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:
FL RB Demetrius Hart
Last Week: Dr Phillips pastes Gateway 59-0.
Senior Demetrius Hart ran for 187 yards and five touchdowns in two quarters...
Hart,a Michigan oral commit, had three scoring runs of more than 40 yards. Eric Harrell, a sophomore, relieved Hart in the second half and rushed for 72 yards and a touchdown.
The Sentinel also provides video. The video shows that Hart also had an interception viciously stolen from him by teammate Roderick Ryles. Stats below (and photo at right) from the Dr. Phillips website:
|Demetrius Hart 2010|
|Cypress Creek||W 52-0||14||168||4||12.00||1||7||0||7.00||3||24||0||8.00|
|Oak Ridge||W 56-28||21||126||3||6.00||4||37||1||9.25||1||5||0||5.00|
This week: Dr. Phillips travels to Freedom on Friday at 7:30.
FL QB Kevin Sousa
Last week: Lake Nona is held off by Tenoroc, 20-26. Sousa's coach tells Tom that Kevin finished 19/24 passing for 389 yards and 2 TDs with a pick, while rushing 13 times for 121 yards and another score.
|Kevin Sousa 2010|
|Oak Ridge||L 0-48||6||13||46.15||34||2.62||0||1||7||31||4.43||0|
|Lake Wales||L 6-42||14||21||66.67||199||9.48||0||1||13||64||4.92||1|
This week: Lake Nona visits Winter Haven on Friday at 7:00.
OH OL Jack Miller
Last week: St. John's defeated Toledo Catholic Central 39-14 in the Hardcore Football Game of the Week. Video:
This week: 9-1 St. John's hosts Greg Brown's Fremont Ross in Round 1 of the State Playoffs. The game is Saturday (time TBD) at BGSU's Doyt Stadium.
MI OL Jake Fisher
Last week: TC West fell to Rockford 14-35 in Round 1 of the State Playoffs.
On defense, Jake Fisher led the way with 12 tackles.
WZZM has video highlights:
This week: Traverse City West's season has ended with a 6-4 final record.
OH DE Chris Rock
This week: 5-5 DeSales faces rival Bishop Watterson in Round 1 of the State Playoffs.
MI DE/LB Brennen Beyer
Plymouth’s defense also flourished, with Fox and senior Brennen Beyer doing serious damage on Saline quarterback Trey Heren and Hornet running backs throughout the game...
Beyer had one sack and half of another, along with several crisp tackles. Beyer had one sack and half of another, along with several crisp tackles. “I just got off the ball really well and got to the quarterback,” Beyer said.
Local fluff on Beyer and his teammate, ND commit K Kyle Brindza.
This week: The 8-2 Wildcats will face cross-campus rival Canton this weekend.
TX LB Kellen Jones
Last week: St. Pius X beat Houston Christian 49-7. Jones's coach tells Tom that Kellen had 8 tackles, 1 for loss with a sack. He also blocked a punt for St. Pius X.
|Kellen Jones 2010|
|Trinity Christian||W 33-7||11||5||1||0|
|Worthing||W 20-12||DNP - ankle|
|St. Thomas||W 28-10||11||3||1||0|
|Houston Christian||W 37-13||9||3||1||0|
|Houston Christian||W 49-7||8||1||1||1*|
* Blocked punt.
This week: St. Pius rematches St. Thomas on Friday at 7.
OH CB/S Greg Brown
Last week: Fremont Ross defeated Sandusky 21-7.
Just 2:08 later, Fremont Ross would take its first lead of the night when Greg Brown took a reverse 20 yards for the score.
This week: 9-1 Ross faces Jack Miller's St. John's Jesuit team on Saturday at Bowling Green.
MI CB Delonte Hollowell
Last week: Cass Tech beat Southeastern 35-0 in Round 1 of the State Playoffs. Link has video, but no Hollowell.
Next Week: The 10-0 Technicians host Dearborn Fordson in Round 2 of the State Playoffs on Friday.
FL OL Tony Posada
Last week: Plant had a bye week.
Next week: Plant faces Chamberlain on Friday.
