Previously: CB Reon Dawson, CB Channing Stribling, S Delano Hill, S Dymonte Thomas, CB Ross Douglas, CB Jourdan Lewis, LB Ben Gedeon, LB Mike McCray, DE Taco Charlton, DT Maurice Hurst Jr., DT Henry Poggi, OL Patrick Kugler, OL David Dawson, OLLogan Tuley-Tillman, OL Kyle Bosch, OL Chris Fox, OL Dan Samuelson.
|Pickerington, OH – 6'6", 231|
4*, #145 overall
4*, #144 overall
4*, #179 overall
3*, NR overall
Stanford, UCLA, Wisconsin, NW, Tenn, Iowa, Notre Dame
|YMRMFSPA||Kyle Rudolph/Tyler Eifert|
|Previously On MGoBlog||Hello post. Ace interviews him.|
Early enrollee. Army AA. Twitter.
Do you ever get the feeling that sometimes Al Borges sits in his basement watching film of the various tight ends and H-backs he's brought in and starts laughing maniacally? Dumb question. Better question: does Al Borges do anything but?
Yes. He goes to a lot of hockey games, for one. But anyway.
This site has proposed that Al Borges's goal as an offensive coordinator is to whipsaw defenses from one end of the spectrum to the other, and guys like Funchess and Jake Butt are key in this effort. You're a Michigan fan, so let me just mention the names Rudolph and Eifert. You get it. Tyler Eifert in particular was used as both a traditional tight end and a oh-god-I'm-5'9"-this-is-a-geological-feature-I'm-checking outside receiver in his last couple years at Notre Dame. Mismatch is the watchword here, and Michigan's going to keep bringing in and bulking up 6'6" guys until they get it. When Mark Porter needed a comparable, he went to the ND well:
“Jake reminds me a bit of Kyle Rudolph, who went to Notre Dame out of Cincinnati Elder. He’s long. He’s fast. He just needs to get into a college weight room and get bigger and stronger. He has the potential to be a great college tight end.”
In Butt Michigan has… well, that guy or Devin Funchess again. Scouting reports consistently praise his receiving skills before the end bit where they mention that he's a glorified wide receiver at the moment. ESPN:
…lean and will need to fill out his lengthy frame and add a good deal more mass. … He is not one of those receivers who just effortlessly plucks the ball from the air, but overall he does have a good pair of hands and will work to catch the ball away from his body when he can. … excellent arm length and demonstrates the ability to extend and catch the ball outside of his frame. He will do a good job of going up to get the ball and with his height he can be a tough matchup in jump ball situations. He displays above average straight-line speed, and while he needs to keep developing as a route runner he does display good movement skills in space. … will also need to contribute as an inline blocker and that will likely need some development in this area…. will need to continue to improve playing strength, lower pad level and work to deliver a pop with explosive hip roll on contact.
ESPN isn't as gushy as a couple other evaluators are about the receiving aspect to Butt's game. In an environment where erratic quarterback play can distort receiver stats extensively—especially for guys who make their living in the middle of the field, where interceptions lurk—Butt was crazy productive, with 68 catches for over 900 yards as a senior. While that's not quite Drake Harris carpet-bombing, I've been doing these a long time and usually tight end have stats like 15 catches for 200 yards because asking a high school quarterback to throw to a tight end is basically asking him to throw a pick-six.
Anyway, those stats come from a polished receiving package. Scout's eval notes body control, hands, and concentration as assets:
Has the height, athleticism and hands to be a real receiving threat from the tight end spot. Does a good job of tracking the ball in the air and can go up high to make grabs in traffic. Runs good routes and isn't afraid to run into traffic. Is a tough, aggressive and willing blocker who just needs to add some strength and bulk to improve in that department.
He earned an Opening invite off his performance at an NFTC in Champaign:
TE: Jake Butt, 6-6, 231, Pickerington North (Pickerington, Ohio)
Breakdown: Butt was unstoppable off the line and looked like a receiver in the open field. The Michigan commit is one of the most polished tight ends seen on the NFTC tour this year.
Rivals named him to their list of "Summer Standouts" after a "terrific" camp season and a performance at the Opening at which he "more than held his own."
