TO THE HOT TAKE CANNON
We might as well get this post up today since the list is growing by the minute it seems. If anyone had concerns about the new coaching staff and their recruiting ability, they're probably not asking anymore. Brady Hoke seems like he's in 10 different places at once, and the buzz they've started to create in a short amount of time has been outstanding. Here's a look at the visitors list so far for this weekend. Remember this list will continue to grow, and could shrink so check back.
- Commit RB Justice Hayes (4 Star, 5'10", 175 lbs)- Justice being on campus this weekend will help with recruiting. He's been talking up Michigan to quite a few recruits now.
- DB Stefan McClure (4 Star, 5'11", 170 lbs)- Defensive back out of California. Has a good relationship with Hoke from being at SDSU. I think Michigan has a real shot with Stefan.
- DB Raymon Taylor (4 Star, 5'10", 165 lbs)- Raymon might decide to wait a little bit to commit, but I think it's safe to say he'll most likely pick Michigan.
- K Matt Wile - (6'2", 210 lbs)Here's my interview yesterday with Matt's coach. I wouldn't be surprised if Wile was a Wolverine by Tuesday.
- TE/LB Frank Clark (3 Star, 6'2", 210 lbs)- Glenville prospect that I think Michigan has a good chance with.
- OL Tony Posada (3 Star, 6'5", 315 lbs)- The coaches were out to Florida this week to see Tony, and I think this visit will be his last. He should be firm to Michigan again.
- LB Leilon Willingham (4 Star, 6'3", 230 lbs)- I spoke to Leilon's coach today, and it looks like this visit is happening. Willingham is committed to Texas A&M and was supposed to visit the Aggies this weekend. If he cancelled that trip to visit Michigan then that's a pretty strong statement.
- DB Tamani Carter (3 Star, 5'11", 172 lbs) - Michigan's newest commit is visiting.
In the aftermath of Dan Ferrigno's hiring, a lot has been made about Michigan finally getting a new special teams coach. This should help shed some light on the past performance of Coach Ferrigno.
Caveats- The data is incomplete. NCAA archives only go back to the 1999 season, where Ferrigno was in his fourth season as special teams coach at Cal. He spent 1996-1999 as special teams coach at Cal, moved on for the same job at USC for the 2000 season, and then did not go back to coaching special teams until 2009 at San DIego State under Coach Hoke.
Just a memory jolt, because the overall strength of the team obviously has a huge impact on their special teams play.
1999- Cal 4-7 (3-5) Unranked. Later forefitted victories due to ineligible players.
2000 USC 5-7 (1-7) Unranked.
2009 SDSU 4-8 (2-6) Unranked.
2010 SDSU 9-4 (5-3) Unranked.
|Team||Net Punting||Punt Return||Kickoff Return|
|1999 Cal||9 (39.7)||30 (11.0)||12 (23.7)|
|2000 USC||110 (36.21)||63 (9.19)||62 (19.49)|
|2009 SDSU||18 (38.05)||92 (6.31)||97 (20.10)|
|2010 SDSU||49 (36.93)||93 (6.04)||107 (19.34)|
Let's take a look at Michigan under Coach Rodriguez:
|Year||Net Punting||Punt Return||Kickoff Return|
|2008||5 (39.34)||64 (8.62)||56 (21.44)|
|2009||3 (40.93)||62 (8.67)||23 (23.80)|
|2010||69 (36.07)||67 (7.43)||68 (21.44)|
One thing to remember is that special teams rankings are very fickle. .2 yards can decide the difference between the 20th ranked team and the 60th. Anyway, I hope this adds something to our regime change analysis.
Michigan (under RR):
So Brian referred to our new Special teams/tight ends coaching position as esoteric. I don't know about tight ends but I am extremely happy we have special teams coach right now.
Rodriguez was accused of ignoring the defense to devote more attention to the offense. If that is true I believe it is doubly so for the special teams. I don't know what else he could have done given the limitations of the athletes he had at his disposal, but having a dedicated coach seems like a reasonable place to start.
