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, OLLogan Tuley-Tillman, OL Kyle Bosch, OL Chris Fox, OL Dan Samuelson, TE Jake Butt.
|Detroit, MI – 6'2", 235|
|Scout||3*, NR overall
|Rivals||3*, NR overall
#32 TE, #21 MI
|ESPN||3*, NR overall
#8 H-back, #9 MI
|24/7||3*, NR overall
#31 TE, #14 MI
|Previously On MGoBlog||Hello post from Ace. Ace scouts East Village.|
|Notes||Transferred from Crockett to East Village Prep, FWIW.|
Recommend the John Woo-approved touchdown at 20 seconds. Also, Scout's Josh Newkirk put together a reel of his performances at one 7-on-7 tourney that's impressive both for its length and some of the catches Hill brings in:
We're in the thick of this year's crop of hybridized, NFL-style versatile offensive players. You know, the guys that will let Michigan crank you from a big formation on one play and flip to a four-wide the next with limited personnel switching. Khalid Hill will live in the heavier end of Michigan's formations, moving to and fro across the line of scrimmage, blocking and heading out into pass patterns. SB Nation has an excellent primer on Hill's job description I recommend you take in all of, but the short version from the man who kind of invented the spot himself:
This takes you back to [former Redskins Coach Joe] Gibbs' description of the modern H-back: "An H-back has to have good hands and be super smart."
Bonus items include bone-shattering blocking (taken for granted at the NFL level, I imagine) and the ability to get vertical from time to time; Hill hits on at least a few of these categories. According his coach, he has them all…
"He's a great pass catcher. He has the blocking ability of a lineman, the athletic ability of a skill guy, and the hands of a wide receiver, so he's a match-up nightmare. What he brought to the table for us this year was, he created mismatches down seams of the field."
…but coaches tend to get excited about their kids. To the scouts!
The one he's definitely got: hands. Virtually every report I've collected praises them first off. 247's Clint Brewster:
The first thing that really jumps off the tape about Hill is his catching radius. He can scoop a pass up off of his shoelaces or go up and make a tough catch well over his head. Hill also has good arm extension when making a catch, not allowing the ball to get close to his body. Hill is quarterback friendly and really makes an inaccurate pass look easy to catch with his natural adjustments. After the catch Hill shows an excellent burst of speed and can really make a bigger defender miss a tackle or plow over a smaller one. Hill does a great job of getting vertical on seam routes when lined up in the slot or attached at the line of scrimmage. Hill runs precise routes, really getting good separation from his opponent with sharp cuts and head nods.
Regardless of how he lines up he can help move the chains as a receiver. He has good hands and demonstrates that he can consistently extend for the ball. … good quickness and is active with his hands in working to clear past defenders who may try and hinder his release. He is a solid route runner best suited as a short-to-intermediate target. He has solid speed, but comes across as a kid who is a little quicker than fast and doesn't look to possess the ideal long speed to be a vertical threat. After the catch he will quickly get turned up-field and fight for what he can get.
You'll note an almost total lack of blocking notes in both evaluations above, and that's for a reason: ESPN says that's an area that "could use some real development."
But back to the receiving. Ace took in East Village Prep's opener, in which Hill went for a 65-yard TD, and reported back:
Hill's first catch of the season was a slant route that he took 65 yards for a touchdown; the throw was slightly behind him, but he reached back and plucked the ball out of the air without breaking stride, then turned on the burners and outran the entire Oak Park secondary. It was a very impressive effort that showed off Hill's potential as a receiver.
Hill looked very comfortable working over the middle, whether he lined up at tight end, H-back, slot, or wide receiver; he's at his best finding open space in the heart of the defense. His hands look good as well, as he caught everything thrown his way, making sure to catch with his hands instead of his body. When running routes, Hill showed why he earned a Michigan offer.
That is a piece of skill Michigan fans have recently seen out of Drew Dileo in a guy 50 pounds heavier and a half-foot taller: a rare quality. But back to the blocking issues.
However, Hill ran into problems when asked to run block. He had a difficult time staying engaged with defenders and knocking them off the ball; on several occasions, he never found someone to block at all.
Is it good news that Hill was such a valuable receiver as a high school player that his blocking can lack so badly? Well… maybe. In hybrid land a lot of these guys get picked for the one skill they have because coaches think they can fix the other bit. As we learned with Funchess last year, though, a mismatch guy is only a mismatch if he can block.
Once Hill can do that, though, he has potential to "surprise" defenses. Another recurring theme in the evaluations is continued references to his surprising—always surprising—athleticism. Scout's eval:
Scout.com Player Evaluation:
Hands and Concentration
AREAS FOR IMPROVEMENT
Stocky kid with surprising quickness and athleticism for his build. Very light on his feet, has great route running skills and ability to catch the ball as a tight end or H-Back. Soft, reliable hands and good run after the catch schools. Will have to learn to block potentially from the backfield as he may see time there in college. Not your traditional tight end at 6'2, but has the skills to be a matchup problem. - Allen Trieu
The ever-popular "size" area for improvement and more references to his developing blocking skills feature.
Tim Sullivan caught him at a 7-on-7 event:
He looks like a defensive lineman … but has quickness and speed that are bound to surprise those who think he's just a big man playing tight end, rather than a true athlete. He isn't going to run by many safeties, but makes quick, sharp cuts to get open in the middle of the field, or toward the sidelines as an outlet on some plays. He has the frame and leaping ability to make high catches over the middle - and the fearlessness to jump and make plays with his body exposed.
