"He makes it really easy on you as a coach because he has tremendous football instincts," Michigan tight ends coach Jay Harbaugh said. "Things come really naturally to him. He doesn't have to see things too many times. He has a good sense for how things should look and feel, and he's a tough, physical guy."
Presented without comment.
Well, this will just increase the factor of crushingness. Mario Manningham?
Even though many have assumed Manningham will turn pro, he insisted that isn't true.
"I'm going back," he said. "I want to get my degree."
When a reporter told the receiver he seemed to be joking, Manningham didn't back down.
"I'm being for real," Manningham said.
Probably just afterglow; the deadline to declare is the 15th. We'll have to keep fingers crossed about not only Manningham, but Arrington, Taylor, and Jamison. From a Carty article:
Junior wide receiver Adrian Arrington said he would talk to Rodriguez this week about how he'd fit in next year's offense before deciding whether to opt for early entry to the NFL Draft. Arrington said the decision was currently 50-50. Juniors Mario Manningham and Terrance Taylor refused to discuss whether they'd return to Michigan or turn pro after the game.
If this Mallett transfer comes to fruition, I would assume Arrington would take that as a sign to leave. Manningham and Taylor's silence indicates that they're giving the NFL serious consideration at the very least.
Trent is staying according to the first article, not that he was regarded a major threat to leave.
Right, about that: Mallett's mom doesn't know anything.
"No decision has been made," Debbie Mallett said Thursday night of her son, the freshman quarterback â€” currently â€” at Michigan.
"Everybody thinks they know what Ryan's doing. But Ryan has not made a decision yet. All these sources? They never came from anyone here."
Classes started yesterday but I believe Mallett can transfer whenever he wants since the season's over. Until we get something definitive from him, it'll be a festival of speculation.
Elsewhere in the attrition beat. The Free Press listed guys returning, leaving, early (er) entering, and possibly transferring, dumping Mallett, David Cone, and Jason Kates in the latter category without even the vaguest hint of an explanation. We all know the score with Mallett. Kates missed some bowl practices; I've heard the reason was a relatively minor violation of team rules but if this was pattern behavior it could have been the last straw. Cone... well, he wasn't going to play before unless a meteor hit -- he was behind a walk-on this year -- and certainly isn't going to now; perhaps Rodriguez is encouraging him to find a place he can play. I have also heard that Rodriguez is scouring JUCOs for QBs in anticipation of a rough depth chart next year; it will be interesting to see the results of that.
Take heart. Take heart, Matt Zemek and that guy who wrote about Michigan's win being for "smashmouth" and "three yards and a cloud of dust" in the aftermath of a career day for Chad Henne: as long as Fox Sports is paying Jay Mohr to put crayon to paper, you are not the worst sportswriters on the planet. Mohr on Carr's retirement:
I am still trying to wrap my head around the Lloyd Carr "retirement." After five Big Ten titles and a national championship, out you go. I am a big believer in "what have you done for me lately," but the guy did have a 75 percent winning percentage. That seems like a lot of "doing for you lately."
But unfortunately, Lloyd couldn't consistently beat THE Ohio State University. His record was 6-7 against the Buckeyes, and that may have been what did him in. Never mind his winning records against Notre Dame, Michigan State and Penn State. If you don't consistently beat your archrival in college football, you lose your job. ...
Good luck Rich, and don't say I didn't warn you that you won't last long in Ann Arbor. Lloyd Carr had to coach in Bo Schembechler's shadow. It may be harder to coach in Lloyd Carr's shadow. A 75 percent winning percentage throws a lot of shade.
Jay Mohr pays less attention to college sports than I pay to Jay Mohr, or he would have known that Carr was expected to retire voluntarily even before the season started. And yet he still gets to write this thing. So I'm going to write this thing about Jay Mohr.
JAY MOHR: PEDERAST OR AL-QAEDA MEMBER?
By Walter Cronkite
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Hey... remember when Jay Mohr had that comedy reality TV show and only his buddies got on and he introduced us all to that really fat guy from Oklahoma who isn't even funny in that "hey, he's really fat!" sort of way that even the most talentless hacks can pull off? Yeah. I saw that guy on Celebrity Fit Club. He's been loosed into the realms of C-level celebrity reality shows. He'll be on VH1 for the next 20 years. And this is all Jay Mohr's fault. Obviously Jay Mohr is either a sex offender who's only attracted to baby fat or in Al-Qaeda.
