fair point that
Michigan brought in a ton of kids this weekend there are solid rumors that a number of the committed but are waiting to announce. The issue: Michigan is currently sitting at 22 commitments after FL CB Adrian Witty officially qualified and PA CB Cullen Christian committed. In addition, the entire planet expects FL DE Clarence Murphy and FL CB Tony Grimes' signing day announcement to be a mere formality. That would leave one spot before Michigan runs up against the NCAA-mandated 25-per-class maximum.
Teams have been getting around this for years by enrolling a few kids early and counting them against the last class, something the NCAA rulebook specifically provides for. Diarist Umhero has pored through the 2009-2010 NCAA manual and finds the bylaw that governs early enrollment:
22.214.171.124.2 Recruited Student-Athlete Entering after Fall Term, Aided in First Year. [FBS/FCS] A student-athlete recruited by the awarding institution who enters after the first term of the academic year and immediately receives institutional financial aid (based in any degree on athletics ability) shall be an initial counter for either the current academic year (if the institution’s annual limit has not been reached) or the next academic year. The student-athlete shall be included in the institution’s total counter limit during the academic year in which the aid was first received.
This is part of this year's NCAA manual and is unchanged from last year.
The reason Umhero went over all this is that GBW recruiting guru Sam Webb has repeatedly stated on WTKA that this rule has been changed and backdating is no longer allowed. This would be bad. If Michigan experiences any attrition between now and February, they will be going into the fall down scholarships because the 25 limit tripped them up.
FWIW, I asked SID Bruce Madej about it and he said he believed that was the case; when I pinged back with that bylaw he said he had to talk to compliance.
Before Witty qualified and Christian committed, poster cypress put in a useful comment that counts up all the guys on scholarship next year and the recruits currently committed and came up with three open slots in a recruiting class of 23. I don't think his count is 100% correct. It includes Cone, who indicated his departure by walking on senior day. Other assumptions made:
- Sheridan is listed, who is going to be fourth-string at best and is the son of the Giants' defensive coordinator. Chances are that family can swing tuition.
- Kelvin Grady may or may not be guaranteed a scholarship down the road. Earlier in the year it seemed like Grady was technically a walk-on who would get scholarships if they became available.
- It does have Kovacs.
- It does not have Morales, Leach, or Moundros. Morales is a safe omission since he is not the starting long-snapper. The other two might be first in line if scholarships are available.
- It assumes all fifth-years return. This is potentially dodgy in the cases of Adam Patterson and Bryan Wright.
- It assumes no attrition before signing day.
Some or all of these may be incorrect.
Michigan is at 22 recruits and have at least three more slots with Cone's departure and the assumption that Sheridan is not on scholarship.
If the back-dating rule has not changed I think they can bring in a full 28. There are two obvious fifth-year seniors who may not be invited back if Michigan latches onto a recruit they think that can help them, and unless Michigan gets lucky there is probably going to be some attrition between now and Signing Day. If they can bring in 28 without hijinks they can take their 25 now and sit around on Signing Day attempting to snake-oil big names; if they can't they might have to…
Pull The South Carolina
If Webb is right, and he's probably getting his information from someone in the department whose job is to know these things, then Michigan is probably almost full right now and any pleasant surprises like CA RB Dillon Baxter or FL WR Kenny Shaw would necessitate someone getting put on a slow boat to either another school or a grayshirt.
Michigan did this with a couple of recruits last year. It's kind of a nasty move but the guys Michigan gave a nudge to ended up at Oklahoma State and Kansas, so they landed on their feet. I feel for Dewayne Peace, who's probably been told that his mother died because she was so disappointed in him, but "mutually parting ways" before signing day is a venial sin compared to the Alabama method.
I don't think that will or want that to happen; as you'll see in Wednesday Recruitin' a lot of the "we're totally in it for this guy from really far away!" has melted away into Michigan explicitly trailing other schools that have yet to receive officials, a situation that virtually never results in a good result. The most likely outcome for the recruiting class is that it adds Grimes and Murphy plus one other defender—Webb has a "gut feeling" on Josh Furman, FWIW—and ceases there as everyone grumbles about two more slot receivers.
