Niko Porikos grew up in an NTDP billet home. Cool story.
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! )
In the abyss that is the offseason, I am bored. I'm curious what people's opinions of the top 3 offensive and defensive players are. Smart money says the offensive MVP will be Brandon Minor, and the Defensive MVP will be Brandon Graham, so that's a boring topic. Instead, who are the other people you see making a run at it only to finish 2nd? My picks are as follows (in order):
Greg Mathews - Sure hands, upper classman. Also, I just really like the way he plays the game. The obvious #1 target for a seasoned qb. The fact that we have a frosh instead of a seasoned qb probably means he'll get a few less looks as Forcier will drop it off to slots and RBs more
Martavious Odoms - Was pretty much a stud last year, minus the 250 fumbles punts. For whatever reason, he's not getting much disucssion this offseason and I've even read some people have the opinion that someone else would replace him. That opinion is not mine, as I think he's in for a good season. Also, to Mr. Odoms: Hold onto the ball.
Kevin Koger* (!!) if only because tight ends can be a huge safety net for frosh QBs. To be honest though, we probably won't use a TE set enough for this to be realistic
*Steve Schilling would take his place if not for the fact that offesnive linemen never, ever are considered for this award. Also, I have resisted the urge to put Forcier here because he hasn't played a down yet. God, pls let him be good enough to be in this discussion kthx
Donovan Warren - I love the way he plays the game. I really think he would be a serious threat to challenge Graham for MVP, except for the fact I think opposing QBs will avoid his side fo the field entirely, not allowing him to build the necessary stats.
Obi Ezeh - Will he turn the corner? The athleticism is there, if he can react and read things quicker he could be dominant. What will probably keep him from the win is his ability to disappear in the passing game, often leaving a nice, wide open curl/dig zone in the middle of the field.
Mike Martin - Probably won't really be considered for MVP, but if he plays well he will be the reason Graham does win it, so I included him here. Preventing constant double teams on Graham will be his main duty.
So, what thinks you, MGoNation?
Has anyone noticed that we are still waiting on a confirmation that has not come? Days ago we were treated to what all proclaimed as a great signing of OLB Holmes Onwukaife (a recruit with actual credible D1 offers). Unfortunately we are now hearing that not only was this premature, but that Coach Rich Rodriguez counter offered an ILB position, and was turned down. Holmes will now, not be coming to Michigan à la Travis Williams our DB commit errr, not commit from earlier this season.
As much fun as it is to spend the summer months planning to match shirts on game day, or predicting how many points we'll beat Eastern Michigan by, I think we need to continue to discuss this recruiting strategy that shotguns out 100+ offers making an offer from Michigan meaningless to a recruit and diminishing the name of Michigan football. No need to review the argument about the quality of recruits coming in these days, but what about the quality of our name across the country?
Coach Rich Rodriguez makes Michigan normal when he gives every 3 star recruit an offer, and then he further diminishes OUR name when someone says yep, I’ll shake on that offer and he says, “Whoops didn’t know you were going to take us seriously. Can’t do it right now. We’ll have to get back with you.” As a Michigan man and a business man I live by the motto of my Yes will be Yes and my No will be No. College football should be a young man’s introduction into good business practices and character, not their first experience learning the dark realities of cold-blooded business.
I know many of you Michigan Men must feel the same, and we need the University to know we believe in Passion, we believe in Victory, but above all we believe in Character beyond reproach.
As lamented by all, it's a terribly long offseason. Here's an attempt at generating semi-meaningful discussion: how do you expect our season to go? My week-to-week breakdown:
Western Michigan - The Broncos are at a severe talent deficit and must replace 7 starters on defense, including Detroit's 3rd pick, Louis Delmas. Look for a potential scare if Michigan's defense struggles with new personnel and new scheme. M's offense should be fine, despite a true freshman likely starting at QB.
Notre Dame - Notre Dame is incredibly talented. Whether or not that will translate to points is another question. I personally feel Clausen is better than many people give him credit for. His first year was a wash because of his porous offensive line. Look for a surge from the Irish. Our offense will likely need to win this game, and that's a tall order for a true freshman QB. It helps that we're at home, but I give ND the edge. 55-45% to the Irish. (Remember we outgained ND by 120+ yards last year. If our D steps up we win, but I don't think it'll happen.)
Eastern Michigan – No worries here. The Eagles return 16 starters from a team that finished 2-6 in the MAC. Barring another Toledo-esque meltdown, we win easily. The only way we lose is if shaky quarterback play and a complete meltdown on defense happens. Knock on wood, we should win.
