I guess I can't be mad at the Dispatch any more. Because we're doing it to ourselves:
If it motivates the players, great. I never want to see it again.
That's one way to put it. How are things on the Michigan State offensive line? Deep. Peachy. Deeply peachy:
Spartans depth sparks offensive line competition
This is their depth:
Converted defensive tackle Dan France has emerged as the leading candidate at left tackle, but the battle at center and right tackle are far from decided.
Redshirt freshman Travis Jackson and junior Blake Treadwell, another converted defensive tackle, are running neck-and-neck at center, while redshirt freshman Skyler Burkland and junior college transfer Fou Fonoti are fighting for the top spot at right tackle.
Er. France was flipped from OT to DT last year despite being 6'6" and now returns to be the starting left tackle. That is a hell of a position switch starter. This was his status in January:
"But in the bowl practice, I was struggling," he said. "I didn’t know the (blocking) techniques and footwork. I never had done pass blocking before. I mean, I sort of did (at tight end) in high school, but I didn’t have any technique or really know what I was doing."
Kirk Cousins might be under siege this year. Let's hope so, because if someone were to bold Michigan's secondary it wouldn't be much prettier.
Hey, here's a Michigan football coach talking. I wonder if he's going to talk about "violence," "toughness," "being physical," and "being consistent":
No, he mostly talked about cheese. Cheese and Will Campbell's pad level.
Of course not. Some news organization I can't be bothered to look up—oh this article says it's the Seattle Times—posted the shocking news there was a Pac-10/Big 10 "consensus" in favor of a plus one game. This was shocking for a little while until it was debunked. Or at least sort of debunked. Check out Jim Delany's reply to that:
"To describe the ADs as supportive, I would call that erroneous," Delany said.
Masterful weaseling right there. This on further expansion, at least, is a straightforward declaration they're not interested:
"No, we're about as comfortable as we can be with where we are," Delany said. "We've said we will continue to monitor the landscape, but we have closed down active expansion. Every period you look at it, but we don't expect anything the SEC does to affect us."
I'm increasingly irritated at the media reports predicting Superconferenceageddon without bothering to figure out whether adding teams like Pitt and Missouri helps or hurts the bottom line. The burden of proof is on people predicting unwieldy, tradition-hurting behemoths but all we get is "this is totally happening because it's an arms race!"
Yes, yes, TV markets blah blah. At times like these I think about Lloyd Carr in his last couple years sighing disgustedly whenever the subject of money came up in press conferences. He believed placing it above all other goals was destructive, he's looking prophetic at the moment.
Zing. I was just hoping Jerry Hinnen would drop some more twitter bombs on the SEC so I could post them up, and then he did:
Gotten the feeling that if Scott and Delany jumped off a bridge, SEC fans would gripe that Slive should have been the one jumping first. "We can't afford to react. You have to be proactive when it comes to bridge-jumping!"
Adding Nebraska had a purpose. Adding A&M to the SEC just dilutes it.
Downing disagreement. Retweets coming from Michigan Hockey Net and Yost Built over the course of the recent Five Nations tournament were rapturous about 2013 D commit (and team captain) Michael Downing. Examples from tourney observer @twharry:
The difference between Downing and DeAngelo is vast. I had no idea Downing was this good. He plays like a vet.
Michael Downing is having another very strong two-way game. Comparing him to Merrill may be unfairly lofty, but they are strikingly similar.
Breakaway going the other way. DeAngelo was way out of position. Luckily Downing was there to cover and Demko made the stop.
FWIW, talked to an ex-teammate of Downing today from CC - said he's the real deal, nat. skill set but little rough around the edges at times
When one of my friends checked out the Friday game he compared Downing to Nick Lidstrom. Apparently the US team was so confident in his positioning they would often send the other defenseman up the ice to pressure the Swiss. A local diary praised his game as well.
So of course a couple scouting reports are mixed at best, contradict the above, and contradict each other. WCH:
Michael Downing has had a very good summer--including locking down a scholarship to Michigan--which has helped turn him into one of the top defensive prospects in the US for his age group. He appears to have loads of potential with a big frame and nice skating, but still has a pretty long ways to go when it comes to decision-making and handling the puck. The pace of play here looked a little faster than what he was used to, which took him out of his comfort zone and forced him to make some bad turnovers. Not many players have things completely figured out by age 16 though, and with a little more experience, he has a chance to develop into a very nice player.
And the United States of Hockey:
Michael Downing - Canton, Mich. — The big defenseman served as the captain for this U.S. outfit. He’s pushing 6-foot-3, but has some good mobility and offensive instincts. Despite the size, however, Downing was getting out muscled and hit hard by smaller players. The more muscle he can tack on, the better in the coming years. He’ll also need to do a better job in his own end, but he appeared to improve defensively as the tournament went on. Despite the defensive deficiencies, I really liked his offensive game. If he can develop defensively, he could be a. pretty solid blueliner down the road. Draft eligible in 2013
Another Burns tweet did mention Downing needs to fill out quite a bit, so at least there's some consistency there. Downing maintains he's 110% committed to Michigan and is not a goalie, so he'll probably show up. I'm actually drawing a blank on the last Michigan D commit to skip out for the OHL before he hit campus. Seems like it's a F/G thing.
The Blip …is what I called the 2008 Wisconsin game in last year's Plays of the Decade feature. It was a briefly intoxicating lie about how good that team could be that presaged the less brief but no less deceitful starts the next two years; as such it's both an emblem and an enormous outlier.
Holdin' the Rope takes us way back when:
I sat and wondered how we could spring a comeback from so much flailing incompetence. I had faith, but it was that kind of belief that eats at itself if exposed to the light.. It's propped up by rubber bands and paper clips and a little bit of measured delusion and naivete.
