Hoke notes coming on Monday. Apologies for minimal editing, but I'm eager to leave the living hell that is McCormick Place.
Why does Denard smile playing football? "It's a game, and I enjoy playing it. Obviously I'm still playing, so I'm still smiling."
Even though there was a switch in offensive scheme, Denard said his first thought was to do whatever it takes to play. Denard doesn't worry about outside perception that he can't throw. He and his teammates know what he can do, and he'll show it on the field. The timing with receivers is looking good. "We've got some deep routes in there, and we have some routes where they can make a choice and get open. It's a good deal."
The biggest thing Denard has been working on this offseason is his footwork. "Keep my feet underneath me so I can make throws anywhere I want to throw it." Stepping up in the pocket is another adjustment he's making. Getting timing down with receivers is another area for improvement.
The team has been working hard all summer. They're getting bigger, faster, and stronger. "The seniors and I, we organized the workouts and 7-on-7s. That was a big thing for this year." Everybody was ready to participate in the offseason workout.
Denard never got to a point where he was leaning toward leaving Michigan. It was tough when Rich was fired, "That's the guy that recruited me, but at the same time, I was with my teammates and my family." David Molk and Ryan Van Bergen gave him the best advice, along with Mike Barwis. They told him that there's no better school or family than the University of Michigan. After he got fired, Coach Rodriguez told Denard to completely buy in to Hoke's system, and he would continue succeeding. It meant a lot to Denard that he told him to continue buying in. Coach Smith (now at Indiana) also told him to buy in 100%. "I bought into Coach Rod's offense, and I'm buying into this offense."
Brady Hoke's first message to the team was to hold each other accountable. "We're Michigan, and we're supposed to compete for the Big Ten every year." "What we've been doing lately is holding each other accountable." If guys aren't doing what it takes to win a Big Ten Championship, their teammates are on them.
The national attention is different after coming from a small town. "It's alright, it's good. I don't do crazy stuff anyhow" so it's not harmful. He likes being recognized around campus, too. It's easy to ignore media hype. "I don't too much care for the hype."
Asked about the Ohio State/Michigan State clocks: "We do have a countdown for the Western Michigan game, so that's the main thing right now. That's the main thing. That's a big game, we have to prove ourselves." Denard grew up watching the Florida/Florida State rivalry, but the Michigan/"Ohio" game is a much bigger rivalry. "It's the border. We fight for Michigan, and they fight for Ohio."
Denard was nicked up a lot last year, but "playing football, you're gonna have nicks and bruises, so you've gotta play through that."
"It's still going to be exciting, we've still got the guys we had last year." There are explosive receivers, and some good running backs. "I know all of them are gonna be ready to play."
Denard isn't usually a vocal leader, but when he has to speak up, he will.
There was no issue getting guys to come to workouts this year. There was pretty much 100% attendance at voluntary workouts, which was not the case last year.
"You get a feel for when you want to run and when you shouldn't run. If you see an open receiver, don't miss him. You want to get him the ball."
Despite last year's individual success, Denard always maintains drive to improve. "How I look at it is always work like I'm second string or third string." He plays and works out with a hunger to improve.
Denard isn't much of a celebrator, so he's not worried about the effects of the new taunting rules that can take scores of the table.
Denard has gained 5-10 pounds since last season.
"I did a lot last year. It's going to be hard to say I can do any more than I did last year, but I think I can do a little more, I can outdo what I did last year."
Low expectations? "They say the 1997 team was one of the teams that was underrated."
Whenever Darryl Stonum earns his way back on the team, he'll be welcomed. "I want him to be back on the team, but it's up to Coach Hoke."
The offensive line has gotten a lot bigger, but they're still mobile.
Denard's improvement: His arm has always been good, he can throw touch passes and the long ball. His arm strength isn't a question: he mangled one of Kevin's fingers with a pass in practice. It's still bent (pictured at right).
"I honestly feel like we don't have a #1 [receiver]." There are a number of guys that can step up and be the top target on a given day. Still sounds like a blessing and a curse to me.
"Dileo, he's deceptively quick." He did well on returns last year, and is now improving his route running and hands.
Jerald Robinson has good hands and body control.
The freshmen don't work out in the same groups as the returning players, and they can't participate in 7-on-7s due to their schedule. They've come out to play catch with some of the guys, though.
Chris Barnett is an established pass-catching threat, and Kevin's advice is to work on blocking. "It's a long season; if you don't play in the first game, you might play the fifth, sixth, seventh game."
In 7-on-7s, Koger is usually covered by Carvin Johnson or Brandon Herron.
Marvin Robinson is a big hitter. It doesn't take him a long run-up to build power.
Troy's return has brought some enthusiasm to the defense because he's a funny guy, and a fun guy to be around. JT Floyd is back as well. "Troy, he's a veteran, he knows where to be at, when to be there, he knows how to disguise coverages well, he drives on the ball really well.
Carvin Johnson is not the fastest, biggest, or strongest guy. "But he has a knack for making plays, he's always around the ball." Kevin has trust in the safeties to make plays.
There's a lot of competition among the linebackers, and there are spots up for grabs. Whoever plays the best in camp will earn starting positions.
Brandon Herron is a fast guy, and Koger has to beat him with technique, and Demens is a strong guy who you have to beat with separation, because if he gets his hands on you, you're done.
