“On the offense last year, they had great spacing. That’s what I remember. Great spacing, great shooters, like Nik Stauskas, who’s not there right now. But they always have someone to fill the roles. They have a cutting offense, kind of hard to guard.”
As you can probably see, the banner contest has come to its successful conclusion and the readers narrowly chose a continuation of the motif established by the now retired Breaston/Harmon banner. Your winner is Baxter Allen. Email has been dispatched and his victory post will come whenever he gets around to it.
(Note to a few readers who asked for a runoff: since almost all votes went to a subset of four banners and the runoff would have been around four, there didn't seem to be a point in going through with one.)
Many thanks to all those who submitted banners. If whim strikes me I may deploy one of the runners up (or Fred Simmons' underrated creation) from time to time.
Light posting today.
I'll take "more players with W" for 600. Woodson yesterday, Wheatley today. What happened to the electric speed in the NFL? One of the perpetual mysteries.
Pay that lawyer! How on earth did John Beilein squeeze out of 40% of his buyout? The wording on the contract seemed clear enough to me, though it didn't specify a payment schedule: 500k per year remaining on the contract. Somehow, Beilein managed to hack that down:
As a result, Beilein, now at Michigan, will have to pay only $1.5 million over the next five years.
"After very productive discussions with Bob Fitzsimmons ... we are pleased to have finalized the details related to Coach Beilein's departure from the university," Dorer said in the media release.
"Obviously, from the fact we reached an agreement, both parties wanted to move on and amicably resolve any issues."
Beilein will pay installments of $300,000 over the next five years to the West Virginia University Foundation. The first installment is due in April 2008 and the final one in April 2012, WVU said.
...and since he doesn't have to start paying until next year and has spread it out over five years, the present value of the money he has to pay out is something even lower than the 1.5 million. Plus, the fact that the money is specifically being donated to the "West Virginia University Foundation" makes one think that it may be classified as a tax-deductible donation. That's some good law-talking right there.
Oh, snap. I'm terribly sorry about that bolded section header. I am, truly. Anyway, graduating long snapper Turner Booth is probably going to get an NFL job because he's awesome at it:
A dozen or so NFL teams have expressed an interest, Booth said. ESPN's draft guide rates Booth as the top long snapper available. And his agent, who represents three of the league's long snappers, said his client has what it takes.
"I saw him snap this year and last year and thought he did an excellent job,'' said Kevin Gold, Booth's Harrisburg, Pa.-based agent. "He's also got the size NFL teams like.''
This can only mean that Michigan will dominate long snapper recruiting for the forseeable future. Watch out, USC!
I am writing this extremely coherent and awesome text message to you. No more hilarious abbreviations when discussing text messaging, which has been officially officially banned for, like, the sixth time. Coaches, naturally, are displeased...
Most coaches have expressed dismay over the loss of text messaging. The American Football Coaches Association beseeched the Division I Board to delay action and find a compromise. The AFCA didn't know the game already had been decided.
...and those who converse with them regularly are jumping aboard. Ivan Maisel:
So score one for the Luddites. The NCAA may have become an old man at the beach, bucket in hand, intent on holding back the tide of technology that has washed over modern life. Said [UF OC Dan] Mullen, "I have had a couple of recruits ask, 'How are we going to communicate?'"
Florida must be recruiting the best and brightest if they can't figure out how to scroll down to "Urban Meyer" and push the green button on their phone. Recruits have always been able to voluntarily initiate conversations -- why do you think so many text are dead period CALL ME NOWs? -- and the NCAA isn't changing that, they're just preventing the unchecked spread of irritating behavior. College head coaches have proven time and again that without regulation they are psycho hose beasts...
...with no use for decorum. (French!) No one is hurt by the text messaging ban. Recruits will no longer be reminded to go to school. They will still communicate with the universities that are recruiting them whenever they want. Coaches can stop getting carpal tunnel texting inanities and
spend some time with the family review more film. I guess Verizon is pissed, but whatever.
