Posts by All
so happy we found each other [Joe Dressler for MGoBlog]
SPIKE & CARIS & MAAR & DAWKINS & CALVES (and Colton). Since Beilein’s in the market for a last minute addition or two, Lanknows wrote us a quick look-back at the guys he’s found in a pinch before. I mean, I’m kind of nervous right now—we expected attrition but not that much attrition. But this list would be a ludicrous level of bargain bin success if he had found them all two years before they committed. Even after a disappointing season you have to wonder why nobody else thought Johnny Dawkins’s superbly athletic son was worth a scholarship except Dayton.
IT’S STILL PROBABLY HIS ACCURACY BUT WHOA DADDY. This site is about to be a safe haven for a nation swimming in politics, so I am going to be extra careful about keeping the politics where they belong. But you know who doesn’t think politics are off limits? Connor Cook’s dad.
And here’s some from the xenophobic shelf ….. pic.twitter.com/C77Tt3zjCT
— Jeff Moss (@JeffMossDSR) May 5, 2016
Connor Cook probably slipped in the draft either because his accuracy, while effective enough for college, suggests he’ll be even less effective in the NFL than Dak Prescott (link: Football Outsiders’ QBase draft projections). Or maybe because his shoulder was pretty messed up and early draft contracts are a lot to gamble on an arm that might fall out. But Daddy being a clearly awful at humanity in 80% of his 1800 tweets probably didn’t help.
If you like me can only handle so much Jeff Moss, go use that up now.
HASHTAG NINETY-FOUR. I think retroactively erasing the outcomes of games makes as much sense as vacating the Norman conquest of England because Harold never swore any such thing, and anyway the Godwins were in truth fine patrons of the Church so the Cross of St. George never should have been allowed to play.
But if they did decide to re-vacate every JoePa victory since he discovered Jerry Sandusky’s a sexual predator, according to a court document that now goes back to 1976:
The line in question states that one of Penn State's insurers has claimed "in 1976, a child allegedly reported to PSU's Head Coach Joseph Paterno that he (the child) was sexually molested by Sandusky."
Stuff’s still coming out as the legal ramifications of a long-held campus secret become relevant in criminal proceeding or, in this case, a civil case brought by Penn State’s insurer, who claims they shouldn’t be on the hook for the damages if administrators knew and didn’t tell them. Hard not to agree.
I’ve had my fill of Ha Ha Penn State. It’s more a sobering reminder that betraying morality for what you love is betraying the thing you love. Also a sobering reminder that PSU twitter—aka #409—is awful. So I guess what I’m saying is if they did knock his win total back to every game after he knew and didn’t stop it, Joe has 94 wins. #094.
MITCH LEIDNER CAN THROW SPIRALS YOU GUYS I’M SRLSY. Okay nobody posted (Ace linked it in Slack today) this but it should be a thread since the Daily Gopher is having to explain why Todd McShay put Leidner in his 2017 mock draft.
In the first round. As a quarterback. Of the NFL. The football one!
Then the Daily Gopher goes on to explain that yes Leidner can throw a spiral using a video in which Leidner comically doesn’t throw spirals and wracks up highlights by QB sneaking a half a yard. No idea why Gopher fans think moving the ball half a yard is an accomplishment. I mean it should be automatic.
And yes, chucking it where the only way it’s not intercepted by Jeremy Clark is if Clark can’t believe he’d chuck it there is on the reel. Amazingly his pinpoint slant that beat Jourdan Lewis on 4th down isn’t.
ALL ABOARD BOATY MGOBOATFACE. Rivals shared the list of satellite camps that are back on. Map? Map.
There’s also rumors of camps to be held in the Pacific Islands, at which point the MGoStaff mutinied and demanded Brian add an option to the Kickstarter to send us all to cover it—all hands on deck. And by that we mean rent a yacht to get us all there. And by that we mean we could use your help naming the boat. Leaders so far are Boaty MGoBoatFace and Happy Ever After, No Brandon’s [sic].
So what I’m getting at here is that for a $30,000 contribution to HTTV’s kickstarter you can have two books (one of them signed), the shirt, a sentence on the thank you page, and three co-workers and I will personally travel to Hawaii to deliver a copy to Harbaugh.
Speaking of Michigan’s Hawaiian presence, I just finished prepping Craig Ross’s article researching the first games of football and it is fascinating. Like I am going to bug Craig to make this his next book.
ETC. Professor Needs a Raise got his raise, is now part of the football program. A thread about Cool World apparently. Magnus (and MGoFish and Brandon the new guy at MnB) gets crystal ball. Space Coyote on defending the pull.
Your Moment of Zen:
Upchurch / Upchurch / Sherman
With the news that Kam Chatman is transferring, what was a five-man rising junior class is now just two. Four players (including Spike – who will be playing for Purdue next season) who played last season are leaving with remaining eligibility. Ordinarily, this would be cause for considerable depth concerns, but since Michigan returns all five starters from last season’s tournament team – something that very few teams can say in this day and age – experience is actually an advantage for this team moving forward. Very rarely are teams able to sustain five-man lineups year over year and it’s reasonable to expect that Walton / Rahkman / Robinson / Irvin / Donnal will execute crisp offense together on the floor. If improvement from Wagner vaults him past Donnal (who’s much more of a known quantity) on the depth chart, all the better.
Right now, that depth chart might look like this:
We’ve seen the effect that limited depth can have on players, and it might be a concern again. Walton will have a very capable backup in Xavier Simpson, and fellow freshman Ibi Watson will get a shot behind MAAR, so the guard situation is much better than it was a year ago. There are enough big men: Donnal and Wagner will run into foul trouble, so there’s a need for a third option to emerge, but all in all, there are enough bodies at the five.
The main concern comes on the wing – and that’s why the departures of Dawkins and Chatman might be felt the most. Michigan has two open scholarships for next season and desperately could use a wing with immediate eligibility (either as ideally a grad transfer or a 2016 recruit) to offset those losses: Dawkins was Michigan’s sixth man and played just under 40% of available minutes, while Chatman chipped in 12%. By the postseason, both were essentially used only to rest the starters – Robinson and Irvin each played right around 90% of available minutes in the Wolverines’ five postseason games. As it stands, those two are the only wings left with any experience.
