the season has truly begun now
Several years ago a board member came up with the idea of introducing some of the more prominent personalities in the pages of MGoBlog; thus was born the MGoProfile Series. He's interviewed everyone from Lloyd Brady to WolverineHistorian, to Magnus, Shredder, TomVH, and Brian Cook, as well as plenty others, but there's one important member of the MGoBlogosphere he's still missing.
You've read his comic. You've seen his designs that litter every corner of this site. You're probably wearing a t-shirt designed by him right now, and if you're not well you should get on that. He even once ended WWII with vector graphics. Today the writers of MGoBlog turn the microphone around so you can meet the MGoArtist, MGoCartoonist, MGoProfiler, and MGoLegend himself. It's time to set your Maize-and-Bluephoria Hype-o-Meter to six as we proudly introduce the one, the only (…person who can write a more hyped introduction than this one):
Question from Seth:
There's the profiles, the logos, the banners, the t-shirts, and now the Blockhams…just how much art do you do around here, and how did all of these projects come about?
Hard for me to answer, since I’m not entirely sure how much art is really put forth at MGoBlog. I guess only Brian could answer that.
I can say that I’ve done a whole mess of t-shirts, the logo that was originally born out of the first ‘MGoShirt Alert’ series, the masthead and its entire 2010 coaching search shtick, a few Hello player graphics for Tom and Tim, an occasional ad or graphic for Brian, and yes, the Blockhams. Oh, and the Marvin Robinson with the three on his chest, for Shoe, haha.
As for HOW they all came about… it’s a pretty lengthy story to tell. I guess I proposed the t-shirt poll/promotion to Brian in the summer of ’09(?), and I’m sure many can remember how not-so-smoothly the whole thing began. But after the mascot shirt was declared the winner I was basically contacted by the powers that be about developing several other shirts and continuing where they left off. I do a lot of shirts, and not all of them show up in the catalog, obviously, but it’s been fun partnering with some pretty great people to make them happen, and the real payoff is when you see heroes like Desmond and Woodley wearing things that were born on my living room floor on a laptop with my dog on my feet.
Everything else has evolved from the partnership and trust built from those endeavors, really. The Blockhams came together pretty quickly in November of ’11… I had done a comic before when I worked in the newspaper industry, so I had some experience with the process. As for the characters, I just sketched ‘em up as representatives of the fan base, and bounced them off of a few famous names like Tom and Rishi and MGoShoe to see what they thought of it. And it blossomed pretty fast.
When I got my first MGoShirts they were Zoltan: Space Emperor (of Space), the Woodson-Heisman shadow, and an original-run "Strike a Pose" for the wife, making her one of the first people to have one. This is how she came to tell Desmond Howard "you're wearing my shirt" that one time. Anyway as you read this see if you can guess which shirts of the ones pictured below were Six's and which were "Six Zero Style."
Question from Seth:
We've seen it in the little "60" logo you put on your art, but just what does "Six Zero" mean?
I’ve been a hockey player for pretty much all of my life, and in the nineties I was getting pretty respectable—not Jim Lahey good, but one of the stars of the various leagues I played in. My whole life I had worn #6, but being that it was the nineties, and everyone from Rick Tocchet to Radek Bonk was wearing high circus numbers, I wanted something that’d be uniquely mine, that no one else in the entire league would ever wear. Stupid, I know.
I remember bouncing back and forth between 46, 64, and 60 before settling on the latter. I’ve since gone back to the single #6, which looks pretty good on a left winger crashing the boards, if I do say so.
Anyways, a decade later, when I finally decided to stop becoming a reader and an actual member of the community, it just sounded right. It was also around the same time that I wished to create a brand name for my freelance pursuits, and so I slapped it on there as well.
Not gonna lie; we were kind of hoping you were a mini-mite blessed with endless guts, puckhandling skills and eligibility, who's devastatingly effective on the power play.
Question from Brian:
Why isn't there a shaggy haired dog with glasses that speaks only MGoBlog quotes in the Blockhams? I mean, seriously.
The dog. Brian has no idea how ironic this actually is… I was gonna make the dog shaggy with black ears and have him constantly working on his ‘blog.’ Subtle, right? But there’s some show called Family Something with a dog named Brian, and I’m not a big fan of feeling unoriginal, so I backed off.
This doesn't matter! I am nothing like Family Guy! NOTHING!
Question from Brian's bolded subconscious:
All of your interviewees had to answer so now it's your turn: How did you become a Michigan fan, and how did you find MGoBlog? (Please answer in Haiku and/or a CHART!!!)
It’s hard for me explain exactly what made me the Michigan fan I am today, but I can recall a few very specific events that made it happen. First of all, I remember being a boy some Saturday, and scrolling through the channels to find some football on. I don’t know what the date was, or even where it was being played, but I can very clearly remember seeing Jim Harbaugh roll out of the pocket in that crisp white jersey with the single-color numbered #4 and the Northwestern stripes, and that brilliant high-contrast helmet with the weird design and the stripes… and it just spoke to me. For a while I even thought it was Pittsburgh or something, because those are the kind of presumptions a kid makes growing up in Pennsylvania. But there was something about that image, that moment that I identified with, and although it would be years before anything came of it, a seed was planted.