Hill presented a serious matchup problem for defensive backs unaccustomed to handling a player with his combination of size and athleticism. Hill runs crisp routes and has soft hands, so while he doesn't wow you with his frame or speed, he finds a way to get open and has developed a great rapport with his future college quarterback.
You get the idea. Let's continue attacking the horse, though:
Steve Wiltfong: "The sure-handed Hill knows how to get open, and was the go-to guy for Morris throughout the weekend."
Brewster at SMSB: "Hill does a great job getting in and out of his breaks. He did a nice job of getting separation from his defenders and snatching the football with his arms extended to not let it get anywhere close to his body."
Sullivan at the Columbus NFTC: "Hill impressed again on Saturday, with more athleticism than he's given credit for at times, precise routes, and as always, very good hands. "
Ace at SMSB: "Hill looked very good in the reps I saw him taking, running crisp routes and catching almost everything thrown his way. He nearly pulled in a ridiculous one-hander early in the morning session, but couldn't quite haul it on; otherwise, any pass in his direction resulted in a catch. Hill isn't the fastest tight end out there, nor the biggest, but he finds a way to get space from defenders and then shield them off with his body."
I declare this horse deader.
Hill camped as a junior, which got him on Michigan's radar. He won the positional MVP there, no doubt a help as Michigan evaluated him for their early offer. It didn't hurt that Hill and Shane Morris rolled around the 7-on-7 circuit on the same team, as Ace mentions obliquely above. Morris developed faith in Hill to the point that you can get a 3 and a half minute highlight reel out of one 7-on-7, as you see above, while other guys on the Max Ex team (like C'sonte York) can only squeeze out a minute and a half by adding some practice reps in.
As a senior, Hill may have added some blocking skill after a shoulder injury forced an interesting, temporary position move:
“Two weeks ago the A-C joint in my shoulder got sprained in a game and I couldn’t do anything but block, that’s the only thing that didn’t hurt,” Hill began. “So I told my coach to put someone else at tight end and I’ll play offensive tackle. Same thing happened last year when I hurt my knee- I moved to tackle. I just want to be on the field to help my team in any way possible. It’s all about the team.”
(File under The Pattern as well.)
Sullivan caught one of his later games and focused on his blocking, which was much-improved in his eyes:
[Hill] was far more aggressive and willing to punish defenders in this game, and played a big role in opening up holes. He also used his hands to prevent the defender from disengaging, which allowed him to seal the edge.
Hill still shows a tendency to get off balance at times in his blocking, especially on the edge. While it's unlikely to harm the team in any significant way, that can limit big runs if they break into the secondary. On a similar note, he was beaten in space a couple times, but given his athleticism, that should be an easy fix to make.
He still had issues making second-level blocks after coming off combos, FWIW, something Ace noticed when he scouted East Village as well.
So… Hill has some developing to do as a blocker, especially because most of his activity is going to be of the lead variety from now on, something he hasn't done much of yet. That'll delay his bid for playing time; once he gets that down he has the potential to be a guy linebackers swear to themselves about when they try to take a block and he flits by. Hill has the potential to be a premium piece of the offense when space gets constricted.
Etc.: Junior stats: 29 catches for 448 yards, six TDs. Lingo ahoy!
"I feel great," he said. "There's a smile on my face. I'm cheesin'."
That's immediately post-commit.
Why Phillip Lutzenkirchen? Auburn's red-zone touchdown machine is the best I've got on the college level. Lutzenkirchen spent his days on the Plains blocking on short yardage and slipping out into uncovered pattern after uncovered pattern. His catching ability was superb for a guy his size and he brought enough wood as a blocker to convince AU opponents to sell out against the run, much to their detriment.
Lutzenkirchen is in the same height range but did top out at nearly 260 pounds; Hill may end up ten pounds short of that.
Guru Reliability: High. Lots of camps, and while there's a little divide in the rankings (Scout has him just a few players away from a fourth star; Rivals ranks him below an in-state tight end headed to Air Force) everyone says he's the same player.
Variance: Moderate. Will be a blocking back and guy who catches some short stuff, occasionally getting into a wheel route; blocking must develop.
Ceiling: Low-plus. While Hill can be a useful cog, that seems to be the limit. Does bring some potential as a consistent mismatch if he can learn to block, though.
General Excitement Level: Low-plus. Is kind of a fullback, and how many kind-of-fullbacks are going to be on this roster? On the other hand, seems like a red-zone efficiency piece, and who doesn't like red-zone efficiency?
Projection: Probable redshirt since most of the evals mention he has a long way to go as a blocker. He does fit the profile of a guy who will get time on special teams sooner rather than later, though, so nonzero chance he ends up covering kicks. A serious role in the offense will have to wait.
How long is a mystery. He's got Sione Houma and Joe Kerridge in front of him in terms of seniority, and Kerridge got a lot of playing time in which he showed some promise as a Kevin Dudley-style linebacker eraser… as a redshirt freshman. It'll be a battle for Hill to pass him full-time.
Situationally… yeah, there's room, especially after Gardner graduates and Shane Morris presumably ascends to the throne. A couple years down the road Hill will presumably be accustomed to blocking out of the backfield and his 7-on-7 running buddy will be looking for him in practice whenever they're on the field together.
Football is here, and it is beautiful. Two pallets filled with boxes with 55 books apiece arrived at Underground Printing's warehouse yesterday afternoon. The people with rush orders ought to be getting them in their mailboxes today. I've moved the writeup over to the diaries for now so all those who helped can remain standing and be recognized. If you happen to run into any of our authors, production folk, photographers, etc., celebrate these people. Hold a shindig in their honor, build a statue in their commemoration, and declare the day Eric Upchurch Day or Greg Dooley Day or Courtney Fathers Day, etc. Maybe bring a cloak and scepter to work today in case you need to drape one over them. Basketball-hockey is now in production and should be out around late September.
Diaries were weak this week. LSA's thing compared turnover margin to winning over time among too small a sample and offers no conclusions. The other was k.o.k.Law remembering the Ed Martin scandal and the '98 Rose Bowl before coming back to finish his trip to the hoops championship game story. Best to head to the board.
PEOPLE WHO PROBABLY ALREADY HAVE DAYS NAMED FOR THEM
If you're looking for MGoStaff next week, try Chicago. Big Ten Media Days are next week, and Brian will be in town to participate in an alumni group Q&A with Sam Webb and Gerry Dinardo on Wednesday. Yes the book will be there.
If you're looking for former players, try…paintball?
That is Vincent Smith, but those are not finger guns. People who helped support the Hope for Pahokee thing got to play a round with the Pahokee guys. I prefer to remember Smith jackrabbitting around as a freshman and finger-gunning and blocking like a mountain goat, not for his role as a supporting actor in how great Clowney looks when nobody blocks him.
DEVIN GARDNER: SEC SUPERSTAR
According to Bodogblog the SEC coaches were gushing about Devin at SEC media days. Obligatory Gardner doing stuff vs. an SEC team video:
GARAGE SALE DAY
Is today. Reportedly there were about 80 people in line before 8 a.m. to get first crack at Michigan schlock. I think Fuller is over there right now. Find him and throw a shindig.
SALUTE TO MGOSENIORS
Those who've been here since the site moved from blogspot, happy 5 years of Never Forget banners, Shavodrick Beaver news. Those who've been around since the before times will remember what it was like to live through the first coaching search. Aye, before there were sailboats there was utter panic and profiles in heroism and way more Flight Tracker. There was also the Fandom Endurance Badge, which props to the Glove for framing it.
Let's everyone Bruce Lee kick a Buckeye in celebration.
REVERSING THE O'BANNION EFFECT
You know how Beilein likes to get those younger-than-they-should-be guys like LeVert then cackle when they turn into 6'6 wingers. The other side of that is kids who get held back a year so that they're a year larger and more athletic while trying to distinguish themselves against high school and collegiate competition. This was going on at least as long ago as when I was a kid. Some of these kids then leap back to their correct grade if they've reached the elite mark, in order to get to the NBA sooner.
RIVALS MAKES A LIST, WE CHECK IT TWICE
MGoBlue.com put up a bunch of interviews with Michigan coaches of the various sports on Wednesday and fished a Michael Spath article out of it. Read it as "Michigan has five coaches ranked higher in their sport than Brady Hoke if anything before 2012 is a dark and mystical past." Red Berenson isn't even among the five. Frankly I'm surprised it's just that many. There are a bunch of coaches in college football's ranks who've won one or more national championships, built multiple programs to prominence, and have been simply doing it much longer than Hoke has. Meanwhile Michigan is an annual competitor for the Director's Cup because the athletic department shells out for the best of the best in many sports that SEC teams don't even bother playing. If we're not tilting to the sports people care about I don't know if Beilein would be first either; he is tops on their list because Rivals is a very "What have you done for me lately" kind of outlet. But if we're being serious about his, I mean: Carol Hutchins, Red Berenson, Kurt Golder. Chaka Daley didn't even make Spath's Top 10. Wrestling just brought in the country's top recruiting class.
Your Moment of Zen:
Attention MGoShoppers: If you have been storing a donkey and/or an over-hyped defensive end in your mailbox, I suggest you move it now:
This is the official MGoBlog annual season preview and feature book, totally indie for the totally second time. Like other 2013 preview publications, the book with the donkey-hating cover has 128 pages of features and 2013 team preview content in it. It also has a mustache, a middle finger, and we drew all over Urban Meyer's face. This is all before we get to Page 6.
Again, we funded it through Kickstarter, and again you people jumped to support it and our stretch goal of a basketball hockey book as if it could bring Taylor Lewan and Mitch McGary back. I'm not saying they returned for a chance to be the cover athletes of HTTV and HTTV Hoopsahockey; that is just a coincidence.
HOW YOU CAN HAVE THIS
Get in your time machine and get in on the kickstarter or preorder it. We sent the rush orders yesterday and two pallets of books are as we speak on their way to Ann Arbor. Those who helped us Kickstart it will get it first, followed by the preorders. Plan is to try to get through the high-donor folk first but we've streamlined the process so well this year we're not anticipating the huge long wait again. I have been told this is the wrong way to manage expectations. So expect your stuff to arrive July 31, then be pleasantly surprised or whatever.