None of the departures – Aubrey Dawkins, Ricky Doyle, and Kam Chatman – are particularly unexpected; Dawkins fell behind Duncan Robinson and saw his dad take a mid-major coaching job; Doyle and Chatman were on the periphery of the rotation and a path to significant minutes for either was hard to find. Still, all three were good enough to play last year, and their minutes will need to be replaced. Doyle’s minutes will be split easily between Donnal, Wagner, and the freshmen bigs; Robinson and Irvin probably can’t handle many more minutes, let alone taking all the minutes vacated by Dawkins and Chatman.
[What will Michigan be losing? Find out after the JUMP]
From a statistical standpoint, it doesn’t look like Michigan’s losing anything it can’t replace. Dawkins was pretty efficient due to his three-point shooting; Doyle’s offensive rating was low for a Michigan center; Chatman (who had an enormous usage rate in his sparse minutes) really struggled shooting the ball – except for that one time.
I posted a similar graphic in Irvin’s season recap, as his data point is certainly the most eyebrow-raising. If his three-point percentage (29.8) improves to even an average level, his overall efficiency would take a mini-leap; of course, he shot the ball better after he’d fully recovered from his injury. Zak’s also the late-clock creator more often than not, and when Michigan’s struggling to get shots, he’s one of the few naturally aggressive shot-hunters on the team. Still, if Michigan’s to make a significant improvement next year, Zak will have to become more efficient in the lead role. I digress.
Here’s what Michigan’s losing with each departure:
After a promising close to his freshman season, Aubrey Dawkins received the most hype as the “most improved player” over the summer (it turned out to be LeVert). Unfortunately for Dawkins, his skill-set overlapped almost completely with Duncan Robinson’s – both are shooters, neither are defenders – and his playing time went down as Robinson got off to a hot start shooting the ball. Dawkins never seemed to find his rhythm for Michigan this season, though there were a few games where he provided instant offense off the bench in the form of a succession of made threes.
Dawkins was a very effective shooter (56% on twos, 43% on threes, 74% on free throws) and actually shot 50% from three in Big Ten play, far better than Robinson’s 35%. Still, Duncan played far more, eventually becoming so entrenched in the rotation that Dawkins rarely had a shot to inject some life into Michigan’s offense with his shooting. The main culprit was, of course, defense. Perhaps no one better epitomized the struggles of Michigan basketball more than Dawkins did: he had some nice skills offensively (though his dunking never translated into the actual games), but any chance of meaningful contribution was torpedoed by his inattentive matador defense. We hoped that Aubrey would develop into a 3-and-D wing, but somehow it seemed as if his defense actually regressed.
Of course, with the lack of wing depth on the roster, it would have been great to have Dawkins back, even if his skill-set is redundant with Duncan on the roster. A knockdown shooter off the bench is usually a luxury, but Dawkins always needed to chip in a few threes to compensate for his defense. As Robinson became a better – though still not very good – defender, Dawkins’s playing time evaporated, even if he was shooting better than Robinson was. That’s why it’s really no surprise that’s joining his father at UCF – hopefully Aubrey can improve his defense, because if he does, he could be a great player for them.
Doyle was the nominal winner of the battle at the five last year between he, Donnal, and Max Bielfeldt, but a year later, he was clearly the worst of the three.* Apparently he dealt with problems associated with sleep apnea, which would explain his seeming lack of energy and burst on the floor. Even when he was pretty successful as a freshman, it wasn’t because of his athleticism, so the problems that came along with sleeplessness and depression-like symptoms doubtlessly left Ricky struggling on the floor. Fortunately, he was diagnosed with the problem, so hopefully he’ll be able to eliminate his sleep apnea issues.
Once Mark Donnal emerged as a legit player against Illinois, Doyle’s playing time dropped off steeply – and after his grogginess during his start to the season, it wasn’t much of a surprise. Now that Moritz Wagner has shown flashes as a high-ceiling player, the writing was pretty much on the wall for Doyle, who also saw two incoming freshmen he’d have to battle for playing time (and as it’s usually wiser to develop young players, Doyle would have to play at a high level). It’s going to be interesting to see what school he transfers to and how he plays there after a redshirt season – Ricky was always a developmental guy and with his sleep issues in the past, he could be a real steal for a solid program, despite his athletic limitations.
*and Bielfeldt was clearly the best – a dynamic small-ball five who could moonlight as a four and who won Big Ten Sixth Man of the Year. He finally developed into what Beilein saw as his ceiling when he gave him a very late offer, but he fulfilled that promise for Indiana. At least Michigan went 1-1 against him.
Doyle – an early addition without any other major interest – and Dawkins – a late add whose best offer was Dayton – were under-the-radar recruits, but Chatman came in as the jewel of the class, a top 50 recruit. Kam never was able to adjust well to the faster pace of college hoops; as a freshman, he played 35.9% of available minutes but put up a really bad eFG% of 36.8. While his shooting improved a decent amount as a sophomore, his playing time went down and his overall efficiency still wasn’t very good, despite being a good passer for his size (assist rate of 14.2, higher than his turnover rate). Defensively, Kam was probably the best option on the wing, but it’s pretty clear that Beilein values players with good offense and poor defense far more than the inverse.
Any way you slice it, Chatman was a disappointment relative to his lofty recruiting rankings. Whether it was his youth (relative to his Class of 2016 peers) or a more unorthodox set of skills, it was hard for him to gel with his teammates and Beilein’s system. It was long assumed that he was Michigan’s most likely transfer, though during the time between Dawkins’s departure and Kam’s, it looked like he could be in for Dawkins’s minutes. In any case, the redshirt year should also benefit Chatman, who was put onto the floor far too early. He was a very sought-after recruit the first time around, and I wonder if that will linger as his second recruitment begins.
