that is nice bonus change
NC DE Darian Roseboro took an extensive visit to Michigan last weekend and reported back favorably; Sam Webb has an article on the result, in which Roseboro's dad raves and says he's seen what there is to see:
“I’ve seen all I’m going to see,.” Mr. Roseboro said flatly. “I’m not going anymore visits. Maybe he and his mother and grandpa will go one or two more places… maybe Tennessee, maybe (North Carolina) State, (North) Carolina or Duke. It won’t be any place further than what we’ve been.”
They want to come to a decision in the next couple months between Michigan and the schools listed above. NC State is popularly held to be the biggest threat… can we still be confident recruiting against NC State? I feel we can. .
Camps and such continue
Rivals's camp tour arrived in Detroit recently, and while there aren't a whole lot of local 2015 kids that Michigan seems to be pursuing there is one they're definitely after. He is Cass Tech RB Mikey Weber:
"Nussmeier, the day he came in, he contacted me and he brought me to their facility and he showed me a lot of things and he really opened my eyes back to Michigan," Weber said. "Nussmeier brings that Alabama style of running and that's what I'm looking for."
Weber was named the #1 player on offense in attendance:
Weber was virtually unguardable during the one-on-one period. The Rivals250 member is extremely agile and can change directions on a dime. Weber ran extremely crisp routes and had very good hands.
MSU seems the main competition unless Notre Dame puts on a press, but we are now in a situation where we can hope a highly touted running back commits to MSU before Michigan's target decides. In this case that's OH RB Larry Scott, who is reportedly about to drop to MSU.
/waves tiny 'punt' flag
Notre Dame, for its part, just got back in after a "misunderstanding" had Weber thinking an offer was coming when it was not. The two parties still seem to be at arm's length at the moment.
Weber's planning a hats-on-the-table decision at the Army game, FWIW.
Malzone just has to fire the photon torpedoes down the tubes to get an offer
MI QB Alex Malzone was the QB MVP, FWIW, and may be inching closer to a Michigan offer:
The most noticeable thing about him was his rifle arm. The ball really pops off his hand and gets to his target in a hurry. Malzone's good footwork helped him throw a very accurate ball. He was able to hit most of his receivers in stride throughout the day.
His throwing session($) for various college coaches went well:
“My conversation with Coach Nuss went very well,” Malzone said. “He’s been all around the country seeing guys throw. I think he has one more, maybe two more on his list. He told everyone from the beginning he was going to see everyone throw. And then see what happens from there. And that’s pretty much what he told me. He said he was very impressed."
If I had to bet, Malzone's recent performances and flagging interest from the crew of elite California dudes will lead to Michigan issuing that offer. Wake Forest has issued his first BCS offer.
Elsewhere, PA OL commit Jon Runyan Jr showed up for a camp in the NY/NJ area, providing an opportunity for someone to provide scouting on him:
Runyan, a Michigan commit, was technically sound. His initial punch had purpose and he moved his feet well. He stayed low in his pass protection stance, and he did not reach. His balance was good, but he had a little difficulty when a speedy defensive lineman tried to go straight up the field on him. He was solid, and will continue to improve as his strength and size increase.
Listed at 6'3.5" and 265 pounds, Runyan is slated for the interior unless he hits a growth spurt.
Welp, part one
If you need a definition of how the recruiting landscape has shifted over the course of the last football season, here it is($):
Coming off a spring game visit to Michigan State on Saturday, Detroit King linebacker Tyriq Thompson has the Spartans out front as the team to beat in his recruitment. … Thompson's father played for Michigan and he holds an offer from the Wolverines.
Previously MSU was only in play for certain recruits with family backgrounds that favored MSU or had academic red flags that Michigan, for better or worse, is shying away from. Now they're leading for a Michigan legacy with a Michigan offer. This is what happens when you have the most unwatchable football season in the country while your instate rival wins the conference and Rose Bowl.
Quick, play some more LFO, Special K!
Welp, part two
CA DE Keisean Lucier-South called Michigan a childhood favorite and was super-enthused about the offer that did come from Ann Arbor, but at the moment he's got another school out front($):
"UCLA is probably I would say the team to beat right now. I have been talking to them the most right now and I've seen them and been to their school the most so they're the team to beat."
He does have an official planned to Michigan this fall (also ND) and is going to take his time.
OLSM LB Daelin Hayes was set to commit to Michigan at that Rivals camp before putting off his decision. His performance at the camp justified the early offer:
Hayes is looking like he will be among the nation's best in that class after what we saw on Sunday. It was always known that Hayes was talented, and that at 6-foot-3 and 225 pounds he had ideal size. However, he missed his sophomore year after getting injured in the first game of the season and there was some questions as to justhow good he was. We got that question answered pretty sufficiently on Sunday when Hayes proved to be on another tier athletically.
As far as his recruitment goes, his current offers are from M, MSU, Wisconsin, and Tennessee and isn't maintaining any leaders. He plans to camp($) at M, MSU, and Wisconsin so it doesn't seem like he's looking to go too far afield.