"Look at Wisconsin last year, look how many points they put up during the season. They ran a pro-style offense. They ran tight ends a lot of the time. It's proven that a pro-style offense can put up a lot of points."
The offense wants to control the tempo of the game this year. The defense is ready to get back onto the field whenever they need to, but the offense can control the ball.
Outside of Denard, Roy Roundtree and Junior Hemingway are some of the big play guys. Kevin jokes he'll be happy to catch any passes at all this year because there are so many good options for the offense.
Coach Hecklinski has done a good job with the receivers, making sure they do what they have to do.
A lot of the running backs haven't gotten much game experience, so it's exciting to see who will emerge.
There's been a lot of improvement since last year's defense. The seniors especially are working to leave the school the way they want to be remembered. "We've all been through it together. We know what needs to be done. We don't want to have any problems. We don't want to have it be like last year."
"At the end of the day, we don't want to say that Michigan beat Michigan." What happened in the past is gone, and they're excited about what's going to happen in the future.
Martin likes what he saw in the film from spring practice. Everyone looks excited to play defense, and get out on the football field. "There's a lot of worry; guys were doing a lot of thinking on the field." Now, guys are able to not think and simply execute their assignments.
On Greg Mattison: "The guy eats and breathes excellence." He's a great teacher of the game. Hoke and Mattison have credibility, and have proven that they know what they're talking about.
There's a big emphasis on being tough and hardnosed on defense. Hoke gets in the D-Line's faces specifically, because they're where the defense starts. Everything "starts and ends in the trenches." Previous Championship defenses at Michigan were defined by words like "toughness," etc.
Martin, Van Bergen, and a couple of young guys will get a lot of small-group attention from Coach Hoke in practice. Technique and fundamentals are stressed every day. Hoke, Mattison, and Montgomery are all on the same page and teaching the same things. Hand placement, footwork (down to the inches), hip movement, etc., need to be second-nature to the D-linemen, because they can't be overthinking on the field. The coaches are detail-oriented. They also are learning to adjust to the offensive formation without having to think about it.
"I've never seen more clocks in a building. I always know how many days there are until whatever game it is." It's a constant reminder of what is coming ahead. "We know what we have to do come September 3rd."
It's fun to watch film with Coach Mattison because there's active involvement by people, instead of a lecture-type format. They're always learning, and picking Mattison's brain. "Watching film and seeing me drop back, it just looks funny."
The four-man front makes it easier on the point of attack for the defensive line, because somebody is going to have a one-on-one matchup, and there are fewer double teams.
"His attitude and his mindset has totally gotten better." He was in a bit of a comfort zone before, where he wasn't constantly being pushed to improve, because he was a backup. Now he's being counted on, and has answered the call. He's a key component of the defense, as the 3-tech is a key part of Mattison's defensive scheme. "He answered the call and step up to the play. Q's been doing a great job behind him."
The team likes watching Ravens film, because it's a good comparison to what scheme they're going to be running. Otherwise, Mattison doesn't talk about his NFL success (HALOL Charlie Weis). Watching the guys who are the best at their positions helps the players realize what little things they need to do to improve. "I think all the guys are always picking stuff and trying to make their game better."
The defensive line is doing a good job at the point of attack, but their main room for improvement is making the second move and getting off a block to make plays in the backfield.
There's more accountability among players in the weight room this offseason. The new strength staff also puts an emphasis on getting bigger and reps to failure.
Player roundtable notes from Big Ten Media Days coming as soon as I can type them up. Hopefully 3500 words is enough to tide you over.
This fall, I'll be chronicling the season of Michigan commits as they hit the field on Friday nights (or Thursdays, or Saturday afternoons) in their high school games. The series includes stat breakdowns, game stories, and even some original video. Here's a primer for the out-of-state commits. If you have any corrections, you can e-mail them to me at Tim@mgoblog.com, or post them in the comments of this post.
Montgomery Bell Academy
|Montgomery Bell 2011|
|8-26||8PM||@ Louisville Trinity|
|9-16||7PM||Battle Ground Academy|
|9-30||TBA||@ Father Ryan|
|10-28||TBA||@ Pope John Paul II|
HS Position: Offensive Tackle
Projects as: Tackle/Guard
Last year, Montgomery Bell Academy went 9-3, losing in the second round of the Tennessee High School State Playoffs. Since Blake is an offensive lineman, he didn't have any stats of note on the year.
This season, MBA plays many of the same opponents that they did last year, including Ensworth, who beat them in the playoffs (avenging an earlier loss). Blake is one of the key players on his team, and with a solid season, could see his rankings improve on the recruiting sites. Since he was a first-time starter last year, it's likely he'll show plenty of improvement now that he's gotten his feet wet.
Colerain High School
|10-7||7:30PM||@ Lakota West|
|10-28||7:30PM||@ Oak Hills|
HS Position: Linebacker
Projects as: Strongside Linebacker
Colerain is one of the traditional powers in Ohio High School football, and their 11-1 season last year is another example of that success. However, they lost in the second round of the State Playoffs to rival St. Xavier, ending not only their undefeated streak, but also their season. Bolden notched 90 tackles, 4 sacks, and 2 interceptions in the campaign.
Look for the Cardinals to reload for yet another successful campaign, though five players went on to Division-1 colleges after graduation. They also have a tough schedule, starting with an inter-state game against Cocoa (FL), and including a game against fellow Michigan commit Caleb Stacey's Oak Hills squad.
