Going to be a dodgy year on the OL. Steve Lorenz reports that Grant Newsome has a "minimal" chance of playing in 2017. That is not good. If that's the case you just about have to slide Ben Bredeson outside and run with something like Bredeson/Kugler/Cole/Onwenu/Somebody.
You'd think the leader to be Somebody would be redshirt sophomore-to-be Nolan Ulizio. Ulizio didn't look particularly good when he got in this fall; I've heard that he had mono and was down to 260 at one point. He bounced back during the fall but only to 280. He could surge forward once he gets to the right weight.
A bountiful draft. The NFL's website names Michigan the team poised to send the most talent to the NFL draft:
Early rounds: EDGE Taco Charlton, CB Jourdan Lewis, S Jabrill Peppers, DE Chris Wormley
Middle rounds: TE Jake Butt (injury), WR Amara Darboh, OT Erik Magnuson, RB De'Veon Smith
Late rounds: OG Ben Braden, WR Jehu Chesson, LB Ben Gedeon, DT Ryan Glasgow, S Delano Hill, OG Kyle Kalis, CB Channing Stribling, S Dymonte Thomas
I'd be surprised if Braden and Kalis got picked but everyone else has a real shot of going off the board. Charlton appears to be surging up draft boards to the point where debatably silly things are being said about him:
Mel Kiper says on conference call that Michigan's Taco Charlton is the best pass-rushing defensive end in the draft.
— Kyle Meinke (@kmeinke) January 19, 2017
This is a draft with Myles Garrett in it, so that's a thing.
Harbaugh stories. Chase Goodbread collects them from Michigan players at the Shrine game:
"One time, he told us as a kid he got hit by a mail truck and was in a cast, and was still playing football with it. Then they had to rebreak it -- I can't remember if it was his foot or his arm -- because he kept playing on it and made it worse. I mean, who gets hit by a mail truck? It could only be you, coach Harbaugh." - DB Dymonte Thomas
Screaming works? 538 tracks penalties by which sideline they're thrown on and the results are not encouraging if you're the kind of person who believes people are in charge of things for a reason:
This is NFL data and so not directly applicable to college, but you'd think college refs would be even more susceptible to these sorts of things since they're drawn from a wider pool and are probably less capable on average than NFL refs.
So: the defense gets called for "aggressive" penalties ("unnecessary roughness, personal fouls, unsportsmanlike conduct, and horse-collar tackles" per the article) 30-40% more often when there are people complaining nearby.
Meanwhile the holding graph is very strange since the effect inverses once you approach the goal line. The only mechanism there is revenge(!) as side judges who are now far away from the screaming maniacs exact their price. Maybe it evens out for holding.
Not that anyone calls holding anymore. This was one of the main takeaways from the Film Room broadcast of the national title game: Alabama scores thanks to an edge block on which a defender is yanked to the ground; someone exclaims that is a hold; the assembled coaches all laugh about the fact that nobody calls holding any more.
Tracing Michigan's ground game issues. De'Veon Smith is performing impressively at the Shrine game practices:
One of the best players at the East-West Shrine this week has been Michigan running back De'Veon, Smith and he had a tremendous practice on Wednesday. ... Both his route and the blocking earned Smith some a lot of praise from the coaching staff. In the team scrimmage, he also broke off a few chunk runs, weaving his way through defenders with quickness, balance, and vision.
Scouting sources told WalterFootball.com that Smith could be the best offensive prospect on the East team, and he has had a tremendous week to help his draft stock.
East Day 3 practice - RB De'Veon Smith (Michigan) had a great day. Very good in pass pro, hands, physical, compact build.#shrinegame
— NFL Draft Blitz (@NFLDraftBlitz) January 18, 2017
It would be nice if Michigan's problems were because of Smith since he's out the door and Michigan has a number of guys who look like viable replacements; I don't think that's the case, and his rising draft stock concurs. Michigan has a major build job on the offensive line to undertake. Related: TTB has a breakdown of the guys who Michigan recruited and their destinies.