Now let's look at some statistics (all courtesy of ESPN)
We had the 8th most yards per game on offense. Pretty good especially considering some of our tough competition. But the complaint from most people is that we didn't score enough points. We tied for 24th most points per game. Why?
Well, a large part of that has to do with field goals. To start, we were dead last in both field goals made and field goal percentage. We were 4/14 and that was without attempting a single kick beyond 50 yards. Because of our inability to kick, we passed on what should have been a guaranteed 3 points in several situations, once or twice a game, to go for it on fourth down. We succeeded a few times but failed to score on most of those attempts.
So, we never kicked a long field goal, should have made most of the ones we took and skipped out on attempting easy ones a little more than once a game. I estimate we could have scored 6 more points per game. That puts us at 38.6 ppg and 11th overall in scoring. That looks much better and explains a big portion of the discrepancy between points and yards.
Punting was also not great, finishing 87th in average yards per punt. I couldn't find statistics on kickoffs (like touchbacks) but ancecdotally we sucked. We were middle of the pack in return yards per kickoff (67th) and return yards per punt (also 67th, weird). We had a punt blocked and didn't manage to return a single kick for a touchdown.
So in summary, if having a dedicated special teams coach makes a difference, improvement in special teams performance is another reason to be optimistic about 2011 and beyond. It is also an indication that Brady Hoke gets it and is addressing the needs of the football team. I am cautiously optimistic.
Michigan's kicking woes this season forced the coaching staff to search for another scholarship kicker in the 2011 class. Rich Rodriguez had secured former Boise State commit Matt Goudis (6'0", 165 lbs) after many thought Goudis would stick with Boise. Once the old staff was fired Matt decided to take his talents to South Beach and commit to Al Golden at Miami, which left Brady Hoke searching for another solid kicker.
Lucky enough for Hoke he had already established a relationship with uncommitted kicker Matt Wile (6'2", 215 lbs) out of San Diego, California. Wile's head coach John Morrison says that relationship wasn't too hard to build. "Matts dad is the orthopedic surgeon on the athletic staff at San Diego State where Brady (Hoke) came from. They offered Matt two years ago at SDSU," Morrison said. "You guys are getting a heck of a coach, too. We're sad to see (Brady Hoke) go. I'm a big fan of his, he'll get that thing turned around really fast, I watched him do it at SDSU after 4 or 5 guys butchered it."
"It's funny now that Coach Hoke is out at Michigan, it's almost like it was meant to be for Matt. His dad and his grandfather are both Michigan grads. About 7-8 years ago Matt traveled with his dad to Ann Arbor when SDSU played Michigan, and went out on the field at halftime to kick field goals," Morrison recalls.
The coincidence has struck a cord with Wile, and he is scheduled to visit Ann Arbor this weekend (January 21st). Matt holds offers from Air Force, Michigan, Nebraska, and Washington as well. "He actually pushed back the visit to Nebraska to take the Michigan trip. I can't imagine he won't have a great visit, he already knows the coaching staff and he's already been on campus with his dad," said Morrison. "Coach Ferrigno (Special teams coach for Michigan) was actually out here the other night to see Matt, then he swung by the school to pick up his transcripts." The transcripts seemed like just a formality since Wile holds a 4.0 GPA.
Even though the cards seem to be in Michigan's favor, Coach Morrison doesn't believe Matt will make his decision while visiting Ann Arbor. "He told Nebraska that he won't commit on the Michigan trip. He wants to sit down with his family, take 24 hours and think about it. He's been very up front with all the schools. I would be surprised if he committed on the visit, but I wouldn't be surprised if he decided to commit after 24 hours," he said.
Wile averaged 42 yards per punt this season, kicked field goals and extra points, was captain of his team, and the kicker for the West team at the Army All American Game.
