Seems to be a lot of questions about LLP, so I thought I would throw this out there.
First Game: December 20th versus Oakland at the Palace.
I attended the open practice/scrimmage after the northwestern game this fall (I think I get a double black belt or something...anywho) and this kid is legit. The practice and scrimmage were intense. Obviously, things can change 'when the lights come on' but nothing suggests he won't be able to perform at the same level or better in games.
Notes on the scrimmage - He absolutely drained a three from the top of the key. nice stroke and very confident. He also jumped into a passing lane, stealing the ball, taking about three dribbles and jamming it home on the other end before anyone really had time to react. My friend turned to me eyebrows raised and said 'shot out of a cannon'. Notably - he 'ran with the ones' as they say the whole time as well, which was a little surprising to me, but obviously speaks to what Beilein thinks he will contribute.
On to the impact for the team:
To address some points from previous threads, first is chemistry. He has been with the team for about a year. He gets along with everyone and has been practicing and lifting and working with them that whole time. If anything, I think the team will be really happy that he finally gets to play because they all realize he is going to make them a better team.
Second - Offensive Impact - he is a 'combo guard' meaning he will play both the 1 and 2. He is a very good shooter and a scorer. He can drive and is a good passer. He will be the best guard on the team. (this excludes Manny as he is playing wing this year). Will he score 20 a game? no. Can he in a single game? yes. He will take a significant amount of pressure off Manny and Sims and will be that third consistent scorer contributing probably 8 to 12 points a night.
Third - Defensive Impact - this has been the most talked about aspect of his game is his voracity on the defensive side of the ball. He will immediately give the team the ability to play significantly more effective man-to-man defense if he is in at the two guard and Grady is at the one. If he is at the point, he also gives the baseline man in the 1-3-1 significantly better height/more of a presence running out to challenge the corner three pointer.
Fourth - Minutes - He will take minutes from Merrit, Lee, Novak and probably a lot of Douglass' minutes. I don't think any one person will be affected to the point where they become disgruntled, except for maybe Douglas if he takes that starting spot.
To sum up - LLP will have a tremendous impact in upgrading the team's performance in games and being able to consistently score within games and also on a game to game basis. He has ALREADY had an impact by making practices more challenging and has positively affected the other guards games' by pressuring them in practice and providing competition for their minutes.
Update: Link to highlights from open gym while LLP was at AZ below. This is roughly 1.5 years old and he is presumably improved from that time, especially under Beilein's tutelage.
(link ganked from comments on another thread. Thanks to baorao for finding it. as he noted, music on the highlihgt movie might not be safe for work.)
Ok, to start out, maybe ruin is too strong of a word, but college football would not be the same if we had playoffs. I know most of you will probably disagree with me, and that’s fine.
I’ll skip the obvious arguments that have been rehashed over and over (the regular season is a de facto playoff, the money from bowls, etc.) The real reason I don’t want to see a playoff is that it would take away what makes college football unique: chaos, controversy, endless debate.
Let me say that college football is, by far, my favorite sport. Especially Michigan football. Nothing else comes close. NFL? I don’t care. Outside the Super Bowl (is the NFL going to sue me for using its proper name?), there are no “must see” games, especially in the regular season. Pats-Colts? (of recent years, not necessarily this year) They’ll meet again in the playoffs, so I can miss the game. Basketball? Never been a huge fan. When Michigan was good, I watched, but never had the passion for it that I had for football. Hockey? Getting close, wish more Michigan hockey games were televised. NHL doesn’t matter at all until the playoffs, then it’s a crap shoot of whoever is hot.
I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in believing that college football has the most passionate fans of any sport. And that’s why we shouldn’t have playoffs. Sure, the BCS causes controversy, but it’s that controversy that fans the flames of fans passion:
It’s the endless debate of which team deserves it more.
It’s that the stakes are so high, and the system is so subjective.
It’s that everything matters: It’s not just your record; it’s who you lost to and when you lost.
It’s that upsets matter. USC losing to Oregon State wouldn’t have mattered if there were a playoff, USC would have still made the playoff. But they lost, so it changes everything.
