'Friday Night Lights' is now 'Weekday Warriors', and every week I'll be updating you on the latest performances from Michigan commits as they play out their high school seasons. If you see anything missing or can find an article on a game, please feel free to contact me via Twitter or email. This week, Ondre Pipkins racks up some ridiculous numbers, Mario Ojemudia impresses once again, and Jeremy Clark continues to scare me with his good play (not because I don't want him to be good, but because I want him to stick with his grayshirt commitment).
TN OL Blake Bars
Montgomery Bell Academy dropped to 1-2 on the season after a 41-17 loss to Brentwood Academy. No stats for Bars, being an offensive lineman and all.
This week: The Big Red look to bounce back at home against Baylor on Friday.
OH LB Joe Bolden
Bolden had a fumble recovery in Colarain's 37-0 thrashing of Ryle. The Cardinals are now 2-0 on the season after beating nationally-ranked Cocoa (FL) last week on ESPN.
This week: Colerain looks to extend their 61-game home winning streak on Friday at 7:30 vs. St. Xavier.
MI OL Ben Braden
Rockford bounced back from their week one loss with a 42-7 blowout win against Holt. Braden
helped pave the way sat out due to a concussion as Rockford rushed for 273 yards on 33 carries.
OH DE Pharaoh Brown
Though defensive stats are unavailable at this time, Brown did record a 21-yard touchdown reception in Brush's 42-35 loss to Madison. The Arcs fell to 0-2 on the season with the defeat.
This week: Rockford hosts Grand Haven on Friday at 7.
MI TE Devin Funchess
According to Touch the Banner, Funchess hauled in two receptions for 29 yards in Farmington Hills Harrison's 28-14 victory over Southfield. The defending Division 2 state champs are now 2-0 on the year after last week's evisceration of Cass Tech.
This week: The Hawks will try to continue their in-state dominance in their home opener against Stoney Creek on Friday at 7.
OH S Allen Gant
Gant scored on a three-yard touchdown run to help Southview defeat Toledo Rogers 18-0, with the defense forcing two safeties. He left the game early with an apparent ankle injury, so I might have to change plans for this week's Creeper Van Original. Stay tuned...
This week: Southview (2-0) plays at Toledo Start on Friday at 7. Depending on Gant's status, I may or may not be there.
MI DT Matt Godin
Godin battled illness before Detroit Catholic Central's 14-7 victory over Delphos (OH) St. John's, but you wouldn't know that based on his play. A report from MGoUser Denarded:
Today went down to Delphos, OH to witness future Michigan Wolverine Matt Godin. Had a great day 2 sacks, around 3-4 TFLs, while also knocking out the DSJ quarterback. Maybe the best part after the game Godin rushes to the fence to two guys with Buckeye apparel on, and says "I hope you'll enjoy me doing that to Braxton Miller for 4 years" and walked away. Loved seeing the Buckeye fans faces after that. Wyatt Shallman also looked impressive at RB, scored a touchdown probably ran for 70-80 yards.
TTB adds that Godin recorded ten tackles on top of the two sacks, handful of TFLs, and one awesome bit of trash talkin'.
This week: The Shamrocks play Inkster at home on Friday at 7.
UT FB Sione Houma
Houma had another outstanding performance, rushing for 147 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries in Highland's 42-6 victory over Provo. MGoUser Spishak was on hand for the first half, and had this to report (thanks to MichFan1997 for posting it as a new thread):
The home announcer pronounces his name, Say-own-ee Hoo-ma. They have quite a few polynesian players on the team, so I would imagine his pronunciation is correct. Who knows?
Sione plays OLB and FB/RB. He almost always is the soul back and lines up in a 3-point stance about 2 yards behind the QB. Their offense is NOT fancy. They did not once line up with more than two wideouts; they ran 80% of the time; mostly QB keepers. Houma runs between the tackles and right at the defense. Very fullback-ish. Didn't get to see his speed on display, if he has any. He is definitely a thumper; solidly built. He is 6', 6'1" in cleats. The program had him listed as 6'1", 210(!). Probably 195, IMO. He played only 1/3 of the defensive plays and they nearly always lined him up right on the DE's ass. (As a strange sidenote, their program had 22 players listed as RB's. Highland played onlyHouma in the backfield, though he didn't get many touches.)