I might get a chance to catch a game of Bolden's, but if not, you'll be able to watch the season opener on ESPN2, so be sure to tune in.
Brush High School
|8-26||7PM||@ Eastlake North|
|10-28||7PM||@ Garfield Heights|
HS Position: Quarterback/Defensive End
Projects as: Defensive End/Wide Receiver
Brush struggled to a 4-6 record last year, with Brown one of the few bright spots at both defensive end and quarterback. He made 49 tackles, 13 tackles for loss, 7 sacks, 3 pass breakups, and two forced fumbles at defensive end. His quarterback stats are not available.
Brush is looking to rebound in 2011 with a stronger season, and the five close losses last year indicate that they may not be far from a breakthrough of sorts. Brown might switch from quarterback to wideout this year (as some 7-on-7 highlights might indicate), but will continue terrorizing QBs off the edge.
As an underexposed recruit, Brown is somebody that could see his rankings on the recruiting sites rise if he has a dominant senior year. His physical tools are impressive, and putting them to good use could see him rise to 4-star status on all the recruiting sites. It's unlikely that I'll catch any of his games in person this fall. I'm also not positive if the schedule listed by MaxPreps is accurate, as that double-dip against Twinsburg seems a little fishy.
Southview High School
|9-2||7PM||@ Toledo Rogers|
|9-9||7PM||@ Toledo Start|
|9-16||7PM||Napoleon (@ Northview)|
|9-30||8PM||Perrysburg (@ Northview)|
|10-7||7PM||@ Bowling Green|
|10-14||7PM||Whitehouse Anthony Wayne|
HS Position: Safety/Wide Receiver
Projects as: Strong Safety
Like Colerain, Southview completed an undefeated regular season - blowing out many opponents along the way - but was tripped up early in the playoffs, falling in the first round to Twinsburg (alma mater of Zoltan, All Hail Zoltan). Allen finished his junior year with 56 tackles, 3 interceptions, and 2 forced fumbles on defense, while also recording 20 receptions on the other side of the ball.
This year, Southview will look to take last year's performance to the next level, advancing into the Ohio Playoffs. Allen should be an important part of the defense and the offense if he can stay healthy (he's had hamstring issues in the past).
Since the Sylvania/Toledo area is not a long haul, I might be able to catch a couple of Gant's games in person this fall. With a healthy, successful season, he has a very good chance to move up in the rankings.
Salt Lake City, UT
Highland High School
|8-19||7PM||@ Salt Lake West|
|8-26||7PM||@ Cedar City|
|10-14||7PM||@ Salt Lake East|
HS Position: A-Back
Projects as: Fullback
Highland had a pretty successful 2010 campaign, finishing the year with a 10-4 record and running through the playoffs to a State Championship. Houma played a big role in that championship, rushing for 1200 yards and 9 touchdowns as the dive back in a flexbone offense.
As the reigning State Champs, Highland should expect to have another successful season this fall, despite the loss of a pair of 3-star players to the Pac-12 (Desmond Collins to Oregon State, Nate Fakahafua to Utah). Sione should continue to play a big role in the offense, especially since one of his backfield mates has moved on as well.
Since he plays a position where there are rarely any prospects rated higher than three stars, it's unlikely to see Sione rise that much in the rankings. Compounding that is the fact that he's slightly undersized for his eventual college position, and he'll have to turn in a very impressive campaign in 2011 to see his rankings rise (though he may be able to pass a fullback or two).
Since he's two timezones away, I think it goes without saying that I won't see any games in person this fall (though any readers in the SLC area who want to e-mail game reports, photos, video, etc. are more than welcome to).
St. Edward High School
|St. Edward 2011|
|9-2||TBA||@ Pittsburgh Penn Hills|
|9-10||7:30PM||Youngstown Cardinal Mooney|
|9-24||7PM||Tampa (FL) Jefferson|
|9-30||7PM||@ Youngstown Ursuline|
|10-8||7PM||Ramsey (NJ) Don Bosco Prep|
|10-15||7PM||@ Cincinnati St. Xavier|
|10-29||7PM||Cleveland St. Ignatius|
HS Position: Offensive Tackle
Projects as: Offensive Guard/Tackle
2010 was a good year for one of the tradition powers in Ohio High School Football, as Lakewood St. Edward went 15-0 en route to a State Championship. That was quite the rebound from an extremely disappointing 4-6 campaign in 2009, especially since they played plenty of top competition. Since Kyle is an offensive lineman, he didn't have any stats of note.
This year should be interesting for St. Edward, as they lost 5 players to Division-1 ball (and another to FCS school Penn, which I guess technically counts as D-1). However, this year's senior class might be even better, with Kalis joined by a quartet of 3-star commits on the roster. The run-heavy scheme certainly should see success behind Kalis and fellow BCS-bound lineman Tyler Orlosky, who is committed to West Virginia. They have a hell of a schedule, with opponents from four different states.
Cleveland is one of the less-convenient potential stops for the Great FNL Tour of 2011, but I'm hoping to make it to at least one of Kalis's games. I'm not willing to make any promises though.
