in town for free camps
Two University of Michigan football players reportedly were in a car that allegedly contained drugs when it was stopped by police in Monroe County. No one was arrested and the Michigan State Police are waiting for lab results before any charges are filed. ...
Sources said a small amount of marijuana and tablets of Vicodin, a painkiller, were found in the car. A passenger in the car apparently told police at the scene that he had a legal prescription for the Vicodin, but it was not in his possession. Two other people in the car had the marijuana, according to sources.
No names have been released by the police officers in question. However, I got a tip from a reader when this happened a few days ago. I don't wish to sully anyone's name unnecessarily (nor does the Monroe News: check the reportedly-allegedly double burst of libel protection in the lead), but since this reader had the information on this the day of the incident I'm confident that he's right. So...
One of the guys in the car was Mario Manningham.
Okay. Okay. Okay. This is probably a pot bust and a first offense. He could even be the legal Vicodin guy -- he did have some surgery in the offseason. There's no way he gets in serious trouble for this if he's even in trouble. Maybe a slap on the wrist against Appalachian State, but nothing big. (Please?)
(Sidenote: A friend and I tried on our journalism hats and attempted to confirm this with the circuit court in question but since they haven't been charged with anything pending the results of the drug test they didn't have anything. My IRL information-gathering skills leave something to be desired.)
As above. I've mentioned this in passing before, but not explicitly: I'm editing and writing a large chunk of a new Michigan annual that's coming out this summer. (For an example of the general gist of things you can check out Maple Street's Here Come The Irish from last year; this is a Michigan version of that.) Anyway, the deadline on that is fast approaching and I'd like it to be very good, so I am temporarily redirecting most of my energies to that. So there will be no enormous diatribes, excessive previews of Northwestern, or cool charts in this space for the next week or two. I will get something up every day, if only so the commenters can have a place to discourse, but it'll be along the lines of the last couple days' activity.
After that I'll jump headlong into the previews and hammer out that tempo-free stats thing I mentioned during the season.
Update 4/30: Added VA WR Deion Walker, KY OL Ryan Benzick, IL OL Garrett Goebel, AZ OL Zach Schlinck, WV OL Josh Jenkins, OR DE Ethan Johnson (offered). Linked to articles on OH OL commit Elliot Mealer, GA DT Omar Hunter. Removed IL RB Jason Ford (M lack of interest). Linked to brief mention of possible M lead for IL LB Stephen Filer.
Am specifically leaving two guys off the board despite some announced interest: TX WR Sedrick Johnson claims a verbal offer from Michigan and has them in his top five, which he claims is in no order before talking all about how Texas A&M is highly likely to get him. CA RB Milton Knox says Michigan is in his top five; we haven't offered. If these guys appear to be serious targets later I'll add them.
Possible Programming Note: I throw these up whenever it seems there's enough links to make a post of interest, which seems to be about once a week. So why not make it a weekly feature? Henceforth I'll try to do these every Monday. I've been bad about hewing to schedules in the offseason, though. Will I make it? Perhaps!
Editorial Opinion: Possible M lead for blue-chippah Stephen Filer? w00t? NSFMF. This is the phrase from the Sun-Times article:
Filer, who impresses scouts with his great frame, enormous potential, running ability and good instincts, appears to be leaning to Michigan over Notre Dame, Ohio State, Illinois, Wisconsin, Purdue, Iowa and Minnesota.
Not exactly the strongest endorsement. Now consider that the only person quoted in the article is Creepy Tom Lemming, who never met a recruit he didn't have a baseless-but-profitable opinion on where he'll go, and add two and two to figure out the source of that really weak assertion and you get something that's not likely to be worth the paper a Terry Foster column is printed on. Too bad.
Many lineman names added to the board: OGs out of Arizona and Illinois (Michigan apparently offered Goebel and said "whatever you want"; given the relative depth at DL and OL I put him at OL), a DE out of Oregon, an OT/OG out of WV. None seem like particularly good bets to come to Michigan. Goebel's one of those Catholic school kids and is supposed to be leaning to ND. Arizona is far away, so is Oregon. Josh Jenkins, the WV kid, maintains that he's a soft commit to West Virginia and featured in a picture the Buckeyes are kicking around (one that, frustratingly, I can no longer find) spelling out "Ohio" with their three OL commits. But we offered him so there you go.
Just one other thing: OH TE Kevin Koger picked up a Michigan offer early and it was followed shortly by one from OSU. He's a childhood friend of OL commit Elliot Mealer and even the BP mods are beginning to see this one coming out in Michigan's favor:
I don't see us winning this one...just my humble opinion.
That's not solid, obviously, but those guys are plugged in and it takes some doing to get them to express anything resembling pessimism regarding Michigan after the past few years. I'm this close to breaking out the blue for him, but... no.
As you can probably see, the banner contest has come to its successful conclusion and the readers narrowly chose a continuation of the motif established by the now retired Breaston/Harmon banner. Your winner is Baxter Allen. Email has been dispatched and his victory post will come whenever he gets around to it.
(Note to a few readers who asked for a runoff: since almost all votes went to a subset of four banners and the runoff would have been around four, there didn't seem to be a point in going through with one.)
Many thanks to all those who submitted banners. If whim strikes me I may deploy one of the runners up (or Fred Simmons' underrated creation) from time to time.
Light posting today.
I'll take "more players with W" for 600. Woodson yesterday, Wheatley today. What happened to the electric speed in the NFL? One of the perpetual mysteries.
Pay that lawyer! How on earth did John Beilein squeeze out of 40% of his buyout? The wording on the contract seemed clear enough to me, though it didn't specify a payment schedule: 500k per year remaining on the contract. Somehow, Beilein managed to hack that down:
As a result, Beilein, now at Michigan, will have to pay only $1.5 million over the next five years.
"After very productive discussions with Bob Fitzsimmons ... we are pleased to have finalized the details related to Coach Beilein's departure from the university," Dorer said in the media release.
"Obviously, from the fact we reached an agreement, both parties wanted to move on and amicably resolve any issues."
Beilein will pay installments of $300,000 over the next five years to the West Virginia University Foundation. The first installment is due in April 2008 and the final one in April 2012, WVU said.
...and since he doesn't have to start paying until next year and has spread it out over five years, the present value of the money he has to pay out is something even lower than the 1.5 million. Plus, the fact that the money is specifically being donated to the "West Virginia University Foundation" makes one think that it may be classified as a tax-deductible donation. That's some good law-talking right there.
Oh, snap. I'm terribly sorry about that bolded section header. I am, truly. Anyway, graduating long snapper Turner Booth is probably going to get an NFL job because he's awesome at it:
A dozen or so NFL teams have expressed an interest, Booth said. ESPN's draft guide rates Booth as the top long snapper available. And his agent, who represents three of the league's long snappers, said his client has what it takes.
"I saw him snap this year and last year and thought he did an excellent job,'' said Kevin Gold, Booth's Harrisburg, Pa.-based agent. "He's also got the size NFL teams like.''
This can only mean that Michigan will dominate long snapper recruiting for the forseeable future. Watch out, USC!
I am writing this extremely coherent and awesome text message to you. No more hilarious abbreviations when discussing text messaging, which has been officially officially banned for, like, the sixth time. Coaches, naturally, are displeased...
Most coaches have expressed dismay over the loss of text messaging. The American Football Coaches Association beseeched the Division I Board to delay action and find a compromise. The AFCA didn't know the game already had been decided.
...and those who converse with them regularly are jumping aboard. Ivan Maisel:
So score one for the Luddites. The NCAA may have become an old man at the beach, bucket in hand, intent on holding back the tide of technology that has washed over modern life. Said [UF OC Dan] Mullen, "I have had a couple of recruits ask, 'How are we going to communicate?'"