I guess this is fine. Football is set to get a slightly early signing period:
The Division I Football Oversight Committee is moving forward with a proposal that would open a 72-hour signing period for high school recruits in December. The timeframe would correspond with the current December signing time for junior college recruits.
But the committee isn’t recommending an early-signing time for recruits in June.
That "early" period is still after everyone's season, so most of the coaching changes will have already transpired. I didn't like the rumored June signing period since it was inane to lock guys in before they could take official visits and before the firing season.
While the June date didn't make it, an artifact of those earlier discussions may have wormed its way through anyway:
As part of the committee’s proposal, rules on official visits for recruits would also be modified. Recruits would be allowed to take official visits from April-June of their junior years, two months earlier than initially proposed.
That's good for Michigan, which will be able to get early-deciding kids on campus more easily now.
Midterm CSB rankings. Michigan-relevant players ranked by the NHL's central scouting board:
- F Josh Norris: #46
- D Luke Martin: #67
...and that's it. Mike Pastujov, who was hyped as a potential first-rounder, is not on the list. The cavalry is not coming next year.
Shooting a gun with no bullets in it. There is a Mississippi state senator who thinks he has a magic wand:
Mississippi Rep. Trey Lamar (R-Senatobia) has proposed a new House Bill that would surely benefit Ole Miss’ current recruiting woes: The National Collegiate Athletic Association Fairness in F.A.C.T Investigation Act of 2017.
Lamar, a former Rebels walk-on running back from the early 2000s, is pushing a bill giving the NCAA one year to complete its investigation once it notifies a school of possible rules violations, according to a report from WCBI News.
NCAA: "Or what?"
TREY LAMAR: "Or I shall name a bill at you a second time!"
This is not how state government works, Trey Lamar. FWIW, various coaches at AFCA project that Ole Miss will find out their fate in 2-3 months, and that it will not be pretty. Or it will, because NCAA.
Etc.: Fired Alabama DL coach Bo Davis talks to AL.com, attempts to spin a tale about how his firing was for one violation of the bump rule, cumong man. Analyst Rick Finotti gets the head job at DIII John Carroll. Dumb, but important. The playoff is good. Willis Ward and the track captaincy. Recruiting rankings are getting better because of Hudl. Yost, 1946.
An annual series that attempts to figure out which of the major recruiting services had the best read on a recruiting class. You get three points for the best, two for second, one for third, with ties adding all those up and splitting it. Note that the higher the rank the more willing I am to make a distinction between takes. #20 is different than #60; #200 is the same as #240.
No significant differences:
- Jeremy Clark. The sites missed on Clark (if he plays well in his sixth year and gets drafted) since they didn't think he could play corner. He was a generic three star to all.
- Allen Gant. Nobody was optimistic here. FWIW, ESPN was the most thunderously pessimistic, ranking him the #150 WR and #72 player in Ohio.
- Jarrod Wilson. Wilson was a mid-four star to everyone; Scout put him #245 but actually had him lower positionally than anyone else. Wilson performed to his rating.
- Matt Godin. Godin got one four-star ranking from 24/7; they rated him the #17 SDE and #11 in the state while folks who offered three stars ranked him #8 and #10 in-state and around 30th as a DT, which has twice as many guys as SDE. Those are more or less the same ranking despite the star difference. He was a quintessential 3/4 star tweener and played exactly like it.
- Ben Braden. Generic three star to the world, and that was about right. Braden was co-Sleeper of the Year along with Chesson. Willie Henry was the best pick; Chesson and Braden were probably #2 and #3 depending on how you feel about Jeremy Clark.
- Jehu Chesson. Also a generic three star to everyone.
- Sione Houma. Fullback. ESPN only gave two stars but actually had him higher positionally than anyone else.
Not Applicable: Kaleb Ringer had microfracture surgery as a freshman and never recovered. He transferred to Ferris State. Sites were more or less in agreement on him in any case.
Note: ESPN only ranked out to 150 this year.
