IT'S MADE OF PAPER UNKNOWN TO MANKIND. The Daily has a book that compiles all their Harbaugh stuff, Harbaugh-related stuff, and Harbaugh-tangential stuff from the past year. You can order it for $5 plus shipping, or skip the shipping and pick it up from the Student Publications building on Maynard. Proceeds help the Daily keep running so they can continue to pump out epic features. Someone's got to write COLUMNS that don't make you want to die.
If this is the start of the zombie apocalypse I'm going to be upset. Gotta give me at least five years of Harbaugh before the end of the world.
The Ross Academic Center is being quarantined pic.twitter.com/Cp0L7jFiAr
— Jason Rubinstein (@jrubinstein4) February 17, 2016
Apparently most of the swimming and diving team is sick and they're checking the pool for something that turns you into a flesh-eating, non-verbal lumbering horror. Sounds like they should check the press box, not the pool.
Also please not before the MONORAIL. True story: one of the first Every Three Weekly articles ever was about an outlandish plan to join Central Campus to North Campus with a monorail. (In it, Tom Goss projected it would make money thanks to monorailgoblue.com, because Michigan had just launched mgoblue.com. Also it was on paper. I am old.) Well, IT'S HAPPENING DOT MONORAIL:
Schlissel, city envision monorail to unite North and Central campuses
Tuesday, University of Michigan President Mark Schlissel reintroduced the idea of creating a rapid transit system between Central and North Campuses, a project that has essentially been dormant since 2013.
Would I ride this just to ride it? Definitely. Let's put our town on the map.
Yes, thank you sane person. Man, has it been hard to keep the fisk in the garage after the latest and dumbest hot take explosion about Harbaugh. The main reason I haven't opened both barrels is indecision about whether I should go after Mitch Albom, Drew Sharp, or Tony Barnhart, all of whom put the literary equivalent of Skyline chili on the internet in response to Harbaugh's plan to visit IMG. Nothing has been as dumb as this, though:
I mean… I can't put it past a guy whose version of the "Art of the Deal" will be titled "Chasing Rutgers," but cumong man. Put down the Confederate flag bong and sober up.
I may break down pretty soon here and call someone horseface, but for now Andy Staples is keeping me sane:
The Power Five leagues, including Sankey's SEC, got autonomy legislation passed so they could loosen some restrictions that other Division I schools wanted to keep tight. The new attitude in major college sports was supposed to be this: If you want to do it, do it. If you don't, don't. That lasted until several millionaire coaches got mad at another millionaire coach trying to mitigate their competitive advantage.
I'm so so done with being Meatloaf The Football Program: I'll do anything to win but I won't do that. Staples does mention that Harbaugh getting up in his players' spring break might come up during the infinite lawsuits the NCAA is fighting, but since a bunch of spring sports already do that it's likely a moot point. And as I always point out, Michigan fans should be hoping amateurism dies swiftly and comprehensively for the same reason the Yankees don't want a salary cap. I don't think Harbaugh is consciously attempting to point out the hypocrisy, but I'd support him if he was.
Meanwhile in attempts to negative recruit based on the above. Michael Dwumfour opens up about his recruitment process, detailing an ill-fated Penn State trip:
The Penn State coaching staff knew the competition it was up against. According to Dwumfour, the Lions poked fun at Jim Harbaugh’s recruiting techniques.
That didn’t sit well.
“When I was at Penn State, I heard jokes about Harbaugh and stuff like that,” Dwumfour said. “In the back of my head, I’m thinking ‘What he’s doing is working, obviously. Instead of criticizing him, you might want to take some of his techniques to try and help yourself out and get some recruits.’”
The prospect of Penn State coaches making fun of Harbaugh's sleepovers boggles the mind, but I put nothing that is bogglingly dumb past James Franklin.
Status of Bush the elder. Devin Bush Sr was long rumored to be on the verge of a Michigan job, something that he was openly hoping for in an interview with Brandon Brown:
“For me, if I was to get an opportunity, because I would love to coach at the next level, I never wanted to put it out there because I didn’t want to move my kids while they were in high school. If you get into that world you could be moving every eight to ten months. Once my son graduated, now I would be open for an opportunity because I don’t have to worry about moving kids, it’s just my wife and I.”
That sounds like a guy who is waiting for the Ts to get crossed and Is dotted. And now that Michigan's down Greg Jackson they might look at him for that job as well; Bush's profile isn't that far away from Jackson's: former NFL safety, little high-level experience. Harbaugh grabbed Jackson when he was an assistant DBs coach with Wisconsin.
