"Northwestern fans can be both heartened and disheartened by the loss to Minnesota just like how nineteenth-century resurrectionists were heartened when they pried a heart from a freshly-buried corpse and then disheartened it when they sold it to a disreputable anatomist."
I can't see where you’re comin' from / but I know just what you’re runnin' from / And what matters ain't the who's baddest / but the ones who stop you fallin' from your ladder.
For a little over four years now I’ve had a summer time hobby of trying to predict plausible performance levels from various QBs for the upcoming football season. I have tried to root these projections as deeply into the bedrock of reality as is possible for a figment of one’s imagination and at this point there is a codex of sorts in the diary archives describing my methods. It’s fun to go back and see what worked and learn from what didn’t. There’s something there, man.
For Devin Gardner 2013 I laid out two stat lines hinging on two sets of assumptions—a reasonable/prudent set, and a ‘sexy’ set. The reasonable prediction: Gardner would complete 225 of 360 passes for 2900 yards, 23 TDs, and 10 INTs. In reality he went 208 of 345 for 2960 yards, 21 TDs, and 11 INTs. There’s a HEAVY dose a good fortune involved there but, hot damn, that’s pretty good. The assumptions here were basically looking at only QB stats and nothing else Devin had shown enough in his 5 QB starts during the 2012 season to perform at the “seasoned veteran QB” level which I think of as an incumbent with 2 years of experience in tow. That's a brutal benchmark, IMO but that's what I measure guys up against. That's what we want them to be.
Anyway, the sexy set of assumptions were:
- Devin has elite talent. I believe this one held. More on that later.
- The O-line would be fine despite the possibility of being “a touch weaker than last year (2012).” Eh boy…
- The offensive scheme would be well tailored to Gardner’s skill set and that of the support around him. This was sometimes true but not consistently often enough for Borges to keep his job.
Ok, so the necessary assumptions for DG to be the second coming of Vince Young vanished into the ether. But those last two assumptions about the support and scheme are really kind of baked into the reasonable prediction too. For my money, the fact that DG put up the numbers he was able to in spite of the glaring flaws of the team is a testament to just how good he can be if the conditions are reasonable.
The fact that there are so many straight-faced questions being asked about Devin Gardner’s incumbency status is ludicrous. Sure, numbers don’t tell the whole story but they tell a good part of it. DG went from being one of the darlings of the 2013 Manning Passing Academy to needing to prove his talent simply because he couldn't compensate for all of the flaws around him last season. He did as well as could reasonably be expected without adjusting for other very real headwinds.
[After THE JUMP: Gardner under the microscope.]
3/5 of the starting line for the opener? [Bryan Fuller/MGoBlog]
Brady Hoke held a presser this evening, and while Adam should have the full transcript up later, Brian asked me to do a quick rundown since this was a particularly newsworthy one. Let's start with—you guessed it—the offensive line, which seems to be taking form.
Mason Cole, Erik Magnuson, Jack Miller, Graham Glasgow and Ben Braden is likely your starting OL. per Hoke.
— Michael Spath (@Spath_Wolverine) August 14, 2014
That's from left to right, and confirms what Hoke said on the radio earlier today about Braden solidifying his spot at right tackle, with Mason Cole still holding strong at LT.
While Glasgow looks to be the starter at right guard, he's suspended for the opener; Kyle Bosch and David Dawson are competing to start against Appalachian State. As for concern that Kyle Kalis hasn't been mentioned much at all this fall, there's apparently good reason for his absence:
Sounds like Jack Miller's in position to start game one at center ... Right guard spot? Bosch and Dawson. Kalis' back is ailing.
— Nick Baumgardner (@nickbaumgardner) August 14, 2014
If Hoke is to be believed, Miller is in position to do more than just start the first game—according to the man in charge, Miller is outplaying Glasgow at center. That'd be great news, as it would allow Glasgow to work at guard—where he seems to be a better option than Bosch/Dawson—and let Miller provide an apparent upgrade at center over Michigan's most consistent interior lineman from last year (that is, admittedly, not a distinction worth throwing a parade over).
UPDATE: Per Angelique Chengelis, Hoke actually said that Kalis would be a starter—though one or both of them didn't specify where—if his back was healthy.
