mesmerism! presidential assassinations! circuses on fire!
i think we have all been a bit spoiled over the past three years with zoltan as our punter. it seems very easy to overlook how important the position is to a teams success, and how invaluable zoltan has been for us. but to say that our current backups, who could potentially step in for mesko during the 2010 season, would be a downgrade is a rediculous understatement.
as of now i havent heard much in the way of punter recruitment. just today i saw an article on scout mentioning a MI kid named Mike Sadler, who they identified as one of the top punters in the nation. although he is entirely unrated, he does have offers from LSU and Alabama, which is enough to tell me that hes a hell of a kicker. my concern comes from the fact that he attended michigans kornblue camp yesterday, was said to have performed well, but still walked away without an offer. this is obviously a serious area of need for michigan. shouldnt we be all over this kid? hes expressed serious interest in michigan, declaring blue his "top choice right now." does anyone know if were looking at any other prospects? are we just looking to settle with a walk on? (in my opinion that would be a mistake.)
With it sounding like Fitz is going to qualify and his showing in tonight's game I still think he will need to be on the field this year if it comes down to him or V. Smith.
He is such a talent and seems like he can do it all, the announcer was comparing him to Brian Westbrook.
He has that extra gear and can dance in the phone both with the best and knock you down. I really hope he is able to show that he is one of the best RBs in his class.
I think he will be the best player in this class, yes better than Big Will and even Tate. He may not be that important at the time with the depth we have and need of a QB to run the spread, but I know he will make his mark at the Big House and move on to the NFL.
In the game, that he barely played, he had two TD's and gave a nice call out to RR and Barwis.
V. Smith looks amazing as well, but Fitz is at another level. Before the game you could see the intensity he has yelling at the players and getting hyped up like Ray Lewis.
BUT would a coach, at a position of depth, decide to red shirt a guy that he thought was more talented and play another he didn't?
You might have already seen this footage a few times before, but I find it fun to watch in this summer of relative inactivity.
I was at this game, and if you compare how Tate performed in the spring game with either of the two Qb's we trotted out there last year it's night and day. In the previous spring game there were a combination of 8 INT's, horrible completion percentage, and no down the field success. This kid hits recievers in stride, has great touch down field, and has some good wiggle moves in the open field. I also liked hearing about how RR noticed that Roy Roundtree was squinting often. He went to help him get his eyes checked, and it made all the difference. This year it seems like Roundtree could be the deep threat, Mathews is the possesion reciever, and who knows if Tay will win the slot battle.
My biggest concern for this season is still the special teams. It confuses me that we don't have a special teams coach, and if they weren't so awful at it last year I would say they have it under control. Obviously our punter is really good, but the roll out rugby style doesn't fit what Zoltan is best doing. None of our returners last year could catch a punt/kickoff. I hope they are working on that every day this summer. Odoms even dropped a punt in the spring game! Get that guy out of there! I know he returned one to the house last year, but if you fumble it half the time it's not worth it. By the end of the year last year I was screaming, "...just let it roll, and we'll take the ball where it stops.." This strategy would have won the ND game for us if you think about it.
Getting back to the topic at hand, Tate seems like a perfect fit for this offense. That side of the ball might end up being more of a passing attack this year because of his accuracy and decision making. However, our strength will be the offensive line & our senior running backs. In the beginning of the season IMO they should pound the ball and give Tate some easy reads/throws to build confidence and releive some of the pressure for him. At least his first four games are at home! Minor should have a great season, and only injuries stand in the way of 1,000 yards for him. Go Blue!!!
The Demo for NCAA 2010 dropped this morning on Xbox Live. Early review is that this looks a lot more like 09.5 then a clean new version, but hopefully the final copy will have more additions that make it worth the money. Two new features for this year that are already online are Team Builder and Season Showdown.
