somehow we're only 124th
Needs Going In: With two unheralded quarterbacks over the past two years and Chad Henne set to graduate a year after the '07 class steps on campus, Michigan needed one blue chippah and how.
Commitments To Date: Ryan Mallett is a blue chippah and how: when not scaring the daylights out of wide receivers with passes approaching the speed of light, Mallett makes a little money on the side hurling communications satellites into orbit. His hype has waxed (Rivals had him one of the top ten prospects in the country at first), waned (they dropped him to around #25 and made him the last five-star) and grown gibbous once more after an impressive Elite 11 camp where various observers claimed him second-best behind Texas-bound John Brantley, neck-and-neck with Clemson-bound Willy Korn.
Potential Commitments: None. If Michigan was going to continue pursuing other quarterbacks they probably would have made a push for Adrian's Stephen Threet, who committed to Georgia Tech. They're done.
You Should Panic This Much: None. Michigan got its man.
Needs Going In: A running back in this class would be a luxury. Michigan has four from the last two classes, three of whom come to Michigan with at least one service or guru declaring them to be OMG shirtless. If they find someone they like they'll take him, but they can go without this year and not worry a bit.
Commitments To Date: None. Michigan had offers out to both Brandon Saine and Danny "Boom" Herron, but both went to Ohio State. Must love the taste of crayons.
Potential Commitments: Most of the talk has centered around Illinois' Robert Hughes, who was rumored to be favoring Michigan a month or so ago but is now rumored to be favoring Notre Dame. Ah, rumors. Hughes is a big-time recruit who Michigan has been after heavily since the start of the year; he'll stay in the Midwest. Most of the other backs on Michigan's board have gone elsewhere or just plain dropped Michigan. Two names who still list Michigan: Curtis Shaw and Gerald Jones, though Jones is supposed to be completely tiny -- like 5'6" tiny.
You Should Panic This Much: None. Other than kicker, this is the position least likely to be filled when the class is finished. Michigan would very much like to land Hughes but won't fret if they don't.
Needs Going In: As severe as you could get for a relatively unimportant position. Sleeper Andre Criswell, a defensive end/linebacker prospect to various MAC teams, was a last-second addition at the position in '06. He's the only underclassman fullback on the roster.
Commitments To Date: Vince Helmuth -- not to be confused with Phil -- was Michigan's first commit in the class to the mild consternation of Internet grumblers set on a sexy position like cornerback or quarterback. Grumbles should be silenced, though, as Michigan filled their hole at FB with a plowing blocker in the Dudley mold. ESPN ranks him the top fullback prospect in the country.
Potential Commitments: One fullback is enough, thanks.
You Should Panic This Much: None. This hole is filled about as well as the one at quarterback.
Needs Going In: Michigan's one recruit from a year ago, Greg Mathews, is probably going to play in preparation for '07, so Michigan will need receivers in quantity to prevent a nasty gap. Expect three players by Feburary 2nd.
Commitments To Date: Michigan sleeper James Rogers came to Michigan camp, caught everything in sight, and won the "smokehouse" award for fastest player at his position. He was offered and committed soon after. A running back in high school, Rogers is a project but draws comparisons to a certain other instate sleeper at WR who was kind of good.
Potential Commitments: Recruitniks are keeping their eyes on OLSM's Taurian Washington, South Carolina's Junior Hemingway, and Pennsylvania's Toney Clemons. Hemingway is the most touted of the three -- ESPN ranks him #17 in the country -- but all three are solid four-stars to everyone. All three are also supposed to be favoring Michigan, Washington's reported OSU commitment nonwithstanding. With Rogers already in the fold Michigan probably only has room for two of the three. If two of the above three fall through, Michigan will pursue Californians Zion Babb and Marques Simas.
You Should Panic This Much: Not much. Current scuttlebutt claims that Washington and Hemingway are very likely to end up in winged helmets, likely leaving Clemons to Pitt.
Needs Going In: Major. Instate sleeper Quintin Woods is the only tight end in last year's class and he hardly played varsity football until his senior year, when he starred... at defensive end. He's a project and with only Carson Butler in the year ahead of him Michigan needs a couple tight ends to make up the numbers.