* * *
The biggest impact of these transfers, in the short-term, is the vacancy at wing – something that may or may not change as the roster for next season is finalized. If no other wing is added, perhaps MAAR could give some minutes at the three, though putting him, an undersized four, and a tiny backcourt on the floor at the same time may not be tenable. In the long term, these moves clear up room – instead of five players seeing their eligibility expire after 2018, there are now just two (and DJ Wilson, who could get a redshirt senior season for 2018-19).
Before we get to the final first-round matchups, here's a look at how the Harbaugh In Action region shook out. I'll be honest, I didn't see this 4-5 upset coming.
#1 Dr. Harbaugh: 2,312 (80%)
#8 Pre-Snap Adjustment 581 (20%)
#4 Green Ass Smack: 1,125 (45%)
#5 Hype-Up Beating: 1,364 (55%)
#3 Harbaugh's Huddle: 1,363 (57%)
#6 Ready To Play: 1,046 (43%)
#2 Punt Demo: 2,092 (86%)
#7 What's The Call: 353 (14%)
Green Ass Smack, gone far too soon.
Anyway, the final region includes all the GIFs I couldn't find a spot for in the other regions. The running theme: Harbaugh is basically a living emoji.
[Hit THE JUMP to see the field and put in your votes.]
(1) Good Shit, Jedd vs. (8) Exit Stage Right
A GIF with an excellent backstory—Harbaugh saying "good shit, Jedd" after Jedd Fisch dialed up a passing touchdown—that may be ripe for an upset because without the backstory there's not much going on here. Because of the outcry when this wasn't included in the Good Times region, however, I've put it as a one-seed.
I'm 95% sure Harbaugh had no intention of hitting the double-high-five, which was just a serendipitous byproduct of him hitting the ledge over the tunnel.
(4) Head Scratcher vs. (5) Cringe Emoji
A perfect summation of that Indiana game.
That "living emoji" thing?
(3) Pffffffhahahaha vs. (6) What F-ing Happened
I don't believe Harbaugh agreed with the explanation for this call.
The lip-reading portion of this is pretty good. The face he makes after he puts his hipster-specs back on is better.
(2) Snow Crabs? vs. (7) Shoulder Slump
From last April, when Harbaugh and Fisch sat down with Jameis Winston to give him pre-draft advice. That is a pitch-perfect reaction to the whole Publix situation. (Yeah, I know, it's got a caption. I don't consider that a full-blown edit and this was too good to not include.)
"Sorry, Jim, we've only got 2% and skim."
I'll let the voting run through the weekend. The second round, which will feature some brutal matchups, is up next.
Our annual gimmicky Big Ten preview occurred. Then a football season occurred. And now that it’s deeply offseason it occurred to us to do a wrap on that, roundtable style.
1. DEFEND YOUR TEAM
Brian: Christian Hackenberg got drafted ahead of Connor Cook. Therefore I had a good QB.
Seth: J-E-T-S Jets! Jets! Jets!
Brian: Seriously though, flip out Hackenberg for Cardale Jones, who was neck and neck with JT Barrett for much of the year and got drafted and my offense is clearly the best running outfit available: #4 overall pick at RB, first-rounder at LT, returning IU All-American next to him, a legit dual threat superback/H-back type and a traditional TE, both drafted. Marz and Kugler were both upper-echelon college players not quite good enough for the league; Ball got hurt in fall camp and eventually left UW's team.
There's nobody else who can put that kind of rushing firepower on the field, or really anywhere close to it. The downgrade from Elliott to anybody else is enormous.
Seth: Is it?
[After the jump: Brian gets thatsracist.gif about 3-3-5s. Spartan defensive backs are lamented. And someone in the comments will say they don’t like this series]
Seth: Passing happens in football, Brian, and not only did Pro Football Focus literally write an article about why nobody should draft Christian Hackenberg but they used Cardale Jones as his inaccuracy comp. Connor Cook may have dropped down the draft once NFL GMs discovered he's a regular on RCMB but we all thought that was insane. Give him good receivers--check--and the best OL we drafted and it's over. As for running, MSU’s Most Big Ten Thing Ever final drive in the championship game was Allen bashing 4-yard holes into Iowa’s DTs. And I flanked that guy with Elflein and Glasgow.
At the conclusion of drafting nobody could argue about my offense or secondary, and other than injuries to Clement (whom I can replace with Peppers) and Jordan Lucas, all of those guys met expectations. The questionable bit was supposed to be DL. Ryan Glasgow, two exceptional Spartan DL and a Joe Schobert later and you'd be hard pressed to find a QB happy to stand opposite that front. I'm particularly proud of the last because I spent way too much time scouting him. I'm walking in with this.
Brian: You lose because you only have 3 DL and Kemoko Turay.
To be honest there's very little to pick from amongst the various defensive lines. The position was loaded this year. Three different teams saw three guys drafted. Ace noses ahead because Bosa was inexplicably there for him at #3, but the differences aren't huge except when it comes to the fact that Seth is trying to sell a 3-3-5 to Michigan fans.
Ace: Seth, you can’t cite accuracy issues while pumping up Connor Cook. While all the attention is on the captaincy thing, that’s the real reason Cook slipped as much as he did. Unless you truly believe NFL teams care that much about whether a guy is a jerk...
Seth: No, I chalked the senior "regression" to his OL being in and out of the lineup (particularly Conklin) and playing with an injured shoulder. The recklessness PFF graded wasn't part of his game until 2015; remember this was the guy with the crazy TD/INT ratios as a sophomore and junior.
Ace: Cook never broke 60% in any season of his career. Even though he was criticized, fairly, for being overly careful throwing the ball downfield.
Brian: I don't agree with that. PFF had Cook the top deep passer in CFB. His WRs were Burbridge and a bunch of 5'10" schmoes. He was clearly the top QB in the league over the course of the season despite the completion percentage; he's not great short but we all saw the Burbridge-Lewis matchup.
It does not matter, though, because 3-3-5.
Ace: That Cook criticism applied to his first two years, not last season. Only brought it up because Seth talked up his sophomore and junior TD/INT ratios. He’s not very accurate short, he was great on deep balls last year, and he’s clearly the best QB in this group.