Hoke said Kalis has been held out w back (doesn't sound major), would be a starter. Miller has edge at center over Glasgow (out 1st game)
— angelique (@chengelis) August 14, 2014
That could mean Kalis would take over at left guard, Magnuson would slide over to left tackle, and Cole would move to the bench, or it could mean that Kalis would play right guard over Glasgow.
Michigan held a scrimmage on Wednesday, and in addition to Kalis, three other players were held out: Devin Funchess, Drake Harris, and Delano Hill. Harris is dealing with a hamstring injury, while Hill is reportedly two to three weeks away from returning from his broken jaw. No reason was given for Funchess' absence that I could find, so let's hope upon hope that it was simply "you're Devin Funchess, and we have no need to risk you."
Multiple spots are still up for grabs. Hoke praised the scrimmage performances of Derrick Green and Drake Johnson, while saying De'Veon Smith had a slow start. On the other side of the ball, Jake Ryan is the only linebacker who's locked down a starting spot.
Jabrill Peppers "has a handle" on playing nickel, so he's now getting some work in at cornerback. Given Michigan's depth there, that sounds very positive in regards to Peppers' development.
Adam will have the full transcript up at some point, but that should hold you over for now.
Hoops: Michigan Drops Jalen Coleman
Since basketball recruiting news comes in waves with long periods of inactivity, and I'm the basketball guy around here anyway, hoops recruiting updates have been absorbed into the regular recruiting roundups; please excuse—and correct!—any errors I might make while I acclimate myself to the hoops recruiting scene, which I've largely ignored while Brian handled the updates.
The big recruiting news in either sport this week is that Michigan, in the wake of landing D-III transfer Duncan Robinson, has dropped high four-star 2015 IN PG Jalen Coleman from consideration, per GBW's Kyle Bogenschutz ($):
Via a phone call Tuesday afternoon, Coleman’s father Piankhi Lands said that recruitment is now over.
“Well we were trying to (set up an official visit) and they told us they were only recruiting one person for the class of 2015 and a Division III guy they had picked up, they didn’t want to set up an official date, Lands said. “They had already given a scholarship out.”
This means a couple things. For one, the staff must be very optimistic about Robinson if they're willing to pass on a shot at an elite 2015 recruit like Coleman to get him—Michigan was a very strong contender (along with Notre Dame, oddly) to land Coleman until this development. It also means the scope of the 2015 recruiting focus has narrowed significantly. Five-star IL PG Jalen Brunson announced five official visit destinations recently that did not include Michigan ($). Sam Webb believes Michigan is also done recruiting four-star Saginaw SG Eric Davis ($).
Two names appear to remain on the board for 2015, players Michigan would take despite the fact that either one would knock a slot out of the very promising 2016 class. The first is Indiana five-star Caleb Swanigan, a skilled 6'9" big man with offers from the likes of Arizona, Kansas, Kentucky, Indiana, Louisville, and Michigan State. It's hard to see a scenario in which Michigan wouldn't take him if he wanted to come. While the Spartans are thought to lead in his recruitment, Michigan isn't out of it, per The Wolverine's Chris Balas ($):
The Michigan camper (last summer) has kept the Wolverines in the mix.
"The relationship is pretty good," Swanigan said, "and it's starting to build strength. They usually don't offer guys until after the year because they're real concerned about academics, but they're starting to recruit me more.
"Michigan, definitely, they show a lot of love. I've been to the facilities once or twice before. They've been pretty strong."
The other is high four-star combo guard Perry "P.J." Dozier, who's probably still under consideration because he's 6'6" (and reportedly growing) with point guard skills. He's slated to take an official visit to Michigan on September 26th. Dozier sees himself as a primary ballhander at the next level, and apparently so does Michigan, which Dozier's father said is a big positive when talking to Bogenschutz last week ($):
“And again, we never really told the coaching staff what we were looking for, we wanted them to tell us what they saw him as and Michigan did a great job in recruiting, they were there pretty early in the game, showing a lot of interest and with the history of what they’ve done there.
“And Michigan, we have much more respect for the coaching staff there. But mainly, they’re recruiting him the way he wants to be recruited.”
Dozier could potentially eliminate the need/spot for a point guard or shooting guard in the 2016 class given his size and skill-set.