Florida must be recruiting the best and brightest if they can't figure out how to scroll down to "Urban Meyer" and push the green button on their phone. Recruits have always been able to voluntarily initiate conversations -- why do you think so many text are dead period CALL ME NOWs? -- and the NCAA isn't changing that, they're just preventing the unchecked spread of irritating behavior. College head coaches have proven time and again that without regulation they are psycho hose beasts...
...with no use for decorum. (French!) No one is hurt by the text messaging ban. Recruits will no longer be reminded to go to school. They will still communicate with the universities that are recruiting them whenever they want. Coaches can stop getting carpal tunnel texting inanities and
spend some time with the family review more film. I guess Verizon is pissed, but whatever.
Ryan Mallett confirmed yesterday that after a bit of soul searching he had decided to return to the Univeristy of Michigan. Michigan fans can probably send their thank you cards to Ryan's high school coach Barry Norton.
Ryan's reconsideration has caused disagreement under his own roof. After meeting with Coach Norton, Ryan has decided Michigan is still his best bet.
If the response to this blog is any indication of how he was treated in Michigan, I can understand why he considered aborting his stay there after one trimester.
Bob Lichtenfels [Scout recruiting guru -ed] has also said that Toney Clemons was informed by Ryan himself that a transfer will not happen.
Hopefully this puts an end to the speculation.
Update: Varsity Blue also has a ton of pictures from the Spring Game.
That is all.
Wow. Wow. Ryan Mundy is no longer a member of the football team, something that's been known for a while now. But apparently he's trying to transfer and play at West Virginia under the now-repealed free graduate transfer program. So good for him. But... uh... this West Virginia newspaper article on the possibility... well, just read the crazy section for yourself:
Forget everything you've heard, read or been told about West Virginia's incoming recruiting class and who in it has the best chance of making an immediate impact.
They are all works in progress, every one of them with just as much potential to become the next Patrick White or the next Jason Gwaltney. Really, just flip a coin.
And, yes, that includes uber-recruit Noel Devine.
Well, then again, it includes everyone except one guy you may never have heard of.
Mundy can flat play. And if he gains the approval of the NCAA to do so â€” perhaps in the next few days â€” he will have an impact on WVU's depth chart the moment he puts on a Mountaineer uniform for the first time next fall.
And no, I haven't paid my $14.95 to take the written test and become a recruiting guru. (That is the only prerequisite, right?).
But a guy who started 18 games at free safety for Michigan will certainly jump into the mix for playing time just about anywhere he goes.
That seems... inaccurate.
He is prepared for Beckham-mania. SMQB points out the commitment of high school junior James Ferentz, Kirk's son, to the Iowa football program. While this would no normally register on a Michigan fan's radar, Ferentz is thought by many to be one of the prime candidates to replace Lloyd Carr when he retires in the near future. However, when your kid says this...
"I was probably always going to Iowa, but that point really hit home with me after the (2004) Penn State game - after my grandfather (Kirk's father) died," James said Wednesday. "That was a real emotional game for the whole family."
Iowa won that game 6-4 a day after John Ferentz's funeral - 137 miles from Penn State's Beaver Stadium.
"I remember after that game," James said, "looking at my mom and saying 'How can I play any place else?' "
...it seems doubtful that dad will go anywhere. Ferentz the elder already makes a ton of money at Iowa and enjoys a status he's unlikely to achieve anywhere else without an enormous run of luck. If Carr retires after this season, Michigan would hypothetically be able to lock up Ferentz before signing day and his son could follow him, but I doubt any offer we can make would cause him to relocate.
[Several man hours were spent attempting to fuse the younger Ferentz's fauxhawk with Iowa's "Hawkeyes" nickname for purposes of hilarity, but in the end there was only failure. We lost a lot of good men out there. -ed]
A long time ago a reader sent in a request for an update on the 2006 recruiting class and opinions on how they'll fare now that we've had a full season of internets scuttlebutt about them, and, hey, that's a good idea, so let's do it.
Brandon Graham. Similarities to Woodley's career are welcome: five star with a brief dalliance at linebacker who put on too much weight to play there effectively, starting as a sophomore, garnering plenty of hype along the way. A major reason not to panic about this year's defensive line.
