What about this do you think can be saved? [Glanzman]
Ace: There's a very good chance this is moot after a beatdown this weekend, so it's now or never for this question. If you ran the athletic department, is there anything Brady Hoke could do the rest of this season that would convince you to keep him around for another year? If so, what would he have to accomplish over the rest of the year?
BiSB: There is absolutely room for Brady Hoke to save his job. And it absolutely won't happen.
People get WAY too caught up in wins and losses. Devin Funchess was right: wins are just a statistic. Any time a coach is on the "hot seat," the offseason features constant and breathless blathering about "how many wins Coach X needs to keep his job," as if win totals by themselves tell us everything. Hoke's problem isn't that Michigan is 3-4. The problem isn't that Michigan has lost 10 of its last 15. The problem is that Michigan has been bad at football. The records are merely a symptom of being bad at football. You look at the guy trailing by 10 meters at the halfway point of a 100 meter dash, you don't say to yourself "he's going to lose because he has too much ground to make up." You say "he's going to lose because he isn't as fast as the other guys."
And that is why Brady Hoke will not keep his job. The football team he has assembled is not good, and has shown no signs of improvement over the last four years. Some people got excited last week because "a win is a win," and ignored the fact that Michigan displayed plenty of the same crippling weaknesses that have led it here. At some point, as they say, "you are who you are." The flaws with this team are not small, technical issues. They have deep, fundamental, systematic problems. They can't block. They can't get open. They flat-out can't play the coverage scheme they have been trying to play. They can't... uh... score points. Their special teams, as a whole, are bad. Michigan is just bad.
You don't throw away a coach who is moving in the right direction because he took momentary detour into Derpville. If Hoke can turn this team into the kind of team that can beat Michigan State and Ohio State and (sigh) Maryland, then sure, why not keep him. But if he could do that, we probably would have seen evidence of it by now.
[After the jump: votes of confidence?]
Jake Ryan, Jack Miller, Devin Gardner
Devin, as an in-state guy and your last shot at these guys, how much does this one mean to you?
DG: “It means a lot to me, but it means a lot to me every year so I’m just excited to get to the game.”
For Devin again, last year it was safe to say you got beat up pretty badly in the MSU game. Is there a mental hurdle that you have to clear yourself to get yourself prepared for this one?
For Jake: they have a pretty decent running game right now. Good wide receivers. How much have you and the defense talked about limiting the big plays [and] not allowing Langford to do what he does?
JR: “Yeah, that’s what our defense needs to do. Stopping the run’s been huge for us this year and we’ve got to keep on doing it. Lippett’s been a good receiver and we’ve got to shut him down.”
Devin, we were talking to coach Nussmeier and he said that he felt you made the biggest strides in understanding defenses this year. Talk about how that’s come about and the benefit of that for you.
DG: “I think it’s been really big for me, just being able to see what I need to see out there and it helps when you know where you want to go with the ball. You have to have an idea where you want to go with the ball, and he brought a lot of different coverages that we didn’t really know about and we didn’t really understand how they were played but we feel like we’re doing a good job of understanding now.”
Has that helped you a lot with pre-snap reads?
DG: “Yeah, definitely.”
[More after THE JUMP]
Kameron Chatman (L) and DJ Wilson (R/HAIR) will split minutes at the four
Thus far, this preview has covered the knowns for this season's iteration of Michigan basketball. The point guard position is rock-solid with Derrick Walton in line for a breakout sophomore season and Spike Albrecht's steadying presence on the bench. Caris LeVert and Zak Irvin provide plenty of scoring punch (and much more, in LeVert's case) at the two and three, and both have the potential to take big leaps forward in 2014-15.
Now we hit the unknowns. For the purposes of this preview, the power forward position is considered a wing, just like it functions in John Beilein's offense—the small forward and power forward essentially mirror each other—and Michigan must replace a productive starter there with the departure of Glenn Robinson III.
We know this much: a true freshman will crack the starting lineup, almost certainly top-30 prospect Kameron Chatman, and the backups at both the three and the four will also be comprised of fresh-faced new arrivals. As Beilein noted at Big Ten Media Day, the team doesn't have any other choice:
“Guess what? There’s going to be young players out there all over the place,” he said. “We’re just going to have to throw them in there. … We can’t look to our bench and say, ‘Let’s get a more veteran player in there.’ There aren’t any. They’re just going to have to get in there.”
The good news for Michigan is they reeled in two highly touted freshmen, led by Chatman, and picked up two sleepers late in the cycle who could contribute as soon as this season, with each of them bringing something different to the table. After the jump, a much closer look at the four freshmen on the wing.
[Hit THE JUMP for detailed breakdowns of each player.]
So I'm about to break the no politics rule. I regret this, but…
1. If I'm going to run for regent that has to happen anyway.
2. I am only going to do this for Michigan regent.
3. I don't think regent is a particularly partisan position—see the lack of transparency as to how they operate and the lack of "no" votes.
4. I am not a registered anything. I don't like politics for the same reason I don't like coachspeak. I would strongly prefer regent elections to be nonpartisan, but they're not. This is life.
All right, that said: when the regents' candidate forum was canceled on October 8th (it is now Friday at 4 PM, be there or be square) for scheduling issues, one guy still came into town because he was planning to do so anyway. He did a number of previously-scheduled in-person interviews, then emailed me. We got a couple beers at Ashley's, and we talked about the state of the regents, what was wrong about the current setup, and how to fix it. That guy is Mike Behm, and I'm endorsing him for regent.
This is not because he uses MGoBehm.com for his web presence. Mostly not.
Behm is a lawyer who graduated from Michigan in '89 with a BA in English with deep Michigan roots—his dad played football and ran track in the 50s. He went to the Rose Bowl in '89 as a student, and he reads the blog. I asked him to boil down his philosophy and goals into a few hundred words, and he's done so.
Q: What is the most important issue facing the University right now?
A: Affordability and accessibility. Over the past four decades, the State of Michigan has drastically reduced its financial support of the University. Thirty-five years ago, the State of Michigan covered 70% of U of M's costs, with the other 30% being paid for by tuition and endowment. Today, only 30% of the costs are covered by the State. I would like to see the State of Michigan invest in one of its most valuable assets, and increase its funding for U of M. But because of today's economic environment, I don't believe there is going to be a drastic increase of state funding. This being the case, I believe it is very important to examine the present cost structure of the University and cut and reduce unnecessary costs at all levels, including administration and operations.
Next, I would like to investigate ways to lower interest rates on student loans. Presently, banks borrow money at a rate that is nine times less than the average student loan. New legislation that has been introduced recently (Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act) that would help to lower student loan rates. If the government is not successful in reducing student loan interest rates, I would act to direct U of M's newest endowment program (Victors for Michigan) to provide low interest loans to our students.
Q: What are your thoughts regarding U of M's compliance with the open meetings act?
A: While I understand the need to protect individual's rights of privacy when it comes to limited circumstances such as some personnel issues. I am a firm believer that the Board of Regents would benefit from seriously listening to the concerns of the public. In addition to having Regents meetings where decisions are made with public comment and public interaction, I would use other ways for the Regents to gather information. For example, while the composition of the Board of Regents cannot be changed without involving the State of Michigan Constitution, I would propose forming advisory committees. I am in favor of forming small separate committees of students, faculty members, and supporters of the Athletic Department so that they can meet with and advise the Board of Regents when it comes to making important decisions.
In addition to being an attorney, I serve as Chairperson of Business Forward Michigan, an organization that helps local business leaders from Michigan advise Washington on how to create jobs and accelerate our economic recovery. The present Board of Regents seems to conduct business like politicians in Washington, in an isolated and deaf manner. Like what I do with Business Forward, I will work to help the Regents make decisions with the help of many informed and concerned voices.
While the above issues are obviously more important than the athletic department, we talked about that, too, and he'd support a change at the top there.
The above language is a little stiff, I know, but in talking to him it was clear he deeply cared about the university and was basically just a guy who wanted to help out. He's not much interested in serious political office; the opportunity to help the U out was a different matter. I think you should vote for him, no matter your political affiliation.
Two strong defenses here. I guess just looking at what Pat Narduzzi’s doing in East Lansing compared to what you want to do, what this team is capable of, how would you size up the two defenses and as a coordinator are you excited to see maybe those two units be the difference makers on Saturday?
“Well, the first question, how do you size up the two defenses; I mean, I don’t think you ever judge a defense until the season is over. I know you go game-to-game. I know we have goals each game that [are] how we want to play, the level we always want to have our kids play at. How do you judge a defense? Is it stats? Is it points? Is it points that your defense gave up? Is it points that the special teams gave up? Is it points that somebody else…I don’t think you judge it that way. I think you judge a defense by what they do game-to-game, do they do what they have to do to win the game, and how they finish a season, what they do at the end of the year, what it all looks like at the end of the year.
“As far as playing against…you know, I never play against a person. We’re playing- this is Michigan football playing their next game against an in-state rival and I’m excited about it and that’s really how I look at it.”
Michigan State’s been known for their defense in the past but the offense seems to have made great strides this year, putting up big numbers. How much better are they this year and how big of a challenge are they for your defense?
“Well, they’re a very good offense. They’ve done a great job first and foremost running the football. They’ve got some playmakers at wide receiver. They’ve got a very, very good tight end. They’ve got a good offensive line. They’ve done a good job, and it’s going to be a very, very good offense to go against and I think they’ve done a very good job on offense.”
Where have you seen Connor Cook improve?
“Well, Connor, he’s a very good quarterback. I think the biggest place you’ve seen him improve is he doesn’t get sacked. He seems like he gets the ball out quick. He seems like he knows where to go with it, and I think his maturity, his year-to-year, I think he’s a better quarterback. I think he’s a very, very good quarterback.”
[After THE JUMP: Mattison watches some football, makes fun of some things, and scouts the Spartans]
I know Hoke said they spent the bye week on Michigan's "identity," by which we're pretty sure he meant scrapping any semblance of sense again in favor of slamming fullbacks into people and praying for the turnover fairy to stop hating us. But for those people actually interested in how to defeat Michigan State's lauded/loathed defense, it appears to be vulnerable when you spread 'em out and test them deep.
Red: #2 receiver goes vertical. Blue: #2 receiver doesn't go vertical
With that many guys reading, the defense can play "9 in the box," by which they mean the safeties are part of the run fits. Their run D is gap-oriented.
Just an example. They change up who's got what
Note that screens and such are treated as runs.
[After the jump: tripping them up.]