spoiler alert: i linked this
— Purdue University (@LifeAtPurdue) March 3, 2016
WELL NOW I CAN'T CLOSE MY EYES AND RELAX EVER AGAIN ARE YOU HAPPY PURDUE
you probably are
damn you purdue
More work for Chief Enunciator Ace Anbender. Michigan's hired former Hawaii and Cleveland Browns coach Tony Tuioti as Chris Partridge's replacement. Michigan seems to be consciously trying to have one guy who is super-connected with every fertile recruiting ground they can find. While Hawaii might not be a likely spot for recruits, Tuioti is Polynesian. Polynesia is kind of a location you can get recruits, sometimes ukelele-playing recruits with massive manes of awesome hair who can play fullback and tailback. These are good recruits to get.
Greg Sankey has lost in the court of public opinion. He'll probably win in the court that matters, but it's nice to see that the portions of the media not completely dependent on the SEC for food and shelter* aren't buying what Sankey's selling one bit. Dan Wetzel:
College players can't negotiate the time off that NFLers have – organized team activities for the pros don't begin until late April and often not until late May. That's four or five months off for most players. Somehow the sport thrives. In college you get less than two – which doesn't even count crack-of-dawn "voluntary" weight training sessions just a week or so after a bowl game.
No one seems too concerned about that.
To focus solely on the issue of a handful of off-campus spring practices by one school, however, is to engage in absurd selectivity. The idea that players need spring break to themselves is a nice concept, but not some irrefutable argument.
Many players, just like most regular college students, can't afford to go away for spring break, no matter what the old movies claim. The majority of cash strapped "normal" students probably use the time to work.
A breeze floated in off the Gulf of Mexico a few miles west. The temperature had just dropped into the 60s following the sun’s plunge into the pink horizon. As darkness fell and palm trees swayed, Michigan tight end Jake Butt discussed getting his spring break ripped away by his taskmaster coach.
“We don’t have to worry about classes now. All we can focus on is football, and then we’re out on the beach relaxing. It’s unbelievable,” Butt said Tuesday. “Not everyone on our team is going to be able to take a spring break to get away. We’re away. We’re down here in Florida. Beautiful territory. Sun shining. Not too hot. Nice breeze. Eating great food with our brothers. I don’t have anything negative to say about it.”
What, you thought he was going to complain?
Are college sports power brokers actually concerned that Michigan's football players will be working on out patterns instead of holding down the business end of beer bongs? I doubt it. To the contrary, I think their supposed reservations are basically a tell—you know, the subtle tip-off a bad gambler does when he's bluffing—that lets the rest of us know just what actually matters in major college sports.
Hint: it isn't making sure football players have a relaxing Spring Break.
Bob Wojnowski caught up with a local high school coach who had a couple of insightful quotes:
“Because I also coached in college for years, I realize the value of what these kids are experiencing,” Gerber said. “Most of these kids aren’t gonna afford a spring break. And if you watch the tempo and demeanor of the practice, it’s purposeful, but they’re not bludgeoning them. It’s a learning environment. This has been very well thought out.”
I has occurred to me that the local media probably doesn't mind a working vacation in early March.
*[Or, like Michael Weinreb, have a contract with the devil requiring a concern troll about Michigan every six months.]
Hello: Jerry Kill? Per Sid Hartman, Jerry Kill might end up with a job in Ann Arbor if he wants it:
This week Kill spent time with his close friend, TCU coach Gary Patterson, and could wind up on his staff. Kill has always been close to Jack Harbaugh, father of Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh, and rumors around the Big Ten are that a job on the Wolverines staff is his if he wants it.
With Michigan's full assistant roster complete that would be one of those analyst positions that's come open as those gents move up the ladder. Everybody loves Kill and he has an impressive track record of dragging maximum performance out of iffy recruits, so that would be an excellent move.
A Fanhouse oral history. The Comeback has an enormous oral history of Fanhouse which is an excellent insight into how the first corporate sports blog rose and fall. I was a part of it from the beginning and faded away towards the end; only one of my completely fire takes made it in the story:
Brian Cook, college football blogger, FanHouse: I think hiring Mariotti was the most tone-deaf ridiculous thing they could have possibly done. Because he was just a blowhard, right? One of the things Spencer Hall says about SB Nation is [it's] the [internet's] the only sports appreciation machine. We weren’t lecturing from the top of a mountain like a lot of newspaper people tend to do. We were just fans being fans. And when you bring in the guys that do talk at you from the top of the mountain, do the Mariotti stuff, it’s completely antithetical [to] what the whole point of the enterprise was.
