also duty-free guys falling over and grabbing their shins
Michigan Hockey: ND preview
#10 Michigan (14-8-4) at #7 Notre Dame (13-8-3)
1/20/12 7:35pm NBC Sports Network
1/21/12 7:35pm CBS Sports Network
There is one thing that makes Notre Dame different then every team we have played so far. They have a lot of highlight videos and they weren't shot with a camera someone borrowed from their mom.
|Billy Maday||Right Wing||6-12-18||35||-1||16||6|
|Austin Wuthrich||Right Wing||5-7-12||38||+3||26||10|
|Bryan Rust||Right Wing||5-4-9||46||+3||12||9|
|Jeff Costello||Left Wing||3-6-9||34||-5||39||4|
|Michael Voran||Right Wing||4-3-7||38||-3||6||6|
Notre Dame comes into the series with the nations 27th best scoring attack, but nothing really stands out out from the offense of the Fighting Irish on paper except the center domination. On film is a different story, the set offense is really bad but the breakout is outstanding.
The other thing they are really good at is taking advantage of opponents mistakes, cutting down neutral ice turnovers is a must for the game. This is how they win games, the offense is average, the defense is terrible but they still win because of the ability to turn a mistake into a goal.
Key matchup for this game is getting simple, get back fast and pay attention. It sounds simple but it's something we struggled with most of the season, so we might see Red scale back the forecheck if Notre Dame is cracking it early.
Led by robbie Russo and Sam Calabrese, Notre Dame enters this weekend showdown with the nations 27th ranked defense. To put it into perspective as to how bad that is, Michigan's defense at the worst point in the season never got lower then 15th. Stephen Johns is the only ND blueliner who has a positive +/- but he spends too much time in the box to really do anything, the rest of the guys just look lost.
Key matchup for this game: Just shoot the puck, with major alignment issues and a goalie who gives up rebounds the scoring chances will be there. The Northeastern team who took us down 4-1 at Yost went to Compton and smoked the Irish 9-2 the next game.
Why not hug the post?
After posting great numbers his sophomore season Mike Johnson was supposed to be among the nations elite goaltenders, what happened? You could blame the defense but this isn't all on them, its not their fault when the goalie aligns improperly. Neither netminder is playing great hockey, but there is a good chance we could see both Johnson and Summerhays this weekend.
The key matchup is the same as for defense, just shoot the puck. Good things will happen if the puck is getting to the net, but this is a streaky team so getting on them early is important.
|Phil Di Giuseppe||8-7-15||73||+12||12||12|
Red has worked his magic again, he has managed to get quality defense out of a group who couldn't play a lick of it for half a season. The re-emergence of Kevin Lynch helped and Andrew Sinelli
has been a nice addition, but was the answer benching Lindsay Sparks? Maybe not but it definitely helped, and with him getting less time others have made their presence on the ice felt.
It also looks like the lines are settled which is a major plus. Coming into the year this team had so many freshman that they didn't know who would be best on which line, but it seems like it has been figured out.
Four games later we are still talking about how important the addition of Jon Merrill is and its still amazing how much one player changes things.
The forechecking has been ridiculous and the biggest key to our success, and when the Buckeyes did gain the zone most of the shots they took came from the side boards or other low percentage areas.
One thing that has been overshadowed by the recent events is how great Lee Moffie has been playing. He has been a solid performer all season, but when the team needed someone to elevate their game he stepped up in a major way.
It's been so long since we saw what Hunwick could do with a functional defense, yeah it's awesome. When he's on his game like that we aren't going to lose very many times. Stop hitting forwards after the whistle, other than that there isn't much else to say.
Although Michigan is red hot right now, at some point we have to cool down, and Notre Dame is a team whos playing style gives them an edge over us. It's weird how a team with such average stats wins so many games, but I feel like the Irish will take game one before Michigan bounces back saturday at Compton for the split.
After doing the first four years of this I took a break, but I've finally returned to it.
To start this one off I want to discuss my purpose and process for a moment. This is not a pure numbers survey, that's the bailiwick of The Mathlete. My goal is to approach the championship saying "What are the fewest teams that have a resume that entitles them to have a shot at the national championship?". So my human bias as an author does creep in.