Commitments To Date: Michigan jumped on sleeper Martell Webb before anyone got wind of his freakish 6'5" self, then picked up a second commitment from Denver's Steve Watson, son of current Broncos receivers coach and former Broncos reciever Steve Watson. Webb is the huge HS wide receiver with serious mismatch potential; Watson is the heady coach's son who might be a bit plodding.
Potential Commitments: Two tight ends should do it.
You Should Panic This Much: A little. Three straight years Michigan has swung for the fences with utterly raw, outrageously athletic basketball players and has only Watson in the "safe bet" category. With three cracks at a breakout player Michigan has a good chance of getting one, but it's still something of a risk. And it doesn't seem likely that Butler, Woods, and Webb are going to be crushing, Spaethian blockers.
Needs Going In: Michigan looks for two or three G/C types in every class.
Commitments To Date: Illinois center David Molk, a high three star to Rivals but a member of the Scout 100 with ESPN splitting the difference of opinion. Currently undersized but tenacious and "nasty," Molk is an ideal, mobile center candidate.
Potential Commitments: I dunno. Pennsylvania's Steve Wisniewski is earmarked for Penn State. None of the in-state kids have offers. No one on the board has been heard from in a month or two. I dunno.
You Should Panic This Much: A little. Having Molk on board is nice but the total dearth of names aside from him is somewhat unsettling. But... it's guard. Last year nonwithstanding, they generally grow on trees and their recruiting rankings are almost irrelevant.
Needs Going In: Like guard, Michigan would like to get two in every class, occasionally three if things are looking thin. A year ago they picked up three-star Perry Dorrestein and five-star Steve Schilling.
Commitments To Date: None.
Potential Commitments: Californian Mitchell Schwartz, a three star on the upswing, is the surest bet at the moment -- great news for Spaceballs fans. Arkansas' Lee Ziemba, a top 100 player to everyone, is reputed to like Michigan quite a bit as
well but it could be hard to get him that far away from home. New York's John "No Relation" Elliot, also a top 100 player, has Michigan on a list of nine schools heavy on the academics but light on the football accomplishments and is a definite possibility.
You Should Panic This Much: A moderate amount. As it stands right now, Ziemba will probably stay closer to home and Elliot has a lot of schools to sift through. Even if Schwartz does commit that still leaves Michigan one tackle short without a great chance of pulling a high-profile recruit. Again, though: offensive line is the place where recruiting rankings are least useful. All the practice buzz at tackle focuses on relatively unknown Mark Ortmann, not VHT Corey Zirbel.
Ryan Mallett currently fills Michigan's most pressing need, er, impressively and the numbers at wide receiver and tight end appear to be coming. Missing out on Saine and Herron is disappointing and the offensive line situation is looking kind of tenuous, but the big issue on this side of the ball is locked down with the perfect recruit for Michigan's offense. Pick up Hemingway and Washington plus a couple tackles and the rest is gravy.
Right-now grade: A-.
...and you didn't get a big long email from me, please drop me a line (email@example.com) and/or check your old email address. If you moved addresses and told me I may have updated it in the database but I definitely did not do so on the email list.
'07 hockey recruit Ben Winnett committed. At 16, Winnett scored 49 points in 60 games in the BCHL playing kids three and four years his senior. Less than a PPG in the run-and-gun BCHL is not generally indicative of future college stardom -- Milan Gajic more than doubled that -- but it is impressive for a player Winnett's age -- Gajic was 19. He and Wisconsin-bound Kyle Turris are considered the top two up-and-comers in the league.
The Wolverine's Bob Miller was given permission to post an article from Paul Shaheen's Research On Ice column:
"So many people around me said I was a Michigan type player," says Winnett, a high school senior and one of the most well-spoken young men his age. "With my skating, offense and awareness, many guys branded me a Wolverine. I was flattered by that."
Even someone who'd never seen Winnett play before said exactly the same thing.
