Flippin' the line: feasible?
Schofield moved all over
How hard is it in mid game or mid season to change from a right handed to a left handed qb? Does the OL switch the guards and tackles etc.?
Not particularly hard, because the offense will almost certainly ignore the change and operate just like it was before. If there is a change, it will be flipping the tackles, something that teams occasionally do when guys go down injured. Either of these things are suboptimal, but if we are, say, talking about a potential Devin Gardner injury forcing Shane Morris onto the field, that righty-lefty switch is maybe 5% of the hit.
It might be more when there's a significant pass protection gap between your tackles. I'm projecting 6'7" Michael Schofield to be very good at that, so any blindside/non-blindside pass rush tradeoffs are minor. The run game shouldn't be affected, as QBs have to hand off to both sides of their body on the regular.
A couple years down the road when Morris is the projected starter it'll make sense to flip the right and left tackles over the offseason to give Morris better protection from behind, but that's a minor change when you've been given that much time. Schofield slid from left guard to right tackle, a much more drastic move, with not much ill effect.
Why you gotta be huge to play left tackle?
Quick question that may be obvious: why is height such an important asset in a left (or blindside) tackle? I've always taken it as a given but I'm not sure I've ever heard an explanation. Off the top of my head, I would guess it has to do with arm length and the ability to be massive yet retain a lean and athletic body (i.e. Schofield is 303 lbs but is quite a bit more lean and athletic than Ondre Pipkins).
OT Adam Terry (Baltimore Ravens) and OT Marcus McNeill (San Diego Chargers) are both former second round picks (Terry in 2005, McNeill in 2006) who both weighed in during their Combine appearances at 6-8 and around 330 pounds. However, the key difference during each player’s weigh-in was the dramatic discrepancy in the length of the two player’s reaches. McNeill measured in at 35½ inches and Terry posted a reach of 32 ¼ inches. Therefore, we have two men who are roughly the exact same size, however, McNeill has the length to match and maximize his 6-8 frame, while Terry’s length forces him to play like a tackle closer to 6-3.
There are other variables that go into a comparison like this, however, the facts are that McNeill has been the Chargers starting left tackle for each of the past five years, while Terry is considered now as nothing more than an NFL journeyman.
The same guy had an article the previous year on the same topic and a notable name jumped out at me: Robert Gallery, former Iowa superstar, top-five pick, and colossal bust. He also has T-Rex arms.
HOWEVA, Iowa pro-bowler Marshall Yanda's arms are 33.5 inches long, famous left tackle prototype Michael Oher the same. Joe Thomas is at 32.5, Jake Long 33. Arm length is marginal at best… at least when we're talking about guys in a narrow range from enormous to slightly less enormous.
Meanwhile, height is sometimes a… drawback? Again, talking on an NFL level where you can pick the top 1% of players, yeah. After Jake Long in 2008, the NFL didn't take a tackle taller than 6'6" until the 2011 draft, when it was so odd that there were so many huge guys that Mike Tanier wrote an article about it:
One scout I spoke to in Indianapolis said that diminishing returns kick in once an offensive lineman reaches the dimensions of an NBA power forward. “They have to keep working to bend at the knees, to not pop up at the snap,” he said. “They can’t ever let up on their technique.” …
Several of this year’s tall tackles are not just long, but lean. Castonzo has a classic lineman’s build, with a lot of mass in his thighs and butt, but Carimi and Solder have relatively narrow trunks. Their “high cut” bodies create even more leverage issues. Carimi, in particular, gets too narrow when run blocking: defenders can turn him sideways and slide around him. Carimi is so strong and athletic that teams will be willing to work with him to perfect his technique, but his size may never convert to NFL strength.
Giants Nate Solder (Colorado), Anthony Castonzo (Boston College), and Gabe Carimi (Wisconsin) all went in the first round, but so did three 6'5" guys. You'll note that Michigan's recruiting is heavily biased towards 6'5" high school tackles who have half the scouts pegging at tackle, half at guard.
Tanier does note that super long arms are, in general, a help, and that blocking techniques are designed with the assumption you're going up against a guy a couple inches shorter than you.
Here's my take on it: in general, bigger people are just harder to get around. A wider stance and longer arms gives a left tackle a bigger catching radius, as it were, to intercept pass rushers. When it turned out NFL teams were sending players of size X at quarterbacks, most of those guys turned out to be 6'3" or 6'4" and after some experimentation it was determined that guys a couple inches taller than those guys combined catching radius with balance. Balance is absolutely the most important thing for offensive linemen. Bigger guys with traditional lineman builds (ie, bottom heavy) take more force to get off balance than smaller ones, but only as long as they can keep a leverage advantage on their opponents.
Who takes the shot against Kansas and such, other than nobody?
With Trey & Tim leaving, who takes the end of shot clock and end of game shots for us next year?
I think McGary would be the obvious choice, but that can be pretty tough for a big man to create shots outside of the offensive flow. And it could pull him away from the basket and rebound opportunities. GRIII hasn't shown a lot in a way of creating his own shot. Walton would be an obvious choice, but he's a freshmen. Maybe some end of shot clock looks, but at the end of a close game? Same goes for Irvin. That leaves the other options as Stauskas (maybe?), Levert (supposedly a terror 1-on-1 in practice, but late game experience?) and Spike (not as terrifying as I thought a few months ago).
Who do you think becomes the regular closer out of that group?
Uh… I think they might go closer by committee?
There is no obvious answer there. McGary's usage shot up in the tournament but very little of that was McGary actually creating a shot—basically some jumpers from the elbow, a couple of sweet short-corner turnarounds, and his once-per-game two-dribbles-to-a-layup. Michigan never, ever posts guys up, and I don't think that's going to change. Meanwhile the other returning star had a usage rate of 13% and got virtually all of his baskets from Burke or off rebounds. Neither is a good candidate for late-game or late-clock hero duties.
With Michigan's emphasis on the pick and roll, it'll probably fall onto the point guard again. Derrick Walton isn't going to take step-back jumpers that somehow fall quite a bit; he's more distribution-oriented. Teams overplaying his penetration will find him kicking to Stauskas or Irvin or dishing to Robinson or McGary.
I can see three other guys possibly taking up the banner:
- STAUSKAS. Showed pretty good ability on the pick and roll, where he showed hints of a Darius Morris-like ability to find passing angles with his length. And you of course cannot go under unless you want punishment. Would take some development both on the bounce and as a distributor, but that's what freshmen do.
- IRVIN. 6'7" to 6'8" guy with an advanced pull up game already. By midseason will be able to get a midrange jumper whenever he wants. Prefer Michigan to try something else always, but late when refs are clenching their bowels and swallowing the whistle the midrange game is the part of your offense least affected by hacks.
- LEVERT. Yes, a stretch given his rough numbers and brief tourney cameos where he was unready for the moment. Seemed to be able to get where he wanted most of the year, small sample size, freshman improvement, and he should have buckets since he was both young and skinny.
This question is a "what we do without Burke" Q writ small, and the answer is "I don't know, but spread it around."
This Week in the Twitterverse takes a look at the social media happenings of the previous week, or whatever else I feel like talking about. Mostly I make fun of people who are better at things than I am. No purchase necessary, void where prohibited. Consult your doctor if this column lasts more than four hours. If you come across anything you think should be in next week's column, send it to @Bry_Mac.
As of today, I have been married to my lovely wife, Mrs. BiSB (also known as WiSB or J_Mac, but not really), for exactly four years. In that spirit, I thought I would share some of the lessons I have learned in those years, in hopes that my wisdom may save you from some of my missteps.
Your stupidity is noticed, stupid.
When you screw up (and you WILL screw up), you may not always get called on it. You ignored a request to
refrain from peeing in the sink put some pants on, dammit, we have company do the dishes, or you come home from your "quick drink after work" at 2:00 a.m. with a concussion, wearing a loin cloth and reeking of ouzo, and your significant other lets it slide. "I'm a wizard," you think to yourself. "I should rob banks. Or the Louvre." You see, you confused a patient and tolerant person with someone who didn't mind. Turns out, humans tend to notice and respond to stimuli. You are unknowingly making withdrawals from the First National Bank of Spousal Patience, and you never know when your balance will hit zero and crap will hit the fan. To wit:
As we have discussed many times, people send stupid tweets to recruits all the time. The recruits usually don't respond, so the morons tweeting them probably assume either (a) no one notices or cares, or (b) they need to up their trolling game to break through the noise. Turns out, they are just making their respective schools look bad. Shai Mckenzie had a since-deleted back-and-forth with one such Pitt fan, and as a result he’s not feeling the love. I don’t know if he decided to cancel the visit (it was scheduled for today), but needless to say that if you were the fan who cost your team a 4-star running back, your day will not be good.
Sometimes a little space is a good thing
If you've been in a relationship for a long time, you probably enjoy spending time together. Regardless, a little "me time" is a healthy thing for both of you. This is a marathon, not a sprint, and you don't need to share your every thought and every waking moment with your paramour. Absence makes the heart grow fonder. Omnipresence makes you this dude:
Kentucky has jumped to the front of the Inappropriate Twitter Stalkers parade, and this guy is out front waving a Big Blue baton. As you can probably guess, those are all recruits (including Jamarco Jones, who is most decidedly not considering Kentucky anymore). It isn't even that he contacts recruits. It's how OFTEN he's contacting recruits. And what he's saying to them. And how it seems to be the SOLE REASON he has a Twitter account. And... Jeebus, read that feed. He’s mentioned TJ Harrell nearly 50 times in the last two weeks alone. So, based on quantity, quality, use of exclamation points, and overall lack of self-awareness, I declare you, John Turner, to be the TWITTER CREEPER OF THE YEAR OF THE WEEK. This is only the second time I have given this award, so cherish it, BBN hero.
[After the jump, your friends may be on your side, but that doesn't mean they're "helping"]
In the 2005 NBA Draft, three players were selected before Chris Paul.
Australian-born Naismith winner Andrew Bogut went first to the Milwaukee Bucks, a team with two young point guards—T.J. Ford and Mo Williams—hoping to fill a hole at center. He topped out as a solid post threat and rebounder before injuries derailed his career over the last couple seasons.
The second pick belonged to the Atlanta Hawks, a franchise in desperate need of a franchise point guard. Instead of choosing Paul, the super-productive yet diminutive playmaker, the Hawks chose Marvin Williams, a 6'9" forward who'd flashed great promise as a freshman sixth man on North Carolina's national title team. Good at many things but great at none, Williams has been a huge disappointment, providing below-average efficiency as the third option on some decent Hawks teams before being traded prior to last season straight-up for Devin Harris, whose career has been in a freefall since he was the centerpiece of Dallas' 2008 trade for Jason Kidd.
The Utah Jazz took 6'3" point guard Deron Williams with the third pick and can't be blamed for that choice, as the Illinois product has had a very productive pro career featuring three All-Star appearances.
Paul went fourth to the New Orleans Hornets, won Rookie of the Year in 2006, and in the seven years since has established himself as the best point guard in basketball. The Hawks, still looking for that franchise cornerstone, have been kicking themselves ever since; they're now targeting Paul in free agency and, in fact, violated NBA tampering rules by saying as much in a press release.
You probably know where I'm going with this. The NBA Draft is tomorrow night and Michigan's Trey Burke is expected to go anywhere from second to eighth. Brian has posted this before, but I want to once again draw your attention to Grantland's "NBA Job Interview" with Burke:
If YouTube is blocked or you don't want to watch the video, at the :32 mark Bill Simmons asks Burke to say which current pro is the type of player he'd like to be. Burke, without hesitation, says Chris Paul; look around for the various pre-draft content and this is his established ceiling. Simmons immediately fires back with what, at least from my impression, is the biggest doubt NBA GMs have about Burke's ability to become the next CP3:
The one thing about Chris Paul, though, is he's thick. When he goes down low, and he bounces off guys, they kinda bounce off him, too. The one thing I noticed with you in college, you would bounce off guys sometimes and you would take hard falls...
I didn't follow Paul's college career too closely, so I did three things after watching the above clip. First, I went to Burke's and Paul's respective NBADraftNet profiles, which has their pre-draft measurements.
Burke: 5'11.75" w/o shoes, 6'1.25" w/ shoes, 6'5.5" wingspan, 187 pounds, 3 bench press reps (185 lbs.)
Paul: 5'11.75" w/o shoes, 6'1" w/ shoes, 6'4.25" wingspan, 178 pounds, 10 bench press reps (185 lbs.)
Burke is, in fact, a little bit bigger than Paul was when he came out of college, and while Paul has clearly added muscle since he was drafted, his listed weight is still at 178 pounds. The difference is in their strength — Paul performed much better on the bench press.
The second thing I did was watch Paul's college highlights, and boy do they look a lot like Burke's:
At this stage in their careers, Burke and Paul had similar body types as well as similar games; both made their hay by dominating the ball, effortlessly finding ways to the rim, passing at a level that often caught teammates off-guard, and knocking down outside shots to keep defenses honest. Paul looks stronger at the rim than Burke and has a few more jaw-dropping passes in his arsenal; otherwise, they're practically doppelgangers.
The third thing I did was to compare their final college seasons statistically, a convenient comparison in this instance since both left school after their sophomore seasons. The full rundown can be found at StatSheet, which is the source for this (chart?) chart:
Despite a much higher usage (28.9% vs. 23.1%) and a longer three-point line (20'9" vs. 19'9"), Burke and Paul have near-identical offensive ratings; Burke boasts a better assist rate, fewer turnovers, and a higher eFG% despite attempting 28% of his team's shots against Paul's 20%. Paul has one major advantage, getting to the free-throw line at a much higher clip.
Simmons' point holds true, as far as I can tell, though it's an issue of strength, not size; Burke and Paul are near-identical in all other regards, but Paul was better in college at taking contact and continued to develop that talent in the NBA — look at his shooting heat map from this year, which shows his impressive efficiency in the paint and at the basket.
Can Burke make up this ground? I think it's possible. For one, his work ethic is tough to match, and obviously that's the largest obstacle between a player and adding strength. The videos of Burke working out before he arrived at Michigan are something I always point to when discussing his seemingly out-of-nowhere rise to the top of the college basketball world. For some reason I can't embed the video, but look at Burke's face as he's about to arrive at his after-school workout destination: the steps of the 94-foot-tall Hoover Dam* in Columbus.
Burke has also bulked up since he arrived at Michigan; while he's still on the skinny side, he's more defined than he was as a high-schooler and has added 15-20 pounds of muscle since arriving in Ann Arbor. That hasn't taken away from his game one bit—in fact, his finishing has improved—and he should be able to continue adding weight to his frame without losing athleticism or explosiveness.
Then there's the shooting aspect. While Paul was a very good three-point shooter in college (47.0% for his career), he's been just okay in that regard as a pro (35.6%, and the only time he's cracked 40% was in 2010 when he had a career-low 127 attempts). Burke's college numbers are worse, but they came under different circumstances — the longer line, of course, and also Michigan's late-clock "do something, Trey" offense. Rarely did he have the chance to catch and shoot; according to hoop-math.com, just 49% of Burke's three-pointers were assisted last year, while every other Michigan regular had a figure at or above 85%. If Burke ends up on a team with enough proficient ballhandlers to allow him to occasionally spot up, not just run high pick-and-rolls and choose to drive or pull the trigger, this could be an area where he's more effective than Paul.
Do I think Trey Burke will be better than Chris Paul? No, probably not. Paul's strength is a bigger asset at the NBA level than in college, and while I believe that Burke will improve in that regard, he's starting from well behind where Paul was at this stage — his around-the-rim finishing and free throw rate may never match Paul's. CP3 is also one of the league's best defensive point guards, and while a good part of that is his Burkian thievery—Paul has led the NBA in steals five times—it's also a product of his strength, which allows him to hold his own one-on-one against bigger guards.
Do I think that Trey Burke could become as effective as Chris Paul, just in a slightly different manner? Yes. The key here will be the development of Burke's outside shooting. We already know he has NBA range—just ask Kansas—and if he can become a 40%-plus outside shooter it'll open up room for the other parts of game.
I won't make the argument that Burke should go first overall—the Cavs have quite a point guard in Kyrie Irving, anyway—or even that he should go to Orlando at #2 (Victor Oladipo and Ben McLemore are both exceptional athletes with NBA-ready skill sets). With less-proven players like Nerlens Noel, Alex Len, and Anthony Bennett likely to go off the board before Burke, though, I think it's safe to say there will be at least one team dealing with regret down the line, and for a long time at that.
*Not to be confused with the better-known Hoover Dam on the Arizona/Nevada border.
Previously: CB Reon Dawson, CB Channing Stribling, S Delano Hill, S Dymonte Thomas, CB Ross Douglas, CB Jourdan Lewis, LB Ben Gedeon, LB Mike McCray, DE Taco Charlton, DT Maurice Hurst Jr., DT Henry Poggi, OL Patrick Kugler, OL David Dawson, OL Logan Tuley-Tillman.
|Wheaton, IL – 6'5", 307|
4*, #49 overall
4*, #104 overall
4*, #157 overall
4*, #103 overall
Bama, ND, Stanford, Miami, MSU, Nebraska
|Previously On MGoBlog||Hello post from a simpler time when Ace had fingers, not PTSD.|
Early enrollee. Twitter
Senior highlights from… Michigan's official site?
Odd. They rank high on the entertainment scale for OL highlights, assuming you like huge guys caving in not so huge guys.
This is going to sound really familiar. Kyle Bosch is basically David Dawson give or take an inch and a ton of recruiting drama. He's a rather large guard who could kick out to right tackle if necessary, he is an advanced technician for his age, he has the hatred of all other living beings in pads necessary to get a scholarship offer from Michigan, he is a consensus four star just outside of most top 100s with one enthusiastic site depositing him around 50th.
The biggest difference for the purposes of this post is camps. Dawson went to all of them. Bosch mostly ignored them. He did get an Opening invite and showed up, but he came down with something nasty and had to leave just a day in. The only other mention of a camp I can find was an observation-only visit to SMSB. So there's significantly less scouting out there.
What exists is Dawson-esque. The themes that emerge with both guys: a love of contact, an ability to get downfield, and a defender on the ground. A Notre Dame evaluator took a look at Bosch back when it was assumed he would end up in the blue and gold:
For me, his two best traits are the nastiness with which he plays the game and the swagger he has on the field. Many offensive linemen play with attitude and confidence, traits that Bosch also possesses. What Bosch seems to have on film is a swagger that is often displayed by skill players or linebackers.
Bosch is also "physical and aggressive," has "good agility and good foot quickness" and gets off the line quickly; main downside was a bit of hip stiffness that might make it unwise to put him on the edge against a quality rusher—apparently that means you can't change direction as effectively in a pass set.
His coach makes him sound like a defensive lineman what with references to motor and intensity:
"I think the biggest thing is that he has such a high motor. He's a very intense football player, and I think a lot of times, bigger kids like that take a while to develop that. But he has an intensity level that I've never seen in a big guy. He loves contact."
Steve Wiltfong emphasized his strength and meanosity:
“He’s a guy who looks to fight on every snap. He is super strong with over a 400-pound bench press. He is a good athlete. He is an interior guy who will go after people.”
And Allen Trieu called him($) "a tough, rugged kid," a technician, and that if you put a guy in front of him "that' guy's ending up on the ground."
There is some dispute about his technique at the moment. His coach thinks it's quality:
"His ability to finish blocks is pretty special, I think," Horeni said. "A lot of linemen his size just want to lean on people, but he rolls his hips, which is something you see at the next level. He explodes on contact and drives through the person.
"There's countless times this year when the guy he's going against gets a little bit off the ground and then (Bosch) buries him into the ground. It's something special."
Similarly, Kyle Turley thought that Bosch was closer to the field than a few of the other early OL commits:
…shows the ability to be able to get to that next level really quick. His explosive nature really stands out on film. His strength, size and punch off the line gives him a chance to have an instant impact. Like the others, he is a finisher. He naturally finishes his block, has great drive and gets to the next level. … has less to work on than the other guys.
On the other hand, ESPN knocks his ability to drive guys($):
Bosch is a physical and aggressive line prospect. … good first-step quickness to get into the defender. He uses angles well and is at his best when he can block down or work in tandem. He flashes the ability to come with a lot of force and deliver a big pop when he gets an angle and has the upper body strength to knock defenders to the ground. He does display some tightness in his lower body and is not as strong at this stage as a drive blocker… will be physical and fight, but doesn't create the type of push that his size or aggressiveness would suggest he could. At this stage, he is more of a wall off blocker. He does an solid job of working up to second level, adjusting on the move and getting a hat on active defenders.
And Scout's profile disagrees with everyone, lists technique as a negative, and praising his ability to drive guys:
Scout.com Player Evaluation:
Aggresiveness / Tenacity
AREAS FOR IMPROVEMENT
A left tackle for his St. Francis team, Bosch is usually the biggest and strongest player on the field, and he plays like he wants everyone to know it. He is big and athletic and takes pride in finishing his blocks and stacking up pancakes. He has good flexibility and leg drive as he excels in run blocking. He'll gain strength and leverage as he continues to fill out his frame and refine his technique.
So there's that. I wonder if "technique" is just a thing they throw up there for anyone without an obvious drawback. Every high school player ever needs to work on his technique. With Bosch ranked in Scout's top 50 that's a possibility.
The sites are split down the middle on whether he's a guard or a tackle, and Michigan told Bosch pretty much the same thing($):
"They told me they project me playing as a guard or a tackle," he said. "They said they love my footwork and they love my athleticism, and they could see me playing both positions. But I'm learning to snap and I'm getting better. I could be a triple-threat and be ready to contribute as early as possible. I've been busting my butt in the weight room and watching film, and I'm getting to become a Swiss army knife at the next level."
The lack of ideal height likely rules out left tackle, but if he's one of the five best he could play on the right.
In spring they played him at guard, so assume that is preferred. Most of the evaluations say he is better there, sometimes explicitly, sometimes by mentioning an exceptional ability to get to the second level, which is more important on the interior. An example from pain-loving anonymous Rivals evaluator:
He comes off the ball quickly and runs well in open space. He plays with a high level of aggression and does well to position himself for knockout blows on linebackers. He shows good lateral mobility when he attacks the second level.
Perhaps his best strength is his ability to not slow down on impact, and yet he stays under control with good pressure on the defender. He does not slow his feet or hesitate with his hands when he engages his opponent. Most importantly, he is on the attack on every play and looks to finish his block by planting his opponent into the turf.
This is a guy you want to pull, pull, pull, pull. That indicates guard. Also potentially indicating guard is a twitter conversation from May between Shane Morris and David Dawson I stumbled across. I will translate from the twitterese:
DAWSON: For every retweet I do 10 push ups and 10 curls, GO!
DAWSON: Shane Morris, I'd advise you to be extra nice to YOUR LINEMAN
MORRIS: dat bull 4 lyfe
DAWSON: and I'm your right tackle you better be EXTRA nice
I don't really know why Morris is referencing DatBull unless he, like myself, is operating under the assumption that there is no bad time for a DatBull reference.
Anyway, I place about 10% weight on a position declaration made before arrival on campus and assume that whoever is on Morris's blindside should he ascend to the starting job will be a natural left tackle. Still, if one of the 6'5" guard types is going to pop outside it seems it'll be Dawson. I expect both eventually find homes on the interior.
Etc.: Bosch's high school has identity issues($):
On his high school mascot being a Spartan: I think I'll be able to get over it pretty quickly and embrace the Wolverine. Our motto is actually "Go Blue!" because we're the Blue Spartans, so we're kind of an oxymoron.
Why Maurice Williams? A 6'5", 302-pound swing player between guard and right tackle, Williams took some time to round into a starter, but once he did he was a second-round NFL draft pick and stuck around the NFL for about a decade before a series of injuries did his career in.
Williams was recruited before the era when people tried to rank these folks, and I can't find anything on the internet that might indicate hype level. Oh well. Bosch is actually heavier than the NFL-vet version of Williams right now and may end up pushing 320.
Guru Reliability: High. Consensus, healthy player, low amount of projection, but basically no camps.
Variance: Low-plus. Again, no low for OL. But Bosch, like Dawson, doesn't have as far to go as many. He's already at a good 307 and may or may not have good technique. The hip-rolling thing is a hurdle cleared that can hamper people's careers.
Ceiling: High. Has the size and disposition to be an NFL player.
General Excitement Level: High. This is a recording.
Projection: Is OL, redshirt.
Afterwards it's the same thing you heard after the Dawson/Kugler/LTT posts: a war beckons on the interior. Next year two spots open, and whether one of them is on the interior or not, Michigan is going to play its best four guys and a center. Bosch and Dawson are your frontrunners on the interior.
Again, predicting a winner there is a foolhardy exercise, but projecting the guy who emerges from the melee with a machete in his teeth to be pretty friggin' good at football is obvious. One or two or three of these guys is going to get injured or lost in the shuffle and not work out; Michigan will be able to weather those hits without problem.
Michigan's history in the Big Ten is full of win
If you've been away for a month, meet our new regular feature, a roundtable of sorts where we have the MGoStaff answer questions about stuff on the fan mind. With the future Big Ten schedules getting announced I thought I'd use this week to pull the one we had to cut (for space) from the HTTV Roundtable, wsg Craig Ross, author of The Obscene Diaries of a Michigan Fan. The schedule (home games in bold):
9/24: @Craig Ross School of Obscure Historical Facts About Michigan/3:30p/BTN
10/1: ACE ANBENDER AGRICULTURAL*‡/7:30p/ABC-ESPN
10/8: ---bye week---
10/15: @ Seth Fisher School of Arts & Letters*/3:30p/BTN
10/22: @ College of Blue in South Bend*/TBA/BTN
10/29: MATHLETE UNIVERSITY*†/3:30p/BTN
11/5: @ Heiko Yang College of Medicine and Constraint Plays*/12:00p/BTN
11/12: BRIAN COOK COLLEGE OF SNARK/12:00p/ABC-ESPN
* Big Ten Game
‡ Night Game
And the question:
How many conference games do you think are ideal?
Seth: Let me throw out some stats. Since coming back to the conference in 1918 Michigan has won 69.5% of its conference games, and 72.2% of its nonconference games. If you narrow it down to games since Bo and take out the bowl games those numbers are 76.8% of Big Ten games and 76.5% of non-conference games. Michigan tends to beat Indiana just as regularly as it does its MACrifices, so for us at least it's not a big deal to add conference games. For the record…
Nine conference games in a 13-game season is 69.2% of all games. Ten of 14 (including the B1G championship) is 71.4% of the season. So nine is technically the same proportion we're used to.
Ace: I’d like to see the Big Ten eventually move to ten conference games so there’s home/road balance, fewer crummy non-conference games, and enough cross-divisional games for us to remember that, yes, Wisconsin is in fact in the same conference as Michigan. Nine is fine for now, though, and moving to ten wasn’t much of an option with programs locked into future non-conference games.
Craig: There is no ideal under the current no-conference-at-all hoo-haw. Like Curly, I prefer to be burnt at the stake (as opposed to having my head chopped off) because a “burnt steak is better than a cold chop.” So, I guess I vote for 10 with two meatball pre-season games. Nine is a joke. 5/4 then 4/5? That sucks. And we get to play Nebraska, Iowa and Wisconsin three of every seven years? Some years a team in the East may not see any of the three? And another team might see all of them?
Mathlete: Ideal for what is the question? If Michigan is continuing to schedule mediocre Pac-12 teams there probably isn't a ton of difference between 8 and 9 games, unless Wisconsin or Nebraska is the extra game and they are having an up year. The ninth game probably helps Michigan and OSU the most in the conference since in any given season they are most likely to have the best team and the more games the less likely a team makes a lucky run at a title. In terms of national championship it all depends on how the other conferences react. I have my doubts that anyone will give real weight to a Big Ten team that plays a nine game slate versus another conference that plays eight. So if the Big Ten is one of few it's probably a slight negative. If a bunch of other conferences are doing it then its probably a benefit to the Big Ten because the middle and bottom of the conference is typically not as good as others. Especially compared to Bob Stoops' Big Twelve, their bottom half is national championship caliber.
The final question is how do teams schedule non-conference. If this is an excuse to schedule three cupcakes then its probably all a wash. If teams are still pushing for at least one quality game then it's at least a bonus for season ticket holders.
Seth: Ten. Unlike Dave Brandon I can live in a world where Michigan has just seven home games per year, especially if I'm trading an $85 UMass ticket for a road trip to Evanston or Madison. I admit that under such circumstances Indiana might never see another bowl game, but I don't care. Scheduling real opponents is only going to become a tougher challenge as other leagues expand their conference games and crack down on any Vanderbilts who might be undermining their marketing. This probably messes with Notre Dame's need to maintain two of their "odds be great" rivalries, but sending their echoes back to bed is not our concern. Right now it's a major coup just to get a date with Oregon State or Cincy; if it's all the same why can't we just ask out Iowa?
Brian: At this point? 12. If Michigan's going to actually play a big name, then I guess ten. To me that means getting the ND series back or actually scheduling home and homes with power programs again. None of this neutral site/Arkansas business.
Do you feel old today? I feel old today, because Michigan picked up a commitment this morning from Philadelphia (PA) St. Joseph's OL Jon Runyan Jr., son of former Michigan All-American lineman Jon Runyan (1993-95), one of the first Wolverines I distinctly remember watching*. Runyan picked up an offer during last week's technique camp and from that moment was expected to be the first 2015 commit; kicker Andrew David narrowly beat him out in that regard, pledging to the Wolverines last night. For the second straight commitment post, we start with a quote about Michigan, Dream School ($):
“It’s my dream school and I really don’t want to play anywhere else,” said Runyan Jr., who is heading into his junior season at St. Joseph’s (Philadelphia, Pa.) Prep. “I just can’t play anywhere else. I couldn’t see myself playing anywhere else.”
“My dad (thought) I was going to commit the whole time. I have been telling him my whole life that I want to play football for Michigan. He wasn’t surprised I committed. He was just happy and relieved. He feels awesome that I am going to Michigan.”
I don't think there will be any concerns about a future decommitment.
*Yes, now I probably made you feel even older.
|Scout||Rivals||ESPN||247 Sports||247 Comp.|
|NR OT||NR OT||NR OT||3*, 85, #37 OT||
3*, #37 OT,
247 is the only service that's ranked 2015 prospects; they bestowed Runyan with an early three-star rating just a couple days ago, so that's likely based on very limited scouting for now. Rivals and 247 both list Runyan at 6'4", 250 pounds, while ESPN pegs him at 6'3", 240. (Scout does not list his height/weight.)
The elder Runyan was listed in the NFL at 6'7", 330, so it's entirely within reason that his son is still growing—which would be nice, since he needs another inch or two to project to tackle. As for adding weight, it appears he's already doing so, according to The Wolverine ($):
Although the younger Runyan isn't quite dad's 6-9, 300 pounds, the 6-3, 250-pounder has good bloodlines, a tenacious attitude, and the ability to put on weight quickly (he's about 30 pounds heavier than he was last we checked).
That was from last week's camp, so those height/weight figures (at least for Junior) should be accurate.
Scouting on Runyan at this stage is mostly limited to last week's camp appearance and his sophomore highlight tape. On the former, here's GBW's Josh Newkirk on Runyan's Michigan camp performance, which stood out among the linemen in attendance ($) [emphasis mine]:
Jon Runyan Jr., 2015 OL, St. Joseph’s Prep (Philadelphia, Pa.)—The son of former U-M offensive tackle, Jon Runyan Sr., Runyan Jr. was offered by the Wolverines’ today after a strong two day performance. Part of the reason behind his offer was his strong showing in the 1-on-1s each day. While he’s not as big as his father, Runyan Jr. comes in at 6-foot-3, 245-pounds, and still looks like he’s growing. He showed good feet today and was able to stay in front of his opponent in the trench battles. He’ll need to add strength, but has two years to add bulk before college.
According to The Wolverine, Runyan measured up well against the other linemen at the camp, including 2015 Top247 prospect Chuma Edoga, who's still waiting to hear about a Michigan offer of his own ($):
A few 2015 players showed out along the offensive line as well. Powder Springs (Ga.) McEachern offensive guard Chuma Edoga and Philadelphia St. Joseph's Prep tackle Jon Runyan Jr. both looked strong in the competitive portion of the day. Neither holds a Michigan offer, but it's possible that changes after camp.
Runyan earned an offer before Edoga, obviously; that's likely because Runyan projects to tackle, while Edoga is an interior prospect, an area where the Wolverines have more depth.
As for Runyan's film, 247's Clint Brewster broke down the tape and came away very impressed with his technique ($):
A pure technician, Runyan Jr. does everything right with flawless technique, the right feet, the right hand pop and the ability to handle himself well against all types of pass rushers. He is quick off the blocks with plus athleticism and won’t be out-hustled by the high motor types. Runyan Jr. does a great job of getting out of his stance and downfield when pulling or on screens.
Areas for improvement include size—which, in this case, may actually be improved aside from just adding muscle mass—and playing with more aggression and physicality, which should come with the added size. Runyan has a long way to go in that regard, though with more than two years before he suits up in a Michigan uniform he has plenty of time to develop.
Michigan was Runyan's first offer. He also visited Ohio State (camp) and Penn State (junior day) and fielded interest from Arizona, Maryland, Miami (YTM), Michigan State, and Virginia, per 247.
Though his family lives in New Jersey, the state Runyan's father represents in Congress, Jon Jr. goes across state lines to attend school at Philadelphia St. Joseph's Prep. While St. Joe's hasn't produced a four-star prospect in the Rivals era (2002-present), they did develop a fine Michigan player in linebacker Victor Hobson, a 2002 all-conference selection who spent six years in the NFL. This is Google's mini-profile for Victor Hobson:
He's aged gracefully, I guess.
Lineman, no stats.
FAKE 40 TIME
None of the sites list a 40 time, which is largely irrelevant for an offensive lineman anyway. Runyan's athleticism comes in for high praise, so he should be fine here.
Like Brewster, I'm impressed with Runyan's jump off the snap and quick feet. I would also like to see him bury a few more guys into the dirt.
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
I see Runyan as a player who could take some time to find a home positionally. He's got the long, lean frame of a tackle—he looks like he could easily pack on 50-60 good pounds over the next few years—but as of right now lacks the ideal height for the position. As said above, there's a good chance he grows into that tackle height. If he doesn't—or if he comes to campus still too skinny to play on the line—the coaches have discussed another possibility ($):
Currently, Runyan Jr. comes in at 6-foot-4, 250-pounds, and says he is being recruited to play multiple positions once he gets to Ann Arbor.
“Coach Funk says he sees me as an offensive tackle,” Runyan Jr. said. “And coach Ferrigno says he wants me at tight end. So I really don’t know, but I probably will play offensive tackle.”
If I had to guess a career arc for Runyan, I'd go with a slightly shorter version of former Buckeye Reid Fragel. Fragel came to Columbus as a 6'8", 250-pound tight end, and played that position during his first three seasons on the field, essentially as an extra tackle (he caught 14 passes in three seasons). For his senior season, Fragel moved to right tackle, starting all 12 games there last season and earning all-conference honorable mention while weighing in at 310 pounds. With the offensive coaches looking to throw a bevy of different looks at opposing defenses, I wouldn't be surprised to see Runyan utilized as a blocking tight end until he fills out.
As for the outlook on the line, the projected tackles on campus when Runyan arrives will be current redshirt freshman Erik Magnuson, incoming freshmen Chris Fox and Logan Tuley-Tillman, and 2014 commit Juwann Bushell-Beatty, plus perhaps another tackle in both the 2014 and 2015 classes. Runyan seems very likely to redshirt; from there, he'll compete for a spot on the depth chart.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
As I said in the Andrew David post, it's far too early to give an accurate figure about scholarship availability in the 2015 class, though at the moment it's expected to be a small group. Runyan helps fill a pressing need at tackle, though I'd expect the Wolverines to go after at least one more in both the 2014 and 2015 classes.
It's become tradition for early Michigan commits to take charge and recruit their classmates, and Runyan told The M Block that he's looking to help out the coaches like Shane Morris and Michael Ferns before him:
Recruiter: "I think I'm up for the challenge to recruit other guys. I was talking to Michael Ferns last night. I think I can do it. We were just talking about Michigan stuff. I saw the t-shirt thing he did on his Twitter, but we didn't really talk about it though. I don't think I can top that." (Laughs)
Don't be surprised if the Runyans get a crate of shirts shipped from St. Clairsville, Ohio, before too long.