in town for free camps
With more new Michigan commits, we're hitting the front page after a hiatus of a couple weeks. Action since last rankings:
7-10-11 Michigan gains commitment from Kyle Kalis. Notre Dame gains commitment from Romeo Okwara. Penn State gains commitment from Nyeem Wartman. Indiana gains commitment from Wes Rogers. Minnesota gains commitment from Samad Hinds.
7-11-11 Minnesota gains commitments from Brian Nicholson and Jordan Hinojosa.
7-13-11 Ohio State gains commitments from Luke Roberts and Pat Eiflein. Michigan State gains commitment from MacGarrett Kings II.
7-14-11 Illinois gains commitment from Joseph Spencer.
7-15-11 Northwestern gains commitment from Dwight White.
7-17-11 Penn State loses commitment from Jamil Pollard.
|Big Ten+ Recruiting Class Rankings|
|Rank||School||# Commits||Rivals Avg||Scout Avg||ESPN Avg||24/7 Avg|
*ESPN doesn't rate JUCOs, so Isaac Fruechte is not included in Minnesota's average, and Steffon Martin doesn't count against Purdue.
On to the full data, after the jump:
It's been some time since we've visited our solar car heroes. Let's catch up and see what's been happening. In an effort not to simply plagiarize their stories, I've edited or truncated them for brevity. I'll provide a link for the full story on the UMSolar site, if you'd like to read more. Also, you can visit the UMSolar Car Store and consume mass quantities.
If you have no plans for the Saturday thru Tuesday (July 16-19, 2011), the team will be 'mock' racing Quantum. Scroll to the bottom portion of this diary for more details (see the July 8, 2011 entry). Their route will almost trace the Lower Peninsula’s outline (they're skipping "the Thumb"). If you happen to see them, voice your support - Go Blue!
May 18, 2011
UMSolar Works with GM to Build Quantum
During each project the Solar Car team works with leaders in the automotive industry. This ensures that car construction uses the latest technology. Recently, team members visited the GM Tech Center in Warren Michigan. They worked on making fiberglass layups for Quantum’s molds (for the aero body and are used to shape the carbon parts).
Taylor Dodson and Nathan Van Nortwick watch as the fiberglass is cut. It is ready to be placed into the mold for shaping.
Taylor mixes gel coat.
When the mold is ready, the gel coat is applied and provides a very smooth surface.
May 19, 2011
All about Flexloc Nuts
These small pieces of steel are perhaps one of the most significant components to the car: Flexloc nuts. They eliminate the need for lock washers, resist shock and vibration, and lock by themselves. One nut contains six slots, the cylinder embodying the slots has a diameter that is slightly smaller than the width of the bolt. When threaded on, the expansion causes the nut to lock in place. Quantum currently utilizes more than a hundred Flexlocs in at least five different sizes.
Steering rack rod-end connection; the connection at right is fastened with a Flexloc nut, the fastener at left uses a more traditional safety-wire method. This is the second Solar Car team vehicle that uses this specific hardware for the World Solar Challenge. Flexloc fasteners are required for the American Solar Challenge.
May 25, 2011
Advisers and Spartans
The team hosted two special visitors on Tuesday, May 25, 2011.
The first was Neil Johnson, an engineer from Ricardo. Neil came by to offer advice regarding the battery and battery protection system. Ricardo has been very generous in offering their technical consulting services to the team, and their assistance has been invaluable in the completion of Quantum.
Neil Johnson from Ricardo consults the team about the battery.
Also at the Wilson Center on Tuesday was James Miller, a Mechanical Engineering Junior at Michigan State University and a member of the MSU Solar Car Team. UMSolar met James at the Formula Sun Grand Prix, where State was racing their first-ever entry. Self-described as “The Little Team that Could” [Ed.: we know them better as “Lil Bro”], MSU completed 207 laps.
James met with members of U-M’s Business and Operations divisions. Afterwards, he spoke at length with other members of the team about mechanical systems and the in-depth process used to make our carbon fiber monocoque shell.