Seth wins at QB but we’re happy and amazed that Ace made it close.
Adam: I'm still happy with Barrett, albeit not as the no. 1 overall pick. He's a better runner than my running back, completed 63% of his passes on 6.3 ypa, and I'm pretty sure he would have had plenty of time to operate behind my offensive line. Though he probably needed some receivers to throw to, which I, uh, didn't exactly provide.
Ace: I’ll note that Jake Rudock had the best conference-only passer efficiency of any of our QBs save Jones, who didn’t hit 100 attempts. Unfortunately I whiffed on half my pass-catchers if we’re including the tight ends. Why I put so much trust in the Penn State passing game is beyond me.
Brian: 6.3 YPA is real bad, Cook is a jerko, and Rudock was not that Jake Rudock for half the season, so what I'm saying here is my run game is bonkers and everyone's defenses are pretty similar and therefore I should get the imaginary trophy.
Everyone's LBs are also close to the same: one very good player, one meh player, and then either injury incompletes (Whartman-White, Ed Davis) or solid college players.
Also, Ace, I think you should be protesting a bit harder about the "defenses are equivalent" business.
Ace: Yeah, I’ve been a little passive because there are major holes in my offense, but my defense is clearly the best. I kind of thought that was assumed. One unfortunate injury to Darius Hamilton, one unfortunate choice of an MSU safety, and otherwise no holes to speak of.
Seth: I'll give Adam a point there because I thought Raekwon McMillan established himself this year. And it’s not his fault Ed Davis got hurt. Joe Bolden though…
Ace: I do think Brian has the weakest linebacker group, but that’s probably the position group you can most afford to be underwhelming.
Brian: My linebacker group isn't that bad. Biegel is a very good player and Whartman-White is an injury incomplete who was expected to be terrific. Ross is... not Joe Bolden.
Ace: It’s just not that impressive outside of Biegel, either. Wartman-White’s injury is obviously a big factor there.
Brian: At least I didn't injure half my team like someone did. COUGH COUGH ADAM
Ace: Everyone has at least one ugly spot in the secondary, too, while otherwise being somewhere between good and excellent.
|Say you had to invite one of these secondaries to a potluck…|
Adam: I still like my secondary. A second-round pick and a guy who I thought played really well last year as my safeties, and a fourth round pick and, even though he's a Spartan, a dude with seven PBUs and three picks. My offense was just a pile of injuries.
And Jake Butt.
Seth: I move to disqualify anyone with a Sparty in the secondary. At least my "hole" there is an injury incomplete who got drafted.
Ace: Adam, let’s be real, you watched Demetrious Cox play last year.
Adam: Ugh yeah fine, I should know better than to try and fleece you guys with mediocre numbers. I do like 3/4 of my secondary.
Seth: Since offense (including passing) and defense both count and Brian's already sunk to "all 3-3-5s are GERG"-icism I shall stipulate that Peppers, Peppers, Peppers, Peppers, and Peppers, and I win.
Ace: I’d have a serious argument if I’d drafted Jordan Howard, but I did not do that.
Brian: That's another question.
2. BEST PLAYERS WE LEFT BEHIND?
Ace: Since I already mentioned him, might as well lead off with Jordan Howard.
Brian: Desmond King was also a huge omission.
Ace: I was wrestling between him and Darius Hillary for my second corner spot. I have regrets. Anthony Walker would’ve been an upgrade in the middle for most of us.
On second look, make that all of us.
Brian: Yes, I picked James Ross over someone who actually got on the field a lot.
Seth: DL was deep this year but I had to pick between Kemoko Turay and a Penn State walk-on we'd never seen play and chose...poorly. Carl Nassib was excellent this year as a looping Matt Godin on spinach.
|Michigan didn’t have to face Nassib in last year’s game, but he was a backfield-wrecking addition to a great DL before that. [Mike Pettigano]|
Brian: Can I put in a shout for Jehu Chesson? Like Rudock, his in-season improvement was remarkable; I'd rather have him than just about anyone we actually drafted at WR.
Seth: Chesson absolutely belongs on this list.
Ace: Before we move on from Penn State guys who came out of nowhere, Saquon Barkley would’ve been nice.
Brian: Very tough to project a true freshman behind that OL to do anything, but yes.
Three of us took Michigan State Secondary Person over Anybody Else.
Seth: I was mad at you guys then for passing over Marcus Allen.
Adam: I could have picked Burbridge and took Shelton, which...oof.
Adam, you didn't have to throw draftageddon to suck up to everyone.
Ace: Along those lines, I chose DaeSean Hamilton over Chris Godwin.
Adam: Advanced stats: usually love 'em, but that didn't work out so well this time. His catch rate was pretty bad in 2014.
Adam: Brian, you read that story about Durkin intentionally losing his one-on-one basketball game to Harbaugh, right?
Brian: I am not as insanely competitive as Harbaugh even if I once threw a War Sun at someone in a heated game of Twilight Imperium.
This is maybe not my best argument.
Ace: In the category of MSU DBs vs. Anybody Else: either of Northwestern’s corners.
Adam: A painful memory I just recalled is that when I was scouting my second corner it came down to VanHoose vs. Cox.
Ace: How have we not mentioned Nate Sudfeld yet?
Adam: BARRETT WOULD HAVE BEEN FINE IF URBAN WOULD HAVE JUST ROLLED WITH HIM FROM THE START is maybe tangentially related to the Sudfeld miss (and is also something I felt needed to be worked in here at some point).
Ace: Another inside linebacker who outperformed most of our inside linebackers: Josey Jewell. But none of us watch Iowa.
3. ANY OTHER MICHIGAN PLAYERS YOU WOULD HAVE SUBSTITUTED FOR A GUY ON YOUR TEAM?
Seth: Chesson was mentioned.
Brian: In retrospect I should have left Zettel on the interior and taken TE-wrecking Chris Wormley as an SDE.
BiSB: I'm guessing you would also swap out Wayne Lyons and Montae Nicholson for... well, anyone else in Michigan's secondary?
Brian: Also yes.
Ace: Same here in the case of RJ Williamson.