It’s the insanity of last year when top ranked team after top ranked team lost.
It’s the debate between co-champions. Michigan-Nebraska in 97-98? Yeah, it would have been great for them to play each other and decide it all, but if they did, we wouldn’t still be talking about and passionate about it now. Auburn in 04-05? They can still complain about being screwed. If there was a playoff, who would still be talking about that year?
It’s that columnists would be out of jobs (not that that would necessarily be a bad thing). If there was a playoff, what would they write about? What do they write about now? When in doubt, write about how the BCS sucks.
Yeah, even with a playoff there would still be some controversy about teams that missed the playoffs, but there’s much less passion when arguing about who’s #8 (or 4 or 16 or whatever depending on the playoff format).
It’s the analysis to the nth degree. Strength of schedule, style points, who’s playing the hottest right now, and on and on.
It’s the “what ifs?” What if Michigan had played Nebraska in 97-98? What if it had been Auburn-USC in 04-05? What if it had been Auburn-Oklahoma in 04-05? What if Texas had been in the Big 12 championship game this year?
Controversy, debates, arguments, unanswered (and un-answerable) questions, upsets that truly affect the big picture. These are the things that make college football the greatest sport out there. All that goes away (or is seriously diminished) with playoffs. All the mystique, all the debate – gone. There would be no questions left. There would be no debating events from 3, 5, even 10 years ago. Everybody wants a playoff so that everything ends up settled, nice and neat. And a good playoff system would do just that. But then college football is just NFL jr.
Let’s not fix the “flaw” that sets college football apart. Otherwise it’ll just blend in to the sports background.
I agree with the WLA post on money keeping the BCS in place, but don't think a viable alternative would really be that hard to figure out. In an 8 team playoff, there would be 7 games, 4 quarterfinals, 2 semi's, and a championship game. with 6 major conferences and a whole bunch of schools we can group as "other" it gives us a total of 7 different groups we must appease.
Now, when you start the playoff, you start a rotation of games. You have games 1-7 numbered and drawn out of a hat, with 1 being the title, 2-3 being the sems, and 4-7 being the quarters. Each conference, including other, gets to choose a site among its schools to host their game at this year. The tv rights for that game would be sold to that conference and they would then sell them to a network. By doing this the conference can rake in ad revenue and ticket sales from each game. Obviously games would try to be matched regionally in the quarters so as to increase draw.
Each year the conferences rotate, going up one number, or, if they are number 7, going down to 1. This is necessary because obviously some games will make more money than others. You also would keep the current non bcs bowl structure for teams that do not make it into the playoff system, yet still get 6 wins, as sort of a huge nit.
I believe the offense will be sooooo much better next yr. Why? Were on the second year of the offense. Maybe threet did bad because he wasnt comfortable, so things kept running in his head, and it made him do bad? He has his 2nd year playing in the offense next season. As does EVERYone else. Last offseason was a learning the system type. This offseason its going to be mastering the system. Plus, all those freshmen u seen play, only had 2 months before game 1. Now they got a whole offseason to get ready. When they fix a couple things they will be golden. Less fumbles, and we'll be unstoppable(really). When our offense this yr was on, it was hard to stop.. then bam theres a fumble and everything went down hill.
We had 18 turnovers this season, or 18 fumbles? I dont remember. But RR had the same thing on his first year at WVU, he had a +19 turnover margin, the next yr i think he went -8 or somehting.
Michigan will fix everything, they will be back, NEXT YEAR.
Oh.. and we also got two good dual threat qbs coming in. Maybe one will win the job. Let the best qb play.