MI OL Thiyo Lukasa seems to be an instate battle, one that probably favors Michigan this instant but see Welp Part One above.
Basketball is going better, stop me if you've heard that before
Chatman and Wilson zoom up available rankings
It's another final rankings update, so Michigan recruits must be shooting towards the ceiling. This time it's Scout, which finally makes Kam Chatman a five star (at #23) after Chatman was the #1 four star on Rivals and 247. Also rocketing up the rankings is DJ Wilson, who finishes #67 after being an anonymous three star upon his commitment. "Gold in them thar hills" tag: deployed.
Unfortunately, it seems like Michigan and Cole Huff aren't going to end up making sweet three point babies… this sentence got really weird really fast. I was powerless to stop it, you have to believe me.
Anyway. According to his AAU coach, Huff is down to two:
Cole Huff is down to Creighton and Iowa where he is visiting tomorrow he will be making a decision following the visit #Eleate
— clint parks (@Brotherhood05) May 1, 2014
Given the way they'd been talking about Michigan before I have to assume that Michigan did not end up pursuing Huff. That isn't the craziest thing in the world if Chatman and Wilson are both stretch fours… I just thought a guy who had that size and shot like that would be a lock to perform under Beilein. C'est la vie.
With Huff off the board, the next major event in basketball recruiting is likely to be the June window in which Michigan conducts its elite camp and fires out offers to 2016 prospects. Michigan is going to have a couple of big, big time guys on campus for that camp. One of them is going to be NV PG Derryck Thornton Jr. If that seems like an odd place for a guy super interested in Michigan to be, Chris Balas has a long piece($) on the reason Michigan is high on his list. Turns out Jeff Meyer coached his father back in the day when he was at Liberty, and things went better than they do with Rutgers coaches:
"One word - integrity," Thornton Sr. told us last year. "I remember him as a man as much as a coach. He had high integrity. Of course he'd get after you in practice, but that's what you do as a coach. There were times he'd call you just to check on you and see how you were doing."
Tom Crean just fainted, then cut down some nets.
Thornton plans to be at Michigan's elite camp for nearly a week, and an offer will certainly follow. Thornton is the #19 player in the country on the 247 composite, and their Crystal Ball has swung from 100% Arizona to 50-50 over the past few weeks.
As a bonus, Thornton and his dad have seemingly convinced NJ SF Tyus Battle to take in the elite camp as well. Syracuse is supposed to lead for Battle; get 'em on campus and all that.
And Michigan has plenty of options after those two… it seems that the 2016 cycle is the one where Michigan is really starting to see the payoff from their recent success. AL SG Josh Langford (not that Josh Langfeld), claims "high interest($)" in Michigan…
“Oh I definitely want to get up to Michigan,” Langford’s father said. “And Michigan State has also shown a lot of interest too so, I definitely want to get up to Michigan to check them out.”
…MI PG Cassius Winston is waiting on his offer, KY PG Quentin Goodin is tentatively planning to go head-to-head with Thornton at the elite camp, and ON PG Jamal Murray has M and MSU near the top of his list with only one visit under his belt—that to Michigan. Chances are Michigan locks down a top-50 PG in 2016.
Etc.: 2016 PA RB Miles Sanders is a Michigan offeree who's just getting into the recruiting process($). Penn State just offered. 2015 UT LB Osa Masina releases a top eight with Michigan in it. More importantly: is his twitter handle a shoutout to Greg Ostertag?
|Paramus, NJ – 6'1", 210|
5*, #3 overall
#1 CB, #1 NJ
5*, #3 overall
#1 CB, #1 NJ
5*, #2 overall
#1 CB, #1 NJ
5*, #4 overall
#1 CB, #1 NJ
|Other Suitors||Alabama, OSU, ND, Florida, LSU, everyone else|
|Previously On MGoBlog||Hello post from Ace. One Frame At A Time on the run. Picture Pages on the run. Comparing Peppers to hyped dudes past.|
|Notes||Paramus Catholic (Juwann Bushell-Beatty)|
And you're probably familiar with this one:
Do I actually need to write this one? Surely you are full to the brim with Jabrill Peppers information. Eighteen years ago he sliced open his father's head with a sword and leapt forth, fully formed, ready to wreak havoc upon Persians and Carthaginians alike. After shoving the Indian subcontinent into an aesthetically pleasing location he wandered the world, dispensing sage advice to operators of wheeled vehicles of all descriptions everywhere. He decided to go to Michigan to win the Heisman as a defensive back and did so twice in the future forever and ever amen.
The end. Hooray.
If you are not sated yet, here's all this other stuff. Let's start with the various "room for improvement" sections found in scouting reports. Clint Brewster:
Improvements: It is very hard to find a flaw or a glaring area for improvement in Peppers game.
What Needs Work
I’m sure when Roger Bannister broke the 4-minute mile, there must have been one bad step during it, so it leaves room for Peppers, the No. 4 prospect in the nation, with things to improve upon.
Does anyone have an actual criticism? Second chance time, Mr. Dohn.
