At press time, Harbaugh had sent Michigan’s athletic department an envelope containing a heavily annotated seating chart, a list of the 63,000 seat views he had found unsatisfactory, and a glowing 70-page report on section 25, row 12, seat 9, which he claimed is “exactly what the great sport of football is all about.”
Busy, busy week, with a Michigan commitment. I'm not sure when the recruiting sites will post their post-summer, pre-season rankings, but keep an eye out for that soon. Action since last rankings:
7-25-10 Illinois gains commitment from Ted Karras. Minnesota gains commitment from Peter Westerhaus. Penn State gains commitment from Angelo Mangiro.
7-26-10 Michigan State gains commitment from Arjen Colquhoun. Nebraska loses commitment from Dylan Admire.
7-27-10 Illinois gains commitment from Daniel Rhodes. Michigan State gains commitment from Mikail McCall.
7-29-10 Michigan gains commitment from Kellen Jones. Minnesota gains commitment from Mike Moore.
7-30-10 Iowa loses commitment from JaCorey Shepherd. Iowa gains commitment from Cole Fisher. Wisconsin gains commitment from Terrance Floyd. Notre Dame gains commitments from Justice Hayes and Anthony Rabasa.
7-31-10 Notre Dame gains commitments from Aaron Lynch and Jalen Brown. Indiana gains commitment from Bernard Taylor. Wisconsin gains commitment from Makinton Dorleant. Nebraska gains commitment from David Santos.
|Big Ten+ Recruiting Class Rankings|
|Rank||School||# Commits||Rivals Avg||Scout Avg||ESPN Avg|
Rivals rankings have been converted to their "RR" scale, which is on a scale from about 5 to about 6.1. Unrated prospects are given a 5.1 rating, on par with the worst of any Big Ten commit last year. Scout is on the 5-star system (unranked players earn star), and ESPN uses grades out of 100 (unranked is 40 or 45).
|#1 Ohio State - 17 Commits|
Buckeyes stay atop the heap, though they did miss out on instate LB Trey DePriest this week. DePriest committed to Alabama.
|#2 Notre Dame - 16 Commits|
The Irish end their drought with a huge week, picking up four commits. They've solidified their hold on the second position.
|#3 Michigan - 9 Commits|
The Wolverines pick up Kellen Jones. I've moved them past Nebraska in the rankings, because they're starting to come close in number of commits, but are significantly higher in the quality of those players. Is Michigan on track to get another commit or two soon?
|#4 Nebraska - 13 Commits|
The Huskers trade OL Dylan Admire (decommitted in favor of Kansas) for LB David Santos. Nebraska's averages might improve a bit once all of their commits are ranked.
|#5 Indiana - 21 Commits|
Hoosiers pick up another Michigan prospect in the conference's (+ Notre Dame and Nebraska, of course) largest class. I've rewarded them by moving them past Michigan State. Once other teams come closer in number of commits, IU should fall down the rankings.
|#6 Michigan State - 11 Commits|
No change for MSU. They move behind Indiana on the basis of total commits, mostly because their overall numbers aren't that far off from the other few teams behind the Hoosiers (Northwestern, Iowa, et al).
|#7 Northwestern - 11 Commits|
No change for the Wildcats, except they're now looking up at Michigan State.
|#8 Iowa - 11 Commits|
Scout gives Orloff a 2-star ranking. No other changes for the Hawkeyes.
|#9 Minnesota - 13 Commits|
No change for Minnesota. They're due for a jump once that other half of their class gets Rivals rankings.
|#10 Wisconsin - 8 Commits|
Boooooo grabbing a couple guys who are neither from Wisconsin nor TE/LBs.
|#11 Penn State - 4 Commits|
Penn State's class is no longer the laughingstock of the conference, as they pick up a good offensive lineman in Angelo Mangiro. They still have a long way to go in terms of numbers, but their averages are way above the other teams near them.
|#12 Illinois - 11 Commits|
Illinois picks up a couple prospects, and that moves them past Purdue (while getting jumped by Penn State).
|#13 Purdue - 6 Commits|
Purdue becomes the bottom-dweller in Big Ten recruiting.
My first diary post. Right to it...
We all know RichRod's UM teams haven't exactly been the picture of poise in the second halves in 2008 and 2009. Young teams, and all that.