His stats (for one half): 2.5 tackles (one tfl); 40 yds rushing, TD, on only 5 carries. His longest carry was 15 yards. They simply didn't need him much tonight as they had their opponent (Provo) very outmatched.
Best "Sione Houma: Soul Back" photoshop wins the undying admiration of your internet peers, which has to count for something.
This week: The Rams look to move to 4-0 on the season when they host Lone Peak on Friday at 7.
MI LB Royce Jenkins-Stone
Cass Tech took out their frustrations from last week's FHH loss on Detroit Central, coming away with a 62-6 victory as RJS contributed three touchdowns, including a blocked punt return. More on this game later in the post.
This week: The Technicians play at 4 on Friday afternoon at Detroit Southeastern.
OH OL Kyle Kalis
Kalis sat out St. Edward's 47-6 victory over Penn Hills, missing his second straight game to start the year due to a (not serious) knee injury suffered in a preseason scrimmage.
This week: The Eagles host Cardinal Mooney on Saturday at 7:30.
CA OL Erik Magnuson
Magnuson's La Costa Canyon squad won their season debut 48-0 over Huntington Beach Marina in a battle of schools whose names make me want to move to California. The Mavericks had two different running backs break 80 yards rushing as they dominated up front, I'm sure in large part due to Magnuson's rather large presence.
This week: LCC plays Poway at home on Friday at 7.
MI DE Mario Ojemudia
Did you know Farmington Hills Harrison is ranked as the number six team in the country by SI.com? Well, they are, and in this week's rundown Ojemudia came in for some high praise from Ben Glicksman:
Despite a loaded receiving corps (see: Aaron Burbridge, Devin Funchess, Gairus Coleman) defensive end Mario Ojemudia might be the Hawks' best player. The Michigan commit collected another two sacks against the Bluejays, building off a terrific 127-tackle, 12-sack junior year campaign.
You can see one of those two sacks in the following video from Fox 2:
Fox's local sports guy might want to work on that pronunciation.
This week: The Hawks play their home opener against Stoney Creek on Friday at 7.
MO DT Ondre Pipkins
Pipkins led off The Wolverine's commitment updates ($) due to recording five tackles, three pass deflections, and three forced fumbles in Park Hill's 23-0 shutout of Ruskin. Park Hill is now 2-0 on the season.
This week: The Trojans travel (not far, I imagine) to Park Hill South on Friday at 7.
MI CB Terry Richardson
Richardson added to Cass Tech's onslaught with a touchdown reception, which you can see in these local highlights (he's #9 in white).
This week: The Technicians play at 4 on Friday afternoon at Detroit Southeastern.
OH LB Kaleb Ringer
Northmont dropped to 0-2 on the season with a 32-21 loss to Princeton as Ringer sat out his second straight game with a broken wrist. Based on his Twitter feed, it sounds like Ringer is hopeful for a return this week against Archbishop Moeller.
This week: Northmont travels to Archbishop Moeller for a Saturday night game at 7.
MI LB James Ross
Orchard Lake St. Mary's fell to Toledo St. John's Jesuit, 34-14, in their home opener. No stats are available for Ross at this time.
This week: St. Mary's hosts Highland Park on Friday at 7.
OH OL Caleb Stacey
Oak Hills improved to 1-1 with a 21-17 road win at Harrison.
This week: The Highlanders open their home slate on Friday at 7:30 against Loveland.
IL CB Anthony Standifer
According to his Twitter account (highlight the text to see the white type), Standifer recorded his first interception of the season–and 10th of his career–in Crete-Monee's 35-0 victory over Lincoln-Way West. The Warriors improved to 2-0 as 2013 WR Laquon Treadwell had a huge game, pulling in five catches for 124 yards and two touchdowns, including an 80-yarder.
This week: Crete-Monee travels to Moline on Friday at 7:30.
OH DE Tom Strobel
According to TTB, Strobel had one solo tackle and five assists in Mentor's 38-27 victory over defending Division V state champ Youngstown Ursuline.
This week: The Cardinals host St. Ignatius on Friday at 7:30.
OH TE A.J. Williams
Williams didn't record a catch as Sycamore pulled out a 28-21 win over Springboro to improve to 2-0 on the season.
