I'VE HAD JUST ABOUT ENOUGH OF YOU SONNY
Site note: due to extended, extremely annoying problems trying to find a piece of software that can create clips from the hyper-ninja mega-encoded torrent downloads, UFR will either be late today (think 7 or 8) or you’ll get a dual blast tomorrow.
It was sometime in the second quarter when Michigan ran an honest-to-god zone read stretch play and David Molk’s butt ended up hitting Sam McGuffie seven yards behind the line of scrimmage. It did this because one of Utah’s two sophomore defensive tackles picked it up and hurled it there.
Watching this, one thing—John Ferrara’s position switch—became clear. Another unclear thing became pressing: how the hell did we end up here?
A dossier of linemen that could or should be in the program now. Players actually available are bolded.
Fifth Year Seniors
- Grant DeBenedictis gave up football after a couple years when it became clear he would never play.
- Brett Gallimore was terribly overrated, spent last year on defense, and packed it in after he got his degree.
- Jeremy Ciulla was a backup who saw time last year but decided not to return.
- Alex Mitchell loves pie.
- Justin Schifano didn’t like football and stopped playing it.
- David Moosman, Mark Ortmann, and Tim McAvoy started against Utah.
- Cory Zirbel would have started but for his knee.
- Steven Schilling started against Utah.
- Perry Dorrestein is a backup tackle.
- John Ferrara was a defensive tackle until two weeks ago.
- Mr. Plow transferred.
- Mark Huyge has an ankle sprain but should return relatively soon.
- David Molk started against Utah.
- There are six, they are freshmen.
Only twelve non-freshmen were recruited to play offensive line. Six of those left the team, including every single player in the disastrous 2004 class—normally your seniors. The junior and sophomore classes had two highly-recruited future stars… and three other players. The 2007 class of Molk and Huyge is especially terrible since by that point Schifano, Gallimore, and DeBenedictis had already left. Michigan filled up with a guy with MAC offers and one decent but undersized prospect.
Blame goes to Carr, who recruited so erratically, Andy Moeller, who was the line coach, Rodriguez, who has no family values, and whoever was identifying linemen to go after. To me this list goes “miss, miss, miss, miss, miss, Schilling maybe, miss, miss, miss, miss, guys Moeller couldn’t destroy.”
Via Sam Webb on WTKA this morning: Cox has decided to stay, but freshman LB Taylor Hill has decided to go. This latter news can also be creepily stalked out of Facebook if you like.
Hill’s departure is a negative. He was a fringe 4-star guy, top 250 to Rivals but three-star-ish to Scout, and played a position (OLB) at which Michigan isn’t particularly deep.
It’s also kind of weird, because, like, seriously, they’ve played one game. Maybe Hill just changes his mind a lot: he was originally committed to Oklahoma, then West Virginia—though that decommit is understandable—before picking Michigan. Or maybe he just wasn’t going to hack it. Some guys, like Cobrani Mixon, are clear non-contributors as soon as they show up. If he ends up at a MAC school or something that may be it.
|1||Southern Cal (40)||24.3||1.0||2|
|4||Ohio State (9)||21.8||4.0||2|
Total Ballots: 75
Like everyone else, the BlogPoll anoints USC #1 after they smoked Virginia. The main difference here is not order of teams but the strength of opinion: USC dominates all comers by over two points per ballot; in other polls the gap between Georgia and the Trojans is vanishingly small.
Also, the BlogPoll’s previous bullishness on VaTech? Not so much.
Wack Ballot Watchdog
A lot of the weird votes for particular teams are the result of “resume ranking,” about which more later. They won’t be covered here because at least they’re logically consistent.
- Lord knows what Garnet and Black Attack sees in #15 North Carolina. When ESPN says you “edged” the Cowboys and they aren’t talking about Dallas or Oklahoma State or even Wyoming, that ain’t good.
- From Old Virginia is hanging on to VT at #16.
- The Bama Sports report has Oregon State #23 but no Stanford, who basically smoked them.
- Miami at #11 seems… enthusiastic.
There’s still not much because we have little data. Extracurriculars after the jump.
