"Northwestern fans can be both heartened and disheartened by the loss to Minnesota just like how nineteenth-century resurrectionists were heartened when they pried a heart from a freshly-buried corpse and then disheartened it when they sold it to a disreputable anatomist."
Coach Rodriguez briefly talked to the media at halftime of the basketball game against Iowa (Michigan leads 29-17 at the half). Relevant notes from coach:
- Michigan is looking to sign 26-28 recruits in the class of 2010.
- Rodriguez talked to a few coaches about Michigan's open linebackers coaching position at the coaches' meetings a couple weeks ago. They won't worry about hiring somebody until after Signing Day, but should have the new coach hired within a week of that date.
- All the players who have had offseason surgery (Mike Martin, Vincent Smith, et al) are progressing on pace with their rehab. They'll still be out for spring, but should be ready to play in the fall.
- As long as Kelvin Grady can manage his academics with playing basketball, Rodriguez has no problem with him re-joining John Beilein's squad. There shouldn't be too much interference between football spring practice and the basketball season, but if there is, the coaches will let him continue playing basketball.
- In spring practice, the slots and running backs are overlapping duties a bit, because many of the guys who play slot are used to the running back position from their high school days.
- The coaches are still trying to find guys who can help on defense. Cameron Gordon is one guy who is looking at a potential switch to the other side of the ball.
Rodriguez will have a formal press conference on Wednesday for the signing of the Class of 2010. More details on MGoBlog's Signing Day coverage coming later.
|WHAT||Michigan v. Iowa|
|WHERE||Ann Arbor, MI|
|WHEN||4:30 PM EST
January 29th, 2010
|THE LINE||Michigan -13*|
|TELEVISION||Big Ten Network|
*Line provided by online sports betting site Sportsbetting.com.
After the heartbreaker against Michigan State, Michigan's tough 3-game stretch in the Big Ten Conference has come to an end. The Wolverines will have to go on quite a run to have a chance at the NCAA tournament, and will have to go better than .500 in their final 10 contests to even qualify for the NIT.
I'm still of the opinion that, since conference play has kicked off, Michigan has been a pretty good team. Despite chokes against Indiana and Northwestern, they've been steadily improving on both ends of the court, but primarily on defense (more on this following the weekend). Facing a team like Iowa, Michigan's defense should be able to shut down the opponent, creating opportunities on the other end of the floor, and hopefully leading to a blowout.
Not of particular relevance to this game, but still important to the program, is that Beilein announced yesterday that assistant coach Jerry Dunn, who has been on a leave of absence for family reason since late December, will rejoin the team following this weekend.
The Hawkeyes are a lot like the 2007-08 Michigan team, or last year's Indiana squad: They're undermanned, and kinda terrible. The key difference is that Iowa is in year three of the Todd Lickliter Experience, not year one like those other squads were. Of course, Penn State may prevent Iowa from even finishing last in the conference, but the Hawkeyes are pretty bad.
Iowa started the year with losses to college basketball luminaries Texas-San Antonio and Duquesne, but has actually not been that bad since. They've lost to every opponent that Ken Pomeroy ranks better than 100, and beaten everyone below that line (including #108 Penn State and #135 Indiana). They currently sit at 8-13 on the season, with a 2-6 record in Big Ten Play.
Iowa is a very young team, with only two players, forwards Jarryd Cole and Devan Bawinkel, upperclassmen (a result of major attrition over the first couple year of the Lickliter era). Sophomore Matt Gatens and freshman Cully Payne play the lion's share of available minutes, but don't really excel in any one skill except not fouling opponents and dishing the ball (the only categories in which either is ranked in Ken Pomeroy's top 500 players). Gatens will play today on a sprained ankle he suffered prior to the Ohio State game. Sophomore Anthony Tucker is one of the team's most talented players, using the most possessions and shooting the ball among the best on the team when he's on the court, but he's been suspended since December for a public intoxication infraction, and will not play against Michigan.
