"Rodrick Williams Jr.'s 10-month old, 2-foot-long savannah monitor named "Kill" gets the RB some strange looks when they go for walks together."
[Louro – MgoBlue.com]
Michigan Soccer kicks off their 16th season this fall and will attempt to rebound after what ended up in a disappointing 2014 campaign. At the risk of sounding like Taylor Twellman or Gary Danielson, the key to winning games is scoring goals (and being in the SEC or something). I’m now going to write 10,000 words about goals and winning.
Michigan scored 20 goals in 18 matches last season. That’s 1.11 goals per game. It’s not 27 for 27 bad, but it’s not good, either. If the 4-3-3 can be effective, I believe this team has an outside shot at an NCAA at-large bid.
Defensively, Michigan only allowed 23 goals in 18 matches last season and they had a very difficult schedule (Ohio State Maryland, Penn State, Notre Dame, Akron, Indiana and Oakland all made the NCAA tournament) and they return all four starters.
Ahinga Selemani: The highly-touted recruit from Pioneer only managed one goal in his freshman season and promptly transferred to Long Beach State, where he had previously committed prior to flipping to Michigan. Not the Peppers of soccer, as it turned out.
Tyler Arnone: Michigan’s midfield leader the past few years graduated and signed a pro deal with the Real Monarchs (Real Salt Lake’s development team). Arnone is a very solid midfielder and will be missed in the middle of the park.
Adam Grinwis: A four-year player, he graduated and signed with the Rochester Rhinos in the USL, a New England Revolution affiliate. He’s one of the best goalkeeper’s Michigan has produced but Louro is more than ready to step in full-time.
Marcos Ugarte: Played two years at Michigan after following Chaka Daley from Providence, the midfielder also signed with Rochester.
Nate Kohl: The Justin Boren Award winner transferred to Ohio State after being redshirted at Michigan last season.
Colin McAtee (RS Senior, Midfield/Forward): Michigan’s lone All B1G Ten selection and leading scorer (8 goals) last season. McAtee has a really high work rate (think: motor, football fans) and is one of the faster players on the team. His ability to score goals and be a general nuisance in the midfield and out wide will be a key factor to this team’s success.
James Murphy (Senior, Midfield): Murphy has played numerous midfield positions during his time at Michigan but is probably best as a bulldog-type Michael Bradley midfielder. The midfield is still in experimental phase after only one exhibition and about a week of practice, but he’ll be playing somewhere. He’s best known for scoring the goal that looked so much like Thierry Henry that Henry himself even retweeted the highlight.
He’s more than just a highlight—he’s a solid player.
Evan Louro (Sophomore, Goalkeeper): Louro is a New York Red Bull product who has also played for the U-18 US National Team. U-20 Coach Tab Ramos told me last year that he “is certainly a player we’re looking at”. There were a lot of questions about whether he would turn pro after his freshman season but he’s back and he’s the number one shot stopper. He’s one of the best young goalkeepers in the US Youth system and will be a huge factor this season.
William Mellors-Blair (Senior, Forward): WMB is an interesting option on the wing and showed flashes of what he can do last season. He’s strong on the ball and has incredible pace. He started every match last season (scoring two goals with three assists) but I expect him to have a very good season this year. He lead Detroit City FC in scoring this summer with 10 goals in 8 matches. He’s a real threat on the outside wing of the preferred 4-3-3 formation.
TJ VanSlooten (RS Senior, Forward): VanSlooten took a medical redshirt last season but tied for the scoring lead two years ago. He could start and will see a decent amount of playing time.
Defenders: The back four along with Louro should be this team’s strongpoint this season. I suspect (L-R in front of Louro) the lineup will be Rylee Woods—Andre Morris—Lars Eckenrode—Billy Stevens but true freshman Marcello Borges (another NY Red Bull guy) can play both right and left back. Jack Brown, who redshirted last season should see some decent playing time off the bench as well.
Francis Atuahene (Freshman, Forward): Atuahene is the gem in this recruiting class for Chaka Daley. He started at Center Forward in Michigan’s exhibition against Butler and managed to score a goal and had an assist as well. I was surprised at how polished he looked against Butler compared to his highlight videos from high school. He is a direct player and often ran directly at defenders and looked to beat them off the ball.
