In 2005, the top prospect for the OHL draft was Logan Couture. Considered a holy lock to go first overall, he decided to try his talents at the junior B level instead of AAA where at least 95% of players get drafted from. There are others who make this choice, and it is usually an awful, awful choice....unless you're as good as Couture. I wanted to see how he was doing so I went to see a playoff game he was playing in. The arena was swarming with OHL scouts. This seemed odd to me. This guy was a lock to go first overall (although he didn't because of JT). At most, only teams with a top 5 pick should have been there in case he happened to slip. I struck up a conversation with the head scout from the Owen Sound Attack.
Since there were no other draft eligible players worth watching in the game, I asked him why one of the top teams in the OHL (at the time) would be scouting a player they had absolutely no shot at getting. His answer?
"I'm not here to scout him, I'm here to enjoy watching him play. This kid will be a first round pick in the NHL."
You're probably telling yourself, "Lahey, not only do you consistently get drunk and piss yourself, but all of your stories lack a point!!"
Touché, but this time I have a point. My point is, sometimes a player is so good that you just want to watch him play hockey, even if you don't have a horse in the race. Jacob Trouba is that good.
Team: Detroit Compuware/USNTDP
Level Of Competition: USHL/US U-18 (A+)
Claimed Size: 6'1, 172lbs
NHL Draft: 2012
OHL Draft: Kitchener
Eyeball Test (is he actually the claimed size?): Trouba is all of 6'1, 172lbs. Very solid frame to put on more weight. Thick neck.
Scouting Report: There is no shortage of scouting reports on him, so I'm going to give my own personal opinion here just so you guys get something different.
Trouba is a total package defenceman with elite ability. Looked like a man among boys in AAA, and that pretty much continues in the USHL. Has excellent size, will probably grow an inch or so and end up somewhere in the range of 6'2 215lbs as a pro.
Trouba makes a clean, smart first pass out of his zone and plays with perfect position on breakouts. Stays calm, never panics, and consistently loses the forechecker completely behind the net to create odd man rushes. This won't happen at the next level as often, but he shows the poise needed to create good breakouts at the next level.
Takes care of his own end, does not allow himself to get pushed around in front of or behind the net. Superb zone awareness.
Great skater, very smooth, very adequate top-end speed. Changes direction nicely. Good puckhandling skills. Shot from the point is decent, not exactly Ryan Ellis but it will get stronger.
Likes to get involved in the offensive plays. Makes nice, controlled rushes but knows when to bail on a rush when he doesn't see what he wants. Rarely gets caught up ice because of his excellent decision making. Smart on pinches. The only time I saw him get caught on a pinch he absolutely destroyed the player who beat him to the puck.
His best attributes are his physicality and his stick skills. This guy loves contact. He plays the game very well, but he is always waiting in the weeds for his chance to make the crowd go OHHHHHH. He hits often, but always has one or two massive open ice hits a game. When he connects, he puts his shoulder right between the nipples for perfectly clean hits. His stick skills are unbelievable. One of the hardest skills for a d-man to learn is stick patience. He is extremely patient and strikes very quickly and with pristine timing when he goes for the poke-check. This makes him nearly impossible to beat 1 on 1. He will need to get used to significantly better stick handlers in the OHL or NCAA but he'll adapt.
All indications are that he is a quality kid with excellent leadership skills and a solid work ethic.
Everyone and their dog keeps making the comparison to Cam Fowler, the Windsor Spitfires d-man who had an excellent rookie season with the Ducks. I don't really see it, to be honest.
Trouba is definitely smooth like Fowler is, but not quite as smooth. He also likes the jump in the play like Fowler does, but he isn't quite the offensive player that Fowler is. Having said that, Fowler always got knocked for not being physical enough, especially behind and in front of the net. You will never, ever have that issue with Trouba. Trouba eats forechecking forwards for breakfast.
