also duty-free guys falling over and grabbing their shins
RIP Jim Mandich. Jim Mandich passed away last night. As with Vada Murray I don't have any of my own memories about Mandich, so I'll just offer condolences to all who do. MVictors republished a post containing a Sam and Ira interview of Mandich from a couple years ago.
An eagle-eyed poster on the board noted that TE Brandon Moore just tweeted he'll be switching from 88 to 89 this fall. While that's just because he's playing special teams with Roh, if they could get Mike Jones to switch away from 27 they might be able to do something with those jerseys this fall.
The resounding chorus. Everywhere you turn these days there's a guy flogging NBA draft analysis telling Darius Morris to GTFO of the draft. Mike Rothstein flags down anonymous scouts:
“If somebody is in good academic standing and still needs to improve his game, which I think he is in both of those categories, then it only makes sense to come out if you’re going to be in the first round.
“And I don’t think he would be.”
So does Luke Winn:
"I can't see him getting picked in the first round," one scout said. "He has a good feel, especially in transition, but there are still some issues with shooting [25.0 percent on threes] and athleticism that leave a lot to be desired."
And Chad Ford($):
Morris is on the first-round bubble. Most scouts believe he should return to Michigan for at least one more year.
Despite that, the vibe out there is Morris will enter the draft anyway, thus thoroughly depressing everyone. Ford does say he's "very much on the fence," for what it's worth. The deadline to withdraw is May 8th.
The definition of gamut. Ohio State fans have spent the last few days reacting to the widespread reaction to the NCAA's Notice of Allegations. Responses include:
- Hey, wait a minute, nothing happened and everyone still talking about how terrible we are. Yes. This is something to get used to. It's going to happen at least twice more before anything is resolved. To be fair to the general alarm sent up earlier this week, the NOA came out at the same time the Dispatch's news side got FOIAs back that revealed a more extensive correspondence about the Cicero emails—we did learn some new stuff, and it was not new stuff helpful to Tressel or OSU.
- Everyone does it. "In Big-Time College Football Nobody Is Innocent." This may be true. Michigan fans certainly said it during the Jihad, but in that case we had a lot of anonymous and non-anonymous coaches saying the same thing. Here not so much. Certainly there are degrees of innocence and Tressel appears to have lost all of them.
- NA NA NA NA NA CAN'T HEAR YOU. "Jim Tressel Is Safe and Bruce Feldman Is Wrong" about Jim Tressel not being safe.
- Heads should roll. "Jim Tressel should resign or be fired." Self explanatory. Author does not get crucified in the comments.
Meanwhile, an Eleven Warriors poll showed OSU fans split right down the middle:
One of those ESPN polls that people drag out when Idaho stands alone shows only Ohio believes Tressel should be retained but it's close: 60-40 in favor. This is kind of like when Michigan fans were 33% fire RR, 33% keep RR, 33% don't know. It's not a fun spot. This is fine by me—OSU fans have had vastly more than their fair share of fun since Tressel showed up.
The comfy chair. MVictors has his season ticket renewals in hand and relates you can now rent your seat cushion if you are fed up with the onerous task of carrying it into the stadium:
Just 32 dollars. Greg frets about what this will do the aesthetics of the empty stadium. I'm not sure it's a big deal but it will be awkward if people in the seats painted yellow hit these up. Maybe they have an inverted version for those?
I won't be partaking because the last three OSU games have featured our section not just standing but standing on the benches for the first quarter or so. That may be comfy but it's probably not great to stand on.
Further adventures in eking out marginal revenue. The Big Ten is considering changing their game times to noon, 3:30, and 7. If those seem like the current game times, they are, but that's like this "central" time zone thing:
If you're one of those Big Ten football fans who despised the frequent 11 a.m. starting times for games, take heart. They might be a thing of the past.
Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany reportedly is lobbying hard in negotiations with the television networks to do away with them. If Delany has his way, all Big Ten games next season will start at either noon, 3:30 p.m. or 7 p.m.
Big Ten noon games are now mostly in the hands of the BTN but it's hard to imagine ABC/ESPN moving their traditional 3:30 afternoon game to 4:30 just because some Iowans want to get drunk. Also this only furthers the conspiracy against fans who would like to see something, anything other than their game before the night games start. Also also that makes 4:30/7 games freakin' cold.
