"The face of the operation is Briatore (referred to exclusively in the film by his colleagues and angry, chanting detractors as "Flavio"), an anthropomorphic radish who spends most of his time at QPR plotting to fire all of the managers."
Lines. Here are a bunch of Vegas lines, all of which are unfriendly to Michigan:
- vs Notre Dame –2.5
- @ Michigan State –4
- vs Penn State –5
- @ Illinois –7
- vs Ohio State –6
Notre Dame is a touchdown favorite over Michigan State despite State's recent ownage in South Bend. This has given Jamie happy pants.
(HT: Get The Picture.)
A tempo-free start. Texas blog Barking Carnival has put together a listing of teams by "pace," which is a concept unfamiliar in football but should be known to all who have heard me rail on about how Ken Pomeroy is an American hero. It's basically the number of possessions in a game. Adjusting for that can radically change perceptions of who is best and by how much:
As we move forward, one important thing to keep an eye on is that according to the standard per game stats, which are of course all that most “analysts” are able to wrap their heads around, Oklahoma’s offense was just over 37% more effective in Big 12 games than our offense was. It’s hard to argue that they were better according to raw numbers, but 37%? Sounds crazy. …
Here we can see that Oklahoma’s offense is now rated a more reasonable shade under 11% better than Texas’ offense. And whereas Texas’ defensive advantage was nearly 27% it is now just over 8% in the new analysis.
Oklahoma's offense wasn't that much more efficient, it just moved at warp speed.
Notes on the national list:
- Unsurprisingly, spread teams Oklahoma, Oregon, Houston, Troy, and Rice played the most possession-intensive games of anyone last year. Most of the top 20 are pass-oriented spread teams.
- Gus Mahlzahn and his Ludicrous Speed offense was tenth.
- Michigan was middle of the pack at 47; West Virginia was 69th.
- Interesting teams towards the bottom: Virginia Tech (118), Ohio State (117), Georgia (111), Iowa (108), Alabama(107), and Florida (106). There does not appear to be much correlation between pace and excellence.
It's a good start, but there are a lot of limitations to the study. KenPom adjusts his official pace measures by the pace of your opponents. That corrects for situations like playing Northwestern's basketball team a lot. This study doesn't have it. Also, there's no shot clock in football* and game situations dictate hurrying up or slowing down depending on who's in the lead, so one reason you might find a bunch of good teams at the bottom is their ability to get in front and then boa constrictor the life out of a game.
I'm working on getting a comprehensive play database from Bill Connolly of Football Outsiders, and when I get that my first priority is to put together offensive and defensive rankings by drive efficiency instead of raw yardage.
*(There is a play clock but here we're looking one level higher.)
Sad Pandas. It's been a bad week for the Feagin clan. Justin, of course, got the boot from Michigan for reasons unspecified. His uncle is in much, much deeper trouble:
Meanwhile, Steven Feagin, who played at another Big Ten school, the University of Illinois, stands accused of breaking into a woman's home in Pompano Beach, knocking her out with a chemical, then raping her twice.
By no means do I want to imply that Justin's thing was anything similar, or try to draw some link between the two. It's just… it's just a bad week for Feagins, is all. Poor mom.
(HT: Big House Blog.)
Come on down. Er, up. Memphis SF Casey Prather, one of two plan A wings Michigan is pursuing fervently, should be taking an official visit this fall. Rivals' Jerry Meyer:
Michigan is very much in the running for Prather, who recently had a strong showing in the adidas Super 64 event. There is talk that Prather might visit Michigan the second week in September for the Notre Dame football game, but those plans have not been finalized yet. Regardless, Michigan is expected to get a visit from Prather. … Prather is intrigued by the opportunity for immediate playing time at Michigan.
Securing Prather would go a long way towards crushing this blog's previous skepticism about Beilein's ability to recruit at a Big Ten championship level. Also: the Trey Zeigler rumblings have shifted towards Central Michigan, where his dad coaches. Rumblings subject to change, as per usual.
Etc.: AnnArbor.com is actually linking out. The homepage needs the equivalent of radioactivity something fierce, though. Yost and Crisler lookin' swanky. Texas Monthly explains the Longhorn money machine.
