this may be of some local interest
- Michigan players find better communication in Robinson defense (link)
- Bielema remains firm on suspensions, cause still unknown (link)
- Wisconsin may start redshirt freshman at Quarterback over Sherer, Clay No. 2 back (link)
- MSU quarterbacks feature mixed results, freshman Caper leads pack (link)
- Preseason Butkus Award list features Seven Big Ten players, including UM's Ezeh (link)
- Five Big Ten Players on Rimington watch list, including Michigan's Molk (link)
- Seven Big Ten Players on Nagurski watch list, including Michigan's Graham (link)
- Minnesota to utilize the Wildcat offense. (link)
- MSU offensive line continues to shift as injuries in replacement slots persist (link)
- RS Freshman Brinson may be Greene's replacement in Iowa (link)
- Graham on ESPN top 25 draft board (link)
- Illinois cornerback and expected starter/contributor out for season with torn ACL (link)
- MSU's "Celebrate the State" Michigan directional scheduling bonanza (link)
- ESPN Big Ten Position Rankings: Special teams: UM #2 (link)
- Indiana starting true freshman at DT ($$$ link), Seven projected starters missed a practice or more this past week (link)
- OSU linebacker Spitler with strained calf, return unsure only in timing (link)
1. Illinois - plenty of proven experience across the board at skill and line positions
2. Iowa - their offensive line should be terrific
4. OSU - TP and O-line experience put them just above Michigan if Blue doesn't hit on all cylinders, which I am assuming
5. Penn State - O-line and receivers need to prove themselves first
6. Wisconsin - seems to have too many new starters to rank any higher
7. MSU - I think they are generally overrated given the rebuilding throughout the backfield and along the line
8. Northwestern - less worse than the remainder
9. Purdue - less worse than the remainder
10. Minnesota - less worse than Indiana
11. Indiana - going to be a rough year
Why Michigan #3? Well, I think that if everything goes according to RR's plan, Tate has a good year recognizing defenses and feeding the dot receivers and TEs, Minor can go for 1400 yards behind a much more solid O-line, avoid turnovers, and the stretch O begins to finally spread its wings. There are many hopeful ifs in there, but that's the point. I think if Michigan can get things rolling early, we might see dramatic results. Much of the rest of the Big 10 will have questions to answer themselves offensively. Even if Michigan is more "average" to expectations, I see it in the top 5 offensively, which will take pressure off the defense, too, in terms such as time of possession, field position, playmaking etc.
1. OSU - reloading at linkbacker seems to be their biggest question
2. Iowa - if their line performs well, they might be the best defensively
4. Penn State - secondary kinda feels like Michigan's last year to me
5. MSU - enough quality returning to be formidable
6. Wisconsin - solid, but not special
7. Northwestern - secondary and LB play should be decent
8. Illinois.- unimpressive D last year bleeds into this one
9. Purdue - they are at least one step up from the stench of the cellar
10. Indiana - in the battle for worst, they lose because of their D-line
11. Minnesota - not less worse than Indiana
Why Michigan #3 again? There are certainly equally significant ifs on the defensive side of the ball, and healthy skepticism in the team's ability to meet these goals, but hear me out. If Graham and Martin can be nasty all Big 10ers, Ezeh be a 100 tackle stud, and secondary avoid the big play thanks to strong play from Warren and Turner, with solid pursuit angles and tackling across the board, I think GERG's scheme will be well-suited to the offensive schemes in the Big 10.
This kind of offensive and defensive scenario would see a radical shift in the give-away/take-away margin. And, if players just held the ball last year, where would it have ended?
I am not going to try to translate this optimism into wins and losses, just thought I'd put it out there for consideration.
I am not rating the kicking games, but since we have one of the most powerful forces binding the fabric of space punting...
Was able to catch essentially three quarters of the Jones' game tonight (the other couple we went with, who drove, wanted to leave just into the 4th, so I didn't have much choice). I intended to keep stats, but this was the first football game that I've ever been to where they didn't sell programs (at least on the visiting side) so I didn't have anything to write on. Sorry, I'll be better prepared next week. Now for some points of review:
- First things first: Spartanburg High was incredibly out coached in this game, so everything that follows (and probably all season) should be viewed through the lens of terrible play calling and utilization of available talent. They continually tried to run the ball up the middle when it was apparent to everyone in the stadium that doing so was futile.
- Second, Jones' receivers have hands of stone. Also needs to be kept in mind when reviewing Jones' stats, probably for the rest of the season. I would pretty safely predict that Jones will have terrible stats this season that are not entirely (or at all) reflective of his abilities.
