in town for free camps
Coach Plastic Man
The satellite camp tour certainly can't produce anything stranger than shirtless Peruballing Harbaugh, right?
— Chris Brown (Chrissoo_valid) June 9, 2015
— Sam Webb (@SamWebb77) June 10, 2015
Michigan has made their way through two stops in Texas and is now in California; meanwhile, the Sound Mind Sound Body camp (TomVH preview here) is underway in Michigan, and many of the participants in that camp are expected to drop by Ann Arbor this weekend.
The satellite camps are moving so quickly—and the visitor lists have been so fluid—that I can only say I'm doing by best to hit the highlights here. Coverage of all this is certainly going to bleed into next week as reporters are able to catch up with the various high-profile participants.
Top performers from the Houston camp included four-star OLB Jeffrey McCullough and 2017 five-star DT Marvin Wilson, who has Michigan in his top five, per Steve Lorenz. Four-star TX DT Jordan Elliott, a Houston commit, also dropped by to connect with the coaching staff, per Scout's Ahmard Vital.
The Dallas camp featured a lot of talent, including top-100 OT Jean Delance, who told Lorenz that he's got a "great relationship with the staff," and he plans to visit Ann Arbor soon. Three-star DE Rahssan Thornton, whose recruitment has seemingly become a Michigan/LSU battle, told 247's EJ Holland($) it was "the best camp I've gone to that I can remember." (He also said "Jim Harbaugh is like someone's cool dad.") 2017 five-star QB Shawn Robinson called Harbaugh "a quarterback genius."
Michigan leads for a couple prospects from their camps in Florida. Three-star DE Terrell Lucas told Steve Lorenz that Michigan "is on top" in his recruitment ($). He laid out a timeline for The Wolverine's Tim Sullivan ($):
"I like the whole thing about Michigan," Lucas explained. "When I hear 'Michigan,' I hear 'family.' You think of Ann Arbor, the town, you don't just think of the football team, you think of the city itself.
"Right now I'm open and trying to keep my options open. I'm considering all the colleges and trying to evaluate. I don't think it should take me that long to make my decision on which college I'm going to go to. Well before the end of the summer, I will have made my decision. End of the month or two I'll be done with it."
If he sticks to that timeline, Michigan is in very good shape. The Wolverines also emerged as the leader for DE/TE Rashad Weaver, who was offered as a jumbo athlete a few days after performing in front of the coaches, whose promise to uphold their end of the bargain stood out to Weaver, per TMI's Brice Marich:
“I would have to say yes (Michigan leads),” said Weaver. “At first when they offered, I had no leader, but when he said they would honor my commitment even if I got hurt, then that put them at the top of my list. They are the only coaches that have told me that.”
That's all from the camp tour for the moment; with SMSB this weekend, there will be much more next week.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the roundup.]
Mark The Nomad still wins by a million. In what is inevitably going to be a successful trolling of Michigan State message boards across the state, MLive asked their readers for pictures of their badass Michigan tattoos. None approach the glory of Mark the Nomad's Harbaugh on Saved by the Bell masterpiece, but there's no shame in coming second in this competition.
This is my favorite:
"I need a wolverine, but I don't want it to be generic."
"I could make him look like he just walked in on his parents having sex."
"Make it so, number one."
-"Jean-Luc Picard's many tattoos: a memoir," by Jonathan Frakes
Second place goes to the guy who went full entrails.
The owner of this tattoo helpfully points out that the heart in the wolverine's hand comes from the pile of rotting gristle that used to be an Ohio State player below. Sports: we are reasonable about it!
A blessed man indeed. Jim Harbaugh has never heard of Paul Finebaum.
A coach approaches, fixes his collar and tells him he was the talk of the Paul Finebaum Show that day. Finebaum, whose show is nationally syndicated and televised on the SEC Network, discussed Harbaugh's appearance in Alabama with his legions of dedicated callers.
Harbaugh looks confused and shakes his head. He doesn't know who Paul Finebaum is.
The coach continues, "He's a radio show host."
Again, nothing from Harbaugh.
