"Coach Mattison told me what the Ravens were about, what he thought," Beyer said. "He definitely encouraged me. I hold his opinion in high regard."
2/8/2014 – Michigan 67, Iowa 85 – 17-6, 9-2 Big Ten
Did you know it took like three hundred years for people to agree that they should not spell a lower-case F like they spell a lower case S?
I know it seems obvious enough that some under-typeface apprentice would eventually get into a life-threatening slap-fight with the over-apprentice about this issue, but the only people they could relate this life or death issue to were their immediate family. Since everyone got wiped out every five years by the epidemic du jour, the end result was a bunch of corpses and no progress towards anything resembling sense in written language. Which of course brings me to "welp."
"Welp" is unique amongst internet utterances, and that makes me love it. "Welp" is an expression of fatalism in the face of disaster. It maintains no sense of irony, mitigation, or aloofness. To say it is to say "this hurt me, and it is unfair and stupid, and now I am moving on."
Compare that to any other sentiment expressed by an internet meme in an effort to find a better one, like, morally. Go on. Go ahead. I submit that you have not found anything even in that category, let alone competing with it.
And this, of course, brings me to opponent three point shooting.
Michigan's defense is sinking like a stone in Big Ten and national rankings, and deservedly. When Roy Devyn Marble pulled up for an open transition three after a Michigan make, fuming was an appropriate response. (Silent fuming, or at least just twitter fuming.) Caris LeVert was standing next to Glenn Robinson in the paint; there was no reason whatsoever for a clearly-dangerous Marble to not be a priority.
But even so, come on man. A week after Yogi Ferrell was 8/9 from three, Marble was 6/10 and started 6/7; as a team, Iowa shot 59%. They started out 9/12. One game earlier, Iowa went 3 of 20 against Ohio State. They're dead last in threes attempted in the league for a reason.
In between these two games, Michigan bombed the Cornhuskers back to the stone age. I'm ready for basketball to resume being a game instead of an exercise in flipping a coin to see who gets a face-eating bear dropped on them. To some extent, you just have to say this hurt me and is stupid and let's move on.
To some extent. Michigan's latest struggle has further exposed Michigan's defense as a problem that is not going away. Michigan typically sticks Caris LeVert on the opposition's most dangerous perimeter player, and this has not gone at all well the past month. Michigan turned off Terran Petteway in their laugher, and Purdue does not have a dangerous perimeter player. The other three most dangerous players went off:
Gary Harris: 27 points, 5/9 from 2, 4/6 from three.
Yogi Ferrell: 27 points, 7/8 from 3.
Roy Devyn Marble: 26 points, 6/10 from three.
The thing that made Trey Burke Trey Burke is his general refusal to be removed from the gameplan. It happened, mostly against Aaron Craft. When it happened Burke would fume with hatred until he could stab his nemesis in the face. Sometimes that took a few weeks, as when Burke had 16 points, eight assists, and gave Aaron Craft in last year's OSU rematch. Sometimes it happened on the other side of halftime—ask Kansas.
So here it is for Stauskas. Is it going to be "welp, I guess somebody does put baby in the corner," or is it going to be a rain of hellfire upon all those who presume to check Nik The Great And Powerful? And here it is for LeVert: is it going to be "welp, that three went in" or is opponent going to get off a good three over your dead body?
It is crunch time. Let's see some lip curl.
GET YOUR HANDS UP. It was one thing for LeVert to play frustratingly far off the lightning-quick Ferrell, because Ferrell does just go by guys in a flash. Marble is good, but not that good, and open look after open look just got handed to him by miscommunication and other things. Caris has a bad habit of being in position with his hands down that practically invites guys to raise up over him.
Time to acknowledge reality. Devolving offensive responsibility from Stauskas is painful partially because it turns Glenn Robinson into a guy who's trying to create off the bounce. This doesn't work well very often. Against Iowa it was a complete disaster, as he had 4 TOs against one assist and was 1/7 from the floor. A couple of those were open looks generated by his teammates; the rest were heavily contested jacks.
There was one particularly illuminating possession on which Robinson gingerly prodded at whichever 6'9" guy was checking him and then dumped it off to Walton with the shot clock ticking down. One lightning-quick Walton crossover later he was in the lane getting fouled. Robinson had just tried a similar move; in comparison his looked like he was executing it in a tar pit.
