Brian: So that Mike DeBord quote I posted in UV reminded me that I now root against Tennessee in just about every game they play because they hired a coach who I think is not good at coaching. That's a pretty weird reason to wish pain and demise on a program. What is your weirdest reason you hate on a CFB program?
Seth: Other than Scott Frost’s mom you mean?
Brian: Some people want to hit Scott Frost's mom with a shovel for obscure reasons. Can't be helped. Mmmbop.
Seth: Michigan fans will cut you.
no no no no no no no no no no just stop making these
Ace: In the conversation that led to this question, Brian mentioned rooting against Stanford because of David Shaw’s crimes against game theory. I have an entirely different reason. When I was checking out colleges after my junior year of high school, my dad turned a Bay Area business trip into a college tour, and at the time I really liked the idea of going to Stanford.
We joined one of their campus tours. The campus was gorgeous, the university essentially sold itself—and then our guide started talking football. Specifically, he brought up The Play—yes, this play—as a selling point for Stanford, saying some hogwash about how it was really the best reflection of Stanford football since they lost but their band did something wacky. (Notably, this was pre-Harbaugh.)
This offended me to my core. Whenever I’m watching Stanford and I think back to this moment, I hope David Shaw takes his criminally bad game management to new lows. The fans won’t care, anyway.
(I still applied to Stanford. I did not get in. That _totally_ doesn’t play a role here.)
[After the JUMP: screw you and your whole coast]
Karan Higdon and Henry Poggi
Karan, Coach said you hit the hole the fastest of all the running backs. Of the other running backs, what do you think each of them brings to the table that leads to them getting more carries to help you guys win?
“Everybody brings different things. I think it’s just more of a feel of the game versus a lot of assets a player may have. But De’Veon’s extremely powerful. Chris is very similar, he’s quick to the hole. And Ty’s another powerful/quick runner. It’s just based off of what Coach feels.”
Karan, a couple short-yardage situation late in that game, it seemed like maybe there was a hole or what did you see on those plays, and those are obviously going to be critical going forward, right?
“Yeah, most definitely. The defense was penetrating. Our O-line did the best they could to hold it up and I just read. We’re just trying to continue going.”
Karan, from the start of camp, was this the plan to kind of have a running back by committee or was that something that just kind of evolved through the process of finding a running back?
“I would definitely say this is something that evolved. We definitely, I don’t think, planned to have a four-man rotation at running back, but seeing the amount of backs we have that can produce, I think that definitely played a big part of having a four-man rotation.”
[Hit THE JUMP for more]
Life comes at you fast. From We Want Bama to the above in under a year. EDSBS says no, no, no, don't no not that:
YOU SEE THAT THIS IS BASICALLY A EUTHANASIA HEADLINE RIGHT? THAT MICHIGAN STATE DIDN’T LOSE THIS GAME, BUT INSTEAD GOT SOME KIND OF WASTING DISEASE AND TRIED TO MAKE IT COUNT BEFORE THEY DIED? WAS MORGAN FREEMAN ON THE SIDELINES TO ACCOMPANY MICHIGAN STATE AS THEY DID EVERYTHING THEY WANTED TO BEFORE THE GRIM END ARRIVED? OH COOL, MICHIGAN STATE, YOUR FONDEST WISH WAS TO HOLD MICHIGAN SCORELESS FOR A QUARTER BEFORE DISPLAYING A LACK OF UNDERSTANDING FOR BASIC SCORING MATH. MISSION ACCOMPLISHED. WE’LL CUT THE TRAILER TO “HOLOCENE” AND RELEASE IT IN TIME FOR OSCAR CONSIDERATION.
Come for the all-caps rant, stay for the discussion of the most Michigan serial killer. I've still got HH Holmes. North Campus represent.
Life also runs away from you fast. This isn't quite a 40, but in pads at the end of a game where you played both ways it's still eyepopping:
— Chad Kent (@Chad_Kent) October 31, 2016
He might test okay at the combine.
The Stribling Q. How good is he? He had a rough couple plays against MSU but the verdict still appears to be "very good." PFF just published a snapshot of their top corners as rated by NFL passer rating when targeted. Michigan's CBs are #2 and #3, nationally, behind Clemson's Mark Fields. Stats:
- Lewis has allowed 4 completions on 17 targets for 2.9 YPA with two INTs.
- Stribling has allowed 10 completions on 35 attempts for 4.1 YPA, one TD, and three INTs.
The only other Big Ten corners on the list are OSU's starters at #7 and #10.
Higdon on his future. Interesting quote from him in a Chengelis profile:
“It was really me looking at life after football, Football is not a promising game. You never know when your last snap or play is going to be, so you have to think about the things that’s going to build you as a person versus building you as a football player. I live with no regrets."