Terry Talbott recently took a trip up to Michigan with his brother Terrence. Terry is a smallish defensive tackle prospect (video), while his brother is a defensive back prospect. Both are out of Huber Heights, Ohio, the same town that boasts 2011 QB prospect Braxton Miller.
If their names aren't confusing enough, Terry is about 100 pounds heavier than Terrence, and uses that to his advantage. Here's how they felt about their trip, and the wrestling moves Terry uses against his brother.
TOM: I want to get the first question out of the way, it’s probably the most important question. You're quite a bit bigger than your brother Terrence, do you ever use that to your advantage; tease him ever, abuse your weight advantage?
TERRY: All the time, ya know, when we play around and we wrestle sometimes. I just come up to him, and we play around. I don’t use my weight to sit on him, or anything. Just mostly when we play around with everybody else, I try to use my weight to my advantage.
TOM: You just went up to Michigan for a visit. Tell me how everything went, you went with your brother, I guess if you can speak for him too, just tell me how everything went, who you talked to, and everything you saw.
TERRY: We talked to some of the coaches, and we went around campus, and we just went around the football stadium. We saw where all the academics are. We both really liked it because we went through a lot of the drills too. The coaches taught us some things that we both can use when we play, to make us a better player. It was real nice.
TOM: You were offered before this visit right?
TOM: Terrence was offered during the visit, or after?
TERRY: I think it was after the visit.
TOM: Tell me a little about what they liked about, and what they liked about your brother. How you can fit into the defense that they were talking about.
TERRY: I guess they were saying I need to work more on the technique, and they want to make both of us better players.
TOM: I know you play defensive tackle right now for your high school, but you’re a little bit smaller for defensive tackle in college. Did they say you have a chance to move over to defensive end, or do they want you to stay at defensive tackle?
TERRY: I’m not too sure.
TOM: What prompted this visit, it seems kind of like you came out of nowhere. Was there always interest in Michigan, or was this an on the whim decided to come up and visit?
TERRY: It’s just one place that I’ve always wanted to see, it’s the Big House. Everyone knows what the Big House is, so we wanted to come in and see what it looked like. I’ve heard a lot about Michigan, so I just wanted to see for myself.
TOM: What other visits have you taken, and how does this one compare? I read that you went to Wisconsin, just talk about how that compared to that visit, and maybe some others you’ve taken.
TERRY: I liked both of them; they’re all different places. The facilities, they have a little more with facilities than Wisconsin. I liked Wisconsin too, but that was the main difference about everything. The stadium is bigger, that’s how everything is.
TOM: With your brother, you guys are going on some visits together, are you guys going to end up being a package deal, with where you end up going to school?
TERRY: We’re going to try to see if we can do that, we’re going to try to see if we can go together, but you never know what can happen. What if he goes to some school that I’m not really interested in, and I go to a school that he’s not interested in. That is one of the things we would like to do, it’s always been the dream for me and him to be on the same team, not just for him, but for my mom.
TOM: Yeah, you mentioned your mom there. Is distance going to be a factor? You hope to have your family be able to come watch you in person?
TERRY: That’s one of the things we’ve been thinking about too. I mean, she really wants us to get out of Ohio. So just find somewhere to get out, so that’s not really a problem.
TOM: When you were on your visit, did you get a chance to meet with Mike Barwis, or hear any stories about him?
TERRY: I think I saw him, but I haven’t heard a lot of stories.
TOM: When do you see yourself making a decision, do you think you’re going to wait awhile and take all your visits?
TERRY: Yes sir, that’s what I’m going to do. Wait awhile and take all my visits, and then I’m going to see what’s going to happen.
TOM: What other visits do you plan on taking, or do you want to take?
TERRY: I’ll try to go see some like UCLA, in California, I’ve never been to California before. Kentucky, and Arkansas, just a couple of them come to mind. I’m not really sure which ones I’m going to take yet.
So I posted up a press release that was sent to me and various other folks by the AAGO, the entity that is in charge of the golf course and the parking therein. In it, the Powers That Be make some mumbles about listening to the protest and complaints from people who've been tailgating at the same spot since time began…
"We appreciate the time and effort that a number of people have taken to ask for reconsideration due to their desire to remain in private parking areas where they can be with the longtime friends and colleagues," said Larry Eiler, chairman of AAGO parking.