Scout on the occasion of his Army selection:
He has excellent size and speed and shows the ability to run, showing excellent body control, concentration and field awareness. He has decent speed for a big receiver. Butt is dependable and showed at the The Opening that he can be a valuable target in the passing game.
Butt was picked for the Army game but missed most of the practice week and the event itself with a cartilage issue in his ankle. In the brief period of time he showed out, he impressed Helmholdt:
"He went Monday and looked outstanding, both in blocking drills and running patterns. He is so well rounded. He definitely has the ability to handle defensive ends from the tight end spot, blocking, then on pass patterns, he has great ability to go downfield and make catches.
"One time he was 40 yards downfield, and I swore the ball was overthrown. He never broke stride, caught it over his shoulder. He's going to be a very accomplished pass catcher."
247 was a voice of dissent, and since I don't think the national guys are crazy enough to let anyone from Bucknuts near their rankings (Butt dropped from 10th in their eyes to 21st over the course of that senior season in which he was putting up 900 receiving yards as a TE) I'm guessing that meh evaluation is based on this Todd Worly evaluation that evaluates him as a defensive player as much as an offensive one and knocks his "inconsistent" motor, which, like, come on: guy is on the field for every play. The tight end bit:
He wasn't forced to attempt any highlight-reel catches Friday night, but he clearly possesses reliable hands, as he's comfortable catching the ball outside his frame on a consistent basis.
Weaknesses: He is pretty raw at this point, and will need some time to develop in Ann Arbor. While he possesses the ability to bend, he doesn't consistently play with it.
…He is not a dominating blocker at the high school level because his get off isn't overly explosive, and he doesn't regularly play with the knee bend he's naturally capable of.
I didn't see anything else on their site to indicate why they were the outlier here. The focus there seems more on the blocking and his overall play, not his potential as a seam-stretching guy. FWIW.
Butt enrolled early and weighed in at around 230, so if Michigan deploys him this year that is suboptimal. As Funchess discovered last year, if you can't block a linebacker you're just a large, slow wide receiver instead of a matchup nightmare. Butt may find a role as the other tight end in certain sets. Let's let him explain it:
“They are going to play me at the “Y” and “U” positions on offense,” said Butt. “The “Y” is more like a traditional tight end on the line of scrimmage and the “U” position is more of a hybrid that can be moved around everywhere and even line up in the backfield. I’m really excited about it because that will give me a chance to show my versatility and also help out as a blocker.”
Michigan's tight ends on a continuum from Y to U: AJ Williams, Devin Funchess, Jake Butt, Khalid Hill. Insofar as the U position degenerates into a fullback-with-benefits situation you can add Shallman, Kerridge, and Houma to the U end of the list.
Early, Butt will moonlight as a passing-oriented U-TE, adding the capability to play inline as he moves into his upperclass years. Given the comments about his frame above, Funchess's surprisingly static weight, and Butt's trajectory…
"On offense, we use him as a tight end, we flex him out and use him in the backfield as an H-Back to block out counter plays," Phillips said. He's a terrific athlete. He's our starting outside linebacker as well, and we very rarely sub him out. He's in great shape. The thing about Jake is, he's only 16, he just turned 16. He's 225 pounds now, and he was 190 a year ago - he could easily be 245 a year from now."
…it won't be a surprise if Butt ends up being a bigger guy than Funchess as early as next year. That was February 2012; a year later Michigan listed him at 231, but get him in a college weight program and muscles expand.
"Jake is a tremendous worker, in the weight room and on the field," Phillips said. "I've coached numerous Division-I players and four guys that went to the NFL, and Jake is a harder worker than all of them."
Part of his production can be attributed to his natural athletic ability. Phillip adds that in his 25 years of coaching Phillips he has never had a player who works as hard.
"Jake competes every single play, every single practice," Phillips said. "From the stretches to the runs to the warmups to the drills to team sessions, he goes hard."
A pattern has ceased emerging and just sits there, impressing you with various aspects of its personality.
They really hoed me on NCAA! They made
@bigjakeyB_1 the same strength as me! Back to lifting tomorrow
I'm faster then
@TheSupremeTaco and stronger on NCAA guess we know who really ran picktown
I feel for the guys who didn't make it in at all though.
Why Rudolph/Eifert? Thought about Funchess, but we don't really know how that's going to end up yet, and Butt does not quite match Funchess's outrageous length.