He said the choice between Michigan and Iowa made him "sick to his stomach"; that whole Higdon/Weber thing was balanced on a knife edge.
The Debordenberg Project. Tennessee had a moment there when they were recovering every ball that hit the turf and seemed like a top ten team if you didn't look to closely. After three straight losses, the most recent to South Carolina, not so much.
Losing to year one Will Muschamp is bad enough. Virtually photoshopping yourself into an internet meme at a press conference is worse:
“This football team’s fine,” Jones said. “This football program’s fine. I love our fan base. Everything is fine. We’re going to be just fine.”
Survey says... eh, he's probably right. Tennessee finishes the year against Tennessee Tech, Kentucky, Missouri, and Vanderbilt. They should be a deeply unsatisfying 9-3.
Meanwhile in Mike Debord Is A Coordinator For A Power 5 Program:
"South Carolina was trying to take away the long ball," DeBord told members of the Knoxville Quarterback Club at Calhoun's on the River on Monday. "They didn’t want to give up big plays and they didn’t. The other thing is what we see every week, and it’s been interesting, but what we’re seeing on film throughout the week, teams are changing it up. What you practice against is not always what you see in the game. That’s having to adjust with our players and things like that."
IS THIS A NEW CONCEPT TO YOU
AAAAARGH THIS IS HOW A TEAM WITH TOM BRADY, ANTHONY THOMAS AND LIKE FOUR NFL LINEMEN AVERAGED 3.5 YPC IN 2000
NO I'M NOT OVER THAT
no you're being unreasonable
Fine. It's not our problem any more and I should be nice to Mike DeBord even if he seems to just be cottoning on to the fact teams will try to trick you 30 years into his career. I think I called Michigan a Queensbury's Rules program under Lloyd Carr and... yep. Yep yep yep.
Basketball scrimmages Akron. Kudos to Tony Paul, who got enough about it to post an article—I don't recall Michigan's "secret scrimmage" getting any coverage before this year. Akron is a MAC favorite and in a scrimmage scenario you're going to get a lot of rotation that won't continue in competitive games; I wouldn't read much into the score. Akron "might've" won one of the halves per Paul, which rather emphasizes the lack of emphasis to put on scoring.
On the other hand this is a very nice thing to hear:
Sophomore big man Moritz Wagner, who really came on at the end of his freshman season in the postseason, had a big game against Akron and figures to be "a matchup problem" for several opposing teams, the person in attendance said.
Paul also reports that Jon Teske seemed ahead of Austin Davis in the race to be Michigan's third center, which is a mild surprise after the open practice Michigan had.
Kickers on Kenny Allen. Andrew Kahn talks to Kickin' Compentency Lopata and Garrett Rivas about Kenny Allen's workload. Some really interesting inside baseball therein:
“As great as special teams coaches are, I think most of them don’t know the mechanics of kicking and punting,” Lopata said. “In terms of making a change or what’s actually going on with kicks and punts, the vast majority of players rely on other kickers on the team, a personal coach, and themselves. One of the biggest things I try to instill in the players I coach is self-correction—being able to give yourself objective feedback regarding your mechanics.”
That is not to say U-M’s coaches aren’t paying attention. A couple of weeks ago, Harbaugh said he’d noticed that Allen was rushing some of his kicks. “You want to be in that 1.25, 1.3 [second] operation time and he was getting down there one time where he was 1.1.”
Lopata watches games very closely and liked what he saw last Saturday from Allen. “He’s doing a lot of great things with his body positioning—keeping his chest up and having a smooth and fluid follow-through. The biggest tell is what’s happening with the ball. Although PATs are short, judging from the ball rotation and how high up on the net it is, I can tell he’s back to striking the ball flush.
“You want to see an end-over-end rotation and the ball rotating at the right speed—not too fast or too slow; just at that nice, correct pace, which you only know if you see it.”
Article was posted Friday and Allen made good on Lopata's observations, going 3/3 and hitting a 44-yarder. Whole thing recommended.
Hayden Lavigne's backstory. Zach Shaw on Michigan's #1 or #2 or #3 goaltender:
In 2013, Lavigne committed to the Wolverines when he was 17. It was supposed to be a simple story of a talented Canadian taking his game to Michigan before advancing to the pros, but that got shot to hell.
In the fragile position of goaltending, Lavigne became shattered goods in the United States Hockey League. Cut twice in two years in the league, his career was in jeopardy, and Michigan passed on taking him in two years in a row.