…and then immediately dispel any lingering hopes you might have that they actually gave a crap:
"We are disappointed at the decision of patrons to disagree with the new regulations, which were made for safety concerns."
Mmmm that's tasty public relations.
Before all this came down, I attempted to commit an act of journalism by reaching out to Eiler. We eventually settled on some emailed questions, the gist of which boiled down to "people have complained and we will make an announcement." The tone of the conversation was similar to the above:
It interests me that everyone just ignores the serious safety issue posed by people who place tents, cookers, tables, chairs, games in the manner shown in the photos attached from last year's M State game.
The following photos from second fairway 08 MSU game. They thus occupy ingress and egress routes for emergency vehicles and create an unsafe environment.
This is the "serious safety issue":
I guess if someone had a major medical issue it would be difficult for them to get out, and according to a commenter on the press release there have been some recent incidents:
Apparently, within the past couple years, there has been at least one heart attack and one broken leg on the course during football saturday tailgates. I guess some dude was tossing a football around and ran off the top side of a steep fairway bunker and fractured his leg. The emergency services took a long time to make it back to the scene due to the parking situation. If it had been a broken neck, the guy likely would have died.
Not sure about details on the heart attack, except the guy was closer to the front and managed to walk to the clubhouse.
The police, insurance company, worried board members, all felt that it was necessary to prevent any potential future disasters by ensuring that there are clear paths for emergency vehicles to enter.
So the canopy thing, whatever. Be stricter about clearing some aisleways, sure. It's a litigious country. I wish we lived in a place where you just sort of accepted "hey if I keel over on this golf course during a tailgate there's a slightly reduced chance I make it." We don't. I think the safety thing is a pretty silly mandate but silly mandates are par for the course (HA! I kill me!) when suin' looms.
However, I fail to see what this has to do with not reserving spots. Everyone ignores the serious safety issue posed by people who place tents and whatnot everywhere because they don't care about the rule change associated with it. No one has complained about the canopy thing. They do not care. They care an awful lot about having their tailgate disrupted.
A lot of people cared enough about it to raise a stink; if you just got over yourself and sat down with them there was an opportunity to work something out. One idea off the cuff: sell season passes in certain areas that can be revoked if the parking there ends up unsafe. Sell specific—specifically orderly—spots. Everyone wins.
Instead no one wins. There was an opportunity to make a little more money and keep the people who really care about this happy, and it was condescendingly rejected. The main reason appears to be that the tailgaters got too outraged and accused the AAGO of being money-grubbing so-and-sos. In response the AAGO said "well, I never" and lifted their noses skyward, refusing to… gah… parley with those ruffians.
The AAGO leadership failed spectacularly here. Kevin Werner on AnnArbor.com:
"It's a shame - a real shame that the traditions of hundreds and relationships of many and a special aspect of this community is giving way to stubbornness."
Postscript. The most unbelievable part of all this is that all of the emails from Eiler come from "Larry Eiler PR." The guy runs a public relations firm. PROTIP: you should not hire it any circumstances whatsoever.
Stupid being correct:
UConn has reached an agreement with Michigan on a home-and-home series that will see the Huskies travel to Ann Arbor in 2010 and the Wolverines head to Rentschler Field in 2013, according to sources with knowledge of the negotiations.
Well, at least it's not a MAC school, but if Michigan was going to give up a home game I'd rather seem them play someone more interesting.
(That's Henri, The Otter of Ennui, by the way. Wave all you want: he doesn't care.)
Pull the string on a person with a dumb idea about Rich Rodriguez's job security and you will hear a variety of talking points parroted back to you, perhaps the dumbest of which is that Rodriguez "doesn't fit in" with the old bluehairs that secretly run the athletic department and probably the world. Rodriguez will fit in just fine as long as he wins, thanks much.
