TO THE HOT TAKE CANNON
The posts similar to this one will become a regular weekly update, as they've received positive feedback. Monday will most likely be the day that they come out, unless I figure out a better day during the season. Anyway, on with the show:
6'5", 260 lbs.
As everyone knows, Andre is a former teammate of Craig Roh and Taylor Lewan. Andre told me recently that he would like to make it up to Michigan for his official visit for the Michigan State game. This isn't set in stone, and needs to be discussed with his parents and coach since it's during the season. But if all goes as planned, that's the weekend he'll be up.
Andre was recently in California, and got the chance to stop by USC, which is one of his top schools. Nothing will be known as far his decision, or top school, until he takes his visits. I will admit that the distance to Michigan makes me nervous. All the other schools in his list (Oregon—his dad lives close by—and USC) are closer to home or family.
6'1", 310 lbs.
When I spoke with Mickey recently he told me that he has enough interest in Michigan to consider them for an official visit. He didn't want to say that he would 100% use one of his five visits on the Wolverines, but he's giving Michigan serious consideration. Officials can't happen until September, so he'll have plenty of time to figure it out. An interesting note on Mickey: he's not originally from Louisiana, so he doesn't have the deep-rooted interest in LSU that most kids from his area have.
At this point I believe he ends up at a school outside of Louisiana.
6'4", 215 lbs.
Ed has been on Michigan's radar for awhile now, and he thought he had a great showing at this weekend's one-day camp. Not only did he perform well on the field, but he also got a chance to have a good conversation with the coaches afterwards. He's really hoping he gets an offer sometime soon. The coaches will review the tape from the camp and go from there. This could go either way, as far as an offer being extended. Linebacker recruiting is going well for Michigan. It's not completely necessary to get the offer out right away, assuming that Davis would commit to Michigan with the offer in hand.
6'0", 200 lbs.
Speaking of linebackers, here's a new name to add to the list. Temple plays for Warren Central, in Indiana, and was recently nominated to the Army All American game. Warren Central has quite a few D1 recruits, amongst them Kris Harley and Kiaro Holts, and sent Chris Graham to Michigan a few years ago.
Nick is really hoping for a Michigan offer and said they are is definitely high on his list. He's been in contact with Coach Tall. The coaches are currently reviewing his film. Temple believes the Michigan coaches will extend an offer soon. Take a look at his highlight video:
6'6", 315 lbs.
Tony plays for the powerhouse Plant team in Florida and is one of the better offensive line recruits in the country. He still maintains that Michigan is high on his list after backing off an early statement that they were his outright leader, and will be coming up to Ann Arbor sometime this summer. He's not sure of the exact date, but he's shooting for a commitment by the end of the summer so it needs to be soon. Tony has already seen Florida and USF, but is unsure of what other stops he'll make before his decision.
Despite the distance, Michigan has a really good shot here. He's quiet, and doesn't like to tell too much, but he always speaks highly of Michigan. A Florida offer would change that.
Pulling the content a little closer to home this week in an effort to keep a higher R squared value with the MGoBlog readers!
As always, this analysis only considers games between two D1 opponents and takes only plays during competitive game situations into account.
Not all great offenses are created equally
If we are going to know what it takes to become a great offense under Rich Rodriguez, we must first know what it will look like, because great offenses can take on many different appearances. Below is a play success distribution for my top rated offense last year (Georgia Tech, option baby), the top passing offense (Captain Leach Texas Tech) and a look at West Virginia from 2007, Rodriguez’s last year at the helm. I went ahead and threw in the BCS’s worst, Washington St, just for comparison.
The Paul Johnson option is working with big plays, rather they are taking out the bad plays. Over three-quarters of Georgia Tech’s plays go for positive yardage. This balances out no strong tendency towards big plays. The end result is old school football: lots of long drives and moving the chains.
At the Captain’s helm, Texas Tech had nearly a quarter of all of their plays go for no gain. As always, there are tradeoffs. For Tech they came in the form of the 10-20 yard gain.