Sparty (James Miller), center, meets with Blaine Riley and Rachel Kramer
Ed.: Before you blow a gasket and accuse Blaine and Rachel of High Treason, consider that the "solar car family" is very tight knit. All teams want to see each other succeed and willingly share information (within reason). I witnessed this myself both at the American Solar Challenge finish line (last Summer) and at the Formula Sun Grand Prix (May, 2011 @ the Indianapolis Motor Speedway).
May 26, 2011
Who is the Director of Engineering?
Santosh Kumar is a Masters student in aerospace engineering at UM and is originally from Singapore. Beginning as a strategist in 2008, Santosh has made his way into the Engineering Division – where he currently holds the position of Director of Engineering as well as Head Strategist. Hear him talk about his involvement within the Solar Car team and the benefits that result from that:
Video Credit: Evan Dougherty
Jun 9, 2011
The President of Roush Enterprises Meets With the Team
The team poses with Quantum and Roush President, Doug Smith
The Chief Operating Officer and President of Roush Enterprises, Doug Smith, visited the Wilson Center. Smith shared with the team the culture of their company by saying, “When we run our business we don’t set priorities…we get it all done.” Smith’s discussion about teamwork, leadership, and engineering excellence has inspired the team that we will be able to improve and have a controlled mindset on the competition.
The relationship with Roush has been steadily increasing over the past year. Working with Roush helped cut approximately 200 pounds (Ed.: that's a massive weight reduction!) off Quantum, as well as condensing manufacturing time by two months. It was great to let Smith see how all the support that Roush has provided has helped us greatly.
Santosh Kumar showing Smith the inside of Quantum.
Smith takes a close look at the steering wheel for Quantum.
June 10, 2011
Quantum Photo Shoot
The team went to the Big House for some pictures. Martin Vloet has been named University Photographer’s Association Photographer of the Year in both 2006 and 2009 and has won several awards for his amazing photography.
In addition to being photographed by one of the best photographers at the University, it was an honor to just be on the field of the Big House. Engineer Troy Halm stated, “Of all the times being in the stands at the Big House, it was especially amazing to be on the field by the Michigan M – especially with Quantum.”
Strategist David Benson-Putnins added, “It was a great experience going out onto the football field. We got some amazing photos of Quantum at midfield, and the whole team enjoyed trying to make some field goals. Being able to show off the car with a venue as prestigious as the Big House as the backdrop is an impressive thing.”
June 21, 2011
Momentum goes to Ricardo
Throughout the Quantum build cycle, U-M Solar has been partnering with Ricardo – a major engineering innovation and consulting company – to optimize various in-car systems. As a way of saying “Thank You”, the team recently made a unique installation in their lobby: The 2005 national-champion vehicle, Momentum.
Momentum, our 2005 vehicle, on display in the lobby of Ricardo's Detroit Technical Campus. Momentum and its trophy will be on display at Ricardo through late Summer.
June 22, 2011
CANoe to Victory
A computer connected to the car to analyze the messages going through it using CANoe at FSGP. Photo Credit: Ryan Mazur
When testing or driving a solar powered vehicle it may be necessary to debug issues. In this case, the car is connected to a computer and a program called CANoe (CAN – Controller Area Network) is started.
CANoe is a type of software that allows all the messages, going through the on-board computers, to be read and to check for errors. The software can also identify problems such as loose wires or an over voltage issue.
July 6, 2011
Anodize to Stylize
Parts in their original and raw aluminum state, pre-anodized.
On Quantum, a lightweight carbon chassis embodies dozens of intricately machined aluminum parts that makeup the front and rear suspensions. These aluminum pieces require anodizing. The anodizing process receives its name as the part involved in the process forms the anode electrode of an electrical circuit. The current runs through the part while it is suspended in an acidic solution. After this is done, the end result is the part with a hard topcoat (one that is much harder than natural aluminum) that is resistant to corrosion.
