LIST OF WWE PERSONNEL?!?
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Adidas released a group of alternate jerseys for the college hoops postseason today, including the uniforms Michigan will wear for both the Big Ten Tournament and, most likely, the NIT.
I'll withhold total judgment until I see these on an actual human, but they could be a lot worse, especially given adidas' standards. Remember, Michigan turned down that horrible zubaz concept a couple years ago. At least these have normal looking tops and understated shoes; the shorts would probably look pretty sharp if not for the whole two-tone thing, which is unfortunately the selling point of the uniforms.
Anyway, you'll see these on Michigan for the conference tourney and maybe a handful of postseason games, and then we'll all forget this ever happened.
pyramid of greatness 2.0
Seth: With great coaching comes great insanity. What's…
- Your favorite Harbaughism?
- Your favorite Traughdition?
- A great moment in Harbaughditute?
Brian: [Brian is driving through Iowa and sends his regards]
David: Spread punt.
Seth: That's not…
David: SPREAD PUNT!
Seth: I meant we'll split into categories.
Great Harbaughisms (Sayings)
"Who's got it better than us? Nobody!"
If the Harbaugh family slogan doesn't become a Michigan Stadium call-and-response chant by the end of 2015, I'm disappointed in each and every one of you.
"Tom, we've talked about this before: at Thanksgiving, you sit at the kids table."
85% chance this has happened.
"I don't take vacations. I don't get sick. I don't observe major holidays. I'm a jackhammer."
If you're trying to distill the essence of the insanity of coaching (or Harbaugh) into four sentences I don't think you could do a better job than that. I think, however, that I found a caveat: Harbaugh said the first day of spring practice is like Thanksgiving, Christmas, and a birthday rolled into one. That would make the start of spring practice a major holiday to him, and he celebrates it; he just does so by going to work because of course he does.
Thought of the day - What a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive! - Sir Walter Scott
— Coach Harbaugh (@CoachJim4UM) February 7, 2015
The minute I saw that go out I was…well I was already enamored with Harbaugh, but this proved Michigan won't try to dull the edges of Harbaugh's approach to rivalries. Which is analogous to things you do with knives. #hasadeal
Weeks after this tweet I still run into Buckeyes who clench their legs together and cover the bits every time they think about how Michigan's head coach correctly labeled Ohio State's head coach a slime.
Also I like that he's always talking about how great a player's family is. I've read between the lines of enough recruiting battles to realize parents are Michigan's best allies, and every time he brings up Mom & Dad it's calculated to reinforce the program's most attractive attributes.
Also also "I just was really revved up!" in answer to the Jim Schwartz handshake incident.
[After the jump: the traditions, the moments]
Ace: The gameday pen on a string. The ideal football coach accessory, it says "I have a deep understanding of X's and O's, I'm ready to handle playcalling, and I'm also a complete lunatic, so you'd better tether this pen to by body because WHO THE $%&@ THREW THAT FLAG"
Can't wait for football OFAATs, you guys.
Seth: I'm gonna go with the lesser-known blue collar gambit:
Everybody gets a blue work shirt with his name on it. You have to wear this. Here is a man who, while at Dickey's to try on $23 khakis, sees blue shortsleeve work shirts and orders 125 them with the names of all his players. Because motivation that's why.
Alex Cook: Winning. I like it when Michigan wins. Harbaugh probably does too. He's very good at winning, so there's definitely a good fit there, I think.
Adam Schnepp: This probably doesn't count yet but come on, it's a Bo hat!
— Alejandro Zúñiga (@ByAZuniga) February 25, 2015
Great Moments in Harbaughditude
Ace: For me, nothing tops Harbaugh winning laser tag at his own bachelor party by staking out some poor ten-year-old and gunning away at him without mercy. It's a hilarious story, and it also gives me hope that we'll see some truly entertaining beatdowns of crappy teams before long.
Seth: He guaranteed a win against Ohio State.
And then he did it.
You may sense a theme here: Harbaugh is a guy who raises the stakes. I was in 1st grade and that guarantee wiped all Garbage Pail Kids and Michael Jackson videos from the playground talk from the week of The Game till Christmas Break. All the confidence, competence, and cajones were on display even then. I bet you it drove Bo up the wall.
Alex Cook: Coming back to Michigan! I still can't really believe that it happened, especially after the icy claws of mediocrity and embarrassment had gripped the program all fall. Still, Harbaugh don't care. The timing was right - thank goodness - and I do actually believe that he truly wants to be here. Coming back isn't messianic, but it mirrors the return of the Prodigal Son - except home was what had been laid to waste and the son was still super rich or successful or whatever. Harbaugh back!