Somehow, Michigan pulled itself together and willed themselves through a halfway decent touchdown drive in the third quarter, capped by Kevin Koger's first touchdown reception. A promise of a bright future. Michigan went down the field on the arm of Steven Threet, the legs of Sam McGuffie and Kevin Grady, and the hands of Martavious Odoms and Greg Mathews. Greg's last name only had one "t," but people managed to always get it wrong, and they probably still do. This wasn't Henson, Terrell, Walker, and A-Train. It wasn't Henne, Manningham, Arrington, and Hart. It wasn't Navarre, Braylon, Avant.
Etc.: Notre Dame is taking its sweet time figuring out where its hockey team is going to hang out. MGoMix is going with songs 1-5 and 6-10. Trailer for the Willis Ward movie is good. Shakin' the Southland's DrB talks 3-4, 4-3 under, and multiple fronts. Money quote:
In the one-gap 3-4, you have a blend of the 4-3 and the older two-gap system. You can take a guy that is a ‘tweener’ and put him at DE or OLB. You can take heavy interior linemen that are skilled at pass rushing, and put them at DE positions even if they don’t run 4.6-4.7 in the 40. The fact that it is a one-gap system and easier to teach means they can rush the passer without regard for the linebackers and put what talent they do have to good use.
I do not advocate the one-gap 3-4 over the 4-3, each has its uses. I do prefer the one-gap over the 2-gap version because it disguises the bubbles in the front better, and is simpler to teach. I'm all for adding fronts that simply teach guys new places to stand without actually changing everything they're doing. In most cases, the fronts are exactly the same, but with different personnel.
Previously: CB Greg Brown, CB/S Tamani Carter, CB Blake Countess, CB Delonte Hollowell, CB Raymon Taylor, LB Antonio Poole, LB Desmond Morgan, LB Frank Clark,
LB Kellen Jones, DE Keith Heitzman, DE Chris Rock, DE Brennen Beyer, and OL Jack Miller.
|Tampa, FL - 6'4" 340|
|Scout||3*, #45 OT|
|Rivals||3*, NR OG|
|ESPN||3*, 78, #34 OT|
|Others||247: 3*, 86, NR|
|Other Suitors||USF, Missouri, Texas Tech, Tennessee|
|Previously On MGoBlog||Commitment post from Tim.|
|Notes||Some other Tony Posada is the "worst witness ever."|
No highlight film, but here's Posada auditioning for the rugby team:
He's the enormous guy wearing #75 pushing that pile into the endzone.
Tony Posada is one of two very large persons Rich Rodriguez recruited just in time for Brady Hoke to deploy them as Wisconsin-approved donkey haters. It's unknown why Rodriguez decided to grab not one but two 340-pound mashers in his final recruiting class, but whatever the reason he's given Michigan a bit of a head start at guard as it transitions back to MANBALL.
Eventually, anyway. Three-forty is not a good weight to be if you want to play early. In high school he was listed at 320 or even 310. While 320 is the weight at which people start fibbing you lighter, not heavier, it's likely Posada put on some bad weight in the offseason. There is no weight between 320 and 340 that is good. And he was listed at 6-6 in these articles, so… yeah.
Further delaying his debut is Posada's actual height. It mean's he's a guard all the way. The recruiting rankings mostly declare him a tackle, but tackles aren't 6'4" anymore. Michigan has two junior starters at guard, so he won't be in contention for a job for two years.
If he's fit by then he's got a shot. A lot of people have written Posada off after his Godzilla-like appearance on the roster but his profile isn't actually that bad. Michigan offered Posada on Signing Day, before anyone else had. Texas Tech was his other finalist($); Missouri and USF were in the final four.
When Rodriguez got fired Mississippi State and Rutgers tried to get back in($). Posada actually took a visit to Starkville but decided to stick with Michigan after they threw him in jail for picking flowers. This is a Johnny Cash reference, not reality. In reality he is not from Mississippi and is thus unaffected by the local black hole. He also reported a Tennessee offer, FWIW. Florida said($) "lose ten pounds and we'll offer you," which is probably just a nice way to say "wait," and then he didn't and Florida moved on.
So that's a decent list of schools. Posada had more recruiting cred than Mark Huyge, who's turned into an on-and-off multi-year starter.
His scouting reports aren't bad either. ESPN($):
Posada has great size along with enough explosion and playing strength to dominate defenders at his present level of play…. Possesses enough flexibility to work out of both a two and three point stance showing the agility and balance to block quick on the line movement. Does a nice job when asked to reach front side with a quick up field first step. Can play on his feet in space however quick flow linebackers could present problems. This prospect demonstrates quick set ability from a two point stance; flashes good bend for his size, can slide and play flat footed to the deep set point without leaning in or crossing his feet. … arm length and quick hands should be an asset; does a nice job working to get his hands back inside the frame. This is a tough guy with an aggressive finishing attitude.
Even if he was 30 pounds lighter when that assessment was being made that's a thorough, positive evaluation with multiple references to good feet and "bend"—the lack of which has seen many highly touted OL flame out.
The Florida recruiting specialists at the Tha Ringer have a more reserved outlook:
- OL Tony Posada | 6'6, 315 | 2011 | Committed to Michigan
He best projects as an offensive guard to me, maybe a right tackle in a downfield running attack. His feet are really slow to get started -- speed rushers just kill him. Plays with a lot of intensity, but lets his emotions get the best of him at times. Loves to maul defenders in the run game.
Mauling defenders, you say? Brady Hoke points exuberantly!
Brady likes it
Scout's Mike Bakas has a similar assessment($), asserting that he is college-ready when it comes to the ground but will require a year or two if he's not going to get his quarterback killed:
He's very strong and has the ability to just maul defenders at the point of attack. … big enough where he could stand to shed a few pounds. He's not a kid you will often see 30-40 yards downfield throwing blocks. While he can manhandle defenders, he can also struggle against smaller, quicker guys who can give him troubles. He has more raw size, power, and strength right now than athleticism, quickness, and flexibility. … has some upside, especially in the running game, and is probably a couple years away from being ready to make a big impact in the passing game.