One thing I want to stress, if I'm trying to do this from a need based approached. What is the minimum number of teams we need. Where can we draw a line and say: Everyone on one side of this line has a resume weaker than the people on the other side. Not what we as fans want to see. Basically if at the end of the season we do resume voting for just that season, how many teams took care of business in the regular season and should have a shot at holding the crystal ball.
To recap the results from last time, I found the people on the stronger side of the line was:
- 1998: 4 teams
- 1999: 2 teams
- 2000: 4 teams
- 2001: 4 teams
From that review I suggested that a four team playoff looks like the minimum you need. I did not find a season where you had a 5th team with a resume that made them worthy (although we come close in 1998 with A&M). I also did not find a season where you'd have trouble finding 4 teams to round the playoff out (although 1999 comes close when you have to settle for two loss Wisconsin or Alabama as the 4th, both teams choked on a cupcake and the #3 team only has one loss).
From the above as I go I'm using the hypothesis that: "In any given season you can eliminate two of the six auto qualifying conference champs and have a nice four team field." As I go forward I'll see if this gets supported or rejected and what the rising strength of the MWC does to this (because then I'm looking at rejecting 3 from 7 instead of 2 from 6). At least Notre Dame always sucks, so I don't have to worry about them.
Championship Game: #2 Ohio State defeats #1 Miami
Who Else Had A Claim:
Miami: Finishes the season 12-0. So they are undefeated and get the immunity idol. Miami beats two ranked teams in conference play and two ranked teams in OOC play (FSU and Florida). That's a nice schedule and they come out undefeated.
Ohio State: Undefeated as well. They defeat one ranked team in OOC play (Washington State) and three ranked Big Ten teams.
ACC: Maryland finishes ranked #13 and 11-3. The lose to ranked FSU teams and lose to an unranked Notre Dame squad in their season opener. That Notre Dame squad though finishes 10-3/#17 though. Florida State actually wins the division despite being 9-4. FSU goes 7-1 in division play (losing to NC State). Three of FSU's four losses are to good teams (Miami, ND, and NC State). NC State also finishes the season 11-3 and ranked, with losses too Georgia Tech, Maryland, and Virginia.
I can't really see arguing how anything out of this mess of teams has a resume to compete with a pair of undefeated conference champs. So I'm discarding the ACC
Big 12: Oklahoma finishes off the season 11-2 and wins the B12. They get five ranked wins over four teams (had to play Colorado twice) and losses to A&M and OSU. Some years this would be enough, but not in a year with two undefeated teams that each have four ranked wins.
PAC10: A 10-2 WSU and a 10-2 USC end up at the top of the conference. USC loses to WSU and a ranked KSU early in the year. WSU loses to Ohio State, Washington and then gets defeated by OU in the Rose Bowl. The PAC10 is like the ACC, where multiple teams had a chance to seize the day, win out, and finish the season with a good resume. They did't though.
SEC: Georgia wins the SEC, but a lose in Nov to #22 Florida robs them of an undefeated season. They end the season with four wins over ranked teams and defeat FSU in the Sugar Bowl for a fifth ranked win.
Independents/MWC: TCU and ND have decent years. The Domers beat four ranked teams but do trip against Boston College and lose to USC. TCU destroys almost everything in its path, but chokes on San Jose State (and loses its bowl game to Southern Mississippi). TCU's weak MWC schedule definitely haunts them here, along with the fact that two other teams go undefeated.
The Verdict on 2002:
This could have been an ugly year for selection. Maryland, FSU, NC State, OU, USC, Georgia, Washington State, Notre Dame, and maybe even TCU all end the season a couple of scores away from having the resume needed to play in the BCS Title Game.
The BCS is saved from too much controversy thanks to Miami and tOSU finishing out with four ranked wins each and no losses. Had either of those teams lost, then Georgia has a claim. In a four team system that would leave OU and Washington State with about equal claim to the fourth game. Notre Dame is right behind them (although through the transitive property WSU > ND). I'd also imagine some people making a case for the one loss TCU, but they do lack ranked wins.
This is a results based system though, so I'd say the final ruling is two teams.
Nice ink Maurice.
Championship Game: #2 LSU defeats #1 OklahomaNote: This was the year the AP gave the title to USC and the 21-14 snoozefest of LSU vs OU.
