"The amount of professionalism that he has ... there's probably not another guy in the country that would have handled it the same way," Durkin said. "He's not only one of the best coaches in the country, he's one of the best people. He absolutely has the respect of everyone -- coaches and players, alike."
"I don’t care if Jim Harbaugh is medically insane (he is), if you run the coach out of town who took your team from absolute embarrassing garbage-pail irrelevance to conference-dominating powerhouse in ZERO YEARS, you are not only stupid, you don’t care about winning."
"We were a team that started out 2-5 and we came out of the first weekend of conference play at 11-11. Just like everybody else we had a number of injuries that we weren’t able to overcome. But I was really proud of how the team was able to stay focused, work hard, believed, kept fighting, no quit and finished strong."
Four different people have sent me this [update: five!], claiming that it comes from the women's football academy and is Michigan's new road jersey. One, "RoyalBlue," claims credit:
(Blogger is having some image issues so I had to go with the imageshack url... it might blow up.)
Here's a picture of Henne from last year for comparison. Basically, it appears the stripes on the shoulders are more prominent and there's a little yellow panel on the sides. It looks a little WVU-esque for many, I'm sure, but the piping that threw everyone into a fit turned out to be a minor annoyance. These things usually look different in action.
Update: RoyalBlue has posted a few more of the uniform actually one someone, though the subject is a woman who looks about 100 pounds too small. I just got a lot crankier:
Click for big. The little swathes are really annoying.
Michigan's picked up a commitment from IL OL Michael Schofield, a Rivals250 offensive tackle. Schofield picked Michigan over offers from Penn State, Notre Dame, Miami, Wisconsin and Oregon, so he's probably legit. An informative update is coming up, but since he's an OL chances are it won't be very informative.
Uninformative Update: Son of a bitch. Apparently Michael Schofield is also the name of one of the main characters on "Prison Break," which makes picking out things not about "Prison Break" difficult.
Informative Update: Still pretty light on information. ESPN hasn't ranked him yet. Scout is way less enthused than Rivals is, ranking him the #47 tackle in the country and providing only three stars; Rivals says #18 and offers four. The offers -- Notre Dame, Miami, Oregon, and basically every Big Ten school save Ohio State -- side with Rivals.
There are actually a couple articles floating around out there that provide some sort of information, though it's not of the most useful variety. Rivals chipped in something early this recruiting year:
Another big lineman that people in the Midwest will be talking a lot about is Michael Schofield of Orland Park (Ill.) Sandburg. His name is just starting to emerge and after schools saw his film on Rivals.com, they're starting to come after him like crazy. Seeing him in person Saturday, showed why. He measured in at 6-foot-7 and 276 pounds. He's still got a lot of room to grow into his frame, too.
"I don't know that he came out of nowhere," said Dave Wierzal, Sandburg's second-year coach. "When recruiters see him on film, he is one of the kids who plays to the whistle, makes the second block and blocks downfield. Put the whole package together and you see a kid who will produce at the Division I level in the next few years."
And this is from the dread pirate Lemming:
"Schofield is a good athlete and it is a bad year nationally for offensive linemen," Lemming said. "Everyone is looking for them and Chicago is loaded with offensive linemen. If you're an offensive lineman, you should be working on your quickness. If you improve your foot speed, you'll get a scholarship. Kids who are borderline national recruits are getting offers. There are very few good offensive linemen in the South and East."
So... uh... thanks for that, Tom. Sounds less than enthused.
Despite that, Schofield is a plan A prospect with many impressive offers and Michigan's first offensive lineman in a class that is getting loaded at the skill positions but had no one to block for the little bastards. Thumbs up.
Uh, no. I've gotten a couple worried emails recently about Michigan's new Adidas uniforms. This image is making the rounds, purporting to be the new duds:
For the record: this is an internet hoax. I don't know what those hideous things are but I assume they're from Walmart. I've seen downriver types wear gaudy "jerseys" sort of like this. I'm surprised anyone bought it, especially since the "away" jersey appears to have, like, boobs.
So maybe it's ironic that the first glimpse of the new jerseys comes from the Michigan women's football camp:
They are exactly the same as the old jerseys except the Nike logo has been replaced with an Adidas one. And, yes, these two are in the running to be starting offensive linemen this fall.