Jay Mohr: you ruined America.
Hidden advantage? Bill Stewart's hiring at WVU is probably not good news for Mountaineer fans -- hello Bobby Williams -- but might have some beneficial effects for Michigan fans. One: Central Michigan head coach Butch Jones, a former Rodriguez assistant, won't be the next WVU HC. The two might be able to link up at camps and stuff and help each other with instate recruiting. Two: if you were a little leery of Rodriguez displaying maximum croni-style by bringing his entire staff to UM, Stewart will likely hold on to a number of WVU assistants. The WVU Rivals site is already reporting that DL coach Bill Kirelawich will stay with the Mountaineers, presumably opening up a spot for Steve Stripling. WR coach Tony Dews might stay, too, which might open up a spot for Soup Campbell.
The downside is that he might pick off someone Michigan should really want. One of the three, OC Calvin Magee, is already committed to Rodriguez, but S&C guru Mike Barwis and DC Jeff Casteel (who I've really come around on after doing the research that went into Tuesday's "Yay 3-3-5" post and Wednesday's Fiesta performance against one of the nation's best offenses) could be convinced to stay. Casteel in the aforementioned Rivals article:
"Hey, as a coach, what would be a better place to be," he said. "I mean, I've coached in the Sugar Bowl (victory over Georgia in 2006) and the Fiesta Bowl. This is pretty good," said the architect of the most consistent portion of the 2007-08 11-2 team.
("Most consistent"... woo unbiased reportybits!) That's
not committal, and since WVU is paying Stewart beans -- one of the benefits of making a dumb hire -- they might have the funds to hold onto a coordinator.
FYI. From Winged Helmet:
Here are WVU's recruiting rankings for the last 5 years and Oklahoma's
WV 46, 47, 31, 52, 23
OK 4, 8, 3, 9, 14
I hope they're playing "Scrabulous." A reader forwards this little earthquake on his Facebook newsfeed:
The Woodsoning. Ten years ago Saturday, Charles Woodson became the first primarily defensive player to win the Heisman. Ten minutes of why:
I wonder if this was a prime galvanizing moment for the ridiculous SEC provincialism. Peyton didn't win! The media must be against us.
Redshirts. A couple people have emailed asking exactly who did and who did not redshirt this year; let me point you to "Nick the Greek Blog," which is probably not run by that Nick the Greek, for the answers. The only guys to get redshirted this year: LB Brandon Herron, RB Avery Horn, OL Mark Huyge, OL David Molk, DE Ryan Van Bergen, S Michael Williams, and TE Steve Watson... is that right? I swear I didn't see LB Marell Evans out there.
You guys [Iowa] have John Wienke visiting this weekend. Lives 20 miles from Champaign. Not recruited heavily by Zook because Wienke is a traditional drop back passer, but he is talented. Michigan commitment right now, but he is looking around.
FWIW. Losing Wienke would be irritating but not devastating with Threet around.
Relive the Horror! Unsurprisingly, Appalachian State is in the I-AA championship game. Their opponent, as a reader points out?
No, not Michigan. Delaware. This is entirely creepy, of course, and the game will no doubt end 34-32 when Delaware's senior captain DE/LB (ND transfer Ronald Talley?) messes up the most basic football strategery and gets a potential winning field goal blocked.
A second reader also points out: if App State and Ohio State win their respective national championship games, Michigan will have lost to two different national champions in the same year. Has that ever happened before? Someone call up the Duke SID and find out.
Desperate! I'll say! (H!IKM.) Felicity Huffman on the picket line:
Etc.: The Realests say "what about Jim Leavitt?" The MZone and Maize 'n' Brew take issue with this blog's anti-sailing stance, or at least the stridency of it; NYT -- not exactly a rock of journalistic integrity -- on Schiano w/ Harbaugh non-candidacy reiteration.
EAST LANSING - An unknown assailant spray-painted a block M, similar to the logo of the University of Michigan, on the brick base of Sparty early this morning.
The vandalism occurred between the hours of midnight and 6 a.m., MSU Police Sgt. Randy Holton said. The paint was to be removed the campus grounds crew.
I love "unknown assailant," like Sparty is going to need counseling about this or something.
Oh, and, yes, the picture above is a fake. Look at the tree. For some reason an RCMB denizen put it together; maybe he's getting his bow on.
A snake! Awesome work by MATW:
(What the dickens is this? Surely you've seen Badger Badger Badger, no?)
An oldie. WolverineHistorian has put up Michigan-Michigan State 1979:
Audio by Ufer.
Beilein items. More quotes about practice:
"After the fifth or sixth practice, when I knew this is what it's going to be, I had to get over thinking so much and just play ball and just do what he says," said Sims, a sophomore forward. "It's a learning process. Anytime (a coach) transfers from another school and you have young guys who did not have much experience, they've never seen an offense like this before and were never taught the fundamentals leading up to the offense, it's going to be a tough thing."
Manny Harris says "he doesn't give you a chance to slack off," something that would prompt another useless anti-Amaker tirade if it came from a non-freshman.
People are calling:
Since being hired in April to replace Amaker, though, Beilein has learned that coaching at Michigan is not like being at West Virginia or the five smaller schools he has led.
"I've been sitting at home and have had some of the best juniors in the country call me," Beilein said earlier this week in his office. "We haven't had too many of those situations in the past."
Jim Calhoun is effusive:
"There's nothing I can compare to trying to prepare for his offense. It was the hardest thing we ever had to defend because they truly took advantage of you," said UConn coach Jim Calhoun, who faced Beilein annually in the Big East. "As much as you think that you're just going to be able to play, John does something in a very quiet, unassuming way. He creates confidence in his players, and they run their system impeccably. They can adjust in the midst of games, and they play enough different defenses [to keep you honest]."
Status. There is an idea floating around that Michigan should sit Henne and/or Hart since Michigan is guaranteed a BCS slot with a win over Ohio State no matter what the outcome is against Wisconsin. This is, IMO, crazy, since the outcome of the Wisconsin game is important either way -- is the difference between 9-3 and 8-4 a big deal? 10-2 and 9-3? -- and the chances either's preparation for the Ohio State game is adversely affected are extremely low. FWIW, Carr on the duo:
Asked about the injured players' status on "Michigan Replay," Carr had few doubts about Hart.
"I don't think you're going to keep him out of this one," Carr said of the Wisconsin game.
When cohost Jim Brandstatter asked about Henne, Carr hesitated but endorsed him too, saying, "Absolutely. He finished the game, didn't he?"
Henne reiterated that stance at yesterday's press conference:
Two days after self-diagnosing his health at 80 percent in East Lansing, Michigan quarterback Chad Henne said his separated throwing shoulder from the Illinois game is almost back to full strength.
Henne added at yesterday's press conference that he'll "definitely" play this weekend against Wisconsin.
"It feels really good," Henne said. "I got treatment this morning, and everything has definitely gotten a lot tighter, and it feels a lot better. Obviously it's going to move around a little bit, but right now, it's not really moving around at all and it's back to normal."
Hart, for his part:
"It's the last two games of my career... I'm not missing anything."
McGuffie aaah. Seven minutes of video fluff on Sam McGuffie:
Several of those runs are new even for those who have memorized the mixtape.
Badgerhawk down. Wisconsin CB Allen Langford and DT Jason Chapman are definitely out for the game Saturday; another key Badger may join them:
University of Wisconsin Head Football Coach Bret Bielema is not sure if running back P.J. Hill can play in Saturday's home finale against Michigan. The sophomore starter missed last weekend's loss at Ohio State with a bruised left leg. Bielema said Hill's condition got worse late last week and he has no idea how things will progress.
Hill got progressively more concerning as Jehuu Caulcrick pounded through the Michigan line time and again; if he's gimpy that will help.
Oh, so stupid. I'll keep it brief since this is football season and you probably don't care about this stuff: that McCosky guy with the inadvisable mustache wrote an anti-blog screed in the Free Press. Thunderous accusation leveled:
A lot of times these bloggers use the work of legitimate reporters. They will lift facts and segments of stories and cut and paste them onto their blog. Rarely, if ever, though, do they bother to credit the source.
Second thunderous accusation leveled:
Bloggers are having a field day speculating on how Joel Zumaya really injured his shoulder. Nobody believes a heavy box fell on him. So the Internet is rife with stories about how he fell off his dirt bike.
Links to blogs (or even mentions of specific offending blogs) provided: zero. Why is this? Um... because no Tigers bloggers even so much as mentioned the dirtbike rumor:
I also wonder where in the world he got this idea that blogs were all over pushing some random dirt bike story. Like I said, he wouldn't have got the idea here. He wouldn't have got it from Billfer or from Ian or from Kurt or from Lee or my main man Matt or from any of the major Tigers blogs. I haven't been keeping up on them lately but I don't even think Deadspin reported anything about dirt bikes.
