to play football, not to play trumpet
: Hey there, Steve!
: Why so glum?
: Then why aren't you happy?
: I see. Well it looks like you need LANGUAGE!
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: Well that's the great news, Steve: you know them already! But if you hit THE JUMP right now, you can have all of these nouns that describe bowl games, and their commercial-free logos, for absolutely free!
Graham Glasgow and Joe Bolden
Just thoughts on the bowl game and the Citrus Bowl and the matchup with Florida, generally speaking.
JB: “Florida’s a good team, solid team. I think their offense obviously hits plays and has hit plays this year. Haven’t been too deep into the film. Just watched a little bit of the SEC title game but I’ve seen their defense play, too, and they have a solid defense as well.”
What have you seen in their defense, Graham? Have you watched them?
“I watched a little bit of the SEC championship game like Joe, and they have a solid defense. Lot of big hitters, big plays, and I think that we’ll gameplan them well and we’ll be ready to go on…January 1st. Yeah, that’s when we play. All right, awesome.”
Coach Durkin was obviously a big part of what you guys did this year. Your thoughts on shifting gears to Greg Mattison this game?
JB: “It’s what we- some of us, it’s what we know better, I guess, in a way. I’ve played three of my four years under him. I love how he coached and how he coaches. Just excited to- you know, I came in and my first game was under him, and I’m going out and my last game’s going to be played with him calling the defense, too. So, it’s pretty exciting from my standpoint. I think defensively there’s not much…I mean, Durkin and Matty were together before Michigan, and there’s not a whole lot of I guess you could call it turnover if you want from one system to another or one guy to the next.”
What was DJ’s message to you when he told you he was going to take the Maryland job and what are your thoughts about him moving on to a head coaching position?
JB: “Yeah, I think everyone on the defense is excited for him. I think we all knew at some point he was going to be a head coach being only 37 years old and being the coach that he is. We’re all excited for him. Excited for him, but at the same time I guess for the guys next year, obviously they want to beat him.”
Any words of wisdom for Maryland players dealing with his ‘explosability’?
JB: “Yeah. [/laughs] Just soak it all in. Listen to him every time he speaks. He’s a younger guy with a lot of energy and he knows exactly what he’s talking about.”
[After THE JUMP: Chesson, Butt, and Wormley]
“We’re very excited to be invited to the bowl and sounds like it’s gonna be great, fair, honest, healthy competition. We’re looking forward to it.”
Have you decided on your defensive coordinator for the bowl game?
“Yes. Greg Mattison’s going to coordinate the defense and we’ve also hired Chris Partridge to coach the linebackers.”
With Mattison, is that just for the bowl season or is that a permanent change?
“That will be for the bowl season. And we’ll evaluate from there.”
Speaking of the defensive coordinator, do you have a timetable in mind that you’d like to have a permanent hire in place? How are you approaching that?
“We’re approaching it to win our next game. No timetable. We’ll evaluate as we go. Excited to have Greg coordinate the defense. I think he’ll do a fantastic job, and Chris Partridge- great chance to have Chris coaching on the field. He’s done a fabulous job in every task he’s been on top of. I’m excited to watch him coach and Greg coordinate.”
Is it possible that Chris could earn himself a permanent full-time job with you guys as a coach?
“Yeah, very possible.”
Any familiarity with Jim McElwain and how he runs the program and offense? Any familiarity with him?
“Just that he enjoys an incredible reputation in the profession. That would be…I think we all know that. From people I respect and know very well, he has a fine reputation as a good coach.”
You probably haven’t had time to look at Florida, but anything you know about this team, particularly the defensive side of the ball? I mean, DJ Durkin obviously coached there last year.
“Yeah, I watched probably about half of the games right now. Fantastic season they’ve had. They play with great intensity, and much respect for what they’ve done. Heck of a year for them.”
Can you update us on Jake Rudock? Do you expect him to play in the game, and what’s his health status?
“Yeahhhh, I mean, I think it’s just- I’ve talked to him a few times, I think he’ll play in the game. There was a period where- he hasn’t thrown yet, but I think he will be soon.”
[After THE JUMP: “I don’t think of it as a foundation, I think of it more like a train, more like a locomotive.”]
Let's add another position to Peppers's bio?
Is it absurd to think Jabrill could fill in at LB next year? He's listed about 30 pounds lighter than Bolden, yes, but he's faster, tackles better, and recognizes plays faster. Is the idea just a total non-starter because of the snaps he's expected to take on offense?
Just curious as to your thoughts.
In a sense he already is filling in at linebacker. Michigan ran more nickel snaps last year than they ever had before largely because Peppers gave them that luxury. Part of his triple threat is defending the run. So: kind of.