For a better picture of what a guy like Butt might end up like, the ND guys are good comparables. Both came out of high school at 6'6", 220-230. Rudolph was an all-world recruit, Eifert a generic three-star. Split the difference and you get Butt. Both added 30 pounds over the course of their high school careers and went in the first couple rounds of the NFL draft.
Guru Reliability: High. Save the 247 outlier, basic consensus. Healthy, productive high school career, some camps, Army game performance was limited.
Variance: Moderate. Whenever you're talking about putting a bunch of pounds on a tight end you threaten to take away the receiving ability that would make him excellent.
Ceiling: High. NFL frame and athleticism.
General Excitement Level: High. Yup.
Projection: Is Al Borges tight-end mad enough to put Butt on the field this year? Survey says… maybe. If he wants a goal line blocker, a spare OL is going to be a better option; if he wants a Stanford-like package the problem with that is going to be similar to the problem Michigan had last year: dudes can't block well enough to put defenses in a bind. Meanwhile Borges has other options at that U spot and it would be nice to get another year of separation between Funchess and Funchess 2.0.
But the situation here is a bit like QB. With only two non-freshman TEs on the roster an injury would force a noob on the field, so you need to be prepared for that eventuality. I bet he plays.
Going forward he's always going to be battling with Funchess for the starting spot, but that's going to be a distinction without much of a difference as the two guys grow and become more complete players.
I got into an argument with a Michigan State fan—yes, right there is the problem—about our respective kickers last year. In true Michigan-Michigan State fashion the Spartan was making points using selective data (Dan Conroy has a better leg!) and the Michigan fan spent way too much time building data and constructing charts to demonstrate a nuanced and supportable conclusion (Dan Conroy has a better leg but Gibbons was money inside the 40).
I pulled kicking data from NCAA's game summaries and managed to get data points on 241 field goal attempts by Big Ten kickers last season. I also plugged each kicker's season into a Sabre.com formula for rating the position created by a guy named Jeff Yutzler, but his formula is WAY too kind in my opinion (as in there were 13 B1G kickers who scored in the A- range or above). For ease I've just ignored blocked FGAs since there's little the kicker can do about those. Table? Table.
|Big Ten Total||x||73/79||56/74||40/66||7/16||74.89%||94.3%|
Michigan: home of high yutz values
This says Michigan's kicking is was really darn good, though low sample size applies for Wile of course. Here's a chart of Michigan and Michigan State field goal attempts last year. X axis and size represent distance, Y axis is the order in which the kicks were attempted. Click bigginses:
Gibbons was perfect inside 42 yards, though in comparison to the Big Ten he took a lot of kicks in that sweet 25-35 yard range. Wile was obviously the long guy.
Conroy was deployed a lot, and here you see he seemed to have a big hole from 35-45 yards. Inside that he's great, outside of that he's great; for some reason the dude missed a ton of FGs from medium range. Sort him by distance and it reads 13 goods, whiff, whiff, whiff, whiff, whiff, whiff, good, good, whiff, good, whiff, good, good, good, good, whiff, good, good, good. Kickers: weird.
[The rest of the conference after the jump.]
Ian Bunting: Tall
Bunting and Funchess: Hopefully the football version of this minus the disappointment.
Tight end Ian Bunting was Michigan's lone representative* at Nike's invite-only camp The Opening, which wrapped up over the weekend. While he didn't crack any of the top performer lists I've seen, Bunting stood out in a more literal fashion, leading off 247's rundown of players with "eye-popping" measurements:
At 6-foot-6, Bunting measured in as the tallest prospect in attendance at The Opening. He also weighed in at 223 pounds and has added some strength to his frame, starting to look like a college tight end.
Bunting dealt with a balky hamstring during the combine and 7-on-7 sessions; with the injury, he recorded a 33-inch vertical leap and 5.0-second 40-yard dash ($). Assuming that 40 time improves when healthy, Bunting has some tantalizing measurables — combining that hamstring-hampered leap with his height puts Bunting at 9'3" off the ground, by my math, before he even puts his hands in the air. Putting him and Devin Funchess on the field at the same time could cause total matchup chaos for future Michigan opponents, especially in the red zone.
