“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.”
Fall practice preview..
First (for some it is old news but..) Notre Dame going into fall practice is down two players. Of the two, Darrin Walls is the most noteworthy. He was a blue chip CB that was recruited by ND, Michgian, PSU, and Pitt. Rumors around South Bend is because of classroom related problems. I cannot believe it is grades because it seems Notre Dame's football players all graduate, win the Nobel Prize, and go from a high school 2.5 gpa to a "top univeristy" MD in business with honors.
What does this mean for Michigan? Considering the passing game will be the most unkown quantity of the offense this year, it could only help that one of the better ND secondary is at home for this game.
What else is new for ND this year.
In the offseason, the biggest splash was the hiring of Jon Tenuta as assistant head coach and linebacker coach. I believe it will be a stepping stone to the Defensive Coordinator postition as well. If the defense improves, I think Corwin Brown is pushed out or demoted. If the defense does not improve, I think Corwin Brown is pushed out or demoted. My opinion only here, but why hire a guy who is the "most awesomest DC" not to be the "most awesomest DC" of a good program. I remember Notre Dame hiring the last decent DC to beat them and groom him for head coach. You remeber Bob Davis don't you? Is history about to repeat itself?
Emu and the Gang.
By Imperial edict, Jimmy Clausen is the second comming, only better. He is fully recovered from last year's pre-season elbow surgery that wasn't supposed to be a problem or cause him to lose any of his awesomeness. One 3-9 season and whoops!!!! The savior was only playing at 5% of his full potential. Only the Son of God could have done so good given the conditions. Gotta love the sliding scale used by Charlie.
- "No, it won't be a problem."
- Doh! "Yea, it was a huge problem, we never said otherwise."
Last year we saw ND quaterbacks not named JC heading out of town. Evan Sharpley, a MLB prospect and not a NFL one, was the only one to stay. He was the most senior member of the QB club and played in a few games. Now, ND has a good incoming QB in Dayne Crist. I will go on record here and saying I think Charlie has him penciled in at the #2 postition and will give him the reps to be so. Charile is all about the QB and his percieved mojo as a QB guy. Evan Sharpley is a dead end since this is his last year. Crist is probably just as good on paper as Jimmy C, but may have more upside due to his size and strength.
Can I get a running back for $100 Alex?
Despite decent recruiting in the backfield, Charlie has yet to figure out what to do with these guys. James Aldridge is their version of Kevin Grady minus the booze. In other words, a highly ranked recruit yet to prove themselves. Neither one is presumed to be top of their prospective depth charts. I could go on to review the other members of the backfield, but unless Charlie changes his M.O., they are mere pawns in his quest for QB domination.
Why so many defections?
In the past, there have been quite a few players deciding to transfer, despite it not being the coach's first year. It may seem higher than normal, but most programs see players leave for various reasons. Why may it seem more likely at Notre Dame is, I believe, the promises of playing time. Combine that with the pressure of playing the "hot new recruit" may drive players that feel forgoten to look elsewhere. I think that is something that may not be unique to Notre Dame, but they are a product of their own hype.
I ran across the post below from a WV fan named "jdakanwv " on the Sportsline Boards.
Aside from his "Mouse Pasties" avatar, I think he sheds some unbiased insight into how the offense might operate.
One thing he stresses is over use of the bubble screen. I hope this does not become the new "Throwing the Rock since 1969".
Here's the post and the direct link:"Recently I was on the WVU boards and began having a discussion with Dsoph about things to expect in Ann Arbor over the next few years. You will see some things that you have never seen before. Some will be impressive, others...not so much...here is my list, take it for what it is worth....
- Everyone will be leaner, quicker, and faster. Your linemen will go from averaging 315 across the line to averaging about 280, but they will be quick and explosive.
- The bubble screen....Get used to it. You will run it on average, 8-12 times a game. At least twice a year, you will see some version of it 20+ times in a game. The idea behind it is a good one, get the ball in a playmakers hands quickly and let them make a play, but you can only see it so many times before you are ready to go nuts.
- Changes. Many of your traditions will remain, but there will be little tweaks to most of them. As you can see with your road uni's, that has already begun.
- Big Plays. Once RR gets his full compliment of players and a true dual threat QB, the number of 35+ yd TD's will increase dramatically. (There is no site like watching a speedy RB or QB bust thru the line and split the safeties like they were standing still and having him go 50yds untouched for a TD. You can see that it will happen within the first two steps the ball carrier takes....it is a site to see and you will enjoy that.)