"He's a big deal down here in SEC country," another coach chimes in.
For just about anyone else involved with college football I would assume that is a put-on. Harbaugh is constitutionally incapable of being anything other than HIMSELF AT MAXIMUM VOLUME, though.
I assume that Harbaugh's knowledge of things is a sine wave of infinite amplitude. He can tell you the exact order of battles on the Eastern Front of World War II and the order of elimination of every Bachelor contestant in history; he's never heard of popcorn and thinks marsupials are horses. He regularly knits shawls with his teeth; every damned time his wife turns the faucet on he goggles and exclaims "WHAT IN TARNATION IS THAT?" Etc.
Mmm shade. Nick Baumgardner:
INDIANAPOLIS -- Someone forgot to tell Jim Harbaugh he's supposed to hate this stuff.
"The Raiders are still in play" is played out right now but if we keep saying it it'll be funny again in a few years. The Letterman approach.
Baumgardner quotes Harbaugh at his Sincerely Yours In Football best:
"This is the greatest sport ever invented," Harbaugh says. "Nobody will ever play four years of high school football and look back and say 'I wish I hadn't played football.' You ever hear anybody say that?
"It just doesn't get said. Because it doesn't happen. Football is darn good for you. Darn good for you."
SEC honks who are cheesed off about these satellite camps downplay this aspect of Harbaugh's personality, but it seems real to me. Harbaugh is a football evangelist in an era when people are muttering about the long-term future of the game. He's also a guy looking for recruits. It can be both.
Less of a big deal right now. Michigan's summer basketball camp came and went in the middle of this swarm business with hardly a mention. That's partially Harbaugh sucking up the offseason oxygen—something Beilein is probably happy about—and partially the fact that Michigan doesn't seem on the verge of offering blue-chip 2017 guys who are talking like they will commit. Last year Tyus Battle and Derryck Thornton were in attendance—one out of two ain't bad.
This year, 2017 NV SF Greg Floyd, a top 75 guy but not a five-star, was the most notable (uncommitted) name participating. Austin Davis and Jon Teske were there; Cassius Winston was present but sat out with his broken wrist. The rest of the notables are younger kids that may or may not end up on the radar in the next couple years.
Speaking of Winston, his visit for the camp follows one in May. Both Scout and Rivals seem to be incrementally more optimistic with each one. The vibe now is that Michigan probably tentatively leads; before it was that they maybe tentatively lead.
Okay. The basketball rules changes that were proposed have officially been instantiated.
OFFICIAL! 30-sec shot clock, 4-foot arc, reduction in time outs among changes coming to men's basketball next season. pic.twitter.com/qgLqt0BS6D
— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) June 8, 2015
I don't think the clock change will impact Michigan—or anyone—disproportionately. Michigan does get dinged by the larger arc, as they've always been a team that tries to take a charge instead of block a shot. Teske is arriving at the right time, at least.
And thank God for small timeout murders. Put the rest in a sack and throw them in the river, please.
In Texas. A slice of life from the Houston stop:
“OK, you gotta run, speed up, throw a catchable ball,” he said, jogging in a loop and throwing the ball to a camper 10 yards away, always moving. “Throw a catchable ball. That’s not a catchable ball. A catchable ball is right there. Shoulders, one foot in front of the number.
While observing, the former San Francisco 49ers coach offered: “No one likes watching incompletions. They really don’t.”
I imagine a couple of projectors got broken in there.
Another reason we're doing well at Paramus. Blake Costanzo is a former San Francisco 49er who's now an assistant at Paramus Catholic. His take on Harbaugh is a bit different than the few 49ers who have not already retired:
"Awesome," Costanzo said. "You want to play for a guy who's been through it, been to practices, grinded, knows what it's like to be in a locker room. To have a guy that knows what you are going through is huge." …
"Everywhere is Michigan country now. They've been all over the country," Costanzo said. "They are just good people. I know a lot of the coaching staff and they are just good people. I promote good people no matter where they are."
Michigan looks set to rake in a number of New Jersey commits this cycle.