Adam Schnepp: Tonight, at the first spring practice presser. Harbaugh walked to the podium in his Michigan hat and fleece and it finally felt like he was the head coach of the Wolverines. Gone was the suit-wearing, smiling man who was ready with a quip and in his place was the taciturn, perma-glaring, khaki-wearing coach.
This season hasn't inspired much in the way of GIFs posts. Sunday rectified that.
Different rival, different scenario, but man, does that look deliciously familiar nonetheless.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the Ohio State game in GIFs.]
No honorable mentions for this one. Click the stills to open each GIF in a lightbox, and don't forget to vote for your favorite at the end of the post.
10. DJ Official
Excellent form, DJ.
I thought Stauskas was in Sacra-- wait, what?
8. Lean With It
That is a putback from a rather improbable angle.
7. Kam Chatman, One-Man Run
Okay, that's great, but there's no way he does it aga--
6. Drive, Dish, Irvin
Oh, hey, there's a Bench Mob of sorts again.
5. You Can Only Hope To Contain Max Bielfeldt
The angle at which Bielfeldt must contort his body to make this and-one makes my back hurt.
4. The Spike Scoop
Of Spike's three(!!!) layups, this was both the most important and most impressive.
3. The Spike Wraparound
I only believe this was intentional because I've seen Spike play basketball before.
2. The Spike Swipe
FRAMES OF THE GAME: MUPPET FAN
So there's the fan losing his gol-dang mind, and that alone is probably enough to put this GIF above the rest. The true gem, though, appears in the bottom left at the very end of the loop: the screaming fan's muppet doppelganger.
- Sione Houma had a procedure done and will be recovering over the spring. He’s expected to be back for summer conditioning and fall camp.
- Khalid Hill and Drake Johnson are also injured and not participating in spring practices.
- The first practice went well; Harbaugh thought the whole day was great “with a capital G.”
- The coaching staff is still in the process of asking questions themselves; how to get better, what scheme fits the personnel, what players fit what position, etc.
- Harbaugh said nothing has been determined as far as players switching positions, so take the initial depth chart with a massive grain of salt.
- Harbaugh declined to comment on freshman ineligibility
“I have no opening statement. I wasn’t expecting a press conference. If anybody has any questions I’d be glad to attempt to answer them.”
How’d it go?
“Good. You know, it’s good to start. Feel like when you start you have- you can lay down a benchmark of where you are and it gives you a place to go forward from. It gives you a place to improve from [and] things to get better at.”
Talk about how you go about building competition in practice with some of the things you implement.
“Uh…some of the things we do to build competition? I mean, it’s football. It’s a very competitive sport.”
Are there things you do to encourage guys to…
“I’m sure there are. I’m sure there are. I don’t really have that list in front of me right now.”
You said you wanted to find out what their intent was in winter conditioning. Were you pleased with some of the results?
“Yes. Team’s in very good shape. Kevin Tolbert and his staff did a very nice job and the fellas did a nice job. You could see that throughout practice that the team’s in good condition and that gives us a fighting chance.”
Do you know how much of an install you want to do this spring versus just evaluating the guys and getting a feel for the team? Do you know how you’re going to balance that at this point?
“We’ll do both.”
How long is the evaluation process going to be?
“Daily. Every day there’ll be an evaluation process on every player in every drill. That’s on-going. That’s always.”
[After THE JUMP: the first day of spring practice, or New ThanksBirthMas]
Aside from Drake Johnson and Khalid Hill, are there any players that won’t be full-go in spring?
“Yes, Sione. Sione Houma had a procedure done. He’ll be working through something all spring.”
Can you say what that is? Upper body? Lower body?
“Yeah. It’s just…he’ll be out for the spring and he’ll be working through something, and he’ll be back. It’s not a long-term thing, we don’t think. He’ll be back for summer conditioning and fall camp.”
I’m assuming you’re not going to name a starting quarterback until sometime in August. What can these quarterbacks earn this spring in terms of your trust, in terms of positioning, that sort of thing?
“We’re not putting a timetable on that. I mean, that’ll be the one position that I’m sure we’ll talk about. Don’t have one to name today. But I don’t know, at some point you’d like to think that that’s clear cut and somebody earns that and it’s not close. That’s what we’ll be hoping for, but they were all good to start and there’s going to be good competition at that position.”