Indiana – The Big Ten opener features undaunting Indiana. Indiana was lousy last year and is installing the Pistol offense. With Kellen Lewis being dismissed and Marcus Thigpen graduating, Indiana has no real playmaker. By now our defense should be getting its footing and our young quarterback will be improving, especially with the friendly confines of the Big House.
at Michigan State – The first road test for a freshman QB usually doesn’t bode well. MSU has to replace Javon Ringer, but I think they should be adequate enough to beat us. A few big plays from the offense and solid play from the defense will be enough for us to get the win. Unfortunately, I doubt we can count on both.
at Iowa – This game is likely a toss-up. Iowa does have to replace Shonn Greene, but their offensive line looks excellent. They return 8 starters on defense, but lost both defensive tackles. Iowa’s lack of offensive firepower gives us a shot, but one bad play from the defense could quickly foil M. Playing at Kinnick Stadium doesn’t help a freshman QB either (DIE, Dead Horse, DIE!!). Edge to Iowa.
Delaware State – I’m not going to say anything to jinx us. If we prepare properly, don’t take them lightly, and compete on Saturday, we win. As long as our players are aware that just showing up isn’t enough, we’ll be fine.
Penn State – This is a game we should actually win. Darryl Clark and Royster are very good, but four starters on the line have departed and a trio of receivers must be replaced. Add in a dysfunctional secondary and severe losses at DE, plus a little help from a friendly home crowd and you have the makings of an upset. Despite last year, we still own Penn State.
at Illinois – I fear this game could get ugly. The Big Ten’s best offense awaits us in Champaign. We simply don’t have an answer for Juice, Benn, and Florida transfer Jarred Fayson, among others. If we win, it’ll be in a shootout. Not likely considering our young QB(horse is still dead, though well-beaten) and the road atmosphere.
Purdue – A home game we should win. Purdue lost Painter and potential starter Justin Siller at QB. Only four players on offense return and the defense can’t stop the run. We bounce back and roll over Purdue.
at Wisconsin – The Badgers have a lot of question marks, making this game a toss-up. The road atmosphere will make it tough to win. The Badgers should be able to run effectively with John Clay against a suspect interior Michigan line. I think the Badgers will win, unless they have a meltdown on defense, similar to the one they had against us in the second half of last year’s game. Edge to Wisconsin.
Ohio State – That team is still loaded with talent. We have to contain Brandon Saine, if he’s healthy, as well as Pryor. We will need our corners to lock down on that team’s receivers, man-to-man, in order to do so. Big plays will likely win this game, and M’s defense needs limit to mistakes. Again, a freshman QB will need to play very well. Thankfully, this one is in the Big House. Edge to the other team.
Total record: 6-6
This might seem bad, but considering a brand new scheme on defense and a reliance on young players, it’s not too bad. Especially when a few games could go our way (ND, Iowa, and MSU) and quickly change it to a 9-3 record. Realistic expectations are important.
So, this one time in college...
... I was an intern with University of Toledo's sports information department. Sorry, much more boring than that premise could've been, I know. I promise another time I'll tell you about the chick with the fishing line thong and super low-riders that drove with my dorm mates over to Taco Bell.
Anyhow, I graduated from UT with a degree in Communications, specializing in PR, and I absolutely loved my time in the Sports Information office. I was there about 40 hours a week, but it never felt even close to that long. I decided then that I wanted to do Sports Information and PR with my life.
Problem, you can't do Sports Information unless A) You have lots of experience, B) You know someone very high up, or C) You're willing/able to work a couple of years full time + for no pay. A) I don't. B) I don't. C) I can't. House, wife, cars, you know the drill. That said, I still want to do it. The easiest of those problems to rectify is A, and the way I'm doing it should give me access to some B as well.
I got emailing with the office for the Southern Michigan Timberwolves, a Semi-Pro team of the Mid-Continental Football League. Teams are based all over Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, Indiana, and Kentucky. It's a pay-to-play league that sees a number of players from different walks of life. Some are Pros temporarily without a home, trying to keep in football shape. Some are undrafted college players who feel that with a little more work and game tape, there may be a place for them in the league, and some are just former HS or College players who love the game.
Anyhow, after emailing with the office there, I'm going to assume Sports Information and PR duties for the team on a volunteer basis. We're just in the earliest stages of talking about it now, but I should have a fairly blank canvas to work with, which I'm excited about.
I encourage you to check out the MCFL's page at http://www.mcfl.org/ and see if there's a team in your area. These are generally good guys with a passion for the game if they're paying to play.
Does anybody else have any experience with local minor league football?