In 2016 hoops recruiting news, Michigan offered 6'6" five-star wing Josh Langford while he was on an unofficial visit last Friday. UMHoops has some video of him dunking all over people, among other things, at that link; Dylan has also compiled sophomore highlights for 2016 commit Jon Teske.
[Hit THE JUMP for football updates, including newly released state rankings from Scout for Michigan and Ohio, and commit Andrew David kicking footballs a very long way with accuracy.]
On Csont'e York. It was inevitable that once the York video was released there were going to be a lot of strong reactions to it. I deleted a number of things that were over the line, and expected to.
I left up a bunch more that weren't quite delete-worthy but did make me feel uncomfortable. Most of those were uncomfortable because they weren't sad. Many called him a coward, others were almost gleeful in their eagerness to ship the guy out. Those threads don't reflect well on our community here.
While I think that York's second chance has to come somewhere else given the severity of what he did, I would appreciate it if everyone would keep in mind that even a kid who did a dumbass thing remains a person. There's an unfortunately paywalled profile of York from his time as a recruit up on ESPN. Chantel Jennings:
In August, he'll enroll at the University of Michigan and become the first person in his family to attend college. He has made it through the death of his mother, a number of family moves, and out of Detroit with a positive attitude. And through all of this, what he keeps closest to his heart is his family.
"My little brothers and sisters, I think about them," York said. "It has always been in my head that I have to do this for them. This isn't just for me. It's for my family. That's all I think of."
The reason York did what he did started with the people around him as he grew up and the primary emotion should be sadness that a kid couldn't keep it together. Once we're on to third chances I can see the disdain begin to creep in legitimately. Now, though, I just think of the times when I've been on the verge of a bad decision and struggled not to make it.
Kleenex at the ready. Austin Hatch and John Beilein profiled:
Three years ago, lying in a hospital bed in Traverse City fighting for his life, Austin Hatch's relationship with John Beilein went beyond a player-coach situation.
Nine days after pledging his verbal commitment to Michigan in June of 2011, Hatch was involved in a tragic plane crash that took the lives of both his father and stepmother and left him in a medically-induced coma.
At that point, no one was concerned about Hatch's basketball career. The main focus was saving his life.
And, unknown to Hatch at the time, one of those people standing at his bedside -- fighting along with him -- was Beilein.
Huge, they say. Michigan is apparently set to announce two home and home series:
Michigan football is set to announce two huge home and home opponents this week.
Terry Foster and Mike Stone met with Michigan Athletic Director Dave Brandon today and that’s when Brandon dropped the news that this announcement will happen later this week.
FWIW, apparently there was a connected guy on the Rivals board saying the opponents were Stanford and Duke in a since-deleted post. No idea if that's accurate or not; obviously only one of those teams would even sort of qualify as "huge." And with Stanford there's always the possibility that they return to historical norms by the time the game rolls around. I kind of doubt that's accurate anyway—tough to see Stanford taking on Michigan when they've got a nine-game conference schedule plus their now-annual game against Notre Dame. But anyway, stay tuned.
By the way, that post has a poll asking who you'd like to see Michigan play that includes Nebraska and Wisconsin, which was momentarily absurd until it wasn't. Marshall, another option, remains so.
WELP? Prepare for the Colening.
Hoke just said on the radio we should "expect to see" Mason Cole this year, and called him a left tackle. It's happening, folks.
— Bryan Mac (@Bry_Mac) August 14, 2014
Everybody get up. But especially you. Aubrey Dawkins can get up, yo.
I sold Aubrey Dawkins short describing him athletically to be poor man's GR3. Not yoked like GR3, but he has his hops pic.twitter.com/lmka0lrRgk
— Sam Webb (@SamWebb77) August 13, 2014
When Michigan took MAAR and then still went after Dawkins that was an indication they liked him more than his rating would imply, and In Beilein We Trust.
That shot came from an open practice Michigan held before their Italy trip during which Kam Chatman impressed:
Michigan’s most highly touted freshman is multifaceted and college-ready. The general consensus among the scribes perched up on the observation deck was that Chatman will be a day-one starter, barring anything unforeseen.
The 6-foot-7 wing drilled smooth left-handed 3-pointers as a standstill shooter and off the dribble. He looked comfortable and capable making decisions with the ball. He finished in traffic.