Suspension pieces after they have been through the anodizing process. (notice the colors)
July 7, 2011
Race Upper Rolls Out
When the Solar Car Team builds a new vehicle, it builds two upper surfaces. These are the upper surfaces of the car. One, the “Mock Upper”, is a show piece and is painted nicely for publicity events and preliminary testing (as seen at the FSGP). The other, the “Race Upper”, is covered with solar cells and used in competition.
After several days of affixing the delicate solar cell modules to the top of the carbon fiber surface and wiring them together, the race upper was ready for testing. In anticipation of an upcoming testing date, the team took Quantum outside to let the cells soak up some sun and verify that everything was working.
Engineering Director Santosh Kumar and Electrical Engineer Joe Menzia adjust the Race Upper into position on the Lower Surface of the car.
The test crew wanted to verify that several things were working as designed. First were the Maximum Power Point Trackers. The solar cells can’t be plugged directly into the battery and motor – they have to be regulated and optimized. This is the job of the MPPTs, which are connected on one end to the car’s power grid, and on the other end to the solar cells.
Strategist David Benson-Putnins and Electrical Engineer Aaresh Bilimoria check the telemetry signals and power production coming from Quantum.
Also tested was the telemetry system. All data about Quantum’s performance are relayed to the Chase vehicle so that strategists can make accurate and informed decisions.
July 8, 2011
With the Win the World campaign launched, the Solar Car Team is now in full swing to prepare for Mock Race. The Mock Race is an approximate four-day journey along the border of Michigan’s lower peninsula – starting July 16, 2011. Mock Race will provide the team with a chance to practice testing on open roads and in a similar fashion to the process of the World Solar Challenge.
For example, during WSC, there are mandatory controls stops that require the team to take a break to rest, swap drivers, charge the car, etc. This means, in order to get the best simulation possible, the team will be temporarily stopping in various cities (marked on this map) that will serve as control stops. Some of the stops featured on the map are night stops, where the team will be able to rest and recharge before another full day of racing. We will also be holding events in a few of the stops that are designated on the map, check back later for finalized details!
In addition, the team will be able to practice using the various vehicles involved in our caravan such as Lead, Chase, Scout, Media, and Weather. This allows the team to have a full idea of what to expect during the race and how things will operate.
For more information please watch this video made by our Head of New Media and Videographer, Evan Dougherty.
July 12, 2011
Learn about our Caravan: The Weather Vehicle
The Weather vehicle in action during WSC.
When racing in World Solar Challenge and American Solar Challenge, there are a number of vehicles that work as a team. They’re known as The Caravan. The leader of these vehicles is called the Weather. The Weather vehicle leads with several miles between them and the main caravan (Lead, the solar car, and Chase), and just before our Scout vehicle.
Currently, Weather contains the Project Manager, Rachel Kramer, and Meteorologist, Jordan Feight (it will also carry advisers during the WSC). The primary role of the vehicle is to collect weather data and to relay that information to the strategists. In addition, they are responsible (in conjunction with Scout) to determine the campsite for overnight stops.
Jordan testing the weather equipment.
The meteorologist lets the other members know the current and future weather conditions. Jordan first looks at initial weather conditions and general patterns. Then he reviews predictive weather models, which allows him to analyze the information that he has collected. Clouds, solar radiation, and wind are the biggest factors to consider when looking at the forecast. Thus the reason for the pyranometer (measures solar radiation) and anemometer (measures wind speed) attached to the vehicle.
Clouds are perhaps one of the most difficult items in weather to predict, making it a challenge for Jordan to anticipate conditions. Wind speed is slightly easier to determine – helping the strategists figure out how fast the car should go based on the drag created by wind direction.
July 13, 2011
Learn about our Caravan: The Scout Vehicle
One of the previous Scout vehicles.
Although there is less scientific data involved with Scout than in Weather, it plays a significant role in ensuring our solar car’s safety.