- This one is the most impressive to me. At the end of the 1st and 3rd qtr's, (especially when you are on offense) Your offensive line will sprint to the other end of the field to get ready for the next quarter. When this is the most impressive is heading to the 4th quarter of a hard fought game and seeing the looks on the defenses faces as the linemen sprint to the other end of the field and the D is gasping for air and sucking down water like it is their job.
Good luck to Uof M in the upcoming seasons. RR's style will take a little time to get used to, but in the end, you will enjoy it.
P.S. Barwis is an animal...You guys will love him."
It's nice to see a WV fan not bash the university, fans or RR.
Three yards and a cloud of Bubble Screen... could be my new blog page, only time will tell.
Even though the evil banner suffered an epic beat down in the semis of the banner contest, I apprecaited all of the positive feedback from the community. I heard some of you guys asking for larger versions of the banners, so I did a bit of work and brought an old site out retirement.
I put up a couple of the older wallpapers along with a couple newer ones. I have some more pieces in the works and am always open to requests and feedback.
p.s. feel free to download if you like anything but let me know in the comments section (of the site) so I can trend the good ones.
OK, so we've already been over why UM is going to dispose of Utah in game one, now it's on to Miami (OH), when I'll probably sport the Worst State Ever shirt, just for fun. Here's why UM is 2-0 going into South Bend:
Miami (OH) -- Sept. 6, 12:00 PM
First off, it's a MAC school, and despite Johnny Sears' best efforts, Michigan has a strict policy of beating these teams. As for Miami, UM leads the series 4-0 (sweep!). Did you know their team name is the RedHawks? That's right, one word, with the 'H' capitalized in the middle. WtF? While emotionally, one could fear a letdown between the Utah and Notre Dame games, it won't happen. It's no stretch to imagine the offense looking a little shaky in game one, so I imagine Rodriguez berating them constantly leading up to the Miami game, causing Boren to transfer from Ohio State, just to get farther away.
Miami's defense seems to be the strength of the team. After playing Utah, with three new linebackers, Miami returns all three starters, and apparently they're good. “That threesome is as good as any in the conference, and I don’t think that there are many who are better in all of college football,” coach Shane Montgomery said. Two things:
- Miami's coach's name sounds like that of a country music star.
- I know the midwest isn't known for its hot women, but this is far from the best threesome in the MAC Conference.
So they have good linebackers, big deal. The offense won't need too many points to get us the win...
That's because Miami's offense is rotten. No running backs of note returning, a shaky quarterback, and well...they're Miami. Goal number three for Shafe's defense is looking pretty good for this game, whether it's by way of knocking the starter out, or a few turnovers. Miami's starter threw seven picks in the last three games of '07.
This game may start slowly, but Michigan is just too good for Miami. The RedHawks won't be able to move the ball, and Michigan's defense and/or special teams will score in Week Two. Write it down. Bring on the Irish!
I like to keep tabs on my fellow Wolverines who have gone on to play in the NFL. So, while checking up on their stats and forecasting the upcoming season, I decided to jot down my notes and thoughts for everybody. If people like what they see then I can keep going with more players down the road. Let me know if you disagree with any projections or if you notice any errors.
I forgot to mention Tyler Ecker in my look back at the 2007 class. Here’s what he’s been up to (or not up to):
Tyler Ecker (TE, Washington)
- 2007 Stats: DNP
- 2007 Season Review: Ecker was drafted in the 7th round (216th overall) by Washington. He did not play at all in the 2007 season. Apparently he hurt his groin in training camp and was on the IR all season.
- 2008 Season Projection: Is he still even on the team? I don’t know, but even if he is there is no way he sees the field barring several injuries. The Skins have Chris Cooley (arguable their best receiver) with backups Todd Yoder (veteran, blocking-type) and rookie Fred Davis (rookie, athletic-type). Good luck, Tyler.
Gabe Watson (DT, Arizona)
- 2007 Stats: 16 games, 34 tackles (25 solo), 2 pass deflections
- 2007 Season Review: Watson was the highest drafted Wolverine in 2006 (barely), going in the 4th round (107th overall) to Arizona. In 2007 Watson started all 16 games for the Cardinals, racking up 34 tackles. He put together a nice season, but 2007 still looked to be a building year towards 2008...
- 2008 Season Projection: ... until he slipped on a treadmill and broke his kneecap. That’s correct. He had surgery to repair the damage and he missed all of the off-season workouts. Last I heard he was questionable to participate in training camp, but the team is optimistic that he’ll be ready come the start of the season. I think he’ll rebound and be contributing at a high level by the end of the season, but when you miss workouts and camp it’s going to take some time to get back in game shape. Look for Alan Branch (Go Blue!) to pick up Watson’s lost playing time.