Who Else Had A Claim:
Oklahoma: Didn't actually have a claim. They didn't win their conference. They defeat three ranked teams in conference play, but lose to #12 KSU in the title game (KSU 35, OU 7). If you don't win your conference, you don't play for the national title. So OU is gone.
LSU: Defeats 4 ranked teams, but losses by 12 points to an unranked Florida team. Florida ends 8-5 and ranked at the end of the season, so that doesn't look too bad. Winning the SEC and only have one loss is fairly good, but lets see if anyone has anything better:
ACC: Florida State loses to a ranked Miami team (twice, they had to play them in their OOC schedule and in the Orange Bowl, urgh). FSU also loses to Clemson by 16 points (Clemson ends the year ranked). The following week they need 2 OTs to beat NC State (who finishes 8-5 and unranked). FSU's only ranked win is over Florida. FSU also beats Maryland early in the season before Maryland is ranked (Maryland finishes 10-3). So FSU finishes with two losses, but they do beat the team that beats LSU. Lets see what other conferences have to offer in their champion.
B12: A three loss KSU (complete with a loss to Marshall) beats OU down in the championship and wins the conference. But two of KSU's three losses are to unranked teams. Their third is to a ranked Texas outfit. They also beat ranked Nebraska and OU. What else do we have.
Big East: Miami finishes the season with losses to Tennessee (10-3, #15) and and Virginia Tech (8-5). They do beat Florida who in turn had beaten LSU.
Big Ten: Michigan finishes off the year with two loses. A four point loss to Oregon and a three point loss to Iowa. We defeat five ranked teams and then lose by two scores to USC. A 10-2 Ohio State finishes off the season ranked ahead of us, but we beat them so we have the tie breaker. As a side note I still remember chanting: "Capitol One Bowl!" at the tOSU fans as they left. Anyway Michigan finishes with two losses to ranked teams (although Oregon does not finish the reason ranked) and wins over five ranked teams (although by the end of the year MSU was not ranked).
PAC10: USC is a soulless killing machine, aside from Cal. They lose to Cal early in the season (in triple OT). Their biggest problem is a weak schedule. Their ranked games are Auburn and Washington State. Plus of course a two touchdown victory over a Michigan in the Rose Bowl.
Independents/MWC: A two loss Utah. They lost to Texas A&M and New Mexico State. They defeat a ranked Oregon (Oregon does not finished ranked). Considering the resumes of the other conference champions, I'm not really high on Utah.
The Verdict on 2003:
This whole season is a mess. LSU has the strongest resume, but it really doesn't separate them from the pack. After them you have a mess of teams like USC with only one loss, but only two ranked victories. Then there is Michigan at two losses but more ranked victories. Miami, KSU, and FSU all have slightly weaker resumes in terms of ranked teams defeated, but they aren't terrible.
This is definitely a season where people with different criteria will select different teams. Personally I'd say three teams have legit claims: LSU, Michigan, and USC.
Championship Game: #1 USC defeats #2 Oklahoma (vacated)
Who Else Had A Claim:
USC: Undefeated, soulless killing machine yet again. Solid resume. No issues with their selection.
OU: Undefeated manages to win their division this year. Solid resume. They're in.Note: The Big East gets much less impressive starting this year, due to the good teams bailing to the ACC.
ACC: Virginia Tech finishes off the season 10-2. They open the season against USC and only loss by a single touchdown. They also lose by one point to an unranked NC State team (who finishes 5-6). They defeat ranked WVU, Virginia, and Maryland teams. They lose to Auburn by 3 in their bowl game. A solid showing all around, although two loses are not so good when you have multiple undefeated teams in play.
Big East: Four conference co-champions. Including a 6-6 Syracuse (4-2 in conference play) team. I'm sorry but when a 6-6 is conference co-champ, no. Just no. (9-3 Boston College is the best of the lot).
Big Ten: Michigan finishes off 10-2. Losses to Notre Dame (who goes 6-6) and to Ohio State (who finishes up ranked but 8-4 overall). When we play them Purdue and Minnesota are ranked, but they do not finish the season ranked. We defeat an unranked Iowa who does finish the season ranked. Michigan losses to Texas by one point. We're in the same boat as Virginia Tech.
SEC: Auburn is undefeated. They beat four ranked teams in the regular season and a fifth in their bowl. All ranked teams are in the Top 15.
Independent/MWC: Utah is undefeated. They do not play a ranked team.
