“The player development is the main thing I like (about Michigan),” Williams said. “You can see that they develop their players. They get them in the gym and they work them hard. And their hard work pays off.”
Brian, in the comments, says it is not irrational to panic, given that we desperately need better quarterbacking and each option is like "a lottery ticket," so we need more of them. Now, I generally agree with Brian on most Panic or Don't Panic decisions, but here I'm going to come down on the Don't Panic side.
1. We only want people who want to be here. Remember last signing day with McGuffie saying he was going with his head instead of his heart? How did that work out?
2. A corollary to #1 would be: Better Now Than Later. There is a month and a half (minus dead periods) to get a replacement.
3. A replacement is quite possible. I don't know if it is realistic to expect one of the 4 stars left out there to switch, but a high-3 star "lottery ticket" would be fine.
4. He (probably) wasn't going to start anyway. It's true that Forcier could turn out to be mediocre, or break his leg. And Threet might not make the normal HUGE first year to second year of starting jump. Or break his leg. But chances are pretty high those weren't both going to happen. Yes, Troy Smith turned out to be better than Justin Zwick. But Zwick wasn't bad, and they weren't going to go 3-9. At this point, I think most of us are hoping for someone decent enough to sweep through 3 MAC teams, ND at home, and the weakest half of the Big 10 next year... = 8-4.
5. Although recruits are lottery tickets, in fact there is very little history at Michigan of big name QB recruits (I would include Threet and Forcier in this, plus, again, the excellent chance of another signee) crapping out. Maybe Beaver would have been marginally better than Threet and Forcier. But both crapping out? I can't think of this happening. I'll try to list big-name Michigan QB recruits in the last 12 years or so and see what we can find. Please correct my memory:
Tom Brady (Phil Steele composite rating, something like #25 QB): Umm, not crappy
Jason Kapsner (PS 7?): Never saw the field, seemed like a numbers game
Drew Henson (PS 1 or 2): Starter
John Navarre (PS 30-ish?): Pushes the edge of "big name recruit"; was 3.33 year starter anyway
Andy Mignery (PS 20s or 30s?): Crapped out, switched to TE
Matt Gutierrez (PS 10 or so): Was due to start, injured, beat out by Henne, would have been good
Chad Henne (PS 1): 4 year Starter
Ryan Mallett (PS 1): Started as true frosh, turnover prone and bad inter-personal skills, but will probably be good
Steven Threet (PS 26): Hot and cold as rFr. starter, but that is quite normal; should be a decent starter at least, although not ideal for this system
Coner (PS 40) and Jason Forcier (PS 42) are beyond my definition of big-time recruit. Clayton Richard was highly ranked, but chose baseball.
So, only Mignery (and he was very close to Cone in terms of hype, below Tate Forcier and Threet) came to campus and seemed like a waste of scholarship. Kapsner never did anything, but the reports were that he was competitive for a starting spot. Maybe there's one or two guys I'm forgetting who disappeared, but it seems at least 2/3 of guys who are 4-star quality turn out to be viable college starting quarterbacks.
Shavodrick Beaver, who had been committed to Michigan since the spring, has changed his commitment to Tulsa. There had been rumors of him wavering, but he recruited heavily for Michigan and spoke publicly about how he couldn't wait to come to Michigan, was ready to compete for the job, etc. But now the #8 dual-threat quarterback is staying close to his home in Texas.
This event affects the perception of Michigan's program, but probably not the program itself. Most analysts and fans expected fellow QB commit Tate Forcier to compete with holdover Steven Threet for the starting quarterback job in 2009. A common scenario had Threet starting the season and slowly giving way to the more talented, more athletic Tate Forcier. If this scenario had played out, Beaver probably would have redshirted.
Looking forward, Threet is scheduled to run out of eligibility after the 2011 season. Forcier, if he doesn't redshirt at any point, would finish his four years in 2012. If the aforementioned scenario took place, Beaver would have redshirted, hung around for four years, and perhaps started as a fifth year senior in 2013.
Let me say that again.
Very realistically, Beaver's decommitment affects the 2013 season.
Now, depth is obviously a concern. Every team wants great players waiting in the wings to take over from great players. But is that realistic? Probably not. Assuming Forcier sticks with his commitment, we'll have two 4-star QB's over two classes of eligibility - and that doesn't include possible replacements for Beaver in the 2009 class, such as Tajh Boyd, Eugene Smith, or Denard Robinson (all 4-star players themselves).