You guys have seven quarterbacks in camp right now, is that right?
How do you handle the rotation? How much time are you spending with them individually, or what’s the plan for that?
“Keeping everybody involved. Got multiple individual periods and opportunities for the quarterbacks to get reps.”
Is it just you working with them? Does Jedd [Fisch] work with them individually?
“Yeah, we do. Jedd does. I do. Tim Drevno has input. Our coaches…running backs coach will have something to say to them at a certain time. Jay Harbaugh will have something to say to them at times. It’s a group effort.”
Have you experienced any lag/transition going back to the college ranks from the NFL? Has it been any different or is coaching coaching.
“I think that coaching’s coaching.”
Brady Pallante moving to fullback [and] Ross Douglas moving to cornerback: can you talk about what they bring to those positions and why those moves were made?
“I wouldn’t say any moves have been made. I mean, there’s people trying to…we don’t mandate what position a player plays. Some guys are trying out at multiple positions on both sides of the ball. It’s too early to say what’s going to take place. Nothing’s set in stone that way. We’re still trying to figure out who the best players are. We’ve just had one practice so far.”
[Two men attempt to talk over each other. Both have microphones. Only one will emerge the victor. But who?]
Working with the quarterbacks, can you talk about the-
“And their best position. Don’t know exactly-”
…the labor of love it appears to be?
“Don’t know exactly, just to finish the thought there, we don’t know what everybody’s best position is or who the best players are at those positions after one practice, so it’s going to be a process. So nothing’s been done.”
Working with the quarterbacks, can you just talk about the labor of love that it appears to be and how you just really enjoy getting in there?
“I do! I just- it’s the fun part about being the head coach. You can coach any position. You can coach them all at any time. That’s the fun thing about the job of head coach. So I like coaching all the positions at some point.”
When do you want to have a tentative depth chart? At the end of spring or later?
“Uh…do you need one at some point? When would you like to have one?”
We’d like to have one today if you have that ready.
“We don’t have that list in front of us right now.”
Is that the goal though, by the end of spring to have a two-deep? At least a rough one?
“Uh…hadn’t thought about that, at what point [there is] a deadline or a goal of a depth chart. Haven’t thought about that.”
You’ve put trust in Tim Drevno over the years with your offensive lines. What is it that he does that’s good with these guys, and how much can they come along in a spring?
“Fantastic coach, Tim Drevno. It’s day one. We’re not really answering questions as much as we are asking questions. What can we do? How can we get better? Where can we improve? Where can we get a mile an hour faster? Where can we get a percent better? And we’re all in that process right now. Day one.”
Obviously there’s a lot of snow out there [and] it’s really cold. How important was it to get an early start and just to get the team together and see what you had on the field?
“Well, we were inside. We have an indoor building.”
But just to get an early start with spring practice.
“I thought that was important. We haven’t really had football since last November. Didn’t have a bowl or bowl practices. It felt like the time to do it, as early as we could. Wanted to make sure we got seven [or] eight weeks of conditioning before we did it.”
Are there specific goals or priorities you want to accomplish over the next few weeks?
“Yeah, we’re really just trying to get better every day. Trying to be better today than we were yesterday. Trying to be better tomorrow than we were today. I know that sounds very simplistic, but it’s just so simple it might work.”
Is there a point where there’s too many [quarterbacks] and you have to pare that down?
“I don’t know that there’s an exact number. Right now we’re throwing the balls out there and letting the fellas compete, and the more good ones you have the better.”
After seeing your team go through some things today for the first time since winter conditioning was there anything that surprised you coming out of conditioning?
“No, I felt they were in good shape. We worked with them last week for two days and you could tell their conditioning was at a high level. The only thing that surprised me was that it was a four hour practice and it flew by. Time flies by when you’re having fun.”
Sticking with that, how much of it right now is them getting used to how you run a practice [and] you getting used to how they are in practice? How much of it right now is just one foot in front of the other in terms of that?
“Um…I would just say it was good from that standpoint. Everybody- you’re in uncharted waters, somewhat to your point, but sometimes that can be a really good thing. Some people thrive on that and it’s life giving you energy.”
You said Sione’s going to miss camp. Is he the only one?
“I said he’s going to miss spring. He’ll be back for camp.”
Who else is out?
“I think we mentioned two other names.”
So those two guys, Khalid and Drake, are not in?
What kind of grade would you give today just on the effort and energy and what you saw out there today?
“I thought it was very good.”