If you need an explanation of the stats, check out Ken Pomeroy.
|Michigan v. Iowa: National Ranks|
|Category||Michigan Rank||Iowa Rank||Advantage|
|Mich eFG% v. Iowa Def eFG%||195||276||M|
|Mich Def eFG% v. Iowa eFG%||174||111||I|
|Mich TO% v. Iowa Def TO%||19||277||MMM|
|Mich Def TO% v. Iowa TO%||58||278||MMM|
|Mich OReb% v. Iowa DReb%||278||46||III|
|Mich DReb% v. Iowa OReb%||234||247||M|
|Mich FTR v. Iowa Opp FTR||330||25||IIII|
|Mich Opp FTR v. Iowa FTR||16||320||MMMM|
|Mich AdjO v. Iowa AdjD||91||175||M|
|Mich AdjD v. Iowa AdjO||43||134||M|
Difference of more than 10 places in the national rankings get a 1-letter advantage, more than 100 gets a 2-letter advantage, more than 200 gets a 3-letter advantage, etc.
For the first time in quite a while (since the home contest against Indiana), the Wolverines have a significant advantage by the numbers. The only things Iowa looks to do well are prevent Michigan from making a lot of shots, prevent the Wolverines from coming down with those misses, and not send them to the free throw line. In terms of shooting, Michigan has struggled this year, but against an overmatched team like Iowa figures to be, Deshawn Sims can likely have a field day from midrange, and the 3-balls that so often miss might not even be attempted.
One thing that the Hawkeyes have managed to do when holding opponents to lower scoring outputs (on a per-possession basis) is turn them over, but unfortunately for them, they haven't been able to do it that frequently, and it should be no difference this afternoon, as the Wolverines are exceptional at holding onto the rock.
Ken Pomeroy predicts an 11-point Michigan win, and gives the Wolverines an 89% chance of emerging victorious. I think the margin will actually be a little wider, and Michigan pounds the overmatched Hawkeyes by a score of 70-52.
Dylan previews the game at UMHoops. Black Heart Gold Pants talks a number of basketball issues, including idiotic newspaper columns and the absence of Anthony Tucker. AnnArbor.com's Michael Rothstein previews the game.
Red versus the fly. Oilers blogger Lowetide usually kicks off his posts with some old-timey pictures and a comparison between then and now. The latest one is a shot, of all possible things, of Red Berenson taking on the LA Kings:
Appparently their goalie at the time was The Fly. Somehow Red managed to not score here, by the way.
Iowa takes the lead. I'm claiming Demon Bear II for Michigan since he blows up Michigan's three primary rivals. Even so, Iowa has surged back into the lead when it comes to absurd, awesome internet memeage:
(Stanzi the Americanzi was Iowa's first point in this battle.)
Biographical note: when I was in college one of the things we carved out unassailable TV time for was a K-pop video show called "MVH"—for reasons unknown we called it "Mein Video Hitten"—that was a combination of this, ridiculous Korean hip-hop by groups like "Highfive of Teenagers" (or "HOT"), and terrible six-minute ballads in which someone was definitely going to die of a wasting disease. The tension was palpable whenever a new video would come on and we didn't know if it was going to be smokin' chicks in bathtubs or something painfully earnest. I am intensely jealous of Iowa for this. I have definitely not been watching the video most of today.
The sudden relevance of tricorn hats. I wasn't going into Signing Day thinking that musketeers would have any relevance but two separate incidents are taking us back to 1776. One is Bucknell—of the Patriot League—raiding Rutgers for a head coach:
LEWISBURG, Pa. — Bucknell hired Joe Susan to take over as head football coach Wednesday, luring back a former Bison assistant to lead a program coming off three straight losing seasons.
Why do you care? Susan is also the recruiting coordinator for Rutgers and his departure might have an impact on FL S Rashad Knight's final decision. Schiano says it won't impact recruiting but it can't help. Bleed Scarlet thinks he was an important guy, FWIW.
The other is a reminder that recruiting could always be worse:
Now all Bruce Heggie has to do is "seal the deal." Heggie, a 6-foot-6, 240-pound TE/DE at Mount Dora High, was mired in a dilemma since December. He was looking for a place to play college football and kept striking out.
"Last week FAMU backed out of their offer and said there wasn't going to be an official visit this weekend," Heggie said. "There was William & Mary, [ed: of the Colonial Athletic Association!] but other than that there weren't really anymore options."
Heggie's taking a visit to… yes… Notre Dame this weekend. It'll be interesting to see how the recruiting rivalry between Michigan and ND develops now that Weis is gone. Weis flat-out killed Michigan head to head even in the waning days of his administration; about the only folks who had a short list with both schools on it that chose Michigan were Mike Williams and Mike Schofield. Things can only get better for Michigan with Kelly there.
DANCE DANCE DANCE TILL WE RUN THIS TOWN.