Michigan will be okay. The Wolverines will plow through and be successful. The offense started to hit its stride at the end of the 2008 season, especially running the ball. If we can run the ball effectively without an effective QB, imagine what type of offense we will have when Threet improves his accuracy or Forcier steps in with his pinpoint accuracy and good athleticism.
We need not worry about the loss of our third string quarterback.
In response to occasional "gasps" I read in various places about UMs recruiting falling off under RichRod, I've looked over UM's recruiting classes for the last 7 years (that's as far back as Rivals and Scout go) and compared those classes with this 2009 class (as it is so far). The results show that this class is going to be a "typical" UM class in terms of quality. In fact, this year's class will likely end up above average when the final pieces fall into place (Do you hear me Big Will??).
I've used average star ratings from Rivals and Scout. I use the average star rating rather than the rankings of the classes for some obvious reasons. First, the ranking of the class depends somewhat on its size and I am interested in quality, not quantity. Second, the rankings of classes year to year does not allow good comparisons across years for the same school. For example, UMs class in 2005 was ranked second in the nation but had a lower average star rating than the 2007 class which ended up ranked 10th in the nation:
This year's class, as it currently stands, is average for Rivals and a little below average for Scout. There are 5 spots left to fill in the class (+ or - one depending on who you listen to). If Will Campbell is one of those spots, the number will shift into above average territory on both Rivals and Scout. If another 4-star or two are added to the class in addition, the class will move firmly into above average territory. In fact, if Big Will and a few additional 4-stars are added, the class will be the second best since 2002 on Rivals (with 2003 being the best) and firmly above average on Scout.
The perception that recruiting has fallen off comes from something OTHER than the actual quality of our recruits. My opinion (and only an opinion) if that it comes from a shift in the emphasis of the recruiting. Recruiting attention has shifted to the slot-dots and fans' attention and discussion is disproportionately about those players. I think this is because they are the new type of player UM is after and people tend to focus on changes. Anyway, there are quiet a few of them and many are 3-star guys. I think this means the perception becomes that "most" of out recruits are 3-star guys when, in fact, there hasn't been much of a change from the traditional quality of UM recruiting classes.
It was 1969, a year Iggy Pop would immortalize in song. A year in which many a body bag got filled in ‘Nam. Some guy called “Bo” came up from Ohio to replace some guy named “Bump”. The whole freaking world was changing at a rate hard to measure without an electron stopwatch. Hippies were promoting free love and revolution and drugs. The White Panthers and the Rainbow People’s Party had houses on Hill Street. Black people were demanding to be treated like actual human beings; not asking, demanding. Walter Cronkite was still cool, but so was Joe Namath.
Me and Allan, my best bud, walked from Melrose Street to the stadium. No tickets. Didn’t have a nickel between us, but we were going to the Game. Our friends would be there, like always, in the south end zone about sixty or seventy rows up.
With our best pathetic faces, we stood at the corner of Stadium and Main begging for tickets--for all of about twenty seconds. Some drunk rich guy staggers up to us. “Here ya go, boys!”, he says. “Have a good time!” Allan looks over the tickets. 45 yard line, fifty rows up, west side. WTF! Ten minutes later we’d sold them for ten bucks apiece, had climbed under the fence by Crisler Arena and after a quick stop at the hot dog stand, were on our way to our rightful spots amongst the Tappan Junior High congregation. Life was good.
Some idiot, I don’t remember who, was handing out free apples. Jim Lampley, then a budding cub reporter, was standing on a riser in the southwest corner of the playing field doing some advance work for the TV. Well, he was making an attempt. Suddenly a hail of apples descended upon him like cluster bombs out of a Tomahawk Missile. I must admit that I did in fact aim for his head, but was pleased with the chest shot that connected—along with several other young apple snipers. Jim Lampley relocated. We laughed and taunted.
Back then they had no end zone nets. They had the hated Yellow Jackets—the guys responsible for retrieving footballs out of the crowd after extra points and field goals. We hated them. They hated us. We both knew the battles this day would be fierce. Our resolve was strong that day at the start, but after the Wolverines started chewing up some Buckeye ass—well, we would have stomped little old ladies into the ground to secure that pigskin manna falling to us from the heavens. And yes, we liberated more than one trophy that day.