I’m hoping for those that don’t have access to you often, myself among them, can you take a second to reflect on the day? You only get one first practice at Michigan. I’m also interested as you look forward in the East, in particular Ohio State and Michigan State…some say we may be entering a golden age of football in the Big Ten. Reflect, if you would, on your day and as you move forward the fall and rivalry games and what you might see.
“It was a great day. It’s like the new year. I’ve said this before but a lot people think January 1st is the start of the new year, and those that believe in Christianity and espouse Catholicism believe that correlates with the birth of Christ but we in football treat the first day of spring practice as the new year. It’s like your birthday, it’s New Year’s [Day], it’s Thanksgiving. You’re thankful you can participate in football. It’s like Christmas- you have this gift. It’s a family reunion. It’s all those things all rolled into one. It’s a happening. It’s like the first day of school. You lay your clothes out the night before and pack your lunch box tight and you head off to school. Everybody knows that feeling.
“In football you get two New Year’s Days: the first day of spring practice and the first day of fall practice. Very enthusiastic, very energetic day. I’d like to bottle it; the kind of enthusiasm where people show up early and are excited to get to work. At some point we’ll have to open that bottle up and use it to get better. Yeah, that’s how I would describe it.”
No full circle moments? I know you’re focused on what you’re doing, but as far as the position being yours- was it just another day?
“It was great with a capital G.”
SID: did you want to touch on the rivalries in the division?
I’ve heard from a lot of people that in rivalries teams go up and down, Michigan obviously more up than down maybe, but we have a chance, a lot of fans feel, over the next few years to have an incredible division. The competition could really be unique in terms of the lifetime of football that I’ve been watching.
“Yeah, our expectations are really high. They were high for a great practice today and they’ll be high for a great practice on Thursday and great meetings on Wednesday, tomorrow. Try to make those the best of the year if we can and try to make Thursday’s drills the best of the spring. Our expectations are very high for that.”
You said you’re going to have more questions than answers, but at what point do you want to figure out what some of these answers are, and do you need to have answers by the end of spring going into summer workouts? My second question is about freshman ineligibility; what would be your opinion on that?
“I don’t know if you need somebody else weighing in on that. I’m sure there are other people that are weighing in on that, so count me as one that’s not weighing in on that, not one more person adding their opinion to that.
“To your other question, I think it’s fair. I think it’s right. It’s the first day and we just had one practice, so we’re going to be…how can we get better? What can we do to…what is it that will work? We’ll just keep grinding on it. You have our vow that we’ll do that.”
We get excited about certain things around these parts. Like fun-to-size ratios. And new official rosters with updated weights. We've had 24 hours to parse the Spring data, and with Brian on the road today it's up to me to see how they've grown:
Things of [a Certain Definition of] Interest:
- Brady Pallante is a fullback
- Ross Douglas is listed as Ross Taylor-Douglas, and is back at corner
- Ian Bunting is up to 6'7/243
- A.J. Williams is up to offensive tackle size (6'6/285)
Weight Gain/Loss 2000
A reminder of internet policy on weight changes: all weight gain is muscle fiber, all weight lost was fat, and all static weight means fat was replaced with muscle fiber. I've highlighted things discussed after.
|Player||'11||'12||'13||S'14||F'14||Sp'15||'11- '12||'12-'13||'13-'14||'14- 15|
Fullback & Tight End
|Maurice Hurst Jr.||270||277||282||281||12||-1|
[Hit the jump for discussion on this and other bits I could glean.]
All Weight Change and Non-Change is Good
But we can speculate anyway, so long as EVERYONE IS AGREED this is just speculation.
RBs: Derrick Green has been torn down and rebuilt, we hope. He was too slow to be of much help at 240 in 2013, and slimmed down to 220 by fall last year. At that point he wasn't very good at spotting holes but displayed tremendous acceleration when he found one. Ty Isaac is also up to 240 this spring. FWIW Gerhart played at 237 for Stanford.
FBs & TEs: The most positive sign here is Ian Bunting up to 243. Since he's 6'7" think of the difference between 227 and 243 as that for a PF—increment your Bunting expectations. A.J. Williams is now back to his size as a high school offensive tackle. He was never going to be a passing threat at any weight; hopefully this will make him an implacable load as a power-running blocker; he certainly has a ton of experience. Brady Pallante is discussed below.
WRs: Horray for Jehu Chesson entering the 200-pounders' club. Canteen's growth is also promising, though he went from wire to skinny. Mo Ways added 10 lbs; other guys are hovering around 200. Drake Harris is down a couple of pounds thanks to the rehab process; at 174 he's probably still a ways from playing strength.