The only thing with Peppers is sometimes he is so aggressive and wants to make a play so badly, he will bust an assignment in the passing game or guess which hole to fill in the running game rather than just wait for the play to develop and do his one-eleventh.
All right, then. These are the… uh… multiple and serious negatives of Jabrill Peppers. Offsetting these are some meager positives that may one day see him squeeze onto a Division I football field.
- Brewster, 247: "Peppers is a rare athlete with potential to be great at the next level. He is one of the most talented players I have ever seen at the high school level. At 6-foot-1, and 205-pounds, Peppers has college ready size to go with un-matched speed and explosiveness."
- Dohn, Scout: "Peppers has it all. The speed, acceleration, change of direction, ability to turn his hips and cover down or across the field, leadership, competitiveness, physicality, strength and a high football IQ."
- Adam Friedman, Rivals: "Peppers' incredible natural athleticism combined with his big frame and tireless work ethic has helped him become a true lockdown cornerback. "
- Scott Kennedy, Scout: "…could play four to five different positions and excel at them. He is a strong running back. He is as fluid as a good corner. He hits like a linebacker. He could play safety. You could honestly take him and put him in an outside linebacker position and he would flourish. He is going to return kicks. He is going to return punts. He catches anything that is near him. He is spectacular."
- Tom Luginbill, ESPN: "…in the past nine classes we are not quite sure we have seen a skilled athlete on defense like Peppers. He is as naturally gifted and explosive of an athlete as we can recall and he could play five positions."
- ESPN evaluation: "Has sudden movements but can also accelerate at a premium level with great top-end speed. … Will arrive with or shortly after the ball before the receiver can react. Naturally gets his head around to locate the ball and competes for it like a WR when it's in the air. Shows really good tracking and ball skills and a natural awareness around the football in all three phases of the game. … Shines in tight coverage … Takes sharp angles, closes strong with great burst and will wrap and pop as a tackler. … game changer."
- Tim Sullivan, Rivals: "While he's not his listed 6-1 (more like a shade under 6-0), Peppers' weight won't be in question. He is already built like an NFL defensive back, and hits with the force you'd expect. Throughout the week in practice, he could barely prevent himself from laying a big hit in the run game or against a wide receiver while playing coverage … also every bit the explosive athlete we expected him to be. "
- USC coach: "Holy s---, that's him? I've only seen two players in high school with a body like that and both of them are named Peterson [Adrian and Patrick]."
"Is that all?" you scowl whilst raising a glass of cognac to your lips. "I had heard he was rather something." You're such an elitist.
Anyway, everyone who has seen Peppers has come away fanning themselves and trying to jam more stars into the guy's profile. There is no dissention here, except as to where he will play.
Two of the above evaluations mention he could play four or five positions (RB, WR, CB, S, and maybe OLB is how that breaks down), and several articles bat that possibility about. 247's JC Shurburtt asserts that he's a surer thing on offense because there's no denying his ability there ("electric and dynamic") and he may outgrow the corner spot if he's not enough of a freak athlete to outgrow the corner spot and still play corner. On the other hand, Rivals suggests he's more of a sure thing on D, and everyone ranks him there.
This was not at cornerback
So then where does he end up? We've already had a rather long comedy breakdown of something Peppers did on offense on this site. Meanwhile, poke an analyst in the right mood, as Sam Webb did, and you'll find yourself asking a follow-up question like so:
You mentioned he could play five positions at the next level. At what position do you think he would have the greatest impact?
And the floodgates veritably open with comparisons to other players. Most are corners, but some don't make any sense so the ones that do make sense are split between CB, S, and offense: Take your pick from:
- Joe Haden, CB, Florida/Cleveland Browns. This was Rivals' rather bizarre shot at a comparison, one that starts out with "physically, Haden and Peppers aren't very similar." They do assert that Haden and Peppers are both "strong, physical cornerbacks" who will come up against the run. Haden was a HS QB, just about exclusively.
- Greg Reid, CB, FSU/St Louis Rams. Reid is apparently the nouveau Antione Winfield since he is 5'8" but Peppers's UA coach brought him up as a comparison point because he levels people: "He reminded me of Greg Reid. I’ve never seen a corner come down that fast underneath -- that aggressive. He is a corner that I think can hit like a linebacker. He wants to hit. He doesn’t want to stray from a hit. To be that muscular he has great fundamentals. I think he’s probably the most physical corner we have here.” This gentlemen then said he was going to be a safety/rover/hybrid guy after comparing him to a 5'8" corner.
- Patrick Peterson, CB, LSU/Arizona. The most sensible CB comparison comes from Peppers himself, who notes their almost identical size. 247's Clint Brewster also cites Peterson in his evaluations.
- Reggie Bush, RB, USC/Lions. Since no one ventured a specific player who made sense when talking about Peppers's vast offensive potential, this one's mine. When searching for an offensive comparison, Scout's Scott Kennedy started talking about De'Anthony Thomas, a 165-pound dude when he entered college. Bush is now listed at 203 on his NFL bio and has the same height as Peppers; Peppers can make a legit claim to his explosiveness. Peppers projects as a RB/WR space hybrid type guy more than a Green-style pounder.