- Third, tonight's game was against Dorman High who was the only team to beat Byrnes last year (ranked preseason #2 nationally) and looked pretty solid again this year. Dorman is also approximately twice as big as Spartan High (Dorman has about 3,200 students in grades 10-12 and Spartan High has about 1,800 students in grades 10-12).
- Running - Jones is not nearly as fast as I expected him to be. I can't seem to find a 40 time on any of the recruiting sites, but if I had to guess I would say he's probably 4.5 at best, and that's probably generous. He did seem to be able to cut fairly well and did make good reads on the cut backs. It was difficult to tell if his inability to make plays with his legs was because he wasn't as fast as anticipated or because the defenders were faster than anticipated (remember, he was playing a pretty darn good team). It's not that he's slow, just not as fast as I thought he would be. He's probably the fastest player that Spartan High had on offense, but my guess is that Dorman High's offense had at least 4 players on the field on every play who were faster. This is a point that I will be certain to reevaluate next week.
- Passing - Jones is a pretty accurate passer in the short passing game (less than 15 yards), but struggled with accuracy beyond that. He had average velocity on his long balls and was probably a little too forceful with the short passes. He had at least a half dozen passes in the 0 to 15 yard range that were right on the money and just flat out dropped, mainly all by the same receiver and in critical situations. He really seemed to struggle throwing the ball down field. He was either long or floated the ball on virtually every pass over 15 yards. That said, on the balls that he was long on he had good velocity. He was more accurate on the run than when in the pocket on both the long and short passes. He seemed to make good reads, although the play calling didn't afford many options. I have no idea why, but most of their plays started from a single back, double tight end formation and typically either both tight ends would stay in and block with the back releasing or one tight end would release and the back would stay. Either way, the most options he ever had on any given pass play were three receiving options. He seemed to process the reads well and quickly, especially on short routes and was effective at placing the ball at places where only his receiver could catch it. When routes were covered he appeared to make good decisions to bail out and run, but again he wasn't nearly as fast as I anticipated so this mitigated the effectiveness in such situations. I don't know the final stats for sure, but I would be surprised if he rushed for more than 20 yards tonight.
- With all of this, definitely remember that all of these observations are just off of one game that is the first game of the season and was against a very formidable opponent. Altogether I would assess, at least in week one, that Jones is a more effective passer than runner, although his passing skills are very raw. With proper coaching I don't have any doubt that Jones could develop into an effective passer, but he certainly is not there yet. It is also worth keeping in mind, as I said before, when reports on Jones come in through the season in the media, remember that it does not appear that the coaching staff are particularly effective at calling plays or making in game adjustments and that he doesn't have what appear to be particularly skilled receivers to through to. Just my two cents for this week. I'll report back after every game that we attend, which should be all but one or two.
For those who are wondering, the reason why the thread was titled this way is that there is a dispute over the spelling of his first name (i.e. whether it is Cornelius or Conelius). I intended to obtain a program to settle the matter, but as I said previously they didn't have any programs. The PA announcer said Cornelius, but again it was an away game, so I wouldn't take that as evidence either way.
Also, I realize that this is a double post. I should have posted it as a diary to begin with, but I messed up. I will be sure to get it right in the future. In other words, I'm sorry, so please refrain from the snarky comments.
I know many a person has been referred to my list of 2010/2011/2012 players, the past few days I've had
an opportunity to see some of those guys up close and personal at some
scrimmages. (Inkster, Brother Rice are at the bottom of this article)
Thursday... had the chance to chat with a guy that many a person who are subscribers to Rivals.com's Michigan Wolverines website will be familiar with.....
Attended the Clarkston, Grand Blanc, Rochester, and Orchard Lake St. Mary's four-way scrimmage yesterday, some initial impressions
Grand Blanc.... while their defense wasn't overly impressive, their offense will be one of the best in the state of Michigan.
Tony Jones (2010 WR, Northwestern commitment) -- very solid receiver. Extremely explosive and proved that today. Surprisingly physical for his size.
Justice Hayes (2011 RB) -- Looked very explosive at runningback, he has a lot of skills. Still too early to project where the recruiting sites will rank him, but should have a good feel for that after a few games this fall.
Marcus Tucker (2010 WR) – A guy I wasn’t very familiar with
before this scrimmage. He was really impressive and just was another one of a plethora
of options for GB this fall
Ryan Morley (2011 QB -- throwing at left) -- Is definitely an undersized quarterback, but throws a good ball with a lot of velocity. He could be a guy that really fits well on the small stage in a spread attack. Quick release. Not a guy who is going to break a huge run, but has decent athletic ability with good quickness.