Less fumbles, more experience, one more offseason to learn/master the offense, shitload of young talent. I cant wait.. Pray for no injuries(that hurt us at RB this yr)
One of the biggest questions left, besides William Campbell, is if Michigan will sign an outside receiver. I spoke with Willie Haulstead, a Florida State commit that has been taking visits to see what other schools have to offer. “I originally committed to Florida State because I talked with a lot of their players that told me how it was up there, and I liked their tradition,” Willie said. He told me, “I just wanted to make sure I was making the right decision, and I have always wanted to visit Auburn too, so we’ll see,” when I asked him why he is taking more visits, rather than actually looking for something specific. He took a visit to Michigan and told me how it compared to Florida State, “at Michigan, the atmosphere and all the people were crazy, and Florida State I just like their swagger and tradition.” He’s already 210 pounds, and says his fastest 40 time is a 4.4, but when asked what he brings to the table he told me, “I bring excitement, speed, I have an ability to make plays, I’m just a vocal leader when I’m on the field.” He said that playing early will play a factor in his decision, and both Michigan and Florida State told him he will have that chance. When asked if the possible departure of Bobby Bowden had played into his decision to look around, he told me, “I’m alright with a coaching change, they told me it’s not going to change that much.” The process has also lead him to some new friends, and it seems like that is even a Michigan, Florida State battle. Willie told me, “I’ve been talking mostly with Florida State kids, but also Shavodrick Beaver, Brandin Hawthorne, and Vincent Smith.” Haulstead is not planning on enrolling early, and when asked if there will be an official announcement on his decision he said, “No, I’m going to take everything in, look at all the teams, and make a decision at the end.” So we will all have to wait it out until the end for either his de-commitment, or affirmation of his current choice.
I turned this in for a journalism class where we had to write opinionated columns. I thought I'd share this. (P.S. I got an A on this)
The 2008 football season was not supposed to be a good one for Michigan fans. I’m sure, however, that nobody expected anything quite like this.
Heading into the rivalry game with the hated Ohio State Buckeyes, Michigan is a paltry 3-8 under first year coach Rich Rodriguez. Many streaks came to an end—non-losing seasons, long winning streaks over Michigan State and Penn State, and consecutive bowl games.
The first sign of problems came when Rodriguez left his coaching position at his alma mater, West Virginia. There was a massive legal dispute involving a $4 million buyout.
Then came the drama of “shred-gate” where Rodriguez was accused of shredding documents at West Virginia on his way out the door.
Top all of this off with what may be the worst season Michigan has ever had, and plenty of alums are crying to the administration for Rodriguez’s head.
These people need to take the advice of Rodriguez himself and “get a life.”
Rodriguez has won at every stop he’s ever been to. In fact, he has shown throughout his career, the ability to take a bad team and make them good in a short period of time. His first team at West Virginia won only three games in his first year there. He turned them into a perennial national power.
Unless he’s suddenly forgotten how to coach from 2007 to 2008, his ability to coach probably isn’t an issue.
Take a look at the roster Rodriguez is working with. Contrary to what some Michigan fans believe, this team was not as good going in as people thought.
Football starts on the offensive line. Only one of the five starters here had any sort of college experience coming into the year and even he is only a sophomore.
All-time leading passer Chad Henne is being replaced at quarterback by a walk-on named Nick Sheridan. With all due respect to him, that should spell trouble.
All-time leading rusher Mike Hart also departed, leaving the team with injured veterans and a slew of true freshman who were still worrying about things such as going to the prom this time last year.
The defense lost the top four tackling leaders from last year. Making things worse, the top two wide receivers also left early for the NFL draft and the top lineman departed to the NFL being selected No. 1 overall.
No team in America can suffer those sorts of losses and expect to be great.
Finally, Rodriguez brings his new spread offense from West Virginia. Michigan previously ran a pro-set offense under Lloyd Carr and had done so since 1969 when Bo Schembechler was the coach. It is extremely difficult to not only run this offense when moving from a pro-set, but when you’re trying to do it with players who don’t fit the system, it is going to take time to install.
So while Michigan sits home from a bowl this year, watch the other teams enjoy themselves during the holidays. Sit back and think to yourself, each one of these teams has gone through this same thing before. Then imagine Michigan playing in a National Title game in the next five years once the new high school recruiting classes have arrived.
Don’t give up on him. Don’t jump off the bandwagon. For those clamoring for the days of Bo, remember to give Rodriguez the same respect of “Those who stay will be champions.”
AUTHORS NOTE: I'd also like to add, if this article had been turned in later, I would have also done a comparison of RichRod and John Belein. The similarities there are striking.