Coach quotes also play up the mauling. An opponent($):
"We thought maybe we had them but they made the decision in the second half to turn the football over to [five-star tailback] James Wilder and they just ran behind Posada play after play after play, and there was really nothing we could do about it."
Manatee's offensive coordinator also praised him for never taking a snap off: "When you're that big and as skilled as he is at this level you're just going to dominate and [your] biggest obstacle is really yourself because you have to decide how aggressive you'll be."
Citing a lack of film, Touch The Banner doesn't say much more than "dude is a guard."
Dude is a guard, and clearly a mauling, pounding drive blocker. He's going to have to turn a lot of bad weight into good before he steps on the field at Michigan, and it's possible his weight and pass protection struggle will condemn him to the bench forever. If he manages to slim down he could be the vanguard of This Is Physical Michigan.
His coach thinks that's happening:
"Tony's best football is ahead of him," said Plant coach Robert Weiner. "I mean he is on the upswing for sure and has gotten so much better year to year, even the last few months. He's a student of the game and has all the physical traits to be another great lineman at Michigan. We are all real excited for him."
Some people are jerks:
"We didn't know if he still had a scholarship at Michigan," Christine Posada said. "We had other colleges calling him and telling him that he wouldn't have a scholarship at Michigan and he should come to their school.
"They were scaring this 17-year-old kid."
Posada also believed he was a good fit in good Rich Rodriguez's spread offensive attack.
"I like Coach Rod's offense," he said. "The offensive tackle isn't squished next to a tight end at the line of scrimmage. It's a power football scheme that still allows you to be physical and dominant."
Why Alex Mitchell? Like Posada, Mitchell was big. Mitchell was reputed to be a tackle when he was a recruit but showed up monstrous and slid inside quickly. He then emerged into a starter and run mauler before his drive evaporated. He packed on pounds, quit the team, was begged back despite being ever more corpulent, and played during Infamous Carr Denouement.
Mitchell was higher rated but didn't pan out; Posada's career hinges on avoiding the hamfate that befell his predecessor.
Guru Reliability: High. Posada was healthy; scouting reports are consistent, rankings are pretty much in the same range; Plant is uber-scouted.
General Excitement Level: Moderate-minus. The recruiting rankings and scouting reports warrant a moderate; coming in at 340 is a bad sign.
Projection: Lock to redshirt. Michigan has Khoury and Mealer at guard ahead of him on the two deep and while Chris Bryant is equally Weisian he's also rated a lot higher. After that he'll compete against Bryant and the incoming flood of freshmen for two starting jobs. He'll have a year on the freshmen, but they'll have recruiting ratings and their ability to show up at a more ready-to-play weight on their side. I'd say his shot at starting is 30%.
Apologies for the brevity of the updates, but I wanted to talk to a bunch of different people instead of going in-depth with anybody in particular.
Denard is adapting to the new offense well. He's getting the footwork down, and should be good to go by the start of the season.
Denard is looking forward to the opportunity to stay a little healthier this year, with less of a load carrying the ball on his shoulders.
Fullback John McColgan "is one of the toughest guys I've ever seen in my life."
The upperclassmen are the leaders in the backfield, but the young guys came in because they wanted to compete. Having a number of talented players back there makes everybody better.
Thomas has never had the opportunity to meet Mark Ingram face-to-face, but he really wants to. As a Flint guy, he really looks up to Ingram.
Even though Stephen had a couple fumbles last year, it was out of character for him. "I've never been a fumbler. I had maybe two in my whole high school career."
The new offense is a good fit for his skills, and he's looking forward to it.
The new offense is still going to put up points, because that's the goal of any offense. However, the pace will be slower to control the ball instead of running as many plays as possible, so scoring might drop a bit. That doesn't mean it's any less effective.
There are some differences for the wideouts going into the new offense, but it's nothing they can't adjust to.
There's definitely an emphasis on blocking for the wideouts in the new offense. If you can't or won't get out there and block, you won't play.
He's always had trouble being able to gain weight. He was on a similar diet as Ryan Van Bergen. The trick to gaining weight is to eat only the right things, but eat until you're full, and then just a little bit more. Sometimes, Taylor had to lie down in bed for a little bit after a meal and hope it didn't come back up.
It's exciting to be back down on the defensive line with his hand back in the dirt. "I don't want to worry about the past," but he's excited about the defense going forward.
It's been tough to play in a different defense every year, but again, he doesn't want to dwell on the past.
He had a relationship with Michigan's current coaching staff when they were at San Diego State. They had offered him a scholarship when he was a sophomore.
Matt had been planning to go to Boise State, but when Michigan hired the new staff, he set up a visit here. The plan was to head to Nebraska for a visit the following week, but he fell in love with Ann Arbor and committed to the Wolverines. Even though his visit was in January, the weather didn't bother him.
Jerald Robinson has great potential, and "doesn't know how good Jerald can be." He has good size and athleticism, and just needs to keep working hard to see that potential realized.
Jeremy Gallon has been impressive in fall camp. "Let's hope he keeps progressing."
The goal for the safeties is to not have a "second-best strong or free" safety, but have guys who are capable of stepping in at either safety position.
Jordan Kovacs is a tough, smart player, and that's what's helped him be a contributor here. That should continue going forward.
Thomas Gordon is performing well at nickel, and he's also trying to become a contributor at one of the safety positions. They want him to be able to do both roles. Troy Woolfolk is the same way: he's contributing at corner, but they also want him to have the ability to rotate in at nickel.
Thomas Rawls and Justice Hayes have really helped push the others at the position to improve, because despite being freshman "they're coming in here like they're sophomores." He's as happy with those two as he's ever been with a pair of freshmen. (Fred kept returning to the freshmen, regardless of what he was asked).
John McColgan is a solid option at fullback. He's doesn't have the skill set of Kevin Dudley (glorified lineman in the backfield) or Chris Floyd (who had plenty of ability with the ball in his hands). However, he's a very smart player, and will get some opportunities, including in the pass game.