- Eric Berry, S, Tennessee/Chiefs. Kennedy did bring up an interesting name whilst fighting himself about where to play Peppers: Berry, a box safety/hybrid space player/all-around-pain: "I think his impact on the game [would be maximized by] letting him roam around a little bit and freelance and let him play – an Eric Berry style of safety where they would walk him up. I mean, Eric Berry had 15 tackles for loss. He is that kind of a player. Eric Berry, I thought, was maybe the best player in college football a couple of years ago.”
Meanwhile, the guy you may have heard of mentioned above in You May Remember Me From Such Players as spans all of these things: a corner, return guy, and occasional wide receiver at Michigan, Charles Woodson spent time at corner, safety, and nickel in the NFL, excelling at all three. As the NFL game became more spread out, Woodson flipped inside to provide the triple threat skills the ideal HSP manages: blitz, cover, and support the run. A former Stanford player lays out Peppers' ability in that department:
Peppers shows on video to be a very tough player and a violent tackler. If he does, as most expect, end up on the defensive side of the ball, his reaction skills could place him in the role of a top-end cornerback. However, his willingness and ability to strike and his blitzing competence could make Peppers an excellent safety, given that he is already around six feet tall and 200 pounds, or a corner who could master the nickelback role when necessary. He closes well on run plays and does so with a purpose, making him an all-around football player well worthy of his gaudy offer list.
Erase the first word in that evaluation and it may as well read "Woodson."
Now… take a look at the Michigan roster and think back to what they were doing with the defense in spring: one high safety, cornerbacks in your grill, one definitively box safety plunging down to the line to disrupt things. Generally it is harder to make the big game-changing impact from a safety spot, but if you've got the skillset it is possible—Berry was the fifth pick in the draft—and Peppers seems to have it.
What about next year? Expect a bit of a slow start if Peppers does slot in at corner. Paramus used Peppers mostly as a safety, so the finer points of tight coverage are things he'll have to develop. His UA position coach:
“Maybe he needs to work on just the biggest fundamentals of a cornerback,” Cox said. “We all know he’s aggressive now so it’s now work on reading the routes a little quicker, reading the quarterback drops, understanding the pass drops a little better.
“He’s more run oriented. You can tell he wants to play run, run, run -- sit back a little more and work on your passing routes, work on the quarterback drops and your receiver breaks.”
"I definitely want to improve on my hip flexibility," Peppers said. "I know that I've been ranked and seen as the top cornerback in the country, but people don't realize that it's actually a pretty new position for me. I don't have a lot of experience there. Given that, I know I need to continue to learn about the position and learn how to understand it. Once I really understand and grasp it and am able to combine it with my athletic ability, the sky will be the limit for me at the position."
Perhaps this would be arrogant, except literally everyone else who has described Peppers's potential has echoed it. So it's just normal.
Don't expect him to take too long, though. Unlike Brandon Watson he's had to do a variety of things in a variety of ways. As a bonus, various coaches say he picks things up quickly. His high school coach:
“He's playing safety for us and our defense is really a complicated type defense. We don’t sit in one thing. We combo cover. He’s used as a robber, he blitzes, he makes calls on the field himself, the check coverages. We tried to broaden his football horizon and say you know what, you’re one of the top-rated kids in the country, you’re going to learn the game big time and we’re going to put a lot on you.”
If Michigan does chuck him in at safety he could win the starting job opposite Wilson quickly. Probably not opener quickly; Big Ten play is a possibility.
I was in Camp Boundary Corner before doing this evaluation and now I'm torn between that and Safety Of Doom who moves down to play nickel/SAM against spread teams, sort of like Stevie Brown except riding an avalanche of dinosaurs. I won't regard any move as a bad sign, but rather an an attempt to get him on the field.
"I treat Jabrill like he's one of our coaches," Partridge says. "I'll tell him things that I would never tell other players. I treat him like one of the coaches because he can handle it, he gets it."
Why Charles Woodson? You're damn right I'm breaking out the big one. If not for Peppers, then for who?
And it is a super-tight comparison anyway. Peppers and Woodson are both burly boundary corner types with the physicality to get in the box and put a guy on the ground. Peppers was the top cornerback in the country; Woodson was also but just wasn't rated like it. Dynamic skills extend to offense, where return jobs and opportunities to moonlight as a slot receiver beckon. Same size, same skillset, same everything.
Guru Reliability: High. All say the same thing, was scouted top to bottom for years, all star game appearance.
Variance: Low. Already physically ready. Some question about experience at the cornerback spot but CB is a location about athleticism above all. Has 87 backup options if CB doesn't work out.
Ceiling: Can't hold us.
General Excitement Level: Yowza.
Projection: Michigan's jam-packed corner situation makes things a little questionable in year one. Is he displacing one of Taylor/Countess/Lewis? Well… maybe. None of those guys bring the size Peppers does to the table and that boundary corner spot is just begging for a guy who has the size and athleticism he does. But that'll happen gradually, as has been the case for all Michigan cornerback standouts past: about half a year working his way into the lineup before a mid-season promotion to the starting job.