Steve Schilling. Still presumed to be the favorite at RT despite his ongoing absence. Mark Ortmann might wrest it from him. But even to be in a battle at RT is a little victory for Schilling, since he's a bit short for tackle and for Michigan to leave him on the outside for reasons other than "oh god we have no tackles" -- which would only be the case if he was clearly behind Ortmann and Zirbel -- means that the guy is very likely for real.
Steve Brown. Impressive on kick coverage as a freshman and the projected starter next to Jamar Adams this fall. Everyone says he could be good and stuff, though Michigan's history with safeties makes me leery.
Justin Boren. First offensive lineman I can remember who didn't redshirt. Actually started a game when a couple interior linemen were injured. Carr's basically announced he will be the starting center this fall. Definitely on a stardom track.
Greg Mathews. Assuming the problems at fullback and tight end make the third wide receiver a functional starter even if the ceremonial role goes to Helmuth or Moundros or whoever, Mathews will be in the lineup as a true sophomore. He didn't do a whole lot last year but did have a few nice catches. After spending the entire spring as Henne's #1 option, should have a comfort level with the quarterback; seems poised for an Avant-like career.
Jonas Mouton. A hair's breadth away from the first category, Mouton moved from safety to weakside linebacker and has been generating nonstop hype since. Did well in the spring game and will challenge Chris Graham for the starting job this fall.
Brandon Minor. Zipped past Grady and Brown; now favorite to start in '08.
Adam Patterson. Probably should have taken a redshirt last year, instead burned a year of eligibility for a few garbage snaps. Has received extensive praise for his athleticism, though he's likely stuck behind Jamison and Graham for the next two years.
Obi Ezeh. Has moved past everyone in his eligibility band except Mouton and now seems the odds-on favorite to replace Crable next year on the strong side. Another instate find for the coaching staff.
John Ferrara. Classic pre-Branch Michigan defensive lineman: mildly undersized white kid who works ass off. Has worked ass off so far and is getting moderate amounts of practice buzz. Doubt he's ever a killer, but a probable contributor who might start in a couple years.
Carlos Brown. If he sticks with Michigan will be in a battle with Minor to back up Hart this year and will be one of three juniors vying to replace him next year. Probably the fastest back Michigan has but was buried last year. Will have to improve quickly to play consistently.
Ask Again Later
David Cone. We all hope and pray Cone does not take a meaningful snap in his career. No offense, David, but Mallett and all that.
Greg Banks. Three-star Colorado defensive end redshirted; the rumor mill has been silent except some scattered work-ethic praise. Still developing. Unlikely to ever be a star, may find a Biggs career in there somewhere.
Jason Kates. Hasn't really done anything to warrant hype but did drop from 352 pounds to 318 in a matter of months. Rivals and Scout had vastly different assessments of the defensive tackle based on projections of his work ethic. Scout, thinking he would eat Gabe Watson and turn into Peter Griffin, gave him two stars. Rivals gave him four based on his ability to move despite being ginorbous. He fell in both sites' estimation after a lackluster senior year in which he was, well, 352 freakin' pounds and damn lazy because of it. Before that nastiness he was a top-100 kid to both sites who picked up four BCS offers as a sophomore. So if he's no longer fat and lazy the flier Michigan took on him may just work out.
Perry Dorrestein. Have heard zero.
Cobrani Mixon. Was nowhere to be found during the spring game. Cincinnati transfer rumors are flying a la Mister Simpson. [update: commenters say he was present. I must have missed him. In any case, he was not running with either of the top two units.]
Bryan Wright. It seemed that KC Lopata was the first string kicker at the spring game. Wright missed a short chip shot and was just short on a 56-yarder. He obviously has a big leg but didn't look particularly inspiring in action.
Quintin Patilla. Patilla was the recruit with the famously Mallett-shredded gloves. He was a wide receiver then. When he committed he was a linebacker. Now he's a fullback. At this rate he'll be a defensive tackle next year, Aaron Gibson in 2009, and collapse into a neutron star in 2010. I guess you can argue that the severe lack of depth at fullback means the move might not bode so unwell for his future, but the position has long been the repository of outcasts incapable of hacking it elsewhere on the field.