Can't stop, won't stop. Old Dominion announces a 2016 satellite camp stop for the sisterhood of the travelling football. No doubt it will be the first of many.
MLB draft fallout. Baseball saw a number players drafted. CF Jackson Glines, a senior, went in the 10th round. Junior 2B/closer Jacob Croenenworth went in the 7th; he's a junior but Bakich is not holding out hope he'll return. 3B Travis Maezes went in the 13th; Bakich says they might get him back.
Michigan's recruits went late if they went at all, so they should arrive on campus.
What is the difference between this run:
…and this run:
If you guessed "the one Harbaugh/Drevno were coaching got yards and the one from Hoke/Borges didn't" you win a running theme of the 2015 offseason. The results are certainly stark; why that's true is what we're interested in.
The Power Play
These are both the same play by the offense, and the same play Brady Hoke promised to make into Michigan's base because it is the manliest of plays. It is Power-O, the one where you pull the backside guard and try to run between the tackles.
You can click for biggers
The play is relatively simple to draw up and complex to execute because it uses a lot of the things zone blocking does, including having the blocking and back react to what the defense does. For all the "manball" talk this isn't ISO, where you slam into each other quickly. Depending on how the coach wants to play it and what defensive alignment you see, the basic gist is to get a double or scoop of the playside DT and kick out the playside DE, then have an avalanche of bodies pour into that hole—if the defense is leaping into that gap you adjust by trying a different hole further outside. Leaving two blockers to seal off the backside, one blocker, usually the backside guard, pulls and becomes the lead blocker—it's up to him to adjust to what he sees when he arrives.
You can run this out of different formations with different personnel, and the one immediately apparent difference in the above diagrams is Michigan was more spread—a flanker (Z) is out on the opposite numbers and the strongside is to the boundary; after the motion this is an "Ace Twins". Stanford ran this with a heavy "22-I" formation, meaning two backs (RB and FB) and two tight ends (Y and H) in an I-form. The benefit Michigan gets from its formation is the guy Stanford would have to block with its fullback Michigan has removed from the play entirely by forcing him to cover the opposite sideline.
What Stanford gets in return for its fullback is matchup problems: the open side of the field is going to be two tight ends and a fullback versus two safeties and a cornerback. Run or pass that can go badly for the defense as these size mismatches turn into lithe safeties eating low-centered fullbacks, and dainty corners on manbeast TEs.
In War of 1812 terms, Michigan is the Americans, sending the fast-sailing frigate Essex in the Pacific so the enemy has to move ships to the Galapagos instead of harassing the Carolinas. Stanford is the British, parking 74-guns ships of the line where engaging them cannot be avoided and trusting the outcome of any forced engagement should turn in their favor. The point is both work to the advantages and disadvantages of the talent on hand. (In this analogy Borges is a guy trying to use Horatio Nelson tactics with a Navy of sloops and brigs).
That being said, it still works as well as anything—people did in fact score points before the spread, and those who scored a lot of them could do so by keeping defenses off balance and with good execution. As we'll see both of those factors played a big role.
[after the jump]
The Highlights: WolverineHistorian
The Setup: After their season-opening triumph over Notre Dame, Michigan traveled to Williams-Brice Stadium to face 11th-ranked South Carolina, off to a 2-0 start after a breakout 10-2 season in 1984 under coach Joe Morrison. Morrison, who'd taken over in 1983, had quickly injected life into a mediocre program by introducing both a high-flying offense and an intimidating new tradition for home games, described by Bo Schembechler in Bo's Lasting Lessons:
Those men down in South Carolina, they know how to take the field. We were already on the field when I told my guys, "I want you to see this!"
The speakers boomed the theme song from 2001: A Space Odyssey, which builds really slowly. Then they started pumping a thick fog by the players' tunnel, and the crowd started going nuts as the anticipation built.
Our guys were getting jacked up just waiting for them to come out. "C'MON, WHATYA—SCARED? GET ON OUT HERE!" Until finally the Gamecocks came flying out of that tunnel—dressed all in black! I lost my hearing for a few minutes from that music blaring and the crowd screaming. God that was great. That is how you take the field. THAT is college football!
