News bullets and other important items:
- Blake Countess (groin) and Mario Ojemudia (ankle) were held out of practice but should return by Monday
- Drake Harris injured his other hamstring and has been limited to doing rehab reps
- The offensive line could change from morning practice to afternoon practice until they find a combination they like. Don’t shoot the messenger.
- The open scrimmage on the 16th was Hoke’s idea and will feature…football. They’re going to play football.
“Thanks for coming. Number one, it’s always good to get in the pads for the first day. You know, even though you've been in short pads and helmets it was good to get out in full pads. It was good that the energy that we've had all week has been really positive, how the guys have reacted to some adversity that we put them under. Today we did a little crowd noise and certain situational football setting and you could see we've got a lot of work to do. So we'll continue to put a bunch of pressure on our team. You know, Blake [Countess], he's got a little bit of a groin so we held him out today. Mario's [Ojemudia] got a little bit of an ankle, he's in a boot, but talking to him he said that he feels better every day and I think he'll be okay. Blake and Mario, they should be by Monday ready to go so we're excited about that. We've had good practices but we've got a long way to go when you look at where we need to be.”
What would you say, in just the five days of practice, you've seen the most improvement of and where would you say 'we've got to get this better pretty quick?'
“Well, I guess the biggest thing is how they came into camp. From conditioning and all, the kind of shape we're in, to football IQ and where that's at, and that's why we’ve got to continue to put a lot of stress on them. You know, that way things become a little more reactive and automatic when you're looking at it. That's probably in how they're competing with each other, you know, we get a couple scuffles now and then, and most of that is guys just going. And they're going hard.”
Could you talk about the enthusiasm? They were jacked up at the beginning today.
“Well, they were jacked up at the beginning. It was great they were jacked up at the beginning and it was great they were jacked up at the end. I mean, you need both. You can always start fast but you've got to finish. I thought they've come out every day that way, so they've been excited about football. Obviously tomorrow we'll go two practices and that will be a little bit more challenging in some ways. I think we've got a really good plan when you look at the health and wellness and getting them off their feet and trying to get them as much sleep as we can. That's a little different than years past and I think that's a testament a little bit to how they've gone about their team business.”
About the freshman; are all of them participating?
“All of them are participating. Some of them have to leave a little early depending on what they have on the academic schedule.”
They're all qualified?
“Oh yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah, yes. I didn't know you were talking about that. They're all qualified, they're all here.”
With being unsure whether Ty [Issac] is going to be given the opportunity to play or not, how do you decide how many reps to get him in case he can play or in case he doesn’t and you don’ want to take away from somebody else
“Right, right. And I think the one thing we’ve done is we are getting a ton of reps. How we practice—so there’s enough reps there. I think as we get closer, a week from now, when you start really game planning—because he really needs to take some reps to learn what the offense is.I think luckily he’s played at a Division I university and there’s a lot of similarities always but I think this has been beneficial for him and I think everyone’s kind of gotten what we need.
Would you be surprised if Devin [Gardner] wasn’t the guy in week 1?
“I would think he’s had a really good fall camp so far. You know, it’s five days. He’s right now the guy taking most of the reps with the ones but we’re splitting them up a little bit at times and if he’s not playing well, you know, Shane [Morris]—Doug’s not hesitant in practice to make that change and so they both are taking reps with the ones. Devin’s getting the majority of them.
You talked a little bit about multiple running backs. Could you see early in the season, let’s say Devin’s the starter, trying to get Shane in there earlier than later and getting him some playing time?
“You know, we haven’t really talked about what kind of contingency plan or plan to try and get him, if he isn’t the starter, reps yet in that first game, second game, third game, fourth game, whatever it might be.”
You talked before about staying away from ‘I like this team,’ but do you have a sense of this team’s identity yet?
“No, not yet but we talk about it every day, their identity and what they want to make it. It’s things that you do repeatedly and they can be good or bad.”
And what’s the response you get?
“Well, I think from a physical standpoint it’s been real positive. I think from a competitive standpoint it’s been real positive.”
In terms of freshmen getting in the mix, Freddy [Canteen] especially…
“I think Freddy. I think Mason Cole. Mason Cole’s a good football player. I think I said that in the spring. He’s a little different than most freshmen offensive linemen in some ways. I think [Bryan] Mone, Mone’s a little different. Him being here was a big plus. Wilton Speight’s taken some good reps. Drake Harris is the other guy. He’s got a little bit of a ham, hammy, hamstring and so he’s a guy that hasn’t—he’s taken some limited reps but not like we’d like to get with him.
Was that something that he re-hurt this week?