Fanhouse was an important bridge for me personally, as it allowed me to focus on MGoBlog without digging into savings. But this here site remained my focus because it wasn't tough to predict that AOL would not be in the content game long term. As a #content factory Fanhouse produced almost exclusively disposable content. Meanwhile it was difficult for it to have any specific voice when so many different people were contributing to it. The structure of the compensation—pay per post with a monthly on top of it—lent itself to lots of posts that took little time. The results were what you might expect.
Spencer's take on it is correct:
Spencer Hall, college football blogger, FanHouse, now editorial director of SB Nation:FanHouse was pretty good, but I don’t get sentimental over it. And honestly I don’t remember, I couldn’t name a thing that was written on FanHouse 10 years later. I could not name one piece that neither I nor anyone else wrote on FanHouse. I think it was a happy accident that I don’t want people to sanctify, which I would pretty much say about anything. I’d just like you to remember it accurately. It gave a lot of really cool people their first high-profile chance. I think in terms of mistakes, a lot of mistakes that the people running FanHouse made led to good things down the road.
Fanhouse was an early adopter and as such doomed to the same fate early adopters usually meet. It was housed in a large corporation that didn't really know how do to anything except its declining legacy business. It had some smart people in upper management; they were smart enough to know that they should get out while the getting was good. Those who remained thought Jay Mariotti was a good idea, and the story writes itself from there.
Fetch Tony Barnhart's fainting couch. If the man with Greg Sankey's hand up his back thinks it's "inappropriate" to issue barbs at another conference's commissioner there's no way he'll manage to stay upright after this:
Suggestion to my Rocky Top colleague, rather than lunch in Florida you might spend your time and focus attending to your present team.
— Coach Harbaugh (@CoachJim4UM) March 3, 2016
Tennessee is of course facing a Title IX lawsuit focused on Butch Jones's program, one that featured an explosive affidavit from a former player in which he asserted that Jones called him a "traitor" for helping a victimized woman.
Get The Picture deconstructed an earlier Barnhart article if you're still fisk-inclined.
Graham Glasgow on Harbaugh. Ain't no time for feelings around these parts any more:
"He's treated everyone in our program essentially, not like a child, but he treated them like an adult -- like, as a man," Glasgow said. "And every talk he had with you would be man-to-man. He was brutally honest about everything."
This is probably the least surprising quote about Harbaugh I've ever heard. It is interesting that it seems like a departure from Hoke.
This is a good interview. The Daily catches up with an outraged Joe Cecconi:
TMD: Who is messier, you or Cooper?
Cecconi: Cooper. I always clean up. His side of the room is disgusting. He’s got all his guitars and his amps and all that crap everywhere.
TMD: Is it annoying living with somebody who makes so much noise making music?
Cecconi: He actually goes downstairs, to be honest. Sometimes he’ll give me a performance, and I’ll be tired and it helps me fall asleep, so it’s good.
TMD: Why weren’t you featured in his recent song?
Cecconi: I don’t know. I got to talk to him about that. I’m not too happy.
Tension in the locker room.
Etc.: Eliminating pro-rel in soccer would be terrible for everyone except the elite few, but some Brandon figure named Charlie Stillitano thinks it's a great idea. All five of Michigan's current 2019 hockey recruits have been invited to the NTDP evaluation camp. Kirby Smart spent more on plane travel than Harbaugh did. Jim Harbaugh's son might accidentally get elected to student government.
It's time to update MGoBlog to the latest version of Drupal. I'm looking for a Drupal developer who is familiar with MGoBlog to create a version of the site in Drupal 8. This is a contract job; if you're interested there would also be an ongoing maintenance aspect as we tweak the site and add bells and whistles.
Requirements are somewhat flexible since Drupal 8 and its contrib constellation are still in flux, but an outline:
- implement a modern responsive theme for the site that we already have mocked up
- implement a Drupal 8 version of the XML RPC module that allows Windows Live Writer to work in 6
- implement as much of the current site functionality as possible given the state of contrib (userpoints not working will be a major issue, for one), adding as contrib fills in
- make sure performance is at least as good and hopefully better than the existing site
- migrate content, taxonomy, diaries, and users, in some form. I am completely happy to leave previous content behind in static pages as long as the URLs remain the same and you can still get to them in some form from the tag pages.