But if you want to know just what caused the seven-game losing streak to end last year (*ignoring DelSt), don't look at how the games started. Look at how they ended.
To wit, first 2008 as a sucknitude baseline of sorts, then 2009 by comparison:
-- UM was outscored in the 2nd half by a combined 190-67 (-123).
-- UM outscored only Utah (13-3), MiamiO (6-3), Wisconsin (27-6) and Minnesota (13-6) in the 2nd half.
-- Conversely, UM was outscored only a combined 167-157 in the 1st half all year. Indeed, UM was in most games at halftime. Only exceptions: Utah (comeback came up short) and Wisconsin (comeback succeeded).
-- UM was outscored in the 2nd half by a combined 163-111 (-52).
-- UM outscored only ND (21-14), EMU (21-0), Indiana (15-10) and Iowa (14-10) in the 2nd half. OSU was a sawoff (7-7).
-- But, after the Deleware State game, the team fell apart -- in large part because of awful 2nd-half performances. [WARNING: Read these 2nd-half stats to end the year with only one eye open]:
OPPONENT............ OUTSCORED.... OUTGAINED.... TURNOVERS: M/opp
PSU...........................16-0.................. 181-100........... 3/0
@ Illinois..................31-0................... 406-221........... 2/0
Purdue.....................28-12................. 249-171........... 1/0
@ Wisconsin............24-7.................. 286-106........... 1/0
Ohio State................ 7-7.................. 155-143............. 3/1
TOTALS................ 106-26............. 1,277-741........... 10/1
That last line is what we call ugly-ass s--t. Northwestern '80s-ish. Couldn't keep the other guys off the field. Couldn't get the ball back. And when we got the ball back, we gave it back.
And that's how you go from 4-0 to 5-7.
-- On the season, UM was outgained 2,344 to 1,806 (-538) in the 2nd half, and was -8 in turnovers in the second half (17/9) and that excludes the brutal fake punt vs MSU.
-- UM was even outgained in the 1st half on the season, 2,160 to 2,081 (-52). But the turnover ratio was much closer, -3 (10/7).
-- After the MSU game, UM forced ONE second-half turnover the rest of the year, excluding DelSt. That was Pryor's pick. One.
-- After the Indiana game, when UM was 4-0,UM's turnover margin was +3 (3/6). The rest of the year? -14!!! Yes, minus-14. (24/10).
Reason for all the second-half collapses the past two years? Freshman QBs, plain-bad defenses, bumbling kick returners, and scholarship caverns. That'll just about cover it. Poor halftime adjustments has to factor in somehow, but could perfect adjustments have offset those four factors?
I need to go back to my Denard HD video from the spring game to get refired up for 2010. This was a bloody depressing endeavor.
Much has been made about the incoming freshman and who will contribute. While there is speculation that freshmen may fill in certain depth gaps/play special teams, there is only one freshman guarantee on this team: Will Hagerup will be your starting punter on September 4, 2010 (I mean, if we need to punt....). This was made completely crystal clear during the spring game, when the various walk-on punters varied between punting the football 20 yards to the right sideline and 20 yards to the left sideline. Our only feasible punter during the spring game was Tate Forcier, and while the fake punt opportunities would be delicious, it's not gonna happen, nor should it.
So with Hagerup fresh out of high school, I wanted to do some investigating to see how prolific true freshman punters were in the NCAA, and how they generally fared. Below, you will find the breakdown from 2006 through 2009, the active years of Zoltan. In fact, at the bottom of each year is Zoltan's stats from that particular year for comparison. His numbers have NO BEARING on the averages for each year. It's just so you can get an idea of what a good punter's stats look like.
Caveat: I only used punting average. There are many metrics to look at for punters, but average is probably the most basic without driving me completely insane digging around. So take this with a grain of salt, in that the numbers don't reflect the special teams tacklers surrounding these fine young men. RR indicates Rivals Rankings...I used this because I subscribe to Rivals and not Scout.