I have two comparisons of my own. The first is Drew Doughty. Now before you go crazy with excitement, I will say that Trouba is not as good as Doughty was at the same age, nor does he possess his insane offensive ability. But what makes Doughy so good is his play in the defensive end, especially when breaking out. Drew has this ridiculous talent that allows him to manipulate forwards into giving him space. He has a magical ability to wait until the very last second before he releases a pass, leaving the opposing player chasing him totally out of the play.
Trouba has a little bit of that in him. He is always making the opposing forwards react to him, not the other way around. He does a great job of releasing the puck at the last moment, giving his team a lot of odd man rushes.
The second comparison is Dion Phaneuf. Once again, Trouba is probably a bit below what Phaneuf was at this point, but his physical style is very similar. Like Phaneuf, opposing players fear his wrath all over the ice. In junior, players didn't try things on Phaneuf they would try on other guys because he would put your face through the Little Caesar's advertisement. Trouba has that same type of game. He doesn't run around like a goon looking for blood, but the big hit is always in the back of his mind. He's just waiting for you to make a mistake so he can make you pay.
Don't get discouraged because I am saying he isn't as good as those guys, the fact that I'm using their names for comparison tells you everything you need to know.
Will he Stick With Michigan?
The hockey community really isn't very big. People talk and everyone who is anyone knows each other. I remember when there was a thread about Max Domi getting drafted by the Frontenacs and the board freaked out about him leaving. I posted that I had already heard that he was OHL-bound. That was no secret, most people already knew. That is because information travels fast in hockey circles.
Jacob Trouba will stay. Neg me to hell if I'm wrong, but I won't be. I am of little importance in the hockey world, but I work for people who are kind of a big deal, and I know a lot of people. If there was even a 10% shot of him bolting to the OHL, I would have heard something about it. But I haven't. He will be a Wolverine.
Brian alluded to the fact that Kitchener is one of those teams that tends to snatch college-bound players. I think that is a bit overblown. Kitchener has a decent franchise, but there are only two teams you really have to worry about: the Windsor Spitfires and the London Knights. These teams have put countless players in the show, and are always good. They both have state of the art hockey arenas in hockey-insane cities with very dedicated fan-bases. They have coaches who are former players, very rich (and like to show it), very charismatic, and very connected.
If some little trade shows up on the ticker where either Windsor or London have acquired the rights to Trouba in some obselete deal, it is time to start worrying. But Trouba is already old enough where I don't think that is going to happen.
Do you have anything else for us to be paranoid about?
Why yes, I do. Trouba is such a good prospect that there is very little chance he stays until his senior year. By very little, I mean none. Trouba is going to make a very good living playing hockey, his career path is set. Chances are that Michigan gets him for two years and then he signs his NHL contract upon which he either plays in the show full time or splits time between the AHL and NHL. He is just too good to stay in the NCAA, it would actually hurt his development.
This is not a bad thing, Trouba will step onto the Michigan team and immediately be one of the best players. By his sophomore year, he will be on of the top players in the NCAA. Not only will this help on the ice, but it is always great to get a top prospect, it makes other top prospects want to come as well.
I often see posts on the board about players who play in the AHL like it is some sort of bad thing. The AHL is a top league with top players. The money is good, so it isn't a stupid decision when someone leaves the NCAA to play in the AHL before they start their NHL career. I'll give you a break down of what Trouba's contract will be when he signs it.
Trouba wil be a top 15 pick in the NHL. That means his contract will be the maximum allowable for an entry level deal. Standard entry level deals are 3 years. His AHL salary would be approximately $68,000 per season. Not bad, right? Yes, except that it doesn't even include his NHL signing bonus which would be about $285,000. The signing bonus gets chopped up into 6 payments twice a year over three years.
That means that a player who signs a max deal will still be making a crapload of money, even if they don't make the NHL in their first three years.
$68,000 + $95,000 = $163,000US per season while in the AHL.