Growing up in a Penn State family, we watched a lot of football, mostly NFL and the Nittany Lions. And I sort of saw myself as the black sheep or something, because I just didn’t want to be a Penn State fan. I remember shocking the world one night in ’86 when I announced I did NOT want to watch PSU play for the national title against Miami. As time went on, I felt this need to start watching college football more closely, because there was something about the fans and their devotion, something mythic and deeper than pro ball that piqued my curiosity. And I would need my own team to do that, and Penn State would not be it.
From there it was easy. As I learned about the sport, I learned—on my own, as a kid, mind you-- about the tradition of Michigan, the reputation of Schembechler football, the uniforms, the songs. It all spiked from there, and they were my de facto college team. But, I also became a ridiculous hockey junkie around the same time, so everything sort of took a back seat to the NHL. It wasn’t until college that I REALLY began to gorge myself on Michigan football.
In the late 90’s I became totally devoted to Michigan, culminating in that amazing season in 1997. By then my demand for relevant information became insatiable, and so I took to the Information Super.. something, mostly in the form of the official site and MLive.com. For several years MLive and The Wolverine became daily staples for me, and eventually each failed to quench my thirst for info on the team and its various efforts on and off the field.
One day I found this site called MGoBlog, and was amazed by the depths of fanaticism and loyalty. It was like I found some inner circle of UM addicts, and I was intimidated by them. Them and their vulture-like attacks on wrongly cited stats, their passionate soap-box rants, and their bizarre and exclusive humor. And I wanted to be like them.
For a year or two I perused the site occasionally, mystified and threatened and envious of people like ChiTownBlue, Dex and some guy named Brian. I remember the first time Brian actually recognized my presence during an online chat or something, and I felt like Tom Cruise buying into a higher level of Scientology or something. By the time Henne finished rubber-arming his way through a sloppy OSU game, I was reading the blog just about every day. And by the opening week of the Rich Rod era, I couldn’t stand it anymore. I signed up and the rest is history.
Helmet wings to Six Zero: "Join us, and together we will rule the Big Ten with pants that cover our ankles!"
Question from Ace:
Which schools have offered you? Which are going after you the hardest right now?
Funny you should say that… in the process of shopping for my MFA in design. SCAD is the early frontrunner, but unless they offer me a full scholarship for t-shirt production it may not happen.
Question from Heiko:
I have never once seen you run a bubble screen. Do you have something against this particular play?
I do not want to talk about that play. EVER. And that’s it.
Question from Ace:
Talking about Michigan specifically, which coach has been in contact with you, and what's your impression of the coaching staff and the school?
Dude, it’s kinda crazy. The coaches pretend like I don’t even exist sometimes….?
Question from Seth:
When I type in "Six Zero" in Google I get some weird stuff like ladies scarf retailers, a London-based music management group, hockey jersey concepts, NSFW sexy Korean comedy, and the score of whatever crappy, defense-tastic SEC game happens to be on. Which of these are you, and which are someone trying to cash in on your hard-earned fame?
I can definitely say, at least in terms of my freelance ventures, I kinda wish I didn’t use ‘Six Zero.’ There’s a lot of Six Zero’s out there, even and especially in the design world. I actually have a custom logo that I often use for myself, and I’ve been thinking about re-branding my branding business under a new name. To be continued…
As for your above list, I’m the hockey jersey concepts. Done a lot of work for Icethetics.info and Puckdrawn.com. I even was a finalist for the Pensacola Ice Flyers logo a few years back, but lost out on what I think was some kind of backdoor deal between friends. I say that smugly because I think their logo is garbage.
I agree. This is sweet!
Question from Brian's bolded subconscious:
Can you describe just what MGoBlog has meant to you? Please submit your answer in table or chart format (and supply Excel spreadsheet).
MGoBlog isn’t the official page of Michigan football. But it’s essentially the official page of the fan base, or at least its hardcore contingent, as far as I’m concerned. There are times it feels like an empire, and there are other times where it feels like an animal that has yet to fully mature. But when you look at how it has evolved in even the last few years, and how self-sufficient it has become, it’s very easy to believe that MGoBlog will become a part of Michigan sports culture and the fan experience for years to come.
Obviously our generation(s) has been afforded the means to follow Michigan sports in ways that previous fan bases could never imagine, and that’s changed the entire experience of being a fan in general for both good and bad. The blog community makes the experience more individualistic, more single-player than ever before. Our father probably sat at the bar or in a pre-man cave arrangement, watching the game with his closest, most trusted friends on antenna cable or just shooting breeze on a two-week old victory. Men. Talking. (shudders)
Fast forward to now and the average MGoBlog user is tuning out his wife or his prof or whatever to log into the site and rant about team events that happened less than five minutes ago with people he doesn’t even know. It amazes me sometimes—I have friends here, people that I know—how they will react to things, what they will say and what they like and dislike—people that are good to me and watch my back and vice versa. And I’ve never even met them!! For some, I don’t even know their name—and most of them could walk right past me and I wouldn’t even know. And that’s a good thing, because we connect with people we’d otherwise never have access to.