OL: Blake Bars lost 13 pounds and Dawson picked them up. The starters all shed a few; that's not surprising except with Mason Cole. Hoke's OL recruits arrived big so we shouldn't be too surprised at even this young group not growing.
DL: Mone, Pipkins and Henry all grew, and represent a very large DT/NT rotation with Glasgow. Wormley's up to 300. Lawrence Marshall you'd hope would be up to 250-ish by fall and he's a long way from there. You remember Craig Roh playing at that size as a freshman; WDE is a bit alarming now.
LB: An older group so not much to see here except Jared Wangler is now a proper WLB instead of a strong safety moonlighting there.
CB: Michigan still has a lot of 175-pounders, some longer than others. Terry Richardson is among them, which means he's now plausible to help.
No Longer Here:
Gardner, Beyer, Ryan, Taylor, Hollowell, Hagerup, and Wile were out of eligibility. Frank Clark would have been. Funchess left early for the NFL. Bellomy, Justice Hayes, and Heitzman are grad year transfers, and Bosch and Ferns were regular transfers.
Slot receiver Anthony Capatina, sometime starting interior OL Joey Burzynski, and buried TE/DE Alex Mitropoulos-Rundus also played out their eligibility. To them add quarterback Alex Swieca and tall WR Jonathan Keizer, two redshirted walk-ons who graduated in four and have apparently moved on.
- New Guys:
|12||Alex Malzone||QB||6'2||218||FR||Brother Rice (Bloomfield Hills)|
|13||Matt Thompson||QB||6'5||214||RS FR||Indian Hill (Cincy)|
|81||Brian Cole||WR||6'2||200||FR||Heritage (Saginaw)|
|89||Brad Anlauf||WR||6'4||199||RS JR||Hinsdale (Illinois)|
Alex Malzone and Brian Cole you know—the only news is they received jerseys 12 and 81 respectively. In duty to my friend I point out that nobody since Brandon Williams ('99-'02) managed to hold on to #12 his entire career, though Alan Gant is on track to do so. I expect Cole hopes to get the 8 removed one day.
Unrecruited walk-ons don't officially join the team until they've been enrolled for a year so guys who've been around since last fall will suddenly appear as redshirt freshmen. Quarterback Matt Thompson was an unranked pro-style 2014 QB out of Cincy whose best offer was Davidson. Hudl page is extant. Junior highlights are on Youtube.
Anlauf is a two-sport guy who walked on the football team in 2012 and 2013, then tried to earn a basketball scholarship as a Zack Novak-sized forward. He played in eight games for Beilein last year and failed on each occasion to earn a trillion in the box score.
Ryan Tice is a preferred walk-on this year; he enrolled at Michigan in January. Tice is a local Wolverine lifer who retweets John U. Bacon, Norfleet doing Atomic Dog, and Bentley photos; his Halloween pumpkin has appeared on this site in the past. So yes I am a fan. Since Tice is a kicker and a walk-on there's no video—omigod there's video.
And a Hudl page. They got Kyle Secychel last year, and projected punter Kenny Allen can also kick, but Tice is another good backup plan in case Andrew David goes weird.
Position Changes in Order of I Care
- Brady Pallante to Fullback: This one I'm not sure I believe is permanent. Pallante committed to a grayshirt offer and was bumped up to a scholarship once Michigan realized the class would whiff on most of its late decisions. One bit of Brady Hoke's reputation that remains pristine is his evaluation and development of defensive tackles, so the stubby (now 6'0/276) guy is still a possible Grant Bowman.
So what's he doing on offense? A guy the size of your average MAC center can be a goal line/short situation blocker that Michigan hasn't had since Sean Sanderson. I imagine with Mone and Pipkins available behind Ryan Glasgow there are enough bodies at nose for the short term that Pallante can spend a spring learning to go "BOP!"
Michigan didn't get a nose in the 2015 class, but are in line for at least one instant impact guy and lose only Pipkins (whom the NCAA owes a medshirt!—that's a personal vendetta for another day). Since Pallante's role in the offense is probably limited, I'm guessing he can still progress at DT while being useful now.
- Ross (Taylor-) Douglas to Cornerback: He was recruited as a corner and played it his redshirt season before adding depth to the RBs, who were down to Drake Johnson, De'Veon Smith, and Antonio Whitfield at that point.
