landing spot. will be interesting to see how he does.
One topic that was brought up during your WTKA segment today regarding special teams was, "what happened to the kickoff return game?' You never addressed it during the segment, so I thought I would throw this at you.
I haven't done my Mgoresearch, but wasn't there a rule change regarding kickoff return team blocking? IIRC, the NCAA has limited the number of return team players allowed in a blocking wedge or wall.
I would have to look up video from previous seasons, but I believe U of M utilized a 3 man wall in front of the returners with Kevin Grady and others.
David is correct: the NCAA banned wedge blocking this offseason, which at least partially explains how an effective kick return game has disintegrated. If Michigan was really good at the wedge and now it's gone they're starting over. That doesn't explain why they're really bad, but does get you to average.
That lack of effectiveness and Darryl Stonum's increased importance to the offense make his removal from kick returns less annoying than it was earlier in the year. With Odoms out there's not much depth on the outside and Stonum wasn't getting any returns; it's possible that one-cut-and-go type stuff is less effective and kick returners should be shiftier guys closer to punt returners.
What do you think of Devin Gardner's expected plea for a medical redshirt? It's suspicious he's only played 1/3rd of the season and is eligible for the redshirt. If this is RichRod bending redshirt rules for an extra year of eligibility from Devin, isn't this a bad thing, like Saban's redshirts? We're not gaming the system for more scholarships, but we are gaming it for a competitive advantage, right?
The difference is that I'm sure Devin Gardner is 100% on board with getting a fifth year of eligibility. The Alabama players "encouraged" to take a medical scholarship would like to keep playing football and are being presented with an involuntary choice: transfer or medical, take your pick. I'm not too concerned about skating the edges of NCAA rules when it doesn't have a negative impact on the student-athlete the entire enterprise is supposed to support.
The timing is convenient but unless Michigan has an inordinate number of medical redshirts per year I'm not sure the NCAA would even bat an eye at a documented injury. Like, say, this:
That looks like exploitation. Michigan's pattern probably isn't that blatant, so what can you do when they say he was hurt?
Finally, concerns about looking bad to the NCAA are overblown. The worst thing that can possibly happen is the NCAA says no.
The future of defense. Many questions answered piecemeal:
One of the potential "benefits" of having so much youth on defense is that they could potentially lock down their positions for years. If that happens in any cases, can you explain whether there is any positional flexibility with this 3-3-5 alignment we're using?
Could Carvin move to FS?
Doubtful. His strengths and weaknesses make him an excellent fit for the spot he's at right now and not so much of an excellent fit at FS, where speed and raw athleticism are more important. Not that our current FS has those in buckets, but moving Johnson doesn't really solve that issue.
How is Marvin going to see the field if he's behind Kovacs? (who expected us to say something like that?)
Possibly by trying out free safety? This is the weird thing called "depth."
Could Furman or Hawthorne see the field anywhere?
Hawthorne is the third team spur behind two guys younger than him. The most likely career outcome there is special teams only. Furman is likely to move to OLB, where he'll need another year or two of seasoning before breaking through. Remember he was super raw out of HS.
Would Roh move to a true DE in this scheme or stay in this hybrid LB situation?
He's already a DE (mostly) against conventional teams. Michigan is a 4-3 or 3-4 base against conventional pro-style sets and Roh puts his hand down more often than not. So the question is really "will Roh play DE against spread teams next year?" That depends on how Jibreel Black, JB Fitzgerald, Brandon Herron, and other OLB/DEs (Wilkins, Paskorz, Furman) develop. I think the ideal situation sees Roh add another 10-15 pounds over the offseason to hit 265—he's listed at 6'5"—and becoming a full-time DE. Before Herron went down Michigan was using him as a 3-3-5 DE to good effect against Notre Dame, and we've all seen him struggle in space against Indiana.
Roh will probably remain a hybrid against pro-style teams, playing clunky LB when Michigan drops into the 3-3-5.
Could Cam Gordon move down to another spot?
If you can find a suitable replacement at free safety, but who's that? Kovacs? No. Floyd? Really bad tackler. Vinopal's made a lot of hay out of one play against Bowling Green but remains a true freshman as well. Ideally he'd move down to spur or bandit (or even OLB) but unless Michigan snags someone ready to start at FS from day one it's hard to see him relocate.