The away jerseys are yet to be revealed; I am on Piping Watch.
hhhhWHAT? Every preseason poll yet published has omitted Michigan from even the 20-25 range normally inhabited by the hot midmajor or, like, Purdue. This seems an entirely reasonable thing to do with Michigan transitioning to an entirely new offensive system without any seniors of note on that side of the ball. So... uh... what does Vegas see? National championship odds:
I don't know how much of this is Vegas actually pumping Michigan as a top ten team and how much is Vegas pumping gullible Michigan fans for cash, but... wow. If only you could short these bets.
Ragin'. Former Ohio State linebacker Robert Reynolds has been suspended by the NFL for a year after testing positive for steroids. He'll likely retire. Raise your hand if you're shocked that the guy who choked Jim Sorgi is on the juice. No one? Ok.
Etc.: SMQB tackles Wisconsin. Commentary withheld until my own Wisconsin preview, during which I'll no doubt crib from, cite, and argue with his piece plenty. Also: Elliot Mealer fluff.
Editorial Opinion: I have been a very bad blogger about actually pointing out the recruiting board, which does exist. Here is the recruiting board. Also, there is a link to the board on the left sidebar under "MGoBricks."
This week's big news is the decommitment of AR CB Darius Winston, who told Arkansas seeya and then named Michigan his leader over Clemson and Texas:
"Ever since Michigan started recruiting me a couple of months ago I've liked them," he said. "Arkansas has always been on top but I've been calling coach Hopson and I've been getting to like him. I really like their coaches a lot."
Winston is a five-star on both sites and kind of a big deal. Video:
He's not going to make a decision for a while and has plenty of other suitors, but he goes from off the board to a strong possibility.
Elsewhere on Hopson's Futile Quest Across The South: MS DE Josh Boyd (FYI: he's confusingly from Philadelphia in case I ever call him "PA DE Josh Boyd") is camping, and GA S Darren Myles will have Michigan on his initial list of 10 to 15 schools. It's an interesting list so far:
Tennessee, LSU, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Alabama, West Virginia, Michigan, Rutgers and Purdue will almost certainly be on the preliminary list, according to his father, Darren Myles Sr.
South south south south... south-ish... Michigan... Rutgers? Purdue? I'm usually skeptical of any kid from the south who lists Michigan as the only school north of Tennessee he's considering, so the inclusion of a couple wildcards on Myles' list is somewhat encouraging.
Burkhead states the two programs he's actually most eager to see in action (either in person or on TV) are Michigan and Auburn.
"Auburn is going to be running a new spread offense and it'll be interesting to see how they do," Burkhead said. "And Michigan has a whole new coaching staff so they are making a lot of changes. I'm really interested in them and hope to get a chance to visit them too."
Burkhead says another reason the Wolverines may make his list is because his older brother (Ryan Burkhead, junior defense end at Harvard) grew up following Michigan. "He's always loved Michigan and he really wants me to go and check them out."
Allen Wallace, the article's author, seems like a nice guy but he then calls Michigan "Ol' Blue," which is even more infuriating than "Big Blue". This safety's name is Rex Burkhead, FWIW.
Reassurance on Will Campbell. MI DT commit Campbell is the #11 player in the country to Rivals and would be a nice one to hang onto, yes? He's been making noises about visiting places and occasionally says things like "I'm committed to Michigan, but I'm still open" that give me freakin' hives, and as such I've listed his commit as "soft" on the board. Sam Webb's latest in the Detroit News provides some antihistamines:
Some have questioned whether the Wolverines will indeed be able to hold on to Campbell's commitment, but he insists such talk is much ado about nothing.
"I am solid with Michigan," said Campbell. "I am going to Michigan. I'm just going around to see (other schools). I just want to travel."
I'm still listing him as soft, but that's a nice quote.
I keeck a touchdown. With Kicking Competency Lopata out the door after next season and scholarship kicker Bryan Wright apparently on his way to bust status, Michigan is now searching around for the next guy. One candidate is TX K Anthony Fera:
"He's been verbally offered by Oregon," father Tony Fera said. "He's also been told that he will be offered by Michigan when he goes to their camp next week. He also really likes Ohio State and Penn State. LSU said they will be recruiting him very hard throughout the process."
An emailer noted Fera's appearance on the board like so:
I believe you, but just wondering how you know that Anthony Fera is most likely kicker to get an offer?
The other boards are projecting a showdown on the kicker/punter front from Grossnickle, Stokes, Muma and Fera.
-- P/K Anthony Fera Houston -- P/K Zach Grossnickle Denver -- P/K Kevin Muma from Troy. -- K Ryan Stokes from Merrillville, Ind.
