this week in unintentionally grim-sounding recruiting headlines
I am one of the many who hates the B1G expansion, as I can't stand how it spreads out the schedule and takes UM away from its traditional rivals (e.g., not playing Wisky in football for something like 5-6 years). To play out east for the benefit our considerable alum network, just schedule home & away with Rutgers, UConn, UVa, etc and be done with it.
Regardless, I'm not here to re-argue that, but to point out that I was really surprised to learn today the Rutgers, even with B1G network cash, is projecting athletic dept deficits of "$183 million between now and 2022." That's just astonishing. It's EMU-level bad in terms of the school having to take money from academics just so it can pay for athletics .
Beyond that, I think Rutgers is probably being overly optimistic in how things will be better in the next decade. Sports fees paid by cable subscribers (as covered by Brian and elsewhere) is likely at its crest, and ESPN, Fox Sports, B1G, etc are soon going to have deal with unbundling and find out how to make do without relying on the majority of subscribers who would rather keep their dollars than subsidize a network they don't give two hoots about.
If/when Rutgers has to start cutting sports, I wonder how attractive they still will be to the B1G (though I know they will still bring the NYC market...cough
NJ Star-Ledger is reporting that Rutgers is on the verge of hiring a booster with no football experience as a recruiting coordinator. This should be interesting.
Stewart Mandel with an interesting take on why it may be a good move that more programs should consider (hiring people outside of football, not the booster part). The one problem with it is that he is a booster and has no football experience. I would still think you would want "GM" or someone organizing recruiting to have at least some background of working in football.
I decided to start at the bottom and work my way up to what I think will be the standings next year. Rutgers was not very good this year, finishing 5-13 in the not-so-good American conference. A lot of people would say, "you can only get better from here". This may be true for this Rutgers team. Rutgers loses seniors Wally Judge and J.J Moore. Jerome Seagears, D’Von Campbell, and Craig Brown are also transferring. Losing these five players means a loss of:
48% of their points
41% of their rebounds per game
and 50% of their minutes
They do bring in 6 freshmen who, unless they contribute right away will leave Rutgers pretty awful.
So here is their projected roster:
# Name HT WT YR POS
11 Kadeem Jack 6-9 235 SR. PF
Starting Power Forward, averaged 14.3 points per game with 6.8 rebounds. A close second to Mack.
4 Myles Mack 5-10 175 SR. PG
Starting Point Guard, averaged 15 points per game with 4.3 Assists. Rutgers' best player.
0 Malick Kone 6-5 200 SR. SF
The starting Shooting Guard, averaged 3.5 points per game last year.
3 Kerwin Okoro 6-5 215 JR. SF
Does not play meaningful minutes.
21 Stephen Zurich 6-5 205 JR. SF
Same as Okoro.
23 Jalen Hyde 5-8 165 JR. PG
35 Greg Lewis 6-9 245 JR. PF
The starting Center that has a decent rebound rate. With him starting Rutgers actually has a pretty big lineup.
10 Junior Etou 6-7 230 SO. SF
The starting Small Forward, averaged 5.3 points per game.
33 Khalil Batie 5-10 175 SO. PG
5 Mike Williams 6-2 190 FR. SG
3 Star, offers from Dayton, Iowa, ST. Johns, Temple...
2 Bishop Daniels 6-3 185 FR. SG
3 star, no other offers
32 Ibrahima Diallo 6-10 240 FR. C
Rawer than sushi. 3 Star
22 D.J. Foreman 6-8 230 FR. PF
Offers from Iowa State, Minnesota, Pittsburgh…
13 Ryan Johnson 6-6 190 FR. SG
A low ranked prospect. Supposedly he can shoot. According to Rutgers he is the next Jeremy Lamb.
40 Shaquille Doorson 6-11 275 FR. C
Low ranked recruit. Redshirt.
15 Jake Dadika 5-11 160 FR. PG
My projected starting lineup:
Point Guard: Myles Mack
Shooting Guard: Malick Kone
Small Forward: Junior Etou
Power Foward: Kadeem Jack
Center: Greg Lewis
Michigan plays Rutgers at home and on the road next year, which is favorable for us.