La Costa Canyon High School
|La Costa Canyon 2011|
|9-16||7PM||@ San Clemente|
|10-21||7PM||Rancho Buena Vista|
|11-4||7PM||@ El Camino|
HS Position: Offensive Tackle
Projects as: Offensive Tackle
La Costa Canyon had a decent season last year, finishing 8-4 and losing to Oceanside in the CIF Playoff Second Round. Since Erik is an offensive lineman, he didn't have any stats of note.
La Costa Canyon is looking to build on last year's success, and have another successful season, taking it to the next level. They did lose a defensive end to Kansas State, which one must assume will weaken their defense.
California is a little too far for an FNL road trip (forgive me), but if any San Diego-area readers want to help keep tabs, my e-mail inbox is open. Erik is already a very highly-regarded prospect, so unless he has a simply dominant senior year, displaying that he has NFL potential as a true left tackle, it's hard to see him moving up the rankings much.
Northmont High School
|9-2||7:30PM||@ Cincinnati Princeton|
|9-10||7PM||@ Cincinnati Moeller|
HS Position: Linebacker
Projects as: Weakside/Middle Linebacker
Northmont missed the State Playoffs last year after a trying season that included four blowout losses (to six wins). Despite team struggles, Kaleb performed pretty well, notching 35 solo tackles and 50 assisted tackles, while playing running back in goal line situations.
No recruited players graduated from Northmont, so this season has a chance to show some improvement. With Kaleb the key component in the defense, Northmont will look to build toward the State Playoffs in 2011.
Kaleb has a range of rankings on the recruiting services, with only Scout deeming him worthy of a fourth star. If he can turn in a physically dominant senior year, there's a good chance for him to rise in the rankings. His height will limit him a bit, but there's no reason he can't scrape into the 4-star range.
I'm hoping to make it to maaaaybe one of Kaleb's games this season, but with so many commits close to home, I may not be able to see him live. Also, there appears to be an error in the schedule posted on Maxpreps, as it shows two consecutive games against Fairmont.
Oak Hills High School
|Oak Hills 2011|
|8-27||TBA||@ Cincinnati La Salle|
|9-23||7:30PM||@ Lakota West|
|10-7||7:30PM||@ Cincinnati Sycamore|
HS Position: Offensive Guard/Tackle
Projects as: Offensive Center
Oak Hills had a rough season last year, going 4-6 and missing out on the State Playoffs. Losses to Stacey's future teammates AJ Williams (Sycamore) and Joe Bolden (Colerain) were included. Since Caleb is an offensive lineman, he didn't register any meaningful stats last season.
This season, the slate looks pretty tough again for Oak Hills, but they'll certainly strive to improve upon last year's record. Once again, they close the season against Joe Bolden's Colerain squad.
Caleb is at an interesting point from a rankings perspective. He's a 3-star across all three sites, which unanimously rank him among the guards. HOWEVA, he's slated to be a center in college, and is expected to play that position for his high school team this year to help get acclimated. That means that not only are the recruiting sites going to be scouting him this fall, but they'll be doing it at a new position. Lots of moving parts means lots of opportunity to move in the rankings. Rivals and ESPN only rank two centers in the 4-star range, Scout ranks three (two of whom are committed to Oklahoma), and 24/7 Sports only bothers to rank one center at all.
There's a slight chance I'll see a game or two of Stacey's this fall, but again, there are plenty of other prospects much closer, so I make no promises.
Crete-Monee High School
|8-26||7:30PM||Thornton Fractional South|
|9-2||7:30PM||@ Lincoln-Way West|
|10-7||6PM||@ Rich Central|
|10-22||12PM||@ Rich East|
HS Position: Cornerback
Projects as: Cornerback/Safety
Crete-Monee had a decent season last year, finishing with an 8-4 record and a loss to Danville in the third round of the State Playoffs. Anthony was a big part of that success, adding 44 tackles to his 9 interceptions and a forced fumble.
This year, Crete-Monee should be even stronger, with no players from last year's class even present in Rivals's database, much less committed to Division-1 schools. Anthony should be one of the squad's leaders, along with junior teammate WR LaQuon Treadwell, helping take their team to the next level.
Anthony has plenty of potential to move up in the rankings with a good season. He's been pegged as sort of a corner/safety combo by some recruiting sites, so showing that he has the necessary skills to be a high-level corner in college could boost his rankings. With excellent corner size, displaying his abilities on the field is all he needs.
I won't be wishy-washy about whether or not I'm going to see any of his games, as I plan to make exactly one: The night before the Michigan game at Northwestern, Crete-Monee takes on Rich Central. Convenient!
Mentor High School
HS Position: Defensive End
Projects as: Strongside Defensive End
Mentor had an OK season last year, finishing 7-4 with a first-round playoff loss to Lakewood St. Edward (and Strobel's good friend Kyle Kalis) - bookending the season with losses to St. Ed. Strobel had 37 tackles, 5 tackles for loss, and a sack for Mentor, and added a pair of fumble recoveries.
This year, the schedule looks just a bit lighter, so Mentor should put together a strong season. Strobel is the headliner of his team, and should be a team leader en route to a successful season.
Despite that, I don't think it's likely that Tom moves around much in the rankings, unless he puts together a monster year statistically (he was held back a bit last year by a trachea injury). A solid 4-star ranking is nothing to be ashamed of, and it seems likely Tom sticks in that range.
I'm not planning to make it to any of Mentor's games this year, but it's always possible that plans change.
