this week in unintentionally grim-sounding recruiting headlines
Today it's Alabama's turn on "Jim Harbaugh makes people so mad they go cross-eyed and spit in their own face":
For opponents of the satellite camp, and I am firmly among them, Johnson's commitment to Michigan also reinforces what a sham we're presently operating under. Attaching one's self to a high school 1300 miles away like a dad-jeaned toadstool is by no stretch a "teaching opportunity," as the camps were so designed. We've said all along these are nothing but recruiting junkets. That even Michigan's own film study and recruiting efforts previously overlooked the lightly-regarded Johnson only underscores this fact.
Rather than bolstering the satellite camp, in fact, a measured view of the camps in light of Johnson's commitment, only shows that the loophole is a chance to lazily poach talent in contravention of a rule designed to avoid turning recruiting into a 12-month long circus.
This is of course Alabama, the fanbase that annually responds to Nick Saban cutting 6-10 guys with "tough shit, it's a business." It is specifically the blog—albeit not the person—who responded to a post here about a kid getting cut by titling a post "Brian Cook is, Amongst Other Things, a Coward and a Liar." They live in the conference of bag men and are no doubt amongst the most committed participants*. Nick Saban himself caused a kerfuffle several years ago when he skirted the boundaries of the NCAA's quiet period by maybe possibly having conversations with recruits he was permitted only to "bump" into. The number of Alabama fans who cared about this is zero. Alabama fans do not care about NCAA rules, whether it's letter or intent, one iota.
While that is an increasingly defensible position, the word soup above is not. If it even has a position. Its author, Erik Evans, is clutching every pearl in a five-county radius that Michigan might be using these camps to find football players. Several dozen Crimson Tide matrons collapsed to the floor after Dytarious Johnson's recent commitment. The state has never endured such calumny.
The post's argument was difficult to parse out in the first place; it is more confusing now that Evans edited it after the fact. He discovered that Johnson had talked to the Michigan coaching staff before the camp and asked him to attend it to earn his offer; this invalidates large sections of the post but provides an opportunity to sick the specter of a Level 4 violation on Michigan if in fact the compliance officer they're bringing to every damn camp doesn't have his Ps and Qs straight.
It takes a special kind of person to argue that Michigan's satellite camps are an opportunity to "lazily poach talent" and create a "12-month long circus" without even allowing so much as a period to separate those two diametrically opposed thoughts. Attempting to rebut any particular point is futile since most have already been rebutted in the same damn sentence they were made, so we'll have to take another tack. Let's evaluate the stakeholders here to see who is harmed.
JIM HARBAUGH. Evaluates lots of players from across the country in person. Develops relationships with otherwise remote players. Finds some recruits. Improves his football team down the road. Gets to write letters that end with "sincerely yours in football."
CAMP ATTENDEES. Get exposure in front of not only the Michigan coaches but various local staffs. May get scholarship offer they would not as a result. May get to play Peruball against shirtless Harbaugh. Don't have to go at all if they don't want to. Attendance veritably implies approval, and many attend.
CAMP ORGANIZERS. Hype from Harbaugh visit can almost double attendance.
SMALL CHILDREN WITH TERRIBLE DISEASES. Increased attendance helps raise money for brain cancer research.
ALABAMA. May have to work slightly harder in the future to convince certain players they should play at Alabama.
I don't mind the Alabama fanbase's purely mercenary mindset so much anymore, but at least own it. You would put your grandma through a wood chipper for a tiny increase in the chance at a national championship. There is literally no moral or ethical issue that would even vaguely factor into your decision making. And that's fine. We need lizard people too. Just don't pretend your objection to satellite camps is anything other than pure self-interest.
On the bright side, Evans has a bright future as a Toys R Us CEO down the road.
*[I gave up on condemning such practices because nobody's ever come up with an actual harm caused by people offering football players petty cash that doesn't involve fan anger stuff.]
Meta. Here's a screenshot of a blog taking a screenshot of itself:
I wish I had thought of that. That's UMHoops. After a season of coverage they're gently prodding people to click the donate button. I did, then checked my email to find that I had received a donation exactly the same size as the one I'd just made. I promise this will happen to you if you chip in.
If you promise to be gentle, I will gingerly shake your hand. Congratulations to wrestler Kellen Russell, who won the national championship at 141 pounds and was the primary reason Michigan finished 15th at the national championships. He beat Boris Novachkov—no doubt sent by a Russian oligarch to destroy democracy—of Cal in the final.
Russell went 38-0 against an insane gauntlet of opponents. The Big Ten featured five of the top six wrestlers in his weight class. Russell beat all of them, beat a bunch of them again in the conference tourney, beat a bunch of them again again in the national tournament, and finally defeated Russia's nefarious plans in the final. Statistically it's the best season in Michigan wrestling history even if it came by the slimmest of margins:
It didn’t matter when he heard his ankle pop while he was tied, midway through the championship match and couldn’t put pressure on his leg.
It didn’t matter that it took Russell a combined four overtimes to advance through the quarterfinal and semifinal rounds, or that both wins came from the slimmest of margins — a meager 21 seconds of combined riding time, earned by being on top of your opponent.
Russell returns for another go-around next year.
We are talking about practice. Normally the start of spring practice would get banner headlines around here, but something something basketball something so here's this:
I was slightly disturbed by the bit where they run through the dong forest:
Whatever happened to family values? /boren'd
Draft tea leaves. Michigan had their pro day, during which Jonas Mouton showed relatively well and Martell Webb showed at 274(!) pounds. Commence retroactive Greg Frey assault, though:
G Stephen Schilling did pretty much what everyone expected in Ann Arbor. His athleticism, quick feet and pulling speed continue to entice NFL teams. He looked solid in positional drills, showing he can physically do what he will be called upon to do.
The one issue that showed up during his workout, something not unexpected from watching Schilling on film, was his shaky technique. He often bent at the waist and leaned rather than keeping his feet under him.
I'm not even mad. The Tennessee game was a crazy outlier, a 30-point blowout in which the winning team made no free throws and only attempted one. Surely you cannot find one Tennessee fan on the planet who is complaining about the refereeing in the aftermath. Surely this is the one game ever played in which everyone agrees that—
Tennessee is better than Michigan.
Yeah, I said it. Tennessee is better. It was obvious at the outset that Michigan could not guard Tennessee. They were too slow. They were guarding with their hands and fouling. We were getting past their defenders at will.
Then, about 10 minutes in, we were only up about 5 and we had completely outplayed them. I began to think we may have problems.
Then the refs took over. They called charges if Michigan's players even thought about moving their feet to establish position...which they never did. After four bogus charges (and one legitimate one on them that went uncalled), Tennessee changed its offense. UT no longer drove the ball. They settled or outside shots and pull ups. They missed. A lot. The refs had accomplished their mission. They single-handedly took Tennessee out of its offense. Then Michigan started hitting from outside.
Thanks to the above elements, Michigan went on a run. Tennessee got down. Then Tennessee quit. I'm not excusing that, but given the recent events of the past few days and given that it was abundantly clear from the officiating that UT would not be allowed to win this game, it's understandable. So a loss turned into a blowout loss.
Thank God college basketball is over. I won't watch another game in this tournament because it's ridiculously subjective and corrupt. I just don't know if I'll care enough to watch any of it next year. It's like scripted reality TV. Can't wait for football.
That is amazing. I love this man for posting this thing on the Tennessee message board that had the nice story about Beilein. He has proven beyond the shadow of a doubt that there is no possible game in which fans of the loser will not blame the refs.
Exit Pearl. Bruce Pearl has been fired at Tennessee for lying to NCAA investigators. There were some minor recruiting violations and one extremely minor violation of the bump rule, too, but if Pearl just says "my bad" in the room he gets away with a minor suspension a la Izzo/Calhoun. Instead he lies and then fails to report the bump violation and he's out.
Is this Tennessee doing a 180 from earlier in the year when they seemed determined to hold on to Pearl at all costs? It doesn't look like it. Fans are apoplectic. Wes Rucker tweeted that anyone who thinks Tennessee athletic director Mike Hamilton wants a new coach "is wrong"; that link contains one of those impossibly long and plausible-seeming emails that get batted around the internet but can never be confirmed suggesting the same. Meanwhile, FOX's Jeff Goodman says that UT's hand was forced:
Hamilton — according to sources — was recently informed that the NCAA would be coming down hard on Pearl and he opted to cut ties.