That's why the recruit I'd most like to get in February is JUCO safety Byron Moore, who qualified out of high school and transferred away from USC after a redshirt season to get playing time and scout out a new destination not being cratered by NCAA sanctions. As a big time recruit two years removed from high school with a year of PT under his belt, Moore is the closest thing to a quick fix at FS Michigan will ever have.
But wait, there's Woolfolk, right? Well a bit more on him later.
How do you see the open positions being filled in 2011 on defense to see if there's hope? I assume Jones and Demens will be the LB (backed up by Ryan, Bell, and any freshmen)
Yes, though Jones might field a challenge from parts unknown. It's hard to see anyone displacing Demens if only because there almost literally isn't anyone behind him on the depth chart at the moment.
I assume Black will be the DE (backed up by Heninger and the RS-Freshmen)
Yes, unless they go with Roh there—Black will find plenty of PT platooning—and Herron/Fitzgerald at the other OLB spot. With the lack of depth at DT that might be a way to spot Martin with RVB from time to time, as well.
Does Woolfolk automatically go back to corner or deep safety? I assume corner, but with the time Avery and Talbott are getting could he be better served protecting the deep ball?
Up in the air, something that will be decided based on the potential acquisition of Moore, Gordon's play the rest of the season, and how things work out in spring. Right now I'd say corner since Michigan plays a ton of cover three and none of the freshmen looks like they should be starting next year. Even if one of them develops quickly you'd like to have some depth at corner for nickel and dime packages.
And then there's this:
I liken the "Angry M hating God" to Yukon Cornelius and Hermey Scrivello from Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.
For instance, the M defense is the Bumble, ready to devour talking reindeer and #1 wide receivers accross the land. Then Yukon and Hermey show up unexpectedly and ruin everything. They rip out your teeth (Woolfolk) and force you to do stupid shit like hang Christmas ornaments or run only zone because you have lost the only thing that instilled fear in your opponent.
Our defense is the Bumble without teeth. Right now our pass defense is being shoved off a cliff every week until we grow new teeth or we realize we have claws to gouge the eyes of our opponent. I'm just sayin'.
I have nothing to add.
This week's enormous concern is something of a surprise, as I got a ton of emails about how terrible defenses from 2011 to 2014 may or may not be. I'm a little more concerned about Indiana, Michigan State, and Iowa, but I just answer 'em:
Here's the problem as I see it for next year.
Proven folks, either this year or the past (at least 70+% of snaps)
7. T. Gordon
Possibly semi-proven by end of year - have played meaningful snaps with game still in balance (at least 20-30% of the snaps in a game)
1. J. Black
2. C. Johnson
3. B. Herron
The rest of the lot do not seem to be seeing the field in a meaningful way to be considered remotely ready to play next year at a high level. So by my count we will have 8 EXPERIENCED, 3 SEMI-EXPERIENCED, rest is anyone's guess.
I'm worried that next year will not be better unless some of these backups get much more meaningful game play.
I think you're overrating time on the field as a way to develop when it's 39 hours out of a year. I'm sure it accelerates things to get personal experience with how opposing offenses vary, but when you're not playing games eight months of 12 and even when you are you're spending far more time practicing and working out the bulk of a player's improvement must come from off-field activities. For the best example in the history of the world:
That did not happen because Robinson got on the field last year, it happened because he spent eight months with his eyes taped open, jamming football into them 25 hours a day.
The real question is "how much experience, playing or not, will Michigan have in the two deep?" The answer should be considerably more. In the secondary:
- Free safety will go from two freshmen to two sophomores(+2)
- Bandit gets Kovacs and Robinson back(+2)
- Cornerback will replace Rogers with Woolfolk and get the four other guys another year of experience(+3)
On the line:
- Martin and Campbell will be the two deep at DT, replacing Martin and Patterson this year (-1)
- RVB and Black will be back; Sagesse and Banks will be replaced by redshirt freshmen (-6)
- Roh, Herron, and Jones return (+3)
- Spur gets Johnson and Gordon back(+2)
- Ezeh, Mouton, and Moundros are replaced by Fitzgerald, Demens, and I guess Leach(-2) but maybe a freshman, redshirt or true.
That's a ton more experience everywhere except DE, where one starter will presumably be a true sophomore and the backups will be redshirt freshmen or senior guys with no profile (Heininger and Watson). That goes double for many spots since the difference between a freshman and a sophomore is usually much greater than the difference between a junior and a senior.
Attrition can blow this all up, of course, and has already cost Michigan a number of guys who would be entering upperclass years in 2011. If Mike Martin goes pro early, it could have the same effect on the D that Donovan Warren's departure did (though I bet a dollar Martin gets drafted).