“Yeah. He re-hurt it early in the week. Different hamstring.”
Did you guys think about shutting him down for a while?
“He has been shut down.”
You said he’s been doing limited reps…
“Limited, yeah. And most of those are rehab reps.”
You were in pads for the first time today. Do you know when you’ll have your first scrimmage?
“Yeah I do but I don’t know if I remember right now. Sometime next week, but I couldn’t tell you when it is. I kind of go by it daily.”
Blake’s injury is, you said, a groin. Is that related to the core [injury that caused him to have offseason surgery]?
“No. No, no, no. He’ll be fine.”
Is this just a brief thing with Drake here?
“You know, I’m not a doctor so it’s hard for me to really analyze that. I think it’s something that we’re very weary about. I think Coach Wellman, Strength and Conditioning—I think the rehab that we’ve done, I think Paul Schmidt and the trainers have all handled it very well. You know, is it a nagging thing? Maybe. Some people have those things so we have to think what can we do to help besides this rest and they know much better than I know.”
Who do you see mixing in besides Funchess among the wide receivers at the top spot?
“Jehu [Chesson]. Amara’s [Darboh] done well. Dennis [Norfleet] and Freddy [Canteen] right now have done a nice job. Bo Dever. Jack Wangler’s made some good plays but if I would look at that group I think Funch, Amarah, Jehu, Fleet and Canteen.”
Norfleet and Canteen are at slot?
“They’re at slot, yes.”
What kind of progress has Amara made after sitting out last year with injury?
“He really has come along real well. I think in the spring, probably the last two weeks, we could have put him in live stuff but we just decided not to. He’s done well.”
Where have you seen this week the impact of Coach Nussmeier’s new system on the offensive line?
“Well, I think there’s some things that we like more vertical. I think that the combination schemes that we want to be a little more heavy on the line of scrimmage. When you look at hands, you know, four hands on one man to initiate some movement on the line of scrimmage. I think the backs themselves, Drake Johnson, Derrick [Green] and De’Veon [Smith], they’re downhill guys so it’s punctured the line of scrimmage a little bit.
When it comes to the line right now, how do you balance moving guys around trying different things versus wanting to have one unit building cohesion playing alongside each other?
“How do you balance it? I think it can be tricky but I think it can be massaged very well. I think Darrell [Funk] has done a nice job with it and Nuss and who we’ve put in that first group and maybe that changes daily. I’m sure it will change from a morning practice to the afternoon at times until we really feel this is it with these guys. I think the competition there has been really good for us and I think they’ve come out every day very physical.”
So who was the first group today?
“Today it was Mason Cole at the left tackle position, Jack [Miller] was at the center position, Magnuson was at the left guard position for a little bit, Ben Braden was at right tackle, and the right guard was Graham [Glasgow] and David Dawson.”
Can I ask a question about the open scrimmage [on August 16th]?
“I’d love for you to.”
You talked about in the spring how you didn’t show your cards. Is this going to be the same kind of thing?
“That’s why you have to come.”
You could have opposing coaches come in, right?
“If they’re coming in during two-a-day…”
“Well, they could. Do you think they will?
Yeah, they could have a graduate assistant or somebody…
“Are you going to trust a graduate assistant right now?”
I think you were one once, right?
I don’t know your bio by heart.
“That’s okay. Yeah but what are you showing? We’re going to play football though.”
So you will keep your cards close to the vest.
“No, you said that. I didn’t say that. We’re going to play football.”
Whose idea was it?
You’ve got to put this thing together pretty quickly.
“I think it’s good. You know, the more you look at pro football and for a team that’s got some youth but experience I think it’s good for them to be in front of people. Just like crowd noise today, I want as many distractions as we can get. I also think it’s great for Michigan fans because we love them.”
Do you want to invite us more to distract the players?
“No, probably not. You don’t distract them. You may distract me.”
Playing at home hasn’t been a problem. Have you considered doing a scrimmage at an away stadium?
“You know, we’ve done that. We did that when we were going to Alabama, to Texas. I thought that was really good for us. I thought it would’ve been maybe better if we could’ve opened it up and had people in Ford Field. I think that would’ve been pretty cool but that’s pretty hard to negotiate when they have their security, their event staff, all those things.”
At 8:15 on a Friday, so unless they're trying to bury their publicity stunt—not likely—they were blindsided by the catalogs for like the third straight time and released them early because the cat was already out of the bag. It's 2014, guys: the internet is fast.
Goofy numbers were already known, and then the monochrome blue. They're running out of options before they start tossing around all yellow, aren't they?