The left side of the line is mostly set: Taylor Lewan at left tackle, Patrick Omameh at left guard, and David Molk at center. On the right side of the line, there are pretty much three players for two positions. Ricky Barnum (guard), Mark Huyge (tackle or guard), and Michael Schofield (tackle) have separated themselves from the pack.
You always worry about depth, but it is definitely a concern this year. They'll have just a couple backups on top of a "solid top six." They're addressing depth going forward with recruiting.
Cam Gordon is most impressive in his love for football, and his strong desire to improve his game and get better.
There are a lot of players on the defensive line who are versatile enough to play multiple positions. Craig Roh, Jibreel Black, and others could see a bit of time on the inside, even though they're primarily defensive ends.
Brennen Beyer and Frank Clark are some impressive freshmen. (Note: Seeing Clark, he was taller than I thought, but also much skinnier: he looked like the second coming of Davion Rogers - OK, maybe not that skinny. Still, it sounds like he'll have an opportunity to play this year).
They are alive. HD scoreboard what:
It's so lovely.
Also there is a ton of video from Media/fan day. Choosing one at random:
Choosing a second:
And LB coach Mark Smith pronouncing Marell Evans's first name "MAH-rell":
There's also fluff, JT Floyd, Craig Roh, Mike Cox, Junior Hemingway, Taylor Lewan, Stephen Hopkins, DBs coach Curt Mallory (who still gets asked about Denard despite being the DBs coach), and RB coach Fred Jackson (who talks up the freshmen and describes the offense as "West Coast").
And then there's Countdown to Kickoff talking to Mike Shaw, and Rivals has a full transcript of the presser Tim covered yesterday. Also MVictors took pictures. Matt Wile has a big forehead, all the better to kiss expansively when he makes a 32-yarder. Tim's also got his assistants/players recap in the hopper; that will be coming up this afternoon.
I haven't found this in a linkable form yet but the buzz yesterday was that Frank Clark was quickly moved to WDE and Brennen Beyer was flipped to SLB—an inversion of what they were expected to do. We'll see if that sticks.
Other things Fred Jackson said. I've been shepherding select Fred Jackson quotes for the season preview in order to throw a little cold water on the Rawls/Hayes hype train but what the hell, you'll probably forget about it in two weeks anyway: last year he said Stephen Hopkins was "another Chris Perry, except I don't know if Chris Perry was ever 230 pounds." So when Fred Jackson says this…
"Every day they come to work, they know they got to bring their lunch pails because the freshmen are coming out there like they're sophomores," Jackson said.
"Those two freshmen have made the whole room different because now the upperclassmen look around and know the competition is way beyond where they expected it to be (during spring practices)."
…I'm maybe not 100% convinced.
When Fred Jackson says this…
"I got a guy who's going to be a great third-down back for us," Jackson said. "I don't want to say right now who that guy is because I'm still trying to develop depth at the position.
"But the first game, you'll see who that is. I promise you, you'll see who that is."
…though, I believe him because that's obviously Vincent Smith. That would seem to take him out of the running to be the primary guy. I'm still betting on Shaw or Hopkins.
Schwing? Here's one of Scout's national analysts sort of kind of saying Michigan might have a lead-type substance for Mitch McGary:
*There was some clarity given to the Mitch McGary recruitment this week with him narrowing it down to six schools. As we said in the last recruiting report, the school most consistently mentioned by people close to the situation is Michigan. Now does that make the Wolverines the leader, not necessarily, but they are in as good a position as any school in his top six.
This weekend McGary is scheduled to go down to Florida to check things out. This will be an unofficial visit, and McGary’s first trip to the Gainesville campus. Look for another unofficial to Michigan before it is all said and done, and then probably two or three official visits once he gets back to Brewster.
I'll take it! McGary's supposed to wrap his recruiting up by October. Adding him may or may not amplify a scholarship crunch that may or may not exist in 2013. He's widely believed to be a one-and-done; if he does end up committing and sticking around it seems like the only thing that will create a serious issue is Hardaway also sticking around for four years.
BONUS: GRIII has moved up to #39 in Scout's latest rankings. Outrage: no Stauskas.
Fourteen is less than twelve. I have no idea why the SEC is going to bother with Texas A&M. I guess media markets and all that—the constant battle to make more money will not cease until every toilet is gold. But the sacrifices entailed are great. Instead of playing opponents in the other division every other year a 14-team conference will have a whopping two crossover games against a randomly selected set of seven teams. That's about three times a decade.
Despite this, certain SEC partisans are demanding the presidents vote yes even if there is no vote. Very postmodern.
Apparently the Big Ten is content at 12, and thank God for that. There were compelling reasons to go to 12—no more annoying co-champions, title game, etc.—but there is exactly one school that should prompt the increasingly inaccurately named Big Ten to bloat further. I refer, of course, to Wake Forest.
Demon Deacons or bust.
At least he's annoying. Brady Hoke has gotten the goat of the Ohio State fanbase:
I AM SO TIRED OF HEARING ABOUT BRADY HOKE. Did you know Brady Hoke "gets it"? He's changing the culture? On and on and on. What is so revelatory about the coach of Michigan has expectations this year? Have I been reveling so much in Michigan's despair that I've failed to realize just how pathetic they've become over the years?
I also get a kick out of how he's riding his Segway around up there (this is how I like to envision he travels everywhere) like he's the second coming of Bo Schembechler (who currently resides in the 7th Circle of Hell) when he's really a homeless man's Rex Ryan who has won as many games at Michigan as I have. Brady, you've been at Michigan for like two months, bro. Quit your posturing.
So as you're wincing when Hoke refuses to deploy "State" for the duration of his career at least know he's making people in Ohio peevish. If he actually wins some games there is the potential for helpless rage. That sounds fun. Let's do that.