"Last year, " explains Winnett, "we were having a practice skate, and (former Maine Black Bear assistant captain) Jeff Mushaluk came out to skate with us. (An Armstrong, BC native, Mushaluk played two seasons at Maine after transferring from Lake Superior State). Jeff came up to one of our coaches and said, 'heah who's that number 16? He looks like a Wolverine.' That was a huge compliment."
Michigan kicked some ass at bridge. Eat our national championship, Princeton!
SMQB got all up in my grill. No he di'in't(!). This here website was cited for aiding and abetting severe recruitnikdom by reporting on Mallet's thrilling victory in the NCAA '07 competition at the Elite 11 camp:
And then we are treated to a link to a lengthy review of another person we do not know, who is not yet a high school senior, playing a video game? And how its results might possibly suit this young man for a certain school's conservative offensive philosophy?
For the record, the sarcasm hat was firmly in place for the entirety of that post, from exclamatory headline to dubious recommendation to examine the "teary acceptance speech."
EDSBS held a pledge drive. Which is over, though you can still donate.
And now three dog-bites-man stories:
The NCAA did something dumb. The game clock will start to tick down when the play clock starts after a change of possession this year in order to shorten games by five or ten minutes. The outrage generated by 3-2-5-e is widespread. Stadium & Main has some in a rundown of all the new rule changes ("NCAA, you are dumb" is the succinct conclusion); SMQB accuses hungry wives of getting their way, &c. I'm ambivalent. Games have lengthened terms of both time and playcount in recent years because of spread mania and something should be done to reduce the massive time savings yielded by the passing game -- perhaps starting the clock when the ball is set for play after an incompletion -- but this is a totally arbitrary rule change that will do more harm than good.
The NCAA did something dumb. Something else.
What now are I-A programs â€” the Texases, Notre Dames and others vying for bowls â€” will play in the Football Bowl Subdivision. The Georgia Southerns, Montanas and others now known as I-AA will play in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision, alluding to the 16-team playoff that settles its national title.
Our long national nightmare is over.
Gene Wojciechowski gave
oral typewritten pleasure to a collegiate coach. This time it's our own Lloyd Carr instead of Charlie Tuna but the overall effect is the same: breathless praise for 1,200 words. The script is somewhat different since Lloyd is generally regarded as "embattled" instead of an up-and-coming sooper genius, forcing Wojciechowski to make snide comments about crazy Internets types and their loony blogs instead of leaping right into the pleasure bits:
Carr is now 1-4 against Tressel, which explains why some of these U-of-M bloggers need distemper shots. ...
Wait. There is one writer Carr does read on a regular basis: Rudyard Kipling. As he gets hammered in chat room after chat room, in the Letters to the Editor, in blogs, in his own Big House, Carr leans on those opening lines of Kipling's poem, "If."
Yes, this is a standard "can you believe all these crazy people on the Internets who don't like Coach X after sucky season Y" article, but this one is personally irritating. As the unofficial dean of the Michigan blogosphere I strenously object to the sloppy characterization of not only we admittedly-loony Internets masses but the Michigan fanbase in general in the service of another generic fluff piece from Wojciechowski. Did Carr get booed once during this trying season? No. Did this blog or any of the ones on the sidebar call for Carr's head after it? Except for Joey, who probably could use said distemper shot, no. Are Michigan fans responsible for the incoherent blatherings of Detroit newspaper columnists? No. Aside from always-retarded, always-angry talk radio and a few websites no one visits, Wojciechowski has invented a world in which Carr is public enemy number one* simply because he needs such a thing to exist so he can write his crappy, generic, useless article.
There's a difference between reasonable criticism and the raving lunacy that is the antipode of Wojciechowski's constant sunniness. Much like facism and communism, at their extremes the two opposites become alike in unreason. Wojciechowski and FireLloydCarr.com deserve each other.
*(Public enemy number one was and always will be Jim Herrmann, who this article could have been written about with no, count 'em, no amounts of intellectual dishonesty. Too bad for Gene that he's a Jet.)
"We had a lunch after the camp but the (Notre Dame) coaches all sat in one corner and didn't talk to anyone and I didn't get that. When we left, Coach Ianello told me that he'd be in touch."
... and, well, that should be enough for anyone. Molk has several other positive attributes aside from tremendous taste in schools: he is a member of the Scout 100 and a four-star on that site, though this nugget from his profile on that site may be concerning:
Molk is car like quick off the ball.
Hopefully a typo, not a legitimate comparison to a 1978 Gremlin. Rivals is less enthused, offering three stars (possibly because he gave them the most unflattering picture in the history of the universe), but ESPN rates him a 78 -- the same rating given Ryan Van Bergen and Vince Helmuth, just outside their top 150 -- and commands you to enjoy him($):
You like Molk because he's a high-motor guy who plays physical. There is more to playing offensive line than just hitting people, but it is nice when you have a prospect with ability who shows a nasty side.
"Nasty" veers dangerously close to verboten sports cliche, but you will let it stand because ESPN tells you to.
Not blessed with the natural ginormity that most offensive linemen have, Molk worked his way up from pipsqueak:
As a freshman, Lemont's David Molk was a 5-6, 175-pounder who bench-pressed only 110 pounds and squatted 250.
As he prepares for his senior season, Molk is a 6-2, 270-pounder who bench-presses 370, squats 550 and power-cleans 320.
Now he lives in the weight room:
I'm addicted to lifting," he said. "That's my hobby. When I'm bored or mad, I lift. I started out to try to be the strongest guy in the weight room. Now that I have passed everyone in school history, I'm trying to be the strongest kid I ever heard of. I heard of someone who benched 400 pounds at a combine. Now that's my goal.
"My friends think I'm crazy. The weight room closes at 5 o'clock, so I go to a gym in town for another hour of lifting. Notre Dame, Oklahoma and Ohio State are concerned if I can handle people at my size. I feel I can. I hope to prove it this fall. I found out that centers can be as short as 6 feet tall and still compete in the NFL."
Molk sounds as driven as any kid can be and gets a talent thumbs up from two of three sites. Might have some trouble against potential Gabe Watson types but should be a hell of a pull-blocker a la Greg Eslinger. Thumbs up.
Hokay. I'm back and ready to start cracking the metaphorical pads again. One last poker dalliance before we return to your regularly scheduled programming:
- Technically neither hand was a bad beat since when the money when in I was the one drawing to two outs. Had I won either hand I would have been the deliverer of said bad beat. The technical term for what happened to me was getting "cold decked" -- I was given hands that given the run of play to that point thus far (and the sad size of my twinkly little stack on the last hand) were nigh-impossible to get away from. Any (good) player in my situation would have gone home the instant that K77 flop came.
- Overall I was happy with my play. The two mistakes on day one were harmful, but neither was deadly and on day two I was very sharp. It takes a lot of luck to get to where I did but there's skill, too. I didn't win any massive pots but moved my stack from 15k to 60k by methodically chopping out blinds, re-raising preflop with marginal hands, and feigning weakness to my advantage. I got some sense for how someone like Ivey or Ferguson can negotiate those minefields as proficiently as they do.
- To those wondering whether Annie Duke is hittable: er... maybe. I'm sure she cleans up real nice, but at the table she had her game face on. She's very much the table cop and kept talking about her kid, her boyfriend, and her kid's dead snake, so hittability-ponderings were kept to a minimum.
- The WSOP is probably the only event on the planet where there are massive lines outside the men's bathroom but not the women's.
- You're damn right I'm going to try to qualify again next year.
Now: football football football.
Annie Duke is arguing with the floor guys about the possibility of playing six levels -- a bad idea (they played only four and a half). I am seated two to the right of the elderly man with the kickass beard. I pissed the guy in the Poker Stars jersey off by steal-raising with 4-2, checking my flopped four to the river when I caught a deuce, and calling a river bet from the guy.
(Via Wicked Chops Poker... WCP also has evidence of the scantily-cladness if you're interested. And you are, you immoral persons. There is a separate post for the Bodog stuff, because if placed in close proximity to the other girls they might communicate something.)