Few people around today are witness to the thundering roar heard for miles that used to crack the atmosphere Saturday afternoons—that is, the stomping of feet on the steel bowl girding the concrete pit of Michigan Stadium. It sounded like a nuclear bomb attempting to extinguish an F5 Tornado hovering over a burning fireworks factory. Opposing teams used to experience anal pucker level 10 the first time they were beseeched by this auditory and vibratory assault. Wolverines used to jack up like crack heads air lifted into Peru. (Key Play? We would have kilt you and ate your young!) I’m telling you, the Wolverine Army could have taken Moscow that day and still had enough left to bum rush Peking.
As the human wave crashed the field after the boom of the final gun, and assaulted the goal posts at the north end, it was evident all intelligence had evaporated in a radioactive cloud of fanatic lust that remains lurking even today. We brought down the goal posts. Toppling over the shared gravitational pull of the goal post brought with it every fan whose muscle, sinew and brainwaves had propelled them into history. A mere two feet from my face, as I was crashed to the turf by the tidal wave of screaming fans, the corner of the goal post dug a good 9 inches deep. It was truly a miracle no one was kilt.
As Allan and I watched the frat boys carry those goal posts out of the stadium that day the sun was slipping behind some clouds and a grayness befell the Earth as if to say, you will never again witness such a contest. Be grateful. Though I had been to many Michigan games before then, that day, I felt truly baptized. I knew then, the Wolverines—win, lose or draw—would be my team forever.
Well it looks like i missed an interesting night last night. Overheard some people in the WLA say that I was the topic of a nice little post. Apparently I have made such an impression on people that there is a need around here to call me out personally for answering questions and giving my insights. I do not want to start another thread of attack, but I do want to answer some questions.
1. I liked Shafer at Michigan because i run a lot of Shafers schemes. I liked the idea of being able to follow the WOlverines over the next several years, knowing the terminology being used, the direction and the focus of the Defense, and such. I was supprised when he got the job, and was excited to tell people about what to expect over the years. Im sad to see him go, becasue i believed that if given time, he would have had michigans defense rolling, and i was excited about seeing someone at michigan who was going to emphasis technique and fundamentals.
2. I was a Michigan fan long before Shafer came around, and I was very excited to be apart of a blog community interested in knowing more about football, and offer another perspective. If by offering my perspective I offended people i appologize, as obviously it was not my intent. Still think that over the past couple of years I have been on the receiving in of many more attacks, then i have given out. But i appologize for any attack i have made, as one is too many.
3. Shafer not being at Michigan does ABSOLUTELY nothing to shake my confidence in my ability to break down a football play, to talk football, or to coach football. It has never been about proving myself on here. In fact its all been about talking Michigan football.
4. I like this Blog, i like Brian, and I like the WLA.. So im not going anywhere.... sorry to dissapoint some of you...
5. I like to talk about Skull cracking, Butt-kicking, weight-lifting, football stuff, becasue that is a big part of my life. In all reality i am exactly like i am in here, a nice guy with a pretty big heart, but kinda crazy. Im new to the world of internet tough guys, and bullying, so i am not very good at it, and most of the people that have a problem with me are much better at writing then I am, so be it. If anyone REALLY has a problem with me, im not too hard to find...
I've read here and elsewhere that going to the 3-3-5 will hurt recruiting, especially D-Line. The reasons given vary, but center on the assumption that D-Line players won't want to play the 3-3-5 since they are not "showcased" (or words to that effect). I decided to take a look at the one program I know runs the 3-3-5 consistently (WVU) and see if their defensive recruiting (and especially D-Line recruiting) is consistent with this claim.
**NOTE: ALL rankings according to Scout**
Last year, their defensive line recruiting was pretty good (2 3-star DTs, a 4-star DE and a 3-star DE to go along with two more 2-star linemen). That is a pretty good haul for WVU. For comparison, they only pulled in 6 3-star or above players on offense, compared to 4 on the D-Line alone (along with 8 more LBs or secondary players).
In 2007, they got a 4-star DT, a 3-star DE and one additional 2-star DT. Defensive recruiting again was a bit better than offensive, with only 2 of 16 defensive recruits below 3-star status (compared with 2 out of 11 on the offensive side).
In 2006 they had a crappy class in general, but note that 4 of their 5 3-star or higher rated players are on the defensive side of the ball.
In summary, while the recruiting classes at WVU are generally lower quality than UM classes, within those classes, RR doesn't seem to have had a problem recruiting for the 3-3-5, especially the D-Line. If fact, it seems he had an easier time recruiting defensive players than offensive players.
Side note: It does appear true that the supers WVU (rarely) got tended to be on the offensive side of the ball--Devine, Gwaltney, Jenkins--but those were few and far between.