In the grand tradition. Russell Bellomy on his decision to switch from Purdue:
I ended up choosing Purdue [on] June 1st. I’ll never forget that. But then
the best opportunity I’ve ever had fell in my lap. In the middle of January, I got a call from my head coach, and he said ‘hey Russ, Michigan called; are you interested?’ He left me that voicemail, and I was just like ‘is that even a question?’ So I called him back, and then Coach Borges ended up coming down here to my school, and then he came for a home visit right after that, and we sat here from about 6:30 on just sitting here talking, and on the way back to the hotel, he called me and offered me, and me and my dad were going insane.
I like to think of an enraged Danny Hope twirling his mustache upon reading that. I like to think of an enraged Danny Hope twirling his mustache in many scenarios, actually: in a sinking boat, catching his wife eating yogurt, at Stalingrad in 1942, upon discovering he will not be able to attend the REO Speedwagon concert.
"She knows yogurt has bacteria in it, goddammit. This aggression will not stand."
Etc.: The South Bend Tribune has details on what went down with Corwin Brown. You can have your very own Justin Boren jersey. Photo gallery from Maize n Blue Nation. Rod Beard is the guy who drew the short stick and had to interview random fans for their random opinions. I hate every single quote in that piece.
Major changes are involuntarily happening around here. You see, Rudy, my people have been snatched up. Tim is moving to fill the vacancy at The Wolverine left by Josh Helmholdt's ascension to Midwest Recruiting Analyst. Tom is departing, as well. That site is yet to launch and I've been asked not to spill the specific beans so you'll have to deduce.
These are well-deserved jobs for both guys and I'm happy for them. For me—and you—not so much. Unless you want to do this:
MGoBlog Recruiting Ninja
The position is a combination of Tim and Tom duties that were previously split because of the organic nature of Tom's emergence. Recruiting ninja will:
- Collect information from around the web for a weekly roundup post.
- Write up new commitment posts.
- Maintain the recruiting board.
- Head out to reasonably local football games to get footage of commitments.
- Utilize the wonders of the internet to interview recruits on- and off-line.
Output should be a post or two daily with regular items on the message board a la Tom.
Ideally, candidates should:
- Already have a decent idea who Ben Gedeon is, what Tha Ringer is, and why Michigan's high-rated recruits drop more often than they rise when rankings are revised.
- Have a writing portfolio of some variety.
- Be able to write relatively clean copy without outside editing.
- Have an online presence.
- Know how to assemble and edit video.
- Have journalist skills like talking to people and getting information from them friendly-like without making them think you're weird.
- Desire for Michigan to win football games without that interfering with #6.
- Not mind odd hours.
All of these will be tough to achieve so don't worry if you're missing a couple.
The job pays like an entry-level gig at a regional newspaper. 100% telecommute, no set hours, flexible vacation as long as it's not during football season. If you want a business card that says "recruiting ninja" we can make that happen. No benefits at the moment because I haven't begun to figure that out, but if that is a hangup it is negotiable for the right candidate.
If you're interested, email me 4-6 pieces (preferably URLs to pieces) and a resume. If the email contains background on you that helps illuminate where you are and where you're going that will also be helpful.
Recruiting has slowed down now that camp has started and the season is approaching. With a limited number of spots left you would expect that anyway. Here's a look at what happened this week and what might be happening in the future. As always you can follow me on Twitter @TomVH, or email me with any tips or questions at TomVH@MGoBlog.com.
6'3", 240 lbs.
Poggi is a 2013 lineman who is already blowing up with offers. Michigan, Alabama, Auburn, Notre Dame, Ohio State, and Tennessee are among his bigger names to offer already. He made his way in to Ann Arbor this past week and told me about how that went.
I visited there [Monday], and really enjoyed it. I hung out with the coaches and talked to them about what position I'd be playing there. They want me to work as a five tech [DE] which is what I play now.
The visit gave Poggi a chance to sit down and talk face to face with the Michigan coaches.
I talked to Coach Mattison, he's great, he coached one of the players from my high school at Notre Dame and my dad has known him for awhile. Coach Hoke told me that they really care about the defensive line there, and I thought Coach Montgomery was really impressive. Coach Montgomery is a great guy, he knows what he's talking about.
The timing of this visit was good for Michigan because he's already been out to a few other schools and plans to really focus on his season.
I've taken a few visits down south and decided to go to Ann Arbor before camp starts for us. They've always been interesting to me, their tradition, and I hear Coach Hoke is doing a lot of good things. It was my first time up there so it was good. I would say Michigan is up there, I really like the people down there and the education they have.
Despite the fact that he hasn't started his junior season yet Poggi has somewhat of an idea of when he'd like to decide.
I would rather not prolong my commitment. I don't know the exact date, but I'd like to take a couple official visits. If I know before I can take visits then I would just commit, I don't really have to take the officials.
Poggi is already a huge prospect for the 2013 class, and Michigan has helped themselves tremendously by making an early impression.
6'3", 215 lbs.
Gedeon is another 2013 prospect that recently made it up to Ann Arbor. He also holds a Michigan offer and will be a big part of Michigan's recruiting plans for the 2013 class.
I went to Michigan's camp and Coach Mattison had mentioned that they were having a BBQ. My parents and I went to the BBQ and it went great. That was my first time visiting besides the camps. I've camped at Ohio State, Penn State, and Northwestern too. I definitely want to make it to Penn State, Ohio State, Northwestern, and probably Tennessee for a visit too.
Both the BBQ and Michigan's camp made a lasting impression on Gedeon.
Michigan was my first camp and I got an offer afterwards, so that was my first offer too. Usually you're pretty excited about your first offer so that was pretty sweet. The coaches told me that I'd fit in with the place they have there. I think they have a pretty sweet recruiting class right now and they're starting on my class.
Gedeon said that it helps to know that Michigan is recruiting well, but it's not the only reason he's interested.
It helps to have a good class, they'll probably be top five so that's definitely a plus. Michigan has the most wins, and I've always followed Michigan throughout my childhood, so I've always been a fan.
He plans on using this year to work on his game and leadership skills as well.
I've definitely been trying to become more of a leader. Last year I was just a sophomore so this year I'm trying to be more of a vocal leader. I think I blitz pretty well, I'm trying to work on my leverage, get my pad level down, and I also think I'm really good at getting to the ball.