While slot receiver commit Freddy Canteen wasn't invited to The Opening, four-star CB Jalen Tabor told Sam Webb($) that he would've shined — a notable shout-out considering Tabor is one of the few to face Canteen in person:
“He’s got good routes. I definitely respect Freddy Canteen. We go at it all the time. That’s my man. We just had 7-on-7 at Maryland. The whole championship game it was just me and him. My coach said, ‘go get (Canteen).’ And they were testing me. We were going at each other. So I’ve definitely got a lot of respect for Freddy Canteen. He is going to be good in college.”
Asked if Canteen would've done well at The Opening, Tabor replied "without a doubt, yes." He also spoke highly of fellow corner Brandon Watson, specifically for his ability to jam receivers at the line: "I've seen him jam some people up... real good." Unsolicited praise about Michigan commits from a prospect who's not considering Michigan is always nice to see. This is your weekly Rank Our Guys Higher For Reasons update.
The Opening Recruiting Updates: It's Real, And It's Spectacular
(via SBNation Recruiting)
PA S Montae Nicholson could be Michigan's most realistic possibility to fill the final spot in the secondary, depending upon your thoughts—or the coaches', really—about Parrker Westphal's prospects as a safety. He continues to play his cards close to the vest, telling SBNation in the above video that he's still open to several schools, including Florida State and Stanford (skip to 1:48 for recruiting talk unless you want to hear Nicholson's thoughts on sneakers). Nicholson's recruitment should extend through official visits, and in a good sign for Michigan, the only one of those he's set up so far is for Michigan-ND in September. Penn State is another school that could make a run; Michigan being one of the first schools to recruit Nicholson should help them be in the mix until the very end.
Meanwhile, five-star CA ATH Juju Smith told GBW's Kyle Bogenschutz at The Opening that, despite the distance factor, Michigan is very much a player in his recruitment ($):
For Michigan, the interest on Smith’s end is sincere, with an official visit to Ann Arbor set in stone this fall.
“It’s really real,” Smith told GoBlueWolverine. “On an honest level, Michigan is up there. They’re one of my top five, I’m taking an official visit, and hopefully I can see what they have for me.
Smith originally planned to take an official for the Notre Dame game but instead will be in Ann Arbor for The Game. Michigan would likely take him as a safety who could moonlight as a receiver; Smith's top schools—including Alabama, Ohio State, Notre Dame, UCLA, and USC—have all mentioned the possibility of playing on both sides of the ball. While expectations should always be held in check when it comes to top-flight West Coast prospects, the Wolverines have a legitimate shot here.
Michigan also has a real chance at another top California product, four-star OLB Dwight Williams, who confirmed to Bogenschutz that he'll take an official for the Notre Dame game ($). Florida, the only other school scheduled to receive an official from Williams, may be the biggest competition for the Wolverines.
Four-star GA DE Andrew Williams — Do I consistently get him confused with Dwight Williams? Yes. — also attended The Opening; not only is Michigan among his leaders, but he'll be on campus soon, per Sam Webb ($):
Though not yet ready at the time of this interview to lay out his entire list of finalists, he did open up a bit regarding the Wolverines’ standing.
“They’re up there,” Williams replied when asked if Michigan is in his top five.
“I would love to get down there for the 19th. That’s definitely one visit I personally plan on taking. I’m definitely interested in Michigan.”
Michigan is firmly in the mix for Da'Shawn Hand and Malik McDowell; Williams is quite the contingency plan should one (or both) of those two end up elsewhere.
*Drake Harris also received an invite, but couldn't attend due to summer school — if you missed the news, he did that to ensure that he can enroll early.
[Hit THE JUMP for LEONARD FOURNETTE VISIT POSSIBILITY (sirens), the latest on Shaun Crawford, and more.]
Minor crisis averted. Butler went with the other guy, not Lavall Jordan. Why is unclear—comfort level I guess since Jordan hasn't been at Butler in a while. And I don't care. Guy who molded Darius Morris and Trey Burke and is going to be a head coach someday soon is still at Michigan. Keep these guys together a couple more years and this thing is established big-time. After that happens I'd actually be in favor of some current assistants heading out to establish themselves an obvious pick when Beilein retires.
Meanwhile, the critical 2014 recruiting class (in which Michigan is actually slugging out high-profile recruitments instead of acquiring stars like Burke, GRIII, and Zak Irvin who were either under the radar or snatched so quickly no one else could get involved) may get a bump from the turnover in Indy.