Marcello Borges (Freshman, Defender): Borges was highly recruited and can play both outside back positions and figures on playing a decent amount off the bench for Michigan this season. He’s also played with the U-18 US National Team.
Ivo Cerda (Freshman, MF): Cerda is a Chilean midfielder who will likely play in the center of midfield alongside Murphy. He started the exhibition against Butler and was fairly solid. He’ll split time with Taylor Anderson and Brett Nason.
Michigan faces five teams in the pre-season NCAA Top 25, including at #6 Creighton in the season opener. Daley has been bullish on the schedule again this season, scheduling non-conference matchups with the aforementioned Creighton, Oakland, Notre Dame and West Virginia (11-7-1 last season). The other key matchups are in-conference battles with powerhouses #9 Michigan State, #13 Maryland, #14 Indiana and #25 Penn State.
There are a lot of question marks with this team (sound familiar?) but I think they will score more goals than last season and the defense should be stout. The schedule is difficult but Michigan played well against their toughest opponents last season and struggled against teams like Bowling Green, FIU and Western Michigan. Those are the games they need to win this season. If they can do that and manage some draws against the likes of Maryland, Indiana, Michigan State, they could make a run at an at-large bid in the NCAA tournament.
SO MANY CLICKY CLICKS
Hello. At MGoBlog, we link all kind of things. Some of these things are behind paywalls. We've always tried to leave something useful behind those paywalls, whether that's by only quoting a few sentences or leaving it alone for days or months before we get around to our post on Player X. (With few exceptions, this site goes for thoroughness over immediacy.) But occasionally what we do raises hackles.
Sometimes we get yelled at for quoting people. Sometimes we get yelled at for not quoting people. Usually when people get mad I say "if you want we can stop using your stuff" and they say "well…," because a link with a ($) is also an ad for them. Comments here will occasionally say "I dropped my subscription to X because of MGoBlog" and while that's accurate for that guy it's clearly not accurate for everybody.
Here's the lay of the land when it comes to Michigan recruiting sites.
What we do
We have twice-weekly roundups of whatever's out there, from the three major recruiting services (Rivals, 247, and Scout) or newspapers or blogs with original reporting.
When a player commits we do a Hello post that summarizes the player's rankings, offers, stats, and scouting. We'll revisit them after Signing Day in the recruiting profiles.
What they do
Daily updates with indications as to where recruits are leaning—not gospel, broadly accurate. More in depth scouting. Some video, though these days Hudl has all the highlights you care to watch.
They also have program stuff—every site had extensive coverage of the coaching search. While that doesn't differentiate them much from this space, they have insider stuff on practices, players to watch, coaching moves, the works. The recent shoe contract negotiations are a better example. Most of them were publishing stuff about it more frequently than we did.
In general, they publish more, and more frequently, and are better-connected to the program. We will use a subsection of their posts later—often months later—in order to give you an overview of the recruiting situation or a particular player.
Why to subscribe
If you go into withdrawal between Monday and Thursday recruiting roundups; if you would like to have a very good feel for where player X is leaning; if you want their scouting more completely and (sometimes) much more quickly; if you want the comprehensive inside chatter now and not later.
Each also has a message board community. We have a message board community, but it's not for everybody. It can be harsh around here for people who don't fit; it is possible that certain MGoBlog readers will find a community of like-minded fans on a premium site elsewhere. That alone can be worth more than the cost of admission.
[After THE JUMP: an overview of your options.]
1 hour 51 minutes
"MISTER HARBAUGH, WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR DEFENSE AS A 3-4 DESPITE THE LACK OF A TWO GAP NOSE TACKLE?" [Fuller]
QB: average == heaven.
RB: many options, no certainty.
WR: fewer options, no certainty.
TE: lots of options. Butt!
OL: Pretty set, but how will they play?
DE: Will a WDE/buck/hero/leo/taco step forward?
DT: Still pretty deep, but no Mone hurts.
LB: Many seniors. Few snaps?
DB: We forgot to mention Peppers. Sorry for the oversight.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Hail Baxter.
Liz Crowe sits in as we talk all-white uniforms. No news, as everyone's in the submarine. I talk about the hypocrisy of me having a fashion opinion about anything. This is actually the second segment. Please do not be alarmed when I say "let's talk about the defense" and then it doesn't happen immediately. Everything will be all right.