More Graham. AnnArbor.com was in on a Todd McShay conference call in which the torrent of Brandon Graham praise continued:
“There wasn’t a guy here this week that hustled more, that had better technique, that picked up schemes and did things as quickly as anyone at the defensive-line position or outside-linebacker position,” McShay said. “He’s just a Bill Belichick-type of guy. He’s going to come in and love playing the game and play it better than his measurables and his skill set would lead you to believe.”
I'm hoping he lands somewhere Michigan-heavy so I can have a proxy NFL team. Also, I think we can exclude Bruce Tall from any diagnoses of what ails Michigan's defense.
Historian. This one is seriously obscure: the 1971 Michigan-OSU game, which wasn't even on TV. No audio, of course, just coaches tapes:
|WHAT||Michigan v. Michigan State|
|WHERE||Friday @ Munn Ice Arena
Saturday @ Joe Louis Arena
|WHEN||Friday @ 7:05PM EST
Saturday @ 7:35PM EST
January 29/30, 2010
|THE LINE||College hockey lines, junkie?|
|TELEVISION||Friday on Big Ten Network
Saturday on FSD (HD!)
Record. 16-8-4, 11-5-4-1 CCHA. #13 PWR. #11 KRACH. Currently second place with 38 points. Michigan is ten points back in seventh, but has two games in hand. 18th in PWR, 16th KRACH.
The Spartans have done most of their damage against weaker opponents. Outside of the previous series with Michigan, the Spartans are 1-6-3 against teams under consideration—the top 25 in RPI. The first two teams out right now are CCHA teams MSU is 2-1-1 against, though. In any case, Michigan State has been decidedly mediocre against quality competition and lethal against 1) bad teams and 2) Michigan. KRACH has their schedule strength 23rd; Michigan is 17th.
State's been streaky. Their recent streak is the bad sort, as they've gone 1-2-2 in their last five and now find themselves squarely on the NCAA bubble. If the season ended today everyone would be very surprised and State would either be one of the last teams in or first teams out depending on how the conference tournaments went.
Before that, State ripped off five straight wins, albeit against BGSU, Michigan Tech, RPI, and Lake State. Only one of those teams—Lake State—is not bad, but Michigan's managed to lose to two of the bad ones this year so hurray.
Dangermen… literally. Well, you're not going to like this except as an example of Michigan State's willingness to tolerate anything, but Corey "Practicing My Golf Swing On Your Head" Tropp is Michigan State's leading scorer. By all rights he should be in the CHL with his goon buddy or playing a year in the USHL in preparation for a transfer somewhere far away, but Second Chance U doesn't care what you did the first time around.
Anyway. Tropp has a 17-19-36 line and, though he hasn't scored in a while has continued to pile up assists. Freshman Derek Grant has 10-17-27 and junior Andrew Rowe has 11-10-21. From there it's a pile of guys with five or so goals. Nick Sucharski has seven but appears to be a minimal threat outside of the power play, where he's got five.
Michigan will attempt to match Hagelin against the Tropp line as often as possible, I'm assuming. They are the home team at the Joe this year so they'll get one night where that's a possibility.
Defense and goalie and whatnot. It's been a weird year for Michigan State, which has plenty of 0, 1, and 2 goal games to its credit but also gave up five to Maine, seven(!) to Wisconsin, and has yielded 18 goals in this recent rough patch. For the first time in the history of the universe, Michigan is scoring less and giving up fewer goals than State.
Spartan goalie Drew Palimsano isn't quite at the level of Ferris State goal Pat Nagle, but he's not that far off. He's in a three-way tie for 7th in save pecentage with a .927; Brian Hogan improved last weekend to .906 despite giving up a really terrible shorthanded goal.
On defense, Jeff Petry has rebounded from a dire sophomore season to post 3-18-21 and has actually gotten his plus minus above zero (+5) after his epic –31 last year, but it's a couple of younger players—sophomore Matt Carndell and freshman Zach Josepher—leading the defensemen in +/- at +10 and +11, respectively. (Yes, yes, +/- is a pretty dumb stat, but it's all we've got for college hockey.)
Special teams. Power plays for and against:
|PP For / G||5.4||5.8|
|PP Ag / G||5.2||5.4|
Michigan has a slight advantage, but only slight. When it comes to the specialty units' efficiency, though, Michigan has a clear advantage. Their penalty kill has slipped to 5th nationally but Michigan State's is basically average at #24. Neither powerplay is gang busters but Michigan does have a slight advantage, converting 19.7% of its opportunities to Michigan State's 18.5. State has also given up two more. Michigan is +1 in shorthanded goals; Michigan State is even.