South Carolina's 1984 season was called the "Black Magic" year because Morrison would wear all black on gameday. The 1985 season wouldn't prove worthy of a nickname.
The Game: South Carolina opened the game with another proud Gamecock tradition: nearly decapitating diminutive Michigan running backs. Here's Bo again:
We started the game with the ball and sent Thomas Wilcher on our standard off-tackle play. Their linebacker came in from out of nowhere, and Wilcher's helmet flew off—and he was ready to go! I'm telling you, from the opening kickoff, the entire atmosphere in that stadium was electric.
While Willie Hill's hit didn't make WolverineHistorian's highlight reel, it's preserved elsewhere on YouTube:
Hill may have set the tone, but Michigan more than matched it. The defense shut down an SC offense featuring College Football Hall of Famer and five-time Pro Bowl selection Sterling Sharpe. When Jim Harbaugh opened the scoring with an option keeper near the goal line (GIF'd at top of post), Michigan led the yardage battle with 110 to SC's negative-one.
The triple-option offense would remain effective for the duration. Jamie Morris put the Wolverines up 14-0 when Harbaugh chose to pitch near the goal line; Morris would finish with 95 yards, Wilcher with 104, and Harbaugh with 45 on just seven carries. As a team, Michigan finished with 324 rushing yards on 5.3 YPC.
Michigan's defense proved every bit as dominant as the offense, limiting the Gamecocks to 202 total yards—including just 35 through the air—and forcing four turnovers. South Carolina mustered a field goal at the end of the first half. That would be their only score of the game. Four different Wolverines—Harbaugh, Morris, Wilcher, and Gerald White—tallied rushing touchdowns, and Mike Gillette's two field goals brought the final score to 34-3.
The Harbaugh: As you can tell from the above, Harbaugh didn't need to throw the ball a whole lot. When he did, he moved the ball in solid chunks, finishing 12/22 for 164 yards (7.5 YPA) and one pick. His primary target was 6'8", 240-pound receiver Paul Jokisch, who took advantage of mismatches to tally 115 yards on five catches, including this 41-yarder to set up the game's opening score:
Poor #29 is eye-level with Jokisch's armpit. Hell of a blitz pickup by Morris there, too.
The Most '80s Screencap of the Game:
White pants after Labor Day? Standard uniform in the age of Miami Vice.
Today it's Alabama's turn on "Jim Harbaugh makes people so mad they go cross-eyed and spit in their own face":
For opponents of the satellite camp, and I am firmly among them, Johnson's commitment to Michigan also reinforces what a sham we're presently operating under. Attaching one's self to a high school 1300 miles away like a dad-jeaned toadstool is by no stretch a "teaching opportunity," as the camps were so designed. We've said all along these are nothing but recruiting junkets. That even Michigan's own film study and recruiting efforts previously overlooked the lightly-regarded Johnson only underscores this fact.
Rather than bolstering the satellite camp, in fact, a measured view of the camps in light of Johnson's commitment, only shows that the loophole is a chance to lazily poach talent in contravention of a rule designed to avoid turning recruiting into a 12-month long circus.
This is of course Alabama, the fanbase that annually responds to Nick Saban cutting 6-10 guys with "tough shit, it's a business." It is specifically the blog—albeit not the person—who responded to a post here about a kid getting cut by titling a post "Brian Cook is, Amongst Other Things, a Coward and a Liar." They live in the conference of bag men and are no doubt amongst the most committed participants*. Nick Saban himself caused a kerfuffle several years ago when he skirted the boundaries of the NCAA's quiet period by maybe possibly having conversations with recruits he was permitted only to "bump" into. The number of Alabama fans who cared about this is zero. Alabama fans do not care about NCAA rules, whether it's letter or intent, one iota.
While that is an increasingly defensible position, the word soup above is not. If it even has a position. Its author, Erik Evans, is clutching every pearl in a five-county radius that Michigan might be using these camps to find football players. Several dozen Crimson Tide matrons collapsed to the floor after Dytarious Johnson's recent commitment. The state has never endured such calumny.