Ben plans on making it up for a Michigan game this season, but isn't positive yet on which one.
I might visit for the night game against Notre Dame. I'm just going to let my recruitment play out and see what happens. I might make an early decision but we'll see what happens.
I think right now for Gedeon some of the bigger schools like Michigan, Ohio State, and Penn State are a few that stick out for him.
6'3", 285 lbs.
Dillard is another 2013 prospect that could end up with a Michigan offer. He's not originally from Michigan, but is hoping to learn more about the program.
Most of my family is from North Carolina. It's been six years since we moved to Michigan. I've heard a ton about Michigan's tradition from some of my teachers.
Dillard has gotten a head start on his recruitment, and is already starting to hear from some top programs.
Michigan State invited me to their practice, and I've heard from Indiana, Cincinnati, Stanford, Oregon, EMU, WMU, Michigan, Arkansas, and UCF. I work with Lomas Brown every Saturday and I also train with Mike Barwis at his facility five days a week.
He's heard from a good amount of schools and Michigan has already told Dillard a timeline for their evaluation on him.
Coach Funk told me he wants to watch my first three games of the season. All the [Michigan] coaches liked me at their camp and so they want to watch the first three games and then decide on an offer.
Dillard is an outstanding young man. He's only 16 years old and is already involved within his community. He has been involved with the Special Olympics, and Big House Big Heart Champions for Charity.
With the commitment of DT Ondre Pipkins many fans were wondering where DT Danny O'Brien stood and if the Michigan coaches would still accept a commitment from O'Brien. Danny has a phone call scheduled with the Michigan coaches to talk on Monday [the 15th] about where he stands. He told me that he will still consider Michigan if there's a spot open. I will let you know how the phone call went as soon as he has it.
As I noted earlier in the week, Washington OL Joshua Garnett is now planning his visit for the Notre Dame night game. That's a big deal because he had been previously saying he would wait until the Ohio State game to visit. In the post I made it clear that Garnett and Michigan commit Erik Magnuson have become very close and that Michigan has a real chance of landing Garnett. I want to reiterate that now, he doesn't know where he's going yet but Michigan has a legitimate shot at landing him.
Since the season is almost here that also means official visits will be scheduled soon. The first game against Western Michigan won't be as big as the Notre Dame game visit-wise, obviously, but there are some notable prospects that are planning to make it in. So far commitments Allen Gant and Matt Godin have said they'll be there. There is also a good chance that receivers Amara Darboh and Darius Powe will be in for that weekend as well. Powe isn't sure what date he'll be in yet, but he told me he wants to make it in for a game earlier in the season.
2013 DB Shaquille Wiggins also said that he will be in for the Western game, but I'm going to double check to make sure he didn't mean the Notre Dame game. Most of these aren't set in stone anyway so just keep that in mind. Also these aren't all of the names necessarily, just who I've spoken with so far.
Hypothetical activities by a 67-year-old Jimi Hendrix if he were still alive | Lies, Deceit, & Stuff
I spent most of today trying to play with this diary by airvipermb, which spent some time yesterday on the front page before I knocked it back. For those who don't remember the Jimi-headed versions from last year, the OP did a tremendous job of going through Big Ten rosters and putting down how many upperclassmen each team was projected to play as starters and on the two-deep. What this doesn't do is provide any predictive information.
For that reason this isn't front page material. Not yet at least. But I'd like to help it get there.
First, upperclassman starters in 2011, in table format. I changed it to percent; starter % of upperclassmen is out of 11, two-deep is % of upperclassmen out 22. Because I'm pretty sure this is how airvipermb did it (likely reasoning: too hard to find data otherwise) a redshirt sophomore is an underclassman while a true junior is an upperclassman.* Your most experienced Big Ten two-deeps next year (UPDATE: added deltas):
|Team||'11 Starters||Delta||'11 Two-Deep||Delta|
The author was optimistic but this says Michigan's defense is still the youngest in the conference excepting younger siblings. Does that matter? The O.P. suggests it does; the data say NSFMF.
Here's how this all looked last year:
|Team||2010 DFEI %ile||2010 Yds/G||2010 Starter%||2010 Two-Deep%|
I showed the Yards per game because that's the sorting metric the author used. I'm gonna talk DFEI from here on since I'm an advanced stats fan but if you're not such, mentally upgrade Penn State and Wisconsin for hard-nosed grind-it-out game planning, and downgrade Illinois, Indiana and Purdue for "not getting it." It doesn't matter because these numbers are all over the place:
HOWEVA, if you do the same thing on pure recruiting the results are also bouncy. Here's 4- and 5-stars recruited by Big Ten teams from '06 to '08, out of 22 spots available:
Actually this is pretty un-bouncy except Nebraska and Iowa outperformed by a lot and Penn State and Michigan (infinite ARGH!!!) underperformed. Iowa is our super-duper experienced two-deep so maybe that explains them and Michigan's young roster explains Michigan. But then what's Penn State's problem? This study doesn't say. Future study: I would love it if we could get a spreadsheet of all of the Big Ten players on the 1- and 2-deep.
* Let's use Nebraska 2010 as an example for how this can throw us off. You appropriately call them a great defense and rank them second to Ohio State, which I think we can concur on. Here's Nebraska's defense as of this date last year. I count six upperclassman starters there. However Cam Merideth, Baker Steinkuhler, Sean Fisher, Will Compton and P.J. Smith are all from the Class of 2008, i.e. they're redshirt sophomores. Also from that class: Alfonzo Dennard, counted as a junior. See the problem? You've got returning starters three years removed from high school counted the same as Courtney Avery (a true freshman who was a QB in H.S.) last year, despite there being vast difference between their respective expectations of experience-based contribution.
Still Raining, Still Dreaming
Jimi eat galaxy.
Until a few hours ago, it looked like the SEC was ready to swallow up one of the last quasi-worthwhile bits of the Big XII that doesn't have its own channel. This of course sparked another round of speculating how many galaxies the Big Ten must own to keep up, from oakapple and justingoblue. This being the Big Ten, it's not who would come (except Notre Dame) so much as who can fit the academic criteria without being a.) Ivy League, or b.) Athletically challenged.
Justin took it from an academic expenditure perspective, which is an interesting way to get around having to use academic rankings like U.S. News & World Report's, and avoids the weirdness from endowments-based ranking. The candidates are Duke, UNC, Virginia, V-Tech, Pitt, Rutgers, Cuse, Mizzou and Notre Dame, though all but Duke, UNC and Pitt would be near-bottom in the conference at research spending.
For the wargames route, consult oakapple, who took a more pragmatic, dominos (NTD's) effect approach. After six previous dominos it's the Big Ten's turn and…
VII. What Does the Big Ten Do?
The short answer, at least for now, is: probably nothing. The Big Ten is already in a position of strength. It has no particular need to expand. There are only two institutions that could improve the Big Ten’s current product: Texas and Notre Dame. The Irish have chosen repeatedly to remain independent, and for reasons noted above, the Longhorns are more likely to choose the Pac-12.
Galactic plans are on hold until such time as the Pac 487 annexes China and the Big East is trying to teach the French to play football, or Zoltan demands such, whichever happens first.
Scoreboard! Thanks to M-Wolverine at Fan Day, and M-Wolverine's camera.
EGD had some thoughts for a Top 10 (which means 11 not 12) other ideas for Jerel Worthy tattoos. I'm surprised nobody suggested just getting a chip drawn on his shoulder. I'm also surprised it wasn't the 2008 scoreboard, because that's exactly what my MSU friends/family still troll me with (the reminder of 2008 is what stings). Anyway these are good but I want pics! Those of you with Photoshop/GiMP, or who are Samara Pearlstein, get on this!
And THE_KNOWLEDGE is apparently using up the last miles on his current time machine lease to predict the standout of the 2012 class will be… well I can't ruin it.
Now seven practices in, the kids are "learning more with each practice." They're bringing energy to practice, but need to sustain that throughout to show they can compete late in games and in the season.
The team is healthy, and there's lots of competition
Two-a-days start tomorrow. The adversity of two-a-days can "teach you about who the leaders will be on the team."
On padded practice: "guys are willing, wanting." Need to see consistency between the morning and afternoon practices. Will be in full pads for 3 days of two-a-days this week. Guys are anxious to establish themselves. Want to prove to coaches and teammates how they've progressed since spring.
On kicker Matt Wile: "Obviously he's a San Diego guy. His dad was one of our orthopaedics at San Diego State." Lance Ortega was his kicking coach, the staff knew him. Matt is a 5th generation Michigan grad.
"He's doing well. I think this is a big stage. That mental part of going out there, until you get on Main Street and have 110,000, you've gotta see where the guy's at." He can do a good job coaching himself with fundamentals, etc. Doing punting, KOs, and FGs right now. "I'd be very comfortable" having a true freshman handle those duties.
On running backs: The young guys missed some time finishing up summer school. Rawls is talented, has done a good job. Backfield is unsettled. Need to show consistency from practice to practice. "We'd like to have one guy who could tote it 25 times." Maybe a couple situational guys, 7-10 carries for a secondary back.
"Our base run play will be the power play, and that's no secret." Denard's talents, and opposing defenses wil adjust what they do. 10-15 snaps running for Denard. "The objective is to win, and we've gotta do what it takes to help Michigan and this team win." He's fitting into the offensive system. "We're fortunate enough that he has some other things that he brings to the table."
Denard is a great kid. "Leadership qualities really start to stick out more and more [for upperclassmen]. That's what I've liked that he's done in camp."
On rooming, Koger: "Seniors are rooming with freshmen. Part of that is to get to know them. Set the example, set the expectation." Koger extensively praised for his demeanor and selflessness, the sacrifice he'll give for this team. "He's a tremendous guy. I'm talking about things not on the football field."
The offense question again: "You've got a system that you wanna run, but you're not going to be putting a square peg into a round hole either." Al Borges has a coaching pedigree that proves he can adapt to different personnel. He'll get playmakers the ball. "At the end of the day, we've still gotta block up front, and knock people off the football."
On Mattison: great coach, great integrity. Builds great relationships with players. "He's coached a lot of football, coached a lot of guys. He brings so much from a knowledge standpoint."
On captains: "They won't get picked for 2 more weeks. The team will vote."
On countdown clocks: "Those are important football games. Those are big rivalries."
On the defense and standouts: "I don't think we've played to the standard that's going to be acceptable, to this point. We need to be more physical at the point of attack."
"Tom Gordon has had a good summer. Kovacs has really taken ownership." Kovacs is one of the guys who shows urgency in getting to the football. Kenny Demens also mentioned as a standout. Nathan Brink shows toughness as a DT/DE. JB Fitzgerald: "you talk about another guy who stands out as far as his leadership goes, and selflessness."
On the two-deep: They'll start penciling that in by the end of the week. "We're gonna scimmage pretty good in six days on Saturday. We'll put them in a lot of situations and see how they respond."
On Woolfolk: Troy Woolfolk has progressed well. Has taken some senior ownership of the team. Had a minor hamstring injury yesterday, there's enough competition at that position that they could afford to rest him and be cautious. JT Floyd and Courtney Avery competing at CB. "We don't have the greatest competition everywhere. I wish we did, because that makes us better."
On McColgan: a tough guy. "When you look at it, he's one of the true fullback bodies that you have." TEs will get a chance to play H-back as well.
On this still being Michigan [tremendous van river]: "I think I've made this comment before: This is Michigan. There won't be any excuses. If we don't win the Big Ten Championship, we've failed these kids, as coaches."
On the offensive line: Elliott Mealer: "He's competing." The rest of the guys: "Our left side of our line with Taylor back, and I think Ricky Barnum's done a nice job. Molk's back." Omameh at right guard. "Patrick and Elliott and Mike Schofield and Huyge - I think that's great competition."