Taylor departs after this year so the boundary spot should be his for the next two or three years, probably two.
The other option is for Peppers to be a heavily box-oriented safety and hybrid space player. It is not a terrible idea what with Michigan in possession of Lewis and Stribling for the next three years plus Countess for the next two; guys like Peppers can have the same level of impact elite corners do and the potential upgrade at SS looks like a bigger one than the potential upgrade at CB.
And what about the other side of the ball? He'll be given every opportunity to take kickoff and punts from day one; Norfleet is going to have to hold him off. Working him into the offense is probably something for 2015 and beyond. Once that milestone is hit, though, you'd have to be nuts not to at least explore the possibility.
It could happen?
Red Berenson has two years left on his contract and says this will be his last one. Speculation about his replacement has been rife. Veritably so. Folks around the program have been chattering about Red Wings coach Mike Babcock taking over for a few years now, primarily Michael Spath at the Wolverine but also from guys at the Daily:
— Mark J. Burns (@markjburns88) April 29, 2014
Despite the chatter, the idea a sought-after NHL coach would take the pay and prestige cut to pilot a college program has always been a "pull the other one, it has bells on" kind of thing. I have believed that people around the Michigan hockey program believe the thing about Babcock without really believing it myself.
That opinion is undergoing a bit of a shift.
Yesterday, a press conference sent the Michigan hockey blogosphere into a tizzy, and today fuller articles hit the News and MLive. While the comment about being Red's assistant is clarified as a joke by MLive. The fuller picture contained therein is one of a guy who seems to have a plan that involves having a job that's not necessarily with the Red Wings.
“I do want him back. I think we work good together.”
Coach, after mentally crossing out the word "good" and replacing it with "well":
Babcock, who turned 51 on Tuesday, said it was “no priority whatsoever” to get a new deal, adding “I doubt it” when asked if he’d talk extension.
That has to be unprecedented: a coach openly stating he doesn't care about a new contract. Charlie Weis is still getting paid, you guys.
Unfortunately, in context the quote about "definitely" staying in Detroit is just about next year, because he's got a daughter who's a senior in high school.
“My daughter’s going into her Grade 12 year. I’m either going to be the coach of the Red Wings or I’ll be Red’s assistant coach for a year,” Babcock said. “For sure I’m staying in Detroit. I haven’t thought about going anywhere else.”
So don't read too much into that.
Still, in marked contrast to a GM who says he'll discuss an extension with the club Babcock is talking about a year-to-year deal after this season. That is the kind of thing you do when you have something else in mind. It may be a temporary thing or he may be looking for a change of scenery to another NHL club. It is a concrete step towards Babcock at Yost, and as such gives the chatter out of Ann Arbor a credence it lacked yesterday.
I assume it goes without saying that locking down a guy who voluntarily left the Red Wings after a decade would be the coup to end all coups.
I think it's really happening. Mike Babcock-to-Michigan rumors have just been turned up to 11:
Mike Babcock says not worried about negotiating for extension, will either remain coach of Red Wings or be assistant at U of M/ Berenson
— Helene St. James (@HeleneStJames) April 29, 2014
That is quite a statement: "eh, if I don't continue to coach one of the most storied franchises in the NHL I'll just go be Red's assistant." If Michigan sticks to the plan that would be a one-year apprenticeship before the job came open.
Oh really. Paging Captain Renault: Mitch McGary's drug test won't impact his draft stock.
"No, not really, because you know what, probably 70 percent of the league does that (smokes marijuana)," the scout told MLive, speaking on the condition of anonymity.
But what about the spirit of sport, NBA? What about the spirit of sport?
"Appropriate." Matt Hayes walks up to the unionization issue on a tee and takes a Casey-like swing:
So if we’re going to do this; if we’re going to call athletes employees (or whatever you want to call them) and expand benefits and increase their ability to market and make money off themselves, the consequences for violating rules must be swift and appropriate.
Gone are the days where Troy Smith can take $500 from a booster, sit out a bowl game, get reinstated and two years later finish his career by winning the Heisman Trophy.
If you take $500 from a booster now, you lose eligibility. Permanently.
Hayes, prone on the ground, cartoon birds circling his head. The tee, untouched.
The average Troy Smith is still going to get the money, but will not be punished. Ramping up penalties for infractions that 99% of offenders will not get caught for is like throwing people in jail for speeding.
I mean, who cares? Who cares that Troy Smith now has 500 dollars? Level playing field, you say?
Gone are the days of second, third and fourth chances as it relates to— take your pick— arrests (and convictions), academic failure, failed drug tests (performance enhancing or recreational), or any behavior that harms a university’s reputation.
Let me just direct you to the quote above about Mitch McGary. Or, you know, society. The society in which those first time arrests and convictions generally result in probation or diversion so that people can have a second chance. If people were held to the standards Matt Hayes is advocating for newly professional-ish college athletes, unemployment would run around 50% and include Matt Hayes.
