The nutty Michigan coverage isn't so much about Harbaugh as it is a signal to the Big Ten that Fox wants to party.
Not a great day to be out of pocket, as Rich Rodriguez’s brief media-talking time at the Brock Mealer charity bowling thing was unpleasantly newsy:
- Cory Zirbel’s knee injury is severe and he may miss the season.
- Terrence Robinson “tweaked” his knee and will be out “several weeks.”
As mentioned before, Zirbel’s injury strips the interior line of its one reasonable backup, as David Molk steps into the starting lineup. The next guy off the bench will be either a true freshman—probably Rocko Khoury—or a guy who was a defensive tackle until Zirbel went down. There’s zero margin for error here.
Robinson’s injury isn’t as bad with Martavious Odoms, Sam McGuffie, and Michael Shaw all impressing. It is still not fun times.
Programming note: I'm moving, which is going to seriously cut into posting time today and possibly the next couple days. It also was not accounted for in my estimates of what I could get done re: other Big Ten teams before the season. Monday the weeklong Michigan preview extravaganza starts; prepare thyselves.
I have the powerful desire to sex you on the puce shag carpet. One thousand cocktails to whoever gave Michael Phelps the sexbomb Spitz mustache he's sporting on the cover of Sports Illustrated. (It's Wednesday, Swindle, get to it.)
If you're not tingling, I don't want to know you.
Phelps, by the way, will be honored at the Wisconsin game. Insert hacky "can he play quarterback?" joke here.
Vote for Marques. Dude's never going to play for Michigan but he can make the Deadspin Hall of Fame. Vote or die. Slocum is currently just above the 75% cutoff line.
R. Lee Emery is wearing JoePa's skin. No, seriously.
The Big Ten Network needs to start running this during every commercial break instead of their current annoying university promo stuff.
All Hail Dan Feldman. When it comes to Michigan beat writing, the Daily's Dan Feldman is killing all comers. He was the guy who uncovered all sorts of useful information during the Women's Football Academy while the Free Press was concerned with Tae Bo. Just a couple days ago he clarified the George Morales situation that's had everyone confused since February; he wrote two other interesting articles on the same day and then dumped some useful bullets in a blog post. Excerpts:
- Redshirt freshman guard Mark Huyge was in crutches. With redshirt junior Corey Zirbel out with an injury, Huyge started last Tuesday’s walk-through at right guard. Redshirt junior David Moosman started the walk-through at center. He moved to right guard after a few plays, and redshirt freshman David Molk played center.
- J.B. Fitzgerald stood out to Jay Hopson as the best freshman linebacker.
- Freshman safety Brandon Smith, who Rodriguez said could see significant playing time, said the talk of moving to linebacker was just a rumor, and it was never seriously discussed.
It the starting line for Utah appears to be Ortmann-McAvoy-Molk-Moosman-Schilling, with Perry Dorrestein the first guy off the bench and Hold Me I Feel Like Dying the second. (He's foreign.)
Moose and squirrel? Actually, the second guy off the bench may be true freshman Rocko Khoury, who's been impressing at center:
“Rocko is working in there [at center] and he’s willing to put his face on somebody,” Frey said, when asked about redshirt freshman David Molk.
“He’s getting consistent with his snaps,” redshirt junior lineman David Moosman said. “When you’re as young as he is, and he hasn’t played center before, it can be tough making sure every snap is good. But he’s doing really well and becoming more consistent.
There is the possibility that Rocko will play next to Moosman at some point, at which point the band has to play "Rocky and Bullwinkle" after every play. There will be no discussion.
There are additional interesting quotes in that article, like this on the slot electrons:
Clemons, working out of the slot position, has spent a good amount of practice time with Martavious Odoms and Terrence Robinson and isn’t ashamed to admit they have something on him.
“They’re quicker than me. Faster? We can always line up and race,” Clemons said, laughing. “They’re real explosive and they’re tough guys too. You look at them and you think they’re undersized but they don’t play like they’re small. They play like their 6-2 even though they’re both 5-9. It’s exciting to watch them work because they work real hard. They’re very explosive, very quick and fast.”
We should place bets on which freshman skill player is has the most buzz after Utah. I'm going with Odoms.
|2||Ohio State (17)||22.9||2.0||24|
|3||Southern Cal (15)||22.9||3.0||23|
Total Ballots: 78
Hurray that's the poll hurray. And it's a little meh, with a swap of WVU and Clemson the only difference between the AP and the blogpoll until you reach #14. From there there are some multiple-spot differences. The blogpoll is
- bullish on VT (14 BP, 17 AP), Oregon (18 BP, 21 AP)
- down on BYU (20 BP, 16 AP), and Illinois (22 BP, 20 AP)
I blame myself for not providing more organization in the run-up to the season. Details after the jump.