Under Rodriguez, West Virginia saw something different than either of those two. Even with a run-pass split close to Georgia Tech, the distribution of the spread 'n' shred was much different than the Option. Where the Yellowjackets saw a heavy dose of positive but small gains, the Mountaineers had a solid lead in everything from 4-20 yards. The end results where similar with both teams producing touchdown drives with regularity, but the path was much longer for Georgia Tech. West Virginia’s ability to get the somewhat big play allowed them to shorten drives, add possessions to the game and eliminate some of the variance through an increase in scoring chances.
How close are we?
As everyone knows, we are much closer coming in to this year than we were last year. Here is another chart to support that notion.
There are many charts to look at that show the dreadfulness of 2008, so we won’t dwell on that. What is becoming clear is that the shape of 2009 is becoming quite similar to West Virginia 2007. The big difference, and its a big one, is that Michigan still has a lot of plays going for no gain, where West Virginia was able to get 5+ yards out of those same plays.
If Michigan is going to mirror the West Virginia offensive success, it appears to have a made very clear first step last season.
How does this compare to previous years?
The biggest difference between the Carr era and the Rodriguez era in terms of yardage gained distribution is the passing game bump from the Carr era in the 10-20 yard gain range. The Rodriguez system is more geared towards to the 4-9 yard gains where the Carr offense excelled in the 0-3 and 10-20 yard ranges.
What does this mean for 2010?
The cliché: Take the Next Step.
It looks like framework of what Rodriguez wants to do is in place after two rough years, but the execution is still behind his days at West Virginia. The offensive line now has two years in the system and for the first time there is a quarterback (in fact two!) who have both experience and talent. As I noted in a previous diary, a jump from average in 2009 to good in 2010 is certainly a good possibility and with a break or two and improved quarterback play, it could go from average to great.
I just got off the phone with DeAnthony Arnett's brother, Ralph, who helps DeAnthony with his recruitment. They have a solid group of schools that make up his top six, and there will only be one school that could be added.
The top six is (in no order), USC, Cal, Oklahoma, MSU, Tennessee, and Iowa. The wildcard that could be thrown in, if they offer, is Miami.
Apparently, the recent quarterback commit to Miami, Teddy Bridgewater, really likes DeAnthony, and wants him at Miami. The only reason Miami hasn't offered yet is because their recruiting coordinator left, and coach Shannon never got to finish watching his film. It seems like they might be a big player, if the offer comes.
Ralph told me his take on everything with Michigan and DeAnthony is that at the end of the day, he has to do what's best for him, and he doesn't feel that offense will get him to the next level. He dropped Notre Dame for the same reasons, and said the only spread he would want to play in is Oklahoma's. It has nothing to do with the coaches at Michigan, who they think very highly of, or any other reason. Both Ralph and DeAnthony think that Rich Rod will have a lot of success at Michigan, it's just not the place for him to be a big time receiver, like he wants to be.
England’s superiority complex is larger than their beer gut.
After my knee-jerk Starting XI, and my Post US-Turkey Starting XI, it is time for a final look at my proposed lineup for this Saturday. Nothing really changed for me as the game itself was not very telling with both teams playing not to get hurt and adjusting to the altitude and weather.
Cherundolo DeMerit Onyewu Bocanegra
Donovan Edu Bradley Dempsey
top subs, Torres, Holden, Goodson
Still Findley up top? Yes, still Findley up top. Dempsey is much more effective on the wing mid (as is Donovan) and having the speed forward paired with a holding forward is a very lethal combination. Dempsey and Donovan on the wings makes the opposing fullbacks conscious about their runs down the flanks which, in turn, opens up the middle of field for Altidore to check into and Findley to make through runs behind. This causes havoc for the defense and opens seems for players to run through unmarked. Dempsey is a better forward than Findley. Buddle is a better forward than Findley. Donovan is a better forward than Findley. Heck, Gomez may be a better forward than Findley. However, Findley is the only one of that group that has the speed to play the counterpart to Altidore. Even though he didn't capitalize, he showed how effective it is and should have easily had at least 2 goals because of it. On a different day with a nicer pitch, maybe he nets both of those.
Neither Australia or the US seemed to care much about this game so to get a 3-1 result is mildly encouraging with Buddle playing the Altidore role very well. It is very likely that we see significant changes in the lineup between the England and Slovenia games due to their difference in both skill and style of play. The most largely contested point here is going to be Findley and I firmly believe he will be on the field at kickoff Saturday and relieved around the 70 minute mark with the score determining who comes on.
In a reversal of roles for most sports, the United States is the underdog in this match and we will have the world on our side. I hate England. I think we pull this one off 2-1 and soccer takes over the country forever. Well, maybe not the last part.
If you're a smoker, plan to hold off for a few hours whenever you come to a Michigan Football game this year:
Michigan Stadium to go smoke-free in 2010 season
The University of Michigan Athletic Department will make Michigan Stadium a smoke-free zone when the 2010 season opens against Connecticut Sept. 4.
"We have allowed individuals to smoke on the concourse in the past but with the new renovations and the university's commitment to become a smoke-free campus in 2011, we decided it was in the best interest of everyone to institute the change now," said U-M Director of Athletics Dave Brandon. "The move will ensure a healthier environment for all fans attending Wolverine football games."
Smoking already was not permitted inside Michigan Stadium's seated-bowl area. Now the smoke-free environment will extend to everything inside the gates of the Big House.
In April of 2009, The University of Michigan announced its commitment to become a smoke-free environment in July 2011. The change aligns perfectly with the institution’s goal to improve the health of the U-M community. Since the change was announced, thousands of students, faculty and staff have provided feedback regarding the roll out of the plan to ensure it occurs in a thoughtful, inclusive and respectful manner.
Subcommittees which include smokers, former smokers and never-smokers are carefully considering the implications for student life, faculty and staff, grounds and facilities, and visitors to the University.
The idea to have the university go entirely smoke-free began with student complaints, and it is one more step along a path set in the 1980s, noted Robert Winfield, M.D., the university’s chief health officer and co-chair of the Smoke-free Initiative committee along with Kenneth Warner, dean of the School of Public Health. In 1987, the university adopted a ban on smoking in buildings, (with exceptions for some residence halls) and in university vehicles. In 1998, the U-M Health System prohibited smoking on its grounds and in public spaces, and in 2003, the student-led Residence Halls Association eliminated smoking from all resident halls.
The U-M will join the University of Iowa and Indiana University, both of which implemented their smoke-free campuses in 2008. In all, more than 260 campuses in the United States and elsewhere have gone smoke-free.
Not surprising, to say the least. Also, probably a welcome change for some (most?).
Action since last rankings:
6-1-10 Purdue gains commitment from Russell Bellomy.
6-3-10 Ohio State gains commitment from Braxton Miller.
6-4-10 Minnesota gains commitment from Jephete Matilus.
6-5-10 Ohio State gains commitment from Evan Spencer. Illinois gains commitment from Marquise Mosley.
|Big Ten+ Recruiting Class Rankings|
|Rank||School||# Commits||Rivals Avg||Scout Avg||ESPN Avg|
Rivals, Scout, and ESPN all have their Top-X (X is 250, 300, and 150, respectively) lists released now. In the tables, Rivals' and Scout's rankings are on the 5-star scale (unranked = 1-star), and ESPN's will now be shown as their numerical rating (unranked = 45).
|#1 Ohio State - 13 Commits|
Buckeyes pick up a huge (though expected) commitment in QB Braxton Miller, and also add legacy WR Evan Spencer.
|#2 Notre Dame - 9 Commits|
No change for ND. The Rivals250 was not nearly as kind to them as was the Watchlist.
|#3 Michigan - 5 Commits|
Nothing new for Michigan. Will their Elite camp net them a commit?
|#4 Michigan State - 5 Commits|
The Spartans could move up once ESPN ranks Jones and Miller.
|#5 Indiana - 8 Commits|
The Hoosiers already have a 4-star Rivals prospect in Zack Shaw.
|#6 Wisconsin - 4 Commits|
Wisconsin can look for a big move up once more complete rankings come out.
|#7 Iowa - 3 Commits|
The Hawkeyes are right on Wisconsin's heels.
|#8 Purdue - 2 Commits|
Signal-caller Russell Bellomy pledges to Purdue, bolting them up the rankings.
|#9 Northwestern - 2 Commits|
No change, though ESPN's rankings helped them pass Minnesota.
|#10 Minnesota - 3 Commits|
Gophers pick up improbably-named Jephete Matilus.
|#11 Illinois - 3 Commits|
Marquise Mosley picks the Illini.
|#12 Penn State - 1 Commit|
Still ho-hum for PSU.