Let's goooooo. The News profiles now-critical Mark Donnal, collecting the various encouraging quotes about him that have been dropping in the past couple months:
“He’s definitely displayed a couple of specific skill sets,” Alexander said. “Mark is a tremendous passer, both in traffic and on the perimeter. His shooting range makes him a capable and reliable pick-and-pop jump shooter on the perimeter.
“He has a great face-up game in the post. The thing he discovered through added strength is the ability to rebound the ball in traffic.”
With sufficient three-point range to drag posts out to the perimeter, Michigan's post guys are liable to find shotblockers absent when they get by their guys. It'll be interesting to see what happens Walton and LeVert's shooting percentage at the rim when Donnal is out there providing Beilein his first shooting five since his arrival in Ann Arbor. I'm more concerned about his defense and rebounding—by the end there, Jordan Morgan was in beast mode.
Bacari is at least making the right noises about where he's headed:
“The thing that really excites me as his position coach is that nasty edge that he brings to the table, as well.”
He also has an interesting quote about how at Michigan "you are who you can guard," and the offense takes care of itself. Donnal will start at the five—out of necessity now—and has some ability to move out to the four as he "continues to improve his conditioning and lateral quickness." Given the composition of Michigan's roster the next couple years it doesn't seem like he'll be spending much, if any, time at the 4.
How much thing X irritates coaches, officially. Michigan's defensive grading system seems a little out of whack to me:
Like… forcing a fumble—hit the ballcarrier with enough force to make him drop the ball—is way harder than recovering one—get lucky, fall down. And what counts as a "missed tackle"? Missed tackles come in all shapes and sizes: you can let someone outside of you for a huge gain, which is super super bad, or you can not quite get a guy down but delay him enough that the cavalry rallies to stop him a yard after you would have. I'm guessing that latter probably counts as a tackle and the former gets a CRITICAL ERROR added to it.
Even so, it seems like "missed assignment" is the worst of all possible things. Missed assignments are touchdowns waiting to happen. When I do the UFRs some guy doing something that doesn't make any sense gets a serious downgrade and most of the coach types who have commented seem to agree with that assessment.
But being a coach is always a compromise between what you actually think in your head and what you think is the best way to get 85 guys doing a complicated thing well. See: the entire concept of "coachspeak." Or "Devin Gardner might start."
Just don't advertise it during games. Michigan Stadium is now open for prom:
Michigan Stadium is getting ready for prom season as part of a push to use the home of Wolverines football for more events during the offseason.
About 230 students from Durand High School, about 45 miles northwest of Ann Arbor, will take the field May 10 — the first time the Big House has hosted a prom, The Ann Arbor News reported (http://bit.ly/1mQvHXn ). And Dexter High School's prom is there May 17.
Hooray incremental revenue, as long as incremental revenue is not flogged at my ears during the games. See also: weddings, facebook, twitter, nonrevenue sports.
Everywhere, all the time. Ramzy on Ohio State's version of creating the future is worth your time:
Ohio State does not belong to you. You just happen to work there at this moment - you're stewards for a rich inheritance you're passing along to someone else that no one will ever cash. That's what Ohio State is. You did not build this brand. You can only damage or improve it.
And you should find as many ways as possible to give it away for free. Businesses do this all the time because it gives them a great return and it's terrific exposure for future buyers. Future buyers. This is where we talk about the children who don't have wealthy parents or opportunities to embark on a wallet-crushing fall Saturday in Ohio Stadium.
Also in this genre is a post from Get The Picture, a Georgia blog:
It’s not like money is a problem in Athens. It’s just that there seems to be little thought to spending it in a way that makes the fan base content. I think back to the shameful way North Campus was treated before Michael Adams had his hissy fit and essentially shut down the tailgate experience; much of that could have been resolved with better security, more restroom facilities and a reasonable amount of attention paid to trash removal. None of that is exactly back-breaking from a financial standpoint for a school with Georgia’s resources. It’s just that no one in a position to improve things could be bothered with it. And that’s a story you could repeat in many other ways.
Instead, we’re offered enhanced wi-fi, ever more intrusive piped in music and goofy sideshows like yesterday’s mascot abomination as a solution. But I don’t weigh the prospect of live attendance on the basis of my short-term attention span. The home experience is about greater comfort and convenience. I don’t wait to go to the kitchen for a drink, my bathroom smells nice and I can always find a place to park. This is the lesson I’m afraid McGarity and his AD peers are missing. I want what I got yesterday – a feeling that the money I’m shelling out is somehow being spent to benefit my experience in a way that gives me what I have at home, while making me feel glad I came.
I also recommend the comments, this one in particular:
UGA AA for so long thought that buying a ticket was the only way to gt a good view. Then 27 inch crt color television gave ay to 60′ HD home theaters and the Butts-Mehre suits haven’t yet figured out how to compete without creating something to sell.