Robinson can do good work coming off curl screens and on cuts, but the only time he should dribble in an effort to score the basket is off a post-up. This is completely fine as long as the team acknowledges GRIII's strengths and weaknesses and plays to them accordingly.
At least Irvin's heating up. 19 points for Irvin in 22 minutes, 4/5 from three, and he was able to take the ball to the hole in transition a couple times. He's slowly diversifying his game, and he does shoot a lot. He's putting up 27% of Michigan's shots when he's on the floor, and his eFG% is near 60%.
Emphasis on "slowly," though. Irvin still does almost nothing other than shoot in a box score. This is the third straight game he's recorded neither a TO or assist; he's got one assist in Big Ten play.
Crushed in McGary stats. Iowa blew Michigan out on the boards with 15 offensive rebounds. That's not a huge surprise against the fee-fi-fo-fum Hawkeyes. Worse is Michigan forcing only 7 TOs and losing steals 9-3. That is an 11 shot advantage handed the Hawkeyes; that's how you give up 1.33 PPP.
This was a game in which Michigan did really miss Mitch. Morgan only got 15 minutes and had zero defensive rebounds; Horford was better but still eh.
Caris steps up, again. As frustrating as LeVert's game was defensively, he was really, really good on offense, with 22 points on 17 shot equivalents. He's not in Stauskas's class as a distributor and he's not as efficient of a shooter, but he is a fine second option. It's just the "second" bit that needs work.
This guy. I knew we were in trouble as soon as this guy.
That guy is a mobile home court advantage. I wish to hire him to do his thing whenever I post something.
There's no way I'm recapping, uh, that on a Saturday afternoon. Consider this an open thread (as always, keep it civil) and try to keep in mind that Michigan bounced back pretty well from a similar outing last year.
|WHAT||Michigan (17-5, 9-1 B1G) at Iowa (17-6, 6-4)|
|WHERE||Carver-Hawkeye Arena, Iowa City, Iowa|
|WHEN||2 pm Eastern, Saturday|
|LINE||Iowa -5 (KenPom)|
|TV||ESPN/WatchESPN (PBP: Bob Wischusen; Analyst: Dan Dakich)|
Right: Michigan comfortably held serve at home in their first matchup with Iowa [Bryan Fuller/MGoBlog]
THE PREVIOUS MATCHUP
After defeating Wisconsin at the Kohl Center, Michigan handled Iowa at home, 75-67, in the second game of a three-game gauntlet that the Wolverines emerged from unscathed when they knocked off MSU at the Breslin Center.
Michigan kept a fast-paced Iowa squad out of transition, limiting the game to 66 possessions while outscoring the Hawkeyes 12-4 on the fast break. Nik Stauskas scored 26 while Hawkeye star Roy Devyn Marble was limited to just 13 points (3/9 FG, 5/6 FT) and two assists with four turnovers. Iowa's 1.02 points per trip was well below their current Big Ten mark of 1.17; this probably stands as Michigan's best defensive performance of the season considering the opponent and the fact that Derrick Walton missed almost the entire game due to flu-like symptoms.
THE LINEUP CARD
A reader suggested including jersey numbers in the preview to help make it easier to connect descriptions of players in the post to the guys running around on your TV, which makes so much sense I feel like an idiot for not doing this sooner.