Who doesn't these days? Tom Brady's agent wants to blow up the NCAA, and he's likely correct about how the edifice comes tumbling down:
This is the promise of [Don] Yee's advocacy. He is a football insider with firsthand knowledge of how a business works and the credibility to make people listen. He is exhausted, he says, by talk without much action and has reached the point of arguing for revolution: Blow up the system. Start over. Build anew. "This generation of players has more tools at its disposal than any other to be heard and to organize," he says. "If they adopted a Twitter hashtag of #disruptthefinalfour for the NCAA tournament, they would at least start a discussion. And significant change typically happens through some discussion that is too large to ignore."
All it would take is two basketball teams deciding to delay a Final Four game and amateurism is all over but the shouting. They don't even have to refuse to play. All they have to do is agree to start the game 15 minutes late, and there will be no illusions as to where the power actually resides. Yee:
"Nothing will change for the players unless they take the responsibility of becoming something more than willing victims to this system," Yee says. "At some point, you have to look in the mirror and ask yourself, 'Who am I? What am I doing? What's going on, and what am I doing about it?' These players, they have all the power -- they simply don't realize it."
That is correct. Someone's going to be the NCAA's Curt Flood, and pretty soon. Related: Sonny Vaccaro talks to the NYT, says the same things Vaccaro usually does.
I guess he's a Walverine. Michigan fans have this odd conversation about whether it's okay to be a Michigan fan without having attended the school. They do this largely because MSU fans are livid that nobody who doesn't go to MSU gives a damn about the Spartans and project this anger all around them. Meanwhile 95% of Alabamans are either Auburn or Alabama fans, and… uh… let's just stipulate that more than 5% of Alabamans do not have a degree from either institution. (Ace, at home, just screamed "BAN BOOKLARNIN'" again.)
It is good to have Michigan fans scattered about with no other connection to the school. One of them just joined the recruiting class:
“Honestly I’ve been a Michigan fan since I was little,” [Dylan] McCaffrey said. “My grandma is a big Michigan fan. She has a house about 40 minutes away [from Ann Arbor], so I don’t know why, but I just ended up loving them. I could’ve always seen myself going there, and in the end I just went back to how I felt about Michigan as a kid.”
Another person who was a Michigan fan for no particular reason: Jabrill Peppers. Let all who want to root for winged helmets do so irrespective of their degrees, and let MSU fans stew about it.
More on "floor seats". Everyone hated it. Especially people who have televisions. ESPN trotted out some poor damn spokesperson, who immediately torpedoed any sympathy I might have for her with a statement so inane it bordered on Dave Brandon Hire:
ESPN was built on trying new things and taking risks, and tonight is just another example of that.
ESPN was built on showing people athletics contests, not utterly failing to do so.
Austin Davis is looking rather different these days. Many people thought taking Davis was questionable at best when Michigan did, and it is going to be strange next year when Michigan has up to six post players on the roster (Doyle, Donnal, Wagner, Wilson, Davis, and Jon Teske). But Davis has done everything he can to prep himself:
“The big thing is I changed my diet around; I changed it pretty drastically,” he said. “And then I got on a new weight program.” …
A year ago, Davis was more of a plodder as he moved up and down the court. His teammates often had to wait for him to join them before they could run their offense.
That, more than anything, is why no major college offered him a scholarship — and U-M coach John Beilein made Davis aware of that fact.
“We had a directive,” said Eric Davis, Austin’s dad. “Coach Beilein really wanted to see him start moving better and running the court better.”
He has, and he now looks like a college post. Whether he'll still look like one in college is unknown; his 79% shooting percentage is indicative of both his talent and his competition level.
Who runs Big Ten hockey? The equivalent of Tom Anastos. Tom Anastos, hockey coach, not Tom Anastos, CCHA commissioner. Because Anastos was all right at the latter before being thrust into a role he had no frame of reference for. Ditto the folks running Big Ten hockey:
“Coming from a non-hockey background, it’s kind of hard for me to imagine a fan in the state of Minnesota who wouldn’t be excited to see a Michigan or a Michigan State come in to play,” he said. “I recognize and acknowledge that significant rivalries developed over the years in the previous leagues, and that’s fine."
Minnesota fans did not like this interview with Brad Traviolia, not one bit. I'm not much of a fan either. Nobody comes to the Big Ten hockey tournament because most fans are very far away from said tournament no matter where it is.
There is no possible solution to this problem. A neutral site Big Ten tournament is never going to draw. I have had season tickets for a decade now and I have no plans to ever go to a neutral site Big Ten Tournament, because that product sucks. It sucks being in a big empty building where hockey is going on. I am barely willing to put up with it for an NCAA tournament game. A Big Ten tourney where everyone makes it in doesn't even come close to moving the needle.
The only solution is to go to series on home ice, which four of the six schools should support since they have dedicated rinks. If Wisconsin or Ohio State don't want to host because of high school sports, they don't have to. Quit letting two schools that clearly don't care about hockey dictate to the 3.5 that do.