Brian: In retrospect Blake O'Neill was tiny bit more valuable than Brian Cole, my comedy Brian-never-takes-a-punter pick.
Ace: I’m sure there were better choices out there, but given I took two injured Penn State tight ends, I’d happily insert AJ Williams on my team. 2014 Ace is astounded by that sentence.
Adam: 2014 Everyone is astounded by that sentence.
BiSB: Wait until 2014 Everyone hears about 2015 Everything.
Seth: Time travelers announced 2015 Everything in the stadium but unfortunately there were only a few dozen Utah fans around to hear it.
BiSB: And they will only listen until "Undefeated Iowa" is uttered.
Adam: I know Chesson is in the question but what he became is what I was trying to achieve with the RJ Shelton pick so yeah, that one hurts.
Seth: As long as Turay gets me off with an injury incomplete I don't have to dive into the depths of Michigan DL I should have taken instead. But I could have lived with slightly less good punting and gotten just as good kicking with a single Kenny Allen, and Spring 2015 Everyone is probably really happy to hear that.
Also my gamble of Dudek returning didn't pay off. I wish I could say I was thinking of Chesson with that pick but honestly I was scouting Wisconsin's Tanner McEvoy as a 6'6" receiver.
Ace: The only other one I can think of is inserting Magnuson into my lineup in place of injury casualty Kodi Kieler. In general, we picked all the good M guys—and some bad ones—and the undrafted guys other than Chesson were at positions of relative strength in the conference.
BiSB: Does NO ONE have room for a Tongan Terrorback?
Ace: As a replacement for my intended H-back, Kyle Carter, absolutely.
Adam: In retrospect, yes. I should have swapped out Pierson-El for the Tongan Truck. That's even if Pierson-El was healthy; I would have done better to theoretically run more considering the makeup of my line, QB, and RB.
4. WE DRAFTED A LOT OF RIVALS AGAIN. OTHER THAN THE INJURIES DID WE OVERRATE THOSE GUYS? WHICH GUYS? WILL DRAFTAGEDDON 2016 BE AS LITTERED WITH HATEFUL THINGS?
Ace: We won’t be drafting as many MSU defensive backs this year. That much is clear.
Seth: Geronimo Allison and Josh Ferguson were both good value picks but I still don't see what's to like about Ted Karras, and the Angry Mike Dudek Hating God is clearly a thing.
Ace: We collectively took a ton of Buckeyes and didn’t really overrate any of them outside of the quarterbacks. Thankfully, most of them are off to the NFL.
|Reaching into the pile of Buckeyes was distasteful, but a good way to find NFL prospects. [Upchurch]|
Seth: "collectively" is relative.
Brian: Yeah, we accurately pegged that OSU would be crazy talented. We did not project that Tim Beck would be disaster as OC.
Ace: I’m guilty for taking more than my fair share of them, but if anything I probably should’ve taken more. We definitely underrated the Spartan DTs and overrated pretty much everyone else.
Adam: Seth, it's interesting that your Illinois players are value picks and the one I took, a guy who turned into a sixth-round NFL Draft pick, you don't like.
Ace: I’m not getting the Karras thing considering he went really late.
Adam: I know, I just think Karras was an above average O-lineman for a 24th-round pick. I'm not going to go die on the Ted Karras hill, just an observation. As I alluded to earlier, I definitely overrated RJ Shelton and Demetrious Cox.
Seth: Ferguson is Ace's pick. I only took two Buckeyes—Elflein worked out, and Jalin Marshall put a hurt on Michigan. But re: Marshall, Braxton Miller moved to H right after I made that pick. Jalin turned out to be the odd man out in the pile of talent, got a 7th round grade that didn't respect his outside potential at all, and went undrafted.
BiSB: Anywho, next year Ohio State is going to have like 14 or 15 real position battles, so there will be some real risk with selecting Buckeyes.
Ace: Barrett, McMillan, and Elflein are the only surefire high picks of the Buckeyes we drafted last year.
|Onetime Michigan commit Gareon Conley will probably get drafted this year. And next. [Upchurch]|
Seth: Don't forget Cameron Johnson
BiSB: Sam Hubbard, Jamaraco Jones and Gareon Conley will be starters.
Ace: There’s plenty to pick from among emerging defensive guys, but any offensive skill player is going to be a huge gamble.
BiSB: Beyond that, it gets anywhere from "not a lock" to "shruggie motion" pretty damn quick
Adam: Yeah, and Barrett shouldn't have been the no. 1 overall pick. Talented, but I won't be so cocky next time when it comes to a guy who's in a legitimate battle for a starting spot.
Ace: Signed, Guy Who Took Dontre Wilson In 2014.
Seth: I ended up with the best quarterback at #2 and yet I’d argue Joey Bosa was underrated at #3 overall. In a world where D.J. Durkin doesn't try to play an Urban Meyer running offense 10 on 11, Michigan still got Jake Rudock knocked out and couldn't run to Bosa's side. He’s the best player the Big Ten has had in a long time.
Ace: MSU is going to be a tough team to pick from this year, too. One of their RBs will probably be worth a selection in retrospect but it’s hard to grab one guy from a three-headed backfield. Meanwhile, they lost Cook and Burbridge. McDowell might be the only guy on the whole team who gets taken early.
5. SINCE DRAFTAGEDDON IS ESSENTIALLY OUR BIG TEN PREVIEW, WHAT DID WE GET RIGHT/WRONG THAT PREVAILING DIDN'T?
Ace: Phil Steele left Jake Butt entirely out of his preseason All-B1G list, which went to four teams, while we had him as the clear-cut top TE in the conference. Point: homers.
