- Baseball is really good. Now up to #13 in the country.
- Spring takes: It was fun. Brandon Peters looked gooooood. Speight had a bad day, but that doesn’t undo a season’s worth of seeing him start, play on the road, play injured, lead a team, etc. But man, that throw to Schoenle. But Speight was under way more pressure. But Craig was a few sheets to the wind when charting it.
- The spreading: Are they getting the RBs good receiver matchups? A zone read package to bleed Peters? Making pass protection easier? All of the above, probably.
- Like the backs. Like the receivers. The secondary looks like it reloaded.
- Craig and Brian don’t agree on their favorite walk-on OL. Frey is good—smart to have multiple coaches for a position that, including TE, is over half of your offense.
- Bush can run through some guys—you can see why they like Robo but Bush is going to be hard to keep from the field.
- Khaleke Hudson is the Peters of the defense: seeing the things translate to college ball that made him such an exciting prospect out of high school.
- Can you imagine telling Don Brown he’s not allowed to blitz?
- That bonkers field goal. The other kickers looked good too. Will Hart can punt it long but takes a long time to get it off.
- Toughest game on the schedule? Brian thinks Sam is giving Penn State too much credit. Their offense in the good part of the year was too based on bombing it downfield but that’s not going to last without Chirs Godwin.
- Hurst: we’re gonna have to get used to playing more snaps. Really wish we had a Matt Godin on this roster.
You can catch the entire episode on Michigan Insider's podcast stream on Audioboom.
THE USUAL LINKS
German Green (left) and Gemon Green, Wolverines. [Horns247]
Never has the "commitments come in pairs" tag been more fitting. DeSoto (Texas) twin defensive backs Gemon and German Green both committed to Michigan this afternoon, becoming the sixth and seventh commits in the 2018 class. The Wolverines got a leg up on the competition by offering both brothers; Gemon is the higher-rated and more sought-after recruit at least in part because German missed his junior year with a torn ACL. Their recent unofficial sealed the deal, per 247's EJ Holland:
“The reason why we have chosen to commit to Michigan is because when we got down there, it felt like family,” German said. “The coaches are father-type role models. They each have their own personality.
“They all have the same goals as me and my brother. They want to get us better, succeed in life and win a national championship.”
I can't wait to see their uniform nameplates. Please, please go the full name route, Isiah Thomas-style.
Let's start with Gemon, the higher-ranked of the two:
4*, #17 CB,
|3* CB||4*, 80, #42 CB||
3*, 88, #35 CB,
3*, #32 CB,
Scout is easily the most bullish on Gemon, while ESPN and 247 have him as a fringe 3/4-star and Rivals has given only a cursory three-star rating.
As for German:
|3*, #62 S||3* S||NR CB||
3*, 84, #74 CB,
3*, #84 CB,
The sites are split on whether German projects as a safety or cornerback, and he's either a middling three-star or unranked—not a surprise for a prospect who missed his junior year.
The twins fit Michigan's recent predilection for lanky defensive backs; both are listed at 6'2" and in the neighborhood of 170 pounds.
[Hit THE JUMP for scouting, video, and more]
Gemon (#9) is on the left, German (#10) on the right. [via Scout]
The Green twins, 2018 defensive backs German and Gemon Green of DeSoto, Texas, have gone blue, beginning the greatest adventure in nameplates since Terrance and Terry Talbott.
— Steve Lorenz (@TremendousUM) April 20, 2017
German was out with an ACL injury last year so there’s not as much on him. Both fit the tall and lanky mold this staff has favored.
4*, #17 CB, #181 Ovr
4*, 80, #42 CB
3*, 88, #35 CB,
3*, 0.8877, #32 CB, #340 Ovr
3*, #62 S
|3*, 84, #74 CB, #808 Ovr||3*, 0.8367, #84 CB, #933 Ovr|
Informative update cometh.
Hello, this series is a work-in-progress glossary of football concepts we tend to talk about in these pages. Previously:
Defensive concepts: Contain & lane integrity, force player, hybrid space player, no YOU’RE a 3-4!, scrape exchange, Tampa 2, Saban-style pattern-matching, match quarters, Dantonio’s quarters, Don Brown’s 4-DL packages and 3-DL packages, Bear
Special Teams: Spread punt vs NFL-style
We’ve been using this offseason to learn about some of the tools in Harbaugh’s inside running game toolbox, and have so far neglected one of my favorites: Split Zone. This play today is a mainstay of Rich Rod’s offense and its derivatives, since the blocking is almost exactly the same as a base inside zone read right up until the guy who thought he was forming up to play an option gets blindsided by a large, laterally moving TE.