This week: The Aviators look to stay undefeated at Springfield on Friday night at 7:30.
OH S Jarrod Wilson
No stats to report for Wilson as Akron Buchtel fell to Steubenville, 22-6, dropping to 0-2 in 2011.
This week: The Griffins look to record their first win on the road against Solon on Friday at 7.
OH DE Chris Wormley:
Wormley had three tackles (I've seen it reported as high as eight, which means someone was doing some very generous stat-taking), two QB hurries, two TFLs, and a sack to help Toledo Whitmer beat A.B. Lucas Secondary School, 41-0, in this week's Creeper Van Original:
This week: The Panthers host another Canadian squad as they look to improve to 3-0 against Brantford (Ontario) Collegiate on Friday at 7.
KY S Jeremy Clark
Clark had another great game as North Hopkins defeated Hardin, 34-21, as the Michigan commit recorded six tackles and returned an interception for a touchdown.
This week: The Maroons (2-1) travel to Hopkinsville on Friday at 7.
MI QB Shane Morris
Although, for some reason, HighSchoolSports.net thinks Warren De La Salle's quarterback is named Zach Bihary, it was Shane Morris who completed 10-of-16 passes for 159 yards and three touchdowns with one interception in their 34-6 win over Flint Carmen-Ainsworth.
This week: De La Salle plays at Fordson on Friday at 7.
Item of the week. A new weekly thing: in conjunction with the Pat Maloy Scholarship fund we'll be plugging Michigan memorabilia on a weekly basis. All proceeds go to scholarship endowments at Michigan. Item!
The above features signatures from blog favorites Brandon Graham, Zoltan Mesko(!), and Ron Bellamy:
This item is a perfect addition to a Michigan collection in that it spans several decades of Michigan football greatness. A white Michigan football adorned with a large blue block M and two winged helmets on either side. The football is autographed by 18 former Michigan stars including Jim Brandstatter, Brandon Graham, Billy Taylor, Jarrett Irons, Buster Stanley, Vada Murray, Harlan Huckleby, Jarrod Bunch, Ron Johnson, Andre Weathers, Greg Mathews, Ron Bellamy, David Moosman, Stevie Brown, Zoltan Mesko, Derek Walker, Greg McMurtry.
Hatch update. From his Caring Bridge page:
Monday, September 5, 2011 5:25 PM, EDT
Another great week by a determined and hard working student athlete. Austin has a beautiful attitude and is enjoying day visits with close friends and family. We are following the medical staff advice to control the visitor schedule to no more than three at a time to allow him to focus on his recovery. While the length of the rehab program is still unclear, he looks forward to returning to home and normal activities.
Mitch McGary enjoys torrential downpours. Mitch McGary visited for the Western Michigan game and reportedly had quite a time. Here's MGoUser Max hanging with McGary in the rain:
Post something like this and you'll be hounded until you give people the full story, so Max did:
I asked him about his official visits; he told me he is allowed to take 10 (instead of the usual 5) since he took a year off after high school. "You're gonna hate me for this, but I'm going to Duke next weekend." I asked, "Are you visiting anywhere more than once?" He replied, "No, but I'll be back at Michigan for camp in [whatever month it was]."
He was going batshit crazy on all the big Michigan plays, waiving his towel and giving out high-fives. He, like the rest of the student section, clealy enjoyed the rain, too. He sang and fist-pumped along with The Victors. He even tried to start a cheer, but his "LET'S GO BLU-UE" wasn't very catchy.
Finally, right before he and the others left, I asked him to take a picture with me. He seemed really excited, throwing his arm around me and joking around. I got a little too excited and started slapping him on the shoulder. He cringed a little, and I remembered that his shoulder had gotten cut up pretty badly when he broke that backboard. I apologized, but he just thought it was funny. After the picture, we all started jumping around a little bit, yelling "Go Blue!" and whatever else. He said several things to the effect of "I'll see you guys next year!" and then left.
So that's spectacular except for the part where Michigan fans whap him in his fresh wounds. UMHoops points out that McGary's AAU coach, Wayne Brumm, has been talking up Michigan to any outlet that will listen—I'm guessing that's he's the source for the national recruiting guys who keep saying "McGary isn't close to a decision but I'd keep an eye out for Michigan." Sam Webb hit Brumm up for a take on his visit and the resulting Webblog says Michigan is "STRONG" with McGary in the headline. This seems like time to get those hopes off the floor.