- Joe Hewlitt from DB to QB, and Nick Volk from LB to FB: Hewlett walked on the team last year; he'll be wearing Bellomy's number in Spring. Volk was a quarterback for Frankenmuth.
What this all means: cornerback now needs the dudes more than RB so if Douglas had remained there we'd be silently writing off his career. This is good. The additions to fullback probably don't mean very much since Pallante's projected role there isn't the same as Kerridge's or Houma's.
Most notable thing is Magnuson is listed at his OL number of 78 (he'd worn 81 when Hoke used him as a TE). Brady Pallante switched from 54 to receiver-eligible 45. Nick Volk went to 38 because Bobby Henderson (another walk-on fullback) had his 37. Hewlett was 46, now 8. Cornerback Matt Mitchell is now #20; he had to give up 29 when Ross (Taylor-) Douglas returned to the D side.
Wyatt Shallman is still listed as "RB" and probably will be until the ceremony anointing him to the sacred order of Aaron Shea.
John O'Korn isn't listed, though I don't know what transfer rules are for official documentation and whatnot.
Fact that Pretty Much Sums Up the Value of This Post:
Long-snapper Andrew Robinson is down 21 pounds: from 230 to 209.
For weeks now, I've had half-baked column-type things on Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman and Aubrey Dawkins saved on my laptop, begging for an easy narrative the subjects couldn't provide. This is MAAR's offense now? Well, he just went 1/7 with four turnovers at Indiana. Dawkins provides a steady shooting presence? It's too bad he just shot 1/8.
This shouldn't be a surprise. Michigan's two late recruiting pickups for 2014 weren't supposed to have significant, let alone starting, roles on this team. As recently as December, when Michigan hosted Syracuse, both registered DNP-CDs. That all changed with the injuries to Caris LeVert and Derrick Walton, of course. Instead of easing them into the college game, John Beilein had little choice but to throw them in headfirst and hope they could tread water.
MAAR and Dawkins combined for just seven points on 3/12 shooting against Ohio State; Sunday's game nevertheless displayed their progress.
Abdur-Rahkman drew the unenviable assignment of guarding future top-five pick D'Angelo Russell for much of the game, and he did better than anyone could expect of a freshman defending one of the top scorers in the country. Russell had a hard time freeing himself as Michigan jumped out to a big first-half lead, going just 1/4 in the first stanza; he'd finish with 16 points, but needed 17 shot equivalents to get there, and he turned it over five times.
Time and again, MAAR fought his way over and around screens to stay in Russell's hip pocket, forcing a series of difficult shots. He knew where to be—no small feat for a freshman on defense—and he seemed acutely aware that he'd have to expend most of his energy on that end of the floor. Then, at the end of a rough day on offense, he came through with one of the biggest assists of the game, finding Zak Irvin on a drive-and-kick for a corner three that gave M a six-point lead with six to play. It was the type of play we'd hoped to see from MAAR for weeks.
Dawkins, too, came through late after struggling for much of the day. Shortly after MAAR's critical assist, Dawkins got past Marc Loving and tried a short pull-up from just outside the paint. Although the initial shot went off the mark, Dawkins corralled the rebound after a tip, then pivoted past Jay'Sean Tate to scoop in the putback (above, Fuller). I don't think it's a play he makes in December, when Michigan's freshmen had to think their way through all 40 minutes.
They're still developing, of course. Dawkins made an ill-advised foray to the basket early in the shot clock with Michigan clinging to that late six-point lead; while the Buckeyes blocked the shot, Max Bielfeldt bailed out his teammate with a tough rebound. MAAR got himself trapped next to the Buckeye bench and had to sweat through a lengthy replay in the final minute. Overthinking (or underthinking) is still an issue.
Especially when one notes Kam Chatman's unexpected six-point run in the first half, though, it's hard not to be encouraged by the progress of Michigan's freshmen after Sunday regardless of what showed up on the box score. MAAR is hitting 55% of his twos in Big Ten play while developing an outside shot and building confidence on defense. Dawkins has that tantalizing athleticism and truly impressive shooting numbers—he's fourth in the conference in true shooting percentage.
Michigan doesn't have a superstar like Russell in the freshman class, but it's becoming easier and easier to see what John Beilein envisioned when he recruited these guys. It's still hard to come up with a smooth game-to-game narrative to attach to them. That's kind of the point, though—freshmen are unpredictable. Instead of waiting for them to string together enough similar performances to declare they're here, sometimes it's best to note the highs and the lows and realize they're getting there, and that's just fine.