Mike Weber: Class Rankings Impact
After securing a commitment from four-star Cass Tech RB Mike Weber on Wednesday night, Michigan is at or near the top of the board on the recruiting services when it comes to the pure quality of their commits (taking quantity, admittedly also an important factor, out of the equation). The Wolverines are tied with Alabama at #1 in average star rating on Scout (3.90) and they're third on both Rivals (behind Bama and USC) and the 247 Composite (ditto). This is especially impressive given a kicker represents a full 10% of Michigan's class, and while Andrew David is a highly regarded kicker, specialists are lucky to get even two stars on the recruiting sites—that's what David merits on the 247 Composite.
With ten commits in a class that should get up to just 14-16 players, Michigan won't land atop any of the team rankings—for good reason, as quantity does matter—but that doesn't mean they're not doing well there, either. Weber's commitment shot them up six spots to #19 in the composite rankings, the highest placement of any program with ten or fewer commits. Florida is next in the ten-or-fewer club at #29, and then you have to scroll down a good deal to fine Ole Miss and Oklahoma at #42 and #43, respectively. Make no mistake: Brady Hoke is once again putting together a really good class, and it may be his most impressive to date when factoring in the preceding season.
Another One Coming?
— Tom VanHaaren (@TomVH) August 7, 2014
Above is four-star NC SDE Darian Roseboro, whom you can watch obliterating his teammates in practice if you click through to Gerry Hamilton's Twitter—including him lining up at running back(!) in the Oklahoma drill. Roseboro has long been thought to be a Michigan lean, though he's mentioned in the past that location would play a factor in his recruitment, as family is very important to him. When Roseboro talked to Scout's North Carolina outlet on Wednesday, he gave a very positive indication that this won't affect Michigan's standing one iota ($):
According to Roseboro, location won’t factor into his decision.
“My parents, they’re going to come wherever I go,” Roseboro said. “We’ve already talked about that. They said, ‘Don’t go somewhere just because you don’t think we’re not going to make it. We’re going to be at every game.’ They’re in a position where they can do that.”
The UNC guy then asked a bunch of questions about whether Roseboro could be a package deal with fellow North Carolinian D-linemen Shy Tuttle and Jalen Dalton, both of whom are also announcing in the near future—they all hold UNC offers. Roseboro basically dodged those questions. This may be why...
Sam Webb has a "gut feeling" about ANOTHER recruit.
Yes, he's referring to Roseboro—you can hear it for yourself on the WTKA recruiting roundup from yesterday (segment 3, 5:40 mark). Roseboro will announce his decision on August 29th at 2:30 pm. If he commits, expect that Hello post to go up quickly.
KLS: Michigan Is "My Favorite School"
Five-star CA WDE Keisean Lucier-South broke down his top five schools to Rivals' Adam Gorney; I'll let you compare the Michigan and UCLA quotes yourself ($):
"I love the program," Lucier-South said. "It's my favorite school. The tradition there is insane. I've been watching them since I was a little kid. I can feel the vibe over there and that's why I chose them as my first official visit, too. I want to check it out. I really love Michigan right now."
The two Pac-12 schools are definitely major players. Lucier-South absolutely loves the UCLA staff and Oregon has impressed him with the comparison they're making about him.
"I really like (UCLA) because of the coaching staff and the tradition there," Lucier-South said. "It's a winning program there now. I see them building a winning program there. They were my first big offer, too, and I really respect that and that's why I really like UCLA right now.
That looks pretty promising, even if you interpret it as Lucier-South saying Michigan was his favorite school to root for growing up, and not necessarily the favorite in his recruitment. Oregon is a team to watch here—they're looking at him as a 3-4 outside linebacker, and he seems quite open to that possibility.
After visiting Michigan with teammate Mike Weber on Wednesday, four-star 2016 Cass Tech CB Lavert Hill told Steve Wiltfong "it feels so good" to be in Ann Arbor when he visits, and he's "looking forward to going to their games" in the fall ($). It'd be very surprising if the younger brother of current U-M safety Delano Hill doesn't end up at Michigan sooner or later.
Four-star 2016 IL LB TUF BORLAND told Scout's Eric Rutter that he's close to an offer:
“Actually at the end coach Mattison came up to me and said you’re really close to an offer,” said Borland. “That was exciting to hear. They said they’re really excited for having me up and they’re looking forward to the future and seeing us grow and get better and improve.”
TUF's lone offer right now is from Illinois, and he says he's "sure there will be another" visit to Ann Arbor in his future; I like Michigan's chances if/when that offer comes through.
As caught by an alert Joshua Henschke on twitter, the latest MDen catalog strongly implies that Michigan will wear alternate uniforms for the Penn State game:
I'm not surprised, I guess. I had just forgotten about the possibility of such a thing and was disappointed to remember we do this now.