"Across 110th Street"
"Paint's Peeling," Rilo Kiley
THE USUAL LINKS
Previously: Jim Harbaugh, DJ Durkin, Tim Drevno, Greg Mattison, Kyle Kalis, Brian Cole, Chase Winovich, Drake Harris, Jabrill Peppers, Royce Jenkins-Stone, Willie Henry, Jourdan Lewis, Wyatt Shallman, James Ross III
Tyrone Wheatley has his hands tied. Ask him about his running backs and that’s the symbol he shows you, hands mashed together to indicate the lack of separation between the players in his position group. He talked about that at Media Day, as well as what it’s like to have his son play for both his alma mater and the team he’s currently coaching.
Did you go back and watch any film on Drake Johnson to get a feel as far as what you’re going to have with him?
“Yeah, I did. I mean, I knew Drake. I recruited Drake when I was at Syracuse. He’s a guy who has a lot of talent [and] a lot of promise, but once again, he’s going to be held to the same standard.”
How did the group look as far as skills beyond just running with the ball- blocking, things of that nature- in the spring?
“They looked good. They looked real good. They had a great base. They’re all well coached backs. All are well coached backs. The biggest thing now is you just have to separate them.
“Right now they’re all in a pack. One or two just has to emerge and separate themselves from the pack. I think that’s the biggest problem that’s going on right now. They’re all well coached, they’re all good athletes, they’re all good football players, they’re all good running backs, but no one has just said, ‘Hey, I’m going to distance myself’ and that’s the problem right now.”
Have you had any talks with Fred Jackson as far as picking up where he left off?
“Uh…eh, you asked that question already. No, not really.”
Your son being here- how much does he want to separate himself from you and be a college student? What’s that relationship been like?
“We give him his space, but to say separate himself, he’s already separated himself because the distance of my playing years and his playing years are so far apart that there’s already distance. Now I’m dad, but I’m the running backs coach. Coach Harbaugh, Jay Harbaugh, coaches him. So when you say distance yourself, that’s the distance.
“We’re close. People have to understand that’s my son still and I still will look at him as a father, being proud of him as a father and having expectations. I think sometimes a father’s expectations are a little tougher than a coach’s expectations, you know? But yeah, the distance is already there but we’re very close.”
[Much more after THE JUMP]
Winston Narrows List, Stops By A2
John Beilein's top recruiting priority is to land a quality point guard in the 2016 class and U-D Jesuit four-star Cassius Winston has been the number one target on the board for a while. Michigan got a couple encouraging developments on that front this week when Winston cut down his list and then dropped by Ann Arbor for an unofficial, per The Wolverine's Chris Balas ($):
Winston trimmed his list to four recently, striking Harvard from his list and leaving Michigan, Michigan State, Stanford and Pitt. Most believe it's a U-M vs. MSU battle, and Winston added some intrigue when he visited Ann Arbor again Aug. 16.
"He loves everything Michigan has to offer, loves the basketball," his dad said. "He really likes the academics, too."
Winston is slated to take an official visit on September 19th; he's already taken one to Stanford and is supposed to see MSU the week prior, giving M the last crack unless he adds other visits to the schedule. His father told MLive he's getting a little tired of the recruiting process and would like to make a final decision before his senior season begins. This looks like an in-state battle and the Wolverines may have a slight edge right now.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the roundup.]
The saddest legend. Is Toys R Us headquartered in North Carolina?
— Paul Lukas (@UniWatch) August 17, 2015
Why stop there, NC State? You've honored a gentleman you chased off your campus for playing baseball who finished his Wolfpack career with 7.2 yards per attempt. Once you've broken down the walls between that gentleman and a legends patch there are no barriers left.
Who's wearing 23 for you? He's now the Michael Jordan memorial (probably) tailback. He played somewhat near your school, after all. Jordan Spieth—certainly a carbon-based lifeform—does not have a number, so you can put a patch for him on all your jerseys. Dr. Manhattan may be fictional, but that doesn't have to stop you, NC State. Six words: NC State legend Dr. Manhattan cosplay.