A universal four star despite his diminutive size, Richardson barely played and eventually transferred to Marshall. This was not the finest day for any of the scouting services but ESPN was the wrongest, placing him #68 in the country. 247 (#142), Scout(#183), and Rivals(#224) were more skeptical by degrees but not far enough apart to make a distinction.
1st(T): 24/7, Scout, Rivals
Another universal four-star with not much playing time to his name, Ross flashed big talent but ended up watching for most of his career. While this was a miss by everyone, Scout(#83) and 247(#116) were the highest on him, with Rivals (#172) a hair more skeptical. ESPN wins the prize for leaving him at the bottom of their four-star rankings with an 80.
3rd(T): Scout, 24/7
The third in a series of four star guys who didn't pan out; ESPN(#111) and Scout(#113) were higher on RJS by a wide enough margin to ding them relative to Rivals(#184) and 247(#209).
1st(T): Rivals, 24/7
3rd(T): Scout, ESPN
Played a ton, but never particularly well. Ended up undrafted; Michigan upgraded with new faces after his departure. Should have been a high three star; was instead universally hailed with 247(#58) and Scout(#69) significantly higher on him than Rivals(#111) and ESPN(#142).
1st(T): Rivals, ESPN
3rd(T): 24/7, Scout
Finally someone a recruiting service underrated. Wormley was infamously dissed by Josh Helmholdt for his lack of motor; Rivals gave him a generic three star ranking that stands out as the biggest miss of the cycle. He was their #22 player in Ohio... after being the subject of a heated Michigan-OSU recruiting battle. Okay.
Everyone else offered four stars, with 24/7(#72) much higher on him than Scout (#164) and ESPN (unranked four-star). Wormley turned into a stalwart DE/DT who should be off the draft board by the end of day two. 24/7 was thus bang on.
2nd(T): Scout, ESPN
One of the biggest busts of the class, Strobel was a four-star guy to three services. Despite being radically undersized for DT, Strobel was sent there early in his career, emerging as a redshirt junior after Michigan lost their top two nose tackles. Strobel was overrun and not offered a fifth year.
ESPN was the lone skeptic and they were very skeptical. He was the #29 player in OH and the #61 DE. Scout(#93) missed most badly, with 24/7(#198) and Rivals (unranked four star, albeit in front of Wormley) more or less tied for second.
2nd(T): 24/7, Rivals
Despite a large split in opinion I think I have to punt here. Ojemudia was in the midst of a breakout season as a senior when he went down with an achilles injury in game five, i.e. the very instant it was too late to redshirt. Also he was one of the most insane burned redshirt of the Hoke era, getting spot time in nine games as a 230 pound DE.
So was he a four star and guy just outside the top 200 (ESPN, Scout) or a generic three star (24/7, Rivals)? Yes. Also no.
Nobody thought much of Henry when he committed but Scout offered him a reasonably high ranking (#38 DT); the rest of the services (#59 OH, #97 DT, #54 OH) had him in the "if we gave out two stars any more this guy would have two stars" range.
2nd(T): 24/7, Rivals, ESPN
Pipkins had an ACL injury that hampered his career but was healthy enough to play the year after his injury and three years removed from it at Texas Tech, so his lack of impact was probably more about his ability. Everyone missed here; ESPN (four-star outside the top 150, #16 DT) was significantly more skeptical than the rest. Rivals gave him five stars and ranked him in the top 20; Scout and 24/7 had him just outside the top 50.
2nd(T): 24/7, Scout
Everyone except ESPN was in a tight band from #71 to #82 overall; ESPN had him a four-star and the #27 OT in the country. I was ready to punt on this since Magnuson was kind of at the midpoint but both Seth and Ace were strongly in favor of the latter ranking.
2nd(T): Scout, 24/7, Rivals
Rivals was the only service to offer Bars a fourth star; they ranked him the #32 OT. The next most optimistic service, ESPN, had him #54. Bars never played and transferred away.
1st: 24/7, ESPN, Scout
Played a bunch; like Bolden never played particularly well. Has some chance of getting drafted late. Should not have been a five star; Scout(#35) and Rivals(#22) gave him one. 24/7 was significantly more skeptical (#61) and ESPN more skeptical yet(#132).