But it originated in under center two-back offenses, and remains an important curveball for I-form teams like Iowa, Wisconsin, and Michigan State. If you’re going to be running inside zone, like, at all, and you’re not in a 4- or 5-wide formation all the time, you probably run this play and variations on it at least 3 or 4 times a game.
Let’s draw it up.
ignore McDoooooom—he’s just there to get the fans yelling “McDooooooom” and distract from what’s really going on
No, that line from the “T” to the “M” isn’t Hurst blocking Devin Bush—it means the guard and center will combo the the DT and the middle linebacker. This is true for most zone plays so I might just start drawing things up this way from now on.
This particular example from the Spring Game had some motioning and a fake jet, and the defense threw a few curveballs at it that the blocking handled as they were supposed to. We’re going to ignore those for now then come back and discuss them later when we’ve established the basics of what’s going on here.
How it works
Split zone is a riff on inside zone but flips the attack order: rather than reading outside-inside-backside like on most zone plays, Split Zone wants to hit that north-south cutback lane first, only going to frontside gaps when that’s not available. They do this by flipping the backside blocking tree, so that all of the usual gaps defenders think they’re going to be defending are not really the gaps they’re defending. That leaves an unblocked backside defender who gets whacked by a catchy-blocky fellow coming from the other side of the backfield.
Its strength is that at first blush it’s inside zone, which threatens a bunch of gaps to the strongside, with a backside cutback. But split zone is attacking the backside first, leaving the frontside gaps as a Plan B.
looks like inside zone
The key difference occurs with the backside blocking. Rather than kicking out the EMLOS (end man on the line of scrimmage), the backside OT will ignore the edge and check the gap inside of him, moving downfield if nobody shows. The backside guard and center are still going to combo the nose tackle, but they’re trying to get around the opposite side, so a nose tackle who tries to get to the frontside of the center is just putting himself in the wrong hole.
Now for the kicker. Remember how we left that EMLOS on the backside unblocked, right where the play design is going? Don’t worry we’ve got a plan for him: a fullback or tight end should be coming across the formation, then using that latitudinal head of steam to bang open the hole (the orange block in the above gif).
If the offense is lucky, the defensive end, upon realizing that the tackle inside him isn’t trying to kick, will think he’s getting optioned and form up outside to force a tough read while the middle linebacker fears play-action and stays back to read the backfield action.
[Hit THE JUMP for what happens when they don’t get lucky]
Quarterback situation resolving soon
NV QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson announces in four days:
Just hours after returning home from a weekend visit to Ann Arbor, the four-star quarterback from Las Vegas (Nev.) Bishop Gorman announced that he would be choosing between Michigan and UCLA on Apr. 23, ending what has been a fast ascending recruitment.
Lorenz recently flipped his crystal balls to UCLA, and many folks are following. Webb had been pessimistic a few weeks ago and hasn't given any indication he's heard differently. With Michigan out of visit ammo that would appear to be that.
If that recruitment ends in favor of the Bruins, Michigan moves on to its other main targets: FL QB Joe Milton and AZ QB Tyler Shough. They could get one... they could get both. Michigan recently told both DTR and Shough that they would take two QBs. That is a surprise in a small class after back-to-back high level prospects. That implies that Michigan likes all three of their targets quite a bit.
In Shough's case, so does Alabama:
"Coach (Tosh) Lupoi offered me and he told me I'm the QB they're looking for in this class. Jalen Hurts was more of a dual-threat type this last season but with their new offense they're trying to get back to more pro-style. They'd want me to command the offense. They came out of nowhere, really. I wasn't talking to them before but my coach gave me their number so I called them and they offered."
Whether that's an "offer" or an OFFER is, as always, unclear. Shough does have vague summer visit plans to Tuscaloosa. His May 13th visit to Michigan is still on and that could be a commit watch situation.