|Kyle Loomis||42||Oregon State||41.26||2||5.4|
|Alonso Rojas||99||Bowling Green||35.64||2||5|
|Aaron Bates||75||Michigan State||39.74||2||5|
|Kyle Hughes||22||New Mexico State||42.67||NR||NR|
|Matt Rinehart||64||Kent State||39.98||2||5.1|
|Ryan Quigley||71||Boston College||39.56||2||5.3|
|Brian Stahovich||73||San Diego St.||39.54||2||5.4|
|Tyler Campbell||12||Ole Miss||43.95||2||5.5|
|Ryan Erxleben||56||Texas Tech||40.84||NR||NR|
|Will Atterberry||82||N. Texas||38.96||2||5.2|
|Peter Boehme||88||So. Miss||38.48||NR||NR|
What to make of all of this:
Well, generally it seems that freshman punters are getting better. From 2006 to 2009, true freshman punters were kicking the ball almost an extra 3 yards per kick, which isn't bad (think an extra 18-20 yards of field position per game. That's more than enough to take a team out of FG range). The increase in ranking averages seems to back this up. I would imagine this has to do with several factors (some of them being completely chaos related). High school programs are getting more sophisticated with special teams, punters may actually punt their whole high school career, advances in strength training and conditioning, and the shift to rugby punting in many programs all probably play into these numbers.
There also seems to be a general reluctance (duh) towards using true freshman punters:
- In 2006 there were 100 total punters with at least 3.6 punts per game, and only 8 were true freshman (8% of punters in FBS).
- In 2007 that number was 8 again (8% of punters in FBS).
- In 2008 there were 98 punters, and 11 were true freshman (11% of punters in FBS...a bumper crop!).
- In 2009 there were 98 punters, and 6 were true freshman (6% of punters in FBS).
The total averages for all of the years:
- Average Rank: 73.42
- Average Punting Average: 39.30 yards (editors note: yecch)
- Average Rivals Rating (for those who were actually rated): 5.21
Zoltan is awesome. More awesome than the numbers truly reflect. But he was super awesome last year. I mean...seriously.
What About Will?
Here is what Rivals has to say about young master Hagerup:
- 3 stars
- 5.5 rating
- #3 kicker in the nation (their #1 true punter)
- 215 lbs
The only two players who come close to this level of guru love are Wisconsin's Brad Nortman (who fared quite well in 2008) and, well, Zoltan. This isn't enough brick and mortar to build a castle, but it isn't bad.
Hagerup also averaged 44.5 yards per punt during his senior year, which would place him smack dab at the top of each of the lists above, and above Zoltan in certain years. Now this certainly does not factor in the added level of competition in the form of better blockers/returners, but again, it's a good place to be.
This number also completely blows the averages for true freshman punters out of the water, but if Hagerup doesn't come in and start tearing through those averages that were being dragged down by the likes of the walk on punters from North Texas, Buffalo, and Wyoming...we're in some trouble.
Hagerup is going to be a fine punter during his freshman year. Unless he forgets which foot he uses to punt or what a football looks like, he will be fine. Reports have already been leaking out of Newsterbaan about him booming punts during off-season workouts that looked very Zoltanish.
His physicality is more than promising, his guru hype matches that of the best true freshman punter of the past 4 seasons, and his high school averages put him at the top of any of the past 4 classes.
So while we may lose something by not having Zoltan, a complete landslide this will not be. His supporting cast will generally be the same, and they proved themselves quite efficient at long snapping, blocking, and punt coverage duties last year. Nerves or other intangibles may cause him to butterfinger a snap into oblivion, or shank a punt into the blades of a Big Fogg fan, but I don't think there's any reason to expect a poor, or even "average" season for our new true freshman punter. In fact, he'd have to drop 5.2 yards per kick average between his senior year in HS and his freshman year in college to approach average for a freshman punter. That's astronomical, and I don't see it happening. "Above average" to "All Glory to Zoltan Acolyte Hagerup!" should be your expectations this coming year.
Now we just need to figure out how to get the student section to make H's with their hands on 4th downs...
I just talked to Michigan's 9th commit of the year, LB Kellen Jones, and he was as excited as can be. We talked about his decision, his visit, and what happened in Rich Rodriguez' office when he told the coaches. Here's some one line quotes for you:
- "Michigan is a family, and just seeing that really reinforced everything for me. It was really everything I was looking for. I prayed about my decision, and God told me Michigan was where I was supposed to be. I wanted to take this visit to clarify that, and it did."