Hockey tourney status: don't collapse. Jim Dahl's excellent Pairwise projection site is reaching peak utility as hockey comes down the stretch here. Michigan is in barring a spectacular collapse:
Even 2-5 likely sees them sitting in a pretty secure at-large spot, though they'd definitely want to win a game in the Big Ten tournament. Three wins and they would be all but a lock going into that tourney unless results elsewhere conspired against them; 4-3 and they're 100% in.
A one seed would require Michigan to absolutely sprint down the stretch; even a 6-1 finish most likely sees them still a 2 going into the BTT.
I have no idea how good this goalie is. The Daily's Jason Rubinstein on Michigan's poor, bombarded goalie:
After three and a half years, Racine is playing the best hockey he ever has in a Michigan uniform. Berenson named him the team’s bona fide starter more than three months ago. For his last six games, he boasts a .931 save percentage, a career high for any stretch over five games that he has played.
And this past weekend, he was the only reason Michigan managed to escape Madison with five points, rather than three. In Saturday’s contest against Wisconsin, the Wolverines won in a shootout, despite surrendering four goals.
“You should’ve seen him at Wisconsin,” Berenson said. “He stood on his head, and we had no business winning the game based on the chances we gave up.
“That was his best game of the year.”
This has got to be the strangest year for hockey since I've been paying attention. They give up four goals to a very bad Wisconsin team only because their goalie stands on his head; they are on pace for a two-seed.
Etc.: Barry Alvarez apologizes for saying innocuous, accurate thing about UW hockey. Bob Miller on incoming goalie Jack LaFontaine. Jim Harbaugh adopts a kitten. PWO Anthony Kay profiled. Incoming hockeyist Nick Pastujov also profiled.
Via Bruce Feldman:
— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) February 17, 2016
Jackson had been previously rumored as a potential Bengals assistant and has apparently found a landing spot in the NFL. That's not great news since Jackson did a terrific job with Michigan's cornerbacks in his first year in Ann Arbor; at least Michigan returns all those guys and should be able to maintain performance. Michigan does already have Greg Zordich as a DBs coach and could hypothetically go in any direction with the assistant opening, but I do expect them to add another secondary coach given the importance of DBs in the modern game.
No, it won't be Charles Woodson. Woodson already got a job with ESPN.
No. Don't do it.
Don't do what? Whatever it is you have thought to do next. Hand shoes. Don't do that. Nobody will like them. Foot hands. Nobody wants to replace their feet with hands via a brutal surgical procedure. Just leave the feet and hands as they are now. The feet will be shod. The hands will remain unshod. Critically, both feet and hands will remain feet and hands. Nobody needs or wants four dextrous but fragile appendages. Save it for zero G science fiction, buddy.
No. Don't do that, either.
Do not invent a cuisine based on rotting food. Yes, I've heard of that Scandinavian rotted shark thing. No, I don't think you should extend that concept to the ground beef I forgot about and is now alarmingly brown. Nobody wants to eat rotted food. Okay, yes, Scandinavians. Nobody who isn't a Viking wants to eat rotted food. Millions of years of evolution have resulted in people with strong aversions to food that could make you sick. Stop trying to make a smoothie out of everything the local Kroger is trying to throw out.
Don't do that. Whatever it is. Stop.
Look, I know you need some bullet points on a resume so that when you leave for another job you'll get a title better than "guy who can change the lights without a stepladder," but have you considered the fact that maybe you fit right in there as a man who stands in the corner with his eyes closed until a lightbulb needs changing and then impresses everyone around him with his femur len—DON'T EAT THE LIGHT BULBS
doesn't that hurt?
you are scaring your coworkers
there is blood all over the floor YES IT'S YOUR BLOOD WHO ELSE IS EATING LIGHTBULBS AROUND HERE
don't do that
i can't stop you
nobody can stop you
the sickening crunch
the guttural lip-smacking
i'll never be able to be around anyone else eating without thinking of this insanity
susan is vomiting
roger has stapled his eyes shut
is this hell
i suppose you're going to put this on your resume as an innovative recycling initiative
if i may offer a suggestion, maybe replace the thing where you showed two hours of ref butts with this
Friday, February 12, 2016
Wisconsin 1, #6 Michigan 4
MOTTE GOAL, MICHIGAN
UW 0 UM 1 EV 04:25 Assists: Compher & De Jong
De Jong picks up a loose puck in the neutral zone and moves it close to the blue line, but he’s shoved off the puck before he can gain the zone. The puck rolls ahead to Motte, who sees Compher opposite him and passes across.
Compher tries to corral the puck on his backhand but it hits the blade and hops over. He has to turn toward the wall and head down the boards to gather it.
As Compher comes out of his turn he’s already made the decision to pass; he must have seen Motte heading to the net before turning, because he unleashes a slap pass the second he’s got the puck. You can see there’s one Wisconsin defender who’s noticed Motte drove outside to cut inside.
