Moe Wagner can take M's center position to new heights. [Bryan Fuller]
Michigan entered last season hoping that Ricky Doyle would take full control of the center position and look the part of a reliable four-year starter. Instead, Doyle couldn't hold onto the ball or the starting job, and in March we learned he'd been suffering from undiagnosed sleep apnea. Mark Donnal supplanted Doyle even though freshman Moe Wagner, in brief early-season appearances, looked like the better player. An uninspiring Donnal-Doyle rotation lasted all the way through Big Ten season; after barely playing, Wagner broke through in the postseason.
Entering this season, the starting job is Wagner's to lose. Donnal looks destined to finish his Michigan career in a backup role; while Donnal is a redshirt junior, John Beilein has been understandably noncommital about bringing him back for a fifth year. Two very large freshmen, Jon Teske and Austin Davis, will battle for spare minutes; in all likelihood, one will get their feet wet while the other redshirts.
Please stay out of foul trouble, Moe.
[Hit THE JUMP for player breakdowns.]
SPONSOR NOTES: Man, that fourth quarter was irritating. Like wearing pants. Also, Dan Gilbert just gave MSU 15 million dollars so you clearly can't get a loan from him even before we consider his major role in the financial crisis. Instead of feeding him more money with which to write in comic sans, try a local guy.
In addition to being a gentleman replete with Michigan tickets, Matt is also a good man to know if you need a mortgage. It's striking that we actually get non-astroturfed comments about positive experiences with Matt not infrequently.
If you're buying a home or refinancing, he's the right guy to call.
FORMATION NOTES: Not much. This was "goal line H" for MSU and made several increasingly less effective appearances. Michigan had one wacky 3-man-line snap on the first drive and then threw that away permanently, so the rest of the game was more or less this:
Of note: against these big formations M swapped their corners and safeties to get a couple bigger guys on the line.
SUBSTITUTION NOTES: 74 snaps for the defense, with the starting secondary and Gedeon getting all of them. McCray missed just two snaps; Peppers missed six with various minor issues. Furbush got those six.
DL rotation was severely reduced, with Charlton getting all but ten snaps—Winovich got 14, and I think all of those after the first drive were in pass rush packages. Wormley and Glasgow were close behind at 59 and 57; Godin and Hurst did split their snaps about down the middle. Gary got 21 snaps; Mone got 3 before limping off.
Metellus and Watson got various dime snaps.
[After THE JUMP: not great bookending pretty great.]
It felt inevitable that Cass and King would meet in the PSL Championship Game considering the perennial talent on the two squads; after all, they met in the PSL final just last year with King edging Cass, 27-25.
This year, Cass wasted no time getting on the board. Just minutes into the game Donovan Peoples-Jones hauled in a deep ball and outran Ambry Thomas to the end zone. From there, Cass built a 28-0 lead. King eventually found its offense thanks to Thomas, who looked excellent at receiver and finished the game with three touchdown catches. Thomas found himself matched up frequently against Jaylen Kelly-Powell; the two are cousins, and both have Michigan offers. King fought back in the second half, but Cass countered them each time and walked away with a 41-20 victory.
There was plenty to watch in this one what with all the Michigan offers on the field, and especially since they played head-to-head often. Cass beat King earlier in the season on a rain-soaked field; this matchup looked different, as playing in a dome let the players showcase just how talented they are.
[After THE JUMP: Donovan Peoples-Jones, Jaylen Kelly-Powell, and Ambry Thomas scouting reports and film]
[ed-Seth: Thanks again to Matt Gase, Michigan grad and CEO of Eat Well Embrace Life, for being a most excellent sponsor of Joe Pichey’s most excellent recipes. How I’d rank them: 1) Sriracha Carrot, 2) Yellow Lentil, 3) Edamame, 4) Black Bean, 5) Three-Peppers (no relation), 6) Wasabi Edamame, 7) White Bean, 8) Red lentil, 9) Beet, 10) Any other hummus. I don’t like beets. My wife keeps buying it because her list is almost my list in reverse.]
This is probably the easiest recipe we will do all season. I kinda feel like I’m cheating this week because the crockpot is making an appearance. Yes, the crockpot. If you’re anything like me, you love dips and always have a dipping’ station at your tailgate. We usually have about 4-5 dips out and several crockpots going. This recipe was given to me by my friend Nic-Awesome and is my new favorite dip. Of course, I had to trick it up by smoking the chicken but that step is not necessary. You can go with store bought chicken if you’d like and just toss it all in together. Either way we go, you will love this one. Thanks Nic.
- 1 block of Cream Cheese (8 OZ)
- 4 chicken breasts or 6 chicken Thighs
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- 4 oz crumbled blue cheese
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 cup Hot Sauce (Franks is my favorite)
- 1.5 TBS Spicy Ranch Seasoning
- 4 green onions – (roughly chopped)
[Hit THE JUMP to gooey goodness]
We’ve got to go back….to the last movie
As usual at this time of year Ace is called away to preview bouncy hoopy ball, so I get to watch film. Finding film, now that was hard. Penn State and Minnesota handled them, Purdue tells you zero, and the Indiana game went vintage #CHAOSTEAM. So we’re going back to the same game we covered last week.
Granted, this runs the risk of running into our former selves, for which I foresee two possibilities: 1) Coming face to face with football this awful again will put you into shock and you’d simply pass out. Or 2) The encounter could create a time paradox, the results of which could cause a chain reaction that would unravel the very fabric of the space time continuum, and destroy the entire universe! Granted, that's a worse case scenario. The destruction might in fact be very localized, limited to schools that belong in the ACC.
Personnel. My diagram [click to embiggen]:
Hurst is back in for Godin and the rest of Michigan is unchanged.
As for the Terps, the receivers are all slot types, and the tallest may be the slottiest—Teldrick Morgan, the grad transfer from New Mexico State, was most often the jet guy. Maryland will move them all around, and run a ton of WR screens.
There’s a big contrast between the left side of the offensive line, which has two Academic All-Big Ten former walk-ons in consideration for play-related conference awards, and the right side, which has a 5-star true freshman and an even more lost 5-star true sophomore. The latter, Damian Prince, may be more of a problem than numbers show. The true freshman, Terrance Davis, actually did alright. The guy he replaced, Shelton, still comes in once in awhile when Davis needs instruction.
PFF’s grading of these guys made sense on the left and none on the right: Michaels Minter and Dunn are +13.5 and +11.6 respectively, almost all of that in the run game. Those scores held up on film. Dunn, the LT, is kind of a senior version of Mason Cole last year: great in space, and solid at pass pro up to—but not including—elite pass rushers. Minter is agile and built low—kind of reminds me of OSU’s Billy Price. On the right, Prince and Davis have positive pass block ratings(?!?) and negative run grades. I believe that’s mostly because Maryland’s offense does whatever they can to hide these guys. The PFF scores reflect an OL that’s rarely asked to do more than delay a pass rush for longer than it takes to set up a bubble screen.
That helps explain why that tight end, Hayward, graded out as a disaster to PFF. Derrick Hayward is an Ebron special: can’t catch, isn’t built to block, athletic enough to be drafted in the 1st round by the Detroit Lions. He rarely gets to go out in a pass pattern in long situations because the 6’3 right tackle always needs help. On non-passing downs they’ll flex him out as a 4th receiver, or bring him off the line as an H-back for various Harbaugh-style blocks—he’s good at ID’ing but doesn’t stand up to a hit and has a tendency to hold. McDowell had a field day against these guys.
[Hit THE JUMP for a poor man’s Ohio State]
You guys didn’t punt until the fourth quarter Saturday. I’m guessing you’re pretty pleased with the way things went offensively.
“Yeah, went well. Good to get a win on the road like that. Guys played well. Always good to come back with a victory. I was pleased with the offensive performance. It’s a new week. Kind of forgotten about that. The problems that occur here with the next opponent we face, so just moving on.”
Mason seems like a very dependable guy. Talk about that side of him and what he gives you every game, every play.
“Mason, football’s very, very important to him, [and] that he’s right. He’s got great football awareness. Can really fix problems. He’s a competitor. He loves to compete. Great leader. Really gets it. Once you tell him, he’s got it. Really locks in his brain. He plays at a very, very high level and it’s just a real pleasure to have him. He’s a real great team leader, especially on the offensive line with what we’re trying to do.”
What went into the decision to have Bredeson in there and have Juwann [Bushell-Beatty] with the second team?
“We just felt like that was the best thing for us. Juwann’s doing a nice job. Ben’s done a nice job. We just felt that that was a good combination in there, best for us to be successful.”
How far has Ben Bredeson come from that first game to now?
“A long way. Just, he understands what we want to do, how we’re going to do it. Processes quickly on his feet. Just, he’s played a lot of reps in there. The maturity level, the confidence in his eyes. Anytime you go out in a game and suit up and go play another game and start, you grow more and the more practice reps you get the better off you’ll be, so he’s really made a great transition.”
[Hit THE JUMP for more]