Butler was widely assumed to be the leader for Indianapolis SF Trevon Bluiett, a top-50-ish player who's been tearing up the AAU circuit this summer. Scout's Brian Snow recently told GBW that he'd be "beyond shocked" if Bluiett didn't end up at Michigan or Butler, and there were a couple of different reports that the Bulldogs had been dropped. Immediately refuted reports…
Scout's Sam Webb, citing Bluiett's father -- Reynardo -- said his son had yet to speak with Miller, claiming Butler was still a player for his son.
…but I'd rather be the team that reports are not being refuted about.
I want one. The Michigan version is… uh… Bo punching out a tree? Fielding Yost riding roughshod over the Vatican? Whatever it is, Brady Hoke should get on the phone with Kliff Kingsbury and get an equivalent in Schembechler Hall:
BUT DOES IT COME IN VELVET
Now I'm envisioning a whole lineup of offensive murals, Pawnee City Hall style. The possibilities. The possibilities.
(Yes, that's Texas trying to Man Up Crab in the background.)
CAP HIM NOW. Messi's doing some sort of thing where he goes around playing charity matches. The most recent was in Chicago, had a Northwestern alum—their all-time leading scorer—on the other team, and, well:
That guy works in finance now. IE: he is not a professional. He's probably just happy he's not playing with a howling wind coming directly off Lake Michigan.
For health and other such items. Taboos now != taboos then.
NUKE URBAN MEYER. I'm a little unclear what's going on with this Aaron Hernandez thing but from what I can make out, Hernandez arrived at Florida straight from an ESPN laboratory in their hometown of Bristol, massive and unformed. After three years at Florida he was a combination of Dexter and Jeffery Dahmer, because Urban Meyer. Therefore Urban Meyer is basically Skynet creating the Terminator and should be bombed from space?
I think I have this straight. It fuzzy, though, because my brain keeps trying to drown itself when it tackles sentences like these:
At Florida, Meyer was the best in the business at winning.
At all costs.
Sadly, though, Aaron Hernandez now stands alongside Tim Tebow as a symbol of his UF program.
At Florida, Tebow was not only a great Gator.
He was Urban Meyer's greatest fumi-Gator.
Can the FCC force Mike Bianchi to change his twitter handle from @BianchiWrites to something that is not a flat-out lie? No? What about the elusive and abstract concept of justice?
If you want a fisk of this abomination, it has been fisked.
On the two for one. Kenpom looks at an array of statistics and concludes that yes, a two-for-one is generally the right move, but I should probably stop shouting "two for one!" at the end of the first half:
The two-for-one is a complicated issue, and it generally doesn’t provide as much benefit as one might think. Like the fouling-up-3 conundrum, if the strategy is executed perfectly, a large benefit is likely. But players aren’t robots, and all of the imperfect acts that can disrupt the strategy eat away at the potential benefit. Assuming the average gain is a fifth of a point, that’s worth slightly less than one percent in terms of win probability at the end of a half. A coach implementing this strategy will win one extra game out of 100 - and that’s out of 100 games where a two-for-one opportunity exists!
I will try to remember to never bring this up again as something that is important. Contrast that effect with the assertion Romer made about going for it on fourth down: you'd win an extra game every other year. Much larger effect there.
Never played the game. As you might imagine, I'm rather sensitive to assertions that you have to have Been In The Arena to comment on sports. This doesn't happen much these days, but a few months I checked my twitter mentions to find a dozen-tweet-long conversation between two BITA meatheads taunting me for not being an athlete and laughing at my assertion that Jordan Kovacs was a better safety than Ernest Shazor. I'm not sure what part of Being In The Arena makes you incapable of watching things and coming to obvious conclusions…
REMEMBER WHEN THIS ISH HAPPENED ALL THE TIME
…but this isn't rocket science, it's just paying attention systematically. Being In The Arena doesn't mean you do that. I mean. Matt Millen.
So yes I found Bill Barnwell's takedown of the player-generated NFL 100 list, which purports to be a ranking of the best guys in the game, delightful:
Only nerds and losers care about statistics, right? If anyone should know about the impact that the league's mauling guards and run-stuffing nose tackles have on the game, it's the guys who play alongside them in the trenches. You win from the lines out!