Boom. You just got wow experienced. That will be one million dollars for consulting. Make the check out to Boom Wow Experienced Dot Org Net Inc.
On Samuelson's exit. Dan Samuelson was extremely candid with Nick Baumgardner in the aftermath:
"It had been a tough two years, not seeing the field and really not ever hitting the two-deep spot," Samuelson said Saturday. "I just realized, this is my third season, my chances of playing still aren't very good. I decided it was time to make a change and head somewhere where my chances were a little better.
"I just felt like it wasn't the best fit for me anymore."
Samuelson says he was third string throughout the spring and summer, and was told to focus on gaining more weight this offseason by Michigan's coaching staff -- something he says he accomplished after wrapping spring ball at 6-foot-5, 289 pounds.
But once camp began, Samuelson says he began to realize he wasn't making any progress when it came to Michigan's depth chart.
These days it's tough to play at less than 300, and Samuelson struggling to get up to 290 in his third year means the writing's on the wall. Samuelson made no bones about it.
Injury scares. While it seems Bryan Mone is going to be laid up for a long time with the broken ankle everyone says he's got, rumors that two more players were down for the count seem overblown.
The way this generally goes is several sites report the same thing without names, but with each one using a different set of parameters to indicate who it is (offensive freshman expected to contribute, etc.) people can deduce who the players in question were. Then the sites are like "right, those two guys" in follow-ups. It's a quality system. I enjoy it.
Anyway, in this case the two injured gents were TJ Wheatley and Wyatt Shallman. Steve Lorenz reported that Wheatley had a knee thing that was just a strain, not torn ligaments; Sam Webb reported that Shallman has a strained calf. Both are missing practice time and may miss a game or two but should be back early in the season.
This is a bad article. There are many bad articles. I don't often point them out these days, but this one is special. It is a column in Psychology Today titled "Obesely Speaking" about something something Harbaugh intermittent reinforcement SCIENCE:
We are also drawn to Harbaugh because we are a social species, and instinctually we know that we are only as strong as our weakest, as healthy as our sickest, as wealthy as our poorest – though we’ve lost sight of that. Hence, his many humanitarian deeds add yet another level of appeal. I asked several Internet social media groups, such as Michigan Football HQ, The University of Michigan M Club, Michigan Proud and True, Big Ten Talk etc. why they liked Jim Harbaugh. U of M alumnus, Bruce Laing, encapsulates the majority opinion: He will instill toughness and accountability in the athletes, posted Laing in the University of Michigan M Club. Our children's futures are vital, so we embrace the importance of education, accountability and toughness because they galvanize that future; yet another reason Americans are drawn to Harbaugh.
Woof. The saddest part of this article is that it has 80(!) references to scientific papers at the end of it. Hopefully the guy just writes his columns such that all those papers are always at the end and he just C&Ps it. As good an explanation as any.
Well done. EDSBS commentariat member Tim Hodgson undertook an experiment:
Undertake your experiment today!
No union for (just) you. The National Labor Relations Board turned down Northwestern's attempt to unionize yesterday with a ruling reminiscent of Kirk Ferentz facing fourth and two in the opponent's territory:
"In the decision, the Board held that asserting jurisdiction would not promote labor stability due to the nature and structure of NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS)," the NLRB wrote in its decision. "By statute the Board does not have jurisdiction over state-run colleges and universities, which constitute 108 of the roughly 125 FBS teams.
"In addition, every school in the Big Ten, except Northwestern, is a state-run institution. As the NCAA and conference maintain substantial control over individual teams, the Board held that asserting jurisdiction over a single team would not promote stability in labor relations across the league.
"This decision is narrowly focused to apply only to the players in this case and does not preclude reconsideration of this issue in the future."
They punted. That's disappointing and a bit nonsensical. Matt Hinton points out that this is a federal agency explicitly concerned with a "level playing field" that does not exist and never will. By shooting down this case, the NRLB forces any unionization effort to be held over at least all private schools and probably something even wider than that.
There is short term relief here for the NCAA; in the longer term this is going down in court.
Etc.: Wheatley profiled. 1981 SI piece on Bo is gold. The first-ever sports team at Michigan. Do not read, Gary Danielsn. Also do not read, Gary Danielson. Here is a week old piece on Kevin Tolbert I meant to link earlier.