Obviously it’s not all exclusive to MGoBlog. We’re moving more and more to a society where people thrive as anonymous, online-driven personalities, and the actual carbon-based life-forms we meet on a day-to-day basis are more like, I don’t know, alter egos. Our kids could conceivably live in a world of Clark Kents who don’t really show their true self until they log into their online community of choice.
Wait, what was the question??
Also, Excel is the second worst application ever. Ask the Shredder about what I think is worse.
Not touching that.
Question from Ace:
If you had to scout yourself, what are your biggest strengths as a
player blogger, and what are you looking to improve for your senior year and beyond?
Aha, knew this was coming—I always put this on everyone else, and now I have to take my own medicine. I have some say on what the site looks like and all that, but not in some maniacal take-over-the world way. It’s more like a client-freelance relationship, and I’m just trying to give Brian what he wants and help him realize that visually, or at least give him ideas. I’d like to think MGoBlog is more of a brand than it was before I got my hands on it, if that makes any sense. I’m not really on staff, but I kinda feel like I am. Sure, I can admit I’d like to be recognized as a part-timer or something, but things are working well the way it is, so whatever.
I also think I’ve found my voice in terms of posting, and I try to keep things lighthearted and optimistic. We all have unique perspectives on team events and wins and losses, and I enjoy getting philosophical on them from time to time. I remember the night after Tate-to-Mathews vs. ND ’09, and writing a small post about how, after the game, I went out to the back yard with my dog and, in the chilly autumn air, watched the sun set over the mountains in the West. I talked about the special magic that took place that day, and that despite being a couple hundred miles away, I felt like I was a part of it.
I’m settled down with all of the blessings and trappings of work and home and a young family, so I just don’t make it out very often anymore. But yeah, I feel a part of what happens in that football stadium, and I’d like to think that comes through in what I contribute to the blog.
We don't have jackets or anything so if you get a check… But don't tell Heiko that because we have him convinced there's a hazing process.
Question from Brian:
Let's come back to the be-speckled, shaggy haired dog question. You do realize this would be hilarious right?
Yes, I do. I’ve kind of dropped the ball with the dog, Fielding—he’s long overdue for the spotlight. I planned on at least having the baby maul him and stuff, but neither of them are starring roles, unfortunately. Maybe I could kill the dog and replace him with Brian?
Question from Seth:
After an epic game in 2010, Wife Day dropped off the Michigan schedule. Any truth to the rumor that Dave Brandon canceled this in favor of playing a Division II Mahjong Team at a neutral site?
Wife Day. Insanity.
It started out innocent enough, just a play on Brian’s previews and having a little fun at my own expense. But then it BLEW UP, which was kinda cool at first, reading some of the responses and then getting email from my inner circle of MGoFriends. But then, sometime the next day it got a little out of control, these dudes telling me what I need to do to score with my wife or just plain up talking about her. I didn’t care at all what anyone said about me, but I went out of my way to reinforce that the blog was not welcome to make jokes about my amazing spouse. Especially because our family got some bad news that very same day, and none of us really felt like laughing anymore.
Last year I got all kinds of questions about Wife Day II, and it was obvious that there’d be no topping it. So why try.
Brandon and I almost cut a deal for Wife Day, but only if I agreed to be followed around by a mascot all afternoon. And a man standing beside the dressing rooms playing 80’s arcade games on my phone is already too conspicuous for the management of Ann Taylor Loft the way it is, so it’s not likely to happen.
Brandon is altering the deal; pray he doesn't alter it any further.
Question from Seth:
If you had just one chance to write the best diary ever or else the entire world would be vanquished by an intergalactic army of laser-wielding monkeys with wings, what would you choose for a lead graphic?
I’d draw, in vector format of course, Denard riding in on a dolphin with that cool unicorn-fart-gun with Lloyd Brady over one shoulder and Charlie Blockham on the other. He’d be wearing my banned Mike Martin Hulk Smash shirt. He wouldn’t use reins to guide the dolphin, he’d just punch it to get it to follow his wishes. And the dolphin would actually be riding LaMarr Woodley. And all of them would be mauling laser-wielding donkeys like an angry Jake Long.
I'm sorry, the correct answer was Denard riding a dolphin with a unicorn fart gun and Lloyd Brady on the LEFT shoulder and Charlie Blockham on the right. We salute our new winged monkey overlords.
Question from Brian:
I mean seriously, the dog. You could have him look like me and bark out things like "I am a spread zealot no foolies!" This is not a question.
I’ve done talking dogs before. Funny thing is, it gives them too much presence. Like, when they’re NOT talking, you’re wondering why they’re NOT talking, or what they’re thinking. And besides, the temptation to draw Brian Cook the dog doing dog things, like sniffing his butt or humping furniture, would be VERY tempting.
I do not understand why you would be tempted to do this.
This comes from a user who asked to remain anonymous:
"Why haven't you profiled me yet?"
MGoProfile has been a big hit, much bigger than I originally anticipated it would be. The first profile and the entire concept was born literally in about twenty minutes in an email exchange between me and TomVH.