3rd(T): Scout, Rivals
Generic three star tight end rankings from three services. Scout offered him a fourth, ranked him as an OT, and placed him #225 overall. While Williams did have his late Harbaugh surge, the skeptics were correct.
1st: 24/7, Rivals, ESPN
Another bad miss by Rivals in the Midwest, as a future second-round pick with obvious eye-popping athleticism got three stars from them. Everyone else offered four, with ESPN the most optimistic. He was just outside their (then) top 150 and the #5 TE.
2nd(T): Scout, 24/7
Another guy with three sites in a tight range, this from #199 to #215. ESPN whiffed badly, ranking Darboh the #82 WR and a three-star. The other sites were bang on.
1st(T): Rivals, Scout, 24/7
Sigh. Norfleet made a terrible decision to sign up for a Brady Hoke/Al Borges joint that had less than zero use for a tiny running back, but it must be stated that he should not have been a four star. ESPN was the lone service to dump Norfleet way down their list (#80 RB, #26 MI); the other three sites had him a solid four star from #163 to #236. And they probably would have been right if Norfleet had gone to Kansas State or something.
2nd(T): Scout, Rivals, 24/7
Your 2012 Recruiting Class Rankings Winner is...
ESPN. By a landslide.
- ESPN: 30 points
- 24/7: 24 points
- Rivals: 18 points
- Scout: 17.5 points
It sucks for Michigan that they won largely because they thought a bunch of guys were overrated relative to the rest of the services; on the other hand, ESPN says Michigan has a terrific class this year. So we've got that going for us.
24/7 won the 2011 class, which had fewer points up for grabs since so many of those gentlemen were in the generic three-star void. Your two-year totals:
- ESPN: 39.5
- 24/7: 36.5
- Rivals: 25
- Scout: 24.5
Ron Bellamy Day. From WH. Part II is here.
Remember that one time an otherwise obscure/disappointing player was a superstar for a day?
Full game is on the youtubes.
Smoothitron: I went through his game log not that long ago praying that wasn't his career high, and it's not, but it's close.
The pinnacle stretch of Spike's career was tragically unfun.
[Do NOT hit THE JUMP if you prefer to fondly remember erstwhile highly hyped Michigan scatbacks]
Friday, January 13, 2017
#9 Minnesota 5, Michigan 2
Minn 0 Mich 1 EV 08:57 Assists: Allen & Winborg
The puck’s dumped in, and though that’s usually not a great way to generate offense it works here because Allen’s essentially dumping it to the corner to himself. Getting rid of the puck allows him to use his forward momentum against the back-skating, mid-turn defender without worrying about the puck being knocked away.
Winborg, who’s in the faceoff circle in the screencap above, gets into excellent position behind the net. He’s there to set a pick as Minnesota switches defenders, with the one in the bottom of the faceoff circle in the above screencap the man who’s picked off. Allen has the space behind the two to poke the puck ahead, skate through, and retrieve it.
Allen gets the puck and has a huge passing lane with which to work. Schierhorn’s got to whip his head from tracking behind the net to the side of the net to the high slot too quickly for him to do much about a shot attempt.
Minnesota’s forwards all collapse on net and watch behind the net, which allows Shuart a perfect and completely undefended chance. He puts the puck high on Schierhorn, who can do no more than flinch.
mfw the evil Kohl Center vibes kick in [Patrick Barron]
Entering the contest, Michigan’s defense had been on a dreadful run of form, but the Wolverines played an ugly half of basketball to trail 26-21 at the break; Michigan’s offense was completely out of sorts outside of some nice play from Zak Irvin, but they managed to hold Wisconsin well under a point per possession as a Badger offense seemingly too committed to pounding the ball inside didn’t move the ball well. It was the best half of defense Michigan had played in some time.
An extended 17-2 stretch (which was fueled by some great effort defensively) gave Michigan a 38-30 lead in the second half, but a sequence of early fouls put Wisconsin in the bonus early and the Badgers were able to assert themselves on the offensive end – their run to take the lead was keyed by an offensive rebound on a missed free throw that led to a three.