It's 3:22 AM on a school night and for some odd reason I was struck with insomnia. I was also struck with the effort to put into words how the Big Ten Hockey Conference would be created and managed thanks to an impromptu logo designing session. Below is how I feel the BTHC should be constructed.
14 conference games total
4 games versus main rival Michigan State
4 games versus secondary rival Ohio State
2 games versus each Minn, Wisc, and PSU (6)
|Team||Rival 1||Rival 2|
|Michigan||Michigan State||Ohio State|
|Michigan State||Michigan||Ohio State|
|Ohio State||Michigan||Michigan State|
Obviously, the rivalry series are to maintain the rivalries between teams from the same former conference (CCHA or WCHA...with Penn State involuntarily thrown into the WCHA rivalries)
Top 2 seeds (via conference record) receive first-round byes.
#3 vs. #6 and #4 vs. #5 have a best of 3 series with the higher seed receiving home ice.
Teams re-seed after the first round, therefore the #1 seed plays lowest remaining seed, #2 seed plays highest remaining seed.
Second round is also a best of 3 series, with the higher seed in each matchup receiving home ice.
The Big Ten Championship round is best of 3, with the series played at Joe Louis Arena, Detroit, MI.
In order to help keep the CCHA/WCHA competitive and afloat, each Big Ten conference team will face a significant number of opponents from their former conferences. For Penn State, they could be free to schedule a lot of non-conference opponents from all over the country. Approximately 12 games could be devoted to former conference opponents.
14 conference games + 12 former conference games = 26, which leaves about 5-7 out-of-conference games to fill in.
For Michigan, their 12 former conference games will include all Michigan schools (WMU, Ferris, LSSU, NMU) along with Miami and ND. These can all either be home-and-homes or double homes and double aways with a rotation the following year.
Sample Conference Schedule: Michigan
Bolded dates are conference opponents
10/6/12 vs. USTDP-18 (exhibition)
10/7/12 vs. out-of-conference opp.
10/13/12 @ out-of-conference opp.
10/20/12 @ out-of-conference opp.
10/26/12 vs. Ferris State
10/27/12 @ Ferris State
11/2/12 @ Ohio State
11/3/12 vs. Ohio State
11/9/12 @ Notre Dame
11/10/12 vs. Notre Dame
11/16/12 @ Michigan State
11/17/12 @ Michigan State
College Hockey Showcase - Ann Arbor, MI
11/23/12 vs. out-of-conference opp.
11/24/12 vs. out-of conference opp.
11/30/12 vs. Northern Michigan
12/1/12 @ Northern Michigan
12/7/12 @ Penn State
12/8/12 vs. Penn State
12/14/12 vs. Ohio State
12/15/12 @ Ohio State
12/28/12 Great Lakes Invitational
12/29/12 Great Lakes Invitational
1/4/13 @ Minnesota
1/5/13 vs. Minnesota
1/11/13 vs. Miami (OH)
1/12/13 @ Miami (OH)
1/18/13 vs. Lake Superior
1/19/13 vs. Lake Superior
2/1/13 @ Wisconsin
2/2/13 vs. Wisconsin
2/8/13 vs. Michigan State
2/9/13 @ Michigan State
2/15/13 @ Western Michigan
2/16/13 @ Western Michigan
2/21/13 - 2/23/13 First Round of BTHC Playoffs
2/28/13 - 3/2/13 Second Round of BTHC Playoffs
3/7/13 - 3/9/13 BTHC Championship Round
This prediction of the BTHC may be obvious and not too challenging but I feel this is what may happen and I hope happens. Seeing as the Big Ten is all about inclusion, they may cycle the BTHChampionship round between different cities like Chicago (United Center), Detroit (JLA), Minnesota (XCel Energy Center) as well.
I would like to know your thoughts and your insights into the (inevitable) BTHC.
Bonus Graphic: Our current jerseys with the new B1G logo on the right shoulder
EDITS: Restructured Big Ten conference games, increased number of games vs. CCHA, edited potential Michigan schedule 3/6/11