As for why I haven’t profiled XXXX yet… well, I think we set the bar pretty high early on with regards to who is profiled and how well they could turn it into something uniquely their own. Jamie Mac killed his, and Blue in South Bend’s was epic as well. So I feel a certain responsibility of who gets selected... I'm fairly certain my own will fail to live up, haha. It’s also extra work and I don’t always have time for it. In the summer of 2010 I did one every week, and it was really big, but then last year there was just a whole lot of changes in my family life that clearly made MGoProfile a low-priority affair. This year I’ve resigned myself to at least doing one per month during the offseason, which is still more work than you might think. As such, that’s not a lot of profiles, and so the slots fill up very quickly.
As for who gets the nods and when, it’s not really my choice anymore. I just try to fill the loudest demands. (Looks at Aquaman tellingly).
Actually this went pretty quickly except for the part where the profile-ee wants to micromanage the responses and format because it's his…heheheh
Question from Heiko:
There's been a lot of talk on this site about pooping impossible things. Could you tell us what one should consume in order to excrete gold, rainbows, and/or magic? We don't cover that in med school.
I hate to say this… I recently grew up, and now fart jokes just don’t work anymore. I’m sorry. Be careful, kids, or this will happen to you too. Hopefully this helps, and thanks for taking the time to put all this together.
In all seriousness Six Zero has done an amazing job in helping MGoBlog establish a professional look and identity. Anywhere you find Michigan fans you'll see one of his shirts. From the page that loads with the iPhone app to the shirt store to the imagery inside Hail to the Victors and on so many pages of the blog itself, his artistic talent and skills make him an important part of our operation.
Today's recruiting roundup discusses E.J. Levenberry's impending announcement, the status of Su'a Cravens, a big-time new 2014 offer, and much more.
Levenberry Announcement Set for Tuesday
VA LB E.J. Levenberry has long been one of the top targets on Michigan's board, with the coaching staff holding open a spot for him despite turning away several top-flight linebackers recently. Come Tuesday at 3 pm, we'll find out if he's using that spot, as Levenberry will make his choice between Michigan and Florida State. The tea leaves are difficult to read on this one. Rivals national analyst Mike Farrell has long maintained that the Seminoles held the lead, but after Levenberry's visit for the Spring Game weekend, he's backing off a bit from that stance. Scout's Kristen Kenney caught up this week with E.J.'s father ($), who says it's currently "dead even" between the two schools. The latest Michigan visit did make a big impact, however:
"Brady Hoke is building something special at Michigan. The coaching staff there is like regular people. It's a family place, and that stood out to us. Put it this way, we were at the spring game and 400 or more guys who used to play for the school came back to the game. That speaks volumes as to what that program means to people."
By all accounts, this will be a toss-up. We'll find out next week if Michigan can add another four-star linebacker to the fold.
Another blue-chip defender also set an announcement date this week, though Michigan's chances look less strong in this case. CA S Su'a Cravens posted on Twitter that he'll make his choice on June 6th, his mom's birthday (awww). After entire minutes of fretting that Cravens has yet to visit Michigan, the five-star safety also posted that he'll take unofficial visits before his decision; though he's declined to name the schools he'll visit, the Wolverines presumably would get a trip. Still, given that he's already got a date in mind, it's logical to think that he's also got a school in mind; the general consensus is that school is USC. Cravens recently told Scout's Brandon Huffman($) about interest in Alabama and intended trips to Michigan, Nebraska, and Ohio State, so those schools appear to comprise his final group along with the Trojans and UCLA. Unless he has a game-changing visit to Ann Arbor—not out of the question with this staff—I'd presume Cravens will stay in-state.
Xxplosive/West Coast... Er, Receiver
Sam Webb's latest DetNews profile is on CA WR Sebastian Larue, who's emerged as one of the team's top targets at wideout. Larue states in the article that he currently has no favorites, but would "definitely" like to visit Michigan; he also has family from Flint, which gives the Wolverines a nice in. Brandon Huffman also provides a scouting report:
"He very well could be the most explosive pass catcher in the region," said Scout.com West regional manager Brandon Huffman. "He's a true game-breaker at receiver and kick and punt returns, and is electric in the open field. He's the kind of athlete capable of catching a little 5-yard hitch, making five or six guys miss, and taking it to the house. He has strong hands and is not just a deep threat; he's a polished and smooth route runner who knows how to get open."
Speaking of receivers, IL WR Laquon Treadwell spoke with Webb about his Spring Game visit ($), and while most presumed this was the case, it's always nice to get confirmation:
To date Treadwell hasn’t settled on a list of favorites nor has he determined which schools he plans to officially with possible exception. Will Ann Arbor be one of his destinations?
“Yeah, I think so,” he replied.
Meanwhile, five-star MD CB Kendall Fuller told Scout's Kristen Kenney($) that Michigan "felt like a second home," in large part because of his relationship with former Good Counsel teammate Blake Countess. It's still an uphill battle for Fuller with his two older brothers having played at Virginia Tech, but it looks like the Wolverines have a realistic shot, which I wouldn't have said two weeks ago.