Chito Garcia, who has driven Scout since the early '90s, will drive the vehicle while Operations Director, Ethan Larder carries out the main responsibilities of the vehicle. The main concern of Scout is to mark hazards that are found within the path of the solar car. During the race, Ethan removes any road kill and marks hazards, such as potholes or blind corners, with spray paint. Additionally, Scout directs the solar car in and out of control stops, makes sure that the Lead vehicle doesn’t need to stop for anything and helps to check the predetermined route so the main caravan (Lead, Chase and Quantum) doesn’t make any wrong turns.
An example of the array charging and being held up by the array stand that the Scout vehicle carries. WSC '09-Infinium.
Scout also has the responsibility to carry the array stand and make sure the campsite is ready once the solar car arrives. Scout works in conjunction with Weather to determine where the team should camp.
July 13, 2011
Making the car lean with TeXtreme
TeXtreme's checked pattern
One of UMSolar’s major goals is to build a vehicle that is 200 pounds lighter than the previous car, Infinium. One key step to achieve this goal has been through the use of Oxeon’s TeXtreme® Carbon Fiber Weave.
The TeXtreme® weave weighs less than one half the weight of some of the carbon fiber that was used on Infinium (and of previous generation vehicles).
Crew Chief, Gerald Chang works on the dashboard.
Ed.: Thanks for reading (it's long, I know). I'll do my best to provide another update before the World Solar Challenge in late Spetember or early October. Feel free to provide corrections/suggestions in the Comments [I'll be reading them =) ].
So, with the offseason,we all know comes plenty of time to ponder and think about the teams successes and short comings from last year and what next year will hold for us. Obviously everyone's biggest concern is the defense. In my homeristic mind, I want to believe the defense will be substantially better this season due to the changes on the coaching staff. Judging the skill of a coach in my mind, greatly depends on his ability to gameplan and make in-game adjustments. To some how quantify this, as our biggest problem last year, would a help provide me the assurance that our talent wasn't as bad as I know it to be, but rather GERG and his ineptitude to run a 3-3-5 and make adjustments. So what I did was break down the games last year into PTS Allowed per quarter, or to sound smart PAPQ
Obviously with a new DC, I wanted to see what his team looked like from the previous year on the same premise with PAPQ. I understand it's tough to compare and contrast NCAA to NFL, but what the hell, it's the offseason AMIRITE?
|1st qtr||2nd qtr||3rd qtr||4th qtr|
|Avg PTS. Allowed||5.5||15.5||6.3||6.7|
|1st qtr||2nd qtr||3rd qtr||4th qtr|
|Avg PTS. Allowed||3.185||4.56||1.5||7.44|
What sticks out you say?
1.) The first thing that jumps out to me was, Holy 2nd quarter Batman... Only once during the season did we not give up at least double digit points in the second quarter. Our second worst quarter, was the 4th, which makes sense as it takes the 1st and 3rd quarters to see what defense are doing and adjust their offensive gameplan.
2.) Ironically, the same can basically be said for the Ravens defense. With their 2 worst quarters being 4th and the 2nd respectively. But, their 3rd quarter speaks volumes to me. Only allowing 1.5 points coming out of the locker room, yes please?
3.) Mattison's defense had skill yo. I am a little scared that they were giving up more points in the 4th quarter than any other quarter, But, if we can go into the 4th quarter only having allowed around 10 points like the Ravens did, I think most of us can live with that.
4.) What this means... I am not too sure, other than that, by the second quarter teams had figured out how to attack the 3-3-5 and took it to us. M only has 1 PAPQ less than 6. Which, I collectively blame on the gameplan and ingame adjustments. In comparison the Ravens also never had a PAPQ above 7.4
Is Mattison a better DC than GERG, I believe we all collectively believe that he is, and it looks like his gameplans and in-game adjustments exceed what GERG was able to do last season. How much of our problem was scheme and gameplan vs. talent deficencies? I think only time will tell.