On the backfield again: "I think there's some guys back there who can do it. All of them have shown signs of being able to run the ball like we'd like."
Another big commit for Michigan, and we're back on the front page. A couple services should be revamping their rankings in the coming weeks, so keep an eye out for that as well. Action since last rankings:
8-7-1 Illinois gains commitment from Taylor Barton.
8-8-11 Michigan gains commitment from Ondre Pipkins. Indiana gains commitment from Shawn Heffern. Michigan State gains commitment from Kodi Kieler.
8-9-11 Indiana gains commitment from Sebastian Smith. Ohio State gains commitment from Roger Lewis. Minnesota "gains" commitment from Nick Rallis.
8-10-11 Nebraska gains commitment from Deion Jones. Penn State gains commitments from Eugene Lewis and Tommy Schutt.
8-12-11 Penn State gains commitment from Armani Reeves. Wisconsin gains commitment from Walker Williams.
|Big Ten+ Recruiting Class Rankings|
|Rank||School||# Commits||Rivals Avg||Scout Avg||ESPN Avg||24/7 Avg|
*ESPN doesn't rate JUCOs, so Isaac Fruechte is not included in Minnesota's average, Darius Stroud doesn't count against Indiana's average, and Steffon Martin is excluded from Purdue's.
On to the full data, after the jump.
standard APR picture lead now with more apropos-ness
[sportswriter impression] This time, they're serious. [/sportswriter impression]
No, seriously, they appear to be serious. The NCAA announced (and then quickly approved) a massive increase in the APR's toothiness by requiring a 930 for a sport to participate in postseason play, whether it's the NCAA tournament or bowl games.
That's good for Michigan, which has only brushed up against penalties due to the unprecedented transferfest that took place upon Rodriguez's arrival. Once coaching transitions are out of the way they'll be well clear of 930 in every sport. Meanwhile, teams like Purdue, Ohio State, and Indiana have all seen their basketball programs suffer sanctions for falling beneath the 925 mark. They'll have to be more careful about one-and-dones and academic risks, i.e. recruit more like John Beilein.
As far as football goes, if you're worried about the Rodriguez anchor (an 897 2008 APR), don't be. The Bylaw Blog says the 2014-2015 APR will be the first point at which the new regulation will go into effect. At that point the anchor will have rolled off. The only yearly APR number to count then will be last year's score, an okay 946. Michigan's attrition during this coaching search has been less extensive and more likely to get waived (three medical scholarships and just the one academic implosion). This year's class has a lot of 3.8 GPAs and no immediately apparent academic risks—they'll be fine.
The Bylaw Blog also says it's critical to get rid of the one year lag in the APR. Michigan won't find out its 2010-11 number until next summer. I'd also suggest the thing has to be more transparent. Right now we just get a number; in the future they have to show how they got that number, because it's serious now. It's not going to fly with people if Kentucky basketball can boot seven guys off the team and not even have its APR flinch. Each APR report should come with
- The number of players who got through the year.
- The number of players who left the team
- The number of players who left who the school got a pass for and why
Right now trying to figure out your APR is fraught with difficulty; it needs to be more transparent, within FERPA reason.
Other retreat items
Stewart Mandel highlights these three things as areas the NCAA will look to overhaul in the near future:
Based on comments made this week, and Thursday's evidence that these things really can come to fruition, we should expect major changes in three other areas over the next six to nine months:
• An overhaul of the current enforcement process. Emmert and the presidents spoke universally of a desire to cut down on the many "nuisance rules" (free lunches, text-message limits, etc.) that take up an inordinate amount of compliance officers' time while beefing up penalties for deliberate, egregious rules violations. This will likely include expanding the classifications for infractions from the current and vague duo of "major" and "secondary."
• Allowing individual conferences, if they so choose, to implement full cost-of-attendance scholarships (as Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany first pushed for last spring) and/or multiyear scholarships. The obvious implication is that only the richest conferences could afford to do so, which in traditional NCAA parlance represents dreaded "competitive equity" issues. But the presidents seem to be lock-step with the commissioners in believing said imbalance already exists.
• Raising initial academic eligibility standards both for high school seniors and juco transfers. No specifics were offered, but they could be along the lines of SEC commissioner Mike Slive's proposal to increase incoming students' minimum core GPA from 2.0 to 2.5.
Kelvin Sampson and his quivering upper lip are listening to "Killing Me Softly" on repeat. It's time for more Selfish Homer Perspective!
- Overhaul enforcement to cut down on nuisance rules + hamsandwiching real violators: Can we retroactively de-major our stretching/GA violations? No? Bollocks. Good for Michigan and its general lack of "deliberate, egregious rules violations."
- Full cost of attendance: Not relevant in football and basketball since anyone Michigan is recruiting against will implement FCOA. I guess we won't lose QB recruits to Tulsa. Good to very good in smaller sports: some elite hockey programs are D-II and may not be able to afford a system-wide FCOA; 3-5k per year can't hurt when it comes to battling OHL teams; a lot of equivalency sports do recruit against MAC-type schools that happen to be very good in some smaller sports (Akron soccer, various baseball schools) and this is basically extra scholarships for them.
- Raising initial standards. I will believe this one when I see it but clearly good for Michigan, which is attractive to high-academic kids and never takes JUCOs.
And now the Student Welfare Gadfly perspective:
- Enforcement overhaul: Meh.
- FCOA: obviously good as it actually funnels some of the insane buckets of cash to the kids making those—and apparently all the ones spending it, but I'd rather it goes there than a coach or administrator.
- Initial standards: Tricky. Slive's proposal didn't prohibit kids who fell under the standards from attending, I believe, it just prevented them from playing. Kids in school taking up roster space having to learn is good; shuffling more of them off to dubious JUCOs is not so much.
Mandel is gobsmacked by how sensible everything sounds and how quickly they made a huge structural change with the APR stuff and it's hard to argue. The NCAA seems serious this time around. Seriously.