That list, for those who want a reference:
|1st TEAM||2nd TEAM||3rd TEAM||4th TEAM|
|QB||Connor Cook, MSU||JT Barrett, OSU||Christian Hackenberg, PSU||Nate Sudfeld, IN|
|RB||Ezekiel Elliott, OSU||Jordan Howard, IN||Akeel Lynch, PSU||Derek Watt, Wis (FB)|
|RB||Corey Clement, Wis||Justin Jackson, NW||Josh Ferguson, ILL||Madre London, MSU|
|WR||DaeSean Hamilton, PSU||Jordan Westerkamp, Neb||Macgarrett Kings, MSU||Marcus Leak, MD|
|WR||Leonte Carroo, RU||Jalin Marshall, OSU||Alex Erickson, Wis||Amara Darboh, UM|
|WR||Michael Thomas, OSU||Geronimo Allison, ILL||Tevaun Smith, Iowa||De'Mornay Pierson-El, NE|
|TE||Josiah Price, MSU||Nick Vannett, OSU||Kyle Carter, PSU||Jake Duzey, Iowa|
|C||Jack Allen, MSU||Dan Voltz, Wis||Robert Kugler, PU||Billy Price, OSU|
|OL||Dan Feeney, IN||Ted Karras, ILL||Kyle Kalis, UM||Geoff Mogus,. NW|
|OL||Pat Elflein, OSU||Austin Blythe (C), Iowa||Chris Muller, RU||Angelo Mangiro (C), PSU|
|OL||Jack Conklin, MSU||Tyler Marz, Wis||Alex Lewis, NE||Josh Campion, MN|
|OL||Taylor Decker, OSU||Jason Spriggs, IN||Keith Lumpkin, RU||Andrew Zeller, MD|
|1st TEAM||2nd TEAM||3rd TEAM||4th TEAM|
|DE||Joey Bosa, OSU||Theiren Cockran, MN||Jihad Ward, ILL||Dean Lowry, NW|
|DT||Anthony Zettel, PSU||Austin Johnson, PSU||Vincent Valentine, NE||Malik McDowell, MSU|
|DT||Adolphus Washington, Ohio St||Darius Hamilton, RU||Maliek Collins, NE||Lawrence Thomas, MSU|
|DE||Shilique Calhoun, MSU||Drew Ott, Iowa||Kemoko Turay, RU||Yannick Ngakoue, MD|
|LB||Steve Longa, RU||Ed Davis, MSU||Joe Schobert, Wis||Riley Bullough, MSU|
|LB||Darron Lee, OSU||Nyeem Wartman, PSU||Raekwon McMillan, OSU||David Santos, NE|
|LB||Mason Monheim, ILL||Joshua Perry, Ohio St||DeVondre Campbell, MN||TJ Neal, ILL|
|LB||Vince Biegel, Wis||Joe Bolden, UM||Desmond Morgan, UM||Quentin Gause, RU|
|DB||Nick VanHoose, NW||Briean Boddy-Calhoun, MN||Desmond King, Iowa||Jabrill Peppers, UM|
|DB||Jordan Lucas, PSU||Eric Murray, MN||Eli Apple, OSU||Frankie Williams, PU|
|DB||William Likely, MD||Sean Davis, MD||Nate Gerry, NE||Jordan Lomax, Iowa|
|DB||Vonn Bell, OSU||Michael Caputo, Wis||RJ Williamson, MSU||Tyvis Powell, OSU|
|1st TEAM||2nd TEAM||3rd TEAM||4th TEAM|
|K||Brad Craddock, MD||Rafael Gaglianone, Wis||Paul Griggs, PU||Griffin Oakes, IN|
|P||Peter Mortell, MN||Cameron Johnston, Ohio St||Sam Foltz, NE||Blake O'Neill, UM|
|KR||Janarion Grant, RU||RJ Shelton, MSU||William Likely, MD||Jalen Myrick, MN|
|PR||De'Mornay Pierson-El, NE||Jalin Marshall, OSU||Frankie Williams, PU||William Likely, MD|
Seth: I've got to use this opportunity for some self-credit for picking Joe Schobert. Vince Biegel was a guy whom serious Big Ten generalists knew about, but your average Michigan fan hadn't heard of since most of us have probably encountered an actual badger since the last time we played Wisconsin. Even that was silent on Schobert (Steele's 3rd team). Here's PFF after the season:
he was very good against the run and ranked No. 1 in the nation among 3-4 OLBs in pass-rush productivity, having recorded nine sacks, 14 hits and 29 hurries. He’s a second-round talent who might slip much further than that in the draft.
I found him amidst a thorough diagnosis of how Ohio State picked that defense apart, so score one for the MGoProcess.
|Corey Clement played in three games and was healthy for one after looking like the second coming of Tevin Coleman (or the next great Badger back) as a freshman. [courtesy UW Athletics]|
Also while we've got Steele's page open he called VanHoose a 1st teamer and we didn't listen.
Ace: I was dumb enough to buy into the preseason DaeSean Hamilton hype.
Seth: To be fair "this guy will be a magnet for screens" was true; I don't think anyone would have predicted that Hackenberg's passes to the flat would find turf as often as hands.
Ace: …if they hadn’t watched Penn State in 2014, perhaps.
Seth: Well Steele apparently hadn't either since Angelo Marino made his 4th team (as did Billy Price), and two Rutgers OL made his 3rd. I thought we did pretty good, barring a few injuries to Spartans, at identifying good players at positions that don't get talked about often. We knew to stay away from a lot of guys who get talked up by home teams--Mason Monheim, David Santos, Jihad Ward, TJ Neal, Sojourn Shelton, Boilermakers, and Sean Davis until the very end--and properly rated valuable up and comers like Peppers, Ngakoue, McDowell, and Hillary.
Ace: Ward and Neal are pretty good players, and Wisconsin’s secondary was so lights-out last year I’m not sure we should be that happy about passing on Shelton. But we didn’t draft any Penn State O-linemen, and for that alone I think we fared better than Steele.
BiSB: Neither Steele not Athlon had Jourdan Lewis among their top 8 CBs
Ace: Everyone missed on Aaron Burbridge, but at least we didn’t draft Macgarrett Kings. Steele had him as a third-teamer. Also, while injuries played a huge part, a major miss by both the experts at large and Seth on Corey Clement. I don’t think anyone anticipated the Paul Chryst transition would go so poorly.
Seth: Clement has to be an injury wash. He had 16 carries while healthy, all against Alabama.