In all, Rutgers is a pretty small team that is losing a lot of players of. They do not have depth, or much skill. The junior class looks to have nothing so the team will rely on mostly seniors. I project Rutgers will go 4-14 and tie with Purdue for last.
Next up... Purdue.
We're slightly more than halfway through the regular season and sitting at 3-4 with losses to:
#5 6-0 Notre Dame (best win: #14 Stanford)
#20 4-1 Utah (best win: #8 UCLA)
5-1 Minnesota (best win: Northwestern/Michigan)
5-1 Rutgers (best win: Michigan)
That works out to 20-3. Heading into the bye, we just beat a PSU team that was 4-1. One could make the case that we haven't lost to a bad team. One could defend Hoke on that ground, but I'm not going to make that case.
Notre Dame has @FSU (#2), @Navy, @ASU (#17), Northwestern, Lousville, and @USC (#22). FSU will be favored by about 10 if Winston plays and about -3.5 if not. It's likely they finish 9-3 or better.
Utah has @OSU (NTOSU), USC (#22), @ASU (#17), ORE (#9), @TREE (#23), UA (#16), and @CO. That's brutal. Your guess is as good as anyone's in this year's PAC12, but mine is that they lose to USC, ASU, ORE, TREE, and UA, finishing 6-6.
Minnesota still has to face Purdue, @Illinois, Iowa, OSU, @Nebraska, and @Wisconsin. This is looking like a team that will win at least 8(!) games, possibly more.
Rutgers still has to face @Nebraska, @OSU, Wisky, Indiana, @MSU, and @Maryland. It's likely they finish 6-6 or worse.
Perhaps, just perhaps, the teams we've lost to will all prove to be decent teams.
Shop Smart Shop pointed out in a thread that there were only 10 players on the field during a punt against Rutgers but I didn't see any definitive screen shots on that thread so I thought that I'd use MGoVideo's video to grab some for the benefit of the board (GoBLUinTX usefully pointed out the key moment).
Here's the key image, labelled (click all images to embiggen in a new window). Norfleet is off the screen (I don't think that the ref is Dennis Norfleet).
Here are two shots from the end zone immediately before the punt (the clock isn't running because Michigan had called a time-out):
Just before the punt, the camera angle changes:
and with labels:
Just before the punt, Delonte Hollowell (#24, my number 3) moves to help out with the gunner on the top of the screen (the boundary) and Rutgers punts:
With labels (numbers are the same as above):
And here's the 11th player running onto the field late just before the punt, early in the 3rd quarter (the ball was punted at 12:58):
I, for the most part, kept my comments to meaningless snark this past week, as I don't think I'm close enough to the situation to weigh in on Brandon, his handling of the athletic department, or concussion-gate. I do know enough about football; however, to blame the coaching staff for costing Team 135 three victories so far this season.
#1 - A stubborn refusal to embrace modern punting strategy and failure to count players on the punt team leads to a Utah punt return touchdown. Emboldened, Utah rose to the occasion and played significantly better in the second half. It's worth remembering that Michigan outgained Utah 308 yards to 286 yards. That was a winnable game.
#2 - Brady Hoke makes the decision to start Shane Morris over Devin Gardner, and stays with him long after it is obvious that playing Gardner gives the team the best chance to win. After leading Michigan on their lone first half scoring drive, De'Veon Smith gets one carry in the 2nd half.
#3 - Michigan calls for a hurry-up quarterback sneak with 2 minutes and 24 seconds left in the first half. At the time, Rutgers only had one timeout left. Michigan fails to score on the play, but does so on the next play. The additional 20 seconds Michigan could have run off the clock provides Rutgers enough time to score a touchdown instead of a field goal on their next possession. Michigan loses by 2 points.
So that's three very different aspects of the game - special teams strategy, personnel decisions, and clock management. This coaching staff made egregious errors in all three.
Boxscore link: http://www.mgoblue.com/sports/m-footbl/stats/100414aaa.html
Burst of Impetus
* I don't know. It was back and forth and for awhile it seemed like neither team wanted to win. The only time we stopped Rutgers on defense was when their receiver would drop a pass. They even failed to block Frank Clark on a blitz up the middle, but he failed to wrap up the QB, allowing the TD at the end of the half. Rutgers called a ridiculous fake punt on 4th and 10 and gave us the ball back in great field position. Michigan went in to score a TD, but called an equally ridiculous hurry up QB sneak to leave Rutgers with enough time to score at the end of the half.