Budget is "I don't know, I've never budgeted something like this." I am expecting something in the five digit range. You will know better than I what is feasible if you're a good candidate. Timeframe is 3-6 months, but is flexible since we are aiming at a moving target. Email me at [email protected] if you're interested.
Assorted thoughts about the demise of the best thing. This was going to be a UV and then it got out of control.
The bad thing was handled well
Before we talk about Grantland at its best, let's talk about it at its worst. In January of 2014, Grantland published a story about a transgender golf-club purveyor. The story made a convincing case that this person was a fabulist and crackpot, and then at the end threw in an "oh by the way" that this person had killed themselves. It was clear the reason was at least indirectly this very article that you are reading right now. It was breathtakingly tasteless.
The internet noticed, eventually. The backlash to this story was proof that a lot of people will share a longread™ without actually reading it, so twitter was filled with a series of people saying "what a great story" while their mentions filled up with "did you actually READ this?!?!" over the course of the next few days.
Grantland—and by "Grantland" we are talking about Bill Simmons and whatever inner circle told Bill Simmons to hire all the people he hired—took stock. A few days later they responded in two parts. One was an essay by Christinia Kahrl, a transgender baseball writer for Regular ESPN, that detailed the various ways in which everyone had fucked up. The second was an essay from Simmons himself that detailed exactly what happened and how they had fucked up. While Simmons put his name on it because that was what the situation demanded, it's better—more accurate—to read the thing as a collective document from the inner circle that brought Grantland to life. To my eyes it is appropriately contrite, honest, and forthcoming about things.
There are a ton of media companies that will ignore criticism of their work no matter how clearly shoddy it is in retrospect. Not to invoke the dread specter of politics, but a recent three-part NYT series on immigrant-owned nail salons turns out to be about 110% bullshit; the Times issued some blather about how they stand by the story and moved on. Grantland seemed to take their problems seriously:
Caleb’s biggest mistake? Outing Dr. V to one of her investors while she was still alive. I don’t think he understood the moral consequences of that decision, and frankly, neither did anyone working for Grantland. That misstep never occurred to me until I discussed it with Christina Kahrl yesterday. But that speaks to our collective ignorance about the issues facing the transgender community in general, as well as our biggest mistake: not educating ourselves on that front before seriously considering whether to run the piece.
When confronted with a major issue the impulse at Grantland was to tell everybody exactly what happened and adapt so it doesn't happen again, something that is a distinct late-Gen-X shift in approaches to these things. That'll be the standard way to handle these events in 30 years. Not so much now.
My wife literally wailed about where Brian Phillips was going to go when I told her that the jig was up, and I still think that Grantland at its worst was kind of Grantland at its best.
[After THE JUMP: hiring strikes, it's not about the money, snobbery, and a third way]
Hello. This is an attempt to give you a 1,000 foot view of Michigan's current recruiting class. It lives as a wiki post under the "Useful Stuff" heading as well, and can be updated by anyone with 500+ points.
not eligible sry [Patrick Barron]
We assume Michigan will go to 28.
Michigan has 16 open spots right now plus three specialists who may be on one of those "you get the first spot that opens up" kind of deals. In addition there are 2-4 guys who probably won't get fifth years.
Thus Michigan is expecting to lose at least 5-8 current members of the roster (other than fifth years) before Signing Day. (Big Ten rules prevent teams from oversigning unless they can explain where the scholarship is coming from.) That's not an inordinate number given the roster composition, the sudden possibility of NFL interest, and the fact that this is the first year of a new coach. We know of one guy who is already planning a playing-time transfer, FWIW, and there are no doubt more.
CURRENT CLASS SIZE
We are not considering Dele Harding a commit. He was removed from the Rivals commit list and any insider you poke will tell you they don't expect him to end up at Michigan.
We have also heard that some of the camp commits in the class were explicitly offered grayshirt deals. We are not exactly sure who, but depending on how things go Michigan could end up with extra spots in the class as guys reclassify to 2017 or take opportunities for 2016 elsewhere.
In addition, Chris Evans, Kingston Davis, and David Reese have all announced plans to take visits and should be considered soft commits.
So: the current class is somewhere between 14 and 20 guys. Welcome to 'crootin.
ROOM LEFT AND WHO MICHIGAN IS TARGETING
Michigan can take somewhere between 8 and 14 additional players. They are targeting approximately
- one running back
- one wide receiver
- one tight end
- one OL
- one kicker
- two or three DL
- two or three LB
- one or two CB
- one or two S
The only spot that is definitively full right now is QB.