I thought the D would be considerably better this year than last. It's still got a shot, but the personnel issues are bleeding into the Rodriguez classes and depressing the outlook.
Would it be fair or unfair to conclude that at this point Coach Rodriguez hasn’t grasped the difference in admissions from WVU to UM or is all this continued attrition in year 3 kind of random and hard to explain?
At this point most of the blame for the excessive number of Clearinghouse issues in the most recent class has to fall on Rodriguez. Four players bombing out in one class with a few more on the borderline (Terry Talbott and IIRC a couple others, though I couldn't find any confirmation in a cursory googling) is too many. Carr had the occasional Quintin Woods or Marques Slocum, but they were, you know, occasional. They weren't 20% of a desperately needed influx of defensive talent. And with Demar Dorsey still not enrolled at Louisville, it's clear that none of the borderline guys were denied admission based on anything other than their ability to get past the Clearinghouse; this is not a communication issue.
I can't blame Rodriguez for taking a swing at Dorsey but he can't be surprised when it doesn't work out. Meanwhile, picking up Davion Rogers when you probably could have gotten a guy with about the same rankings and a better chance of getting in is unwise, as is offering and accepting a commitment from Antonio Kinard when his grades are such an issue. (Conelius Jones is an odd case since when he committed his grade point was supposedly 3.7.)
I'm guessing that when Michigan blew up last year pickings got slim as players questioned how long Rodriguez would be around and opposing coaches used that uncertainty like a sledgehammer, and so the staff decided to take a few more longshots. Hopefully that won't happen this year if Michigan rides a wave of Denard hype to a decent bowl and enters 2011 with expectations Rodriguez will be around for the near (and possibly distant, robot-filled) future.
Speaking of a distant, robot filled future…
(1) We've been losing some players early this season to transfers / etc. How does this play into pre-season predictions about our defense regarding 2011 and onward? (I think we already have some evidence about this year will go...) Is it remotely possible or likely to have one of the big ten's best 3 Ds by, say, 2013 or '14? EVEN IF we can get a couple 5-star corner and defensive backs for next year, would that make much of a difference given the learning curve for all freshmen?
(2) I note Michigan's conspicuous absence over the last couple recruiting class rankings at ESPN. I am not the "sky is falling!" type, but is this a case of "WAAAAAAY to early to tell"—ie, fear not, RichRod will deliver in due time—or can we assume a worse-than-michigan-average recruiting class this cycle? Does it depend more than we'd like to admit on the # of wins this year? Or, the timing of those wins? It would be bad to start 5 or 6-0, only to finish 6-6, where the losses are more recent in recruits' minds on Feb 1 signing day...
1) This was mostly answered above. About a top three D in the conference: 2013 is a long way off—this year's freshmen will be seniors. Anything's possible that far in the future. I doubt Michigan will have an outstanding D that year if only because there aren't many guys in that row of the depth chart by class who seem like obvious stars, and Michigan already lost a lot of guys who would be towards the top of the depth chart.
2) The contrast between Rodriguez's first recruiting class and a half—the whole one was ranked in the top ten by most services, the half mostly four-star guys—and his most recent one is obvious. This makes me believe the 2010 class, which was decently ranked but lost too many guys to be top 15, is an effect of a 3-9 season and the never ending torrent of negative media attention that Michigan fans know and loathe; that would also explain a chunk of Michigan's merely okay start to the 2011 class. If RR establishes himself long-term we should expect Michigan's recruiting to jump back up to the Carr level.
But not in 2011. At this point in the year a lot of recruitments are already wrapped up or moving towards it, so success this year will have more of an impact on 2012. If Michigan secures RR's job they will pick up kids like Zettel and Hart who would have already committed if this was a normal year, but it will be tough to go from where they are now to the usual array of four-stars.
In sum: defense not great for a while, but you knew that. Have I told you about the Denard?
I'm sure that you have been over this a million times as well, but what exactly is the redshirt rule? I mean is it "time played" related or is it snap related? Or is it something completely different? Sorry this may be a very stupid question, but I figured id go to the man to find out the correct answer.
This confusion is largely my fault for repeated suggestions that I'd still like to see Gardner redshirt despite his presence on three Michigan snaps thus far. The rule is: if you play at all, no redshirt. There is an exception for players who get hurt. If you are hurt in the first 30% of the season (rounded up, so the first four games) and are then injured, you can get an redshirt. Junior Hemingway got one, Mike Jones will get one, Brandin Hawthorne got one… etc.
