that is nice bonus change
The draft has ended, and the big story for Michigan fans is Ernest Shazor going completely undrafted. In fact, no Michigan player was chosen after David Baas, who went with the first pick of the second round to San Francisco.
Why did Shazor fall completely out of the draft? A number of reasons. He ran poorly (4.75) at the combine, leading teams to doubt his ability to play safety at the next level. After he nearly tore Dorien Bryant in half and ended the Purdue game, most of the Michigan defense decided to take the rest of the year off--Shazor was a part of that. The truth was that he ended up badly overrated by college football fans and media after the Bryant hit, which ended up one of the iconic plays of the season. His season-ending vacation got overlooked.
There were also rumblings that Shazor had... character issues. There had to be character issues, and severe ones, or someone would have taken a chance on him making the shift to linebacker or being able to play safety even if he is a tiny bit slow. There's no other reason a player projected in the fourth round by the most pessimistic analysts would drop all the way out of the draft, behind approximately 20 other safeties (including players from mighty Albany and both Louisiana-Monroe and Louisiana-Lafayette). After the defensive implosion at the end of last year, insiders strongly implied that there was a lot of dissent and acrimony between a number of defensive players and the coaches, and the events of the past couple days point the finger squarely at Shazor.
Moving on... Let's check those predictions I made. And, hey, IBFC posted some predictions too. Let's have a contest!
Braylon: MGB wins by predicting him 2nd instead of 1st, since he went 3rd.
Jackson: IBFC got this one exactly right--29th to the Colts. Two points for IBFC.
Baas: I said #37 to the Titans. IBFC said #35 to the Eagles. IBFC wins.
Shazor: We were both really, really wrong. Call this a push.
Dudley: Both predicted him to go somewhere in the 7th. Both wrong. Push.
Final score is 3-1 for IBFC. Damn you, Khan!
I was basically wrong about everything else except "Aaron Rodgers drops like a stone," and I wish I was wrong about that because I could really have done without the four hour Rodgers infomercial/melodrama. So we'll gloss over the rest of it. Suffice it to say I'm not going to rush to Vegas to bet on the '06 draft.
Notre Dame, like a number of schools, has an official football t-shirt which they, in typical Notre Dame fashion, simply call "THE SHIRT." This year it's maize, and has this on the back: "If you could bottle the Notre Dame spirit, you could light up the Universe," which is totally dumb.
A poster named "Bluey" has proven this beyond a shadow of a doubt with his Top Ten rejected Notre Dame "The Shirt" slogans, which I seriously considered posting here unaltered and claiming as my own so that people would think I'm awesome. Instead, I link to it here, because it's less effort.
Right. Since I'm going to be half-watching the draft and then watching the Pistons game, I may as well live blog. Because it's snowing outside, dammit.
12:48 PM: First wrong prediction when Ronnie Brown goes to the Fins at #2. I had declared Braylon would go there after a Tampa trade up. Where is the excitement? We need the Vikings on the clock.
12:49 PM: Oh my god. Andrea Kremer looks like she got the Joan Rivers Face You Could Bounce A Quarter Off special at her local plastic surgeon. And Mike Vrabel, who went to OSU, is speaking coherently. The wonders never cease.
12:54 PM: Braylon goes to Cleveland at #3, so I wasn't horribly wrong. Torry Holt is actually on the set, by the way, instead of Michael Irvin. That's an upgrade. A six-year-old running his fingers over a blackboard is an upgrade over Michael Irvin.
12:57 PM: Holy crap. Braylon brought approximately 40 family members. One of them is wearing what looks to be a fedora.
12:59 PM: I'm not a huge fan of this Holt thing either, no offense to Torry. He's basically prohibited from saying anything interesting because he's a current player. He's going to play against these teams and players and Martz will kill him if he says anything remotely critical.
1:29 PM: Benson and Cadillac Williams go off 4-5. You know, for all the talk of how everyone lies constantly and you have no idea what anyone's going to do, the top five in this draft has been chalk. Tennessee could be the divergence point, though. They have a lot of directions they can go. A good start for the Lions, with all three RBs off the board already (as expected). Hopefully two of the three CBs go and maybe Troy Williamson. Then the Lions will be sitting at 10 with a ton of options and a number of teams scrambling to move up.
1:43 PM: Pacman Jones redefines bling with what looks to be a 85 carat diamond Pacman necklace. MTV's "Cribs" SWAT team is scrambling.