The Verdict on 2004:
If you had just two undefeated teams, this would be easy and a year you only need two to settle it all up. As it stands you have a clear Top 3 of USC, OU, and Auburn. following them up you have Utah (Point: They are undefeated. Counterpoint: They played a shit schedule) and the two loss ACC and B10 teams (Point: Stronger schedule than Utah. Counterpoint: Two losses a piece).
So I'm calling three as the final verdict here in terms of where I can draw the line of "everyone after this line has a weaker resume".
Any excuse to link to Marlin Jackson
Championship Game: Texas defeats USCNote: USC's official record for this is now 0-1. Alabama also gets itself in trouble and now as a record of 0-2. Ah vacated wins…
Who Else Had A Claim:
USC: Soulless killing machine. Defeats 5 ranked teams. Undefeated. Legit claim.
Texas: Undefeated. Defeats 3 ranked teams. Legit claim.
ACC: A four loss FSU team wins the ACC championship game. Had VT taken care of business a 10-1 VT team would have emerged from the ACC as the victor. Instead a four loss team does. No sale on FSU.
Big East: WVU is in fine form with a special someone at the helm. They lose to Virginia Tech early in the season (who finishes out 11-2 for the year). WVU suffers from three issues. First they start the season unranked. Secondly they lose a game early on, which means they are not ranked until the first weak of November. Finally the only ranked team they play is Louisville. They defeat Georgia in their bowl by three points.
Big Ten: Penn State finishes off 11-1. So close, yet so far. They defeat three ranked teams but loss to an unranked Michigan team (who finishes up 7-5). Thank you Super Mario.
SEC: Georgia wins the SEC with two losses. Both were to ranked teams. Georgia defeats four ranked teams. As a side note, had LSU won the SEC Title game, LSU would have come out of the SEC with only one loss and wins over four ranked teams.
Independent/MWC: TCU opens the season strong with a win over ranked Oklahoma. They then lose to SMU the following week. They play no one else who is ranked and finish off the season with a three point win over Iowa State in their bowl.
The Verdict on 2005:
Once again the BCS benefits from the fact only two teams went undefeated. You have someone drop a game here or there and suddenly selection gets really ugly really fast.
Final verdict is two.
The Summary So Far:
- 1998: 4 teams
- 1999: 2 teams
- 2000: 4 teams
- 2001: 4 teams
- 2002: 2 teams
- 2003: 3 teams
- 2004: 3 teams
- 2005: 2 teams
It appears every year you never have more four conference champions who cannot be separated from the others by the virtue of their resume. It so far you can throw out at least 3 of the 7 (counting the MWC).
What is different in this set of years though is when we have three teams there is now a problem selecting a fourth. In 2003 there is three times basically tied for fourth. The same in 2004. In 2002 and 2005, had one of the undefeated teams lost, a can of worms also would have been opened.
If we have a 4 team playoff:
In 2002 and 2005 there are multiple teams who can point to the teams that got the #3 and #4 seeds and complain they are equal to thos eteams. In 2003 and 2004 there are multiple teams who can point to the team that got the #4 seed and complain.
If you want complete fairness you go with a 6 team playoff to avoid this. The other possible response is to say to WVU: "Why yes you are comparable to PSU/Georgia However your resume is not comparable to that of USC or Texas. If you wanted to avoid getting screwed by the polls, go undefeated like Texas/USC did." It all depends on what you like.
If you go with a 6 team playoff:
This era (2002 through 2005) goes a lot smoother. However…
In 1999/2000 you're letting in two loss teams from the Big Ten and SEC as your 4 and 5 seeds. Your sixth seed is likely #10 Marshall, the undefeated MAC champion (Stanford wins the PAC with 4 losses). In 2000/2001 you're letting less three loss teams from the Big Ten and SEC in to your playoff. Ugh. (Or you're recycling teams who game in second in their conference.)
If you go above 6:
You're likely letting all those teams who choked in their conference championship back in. There aren't enough quality opponents coming out of the smaller conferences to really flush out a bracket, so some teams are getting a second shot. At that point we're not allowed to be outraged about Alabama getting a do over, but we can be outraged about not getting a do over against tOSU. Pick your poison on that one.
Also the 1999/20001 bracket and 2000/2001 brackets would look terrible.