If you're like me you'll need to see McGary in a Crisler shootaround before you'll believe Michigan can snag a top five recruit in this modern sleaze-paced basketball recruiting society, but it seems like they've got a shot. McGary's off to a who's who of basketball powers over the next few weeks, whereupon his love for the block M and sea turtles falling from the sky will be tested. The good news: The rumor is Michigan's main competitors are Maryland and Florida and McGary mentioned to people around him that he planned on returning to Ann Arbor for "camp"—November camp? Next year's Elite camp?
Snagging McGary would take Beilein's recruiting trajectory from "we'll be pretty good in 2013" to "Big Ten contender NOW." Fingers crossed.
BAD HEADLINE MONKEY. You're new here at the Detroit Free Press (motto: Metro Detroit's second best paper named "The Detroit Free Press"), kid. So we'll cut you some slack. But this is not cool:
Kid, "rigorous" means you are more than doubling NCAA practice time maximums. When you're a headline monkey at Metro Detroit's second best paper named The Detroit Free Press, you have to know these things. I'm glad we had this talk. Now if you could lay out the arts section, clean the bathroom, copy edit* A1, and check the roof for suicidal reporters you can go home.
I've always wanted an opportunity to get sued by Righthaven. Thanks to the rain, I've got one. It turns out that Vegas refunding the world's tickets on the Michigan-WMU game is quite a letoff for sportsbooks:
"It was kind of wacky. There have been some crazy weather games, but I've never seen that," MGM Resorts sports book director Jay Rood said. "I would rather have seen the game get in and played than end the way it did, when maybe some people feel like they were cheated.
"We were going to lose on the game. That was by far the biggest public-backed game on the board. The ticket count was ridiculous, like 20-1 for Michigan."
Wow. Either the sharps or the books were heavily on Western.
WAYS YOU CAN TELL THE NEWSPAPER YOU ARE READING IS BASED IN LAS VEGAS PROTIP: The reporter says "I was on the Wolverines, for the record" and wishes a natural disaster had befallen the Georgia Dome so he wouldn't have gotten taken on the Boise State-Georgia game.
Time to update the Michigan reporter whirlwind. MVictors's handy movement graph is now out of date since Zach Travis has been picked up by Bleacher Report of all things and is getting paid to write on the Big Ten. Spreading that venture capital love around, they are. If you'd ceased paying attention to Zach's old blog Dreaded Judgment, he's firing it back up.
Are we still talking about this? Well done, Jon Wilner. You managed to get me all the way through your article on yet more realignment without making it clear that your source is a guy in a Pac-12 athletic department who likes messing with journalists:
The Big Ten won’t expand until it’s time to renegotiate the league’s deals with CBS and ESPN, which expire in 2016, according to a source.
At that point, if the Pac-12 and the SEC have grown to 16 teams, then Notre Dame will join the Big Ten.
Guh. I have been expansion-trolled. If you still want to take this seriously, Wilner says the Pac 12 presidents are opposed to expanding but will do it if the SEC jumps off the bridge first, at which point they'll have no choice. I hope the Big Ten is wise enough not to follow them.
Etc.: If you like the arrangement of the Victors for the Michigan Difference commercials, you can download it for your phone or (emo) tailgate or whatever. Holdin' the Rope starts a Michigan Monday analogue focused on the Golden Bobcats. Bruce Feldman is outside the paywall. Tommy Rees will start for ND this weekend.
Just snuck this under the wire. Have to remember I'm actually voting now. My guideline early in the season is that I do use preseason expectations to guide my balloting until about week five, when the poll should be all results.
GEORGIA, I KILL YOU. This may be an overreaction to being so wrong about the Bulldogs but I booted them entirely. Their defeat was comprehensive. I was less violent towards Oregon since their problems were considerably more turnover-based and, honestly, because I wasn't way out there by thinking Oregon would be good this year.
LSU gets the obvious bump, as does Boise.
I AM VERY IMPRESSED BY VICTORIES OVER MEMPHIS. I don't look at my previous ballots when putting these together because it's not like they're precise enough to matter. Sometimes this has weird effects like a win over hapless Memphis warranting a nine-slot jump while beating Marshall comprehensively in a lightning storm gets you dinged two spots.
