Fulmer Cup that ran year-round would have been awesome.
Georgia is your champion, by the way, finally breaking through with their innovative system of suspended licenses.
That ain't right. Barking Carnival points out this breakdown of the ESPNU 150:
That can't be right. BC points out USA Today's helpful database on NFL draft picks and says California—home of the most NFL draft picks since '88—gets disrespected, but doesn't go into the numbers. I added and divided and came up with this:
|Region||NFL Picks||NFL %||ex(150)||Actual 150|
Everywhere except Texas gets dissed by a wildly unbalanced ESPN ranking system. Maybe not by as much as that suggests since population's been slowly moving out of the Midwest, but that only explains one small slice of the lack of balance. The South does have the most talent, but not to the extent suggested by ESPN.
Raise them well.
In which insulting letters are sent to Jon Voigt. The final edition of Six Zero's series of profiles on mgo-denizens covers yrs truly. Marvel at the pratfall in which the blog's genesis can be found! Relive the acquisition of the press pass! Discover my favorite food! Explore the ways in which my life is like Kathy Griffins! No, not plastic surgery! Find out in what fashion Jon Voigt is insulted! Be relieved at this bit if you're one of those people who frets I might go work for ESPN!
I really hope MGoBlog is my job for life as long as we start going to bowls on the regular in the near future. Insufficient emphasis. I desperately want MGoBlog to be my job until I retire. I've rarely been so attuned with a fictional character as when Sterling Cooper was trying to get Don Draper to sign a contract, and when he actually signed it and was immediately slapped in the face with it I felt it was cosmically justified. So... yeah. It will take a lot to do something else.
Etc.: This is probably the oldest thing but it was awesome if you haven't seen it: Bobmurph deploys xtranormal in the service of truth re: Big Ten Divisions. Nick Saban on talent: "I don't know where we're stockpiling all this stuff at, but we've got room for lots more." Jesus.
- Roy Roundtree and Carvin Johnson are doubtful for Notre Dame
- Second-team FS/holder Jared Van Slyke (a walkon) is out for the year.
- Junior Hemingway is expected back.
- Fitzgerald Toussaint may or may not play against ND.
After the game, Rodriguez got to spend time with Brock's family, and before, he saw the end of Brock's walk.
Managing from execution standpoint first thing you want. Can run the ball and get first downs, not as necessary to throw downfield for big plays. Can block downfield better. Consistency in blocking need to improve the most. Guys were in the right place, but didn't sustain blocks, or didn't get downfield. Didn't get downfield as well as we're capable. On D - just lost contain a couple times. Special teams were very average. KOR and KO units were below average.
Worked so hard on the passing game because they knew UConn was going to bring safeties down to help against the run. "Watching the film, we played hard, we played well at at times, and we took care of the football offensively." Can still execute a lot better on O. Not having big plays on offense gave the defense rest with long drives, but Rodriguez would prefer to execute well enough to get the big plays.
On Denard: "He graded out relatively high. He made a few mistakes, which you would expect in his first game as a starter." Made a couple negative-yardage plays. You rarely see a first-time starter command the game like he did.
Shaw and Smith: "They ran better than they blocked." Usually they're better blockers. Wish they could get back the negative-yardage plays. The other backs need to prove themselves better in practice to play.
Pretty much satisfied with the offensive line play. Liked the effort. No "high grades" on the OL - partially because it's tougher to grade out well with Coach Frey. "A couple guys didn't play nearly as well as we thought they would," both at the point of attack and on the second level, but they were solid as a group.
The defense had a few plays they'd like to have back. "We got what we thought we'd get." ND will be a bigger challenge than UConn. Tackled pretty well, only a few missed assignments.
Muffed punts - "This year is this year, last year is last year." It was Gallon's first game action, and it came on a windy day with a tough punt. "He'll be fine. I have no concerns whatsoever." Not worried about kickers' performances in the wind. Drew Dileo mishandled the missed extra point.
Roy Roundtree is listed as doubtful with internal bruising, they'll re-check him later in the week. Carvin Johnson is "very doubtful" with a sprained knee. Junior Hemingway should be able to go, but they won't know until later this week.