But if you're asking about moving Peppers into the box as one of two inside linebackers, that is indeed absurd. Peppers is good at all things that physics allows him to be good at. This does not include getting off blocks from 300 pound offensive linemen. Then add the increased wear and tear because of those blocks—when he ends up in coverage he does not get hit unless MSU is running their Obvious Offensive Pass Interference play—and you're wearing Peppers down in a role he's a dubious fit for.
If Peppers has X snaps in him I'm sure we can agree that whatever is left over after his duties as a nickelback are complete should be dedicated to getting the ball in his hands.
Yes they have, no he's not.
Has anyone asked Harbaugh if Glasgow will return for the bowl game? Any other injured players that we'll get back?
Harbaugh all but ruled Glasgow out of the bowl game. He said Rudock had not thrown since the OSU game but should be no problem to return, and there isn't really anyone else that's hurt. Ojemudia, I guess, but we already know he's laid up for the season.
There was chatter that Bryan Mone might return. Harabaugh reinforced that with some comments in pre-OSU press conferences, but I've heard that was never anywhere near coming to fruition. And at this point is the redshirt worth burning for a slightly increased chance of beating Florida? No. It was dubious for OSU and not even plausible for a non-BCS bowl game. Brian Cole is also on track for a medical redshirt and playing safety in any case, where Michigan isn't pressed for depth.
Actually, the opposite effect.
With Bronco Mendenhall taking the Head coaching job at Virginia, does this mean Taysom Hill is a lock to come to Michigan next year?
I'd say that departure makes him less likely to end up at Michigan. Hill was transferring, that is a given. It might have been Michigan; it might not. But he was going somewhere (or retiring).
Now UVA might look like an enticing landing spot. Virginia has Matt Johns returning for his senior year, Johns threw 17 interceptions and rushed for 86 yards in 2014 and is far from a lock. Hill knows Harbaugh relatively well, but he really knows Mendenhall.
Where Hill ends up probably won't be known until after spring practice, when scholarships open up and coaches have a grip on what they've got at the QB spot. Michigan wasn't actually that interested in Jake Rudock until about halfway through spring, when their thinking suddenly changed. If Hill ends up at Michigan it is something of a referendum on John O'Korn. If Michigan passes it's also a referendum, a much better one for our purposes.
I always answer emails that accidentally call me "brain"
I think we can all agree that Durkin was in a tough spot heading into the OSU game. It's not too hard to imagine a world in which Michigan had Glasgow, Mone, and even a functioning Ondre Pipkins at NT on Saturday. Instead, Durkin had Hurst, Charlton, Wormley, Henry, Strobel, Pallante, and maybe an injured Godin to fill out the entire line.
An mgoposter made the compelling argument that playing Hurst, Charlton, Wormley, and Henry for nearly all of the game - with a few reps possibly going to Strobel, Pallante, and the injured Godin - was untenable. The main four were inevitably going to be worn down, the argument goes, or Strobel, Pallante, and Godin were going play significant snaps but be a very poor match for OSU's line. The 3-3-5 put the LBs into positions they weren't accustomed to, but you can at least argue that was better than having linemen who were too tired to be effective.
In light of the fact that the 3-3-5 made some sense (or maybe you disagree), can we say that the failure to use run blitzes and the failure to incorporate the safeties more into stopping the run were the staff's biggest failings against OSU? Relying on Ross, Morgan, and Bolden to do things they aren't comfortable with rather than relying on exhausted or third-string linemen is one thing, but failing to load the box (with whatever combination of players) is another. The latter seems far more questionable given that OSU was a far better running team this season than they were a passing team.
While I agree that Michigan was in a tough spot with depth no matter what they did, my complaint about the 3-3-5 is only about 30% "it didn't work" and 70% "it was a very bad attempt to respond."
If you notice something about the PSU, MSU, and OSU defenses it's that they're all basically the same: pattern-matching cover 4, mostly, with two high safeties. PSU plays them actually high; MSU plays them at eight yards. This allows you to apply a relevant defender to the playside. Michigan kept playing a very deep high safety through the entire game.
To some extent that's fine in the first half. You got a couple stops, you're going up against an OSU offense that has been clunky much of the year, you are caught off guard by some new (old) things that they are doing. I'm not ticked off about the early pooch punt because I thought the same thing everyone else did: that Michigan and OSU were about to get locked into a defensive struggle.
Once OSU crunches you in the face on the touchdown drive that made it 14-3 late you need to have something in your back pocket to transition to once it becomes obvious that your base package cannot hold up. Durkin simply did not. If the 3-3-5 was his response it was a total failure. It was so bad they couldn't run it.
There is a reason quarters is a very popular defense around the country right now, and it is Ohio State's offense. Leaving one high against it is asking for trouble, and trouble was received. If you want to save DL snaps you can do that by getting super-aggressive.