Michigan Vs Those Guys
Be careful in the neutral zone. State tends to back off on the forecheck pressure in favor of sitting in passing lanes when you try to break out and Michigan's been pretty turnover-prone this year. They're also short on guys who can stickhandle past the first opponent and open up space—that's basically Chad Langlais and zero other players—so dumping the puck might be a frustratingly common occurrence. Or, worse, not dumping the puck and turning it over in a dangerous spot.
I'm extra concerned about this after the last weekend, where the Friday night game was acres of open ice and cross-ice passes galore. Those things will get picked off against State.
Be seriously aggressive on the forecheck. State's defense corps consists of Petry (a junior) and six freshmen or sophomores. With Michigan's speed up front they can probably force their share of crippling turnovers or draw some penalties.
Keep your composure. Always difficult against MSU, worse when Tropp is going to be out there, worse still when you've dropped the last two against them and are playing for your season, essentially.
The Big Picture
This is the biggest series left in the season for many reasons. One: it's Michigan State. Two: a sweep puts the MSU-UM pairwise comparison back in play; anything short of that and Michigan basically can't win it unless the two teams meet in the CCHA playoffs. (And even then Michigan will probably have to get three points this weekend.) Three: Michigan can drop two, maybe three games in the eleven they have left and still have a reasonable chance of a bid without a CCHA tourney championship. Aside from the Wisconsin game, these two are the toughest left on the docket.
So… basically like last week: a split does nothing good or bad for Michigan, which is bad when you're on the wrong side of the bubble. A win and a tie helps but not nearly as much as a sweep.
The goal differential says "split"…
Team GP GF GF/G GA GA/G MARGIN
8 Michigan State 28 92 3.29 67 2.39 0.89 9 Michigan 26 81 3.12 58 2.23 0.88
…but performance since the holiday break gives Michigan some hope that they'll come away with something more than that. Also, Michigan's put up that margin against a slightly tougher schedule. Then again, performance in the previous series argues they won't do better.
So I'm watching some of season two of The Wire last night and Herc is doing "hand to hands," wherein he buys a bunch of drugs and a couple other cops take pictures from afar. There's a montage of various buys, and one of the kids who runs up to deliver the goods is, well, he's this guy:
I have that same baseball jersey from Steve & Barry's. That is all.
Obviously there's something wrong the front page. I've alerted Brian, and hopefully the issue will be resolved ASAP.
Thanks for bearing with us, and regular posting should resume shortly.
[UPDATE from Brian: Ha ha ha! Er. So I've been fiddling with an attempt to get my WTKA podcasts integrated into the site and apparently it works *really really well*. I don't think anything goofy will happen again, as I've fiddled with a bit or two.
Michigan P Zoltan Mesko ruined the punt return drills by being unable to kick the ball far enough to allow a return more often than not (my rough count was 2 returnable out of 7), and his kicks consistently bounce backwards or straight sideways.
I'm sure this person meant to say Mesko ruined the drills by punting the ball into low Earth orbit. Either that or Jeff Risdon—if that is his real name—of RealGM is a compulsive liar who lies. These are the only two options.
That goes for you, too, "Chad Reuter":
This year's class of specialists is not very strong, and Michigan's Zoltan Mesko has been rated as the top punter on the board most of the year. However, his punts have lacked height and spirals, rarely turning over to gain maximum hang time and distance. He'll need a strong game performance to regain the confidence of scouts.
During the game on Saturday, Mesko will shank a punt that nails both of these fellows in the head.
Yost Hall of Fame. You know the monster Swedish flag that's taken up residence in Yost?
Yeah… it's homemade. Engineering sophomore Rob Eckert's mother is a hero of the people:
“I asked my mom around Christmas time when I saw her if I could borrow her sewing machine," Eckert said. "She was like ‘What are you making?’ I (told) her I was making a Swedish flag, a big one. And my Mom made it for me for my Christmas present.”
I assumed that someone had purchased it off EBay or something, but it was a modern-day Betsy Ross. Someone get her a medal.
Expansion bits. Nominal Chicagoland/Illinois sports blog "Frank the Tank's Slant" has turned into an all-Big-Ten-Expansion-all-the-time sort of place, and it continues its long-running series with an analysis of the main thing: money. The Slant is a weird combo of useful information and totally bats conclusions like "Pitt is a ridiculous idea" and "a 14-team conference is worth spending 1000 words discussing."