The post's argument was difficult to parse out in the first place; it is more confusing now that Evans edited it after the fact. He discovered that Johnson had talked to the Michigan coaching staff before the camp and asked him to attend it to earn his offer; this invalidates large sections of the post but provides an opportunity to sick the specter of a Level 4 violation on Michigan if in fact the compliance officer they're bringing to every damn camp doesn't have his Ps and Qs straight.
It takes a special kind of person to argue that Michigan's satellite camps are an opportunity to "lazily poach talent" and create a "12-month long circus" without even allowing so much as a period to separate those two diametrically opposed thoughts. Attempting to rebut any particular point is futile since most have already been rebutted in the same damn sentence they were made, so we'll have to take another tack. Let's evaluate the stakeholders here to see who is harmed.
JIM HARBAUGH. Evaluates lots of players from across the country in person. Develops relationships with otherwise remote players. Finds some recruits. Improves his football team down the road. Gets to write letters that end with "sincerely yours in football."
CAMP ATTENDEES. Get exposure in front of not only the Michigan coaches but various local staffs. May get scholarship offer they would not as a result. May get to play Peruball against shirtless Harbaugh. Don't have to go at all if they don't want to. Attendance veritably implies approval, and many attend.
CAMP ORGANIZERS. Hype from Harbaugh visit can almost double attendance.
SMALL CHILDREN WITH TERRIBLE DISEASES. Increased attendance helps raise money for brain cancer research.
ALABAMA. May have to work slightly harder in the future to convince certain players they should play at Alabama.
I don't mind the Alabama fanbase's purely mercenary mindset so much anymore, but at least own it. You would put your grandma through a wood chipper for a tiny increase in the chance at a national championship. There is literally no moral or ethical issue that would even vaguely factor into your decision making. And that's fine. We need lizard people too. Just don't pretend your objection to satellite camps is anything other than pure self-interest.
On the bright side, Evans has a bright future as a Toys R Us CEO down the road.
*[I gave up on condemning such practices because nobody's ever come up with an actual harm caused by people offering football players petty cash that doesn't involve fan anger stuff.]
Dytarious Johnson is mean
The question we no longer have to answer about basketball
Does it concern you yet that Harbaugh and staff are going after so many 3-star or less recruits (and even unranked ones) rather than shooting for more 4- and 5-star types? Might JH be underestimating his own standing and instead still be in "I'm at Stanford" mentality (i.e., "I need to find the hidden gems because the 5-stars are going to USC, Alabama, and such")?
Thanks for the blog, and give Ace a raise.
Hail to the bloggers,
This is so overblown. Michigan has ten commits. Five of them are composite four-stars (Swenson, Onwenu, Peters, Falcon, and Evans). Of the five who aren't, one committed to Brady Hoke (Harding), one is (probably) a fullback (Reese), and one picked up Nebraska, LSU, and Florida offers after his commitment (Davis). The two other guys are Kiante Enis and Dytarious Johnson. Enis ran for three thousand(!) yards last year and Johnson looks like a BAMF on his Hudl film.
That is not a high flier rate thus far. The two guys who truly qualify are both gentlemen an expert talent evaluator has seen in person.
Meanwhile, here is a list of high four star recruits who Michigan is thought to lead for: NJ WR Ahmir Mitchell, NJ WR Brad Hawkins, PA TE Nasseir Upshur, MD OL Terrance Davis, WI OL Ben Bredeson, MI DE Khalid Kareem, and NJ DE Ron Johnson. They are at or near the top for five star NJ DT Rashan Gary and CA LB Caleb Kelly.
They won't get all those guys; they'll get a healthy chunk, and they'll get involved with more guys down the road. It's not going to be an Alabama class but it should be comfortably top ten.
And that's only half the reason recruiting concern is overblown. The other half:
That class was Andrew Luck and three stars. It followed a class that was all three stars, and ranked ninth in the then Pac-10. Stanford was slightly better than that when those classes bore fruit. Recruiting is important; coaching is more important.
[After the JUMP: Countess impact, concerns that Michigan's skill position players are no better than Iowa's, outrageous afro.]