<span style="font-style: italic;">Now on to the extracurriculars. First up are the teams which spur the most and least disagreement between voters as measured by standard deviation. Note that the standard deviation charts halt at #25 when looking for the lowest, otherwise teams that everyone agreed were terrible (say, Eastern Michigan) would all be at the top.</span>
Now on to the extracurriculars. First up are the teams which spur the most and least disagreement between voters as measured by standard deviation. Note that the standard deviation charts halt at #25 when looking for the lowest, otherwise teams that everyone agreed were terrible (say, Eastern Michigan) would all be at the top.
The most interesting thing here is West Virginia's extremely high standard deviation, unusual for a top-ten team.
First up are "Mr. Bold" and "Mr. Numb Existence." The former goes to the voter with the ballot most divergent from the poll at large. The number you see is the average difference between a person's opinion of a team and the poll's opinion.
Normally I come down hard on these folks because when we get deep into the season they're defying poll guidelines, reason, and justice by placing Hawaii in the top ten or something. In the preseason everyone's entitled to their stupid opinion (again: all opinions expressed here are stupid) so, like, whatever.
Saurian Sagacity takes the first Mr. Bold of the year for such oddities as QB-less LSU #2, QB-less and OL-less Michigan #8(!?!?!?!?!?!), Florida State #10(!?), Miami #15, Notre Dame #16... is this poll from 1988?
Mr. Numb Existence goes to newcomer Michigan Sports Center. There's nothing interesting to say about this category ever because the ballots in question are pretty much like the poll you see above.
Next we have the Coulter/Krugman Award and the Straight Bangin' Award, which are again different sides of the same coin. The CKA and SBA go to the blogs with the highest and lowest bias rating, respectively. Bias rating is calculated by subtracting the blogger's vote for his own team from the poll-wide average. A high number indicates you are shameless homer. A low number indicates that you suffer from an abusive relationship with your football team.
The CK Award is a dire one; last season only the overwhelming black hole of suck that is Notre Dame could forestall the inevitable humiliating loss suffered by the team supported by the unlucky doof who overrated his team more than anyone else.
So, good news Cal fans: the "Enlightened Spartan" ranks Michigan State #10 and clocks a massive 15.65 bias rating; a total of six other blogs (in 78!) bothered to vote for MSU; this ballot provides well over half of MSU's 27 points. This is a truly egregious violation of poll ethics and will no doubt be severely punished.
Also note that Tennessee blogs are far more enthusiastic about the Vols than the poll at large. Sort of...
College Game Balls is your victor here for placing VT #21. Another Tennessee blog futilely attempts to divert the wrath of the CK Award by slightly underrating the Vols, and Bruce Ciskie's probably right about Wisconsin.
Swing is the total change in each ballot from last week to this week (obviously voters who didn't submit a ballot last week are not included). A high number means you are easily distracted by shiny things. A low number means that you're damn sure you're right no matter what reality says.
Swing doesn't exist in the preseason poll, obviously.
Aw, hell. Rivals has an article titled "Kevin Newsome back on the market" and he's not looking to scoop up foreclosed houses (topical ZING!): the rampant rumors from a month or so ago have come to fruition and he's decommitted. No schools have been mentioned yet; the scuttlebutt before was that Virginia Tech and Penn State were the main suitors. Michigan remains explicitly in the running, but it's extremely rare for a kid to re-commit to the school he decommitted from.
Some comments from on high about the reaction:
- Please check to see if there's already a thread about it on the message board before posting the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, or 6th thread.
- Don't be that asshat who posts something misleading in the subject line only to say "ha ha not really" in the text. This is never funny and makes people think you are mildly retarded.
- Criticizing kids who decommit is always tiresome; skip it.
- Not quite as tiresome but nearly so is the sarcastic overreaction post.
I'm bummed because I thought Newsome had enormous upside and the kind of dedication required to reach it. Tate Forcier is visiting for the Utah game, and a consolation prize that completes more than 70% of his passes ain't shabby. We'll see if the rumored Michigan love is for real; Forcier now has a powerful incentive to jump ASAP.
Update 8/19: Linked to articles on AR CB Darius Winston, FL S Angelo Hadley (video, fluff), FL CB Josh Robinson, MA OL Brennan Williams, VA OL Morgan Moses, TX QB Shavodrick Beaver. Did Marcus Hall drop us or not drop us (and does it matter)? (As per usual, some links from VB.)
Removed GA WR Braxton Lane (chose baseball).
Fluff on the Pahokee kids.
Moved TX K Anthony Fera to committed.
Winston probably to Mississippi, for some reason
This got asked a thousand times in the chat yesterday despite it getting answered twice: it appears AR CB Darius Winston is staying in the south. He suddenly moved up his announcement date to September 5th and has canceled his scheduled official visits except for one. He wasn’t shy about letting the cat out of the bag in this SuperPrep article:
What stands out about Ole Miss?