I still have 2006 to the present to go, but so far is is what I'm seeing from the review:
A 4 team system works better for the first four years. It keeps you from having to seeding pretty bad teams into the playoff or seeding in people who did not win their conference.
In the next four years, a 4 year system does not leave a conference champ with a really strong resume out in the cold. It seems you can draw a cut off point at the #2 or #3 seed and say "Everyone who comes after this team has an inferior resume." You then end up with multiple teams squabbling for that last spots. A six birth playoff solves this.
Up Next: 2006 and beyond….
Thank you to Brian for allowing me to post this. I hope this interests the MGoBlog community.
I am a member of a sponsored student organization at Michigan called Appreciate + Reciprocate. We are a group of University of Michigan students that gives back to Ann Arbor and surrounding communities through service and fundraising. All of our fundraising efforts directly benefit the LSA Emergency Student Aid Fund for students in extreme financial crises.
Each year, Appreciate + Reciprocate holds a benefit dinner and silent auction to raise money for the fund. The benefit dinner is open to the public and tickets for this year's dinner are on sale now. Details are located below:
Date: March 28, 2012
Location: Jack Roth Stadium Club (East Tower of Michigan Stadium)
Speakers: Coach Lloyd Carr, Coach Brady Hoke, Dhani Jones, and Mike Martin
Tentative Program for the Event:
6:00pm Appetizers, Meet & Greet
7:00pm Dinner Begins
7:45pm Keynote Speeches
8:45pm Silent Auction Announcements
9:00pm Event Concludes
Students - $50
Regular Seating - $100
Premium Seating - $200
Silent auction items will include a game of 1 on 1 basketball with former Michigan Basketball team captain CJ Lee, and a tour of the new Player Development Center with Assistant Men’s Basketball Coach Bacari Alexander. More items will be added as the event approaches.
For more information, or to purchase tickets, please visit our website at umichappreciate.org.
*Table sponsorships for local businesses are available. Please see our website for contact information to receive pricing and availability.
The most irritating refrain I hear constantly on this board is that ESPN does horrible recruiting rankings. As I have maintained time and again, that just simply isn't the case. There are objective ways you can evaluate the accuracy of the various sites' player evaluations (all-conference, NFL draft position, etc.). Those analyses are useful but I think the most in-depth way I can look at rankings is to study, in retrospect, the evaluations of players with which I am very familiar. Under that theory, below I am going to provide data on the evaluation of Michigan players from the classes of 2009 and 2008. Why 2008 and 2009? In most cases enough time has passed that you can make a judgment about how good a player turned out to be. I think this data shows that ESPN does often zig when Rivals/Scout zag, but ESPN is hardly inferior to the other two.
I am going to present tables that show the rankings for the 2009 recruiting class broken down two ways.
First, star rating and position rating. With regard to "star rating": for Rivals, I am using the more detailed point system, and for ESPN the more detailed numerical rating. For positional ranking, note that Rivals breaks out players into more categories so sometimes their ranking will look lower as a number.
|2009||Rivals||Scout||ESPN||Rivals (pos)||Scout (pos)||ESPN (pos)|
Second, overall ranking (complication here is Rivals goes to 250, Scout to 300, and ESPN only to 150 -- so a guy that doesn't make ESPN's list could be #151...that is why I included the above data too):
|2009||Rivals 250||Scout 300||ESPN 150|
FYI: for that set I only included the guys who made the "top whatever" list for one of the three sites.
Takeaways from 2009
- ESPN - Will Campbell (he was a top 40 overall to the others, a good-not-great player to ESPN)
- ESPN - Justin Turner (same deal)
- Scout - Vlad Emilien (Rivals and ESPN thought he was a top 20-ish DB -- Scout was far more bearish)
- Scout - Isaiah Bell (had him a sane 46 at his position, rather than 26 (rivals) or 11 (ESPN))
Could also make an argument for: ESPN - Denard (101 overall vs. 159 and 188); Scout -J. Stokes (had him too high at 169 overall, but much better than Rivals (104) and ESPN (67); ESPN - Lewan (148 overall vs. 194 and 274); Scout - Q. Washington (had him 19 at his position, while the others overrated at 8 and 6).