90% of the stuff used to put forth this viewpoint is silly at best. For example, someone not named Rodriguez assigned freshman cornerback JT Floyd the #1, which had just been endowed by Braylon Edwards for a non-freshman receiver who had earned the number. Braylon chose to mention this in a newspaper article instead of over the phone, an infinitesimal scandal transpired, and Floyd was given a different number. BFD unless you're a person with a dumb idea about Rich Rodriguez, in which case it must be mentioned in every one of your articles for the Bleacher Report or Detroit Free Press. The only changes Rodriguez has made to Michigan's traditions have been to add Team Walks To The Stadium and Hype Video to the pregame dossier, which fine. Hype Video is a huge missed opportunity to have three seniors say "the team, the team, the team" instead of "I am Michigan" but it's okay.
This, however, would suck:
“I think nowadays when people are coming to games they want entertainment,” Rodriguez said. “Obviously playing good football’s the best form of entertainment, but what else are you doing to get the crowd into the game and have it be a part of the game as opposed to just being there?”
Rodriguez said fans won’t see many noticeable changes this year.
“It’s a process,” he said. “It’s not going to happen overnight.”
But in the works are things like making “the band and the students and some music” more a part of the gameday experience.
The band and some music? Does the band not play music? If you prick them, do they not play "Let's Go Blue"? This addendum can only mean one thing:
…One of the most powerful things that forges a fan community is the shared culture that naturally arises when you can say things like "one second left against Penn State" and know that the person you're talking to is thinking and feeling the exact same thing you are. It sets the group apart. This apart-ness is fundamental to the passion sports fans experience: it's us and them, and the more us our us is and the more them their them is, the more important the thing beneath us seems.
Michigan has a lot of culture. That, fundamentally, is its main asset. From that culture flows the passion, and from that passion flows the money. Part of that culture is a public address announcer who embodies neutral gravitas. Part of it is the lack of advertising in the stadium. And part of that is the way the game is presented inside the stadium, with no "NoISe!!!" signs or plastic chariots or electromagic Spartys with frickin' eye lasers.
I like it like that. I like my church with incense and deceased Jesus, my Christmas carols by Bing Crosby, and my Michigan Stadium without frickin' eye lasers.
This was in March. He keeps talking about it. This aggression will not stand. Could someone call up Braylon so he can talk about it in the newspaper?
I have been to places, yes I have. And I can tell you that everywhere I go the blaring of extremely bad music at extreme levels of volume does nothing to pump up the crowd. Case in point: Joe Louis Arena, home to extremely loud, extremely bad music at every stoppage in play. Also home to perhaps the worst crowd in the NHL. Contrast: Yost Ice Arena, where the only sounds are from the band and the PA announcer. Yost has about the best crowd in sports, adjusted for size. I've been to Auburn and Michigan State and Penn State and Illinois and Ohio State and Northwestern and there is a direct correlation between piped-in music and crappy, chintzy game experience. There is none between it and a fired-up, intimidating crowd.
So, hey, relevant. The Michigan Marching Band is looking for a new thing to play between the third and fourth quarters and is looking for suggestions, if you're interested. I'm thinking of putting together a poll once the thread runs its course with the things that seem to make the most sense, so get your good suggestions in now. My obvious suggestion: Hawaiian War Chant, which has been overlooked far too long.
Except. There is one thing I'd like to see change as far as music at Michigan Stadium goes: turn the band up to 11. At certain spots in the stands, especially the far corner on the pressbox side, the band is nearly inaudible. Mic them up and make sure the entire stadium can hear it.
While we're making it rain. Michigan checks in #4 in overall athletic department lucre. The top ten:
|2nd||Ohio State||$117,953,712||Big Ten|
|6th||Penn State||$91,570,233||Big Ten|
|10th||Oklahoma State||$88,554,438||Big 12|
Texas and Ohio State continue their runaway status as 1-2. Texas's spot at the top of the list is pretty obvious since, IIRC, the Big 12's television revenue is extremely unbalanced and Texas, as the flagship school not located in a tiny state where the only thing to buy is John Deere equipment, is the major beneficiary of the current system.