And yet, somehow, despite there being about three times as many offensive linemen on NFL rosters as there are running backs, there are 12 running backs against just six offensive linemen in the Top 100 Players list. Put it this way: 37.5 percent of the starting running backs in football are considered to be one of the top 100 players in football. That's better than one out of every three. Only 3.75 percent of the starting offensive linemen in football are considered to be one of the top 100 players in football.
That is just one of many, many problems that arise when you ask people unprepared to do something to do it. The Been In The Arena argument is 90% a request to take your thoughtless blather uncritically. NOPE
Etc.: Excellent Bryan Curtis piece on former Michigan baseballer Mike Cervenak, who is in his 15th year(!) in the minors with Toledo. Michigan voted the best uniforms in the Big Ten, which duh. Presumably this is a ranking of the actual uniforms, not the ghost unis from the bowl game. Burke in Utah, is betting favorite to be Rookie of the Year.
Meanwhile in Joe Dumars, signs power forward who can't shoot to play small forward, duplicating strengths, ignoring weaknesses, and setting the Pistons up as—at best—an easy first-round victim. DBB's Mike Payne brings a flamethrower; do not get him mad at you.
The recruiting rankings get a bump after three recent Michigan commitments; while the Wolverines still hold the top spot, Ohio State has made a serious run of late to close the gap. Elsewhere, Rutgers goes for quantity, the Indiana schools battle for Not Last Place, a kid named Freedom commits on Independence Day, and Wisconsin comes to a mutual understanding with Taiwan Deal.
Changes since last rankings:
6-19-13: Rutgers picks up Brandon Russell. Michigan State picks up Jalen Watts-Jackson. Wisconsin picks up Dominic Cizauskas. Indiana picks up Willie Yarbary.
6-20-13: Ohio State picks up Jalyn Holmes. Rutgers picks up Jacob Kraut and Donald Bedell.
6-21-13: Ohio State picks up Stephen Collier. Michigan State picks up Gerald Owens and David Beedle. Iowa picks up Jameer Outsey. Indiana picks up Delroy Baker.
6-22-13: Iowa picks up Keegan Render.
6-23-13: Ohio State picks up Terry McLaurin.
6-24-13: Wisconsin picks up Michael Dieter. Illinois picks up Malik Turner. Maryland picks up Brett Kulka.
6-25-13: Wisconsin picks up Taiwan Deal. Maryland picks up Tyler Burke and Brendan Moore.
6-26-13: Rutgers picks up Adonis Jennings. Penn State picks up Troy Vincent Jr.
6-27-13: Ohio State picks up Jamarco Jones. Wisconsin picks up Austin Hudson. Iowa picks up Matt Nelson.
6-28-13: Rutgers picks up Kiy Hester and Jimmy Hogan.
6-29-13: Michigan picks up Freddy Canteen and Brandon Watson.
7-1-13: Michigan picks up Noah Furbush. Penn State picks up Antoine White.
7-2-13: Illinois picks up Matt Domer. Indiana picks up Donovan Clark.
7-4-13: Nebraska picks up Monte Harrison and Freedom(!) Akinmoladun.
|Big Ten+ Recruiting Class Rankings|
|247 Comp. Rank* (Nat'l Rank)||School||# Commits||5*||4*||3*||Rivals Avg||Scout Avg||247 Avg||ESPN Avg||Avg Avg^|
|2 (8)||Ohio State||14||0||9||4||3.36||3.57||3.64||3.50||3.52|
|3 (18) ↑2||Rutgers||20||0||2||17||2.80||2.85||2.85||3.05||2.89|
|4 (19) ↓1||Penn State||13||0||5||8||3.23||3.31||3.31||3.38||3.31|
|5 (25) ↑1||Michigan State||12||0||0||12||3.08||3.17||3.25||3.33||3.21|
|6 (26) ↓2||Northwestern||12||0||3||9||3.17||3.08||3.33||3.33||3.23|
|7 (37) ↑1||Wisconsin||10||0||2||7||3.00||3.20||3.00||3.10||3.08|
|8 (38) ↓1||Nebraska||11||0||0||10||2.91||2.64||2.82||3.00||2.84|
|10 (59) ↑1||Illinois||8||0||0||8||2.63||2.75||2.63||3.00||2.75|
|11 (64) ↑1||Maryland||8||0||0||6||2.75||2.50||2.75||3.00||2.75|
|12 (69) ↓2||Minnesota||5||0||1||4||3.00||3.40||3.20||2.80||3.10|
|13 (75) ↑1||Indiana||7||0||0||4||2.57||2.43||2.57||2.43||2.50|
|14 (76) ↓1||Purdue||6||0||0||4||2.33||2.67||2.67||2.83||2.63|
*Full rankings and explanation here.