Ryan Mallett confirmed yesterday that after a bit of soul searching he had decided to return to the Univeristy of Michigan. Michigan fans can probably send their thank you cards to Ryan's high school coach Barry Norton.
Ryan's reconsideration has caused disagreement under his own roof. After meeting with Coach Norton, Ryan has decided Michigan is still his best bet.
If the response to this blog is any indication of how he was treated in Michigan, I can understand why he considered aborting his stay there after one trimester.
Bob Lichtenfels [Scout recruiting guru -ed] has also said that Toney Clemons was informed by Ryan himself that a transfer will not happen.
Hopefully this puts an end to the speculation.
Update: Varsity Blue also has a ton of pictures from the Spring Game.
That is all.
Wow. Wow. Ryan Mundy is no longer a member of the football team, something that's been known for a while now. But apparently he's trying to transfer and play at West Virginia under the now-repealed free graduate transfer program. So good for him. But... uh... this West Virginia newspaper article on the possibility... well, just read the crazy section for yourself:
Forget everything you've heard, read or been told about West Virginia's incoming recruiting class and who in it has the best chance of making an immediate impact.
They are all works in progress, every one of them with just as much potential to become the next Patrick White or the next Jason Gwaltney. Really, just flip a coin.
And, yes, that includes uber-recruit Noel Devine.
Well, then again, it includes everyone except one guy you may never have heard of.
Mundy can flat play. And if he gains the approval of the NCAA to do so â€” perhaps in the next few days â€” he will have an impact on WVU's depth chart the moment he puts on a Mountaineer uniform for the first time next fall.
And no, I haven't paid my $14.95 to take the written test and become a recruiting guru. (That is the only prerequisite, right?).
But a guy who started 18 games at free safety for Michigan will certainly jump into the mix for playing time just about anywhere he goes.
That seems... inaccurate.
He is prepared for Beckham-mania. SMQB points out the commitment of high school junior James Ferentz, Kirk's son, to the Iowa football program. While this would no normally register on a Michigan fan's radar, Ferentz is thought by many to be one of the prime candidates to replace Lloyd Carr when he retires in the near future. However, when your kid says this...
"I was probably always going to Iowa, but that point really hit home with me after the (2004) Penn State game - after my grandfather (Kirk's father) died," James said Wednesday. "That was a real emotional game for the whole family."
Iowa won that game 6-4 a day after John Ferentz's funeral - 137 miles from Penn State's Beaver Stadium.
"I remember after that game," James said, "looking at my mom and saying 'How can I play any place else?' "
...it seems doubtful that dad will go anywhere. Ferentz the elder already makes a ton of money at Iowa and enjoys a status he's unlikely to achieve anywhere else without an enormous run of luck. If Carr retires after this season, Michigan would hypothetically be able to lock up Ferentz before signing day and his son could follow him, but I doubt any offer we can make would cause him to relocate.
[Several man hours were spent attempting to fuse the younger Ferentz's fauxhawk with Iowa's "Hawkeyes" nickname for purposes of hilarity, but in the end there was only failure. We lost a lot of good men out there. -ed]
A long time ago a reader sent in a request for an update on the 2006 recruiting class and opinions on how they'll fare now that we've had a full season of internets scuttlebutt about them, and, hey, that's a good idea, so let's do it.
Brandon Graham. Similarities to Woodley's career are welcome: five star with a brief dalliance at linebacker who put on too much weight to play there effectively, starting as a sophomore, garnering plenty of hype along the way. A major reason not to panic about this year's defensive line.
Steve Schilling. Still presumed to be the favorite at RT despite his ongoing absence. Mark Ortmann might wrest it from him. But even to be in a battle at RT is a little victory for Schilling, since he's a bit short for tackle and for Michigan to leave him on the outside for reasons other than "oh god we have no tackles" -- which would only be the case if he was clearly behind Ortmann and Zirbel -- means that the guy is very likely for real.