Sycamore High School
|8-27||7:30PM||@ Cincinnati Withrow|
|9-30||7:30PM||@ Cincinnati Princeton|
HS Position: Tight End/Offensive Tackle
Projects as: Tight End
Sycamore had a mediocre season last year, finishing 6-4 on the season and missing out on the State playoffs. The season included a win over Caleb Stacey's Oak Hills but a loss to Joe Bolden's Colerain. AJ didn't rack up many numbers, instead serving primarily as a blocker.
Sycamore graduated a couple BCS-bound players, so it wouldn't be a surprise if their team took a sight step back this year. However, the schedule is a bit lighter with no Colerain, so perhaps they can put together a strong season.
AJ is in a weird position as far as rankings go. He's a huge tight end, but it doesn't sound like there is any plan to have him play tackle. Despite that, he rarely catches any passes. Unless he moves to offensive line (and is ranked there by the recruiting services) or Sycamore's offensive scheme changes to get him the ball a bit more frequently, I doubt AJ is going to move in the rankings.
I have no current plans to make it to a Sycamore game this year.
John R. Buchtel High School
|8-25||7:30PM||@ Massillon Washington|
|9-16||7PM||@ Akron Garfield|
|10-8||12PM||@ Akron North|
|10-21||7PM||@ St. Vincent-St. Mary|
HS Position: Safety/Wide Receiver
Projects as: Safety
Buchtel had a pretty good season last year, falling in the State Finals to Bishop Watterson. The 11-4 final record also included losses to a trio of Catholic Schools. Jarrod was a huge part of his team's success, reeling in 12 interceptions and returning 5 of them for touchdowns. He also had a 98-yard fumble return for touchdown. He recorded about 50 tackles on the year.
This year, Buchtel loses the services of wideout Corey Smith, who would be a senior, but is ineligible to play high school sports (he's participated in four previous years). One of Wilson's compatriots in the defensive backfield, Chevin Meadows, has moved on to Kent State. Despite that, Jarrod is one of the catalysts for his team's success, so there shouldn't be too much dropoff for the Griffins - though they have a brutal start to the year.
Jarrod has put up massive stats in previous years, so it's not a lack of production that is holding him back in the rankings. Because of that, I think it's unlikely he moves much, even if he has another huge year.
I'm not currently planning to attend any Buchtel games this season, but Akron readers are welcome to e-mail me.
Any corrections to the schedules posted here are welcome. If you attend any commit's game, feel free to e-mail me notes, stats, photos, etc. to Tim@mgoblog.com.
I'm sorry that this space has yet to address Ohio State's latest run from justice. A lot of that is I'm still so flabbergasted I don't want to be held accountable later for whatever I write while suffering from apoplexy. Also life bler bler time to really pour through the documents and link all. Anyway in the service of having something here's flabbergasted e-pinion.
The NCAA's response came out last week and it's 139 pages of "aw shucks guys coulda happened to anybody." Noticeably lacking is anything that's been mentioned since, oh, late January. If you want the Cliffs Notes, and you do, user jbr12 kindly posted Michael Scarn's longer-than-an-actual-Cliffs Notes review of the Tressel interviews.
The focus is entirely on the Cicero e-mails and it seemed to me the staff was basically trying to get an answer to one question "did you ever think before the 2010 season that 'Oh these kids committed violations?'" But the whole time Tressel is telling them his primary concern was that the kids were part of this drug ring, and then six to seven weeks pass and Tressel learns the Tat5 were not part of the investigation into Rife and he's relieved. They ask why he didn't tell his bosses then and Jim says he, um, was ready to help the Feds. And nothing. I'm not a lawyer but I've seen a few depo's and this moment just astounded me.
By avoiding the most obvious Failure to Monitor and Lack of Institutional Control in ever ever, consider this used, and officially going back in the pile.
To my biased reading, the investigators were taking the (latest) OSU party line in focusing on the cover-up, and Jim was saying his major concern is that he thought his players were likely part of a drug and murder ring.
Nothing about the cars or where the equipment they gave to Rife was coming from…nothing that would possibly implicate anyone but Tressel. The questions did not at all seem intended to find what culpability Smith and Gee and the school might have had. Given the posture of the program since this stuff came out that's a very loud silence.
There is now only the slightest glimmer of hope that the NCAA may look again at the mountain of evidence everyone else piled up nice and neat for them since last January on the free "test drives" and unregistered cars since 2002, many more players trading memorabilia outlined in the SI article, the clear implication of equipment staff involvement based on the volume of material traded, the statements of those who claim Tressel told way more way sooner to his superiors, and the outrageous chutzpah of OSU's president and AD through the whole process, from "he fires me" speech to a 10-day "investigation" which came back and said "it's a training exercise."
If you imagine the Russian Ambassador saying this while the Times is sitting on the table between them with the headline "Russian Captain Intends to Defect," that's a pretty good description of OSU's findings. Which the NCAA…accepted?
What of the 180-degree blame shift of convenience when their initial "sweet spot" of a two-game suspension became Tressel resigning and promising to never return to college football except to recruit for OSU and be at the unveiling of his statue. If there's nothing more to see here, why was Terrelle Pryor, who had already promised to return and serve his 5-game suspension for everything in that report, suddenly out the door and no longer associated with the school when details of his cars and tats and so many free dinners became public knowledge?