Since the player descriptions often get clunky when I try to cram in various measurables and the like, I've decided to include a "lineup card" featuring every healthy player getting 25% or more of the team's available minutes. Also, in the grand tradition of unnecessarily long acronyms, the "SIBMIHHAT" column stands for "Should I Be Mad If He Hits A Three?"—the answer is based on the efficiency (and, to a lesser extent, 3PA frequency) of the shooter in question.* Starters are in bold:
|G||10||Mike Gesell||So.||6'1, 190||55.6||18.3||Kinda|
|Good assist:turnover ratio, mediocre shooter, fair number of steals|
|G||4||Roy Devyn Marble||Sr.||6'6, 200||69.7||27.8||No|
|Very high usage, decent efficiency, draws lots of fouls, at best in transition|
|F||30||Aaron White||Jr.||6'9, 220||65.0||20.9||Yes|
|Outrageously efficient scorer inside the arc, solid defensive rebounder|
|F||1||Melsahn Basabe||Sr.||6'7, 220||47.7||18.6||Very|
|Rebounding machine, lots of putbacks, decent shot-blocker|
|C||34||Adam Woodbury||So.||7'1, 245||40.7||18.6||Very|
|Excellent off. rebounder, developing post game, not many blocks or def. rebs.|
|F||20||Jarrod Uthoff||So.||6'9, 208||46.6||19.3||Not at all|
|Efficient stretch four, good defensive rebounder and rim protector|
|F||15||Zach McCabe||Sr.||6'7, 235||40.9||20.5||No|
|Takes nearly as many threes as twos, should consider taking fewer twos|
|C||0||Gabriel Olaseni||Jr.||6'10, 225||38.9||21.5||Very|
|Insane off. rebound percent (18.3), blocks lots of shots, not a big post-up threat|
|G||5||Anthony Clemmens||So.||6'1, 190||34.9||13.6||No|
|Extremely low usage, solid shooter, very turnover prone, possible DNP-CD|
|G||2||Josh Oglesby||Jr.||6'5, 208||20.5||12.6||Not at all|
|Three-point specialist, injured for most of non-conf, now playing 17.5 mpg|
Feedback is always welcome, but I think this is going to stick.
Iowa's stumbed a bit in recent weeks after racing out to a 4-1 start in Big Ten play. Beginning with their loss at the Crisler Center, they've dropped three of their last five—the two other losses coming at home against Michigan State (in OT) and Ohio State (by 7 in a game controlled by the Buckeyes).
Much of those struggles can be attributed to the up-and-down play of Roy Devyn Marble, who's shooting 5/18 from three over that span with a 9:19 assist-to-turnover ratio; while Marble isn't the point guard, he's the team's primary distributor in transition, and those numbers reflect that Iowa's having a much more difficult time getting into transition against conference foes. Marble is much more effective in transition—where he boasts a 53.8 eFG% and gets 57.4% of his assists, per hoop-math—than in halfcourt sets (44.4 eFG%). He's going to get to the free-throw line—before a 2/3 FT effort on Tuesday against OSU, he'd attempted no fewer than five FTs (and as many as 11) in six straight games—and probably score double-digit points; the key is making him work for them.
Point guard Mike Gesell was a total non-factor in the first matchup (4 points, 2 assists) despite the absence of Derrick Walton for most of that game; incidentally, his role looked a lot like Walton's, as he often spotted up on the perimeter while Marble initiated the offense. At his best, he's a very good passer who doesn't turn the ball over much, picks the right spots to shoot, and generates a steal or two. He's a very streaky shooter whose numbers (47%/32%/65%) are pretty mediocre.
Aaron White provides a significant matchup problem at the three; he's 6'9", shoots 65.6% inside the arc with range out to around 18 feet, and gets to the line—where he shoots 83.5%—at a very high rate. Nik Stauskas did an admirable job defending him in the first game, shutting White out until the final seconds of the first half before wearing down in the second; White finished with 17 points, but it took 12 FGA and 8 FTA to get there.
The other matchup to watch is Glenn Robinson III against power forward Melsahn Basabe, who exploded for 15 first-half points and three offensive rebounds in the first half against Michigan before disappearing in the latter stanza. He's one of the best rebounders in the country, especially considering his size, and generates points without dominating the ball; he's also a solid shot-blocker on the other end. Basabe platoons at the four with Jarrod Uthoff, a very solid shooter (54%/46%/80%) who's a slightly worse rebounder and better rim protector than Basabe.
Seven-footer Adam Woodbury is nearly Basabe's equal as an offensive rebounder (11.0 OReb%) and he's got a decent touch around the basket; however, his defensive rebounding and shot-blocking numbers are surprisingly low for a player of his size. He splits time pretty evenly with Gabriel Olaseni, who would boast a top-four OReb% (18.3) and top-50 block rate (9.5%) nationally if he played just a couple more minutes per game.
Other key reserves include forward Zach McCabe, a 34% three-point shooter, and guard Anthony Clemmens, a good shooter whose predilection for turnovers has led to a very reduced role in conference play. Clemmens' minutes have gone almost entirely to shooting specialist Josh Oglesby, a 6'5" wing who's hit 17/33 three-pointers this season. What was once an 11-man rotation has been essentially reduced to nine during Big Ten season.
All six of Iowa's losses have come to teams ranked in the top 18 on KenPom; the only such opponent they've defeated is Ohio State in Columbus, though the Buckeyes avenged that loss on Tuesday. While the Hawkeyes don't have a bad loss, they're still searching for a signature win; aside from OSU, their best victory is a 21-point home blowout of #41 Minnesota.
Four factors, all games (national ranks in parentheses):
|eFG%||Turnover %||Off. Reb. %||FTA/FGA|
|Offense||51.9 (78)||16.7 (65)||38.4 (16)||49.8 (29)|
|Defense||44.1 (16)||18.8 (145)||27.8 (28)||33.4 (45)|
Conference-only (ten games, Big Ten ranks in parentheses):
|eFG%||Turnover %||Off. Reb. %||FTA/FGA|
|Offense||50.6 (5)||18.0 (9)||36.4 (2)||53.4 (1)|
|Defense||47.3 (5)||17.8 (6)||25.9 (3)||38.2 (6)|
Iowa's breakneck pace has predictably slowed a little in conference play, though they still boast the fastest tempo of any Big Ten team and the quickest offensive possessions—opponents combat this with the longest offensive possessions allowed by any Big Ten team. The Hawkeyes are heavily reliant on scoring via two-pointers (55.3% of their points, 2nd in B1G) and free throws (27.2%, 1st), and many of the former come on second-chance opportunities.
The defense isn't particularly good or bad at any one thing save the prevention of offensive rebounds, which they do quite well. One potential area to exploit is their perimeter defense, as they allow the second-most three-point attempts in the conference; Michigan was 8/27 from three in the first matchup and could've easily done better if Caris LeVert (0/3), Glenn Robinson III (0/5), and Spike Albrecht (1/3) didn't shoot well below their collective average despite getting open looks.
Control the pace. Michigan managed to keep the tempo in their comfort zone the first time around due to their ability to make shots—it's pretty hard to run off of made baskets unless you're playing Purdue. Shot selection, turnovers, and picking the right time to crash the boards all play into this; while Michigan's transition offense can keep pace with Iowa's, their transition defense is poor to the point that they'll want to avoid an up-and-down game.
Keep it even on the boards. Despite Basabe's three first-half offensive rebounds, Michigan limited Iowa to just ten in the first matchup (31.2 OReb%) while hauling in ten of their own (30.3%); the Wolverines actually outscored the Hawkeyes 14-12 in second-chance points. Replicating that effort, or even coming close, would be a huge boon for their chances of pulling this one out. Robinson (4 ORs, 5 DRs in the first game) keeping pace with Basabe is the big matchup here.
Play the hot hands. Zak Irvin chipped in a key 11 points off the bench and Spike Albrecht had seven points and seven assists the first time around; getting that level of production off the bench would be huge against a deep Iowa squad that rotates frequently. While Albrecht probably won't get 35 minutes again, he could play a big role in this one—Gesell doesn't provide a huge matchup problem for him defensively. If Robinson or Walton can't find their shooting rhythm, going to the bench for better shooting will be key for keeping Iowa out of transition—which, if you can't tell by now, is the top priority for Michigan in this game.
THE SECTION WHERE I PREDICT THE SAME THING KENPOM DOES
Iowa by 5
*In other words, anger is high when a poor outside shooter hits one, and not so much when a good outside shooter does.
Penn State on the docket. Michigan goes to Happy Valley for their first-ever games against the nascent Nittany Lion program. As you might expect, Penn State is not particularly good. They're 4-17-1 on the season, 0-8 in the league, and have been outscored 35-13 in those eight games.
They've had some close outings, including one-goal losses to Minnesota and Boston College in January; they're still real bad. Not a huge surprise when they have zero seniors. Goaltending is a major issue, with both platoon-mates under .900; leading scorer Eric Scheid has a 10-5-15 line.
Michigan needs to sweep this series if they're going to maintain any hopes of winning the league. That door opened up a bit yesterday when Wisconsin beat Minnesota 2-1. Michigan can draw within six, or even three, points if they keep the Nittany Lions on the mat.
Hyman making a move. I'd pumped him up a bit earlier this year, but the points did not follow. Nowadays, though, Zach Hyman's centering a line that can be reasonably described as "his" and they are performing:
With Hyman centering the third line between freshman Tyler Motte and senior Luke Moffatt, the performance of all three players has quickly escalated. Hyman and his linemates combined for four goals in two games against Wisconsin last weekend and supplied high energy in the offensive zone.
Hyman scored one of those goals, a Kaleniecki special where he blasted in a rebound from the edge of the crease. He's been near-impossible to bump off the puck on the cycle all year and hopefully now he can maintain some scoring production over the rest of the season.
Firing, firing, firing. Via Five Key Plays, Zak Irvin making it rain:
Scouting Stauskas. NBA scouts, this video starts at 8:35. Before that it's just Golden Girls reruns.
It's time to eat (a low-carb diet high in protein). Derrick Green seems to have acquired the message about being smaller and nimbler, and is tweeting out pictures of how much he weighs.
my grind is never gone stop!! 220 by spring ball! Its time to eat 〽️ pic.twitter.com/qIghb24Ya6
— BaN€™〽️ (@DG2seven) February 5, 2014
May he reach 220 by spring and leave corpses in his wake in fall. But fun corpses!
Obligatory signing day articles. Did you know that not every highly-ranked recruit works out? Well, they don't. Also, sometimes low-ranked guys do. Now prepare for the parade of quotes from players and coaches saying they don't care about rankings. Are you prepared?
“I don’t put much stock in (the star-rating system),” Hoke said.
“I think it’s a joke,” Mueller said. “I believe there’s some talented guys, and it’s obvious to point out who the elite college football players are coming out of high school, but there are a lot of guys who get overlooked.
“I do not think it really does anything for any of the college coaches — the star system at least. The kids themselves and parents, it’s more of a headache."
Sorry. You cannot be prepared for that much quote. Anyway, annual article from newspaper about how recruiting rankings are not right every single time is matched by Matt Hinton's annual article in which he comes up with a new way to show that, yes, recruiting rankings are generally predictive.
It's a landslide. On the final count, the higher-ranked team according to the recruiting rankings won roughly two-thirds of the time, and every "class" as a whole had a winning record against every class ranked below it every single year. (The only exception came last year, when "three-star" teams came up short in head-to-head meetings with "one-star" teams. Otherwise, the hierarchy held across every line.) The gap on the field also widened with the gap in the recruiting scores: While "one-star" recruiting teams fared slightly better against blue-chip opponents than "two-star" teams, both groups combined managed a grand total of 19 wins over "five-star" opponents in 112 tries. Broadly speaking, the final results on the field broke along a straight line demarcated on signing day.
There are outliers, of course. Michigan is likely one in a bad direction, but Hinton only picked out those who are outperforming. They include most recent opponent Kansas State, which takes so many JUCOs they are near-impossible to rank reasonably, and Michigan State. Which sigh.
If you were really in charge you wouldn't have to keep saying you're in charge. This is, in fact, an article from this week:
Brady Hoke: I'm running Michigan football program, not Dave Brandon
This is from the press-conference-type substance. Speaking of that…
Usual PR debacles. The odd "press conference" that blew up into a bunch of finger-wagging once the Daily complained about not being there was less a press conference and more five requested one-on-one interviews crammed into a brief, mutual window:
“We did not hold a press conference (Monday),” Ablauf said Tuesday. “Five reporters requested to meet with Brady to discuss football topics, so we arranged this meeting about three weeks ago and set the meeting day and time over a week ago (prior to publication of the Daily story about Gibbons).”
But when five different reporters start tweeting out things Brady Hoke is saying, it looks like a press conference. And when you release the statement about the Gibbons thing that stands as the only thing you're going to say about that topic to five hand-picked reporters, that looks horrible.
Michigan actually did something about a sexual assault on campus that they didn't have to do—unlike, say, Florida State. That they managed to come out of that looking like they do is miraculously bad PR.
Unfortunately, it's not a surprise. This space has been sarcastically declaring "it's almost like the athletic department didn't think things through" jabs for the past year as one bad idea after another was rolled out and quickly rolled back. This is the culmination of the tiny debacles with noodles and seat cushions and the band going to Dallas and not preparing Mary Sue Coleman to speak in a situation with feedback. The same shitty attitude towards everyone outside of the Circle Of Trust from the past few years finally got applied to something important, and now Dave and company are receiving their just desserts.