Steve Brown. Impressive on kick coverage as a freshman and the projected starter next to Jamar Adams this fall. Everyone says he could be good and stuff, though Michigan's history with safeties makes me leery.
Justin Boren. First offensive lineman I can remember who didn't redshirt. Actually started a game when a couple interior linemen were injured. Carr's basically announced he will be the starting center this fall. Definitely on a stardom track.
Greg Mathews. Assuming the problems at fullback and tight end make the third wide receiver a functional starter even if the ceremonial role goes to Helmuth or Moundros or whoever, Mathews will be in the lineup as a true sophomore. He didn't do a whole lot last year but did have a few nice catches. After spending the entire spring as Henne's #1 option, should have a comfort level with the quarterback; seems poised for an Avant-like career.
Jonas Mouton. A hair's breadth away from the first category, Mouton moved from safety to weakside linebacker and has been generating nonstop hype since. Did well in the spring game and will challenge Chris Graham for the starting job this fall.
Brandon Minor. Zipped past Grady and Brown; now favorite to start in '08.
Adam Patterson. Probably should have taken a redshirt last year, instead burned a year of eligibility for a few garbage snaps. Has received extensive praise for his athleticism, though he's likely stuck behind Jamison and Graham for the next two years.
Obi Ezeh. Has moved past everyone in his eligibility band except Mouton and now seems the odds-on favorite to replace Crable next year on the strong side. Another instate find for the coaching staff.
John Ferrara. Classic pre-Branch Michigan defensive lineman: mildly undersized white kid who works ass off. Has worked ass off so far and is getting moderate amounts of practice buzz. Doubt he's ever a killer, but a probable contributor who might start in a couple years.
Carlos Brown. If he sticks with Michigan will be in a battle with Minor to back up Hart this year and will be one of three juniors vying to replace him next year. Probably the fastest back Michigan has but was buried last year. Will have to improve quickly to play consistently.
Ask Again Later
David Cone. We all hope and pray Cone does not take a meaningful snap in his career. No offense, David, but Mallett and all that.
Greg Banks. Three-star Colorado defensive end redshirted; the rumor mill has been silent except some scattered work-ethic praise. Still developing. Unlikely to ever be a star, may find a Biggs career in there somewhere.
Jason Kates. Hasn't really done anything to warrant hype but did drop from 352 pounds to 318 in a matter of months. Rivals and Scout had vastly different assessments of the defensive tackle based on projections of his work ethic. Scout, thinking he would eat Gabe Watson and turn into Peter Griffin, gave him two stars. Rivals gave him four based on his ability to move despite being ginorbous. He fell in both sites' estimation after a lackluster senior year in which he was, well, 352 freakin' pounds and damn lazy because of it. Before that nastiness he was a top-100 kid to both sites who picked up four BCS offers as a sophomore. So if he's no longer fat and lazy the flier Michigan took on him may just work out.
Perry Dorrestein. Have heard zero.
Cobrani Mixon. Was nowhere to be found during the spring game. Cincinnati transfer rumors are flying a la Mister Simpson. [update: commenters say he was present. I must have missed him. In any case, he was not running with either of the top two units.]
Bryan Wright. It seemed that KC Lopata was the first string kicker at the spring game. Wright missed a short chip shot and was just short on a 56-yarder. He obviously has a big leg but didn't look particularly inspiring in action.
Quintin Patilla. Patilla was the recruit with the famously Mallett-shredded gloves. He was a wide receiver then. When he committed he was a linebacker. Now he's a fullback. At this rate he'll be a defensive tackle next year, Aaron Gibson in 2009, and collapse into a neutron star in 2010. I guess you can argue that the severe lack of depth at fullback means the move might not bode so unwell for his future, but the position has long been the repository of outcasts incapable of hacking it elsewhere on the field.
Quintin Woods. Not in school. Carr said he might arrive in the fall, but no word has come down. Highly unlikely to ever put on a Michigan uniform.