I'm sure this will be sold as a throwback to some fictional time in the past when Michigan wore stripey numbers under coach Pterodactyl The Second and won the Big Ten thanks to their velociraptor riders, because Authenticity™.
UPDATE: actually looks like an MGoUser was first to wonder.
1994: when the universe was right-side up. Via Wolverine Historian:
This game featured a halftime interview with one Gerald Ford:
It's over. Everything is over. The FAKE 40 scale has been broken. They said that man could not claim a 40 time with more than five FAKES attached. They said a lot of things. Well, I present you with the first level eight (eight!) FAKE 40 time:
— Northwestern Sports (@NU_Sports) August 7, 2014
Unstoppable run-god Trevor Siemian? That does not sound right. Rodger Sherman figures that whether this is true or false this is the beginning of the end for Pat Fitzgerald. I agree. This has destabilized the entire structure of the sport.
IS IT MAIZE? This poster-type thing makes Michigan's uniforms look far less highlighter-y than they have in the recent past:
Delonte Hollowell front and center
All discussions about this inevitably center on the fact that you can make the same color look vastly different depending on lighting and various other photo doodadery, so let's just stipulate that. But maybe it'll look like a color instead of a fire truck this year.
I am intrigued by your newsletter. 2016 AL SG Josh Langford is arriving on campus today. It is possible there has not been enough chatter about this. Everyone's focused on Tyus Battle after Battle's camp appearance, but Langford is just as highly touted of a prospect, says highly positive things when asked about Michigan, and now 247's Jerry Meyer has put in a prediction for M on their Crystal Ball. He offers a brief explanation as to why:
Duke had been considered the leader in his recruitment but the Blue Devils have only showed minimal recruiting interest to this point.
Sources tell 247Sports that Michigan and Kansas are the two schools in the strongest position with Langford. … A physical guard at 200-pounds or more, Langford loves to attack the rim and also has a versatile and skilled game that would fit great into John Beilein's system of play.
Langford's quotes about Beilein are on the rapturous side, and apparently there's some substance to that.
Meanwhile, Michigan is asserted to be the leader($) for 2016 CA PF TJ Leaf by Scout analyst Evan Daniels. Asserted to be the "slight" leader. That is still an improvement over the perception that Indiana or UCLA was on top.
Leaf's Crystal Ball is a total mess, with five different schools listed—a recent Duke offer has caused a lot of picks for the Blue Devils to come in, there's a random CBS Sports writer projecting Florida, etc. Leaf just visited Arizona, as well. His recruitment could go any direction from here. Michigan probably needs another visit before Leaf's announcement in March or April to feel good. The current plan is for Leaf to take an official in February.
DRIII. Jeff Eisenberg has a rather lengthy article on the second-newest Wolverine, Duncan Robinson. How does a guy go from D-III to Michigan? Bad luck and hard work.
He stood only 5-foot-7 entering his freshman year at Governor's Academy in Byfield, Mass. He suffered an ill-timed back injury that hampered him during the all-important summer before his senior year at Exeter. And even after his growth spurt, he still needed to build the muscle necessary to absorb contact and finish at the rim. …
"His goal is to be an impact player," Tilton said. "He's not a kid looking to play a small role. He'll put the effort and energy in. I have not coached a kid with more passion for the game of basketball. He has a tremendous work ethic. He spends hours and hours on his craft. Basketball is his social life, and that's why he has been able to put himself in this position."
It'll be fascinating to see how this decision works out. Michigan passed on Nevada's Cole Huff when it looked for all the world like he would end up transferring in and seem ready to shut down 2015 recruiting entirely with Robinson in the fold. All Hail Infallible Beilein, of course, but 6'8" two-guards shooting 45% from three do not grow on trees.
Almost ready to shut down 2015 recruiting. 6'6" combo guard PJ Dozier just announced a top five and a plan to visit Michigan this fall, and if he has been shut out by the Robinson commitment he is not aware of this fact:
“Some people will say I like this school because they’re this type of school and I’ve watched them forever. But P.J. is selecting a school that is the correct way in what is going to be the best program and the best fit for him so Michigan is definitely a strong, strong possibility.”
Michigan does have a spot in the 2015 class, and if a guy on Dozier's level—#31 on the composite—wants to take it you probably let him even if it removes the possibility you get a similarly-ranked 2016 guy.
Well yeah. Listen to this man, he is a wizard.
"It's no longer about education," Snyder said. "We've sold out to the cameras over there, and TV has made its way, and I don't fault TV. I don't fault whoever broadcasts games. They have to make a living and that's what they do, but athletics -- that's it. It's sold out."