Still concerned with youth of team. Guys will get beat up. The outside people have been saying whatever "You go in our building, it's been a little bit different the whole time."
Denard - "He's a pretty humble guy anyway. I'll talk to him about staying humble. I think that's in his nature anyway." Just one bad day away from being a goat. Positive press is like poison - it's OK as long as you don't swallow it. He needs to trust timing and progression before he takes off. He has been getting better at that, and did very well Saturday.
Denard was sharp - "My concern coming in was the wind more than anything else." Biggest thing was where his eyes were going to be. If their eyes are in the right place, they'll make the right decision. "He's smart enough to figure out that hey, you're just one bad play away from everybody saying 'you can't do this' or 'you can't do that'." Guys know it's a big stage.
"You could sense earlier on that [Denard] is a guy who, not only does he have the physical abilities, but he has the type of mental makeup you'd like to have at the position." It all comes with learning. Denard and Tate will still have some mistakes, have growing to do, but they have bright futures. "I'm always concerned with our players' concerns. That's what coaches do." It's a team game, not an individual game. TV may try to sensationalize something.
Is Rodriguez concerned about Tate? "Why? Is there a reason to? Oh." Coach wasn't making a big issue out of it - TV was. It's no surprise that he's disappointed to not play. "I want all my players to be happy all the time. Inevitably, 110 of them probably won't be. If we win, you expect most of them to be happy or fake it. I don't blame guys for being unhappy if they don't play. That's human nature." RR will talk to the QBs, "There shouldn't be any problems... If he crosses the line as far as being a team player, we'll worry about that."
Devin - "We think that Devin has proven that he's ready to play." He's at the point where he'll help win games this year.
Probably could have repped more OL in the game. Players have to give the staff confidence that they'll be able to execute.
Obi - "Yeah, I thought he played pretty well. I really did." Jonas Mouton and Mark Moundros played well, too.
Young DBs have been getting a lot of reps, they have to "grow up in a hurry." They'll have great futures, just need to get them ready. Pleased with play of Floyd and Rogers. "JT's continued his performance. We think he's been pretty good all camp." Team is thin in secondary, esp. losing Carvin Johnson. Put the next guy in and see what happens. Thomas Gordon played well, Floyd Simmons will get some play "We have a lot of confidence in Floyd."
Competition at PK is still ongoing.
Brian Kelly's scheme - "There's a lot of similarities. Studying them and studying us, every spread has a little different emphasis at certain times." RR's spread is a bit more run nowadays. Cincy pass, now at ND looks like he'll mix it up a bit. They'll study last year's ND film for personnel, but coaching staff is new so have to see what those guys did at previous stops. Both teams will run a bit of stuff that they didn't last week. Michael Floyd and Kyle Rudolph are big weapons, but they have talented RBs and QB as well. Have to tackle well in space against ND. "If we can't get 'em on the ground, and we can't cover 'em..."
ND 3-4 look, sometimes 4-man front. "Everybody's multiple defensively. nobody runs one front and run coverage anymore." They brought some pressure, but mostly worked to contain Purdue's players last week.
RR has only played Kelly one time. Played at Cincy in 2007. Dews worked with Kelly for a year at Central, so there's some familiarity there. He's had great success. They have a lot of talent. They recruit nationally, even if they haven't been pleased with the record the past few years.
ND - "I'm sure their players and our players understand it's a rivalry." This is the first rivalry game each season. A section of West Mich is always asking about ND. New coach, lots of excitement.
At ND Stadium "They are very passionate about football. Every seat will be taken. Theyr'e into the game. It's a very intimate setting." Always seems to be raining when RR goes there "The grass is high - because of the rain, I guess." Younger players - "We've got to get them to grow up in a hurry." Have to learn to keep your poise, and have a sense of maturity on the road. 25 or 26 guys on the travel squad for their first road trip.
Noise is biggest challenge "We'll crank it up this week, and try to get our skill guys offensively to get used to the crowd noise." Very crisp against UConn, doesn't expect any against ND.
Keys to winning: 1) take care of the football. Lost the game with that last time at ND. 2) Understand you'll face adversity - they'll make plays. 3) Don't give up big plays, because they have big play talent. 4) Make big plays offensively ourselves.