I think the bats conclusions come from an excessive focus on money and only money. Pitt doesn't expand the BTN footprint but does make sense in a zillion other ways from academics to providing Penn State an actual rival to geography. A 14 team conference might make more money on average but is a nightmare on the field. Money is important—it's one of the many reasons Iowa State is not a candidate—but it's not everything.
Elsewhere, evidence that Missouri will give the Big Ten a good hard look continues to mount with a KC Star article on Mizzou's willingness to make a move. The main issues are Mizzou's century-long membership in the MVC/Big 8/Big 12 and the hit the Tigers would take in Texas, one of their main recruiting hotbeds, when they don't make regular trips to Tech, A&M, etc.
As always, it's dolla dolla bill ya'll making the most compelling case in favor:
“Illinois and Indiana will make $9 million more from its televisions contracts this year,” Alden said. “Arkansas and Mississippi will make even more. That’s our comparison. In five years, they’ll have generated almost $50 million more than us without selling a ticket.”
If Mizzou is willing to go, I think the additional markets they bring outweigh Pitt's superiority in basketball and academics.
You find a playlist 100,000 people can agree on, we talk. Maize n Brew Dave makes a case for improving the Michigan game day experience re: piped in music. My solution is simple: find Special K and have him transfer to Michigan State. His solution is removing stuff like "Lose Yourself" and "Don't Stop Believing" because while he likes piped in music "only when it's good." He suggests this playlist instead:
Guns n Roses: Paradise City, Nitetrain, Welcome to the Jungle
Motley Crue: Kickstart My Heart, Dr. Feelgood
AC/DC: Thunderstruck, Back in Black, Shoot To Thrill, Highway to Hell, Hells Bells (Defense only), Rock n Roll Train
Motorhead: Ace of Spades
Quiet Riot: Metal Health (opening scream only)
Metallica: Enter Sandman (Defense only)
KISS: Detroit Rock City
Problem: all this music sucks so hard. It's generic. It's played out. It's being RAWKED at an ECHL arena right now. And oh my god:
So how bout "Breakin the Law" by Judas Priest for penalties? "Why can't we be friends" for personal fouls? "Mama's little helper" when the refs screws us? "Sympathy for the Devil" when Tressel's around? "Play that Funky Music White Boy" for Tate Forcier and the "Speed Racer" Theme for Denard Robinson? This stuff isn't rocket sciene.
Dave is Special K. I can (barely) tolerate Don't Stop Believin'. When Special K plays Bob Seger at ear-splitting volume during a critical review I want to die. If he started making stupid little jokes about on-field events when I am on the verge of a panic attack it would make me want to stay home and that would make me feel terrible. The arrow on this points exactly one way: Joe Louis.
Dave makes this argument for piped in music:
The best example I can give is the Jagr-led Washington Capitals* … whose PA dude put together the most awesome montage-collages of heavy metal/death rock this pathetic planet has ever known. That Caps intro would melt your face right into your beer cup. … They knew their target audience and they fed it guitar heavy ROK like you'd feed makrel to a trained seal. We ate it up.
So… let's think about knowing your audience. At Michigan Stadium you have a vast variety of Michigan fans, students, and alums ranging from 18 to 80. Maybe 5% of them grew up driving a Camaro and rocking a rat-tail. "Knowing your audience" this is not. Keep the eighth-grade sense of humor ("boners!") and your 1985 hair metal where it belongs—everywhere else on the planet—, please, and let's go back to the things Michigan fans can actually agree on: Temptation, War Chant, Let's Go Blue, The Victors.
The thing that bothers me is that I really loathe the piped in music and, from the reactions I've gotten it seems like a lot of people do. For the people who hate it, the music ruins one of the few pristine sporting events luddites have left. For people who like it, it's just another opportunity to hear the same fifteen seconds of that one song you hear fifteen seconds of everywhere else. The cost to one group greatly exceeds the benefit to the other.
Rooting interest. I admit that I have no plans to watch ice dancing no matter what personal connection I have to it—I could be actively participating in a routine and be screaming "SWEEP" at my slingbox-enhanced smartphone—but others might be less curling-obsessed so it's worth mentioning that two current Michigan students are the sequined Brandon Graham and slightly-less-sequined-but-still-pretty-damn-sequined Brandon Graham of ice dancing. They are Meryl Davis and Charlie White:
White and Davis, both native Metro Detroiters, are University of Michigan students and die-hard Wolverine sports fans.