But I've always been curious where the Ohio State revenue gap comes from. The Big Ten splits all TV and bowl revenue right down the middle, so the only differences can come in stadium gates and sheer sport quantity. (For instance: I'm guessing the Michigan hockey team rakes in most of the difference between Michigan and Penn State by itself.) Ohio State does support a huge number of sports, but I don't think the crew teams or whatever at the tail end of OSU's athletic department bring in a million between them, let alone 18. And Ohio State's stadium is considerably smaller than Michigan Stadium.
OSU's visual cacophony of in-stadium advertising is no doubt part of the gap. The rest of it is probably luxury boxes and primo seating; I'll be interested to see what the numbers look like in two years when Michigan's suite spigot is turned on.
If you're curious as to the per-school average for BCS conferences:
- Big Ten: $76.4 million
- SEC: $71.1 million
- Big 12: $66.5 million
- Pac-10: $58.7 million
- ACC: $54.1 million
- Big East (football schools only): $45.5 million
Someone hide this from Clay Travis*: even when the SEC nuclear bomb contract goes into effect—which adds 60 million-ish per year—the Big Ten teams will still be ahead on total revenue. Not that this will stop the avalanche of OMG SEC FINANCIAL DOMINATION stories.
*(Who has a wikipedia page? WTF?)
Fire this woman immediately. Here's Pat Forde on something called "First Take." As it is on ESPN, it contains no information, but holy hotpants you might want to watch through the Michigan segment, which is right after the ND opener:
I quote this woman now. I quote her:
"They want to get the 'woof, woof' back at the Dawg Pound, back at the Wolverine house, the Big House."
LADY DOES THIS LOOK LIKE A DOG TO YOU?
SERIOUSLY. ARE YOU UNDER THE IMPRESSION THIS IS A DOG?
Hey, guess what sort of values we're talking about. Got it in zero. Good job. Mark Ortmann on the offensive line departures:
"They're leaving for all the wrong reasons," Ortmann said of the Wolverine quitters from the interior line. "They're making false accusations. I got along with Boren, (Grand Haven's Dann) O'Neill and Kurt. But I don't understand where they're coming from.
"The family values at Michigan are there. That's not a question in anyone's mind. So for them to come out and make those accusations is not fair to anyone."
I don't think did O'Neill said anything other than "I'm a better fit at Western," but take that you other guys. Take that.
This is all pretty pointless since apparently it will be announced in a week or so anyway, but dammit I'm interested and given the message board it appears so is everyone else. So, news items:
It won't be a Pac-10 team, and 2011 is not necessarily the return game. Mark Snyder:
The coach expanded a bit on the game to be added for next season's opener, saying it may not be returned by Michigan for a couple of years, one of the criteria of making it work. He also ruled out playing a Pac-10 school, saying U-M doesn't need to do that. That leaves Virginia and Pittsburgh as primary BCS school candidates with an open date early next year.
Cal and Oregon State are dead, then. However, Virginia and Pittsburgh as favorites directly contradicts a previous piece stating that…
The list of Duke, Virginia, Pittsburgh, and Oregon State was just wrong, and the team already has a game scheduled for the opener. Chengelis:
The prevailing thought among the media was that the team would be among these four that have an open date next fall -- Virginia, Duke, Pitt and Oregon State. A Michigan official told me today those schools are not candidates and suggested it's very likely the team involved will be making changes to its already existing schedule to make room for Michigan.
So, it's a non-Pac-10 team with an opener scheduled already (ie: not Oklahoma State) and it's not Virginia, Duke, or Pitt. And the implication from Rodriguez above—Michigan "doesn't need to do that," where that is jet out to the West Coast to play a legit team—rules out the super-elite across the country, not that we were going to line up Texas in 2010 anyway.
If you go back to the UV from yesterday that included a list of five teams that had some rumor buzz behind them. Four of them have been debunked; the last school standing is UConn. UConn has an opener lined up against Northeastern already, isn't in the Pac-10, hasn't been specifically ruled out, and wouldn't trip anyone's "we don't need to do that" sensors. Also my inbox has a couple of emails asking if I've heard anything about UConn and one stating "it's definitely UConn." My inbox has another email stating "it's definitely Cal," so the inbox is not exactly definitive. The UConn email says it's from the Michigan side of things and the Cal email says it's from the Cal side of things, FWIW.