It helps to have Division-1 experience when you start coaching at a bigtime institution. "It's invaluable coaching at the small-school level." You have to worry about all the details of running the program. Have to learn very quickly from a recruiting and teaching standpoint. "Sometimes you have to get creative." Try new things, which will be innovative at the higher levels. Rodriguez and Kelly are both familiar with that.
The game was obviously a success, and that has resonated through with the recruits in attendance. Here's a look at how this past weekend's visits went, and some reactions to the game from recruits. There's not many quotes from the first three, because I only spoke with them briefly, and Avery Walls is still in Ann Arbor.
5'8, 190 lbs.
We'll just start off with the update you've been anticipating. Demetrius Hart decided not to commit this weekend. He came up with his uncle, teammates Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix and Nick Patti, as well as Tom Shaw (his trainer).
I will tell you that I thought this would be the weekend he would end his recruitment. I know this was a very good visit for him, and there's still no reason to believe that anything has changed as far as where he ranks Michigan (which is number one).
I don't have any deep meaningful quotes from him, but I did talk to him briefly. He's graduating early, so he has to make his decision soon. I wouldn't be surprised if he took a few more visits to other schools, and came back up to Ann Arbor for the MSU or Iowa game. Disappointing that nothing happened this weekend, but definitely a positive weekend for Michigan with his recruitment as a whole. Just stay patient.
6'2, 190 lbs.
I spoke with Ha'Sean before the visit took place. He told me that he didn't want the visit publicized too much, and if it got out there that he was coming he might not go. As we all know it was reported everywhere that he would be in Ann Arbor, and he still came. Maybe he doesn't browse the interwebs, I'm not sure.
Anyhow, speaking with a few people about him makes me feel like he's pretty solid with Alabama. That's not to say that it would be impossible to sway him, it would just take quite a bit to do that. If Demetrius makes another trip up to Michigan and Ha'Sean were to come with him, there would be reason for excitement. I've been told that there may be some teammates (possibly former as well) trying to persuade him to go north. We'll just have to wait to see how it plays out.
5'11, 185 lbs.
Avery's visit will last until today (Monday), so we'll have to wait a little bit for an update on the visit. I wouldn't expect a commitment from him, but if the visit blows him away it's not out of the question. I have a feeling that Michigan is in the driver's seat. This is his third trip to Ann Arbor.
This time he brought his brother with him to have him see what he's been talking about. He will continue to take his planned official visits to Oregon on October 2nd, and Cal on October 9th. He wants to make sure he's found the right fit and I think taking those official visits is important to him. Again, be patient. Michigan is a good spot.
- AJ Jordan - 2011 wide receiver from Trotwood, Ohio was in attendance. He thought very highly of the game and atmosphere, and will eventually take an official visit in Ann Arbor. Wisconsin is barely in the lead right now, and this visit has helped to close that gap.
- Danny O'Brien & Matt Godin - 2012 defensive tackles and best friends! They both had an amazing time at the game. Danny said, "(Mike) Martin is a beast. The defense looked good. Me and Matt both had a great time, it was an awesome game." They both REALLY like Michigan, but it's still early. O'Brien already has offers from Tennessee and Michigan.
- Nick Patti - 2012 quarterback from Dr. Phillips in Orlando, Florida. This was Patti's second time up to AA, and it was a good one. "It was great for me, I loved it. It's hard not to like it there," he said. Tom Shaw (who trains Nick, Demetrius, Ha'Sean, Karlos Williams, etc.) accompanied Nick on the visit, and also had a favorable view. "Tom (Shaw) said he thinks it's a fantastic opportunity if it's presented to me."
- Anthony Zettel - Anthony always enjoys himself at Michigan, and this game was much of the same. I've said this before, but Anthony is now waiting until the end of the season to make his decision. He's waiting to see how Michigan's season turns out, and if there ends up being a coaching controversy. This win is one step closer to landing him.
- The general feeling among the recruits was that this was a great win, and it was an exciting game. The crowd played a big factor too as some recruits said it was so loud they couldn't hear the person next to them at some points. Denard is not only a fan favorite, but a recruit favorite as well. His performance stood out to everybody, and had all the recruits talking about how exciting he is to watch.