They're about to become very famous, as they head into the Olympics as the No. 1-ranked ice dancers in the world. White, a sophomore who has not chosen a major yet, and Davis, a junior in cultural anthropology, could become the most famous Michigan students in the Olympics since star swimmer Michael Phelps.
That's pretty remarkable. This bit goes beyond remarkable into the bizarre, though: the third-place team at nationals, and therefore the third Olympic qualifier, consists of fellow Michigan students Emily Samuelson and Evan Bates. Four of the six competitors for the US at the Olympic ice dancing competition will be Michigan undergraduates. Bates and White are freakin' housemates. I bet one dollar the four hit the ice at Yost during an intermission sometime before the year is out.
So, yeah, Tanith Belbin and Anonymous Partner can fall in a ditch. I want big, sequined block Ms on the medal podium.
Ask Vlad Emilien anything! Seriously. However, he will sometimes answer incorrectly:
Who wins: Mike Barwis or Chuck Norris?
i dont really know maybe chuck norris
Has Barwis ever brought his wolves to workouts?
There's a couple of interesting responses, though. Molk is the "strongest, hardest working" player on the team, and this oddly grammatical question shoots down the idea that a lingering knee injury kept Emilien off the field:
Hey Vlad, Just curious, did a lingering injury keep you off the field last year? Did it affect your play? A lot of us expected to see more of you and that was the rumor. I'm looking forward to seeing you play next year. Thanks for making Blue proud!
to be honest i dont know why i wasnt playing... my coach told me he felt i wasnt ready yet
Sammi Sweatheart or Jwoww?
who is these people lol
So there you go.
Despite the fact that Michigan is only waiting on a couple more guys, recruiting will probably still be a little hectic for the next 7 days. Bear with us, and I'll have details on Signing Day coverage later this week.
Recruiting Boards of Note:
Jibreel Black Goes Blue
As reported on this here e-blog Sunday, OH DE/DT Jibreel Black has committed to Michigan (after decommitting from Cincinnati, after decommitting from Indiana). Black is a 3.67-star player according to the average of the three main recruiting site, and he will probably end up playing the Brandon Graham position—strongside defensive end—at Michigan. Black's senior highlights:
For more on Black, including another highlight video, visit the Hello: Jibreel Black post. Also, brace yourself for 4-5 years of "Black and Blue" puns.
One of the items giving hope to Michigan fans in the recruitment of FL S Demar Dorsey was the rumor that Florida had threatened to pull his offer if he continued taking visits to other schools. He did indeed continue taking visits, including one to Michigan last week, and another to Florida State over the weekend, and has reportedly switched his commitment to the 'Noles.
With so little time left in the 2010 recruiting cycle (Signing Day is 1 week from today), I'll leave him on the board for now, and we'll see whether the Florida State commitment has indeed happened, and if Michigan's coaches can convince him to suit up as a Wolverine with his cousin, Denard Robinson (who does things like this).
As for TX RB Tony Drake, he's been out of the class for a couple weeks now, and he recently switched his commitment to Colorado State ($, info in header). It's a shame it didn't work out with Michigan, because he seems like a pretty good player. Best of luck to Tony in Fort Collins. I've officially removed him from the recruiting board.
The Ohio tandem of DT Terry Talbott and CB Terrence Talbott has come into question lately as Terry visited North Carolina last weekend. They are still expected to sign with Michigan in the class of 2010, as they want to attend the same school.
The Final Few
Aside from backup options (Is FL CB Tre Boston an option or Joe McKnight's little bro, LA CB Jonathan McKnight? Probably no on both) and maaaybe a surprise blue-chip, CA S Sean Parker and FL S/CB Rashad Knight are the last two men standing as realistic possibilities. Parker received an in-home visit from Rich Rodriguez Monday, after taking his final visit to Washington over the weekend. He's shut down his talking to the media and will announce on Signing Day (10 AM, ESPN).
Knight recently narrowed his list to Rutgers and Michigan ($, info in header). Speculation was that he committed to Rutgers yesterday, but MGoBlog's own TomVH talked to Knight, who says that isn't the case. Optimism has waned since Knight's Michigan visit. Knight now seems like a tossup.
Note: more on current commits after Signing Day. There simply isn't enough space to cover all the info with time winding down).