With UM kicking camp set for June 29-30, would they really offer before they see all four (plus whoever else shows up) compete? If I were one of the other guys and had paid for camp and a plane ticket, I'd be bummed if there was an early offer.
1) thanks for the other names, 2) Fera says he doesn't have an offer but "will get one" at the camp. Which should probably read "may get one."
Are you Toussaint? Fitzgerald Toussaint's last name always reminds me of the Terry Pratchett book Sourcery, in which a supercharged boy wizard runs around causing havoc and asking people if they are "puissant" before turning them into confetti. Which is kind of awesome, and it almost didn't happen. In an article on Toussaint's disappointing track season (a hamstring pull saw his times dip considerably), there is this:
After a terrific sophomore season where he rushed for 1,100 yards and 15 touchdowns (then using the last name Edwards), Toussaint gained more than 1,400 yards and 24 TDs in 10 games for the Leopards last fall.
Dude. Good call. I demand Michael Williams start calling himself "Shabazz Leonardo." Another thing of note from the article: Toussaint has a 2.5 GPA and a 15 on his ACT, so he's got a little work to do to qualify. Still plenty of time.
Other bits and pieces: Michigan's offered a FL CB named Deangelo Hadley, LA LB Barkevious Mingo has a Michigan offer and could join up with Fitzgerald Toussaint as perhaps Michigan's greatest pair of names in a recruiting class since Zoltan Mesko and Mister Simpson committed on one glorious day, but probably won't. But not all is lost, ridiculous name fans. Pull for instate sleeper RB Zurlon Tipton, who impressed at Michigan's one-day senior camp and is trying to get an offer at the full summer camp.
Speaking of camp: it started yesterday and goes through most of this week. There will no doubt be offers and probably at least a couple commits, hopefully of some offensive linemen.
Alcorn State, home of the epigram. Terry Bowden's latest column for Yahoo starts with this accurate, bizarre explanation of college football from a former Alcorn State head coach Marino Casem:
"In the East, college football is a cultural exercise.
On the West Coast, it is a tourist attraction.
In the Midwest, it is cannibalism.
But in the South, college football is a religion, and every Saturday is a holy day."
Emphasis mine, because !?!?!?!. Mr. Casem's been spending too much time around Ohio State fans.
Tick tock. Michael Shaw is one of the Michigan recruits participating in the annual Big 33 game, a high-school all-star game played between Ohio and Pennsylvania. There has been some mild controversy (read: AAAARGH DESTROY MICHIGAN) about Shaw's last-second switch to the Wolverines after being a Penn State commit for about six months. PennLive talked to Shaw about what went down:
Michael Shaw heard the complaints over his last-minute change of heart to attend Michigan instead of Penn State.
Sometimes, the 18-year-old running back from Trotwood, Ohio wishes he hadn't.
"I just want to be 18," Shaw said during Thursday's Big 33 youth clinic. "It was probably the biggest decision of my life. I lost so much sleep, but at the same time, I mean, nothing is guaranteed. If it was guaranteed ... it would be signed on paper instead of a verbal commitment."
And how about yet another nail in the "snake oil" coffin? Sure, at this point the coffin is about 98% nails, but we've still got two percent left:
Michigan and Lloyd Carr stayed in contact with Shaw after he verbally committed to Penn State, inviting him to Ohio State-Michigan and a few other games.
THINK OF THE GENTLEMEN, LLOYD! THINK OF THE GENTLEMEN!
[don't read the next one if you don't want a Top Chef Spoiler. Weirdo.]
Hail Toledo. Ever since the NCAA hockey tournament went to sixteen teams and four regionals, the CCHA has been perilously close to getting screwed by the committee; this year it happened when there were no acceptable bids in the conference's territory and, as a result, the top two seeds in the tournament got shipped to Albany and Madison. Lame. The problem is two-fold: though the NCAA apparently has no problem putting regionals on Colorado College's home ice -- an Olympic sheet at altitude -- Michigan's back-to-back Yost regionals caused a massive backlash and Michigan's been unable to host since. Other than Munn, which for some inexplicable reason MSU has been loathe to bid with, there are no appropriately sized rinks in the area save for Van Andel in Grand Rapids. Western hosts there about every other year, but the NCAA doesn't want it hosting all the time. Thus last year's fiasco.
Help is on the way. Western College Hockeypoints to the Lucas County Arena, which is being erected in Toledo as we speak and will be ready for 2009. Bowling Green has already submitted a regionals bid at the arena. It'll be brand new, it's centrally located, and relatively convenient to get to -- Toledo has an airport and NWA hub Detroit Metro is 45 minutes away. It should be a regular NCAA tourney host, and hopefully a regular stop for Michigan fans.