Michigan’s defense gave up 42 points in the second half, though a decent amount of those points came as the Wolverines intentionally fouled to extend the game. Bronson Koenig had some big threes for the Badgers after the game was tied at 49 with five minutes left; Duncan Robinson – who contributed some offensively – left him wide open off an elevator screen on one, and Derrick Waltonwas juked into leaving him open in the corner on another. Moritz Wagner, who dealt with foul trouble in the second half, and the Michigan offense couldn’t respond. DJ Wilson also was limited by fouls and held scoreless after a red-hot start to Big Ten play.
All of the quintessential Kohl Center elements were present: some brick-heavy low-scoring basketball in the first half, some dubious whistles (that resulted in a few make-up calls for Michigan, to be fair) in the second, and an inexorable Wisconsin run late to seize the game and put it out of reach by hitting enough of their free throws – a pair of Nigel Hayes misses notwithstanding – down the stretch.
Michigan’s defense looked much better, despite the talented Badger big man combo of Ethan Happ and Hayes, but ultimately they gave up 1.09 PPP – and their offense wasn’t quite efficient enough to get the win (the Wolverines were just 12-30 from inside the arc). The loss drops them to 2-4 in Big Ten play, though if they can replicate their success on the defensive side of the floor, a turnaround could be in the offing. At the very least, they need to beat an Illinois team – that recently routed them – on Saturday, as they're quickly running out of time.
|WHAT||Michigan (12-6, 2-3 B1G) at
Wisconsin (14-3, 3-1)
|WHEN||9 pm ET, Tuesday|
|LINE||Wisconsin -10 (KenPom)
Wisconsin -11 (Vegas)
PBP: Dave Flemming
Analyst: Dan Dakich
Right: cheese. Cheese never changes.
Michigan exits the easy bit of their schedule at 2-3 in the Big Ten and now stares down a gauntlet-like substance. Since this is the worst Big Ten in a while—just two teams in the Kenpom top 25—that gauntlet isn't the death sentence it might have been a few years ago. It's still not good, and Michigan kicks it off with the Big Ten's one elite tempo-free team: eternal, unchangeable Wisconsin.
Good news: Michigan's the best offense in the league and by a bit of distance. Bad news: Michigan is the worst defense in the league by a thousand miles. They are currently on pace to be the worst Big Ten defense in the Kenpom era, which stretches back to 2002.
But you knew that already. You can see with your eyes.
THE LINEUP CARD
Projected starters are in bold. Hover over headers for stat explanations. The "Should I Be Mad If He Hits A Three" methodology: we're mad if a guy who's not good at shooting somehow hits one. Yes, you're still allowed to be unhappy if a proven shooter is left open. It's a free country.
|G||3||Zak Showalter||Sr.||6'3, 185||67||14||130||No|
|Barely shoots, low assist rate, good defender|
|G||24||Bronson Koenig||Sr.||6'3, 190||72||21||122||Not At All|
|Primary sniper, 40% on 119 3s. Efficient inside arc as well.|
|F||30||Vitto Brown||Sr.||6'8, 235||53||19||107||No|
|Low usage, high efficiency stretch 4. TO prone.|
|F||10||Nigel Hayes||Sr.||6'8, 240||74||25||115||Not Really|
|Lead dog shoots a ton of midrange jumpers w/ decent efficiency. Good passer. Gets to the line a lot, converts at only 63%|
|C||20||Ethan Happ||So.||6'10, 232||63||26||120||Very|
|Efficient, high-usage post scorer, passes well, dismal FT%|
|G||0||D'Mitrik Trice||Fr.||6'0, 178||45||16||123||Not At All|
|Clone of his brother Travis. Ululating woman on FTs will be his mom.|
|G||21||Khalil Iverson||So.||6'5, 212||40||18||111||Very|
|Petway-esque jumping-jack swingman will get his on putbacks mostly|
|F||25||Alex Illakainen||So.||6'9, 232||25||11||104||Not Really|
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the preview.]