247's Steve Wiltfong tweeted that IL RB Ty Isaac will not visit any more schools this spring. I'd take that as a positive, since Isaac has visited Michigan multiple times and seems to be growing weary of the recruiting process. If he were to decide without taking any more visits, the Wolverines would be the prohibitive favorites.
In 2014 news, Michigan offered 6'2", 225-pound SC ATH K.C. Crosby, who already holds over 20 BCS offers and projects to be one of the top recruits in his class. Crosby projects to either linebacker or tight end, and 247's Clint Brewster reports that Michigan hasn't stated which position they're recruiting Crosby to play ($).
Shane Morris Feature and MOAR Four-Stars
ESPN released this Elite11 video feature on Shane Morris:
Yes, Shane can dunk (a football in this case, though he says he can dunk a basketball as well); we also get some good insight from the Elite11 coaches, who love Morris's arm strength but want to see him dial it back a bit on the shorter routes.
ESPN wasn't the only recruiting service to update their rankings recently, as both Scout and 247 did a little reshuffling of their top lists. The Scout 300 barely changed, as you can see on TTB, though three players—Jourdan Lewis, Gareon Conley, and Jaron Dukes—got bumped up to four stars.
247 made some changes to their Top247, and while most were relatively minor, five Ohio prospects entered the list. Three of those five are Michigan commits: Ben Gedeon (#171), DeVeon Smith (#230), and Conley (#236). Smith and Conley both seem to be rising in the eyes of scouts, especially Conley, who's picked up four-star ratings from the last three services to update (Scout, ESPN, and now 247, with Rivals being the lone holdout).
After those updates, 15 of Michigan's 17 commits now are four-star or higher on at least three of the four recruiting services. Khalid Hill is now the only commit you can justifiably categorize as a sleeper now that Dukes is a four-star on two sites.
Two things. One: I feel bad today in about three ways. I'm taking a day off. Apologies. I'll have everything you ever wanted to know about Allen Gant on Monday.
Two: I assume the box you see at the right hand side will turn into kitten fireworks around 4:30, when the Kickstarter funds, and funds spectacularly. Given our numbers there's a fair chance everyone reading this has already participated.
For that we thank you. This is a massive humblebrag opportunity, so here goes: it boggles the mind that we could raise almost 50k for our preview magazine.
On the odd chance that someone reading this hasn't signed up: you've got about four hours to get in on the festivities. We've added a launch party in June that everyone who signs up will get invited to, and there is of course the massively bad idea that is the Brian Photobomb t-shirt. Primarily, you will receive a magazine full of fancy thoughts about your 2012 Michigan Wolverines.
Go Blue, and thanks.
In 1961 IBM Labs made the first computer talk. What it said was "Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer do. I'm half crazy, all for the love of you! It won't be a stylish marriage, I can't afford a carriage. But you'll look sweet upon the seat of a bicycle built for two!"
My grandpa loved that song to the point he would be constantly finding socially acceptable excuses to show off he knew the verses. That this song has been trapped in my and every person in Ann Arbor's heads this week would tickle him to no end. This is your fault Taylor Lewan.
Twosie Mania struck Ann Arbor this week when Lewan parked his bicycle built for two in front of Lamda Lamda Lamda.* User morepete the Great kindly did the cropping and released the PhotoshopGiMPCracken. Taylor promptly appeared at Iwo Jima and Tiananmen Square, Gettysburg, and V-Day parades. He crossed the moon with E.T., crossed Abbey Road, served as centerpiece for a
Michelangelo [some other ninja turtle's] masterpiece, and kindly shuttled Amira Gulch around Kansas. He's in ur Windows XP, playing as ur paperboy, and much much more. Then Chunkums put him in Punch Out and won the internet:
You have no idea how close this came to being front-paged twice, complete with music bars. Keep training, Denard: next up is Saban Popinski.
* I know it's Chi Psi, and that they don't like being called "Chipsy." They were the likeable-nerdy frat in my day and from the looks of the photo that hasn't changed.
How did Devin really do? My "football hmmm" series was partly inspired and in some part informed by Space Coyote's football fundamentals course offering from a few years ago. I was ready to wistfully mention him among the MCaliburs of yesteryear when suddenly a Spring Game Breakdown of Devin's pass plays appeared in the diaries. Sample? Sample.
DG’s footwork is pretty good here. It’s a 3 step drop and he gains depth with his first step. His next two steps are shorter and more compact to gather his body. His shoulder look good and his eyes are down field. He steps into the pocket, but seems to relax and doesn’t use his legs in his throw (even though he steps into it a little). This is why it looks like he is just playing catch in the back yard. The ball goes where his shoulders are pointing, and thus the result. Let’s break it down a bit further.
I'll have it front-paged sometime this week but you can read it now. Professor Space Coyote (of Space!) is your Diarist of the Week.
The icers you really really really missed. Maybe not to the degree of the program-redefining seniors of the 132nd football team, but there was something special about last year's hockey seniors, from Hagelin's flag to Louie's love expertise to Rust's checking, etc., even before a goddamn early whistle stole the national championship from them. Your hockey man CenterIce took the opportunity of the NHL playoffs to catch up with last year's seniors in their rookie seasons. Hagelin obviously has made his mark with the Rangers as another non-Gaborik Gaborik, most recently drawing a three-game suspension from confirmed Swede-hating Gary Bettman. Rust's AHL line doesn't do justice to the force he was on the ice for the Scranton Baby Pens
a misnomered Columbus affiliate (ed-S: wow that was stupid). Love Expert Louie had a good season in the minors, two thirds of that in the ECHL. Scooter, Burlon, Langlais, Hogan, Winnett, Llewellyn, and even Fallon are found.