I am no math whizz but thought it'd be it'd be an interesting topic to look at. So if you have any suggestions please, make them and I will work/edit this diary as suggestions come along to make it as informative and insightful as I possibly can. As always, Go blue.
Edit: realize I accidently put Michigan's box score in for IU during the initial post. Numbers have been reflected. First quarter slightly less bad, second quarter... GEESH...
So, I'm elaborating on my initial post in MGoShoe's original thread about the Detroit News Mascot Contest. I've got an idea and it appears that this thing has some legs, and so I quickly knocked out a five-minute visual to help sell the idea to Brandon. Call me DB.
(The following rehashes and/or elaborates on much of what I said earlier)
I had multiple people ask if I was going to submit something for their contest, but things have been pretty busy on my end. More on that next month. BUT I did think about it, and I was torn between the 'ferocious wolverine' concept, as we saw in the News' winning entry (and I think looks pretty good, all things considered), and something else, which I'll affectionately name:
THE OVERLY ENTITLED
Our mascot should be successful and he should know it. Perhaps he's got on a smoking jacket, or better yet, an overpriced fitted polo oxford with $150 jeans and a sweet pair of doc martens. He should sport a well-groomed unshaven look and a pair of rimless glasses that he will only take off to properly look down upon the Purdue Pete's and Bucky the Badgers of the world. He will always have it all put together and will be effortlessly in shape, never flaunting the ridiculous six pack that Herky the Hawkeye knows is just one layer of business casual away.
He should smell like a swanky Fortune 500 corner office and an exotic fruit you've never heard of all at once. He's not so much Facebook as he is LinkedIn, and even then he's a premium member at that who always seems to be too busy to add any contacts. Girls will always know when he enters the room, and their boyfriends will hate him for it. He'll be that guy who's already seen the movie you bring up in conversation, and will recommend an independent film that's far better. He'll tell jokes that make you laugh harder than you knew you could, and yet he'll be more interested in talking about world events.
He'll be that guy that buys really good coffee. The kind that tastes even better than it smells.
And even as he's leading the team onto the field, he should be cutting consultant deals on his smartphone AND playing plants vs. zombies at the same time. And throughout the game he'll be far too busy discussing microbrews with the hottest adjacent cheerleader to even care that he's been named "Biff."
In short, the new mascot should be a d**k that all of the other mascots hate, and yet also desperately wish they were.
He will give the Nittany Lion the perfect compliment on his striped scarf, and the Lion's insecurities will turn it into the most humiliating insult the Lion has ever heard. The Golden Gopher will constantly ask our mascot to have his picture taken with him, and when he finally does it will become his Facebook avatar in less than three minutes. Oddly enough, the Northwestern wildcat will be one of his buds. And for Brutus the Buckeye, he will be fear personified. Brutus will have a manic and hateful obsession with him, and he'll spend far too many Friday nights in Columbus trying to perfect the perfect Biff google search.
He is Biff, and he is THE MAN.
He will give the Nittany Lion the perfect compliment on his striped scarf, and the Lion's insecurities will turn it into the most humiliating insult the Lion has ever heard. The Golden Gopher will constantly ask our mascot to have his picture taken with him, and when he finally does it will become his Facebook avatar in less than three minutes. Oddly enough, the Northwestern wildcat will be one of his buds. And for Brutus the Buckeye, he will be fear personified. Brutus will not sleep well when he thinks of the Wolverine, and he will have a manic and hateful obsession with him.