So if Devin Gardner was to come down with tendinitis or something after the BG game, he could get an injury redshirt. I'm not sure about this but I think it's not uncommon for a player to get "injured" after a few games. I don't think that's going to happen with Rodriguez going all out to win games this season and apparently believes Devin Gardner is his second-best quarterback. Maybe next year? I'm still crushing on the idea of fifth year senior Devin Gardner being the starting QB in 2014.
Meanwhile in Devin Gardner's potential relevance
I I’ve been having a heated debate between some friends about Denard’s durability. I’m worried that opponents are going to take away the running backs in the run game, cover all the receivers and then let Denard run, therefore giving the defense an opportunity to pound and pound him again to see how durable he is. While I’ve been given all the “well, you can’t hit what you can’t catch” retorts, I am worried that against a very disciplined and physical defense, let’s say Iowa, that they’re going to let Denard run in the first half on purpose just so they can keep hitting him so he wears down in the second half. I feel like ND tried to do this and it didn’t work out too well for them, but they did manage to get some hits on him. I appreciate that Denard is taking what the defense is giving but at some point, I feel that a defense will let him run so much because they just want to hit him over and over again.
Am I being paranoid and there’s already a response in place (i.e. the plays where he runs and then throws to wide open receivers like Roundtree and T. Robinson) or is this a legit concern?
Keep up the great work.
This probably stems from Fred Jackson's comments after the ND game asserting that Notre Dame was responsible for Robinson running so much by their formations and alignment and defenses and whatnot. That sounds implausible on its face and didn't seem like it was happening when I UFRed the game. Michigan's zone read metric was 5-2=3, and about half of those were handoffs. Notre Dame may have encouraged Robinson runs by hauling ass after those flare screens and giving an occasional keep read on the ZR, but that was the difference between 28 carries and maybe 22.
- Robinson's going to run a lot on plays without even a read anyway.
- Any defense that tries to get Robinson to keep the ball when he does have a read is insane, and…
- Will probably only give themselves a few extra chances to hit Robinson at the expense of first downs.
I guess you could try it but since the chances of actually hitting the guy hard enough to impact his performance on any individual carry are very low, that's a gameplan that only the truly stupid would adopt.
Meanwhile in dilithium studies
intrigued by the raw speed we witnessed on Denard's scamper in South Bend (not to mention the unbelievable blocks --Omameh sledding Teo 7 yards through a safety AND throwing him down five-star-pancake-style! Roundtree blasting his dude! etc.) I felt compelled to apply some simple math to break down how quickly Robinson covered the 93 yards.
logic: Denard starts the play in the shotgun standing on the left hash of the 7 yard line
he receives the snap and darts off the right tackle with a jab step in/out of the hole, proceeds to the edge of the numbers at the 20 yard line, then sets his sights for the tuba on the other end of the field.
my simple math approximates a 27.295 yard hypotenuse from the snap to the twenty yard line (using sportsknowhow's ncaa field dimensions). add the remaining 80 yards and it's 107.295 yards or 98.11 meters.
I've run a stopwatch on this a few times and average 12.11 seconds which calculates to a 12.34 100 meter with pads, pigskin, jukes, and dreads. that's dilithium.
enjoying the ride,
so there you go.
Meanwhile in other paranoias
Hey Brian –
I am wondering what your thoughts are on the recent comments from incoming NCAA President Mark Emmert about him being in favor of handing out more harsh penalties for NCAA rule offenders. And if this in any way, shape or form could impact how the NCAA punishes Michigan?
I am slightly concerned about this. While our offenses are IMO, are much less egregious than what transpired at USC or what's currently going on at UNC, and do not involve allegations of receiving improper benefits or dealings with agents, how would you gauge the likelihood that they [the NCAA] might be looking to make a "punishment statement" with Michigan and really hit us with more harsh penalties than we might be anticipating?
Thanks in advance for your input / insights on this.
I think the level of concern expressed—slight—is about right. The NCAA has obviously stepped up its investigations, but nothing they've done so far is out of line with historical precedent. Marcus Ray missed half the '98 season because of contact with an agent, so holding out AJ Green or Marcell Dareus or everyone on UNC's defense doesn't represent a move to Xtreme Nforcement. It just seems like more of it. USC's penalty didn't seem harsh to me, it seemed just right. Meanwhile USC's basketball should have been obliterated and was not.
Michigan, meanwhile, has had some minor overages in a well-established category of offense and has proposed the same punishment everyone does: 2-for-1 giveback, restrictions on the number or abilities of coaches who did bad things. The NCAA might add a year of probation or something else comparatively minor, but that should be it, and then we can all move on.
Meanwhile in road games
FYI, U-M partnered with Zimride to provide an easy and convenient way to share a ride to away games. It's a private site or U-M and requires a university email address to post. Filling our cars = filling the rival's stadium with blue and maize!
It's free to use, check it out.
That is all.
Meanwhile in crazy hybrids
Ideally speaking, What kind of a quarterback do you think Rich Rodriguez wants for his offense? Denard Robinson, Terrelle Pryor, Pat White, Vince Young, Michael Vick, etc. Thanks!
Aren't those all kind of the same guy? I mean, Pryor and Young are taller, Robinson shorter, but all of them are kinda sorta the same guy. I think ideally Rodriguez would like a 6'4" or 6'5" guy who can stand in the pocket if he has to, but he'd also ideally like a guy with the explosive ability of Vick or Robinson. Problem is those guys essentially never come in the same package. The offense works either way, as Young, Vick, White, and Robinson have shown. And now I do something stupid and pick:
- Michael Vick
- Vince Young
- Denard Robinson
- Pat White
- Terrelle Pryor
Robinson's already a far more accurate passer than White ever was and seems about Pryor's equal (Pryor is more erratic but has more throws in his toolbox); he's more dynamic on the ground than both. Young was eventually an all-around passer while still maintaining that terrifying glide speed; Vick was probably the most dynamic quarterback in the history of the spread 'n' shred. Disclaimer: we have way more info on the four non-Robinson QBs here and he's liable to move down (or up!) based on future performance.
Michigan seems to be moving more in the Pryor/Young direction with Gardner and Kevin Sousa, both strapping lads in the 6'4"-6'5" range, but if Robinson 2.0 comes along Rodriguez will recruit that guy, too.
Do you think there is any chance we would see either Terrence Robinson or Kelvin Grady at RB in the fall?
With five somewhat viable options at tailback, probably not. The best chance to see that move is if Vincent Smith is not fully recovered from his ACL injury since all three are tiny jitterbug receiving sorts.
HOWEVA, if Michigan goes to more four-wide looks this fall you a dollar says whichever slot receiver isn't Roy Roundtree spends a lot of time motioning into the backfield to give Michigan some two-back looks. Martavious Odoms hasn't proven himself anything more than an okay runner, so Robinson and Grady might get some reps as the slot/RB hybrid. Both were tailbacks in high school (Robinson was also a spread 'n' shred quarterback and occasional receiver) and put up crazy numbers. They've also displayed or (been rumored to have) a hands of a stone-like substance.
Whether that happens will depend on a lot of things, primarily Smith's health again. If you've got Smith in the game you've already got a slot receiver who can play running back and then the other guy will probably be a Cox or Hopkins capable of going directly upfield with bad intentions. With that possibility, three veteran tight ends hanging around sucking up playing time that this slot/RB hybrid might otherwise get, and the presence of Odoms and Roundtree chances for Grady and Robinson to
After reading the notes on RR presser, how concerned should we be about the LB unit heading into fall camp? I was already concerned with this unit, but then I read this…
If Mark Moundros wins a linebacker position, he probably won't continue playing fullback. He's not just at linebacker as a gimmick, and there's a chance he'll get minutes there.
UM has 2 guys in Mouton and Ezeh who have 20+ starts each under their belt. They've got a couple other guys, Demens and Leach, who both saw a decent amount of action last year. Now granted, the performance of the LB's last year was not very good, but now a guy who I believe has played fullback his entire career at UM might actually get some minutes at LB (and I'm assuming RR wasn't referring to garbage time minutes)???
Is Moundros blowing up at LB? Are the returning LB's just not progressing like everyone had hoped they would? A combination of the two?
Keeping my fingers crossed that the 2011 recruiting class is stocked with some stud LB's.
I'm also leery of the idea Moundros finding playing time signals anything but more DOOM this fall. I remember Fitzgerald Toussaint squirting through a weak tackle attempt in the spring game and being relieved that the guy who missed it was Moundros because the assumption was he wouldn't play. But I'm also skeptical of the veracity of press conference statements about team-favorite, hard-working walk-ons. Sometimes public comments are made less for their accuracy and more for their effect on the team—remember the Johnny Sears hype?—and the idea Moundros could play a lot this season falls squarely in that realm.
Moundros obviously works like a dog if he's a team captain despite being a walk-on who hardly played last year; I'm guessing this gives him an advantage over his competition that the coaches would like to reward in an effort to get other people to work as hard as he does. If I had to bet I'd say Moundros is a consistent participant in the short-yardage and goal-line packages but doesn't get regular playing time in the base defense.
On the other hand, it's not like he could be that much worse, right? Michigan football is fun!
I know you briefly mentioned WVU's sanctions and the effect they might have on Michigan in yesterday's Voracity and seemed to deem them minimal, but do you have any idea whether this could possibly result in us forced to get rid of Rodriguez because he is "blacklisted" in the NCAA compliance book? I am in the camp that believes another coaching change at this point would be disastrous, and really think we are starting to turn a corner. It would really suck to lose Coach Rod just when we might be able start something special.
I'm not sure even the Bylaw Blog would be able to say much for certain about whether Rodriguez could be singled out for special sanction, since history would suggest it's not likely but the NCAA is in an era when they're attempting to change precedents. I don't think the WVU allegations are a major factor since they are essentially identical to the ones at Michigan. They may even help since the new regime apparently changed nothing. This isn't the equivalent of Kelvin Sampson because Sampson had already been sanctioned by the NCAA and immediately went back to the illegal-call well. Rodriguez can reasonably argue he was not knowingly flouting the regulations at either school. If he makes that case successfully he should be fine.
Even if he doesn't, the NCAA generally imposes like-for-like sanctions. If you commit recruiting violations to get players they reduce the number of players you can have and put recruiting restrictions on the school. If you go over practice limits you give them back two for one. I'm not sure what a like-for-like penalty specifically directed at Rodriguez looks like—not being able to attend practice?—and in any case Michigan's bent over backwards to cooperate, Rodriguez has no track record, and the violations are so minor that I'd be surprised if the NCAA did anything except put a nasty letter in RR's file no matter how many newspapers call Michael Buckner.
And consider this a follow-up to yesterday's post about bowls:
Brian, There is an incredible reference that you might be interested as you rally the troops this year to start the season. In Nathaniel Philbrick's new book 'The Last Stand" there is a reference to Custer leading a charge at Gettysburg with a Michigan contingent that might have won the war (pre SEC). From page 48:
As it turned out, all Stuart(Jeb) had to do was punch his way through a vastly outnumbered regiment from Michigan and victory was his, but as the Confederates bore down on the northern counterparts (who were outnumbered by four to one), an event occurred that changed the course of the battle and, arguably the war.
Custer, dressed in an almost comical black velvet uniform of his own design that featured gaudy coils of gold lace, galloped to the head of the First Michigan and assumed command. Well ahead of his troops, with his sword raised, he turned toward his men and shouted, "Come on, you Wolverines!" With Custer in the lead, The Michigander's started out at a trot but were soon galloping, "every man yelling like a demon."
A union leader mentioned later that this "was the most gallant charge of the war."
We should start a campaign to have Rodriguez sport velvet and gold lace. It is in this way our ascendance will be assured.
Phil Brabbs is going into the hospital for his second stem cell transplant tomorrow, and for the past few weeks they've been trying to hit a goal of 5000 fans for cancerkicker.org, the facebook site of their new Cancer Kicker Foundation. They need 500 more to make it today. Also, I don't know if you've seen their new Dominate fundraising shirt but despite the initial color scheme I think they look pretty good.
Yeah… someone please notify Phil that one of the shirt is scarlet and gray? Despite this flaw, support the cause.
Now that Nebraska will be joining the conference in 2011, what happens to the schedules? Teams have already released their schedules for that year, including 4 out-of-conference games and 8 conference games. I assume the Big Ten schedule will be modified but the other 4 games will be untouched. Any knowledge on that one?
The quick insertion of Nebraska into the schedule does pose problems for anyone who was hoping an additional conference game should be added, since just about everyone would have to cancel a tomato-can game, and suck up the penalties that come with that. That's not likely.
As far as revamping the conference schedules, as long as everyone's playing on the same dates it shouldn't be an issue. There's no reason anyone the Big Ten should have to move a bye week, and that's really all that matters. Nebraska might have to cancel or move a game, but that's part of the cost of switching conferences.