If the BTN wants to show games in the central time zone at 1 the only thing stopping them is their contract with ESPN, so fine. These days the average number of CST Big Ten 11 AM starts that show up anywhere else seems very small. I'm not sure why they have to mess with everyone else's start times to do that.
Etc.: Herbstreit bombs OSU. Spielman is less mean but clearly thinks this is srs. Herbstreit has been excommunicated. DocSat assesses the potential damage. PSU fans wonder how OSU evaded a "lack of institutional control" charge when one of the examples is "The institution fails to make clear that any individual involved in its intercollegiate athletics program has a duty to report any perceived violations of NCAA rules and can do so without fear of reprisals of any kind." Sports By Brooks rounds up additional funny stuff.
You can find the 2012 offer board here.
AJ Williams and Devin Funchess Go Blue
Brady Hoke's coaching staff seems to only accept a commitment if they're able to get another commitment at the same position within a couple days (or minutes). This time, it's a pair of tight ends as Devin Funchess and AJ Williams committed back-to-back last week.
Funchess talks about how he turned into a bigtime football prospect:
"I started caring more. I used to just be out there lackadaisical. I started caring more, got bigger in the weight room and started to get better." ... "Devin has always had great potential, but the maturity between his sophomore and junior year was really amazing," [Harrison coach John] Herrington said.
Go Blue Michigan Wolverine breaks down Devin's abilities:
He runs very well for a player his size. Devin also jumps well and times his jump well catching the ball at its highest point. As pointed out, Devin uses his size and athletic ability to make difficult catches. With his length and long arms, he makes an excellent red zone target. Devin has the ability to make a difficult catch look easy.
The Wolverine Blog newcomer Jack Slice goes into awesome detail about what Funchess will do in Ann Arbor:
Funchess’ main asset on the field is his versatility, and the staff has a plan to utilize his skills... They’ll slide him in motion and have him plowing holes in the middle of the line as a fullback. They’ll use him in a traditional H-Back role. They’ll split him out wide and create mismatches with his size. Funchess (and other U Tight Ends) will be the ultimate utility player.
Tom talked to Funchess's teammate, MI DE Mario Ojemudia:
It depends on what [Devin] says to me. We've talked about playing together, but that's not the main reason I would choose to go to a college. I pretty much knew [Devin] was going to Michigan, I just didn't know when he was going to commit.
For the record, the Wolverines are in his top 3 ($, info in header).
AJ is a huge high school tight end who could play either tight end or offensive tackle at Michigan. At spring camps he demonstrated excellent measuables, including a sub 5.00 second forty and recorded a 30-inch vertical. AJ also tested well in the squat and bench.
Magnus talks class fit on Touch the Banner:
The high number of offers to tight ends in this class suggests that Michigan would like to take at least two players at the position, and the skill sets of those offers tell me that they would like at least one blocking tight end and one pass receiving threat at the position. Williams is the blocking variety and has stated that the coaches want to use him to pave the way at the point of attack.
Every fanbase has "that guy," and this Arkansas messageboarder DOES NOT UNDERSTAND why any skill position player with an Arkansas offer would commit to any other school, unless they're getting paid.
- IN QB Gunner Kiel. One of the nation's top QBs, Michigan seems like a longshot. With Pike off the table, do they turn up the heat?
- FL QB Bennie Coney. Michigan currently in his top 5, trailing his top 2 of Notre Dame and Florida State.
- OH QB Maty Mauk. Though he wants to play in a spread offense, he has the size and skills to play in a pro-style. Michigan is in his top group.
- CA QB Jake Rodrigues. Hasn't been mentioned much, but holds a Michigan offer.
- NJ QB/Ath Devin Fuller. Not the prototypical pro-style QB, but Michigan's coaches have said he could get a shot at the position.
There are a couple as-yet unoffered QBs that may get a shot as well:
- OH QB Austin Appleby. Not terribly mobile, but he can throw it.
- OH QB Tyler O'Connor. O'Connor seems to be ahead of Appleby in the offer LINE, and he thinks he'll be getting one soon. A Michigan offer would put them among his favorites, and he wants to decide by the first week of his senior season. Michigan's coaches are in his school today.
- MI QB Brian Blackburn. His interest seems to be picking up, but he's still a little way down the list.
- IL QB Wes Lunt. Recently picked up a Wisconsin offer.
With instate phenom Shane Morris in the 2013 class, an elite signal-caller isn't an absolute necessity this year.
Assume the Position: Linebacker
Space was tight in last week's recruiting post, what with two commitments and all, so it's time to delve into linebacker recruiting going forward. Michigan currently has commitments from Scout's #2 and #9 middle linebackers (though I think Jenkins-Stone is more likely to be a SAM at the next level), and are in good position with at least a couple other guys.
How many linebackers will they take in the 2012 class? They had a pretty big haul last year, with Frank Clark, Antonio Poole, Keith Heitzman, Kellen Jones, Desmond Morgan, and Brennen Beyer. OK, that's beyond a "pretty big haul," but it's also likely that some of these guys end up at other positions. For example, Clark can play TE, Heitzman is probably a TE or DE, Beyer is almost certainly a DE, and Morgan could even play fullback.
It's clear that the staff wants at least one more LB in this class, and depending on who they can land, I think they'd take two. The most obvious candidate to land in the class is OH LB Joe Bolden, who likes Michigan a lot, is "still a major priority" ($, info in header), and could decide "at any time." He was the focus of last week's Sam Webb column in the Detroit News:
Colerain headman Tom Bolden: "Speaking as a head coach, he is a phenomenal player. He can play inside and he can play outside at the linebacker position. He covers a lot of ground, he is smart, and he can make the checks. He is a thumper. When he gets there he makes an impact. When he tackles kids, they stay tackled. Plus he carries a 3.9 GPA and is a great man off the field. I think all that makes him a great football player and a great young man."
Good lookin' out, uncle Tom. Scout's Allen Trieu:
"He has very good size, and he's a tough, hard-nosed football player," Trieu stated. "He's a classic, throwback type linebacker, but he's not just a run stuffer. He runs well and shows good ability in coverage. I think he can be an every-down linebacker and that's why so many schools are after him... Put that all together and he has a shot at playing early and often."
Ohio State hasn't offered (and apparently won't), and that means good things if he eventually suits up for the maize-and-blue:
"To me, if you didn't recruit me — and I don't like to be arrogant and full of myself — I like to prove people wrong," Bolden admitted. "I love doing it. I love talking, but also backing it up. If you've ever been in that situation, it makes it sweeter. It would definitely feel good."
I think the staff would probably also take a commitment from MI LB James Ross or PA LB Deaysean Rippy. Beyond those guys, it's tough to see any mutually-interested options.
IL LB Antonio Morrison visited Michigan for the spring game ($, info in header), and has picked up a Florida offer. MI LB Tyler Goble has visited Ann Arbor, but I have to think his best bet is a preferred walkon spot at this point. OH LB Mason Monheim was recently on campus.
In the "who might be next" department, MI DE Matt Godin will announce a decision on May 12th. He's a lifelong Michigan fan, and the Wolverines are in his final three along with Michigan State and Wisconsin.
Michigan will offer IL CB Anthony Standifer if he performs well at Michigan's camp. He's a big CB, and what he might lack in elite speed, he makes up for with ball skills:
Michigan was the first non-MAC school to show bigtime interest, and Charles Woodson is his favorite corner.
MN OL Jonah Pirsig gets the local fluff treatment from the Pioneer Press. The way the article is written, Jerry Kill might commit seppuku if he doesn't land Pirsig. The kid currently favors Iowa.
OH DE Tom Strobel will play in the Army All-American game.
MI CB Terry Richardson has set a firm decision date ($, info in header).
OK RB Donovan Roberts holds a Michigan offer and he will decide today ($, info in header). I'd be shocked if Michigan is the selection.
Michigan seems like a longshot for MD WR Stefon Diggs, a teammate of 2011 signee Blake Countess.
OH RB Bri'Onte Dunn, currently an Ohio State commit, has softened that commitment, and may visit Ann Arbor soon.
PA RB Greg Garmon plans to visit Ann Arbor.
OH DE Pharoah Brown is making a return visit to Ann Arbor soon.
NJ S Brandon Napoleon will visit in May.
A couple new(ish) offers:
- VA DE Ken Ekanem has picked up a Michigan offer. The offer surprised him, but he might reciprocate the interest with an Ann Arbor visit this summer.
- Michigan has offered TX RB Jonathan Williams.
- Michigan has offered TX FB Dominic Ramacher.
Michigan has offered OH RB Dymonte Thomas.
Brandon Graham and Ricky Dixon
A few years ago I took a look at the Rivals top 100 and attempted to evaluate the success or failure of the kids in it, ranking each player on a five point scale and coming up with an average. It was pretty interesting but an enormous pain in the butt and the vague desire to repeat that study for future classes paled in comparison to the mountain of tedious research it required.
But if ESPN is going to do the tedious research for me, I'm on board. What follows is a reprise of the earlier post's methodology. Players are rated on a five point scale:
- Total bust.
- Contributor but a marginal one, or a not-very-good starter.
- Average starter.
- All-Conference-ish player in a BCS league, likely NFL draftee.
- All-American-ish player, likely to be drafted in top two rounds.
These should roughly correspond with star rankings. Players on the borderline will be assinged a 3.5 or whatever. Players who don't make it for reasons other than talent—injury, grades or being a total knucklehead—are noted as such. It's a bit much to expect recruiting analysts to project who is going to rob a liquor store.
This post covers the ESPN top 50. The table below has rankings from the three major services and a brief explanation of what happened to them.
|Three year starter and second-team All ACC at FSU; left for Rhodes Scholarship before senior year. Sixth round pick of Titans, NFL backup.|
|All-purpose Florida ninja. First round pick of Vikings, offensive rookie of year.|
|50 catches for USC as soph, injured, buried on depth chart, transfer to Cinci, injured in first game at UC.|
|Three year starter left to be top ten pick after true junior season.|
|Instant starter at UGA, first pick in 2009 draft.|
|Part of backfield platoon for first three years; 1200 yards at 4.3 YPC as senior, two-time AB12, expected to be 2nd-3rd round pick|
|Three-time AB12, AA as senior, second round pick of Ravens, Butkus finalist|
|Brutal headhunter was four-time AA. Second round pick of 49ers.|
|Three year starter had some injury problems but was 1st team All SEC as junior; undrafted, practice squad type in NFL.|
|Transferred to Maryland after one year, worked way into starting lineup as junior, probably won't be drafted.|
|Monster sophomore season (12.5 sacks, Hendricks finalist) followed by minor legal trouble, disappointing junior year, early NFL draft entry. Went undrafted and is a practice squad guy.|
|Left after Las Cronicas Locas, transferred to USC, sat on bench, lost to ND in only start.|
|Beat out by Colt McCoy, transferred to Ole Miss. Mediocre two-year starter there. Idiotically entered NFL draft after 20-int junior year. Surprise: undrafted.|
|Member of USC diverse but mediocre backfield as soph/junior. Dropped 275 pounds on his throat before senior season. Entered draft anyway, made team, immediately destroyed ankle.|
|Is Tim Tebow.|
|Jai Eugene||LSU||16||17||#12 CB||2|
|Started nine games as a sophomore but was LSU's nickel guy after that; bacup safety as senior.|
|Contributor for four years, starter as senior. No college accolades but a fourth round NFL draft pick.|
|Problem-ridden LB suspended three times before transfer to JUCO, then Memphis. Was starting for Tigers before getting suspended again. http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/2010/nov/05/porter-suspends-tiger-senior-safety-ball/|
|Four year starter surrounded by utter incompetence. Sixth round pick of Dallas|
|Brandon Warren||FSU||20||#7 TE||24||TKE|
|Contentious transfer after excellent freshman year; booted from Tennessee; at North Alabama.|
|Two-time AA was third pick of NFL draft.|
|Started as senior, contributed before that. Six sacks, one honorable-mention AB12. May go at the tail end of the draft.|
|Three year starter but not a notable one. No accolades, won't get drafted.|
|Three year starter and enormous human; projected to go in the fourth to sixth rounds of the upcoming draft.|
|Reshad Jones||UGA||25||#13 S||14||4|
|Two year starter was twice second-team All SEC; picked in fifth round.|
|Another member of USC's consistently mediocre backfield. Had bust-out senior year until sidelined by injury.|
|Markeith Summers||Miss||27||#81 WR||#38 WR||2|
|Mostly a backup; did start as a senior but finished fourth on the team in receptions.|
|Jim Barrie||UF||28||#58 OL||#15 OT||Inj|
|Career ended with ACL explosion.|
|Jermaine Cunningham||UF||29||#13 DE||#4 WDE||4|
|Three year starter was second team all SEC as a senior; second round NFL pick.|
|Human battering ram was brutally effective when healthy. First round pick.|
|The best player in the history of awful defenses, Graham was an AA in 2009 and a first round pick of the Eagles.|
|Richard Dickson||LSU||32||#13 TE||#6 TE||3.5|
|Three year starter had 30 catches as soph/junior. Dropped off a bit as a senior. Second team All SEC twice; undrafted but stuck with Lions.|
|JB Walton||PSU||33||#28 OL||72||Grades|
|Transferred to D-II school after academic issues.|
|Played in every game as a freshman, then succumbed to academic issues. Got drafted in seventh round and started 12 games as a rookie.|
|Damon McDaniel||FSU||35||#29 WR||69||1|
|Seven catches in two years; transferred to Hampton; didn’t do much there.|
|Vague contributor didn't do much until he was a senior and even then just 24 catches.|
|More mediocre USC tailbacks. Moody had about 400 yards each year he was at USC; he transferred to Florida and did little.|
|Started as junior but was unproductive; moved to TE; played a bit. Won't get drafted.|
|Jeremiha Hunter||Iowa||39||#19 LB||78||4|
|Three year starter was second team AB10 as senior. Probably will get drafted at tail end.|
|Byron Maxwell||Clem||40||#20 CB||#18 CB||3|
|Nickelback until his senior year, when he was a decent starter. May get drafted.|
|Terrence Austin||UCLA||41||81||#14 WR||3.5|
|Second team AP10 as kick returner; also a decent receiver. Seventh round pick who stuck with Redskins.|
|Dustin Earnest||Texas||42||83||#14 ILB||2|
|Career backup. Did contribute a decent number of tackles as an upperclassman.|
|Okay two-year starter was passed over by NFL.|
|Mediocre runner averaged under 4.0 YPC for career; moved to FB as senior.|
|Started off with a bang but production tailed off. Fourth round pick.|
|Transferred to Stanford, started as a senior in TE-mad Harbaugh offense. Won't get drafted.|
|Insanely explosive do-everything RB/KR/PR was a top ten pick.|
|Ricky Dixon||LSU||48||#46 WR||#23 WR||1|
|Two catches in two season; tranferred to Texas Southern.|
|JUCO, then three years at Georgia where he didn't do anything.|
|Prepped, went to Pitt, and was the Panthers offense for two years. Second round pick.|
So what does this say?
The 44 players who didn't bomb out for unrelated reasons averaged a 3.4. On average a player from ESPN's top 50 turned out to be a borderline All-Conference type. In buckets:
4 (and 4.5): 8
3 (and 3.5): 14
75% of ESPN top 50 players were at least average-ish starters on big time college football teams or Notre Dame. 43% of them were All-Conference types, and 25% were All-American types. That's a good strike rate at the very top.
It's not as good as it was when I looked a the 2002 class. That Rivals top 50 averaged 3.5 and only had 13 guys 3 or below. However, three guys were punted on and twelve more weren't rated for one reason or another. Only six dropped out here. Sites may be more careful these days about character/grade rumors.
Can't say yet until we get through the whole 150 and check out Rivals and Scout lists to see their embarrassing misses, but the above looks ugly for ESPN. There are four flat out busts on the above list. On two all three sites were fooled; on two they weren't. Those two were
- Ricky Dixon, an LSU receiver two did nothing and transferred. ESPN had him 48th. Scout had him a generic three-star; Rivals had him towards the tail end of their four stars.
- Damon McDaniel was 35th to ESPN; Scout had him 29th amongst WRs and Rivals had him 69th. All were somewhat wrong, but ESPN was more wrong.
There are seven meh guys, and on most ESPN was more wrong. Some of them are moderate differences that we'll probably see when we run across outliers in the Rivals and Scout top 50s, but on a few ESPN whiffed hard:
- #27 Markeith Summers was a generic three star to Scout and just hanging on to a fourth star at Rivals.
- #42 Dustin Earnest was 83rd on Scout and a generic three star ILB to Rivals.
Rivals was also considerably less wrong about Jai Eugene; both other sites got Clemson CB Byron Maxwell, LSU TE Richard Dickson, TX QB Jevan Snead, USC S Antwine Perez, MI DE Brandon Graham, OSU RB Chris Wells, and USC RB Emmanuel Moody better pegged than ESPN. There aren't many examples of the reverse, just small gaps in evaluations. We'll see if that holds up once the whole picture is tediously put into Excel.