In my last diary I suggested that there might be some room for extra defensive improvement due to the upgrade at DC from Greg Robinson to Greg Mattison. Although I am in general agreement with Brian that massive improvements in the defense should not be expected, I began to wonder what was possible--that is, in the past 5-6 years, has a team improved its defense by leaps and bounds? To that end, I looked at scoring defense ranks of all 120 FBS teams from 2003-2010 to see how teams improved from year to year. Based on the numbers at Rivals, here is how the data shake out:
Note: the x-axis represents changes in rank (negative is good), the y-axis number of examples (out of 840 [120 teams * 7 years]). So the distribution is more or less normal, with a change of 80 rank positions (in either direction) being the maximum, more or less. The largest improvement in our dataset is 94 positions, so if that is the maximum possible then Michigan in 2011 could move up from the 102nd scoring defense (in 2010) to 8th (in 2011). HOORAY!
I had originally suggested that this level of improvement was unlikely, but turd ferguson pointed out that my percentages were misleading, because middling- to highly-ranked defenses simply cannot improve by a large margin. Looking at teams ranked 91st or worse in scoring defense, then, we get the following chart:
You can see that teams with bad defenses improve 20 ranks on average, in part because they have more room to improve than they do to regress. 31% of the time teams ranked 91st or worse improve 30 ranks or more; and 17% of the time they improve 50 ranks or more. To get into the top quartile of defenses, a team ranked 102nd (like Michigan) needs a 70 rank (or more) improvement, which has happened 5% of the time. Looking at the teams with huge improvements, it is difficult to generalize about how they did it. Here are the most improved teams in each year for which we have data (bolded numbers represent the year in which the big improvement was made):
In some cases they seem based on the emergence of a superstar player on defense. For instance, Suh for Nebraska in 2009, which jumped from the 84th scoring defense to 2nd, or Von Miller for Texas A&M, which jumped from the 104th scoring defense in 2009 to the 27th in 2010.
In other cases you have teams that are consistently fairly good who for some reason have a collapse but then recover to their old form. UConn, for instance, usually has a pretty good scoring defense. In 2005, they were 21st, and in 2007 they were 11th in the country, but in 2006 they were 94th. Likewise, TCU has a pretty amazing scoring defense but in 2004 they were 106th in the country. The year before they were 27th, the year after they were 12th. They had some NFL talent, but all 2nd day draft picks or free agents.
Michigan is obviously not in the second type of team. Our defense hasn't been top 20 since 2006. It seems likely that for Michigan to have a good-to-great defense next year, something unexpected will have to happen. The most probable in my opinion is that one or two of our defensive players becomes dominant. Note: my excel spreadsheet is available for download here.
Taft High prospects WR Dwayne Stanford and DE Adolphus Washington have been the subject of much conversation between Michigan fans. Both targets would help fulfill big needs for Michigan's 2012 class. The duo is yet to take an unofficial visit to Ann Arbor, but have seemingly been trying to schedule a trip for some time. I caught up with their coach to talk about their summer plans and where they're both at in the recruiting cycle.
TOM: I know there has been a few weekends where we thought Dwayne and Adolphus were going to make it up to Michigan. Are they going to get up to Ann Arbor any time soon?
COACH MARTIN: I don't think they'll be taking any more visits because of AAU basketball. I know they go away next week and when they come back we'll be in two a days so it will be tough for them to make it to places. As of now they have nothing else scheduled.
TOM: Do you know where both are at in the process?
COACH MARTIN: Michigan is in their top five, I don't know what their top group is off hand but Michigan is in it for both. Right now neither have a clue when they'll decide. I think once they start taking official visits they'll start to figure it out. They don't want to commit to anybody right now.
TOM: They originally had said that they wanted to be a package deal and then that started to fade a little bit. Do you think their recruitment will end up being more individualized or will they stay together?
COACH MARTIN: I think it's going to be more individualized. If it happens it happens, I don't think they're planning on it right now. I know their top five lists have a couple schools that are not in the others.
TOM: Since you're around them the most what kind of people are they going to be at the next level? What is a program going to get from these two?
COACH MARTIN: They're going to get two hard working guys. With all types of guys that get in trouble you never have to worry about that with these two. From an academic and football standpoint they'll be everywhere they're supposed to be when they're supposed to be. Both will come in and contribute early. Whoever gets them is going to get quality people.