Hopefully they'll learn something this time.
Uh-huh. The annual Detroit News Blue Chip list generally comes with at least one salty remark about Michigan or MSU, and this year's winner is MSU commit Nick Padla on Michigan:
They talked about tradition (but) I was thinking about the future.
The previous sentence also might have something to do with it:
They were recruiting me my 10th grade then kind of stopped.
Etc.: Enormous piles of NBA data could lead to a holy grail stat to end all stats, but it'll take supercomputers to produce it. Stat updates on Michigan's hockey recruits. Everything you ever wanted to know about Derrick Walton's efficiency leap.
Soady two-holer > Sochi two-holer
One of the mods already put this in a thread but a front page reminder can't hurt: don't post scores or spoilers of Olympic events on delayed telecasts. This goes especially for the results of hockey games that will be broadcast in primetime. Laughing at the myriad (mostly toilet-related) follies of bored and pampered journalists with nothing else to talk about for four days is fine.
The NHL kindly added the hockey games to its schedule, and I Bleed Maize N Blue put up a list of Michigan folk. Your Wolverines are hockey players Carl Hagelin (Sweden), Brian Lebler (Austria), and Max Pacioretty (USA), and U.S. figure skaters Meryl Davis & Charlie White, Maia & Alex Shibutani, and Evan Bates.
|Fri 2/7||Opening Ceremony||7:30 PM||NBC||All|
|Sat 2/8||Ice Dancing||9:30 AM||NBC||Davis & White|
|Wed 2/12||Hky: Czech-Sweden||12:00 PM||USA||Hagelin|
|Thu 2/13||Hky: Finland-Austria||3:00 AM||NBCSN||Lebler|
|Thu 2/13||Hky: Slovakia-USA||7:30 AM||NBCSN||Pacioretty|
|Fri 2/14||Hky: Sweden-Switzerland||7:30 AM||NBCSN||Hagelin|
|Fri 2/14||Hky: Canada-Austria||12:00 PM||USA||Brian Lebler|
|Sat 2/15||Hky: USA-Russia||7:30 AM||NBCSN||Pacioretty|
|Sat 2/15||Hky: Sweden-Latvia||12:00 PM||USA||Hagelin|
|Sun 2/16||Hky: Austria-Norway||3:00 AM||USA||Lebler|
|Sun 2/16||Hky: Slovenia-USA||7:30 AM||NBCSN||Pacioretty|
Makes M's Happy
Sara Driesenga pitched 263 innings with an ERA of 1.89 last year [Terra Molengraff/Daily]
Softball is my chosen sport for following without obsessing. Carol Hutchins is one of the best coaches the sport's ever had, and the team still exudes a spirit that's so so enjoyable. Just don't think too hard about the competitive aspects, or how large a role a pitcher plays in the outcome versus the rest of the team.
If you'd like to know how this team looks, the answer is "very good" again. Like the Tigers, they return ridiculous pitching—Haylie Wagner and Sara Driesenga are both aces, and they're joined this year by highly touted freshman Megan Betsa—and one of the game's best hitting infielders (shortstop Sierra Romero), but lost their cleanup hitter. Also like the Tigers they're not a very good defensive team.
Etc. Survey results for RunTheFootball's expectations thing says Michigan's not living up to those. Your weekly goal by goal analysis covers the tallies vs. Wisconsin last weekend. Michigan is still shooting the lights out in conference play except against Indiana, not updated with Nebraska game yet. Lacrosse. Softball.
Best of the Board
NATIONAL SIGNING EVE WAS LONG AND FULL OF TERRORS
The night before signing day I got an email from a source who's been spot-on before that Peppers was thinking about holding off signing his LOI the next day—nobody else had that info so I didn't publish it, but it appears he was correct and that Peppers's coach talked him down off the ledge. Since this source has been right about everything so far, I'll share the reason he gave for the wavering: another program's coach, claiming knowledge from an NCAA source, was in Peppers's ear about "possible major sanctions at Michigan," presumably for the Gibbons thing. Crutin, man.
Clarification Update: He didn't say which coach, and guesses are just that since virtually every coach goes around flingin' B.S. on signing eve. Playing defense keeps other coaches from going on the offensive against your class. It's just Crutin' man.