- ESPN - Q. Washington (had him 81 overall - not a top 100 player)
- ESPN - I. Bell (had him 94 overall - way off)
- Scout - Fitz Toussaint (had him too low at #49 back -- jury is still out on whethe Rivals (#8) or ESPN (#28) had him pegged best, but as an optimist I would say it may be Rivals)
- Rivals - Mike Jones (had him #25 at his position -- other sites much better ranking him 49 and 54)
Could also make an argument for: ESPN - Stokes (had him #67 overall compared to #104 or #169 -- didn't include above only because position rankings are pretty close across the sites (14-17-8); Scout - LaLota (had him #116 overall which was less off-base than Rivals (#215) and ESPN (something above 150), but again positional rankings pretty close); Scout - Lewan (had him #274 when the other sites were much better at 194 (rivals) and 148 (ESPN).
There are many other conclusions you could draw from this data, and those conclusions will depend greatly on your opinion of a particular player. For example, Rivals was much higher on Gallon. But I'm not sure yet who was right or wrong -- depends what you think of Gallon.
But based on my own analysis ESPN and Scout did pretty well this year. Rivals not so much.
On to 2008...
|2008||Rivals||Scout||ESPN||Rivals (pos)||Scout (pos)||ESPN (pos)|
I have put emphasis on the obvious outliers above. Sadly, the way a site looked smart this year was to doubt one of our recruits.
Takeaways from 2008
- ESPN - Cissoko (others had him a top 5 CB...not so much)
- ESPN - Mike Shaw (hurts to say, but I think they were right)
- ESPN - Brandon Smith (elite to Rivals and Scout, ESPN had it right)
- Scout - Ricky Barnum (I love Barnum but Scout had a more realistic take on him)
- ESPN - Taylor Hill (see Smith, Cissoko)
(I am skipping McGuffie and Mealer because I think both ran into some horrible luck and may have turned out differently if that was not the case -- but based on an objective look at production ESPN had them right too)
- Scout - Brandon Moore (Still hoping Scout is proven wrong, but....looks they were right and Rivals and ESPN were wrong to call him a positional top 10)
- Rivals - Roy Roundtree (Finally Rivals gets one! They had Roundtree much higher than the others (#44 WR vs. 89 or 104)
- Rivals - Kurt Wermers (another case of Rivals getting it right; Scout's #11 positional ranking looks especially bad here)
- ESPN - Dann O'Neill (I am faulting ESPN here for pegging O'Neill as a super-duper star (#4 OT); the others thought he was good, but not that good)
- ESPN - Kevin Koger (he may not have produced like a #4 or #6 TE, but I think Scout and Rivals were much closer to the mark than ESPN who had him as the #113 DE)
- Rivals - Mike Shaw (talented guy, but not a #7 back)
ESPN has the biggest hits and misses here, but I think overall does the best in 2008. Scout comes in second. Rivals last again.
The track record from these two classes does not support the notion that ESPN is out to lunch or does not know what they're talking about. Personally? I think they're wrong about Pipkins. But I can't say that ESPN's track record shows I can discount their view.
By my count, here is the tally on major outlier picks that seem to have a definitive right/wrong result from 2008 and 2009:
ESPN: +6, -4 (net 2)
Scout: +4, -1 (net 3)
Rivals: +2, -2 (net 0)
Obviously my quantitative measures are subjective; I offer this as food for thought. Please discuss and improve on what I did here. But let's not dismiss sites out of hand. As the above shows, there is no basis for that. Certainly not with respect to ESPN.
Canton (MI) guard Cameron Dillard is drawing national attention—along with interest from home-state schools Michigan and MSU—and has already garnered offers from Buffalo, Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, and Western Michigan. The 6'3", 280-pound junior is a member of the ESPNU 150 and recently showed his skills with the nation's best underclassmen at the Army All-American Combine. I spoke to Cameron yesterday after he worked out with the one and only Mike Barwis, and we discussed his recruitment, his junior year, and working out with a man who owns pet wolves. Here's the full transcript:
ACE: How is your recruitment going, and which schools are going after you the hardest right now?
CAMERON: My recruitment is going real well, everything's turning out to be real optimistic with a bunch of schools. I think I should have a big spring coming up. Some schools that have come on real strong and are very close to offering, I believe, are Michigan State, Michigan, Clemson, and West Virginia, as well as some other schools.
ACE: Out of the schools that have been recruiting you so far, are there any early favorites right now, or is it too soon to make that distinction?