^The average of the average rankings of the four recruiting services (the previous four columns). The figure is calculated based on the raw numbers and then rounded, so the numbers above may not average out exactly.
NOTE: Unranked recruits are counted as two-star players.
On to the full data after the jump.
The season so far, if it were a series of movies:
- Aug. 31: Back to School
- Sept. 7: Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure
- Sept. 14: The Expendables
- Sept. 21: Chariots of Fire
- Sept. 28: The Princess Bride
- Oct. 5: Any Chuck Norris movie
- Oct. 12: Shaun of the Dead
The last couple times we saw Indiana, unstoppable throw-god Ben Chappell took all the points from Tony Gibson and Bill Lynch took bubble gum out of his mouth. Jordan Kovacs was chasing Darius Willis from behind and everyone else was chasing Denard Robinson.
My goodness, how time flies. Gibson has since run out of points and Lynch has run out of gum. Kovacs stopped having to chase people, although people continued to chase Denard. Sometime at the end of 2010, everything collapsed momentarily and then exploded.
What we have now is a sort of post-apocalyptic situation where the folks in Bloomington are trying to remember how society, civilization, and football are supposed to work. The good news is that nearly everyone from last year is returning, ostensibly in an effort to learn from their mistakes and try to do better. Progress so far has been minimal but sustainable, and the earnest spirit is nice to see. The Hoosiers have learned how to advance themselves from the line of scrimmage, although they are still struggling with the concept of opposing defenses. To make matters worse, they are constantly ravaged by marauding running backs and wideouts.
Head coach Kevin Wilson seems intent on rebuilding the program from the ashes, though, and good on him for trying. Will Indiana finally make the leap in year three? Are they doomed to an endless cycle of promise and disappointment? Would the program be better suited for the MAC? Is this the real life? Are we actually living in the Matrix?
DUN DUN DUN.
Unstoppable throw-god lies low.
Indiana’s starting QB Tre Roberson broke his leg during the second game of 2012. Naturally, backup Cameron Coffman filled in and posted the Big Ten’s best passing yardage in 2012. Wait, what?
Yeah. These things happen sometimes. Even to Indiana! Which has had one winning season (2007) in the last 20 years!
Before anyone jumps to the conclusion that Indiana’s quarterback might be good this year, I should point out the passing competency is a little exaggerated. Coffman completed 60.7% of his passes for 2734 yards at a 6.7 ypa clip. In any other conference that would be unremarkable (Big Ten!). The 15:11 TD:INT ratio is pretty pedestrian, too. The only thing Coffman’s stats tell us is that he threw a lot of passes – like 60 vs. Penn State a lot – not all of which were aimed downfield.
I’m not saying he’s not actually a decent player. The Big Ten just sucks. (Or prefers a nice running game as opposed to wussy throw-ball. However you want to spin that.)
Anyway, as a first-year starter Coffman was pretty streaky. There were plenty of moments of awesomeness (like throwing 3 TDs, 0 INTs against Michigan State) intermingled with general mediocrity. For example, here is awesomeness:
And here is not awesomness:
Over the course of the season he had really great performances against MSU, Ball State, and Iowa, and he tanked against Northwestern, Navy, and Purdue, of all teams.
If he gets the consistency thing down, the Hoosiers passing offense might actually be kind of good. The receivers will certainly be talented enough: Cody Latimer (51 rec, 805 yards, 6 TD), Shane Wynn (68 rec, 660 yards, 6 TD), and Kofi Hughes (43 rec, 639 yard, 3 TD) were first, second, and third on the team in yardage last season, and they all return. At 6-3, Latimer and Hughes are the bigger downfield targets; Wynn is the 5-7 smurf trying to juke guys. I’d expect at least one of them to crack 1,000 yards this season.