1:46 PM: From what I've seen, Merrill Hodge is the one guy who will call out players and make contronversial statements based on his beliefs. He absolutely tore Rodgers a new one a couple days ago, proclaiming him to be a certain bust, and now he just dissected Mike Williams.
1:48 PM: Vikings go with Williamson. Huge mistake. You take a guy who played in Lou Holtz's neolithic offense over Mike friggin' Williams? He's not as fast as Williamson, but come on. Arizona and Washington next with Rodgers, two corners, and Williams on the board. Lions are sitting pretty.
1:52 PM: I mean, seriously. Williams is 6'5", 230, and runs a 4.5 The absolute worst thing that can possibly happen with him is he's Herman Moore II. I think I'm talking myself into having the Lions take him at #10.
1:56 PM: Holt talking about Kurt Warner is interesting, and he did a good job of not being too easy on him. Thumbs up Torry!
Arizona is on the clock. Sounds like they're going CB... Rolle probably. Then Washington has an interesting choice between Williams, Rodgers and Carlos Rogers. Yup. It's Rolle. No matter what happens the Lions will have an interesting 15 minutes.
2:00 PM: T Minus 1 hour to the Pistons. I'm predicting a sweep and the mysterious disappearance of Carlos Delfino.
2:03 PM: Commercial, but remember last year when Irvin dogged Roy Williams for returning to school? Irvin somehow spun it into him fearing the NFL or something. That was the moment I wanted to be on ESPN the most, so I could say "maybe he was just enjoying college. You wouldn't know what that's like. You went to Miami." What does this have to do with anything? Nothing.
2:05 PM: Aaah! Andrea Kremer's back! Hey, and John Jansen talking about the 'Skins and the Jason Campbell hootenanny. John's eyebrows seem unnaturally far apart. Jansen's pushing for Williams, dammit. I want the Lions to take him. Seriously. Now Jansen's talking about Gibbs' offense being a "1992" offense. Kremer thinks Rolle's still on the board when he went with the LAST PICK. Maybe she was getting some more surgery done.
2:09 PM: That probably wasn't Kremer's fault. She's getting fed questions by someone and doesn't have time to really think about what's coming out of her mouth. Rolle seems significantly less of a punk that most Miami kids. Two minutes left for the 'Skins. Debate? Possible trade down? They're taking their sweetass time.
2:11 PM: Mort is talking about someone moving up for Jamaal Brown of OU... a RT, which is certainly a need for the Lions. Skins pick... Rogers! Mike Williams on the board! Rodgers on the board!
2:13 PM: Wow. Mort was talking about someone maybe moving in front of Dallas for DeMarcus Ware... this could be that point. Someone could move up for Williams. Derrick Johnson's sitting there. Aaron Rodgers is sitting there. Trade down. Trade down. Or take Williams.
2:18 PM: Lions pick in 2 minutes? Williams! Sweet!
2:21 PM: I find it hard to believe they couldn't find any better highlights for Williams. Other than that one-hander against Oregon State those weren't close to being his best plays. Mostly just really bad coverage and wide open catches. ESPN guys immediately speculate on Charles Rogers' future. Fair enough. I think the best part of this pick is that it will immediately lead to Harrington getting deep-sixed if he doesn't play well this year and there's a good possibility the Chargers will be forced to do something with their Brees/Rivers situation.
2:43 PM: 3-4 OLBs start flying off the board now. 12 picks deep and not a single trade. Shouldn't ESPN be popping up a stat about the last time this happened?
2:51 PM: There we go, and we get our first "Kawasaki Trade Recap." Kawasaki must be pissed. Saints hop in front of Carolina to grab Jammal Brown.
3:00 PM: Pistons! Oh. It's just the pregame garbage. Jalen's on the ABC coverage, though. Did I predict a sweep already? Yes. Screw it. Pistons in three! Rose is now talking about HWNBN, and Walton is trashing him. Damn you, Walton! I hate you! Stop being right! Whoah. The old guy says that if AI doesn't *average* 45 it will be a sweep.
Meanwhile on ESPN, Thomas Davis is the first linebacker off the board. Rodgers and Derrick Johnson continue to drop. Rodgers can't go any earlier than 24th to the Packers at this point. Johnson has to go right now to the Chiefs, though, right?
3:08 PM: Bill Simmons would probably be inagurating some sort of Aaron Rodgers Face at this point.