Gabe Martin (2010 LB/TE, Bowling Green commitment) -- Liked him more on offense than on defense on this day. He is a really physical guy. Has a good combination of size and athleticism, but his frame limits his potential as a tight end on the college level.
Clarkston..... looked pretty solid on both sides of the ball. Pretty explosive in the running game offensively.
Tyler Scarlett (2010 QB) -- Very undersized. Above average runner for a quarterback at the high school level. Not an overly strong arm and has a tendency to put too much touch on passes.
Dakota Bender (2010 RB) -- Undersized as well, but pretty explosive back with 4.55 speed. Solid receiver out of the backfield who is a well rounded runningback.
Rochester.... they are improving as a team, but still struggled. A team that only won one game last year, they are a program that should be on its way to respectability.
Nick Bradley (2011 QB) -- Much like Scarlett, he is very undersized. However, he does have a much stronger arm and throws the ball with some zip. Very accurate.
OLSM.... as a team they looked very average. Now Bolden did not attend this scrimmage for whatever reason. They were very dominant based on size along the lines.
Robert Bolden (2010 QB, Penn State commitment) -- Did not attend.
Earnest Thomas (2010 S/LB, UCLA commitment) -- Has a real nose for the football, was around the play all night. Wasn't overly impressive as his ranking on some recruiting sites would lead you to desire, but he was solid nonetheless.
James Ross (2012 LB) -- This is a guy that is very impressive physically. For a sophomore, he is huge -- 6-foot-2 and about 210 pounds. In my opinion he is still growing into his body athletically and will be a guy to watch going forward.
Tonight I attended the four way scrimmage featuring Inkster, Brother Rice, Farmington Hills Harrison, and L’anse Creuse…..
Harrison…. Looked fantastic tonight. Very aggressive defensively and were the only team that was remotely capable of defending Inkster. I’ll be honest here, I don’t know much about FHH, so I may have some names wrong, but here goes… They’ll be a team to watch this postseason, in my opinion.
Steve Slobin (2011 RB) -- Smaller back, but silky smooth and hard to tackle. Not great speed, but ridiculous quickness.
L’anse Creuse…. They were pretty over their head at their scrimmage. They’ve got some pieces, but just didn’t have the overall talent to compete with these teams.
Brother Rice…. What a shocker… a talented Brother Rice team. Thought they were very good defensively, but have a lot of weapons on offense as well.
Franke Popp (2010 QB) – His play basically decided a few games for BR. He played mistake free for the majority of the time that I saw him, but he had some absolutely dreadful interceptions against Inkster. He plays well and they’ll play well and win games.
Jeff DeClaire (2010 RB) – There isn’t a way that he is a inch over 5-foot-6, but he is just a shifty hard nosed runningback. Every team that faced Rice could not locate him behind the line. He will be the starter at tailback for Rice this fall.
Kevonte Martin-Manley (2010 WR) – He’ll be a dominant receiver again this fall for Brother Rice. Definitely rose his stock in my eyes tonight. Really impressive receiver.
Justin Cherocci (2010 LB) – Tackling machine. He should be a lower level college player on scholarship, just a natural football player. Little undersized, but has a nose for the ball.
Nate Saldivar-Garcia (2010 WR) – A very nice compliment to Martin-Manley, NSG is a strong, solidly built receiver.
Jimmy Pickens (2011 DB) – Played safety and a little cornerback, looked very strong as always. I believe he was on my 2011 watchlist… if he wasn’t he should have been.
Conor Hart (2011 DE/TE) – Another guy who will be added to my watchlist for 2011. Has excellent size (6-4, 230 lbs) and is very athletic as well.
Tim Hamilton (2011 LB) – Thought he matched Cherocci’s performance at linebacker, definitely on the 2011 watchlist now.
Inkster…. Looked very good tonight. General consensus was that they were either tied with Rice or ahead of Rice as the most talented team in the scrimmage. Inkster was tremendous though, but tripped up a bit against Harrison.
Overall they looked really good and were much improved defensively as I expected. They’ve got some work to do on defense still, took a lot of risks and while they did produce turnovers, they did allow quite a few big plays. Specifically true for their defensive backs.
Devin Gardner (2010 QB, Michigan commitment) – Was as advertised tonight. Looked a little surprised by Harrison’s aggressive defense, think he is more used to teams making him throw the ball around. Overall though, he was good tonight against some very talented teams.
Dwight Trammer (2011 LB) – This is a guy who transferred from Oak Park and now plays for Inkster. He is a really nice young linebacker. Prototypical linebacker with a great combination of physical play and athleticism
Donavan Lindsay (2011 S) – He was great last year late in Inkster’s season and looked a little rusty early tonight. Was slow on reading some plays, but seemed to adjust as the scrimmage went on and ended up getting a couple INTs.