"I just love that whole coaching staff. I feel like they are going to turn it around at Ole Miss. I would love to be a part of that. I plan on taking an official visit to Ole Miss on Labor day weekend, when they play Memphis."
Anymore official visits on tap?
"That is it."
Should people read anything into that?
"I guess you could say that, yes sir (laugh)."
Frustratingly, Ole Miss appears to be the destination. Someone in Winston’s camp must be super best friends with Houston Nutt.
So that’s lame. Not lame: the commitment of Texas kicker Anthony Fera. If you remember the zen peace you achieved watching Zoltan the Inconceivable sky punts on youtube, you will want to watch this practice video of Fera:
I am the world’s greatest expert on these matters and declare him a future first-round pick. Others agree: Fera is one of only a few kickers to pick up a third star from Rivals and is their #2 rated kicker overall. ESPN gives him an 80—a better score than Will Campbell received—and says thusly:
Good leg extension and follow through on kickoffs. Consistent field goal kicker that demonstrates the ability to make field goals well into the 40's distance wise; longest is 58 yards.
Also there is this from their ticker:
"Fera gets all 230 pounds into his kicks. He has an extremely strong leg and powers his kickoffs into the endzone and has made several field goals of forty plus yards including a 58 yarder in competition. The Under Armor All-American kicker also is a decent punter and can be used as a back-up if needed at the collegiate level."
The 230-pound kicker was 15 for 16 on field goal attempts as a junior and had a long of 58 yards.
That guy said Rodriguez would “get a kick” out of Fera, though, so you might want to ignore him. Or kick him in the giblets. Either way.
Specialist offers are relatively rare, so Fera’s collection of Michigan, Penn State, Kansas State, and Ohio State (grayshirt) is impressive, especially because Ohio State just took a kicker last year. He’s one of the top kicking prospects out there this year and has to be the favorite to start when Kicking Competency Lopata’s graduates. Bryan Wright appears to have washed out; Michigan will probably carry two kickers in 2009 and not extend him a fifth year.
Beaver enrolling early
This Free Press article on TX QB commit Shavodrick Beaver has quotes like this…
“It’s not about getting a shot as soon as I get there, it’s about going in there, lifting weights and getting stronger and faster with the team,” Beaver said. “Then my shot will come with the competition and everything. I’m just going to be competing everyday, working hard and going in to lead the team.”
…and one piece of what I believe is new information: Beaver will join Kevin Newsome and enroll early.
Guy who’s probably not coming here prolongs the tease
Conflicting information on OH OL Marcus Hall. TSN says we got dropped:
Hall, rated the No. 7 offensive tackle prospect in the nation by Rivals.com, has whittled it down to Ohio State, Illinois and Southern Cal, he revealed to Sporting News Today.
Bucknuts says we didn’t get dropped and that USC never even offered:
"I want to say it's down to three (schools). It's somewhat down to three. It's Illinois, Ohio State and Michigan. But I still have my eyes open."
Hall added that LSU and Miami-FL sit behind his three favorites. Additionally, the Trojans now seem out on contention, after not extending an offer.
The ESPN article is from two days later so it’s likely to be the accurate one. Probably moot given Hall’s presence at OSU feeder Glenville.
Guy who doesn’t know what conference UCF is in has Michigan offer
Keep an eye on FL CB Josh Robinson from inappropriately-named powerhouse Plantation. He’s moving up the Rivals rankings and reports a Michigan offer. I don’t think this report of a Florida offer…
Robinson’s top two schools are UCF and USF right now, but he could generate more interest during his senior season. Florida and Michigan have also offered Robinson.
… is accurate but he’s at least got serious interest. Oh, and apparently favors USF and a CUSA school over, like, Michigan. Hopefully that changes if/when Michigan can get him on campus.
Expert spelunking by the Daily resolves the bizarre George Morales story:
About two weeks ago, Rodriguez said Morales signed in February. But Morales said he hasn’t signed yet and plans to after fall camp wraps up in a couple weeks.
Carr offered him a one-year scholarship with the possibility it will be renewed. Morales hasn’t decided what he will do if he’s not offered a scholarship next year. For now, he’s just enjoying his experience in Ann Arbor.
“I love it,” Morales said. “It’s tough and everything. Practice is fast-tempo, but I love it out here.”
This still seems weird given my interpretation of a LOI; I think what Morales means is he'll sign scholarship papers in a couple weeks. There's no point to a LOI once you've enrolled in school.
In any case, the upshot: Morales is explicitly not guaranteed a scholarship slot in future years and knows that there's a possibility it won't get renewed, sort of like Reed Baker minus the peanut allergy. I'm not adjusting the scholarship count.