Etc. Video of the Spring Game is broken up by QBs by Thorin. Go16blue created estimate rankings for unranked guys and added them to Ace's Big Ten recruiting roundup. Tennis update. Blockhams discover how Twitter works in an information vacuum.
Best of the Board:
WE'D TAKE THEM TO WAR, BUT NOT FORT WORTH
So the Michigan Marching Band was notified they would not be going to Dallas, because there's the barest justification for not doing so, and because no matter how much you're making, the quoted $400,000 or the actual $200,000 it would cost to fly to band down and bus them around and put them up in some halogenated Radisson in that soulless outlet mall of a city is a lot of money that could be flipped to profit if those seats are sold to alumni. MMB is pissed, fans are pissed, and the internet is all "Don't Stop Us Now!" Obligatory MMB pantomime of Queen:
To MMB: srsly, there are worse things in life than missing a chance to see a city whose top cultural attractions are "the largest collection of Spanish art outside of Spain" and SMU. If you guys can parlay the outrage into a deal to travel to ANY Big Ten town this year instead, my advice is to take it, unless you're really into investigating the Kennedy assassination and/or seeing what a city looks like if it was designed by the same people who came up with cubicles and think goal-oriented dolphins are inspiring.
Obviously Dave Brandon is one of those people. He probably thinks Dallas is awesome. Dallas thinks Dave Brandon is awesome. I think Michigan football is awesome so I can't boycott it on TV even if they come out in maize helmets and white pants and bumblebee jerseys, and I wasn't going to the game anyway. Giving your customers less for the same price is a tried and true business strategy, as is offsetting expenditures by cutting something else, in this case Borges's raise. We're in favor of paying coordinators SEC coordinator prices (though when you realize they could cover 10 more starting annual salaries or five really good jobs for the same cost it's a little jarring) and DB is in favor of running Michigan with business acumen. I guess what I'm saying is I can only criticize so much when I benefit from Michigan being flush with cash. It's galling, but it's part of the bargain that got us a stylish carriage instead of a twosie.
THE ALL-2000s TEAM
Archived from MGoBlue.com
Brian did something like this in 2010 but Wolverine Devotee took the concept to a three-deep, which means you get to argue whether Zach Kaufman or Lawrence Reid gets that last LB spot instead of whether Brandon Graham or Woodley was the best DE. His has Mallett, Jerome Jackson, Carson Butler, Carl Tabb, Calvin Bell, Alex Mitchell, Pat Massey, Chris Graham, Scott McClintock, Markus Curry, Grant Mason and Jeremy LeSeuer, all of whom I'd drop in favor of Tate Forcier, Kevin Dudley, Martavious Odoms, Greg Mathews, Martell Webb, Dave Pearson, Stevie Brown (as a SAM), Lawrence Reid, Donovan Warren, Troy Woolfolk, and Jamar Adams, respectively. I'd also lose Ron Bellamy to give me Adam Finley, who could kick or punt if either Rivas or Zoltan go down.
PUNKED BY WOODLEY
Don't miss this opportunity to see Breaston back in maize and blue. No not that maize and blue, I mean the one George Washington would have worn if he had fabulous pecs.
This is go16blue's response to Dantonio offering our long snapper a scholarship:
Guh, another head to head recruiting loss to MSU. When will it end? And don't give me any of that "It's because MSU is desperate enough to spend a scholarship on a long snapper" bullshit, we all know it's because Dantonio is a master recruiter.
Two threads on RCMB completely agree. Coming soon: a list of the top 30 recruits in Michigan in 2013 and how MSU has way more guys from that list than Michigan.
Edit: I forgot your moment of zen.
It's this again, of course.
Dave Brandon creates the future: the tag: the picture
The Michigan Marching Band has been informed that they won't be going to Dallas, presumably because it puts a dent in the pile of money Michigan will get by selling a home game. Sorry, people who bought tickets. Yes, seats for the band are in the contract. Yes, you've been duped. No, you can't get a refund unless you pay $500 to get on the refund waiting list.
Think about that as you look at a home schedule on which Michigan State is the featured attraction. Dave Brandon couldn't even get the Nebraska game to not be on the road in the same year OSU and ND are. He sold a home game to Jerry Jones because it sounded like a lot of money, then we found out that because the minimum ticket price was $125 he could have scheduled a home and home instead. Jerry Jones is probably laughing his ass off somewhere.
Anyway. I think we should start a Dave Brandon for Governor fund. I'd vote for him! With no ulterior motives whatsoever! #DB4MGov!
Hello. This is an annual series profiling Michigan's incoming recruiting class. I do it so that I have a Kiper-like instant recall of biographical facts on all these guys and because since a information-strewn football season has passed between most of these guys' commitments and now. You read 'em because it's the summer.