Caution should be exercised, as it's this point at which a recruiting class is most vulnerable to severe hope-based overrating. Many players have shown potential and are poised to move into the starting lineup early in their careers but none have been on the field long enough to expose whatever flaws they have.
That said, the '06 class looks to be a very good one. The stars are all on track to live up to their ratings. A few players appear to be outperforming their rankings (Ferrara, Minor, Ezeh, and possibly Kates) and only Mixon is a highly-rated player who finds himself struggling. (Maybe you could lump Brown in there if you're so inclined.) Attrition has been minimal. So... like, good.
Mas youtube. A couple old school Michigan bowl game highlight reels showed up in recent days. There's the 1986 Fiesta Bowl against Nebraska:
This one's before my time. It's remarkable to see Jamie Morris in all his not-pudgy glory. I'm mostly used to him wandering around hockey games, being subject to the perpetual "Ja-mie Morr-is" cheer I imagine follows him everywhere.
There is also the not-particularly-old-school '99 Citrus versus Arkansas:
(Suck it, Mallett rumormongerers!)
Say what? This blog has absolutely nothing against former Michigan quarterback Matt Gutierrez, who stuck it out behind Henne until his desire to play overwhelmed his fondness for the university and he transferred to I-AA Idaho State. But assertions like those proffered by the creepily-named Bob Cook...
Detroit would be better off drafting someone like Adams, the sort of speed-rushing end that would fit perfectly in coach Rod Marinelli's version of his old boss Tony Dungy's Tampa-2 defense. Then it could look lower in the draft for another intriguing prospect, Michigan State's Drew Stanton or Gutierrez, an Idaho State quarterback who is being compared to Tom Brady for more than just being of similar size and race.
Like Brady, Gutierrez struggled early to get playing time in college at Michigan. Unlike Brady, Gutierrez, who lost his starting job to Chad Henne after getting hurt, decided to transfer. Gutierrez is 6-foot-4, 232 pounds and raw, but a good choice for a team that isn't looking for someone to be anointed a savior.
...are mystifying at best. Gutierrez was not even the second-best quarterback in his I-AA conference last year -- he was honorable mention All Big Sky -- and threw 14 interceptions to just 16 touchdowns. While I hope he does well in the NFL, bringing him up as a Tom Brady comparable is preposterous and only serves to reinforce the myth that Brady was somehow gypped out of Michigan's starting job by a tin-eared coaching staff.
In other Gutierrez news, the Ann Arbor News has an article on him that only reinforces this blog's lingering fondess for the guy.
Final CSB. The NHL's Central Scouting Bureau has released its final rankings. Players of note:
- #16 Max Pacioretty.
- #90 Ben Winnett
- #101 Aaron Palushaj
- #121 Louie Caporusso
- #134 Tristin Llewellyn
- #167 Matt Rust
- #18 Goalie Bryan Hogan.
The CSB segregates North American and Euro skaters, so Pacioretty is probably a late first-round or early-second round pick and you can slide the rest of the rankees down a couple rounds. The CSB's also notorious for underrating college-bound and small players, so Winnett, Caporusso, and Rust may be drafted higher than their rankings might imply.
Overall, the incoming class seems to be mostly in an NCAA sweet spot much like that occupied by TJ Hensick. The aforementioned three smallish centers are all offensively skilled players who should be successful on the collegiate level without drawing a ton of attention from the NHL. If Michigan can pick up a few one- or two-year stars in the next couple classes Michigan should be able to take a serious run at a national championship (if the goaltending and defense works itself out).
One downer: Llewellyn has been on a steady downswing since his early commitment. When he was offered and committed to Michigan a few years ago he was thought to be an obvious first round pick. Obviously, that hasn't come to pass. His development has stalled and he's fallen into the middle rounds of the draft. He still has the size and skating ability to be a good NHLer, but there's something missing that we might get intimately and frustratingly familiar with during his years at Michigan. Also, Hogan's rating as the #18 NA goalie doesn't seem to represent a Sauer-killer who will come in and wrest the job from Mr. Soft Goal In Critical Situation.