Games watched: M-Utah, NC State-South Carolina, UCLA-Tennessee, MSU-Cal, portions of ECU-VT,
This blog was slightly occupied last Friday when Pahokee, FL, teammates Brandin Hawthorne and Vincent Smith committed to Michigan, but better late than never. Everything the internet can offer on Michigan’s newest electron-sized recruit follows, now with organization and stuff.
|3*, #102 RB||3*, #60 RB||77, #60 RB|
In a word: “meh,” but we are talking about a 5’7” player here who is a poor fit for a lot of offenses and doesn’t have much pro upside. ESPN scouting report($) clip:
Shows a second gear when he gets outside on the perimeter and can separate in the second level with good top-end speed. However, he does appear quicker than fast and is not the burner you hope for on film with his smaller size. Runs hard and is a tough, determined back, but yards after contact should diminish at the next level versus bigger more explosive defenders.
They say he could be a “productive change of pace back” in the spread, which is kind of damning him with faint praise.
His teammates and coach are a bit more positive, as you might imagine:
His production -- more than 1,000 yards rushing last season -- helped lead the Blue Devils to the 2B state championship and USA Today's No. 6 national ranking.
And then there's his build, which Thompson simply called ``that spread-offense body.'' …
''He can do a lot,'' Pahokee quarterback-to-be Nu'Keese Richardson said, ``as far as catching it out [of] the backfield, making guys miss and stuff like that.''
Added coach Blaze Thompson: ``When he goes to camps, he'll go from wide receiver to running back, wide receiver to running back.
"He runs great routes, and he's powerful.''
A slot move may be a possibility down the road.
Smith had two other major offers from Tennessee and Wisconsin. Minnesota, Iowa State, and Southern Miss also offered. In-state programs were not interested.
Okay, kind of meh too but it’s notable that Michigan’s offer went out fast:
''[When I got] my first offer from Michigan,'' Smith said, ``I knew then I was going to be good.''
He got it in early March, before Michigan offered a bunch of other high-profile guys. They IDed him early and had him high on their list.
Lot of yards, as per usual:
Smith, a running back, led Pahokee in rushing the past two seasons and rushed for 1,196 yards last year.
Sophomore numbers were impressive:
Just behind him [FL recruit Janoris Jenkins] is the "starting" tailback Vincent Smith. Smith, a sophomore who goes 5-9 and 174 pounds, has 85 carries for 925 yards (10.3 per carry) and 15 TDs.
Keep in mind that Pahokee plays at a small-school level in Florida and dominates the competition—they’re gearing up for a run at a fourth straight state championship—and the silly YPC above should be taken with a grain of salt.
FAKE 40 TIME
Fake, fake, fake:
Indeed he is. Smith might come up short, height-wise (he lists himself at 5-9, although some have him at 5-7), but not in many other places.
His 40-yard dash time -- the high 4.3-range and dropping, he says -- is stellar.
And this has featured on the blog before, but here’s Smith narrated by Pat Summerall:
Pat Summerall, people! This kid is no joke.
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
If you want to argue this guy is a big deal, you’ve got Michigan’s lickety-split offer on your side. If you want to say “meh” you’ve got his other offers, the reaction of the instate schools, and the guru ratings. He’s obviously got a chance to be useful, but with four higher-rated guys in the last two classes, “useful” is a realistic upside.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
Smith is Michigan’s third running back commit or second slot commit or third slot commit or something. To rephrase: Michigan now has four guys in the class who will play running back or slot receiver; they graduate no running backs or slot receivers. They’re done. There’s not even anyone on the radar anymore.
Word has reached the mgobatcave that freshman running back Mike Cox is currently scouting destinations back east in anticipation of a transfer. If he gets registered and such for the fall semester, he can spend this year as his mandatory redshirt and be eligible next fall; if he goes through with it we’ll know soon.
Cox probably saw the writing on the wall with Sam McGuffie and Michael Shaw already seeing time and three running back recruits—all of whom are decidedly small shifty types, not thumpers like Cox—in the 2009 class.
The moral, as always: don’t recruiting running backs with funny names.
BONUS SECRET INSIDER INFOS! The band is going to play “Hangin’ Tough” this weekend. NKOTB 4EVA.