Jason Avant (WR, Philadelphia)
- 2007 Stats: 15 games, 23 rec, 267 yds, 2 TD
- 2007 Season Review: Avant was also drafted in the 4th round (109th overall) by Philadelphia. He was relatively effective as a slot receiver for Philadelphia but he also played on special teams, recording 13 special teams tackles (good for 4th on the team).
- 2008 Season Projection: Avant seems to have found his niche as a #3 or #4 receiver. The Eagles essentially return the same receivers as last year, with Avant appearing to have the #3 slot locked up. As Avant continues to develop, I expect to see slightly better numbers than 2007. Wikipedia also notes that Jason is an “avid Scrabble player”, so there you go.
Tim Massaquoi (TE, Buffalo)
- 2007 Stats: DNP
- 2007 Season Review: The next (and last) Wolverine drafted in 2006 was Tim Massaquoi, going in the 7th round (244th overall, just 11 spots away from Mr. Irrelevent) to the Tampa Bay Bucs. After being released by Tampa following training camp in 2006, Miami signed Massaquoi for the 2006 season. Despite being on the active roster for 6 games, he did not have any catches. He was released by Miami prior to the 2007 season and was later signed by Buffalo. He was on the active roster for 4 games in 2007 but again did not have any catches.
- 2008 Season Projection: Not good. Buffalo drafted TE Derek Fine (Kansas) in the 4th round in the draft earlier this summer. I’d be surprised if Massaquoi is still on the roster after training camp.
Pierre Woods (OLB, New England)
- 2007 Stats: 16 games, 21 tackles (14 solo), led team in special teams tackles
- 2007 Season Review: Woods went undrafted in 2006, eventually signing a free agent contract with the New England Patriots. He saw mostly special teams action in 2007, though he did play some backup linebacker as well. He impressed his coaches by leading the team in special teams tackles, which should help him earn more playing time moving forward.
- 2008 Season Projection: The LB corps is heavy with former Wolverines. Victor Hobson starts at ILB, Shawn Crable is expected to see some action as a backup his rookie season, and Woods’ role should expand from just primarily special teams. However, the New England LB corps is also heavy in veterans (Mike Vrabel and Adalius Thomas at OLB, Teddy Brusci and Hobson at ILB). The Patriots also drafted Jerod Mayo with the 10th overall pick this past draft, but he is likely to play ILB in the Patriot’s 3-4 defense which shouldn’t steal time from Woods. I expect Woods to still be a regular on special teams while receiving more playing time on defense in a backup role.
Marques was the first recruit I actually remembered the name of and knew a little about. I was still in HS and I knew nothing of Michigan on the other than a unhealthy love for the football team and being able to watch them on TV. Being from Montana, I often had to defend being a fan, and prove that I knew something. Slocum was my defense. I could drop his name and his story and I grew to becoming one of his bigger supporters, because he had unknowingly provided me the credentials to prove my "fanhood". I remember feeling bad for Marques when the "Fuck Lion" thing came out, because I knew that the internet and UM rivals would eat him up for it. I wathched as UM fans defended him and said that it was just "him being him". Yet we defended him because he was ours. We justified his journey and eventual admittance as a success story, while others just labeled him the Jarrell Powe of the North.
Marques's situation is a microcosm of what is wrong with the NCAA. We as fans, glamorize his preseverence, yet others view it as another jock getting a free pass into school. I know it's been rehashed over and over, but I have yet to "hash" it so just read on. Does the product of the NCAA (that in which we all would kill for) justify the process? I look at Marques and see a kid who had so much sunshine blown up his ass growing up that he never realized it could end. What 18 year old would? Then he doesn't qualify, and no one is there to coddle him. Unlike most kids in his situation, Marques guts it out, on his own, to pursue a dream. Most just quit because its too hard, but Marques continues. As UM fans this is admirable to us, but maybe to others it's still just another kid who will eventually be admitted because he can break through a double team to get to the QB. Either opinion is viable and they aren't really the point. The point is, what does Marques do now? Maybe he realized CFB wasn't what he thought it would be, maybe school is too hard, maybe he's tired. I don't know and won't speculate as too what possible reasoning is behind this. My point to all of this, is that there is none. There is no point, because there is no solution. This will never really change, because it can't. It's not the NCAA's fault, it's not the University's fault, it's not really anyone's unless you want to throw out the generic "society is to blame" rationale because it seems easier to do that then to try to make changes. In the end, Marques is the discharge from a faulty process that produces a near perfect product. If you alter the earlier, it will affect the latter. So enjoy the games, root for the players (both on and off the field) and hope that Marques can land on his feet. He's shown everyone that he can work hard to qualify, but hopefully he's shown himself that he can do things off the field...if he wants to. Thank you Marques and good luck.