Today the New York Times launched a broadside at the widespread practice of futzing your participation numbers to make it look like your school meets the "proportionality" requirement demanded by Title IX. This trick in particular is bizarre:
At Cornell, only when the 34 fencers on the women’s team take off their protective masks at practice does it become clear that 15 of them are men. Texas A&M and Duke are among the elite women’s basketball teams that also take advantage of a federal loophole that allows them to report male practice players as female participants.
The federal government doesn't actually care what your gender is as long as you don't play.
To me, that absurdity demonstrates how futile Title IX is. There is more interest in men's sports to the point where you can't even fill out your rosters with women because no one is interested, so dudes step in to fence. Those guys can't play varsity (Cornell has a club team) because of Title IX.
The Times article and the reaction to it is totally opposed to this view. Triple counting track athletes and jamming tennis walk-ons for whom practice is optional is portrayed as scandalous. The very headline of the article establishes an editorial viewpoint:
College Teams, Relying on Deception, Undermine Gender Equity
Football comes in for its usual hit here:
Yet football, the pride of many universities and a draw for alumni, rarely faces cuts. The average Division I football team went from 95 players 30 years ago to 111 players in 2009-10.
“Football is the elephant in the whole thing,” Mr. Crouthamel said. “That’s the monster.”
This is obviously stupid. The Average Division I Football Team added a dozen or so walk-ons over the past 30 years. Walk-ons don't travel with the team. They don't get financial support. They just show up and fail to kick balls through the uprights. These days they don't even have an equipment cost—many schools have deals where they get that stuff for free. Meanwhile, many places the monster hands out free candy.
If we're talking about "equity" as treating different groups fairly, the thing that's undermining gender equity is Title IX. The article hits a bunch of different schools for practices like the bizarre loophole above but focuses most heavily on South Florida. The Bulls have 71 women's cross-country runners, many of whom are not aware they are on the team. The practice started shortly after USF started a football team, because football is a monster.
Football is a monster!
Non Program Specific
Expense to Revenue Difference
Football… uh… essentially breaks even. Since basketball gets 100k in "direct university support" this makes it unique amongst USF sports. Women's basketball, meanwhile, gets 232k in direct support—those thirteen scholarships cost the school over a million dollars. Football's 85 cost the university 1,000 bucks each. USF could have 12.3 football teams for what it costs to run one small women's team.
In terms of money thrown at sports that don't have a prayer of ever making a dime, USF's women are killing the men. Football and men's basketball could break even with small tweaks. The attention they get is a major way to let people know the University of South Florida exists. The reason USF sponsors those sports is because they are a net positive.
But Title IX pretends that money sent to them is like money sent to baseball/swimming/track/cross-country—essentially burned. It's not. There is a ROI in football. It's absurd to force a university to maintain proportional representation as if football is some sort of charity. Many places it's not: it's an investment. A law that isn't insane would recognize that.
Who is the man, Brady Hoke? Krikor Arman, says Brady Hoke
The other side
So last week I bombed Braylon Edwards and various other people who have publicly or privately undermined the program since Carr's departure. I owe the internet in general a POV from the other side. I met a Bo walk-on at the Michigan Beerfest a couple years ago and he's been a consistent email correspondent; he provides this perspective from the recent billions-return alumni thing:
We had the team meeting last night which started out in the field house with Coach Hoke speaking for a few minutes while introducing his staff. Afterwards we went over to the stadium and had dinner in the club level, which is beautiful. There were probably 200 guys there, including Coaches Hanlon, Burton, Thornbladh, Moeller, and Carr. It was a nice gathering and great to see the old fellas.
Regardless of what some outsiders think or what people want to hypothesize about RR, the fact of the matter is it WAS a different environment and it DID alienate ex-players/coaches, to a degree. Michigan football is different. It's a family. It's steeped in traditions that are older than the vast majority of people on the board. RR did not take care of the program. He did not endear himself to the guys who won 42 championships in the 132 years of Michigan Football. One thing I heard over and over last night from ex-players was "thank God we're done with that bullshit" ("the lack of defense" and "the guy just didn't get it"). It may seem petty, but this isn't like taking over an old, family owned business and revamping the computers and offices. This is Michigan. I can't put it into words, but as much as I supported RR, he did not, in fact, get it.
I talked with Bruce Madej for a while as well as Paul Schmidt. I was surprised to learn that RR did not force freshman/sophomores to live in the dorm. The only players who HAD to live in the dorm were the early enrollees, and they only had to stay there until after spring semester. Think about that. An 18 year old kid is going right from living at his folks place and attending high school to instantly living on his own, with rent and phone bills, gas bills, grocery shopping, etc. ALL THE WHILE trying to maintain his athletics AND play for a demanding coach. There's no way an 18 year should be put in that situation. It's overwhelming. Schmitty told me that was the first thing he told Hoke when he arrived. Hoke immediately switched the policy back to freshman and sophomores MUST live in the dorm.
It may seem like a pathetically insignificant aspect of the RR regime, but I think it's yet another example of how many different ways he failed as the head coach at Michigan.
I am NOT here to say Hoke is the answer because he's getting the young kids back in the dorm. BUT, he has brought back some things that made this the winningest program in college football. AND, he's galvanizing the fabric of Michigan football that had rusted a little bit over the last 3 years.
So… there's that. My position here is endlessly conflicted. I wish the "This is Michigan" stuff wasn't so inflexible that it caused what happened over the last three years and etc etc etc but everyone knows that. This guy, like Craig Ross, just wants to see Michigan win. That's what we all want. We just have different opinions on the best way to go about doing that.
Jake Ryan and WLB
I know that you weren't as high on Jake Ryan after a more thorough review of the spring game than some people, but he did do okay and he got some good reviews from bowl practices. My question is this - why isn't he a contender at WLB instead of SLB? It seems like he's a bigger, stronger, guy that can tackle well but might not be athletic enough in coverage. Isn't that the type of guy you want at the WLB while the athletic converted safety types play the SLB (Gordon, Hawthorn, Jones, etc.)?
I wasn't necessarily down on Ryan. Like everyone else I was impressed by his playmaking, but he was going up against a redshirt freshman walk-on when he blitzed off the strongside. That's a major factor in a 1-v-1/2-v-2 scrimmage.
As for the question, Ryan is a big dude at 6'3" and nearly 230 pounds as a redshirt freshman. The usual S&C path will see him brushing up against 240 next year. That's a good size to be the guy facing down a tight end on the LOS most downs. It's not so good to be the designated super fast pursuit guy. Also, the knock on Ryan from high school was his agility. His recruiting profile is littered with references to his ability to "attack vertically," worries about his ability to cover guys, and vague mutterings about a move to DE.
While Ryan may have been an OLB candidate in the 3-3-5—where attacking vertically is a large chunk of the job description when you're not being coached by Greg Robinson—he's strictly SAM in a 4-3 under. Fortunately, he looks like an excellent fit there.
If you're looking for WLB reinforcements look to safety, where Marvin Robinson and Josh Furman are OLB-sized guys idling behind starters.
Technical blocking stuff
The one thing I noticed from the scrimmage was a lot more "angle blocking" (layman's term, actually the offensive line appeared to be using Wing-T rules) as opposed to zone. The idea is to gain leverage on your opponent by blocking in towards the ball with the tackles/TEs and pull. The biggest thing that makes me say this is first the pulling techniques on the QB sweep looked exactly like a puller in a wing-T system (open deep, run around a down block). "Angle blocking" is the idea in the flesh. However, I actually could see this as an advantage for M going forward. Zone is ubiquitous. Rule blocking is not. Could be an advantage. The blocking did not look that great, yet.
Borges seems to be finding what the personnel does well and focusing on that (hence the grab bag of multiplicity). Holy hell, we need a good runner, I hope Mike Cox is it.
I kind of thought Michigan was good at running zone stuff by last year. The mobility on the interior gave them the ability to get downfield and pick up linebackers on the second level. I worry about their ability to move Big Ten defensive tackles, though. Last year it was up to those DTs to move faster than the OL so they didn't get reached. This year the power schemes will ask playside OL to overpower DL who might be bigger than them. We'll see.
Krikor Arman sets the record straight
Thank you for the excellent reference in today's blog, I am honored. Just wanted to clarify a couple things. I did not come from the club team. I went directly to open tryouts and made the team out of the 10 people trying out. And this "forward #14" scored two goals in his first game, and has four championship rings from Michigan, one a National Championship.
So thank you, because I really appreciate all of my friends reading about how I was "forward #14."
Krikor Arman, M4
No offense was intended to Krikor Arman in this morning's post. Krikor Arman is notable enough to be in Wikipedia, which means he is more important than me, most webcomics and, for a brief time, Old Man Murray. He is also in med school.
Recent announcements from QB Zeke Pike and TE's AJ WIlliams and Devin Funchess have given thought about where Michigan will go from here with regards to each position and certain players. Here's a look at what could potentially happen in the future, and how the recent announcements may affect other players.
6'3", 215 lbs.
Farmington Hills, Michigan
Devin Funchess is the teammate of Ojemudia and the two have been making trips to Michigan together. Recently Mario told me that Michigan was in his top three with Michigan State and Stanford. It seems natural to wonder if Devin Funchess committing to Michigan will have any affect on Mario.
It depends on what [Devin] says to me. We've talked about playing together, but that's not the main reason I would choose to go to a college. I pretty much knew [Devin] was going to Michigan, I just didn't know when he was going to commit.
Mario has been up to Michigan a few times and has openly said that they have been impressive every time. He was in East Lansing this last Tuesday, and he plans on taking another trip out to Ann Arbor in the next few weeks. This time he'll bring someone other than Devin along.
I'm going back up there probably in a few weeks. We're just going to hang out, the coaches want me to finally bring my parents up there. [My parents] don't have a preference between Michigan or Michigan State.
That's a good next step in the process for Michigan to get his parents on campus. He wants to make his decision before the season starts.
6'3", 202 lbs.
Now that Zeke Pike is off the board Michigan will have to look to their other options. They have current offers out to other quarterbacks, but outside of Bennie Coney they aren't in favorable position with many. The Michigan coaching staff may have to extend a few new offers and Tyler O'Connor might be a candidate.
I have been hearing a lot more from [Michigan] lately. They will be here at my school on Wednesday. I think they'll eventually offer especially with them not getting Zeke Pike. They haven't said that, but I think they will. I want to get up there to be around the coaches and see how they are.
O'Connor said that if Michigan were to offer it would be a big one for him and that he really likes the Wolverines. He wants to get to know them though and still go through the process.
If they offered I think they would be one of my leaders. I want to still take my time with everything though. I want to have my decision made by the first week of my football season. I'm looking to see how well I like the coaches, the opportunity for things after school and football, how good the team is, and how well I fit.
O'Connor has already been on the radar for the Michigan coaches but could very well see an offer soon. Austin Appleby has also been told by the coaches that they are interested, but they want to see him at camp first.
6'3", 225 lbs.
Ekanem just recently received an offer from Michigan to go along with Boston College, MSU, Pitt, Rutgers, and Virginia Tech among others. He already has a nice offer list, but is trying to take everything in for now.
I'm trying to stay open minded about everything so far. I will start narrowing it down before my football season starts. I plan on taking all five of my official visits and deciding after my football season.
Coach Mallory was the Michigan coach that extended the offer to Ken and he's excited to continue to build that relationship.
I was surprised that [Michigan] offered, I didn't know they were that interested in me. When I was younger that was my team, and I love the stadium, I can say that. I don't know much about them though, and I don't have a favorite team now. I'm really looking for academics, good coaches, a good recruiting class for 2012, and a place that feels like home.
Ekanem said he might do an unofficial visit to Michigan over the summer, but nothing has been planned.
- The most popular question lately has been if Michigan still has room for Ron Thompson now that they have two tight end commitments. With the recent attrition I think there is still an opportunity for him to be a part of this class. AJ Williams and Devin Funchess are versatile enough that they could both project to different positions.
- Ohio DE Pharaoh Brown says that he will be making another visit to Michigan soon. This time his mom will come up with him to check out the place. MIchigan has been in the lead for some time and Brown has been picking up a good amount of offers recently. He still wants to make his decision by June or July.
- Illinois DB Anthony Standifer is probably very close to a Michigan offer. There was some confusion about whether he did or didn't and he's gotten that straightened out.
- Pennsylvania OL Tyler Alt (6'3", 275 lbs) was getting a visit to his school tomorrow by Coach Mallory. Alt is out of town though, so he'll be speaking with Mallory over the phone tomorrow instead.
- Instate DE Matt Godin is announcing his final decision on May 12th.