Team Builder is much like the standard build a school feature in past games, but the nice thing is you can build your teams online right now and then just move them to your PS3 or 360 when the game comes out. This also allows you to get real decals offline such as your high school graphics and utilize them to create a realistic field and helmet. It will be interesting to see if other ea games add this feature going forward, for example allowing you to customize your fighter online for the new Fight Night 4 coming out this month.
Season Showdown is about proving that our school (Michigan if you are reading this blog) is better than the rest. Essentially, you select one college to play in single-player Play Now, Dynasty, and online modes. You're then rewarded with credits in several different categories depending on your performance on and off the field. Already this mode is available online asking Trivia questions about college football to earn your favorite school credits.
Just a quick summary, to notify you the demo is available and some improvements available. Season Showdown appears like a cool new feature, but remains convoluted until we get to see the whole thing working together. For more info see the link below. July 14th can't get here soon enough so we can introduce electronic Tate to the world of College Sports.
Now that the NBA finals are over and sports enters the dark period know as baseball season, I am trying to get back in the swing of Michigan football. There has been a lot of grumbling recently about our recruiting of non-blue-chip recruits. The 3-9 season with losses in the top-flight rivalry games, loss of actual or expected impact players via transfers, and (to a much lesser extent) the aspersions on Rodriguez's character (see, e.g., snake oil, lack of family values) have also caused some heartache for Michigan fans.
So here's my question, if you wound the clock back and could choose between Les Miles and Rodriguez (I'm not saying this was the situation we actually found ourselves in), who would you choose?
Personally, I am drinking the Rodriguez Kool-Ade. I am sold on the spread as an offensive system and think that it will pay dividends once we get the right personnel installed. I was a fan from the beginning of Barwis and the long-overdue revolution in the weight room. Rodriguez’s track record is obviously stellar even though he isn’t a Michigan Man in the traditional sense. I am confident that greatness will ensue in the next year or three.
I was also, however, intrigued by Les's 4th down gumption and success at LSU. I have no clue if the transition with Coach Miles would have been smoother. Would we have performed better last year and maybe lost fewer players to transfers if we weren’t installing the spread on the fly? Would we be recruiting four and five star players in droves right now? I don’t know. If it was your pick, who would you have at the helm of the leaders and best?
Brian should just immediately bump this to the front page (permanently) and post his stuff below this.
This is in response to "the return of McFarlin" which caused a bloodbath in the boards yesterday (Kudos to WolvinLA, Magnus and the others for fighting the good fight!).
To be fair, I am going to assume that the new posters who come to this board and bitch about our 3 star commits are genuinely worried about the program and not congenitally retarded ( think McFarlin).
If you have come to this the premier Michigan blog to find an answer for our seemingly poor recruiting performance, here it is (you dont need to start a new thread and rehash this every two days):
1. You are going to have to get used to the fact that Michigan under RR is simply not going to have Top 5 classes, ever. There are three main reasons for this:
A. Recent history has bumped up the prestige of schools like LSU, USC, UTexas and Florida way above Michigan's and it is a really uphill battle for us to beat them out for the creme de la creme.
B. The above mentioned states have a built-in geographical advantage. When freaks like DG or the Otter happen to be from Michigan, we benefit from it. But for the most part such freaks live in other states.
C. System, System, System: There are some positions in our system which necessitate a body/skill type that is not looked upon favorably by Scout or Rivals.
2. You should pay attention to recruiting so that you have something to do during offseason, but NOT consider it to be a sure fire indicator of future success. If you disagree with this, there is a beached whale in South Bend who can fill you in on what happens when you focus only on recruiting and don't bother developing the raw talent that you bring in.
3. Ultimately you have to tell yourself, that we would ( or at least I hope SHOULD) all enjoy it more if Michigan makes it to the Top 5 in the coaches poll/ AP poll / BCS poll MORE than if/when we make it to the Top 5 in Rivals/Scout ranking. If RR feels he needs to bring in no star nano particles with dreadlocks to get us there, then so be it. He is the head coach and it is his prerogative to decide who is on HIS team.
4. no sugarcoat
(I cant end an important post like without saying that! )