That glimmer – the one I mentioned a few paragraphs up before the rambling took over -- is from Pac12 commish Larry Scott, via SF sportswriter Jon Wilner:
And he’s well aware that the NCAA didn’t find Ohio State guilty of Lack of Institutional Control or Failure to Monitor — even though its head coach knowing played ineligible players and then lied about it.
“You can be sure I’m tracking it,” he said.
In fact, he called Emmert after tOSU news broke on Friday.
The takeaway? Scott said there’s “a misperception in the media about the finality” of tOSU situation.
While he declined to get specific, I took his comment to mean that Emmert indicated the NCAA could tack on penalties in the cash-for-memorabilia case.
Scott has USC’s back on this one, no question.
Thin, man. Thin.
This is the part in the movie where you thought the Russian crew was all captured and Sean Connery is making friends with Alec Baldwin, and then the cook shoots the guy from Jurassic Park and he dies never having seen Montana. Then the bad-guy Russian sub shows up and that one dude's like "I think someone just shot a torpedo at us!"
Because we can't just hope a defection in their ranks is going to make this whole thing end happy until the cook is shot and their submarine blown out of the water. Meaning it would be all nice and justice if the Soviets were actually called out for being lying, cheating, and blatantly unapologetic scoundrels, but it's not our job to see that the U.N. doesn't make a fool of itself; it's our job to beat the damn reds.
Because Why Waste a Good Chart?
Yesterday Tim front-paged Rescue_Dawn's study of the Midwesterness of Michigan rosters under coaches since Mr. Schembechler. First I'd like to point out that this is the kind of effort that makes the user-generated content such a cut above on this site. The map especially – that is utterly fantastic!
That said, the conclusions are the opposite of correct. The money shot of the article (other than map of awesome) is a pie chart showing the makeup of all Schembechlerian rosters…
…followed by Mo, Llo, and Ro pies whose national slices don't look like they were cut by my wife during another Carb Inquisition.* The takeaway from these charts is that Bo's teams were made of real men grown right here in the Heart of America. NSFMF.
(click makes it big)
Now this is not at all accurate because like Rescue_Dawn I used data from Bentley and they don't distinguish from walk-ons** and those inflate the local numbers but contribute a disproportionately small amount of playing time. But it tells an important story that the total figures for each coach do not: trends.
Here, have a spreadsheet. The straight line at the top shows the trend (% of total) under each coach's career of total roster Midwest makeup. The squiggly line is the % of total year by year (and uses the same Y axis). The rest is not % but the total number of players on the team. I also split up the states a little differently based on which conference(s) were most local for recruits. Midwest= MN, WI, IA, IL, IN, OH, MI, PA, & Canada; Northeast= New England, NY, NJ, DE, DC, MD, WV, VA, NC; Nebraska's in the central, Arizona's Pacific, etc.
You have to kind of mentally extend the previous coach into the next one but the trends show you important things that total % do not. Perfect example: it looks like Rodriguez did a good job keeping a Carr-level smattering of guys from Big XII country. Those guys: Banks, Steve Watson, Jared Van Slyke, Darryl Stonum, Troy Woolfolk, T-Robinson, Stephen Hopkins and Brandon Herron. 75% of that were Lloyd's guys.
You can also see evidence of pipelines, starting with Bo building the East Coast, then getting more and more from the South through the '80s. He and Moeller then got a thick chunk from the Plains States while Lloyd developed (not seen here 'cause I threw it in with Midwest) Pennsylvania and the West Coast.
Ultimately what you're seeing is coaches who were ALL opportunistic, using the national brand to recruit nationally when they could, taking advantage of Midwest recruits' biases when they couldn't, and otherwise being strategic but strategic like a company looking to grow new revenue streams who still mostly focused on its core product.
If you're looking for a coach who believes the world ends at the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, your man is Bump Elliott, and that worked terribly because back then the South was still segregated and their best men were winning championships for all of our rivals. Bo's the guy who either saw Michigan into the age of national recruiting, or took us there, depending on your view of agency.
* Nobody expects a Carb Inquisition. The secret is surprise. And smaller portions. And a fanatical devotion to pointing out that "carbohydrate" is Latin for "wet coal."
** And among many other laughs list a Terry T. Albott, and Obinna Ezeh, and completely cannibalize the Opong-Owusu family. Seriously: Cherie Opong-Owl.
A recap of Brady Hoke's time in front of the cameras (and also off-camera media questions) at Big Ten Media Days today.
It's humbling to represent Michigan in the greatest conference in the country. It's the Wolverines' 132nd year of football. "I don't think we're rebuilding. Period." The players understand what Michigan means, and the team doesn't put stock into a rebuilding year.
The players are doing what they've been asked, but the team is still a long way from where we need to be. How you go through camp (attitude, toughness, discipline, accountability) will lead to how the team performs.
The expectation is always that seniors will lead the team. Fall camp is "funnest time of the year." Hoke thinks the guys will show up on August 8th in shape to play.
Fortunate at Michigan to have several great rivalries. "The rivalry with Ohio is as big a rivalry as there is in the sport." If you don't get excited for that game "you may not be human." Hoke says the team understands the importance of that game, and they talk about it all year. OSU is not a wounded team right now. They're a tremendous program with great tradition. Michigan has 42 B10 championships. "When you have schools that have those legacies, I don't see anybody as wounded." It doesn't diminish the rivalry that both teams have taken reputation hits recently.
Hoke is excited for Denard's potential in the offense. He's done a tremendous job so far, and ran the same offense in high school that he'll be running now. The mechanics of taking snap, play action, etc. is not new to him. Borges has done a tremendous job with him.
"We're smart enough to have elements that he does well from what he did in the past in the spread in our offense." They'll adjust the proportion of spread and pro-style elements in the offense depending on how the team executes in fall camp. They still need to worry about finding a tailback, which should happen within the first 2-3 weeks of the fall.
Why would you worry about changing schemes, when they were so successful last season? "Two sides of the ball in the game of football." As a defensive coach, when you play against a pro-style offense in practice, you build a toughness. This is a physical league, and you need to stop physical offenses.
The excitement of adding Nebraska's tradition, adding a championship game, brings even more fanaticism for the Big Ten conference. Even if it means playing OSU twice? "That game always needs to be played the last week in November. That's tradition. I think there are certain traditions you don't mess with." If you happen to play them twice in a row, so be it. It happens in other sports all the time.
Mattison doesn't just bring X and O benefits. Knowledge, teaching. "That's first and foremost: you've gotta be a tremendous teacher." There's a scheme knowledge that is good, but it's the relationships with 18-23yo kids, and motivation skills all tremendous. If the staff or head coach aren't thinking of the best interest of the kids, they aren't doing a good job.
Hasn't made decision on Stonum. There's no timeframe for making a decision, and he's not worried about team chemistry in waiting to see if Darryl does all the right things to earn his place back on the team. Redshirting this season is possible, but there's too much that can happen in between to be thinking about that.
As for other wideouts, Junior [Hemingway] and Jerald [Robinson] have done a nice job. Odoms "brings a lot of life to us." Presents problems in the slot.
Mike Martin, Ryan Van Bergen, and Will Campbell have worked hard this summer, along with Craig Roh. The seniors are "doing the things that seniors should do."
JT Floyd should be healthy enough to practice right away.
Recruiting: "This might sounds arrogant, but if it is, it is: We're Michigan." Great history, tremendous staff. lifeblood of a program is the guys who come in. Wants toughness, team players, etc. The coaches out on the road do a great job, but Michigan sells itself.
Recruiting is going well, but Signing Day is still a long way away. "We've got 5 or 6 left that we need to be a little picky about." They'll probably sign more than 25 prospects. Recruiting is strong in Ohio, but it's always been like that. Possibly started with Bo Schembechler's roots in Ohio.
Big House night game. "We're looking toward September 3rd first and foremost." First night game with a rival, but the place is going to be jumping with excitement, looking forward to it.
On Kellen Jones: "He's just not enrolled in school." There are no other players that he knows of who won't be on the roster this fall.
Hoke got a bit of time off, but he wasn't able to "turn off" coach mode. He has 115 sons to worry about every day.
Closes with "Thank you, and Go Blue."
The map you see below is a compilation of all the players that have been on the U of M roster starting with Bo and ending with RichRod.
There is a lot of information here...but lets start with the Michigan/Ohio region and work our way out to the rest of the country.
Michigan vs Ohio
There has been a lot of discussion on this board about the Great Wall of Tressel, and how he shut down the border. Lets take a look at how our roster was compiled with Michigan and Ohio kids over the past few decades.
A couple of things stick out here...
- During Bo's era 1 out of 4 kids on the team were from Ohio. From Lloyd's tenure and to the present it was 1 out of 10.
- Our presence in Ohio started to decline long before Tressel got there.
- RichRod always caught a lot of flack for not recruiting Michigan players, but he averaged more Michigan players then previous coaches (Yes, I know we are dealing with sample size, and most of his roster was still Lloyd's players.)
Here is a look at some of the raw data I was working with...
Rich Rod's Midwest:
Regional and National Footprint
The graphs you see below break down our roster by Region....
I was pretty amazed to see that 82% of Bo's roster was compiled of MidWest kids. I'll update this or do a Part 2......but it will be interesting to see how Hoke's first class will break down once it's complete. Right now its leaning torwards Bo's percentages.
** note: All data was pulled from http://bentley.umich.edu/athdept/football/football.htm
[Ed-M: I used basically the same database for this year's HTTV article on recruiting Ohio, and ran into a similar problem: walk-ons. Bentley doesn't say who's a scholarship player and who isn't. Also the nature of a 4- to 5-year turnover cycle makes it hard to see what effect a coach is having except by tracking trends, not total % of players. For example, Bo's Ohio recruiting had been trending down for a long time in his later years, so that when Moeller took over it looks like the story is Mo recruited nationally and Bo was a Midwest guy. In truth, Bo took over a team from Bump that had been capping at 80% people from a mitten- or trash can-shaped state. Bo started by scouring Ohio but once his program was established he went all around the country. To wit:
If you break that into trend-lines...
...the conclusions are radically different than the percentages above suggest. Also RR and Mo weren't really there long enough to make any judgments, except the first chart shows a pretty radical growth in Ohio prospecting by RR replacing in-state success of Carr.]
Since this week in Michigan recruiting revolves around the BBQ at the Big House, Wednesday Recruitin' will follow suit. Since I don't want to shortchange new commit Sione Houma (or the visit of IA WR Amara Darboh), expect full coverage in next week's update.