A note on "YMRMFSPA": this stands for "you may remember me from such players as." It's not supposed to be a projection of how good a player will be, but rather who he'll remind you of in the event he works out. The players I use as comparisons all worked out. I can't compare someone to Avery Horn because I don't know what Avery Horn played like.
Previously: First of the year
|Madisonville, KY - 6'4" 205|
|Scout||3*, #71 S|
|Rivals||3*, #37 S, #4 KY|
|ESPN||3*, 76, #53 S, #6 KY|
|24/7||3*, #47 S, #8 KY|
|Other Suitors||MAC schools, Illinois, NC State, Cincinatti|
|YMRMFSPA||Ernest Shazor, but sane!
|Previously On MGoBlog||Tom interviews Clark. Tim commit post.|
|Notes||Name is hard to Google.|
A previous highlight reel has been removed from the tubes.
Jeremy Clark lived the life of an itinerant hobo last summer looking for an opportunity to play Big Time college football (or any college football at all), camping at Cincinnati, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisville, Western Kentucky, Austin Peay(!), and probably others early in the summer. He almost succeeded when his camp tour took him to Ohio State in June. There he was one of three defensive backs being heavily evaluated for an offer. Najee Murray was the immediate winner in that derby; OSU told the other two guys they were "interested." He got his first smattering of offers in the aftermath.
The next weekend Clark hit up Michigan's camp and got his wish: a grayshirt offer that he took immediately, short-circuiting further developments with OSU and anyone else. By the time he grabbed the grayshirt he was turning down you-can-play-now offers from Illinois, Cincinnati and NC State: Clark wants big time.
He'll get it, and he'll get it this fall after Michigan upgraded him to the full-fledged offer in mid-October. This was a talent thing. Clark had been told that if Jarrod Wilson, Michigan's main safety target in the class, picked someone other than Michigan that he'd get the full offer, but by the time Clark was moved to 2012 Wilson had been committed to Michigan for a couple months. This was also before Michigan's late run of disappointment in the 2012 class. It was a move spurred by his play as a senior…
“They sent their coach down to watch practice last week and they were so impressed with him and our team,” Weaver said. “They wanted to get him on campus right away.”
Clark … and the rest of the Maroon secondary shut down Lone Oak QB Cole Ousley last week. … “I thought he was a very good football player,” Lone Oak head coach Orville Haskins said. “Their skill kids are really good.”
…and designed to ward off any suitors offering what Michigan was unwilling to. So he'll be on campus in the fall.
The main questions about Clark are these:
Is he really a 6'4" safety?
Can he run?
How legit was this interest from Ohio State and "other (SEC) suitors"?
Question 1: probably. That picture above is one tall, narrow dude, and there's no jitter in any of the recruiting services' listings save for a 6'2" handed out by ESPN. Everyone else says 6'4". Maybe he's really 6'3". He's still really tall for a defensive back. As far as the safety bit of that question, yeah, very probably. Part of his extreme sleeper status was the usual crazy growth spurt:
“He has the potential to be the best player I’ve coached ,” Weaver said. “He grew four inches from the summer of his sophomore year to his junior year. He grew four inches and runs a 4.4 40 (yard dash).
“He can fly and he likes to hit.”
So he's used to the idea of being a 6'0" safety. The only thing that would drag him away would be the height making it problematic to stay there.
That doesn't seem like it's going to be the case. When he committed Scout replicated this Sam Webb evaluation from camp:
This 6-4, 175-lb. safety was one of the surprises of the day. He flashed good speed and EXCELLENT ball skills. He is a bit of a sleeper on the national scene because he has grown four inches since last fall. Just as impressive was the fact that he soaked up the coaching like a sponge and just seemed to really be relishing the overall experience. After his showing today, the Wolverines are definitely wide awake to his talents. Cincinnati just offered him and don’t be surprised if a number of others, including Michigan, turn up the heat.
ESPN also says free safety all the way($) in an evaluation that's more positive than his ranking:
Clark is a tall and rangy free safety prospect with a lot of production. Very lean without a lot of bulk, strength and power to his frame right now but we like his upside and room for development as an overall player. Not yet a real explosive defender at this point but mobility and range are good. Covers a lot of ground and is active around the ball. Shows good instincts and awareness skills. Displays very good range and the ability to get over the top of routes in deep coverage. Utilizes his length to his advantage. Tracks the ball well and will go up and high-point utilizing his great height and extension. Does a good job reading the quarterback and underneath route development from a centerfield position. … Lunges as a tackler and lets up some leaky yardage. Tends to drag and question ability to provide stout run support in the box early on in college. Overall, Clark has the height, range and instincts coveted in a safety prospect. Has some weaker areas as well but feel most will be improved as he continues to work on his physical development and becomes comfortable in his taller frame. Has a high ceiling.
Weaknesses are his man-to-man technique, ability to make tight turns, and tackling/run support issues but ESPN feels "most will be improved as he continues to work on his physical development and becomes comfortable in his taller frame. Their evaluation of his ceiling: "high."