I checked Motown Sports which is, let's admit it, the only Tigers message board worth looking at, and sure enough I found this thread talking about it. Two seconds of reading made it clear that the dirt bike rumor originated from the COMMENTS SECTION of something posted at ESPN.com.
McCosky's title: "bloggers just aren't journalists." Yes. That's the point.
Status. Another suggestion of Hart's health, this from the man himself:
"Yeah, I'm playing next week," Hart said after the game, heading across the field into the tunnel. Later he added: "Yeah, I could have played today."
Fingers crossed; I expect he'll go. Indications on Henne are murkier, and though at the moment I expect he'll start I think there is a nonzero chance he's unable to go.
Fine. Fine. Fine. Seven hundred people have sent this to me, so you've already seen this. But in an effort to stem the tide:
I dunno... I was hoping for more.
- Michigan is going to have to conform. Both Notre Dame and Ohio State ran up against this and had to conform; Michigan will be next.
- This will make the renovations more expensive, but if the Hero of Tienanmen Square is sipping champagne underneath a giant painting of himself, declaring victory, he's got another thing coming. More cost yields more motivation for the luxury suites. At worst this issue is orthogonal to the renovations.
- Thousands of seats will be lost to this. Combined with the seat-widening, the overall capacity of Michigan Stadium is going to drop unless additional seats are added.
The major issue, IMO, is the seat thing. It's long been a point of pride that Michigan has the largest stadium in the country. When the renovations were first proposed they featured a several-thousand seat reduction in capacity; this, met with hue and cry, was quickly repaired. A 7000-9000 seat hit would be tough to stomach.
Speaking of tHOTS, the New York Times again writes on the skyboxes at the prompting of Pollack. Please remember this whenever he or his ilk presents information:
Practically from the moment Martin submitted the plan for skyboxes, Pollack has been obsessed with defeating it.
Everything he says is aimed at that goal; things like "facts" are to be discarded when inconvenient. Pollack is a former Bill Clinton speechwriter and, like anyone who has crafted the things politicians say, is trained in the art of deception.
The really offensive portion of the Pollack campaign is the disingenuous assertion that the boxes will cost more money than they make. Occam's Razor screams that said assertion is preposterous: everyone has built them in a period when collegiate athletic revenue is skyrocketing. We are supposed to believe that Martin, and Bill Martin alone, has cobbled together a plan that will actively hurt his university. No possible motivation is provided for this, probably because it's hard to think of one other than megalomania.
Pollack is essentially a professional liar attempting to inflict the point of view shared by his particular social circle on the university at large. He's also breathtakingly arrogant:
Mainly, though, Pollack argues that the University of Michigan simply shouldn't be the kind of school that sells skyboxes to high-rollers; it should be better than that. "Michigan doesn't need to keep up with the Joneses," he said. "We are the Joneses." He added, "One of the great things about college football, especially Michigan football, is that it is a great public space â€” a place where autoworkers and millionaires can come together to cheer on their team."
Yep. Autoworkers and millionaires coming togeth--
Annual Gift Category - 2006 Results
($20,000 or more)
|4-8 Season Tickets in the Victors Tier|
|2 Season Tickets in the Victors Tier or
4 Season Tickets in the Valiant Tier
|2 Season Tickets in the Valiant Tier or
4 Season Tickets in the Maize Tier
|Go Blue Level
|2 Season Tickets in the Maize Tier or
4 Season Tickets in the Blue Tier
|Up to 4 Season Tickets in the Blue Tier|
|2 Season Tickets in the Blue Tier or
4 Season Tickets in the End Zone
|First Team Level
|2 Season Tickets in the End Zone|
|No Season Ticket Assignment;
Special Ticket Offer "Go Blue Pack"
Oops. That damn reality, always messing with utopia. Pollack is attempting to preserve something that no longer exists, if it ever did.
Historian. Michigan-Ohio State, 1991:
It's a 300-level class. Michigan zingers re: MSU countdown clock:
â€¢ Johnson: "I guess they can keep time. I guess if they need that for motivation, to get ready for the game, good for them."
â€¢ Cornerback Morgan Trent: "That's cool. Whatever, we know when the game is. So that's fine."
â€¢ Carr: "I can remember checking my watch just to make sure I knew what time it was. The only clock I'm concerned with is mine."
Michigan Against The World has a recap of great moments in the series.
Oh God. Unofficial MGoBlog cartoonist Joel A. Morgan sent in a doozy this week. Sadly, I don't know where he lives so I can't send him a
bomb flower basket in appreciation:
So there you go. I'll be over here in this hole, hiding.
The fourth down stufficus. Some protest in the comments and from The Conquering Heroes about the non-condemnation of Les Miles calling Rock x 4 against Kentucky in the third overtime. TCH:
I attempted to make the point on MGoBlog that Brian and many others would have raked Lloyd over the coals had he run on 4 straight downs and not picked up the first down.
It seems odd to defend myself from criticism for a hypothetical criticism I never actually made, but I will make an effort.
First: the effusive praise in this space was for Miles' willingness to go for it time and again against Florida, pulling out a win he may otherwise not have had. Nothing in the Kentucky game changes that. LSU found itself down in the third overtime and had to go for it.
As for rock x 4 -- we'll call it the Super Avalanche -- this is Matt Flynn's line for that game: 17 for 35 for 130 yards. Several of his completions were little swing passes that went for first downs. That's a line worth of Jimmah Clausen. The guy was awful, his receivers weren't much better, and Early Doucet was basically unavailable (he did come in to be a decoy during the Super Avalanche). Meanwhile, LSU was averaging 5.5 YPC when the first rock was called, and that gained six yards. In these circumstances, pounding ahead in an attempt to get the first down is eminently justifiable. Just last Wednesday, the Wannstache got raked over the coals for taking the ball out of Lesean McCoy's hands in overtime and throwing fades with his crappy quarterback despite all evidence indicating he should grind ahead. Given the relative vectors of LSU's ground and air games, it's hard to fault Miles with pounding the ball, even if it didn't work.
This is different from the fervent criticism of Debord leveled in this space because Debord took a look at the #114 pass defense and ran and ran and ran even when it had become clear that Justin Boren and Michigan's third string right guard were totally unable to handle John Gill. The resuls were a 16-7 halftime deficit that Michigan was fortunate wasn't 28-7 and an extremely dangerous situation. The key distinction here: Miles was doing something that made sense. I like it when coaches make goddamn sense.
TCH's post is worth going over, as it contains fourth down go-for-it and conversion numbers for a wide array of coaches. The numbers are interesting, though I don't know how well they actually reflect a coach's aggression. There's a big difference in going for it when you have to, like at the end of the UK-LSU game, and going for it when you have other options, like the Florida game. One point of contention:
Did Miles go for it on fourth more often just because he has brass balls? Not entirely:
LSU's field goal kickers were 64.3% last year. Their primary kicker was 8 for 13 â€“ a mere 61.5%. On the other hand, Garret Rivas was 16 for 19 -- 84% last year.
----------------------0-19 --20-29---30-39---- 40-49----50+
Garrett Rivas: 16 for 19 84.2------0/0---6/7 ---8/8----2/4 ---0/0
David Colt: 8 for 14 61.5%--------0-0---4-4----1-2----3-6---0-1
Those kicker lines don't scream "vast difference" to me even if Rivas had a much higher percentage. (Also, it's Colt David.) From 40-49 both were 50%. Inside 40 they both missed a single field goal; Rivas had many more attempts.
Also, though the "brass balls" thing has gotten a lot of play here and elsewhere, there is a key point of clarification: each decision to go was statistically and situationally valid. Miles had the balls to do the smart thing. This is different than Weis doing stuff like calling a QB draw with 12 seconds left in the half and no timeouts, which is stupid look-at-me-I'm-a-genius bravado. Mindless aggression is no better than, say, punting from inside the opponent's 40 when a moderate gain salts the game away.*
*(Uh... actually it probably is, but it's still not good.)
No, not FUPA. Field Position Advantage, or FPA, is a stat being tracked by Brian Fremeau over at Football Outsiders. It's simple: your average starting yard line minus the average opponent starting yard line. Michigan is currently ninth among I-A schools at +7.8; Ohio State is second at +10.4. Not sure how useful this statistic is, since the leader is 4-3 (now 4-4) TCU and Vanderbilt, East Carolina, and Maryland appear in the top ten, but it's an interesting thing to consider. Teams that suck at FPA do tend to be awful, though.
Etc.: Beilein fluff from Rivals; Purdue managers mock Michigan, get what they deserve; OSU is a money machine; UM Tailgate interviews Tyrone Wheatley; Shooting Blue reviews the McGuffie performance from last night.