I'm still pretty skeptical of the idea that Michigan would give up a precious home game to play UConn when the return trip would be at a 40,000 seat stadium, but a lot of teams have fallen by the wayside and the Huskies meet all the criteria we've heard so far. They're the best guess at the moment, which I guess is better than another MAC school but not by a whole lot.
While in Chicago, Tim took the opportunity provided by the Big Ten's roundtable section to ask players a couple of survey questions that have been hot topics in college football for the past few years. He only got to 19 of the 33 players before time went kaput, but 19 opinions are better than zero. The following is an unscientific survey.
Should We Have a Playoff?
Two of the abstentions were vaguely pro-playoff, with one stating "a playoff will happen soon either way because that's what fans want"—ah, if only college football worked like that—and the second saying "something other than what we have now, not necessarily a playoff."
Would A Playoff Negatively Affect Your Schoolwork?
(MOSTLY) NO: 17
The two who said yes were pro-BCS. The rest either said probably not, or "not enough that a playoff shouldn't happen."
Should Players Be Paid?
Most of the guys said something along the lines of "just a little bit more money, not really a salary or anything." Nobody had even thought about whether EA should have to pay them for using their likenesses, but most said they guess it makes sense.
Who's The Best Player In The Big Ten?
Amongst a sea of solitary votes three guys leapt out:
ARRELIOUS BENN: 8
JUICE WILLIAMS: 3
TERRELLE PRYOR: 2
Your unofficial, dominant players' Big Ten offensive POY is Arrelious Benn, which will no doubt please Dr. Saturday.
Other bits from Tim
Most everyone though Ohio State or Penn State would win the Big Ten, and White Michigan State Receiver Named White mentioned (without knowing which media organization Tim was with, no less!) that Michigan was a good darkhorse candidate. I'm not sure whether he was being serious, talking up a rival, making fun of a rival's recent struggles, etc.
I didn't ask this question, but I wrote down the answer because I thought it somewhat relevant to Michigan: OSU TE Jake Ballard mentioned that Justin Boren would win in an all-out fight of the Buckeyes' football team, because he's the toughest. [Editor's note: who asks the question "what would happen if you guys all took PCP and started beating the hell out of each other?"]
Stevie Brown was pretty non-specific about defensive scheme, mostly saying they'll play multiple formations and the "hybrid" terminology has been a little overblown. They're just out there playing defense.
On Tate, Rodriguez said "If we have multiple guys who can win football games at quarterback, they'll all get the chance to play" (paraphrase), nothing specific about limiting carries, though the implication seemed to be that there were viable backup options if a QB did get hurt.
I'll go meta for the final post on the topic here. Since it's not a topic that many people might care about, I'll include more after the jump.
I've been involved in pseudo-legitimate media for the better part of the past decade (wow, has it really been that long?), so I'm no neophyte when it comes to the matter of press conferences. I've seen good interviews and I've seen bad interviews, just like I've seen well-run and poorly-run events.
To be quite honest with you, the format of the Big Ten Media Days event has a lot of improving to do.
Added FL CB Eric Mitchell($).
Editorial Opinion: Sort of a light week outside of the Elite 11. There was a Rivals revamp, I guess.
About the departed:
- IL WR Kyle Prater took a visit in the spring and mentioned Michigan high up immediately afterwards but once that faded it became clear he wasn't feeling it. Cramming him into this class would have been difficult in any case.
- FL LB Jeff Luc was a major longshot.
- MD OL Robbie Havenstein mentioned M like once and then went radio silent; I'm not sure how much mutual interest there was in the first place.
- FL CB Nickell Robey said he'd visit, but will not. Minor ding there but CB still looks strong.
- CA LB Tony Jefferson's sudden commit to UCLA robs Michigan of a touted prospect at an area of need; even if they weren't in the driver's seat a 20-ish percent chance of landing him is better than none.
And then there's TX DE Holmes Onwukaife, who tried to commit to Michigan earlier and was told by the coaches that Ken Wilkins and Jordan Paskorz had taken his spot. He was offered the chance to come in as a middle linebacker and turned it down, went to Florida State's camp as an outside linebacker, got offered, and committed. Swing and a miss by the coaching staff here; if Onwukaife pans out it's going to be painful.