Trieu's assessment is less down on the tackling but similar otherwise:
AREAS FOR IMPROVEMENT
Clark is a tall defensive back that has to add some weight to his frame, but loves to come up and hit. Is willing to throw his body around, takes good angles to the football and delivers strong blows to ball carriers. Good straight line speed, but can be a little upright and straight legged in his back pedal. Good range and overall ball skills. - Allen Trieu
His coach echoes the praise($) for his smarts, saying "He has a great speed, he's very physical. He's a really smart kid. And he has a knack for getting to the football." If he doesn't work out at safety I'd guess the ball skills and the size mean a move to WR is more likely than linebacker. Also Michigan has all of the linebackers.
As far as question 2, Clark evidently ran a 4.47 40 at WKU when he hit up their camp the day after OSU's—itinerant hobo, I'm telling you—and a 4.48($) at the Cincinnati camp. If true and not a hilariously under-clocked hand-timing, yes, he can run. If? If. Elsewhere he's listed at 4.7, considerably less enthralling. I'd say he can run enough. Every scouting report has at least mild praise for his straight-line speed. There was even a random rumble($) from Rivals that Clark could play corner after Clark reported that Curt Mallory told him he could play "anywhere in the secondary($)," which would be… interesting.
I probably shouldn't have even brought up #3, as it's inherently unknowable. Erratic rumors that Florida(!), of all teams, was going to come in with an offer if Michigan didn't budge off the grayshirt don't seem credible, since they still could have offered after it. However, Clark's coach did name names once, in a Rivals article($) from Andy Reid:
"That's how he's taking it, and he's fully on board for Michigan. I've had some other schools call me to try and hop in on him now, that offered him to come in as a regular 2012 recruit. But I've talked to his parents, and we're firm. Once he committed, he's done."
Since Clark committed, he's received offers from Cincinnati and N.C. State to come in as a regular 2012 recruit. Weaver has also fielded calls from Florida and South Carolina expressing interest, but Clark has not reciprocated said interest.
You can spin that into an offer was totally coming if Clark showed reciprocal interest if you like. Clark's dad also made an oblique reference($) to "other schools" calling him in the fall by way of explaining Clark's loyalty. Given Clark's profile it's not hard to see teams being wary until seeing senior-year performance. The local paper reports that Clark only played in five games as a junior, and there was the whole growth spurt thing.
If you're making a case that the recruiting services have been excessively cautious in their evaluations of Clark and he's underrated, you've got a good deal of ammo. This is the kind of camp offer that I like to see: an under-the-radar kid with a big ceiling. Sometimes they never work out (Mike Cox), but at least you're not picking up a guy whose top end is decent. Add in Clark's loyalty, dedication, and frame and Michigan may have something here.
Clark had 70 tackles, 15 pass breakups, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery, three interceptions and four defensive touchdowns as a senior. During his junior season, Clark had 75 tackles, eight pass breakups and three interceptions.
"A guy that we had in camp and watched run around and watched his film and thought he was a great fit."
Scored a lot of touchdowns on defense and special teams, including a fumble rumble, an 81-yard punt return, and going 3 for 3 on housing interceptions.
Why Ernest Shazor? Admittedly a huge reach since Shazor was one of the most touted recruits in the country and Clark is… not. But it was either that or pick a 6'0" kid. This seems less inaccurate.
Shazor is the only Michigan safety in recent memory with a frame comparable to Clark. What Clark lacks in recruiting hype and the athleticism that saw Shazor become a five star he will hopefully make up for by not being a complete nutcase who gave up more long touchdowns than anyone during Michigan's long search for halfway competent safety play. Shazor started out of necessity, blew it time and again,—he's still looking for Deandra Cobb—checked out entirely after murdering Dorien Bryant to save that one Purdue game, and went from a projected second rounder to out of football in a month or two.
If anything, this is being harsh to Clark. If he starts for as long as Shazor does he'll be a much better player.
Guru Reliability: Low. Kentucky is not heavily scouted and Clark was a virtual nobody until his commitment, when the sites shrugged and gave him the Default Three Stars We Give Almost All Random Michigan Sleeper Commits.
Variance: Large, large, large. A junior year injury, the growth spurt, the uncertainty about speed and the obscure location.
Ceiling: High. 6'4" safeties who can go are rarities.
General Excitement Level: Give it a B+. Clark's profile does fit that of a plausible sleeper, and his size will be a major asset if he works out. The link above in which Tom talks to Clark's father gives the impression that he comes from a high-quality environment, as does his refusal to consider anyone other than M even when he was on a grayshirt, and he should come close to maxing out that talent. I like Clark's profile more than most of Michigan's three-stars this year; he's not quite Sleeper of the Year but I give him a good shot at being a contributor.
Projection: Obvious redshirt with 4-6 guys likely in front of him this fall including classmate Jarrod Wilson, an early enrollee. After that he looks like a free safety all the way, hopefully one with sufficient instincts and straight-line speed to bring that frame into play. That means another year cooling his heels behind Thomas Gordon before being in serious contention for a job.
I kind of think he gets one, though. Wilson will provide stiff competition but may do so at strong safety after bulking up. Clark's never going to be the guy you want charging down into the box to Kovacs people and brings a skillset to free safety that could be tough to match.