Georgia fans are basically the Michigan fans of the SEC and they're experiencing the same things, albeit with less of a swoon with their football program. The comparison they're making here is to the Masters, which is a fantastic example of an organization successfully creating a culture of otherness that makes it in fact special. While that comes with costs—see women and minority membership—they're holding onto their fanbase because they make it feel good to be a fan. I can't say I remember the last thing Michigan did that was a step in that direction.
That reminds me of a thing I think I failed to relate when it happened: before the Nebraska game this year I was walking to my family's tailgate. As I neared the stadium the jumbotron was showing me the previous week's game… against Michigan State. Devin Gardner got annihilated and intercepted and I was like "feels bad, man."
It was the previous week's Not Michigan Replay, it turned out, and I just thought to myself "is there literally no one in the athletic department with the common sense to not show Michigan fans highlights of a game in which they rushed for –48 yards?" People are just in charge of things for no reason.
The ultimate Pandora's Box question. Oh, man. As scaremongering anti-union/reform questions go, this is the best/worst:
Could boosters treat recruiting like the Wild West?
oh no what would that look like
Etc.: Why the O'Bannon case is a duel to the death. At least everyone hates the way the McGary thing went down. More evidence that Michigan's upper reaches are inappropriately secretive. Jordan Morgan report card. Talking with Ricky Doyle. The Big Ten basketball powerhouse.
Gardner's implied question is the same we're all asking [Fuller]
The 2014 football season hinges on whether the offensive line can go from one of the worst in the country to just mediocre. We've mentioned the downsides: it has to replace two NFL tackles. The upside is an offensive coordinator who plans to simplify the things they'll have to do, a ton of talent, and rather good excuses for why the bulk of guys weren't so good (youth compounded by panicky/insane coaching decisions). The competence of coaches replaced, arriving, or remaining can't be determined until they play, so guesses at their 2014 performance have to be extrapolated from what we know of the current players and the typical progression of men like them.
When Michigan was still putting together those 2012 and 2013 classes I looked over the history of our offensive linemen going back to the mid-'90s, because my memory before that is weak.
|Year in program|
|Not on team||1||6||13||17||29|
|% Solid +||1%||11%||21%||29%||37%|
The results were the growth chart below. I've reproduced it with updated data from 2013:
Really it's more specific than the above. If you're the backup to Steve Hutchinson in 2000 you could be pretty solid or terrible, but if you were an interior lineman on the 2013 team and hale and still couldn't crack the depth chart, you were obviously not good at that point. One thing working in our favor is Michigan has historically brought in offensive line classes rated about as highly as the recent crops. If you tried this with MSU over the same period there would be stretches of 2-stars (and, um, personal issues) to throw off the numbers.
A more precise way to show where our OL are at this point is to find closer comparisons to historic players at this point in their careers. I couldn't figure out a good way to show "tracks" before, but I think I've learned enough about table html now to make a crude flow chart. Sample sizes are way too small to say "Kalis will be X good by Y season," but if you can read it to say "At that age, Steve Schilling and Patrick Omameh were both about where Kalis is now." Usefulness is better at capping expectations: you can always say so-and-so was a backup at this point, but Miller's not going to be Molk.
|Not on team (x)||TransferRS||Backup||Solid||Star||Jonathan Goodwin|
|Solid||Star||Star||Jansen, Hutchinson, Backus, Long, Lewan|
|Star||Star||David Brandt, David Baas|
|Solid||Star||Tony Pape, Adam Kraus, Schofield|
|Liability||Solid||Frazier, Petruziello, Bihl, Ortmann|
|Liability||David Moosman, Perry Dorrestein|
|Backup||Ben Mast, Courtney Morgan|
|Backup||Solid||Kurt Anderson, Leo Henige|
|Backup||N. Parker, Denay, Kolodziej, McAvoy|
|Unrenewed||Partchenko, Potts, Christopfel, Gaston, DeBenedictis, Ciulla, Gallimore, Khoury|
|Injuries||Zirbel, Mossa, Sharrow, Brooks, Schifano, C. Bryant, Tannous, A.Brown, Simelis, Berishaj, C.Pace|
|Transfers||Ries, Moltane, Zuttah, Wermers, O'Neill, Posada|
[Discussion after the jump]
With Signing Day and spring practice in the rearview mirror, Michigan's roster should remain basically intact until fall and possibly beyond. With the media cottoning on to the enormous hole in the roster created by the last Rodriguez and hybrid Rodriguez/Hoke/Process classes, it's time to update Attrition Watch.
A last look at Rodriguez's first full class. Starter-level contributors are italicized; (sometimes projected) NFL draft picks bolded.
Jeremy Gallon, Justin Turner, Taylor Lewan
Played Out Eligibility: Will Campbell, Craig Roh, Denard Robinson, Vincent Smith, Brandin Hawthorne, Jeremy Gallon, Taylor Lewan, Quinton Washington, Michael Schofield, Cam Gordon, Fitz Toussaint, Thomas Gordon, Brendan Gibbons
Didn't Take Fifth Year(1): Mike Jones.