Here's a direct example of Michigan's eagerness to accept commitments probably costing them a better class. I mean no offense to Antonio Kinard or Jordan Paskorz, but if I had to pick one guy from the three just based on offers, recruiting buzz, and whatnot, it would be Onwukaife. I know, I know: Rodriguez forges two-stars into firey death machines and so forth and so on. It'll be interesting to see how Kinard, Paskorz, and Onwukaife end up panning out.
Weekly Semi-Creepy Devin Gardner Update
No, it's not this week that sees the recruiting roundup go without mention of Devin Gardner, but I've got a good reason: Gardner just participated in the Elite 11 camp, where he won awards for Best Feet—no doy—and Best In The Classroom. From there it gets schizophrenic. Gardner did not finish in the top five in the "Overall MVP" voting, but did cause Rivals analysts Greg Biggins and Barry Every to swoon:
Rivals.com national analyst Barry Every ranked Gardner as the top overall quarterback at the camp based on long-term potential and the ability to win football games.
“I don’t think there’s any question, after having seen him for four days, how hard he competes and how hard he wants to be the best,” Every said.
Every and Biggins agreed Gardner compares favorably at the same stage of his career to players like Vince Young, Tim Tebow, Juice Williams and Dennis Dixon, all Elite 11 alumni.
Yow. That's a huge disagreement between the camp counselor voting—current college QBs—and the scouting professionals. I'm naturally inclined to take the word of the professionals. According to Every, Gardner is a lock to shoot into the top 100 when Rivals revamps its rankings again. (Odd that Rivals would re-do their rankings before the most important quarterback camp of the year, no?)
Every's other favorite QB there, by the way, was PSU commit and OLSM QB Robert Bolden; MSU commit Joe Boisture finished last. MSU's resident Guy Who Knows Guy Involved With Elite 11 was not pleased with what he heard from his guy.
Other opinions also exist, though they're necessarily less star-struck. Scout's Scott Kennedy:
"Gardner is a superior athlete who is handcuffed a bit by a passing camp that doesn't showcase his playmaking ability with his legs. However, as one might expect, Gardner was solid in the bootleg drills, and while struggling hitting the deep-out to live receivers, Gardner picked up his game in the target practice segment, showing off better accuracy than many of his Elite 11 teammates."
ESPN's evaluation intertwines Bolden and Gardner:
Robert Bolden (Orchard Lake, Mich./Saint Mary's) and Devin Gardner (Inkster, Mich.) could almost be considered identical. They are the same in height, weight, frame, athleticism, arm strength, dual-threat capabilities -- you name it and they are probably alike in it. It is hard to tell the two apart. Bolden surprised a bit with how compact, quick and capable he was of getting rid of the ball. At times, the ball jumps off his hand with tremendous zip and power. Gardner is mechanically more like Vince Young with a bit of a three-quarter release, but he has the same "pop" out of his arm as Bolden. As the week wears on, these two will likely see a big jump in overall, consistent accuracy. Bolden, a Penn State commit, and Gardner, a Michigan commit, are terrific fits for their respective programs from a scheme standpoint.
Aaand JC Shurburtt:
Michigan commit Devin Gardner (Inkster, Mich./Inkster) has also surprised many. His hustle, leadership and athleticism add up to a tremendous maturity that will help him compete early for playing time in Ann Arbor. He was a notch behind Bolden throwing it, but still has a strong arm and excellent size.
All told, a highly positive camp for Gardner and Michigan.
Rivals did rejigger its rankings. Plenty of folks moved around but only a few items seem worth mentioning:
- PA DE Ken Wilkins got a fourth star.
- OH OL Christian Pace did not, which is somewhat surprising given Mike Farrell's almost rapturous praise for his film. I don't care; I think he's perfect for Michigan, and so does Rick Trickett.
- MI RB Austin White dropped a decimal point and is now actually behind MSU commit Nick Hill, which makes no the sense given that Hill's BCS offers were Stanford and State and White was clearly preferred by both instate schools, Wisconsin, Illinois, and LSU. But whatever.
- PA CB Cullen Christian flew up from a three star to the #60 player.
- Various stragglers at the mysterious end of Michigan's class all got their requisite three stars.
Grimes, We Talk To You
Rivals AMP with FL CB Tony Grimes:
Elsewhere in secondary prospects, OH S Bobby Swigert has a Michigan offer, has visited, and says Michigan is in his top group:
“Michigan was amazing. I was impressed with everything I saw, like the facilities and the new indoor building … it was just amazing. Coach Rodriguez is one of the coolest coaches I’ve met. And the academic advisor (Shari Acho) explained everything really well.”
With such a glowing recollection, it’s no wonder the Wolverines are in such a strong standing with Swigert, even though he hasn’t officially narrowed down his list.
“If I was to narrow down my list, Michigan would be in there. They are definitely one of the top contenders.”
On the other hand, OH S Kurtis Drummond now has Michigan State in the lead ahead of Michigan. OH S Latwan Anderson has bumped around his list a ton, with the latest update omitting Michigan. We'll see if that sticks; some recent scuttlebutt says Michigan is still in the running but needs a real visit to stay there.
You are large, but hopefully not too large
With defensive tackles thin on the ground—or too fat and on the ground—Michigan needs to make OH DT Terry Talbott a priority. So hurrah: Tom VanHaaren reports that Talbott will come up for a visit tomorrow. He also snags a quote from his coach:
"As for Terry, his strength is his ability to use his explosiveness to get off the ball and change direction. He is very strong upper body and his core is strong. He, like a lot of High School players need to better define his technique. He has good technique now, but to play at the next level and be successful his technique must be great. He uses his hands well now, but needs to always work on using them better." - Jay Minton
Terry's brother Terrance, a cornerback, is also coming in.
Punters are punting in code
WI P Will Hagerup is apparently the #1 guy on Michigan's board—he's the only guy out there with an offer—and a decision is coming soon. Two schools are seemingly in prime position:
Hagerup mentioned that a commitment could come in the near future, "I will decide within another month for sure."
Before he announces, Hagerup would like the further investigate Ohio State and Michigan, "I'm going to visit Ohio State and Michigan for sure within a couple weeks. I'm going to see practices at both places and take another tour at each school."
If it comes down to playing time, Michigan should win. Hagerup would be able to start at Michigan immediately with Zoltan the Inconceivable scheduled to transubstantiate into pure energy after the season. At Ohio State, AJ Trapasso has just graduated. Redshirt junior John Thoma is atop the depth chart; scholarship incoming freshman Ben Buchanan, Rivals' #3 kicker last year, is listed second.
User Mscharbo15 talked with TX RB commit Stephen Hopkins recently and put up a quick summary on the message board:
- He's graduating in December and will be enrolling early.
- His HS has OSU colors and he "wears them with shame."
- He's excited about the possibility of a home-and-home with Oklahoma State, since the 2010 game would be his first as a Wolverine and the 2011 contest would be the closest thing to a homecoming for him (he's from Texas).
- Although being the one power back in the 2010 class, he claims to be getting faster and quicker (can't hurt).
- Had he waited another month to commit, he likely would have received offers from Oklahoma (!!!), Notre Dame, Wisconsin, Sparty and Arkansas.
- He's heard from somebody in the know that if he has a good senior season he'll vault up to a 4-star.
Ooh: early entrant tidbit. That brings Michigan up to six commits with tentative plans to enroll early (Miller, J. Robinson, M. Robinson, Pace, and Gardner are the others).
Caveat: Though I can't confirm the poster isn't having us on, he signed up 28 weeks ago. Unless he was planning an incredibly long-term hoax in which the payoff is "you suckers thought I talked to a running back commit and posted innocuous things about it MOOOHAHA!" it's legit. The troll probability here approaches zero.
Etc.: ESPN evaluates SC QB commit Cornelius Jones and OH WR commit DJ Williamson, giving them three-star-ish ratings. Williamson sounds like the outside burner who will be stupidly wide open when safeties freak out about Gardner. OH DE Marcus Rush was supposed to visit Michigan Thursday but this apparently did not come off; I think this will be where M and Rush part ways. MD OL Arie Kouandjio has two officials, neither of which are M.
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