He would get paid NHL money for every game he was up with the big club. If he stays the whole season, although the rookie salary cap states that his actual salary will be $900,000, top draft picks have contracts which are stuffed with the easiest incentives you have ever seen. If he just shows up to play, he will stand to make just under $2,000,000 a season in his entry level contract, more if he plays well.
Be very, very happy about this. Not only will Trouba come to Michigan and make them a better hockey team, but he is going to be one of those NHL alums that causes future prospects to pick Michigan because they saw him do it and want to be like him. It will be like high school offensive tackles picking Michigan because they want to go 1st overall like Jake Long, or hopefully in the future, abuse donkeys like Taylor Lewan.
Thanks for reading, folks!
As you all probably know by now, SDSU utilized an interesting way of playcalling this past Saturday where, instead of using odd hand gestures and yelling a lot, they held up large cards with pictures of those who had left the program for greener pastures (read: Michigan...duh). Now it appears that fans and mgobloggers weren't the only ones to notice this innovative method. In a stunning move, Dave Brandon has announced today (in a secret press conference that I was lucky enough to have been invited to) that Michigan will begin using the same tactic beginning immediately.
Okay, now before everyone gets all ANGAR and DAVEBRANDONRABBLEPIZZARABBLE, allow me to asplode your heads, for I am privvy to not only the people whose faces will be used on these cards, but also the strategies that will be implemented with each card! You can all thank me later but before that, I'm pleased to announce:
Michigan's Face Card Strategies Idea That They Borrowed from SDSUTM
As you all remember, Tony Gibson was Michigan's Defensive Backs/Special Teams Coach for 3 seasons under Rich Rodriguez. His departure has thus made him eligible for the Michigan Face Cards. When Michigan's defense sees this card, they are to immediately give any and all possible receivers at least a 10 yard cushion off the line of scrimmage (this may also apply to defensive line players since you never know when one of those scrappy tackles will break off for a quick slant).
Cornerbacks are also encouraged to completely ignore the receiver they're covering after about 2 yards and just turn and run downfield like hell is chasing them (for reference on how this technique looks when done properly, see footage from the 2010 PSU game).
[NOTE: If this Face Card is shown on a kick or punt return, the returner is expected to muff the ball, or otherwise fumble it on the run if he accidentally caught it the first time.]
When Michigan's defense sees this Face Card, they are encouraged to "Embrace the Change", and ponder this deeply. However once the ball is snapped, cornerbacks should work on providing enough coverage to make the opposing QB think long enough in the hopes that he'll be sacked, which is pretty likely to happen...if you have players named Woodley, Branch, Jamison and/or Burgess. If not, then just try really, really hard.
However, if this Face Card is shown against a spread team with a mobile quarterback, then just lay down to die, and pray that it's over soon.
Greg "GERG" Robinson
When the defense sees Greg Robinson's beautiful flowing locks with his face underneath staring back at them, they must immediately switch into a 3-3-5 (hell, so does the offense because, I mean, this 3-3-5 thing must work somewhere, right?). Players are also expected to play well out of position and look extremely confused, and if they do so, they'll likely be rewarded by a sideline hug from Mr. Snuggles the Fun-Time Football Beaver.
Also, if you bring this Face Card into your local participating hair salon, you'll receive 20% off your next haircut or perm (new customers only, subject to change, void where prohibited, not valid on dreadlocks).
When the RR Face Card is shown on offense, expect a zone-read, and also expect Denard to run the ball regardless of anything else (this includes wide open receivers, multiple LB spies, and 5 foot brick walls across the width of the field Wile E. Coyote-style). It is also recommended to have a new RB in the backfield every new time this is shown.
This Face Card also holds other possibilities. If a position is in dire need (aka - has little to no depth), a player from that position is required to do one of the following wen seeing the RR Face Card: 1) become severely injured for the rest of the season, 2) leave the program, or 3) become ineligible to play for any other other reason (academics is a good one). This Face Card will also signify to the MMB that it is time to play a Josh Groben song.