I'm okay losing this game because Barrett hits a bunch of passes like he did against Clark and Lewis. That's something I'm willing to let OSU try in lieu of grinding Michigan for 350 rushing yards. To watch Durkin sit on the sideline with his 20-yard-deep safety as Michigan got ground up for the second time in three games was a major confidence shaker. That he left is… fine by me.
This kind of thing is why I don't want an NFL DC coming in here, by the way. I want a guy who came up from the bottom and has had to fight spread offenses for decades. Tossing some dude out there who hasn't had to scheme against a QB run since 1985 gives me the heebie-jeebies.
What about next year?
My dad and I traditionally watch every game together with my brother and uncle joining us some/most of the time. The defensive game plan on Saturday bugs me more and more with each passing day. Going back to Harbaugh's battles with Oregon at Stanford, is there anything there that might indicate how The Game will go in the future? My dad has insisted on a talent gap, but I'm certain that the combination of injuries and trying to implement a terrible/unfamiliar scheme had to do with UM's down fall on Saturday. With Durkin out the door, do you see Michigan's seemingly increased depth at line next year giving them an advantage? And how long do we have to wait before we can run the ball the way Harbaugh wants?
Thanks ahead of time, love the blog and the work you guys put into it,
Jason from GR
Harbaugh never did get a grip on Oregon's offense while he was at Stanford. In his four years, the Ducks put up 55, 35, 42, and 52. Harbaugh did win the third game of that series, but it wasn't good. It really couldn't have been good until year four, when the Stanford defense caught up to the Luck offense. But even then that Vic Fangio-led D got bombed by the Ducks.
Many teams got bombed by the Ducks that year, except for one: Auburn. Because Auburn lives and dies by the same stuff Oregon does and they cancelled each other out. I say this all the time, but the corollary to the "the spread makes your defense soft" stuff often promulgated by people who can't divide very well is "the spread makes your defense resilient to the spread."
This is obviously not a hard and fast rule, or even a rule at all—see every Big 12 game since 2002. But I do wonder about how prepared Michigan was to face running QBs this year.
Anyway: there is an obvious talent gap that OSU did its best to hide for the duration of the year during their post-Herman malaise. Check the first round of the upcoming NFL draft for ample evidence thereof.
Michigan should be a lot closer to parity next year, as OSU loses big chunks of their team and Michigan brings just about everyone back. I'm not sure the run game will explode, but four returning starters in the same system should equate to progress, especially if they get improved production from the running back spot. Michigan should feel like an elite team if they get good QB play. And given Harbaugh's track record…
Vicious Vic Decommits
I've decided to decommit. pic.twitter.com/6IZroWgdrY
— Victor viramontes (@Vicious_Vic10) December 7, 2015
The MGoStaff is going to have to find a new favorite commit. Three-star CA QB/ATH Victor Viramontes decommitted last night, leaving Brandon Peters as the only quarterback in the class and, well, nobody capable of being a quarterback/fullback/linebacker. Viramontes picked up a Cal offer right around the time he decommitted; he has a better shot of sticking at QB there. I look forward to seeing him play wherever he ends up.
With so many quarterbacks on the roster, including two who redshirted from the 2015 class, it's unclear if Jim Harbaugh will feel the need to add another; Viramontes' open spot may be better served going to an additional defensive prospect, especially one at linebacker.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the roundup.]
I haven't done one of these in over a year. If you want a last glimpse at the 2009 class, hit up the 2014 preseason version of this post. You would be surprised that you might—that was a good class. Italics below indicate a contributor. Bold is for a player who is a multi-year starter. Sometimes the latter is a projection for guys with eligibility remaining. Yellow stars are for draftees, purple moons for All Big Ten players, and silver goats for All-Americans.
One last look at the class of doom.
Dorsey, Gardner, Vinopal
Did Not Take Fifth Year(2): Richard Ash, Jordan Paskorz
Played Out Eligibility(7): Jeremy Jackson, Drew Dileo, Jibreel Black, Courtney Avery, Devin Gardner, Jake Ryan, Will Hagerup
Transferred for PT (6): Ricardo Miller, Cullen Christian, Marvin Robinson, Carvin Johnson, Jerald Robinson, Ray Vinopal
Academics/Not Being Nice (5): Demar Dorsey, Antonio Kinard, Austin White, Davion Rogers, Conelius Jones
Injury (3): Terry Talbott, Terrance Talbott, Christian Pace
Left Football (3): Ken Wilkins, DJ Williamson, Stephen Hopkins
Seven out of 26 kids played out their eligibility. One kid who left, Pitt safety Ray Vinopal, did anything after his departure. The kids who played out their eligibility saw one guy drafted. This was a bad class and Rich Rodriguez should feel bad.
Frank Clark 50 pounds ago, Chris Barnett, Tony Posada
This was the hybrid RR/Hoke class in which Hoke found himself with three weeks to pile ten guys in. Late Hoke pickups are denoted with H.