Since there's unlikely to be a lot of action surrounding these guys (duh, they're already committed), a simple list will suffice:
- MI TE Devin Funchess. He plans to bring along his teammate, WR Aaron Burbridge (see below).
- OH OL Caleb Stacey
- OH OL Kyle Kalis. He's solid in his Michigan commitment.
- MI OL Ben Braden
- MI DE Matt Godin
- OH DE Tom Strobel
MI DE/LB Mario Ojemudia. Speaking of Mario, he looked impressive at the Rivals Elite Big Man Camp, as highlights just appeared on Youtube:
I'm not sure how many (if any) of the guys he was facing are D-1 or BCS prospects - though I'm guessing not many - but he dominated most every rep shown. Ojemudia is a watchlist member for the Butkus Award.
- OH LB Joe Bolden. He's a on the watchlist for the high school Butkus Award, along with...
- OH LB Kaleb Ringer, and also...
- MI LB Royce Jenkins-Stone, and...
- MI LB James Ross. Five Michigan commits means a whole 10% of the watchlist is headed to Ann Arbor.
- OH S Allen Gant
- MI CB Terry Richardson. We should know after this visit if Michigan's coaches are OK with him taking trips to other schools.
- IL CB Anthony Standifer. Attending, and bringing his 2013 teammate LaQuon Treadwell.
2013 MI QB Shane Morris. Shane, as you may have heard (or even seen) impressed at the Gridiron Kings 7on7 tournament in Florida last weekend. He came in for some fluff from ESPN.
"I have a strong arm," Morris said. "I have an accurate arm as well. I can move in the pocket although I am more of a pro-style quarterback that can run a little bit, too. I bring leadership to Michigan and I want to be the best we can be and bring championships to Michigan."
Morris is also active on the recruiting front. He is working social media and other outlets hard. "I am already working my tail off for [the] 2012 class," Morris said. "I am trying to get the top players in [the] nation to help us win championships. I am hitting up kids every day on Facebook, linemen all across [the] nation. I am looking for the best players and people to come to Michigan."
I'm sure video will surface soon enough, as the event itself appeared on ESPNU.
As you may note, that's the majority of Michigan's 2012 commits (plus a bonus from the 2013 class). The only committed players not confirmed to make it are:
- UT FB Sione Houma
- OH TE AJ Williams. "Not sure" if he's coming.
- TN OL Blake Bars
- CA OL Erik Magnuson
- OH DE Pharaoh Brown
- OH S Jarrod Wilson
- 2012/13 KY S Jeremy Clark. He will try to make it up.
A couple of those guys are maybes who haven't firmly committed one way or the other yet. The rest likely have football two-a-days, other commitments, or no transportation.
That brings us to the category where there may be a bit of action: uncommitted rising seniors.
- OH DE Chris Wormley. He's been maintaining Michigan as his leader and inching toward a decision lately. Might he finally be ready to make a move?
- MI WR Aaron Burbridge. Tom confirmed with commit Devin Funchess that Burbridge is joining him at the event.
- IN DT Sheldon Day. According to Sam Webb this morning, he'll be in attendance.
- MI DT Danny O'Brien
- MO DT Ondre Pipkins
- MO WR Jehu Chesson
- OH WR Monty Madaris
- OH RB Bri'Onte Dunn
There are also a maybe in this group:
- IL OL Jordan Diamond. He's one of the candidates for the final OL spot.
Aside from Wormley, defensive tackle seems to be the most likely position to pick up a new commit, though there's no indication yet that Pipkins or O'Brien is quite ready.
OH DE Adolphus Washington and WR Dwayne Stanford will be playing AAU hoops in Florida, and unable to make it. Last week, their coach told Tom that they probably won't be able to take any more visits until the season rolls around.
You can bet your ass that MI QB Shane Morris wants to convince a healthy group of juniors to join his class (along with 2012 greyshirt Jeremy Clark). A few prospects of interest:
- MI OL Steven Elmer. Morris's main competition for tops in state next year.
MI RB/DL Wyatt Shallman. He was the subject of Sam Webb's most recent recruiting column in the Detroit News, and it sounds like Michigan is in strong position:
"My parents are both crazy Michigan fans," Shallman reported. "It is like a dream come true for them. My mom cried (when Brady Hoke extended a scholarship offer back in May). She's loved Michigan for so long. My mom is crazy fanatical. She loves Bo (Schembechler). She loves everything about Michigan. On our outdoor fridge she has an 'Oh, how I hate Ohio State' sign. My dad went to one of the first Michigan camps back with Bo. His whole claim to fame at the camp was he ran a good route and made a one-handed catch. Bo came up to him and said, 'Good catch son!'"
He also has existing relationships with a couple Michigan commits in Shane Morris and Matt Godin:
"They are both (recruiting for Michigan) little bit, but not too hard because they are getting ready for the season, too."
I wouldn't expect a commitment at the BBQ, as it's explicitly stated that Wyatt's parents want to ensure that he gets a chance to see what other colleges have to offer. On the other hand, if the visit blows him away, who knows? He seems to be taking an open approach to a decision.
- MI LB Jon Reschke
- IL WR LaQuon Treadwell. Tagging along with his teammate, 2012 CB Commit Anthony Standifer.
I would be stunned if any commitment-like substanced happened from any of these guys but Shallman, and even that would be unexpected.