BONUS: When a new drive begins, flip a coin. If the coin is heads, go three-and-out. If tails, bust off a huge 80+ yard run by Denard in an insane comeback against ND.
Lloyd Carr's Face Card is actually quite specific yet simple. Here's the breakdown:
1st Down: I-Formation, Zone-Left Run
2nd Down: I-Formation, Zone-Left Run
3rd Down: I-Formation, Zone-Left Run
4th Down: Punt (but only if it's ≥ 4th and inches AND you're not within the opponents 20 yd. line, in which case, kick a field goal)
Well, there you have it folks! Michigan's Face Card Strategies Idea That They Borrowed From SDSUTM. I don't know about you, but I can't WAIT to see these bad boys in action. I'm sure Minnesota won't know what hit them this Saturday. Go Blue!
the mini program for Minnesota game. i might repost this friday evening if it gets bumped down from the first screen. any corrections, additions, revisions or suggestions are gladly accepted.
Now I know this might be a little tl;dr, and I'm normally one of the last people to praise the MSU football team, especially Dantonio, but they've done something pretty amazing this year for members of my extended family.
Earlier this year, my 11 year old cousin was diagnosed with a medulloblastoma, an agressive type of brain cancer. She began an agressive series of chemotherapy treatments, that will likely continue until July of next year. Before she began the treatments, she was a very active person, playing on a travel soccer team and various other sports. After she started treatments, her teammtes began making bracelets with her name on them similar to Livestrong bracelets, and now most of her league, friends, and family are wearing them.
So now cut to the first week of the season, when my brother, another cousin, and me are catching MSU's season opener on TV, and we notice a bunch of the MSU players and coaches wearing her bracelets on the sideline and in the game. A few minutes later, they run a bit about the Spartan player who was playing for the first time since surviving cancer, and they cut to a shot before the game of him talking to some people, lo and behold it's my 11 year old cousin with her brothers and parents. Then her parents email out to the family a bit later with the details. Both of them are MSU alumni, and she has been visiting practices and meeting with the coaches and players, who have been giving her advice and support. Here's an excerpt from the email, with names edited out for her privacy:
"Today she visited the MSU football players in their closed practice. The players and coaches were absolutely amazing with [her]. Tomorrow the conditioning coach, Coach Mannie, who is taking her under his wing, is making copies of a biography that we gave them on [her]. He told the team that each of them will have the bio of [her] in their lockers tomorrow (copy of the bio attached). In addition, he told the team that [she] was there to give them her bracelets. He told them that she is watching them play on TV and watching for the bracelets. Thus, he expected all of the team to be wearing their bracelets at this Saturday's game vs Ohio State. At the end of the practice Kurt Cousins lead the team in prayer and prayed first for our family and [her] and of course the team. He is a really amazing guy! Coach Mannie then gave [her] a beautiful necklace and bracelet that his wife picked out for her and a card signed by all the players. He told [her] that he will make sure that she is on the field before every game this season that she is able to attend. When he took [her] in the HUGE weight room where he works with the team, he gave [her] some of the cherry juice that the football players drink for her to try (we have been trying to get her to drink cherry juice and when we went in the weight room there was a sign on the coolers saying "cherry juice is only for the football players"....wow sometimes God just puts those signs in the right places) and he told her when she is done with treatment, he will personally work with her on conditioning. Last but not least he emailed us a bunch of pictures from today before we even made it all the way home. It was yet another special day with the MSU football team for [her]."
Now despite the homerism in my aunt's description, I was blown away by how the team is treating my little cousin, and I guarantee it's helping her (she's normally very shy and reserved, but her doctors have been remarking on her energy and dedication, I imagine meeting with these guys has to help that somewhat). All I know is that this year, aside from October 15, I'm going to be cheering for the Spartans.