TIDBITS FROM THE SIGNING DAY PRESSER
- Clarity on LB recruit positions: Winovich is a Jake Ryan-style SAM, Ferns is a MIKE, Furbush is a MIKE or WILL, Wangler is a WILL or Stevie Brown-style SAM.
- Dymonte Thomas will just be a safety, no more nickel and diming
- Canteen is a slot guy
- Furbush cut his own cast off using a hedge trimmer.
Thanks to Every Roh Has Its Thorn for collating these.
PUNTING: NOW FAME-WORTHY
Monte Robbins [source] / Zoltan Mesko [Scout] / Adam Finley [Desimone]
Now that the stat-heads have shown the punt is the least important play in football, the NFL Hall of Fame, which is the second-least meaningful of all Hall of Fames (they're heavy on skill players and big names, light on understanding the game; the college football one is worse), has finally decided to let in the Guy (ha!) they named the punting award for.
This got me wondering if there's a punter in Michigan history who could surpass those I can personally recall. Punting stats have been kept only since 2000 by the NCAA, and Bentley only goes a few years further back. They're very wonky stats when they're good, and very badly curated, and the most accessible ones are more suggestive of a terrible offense than a great leg. Zoltan is the obvious if-memory-serves candidate for best Michigan punter ever. I remember thinking Adam Finley was underrated because he could pow it very high or place it out of bounds, and that Hayden Epstein was overrated because all he did was thwack it.
Great Grandpa Alfonse used ta say if you're lookin' back at the tings you missed you won't know what hit ya.
As for how Wile did I can pull 2013 conference data from cfbstats if you like:
|Player||Team||Atts||Net YPA||% Ret|
|Cameron Johnston||Ohio State||49||41.7||16%|
|Mike Sadler||Michigan State||76||41.0||25%|
|Alex Butterworth||Penn State||51||38.5||22%|
That 46% of punts returned (ie didn't end with a fair catch, downed, out of bounds, or touchback) is the dinosaur punting. This is enough about punting for today.
CRASH TESTING HELMETS
UM Engineers are getting into the helmet-improvement game to understand the biomechanics of football hits.
Your Moment of Zen:
Signing Day: It Happened, I Guess
OFFICIALLY OURS NOW
By the time I was able to get my laptop to start yesterday*, Michigan had already received LOIs from every committed prospect, and Malik McDowell had announced his intention to attend Michigan State. Brandon caught up with all the freshly inked signees on Tuesday night; other than the usual coachspeak-filled presser, there was little else of note to happen on the recruiting front yesterday for the Wolverines.
Of course, there's the McDowell situation, which is a mess. He committed to MSU in a ceremony at Southfield High School. His father attended, though he's still not a big fan of the decision; his mother did not. As of now, McDowell's LOI remains unsigned, and potentially could for a while:
“I’m not legally able to do it because I’m not the custodial parent,” Greg [McDowell, Malik's father] told The Detroit News, noting that Malik is only 17. “[Joya Crowe, Malik's mother] has to sign it and I have to sign it, too. I don’t know when it will happen. Malik has to handle that with his Mom. I’m willing to do whatever my son wants. It’s been a long process and an uneasy process.
“That’s something he’ll have to deal with, because at the end of the day it’s all about him and he has to work it out.”
State's coaches sounded confident that he'll be a Spartan eventually—if worst comes to worst, McDowell doesn't even need a LOI in order to get his scholarship and enroll in the fall, though that leaves MSU in the unenviable position of hoping he sticks to his commitment without any binding document.
Could Michigan potentially get back into his recruitment in the meantime? It's highly unlikely. Malik is obviously intent on going to MSU; if he's forced to compromise with his mother, FSU and OSU are also possibilities—and there's also the matter of whether or not the coaches would want a player who may not really want to be in the program. Usually in these types of situations, the prospect eventually gets his wish, and that's what I expect to happen here.
As for actual newsworthy bits regarding Michigan's commits, there's one worth reprinting: Drake Harris, who missed his senior season with a torn hamstring, is "feeling more and more 100 percent," according to Jeff Hecklinski, and should be healthy for spring practice.
[Hit THE JUMP for a great Bo Schembechler story, Bo Pelini's unusual recruiting methods, lolTimBeckman, actual evidence that tweeting at recruits doesn't work, and more.]