Speaking of: Michigan has bids in for Yost in the coming years, too... maybe they should bid at this place? You host, you get to stay home. It's silly for the CCHA to have Western and BG bid only to see those teams not make the field.
Etc.: Paul DePodesta has a blogspot blog and it's pretty smart; this post is about dissasociating outcome from process and it heavily reflects my worldview. There is a class action lawsuit pending against EA claiming they have unfairly monopolized licenses for football games; godspeed, lawsuit guys.
I wonder how 'Bama is doing with the ol' recruiting class? Earlier this summer MGoBlog got in a poo-flinging contest with every Alabama fan with internet access about Nick Saban's massive oversigning. It ranged hence and forth and left deep scars in the land that will become the cyber-Great Lakes in several thousand years. And now, sadly, it's time to carve out cyber-Huron.
The situation, to recap:
Fifteen scholarship seniors saw their eligibility expire this year; Saban signed 32 players.
Two enrolled early, leaving Alabama with a maximum incoming class of 27.
Depending on exactly what, when, and who you listen to, the Tide have to cut about six guys before fall. On April 17th, SMQB noted 64 returning players on the Tide roster and declared the number to be four, but he forgot about the two early enrollees; the number at that point was six.
A reserve offensive lineman took a medical scholarship sometime after that.
A couple days ago the seemingly plugged-in Bama Sports Reportmade it 63, leaving five guys to get the axe. (Link via Get The Picture.) At the end of their piece they note:
Considering that two players (Zeke Knight & Lionel Mitchell) missed the majority of the spring due to injuries, and one player (Prince Hall) is suspended indefinetly, the numbers appear to be very, very close to working themselves out.
Knight has had a scary time with heart murmurs and would be a legit absence, but Mitchell has had some minor back issues that didn't even prevent him from participating in practice. He spent the spring in a non-contact jersey, but he played. A medical scholarship for him would be dubious.
Twenty-three recruits have enrolled, which means they won't be grayshirting. According to the BSR, one is more is likely to join them and two recruits have uncertain statuses.
So... close to working itself out? No. Remove Knight from the equation and assume none of the recruits who aren't on campus yet ("schools also can make it so some player doesn't qualify if they don't need him to" -Bruce Feldman) make it in, and Alabama is two scholarships over. If they do reach the 25 maximum, they're four scholarships over.
Around these parts, being two to four players away from reaching the scholarship limit of 85 on June 13th is not close at all. Even if you give Alabama the benefit of the doubt and assume every one of the mountain of medical scholarships they've given out is totally legit*, it's mid-June and Alabama is in the precarious position of hoping that some their players don't make the grade or get into serious trouble.
My prediction: This will "work out," as the Bama Sports Report suggests. There are probably several Alabama players who are taking summer classes to remain eligible, and exactly enough will find out they didn't make it. Or someone will come down with "ow my thing hurts." Or Prince Hall won't live up to Nick Saban's strict standards. Which will be just terribly convenient, and the 'Bama-bots will crow and everyone who's heard of Occam's Razor will look at a recruiting class that needed an incredible twelve players to leave the team between its signing and fall practice and shake their heads.
As SMQB pointed out in his April post, Alabama and Clemson are the only schools in the country to have put themselves in this position, and Clemson fixed their issues by cutting Ray Ray McElrathbey. They got the public whipping they deserved for that, and it should be Alabama's turn.
Schools should never be allowed to do this again. Alabama is in a position where they are rooting for kids to leave the team, and that will necessarily bias their actions and judgments in favor of shipping a kid off to Alcorn State. The NCAA must implement a simple rule: no oversigning. You show where the scholarship is coming from or no LOI for you.
*(Not likely, IMO, since many of the medicals were given to backup linemen with vague injuries like "knee problems" or "ow my shoulder sorta hurts" or "ow my shoulder too"; these guys were probably told they were cut and to take the scholarship and deal. How many backup offensive linemen could you offer medical scholarships to? 80%?**)
**(It's worth noting that Michigan gave two of its offensive linemen medical scholarships this offseason. This 1) reinforces point about just how many linemen you could put on medical scholarship and 2) will probably be seized upon by some irate 'Bama fan. The difference: Michigan enters the year with 79 scholarship players and at no time would not have had room on the roster should they want to return.)