So I have no idea why I flipped Alabama and Oklahoma. Data is thin.
I DOUBT THE OBC. I did mean to knock South Carolina down several pegs after they struggled against ECU—I think it was @TeamSpeedKills who was so incensed that he called for Spurrier's suspension in retaliation for suspending Stephen Garcia. After the dust cleared from a nutty game featuring nine turnovers, Not That USC had outgained ECU by six yards.
It is likely too late for corrections; I'll do better next week.
[Ed: bump in case anyone doesn't know to read these yet.]
So, we're almost 3 quarters into the Brady Hoke era, and what have we learned? Not a hell of a whole of a lot. Western was a cupcake, and we provided the vanilla frosting, the vanilla defense, and the vanilla offense. There's plenty to criticize and the few good things all come with cupcake's caveats. Next week will be the real barometer of our progress .
Somewhere in the back of my self-important mind, I worry that breaking down our offensive and defensive systems might give a very tiny advantage to our opponents. So this year I'm going to do less system stuff and focus on individual plays and players when it comes to our team. I'll save system analysis for scouting reports of other teams.
But first, I just have to say:
You sir, have an awesome mustache.
Let's start with the bad:
Their first drive was cause for concern. Just getting aligned was a problem on many plays.
I'm pretty sure this isn't how you're supposed to defend a 3rd and 1.
And on this next play, the confusion is so thick, you can cut it with a knife. You could roll it into a batter and make... hmmmm... I'm hungry...
Despite being in a shotgun look, this is clearly a run formation. What's the giveaway?
How about the covered slot "receiver" making this an unbalanced line. We've got 3 guys defending air, and the DB's are so far back, they're practically giftwrapping a 10 yard run.
The QB meshes with the fullback to give an option look, and he wisely hands it off since our linebacker is way out of position.
The ball carrier cuts back to the GAPING HOLE. Meanwhile, our contain guy is so concerned with both the QB and pitchman, neither of whom have the ball, that he can't make a play on the FB.
But I'm encouraged by the fact that we got it figured out before the drive was even over.
Here we are against the same exact formation and play a few downs later. That's a quick adjustment, or maybe it's just that nobody f'd up this time. Notice that the DB's are in a position to support against the run and we clog up the middle to stop the FB for practically no gain.
Carvin Johnson was misaligned on the next play, but Avery did a good job to make a solid tackle and delay the TD. But as a whole, the defense looked like most of them have had 3 or 4 different coordinators in the last 4 years.
I'm also concerned about the size of our front seven, and when we go against the likes of MSU, Neb, OSU, and god willing - Wiscy, well.... let's just hope things get better.
[Ed.: more after the jump.]
Ryan Van Bergen
This is not the greatest press conference in the world; this is just a tribute.
Does Hoke talk a lot about ‘feeling players’? “A little bit, yeah.” What did he say about feeling a player’s impact? “Um, as far as whose impact?” Anyone’s impact. “Oh he just talks about everybody doing their jobs. Everybody making sure that they do their job and make sure they’re aggressive about it, and when he says impact, I think he’s just talking more about toughness and mentality that you bring to the game.”
You scored a defensive TD against Wisconsin a couple years ago. What’s it like watching Herron score? “It’s just really exciting, especially for Brandon, to have that opportunity. When you score on defense, it’s something that’s unexpected. It’s just such a big bonus for a team, when your defense is giving you twelve points, you’re going to win a lot of football games. We’re pretty excited about it, and we’re going to build off of it.”
Mattison said, ‘We’re not going to sit back.’ How much do you enjoy playing aggressive defense? “It’s fun. We’ve been excited about it for a long time. Coach Mattison is an aggressive-style coach. Once we figured what [Western] was doing offensively, we tried to attack them. One thing we have to do better though is we have to improve our four-man rushes. Coach Mattison can’t call a blitz to get after quarterbacks -- we have to go put pressure on them ourselves and help out our DBs. It was fun, but at the same time we have a lot to do.”
What do you have to do specifically to get better rush? “Up front we need to get off our blocks quicker, and execute our moves. That’ll come. That was the first game.”