MI WR Shawn Conway
Seaholm's season is over, with a 4-5 record. Conway finished the year with about 22 catches for 375 yards, and 11 kick/punt returns for 393 yards. Seaholm's coach resigned following the final game.
The diary on poor tackling got me thinking about Rich Rod's coaching philosophy. It's obvious that he recruits speed and athletes on offense at not only the skill positions but also the o-line where he likes guys who can get out and block in space. These are the guys who get all the attention and the playing time. They are "the game breakers" and the guys who can make a big play at any time. How can that not transfer over to the defensive side of the ball? So, in the spring, we heard rumors about Cam Gordon having a great camp because he probably delivered some big hit kill shots to 4th string RBs instead of learning how to play assignment football with fundamentally sound tackling.
Am I way off here? Every yard after contact I see Michigan allow, I can't help but think how much better a (I can't believe I'm saying this) Jim Herrmann/Ron English defense was at stopping the run. We can chart how few upperclassmen we have on D until we are blue in the face but you have to concede that something is fundamentally wrong with the program's defensive attitude and philosophy. I think it just may be the constant search for "big time players" rather than smart football players who can read and react quickly.
What do you think?
Well… yeah, I guess, but like everything else on the defense the lack of depth and experience makes it hard to tell whether we're just seeing what would happen if Virginia Tech threw out a secondary full of underclassmen or if there's a long-term talent development problem. Is it a recruiting issue? Don't know. Rodriguez recruits at Michigan are all freshmen or sophomores, and if none of them are very good there's a pretty obvious reason why. Very few can "read and react quickly" as underclassmen.
Something is wrong with the program's defensive philosophy. That much is obvious. To me that problem is an incoherent coaching staff that either forces the coordinator to run a scheme he doesn't understand or forces the position coaches to do the same. Why is it so important for the position coaches to know what the defense is doing instead of getting JT Floyd to exist? I don't know, but those meddling kids have put Michigan in some goofy variant of the 3-3-5 for three years running and it hasn't done anything but implode because the defensive coordinator isn't really on board.
The problem with Michigan's philosophy on D appears to be the lack of one.
While i think there are many things wrong with the Michigan football team right now, it seems like either the play calls or the reads have been restrictive in nature.
Last year, it seemed like on the read-option, there was a third option to pass to a receiver at the line of scrimmage that could catch and run for an easy 5 yds. Has this been replaced by the receiver running a skinny post?
Also, it seems a major component of any spread offense is the quick screens/pass to the slot receiver with the outside WR blocking down. The offense featured this last year but hasn't at all this year.
I believe the plays are in the offense's playbook. When Tate is in, there is a more even run/pass distribution. (ie- look at the easy 7 yds michigan could have had at the end of the Penn St game when Denard threw to Junior Hemingway and he dropped the ball)
The main point of all of this... It would seem that passing on the edge would open up the defense to make running in the middle a little bit easier.
Thanks for you coverage of Michigan. It makes my work day more enjoyable.
Opponents have been taking the bubble away by alignment. Iowa put a linebacker over him and managed to keep two-deep coverage. Penn State moved a safety down. When opponents have gone away from these schemes it hasn't taken Michigan long to hit the bubble for a nice gain, at which point they go back to taking it away. When Iowa started blitzing off the edge in the second quarter Michigan hit a couple bubbles and Iowa reverted to its previous scheme. Smart Football dubbed the bubble a "constraint play" way back in 2008, defining the concept like so:
What if your offense is based only on bubble screens and then you just run the ball or throw the ball as a counter to your bubble screen offense?
The difference is that the bubble screen is a play that really only works when the defense has made a structural choice or is out of position. Most commonly, you'll run when the bubble only when the defense has but two defenders to cover three receivers. You thus block the two defenders and the receiver has free yards. If the defense puts a third defender there they can take the play away, intercept it, or make the tackle.
Conversely, a well designed dropback pass play, a triple option play, or certain base runs will work every time you face a normal defense. The only time the play stops working is when certain defenders cheat on their assignments, either by alignment or aggressiveness.
You're right that the edge passing opens up the interior running, but it's already a reason Michigan's ground game has been so effective, and a reason that things like Kevin Koger 60 yard touchdowns happen.
The bubble option after a zone read keeper is still being run but it's not being thrown. I imagine they've de-emphasized it because when it has been thrown it's not usually getting more than a few yards and if that's your upside you might as well let Denard carry it. The equation changes radically when he's running the ball instead of Forcier.
Chip Kelly said a week or so ago he has nothing to do with his defense, he just leaves that side of the ball to his defensive coordinator. GERG has championship rings on multiple levels. Why can't RR just let him do his thing? It seems to me that if Rich Rod just worried about the offense and let GERG do the D, Michigan might be better off.
The other side of the complaint about Rodriguez not being involved enough in the defense. This is an unanswerable question. I'm not sure why there was an insurrection against Scott Shafer in 2008—well, okay, I have some idea since Michigan refused to put Brandon Harrison on the field—or why the 2009 defense spent most of its time in an eight-man front or why Michigan decided to install every front imaginable this year.
It's clear, however, that the position coaches are forcing the coordinators to adapt to them (again, this is exactly what happened in Tommy Tuberville's final year at Auburn) and the results are dismal.
Whether or not turning the defense over to Greg Robinson would help any is debatable. He has never built an effective college defense. After getting fired from the Chiefs he had a single year at Texas during which he turned in the same level of performance the DCs before and after him did. Then he went to Syracuse and could not field a minimally competent unit after his first year—the team went backwards fast and stopped in the triple digits. While he got a rep for being a good position coach last year it's obvious that the linebackers we can actually compare across '09 and '10 did not progress much over the offseason. Ezeh was the same, Mouton is a little better but still prone to the same mistakes he's made throughout his career. No one else has never seen the light of day before this year.
At this point there is no case for keeping him around. There is no reason to expect anything but failure from him; some good NFL defenses with the Broncos are now a decade old. All the reasons the defense should be bad are still valid, but the only way to salvage Rodriguez's job is to bring in a defensive coaching staff with proven recent success that cannot be undermined by whatever the deal is with the current assistants, whichever of them stay around.
In response to your recent post about the blood drive where you said: “I should put up a ticker that says 1343 DAYS SINCE OHIO STATE BEAT MICHIGAN AT BLEEDING. Ain't got no other tickers to put up” there is indeed a slightly more noteworthy streak that is still intact. Michigan’s Mens rowing team has beaten OSU’s mens rowing team 14 consecutive years at their annual dual race. According to the team’s website this streak is the longest continuous streak for Michigan over OSU in any sport ever (at least where head-to-head meetings are applicable). The matchup takes place right before the annual football game (with the first win coming in November 1996), so in my approximation this streak is at about 5,085 days or so and counting. Thought you might like that nugget of info.
Woo! Also, sincere congratulations to the rowing team.
And at least no one broke this guy's nose:
I dressed up as everyone's favorite defensive coordinator for Halloween this year!
One guy I never met before came up to me and told me how much he hated me and how badly he wanted to punch me in the face.
This weekly update will be a little sparse. Since there was a bye then an away game, there wasn't much that happened that I haven't reported already. This weekend should be a good one, however, with the Dr. Phillips clan coming to town.
As usual I will post this in a separate diary since the names will change as we get closer to the date. This is the only thing I'm going to say as far as everyone asking about a potential "secret recruit' visiting this weekend. I have confirmed he's coming, and I will let you know who it is when they give me the OK to tell you.
- Safety Roderick Ryles (6'1", 185 lbs, 3 Star): Currently committed to Arkansas, but he has said numerous times that anything can happen. If he likes this visit, I would expect Michigan to be a heavy contender.
- Linebacker Darryl Monore (6'1", 215 lbs, 3 Star): Darryl has not been offered by Michigan, but will be making the trip up this weekend. Currently committed to Washington State, he has said that basically means nothing and it's as soft a commit as you can be.
- Running Back Demetrius Hart (5'8", 190 lbs, 4 Star, Commit): You already know.
- Safety Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix (6'2", 190 lbs, 5 Star): Alabama commit coming up for the second time. I was a little optimistic until I spoke with someone in Florida that I trust. They said Ha'Sean is definitely committed to Alabama, and it would be hard to get him away from that. We'll see what happens.
- Wide Receiver Chris Gallon (6'5", 205 lbs, 3 Star): Chris does not have an offer, although the coaches have told him they're reviewing his film. It seems as though Chris may be a back up plan for Michigan at wide receiver.
- Quarterback Nick Patti (5'10", 180 lbs, 2012 Recruit): Nick has consistently said that Michigan is one of his favorites.
5'11", 205 lbs.
Will Mahone was in Ann Arbor this year to watch a Michigan game already, and this week traveled to Pennsylvania to see the Penn State game. He got a two for one, as he got to check out both the Lions and Wolverines offense.
It's great to have a quarterback like Denard, we have a versatile quarterback, too, so that's good. (Michigan's) running back (Vincent) Smith looks like he's good too. They had a rough game, but they made a little comeback too.
Mahone plays in a spread offense now that uses a lot of read options, much like Michigan. The new recruiting rules have slowed down offers, but Will is still hearing from a good amount of big time schools.
Alabama, Penn State, Oregon, Virginia, Wisconsin, Texas A&M, Mississippi State, Michigan and Notre Dame are all still sending letters. I have an offer from Cincinnati, too.
While running back may not be a big priority for Michigan in the 2012 class, Mahone would be a good option.
With only one day to accept comments, I'll cut right to the chase:
A few notes:
- A case can definitely be made for TCU jumping Boise at this point. I erred on the side of status quo, but if they can beat Utah, they'll definitely jump the Broncos.
- I think I'm satisfied with the order of the Big Ten teams. Although Michigan State got stomped by Iowa, they have a (convincing) head-to-head against Wisconsin, who has the same over Ohio State. The Hawkeyes' out-of-conference loss dooms them to fourth place.
- At the end of the poll, I wasn't scrambling for teams to fill in, but rather had to leave a potentially-deserving team (Nevada) out. I think there's a case to be made for 3-loss USC to be bumped in their favor, no?
- Baylor definitely deserves to be ranked, but the lack of a big win (which, lol that Texas doesn't qualify) leaves them near the end of the list.
All other comments are welcome, and the resume chart lives here.
Schadenfreuede starring you. You may be featured in TWIS…
It's time to play "MGoBlog Content Or Smiths Song?"
…but so am I so it's only fair. Also the first one isn't actually MGoBlog content, it's from MGoFootball, but it was too perfect.
What happened when that other thing was happening. If you weren't one of the sixteen people at Yost on Saturday this is what happened:
That completed a four point weekend after Michigan's last-ditch tying goal led to a shootout loss in Big Rapids. The NCAA does not use shootouts as part of the PWR formula so to them it's just 1-0-1, which is a decent enough weekend against an opponent that traditionally plays Michigan very tough at home.
Michigan heads up to Fairbanks this weekend for a tough series against Alaska (That Alaska):
The Nanooks are 5-2-1 on the year and have a win over Colorado College; they've beaten some weak teams and lost to North Dakota at home and had a 0-1-1 trip at Munn in their first and only weekend outside of Alaska. After that Michigan gets a rejuvenated Notre Dame program at Yost; the next two weeks will go a long way towards establishing just what Michigan is this year after a slightly shaky start.
Brian Kelly terror level: reduced. I'm on record saying that in Brian Kelly Notre Dame had found a real coach who was likely to whip the talented but lost Weis leftovers into a formidable team sooner or later, likely sooner. Eh… not so much. The decision to have your freshman backup toss a fade to Michael Floyd when you need a field goal to win and a Groza candidate at kicker is Weis-level outsmarting yourself. Also it was against Tulsa.
So that's one thing. More damning still was what happened in the Navy game. At halftime Brian Kelly mumbled something incoherent about the "veer" to the sideline reporter, implying that the Mids had brought out the fireworks for their big game against Notre Dame:
If you saw the game you might have thought this was weird since the Navy offense looked pretty much like the Navy offense always does except the fullback wasn't getting tackled until he was 20 yards downfield. Navy blog The Birddog, which breaks down Navy games in detail equivalent to UFR, explains what the fancy new scheme was:
Kelly and Diaco just have absolutely no clue how the Navy offense works.
Navy started the game in the heavy formation, with two tackles lined up on one side and a wide receiver in the tackle position on the other side. Contrary to Kelly’s comments, this isn’t unusual at all for the Navy offense. Offensive coordinator Ivin Jasper frequently uses the heavy formation when the defense has an inside linebacker with exceptional playmaking ability; in Notre Dame’s case, that would be Manti Te’o. … The first down lineman on or outside the B gap is still unblocked as the quarterback’s first key, and the next player out is still #2 in the count. Since it is the lineman in the B gap that is left unblocked, that’s the path that the fullback takes on his run. If that lineman steps upfield and takes the quarterback, that’s where the running lane will be.
That isn’t something new that the Navy coaches saved for Notre Dame. That is Navy Offense 101. It’s the absolute basics; the bread and butter play run in every game out of every formation. If Diaco and Kelly hadn’t seen it before, then I have no idea what film they’ve been watching, or if they even watched any at all. That isn’t even hyperbole; they thought that Navy’s fullback ran through the A gap. And that was their plan– to send the inside linebackers crashing into the A gap that nobody was running through.
The Birddog explains Kelly's odd veer comment as a fundamental misunderstanding of the Navy offense based on the idea they run the midline a ton (they did run it against ND, but only twice). Which fine he's an offensive guy but that's got to be the explanation he got from DC Bob Diaco, then, so you're just devolving the gaping incompetence to the coordinator level. (This does not sound familiar at all.) So Notre Dame goes in at halftime aware they've made a fundamental mistake when it comes to the Navy offense and they change their scheme up like so:
Those ILBs kept running into the A gap for the entire game. Once or twice Te’o scraped outside to make a play in the backfield, and I’d think,”OK, now we’ll see something else.” But we didn’t. Notre Dame would go right back to the same old thing on the next play, and the Mids would pick up a big gain.
That's how you lose 35-17 to Navy. Navy then went out and lost to Duke, rushing for 148 yards at 4.0 a pop. So… yeah. As long as Diaco's around I'm not going to be that terrified of Brian Kelly. (This is not a criticism you can level at Michigan.)
Give me back mah bukkit. Elsewhere in Charlie Weis comparisons, Danny Hope is one easily-peeved walrus:
After Purdue cut its deficit to 37-10, Illinois threw three passes on a 57-yard scoring drive, including a 15-yard scoring strike from Scheelhaase to Chris James with 1:36 left.
"I probably would not have done that but I’m not going to cry about it," Hope told reporters after the game. "That's their choice, their call. I would not have done it. He’s the coach. If it makes him feel better about him and his team, call it, chuck it and run it up."
Unlike former Minnesota coach Tim Brewster, who had a heated postgame exchange with Wisconsin's Bret Bielema after an Oct. 9 game in Madison, Hope doesn't intend to confront Zook.
"Why would I say something about that?" Hope said. "Game's over. It's his call. It’s done. I'm not going to cry about it."
Charlie Weis press conferences were laden with statements like "I'm not going to blame Jimmy Clausen for overthrowing Golden Tate, I take that responsibility myself. Another thing I'm taking responsibility for: our defensive line being comprised of mewling kittens. That's on me, and does not reflect poorly on the character of Ian Williams." Here Hope repeatedly states he's not going to cry about the thing he is crying about.
Etc.: 2011 PG commit Trey Burke continues to play well in local tournaments, going head to head with a top-50 player and coming out almost even in points (33 to 34) and seeing his team pick up the W.
[Ed-M: Added the video provided by Boyz n da Pahokee]
"It's an attitude adjustment... it can't just be some half-assed work ethic." Guys need to fight every game, every down. "We're gonna realize that shortly, and we'll get it done."
"Losing isn't good. Losing looks bad, and we don't deserve it. We've worked too hard, gone too far, and done too much, and this shouldn't be the outcome. It's going to change. I'm going to do whatever I can do, as much as I can do."
Every young football player coming in needs to make an adjustment to the next level. It comes with the experience of playing in college. "It's coming. It just needs to show."
The team has ability, and is showing effort. "It's just the mental apect, we need to improve our technique, we need to improve our reading skills. It's something that will come and I'm hoping it comes fast." The mental game is an acquired talent, you don't just wake up one day and know how to play football. Guys need to work at it, and they are learning it. "We're moving towards the place we need to be. We're just not there yet."
How to avoid pointing fingers at D? "We're a team for a reason. We're not an offense and a defense. We're a team. And when you point things at one side, it just kills it. There's a chemistry that we have as a team, and will build on for years to come."
Illinois is a good defense with a strong defensive line, and a good linebacker in Martez Wilson. "They're a solid defense, a very solid defense, but I think we should do well against them."
What was it like to miss last year's game? "I mean I've answered this question probably 300,000 times at every media event I've ever been to. Obviously it's not good. I don't like sitting at home watching it with my leg up."
Mike Martin's ankle injury - the only thing that hurts him is the physical injury. It's hard to come off that, but you adapt to the pain. No football player has ever been 100% healthy the entire season.
Rich Rod doesn't need his players to play psychiatrist with him. "He's his own man and he can handle himself. He doesn't need one of his players to mediate him and make sure he's calm."
What does the team think about media criticism of Rodriguez? "I could care less. I don't think I've ever read or listened to a single media thing that you guys have ever put out. So, I mean I could care less."
"We haven't had a team meeting yet, but from what I've seen from lifting today, our spirits are still pretty high."
The expectations on DL aren't on the player, but the position. Adam Patterson and Renaldo Sagesse have to step in for MIke Martin's production if he goes down.
The defense: "We spoke to each other after the game. We're all on the same bus... we told the young guys 'you're not a freshman no more. You're all a year into what, your sixth or seventh game.'"
RR's fourth quarter speech was about reminding players that the big stage is why they came to Michigan. They need to play together as a unit and step up, making the plays when available.
Scheelhasse can run and pass, and his teammates have been supporting his production very well. "He did it both with his arm and his legs." Have to prepare for dual-threat QBs every week practicing against Denard. A few of the guys Michigan has faced prefer to stay in the pocket, but seize the opportunity to run if they get it.
"Where we need to improve is our tackling and our third-down efficiency. We all take the responsibility for that. Me as a defensive lineman, I take a heavy burden on third down, because we need to get more pressure on the quarterback."
"The onus is on us. I mean the coaches, they can only do so much. The rest of it falls into the players' hands." Greg Robinson is a great coach, the players' execution in tackling, etc. is letting them down. "He's putting us in the positions, we're just not executing."
Nobody's gotten the Michigan defense's best shot this year. They haven't had 100% effort, execution, and responsibility in any game yet.
The team is excited every Monday to get back to work. They're disappointed with Saturday's performance, but can't dwell on it, need to try improving.
Not sure how the defense can force more turnovers: "If I had that answer, I'd be a coach right now." There's a necessary mentality that the team needs to improve. Same story on 3rd and long: "Those are key parts of the game that we definitely need to improve on. I don't know what it is, why we've struggled with it, but I'm sure the coaches know and we'll get into that this week."
Hasn't heard the rumors about Greg Robinson being demoted.
Players beat themselves up after the game about individual mistakes, not the play of the other guys on the defense. "What could I have done to help the defense play a better football game, and stuff like that sticks with you a little bit."
Ray Vinopal had a great week of practice, with a few picks. "He came in a little wide-eyed... for the most part, I definitely thought he played very well." He made some plays, didn't allow anything big.
They work on 3rd and long defense every day. "I guess that's not something you can improve on just in practice. It comes with game reps." They'll continue to improve with experience.
"Guys are still hungry. It's not gonna be like last year; We're gonna turn it around. We're just gonna continue to fight, and that's what this team's about... This group fights, they're hungry, these guys want to win. I guess that's just different than last year." They are different years, and there's no purpose i dwelling on similarities.
"We've been playing a lot of freshmen." Jibreel Black, Ray Vinopal, Terrence Talbott, and Courtney Avery have improved over 8 games, and will continue to do so.
Illinois has a versatile offense with a good running back, multiple offensive formations.