The aforementioned defender isn’t able to do anything to stop the shot, though, as the pass gets through traffic and is shoveled toward the net while Motte’s still unchecked. Jurusik doesn’t know where Motte is, and he can’t shift back and over from where he was positioned for a potential Compher shot in time to get anything on Motte’s shot.
[After THE JUMP: A puck disappears under the side of the net and is called a goal. I blame gravitational waves, which seems to be a popular explanation.]
In January I drew up two running plays from Harbaugh's masterful 1st quarter drive against Florida. In both plays Michigan found room to run despite the Gators scheming to attack inside runs, either by blitzing a linebacker or putting DTs in both "A" gaps (the gaps between the center and his guards).
Michigan also used its passing game to attack that defensive strategy, and true to Harbaugh, they did it with tight ends. Let's see how.
Rudock will call a play three plays in the huddle and pick one at the line. At that point Harbaugh quarterbacks will often decide where the ball is going by subtle things the defense does with its alignment. You can't trust a defense to attack the way they show, but they do betray some things. Apologies if this sounds like Dora (I work from home with a toddler, okay?!?) but can you spot what the defense is aligning for?
1. That DT isn't in a standard 3-tech position. Both DTs are in a 2i, i.e. lined up on a guard's shoulder. Again, Florida is srsly about taking away those inside runs.
2. The LBs are squeezed in, more evidence that they're selling out against interior runs, which isn't so bad of an idea given Michigan's got Houma and Smith—two runners who do most of their damage going north-south—in the backfield. Guessing who's got what gap isn't easy since the MLB doesn't seem to have one. On the other hand the SAM I'm pointing at here isn't really in position to defend a quick-releasing TE. Meaning the safety to that side is engaged either in a zone or man coverage over there (i.e. not free to roam). Good to know.
3. The ends are both playing 6i, off their respective tight ends' inside shoulders. This suggests some defensive backs have edge responsibility, with the MLB a free hitter. This is suggesting a 9-man front. Perhaps those ends are expected to engage and delay the release of their tight ends, but it's doubtful either would have more than flat coverage against the TEs on a pass play; if those tight ends do release downfield those same edge defenders hangout out on the wings become pass defenders.
Considering the things Michigan wants to do with its offense, this seems pretty sound. Is it accurate though?
[After the jump: there's always a crack]
Yeah, OK, that's a problem. ESPN doesn't get it sometimes. pic.twitter.com/7U1En2iCjn
— Tony Paul (@TonyPaul1984) February 17, 2016
Michigan lost to Ohio State in basketball tonight. ESPN said so. It must be true.
ESPN, forgetting that cameras, unlike humans, are equipped with a zoom function, decided to show us the entire game from the floor. It's an understatement to say the experiment failed. I'm mostly incapable of telling you what went on. If you attended the game, feel free to help us out in the comments.
Did this shot go in? I HAVE NO IDEA pic.twitter.com/62uLqsW0Ui
— Sarah (@sarbucks) February 17, 2016
Ohio State was able to get inside on Michigan. That much I can tell you because the Buckeyes were obscured by other players, not the officials. The box score tells me they had 38 points in the paint. JaeSean Tate led the way with 13 points and made 6/8 two-pointers; center Trevor Thompson, not normally a major factor on offense, had 12 on 6/7 FGs.
Michigan had a difficult time doing the same. I know this because the Wolverines were obscured by the officials, not other players. Unless, of course, they were on the far side of the court, and then they were obscured by everyone. The box score tells me they were 5/24 on three-pointers. Zak Irvin, Duncan Robinson, and Derrick Walton were a combined 4/18 from beyond the arc. The only consistent performer on offense was Mark Donnal (17 points, 6/10 FG, 5/7 FT, 7 REB), who still relied on the rare successful foray to the hoop by a Wolverine to attain most of his points.
Moments like this really make my flatscreen HD TV worth it. https://t.co/345ip2TXTU
— Alejandro Zúñiga (@ByAZuniga) February 17, 2016
What not even ESPN's Worst Idea Since Jason Whitlock could obscure was how much better Ohio State's offense functioned than Michigan's, and also how poor the Wolverines performed on defense. When the Buckeyes weren't bulling their way into the paint, they were breaking open off curl-cuts for easy jumpers. Michigan never got in a rhythm, couldn't get all the way to the basket, and didn't find ways to get their shooters open.
Believe it or not, I just ran into one of ESPN camerawomen in the bathroom. She said that she can't pan without hitting anyone...
— Kelly Hall (@KellyHall20) February 17, 2016
Michigan missed their best chance to pull an upset and all but secure an NCAA Tournament bid. They'll get another shot on Sunday at Maryland. Even from butt-level, it's apparent the Wolverines will have to raise their level of play substantially this weekend.