Quinn's colleague Nick Baumgardner concurred:
First thing that struck me was Chatman. High-level shooter, can handle, finish, isn't skinny. He'll start right away.
Both Chatman and Dawkins spent time doing post drills as they prepare to play Novak/GRIII undersized 4. DJ Wilson is also going to be a 4 of the not-undersized variety but is still being held out with his pinky injury.
Unfortunately, Michigan won't be streaming any of the Italy games.
Brutal departure/injury spree. Unlike Nebraska's, this one actually matters for Michigan: Northwestern tailback Venric Mark will transfer; leading wide receiver Christian Jones is out for the year with a knee injury.
Mark, of course, tortured Michigan two years ago with his quickness. Jones is less of a loss since Northwestern tends to plug and play at WR but he was still their best guy in yards per target by some distance. Looks like it's Prater time? Naw, man, it's never Prater time. Until it is. But probably not. Because a Rutgers transfer is the guy Inside NU is promoting for the job.
A man familiar with the situation. Michigan doesn't get much mention in CBS Sportsline's group preview of the Big Ten except for incessant Jabrill Peppers talk in the "best newcomer" category, but the one guy who singled out Michigan as an underrated team is an interesting one: Auburn fan Jerry Hinnen, who's seen both Al Borges and Doug Nussmeier up close and personal. His take on M:
Most underrated team: Michigan. The Wolverines have to visit both Michigan State and Ohio State, keeping their odds of winning the East low, but they might still be the third-best team in the league. A healthy Jake Ryan and a loaded secondary should give Greg Mattison his best defense yet, and going from Al Borges to Doug Nussmeier might be the biggest offensive coaching upgrade in the FBS. If the offensive line has a pulse, 10 wins will be in play.
That is Michigan's great hope.
Looking pretty good down the road. More high praise for a hockey commit:
Griffin Luce is a tough as nails defender with an excellent stick and innate positional sense. Manage the puck,eats minutes. Michigan commit
— Sean Lafortune (@SeanLafortune) August 14, 2014
Unfortunately, that is an addendum to an article running down the top prospects the OHL's Kitchener Rangers have. Luce checks in third after being drafted in the fifth round despite his NTDP commitment. Details:
Steady, instinctive blueliner with great size and poise. Textbook hitter and defender backed by solid positional sense. … Thrives in the dirty pockets of the ice, using his size and strength advantages to win battles and gain possession. Excellent one on one defender, keeps an active stick, extremely efficient at getting sticks on pucks. Difficult to drive the net or gain an outside lane on, manages gaps efficiently and takes advantage of his massive wingspan. … Projects as a tough, physical, stay at home defender who can contribute at both ends of the ice. … Would be a top paring defender if he ever comes to the league.
Sounds like the kind of shutdown D Michigan hasn't had in a long time. I mean, Trouba, but Trouba was here and gone in a flash.
Kitchener does manage to snipe guys frequently, but in Luce's case Michigan should be okay. He's headed to NTDP and not currently projected to be a pick so high that he would get signed immediately and then reassigned. Also, his dad is the Panthers' director of scouting and played in the OHL himself—when they chose college it was an informed decision.
This is going to be a problem. The NCAA has just been hit with an injunction that says it cannot cap scholarship values below the federal government's full cost of attendance, so eventually those numbers are going to have to come up. The issue: those gaps vary widely between schools:
Ohio State: $3,346
Penn State: $4,000
Somehow it's more expensive to live in the middle of nowhere than an actual city or in Ann Arbor's notoriously expensive student housing market. Meanwhile, Tennessee has the biggest gap in the power five at 5,666.
It doesn't seem likely that Michigan's going to stand for a system where a kid going to Penn State gets 7k more over his four years, and there's no way in hell Georgia (1.8k) is going to go for a system where half the SEC is offering 10k+ more. So then what?
The power conferences have one way to normalize cost of attendance across all 65 schools: let every school go up to the highest cost of attendance figure, which in this case is Tennessee’s $5,666.
But that has its own set of problems. First, many schools would then be permitted to exceed cost of attendance, some by thousands of dollars. Not only is that philosophically troubling for the NCAA, it also complicates matters with financial aid offices. If a portion of an athletic scholarship exceeds cost of attendance and is not paid through the financial aid office, what is but payment for services rendered?