Thanks, I guess? SI's Luke Winn places John Beilein #1 amongst coaches who should be cut some slack in their early years on the job, then provides a "realistic tournament timetable" of 2009, which means Winn thinks he should be cut slack for exactly one year. Thanks for nothing, says Beilein.
I don't wish to rip unduly on Winn, as the article is a good one. Dude did his homework:
This isn't the equivalent of switching a football team from the Single Wing to the West Coast Offense, but consider Beilein's victory formula at WVU featured three things: A precision, perimeter-based offense that includes scores of strangely named plays like Double Quickie Potato; a heavier reliance on the three-point shot than 332 of the 336 Division I teams (42.4 percent of West Virginia's points came on treys in '06-07); and a 1-3-1 zone that forced steals on 12.5 percent of possessions last season, good for 23rd in the nation.
(I thought to myself "these have to be Kenpom stats" when he dropped them and indeed they were, as he mentioned kenpom later in the article, but there was no link to them. I would suggest in the future providing direct links to the source of the killer and interesting information you're providing. Note that Simmons has started linking out frequently on his "basketball blog," something that is so much like a blog in tone, content, and linking that I should really drop the scare quotes.)
The persistent Ryan Mallett transfer rumors -- which, to my knowledge, have no backing and make no sense -- threaten to burst into mainstream echo-chambering with this blog post from a Texarkana radio host:
Sportsdate 4 - 23 - 2007
This much we know for sure, Ryan Mallet is back home in Texarkana. He completed his first trimester at Michigan and returned home, but which move he makes next on the dance floor has many in Texarkana wondering.
I feel comfortable in stating that Ryan was not enjoying his time in Ann Arbor. ... Many of us are curious where he will end up playing his college football.
The observant will immediately note several things that bring the validity of these assertions into serious question:
- Mallett's name ain't "Mallet."
- Michigan doesn't have trimesters.
- TheAuthorThinks... he's... Captain... JamesTKirkWithThe... whole... "Sportsdate"thingSPOCK!
I usually ignore rumors I can't comment on or believe to be false because the whole pernicious internet rumor thing people always complain about is a real phenomenon. Like many legendary monsters -- the hydra, vampires, Howard Stern -- sometimes attempting to strike down a rumor only makes it stronger. But since this one involves people from Arkansas, and if we've learned one thing in the past year it's that people in Arkansas think "reality" is a type of TV show, I figure it can't hurt.
I don't have super secret info that says he's going to stay; I do know that much of the to-do is dubiously sourced but relentlessly repeated by a couple of Arkansas message board posters. It seems to be gaining traction much like "Head On" did, but there is little substance behind them. There is much circumstantial evidence against it:
- Michigan quarterbacks play in the NFL. So do Arkansas quarterbacks... at wide receiver.
- Mallett has a one-year wait and a guaranteed three-year job at Michigan.
- Houston Nutt's job status is insecure, to put it mildly.
- I'm not exactly sure about this because of Mallett's early-enroll status, but I believe if Michigan wants to hold Mallett to his LOI (not that he actually signed one -- I sent an email to the NLI board to see if he's considered bound by it anyway) they can force him to sit out not one but two years in the event of a transfer.
(Michigan fans may remember Joe Crawford's near-transfer to MSU, which was kiboshed when Kentucky refused to let him out of his obligation to spend a full year at UK and threatened to extract the full two years of penance from him. I would expect Michigan to do the same in the unlikely event these Arkansasians have a nugget of truth in their ball of (probable) crap, since most recruits from his signing year haven't even reached campus yet.)
Is Mallett going to transfer away from a guaranteed starting job to go to a neanderthal offense run by a man under fire from a preposterous fanbase? Is he going to do that if Michigan refuses to release him? Highly doubtful.
Anyone still harboring doubt? These are Arkansas fans: