in town for free camps
The Conference of Leaders and Legends and Champions and Successes and Deliverables has released its industry-leading, no frills, easy-to-use schedule of play through what we can only hope will be Brady Hoke's fourth consecutive Big Ten Championship. ESPN's Adam Rittenberg managed to get early dibs on the Big Ten's 2013 and 2014 conference schedules (HT: dkeesbury), so we can bring you the near future's road to Pasadena / Wherever-Probably-Not-Glendale-lolz:
2013 Big Ten Schedule:
|Oct. 5||MINNESOTA*||Ann Arbor, Mich.|
|Oct. 12||@ Penn State*||University Park, Pa.|
|Oct. 19||INDIANA*||Ann Arbor, Mich.|
|Nov. 2||@ Michigan State*||East Lansing|
|Nov. 9||NEBRASKA*||Ann Arbor, Mich.|
|Nov. 16||@ Northwestern*||Evanston, Ill.|
|Nov. 23||@ Iowa*||Iowa City, Iowa (We're from Iowa!)|
|Nov. 30||OHIO STATE*||Ann Arbor, Mich.|
2014 Big Ten Schedule:
|Sep. 27||@ Indiana or Illinois?||Bloomington, Ind. or Champaign, Ill.?|
|Oct. 11||MICHIGAN STATE||Ann Arbor, Mich.|
|Oct. 18||@ Minnesota||Minneapolis, Minn.|
|Oct. 25||PENN STATE||Ann Arbor, Mich.|
|Nov. 1||IOWA||Ann Arbor, Mich.|
|Nov. 8||@ Nebraska||Lincoln, Neb.|
|Nov. 22||NORTHWESTERN||Ann Arbor, Mich.|
|Nov. 29||@ Ohio State||Columbus, Ohio|
There's no Purdue. :-[(
And no Wisconsin.
I said No Wisconsin!
And no Illinois.
Earlier there was a discrepency on MGoBlue.com that had Michigan playing the Illini instead of Indiana. That has been cleared up - the mothership just had a typo.
TYPOS IS UN-AMERICA
By 2014, Michigan State gets moved back to mid-October, which if I knew Michigan State existed when I was a kid* I guess that would feel more appropriate than mid-November. This seems to be a quirk of the schedule and not the Big Ten acknowledging rivalry dates are important, other than the BIG rivalry between Legendary Leadership, and Leaders of Legend. That – the conf. championship – will be on Dec. 7, 2013, and Dec. 6, 2014, respectively; locales TBD.
* My father went to MSU in the 60s - but like who of his generation remembers anything from that time? Nobody talked about Michigan State at Quarton Elementary School is what I mean.
The Rittenberg article also quotes a TV guy in the conference who seems to favor 9-game conference schedules:
"That's just the mathematics of it," said Big Ten senior associate commissioner for television administration Mark Rudner, who puts together the schedule. "While teams are still playing eight conference games, out of the total inventory of games available, we're playing a smaller percentage. We've added a 12th institution. Part of this could be solved if we went to a nine-game [Big Ten] schedule moving forward.
"It's not ideal, but hopefully moving forward it can be addressed."
Okay, so there's one guy who's maybe probably voting for 9 games at the next meeting. Reason for: one week in September we play the Wisconsin Badgers instead of the Not-a-State University Baby Seals (and MSU lines up Ohio State instead of the Northern Colorado School for Mimes). Reason against: fewer bowl-eligible Big Ten teams -- you're turning 12 almost-guaranteed wins for conference teams into exactly 6-6), plus all the same reasons BCS teams choose to play kick the can in September instead of each other. I'm for 9. I also think it's a pipedream.
Other random, non-bulleted thoughts:
Nothing lasts forever: Other than Penn State games, the schedule does set up nicely early in the season, but with brutal Iowa/Nebraska/Ohio State Novembers broken up by that quasi-traditional Northwestern-in-a-cold-November-Rain game.
Not a good refrain: When we rebooted the ND rivalry again for '02, I wanted somebody to notice that Michigan would end up getting both the Irish and Ohio State at home on odd years, thus leaving Michigan State the de facto big home game of even years. Surely when adding Nebraska, this would be rectified so that…dammit! So from now until the conference adds a 9th game or whatever, on odd years we get Nebraska, Ohio State, Notre Dame, and the Brown Jug game. On even years we visit all of them, and get Michigan State at home.
Also, MSU doesn't play Ohio State these two years, if you're the type who likes to grumble early.
[Ed: so I published this but did not put it on the front page three hours ago. HAHAHA I lose.]
All offered prospects can be found on the 2012 offer list.
[Choose Your Own Horrible 'Pike' Pun]
[Ed: PIKE HER I HARDLY KNOW HER LOL]
With two commitments in last week's update, space was tight, so I didn't spend a lot of time talking about the visit reaction for KY QB Zeke Pike. As he said to Tom:
I think it's a great opportunity to be that next guy at Michigan. It's a program on a national stage, when you say Michigan football people turn their heads. I'm excited to continue to build the relationships...
It was just a feel that I got, it's hard to explain. There's only been a couple other places that I got that feeling and Michigan was one of those places...
I'm really close friends with Chris Barnett who signed with Michigan in the 2011 class. We're really good friends and he stays on me about going to Michigan. It's a school that intrigues me and has a lot of tradition.
Those quotes are exciting on their own, but Pike's upped the ante in the time since. He talked to Sam Webb last week about luring a "Mega Class" to Michigan ($, info in header). I'm not going to claim that means he's close to committing, but they wouldn't be having that discussion unless he really likes Michigan, right? On Monday's Recruiting Roundup, Sam was VERY optimistic about Michigan's chances with Pike, going so far as to say he would pick Michigan if today was Signing Day. He also said Pike is talking to the likes of MO WR Dorial Green-Beckham and other top prospects about attending Michigan together(!!!!!).
Pike told an Arkansas interviewer (video link) that he wants to have a top 8 by the end of the month, and reach a decision sometime this summer. He also says he has a private list of favorites that he's not ready to come out with yet. I would guess Michigan is on that list, especially seeing as how the Wolverines are "adamant" about landing him ($, info in header).
OH LB Kaleb Ringer plans to commit to a school on April 15th, and he basically tweeted that it's going to be Michigan.
MI TE Ron Thompson could also decide at any time ($, info in header), and it seems like Michigan is probably the favorite to land him.
OH LB Joe Bolden isn't quite in the "almost sure thing" category with Ringer and Thompson, but...
I spoke with him tonight and he told me that he will be back up to Michigan next Tuesday (April 12th) with his parents. He also told me that he believes he is close to a decision, he's just not sure when it will come.
...maybe he should be.
OH QB Maty Mauk was the subject of last week's Sam Webb column in The Detroit News. First, Allen Trieu breaks down his game:
"Nationally, he's definitely in the top 10 [quarterbacks]. I think he has a very good arm and he can make passes into tight windows, but his best asset may be his ability to improvise and make plays out of nothing. Having been coached his whole life and getting to play varsity at a young age has helped him mature from the standpoint of making decisions, leading, and doing some of the little things it takes other quarterbacks a couple years to learn in college."
Maty visited Ann Arbor over the weekend, and he would like to make a decision before his senior season.
OH QB Austin Appleby visited Michigan last weekend, and was told he needs to camp to earn an offer.
IN QB Aloyis Gray was told by Michigan's staff that they want to see him throw before they'll offer. He plans to make it to the Wolverines' summer camp.
MA QB AJ Doyle is drawing interest from Michigan.
Visits Past and Future
MI WR Efe-Scott Emuakpor tweeted that a recent visit to Ann Arbor was "the real deal," for what it's worth.
OH TE Sam Grant was at Michigan's junior day ($, info in header).
OH TE AJ Williams had a very good visit to Ann Arbor. Tom thinks the Wolverines are now in a good position for Williams.
He went over the depth chart and his coaching style. He said they'll be running pro style but they're going to still run Denard. I think I definitely fit in that offense.
The Wolverines still have work to do if they want to land Pirsig. He wants to start narrowing his list soon.
PA OL JJ Denman is visiting soon ($, info in header).
IL LB Antonio Morrison will visit this weekend. He grew up a Michigan fan, and has a prior relationship with Michigan's coaches from their San Diego State days. He says the Wolverines will be in his top three, and probably number one, if they offer.
OH S Allen Gant found a Michigan visit "interesting," but he does not have an offer yet ($, info in header).
NY CB Wayne Morgan enjoyed his Michigan visit enough to move the Wolverines into his top 3.
Of course, next weekend should have a ton of visitors for the Spring Game.
Tom Lemming's National Top 100 came out over the weekend, and plenty of uncommitted prospects on the list have Michigan offers:
As Brian (briefly) mentioned in the Monday UV, the Scout 300 is out. Blue in Cleveland has compiled the list of prospects with MIchigan interest. Michigan's current commits received position rankings:
- Caleb Stacey is a 3*, the #33 offensive guard.
- Ben Braden is a 3*, the #41 offensive tackle.
Fluff on PA DE Noah Spence being named the #1 defensive end by Scout. He plans to decide on Signing Day.
24/7 Sports has started their release of rankings with the first set of 5-stars.
Michigan's coaches have told OH OL Kyle Dodson (obligatory EPIC SHIRT photo) that they want him to be part of a revived running game. Uh... they are aware that Michigan was one of the best running teams in the country last year, right?
Michigan is showing interest in MI OL Kelby Latta.
I want to have it down to three schools by the time football season comes around. I know Wisconsin will be in there and the other two spots are open. Michigan has a chance to be in there.
The Badgers have offered but the Wolverines have not.
AL LB Kwon Alexander has a Michigan offer, but it seems certain his Signing Day decision will be between Alabama and Auburn.
Michigan offeree PA RB Greg Garmon updates U Recruit on his status. NC TE/OL Mark Harrell enjoyed his recent trip to Ann Arbor ($, info in header). Michigan "surprises" MI DE Mario Ojemudia on a recent visit. One must assume that's a pleasant surprise. CA OL Jordan Simmons is mentored by a former Michigan player ($, info in header).
The worst thing is when you know you saw something useful somewhere obscure a long time ago and stare at the Google box certain it will not help you. So it was yesterday when I tried to dig up a scoreboard comparison graphic that I thought I saw on a Mississippi State blog sometime in the murky past. Never found it, [UPDATE: It was on an Auburn blog; we are basically going from South Carolina to Tennessee] but the Daily did this:
So there you go. Bigger than a blue whale. IIRC, this is a standard Daily graphic they use whenever they have to compare the size of anything to objects in the world. I remember that elephant.
The actual viewable area for the boards is 47 x 85. This is large. When I went to Auburn a few years back I reported their single HD board was "killer" and that Michigan fans had "no idea" how much they needed one. That board:
That board was packed with frippery and advertising—about every fourth play instead of a replay you'd get a frustrating ad—that Michigan's boards will presumably be free of. This is going to be life-changing. Serious. Your life will be different. There will be a band hype-up video that actually gets you hyped up. You will understand what is happening in football games better. You will have up to date stats. Also grapefruit will taste better.
Let's explore in the universal language of Mike Hart pictures. I could not find dimensions for the existing scoreboard but I remember Michigan State's setup, also installed the late 90s, as nearly identical. The size of that increasingly vintage board:
The size of Auburn's board:
What you'll see this fall:
Very big. Somehow still considerably smaller than Minnesota's. And just for the hell of it here's Godzillatron:
Ah but wait:
In its first usage, the portion of the new screen that was typically used for showing replays and film highlights was approximately the same size as the old video screen. More recent games have featured a 16:9 format image centered in a ring of advertisement and score/clock related information. Nevertheless, complaints continue about the advertising, with some fans shouting out "We won't shop/eat/bank there" when advertisements are played loudly in the stadium.
This is wikipedia so it's true. With ads…
…Godzillatron loses a big chunk of its advantage, especially if they blare as loud as the ones at Ohio Stadium or Memorial Stadium. Michigan's going to have the best combo of replay and lack of annoyance in the country. Point Dave Brandon.
This is the most receptive of any group he's had coming in (at all 8 or 9 stops). It would be easy to say "we were good last year" on offense, and resist changing. It's an enthusiastic group in spite of all the changes they've been asked to make. It's easy to teach them, because they've bought in.
Shotgun - used quite a bit. "We're gonna gun more than we've ever gunned." [ed: w00t.] They've run plenty of shotgun in the past, but this will be more than that. Two-tights is part of the offense, but you'll see as much shotgun as you'd see from any NFL team, and a lot of the tight end in motion.
Haven't done a whole lot of stuff this year that he's never done. "We have more QB runs, but that aside, our offense is our offense, and we're going to gear what we do to what he's capable of doing."
"[Brady] wants to establish toughness, and he wants to establish effort. And you can't talk it: you've gotta do it." Defense and offense are geared to downhill running, coming off the ball, etc. "Not that we want to turn it into 'bull elk on bull elk' on every single play."
Offense install - "We are now at install 5 today. We have 6 installs of major pieces of our offense." They'll add 'frills,' e.g. screens, 2-minute, goal line, etc. as it goes. "We've gone slower here than I have other places, because I'm trying to give Coach Funk in particular, but everybody... a chance to review and install." They'll complete install 6, and have 4 or 5 practices to review it all. "That's about 60-70%" of everything that they'll do.
The end of spring and fall camp are different beasts. In fall, you have to figure out your starters, and get them ready to play, then focus on your first opponent. "Right now, it's just an audition." They'll have a depth chart out of spring "Like anything else, it'll be in pencil."
Defense - "I very seldom comment on the defense other than to say 'Greg Mattison is as good a defensive coach as you're ever gonna get, and he will get every ounce out of those kids.'"
There's always pressure to succeed, whether or not you have talent. "If you're gonna have pressure, it's better to have talent."
"Michigan is a special place. The walls talk to you here. You walk down the hall and you can feel it... I coached at Auburn where football was a big deal, and I loved Auburn. This is a little different."
Denard and Devin both excited about the change. Doing some "next-level oriented" things, and that's attractive to QBs. More effective in this offense? "We want to pose a balanced distribution of the ball in an aggressive style." The tailbacks will be more involved. That will sacrifice numbers for the QB, but he might be able to throw more effectively with a power running game. He also poses a threat in the passing game as a runner with his scrambling.
Drop mechanics are toughest for Denard - even though he was a dropback QB in high school. With footwork issues - the biggest change - he has really grasped that concept well. "He's still a work in progress, but he's done very well."
"You run for yards but you pass for miles," though Denard is a better checkdown as a runner than throwing to a checkdown receiver might be. "Make plays, and let the good lord make miracles." They want him to use good judgement, but they'll let the kid run. "You have to give him a chance to do what he does."
Who compares to Denard? "Michael Vick is similar. Yeah, he's the first one that comes to mind." Most comparable with speed and passing ability.
Anticipation throws: "That is what he's been doing very well." Good on timing routes and throwing before the breaks. "The guy's an accurate passer... When they guy's open, he's gonna hit him more often than not. When he isn't open open, [Denard] has a way to create... A good passing game, the ball's delivered as the receiver comes open in a manner and fashion that allows the receiver to run with the ball once he catches it."
Denard reading defenses: "He's a pretty good decision-maker." His struggles are more within the offense, not making reads. "He's not hitting defenders in the chest with the ball."
No designed QB runs in last year's SDSU offense, but with Denard's ability, they'll go back to Cade McNown plays, for example, when Borges did have designed QB runs. "More people are going to touch the ball, yet he is going to be the focal point of the offense." If he's more effective running than the backs, he'll be used more as a runner.
Denard came out of 10 games last year with injury, SDSU's Ryan Lindley didn't come out of a single game last year. If giving the RB the ball a bit more keeps Denard healthy, then that's good. The tailbacks have to be worthy of those carries.
"He poses the threat of a quarterback draw every play." Scrambling - "If you understand the footwork of our offense, that comes naturally." The guards set the depth of the pocket, and the tackles set the width. With only 4 rushers against 5 linemen, there should be scrambling lanes if necessary. "Certain quarterbacks will run 5 or 6 yards, he may run 55 yards." They tell Denard "don't turn down wide open receivers, but if they fall off, run like hell."
Devin competition - "Devin is formidable." He does some really good things. Has some of the same traits as Denard, but is a taller prototype with pocket passer height. Can work inside the pocket more easily, but he obviously isn't as fast as Denard. "You play or somebody replaces you. It's that simple." At this point, Denard is the starter, and there's no reason to believe he won't be in the fall - even though Devin is pushing him. "They're competing and I love it."
Planned playing time for backup QBs? "I would never say never, but it's never been my approach." Borges doesn't really believe in putting the backup in for a series every game or something.
"I've been happy with our tailbacks... We've had flashes of excellence from all of them, and [picking a starter]'s not a decision we have to make today." For one back to stand out, he'll have to be a complete player. "Block and protection, run the football, be consistent. The guy who demonstrates the most consistency is the guy who's gonna play."
"Vince Smith is a pure football player, I mean in every sense. He's coachable, tough, not real big obviously but I've had guys his size be very effective... Vince has a good football IQ. You tell him something, he understands what you're talking about, and he'll do it."
"Michael Cox has done some very nice things."
Michael Shaw just came back to padded practices (from a broken hand) and he's made some nice plays.
Who can be downhill RBs - "All of them really... Cox has done it, Shaw came back the other day and he did it, Stephen Hopkins is just that kind of runner, period." Hopkins is a lot like Atlanta RB Michael Turner. He is a hybrid RB/FB, and has done some nice things.
McColgan has done a great job leading the way for the backs. Not gonna show up in the scoresheet, but helps the running game.
"I think Roy's had a really good spring. All them, really. We've had some nice catches." Roundtree has been very consistent. Junior Hemingway is moving well, and has great range. Darryl Stonum has also played well. "Jeff Hecklinski does a nice job with those guys. He'll coach those suckers up." They're running more intermediate cut routes in this offense. "We throw it down the field a lot, but more intermediate cuts."
Gallon and Dileo, et al, role has not changed a whole lot. Odoms and Roundtree have played inside and outside. "We're not a spread team, but you're gonna see we're in 3 and 4 wides a lot now."
TE position is similar to the FB - not heavily featured in the recent past, but they're catching more balls than they've caught in the past. "I'm a tight end guy."
Brandon Moore has been very effective. Steve Watson caught a TD pass the other day. "Steve's fired up."
"We've got some good people there, and I think when it's all said and done we'll be pretty good there." They will recruit tight ends heavily going forward.
Injuries on the offensive line haven't affected installation too much. "We found a way to get 5 of them out there, and they haven't done a bad job." Some guys are having to learn multiple positions.
Lewan could be a good football player - needs to add weight, and work on some fundamental technique issues. He has the talent for a bright future.
"We're a downhill running team." Their scheme is geared to O-line getting off the ball and being aggressive. "We're in a 3-point stance and we're gonna do our best to move whoever's in front of us." It's different playing from the shotgun every snap.
Practice Photos and Video
Complaints on email and twitter have reached a critical mass, so: Something Must Be Done about the board (artist's impression @ right).
You may have noticed that the points system broke during the Great Malware Disaster and I haven't fixed it. There are multiple reasons for this: the code that did that was in a custom module I had made up and the only place it existed was on the test server. Due to some bad archiving strategies it is no longer extant. Before I set to replacing that I wanted to see if moving to the new version of Drupal was feasible, something that required checking each of the dozens of modules installed on the site to see if it had a viable Drupal 7 version.
I've been waiting for a bit and now I'm pretty sure I'm not going to make the move to 7 until next summer, so it makes sense to implement something now. However, the board has gotten very large and a number of stupid people have infested it and it's clear we've again outgrown our system.
Thus I have…
I'm looking for a developer familiar with Drupal who will work with me to produce a commenting system in the vein of Reddit or Slashdot that automatically filters poor quality comments and draws attention to high quality ones. This can be an assemblage of existing modules—though I've looked and that is not in the cards, I don't think—but will most likely be a module of its own, one that ideally will be submitted and maintained in the community at large. We'll work together to establish requirements and then establish a price for the whole thing.
I imagine this is going to take a while as we hash out what's possible and what isn't; getting it right and getting it into a maintainable state is more important than speed. My previous experience with freelancing leads me to believe a lot of low quality code gets pushed out the door very quickly. I'm looking for this to be more of a long-term relationship where person X is brought on as part-time Drupal guy, completing projects at a fairly leisurely rate as time and funding allows.
If you're interested, email me with who you are and your ideas for the project. If you do not have a track record I might be impressed enough by someone who can already show me a prototype—who's started something already—to overlook that.
In the meantime I will reach in and restore the dirty hack I dirtily hacked the first time around. Give me some time, a week or so.
I'm apparently the last person in the world to get this press release, but someone posted it up so it doesn't matter. Here are the relevant parts:
The demolition and removal of the existing video boards began in March. Over the next several months, TS Sports will install new state-of-the-art LED screens in both end zones of Michigan Stadium, which will be 40 percent larger than the previous system. The new video screens will be 47’ (h) x 85’ (w) and be located in the end zones. The Big House upgrade will be completed in August prior to the 2011 season.
The new video display at the “Big House” features:
· Two (2) Lighthouse Impact 16 video displays measuring over 4000 square feet each (Resolution: 900 x 1632)
· New Custom Scoring System
· New Custom System Enclosure
- Size: 62’ (h) x 108’ (w)
The new center-hung at Crisler Arena will consist of 14 LED video displays:
· Four (4) 12’ x 16.8’ Pi10 10mm main displays
· Four (4) 6.28’ x 16.8’ Pi10 10mm scoring displays
· Four (4) 6.28’ x 6.3’ Pi10 10mm advertising displays
· One (1) 2.1’ x 81.9’ Pi10 10mm top video ring display
· One (1) 2.1’ x 44.1’ Pi10 10mm bottom video ring display
Yost Ice Arena
For the first time in its history Yost Ice Arena will get a facelift that will include LED video displays for the arena.
The new center-hung at Yost Ice Arena will consist of 9 LED video displays:
· Four (4) 13’ x 16.8’ Pi10 main displays
· Four (4) 12.5’ x 6’6’ F16 corner displays
· One (1) 2.5’ x 75.59’ F16 video ring display
The new Michigan Stadium boards will vault Michigan to around sixth nationally. They'll probably end up nestled in between those at Neyland and the Swamp. Right now Wikipedia's insanely comprehensive list of college football scoreboard sizes doesn't even list Michigan, so… yeah. It's kind of a big difference. Getting replay at Yost is clutch as well. I love me some universe just for you moments but I also like knowing what happened.