But as Lavigne shifted, lunged, batted, swung at and stopped all 31 shots Union peppered at him in his first college game earlier this month, it was clear that he had put the pieces together.
Goalies are weird.
Lavigne figures to get a lot of opportunities to prove his worth over the course of the season: Michigan got swept last weekend by bad teams and massively outshot. They've managed to defy possession, Corsi, and plain old shot totals en route to a decent start, but they're starting to come back to earth. Unless they radically improve their level of play they won't be in the tournament, or anywhere near it. They were outshot 42-21 by Vermont. They are probably the worst team Red Berenson has fielded since the very beginning of his tenure.
Etc.: if you were confused about Pat Narduzzi to Purdue twitter yesterday, the Crimson Quarry explains. Kinda. Playoff rankings tonight, will be anticlimactic. Glasgows gonna Glasgow. Josh Rosen's out for the year, which might help Michigan in some UCLA/M recruiting battles as the Bruins go 4-8 and Jim Mora goes Brian Kelly on the sideline a bunch. The money's got to go somewhere. Hinton on Peppers's Heisman chances.
In yesterday’s press conference, Jim Harbaugh said that Karan Higdon gets to the hole faster than any other back on the roster. He received more touches than any other player in the fourth quarter, and Harbaugh said that was in large part because of State’s edge pressure. On his longest carry of the game, Higdon showed that he, too, can exert some pressure on the edge.
In the third quarter, Higdon took a toss on 2nd and 11 and dipped and ducked from the edge to the inside for 11 yards. I had the opportunity to ask him about that particular run:
With the initial motion on the play and then motioning back across the formation to the right, do you think you got them out of their run fit?
“Yeah. Yeah, I definitely think the double motion threw the defense off. We have a lot of different plays that come out of that same exact type of motion and formation, so it definitely threw them off.”
It looked like a pretty vanilla front at first, just a basic 4-3. When you lined up, what were you seeing?
“I just look at the ‘backers, the ‘backers and the safety rotation because they’re trying to dictate where I go.”
As the ball’s pitched, what are you looking for?
“How the defense flows. If they flow over the top, I can cut under. If they underpursue me, I can outrun them.”
As you got to the edge you have Magnuson there and you cut off of him. How are you coached to do that? Is there a certain depth you’re supposed to be at or are you waiting for him to initiate the defender?
“Trusting my instincts. Just trusting my instincts and reading his key block.”
And as you cut there, a safety shows up in the hole. What do you remember thinking in that moment?
“I don’t think. If you’re thinking, you’re not playing, so I just react. Run to react.”
So for you, you’re in that moment just making a cut off instinct rather than knowing you want to go outside to inside or inside to outside?
How do you learn to do that? Is that from live reps?
“Reps, practice, trusting yourself, and having confidence.”
What will it take to keep the guys focused and playing at a high level the rest of the year every week?
“I think it takes a lot of commitment. Hard work. Good goals. Uh…commitment. Good football character. Good human character. I feel like we’ve got those kind of guys.”
You’ve been able to get the ball to four running backs, a couple of wide receivers, Jabrill, fullbacks. Short and long term, how much does that help you whether it’s recruiting, but also to win games because the other team doesn’t quite know who’s going to get the ball and everybody’s fresh?
“I think it helps in all the ways you just said. Helps in all those areas.”
I think Mone went out of the game in the first half? Did he come back in or is he hurt?
“Yeah, he fell down. Fell down on his leg and came off, but he came in yesterday saying he felt good.”
Do you have any expectations whether Grant Perry will play this week or is he still going through whatever he’s going through?
“Yeah, we’ll…to be determined.”
Thoughts on DJ Durkin coming in with Maryland and the job he’s done with them so far this year.
“He’s done a fabulous job. Just always respected DJ as a tremendous competitor at the highest level. Smile thinking about his competitiveness, and also always happy for a friend’s success. I think he’s doing a fabulous job, him and his entire staff and team. You can see the energy. You can see the strength. You can see the competitiveness and execution on the field, et cetera. The flip side of that is we know that this’ll be a big game, a championship game. This will be a real test for our club.”
[After THE JUMP: We’ve got to build some immune systems. More push-ups. More whole milk.]
After a hiatus for State Week, the hoops preview continues with a look at Michigan's starters on the wing. I'll cover the backups in a separate post later this week; Seth's been kind enough to take over the Maryland FFFF this week so I have time to get these posted before the season starts.
The starting wings will be the same as last year: Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman mans the two while Duncan Robinson and Zak Irvin occupy the nominal forward spots. All three had their ups and downs in 2015-16; all have the potential to make a huge mark on the 2016-17 season if they can more consistently play to their strengths.
[Hit THE JUMP for the player previews.]