The North-South Ohio All-Star Game has revealed its rosters, and there are a few guys of note:
Courtney Avery, DB, 5-10, 170, Lexington, Michigan
Antonio Kinard, LB, 6-3, 220, Young. Liberty, Michigan
Jake Ryan, LB, 6-3, 225, Clev. St. Ignatius, Michigan
Terrance Talbott, DB, 5-10, 175, Huber Hgts. Wayne, Michigan
Terry Talbott, DL, 6-4, 265, Huber Hgts. Wayne, Michigan
Carey Spear, K, 5-11, 175, Mayfield, Michigan
Wait, who is that last guy? Rivals lists Carey Spear as a 2-star kicker from Highland Heights, holding offers from Ball State, Miami (NTM) and Air Force. False alarm though, as he's accepted a scholarship offer from Vanderbilt over a preferred wakon offer from the Wolverines (H/T Big House Blog).
In other All-Star games, the Big 33 Ohio-Pennsylvania game has selected PA CB Commit Cullen Christian on the Pennsylvania side, and the Ohio roster hasn't been announced yet (either that, or I just can't find it anywhere).
Adam Rittenberg runs down Big Ten recruiting. Tom Lemming likes the athletes in Michigan's class. Michigan will bring in a number of preferred walkon candidates this weekend, to get them to join the Wolverines. PA DE Jordan Paskorz gets profiled by AnnArbor.com.
A little more on Lemming's opinion of Michigan's class. His top 100 is more Scout than Rivals in its optimism:
9. Devin Gardner
42. Marvin Robinson
50. (Hypothetically) Sean Parker
92. Cullen Christian
News from the future: a look to the 2011 class. We'll be jumping in with both feet as soon as the 2010 class signs. There should be another Michigan Junior Day coming up in February.
FL WR Chris Gallon has been hearing from Michigan. He is transferring to Dr. Phillips High School from Oviedo, and the Wolverines would like to add him as another piece in a package deal including RB Demetrius Hart and S Hasean Clinton-Dix. Michigan is the leader for Hart, and has offered Clinton-Dix, though Alabama and Florida State lead. Be forewarned though, as Nick Saban is on the trail in Orlando.
The Wolverines extended an offer to WV RB Allan Wasonga. The Wolverines are his second offer, joining the Ohio RAWRCATZ of the MAC. As you can see in the picture to the right, Wasonga appears to be a very serious fellow.
Michigan has offered TX OL Garrett Greenlea.
The Wolverines join Nebraska, Oklahoma State, Arizona, Baylor, Texas Tech, Houston and Duke in offering the two time all-district pick.
Greenlea looks like he'll be a big-time prospect (Oklahoma is reportedly soon to offer), so he might be a tough pull. Michigan is definitely in the market for some offensive linemen in this class, so top recruits are obviously the goal.
OH LB Trey DePriest, an mgoblog favorite, talks with Sam Webb about his recruitment in the Detroit News:
"I can't lie, I've been a fan of Michigan growing up, but that doesn't mean that they are my school of choice at this time," DePriest told Scout.com. "I'm going into this with open eyes. I want to go where I can play early and go to a school that has a winning tradition. I like to win. I'm going to treat them just like all the rest of the schools. I have to go through the process with eyes wide open. I'm just looking at everything. Another school might have something that Michigan doesn't."
"The main thing is if they've got what I want academically," he explained. "One of my coaches told me something and I got to thinking about it. Knock on wood, if I got hurt would it be somewhere that I'd want to stay for four years?"
Michigan certainly passes all those tests: Play early? Check. Winning tradition? Check. Good academics? Check. As long as Michigan can turn it around on the field in 2010, they'll have a great shot at Trey. Just for the record (since these Detroit News articles disappear behind a paywall), here were DePriest's testing numbers from the Under Armor Combine:
DePriest lived up to that billing at the recent Under Armour All American combine in Orlando, Fla. He measured in at 6 foot 2 and 225 pounds, vertical jumped 32 inches and did 28 reps of 185 pounds. In one-on-one drills, his 4.55 speed in the 40 and outstanding quickness allowed him to cover the nimblest of backs like a blanket.
He has been offered a position in the 2011 Under Armour Game, which he has already accepted. Caution, though: He hit up Ohio State's Junior Day a couple weeks ago instead of the Wolverines'.