Quintin Woods. Not in school. Carr said he might arrive in the fall, but no word has come down. Highly unlikely to ever put on a Michigan uniform.
Caution should be exercised, as it's this point at which a recruiting class is most vulnerable to severe hope-based overrating. Many players have shown potential and are poised to move into the starting lineup early in their careers but none have been on the field long enough to expose whatever flaws they have.
That said, the '06 class looks to be a very good one. The stars are all on track to live up to their ratings. A few players appear to be outperforming their rankings (Ferrara, Minor, Ezeh, and possibly Kates) and only Mixon is a highly-rated player who finds himself struggling. (Maybe you could lump Brown in there if you're so inclined.) Attrition has been minimal. So... like, good.
Mas youtube. A couple old school Michigan bowl game highlight reels showed up in recent days. There's the 1986 Fiesta Bowl against Nebraska:
This one's before my time. It's remarkable to see Jamie Morris in all his not-pudgy glory. I'm mostly used to him wandering around hockey games, being subject to the perpetual "Ja-mie Morr-is" cheer I imagine follows him everywhere.
There is also the not-particularly-old-school '99 Citrus versus Arkansas:
(Suck it, Mallett rumormongerers!)
Say what? This blog has absolutely nothing against former Michigan quarterback Matt Gutierrez, who stuck it out behind Henne until his desire to play overwhelmed his fondness for the university and he transferred to I-AA Idaho State. But assertions like those proffered by the creepily-named Bob Cook...
Detroit would be better off drafting someone like Adams, the sort of speed-rushing end that would fit perfectly in coach Rod Marinelli's version of his old boss Tony Dungy's Tampa-2 defense. Then it could look lower in the draft for another intriguing prospect, Michigan State's Drew Stanton or Gutierrez, an Idaho State quarterback who is being compared to Tom Brady for more than just being of similar size and race.
Like Brady, Gutierrez struggled early to get playing time in college at Michigan. Unlike Brady, Gutierrez, who lost his starting job to Chad Henne after getting hurt, decided to transfer. Gutierrez is 6-foot-4, 232 pounds and raw, but a good choice for a team that isn't looking for someone to be anointed a savior.
...are mystifying at best. Gutierrez was not even the second-best quarterback in his I-AA conference last year -- he was honorable mention All Big Sky -- and threw 14 interceptions to just 16 touchdowns. While I hope he does well in the NFL, bringing him up as a Tom Brady comparable is preposterous and only serves to reinforce the myth that Brady was somehow gypped out of Michigan's starting job by a tin-eared coaching staff.
In other Gutierrez news, the Ann Arbor News has an article on him that only reinforces this blog's lingering fondess for the guy.
Final CSB. The NHL's Central Scouting Bureau has released its final rankings. Players of note:
- #16 Max Pacioretty.
- #90 Ben Winnett
- #101 Aaron Palushaj
- #121 Louie Caporusso
- #134 Tristin Llewellyn
- #167 Matt Rust
- #18 Goalie Bryan Hogan.
The CSB segregates North American and Euro skaters, so Pacioretty is probably a late first-round or early-second round pick and you can slide the rest of the rankees down a couple rounds. The CSB's also notorious for underrating college-bound and small players, so Winnett, Caporusso, and Rust may be drafted higher than their rankings might imply.
Overall, the incoming class seems to be mostly in an NCAA sweet spot much like that occupied by TJ Hensick. The aforementioned three smallish centers are all offensively skilled players who should be successful on the collegiate level without drawing a ton of attention from the NHL. If Michigan can pick up a few one- or two-year stars in the next couple classes Michigan should be able to take a serious run at a national championship (if the goaltending and defense works itself out).
One downer: Llewellyn has been on a steady downswing since his early commitment. When he was offered and committed to Michigan a few years ago he was thought to be an obvious first round pick. Obviously, that hasn't come to pass. His development has stalled and he's fallen into the middle rounds of the draft. He still has the size and skating ability to be a good NHLer, but there's something missing that we might get intimately and frustratingly familiar with during his years at Michigan. Also, Hogan's rating as the #18 NA goalie doesn't seem to represent a Sauer-killer who will come in and wrest the job from Mr. Soft Goal In Critical Situation.
Thanks, I guess? SI's Luke Winn places John Beilein #1 amongst coaches who should be cut some slack in their early years on the job, then provides a "realistic tournament timetable" of 2009, which means Winn thinks he should be cut slack for exactly one year. Thanks for nothing, says Beilein.
I don't wish to rip unduly on Winn, as the article is a good one. Dude did his homework:
This isn't the equivalent of switching a football team from the Single Wing to the West Coast Offense, but consider Beilein's victory formula at WVU featured three things: A precision, perimeter-based offense that includes scores of strangely named plays like Double Quickie Potato; a heavier reliance on the three-point shot than 332 of the 336 Division I teams (42.4 percent of West Virginia's points came on treys in '06-07); and a 1-3-1 zone that forced steals on 12.5 percent of possessions last season, good for 23rd in the nation.
(I thought to myself "these have to be Kenpom stats" when he dropped them and indeed they were, as he mentioned kenpom later in the article, but there was no link to them. I would suggest in the future providing direct links to the source of the killer and interesting information you're providing. Note that Simmons has started linking out frequently on his "basketball blog," something that is so much like a blog in tone, content, and linking that I should really drop the scare quotes.)
The persistent Ryan Mallett transfer rumors -- which, to my knowledge, have no backing and make no sense -- threaten to burst into mainstream echo-chambering with this blog post from a Texarkana radio host:
Sportsdate 4 - 23 - 2007
This much we know for sure, Ryan Mallet is back home in Texarkana. He completed his first trimester at Michigan and returned home, but which move he makes next on the dance floor has many in Texarkana wondering.
I feel comfortable in stating that Ryan was not enjoying his time in Ann Arbor. ... Many of us are curious where he will end up playing his college football.
The observant will immediately note several things that bring the validity of these assertions into serious question:
- Mallett's name ain't "Mallet."
- Michigan doesn't have trimesters.
- TheAuthorThinks... he's... Captain... JamesTKirkWithThe... whole... "Sportsdate"thingSPOCK!
I usually ignore rumors I can't comment on or believe to be false because the whole pernicious internet rumor thing people always complain about is a real phenomenon. Like many legendary monsters -- the hydra, vampires, Howard Stern -- sometimes attempting to strike down a rumor only makes it stronger. But since this one involves people from Arkansas, and if we've learned one thing in the past year it's that people in Arkansas think "reality" is a type of TV show, I figure it can't hurt.
I don't have super secret info that says he's going to stay; I do know that much of the to-do is dubiously sourced but relentlessly repeated by a couple of Arkansas message board posters. It seems to be gaining traction much like "Head On" did, but there is little substance behind them. There is much circumstantial evidence against it:
- Michigan quarterbacks play in the NFL. So do Arkansas quarterbacks... at wide receiver.
- Mallett has a one-year wait and a guaranteed three-year job at Michigan.
- Houston Nutt's job status is insecure, to put it mildly.
- I'm not exactly sure about this because of Mallett's early-enroll status, but I believe if Michigan wants to hold Mallett to his LOI (not that he actually signed one -- I sent an email to the NLI board to see if he's considered bound by it anyway) they can force him to sit out not one but two years in the event of a transfer.
(Michigan fans may remember Joe Crawford's near-transfer to MSU, which was kiboshed when Kentucky refused to let him out of his obligation to spend a full year at UK and threatened to extract the full two years of penance from him. I would expect Michigan to do the same in the unlikely event these Arkansasians have a nugget of truth in their ball of (probable) crap, since most recruits from his signing year haven't even reached campus yet.)
Is Mallett going to transfer away from a guaranteed starting job to go to a neanderthal offense run by a man under fire from a preposterous fanbase? Is he going to do that if Michigan refuses to release him? Highly doubtful.
Anyone still harboring doubt? These are Arkansas fans:
Spring such and such for Michigan's most important 2007 opponents happened over the weekend. A recap!
I am of the opinion that when your fourth-string quarterback is the most impressive passer at your spring game, you might have issues. Anthony Morelli didn't play much; when he did BSD fill-in The Nittany Line didn't sound impressed. Neither did he endorse Austin Scott, who came to Penn State with a barrel of hype four years ago and has one good game against Florida State to show for it. He's the starter by default but...
Scott averaged 4.1 yards per carry on 13 carries but didn't really show me anything. He looked like he got to the corner pretty quick but I think he still tends to "dance" a bit when he should be burring his head and getting the extra yard. That may be an unfair assessment since I'm used to seeing Tony Hunt, the human plow, take tacklers head on. Like Mike thought, we didn't really get a chance to see Scott's blocking ability and that is probably his biggest weakness up to this point.
The wide receivers didn't show much that was unexpected. They're all decent enough but uninspiring. Sophomore Chris Bell had an impressive spring and should find himself featured at some point. He has something -- size -- that PSU's current cast of mighty mites lacks. Derrick Williams has not deviated from his distinctively Breastonian career path thus far.
Defense: Irritatingly, it appears that Chris Rogers -- a Pennsylvania native who transferred from Michigan after a redshirt year claiming homesickness -- is going to start at defensive end. Rogers either has rich or annoyed parents, since Big Ten rules prohibit Penn State from giving an intra-conference transfer any scholarship money.
The second corner is probably going to be AJ Wallace. We might be catching him at a vulnerable point:
Wallace got burned a couple of times last year in coverage, and JoePa's comments about Wallace in the pre-game presser are not especially encouraging: "When he's healthy, he's a very gifted athlete. [My only criticism is] every once in a while, he's a little loosey-goosey out there. When you're playing corner, loosey-goosey could be six points." Uh, no kidding.
BSD echoes that assessment:
A.J. seemed a tad lost a couple times I watched him, but he also showed me some really good recovery speed. I think it's only a matter of experience before Wallace fulfills the potential he came to PSU with.
Wallace was a fairly shirtless recruit a couple years ago and Justin King is a potential All-American (argh), but if Wallace is "loosey-goosey" and we manage to get Manningham lined up across from him great success could be in the offing.
Reading way too much into assessments of meaningless spring games that themselves read way too much into meaningless spring games: Nothing of note happened in the Penn State spring. Morelli's the starting quarterback, there are major questions on the offensive line and in the person of talented but enigmatic Austin Scott. The defense projects to be at least pretty good, though they'll need someone to step forward on the line. No information was gathered on that project.
A similar situation: the big star of the spring game was someone called "Junior Jabbie," a man who sounds like the hero of a low-rent 80s-era knockoff arcade game, and his 87 rushing yards on 13 carries. I don't know if Jabbie's performance highlighted the absurdity of trying to draw conclusions from any spring game or what, because no Irish blogger bothered to say anything substantive. Rakes: nothing. HRB: nothing. Irish Roundtable: nothing. BGS: skepticism about the coming Jabbie era but little else about actual on-field events. A 10-6 victory where the only touchdowns come from a badly overthrown interception return and a wounded duck from a hit-while-throwing Demetrius Jones tends to mute enthusiasm.
I did find some impressions from the obscurer sections of Notre Dame blogdom, though not many. "Her Loyal Sons" says Jimmah looked good:
Our reporter K-man's opinion was that Jimmy Clausen looked the most comfortable under center, and that Demetrius and Frazer looked decidedly uncomfortable. Take one man's opinion on 'comfort level' with a grain of salt, but it's pretty telling that he felt the other two big QB recruits didn't even look comfortable let alone efficient or good.
The blog arm of UNHD says not so fast:
Quarterbacks weren't overly impressive. Jones fumbled (which his team recovered) and had a pick returned for a touchdown, Frazer threw a pick, Sharpley fumbled (which he also didn't lose), and Clausen missed some receivers.
Sharpley had the best command of the offense and moved the chains the best of the four.
When Jimmah was given the opportunity to win the dang game, results weren't good:
And with two minutes left in the game, with the Blue trailing 10-6, Clausen took the field with a chance to wow the sun-drenched crowd. Instead the sequence went: Travis Thomas four-yard run, incomplete pass to John Carlson in traffic, an intentional throwaway under pressure that looked like it was intended for Parseghian, an offensive pass-interference penalty and an incomplete pass to Robby Parris on fourth-and-21.
No quarterback did well. Clausen was 3 of 7 for 23 yards. Jones was 3-6 and threw a pick six. Sharpley was 5 of 7 for 31 yards but was sacked for negative 39. Zach Frazer threw four passes; the only one that was caught was intercepted. Between both teams Notre Dame chose to run the ball 54 times to just 24 passes.
But never fear! Some commenters pointed out this Wayne Drehs article from ESPN.com:
Freshman quarterback Jimmy Clausen's play was, well, unremarkable. Which is just the way Charlie Weis wanted it.
Coming from Wayne Drehs in November: "Charlie Weis, the iconoclast genius, has discovered a way for Notre Dame to cease extending its bowl losing streak: fail to qualify for one. Yes, it's all going to plan for the only man to set foot on the moon... with his mind!"
Reading way too much into assessments of meaningless spring games that themselves read way too much into meaningless spring games: The quarterback competition will go into the fall. Given how the offensive line got overrun in pass protection against a defensive line that has very little talent (according to recruiting gurus, at least), the run-pass ratio Weis broke out in the spring game might not be far off from the one deployed during the year.
I talked with Vijay about this a bit: it's amazing how crap Ohio State's quarterback recruiting has been over the past few years.
- 2007: no recruits.
- 2006: Antonio Henton, a three star who was Rivals #9 "dual-threat QB" and only the 25th best recruit in Georgia. Committed to OSU over Illinois, Maryland, and Louisville.
- 2005: Rob Schoenhoft. Four-star who was Rivals' #6 pro-style QB. Committed to OSU over Michigan.
- 2003: Todd Boeckman, a three-star and Rivals #19 pro-style QB. Committed to OSU over Pitt and Maryland.
That doesn't look too bad -- a little thin, but not awful -- until you consider the strange case of Schoenhoft. He's 6'5" and apparently a camp superstar. He had an impressive ranking from Rivals and some nice offers, but some seriously strange high school statistics. As a junior he completed 37% of his passes. As a senior he was better but only slightly, completing 45%. What's the deal? EDSBS picked up a report from a Buckeye that pieces the puzzle together:
Who will replace Troy Smith? ... Not Rob Schoenhoft. God, he sucks. Think "Sexy Rexy," but without the talent. Fuck it. He's throwing downfield, and by God, it will leave his hand at mach 8.
Michigan and OSU offered him on the basis of a big arm and prototype size; Schoenhoft has little else. Henton is black and short and is thus universally compared to Troy Smith. Does anyone remember how bad Troy Smith was early in his career? Yeah...
Henton did have a very Smith-esque game, going 8/16 for 40 yards, 3 picks, and 2 fumbles.
Zounds! Buckeye Commentary has some impressions of his own. Sounds similar to the Michigan spring along the lines: starters are being held out and the projected first string defensive line is dominating the backups. From the sounds of it Boeckman is solid but uninspiring, a Krenzel type.
Reading way too much into assessments of meaningless spring games that themselves read way too much into meaningless spring games: Boeckman starter. If he sucks or is injured OSU is in deep trouble. No conclusions can be drawn about the defense given the QB situation and the absence of non-Maurice Wells tailbacks, but most of those guys return so it should be about the same. Expect Ohio State to revert to Tresselball this year. Chris Wells is going to get run ragged, the special teams and defense will be good to infuriating, etc, etc.
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