If Indiana wants win games, one of them will pretty much have to. That’s because the ground game is pretty stinky. RB Stephen Houston will be a senior this fall, and he has his own consistency issues to work out. Last season he was more cold than hot, although he did manage to end up with 749 yards, 12 touchdowns and a 4.7 ypc average. His 10-ish carries a game as the team’s top rusher suggests that he got his yards mostly by surprising opponents with the ball. As far as ability goes, he’s the type of player that lives and dies by his offensive line, which is bad news for him because his offensive line is crap. Against the competent defenses of MSU, Wisconsin, and Penn State, Houston barely averaged 2.0 ypc.
To put the ground game in perspective, Indiana finished at the bottom of the conference in rushing attempts. That’s a pretty solid vote of no-confidence. But hey, they all return! One year older, one year better, hoorah.
Speaking of guys returning, the whole Coffman-led offense thing could go entirely out the window if Roberson gets his job back.
This photo would be way cooler if they were playing futbol.
Well this looks pretty GERGian. Indiana gave up 35.3 points per game in 2012, and they’re not even a little bit ashamed because they beat Iowa.
So what’s there to look forward to in 2013? Lots and lots of points.
The Hoosiers defensive coordinator is Doug Mallory. He’s the son of former Indiana head coach Bill Mallory and older brother of current Michigan DB coach Curt Mallory’ older brother. Like Curt, Doug also played DB for Michigan under Bo. At the moment, the data on his ability to DC are incomplete. Mallory inherited Tony Gibson’s negative infinity points (literally, since Gibson actually went to Indiana for a little while [ED: Actually that was Greg Frey and Rod Smith; Gibson went to Pitt. Uh, let's pretend his spirit was at Indiana, though.]) two seasons ago and has probably been popping antidepressants ever since. In his moments of clarity he’s done well enough to improve total defense by two points per game up from the 37.3 they gave up in 2011. And here’s a nice little stat I guess: in 2012 the Hoosiers led the Big Ten in sacks and tackles for loss. That’s progress, and progress is happiness.
While the defense returns 10 starters this season, it loses its two relatively talented players in DT Adam Replogle and DT Larry Black, Jr. Even with those guys, however, Indiana gave up 5.3 ypc, good for 8th worst in all of college football. How will the Hoosiers replace them? I don’t know. I feel bad naming anyone because publicly associating individuals with the Indiana defense has to be a HIPAA violation of some sort.
But I suppose I should. This is why we’re here after all.
So. Senior S Greg Heban will be the main guy trying to chase people down from behind. He had 68 solo tackles last year, so it looks like he was pretty good at catching them at least. Good for him. He also had 7 tackles for loss and a sack, so it looks like he has some blitzing ability. For comparison’s sake let’s call him Hoosier Kovacs.
Hoosier Kovacs will be assisted in running-after-people-and-occasionally-blitzing by fellow safety Mark Murphy (70 tackles, 3 TFLs, 1 sack), and sophomore LB David Cooper (86 tackles, 9 TFLs, 3 sacks). Together those three will serve as the entire defense while others stand around having intense internal struggles about spots and getting to them.
This team is kind of like: Northwestern’s dystopian alternate reality.
Vs. Michigan: Michigan’s defense will probably play a nickel the entire game, which means we should see a lot of Dymonte Thomas. Seven games into the season seems like a pretty good time for a true freshman to blow up.
Other than that I think the only other thing to pay attention to in this game is when to do the wave. I always miss the first go-around.
Anyway, here is some fun stuff from 2010:
- Aug. 29, Indiana State
- Sept. 7, Navy
- Sept. 14, Bowling Green
- Sept. 21, Missouri
- Sept. 28, BYE
- Oct. 5, Penn State
- Oct. 12, @Michigan State
- Oct. 19, @Michigan
- Oct. 26, BYE
- Nov. 2, Minnesota
- Nov. 9, Illinois
- Nov. 16, @Wisconsin
- Nov. 23, @Ohio State
- Nov. 30, Purdue
Outlook: 5-7 overall, 2-6 B1G
- Wins: Indiana State, Bowling Green, Illinois, Purdue
- Too close to call: Navy, Minnesota
- Losses: Missouri, Penn State, @Michigan State, @Michigan, @Wisconsin, @Ohio State