- "I actually made my decision about 2 or 3 weeks ago, but like I said I just wanted the visit to make sure. We got to see the summer workouts, see the Big House, and all the players. It was so exciting. I can't wait to play in the Big House, I mean it's the Big House. We got to go to the top and look into the stadium, and my whole family was just excited."
- "My family was there with me, and I had told my Dad that I would be committing, but I hadn't told the coaches yet. He wanted me to tell them because Michigan was his dream school, so he was as excited as I was. I actually think he was even more excited than me, he was going crazy."
- "We were in Coach Rodriguez' office, and my family was in there with me. I told Coach that I was committing, and my whole family broke into the Michigan fight song. My Dad, Uncle, me, everybody was singing the fight song. Coach Rodriguez laughed and said he had never seen that before. He was shocked."
Hello everyone, Six Zero here with the next installment of:
SIX QUESTIONS WITH WOLVINLA
Inspired by the official site’s “Two Minute Drill” series and TomVH’s famous Q&A segments with potential recruits, this weekly feature highlights some of the more famous personalities here at MGoBlog. Without pulling back the infamous veil of blog anonymity, we’ll get to know some of your favorite posters better and possibly shed some light on their definition of why it’s so darn Great, To Be, A Michigan Wolverine.
Isn’t it strange how we spend so much time together, here at MGoBlog—and yet we really have no idea who each other truly are? For all we know, any of us very well might have bumped into a fellow MGoBlog reader in the city, or perhaps spoken to someone in a business call… or maybe even ruffled each other’s feathers on a Friday night at the local pub. It’s a bit strange to think that friendships can be and are formed here with no regards at all to who these people actually are offline.
For me, I’ve been bumping into people here for over two years, and some more than others. And if you call them that, I’ve certainly made a few friends. I’d like to think that WolvinLA has been one of them, so let’s get to this exclusive interview:
1. You’re not the only one, but you are one of a select few that sport a nifty little 2 or (2) at the end of your name. What happened? Wrath of Brian? Wrath of Interwebs?
Somewhat wrath of the interwebs I guess, but a smarter person probably would have figured the problem out. I started as WolvinLA, but at some point I was having technical difficulties, and since some people on this board have grandparents as tech-savvy as I am I couldn't figure it out. After not too long I gave up and started my current account under my work email. I wish the story was more exciting, like my account was hijacked by pirates or ninjas or something, but no such luck.
Either way, you have amassed quite a slew of MGoPoints despite never creating any blogs in either of your incarnations. In your own words, what makes a good response on someone else’s blog?
That's not really true, I've started two different blogs but neither of them lasted more than 2 posts. I only stay excited about that stuff for about 10 minutes, but it makes me appreciate those who can make it work.
When posting on someone else's blog, you need to either say something substantive or something funny. If you can say something substantive and funny, that's where the magic happens. I also try to disagree with Magnus a lot, that's usually good for a 10 spot of MGoPuntos (my fiancee is Latin, sorry for the MGoSpanglish).
2. You’ve also been posting at MGoBlog for a long, long time. What’s changed since you first arrived on the scene? Who do you miss? What do you find interesting about the blog that wasn’t around two or three years ago?
Honestly, I miss ChrisGoComment. Where did he go? I literally think about that every day (not literally). The blog has changed a good bit since I started reading, mostly for the better. The addition of the VB guys and TomVH was huge, especially since the recruiting stuff is a big, big draw to the blog. I thought MGoProfile was super lame until you asked me, now I think it's totally sweet.
3. Tell us, what is the perception of the University of Michigan on the West Coast? What do all those shiny California types think of the winged helmet, and the Big House, and all of the things we hold dear?
I think most people would be surprised how many Michigan fans there are in California, or at least Los Angeles. I see people wearing M gear all over, UM stickers and plate frames are everywhere, it's awesome. I actually have a client who just told me the other day how it's her son's dream to go to Michigan (he's in high school) and he didn't have any special connection to the school.
Obviously there is a big Pac Ten influence out here, but most people I talk to have a lot of respect for Michigan - both athletically and academically. Well, except most USC fans. I find them to be obnoxious as all hell. I'm down with UCLA though.
Gotta love that word, RESPECT. What do you miss most about Michigan and/or the Midwest? I'm from Michigan, and that will always be home. There's no perfect place, there are things about LA that are great - the weather, predominantly, but Midwesterners are the best people in America, no doubt about it. You don't realize how nice and down to Earth people are there until you move to a place like LA. On the rare occurrence that someone holds a door or an elevator for me out here, I ask them if they're from CA, and although I usually get a strange look, the response is always "No."
4. You are an alum, if I do correctly recall. In your journeys westward, what has your alumni status meant to you and to those you have met? How has it affected the life you’ve created?
Being a UM alum has helped me in two main ways. The first is that I have so many classmates out here. As a Michigan alum, you can head to any major city and you'll be surrounded by your old classmates. When living in a far away city, that's invaluable. The second is the reputation. A UM degree gives instant credibility. You can hate UM sports all you want, but to most people, a UM degree means your a pretty sharp individual. If you don't know Michigan, you aren't worth knowing. I just made that up.
5. Without divulging too much information, can you describe what you do for a living? And, what do you like to do for fun on your own time?
I work in medical sales, so I drive around all day trying to convince hospitals to purchase overpriced equipment. One day I will crash and/or run off the road because I'm MGoBlogging behind the wheel. Lucky for me, traffic never goes more than about 15 miles an hour in LA.
My free time is filled up by one thing lately - on June 28th I entered MGoFatherhood, and little Charlie (like the Heisman guy) takes up all of my free time, 24 hours a day. I'm sure any fellow dads on here can relate.
For the record, I’ve seen pictures-- the kid was literally rockin’ a Block M beanie cap in the maternity ward-- nicely done, my friend. Let’s move on… describe the perfect meal.
Mmmm, I eat too much. This is kind of a depressing question since I just got blood work done and apparently I don't eat as healthy as I should. But my perfect meal is anything with lots of red meat and potatoes.
6. Meat, good. Let’s wrap it up with the old standards-- can you explain why you are a Michigan fan?
I grew up, no joke, in a family full of ND fans. My mother's family were Irish Catholics from South Bend. Sure, they didn't have to be ND fans. But they were, in a big way. My cousin even has that little leprechaun tattooed on his leg - I didn't say they were classy. About the time I was in elementary school when you start liking sports teams, 5 guys, all freshmen, started for the University of Michigan's basketball team. They were awesome. About the same time, a receiver from Michigan won the Heisman. I came home from school one day and told my mom I wanted to be a Michigan fan. She, along with many of my relatives tried for years to turn me into a Notre Dame fan, but something inside my little brain told me they would fall short of expectations for at least the next 2 decades. Ultimately, I went to UM for college and that had pretty much sewn things up.
Finally, who's your all-time favorite Wolverine?
My fiancee has accused me a number of times (and it's hard to tell if she's joking) of being gay for Tom Brady, so she'd probably say him. This is a hard question. It usually depends on whose highlight video I just watched. But saying "it's a tie with everybody" is the equivalent to the people who say "I like everything, really" when you ask their favorite music (and I hate it when people do that), so I'll go with Desmond, combining how good he was on the field for us with how awesome he's been to the program since, with a Super Bowl MVP thrown in for good measure. Runner-up honors to C-Webb - albeit a controversial pick, he was dominant and jump-started my fandom. I still wear my #4 Jersey with pride.
With a network of over 460,000 graduates, the University of Michigan’s Alumni Association is a veritable brotherhood that spans the globe. It goes without saying that the block M opens doors and makes business happen, and our own blog alone features everyone from government military contractors to lawyers, doctors to Fortune 500 businessmen. As the song goes, the “Leaders and Best" -- I'd love to know how much business goes down every year in America simply because it's one
Michigan Man shaking the hand of another.
It’s comforting to know that whatever city you might find yourself in, there’s probably a fairly good chance that someone else there will share your love for the maize and blue. WolvinLA is proof that even in the surreal world of California, Michigan is a recognized national brand that stands for something. As we move closer to the season, we all can have hope of what that something will be. Thanks and I’ll see you
all next week for another exciting edition of MGoProfile!
With all due respect to Brian's "Worst Plays of the Decade List", I disagree with number one and believe either the 100-yd interception return or the missed chip-shot field goal from the Toledo game in 2008 is the worst play of the decade. It's long-winded and more negative than I usually let myself get with Michigan football, but here's my explanation:
There is no disputing that the 2008 version of the Michigan Wolverines was bad. Awful. Under certain metrics, the worst ever. Undebatably the worst of my lifetime. Bad.
Nonetheless, going into the season, with a new coach and a relatively solid defense (especially along the defensive line and at corner), we didn't know what we had. Regardless of what it was, we knew it would be a Michigan football team. A different team, to be sure, but still a Michigan team.
In fact, as bad as the team may have been, from a talent perspective, in 2008, they didn't cease to be a "Michigan" football team, as we understood it, until the Toledo loss. As strange as it may sound, through all the 8-4 years, Michigan was a program very used to winning (some would say expecting). Regardless of the circumstances, there was always a belief that Michigan could win. The last sentence speaks to both the fans and the players.
Its this belief that brought Drew Henson's team back against Illinois, John Navarre's team back against Minnesota, and Chad Henne's team back against Michigan State. While the listed games are drastic examples, they characterize a mindset throughout the program that this team would not lose. Or, at the very least, they would not quit. Michigan always had a chance to win a game, could (not would) always find enough plays to pull the game out (or, too often, just a couple plays too few).
I'm certainly not suggesting Michigan always won. Simply that Michigan was always a tough out. Other than otherwise "flukey" games (Iowa in 2002, Oregon in 2007) where some (spread offense) team would go nuts against Michigan, there were close loses. And Rose Bowls with USC. But, mostly just a lot of close losses. (I realize there were a ton of wins, those obviously count in the "Michigan was very good" category)
Michigan had been outmatched before. They had clearly walked into situations with the lesser team in tow. Or, at the very least, the team that looked worse on that given day. But, always, even in loss, the team fought. Someone would make a play, someone would do something. The defense would hang on just enough, the offense would show just enough sign of life, that we could always believe Michigan would win.
Some of those close losses were embarrassing. Appalachian State comes to mind. As does Northwestern. But, at the very least, those embarrassing losses were upsets! Big ones, in fact.
And so the 2007 season [my bad ... 2008] began. The first game of the year was a 2-point loss to a Utah team that went on to finish undefeated and beat Alabama in the Sugar Bowl. In that game our offense was just not working. I remember sitting in my seat in the Big House and wondering if this was really what we'd become. But then the defense awoke, the special teams made a play, Steven Threet entered, and Junior Hemmingway showed a flash. While we lost, we did what Michigan has always done when overmatched. They perservered. They found some way to compete.
The Utah game was followed by a close win against Miami (NTM). An uninspired, closer than it should be win against a MAC team? Not usually after a loss, but sure. Why not, this time.
How about a flukey turnover fest, in South Bend (where else?), during a monsoon? The monsoon's a nice added touch ... hmm, did we outgain them? We did. Ok, good then. I've seen that game before too. Nothing new.
Wisconsin game heroics inspire hope. One of the Bowden's writes a column about how "Michigan is BACK". We're 2-2, and we've been here before. We all know this Michigan team.
The following week was a disheartening loss to Illinois. Michigan blew a lead against a dynamic dual-threat quarterback in Juice Williams. Though a strong sign the house was on fire, the smoked Wolverines had been turning every mobile quarterback they faced into a Heisman candidate. This was nothing new.
The Toledo loss, caused significantly by the 100-yd interception returned for a touchdown and a missed field goal at the end of the game by Michigan, was the nail. It was at that point where Michigan ceased being Michigan, and suddenly became a team that might actually lose to Toledo. Everyone's gut reaction was to liken the Toledo loss to Appalachian State, but that was being far too kind.
Appalachian State was an epic upset. Toledo got lucky and beat Michigan? This was plausible. I didn't field a thousand text messages that said "SRSLY?", "WHAT IS GOING ON! FIRE LOYD NOWW!!", and "dont wry, youll win". I didn't stare at a wall in disbelief. I was fine. Resigned. The world had changed, not just then, but had been changed, and the realization wasn't sudden or explosive. It was resigned. I disconnected. I, at that moment, realized that getting too upset about a Michigan loss was no longer an option. My defense mechanism, to ensure I kept my sanity, was to emotionally distance myself. Michigan football, as we all had known it, changed at its core following that loss.
By the next week, Brian had stopped honestly previewing our opponents, The now-infamous PSU Preview begs us to reconsider our existential relationship with the Michigan football universe.
My vote for number 1? Anything that contributed to that Toledo loss.
Sorry to be a downer.