Meanwhile on ABC, a shot of Rasheed walking with that WWE-style championship belt on. Oh, Rasheed, you're a nutball but you're our nutball. Tipoff on the way.
3:11 PM: This isn't as interesting as I thought it would be. The livebloggin', that is. The game is four seconds old. And I don't mean the actual act of livebloggin', I mean the result. Sorry kids.
3:39 PM: Internet snafu prevented updating... hey, that's not Donovan McNabb's mom! I seen her, I seen her in the Chunky Soup commercials, and that ain't here. Meanwhile the Pistons are playing like stinkypoo, down 12 after 1. Prince just got dumped on a "clear path" foul, which is a rule I don't understand. How is one shot and the ball any better than just two shots?
3:43 PM: Meanwhile, there have been two picks in the NFL draft.
3:49 PM: Michael Phelps is getting interviewed by Jim Gray. Did I fall asleep and wake up in 2008?
3:51 PM: Pistons bench is making a bit of a run against the Sixers. Their lead is down to six. Arroyo is in Dr. Jekyll mode tonight. Jansen and his UNNATURALLY SPACED EYEBROWS are back on ESPN. Trent Green looks like Ralph Reed, if you're interested. Jansen and Green are ripping Moss; Vrabel defends him. Vrabel just said "arguably the best player in the league, Peyton Manning, hasn't won a Super Bowl." Wonder how Brady feels about that.
4:00 PM: Jack Ramsay keeps calling HWNBN "Chris Wallace." He is old. Pistons down down one after a HWNBN
drive and finish, probably his first since 1998.
4:11 PM: At least I'm not this guy, Pete McEntgart:
2:41: Berman claims that his New York cab driver this morning was wearing a powder blue Chargers hat and told him San Diego would take pass rusher Shawne Merriman of Maryland, which is exactly what happens. Cute story, but we're betting it's purely Albom-esque. I've ridden in hundreds of New York cabs and have met only a few who could even identify the Chargers, let alone correctly pick their draft selection while wearing a San Diego hat. Now, if this was the National Cricket League draft, Berman's story might be plausible. At least it's mildly diverting, which is about all we can ask at this point.
Doesn't this guy know that this is Berman's "I talked to some dude in the front office and this is what he told me" schtick? He does it every year when it's the Bills' turn and always gets the pick correct. Why have someone covering the draft who clearly has no idea what's going on? I mean, look at the guy:
Pistons claw back from 16 down to take a 2 point halftime lead, led by McDyess's 13 points on 6 of 7 shooting. I salute you, Joe D! Anyway, we've played a half of basketball and seen six picks in the NFL draft.
Matt Jones goes to the Jaguars at #21, and Mortenson goes into full Dick-Vitale-on-Duke mode. I think he's got a shot, but at #21? I know he's tall and can run fast, but he's never played WR.
4:36 PM: ESPN has been actively rooting for Rodgers to go off the board since about the 5th pick. It's getting a little tiresome. The Packers and the elderly Brett Fav-ruh are a possibility, but don't you want to give Favre some immediate help? If I'm the Packers I think you just have to accept that when Favre retires you're just going to suck for a couple years.
Also, Randy Mueller looks more like a choreographer than a former GM.
And there goes Rodgers, to the Packers. ESPN celebrates, and can move on. Prince gets called for goaltending. That's obviously wrong. Pistons up six.
4:46 PM: The amount of bitching in this basketball game is incredible... and most of it is absolutely deserved. Prince got as animated as I've ever seen him after the goaltend call, pointing at all three referees and telling them they were wrong. And now HWMNBN (thanks, Mr. Commenter) OBVIOUSLY bounces one in off the shot clock and that's not called. Is this Jim Hightower?
4:50 PM: Detroit is going to get a technical before the end of the third. HWMNBN is bricking everything in sight, and the Pistons lookg like the Pistons now, up 11 and suffocating Iverson. Iguana or whatever for the Sixers has Graham Brown bunny-missing disease. Aaaaaand they're still talking about Rodgers on ESPN. Christ!
5:03 PM: I failed to mention this earlier, but this year's equivalent of "Let's Get It Started" (i.e., song you'll hear 40 times each playoff game) is "Lose My Breath" by Destiny's Child. If you're interested. It could be a lot worse.