I am skeptical it was ever really about education but yes probably more so than now; "sold out" is correct.
I would be okay with this. Stunningly, a plurality of coaches in the Power 5 support doing away with cupcakes entirely:
Of the 65 Power Five coaches from the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12, SEC and Notre Dame, 46 percent (30 coaches) favored playing exclusively Power Five opponents while 35 percent (23 coaches) were opposed. About 18.5 percent (12 coaches) were undecided.
"About 18.5." Significant digits, man.
Anyway, they did away with the requirement that you have to win six games to go to a bowl, significantly greasing the skids towards a "yes" vote. Pac-12 coaches were the most gung-ho in favor, with only Rich Rodriguez opposed; the ACC was the only conference where more coaches were opposed to the idea than in favor; The Big Ten split down the middle. Hoke was not quoted but was listed as in favor.
Joe Dumars' last transaction. Brendan Quinn notes that the DRIII transfer saga was kicked off by none other than Joe Dumars's firing:
After the Pistons fired general manager Joe Dumars in mid-April, a six-week search for his replacement finally landed on Marist College head coach Jeff Bower.
Bower accepted the position, vaulting from a low-major college coach to an NBA GM.
That left Marist scrambling for a new coach as the summer churned toward key recruiting periods. The coaching search in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., ultimately landed on Mike Maker, a 48-year-old who had led tiny Williams College to a 147-32 record and two national championship game appearances in six years.
With Maker gone, Robinson started looking around. May this transaction be more in the 'Sheed department instead of the "everything after the Billups trade oh and also the Billups trade" department.
Etc.: Thanks, Landon. Autonomy passes. No one knows what that means yet. Impact figures to be minimal in basketball. Scrimmage details. You have to register, because you need to be bombarded by emails. The NFL is suddenly open.
It's been 25 years since Seinfeld debuted. This was reason enough for saveferris to create another one of those Big Ten teams are analogous to pop culture thing things. I'm about to do one of those ruin the diary by providing spoilers when I argue with its conclusion things, so if you want to add to the discussion do the OP a favor and say it on his post.
Spoiler section: I'm fine with Michigan as Jerry even though starting these things with the home team as the main protagonist is pretty trite. It sets up the rivalries with Newman and Kenny Bania. Big disagreement: you've got Wisconsin and Iowa mixed up. What school falls ass-backwards into things AND is a hipster doofus AND believes in strange deities?
What school is known for its incredible output of big, gumpy dudes who keep pushing handy relationships that feel really awkward?
Also because they're a mechanic who wants to be noticed. I'd make Rutgers Estelle Constanza and Maryland just Frank. 1) Their only connection to this show is their relationship to George (PSU), who stopped hanging out with them when he discovered his other friends. 2) Between the two of them, Jerry Stiller may not be a Seinfeld star but he's still a valuable onscreen commodity who gave us Festivus and other classic moments, and is only annoying because he talks about money too often, like Maryland; Estelle is just a walking "Joisy" stereotype and calamity.
There's a joke about Northwestern going to Florida in here.
If they lived in the Midwest they'd be married already. I once attended a very hip party in Brooklyn. My best friend's wife is like the pinnacle of Brooklyn cool, and she's also just really awesome, thus she interacts in the highest of hipster-professional circles, and one time I was visiting and tagged along to be this Midwestern object of curiosity among indie film makers, neighborhood magazine editors, and one girl who claimed she did irony as a living. My most successful joke was to remark that we here in the Northwest Territories were ecstatic to learn that flannel was back in style. Then I got into a long conversation on the balcony/fire escape about how we tend to get married by our mid-20's, which is really early to them. Maybe it's because there's nothing else to do. Maybe it's because we like our comfort (flannel, remember) more than the bother of drawing things out.
This is all a lead-up to m1jjb00's finding that only four Midwest recruits in the 247 top 300 are still uncommitted. We have fewer top players than any other region, true, but that doesn't explain why 84% of them are already signed to a school when the next closest region is 69% and the average is 61%. Because y'all got commitment issues. #flannelandproud
Etc. Reordering recruiting rankings by % of 4-stars in the class < giving + credit per player; Michigan's ranked low because we have a 10-man class that would be big at 15, and a lot of teams are already past 20 (Mississippi State is at 27 because Mississippi State is the SEC who's the worst at SEC-ing). See: Jake Ryan as Captain America. Also this wallpaper:
[After the jump: a drone flies over the Big House to annoying music, a small change to the helmet that's destined for a "Michigan to Change Its Helmet" headline as soon as such people catch wind of it, and the true story of O-I-H-O.]