HOW YOU CAN HAVE THIS IF YOU DON'T HAVE ACCESS TO A TIME MACHINE
It is possible using various methods to exchange currency for it.
Our online fantasy sports partners at DraftStreet bought up a bunch of these and are giving them away if you deposit at least $15 to play their fantasy sports games. Once you deposit you'll get a code to input into our store. Method 1 also has the benefit of being the most beneficial to us since we get paid double per book. You'll also be able to use our code (77HATESDONKEYS) on Draft Street for 30% on top of whatever you put down (so if for $15 you get $19.50 in your Draft Street account and a copy of HTTV sent to you). So to review:
- Take this link right here to the offer page.
- Create a new account on Draftstreet and deposit $15 or more.
- Enter 77HATESDONKEYS as a code while you're doing that to get 30% more.
- As soon as you put in your deposit, DraftStreet will send you an email with a special link back to our store, and a code to use there to get you free shipping. If you don't receive an email, contact [email protected] and he'll get you squared away.
We're checking the list against DraftStreet's before they go out so make sure the addresses match.
Awesome, right? There are caveats. 1) Limit's one per customer. 2) They're looking for new members so if you've already got an account there (even a free one) you'll be locked out, at least on that email address. Also locked out: Arizona, Iowa, Louisiana, Vermont, and Montana. Yes we have readers in Montana. More than in Vermont, actually. Hi people from Montana (or guy with 217 computers)! Also: sorry people in Montana, try Method 2.
Method 2 is to order it from the MGoStore. It is $15.00. Shipping will make it about $20 depending on where you live and taxes, for example it's $20.59 to first-class it if you live in Michigan, $20.77 to send it to Wrigley Field, and $19.42 to a guitar store on Bleeker Street in New York, a frozen banana stand in Santa Monica, Calif., the Office of Discreet Extra Benefits in Columbus, Ohio, or the MGoBlog computer bank in Malta, Montana.
Method 3 is to walk into any Underground Printing outlet—including Moe's—in Ann Arbor and purchase it. Working on getting it on other racks. If you'll be around Ann Arbor on August 24, pin that afternoon for the tentative release party at UGP's shop on South U and drinks afterwards at Good Time Charley's.
WHAT IS IN IT: STUFF
Like the roster? Yes it has a roster, and it is kind of useful because the positions aren't just groups: Jake Ryan is a SAM, safeties are broken up into SS and FS, though we didn't get into who's a right or left tackle, or a U-back or a boundary versus field corner. The last changes I could make were to get the RBs # changes; most of the freshmen #s weren't in yet. There's a Letter from the Editors by Brian and me where we just kind of call each other and ourselves awesome for various things. Monumental—he of the awesome wallpapers—did the covers and the section breaks again. Wait'll you see what he's working on next.
WHAT IS IN IT: THE PREVIEW PART
Pgs. 8-37: Position-by-position rundown of the entire team by Brian. Two extra pages were dedicated to the offensive line this year since that's a big question mark and there weren't enough quarterbacks to fill four pages. We stop for summaries at the end of each unit (offense/defense) and finish with a thing on the incoming recruits. We couldn't resist adding Peppers. Why it's different than other preview magazines: we admit it's 50/50 that Glasgow pushing two expected starters is foreboding.
Pgs. 38-61: Every opponent next year by Ace (most of them), Heiko & me (Notre Dame and MSU), and a guest appearance by Mike Pettigano, the Brian Cook of the PSU blogosphere. Why it's different than other preview magazines: greater appreciation for Shane and LeeAnn Bullough, and we know there's nothing more important to Iowa than a punter named Kornbrath.
WHAT IS IN IT: THE FEATURE PART
Pgs. 64-79: Twisted Blue Steel by Craig Ross and Brian Cook. Brian's two articles are his parting songs to Denard and Kovacs. Ross, because he is Craig Ross, went up to Al Borges and asked him to explain what the hell he was thinking against Ohio State last year. And Al Borges, because he is Al Borges, gave him an answer which, if not precisely a good one, at least kind of explains what happened there (besides the communists infiltrating our fluids of course).
Pgs. 80-99: Technical Dossier by Mathlete (who goes by a human name in the book), Michael Elkon of Braves & Birds, and me again. Coulda just called this the "Trajectory" section this year. Mathlete's is an update on his annual metrics and how good the numbers say Michigan ought to be this season. Elkon looks at the possibility of renewing our subscription to the 10-Year War, why it could happen and why it might not. Mine tries to evaluate what kind of program Michigan will have when all of these recruits have grown up, comparing the Hoke method to how Nick Saban built Michigan State, LSU, and Alabama. Okay fine, it's really just lots of charts and Hoke pointing at things.
Pgs. 100-118: Tales of Old Blue, better known as the annual John Kryk and Greg Dooley (aka MVictors) section. Ironically the old fogies part of the book is the section with two consecutive articles where someone gives the finger. See if you can guess where they might be among:
- The 40-year anniversary of when Michigan and Denny Franklin got hosed, wherein Kryk goes back to talk to Denny and those still living among the ADs involved in the vote to pick apart what really happened to send OSU to the Rose Bowl.
- The Ron Kramer Story, minus the parts they were allowed to print in the football programs the day his number was Legendsed.
- An interview with Bob Bergeron, Michigan's most automatic kicker and subject of that one Sports Illustrated photo with a pizza in the hot tub.
- Five Myths of the Little Brown Jug. Since I read this I've passed the forkish intersection of Stadium/Packard probably 20 times and still can't look at it the same.
Pgs. 122-127: The Roundtable. Talking points are the X factors, breakout players, confidence quotient, and the new-look Big Ten, with Brian, me, Ace, and Craig Ross.
Pg. 128: Hail to the Hail to the Victors Backers.
We couldn't have had one without the other. The big backers get a page in the book. Because I still don't think that quite covers how thankful we are to our kickstarter supporters, I'm gonna just go ahead and Hail! them some more on the front page. No you don't get a jump; this is the people most responsible for HTTV 2013 existing on a physical plane. May their names be sung to your children's children's children by Muppets:
|Jose Alvarez||The Houtman Family|
|Mark Bisard||Thanks Krug!|
|Christie Brown and Ben Davis||Cory & Garrett Kastl|
|David Callahan||Richard Kim|
|Brian Callahan||Andrew Kim|
|Milton Feldberg||The Linn Family|
|Timothy P Finch||Evan Makela|
|Will Fluharty||Edward Mitchell|
|Bryan Fuller||Chad Osburn|
|Darren Gilbert||Malcolm T. Simpson|
|Dave Glasser||Bo Snyder|
|Zachary Hirsch||Dan Valerius|
|Myron Hnatczuk||Bill and Rob Weiner|
|Pete, Lauren, Ben, and Carly||Center Ice|
|Tom Hoover||Takao Yamada|
And those who gave uber piles and thus get sentences:
|HAWAIIAN WAR CHANTERS|
|Aaron Bozicevich||National Championship Game 2014 - Schnoor gets "INDICUD" tattoo'd on his back in Pasadena, CA. It was the Sugar Bowl, and he said 'drop your panties or get the fuck out'.|
|Scott Childers||Thank you Denard. Go Blue!|
|Samir Dahman||Dahman Law, unabashedly supporting the legal and blogging interests of Wolverines all across enemy territory, and now in Michigan. Check us out at dahmanlaw.com and Go Blue!|
|Randy Dean||M FAMILY SURROUNDED IN COLUMBUS -(STOP)- AINSLEY EMERSON ELLA AND RANDY DEAN REMAIN BLUE -(STOP)- HUNTER DEAN AND BEN GRINDLEY BITTEN BY RABID URBAN LOST -(STOP)- INTERNET HERE IS TERRIBLE -(STOP)- BEAT -(STOP)- OHIO -(STOP)-|
|Michael Hacker||Hacker Bros. BBQ: Live from AAGO since 1998. You can’t drink all day if you don’t start in the morning.|
|Bryan Hunkele||From Bryan, Christina, Harper, David, Justin, Kobi, Harjote, Atishay and all Wolverines everywhere: thank you, Denard Robinson.|
|William Johnson||Thank you to my Dad, William W. and my late Mom, Marian for helping me to fulfill a dream to graduate from Michigan. I am also proud of my son and fellow Wolverine, Rob.|
|Adam Lanseur||Thanks to Brian and all of the contributors and users that make MGoBlog a great community. Go Blue!|
|Justin||Mark Jaques, this season is going to be legen .... wait for it.... dary! Happy Birthday my friend|
|Rahul Yaratha||Shout out to my 5th Williams-Michigan brothers and sisters - Go Blue|
The title page dedicates the book to the "Dr. Huang and the rest of the Dad-saving doctors and medical staff of the University of Michigan Hospitals. The leaders and the best indeed."
This is because they saved my dad, and not just in the way hospitals usually go about this dad-saving business. Because they diagnose as a team instead of as specialists, rather than giving up on vital organs they managed to figure out some things were only turning off because they were waiting for other parts. Heavenly Bo is getting misty-eyed.
GRATITUDES AND BRADY HOKE EPIC DOUBLEPOINTS TO:
Courtney Fathers of Corkboards, who took the job on the side of both a real job and a side job working for the Red Wings and Griffins while in the midst of their respective playoff runs. If you compare this book and the last one to any that came before it you can begin to appreciate her talent. When you consider she gave up on sleep for a month for us…
Eric Upchurch and Bryan Fuller, who took a bazillion photos and helped me pick out what we needed. You are already familiar with their skills at capturing the moments that are burned into our memories, but we saved some of the really nice ones for the book.
Tres Crow and Becky Long, our volunteer copyeditors.
Underground Printing and Rishi Narayan for their friendship and partnership and distributorship.
Bob Bergeron, Al Borges, Peg Canham-Keeley, Wayne Duke, Bump Elliott, Dennis Franklin, and Ramzi Nasrallah of Eleven Warriors for agreeing to be interviewed by our authors.
To the University of Michigan Bentley Historical Library for lending us their photos. Also the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library, Ann Arbor Sports Memorabilia, the [Univ. of Alabama student paper] Crimson White, The Akron Buchtelite, James Brosher of the Indiana Daily Student News, UtheBuckeyblog.com (who calls us UMGoBlog.com), Mike Pettigano, Chuck Miller of Central Michigan [University] Life, Darren Cooper of NorthJersey.com, Ace, Heiko, and U.S. Army specialist Tim Hipps, IMCOM Public Affairs.
Bentley (if you're here you've almost certainly bookmarked that already), Cfbstats.com, collegefootballdata.org, NCAA.org, Footballoutsiders.com, sports-reference.com, and MGoBlue.com for sharing data.
And finally, the administrators, staff, coaches, and players of the Michigan Football team, for giving us something worth obsessing over.
sometimes google image search is art
We are not worried about this frivolous lawsuit. NCAA Football is dead, you guys:
NCAA will not renew EA Sports contract
The NCAA has made the decision not to enter a new contract for the license of its name and logo for the EA Sports NCAA Football video game. The current contract expires in June 2014, but our timing is based on the need to provide EA notice for future planning. As a result, the NCAA Football 2014 video game will be the last to include the NCAA’s name and logo. We are confident in our legal position regarding the use of our trademarks in video games. But given the current business climate and costs of litigation, we determined participating in this game is not in the best interests of the NCAA.
Paired with the credit-rating downgrade the NCAA just received, that sounds like a team of lawyers running around in circles shouting "THINK OF SOMETHING" to each other. Most favored bomb-thrower Patrick Hruby:
What gives is lawyer-ese. The NCAA is never going to publicly say that the O’Bannon case has them scared, because that would imply they’ve done something wrong and therefore have reason to be afraid of adjudication. However, the current facts of the case don’t look good for it: O’Bannon’s claim is rooted allegations that the NCAA and co-defendants EA Sports and the Collegiate Licensing Company colluded to profit from the unauthorized use of former players’ NILs – price-fixing their value at zero – and documents uncovered by the plaintiffs’ lawyers during discovery strongly support said allegatioons.
The other tell? Check out the rest of the NCAA’s brief statement, which says that “given the current business climate and costs of litigation, we determined participating in this game is not in the best interests of the NCAA.” (Bold added.) In this case, current business climate and costs of litigation are lawyer-ese for ruh-roh.
Individual schools and conference can still license their trademarks to EA. Will they? I'm guessing yes, as Kotaku explains that most of the licensing is through the CLC, making the NCAA's decision "nearly a technicality."
If not get ready for EA Sports Football Type Substance And Incredibly Easy To Edit Thing 2015. Back in the day when I was playing the college version of Front Office Football I had to download a file to turn "South Bend" into "Notre Dame," and such, but it's a lot harder to import winged helmets than change names.
Shots fired. Will Muschamp is pretty cheesed off at Urbs, you guys. SEC Media days are ongoing, and Muschamp's turn at the tiller included this gem:
Muschamp, who succeeded Meyer as the Gators' coach, is even borrowing a page from Michigan coach Brady Hoke, who won't even call Ohio State by its full name.
"That's really a dead issue with me," Muschamp said Tuesday at SEC media days. "In both situations, we were turned in by Ohio. We didn't do anything wrong. The University of Florida didn't do anything wrong. And so we appreciated our friends from Ohio making sure we're compliant with NCAA rules. They certainly know a little bit about that subject."
That zing was followed up by a personal shot at Urban Meyer for fostering a murderer he is responsible for. No, seriously:
"You can’t expect a coach to know where all 125 players are all the time," Muschamp said. "But you also can’t stick your head in the sand and think everything is OK. You're 100 percent responsible."
Arrest Urban Meyer! Unless that would help his recruiting, which it might. Arrest Urban Meyer or take a picture of him checking out a Justin Beiber concert?
I hope you guys are better at real defense than computer defense. Ondre Pipkins played Dymonte Thomas in NCAA and came out with a screenshot that is just all kinds of wrong:
Are these 30 minute quarters? Why are you taking Ohio State? Why has Ohio State scored if that was the case? What is going on? IS URBS GOING TO FLIP DYMONTE?
Slive pushing. Self-interest, sure, but self interest in the name of providing a fig leaf of player compensation is better than the alternative:
"The NCAA has not been successful in meeting the full cost of attendance of our student athletes, whether through the so-called miscellaneous expense allowance or some other model that provides broad access to additional funds," said Slive, about to begin his 12th year as commissioner.
The issue, in a nutshell, is that some schools can afford to pay the stipend and some can't. Those that can't are able to keep the idea bottled up. Those that can, like schools in the SEC, are getting tired of it.
"Conferences and their member institutions must be allowed to meet the needs of their student-athletes," Slive said.
Slive followed up by saying that in meetings with other conference commissioners "there appears to be a willingness" to go through with a cost of attendance adjustment, at least until individual schools submarine it through the override process.
Mitch staying. SI spotlights Mitch McGary in a manner that'll get your salivary glands going:
When he submitted his name to the NBA's draft advisory board, McGary was told what he already suspected: He was a surefire first-round pick, and very possibly a lottery pick. The vast majority of college players would have jumped at that opportunity, but McGary defied convention and announced he would stay in school. "I want to prove to people that my potential is much greater than what I showed," McGary explained. "The way I look at it is, so far I've only cracked the glass. Next year I'm trying to break through it."
McGary is down to around 255 after starting last season twenty pounds heavier—too heavy—and you could see the increased stamina and athleticism late. That was the #2 recruit in the country, and Michigan figures to get that this year.
TSN's Mike DeCourcy, meanwhile, says McGary is still a load even at the lighter weight:
4. Jadeveon Clowney was a big topic of conversation at SEC Media Days. What current college hoops player could take your head off if he played football?