Jonathon Taylor (2010 WR, CMU commitment) – he was the lone receiver that stood out amongst the rest for Inkster. They’ve got a ton of talent in that WR group, but I’ve always liked Taylor the best out of that group. Very good receiver, CMU got a steal – he is a mid to low Big Ten prospect who is going to be a Chippewa.
Thought Inkster looked much improved along the offensive line, but they like Gardner got a little confused when Harrison brought pressure.
Will have a little more on Inkster later.
Helmets courtesy the Michigan High School Helmet Project.
Just a reminder to any one who cares (which is probably very few of you) that the first official sports match of Michigan's 09-10 school year is tonight as the women's soccer team takes on Arkansas in Ann Arbor. Kick off is slated for 6pm at the U-M Soccer Complex. Live stats are available.
Arkansas was picked to finish second to last in the SEC West in the preseason coaches poll. They return seven of their top scorers from last year, but they also have a new coach. Michigan should be able to take this game, but it will still be tough. Make it out if you can tonight, the team would appreciate it.
They will also play a road game at Valparaiso on Sunday at 5pm. Valpo was picked 6th in the Horizon League in their preseason coaches poll. Michigan should be able to defeat the Crusaders easily, but only time will tell.
For more on the women's soccer team, check out last Sunday's Women's Soccer Season Preview.
The men's soccer team will play their second exhibition in Ann Arbor on Sunday at 2pm against West Virginia. Again, live stats are available. The team played to a 0-0 tie in their first exhibition against Marquette yesterday (Thursday). They will not have an official game until Tuesday September 1st at Notre Dame, and we will have a season preview up before they start.
UPDATE: Paul went to the game against Arkansas (Michigan lost 2-0). He'll give his thoughts on Sunday.
“Not the New Math, but the New New Math”
This is the tenth entry of the 2009 MGoShirt Alert, a design project that will enable MgoBlog readers to vote for upcoming designs in the brand spankin’ new MGoBlogStore.
It's no secret that, like many of you, one of my favorite players to don the maize and blue was LaMarr Woodley. Watching him wreck opposing quarterbacks was like watching Picasso paint, Gretzky pass, or Anna Kournikova, well, lay on a beach. I've always had a thing for the defensive end position, and Woodley was clearly one of the best in recent memory. Even if you hate the Steelers, you had to feel proud of our boy at the end of this year's Super Bowl if you're a true Michigan man.
And now we have this new guy. Kinda goofy off the field, apparently likes doing interviews without shoes. But when he gets out there he's all bid'ness, and is a threat to any offense we play. Brandon Lee Graham. Last year's Bo Shembechler Team MVP winner. Already tied for 8th on the all-time sacks chart, he has the chance to be something we haven't seen since, well, Woodley. Is it an unfair comparison? I don't think so-- if Graham is productive this year he'll be a force that can change games, and a surefire first round pick. There's even talk of him breaking the single-season sack record... discuss amongst yourselves.
Time to vote. What do you guys think?
|pollcode.com free polls|
|What do you think of MgoShirt #10?|
|Five Stars Four Stars Three Stars Two Stars One Star|
***** Five Stars: Graham gets 25 sacks, breaking Terrell Suggs NCAA record.
**** Four Stars: Turns in 15 sacks, breaking the UM single-season record.
*** Three Stars: A respectable but disappointing 9 1/2 sacks.
** Two Stars: Turns in a Gabe Watson-esque senior season, drafted on 2nd day.
* One Star: Graham gets h-- no, I can't even put it in print.
For the weekend, I need your collective help. Once again in the spirit of interactive democracy, I'm opening up a design for ideas from the MGoCommunity. I wanted to do a retro graphic shirt, and we settled on this design featuring a very Ozzie and Harriet-esque 50's couple who have received some troubling news:
Brian and I have been going back on this design for awhile now with varying degrees of success. So, why not LET YOU WRITE THE JOKE???!!
Yes, here's your chance to leave your mark on Monday's shirt design. We need a response (punch-line) from the dad, to go in the "A" area above. You may also choose to include some sort of tagline, to go in the "B" area below the graphic. I don't have to remind you that vulgarity, while sure to make this shirt pure win, may preclude your idea from becoming a mass production apparel piece.
For every entry submitted, please include an A. _____________ line, and a B. _____________ line if you'd like as well.
We'll leave this open for comments over the course of the weekend, and if a clear-cut winner emerges from the fog then you can expect it on Monday's shirt design. Otherwise I'll take a look at a few of the best and we'll make a decision from there. Until then, see you next time for another exciting edition of-- MGoShirt Alert!