The more things change...
Well, that went better than expected. There's plenty of good things to see, but almost all of them come with caveats:
- We shut down a QB with a decent arm who was pretty productive last year
- Denard's running WOOOOO!
- DLine got good pressure
- We're causing lots of turnovers
- Defense looks more sound in general
- We kind of dominated a decent team
- We're 4-0!
- He was missing his NFL caliber WR's
- Denard's passing, eeerrrrr....
- DLine kept losing contain
- We're giving away lots of turnovers
- Every now and then we look like the keystone cops
- Brady Hoke has their playbook, signals, and personell memorized.
- We were 4-0 the last two years...
Next week won't be much of a challenge or informative either. Especially if Marquis Gray is injured or hampered. So the good news is that we look like it's an easy road to bowl elligibility, but whether or not we can beat any decent bigten teams remains to be seen for a couple of weeks.
I don't know if his throwing arm/shoulder is tweeked, or if he's still just struggling with his footwork, but his accuracy is way off from last year. He had a terrible overthrow on the deep ball, the interception that got batted up was due to placing the ball too high when throwing at the TE, and the other interception was due to him missing the zone coverage. He's also staring down the screen receiver and other receivers sometimes.
But hey, HELLLOooooo speed option!
This play works because of two things. Two of their defenders just flat out over-run the play because they're freaking about Denard's speed
And we get great downfield blocks that are sustained. It really is as simple as getting a hat on a hat when you've got dilithium in the backfield. The play is setup so nice that Vincent is celebrating the TD before Denard even passes the line of scrimmage!
Here's the same moment from behind. That's a nice hole.
Give some credit to SDSU, they stuffed this play when we ran it again in the 2nd half. But when you've got a guy who can do this:
You can't win just on positioning.
You can have perfect position, and Denard can stil make you look silly.
Lloyd Brady Approves! (drink)
Various Defensive Awesomeness
Mike Martin is awesome. I think all D-Linemen should have a background in Judo or Wrestling or both. On this play he doesn't get to the QB, but he causes a rushed throw with his bull rush.
First, he's quick off the line and gets underneath the pads of the guard and pops him back.
Then he drives him back so hard that the tackle has to come down and help out.
But he's got so much momentum that he's buckled the guards legs and knocks him over.
At that point there's nothing left to do except laugh at your defeated foe and scream bloody murder at the QB. RVB also does a nice job of beating his man on his speed rush.
Kenny Demens is often awesome. On this play Demens demonstrates the textbook definition of "fill the hole and blow up the blocker".
This is your typical power iso play with a FB and a pulling linemen leading the way. Demens recognizes run action and gets on his horse.
RVB does a great job on his slant to fill the hole. This bounces the play outside. Demens reads this too and accelerates to take on the blocker.
Hawthorne is a little slow to react and gets blocked too easily here. But because Demens hits his man so hard, the ballcarrier has to stop his feet and go backwards.
Meanwhile, Jake Ryan has beaten his blocker with a quick step (Dude has a quickstep, this is my meme for Jake Ryan from now on.) and cleans up the play with a TFL. Hawthorne is getting held, but he has to do a better job of reacting and shedding his blocker. This is probably why he got benched for a bit.
Craig Roh is still fighting for more playing time in the DE rotation, but on this play he shows how to shed a blocker using leverage.
Roh is kind of tall and lanky, that can be a good thing or bad thing depending on how you use it. Here he pushes his blocker sideways and gets him off balance.
Then he just tosses him aside and has eyes on the ball carrier. Results in a TFL and great play.
From the other angle you can see how Roh uses the blocker's arm as a lever and just dismisses him. Hawthorne could learn a thing or two from this.
But it's not all sunshine and rainbows.