DeCourcy: Michigan’s Mitch McGary. Not messing with that dude. If Mitch had been the Wolverine in possession of that football instead of Vincent Smith back in the Outback Bowl, it might have been Clowney whose helmet went flying.
So much for that. If you were hoping that Fox Sports 1 would be an alternative to ESPN, it will, but not in the way you want:
…to differentiate FS1, to lend it personality and create a distinct brand, Fox is going with a concept that David Hill, chief executive officer of Fox Sports, calls “jockularity.” The plan is for FS1 to be the funny, irreverent, less serious sports channel.
Among other things, that involves hiring a couple of Canadian pranksters to anchor the network’s flagship program and building another show around Regis Philbin.
So much for that unless the Canadian is Norm Macdonald.
Never say die. The Big Ten has created a new bowl at Ford Field, but the Pizza Bowl guys won't let it die:
Ken Hoffman feels there’s no reason Ford Field can’t handle playing host to two bowl games starting in 2014.
Hoffman’s Little Caesars Pizza Bowl was on the outside looking in following the news Wednesday the Detroit Lions bowl game was official, starting Dec. 30, 2014, with a Big Ten team going up against a team from another power conference.
Guys. It's over.
Etc.: Eleven Warriors' guide to visiting Ann Arbor is seemingly designed to get you to dislike Ann Arbor, but I guess it's aimed at guys who get ATV catalogs. Pro sports attendance beginning to suffer in baseball and basketball. Average Boston Red Sox ticket cost: 88 dollars! FIFA can't sell the World Cup to pay-TV in the UK.
Music City Bowl will pit an SEC team versus an ACC/B10 team for the next five years. A la carte ESPN projected cost: 30 bucks. Thanks, people who don't care about sports but pay for ESPN anyway. Old man yells at cloud. Potential VCU rematch in the second round of Puerto Rico.
We’re back from last week’s foray into the Pit of Despair. Unfortunately for you, I’m on vacation next week, so you’ll get Round Two of the search for the height of ennui. And I think it will be harder to stomach than the first bunch. Armanti Edwards will feature prominently, as will Rich Rodriguez. Just remember: this will hurt me more than it will hurt you. In the meantime, as usual if you come across any social media happenings worth noting, send them to @Bry_Mac.
Michigan rules the Twitterverse
A Michigan Man remains connected to his community. Very connected.
(via Business Insider)
Michigan football (@umichfootball) is the most followed official team account in college athletics. Michigan basketball (@umichbball) is the fifth most followed official team account in college athletics. Between the two accounts, they have, uh… math… a lot of followers. Like thousands. So bravo to Michigan’s digital media folks. I award you one (1) Internet. Michigan State’s football and basketball accounts are next in the B1G at #13 and #15, respectively. I guess the rest of the conference really needs to get its crap together. /Urban’d
Reporters suspect college student may have gotten drunk and slept in one time
Johnny Manziel was in the news this week when he was reportedly sent home from the Many Manning Men Passing Camp for showing up late and hung over. The whole topic has been done to death, so I don't really want to talk about it, but there is one reaction worth noting. Mark May has had enough of Johnny Football's disgraceful actions, and isn't afraid to say so.
Alright Johnny Football enough is enough this is your last wake up call STOP BRINGING SHAME TO THE GAME !
— Mark May (@mark_may) July 16, 2013
You may think "SHAME TO THE GAME" is a little harsh, but you've gotta respect a guy who won't tolerate people disregarding the social norms while purporting to represent the greater football community...
(H/T to A&M’s SB Nation site, Good Bull Hunting, on the find)
In case you missed the fun part of that, May was charged during his college days with, among other things, "inciting to riot" and "terroristic threats." He apparently went on a Will Campbell hood-destroying escapade, except that BWC's shenanigans were cheeky and fun while May's shenanigans were, to use a technical legal term, "light terrorism." Some people (read: all people) might think this makes Mark May look like a gigantic hypocrite when he gets all huffy when a college student shows up to something hung over. But May responded, pointing out that (a) only people who have DONE bad things can CRITIQUE bad things, and (b) f*** your punctuation and logic.
Thats why I can critique experience
— Mark May (@mark_may) July 16, 2013
Hard to disagree with that kind of logic, because by the time you find the logic, it’s next Tuesday and we’ve moved on to other things. It's worth noting that he hasn't tweeted a single thing about Aaron Hernandez or Jeremy Hill, and I haven't seen him comment publicly about them. Murder* and battery** don't bring shame to the game. That distinction falls to being a self-indulgent, self-important immature prima donna and/or typical college student (again, not a debate worth having AGAIN), because lord knows football can't survive with one of THOSE in its ranks.
**Not allegedly. He did that. That's assault, brotha (but not really, but there's no applicable Adam Sandler quote for battery so we'll just pretend).
[A jump, after which either sharks or Bacari Alexander will fall out of the sky.]
Lingo explained, mysteries solved
do not whip the baby
Tyler Sellhorn offers some insight into weird football terms we've been marveling over in this space lately. On "kiss the baby":
Taking the ball to the end zone or shall we say the "house" or shall we say the proverbial "crib" or shall we say the place where you "kiss the baby."
You, defensive back, you are in the crib, and you must kiss the baby.
On "buggy whip:"
Old school scouting/coach term for a live arm from a thinner QB, ie Marino and Leftwich have Horse strength in their arms, Namath and Dixon have buggy whips.
I've had this question about redshirts in general for a while and it's currently very applicable to the Shane Morris situation. Is there anything in the NCAA rules stopping Michigan from attempting to redshirt him, but suiting him up for each game and just burning his redshirt if Gardner gets hurt mid-game and can't play? I certainly recognize the strategic pitfalls of this, the main one being that if Gardner got hurt late in the season suddenly we're throwing a guy who has never played a down under center in a critical spot. So while this certainly doesn't sound like a realistic idea, is it possible? Or is it completely irrelevant considering Michigan wouldn't do it anyway?
That is entirely feasible. The only requirement for a redshirt is that the kid did not play at all that year, so Michigan could have Morris as the defacto #2 QB and still get a redshirt on him by inserting walk-ons if the only time Gardner is off the field is garbage time.
As you note, realistically this isn't happening. Michigan has a gangly scrambly guy at quarterback and nothing behind him. Gardner could also blow up into a major NFL prospect. If he leaves, you'd want Morris as seasoned as possible. I don't think that's at all likely—the NFL has caught on to the fact that experience is incredibly important for QBs and would probably want him to get a second year under his belt before taking a chance on him—but you can't rule it out.
Morris might get a redshirt next year when Bellomy should be back, but those sorts of post-freshman redshirts are extremely rare for a lot of reasons.
Even if Morris doesn't end up redshirting, Michigan should be in good hands when he graduates. If Morris is gone in four, the depth chart after his departure reads: Wilton Speight, redshirt junior, 2015 QB, redshirt sophomore, Messiah DeWeaver*, redshirt freshman. These days that's plenty of experience.
*[Official MGoBlog policy is to assume DeWeaver will be the 2016 QB until such time as it is obvious he won't be, because of Muad'dib jokes.]
UNKILLABLE FRED JACKSONS
all of these men are the best running back in history
To whom who actually answers the MGoBlog mailbox,
I don't know if this qualifies for a mailbag question or can be easily answered, but here we go.
To your knowledge, has there been another coach who has survived as many coaching changes as Fred Jackson? It's really quite amazing if you stop and think about him making it through three head coaches at the same university. I am completely unaware of another coordinator or position coach that has done the same. Maybe I'm wrong and this isn't as uncommon as I think it is. Your input would be greatly appreciated.
I have no idea, but I figure the best way to get an answer is to throw it out there and see if anyone can think of another coach who survived two regime changes at the same school. I can only think of one guy off the top of my head: Jeff Casteel, who stayed at West Virginia when Rodriguez left for Michigan and remained the DC when Dana Holgorsen became WVU's head coach.
Casteel's setup provides some broad outlines for coordinators who fit this pattern:
- established coach at successful program who stays when head coach leaves
- weak replacement for HC
- quick turnover
- second new HC is heavily involved in other side of the ball
That's a lot of hoops to jump through, especially because Successful In-House Coordinator is often a prime head coaching candidate at the school.
Position coaches I have no idea about. They seem much more fungible than coordinators, bring a lot of their value in recruiting, and move all over in search of better opportunities. Fred Jackson has got to be a very rare position-coach lifer. Best other bets would be Ferentzes or guys like Pat Fitzgerald. Nepotism and local herodom seem like the only things that could get you through the churning waters of coaching turnover.
Hivemind: anyone have other examples of coaches who have survived multiple coaching changes?
Student seating procedures
Received an email from a guy with the stadium staff who would prefer to remain anonymous about how the new general-admission student section is going to work:
We have made a decision to move to General Admission for our student ticketing and seating process, which in turn led us to make the following changes:
All students must enter Michigan Stadium through GATE 10. Only those with student tickets (accompanied by a valid student ID), including those with validated student tickets, will be allowed entry through Gate 10. Those with general public tickets will not be allowed through this gate.
Gate 10 will now open 3 hours prior to kickoff - 1 hour before the rest of the general public gates.
Students will move from a queuing area to a series of chutes at Gate 10 at 4 hours prior to kickoff. They will select the section they want to sit in at this time and will receive a section reserved wristband or ticket upon entering the stadium.
(Emphasis mine.) Enjoy your chutes, human cattle.
Mo Williams, back in the day.
A reader passes along that Mo Williams, recently referenced in the Kyle Bosch recruiting profile, was indeed a big timer:
Reading your bit on Bosch I remembered I save a bunch of info from recruiting back in the day (1990-2004). You mentioned you weren't sure how hyped he was. Here are my notes. Answer: Very:
Maurice Williams, OL/DL, Detroit, MI. 6'6", 275 lbs, 4.9 40. Williams
is the top player in the state of Michigan and is one of the top line prospects in the nation on either side of the ball; he is one of the top 100 overall prospects in the nation. He is an excellent student with a 3.5 GPA. Could play either OL or DL at Michigan, depending upon his preference and the needs of the team.
Lemming ranked Williams the state's top player and No. 2 in the Midwest. He
was a first-team All-State selection and ranked No. 1 on The Detroit News' Blue Chip list. He could play on the offensive or defensive line in college.
Rated #47 overall in composite National 100.
Detroit Free Press Best of the Midwest (BMW) #2.
Also considered Michigan State, Ohio State and Florida State, and Washington.
This was back in the Lemming days, before easily-accessed databases of these things existed.