The shakiest part of the O'Bannon decision is definitely the proposed remedy, which forces the NCAA into a choice they don't want to make.
Etc.: You can see the Lego Movie at Michigan Stadium if you're a season ticket holder. The Pac-12 wants you to know it schedules hard and should be rewarded for it. Gopher blog predicts 31-13 M win over Minnesota. Fresno State tries to keep up with the Joneses.
This is an actual movie. See? There are worse things than Draftageddon
Draftageddon is complete, to the relief of many of you and the heartbreak of… well, some of you. Maybe. But there are still some non-terrible football players to be discussed, so to be properly prepared for the season, let’s take a look at some of the players who were not selected, but could have been if we’d Heiko’d just a little deeper. We’ll also review who WAS taken at various positions and take a quick gander at the position group as a whole. If you want to go back and read our snark, on any of the players, the hyperlinks on players' names will take you to the relevant articles.
Who was taken:
Joel Stave, Wisconsin – Threw for 7.4 YPA with 22 TDs, 13 INTs. He’s a game manager, though not a particularly inspiring one. Stave didn’t exceed 9 YPA in any game against a power conference team, despite a massively effective running game behind him. Wisconsin’s passing game stagnated last half of the season, and as a result, Stave is theoretically battling w/ Tanner McEvoy for the starting job. Stave will almost certainly win the job, but he’s returning to a gutted receiving corp: Wisconsin loses their four leading receivers, including Jared Abbrederis & Jacob Pederson. Their leading returning receiver had 127 yards. Way more red flags than green ones.
Jake Rudock, Iowa – Threw for 6.9 YPA with 18 TDs and 13 INTs. These are not inspiring numbers, especially for a quarterback with a solid running game behind him. Another game manager type, Rudock didn’t throw for more than 256 passing yards in any game, and didn’t crack 9 YPA against any non-Purdue opponent. Meh.
Trevor Siemian, Northwestern – Was a pretty stoppable Throw God last year, throwing for 7.2 YPA with 11 TDs and 9 INTs. In B1G play he went for 4 TDs and 0 INTs against Illinois… and 3 TDs and 7 INTs against the rest of the conference. He seemed to regress over the course of the year (along with Northwestern’s entire offense), and whether it is the result of missing Venric Mark (SIT DOWN, SETH) or just Northwestern not being that good, it’s hard to expect great things this year.
OVERALL – Braxton, then a few guys, then wheeeeeeeeeee. Despite the gap in draft rounds between the second and third quarterbacks taken, there is a solid tier just below Miller that includes Devin Gardner, Christian Hackenberg, and Connor Cook (and potentially Nate Sudfeld or CJ Brown, but probably not). Beyond that, you’re looking at uninspiring game manager-types, young guys prone to moments of WTF, and Gary Nova. Michigan is very much in the “haves” half of the draw in this respect, so be pleased.
[After THE JUMP: other positions, as you probably guessed.]
Seeing as we just had the annual heights and weights delivered to our doorstep with nary an emotion beyond “these large men either got slightly larger or slightly smaller, and that is good”, there really isn’t much else going on until the season starts. Sure, there was the BBQ and a couple of commitments, but I’d be surprised if much else happened until a couple of days before The Horror II – Horror-ier comes into our lives at the end of August. So yeah, figured I’d dust off this diary and expound a bit on the UM sports landscape, the upcoming football season, college sports in general, and a couple of other topics.
Best: Are You Ready for Some Football!
So it’s been over 8 months since UM last played a down of football (and, frankly, many more months since those downs felt meaningful). I know a great deal has gone on both locally and nationally to put a dour tone on the upcoming season, but I’m just excited for the sport to return and for my fall weekends to have a bit more entertainment. Living in NY but being a Lions fan, I’m forced to watch the Jets and Giants try to out-dryhump doorknobs for 3 hours most weeks, and can usually only catch games with teams I care about on postage stamp-sized feeds from random “sports” sites hosted in countries Russia hasn’t realized they might want to take back yet. But basically every Saturday from August until November I know that I can turn on the television and find some channel with Michigan on it, and for a couple of hours I can be unabashedly zealous over something pretty inconsequential but still incredibly endearing to my heart. That’s why I love the fall, and why I love having Michigan football back in my life.
[After the JUMP: lots more things that are either the best or the worst.]