Add another notch on Bylaw 10.1's belt.
The obvious comparison is to Tressel, who voluntarily extended his suspension to five games as if his violation is on par with those of his players. Media still isn't buying this, especially if the suspension only applies to gameday. In Tressel's corner: he didn't lie to anyone's face and he didn't follow up his transgression with an otherwise minor violation that proved he'd learned nothing, then score another violation in March—ie, now. Not so much in his corner: Pearl's troubles stem from a minor recruiting violation acquired in the pursuit of a player he didn't actually get; Tressel covered up violations that made five important players ineligible through an entire season, failed to disclose the problem four separate times, and duped the NCAA into making them eligible for the Sugar Bowl. I think Tressel's violation is considerably worse than Pearl's but that could just be a zillion losses talking.
Here's one bet on supplemental. Notre Dame terrorbeast Michael Floyd got hit with something between a garden-variety and Kevin Grady "Mickey Mouse is a dog" frightening DUI, getting pulled over with a .19 BAC after running a stop sign. That would warrant a game or two suspension at most places. At Notre Dame they have some jackbooted bureaucrats called the Office of Residence Life who are like every evil movie dean ever, though. Pot possession? Gone for the year… or out for the Purdue game*. Drankin'? No big deal or season-long suspension.
Which will it be? Well, that last link may be the most relevant: TE Will Yeatman got booted for a year for being one of 37 underage ND students ticketed at a house party. He had picked up a DUI in January for driving down the sidewalk with a .11 BAC. Floyd has not one but two underage drinking citations in his past and by exceeding .15 BAC has been charged with a more serious version of drunk driving. If precedent holds Brian Kelly is going to watch his best player get suspended by the dread Office and head to the NFL's supplemental draft.
*[I could not for the life of me find definitive word on what Ragone got hit with, but the NCAA says he played in every game except ND's opener.]
Just screwin' around for pi day. It turns out Zack Novak doesn't know 62 digits of pi:
He does know more than you do.
Etc.: Jalen Rose makes it very clear for anyone who still has trouble parsing Jalen Rose's very clear sentences. Ohio State rabble-rouser Bruce Hooley gets insta-fired for his comments about Tressel, and my reaction is admiration—people in Ann Arbor itself still have to deal with miserable schticky losers, let alone Detroit. Eamonn Brennan says Michigan fans have a lot to look forward to. Boston College fans shipped to St. Louis as four seed UNH gets to play at home are on-board with ditching the current regional format. The Bylaw Blog argues that anyone with a problem with the NCAA should really look at the NBA and NFL for providing zero alternatives. Nebraska won't add hockey even though they've got a multipurpose arena opening in 2013. The culprit is the usual: Title IX, a law made in a different world. In this one 57% of college students are women.
Dear people of the internet who without fail suggest that they will contain Michigan's offense by having a linebacker or safety "spy" Denard Robinson,
Please stop saying this.
A player placed in a spying role drops into a short zone on a pass play and is tasked with running down the quarterback if he breaks contain or starts scrambling. Denard Robinson doesn't really scramble. He prefers launching deep balls into whatever coverage you've got handy. You can put a guy in a spying role if you want but it won't do much other than make your defense more predictable on passing downs.
It will not do anything to slow the Michigan run game. When Michigan runs the ball with Denard your spy is just going to be playing run defense. This is hard against Denard, I know. However, telling one of your linebackers that he should watch for potential scrambles on pass plays does not help him on non-pass plays. Michigan runs the ball over 60% of the time. Denard Robinson scrambles maybe 3% of the time.
When you post on a message board or leave a comment on a blog that says "we should spy Robinson" like you're the second friggin' guy to ever think of this—your defensive coordinator is evidently the first—you should know that God throws a six-inch-tall Japanese schoolgirl with enormous glistening innocent eyes and a Hello Kitty lunchbox into a wood chipper.
Thank you for your attention.