Ace: True. The rushing offense in his absence didn’t exactly inspire confidence, though. Usually Wisconsin can plug-and-play a guy who’ll get 6-7 YPC.
Adam: BTN.com also had him on their preseason All-Big Ten team. No surprise here, but we excelled at picking Michigan players who were key contributors last fall that others had yet to notice- Lewis, Wilson, the Glasgows, Butt, et al. On the other hand, we ran into another situation like Wisconsin's run game in thinking that State's secondary was way more plug-and-play than it turned out to be; Steele only had one Spartan DB on his four-team-deep list.
Brian: We also successfully badgered Ace into taking Rudock, which was on point... eventually.
[It’s getting long so we’ll post the rest of the roundtable another time]
|Cedar Grove, GA – 6'3", 232|
|Scout||3*, NR overall
|Rivals||4*, NR overall
#15 LB, #33 GA
|ESPN||4*, NR overall
#13 LB, #37 GA
|24/7||3*, #839 overall
#30 LB, #70 GA
|Other Suitors||Auburn, OU, NC State, UF, ND, Ole Miss|
|Previously On MGoBlog||Hello post from Ace featuring his many trophies.|
|Notes||Native of Cameroon. Twitter. Heir apparent to the Ojemudia Death Stare.|
Elysee Mbem-Bosse and soon-to-come Josh Uche are the first Don Brown dudes. Brown wasted little time getting on the phone with a guy he had no shot at while at Boston College:
“When he first got the defensive coordinator job at Michigan, I was one of the people he called on the first day in the office. He was like I just watched your tape and loved every second of it.”
Both EMB and Uche came to campus shortly after his hire, hit it off with the program and each other, and committed soon after they returned home despite offers from SEC powerhouses thought to lead. In Mbem-Bosse's case that was Auburn; in Uche's it was Florida. That's reason for optimism both in EMB's specific case and for this recruiting class in general—there are three stars who could have gone to Minnesota and there are three stars who could have gone to Auburn, and this class's three stars are generally the latter.
When not demonstrating Don Brown's ability to recruit, Mbem-Bosse is Middle Linebacker Classic. He's really only got one way onto the the field, and that's by wrecking lead blockers and unleashing furious anger on ball carriers. At 6'3" he's tall for a linebacker and will probably top out at 250 or even bigger. As per usual with guys that big who aren't highly touted, that size comes with some compromises.
Let's start with the good: dude is a mean-ass dude.
- ESPN: "powerful inside linebacker with great measurables for the position. Uses his hands to shock blockers and disengage to wrap up ball carrier. …. Has short area power to deliver a heavy hit.… thumper ready to make the jump physically … lot of tools desired in an upper-tier middle linebacker."
Woody Womack, Rivals: “really passes the eye test … athletic enough that he could move around and play a couple different positions. I think he could play all three linebacker positions.”
Touch The Banner: "…solid straight-line speed that’s maybe not in the 4.58 range, but not far off, either. Using that length and speed – plus a good understanding of pursuit angles – he can cover a lot of ground and wrap up ball carriers in space. When he arrives, he brings a punch and does a good job of wrapping up.
Rob Cassidy, Rivals, from a Rivals Camp: "long arms allow him to play bigger than his 6-foot-3 frame … extremely quick with his first step. He also ran well for a middle linebacker, as he shined in coverage even on the rare occasion that saw a running back test him deep." … "One of the most physically impressive linebackers in the country."
- Son Of A Coach: There aren’t going to be many players who can stuff the inside run quite like Mbem-Bosse. He does a great job of scraping through the trash and arrives at the ball violently when he gets to it … very good tackler that runs through people. ... will absolutely blow up the iso. … true inside linebacker that would thrive as a downhill run defender that is asked to blitz a lot versus the pass.
In the aftermath of that RCS camp, Rivals moved Mbem-Bosse into their top 250 at #157; he would eventually fall out but maintain a four-star ranking. They did explain why at the time, but that article was lost to their redesign. Yes, I am a little skeptical of that bump and subsequent fall, but their ranking is reasonable all the same.
That last scouting report segues into the downside: a guy who is "asked to blitz a lot" probably isn't too good in coverage. There are conflicting reports about how athletic Mbem-Bosse is, but virtually every report will mention "stiffness" and the like. A typical example from ESPN:
May be interchangeable between ILB and OLB given his athletic ability and potential to make plays outside of the numbers with his range. … shows some tightness opening and turning in pursuit. … We do not see the hips or fluid transitional skills to project high as a man coverage LB at the next level.
TTB says he's "not a great space player" and has a hard time bending or changing direction; Son Of A Coach says he "doesn't jump out as a great athlete", "looks a little stiff", and may not have sideline to sideline speed.
The upshot here is one you've already seen in the gentlemen listed as Mbem-Bosse's YMRMFSPA: Desmond Morgan. When Morgan got isolated on wheel routes against faster backs that didn't go very well. Michigan ran its coverages to minimize such occurrences, but when the rock-paper-scissors went badly there were moments he got exposed. EMB will have to be similarly protected. The good news is that Brown runs a lot of pattern-matching zone concepts and that's a good fit for a tall, rangy, smart linebacker. I know the takes on MGoBlue bios are always going to be the most positive ones available; even so, Brown seems legitimately high on his potential as a cover guy:
Coach Don Brown on Elysee Mbem-Bosse
Elysee “Boss Man” is a true sideline-to-sideline guy. He plays downhill and can explode on contact and has really good coverage skills for a middle linebacker. He’s a no-brainer for us and fits exactly what we are trying to do within our system.
For Don Brown that may be true in a way it is not more generally.
Michigan can also mitigate whatever issues he might have in coverage by blitzing maniacally, which Brown also likes to do. This uncommonly useful segment from 247's Auburn site makes an excellent point…
…with his size and explosion trying to pick him up with a running back is a losing proposition for an offense. When the Nebraska Rivals site caught up with EMB's coach, it was just after a 4 TFL, 2 sack performance. He "definitely can pass rush." That is an element Morgan didn't bring during his time at Michigan.