5:26 PM: Pistons crusing. I should retract my HWMNBN comment, since he has 27 points on something like 11-18 shooting. Lo siento. Draft continues apace with the Seahawks taking a center at 26, which is kind of odd, since interior linemen aren't usually high priorities. I mention it because it means that Baas is not the first interior lineman off the board.
Still a number of possibilities for the Lions in the second. Still on the board: Roth or Dan Cody at DE, Jackson, Browner, Miller, Webster, or Green at CB, Pool at S, and Heath Miller at TE.
5:30 PM: Darko time!
5:43 PM: Jackson goes #29 to the Colts. (I predicted him 32 to the Patriots... not *terrible*.) Well reviewed by the panel, saying that his lack of tremendous speed isn't a huge factor in the straight cover-2 the Colts run. Also, my mom went to high school with Tony Dungy. Funny how Berman knew that.
6:11 PM: It's guardfest at the NFL draft! Some dude from Fresno goes off to the Pats and then David Baas is the first pick of the second round to San Francisco. And of course, Gene Washington calls him "Davis Baas." Way to go, Gene!
6:16 PM: Heh heh heh. There's a company advertising on ESPN called "Michigan Power Rodding." Six picks before the Lions go again (and I sign off). Roth, both Codys, and a bunch of the corners are still on the board. Looks likely the Lions will pick up a useful defensive piece. WR goes off to the Eagles. Now it's definite.
6:22 PM: Berman keeps calling this Mankins guy a "football player" as if this distinguishes him from the other players today, who presumably play shuffleboard or croquet. Currently rooting hard for Roth to drop.
6:25 PM: One of the Auburn running backs, not sure exactly which one, has an absolutely uncanny resemblance to Marlin Jackson. Maybe he's the one who hit that guy with a bottle. Mike James and Jon Barry currently comprise the Houston backcourt.
6:33 PM: Hey, the Lions moved up to pick up Shaun Cody. I was hoping for Roth but I'll take Cody. Millen probably got two guys he really wanted... the Williams pick was sent at hyperspeed and the Lions moved up for Cody. They'll probably be pretty torpid the rest of the draft, though. They were already down a fifth and they probably gave up another pick this year to jump up for Cody. QB, OT, or CB in round 3.
And that's it for me. I've been sittin' here too long. Time to go do something else. Later.
The CCHA has decided to scrap its current playoff format in favor of a new one, according to the Omaha World-Herald (way to stay on top of things, Pitts!). The article does require annoying registration, so I'll summarize here:
The top four teams get first round byes. The bottom eight meet in first round playoff series at the higher seed's home ice. The four winners meet the four top teams at their rinks. The top four end up at the Joe.
- This is pretty obviously another CCHA money grab, replacing the two sparsely-attended Thursday games at the Joe with two additional three-game series at someone's home rink.
- The change will hurt Michigan's chances to win the playoff title, since they'll have to play a better team in their home playoff series and then play a fresher team at the Joe. The overall impact will probably be pretty insignificant, though.
- The change should help Michigan's RPI a little bit, since they'll be playing that better opponent in the second round.
In summary, interesting... not earth-shaking.
As you can see above, mgoblog's disgusting, ichor-filled tentacles have engulfed a sleepy, peaceful fishing village and transformed it into yet another Internet message board.
Check it out at www.mgoboard.com and, uh, post something, why don't you?
The Blue-Gray Sky, a rather good Notre Dame blog, has a lovingly detailed post on ND's new "Apache" 4-2-5 defense. It's got pictures and everything.
In summary, they expect a defense that will disguise itself extensively before the snap and help address ND's recent deficiencies against the spread offense. Sounds like the D is heavily dependent on both the strong safety and 'weak' safety (the half-linebacker, half-safety that is the "Apache" position) being able to successfully contest both run and pass. It places a lot of pressure on the cornerbacks, too, as they have just one safety behind them playing the middle of the field and can't be too aggressive. Will it work? I dunno. The Irish should be pretty bad on defense this year after losing 8 starters. Michigan should be able to exploit a young, inexperienced defense with Hart, Henne, Avant, Breaston and company, especially since they'll only have one game under their belts. John L Smith discovered last year that taking a linebacker and giving him a fancy name ("Bandit" in MSU's case) and additional coverage responsibility can't cover up a severe talent deficiency.
The Notre Dame game will provide the first bellwether for the Michigan season. Michigan should be aiming to match the 38 they put up in '03, though ND will definitely not end up with the same 0 they had after that game. It could be a shootout if the Irish can grasp Weis' offense quickly.