What’s Hoke like on the sidelines? “Passionate. He’s got a lot of energy. You can really feed off of him. He’s got enough energy for everybody on the team. He knows when to be tough, and when to come over and tell you in a calm manner what to do. He’s got a really good feel for everybody and all the players and their attitude."
Was it hard to get consistency on the D-line with all the substitutions? “No, no, not at all. [Western] came out with a no-huddle. Hats off to them -- we didn’t know they were going to do that. So the coaches did a really good job of rotating. I think we probably played 7-8 guys on the defensive line. We needed that. It was 120-130 degrees on the field I heard. If we weren’t rotating, it could have gotten ugly really fast. We need that rotation, and coach wants to get more guys in. He wants us to be able to go full tilt when we’re in the game, and I think we were more productive because of it.”
Is there a night game you’ve played in that stands out? “Night games -- they’re fun as far as atmosphere and stuff, but the thing that people don’t realize is how much it sucks when you’re waiting around in a hotel. We wait around in a hotel before the game, so you’re sitting in your hotel room. Coach is trying to keep you occupied, but you’re waiting to play a football game, watching other football games in your hotel room. That’s a big wait when you’re getting up at nine o’clock and you’re not leaving to go play until five. But it is a good experience.
“One that comes to mind is when we went to play Iowa in their stadium. That was pretty cool. It just seems like the fans are just that much more into it when the lights are on. I don’t know why, but it does seem like it’s more electric.”
You didn’t give up many big plays. What went well? “We had some good things happen as far as we’ve been trying to limit big plays, because that’s been an Achilles heel of our defense for the last couple years, but we definitely need to improve. There are things that they did, and we knew they were going to come after us with certain schemes, and we didn’t stop them. There has to be some adjustments made. We had some good things, but we had a lot of room to improve, and luckily we got in to watch the film yesterday, so we can start working on that.”
How did you find out you were an honorary game captain? “Coach Hoke told me, I wanna say Friday? I think? He told me Friday. It was a big deal. It’s a very big accomplishment for me to go out there with those guys. A lot of players have told me they look up to me as a captain and a leader. I was excited. It was a really, really cool experience."
Does Hoke give out any individual honors, e.g. helmet stickers a la Bo? “Not really. Coach Hoke is a big advocate for ‘the team, the team, the team.’ The individual awards don’t mean anything if your team’s not winning. The emphasis on the team has really helped our guys come together and helped our chemistry. Presenting individual awards isn’t going to be in Coach Hoke’s -- that’s not in his personality. Unless I’m wrong and maybe something else comes, but right now I don’t think there’s anything lined up like that.”
Where do you rank the Notre Dame rivalry compared with MSU or Ohio? “It’s a big deal. We’ve been playing each other a long time. The history goes back. I think Michigan was actually the ones who taught Notre Dame how to play football, if you look at the history. They were supposed to go to Evanston and play Northwestern, but we went down to South Bend and taught Notre Dame how to play football. I think that’s how it went down. It’s a big deal. This goes back so far, and there’s so much history. That and we’re so competitive in terms of most wins in college football. I know they take it very seriously, and we take it very seriously. It’s exciting to be able to play in it."
Did you watch the end of the ND-USF game? What did you think of their offense? “Luckily for ND, they have two very talented quarterbacks. They had their hiccups, but it was their first game. They’re going to get into their zone, and they’re going to start playing well, and we have to be prepared to see both [quarterbacks]. No, I didn’t see the end of the game. I wanted to, but nothing against NBC, but I did not like the program they had on while the rain delay was on, so I was like, uh, I’m just going to watch the other ones. I did not see the TV copy. I will watch the film copy though.”
Talk about Notre Dame’s O-line. “Big. Notre Dame’s got some big offensive linemen. Their biggest one, though, I wanna say his name’s Charles Stewart, I’m not sure. He graduated. He was their left guard. He was like 370, a really big kid. Their right guard, Trevor Robinson, I think is his name. He was a kid that Michigan recruited, and I was his host when he was here. Their center’s really good, too. He’s been there for two years, I think, and very experienced. Their interior line is really experienced. I think they have younger guys on the outside, but they also have a year of experience underneath their belt. So they’re going to be a good test for us as far as a defensive front and where we are in comparison to other teams, because Notre Dame’s offensive line will be as good as any we’ll see.”
(more after the jump)