A second concern is Mbem-Bosse's rawness. He only has two years of football under his belt and that does show up on film. Son Of A Coach and TTB mention "false steps" and occasional failure to recognize keys; Womack says he can be "a little hot and cold" because he "doesn't realize the impact he can have on every down."
That concern is mitigated by Mbem-Bosse's background. Like Amara Darboh and Jehu Chesson, Mbem-Bosse was born in Africa—Cameroon, specifically. Immigrants are often really driven people, as Darboh and Chesson have demonstrated, and Mbem-Bosse seems to be from a similar mold. Per his coach he speaks "about four different languages." His twitter feed alternates between Bible verses and various workouts, and dude has serious academic plans:
"Knowledge is something that can never be taken away from you,"Mbem-Bosse said. "The average time playing in the league [NFL] is about three-and-a-half years. That means I'll have 50 or 60 more years in my life. I want to be able to grow up, have a beautiful wife and kids and say I was able to get a good education.
"There are way too many kids who go to college and don't have a plan B, and they end up bankrupt and struggling through life. Even if I don't make the league, I want to say I was successful."
That's a quote a lot like the ones Chesson issued when he was a recruit, and that was a major factor when I named him (co-)sleeper of the year. (Mbem-Bosse isn't eligible to be SotY since he's got two four-star rankings, FWIW.) Per his coach he's in "all AP classes" and "excels in math"—my man. I think he's more likely to hit because of his background.
If EMB does hit his ceiling the stiffness won't be a huge concern. As I've said virtually any time someone criticized Morgan, MLB is about 80% knowing what to do and 20% being able to go do it. Mbem-Bosse is a long way away from knowing what to do but seems like the kind of guy who's likely to figure it out as time goes along here.
Etc.: Prefers comically oversized weights.
Why Desmond Morgan? Morgan was a lightly-regarded guy coming out of high school. He was mostly a quarterback, so he had some of the same projection issues that Mbem-Bosse does. At Michigan he quickly established himself a thumping hitter and solid zone coverage linebacker. Morgan's athletic limitations occasionally got him in trouble on wheel routes and the like, but his smarts and ability to rock free-releasing OL backwards made him a quality player.
Mbem-Bosse is higher rated, with a couple of four-star rankings, and considerably taller. He has more upside and eventually could be a guy of interest to the NFL.
Guru Reliability: High. Relatively large spread in the rankings but scouting reports are consistent. EMB was healthy and at a high-profile high school; I can see both sides of the coin with his rankings.
Variance: Moderate. Lack of experience means there's a lot of projection in his rankings and offers. In addition, most scouting reports indicate that he's an interior thumper only, so he doesn't have a plan B if MLB isn't working out. On the other hand, high-academic guy and driven immigrant.
Ceiling: Moderate-plus. EMB is probably never going to be an all-action three-down linebacker. He does project as a major run-stuffer in the middle.
General Excitement Level: Moderate-plus. Michigan needs a hard-nosed MLB for the Wisconsins and MSU and OSUs of the world. This is that dude. Mbem-Bosse would be out of place in the Big 12. In the Big Ten he's a major asset.
Projection: MLB is another spot where some young guys might play since there's little clarity what will happen next year. EMB is probably 50/50 to redshirt—he's physically ready; he could use a year of mental prep. Either way he's not likely to see much time.
In 2017 there will be at least one LB slot open, possibly two if Peppers goes to the draft and actually is more or less a linebacker. That is unlikely to affect EMB, who will be in the mix at MLB and MLB only. With Bush already on campus and that SAM spot looking like it'll go to hybrid space player types it'll be up to Mike McCray whether that's a serious battle or not. Right now the assumption is he'll have to wait for McCray to graduate before getting a shot as a thumper in the middle as an upperclassman. The decks are clear for him to start for two or three years after McCray departs.
These names had been rumored for a couple days and now they are official:
Donlon was just fired from Wright State after a six-year tenure. His axing was controversial, to say the least, after Donlon saw his charges to 22-13 season and 13-5 conference mark, and the conference tournament final. I mean, this is a hell of a resume to fire for a low major*:
Three years after he was named the Horizon League coach of the year and three days after he led his Wright State team to its third 20-plus wins season in four years, a tie for the most league wins by a WSU team and the third appearance in four years in the title game of the league tournament, Donlon was fired as the Raiders’ basketball coach.
Donlon and Wright State had a rough 2015 but the years surrounding it were all 20-win seasons featuring excellent defense considering WSU's place in the basketball firmament. Here are some key stats from his tenure:
|Year||Adj D Eff Rk||2PT % RK||BLK % RK||TO% RK||REB RK||FTR RK|
Donlon's teams played a high-foul, high-TO style that made them somewhere between respectable and just about as good as a low major can rank—with the exception of 2015. He's never had any shot blocking because of the nature of coaching at Wright State, but three of the last four years he's outperformed a ton of teams. (FWIW, His offenses were universally horrible. That doesn't matter because Beilein.) Donlon looks like the "defensive coordinator" I was advocating once LaVall Jordan left. Beilein:
"I have known Billy for almost two decades, and I love his passion and IQ for the game. He has tremendous experience as a player, assistant and head coach at the Division I level. Improving our defense is a huge goal for us, and defense is one of Billy's specialties."
If he can get Wright State into the top 60 three times in the last four years he's probably pretty good in that role.
The obvious catch is that free throw rate. That is emphatically not how Michigan plays right now, and it's an open question just how much rope Donlon will have to deploy his style of D. Beilein is notoriously persnickety about fouls. Insert hours-long autobench complaint here.
Meanwhile, Washington has been at Oakland for a decade, helping the Golden Grizzlies have disproportionate success in the Horizon League. He almost got a job in Ann Arbor during the last staff shakeup. I don't know much about him other than the fact that Sam Webb believes he'll be an excellent recruiter; unlike Donlon he doesn't have a helpful Kenpom page since he was an assistant.
*[Article states that Wright State pays its assistants less than the rest of the Horizon and doesn't have a full time strength coach; they are mid-major only if that's your term for literally every non-big-time CBB program.]