Transferred for PT (3): Vlad Emilien, Je'Ron Stokes, Isaiah Bell
Academics/Not Being Nice (3): Justin Turner, Tate Forcier, Adrian Witty
Injury (1): Teric Jones
Left Football: N/A
This class lost a little bit of its luster every time Toussaint tried to pick up a blitz, but this is still a class you can do excellent things with as long as you surround it with other talent. It features two bookend NFL tackles, the season receiving yardage record-holder, Denard Robinson(!), and six to eight other important contributors. Your 11-2 blip is built around these guys.
DOOOOOOOOOOM! Your Freep class.
Dorsey, Gardner, Vinopal
Enrolled (3): Devin Gardner, Jake Ryan, Will Hagerup
Did Not Take Fifth Year(2): Richard Ash, Jordan Paskorz
Played Out Eligibility(4): Jeremy Jackson, Drew Dileo, Jibreel Black, Courtney Avery.
Transferred for PT (6): Ricardo Miller, Cullen Christian, Marvin Robinson, Carvin Johnson, Jerald Robinson, Ray Vinopal
Academics/Not Being Nice (5): Demar Dorsey, Antonio Kinard, Austin White, Davion Rogers, Conelius Jones
Injury (3): Terry Talbott, Terrance Talbott, Christian Pace
Left Football (3): Ken Wilkins, DJ Williamson, Stephen Hopkins
Nothing miserably bad has happened to this already miserably bad class since August. Will Hagerup has hung on to a roster spot; Ash departed after getting his degree, as did Paskorz. That leaves three of 27 players on the roster, including the starting QB and most dynamic player the defense has.
That is of course horrendous, and about 80% of the blame should be heaped upon Rich Rodriguez. Rodriguez struck out on tight ends and OL left and right during this period, compounding that issue with some horrible talent evaluation—of the guys who left early, only Ray Vinopal has made any kind of impact at a BCS school.
Baumgardner's article comes with a depressing Big Ten retention rate chart showing Michigan at the bottom at 26%; three teams are tied at 40% for next worst: Minnesota (coaching change), Penn State (holistic program implosion), and Indiana (coaching change, is Indiana). No one else has lost more than half their class; Northwestern leads the way at 82% with MSU second.
Frank Clark 50 pounds ago, Chris Barnett, Tony Posada
This was the hybrid RR/Hoke class in which Hoke found himself with three weeks to pile ten guys in. Late Hoke pickups are denoted with H.
Enrolled (11): Justice Hayes(H), Brennen Beyer, Raymon Taylor(H), Blake Countess, Delonte Hollowell, Frank Clark(H), Desmond Morgan, Russell Bellomy(H), Keith Heitzman (H), Jack Miller, Matt Wile(H)
*[Bryant actually committed after Hoke was hired but had been favoring Michigan so long that Rodriguez deserves the credit there.]
Transferred for PT (2): Tamani Carter(H), Thomas Rawls(H).
Academics/Not Being Nice (2): Chris Barnett(H), Kellen Jones
Injury (2): Antonio Poole(H), Chris Bryant.
Left Football (3): Chris Rock (basically: is walk-on at OSU now), Greg Brown, Tony Posada.
Rawls and Bryant are added to the dead list here; the Bryant departure leaves the OL count from the 2010 and 2011 classes at a whopping one, Jack Miller. Rawls was a signing-day reach who represented Peak Fred Jackson as Michigan scrambled after the process; Bryant was a three/four star borderline OL who needed to take a lot of weight off, much like Posada. Posada showed up for a cup of coffee; Bryant couldn't remain healthy enough to stay on the field, though he did start a few games in the middle of last year.
While this class is better than its predecessor it represents the bulk of the seniors on the roster. That's a problem when you've only got 11 of them and one is an offensive lineman. An attrition rate of 45% that could still go up is middling at best, something Michigan could not afford after the 2010 crater.
Redshirt sophomores and juniors.
Funchess, Henry, Kalis
Enrolled: Dennis Norfleet, Sione Houma, Amara Darboh, Jehu Chesson, Devin Funchess, AJ Williams, Kyle Kalis, Blake Bars, Erik Magnuson, Ben Braden, Ondre Pipkins, Willie Henry, Matt Godin, Mario Ojemudia, Tom Strobel, Chris Wormley, Joe Bolden, Royce Jenkins-Stone, James Ross, Terry Richardson, Jarrod Wilson, Allen Gant, Jeremy Clark.
Injury(1): Kaleb Ringer.
Michigan still has all but one guy from Hoke's first class on the roster. The departure, Kaleb Ringer, had microfracture surgery and transferred to a lower level to play.
At this point there have to be a couple guys teetering on the edge of a transfer because they can't get on the two-deep—that kind of attrition is the sign of a healthy program, not a diseased one. It's worth noting that was Michigan super, super paranoid about bringing in anyone who looked like an academic risk in this class. That seemed like a reaction to the previous two recruiting efforts; now it appears to be just their standard.
Enrolled: 27 of 27.
Nobody from Hoke's second class has exited after one year.
Enrolled: 7 of 16 with the rest pending. There haven't been any whispers of academic issues except with kids Michigan ends up not getting, so it's likely the class arrives intact.