CAMERON: No, not really. I'm kinda keeping everything level. No favorites right now, at this point.
ACE: Looking back at your junior year, how did that go for you, and how do you think you performed and improved throughout the season?
CAMERON: I thought I did real well. Considering that I worked with Mike [Barwis], I thought he made me more athletic, more explosive, able to move better on the field, and get up the field better. I also worked with Lomas Brown on pass protections, which was a blessing. I've come a long way, I believe, from last year to this year in my pass blocking. I just continue to improve on that. Actually a couple coaches asked me how many IHOPs I'd opened in Canton this season, a little joke. But yeah, I think I had a real good season. I've got to continue to work with Mike and his staff and continue to get better.
ACE: In working with Mike Barwis, how long have you been doing that, and how does it help you in terms of—I don't know how many other athletes have that kind of resource, so how does it help you to work out with a guy who was the Michigan strength coach just a couple years ago?
CAMERON: You know, it's great. I definitely can't thank my parents enough for giving me the support to let me go there and train. I think it's continued to help me—I'm becoming faster, quicker, stronger. I just think it's improved my strength and my conditioning as well. Actually, a bunch of Michigan guys are there now: Molk, Van Bergen, Watson, Koger, Mike Martin, a bunch of those guys are training with him now, getting themselves prepared for the NFL Combine. It's definitely helped me push myself and take my training to another level.
ACE: I know you're working hard over there, but do you interact at all with the Michigan guys? Do they talk to you at all, or is it mostly business?
CAMERON: I talk to them a lot, actually. I talk to Molk and Watson the most. I haven't really got to meet Koger and Mike Martin that much, but Watson and Molk are always giving me a hard time.
ACE: You also mentioned working with Lomas Brown. He's obviously a pretty legendary NFL offensive lineman. How has he helped your game?
CAMERON: He's helped me improve my pass blocking and becoming that all-around player that schools are looking for, because I'm in a run-dominant offense [at Canton].
ACE: If you had to scout yourself, what would you say are your biggest strengths as a player, and what are you continuing to work on for your senior year and the next level?
CAMERON: I'd say that my aggression on the field, my physicality, you just can't teach toughness. Also, run blocking is a big thing of mine that I believe I'm doing real well at. I'd say my weakness—which isn't really a weakness, it's becoming more my strength now—is my pass protection. I've got to keep working on that and getting better at it.
ACE: You went to the Army Combine recently. How did that go for you?
CAMERON: Good. I performed pretty well. I had a 28.5-inch vertical and a 5.25 40-yard dash. They didn't tell us our shuttle so I'll have to check online for that, and then the pass protection, like I said, working with Lomas helped me improve, so I definitely improved while I was down there. I've taken big strides from last year to this year on my pass protection.
ACE: Do you have any plans in terms of any more camps, junior days, or summer visits, do you know what schools you'd like to see before next year?
CAMERON: Not really. I'm going to junior days right now, I'll actually be at Indiana this weekend, and then I was already at Michigan State in December. Michigan hopefully I'll be able to get up there in the spring for spring ball.
ACE: You visited Michigan for the Notre Dame game. What was your impression of Michigan from your visit?
CAMERON: I thought it was great, the atmosphere there—you know, that's part of my 'three A's' for a school, the athletics, atmosphere, and academics. I think Coach Hoke and the rest of the staff have done a fantastic job this season. I've got to talk to Coach Hoke a few times while I was in San Antonio and when I was at the All-State Dream Team banquet, and he's a real down-to-earth, humble guy. I like him, and I love being able to talk to Coach Jackson, Coach Mattison, and they've been real positive to me.
ACE: You mentioned those three A's. Specifically, what are you looking for in a school, what are the factors that are going to make you commit to a school?
CAMERON: Fan base, I would say, is one. Having the support of my family. Distance isn't a big factor for me. Academics, because I'd like to study criminal justice or sports management or history, something like that, so if they're real strong in that. Then athletics, if I have a real chance at playing early, if I feel like I'm at home, and if I can see myself best in that offense.
ACE: Do you have any idea in terms of a timeline, when you'd like to wrap up your recruitment?
CAMERON: Not at this moment, not right now. I guess whenever I get that gut feeling and I know whatever school is for me, I'll know.
Torrent: Michigan - MSU 720p MP4 (2.90 GB)
Last 30 seconds: