- "With all of our guys the goal is to get them to Division 1. The plan is to get Demar to Michigan, period. Whether that's right now, or next year, our goal is to get him there."
- "He wants to play at Michigan, and he wants to get right. If he can't get right in the next couple months, then our goal is to get him to Michigan as fast as possible. We're all trying to succeed, and he's doing this the intelligent way. No one picks us over Michigan."
- "He's working very hard to be a Wolverine, but he has to be ready just in case, to recover if he doesn't get in. If he comes here, we'd love to develop him, and get him to his goals. WE ARE HIS BACK UP PLAN. He may never end up at our school. If he can't get qualified, then he needs to know that he has a backup plan, and that's us."
- "No one picks us over Michigan, but we're here if he can't get in. We told him that we want to try to develop him, and get him to where he needs to be, if he needs us."
So, this is a backup plan in case he doesn't get qualified. We'll just have to wait and see what happens from here.
QUARTER BACK LOSES HIS MIND
Famous Football Player on the Wolverine Team is Located at Walla Walla Working as Laborer.
HIS MIND IS TOTAL BLANK
Disappeared Months Ago From His Home and All Trace of Him Has Up to the Present Been Lost.WALLA WALLA, March 19.—James Miller, the famous quarterback of the Michigan team last year, who has been missing from his home for several months, was located in this city yesterday working as a laborer. His mind is a total blank and he is quite unable to recognize his friends. He was elected to the captaincy of the Wolverine team for next season.
I'm not WolverineHistorian, but the story gets even more interesting than this. Miller started for the 1909 team in all seven games. He played six at right end, and one at quarterback. The team went 6-1 under Fielding Yost, losing only to Notre Dame while beating Case, Ohio State, Penn, Syracuse, Minnesota, and Marquette. After the season, Miller was voted by his fellow players to be the captain of the 1910 team.
Things didn't work out that way. In December 1909, grades were released. Miller didn't have any. It wasn't that he failed or missed a few classes — he hadn't enrolled in any. He was supposed to be enrolled in a senior civil engineering class, but never showed up. Even in the days when Purdue got its nickname for reportedly recruiting boiler makers to play for its football team, folks frowned on out-and-out manipulation of the system.
There might be more to the story than simple cheating. The Michigan Alumnus reported that Miller simply didn't pay his tuition after registering for classes. Because he hadn't paid, he wasn't able to take classes. The ruse wasn't discovered until late November, by which time football season was over. Miller didn't respond to the dean's office until early December, repeatedly ignoring or missing calls of inquiry. On December 13, 1909, he finally showed up to a meeting but offered no explanation. His father had paid the outstanding debt on December 8, but by then it was too late.
Miller's classmates in the Student Council took a poll on what his punishment should be: 13 voted to expel him, 9 voted for suspension, and other options received fewer votes. The university faculty, taking the vote into account, duly expelled him from Michigan after the new year. He was denied his varsity sweater and cap, prohibited from becoming captain the following season, and Michigan formally apologized to the schools it defeated during the season Miller played. It didn't, however, give up the wins.
Needless to say, Miller was in shock. He had gone home to Detroit for the semester break, and his father heard from friends that he was wandering around in a daze, struck by his abrupt plunge from the height of Michigan sporting society to being an utter outcast. Shortly after he received the news of his expulsion, he disappeared.
His subsequent discovery in Washington (other accounts have him discovered in Canada first), brought a storm of attention. Whether he was faking his "illness" as a convenient way to explain away his actions, or whether it was an actual mental defect caused by the shock of his expulsion, I haven't been able to find out. I also unfortunately haven't been able to find out what happened to him after the fact. I did uncover a death notice for what might be his son, and if Henry Leonard Miller (born 1914) indeed was James Miller's son, his work for the University of Michigan shows the incident didn't create a family of Michigan State fans.
|Friday 3pm, Sembower Field, Bloomington, IN|
|Alan Oaks (3-3, 2.79 ERA)||vs||Walker Stadler (3-2, 4.91 ERA)|
|Notes: Michigan is 125-56 all time, including 1-2 in Ann Arbor last year|
|Saturday 2pm, Sembower Field, Bloomington, IN|
|Bobby Brosnahan(2-2, 4.15 ERA)||vs||TBA|
|Sunday 1pm, Sembower Field, Bloomington, IN|
|TBA||vs||Drew Leininger (3-1, 1.22 ERA)|
|Notes: My guess is Miller starts. I've heard rumors of Katzman.|
They come after the jump:
One of my favorite types of mgo-posts before the days of m.go.podcasts were segments called Vicious Electronic Questioning (VEQ). To quote Brian circa the 2009 ND game:
Hello once again. When Michigan plays the sort of opponent that actually has opposition bloggers this here blog tends to flag one of them down and relentlessly grill them until they are convinced their team will meet ignominious defeat.
Never does the phrase "sort of opponent that actually has opposition bloggers" come more into play than with college baseball. The Big Ten has a surprising amount of baseball coverage (and amazingly, we're fairly organized), and one of those fine blogs is Behind the Plate, covering this weekend's opponent, the Indiana Hoosiers.
So while I may not get quite as vicious as Brian in his VEQ's with House that Rock Built, I can also promise at least 75% less Tom Hammond:
He makes me hate Indiana for reasons I can't explain
What does posting a picture of Tom Hammond, a Notre Dame football announcer, have to do with Indiana University's baseball team? It just doesn't make any sense. If Tom Hammond is linked to IU, you must acquit. The defense rests.
Anyway, I return the favor by writer IUBaseballFan by answering some questions over at Behind the Plate, in which I predict a series sweep with a low confidence rating. Probably even lower now that I look into a certain ace on the IU staff, more about him after the jump. This will also act as the preview for the weekend, but I'll have a few more thoughts to post up tomorrow.Q&A after the jump...
This weekend marks the opening weekend to Big Ten play for the baseball team, so now seems the appropriate time to give an update on how well the other teams are performing around the conference. First, the standings, taken directly from BigTen.org:
|Team #s||National #s|
As we can see, Michigan is doing pretty well here with a winning record against a decent schedule (that's out of 301). But we knew that about the Wolverines already. So let's take a walk through the other teams, and we'll go in order of RPI, a better indicator of how well they've done.
For those interested, my preseason outlook.
The Spartans are the national headliners as far as the Big Ten goes right now. They lead the nation in fielding at .987 have handled the medium to bad teams on their schedule as they should. That shiny 16-4 record is justified, with two great pitchers on the front end of their bullpen and some good hitting to back it up.
As of right now, they're the national pick for taking the Big Ten crown, but the local coverage (particularly the bloggers of the Big Ten) tends to be more skeptical. Michigan State has played a meh schedule for the most part and lacks any wins over a major opponent. All four of the Spartan losses came against quality opponents, including a blow out at the hands of Louisville, a close loss and blow out loss at Mississippi State, and a 10-2 game in the opening week at Clemson. The rest of the schedule has been pretty light. There aren't many creampuffs, but the competition has not been strong. For instance, a sweep of Oakland dropped MSU 4 spots in the RPI.
There is definitely this feeling that much like any other Spartan team, they're due for a collapse somewhere in the middle of the conference season. They haven't had that consistent, successful season to build on yet, and this will be that learning year for a leap next year. I still like them to finish in the top 3-4 of the conference, but I just don't see them going wire to wire in the driver's seat.
The Buckeyes are probably the best team in the conference if their coach would maximize their players' potential, or provide any sort of motivating force. I've long heard rumblings from some Ohio State fans that Bob Todd isn't a great coach, that he's just rode the talent he's found through blind luck. While I'm a bit skeptical of all that, I recently did a guest post and statistical break down of Ohio State over at Buckeye State Baseball and the way he handles his lineup does make me question just how great of a coach he is. The number of pitchers that have missed seasons due to arm injuries would worry me, too.
This season that the Buckeye players have been playing well below their projections. Add that they are playing a seriously light schedule, the players just don't seem motivated. That is reflected most by their losses to DII Rollins and NAIA Webber International. That will probably change in conference, but if Todd's goal is to win the Big Ten and host a regional, he has to have a better OOC record with better OOC opponents.
When it comes to the Big Ten, the Buckeyes will probably pick up the slack. They still have the best lineup in the Big Ten. Their starting rotation is the only one in the Big Ten comparable to Michigan, so it's hard not to see them in the top two to finish the year, and probably in the finals of the Big Ten Tournament.
The loss of Ryan LaMarre was devastating for the Maize and Blue. It probably cost them at least one win per weekend against Texas Tech, St. John's/Louisville, UNC, and Coastal Carolina and sunk any hopes of an at-large bid. Who knows how much better the season would be going with their star, especially with the emergence of Coley Crank and Chris Berset. Now that Mike Dufek is getting hot, they've got the best 3-6 hitters in the conference. On top of that, they have the deepest pitching staff.
I think we see Michigan run through conference season and really get themselves worked back into the national picture. They probably finish between Michigan State and Ohio State in the final standings, and I think they're the team to give the Buckeyes a run for their money in the tournament. The series at Ann Arbor between the two will be huge. [Ed: rest of the conference after the jump.]
Roundtree broke out last year and had 32 receptions for 434 yards and 3 TDs but he really put almost all of those numbers up in the final 4 games where he had 30 receptions for 390 yards and 2 TDs. Odoms missed the final 4 weeks but still had decent numbers reeling in 22 receptions for 272 yards and a TD. His freshman year Odoms put up much better numbers with 49 receptions for 443 yards. Koger also missed 4 weeks but still put up decent numbers for a Sophomore TE. He had 16 receptions for 220 yards and 2 TDs. Besides those three guys the only other players that put up good receiving numbers last year were the now graduated Greg Matthews (29-352-1) and the often injured Junior Hemingway (16-268-2). Stonum showed promise but he didn't exceed 200 yards. I think the numbers show that Michigan's offense is at its best when Odoms, Roundtree and Koger are playing.
But this is where the problem is. Odoms and Roundtree are both slot WR. Koger is a TE. Michigan plays at most two slot players at one time. Sometimes, they go down to just one slot player. This really handicaps Michigan's offense so I was trying to come up with possibilities to get all three out on the field as much as possible. I came up with a handful of possibilities:
Option #1: Move Roundtree to the outside receiver position.
Option #2: Move Koger to more of an H-Back role.
Option #3: Move Koger to an outside receiver position .
Option #4: Rotate out 1 of the 3 every play.
I think each option has positives and negatives. Option #1 lets Koger play as a TE and lets Odoms play the slot but Roundtree is just 6 feet tall and he is more shifty then fast. Also, Roundtree is a key player on the offense and excelled in the slot. Why change something that worked so well? He clearly has a connection with Forcier and Forcier looked for him first at the end of last year. A full season of these two would be amazing to watch.
Option #2 lets the slot WRs stay in the slot. This is ideal since Odoms and Roundtree are better offensive threats then Koger, so if anyone should have to move it should be Koger. Koger in the backfield can help with the blocking, especially cutting back against the line, and gives Forcier another option when he is scrambling around. However, having a 6'4 250 pound TE in the H-Back role might slow down the offense (V. Smith running into Koger) and Koger's blocking skills aren't good enough to go 1 on 1 with a DE or OLB. Michigan experimented with Koger here last year and it had some success. Certainly when Michigan is running a lot of QB Reads having Koger there helps since he is fast enough to get outside the containing linebacker but on runs up the middle he seemed lost and useless.
Option #3 lets Odoms and Roundtree stay in the slot (which once again is key) and it helps fill a void at outside WR. Hemingway and Stonum didn't do much last year. Stonum showed some signs of breaking out but I don't trust him to be the #1 outside WR this year. Having Koger, Odoms, Roundtree plus a RB and QB that can run all on the field with Stonum should allow Stonum to flourish. He'd be the #1 deep threat and he'd almost never face double coverage since the safeties would have to be worried about the slot WRs.
Koger isn't slow but he's not a speedy outside WR that is going to stretch the defense. However, neither is Hemingway (especially if he did gain more weight). Koger seems to have as good of hands as Hemingway and he is much taller, which gives Michigan a jump ball candidate for endzones. Additionally, Koger is a better blocker then Hemingway and he can probably pancake a containing safety or a LB concentrating on the RB. Finally, this lets Michigan red-shirt Jackson and MIller and bring Stokes along slowly. Now if Stokes is solid this spring and ready to start I think he should play over Koger since outside speed is sorely lacking but if he needs to come in and start slowly gaining experience this plan could work.
I'm not saying Michigan should go to this every down but this could be a base formation. Now if Michigan is in 2nd and 10 or 3rd and long I'd suggest replacing Koger with a faster option but besides that I think having him out there most the time makes sense. When defenses go to zone (to help their LBs/S/DBs) cover Odoms and Roundtree this would let Koger run nice 3-5 step routes where he could set up in a whole in the zone. Having an elite speedster at WR would be great but it's not realistic this year.
Option #4: Odoms and Koger and Roundtree and Hemingway all have injury problems. Most likely in an average game one of these guys is hurt, which, eliminates most of the depth problem. Also, no way can Roundtree and Odoms play every snap. They will wear out and having Koger step in and replace them makes sense. However, with the lack of depth outside and the numerous depth at the slot, I really think Michigan should look elsewhere for a sub for Odoms or Roundtree. Michigan has numerous options at the slot like Terrence Robinson, Jeremy Gallon, Kelvin Grady, Drew Dileo, Austin White, DJ Williamson and probably Denard Robinson. I just think keeping that having all these guys on the sidelines doesn't make sense. I also think moving Roundtree or Odoms makes little sense since they are elite slot WR and why mess with a great thing?
That leaves me with moving Koger to either an H-Back role or outside WR. At first moving Koger outside made no sense but after thinking about it I now think it's possible. How much slower is he then Hemingway? I think his hands and size and blocking ability more than make up for Hemingway. Stonum is speedy and if he's on the opposite side of the formation the defense will still need to drop their safeties back and Michigan can always move Koger to H-Back when they need an extra blocker. Plus, when Michigan is in a 3rd and long they could always sub Koger out for a faster WR like Stokes or Denard.
Am I crazy for thinking this is possible? Do you have another solution? Let me know.