"What kind of throw was that?"
* I think if Gardner had started against Minnesota and played to this level, we would have won. He was 13 for 22 for 178 yards. He distributed the ball to 7 different receivers. The one critical error he made is one he has made throughout his career. Rutgers blitzed, leaving Gardner little time to find an open receiver. He avoided the rush, but instead of tossing the ball forward to Hayes, who could have easily scampered for a first down, Gardner lofted the ball downfield. The Rutgers defender could have called for a fair catch as he waited for it to gently flutter down into his open arms. Funchess was a good 5-10 yards away from the play.
"That doesn't help at all."
* Calling for a hurry-up, when that is exactly what Rutgers wants you to do. When the other team is happy you did something, that's usually a bad sign.
1A and 1B
* Derrick Green re-stated his case for being the feature back, as he carried 12 times for 74 yards. Your lead back averaged 6.2 yards per carry and he got 12 carries. The running game looked better, especially in the fourth quarter. We have got to figure out some way to get our lead running back more carries. Part of that is figuring out how to get the defense off the field. Rutgers was 8 for 16 on third down.
* Michigan rushed for 158 yards to Rutgers' 74. I don't want to hear anymore criticisms of the offensive line, unless they deserve it. They played well enough to win the game. The defensive backs played poorly enough to lose three games. Yes, Rutgers sacked Gardner three times, but we sacked Nova twice. Sacks happen. That's football.
* We only gave up 5 TFLs, while TFL'ing Rutgers 8 times. The story of the game is not our offensive line troubles. It is our defense giving up passing plays of 26, 53, 26, 14, 12, 80, 33, and 16 yards. Those are just the long receptions for eight different Rutgers receivers. It would be one thing to be beaten by Leonte Carroo. I've heard he's pretty good. But Janarion Grant, Tyler Kroft, Desmon Peoples, and Andrew Turzilli? That's just zilli, peoples.
"Another huddle? Really?"
* Well, we scrapped the huddle during portions of the game. The pace was still lacking as we spent long periods looking to the sideline to get the play. The point of skipping the huddle is to prevent the defense from substituting when you have a personnel advantage. Gashing them for 8 yards on a run when their nickel defense is in, and then passing on the next play doesn't accomplish anything. The key to the no-huddle is to get the opponents in a mismatch and then exploit the mismatch.
* We scored 24 points. According to Bo, that should be good enough to win. Rutgers only had 74 yards rushing. That should be good enough to win. It's those 402 passing yards that Rutgers gained...
* The announcers were going on and on (well, except for Shaun O'Hara, who never spoke. Do they have someone in the booth checking every 5 minutes or so to see if he's still alive?) about how Friedgen likes to go deep. If the announcers can figure that out in the couple hours they put in preparing for the game, why is it that our defense seemed completely surprised and unprepared for their deep passes? On one long pass, I saw three M defenders covering Carroo (meaning Nova missed someone else glaringly wide open.) On the 80 yard TD, Countess was obviously expecting safety help that wasn't there. (Which is also a symptom of poor coaching.)
Facilitating the Comfort Level
* I used to cover the officials in this diary. I stopped doing that because they have a tough job to do and don't need some crazy internet conspiracist to cast aspersions on their character. That said, I was a little curious to see who worked this game. Unfortunately, Dave Brandon placed a Geico ad over the officials' names. They were a little difficult to resolve, but I think this is what it says:
Referee: Tony Soprano
Umpire: Chris Moltisanti
Linesman: Silvio Dante
Line Judge: Paulie Gualtieri
Back Judge: Bobby Baccalieri
Side Judge: Vito Spatafore
Field Judge: Phil Leotardo
Alternate: Vince McMahon*
I don't want to suggest that the umpires were paid off by the mob, but during the Rutgers University commercial, they highlighted their efforts in plastics recycling, AKA, waste management.
*I threw that last one in there for BronxBlue. I gotta say, I'm a little surprised he didn't have a "Worst: the Piscataway Screwjob" section.