Played out eligibility(6): Brennen Beyer, Raymon Taylor(H), Delonte Hollowell, Desmond Morgan, Matt Wile(H).
Early NFL draft entry(1): Frank Clark(H)*.
Early Fancy Job entry(1): Jack Miller.
Transferred for PT (6): Tamani Carter(H), Thomas Rawls(H), Justice Hayes(H), Keith Heitzman(H), Russell Bellomy(H), Blake Countess.
Academics/Not Being Nice (2): Chris Barnett(H), Kellen Jones
Injury (2): Antonio Poole(H), Chris Bryant.
Left Football (3): Chris Rock (basically: is walk-on at OSU now), Greg Brown, Tony Posada.
Transitional classes are rarely any good and this one wasn't. Hoke's late pickups did include two current Seattle Seahawks, but since Thomas Rawls had to transfer to get on the field that rather takes the luster off. Fifth-year departures complicate our "transfer for playing time" category: Blake Countess was a two-year starter at Michigan and started at Auburn this year.
This is a 20-man class with seven major contributors, which isn't great. Given the cloud Rodriguez was recruiting under and the extraordinarily brief window Hoke was provided after The Process completed, it could have been a lot worse.
*[Clark of course got booted from the team after a domestic violence incident and could be filed under Not Being Nice. In terms of his ability to contribute to the team, early entry—which was coming either way—is more accurate.]
25 players. Seniors and redshirt juniors, if they're still around. As of April 2014 this class had lost just one player, Kaleb Ringer.
Devin Funchess, Willie Henry, Kyle Kalis
Enrolled: Amara Darboh, Jehu Chesson, Kyle Kalis, Blake Bars, Erik Magnuson, Ben Braden, Willie Henry, Matt Godin, Tom Strobel, Chris Wormley, Terry Richardson, Allen Gant, Jeremy Clark.
Played out eligibility: Jarrod Wilson, Sione Houma, AJ Williams, Mario Ojemudia, Joe Bolden, Royce Jenkins-Stone, James Ross.
Early NFL draft entry(1): Devin Funchess
Injury(1): Kaleb Ringer.
Transferred for PT (1): Ondre Pipkins
Academics/Not Being Nice (1): Dennis Norfleet.
With Ryan Glasgow a bonus walk-on this class is the spine of what was, OSU excepted, one of the best defenses in the country. Only two guys got added to the attrition list, and it was clear that Ondre Pipkins was inclined to stay before clashing with Harbaugh about his health. Pipkins will have a year at Texas Tech to show what he can do.
This class also provided Michigan's starting wide receivers, three-fifths of its offensive line, a boring safety, and a couple of linebackers. Hoke's first full class is going to see 22 of 25 players have their careers end successfully. This is an excellent class that drove Michigan to 9-3 once the glaring hole in it—quarterback—was resolved.
Jourdan Lewis, Derrick Green, Logan Tuley-Tillman
Enrolled: Jourdan Lewis, Derrick Green, Patrick Kugler, Dymonte Thomas, Shane Morris, David Dawson, Henry Poggi, Mike McCray, Taco Charlton, Jake Butt, De'Veon Smith, Ben Gedeon, Maurice Hurst, Delano Hill, Wyatt Shallman, Jaron Dukes, Ross Douglas, Channing Stribling, Khalid Hill, Da'Mario Jones, Reon Dawson, Scott Sypniewski.
Injury(1): Chris Fox.
Transferred for PT (2): Dan Samuelson, Kyle Bosch
Academics/Not Being Nice (2): Logan Tuley-Tillman, Csont'e York
Just five guys have departed, and two of the linemen had things that were just fate: Fox blew his knee out in an un-repairable way, and Kyle Bosch was in a bad place.
This class is going to experience some additional attrition after the season, all of it for playing time reasons, but with Jake Butt, Jourdan Lewis, and Maurice Hill leading a dozen-plus contributors it is another quality class.
It is again notable for the hole at QB, where Michigan went with a mono-afflicted Shane Morris after forgoing one in 2012 and taking Russell Bellomy at the last minute in 2011. The failure of this OL class to break through is the other major disappointment. Of the six enrollees only two remain and neither started this year.
Jabrill Peppers, Ian Bunting, Brady Pallante
Enrolled: Jabrill Peppers, Drake Harris, Bryan Mone, Mason Cole, Lawrence Marshall, Chase Winovich, Freddy Canteen, Ian Bunting, Juwann Bushell-Beatty, Wilton Speight, Maurice Ways, Noah Furbush, Brandon Watson, Jared Wangler, Brady Pallante.
Transferred for PT(1): Michael Ferns.
Ferns departed shortly after Hoke was fired, before Michigan could even hire Harbaugh. That looms rather large for next year. It's still early days for this class but it's looking rather sketchy, with just two guys making a major impact so far.
On the other hand those guys are Peppers and Cole.