In last week's tardy diary, I discovered a new pet peeve. That pet peeve now has a name. It's called FUCKING AROUND WITH ALIGNMENT IN SHORT YARDAGE SITUATIONS. (FAWAISYS)
It's one thing to flop the defensive alignment when it's 1st or 2nd and 10 or even 3rd and 5. No one's in a rush and it doesn't really matter if you give up an easy yard or two. But when it's 3rd and 1 or 4th and 1, you're really pissing me off with chinese firedrill bullshit. It makes you vulnerable to the quicksnap and if you're all worried about where you're supposed to be, you're not thinking about the play, the snap count, or the 600+ pounds of blockers that are coming at you shortly.
It happened all game. And it's not like we're forced to do it. It's just that some d-calls have us locked onto their formation strength.
This is the most egregious example:
This is a three man shift, the two TE's on the left are moving to the right and the FB that was at flanker is moving into an I form. Jake ryan is perfectly at rights to be moving. Nothing wrong yet.
And then the ILB's see it and swap places. Okay, nothing big about keeping the Fritz and Mike responsibilities on Hawthorne and Demens respectively.
But do the DE's really need to flip on this play? Are their responsibilities and talents that different? Why can't RVB just squeeze down and Jirbeel Black flex out a bit? Or is it that Black can't take on two blockers and needs to speed rush from the uncovered end?
So now we got 8 guys moving around and they've got about 1.4 seconds to get their shit sorted out.
Which is made harder when the two DE's collide 0.o And the secondary is completely lost and in no position to support the run.
It's 3rd and Fricken 1!!!
So, let's summarize. It's 3rd and 1, our DE's are hugging each other, our OLB is out of breath from sprinting into position, our DB's are in a cover 2 umbrella, there's about Umpteen million different ways for SDSU to pick up 1 yard without having to touch anyone, and we've got about 0.7 seconds to get lined up on 3rd and fucking 1.
Yes it's true that the offense has to reset for a second after the shift, so you theoretically have time to get setup. But one of these days it's going to bite us for a critical conversion. So far, Brady Hoke's Magical Golden Poop actually got SDSU to false start while we were running around like chickens with their heads chopped off.
- I'm not thrilled with our FB play. #44 doesn't seem to get his pad level low enough or drive through his blocks.
- Hopkins.... HOLD ON TO THE DAMN BALL.
- WTF is this? Does SDSU have some new cheerleader wannabe's?
- Who does this band director think he's fooling?
1 Drum Major
12 Alto Saxophones
12 Tenor Saxophones
4 Bass Trombones
6 Snare Drums
4 Bass Drums
AND NONE OF THEM ARE LOOKING AT YOU!
[Ed: MGoWife got this in the inbox and forwarded it along to me for obvious reasons. A good cause and a good way to get your recipes in the lore of Michigan tailgating.]
Hi, everyone --
Just received this email from Alpha House, which helps the homeless in Washtenaw County, and thought some of you might like to submit recipes to them.
" ... we would love to include you in a tailgate project to raise money to support Alpha House, a local shelter for homeless children and families in Washtenaw County (www.alphahouse-ihn.org). Over the next three weeks we will be collecting your favorite tailgate recipes, memories, and photos to be published in a cookbook celebrating the long tradition of Michigan tailgating.
Please consider sharing your favorite recipes, the history of your tailgate and/or any tailgate photos. Any and all recipes from appetizers to bbq to dessert are welcome and desired. We will compile the recipes, stories, and photos into a beautiful (and delicious) tribute to UM tailgating. If you would like to share with us please email recipes (you can use the attached
form or another format that works for you), pictures and/or tailgate remembrances to Helen Starman ([email protected]) or Kelly Pearson ([email protected]). If you have any questions at all please feel free to email or call Helen or Kelly (734.822.0220).
A shelter in East Lansing very similar to Alpha House has had a lot of success with a similar project the last two football seasons. We of course expect to show them who reigns supreme in all football matters in the state of Michigan.
Intern, IHN @ Alpha House
MSW Candidate, 2012
University of Michigan School of Social Work