"The University of Illinois is also in turmoil. The university sports an Interim Chancellor, an Interim Athletic Director, and an Interim Football Coach; the game will be played at Soldier Field, making this an Illini Interim Home Game."
Kam Chatman only showed flashes of his four-star ability in 2014-15.
Michigan is deeper this season than at any point during John Beilein's tenure. There's so much depth, in fact, that there's a decent chance at least one of last season's regular contributors drops out of the rotation.
Today's preview post focuses on that depth by looking at backup wings Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman, Kameron Chatman, Duncan Robinson, and Moritz Wagner. DJ Wilson, who could easily fit into this category, will be covered with the bigs.
Measurables: 6'4", 185
Base Stats: 19.0 MPG, 4.4 PPG, 49/29/93 2P/3P/FT%, 1.7 RPG, 27 assists, 28 turnovers
Key Advanced Metrics: 16.5% usage, 92.5 ORating, 1.9 steal %
"Rahk" wasn't expected to be a contributor last season after John Beilein picked him up late in the recruiting cycle. When injuries forced him onto the floor for extended minutes in Big Ten season, however, he emerged as a quality scorer off the dribble—after looking jittery early in the season, he shot 54% on two-pointers in conference play.
Rahkman's rise to a prominent role was critical for Michigan in 2014-15, especially when he took on the scoring burden against Michigan State and Illinois, and even more so when he shadowed D'Angelo Russell in M's upset of Ohio State—Russell needed 17 shot equivalents to score 16 points, had five turnovers against two assists, and looked visibly frustrated with Rahk's defense. John Beilein pointed to defense as the way Rahkman can see extended time on the court this season:
“We haven’t even discussed any redshirt possibilities. Muhammad is not of a young age number one, but he’s got his work cut out for him to get the minutes that he did last year and he knows it. He has some explosion to his game and some speed that we do need on this team. That’s all going to come if he can become an excellent defender on this team then there will always be minutes for him.”
That's in part because Michigan could use a perimeter defensive stopper; it's also in part because there are still significant holes in Rahkman's overall game. He shot 29% from three-point range as a freshman, a figure that must improve to keep from affecting Michigan's spacing. He finished with more turnovers than assists; while he wasn't overly turnover-prone, when he drove to the basket he almost always looked for his own shot, and opponents are going to adjust to that. There's reason to think he can improve in both regards; his impressive free-throw shooting (albeit in a small sample) is a sign his jump shot should come around and he looked confident as a ballhandler last year.
The great news for Michigan is that there isn't nearly as much of a need for Rahk to play big minutes with the return of Walton and LeVert; there won't be minutes to spare at the point and there's a ton of depth on the wing. Rahkman may carve out a role as a defensive specialist or off-the-bench scorer against teams that struggle to stop dribble penetration; anything else he provides would be considered a bonus. He should be a solid role player getting 10-15 minutes; the breakout most likely will have to wait until next year.
[Hit THE JUMP.]
[Hi it's Seth, not Ace. I offered to do this while Ace gets the hoops previews out]
Minnesota's offense is bad at offense, the end.
Alright, given I chose to review a game in which they got shut out, I admit we're not getting the Gophers at their best. I chose this game anyway because Michigan saw Northwestern the very next week; the next two opponents were Purdue and Nebraska, who are in the Big Eight or wherever. Also because we already had it downloaded. Also because it's a better fit for the other side of the ball where the outcome is more in doubt. Also because this Michigan defense isn't like the Nebraska defense, nor the Purdue defense. It IS kind of like the Northwestern defense, if the Northwestern defense was Batman.
Personnel. Me diagram [click for full size]:
I noted KJ Maye's jet motion path because they pulled that out a lot. Lauer and Pirsig split time last year at right tackle, but injured T Josh Campion was by far their first option. They tried starting him at RT this game before shutting him down. He's a no-go for Michigan. When he's out Lauer comes in at LT and Pirsig slides back to RT.
Spread, Pro-Style, or Hybrid? "Pro Style" for a given definition of that which means something nobody runs in the pros. I mean it's shotgun and runs a lot of zone read, but not at all spread. Brian's going to have fun coming up with UFR formation names for this one. A taste:
Yes I can name one recent NFL coach who ran stuff like this. He's back in college now.
Basketball on Grass or MANBALL Inside zone mostly, with little bits of power mixed in.
Hurry it up or grind it out? Grind to the max. Last year Minnesota experimented with this tempo thing but they've since shelved all but the lining up with >15 seconds. Then they'll shift formations, put a guy in motion, etc. However the Gophers did manage to get off a super-quick snap late in the game to prevent the review official from re-watching a would-be interception on 2nd and long. That not only saved them from a turnover on their own 10, but Northwestern's players were still on the field celebrating and got hit with a too-many-men penalty. #BigTenRefs
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the wreckening]
About Last Week:
It was a bye week, so for the second week in a row, NO FOOTBALL OF ANY KIND HAPPENED.
The Road Ahead:
Minnesota (4-3, 1-2 B1G)
Last week: Lost to Nebraska, 48-25; Bye
Recap: We’ve got to start this week on a serious down note. Jerry Kill, one of the fundamentally good dudes in a fundamentally un-dude profession, announced his immediate retirement on Wednesday morning. And this wasn’t a Steve Spurrier “eh, let’s go do something else that is more golf-adjacent” retirement. Kill’s presser made clear that he wanted to keep coaching, and that he has no idea what else he’s going to do, but for health reasons he just can’t coach anymore:
Seriously, watch that whole thing. Watch it twice.
Part of being a football fan is mentally divorcing the game you see from the toll it takes on the people involved. We tend to think of coaches as being above that fray. But these guys are a different breed, and take on an impossibly overwhelming task. It is no wonder that it breaks even the strong.
Kill was dealt an even more impossible task than making Minnesota football competitive in the 21st century. It's inspiring that he tried to do what he loved anyway. It's equally inspiring that he walked away from it when he couldn't do it right anymore. I vote anything with Paterno's name on it gets changed to Kill. Except Jay.
In a football sense, Minnesota is also in a rough place. After opening the year 4-1 and getting some honest-to-god votes in the polls, Minnesota is going to have to scramble to make a bowl game. The Gophers have to find two wins among home games against Michigan, Illinois, and Wisconsin, and road games at Ohio State and Iowa. All five of those teams are in the S&P Top 25, and Bill Connelly has them winning about one more game.
This team is as frightening as: a 30 cent water jug. Fear Level = 3
Michigan should worry about: Minnesota may be inspired by Kill’s departure and turn in an unexpectedly strong performance.
Michigan can sleep soundly about: They still need to, like, score points to win.
When they play Michigan: This is basically Michigan with Direct TV vs. Michigan with Cable.
This week: vs. Michigan, 7:00 p.m., ESPN
[After the JUMP, a lot of things to sleep soundly about]
[What is this? Joe Pichey, serious bbq-ing dude, has been writing up tailgating recipes on his blog MMMGoBluBBQ and we "borrowed" him. Stubb's sponsored it because they're fans of the site and good people, and this whole Joe-MGoBlog-Stubb's-Readers thing seems like a match of destiny.]
This recipe is perfect for tailgating as it can be assembled ahead of time and grilled up in less than 5 minutes. The grilled raviolis have three of my favorite traits: They are crunchy, bite sized and extremely DIPPABLE. What else could you ask for? You can also stuff just about anything inside. I've made coney raviolis, pizza raviolis and peanut butter and jalapeño jelly raviolis at recent tailgates, and all have been tasty.
- Won Ton Wrappers
- Cooked Shrimp or Shredded Chicken
- Havarti Cheese
- Jalapeño (optional)
- 1 Egg (For Egg Wash)
Hatch Queso Dip: (Melt all ingredients in crockpot or cast iron pot)
- 1 lb Velveeta cheese block
- 1/2 cup Hatch Green Chili Sauce
[After the jump: this isn't at all hard to make]
Suddenly 2016 looks a lot brighter.
I came to Michigan to get my education not to leave in three years.
— Jourdan Lewis (@JourdanJD) October 29, 2015
So that's pretty good.
Are you finding teams focusing on Jake [Butt] a little bit more as part of their gameplan, trying to take him away?
“There seems to be a little bit of that every now and then. Just, sometimes that’s how it shakes out, how the cookie crumbles, that the guy that’s the intended target of a route isn’t open and we trust Jake Rudock to get the ball to the guy who is open.”
What was your reaction when you found out about Jerry Kill’s resignation this morning?
“Sad. I figured it was something that had to be pretty serious. You never want to hear anything like that, and you know that he has the background of certain health issues so you hope and pray that he gets healthy and his family deals with everything alright, because that’s a serious thing.”
As a young coach, how do you have to learn to manage balancing the stresses of coaching with your health?
“I don’t know, I probably don’t do a good job. I had a donut today, so that’s good. I don’t know. I mean, I think a lot of it has to do with your work environment. The guys we work with are serious about football but they’re lighthearted guys, so it’s fun, it’s loose and serious at the same time if that makes any sense. I’m not a doctor, but I would imagine that’s helpful over the long term of not developing like hypertension or something. I don’t know. I probably should stop eating donuts, too.”
How have your dad and uncle managed to handle it? How have you seen them do it?
“Um, I don’t know. Not in any way that’s special or unique, I don’t think. They both find ways and time to spend with their family and exercise and stuff. They have fun doing what they’re doing. I don’t know. It’s a good question. Certainly it’s something to be aware of.”
[After THE JUMP: Did he use the two-costume strategy as a kid? Also, things about tight ends. And Jabrill.]