DePriest's buddy, OH QB Braxton Miller, is considered a mortal lock to Ohio State, but even if he wasn't, it doesn't sound like the Wolverines have a great shot at him. Eleven Warriors caught up with Miller at a basketball tournament in Columbus, and the dual-threat expressed interest in a few schools, not including the one in Ann Arbor:
Assuming the Talbott brothers stick in Michigan's 2010 class, they'll give the Wolverines a familiar face to Miller, their high school teammate, which at least gives them a chance to land him.
In more bad QB recruiting news for the Class of 2011, we're quarterback-centric. NC QB Christian LeMay (pictured at right) has narrowed to a top 10, and the Wolverines ain't in it:
Stacey LeMay said his son's list of 10 potential college choices are: Florida, Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, Oklahoma, Miami, Mississippi State, Florida State, Virginia Tech and North Carolina.
Note: All are in the Southeast except for Oklahoma. I'll leave him on the board for now (though downgrade to a nefarious Eduardo) since Rich Rodriguez was in his school this week, and teammate LB Kris Frost loves Michigan. He plans to decide and enroll early, so we should know very quickly if MIchigan's chance is indeed 0%.
Rick Comley said that he didn't think this was happening, but apparently it is:
Michigan and Michigan State will take their hockey rivalry to another level in December when they play outdoors at the Big House.
The deal was recently finalized, a U-M official said, and the Wolverines and Spartans will take the ice at Michigan Stadium on Dec. 11 at 3 p.m.
A game at Michigan Stadium would shatter the hockey attendance record—still held by the first Cold War, but under threat later this year—if it sells out.
Obvious but welcome. Brandon Graham is destroying all comers at the Senior Bowl and appears to be the player helping himself the most with his performance. Scout says he's gone from a borderline first rounder to a "lock"($). Another Scout guy says he's the best DL there($), Bruce Feldman tweeted about his ability to get into the backfield, and so on and so forth:
Michigan LB Brandon Graham is just about unblockable with his speed and spin moves. … Michigan DE/OLB Brandon Graham is causing fits for UMass OT/OG Vladimir Ducasse in drills. Graham is the most explosive defender on the field.
Mike Maycock, who previously suggested that Graham might be available for the Lions at the top of the second round because he does not have crazy gorilla arms, now says Graham will be off the board before the first round is over. The Lions would have taken Drew Stanton anyway.
BONUS! Orson on Graham:
Then, there’s Brandon Graham. There he is, saying “Hi, I spent the entire year getting double teamed on a terrible defense and still wrecked shit like my name was Haitian McSichuan Earthquake.”
Another chart. Here are all the teams that returned ten starters on offense since 2006:
Big Red Network is interested in this because their terrible offense returns ten starters. Michigan does better than anyone except Texas A&M's wildly inconsistent bunch, but the those numbers include the game against Baby Seal U and are probably somewhat optimistic. Also, coming up from 290 yards a game is easy. There's nowhere to go but up, really.
Michigan now returns eight or nine starters, depending on how you define things; it's got to be a rare thing to return eight starters a year after returning ten, yes?
So much for that complaint. DeShawn Sims on that jersey tug:
“Yea, a little bit,” Sims said when asked if he was held on the play. “But this is the Big Ten. If I was the other team, I wouldn’t have wanted them to call that.”
That article's headline has a teeny slant: Sims "says he was held on the final play against Michigan State," it reads despite Sims immediately moving on from that and saying he didn't think it was a call and it wasn't the reason he missed the shot.
Redshirt war ammunition. First, let's kick Stewart Mandel since it's been a long time:
Meanwhile, Michigan fans are hopeful Devin Gardner, Rivals' No. 1 dual-threat quarterback, can provide an immediate spark -- but he may be even rawer than one of last year's Michigan freshman quarterbacks, Denard Robinson.
No, he is not. I don't think this is even possible. Denard Robinson wasn't even a quarterback to most schools; Devin Gardner went to the Elite 11, where Rivals guys named him the top quarterback there. Denard Robinson is perhaps the definition of raw.
Anyway, the actual reason to bring up this article:
"After watching him in Orlando [during Under Armour practices], I think he needs a redshirt," said Newberg.
That's a major step back from the aforementioned Elite 11 performance and what we saw from Gardner early in the season; I read it as evidence for my pet theory that Gardner's mechanics degraded severely over the year as he got away from the coaching he had in the summer and slid back into old habits.
Etc.: Hey Jenny Slater kicks off its list of the 50 most loathsome people in college football. Entertaining, but Paul Johnson doesn't come within a half-mile of the list if anyone other than a Georgia fan is compiling it. Also, Mike Patrick is somehow excluded.
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