Meanwhile, Milton also visited for the spring game. Lorenz reports that the coaching staff is enamored with his general shape. Someone called him a "holy specimen," which is definitely a phrase used to describe angels instead of people. After returning he talked to 24/7 Florida mod Luke Stampini:
“The visit, it helped them move up, because I didn’t know Michigan was a school like that,” Milton admitted. “I didn’t know the background of Michigan, but now I do.”
Stampini thinks that it won't be Florida, the presumed leader, and that Michigan and Georgia are the main contenders. A decision won't be long coming here, either: Milton says he wants to commit this spring. We've put in a CB pick on Milton based on some things we've heard.
Either way won't be more than a month before Michigan's quarterback, or quarterbacks, situation is resolved.
Ditto instate OL?
Trieu has an article on upwardly mobile MI OL Ryan Hayes, who's moving towards a decision "sooner than late summer." It looks pretty good for Michigan:
"The most familiarity we had is with Coach Frey [at Michigan]," Hayes said. "He recruited Connor at Indiana and he and my family have a really good relationship."
"I had never been to Michigan actually," he added. "I just had never gotten there. It was really cool. It really blew me away and really surprised me actually."
It would be a "huge surprise" to Trieu if it wasn't Michigan, and in the near future. Frey loves bulking up athletic TE/OT types and Hayes was actually a tight end last year; this looks like a perfect match.
Meanwhile, MI OL Jalen Mayfield is going to be yet another Michigan/ND battle, it appears:
Grand Rapids (Mich.) Catholic Central four-star offensive tackle Jalen Mayfield will be in South Bend this weekend.
The 6-5, 255-pounder from the class of 2018, a former Minnesota commit, will make his first trip to Notre Dame in search of an offer from the Fighting Irish.
Mayfield recently worked out at The Opening Chicago and was terrific. He showed athleticism, impressive footwork, and the strength and physicality you look for in a top-level offensive tackle.
Just a few days ago Mayfield described his return visit to Michigan as "phenomenal" and named a final three of Michigan, MSU, and Iowa, so ND's interest is new and probably the only thing that can threaten Michigan's standing.
Side note: Mayfield makes it eight guys so far who have probably been down to Michigan and ND. Five of those have gone ND's way, with Christian Turner currently the Michigan win. Weird, since ND went 4-8 last year.
Also in instate OL going off the board in the near future or recent past: happy trails to MI OL Tyrone Sampson Jr, who committed to Syracuse. Sampson recruitment is an odd one. Despite consistent high level praise from recruiting analysts he never picked up big, or even middling, offers. That includes MSU, despite the prospect that the Spartans will be shut out of the top 8 in state for the second straight year. Sampson might be a name who re-emerges late in the cycle if Michigan has an unexpected amount of room.
Uh... ditto the secondary?
imagine the jerseys if the Green twins commit
Michigan's hosted what might be their top three remaining secondary targets just after the spring game: TX CB twins Gemon and German Green and NJ S Shayne Simon both took in Ann Arbor early this week. Simon's mom and aunt are both alums; Lorenz and Webb both assert that Michigan has been pedal-to-the-metal with his recruitment. He's a the type of kid where ND/Stanford are the threats, FWIW.
Meanwhile the Green twins are candidates to drop soon. Webb asserts that his gut tells him that if signing day was today it would be Michigan for both; Texas 24/7 mod EJ Holland and Lorenz have both put in CBs for both to Michigan. Holland believes that both guys are interested in sticking closer to home but the package deal is a major consideration—as it often is with twins—and Michigan is currently the biggest offer for German, who tore his ACL last year.
Knife edge here, in your author's e-pinion. If they do not drop in the near future I'd interpret that as the Greens hoping that a Big 12 school will offer German as well and that Michigan will eventually fade away once that happens.
Some early chatter that Michigan and TX TE Mustapha Muhammad were very likely to get together faded, but after Muhammad returned to Ann Arbor for the spring game there's been a serious reversal in fortunes. Webb lets you read between the lines:
“I’m definitely taking my visits,” he continued. “I’ve always told myself that I plan on committing on national signing day. That’s when I want to publicly announce where I decide to go to school.”
Publicly might be the operative word.
Judging by the 247 crystal ball: yup. Starting with Lorenz four days ago, 21 folks have issued M predictions, including Wiltfong and all the relevant Texas experts. Any guy taking his recruitment to signing day and going on visits is some threat to change his mind, but it really looks like it would be a change of mind if that were to happen.