This article (below) on changes Jimbo Fisher is bringing to FSU made me wonder how much closer UM is to the late Bowden way of doing things than to the Saban / Fisher way of doing things. Specifically, in terms of ancillary staff and anything else you can do to give your program an edge by (mostly) spending money that most schools don't have, are we in the big leagues, or do we lag behind? For example, would we find it unseemly to have 9 full-time strength coaches? How many do we actually have? How many does OSU have? That's one metric. You can probably think of others.
"We had two full-time strength coaches other than our head strength coach," Fisher said. "We now have eight, and I'm about to hire the ninth guy."
To a fan of a perennial national title contender, this stuff probably doesn't sound revolutionary. It's not, which should help explain how far behind FSU had fallen in the 10 years since the Seminoles won their second national title by going wire-to-wire at No. 1.
I can't find this article any more and never actually posted about it because it was in my hopper right around the the time the Free Press initiated the jihad, but in August of last year someone* counted up the many coaching-type objects across the country and found that the national champion was none other than Michigan with, I think, 51. (None of whom filed CARA reports.) I started assembling a post about what all these people did, but googling was turning up virtually nothing and I shelved it until the report came out and it became clear that sometimes the people in the jobs themselves weren't sure what they should and should not be doing.
That was an expansion from the Carr days, mostly in the S&C department, but as long as it's legal I don't see why anyone would have a problem with it. The bits of it that are obviously an embarrassment, but presumably those won't be going on any further. If and when the NCAA reigns these spots with legislation, that will be fine, too, but the boat will just leak elsewhere.
*(Andy Staples at SI maybe? His archive only goes back six months.)
Hello Brian,Since Nebraska entered the Big 10, I was wondering how their recruiting would be impacted, especially now that they don't have as many games in Texas. Also, how will that impact existing Big 10 recruiting territories?Thanks a bunch.Respectfully,caesar
I don't think it will hurt Nebraska much. There will be some negative effect on Texas recruits who can no longer promise their families that they'll be able to attend a couple of local games per year, but as this space has discussed several times before the true genius of the Big Ten Network and the conference's ESPN/ABC contract is that with very limited exceptions*, every Big Ten football game is broadcast nationally as long as you have satellite TV or buy your cable provider's sports tier.
Decisions are still more likely to be made about quality of education and football program plus reasonable distance to home, in which case Nebraska still loses out to Oklahoma and Texas and beats almost everyone else when it comes to Texas recruits.
A more interesting effect to watch will be how Nebraska's recruiting shifts into Big Ten states, especially Illinois and Ohio. Nebraska has made a more concerted push into Big Ten territory as their walk-on program declined and their national recruiting increased. Last year the pirated IL S Corey Cooper away from Illinois and took OH RB Braylon Heard from WVU; this year they've got a couple OL from Big Ten country and DT Kevin Williams, who Michigan was also hot after.
On the other hand, Nebraska's 2008 and 2006 classes had zero recruits from the Big Ten region and 2007 had one three-star TE from Iowa and a two-star ATH from Cardinal Mooney. It's best for the conference if Nebraska keeps that up, since they'll be bringing in talent from Kansas JUCOs, Texas, Arizona, and California that other Big Ten schools have limited access to.
It's not likely, though, that Nebraska just keeps up their current recruiting and doesn't attempt to exploit their newfound attractiveness to recruits in the Big Ten footprint. They're not likely to win a lot of battles against Ohio State and Penn State. Williams nonwithstanding, if and when Michigan starts being Michigan again they're also not likely to take a bunch of kids away from a Michigan program with more local cachet. But the programs in the Big Ten that depend on talent from Illinois and Ohio that fall past the big guns could suffer at the hands of the Cornhuskers. This would hit Iowa and Michigan State most harshly.
*(Regional night games on ABC and the occasional nonconference road game that doesn't merit national attention in an era when any two BCS teams going head-to-head is a big deal.)
I was wondering if you could give me some insight on why we haven't taken the leap in going Varsity with our lacrosse programs. We appear to have one more women's sport than men's at the varsity level (women's rowing is varsity, men's rowing is club), so would that make it easier to add a men's sport under Title IX? If Lacrosse were the next sport to go varsity, would we also take the women's program?
Title IX compliance isn't based on the number of sports but the number of participants, which gives football a big overhang and usually forces everyone to carry at least one more women's sport than they do men's. For some reason, even rostered walk-ons count in Title IX calculations. Here's an ESPN article about K-State's 124-member football team that takes the stance that the problem in this scenario is lots of walk-ons and not the stupidity of counting a player who's not adding anything more than the cost of his pads to the athletic department's expenses.
Adding lacrosse as a varsity sport will necessitate the addition of a women's sport. I am not aware of any that have the organization or success that lax does, but some club team is going to get lucky.
Title IX, at least as it applies to college athletics, seems outdated to me. When 57% of college students are women the gender to be concerned about has switched, and when a sport like football takes in millions of dollars it seems like it shouldn't count at all. It's supposed to be about equal support, and football doesn't require support in many places.
Have you ever determined, if it's even possible to determine, how many national championship games Bo would have coached, if the BCS system existed while he was a coach?
It will depend on what crazy mixed up BCS system you want to adopt. Since the Harris Poll didn't exist when Bo was around, you can't replicate the current system. Since that current system is the final expression of "the voters are always right," though, we can just use the AP poll as a proxy. If we're going by that, Bo would have played in the national title game in 1976, when Michigan was #2 and had eight first-place votes. They would have played #1 Pitt.
There were a ton of close calls, though: 1989 (#3), 1986 (#4), 1985 (#5), 1978 (#5), 1977 (#4), 1974(#4), 1973 (#5), 1971 (#4 despite being 11-0). With many of those votes close and between teams will wildly varying schedules, the computers might have been able to swing Michigan into a title game in one of those years.
this thought was spurred by your mention of Boise St potentially being included in the Mtn West. Do you think that if Big 10 expansion steals Missouri & Nebraska away from the Big 12, it might lay the groundwork for TCU & Utah (maybe Boise, as well?) to step in to fill those vacated spots? Given these recent bits I've read about the Pac 10 and Big 12 working together to seal the deal on TV contracts west of the Mississippi, it seems to make sense that both leagues might be up for welcoming in the hot non-BCS schools out there. In fact, maybe the PAC-10 opens it's doors to Boise??
I know you've been critical of teams like Boise rising into the spotlight, due to strength of schedule issues. I definitely see where you're coming from, but I think it's great for the game to have teams like that step up. I do think this kind of seismic shift/realignment/expansion is an opportunity for these non-BCS teams to come to the table with the big boys and really prove their worth. Funneling teams like Boise, Utah & TCU into the 2 major conferences on the left side of the country really would make things pretty interesting, and, IMO, ends the possibility of BCS-busters, at least for awhile. Boise St joining the MWC really just continues the problems that already exist, even if the conference moves toward an automatic bcs bid. I think I'd rather have the good teams from the MWC sucked out into the BCS conferences, and have the remainder of the WAC & MWC relegated into a B-league with little chance of bursting the BCS bubble. What do you think?
Will be interesting to follow, for sure.
The way the current system is set up there is almost nothing a team like Boise State can do to actually deserve placement in the national title game. Any team from a BCS conference with one loss and a decent nonconference game or two is going to vastly exceed Boise's worthiness. One or two games against Pac-10 teams a year does not make a viable candidate when the chances of you, or any other serious national title contender, losing against the remainder of the WAC is close to zero. That's my only problem with Boise. Move them to the Mountain West and now maybe we're talking.
If we're talking about my ideal version of college football, it would be seven setups like the Pac-10 has now: ten team conferences that play a round robin. This would never happen, of course. Personally, I'd rather have the MWC as a second Big East than jamming more and more teams into big conferences with no clear winners.
Attached is a spreadsheet showing our redzone efficiency since 2003. I have tracked various stats from the 2003 season forward and this happened to be one of them. This is % of points scored based on 7 pts per trip. Before the Illinois game we were right about average on offense and much better on defense (about the only thing the defense had consistently done well, thank God, otherwise things could really be ugly). I couldn’t find the national numbers prior to 2007 so I used an average of 2007-2009 (to date). The national numbers are assuming no 2 pt conversion and no missed xps. At that sample size I can’t imagine the other years straying too far from this figure.
National average: 69%
|Offense||RZ Trips||RZ pts||RZ efficiency||Defense||RZ Trips||RZ pts||RZ efficiency|
|2009 (wo/ Ill)||31||153||71%||2009 (wo/ Ill)||30||120||57%|
What does this say? I'm not really sure other than maybe Red Zone efficiency isn't incredibly important. The horrible 2008 offense was not that far off the average and actually better than the 2004 and 2005 teams; the beyond horrible 2009 defense was actually considerably above average.