MICHIGAN FOOTBALL 'CROOTIN OVERVIEW
|DECENT SHOT||TOP GROUP||LEADER||HARD
|RB (2)||K. Davis*||K. Enis|
|WR (2 +1)||
|Slot (1)||P Young
|TE (1+1)||D Asiasi||
|DT (+1)||B Tagaloa||R. Weaver|
|NT (+1)||K Camp
|SDE (1)||C Murphy||R. Johnson|
|WDE (1+1)||T Lucas#||Q Alexander||C Kemp|
|SLB (0)||J McCulloch|
|ILB (3+1)||D Jackson||C Kelly
D Bush Jr
|CB (8+1)||A. Richardson
|S (1+1)||A Posey#||J Fuller
|L Jackson||D. Gil
|P/K/LS (0+1)||Q Nordin|
commits in bold
Latest Updates: Debut
Ace: "I only want to note that I didn’t write the lyrics for this song"
He hid it pretty well. And impressively, Ace's friends and Facebook friends stayed loyal through the entire search. But there are deep corners of the internet. Deeper than the places even an internet wizard like Ace knows about. I'm talking about Russian servers that downloaded everything free music sites were putting out in 2002 before the DRM people got good at it. Even if the servers have been wiped, the information is still there. Information like the names of band members (excavated from Twitter by kevin holt):
@cjane87 Holy crap, Jonny has made some major moves since being the drummer in our high school ska band.
— Ace Anbender (@AceAnbender) May 29, 2015
Like a woolly mammoth from the 2000th century BCE, it takes only a small effort to bury things and a massive coordinated project to dig it back up. This could not have been unearthed without the help of a massive team of excavators. In particular user Knight followed the crumb above to get where JZ, Dave and I did last night (we were working through a list of local ska bands), then took it a step further by finding a recording in the Ann Arbor District Library. A2Photonut and Skurnie both got the track from the library and emailed it to me. The latter, whom you may remember as the guy who writes our M soccer posts, also offered a suggestion:
Now we need someone to mash up this song with a Happy Gilmore montage.
Done. If anyone else would like to lose their dignity in solidarity, here's the thread.
SO MANY CLICKY CLICKS
Hello. At MGoBlog, we link all kind of things. Some of these things are behind paywalls. We've always tried to leave something useful behind those paywalls, whether that's by only quoting a few sentences or leaving it alone for days or months before we get around to our post on Player X. (With few exceptions, this site goes for thoroughness over immediacy.) But occasionally what we do raises hackles.
Sometimes we get yelled at for quoting people. Sometimes we get yelled at for not quoting people. Usually when people get mad I say "if you want we can stop using your stuff" and they say "well…," because a link with a ($) is also an ad for them. Comments here will occasionally say "I dropped my subscription to X because of MGoBlog" and while that's accurate for that guy it's clearly not accurate for everybody.
Here's the lay of the land when it comes to Michigan recruiting sites.
What we do
We have twice-weekly roundups of whatever's out there, from the three major recruiting services (Rivals, 247, and Scout) or newspapers or blogs with original reporting.
When a player commits we do a Hello post that summarizes the player's rankings, offers, stats, and scouting. We'll revisit them after Signing Day in the recruiting profiles.
What they do
Daily updates with indications as to where recruits are leaning—not gospel, broadly accurate. More in depth scouting. Some video, though these days Hudl has all the highlights you care to watch.
They also have program stuff—every site had extensive coverage of the coaching search. While that doesn't differentiate them much from this space, they have insider stuff on practices, players to watch, coaching moves, the works. The recent shoe contract negotiations are a better example. Most of them were publishing stuff about it more frequently than we did.
In general, they publish more, and more frequently, and are better-connected to the program. We will use a subsection of their posts later—often months later—in order to give you an overview of the recruiting situation or a particular player.
Why to subscribe
If you go into withdrawal between Monday and Thursday recruiting roundups; if you would like to have a very good feel for where player X is leaning; if you want their scouting more completely and (sometimes) much more quickly; if you want the comprehensive inside chatter now and not later.
Each also has a message board community. We have a message board community, but it's not for everybody. It can be harsh around here for people who don't fit; it is possible that certain MGoBlog readers will find a community of like-minded fans on a premium site elsewhere. That alone can be worth more than the cost of admission.
[After THE JUMP: an overview of your options.]