Let's re-project the class
I did this in February, when it was very silly. It is much less silly now. So let's do it:
|State||Position||Player||Approx. Stars||Confidence Level|
|MI||OL||Ryan Hayes||4||Very High|
|MI||OL||Jalen Mayfield||3.5||Very High|
Still holding at 20 members of the class, FWIW.
Grudging 2019 section
MI CB Marvin Grant did not make it to the spring game because he could not get a ride; not likely to impact his recruitment, which seems to favor Michigan early. On the other hand, Michigan fielded a significant 2019 visit when KY DE Stephon Herron Jr returned to campus:
[Herron] was palling around with Emil Ekiyor quite a bit and was permanently smiling. I saw both of his parents afterwards walking around The Al Glick Field House and they were all smiles as well. I'd bet that their conversation on the way home was very, very pro Michigan.
That's a second long distance unofficial in two months for Herron and that was enough for us to put in an early CB for him. OSU has fielded three visits, so that's speculative.
KY DT Jacob Lacey was highly positive on twitter after his spring game visit:
— Jacob Lacey (@JacobLacey6) April 13, 2017
Michigan is "right at the top" for him; ND leads on the crystal ball.
You can pencil FL LB Anthony Solomon into the 2019 class, as his second long-distance unofficial to Ann Arbor was a five-day affair, which may be unprecedented in the annals of unofficial visits.
NJ CB Nyquee Hawkins visited for the spring game as well.
Lorenz says he's hearing "amazingly different" things on CT CB and Miami commit Josh Jobe, which range from him sticking with said commit to being a Michigan lock to being an Alabama flip. That "CT" is new, by the way, as Jobe is attending Cheshire Academy this fall. Don Brown is big in
Japan Connecticut, so that can't hurt. FWIW, Tarik Black just graduated from Cheshire.
Michigan made a "huge move" with MO WR Kamyrn Babb; Wiltfong still sticking with OSU CB. Massive OH WR L'Christian Smith is "definitely" interested in Michigan; former teammate Tyree Kinnel is helping recruit him. Kid is nicknamed "blue," so that's a good sign, right?
OH DE Malik Vann commits to Cincinnati over Michigan State. Which is a thing that's happening now.
In fine form. [Marc-Gregor Campredon]
John Beilein has spent ten seasons in Ann Arbor. As of the most recent, he's the winningest coach in program history with 215. He snapped Michigan's post-sanction tournament drought in 2009, the first of seven NCAA appearances with the Wolverines, three of which have extended at least into the second weekend.
In recognition of the above, as well as the need for offseason #content, I've put together a series of All-Beilein teams, inspired by this twitter post and the ensuing conversation. My guidelines:
- I'm attempting to put together the best possible lineups, which isn't necessarily the same as picking the best individual players at each spot.
- I'm choosing individual player vintages (i.e. 2013 Trey Burke). A player can only be chosen once for each category, but different player years (i.e. freshman bench gunner 2014 Zak Irvin and well-rounded senior 2017 Zak Irvin) can be eligible for separate categories. The same player/year can be chosen for multiple categories—for instance, 2013 Mitch McGary making the All-Bench team doesn't exclude him from making the final All-Beilein team.
- Eligibility for certain categories may be slightly fudged because of the limited pool of players.
I'm not putting too many constraints on myself for this exercise since the point is to let our imaginations run wild. Speaking of running wild, this team is a little different than the others: today's group is comprised of the best contributors to the Bench Mob.
RINGLEADER: 2013-14 ANDREW DAKICH
The only member of the Bench Mob to merit his own highlight video. Dakich peaked in this role in 2013-14, when he could be the exuberant youngster instead of an assistant coach in the making. He's the ideal captain of a Bench Mob: he'll dance in the pregame huddle, be the first off the bench to greet players after a timeout, make a scene after a big shot, and coach up the point guards on the best way to approach the high ball screen. It won't be easy to fill (and leap out of) his seat.
Honorable Mention: 2012-13 Josh Bartelstein. Another walk-on who became a team leader, Bartelstein isn't your traditional hyper-excited bench fixture. Anyone with ESP, however, deserves serious consideration for the first team.
If we were ranking legendary Bench Mob moments, this would be at the top.
[Hit THE JUMP.]