Right. Michigan gains commitment from defensive back. There was much rejoicing? We'll find out after the informative update.
OK, now that I've had time to collect my thoughts, Michigan has gained a commitment from Louisiana Safety Carvin Johnson. Time for the...
Yes, informative update. I thought Brian was the only one around here with a bolded alter ego though.
Uh, OK. On to the update.
|NR S||NR DB||Not in Database|
As you can see, Johnson is a COMPLETE STUD that the recruiting services ABSOLUTELY LOVE and have even HEARD OF. One of the few snippets out there on him comes from his coach, as shared by Josh Helmholdt in the Free Press:
Johnson is not even ranked on Rivals.com and his film has not made its way around the nation. Rummel coach Jay Roth said Johnson is a player who is effective in both pass coverage and run support.
“He’s a 6-1, 195-pound safety who is very aggressive and physical,” Roth said.
You could say that about pretty much any safety, even guys that have profiles on all three recruiting services! On a more serious note, he's NewOrleans.com's #48 player in the state of Louisiana (Drew Dileo is #46).
Johnson is a two-sport starter, serving as an outfielder on the Raiders baseball team. Football is clearly his best sport. "He's a fierce hitter. He has great hands and good instincts for the ball," said Rummel Head Coach Jay Roth.
Nice backhanded complement about the kid's baseball ability. I can just tell we all need more Jay Roth in our lives:
The Raider defense, led by defensive lineman Myles O' Brien, linebackers Chris Randle and Phil Helmstetter and safety Carvin Johnson, has been superb, according to Roth. "Our defense is the reason we are 5-0. The defensive coaches and players carry a certain swagger. They practice hard, study film and they are experienced."
Hooray. He was also the single reason NewOrleans.com saw fit to rank his school in its preseason top 10.
10) RUMMEL--Carvin Johnson is a stud on defense and on punt returns
So, yeah, he's probably the most important player on a good team (9-0 on the season, only allowing 8.3 points per game to opponents). That probably means at least 3 stars when the dust settles.
The Helmholdt article again comes in handy:
Michigan was one of the first to recognize Johnson’s talents. “It was early on in the spring that they offered me,” Johnson reported. “They say I fit pretty well in their defense. If I were to go there, I would get a chance to play early on..." Besides U-M, Johnson has received scholarship offers from Minnesota, Utah, Tulane and Tulsa.
The timing on the Michigan offer is odd, considering most had never heard of the guy until his official visit for the Penn State game. He may be a true sleeper, since the Wolverines thought him offer-worthy so long ago, but no other suitors have come a-callin'. For the record, his Rivals profile also lists offers from Louisiana Tech and Northern Illinois.
Recruits with no profiles are typically pretty difficult to find stats on. However, Coach Roth comes through for us again:
Carvin Johnson has done everything we could possibly ask for--help at wide receiver on offense, stars at defensive back and has returned three punts for touchdowns.
The rest of the information comes in snippets like this...
After a Carvin Johnson interception,
...from various game stories. His full season stats should take a while to dig up and compile, but he has at least 3 interceptions on the year, as well.
FAKE 40 TIME
The NewOrleans.com article pegs him at 4.68, which doesn't sound fake at all for a BCS-caliber safety. In fact, I give it negative one FAKE out of three.
Players without recruiting profiles do not have highlight videos available on the internet. That's just the way it is. Hopefully, there will be some freely-available video sometime soon.
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
Flimsy evidence ranges from "We are recruiting sites and we have never heard of this kid" to "we cover high school football in the area, and this guy is the Tim Tebow of defense." Wide ranging indeed. I would tend to believe a little bit of both. When recruiting sites haven't heard of a guy despite his BCS offers, there's a reason for that. When his high school is ranked in the preseason, and the only reason given by a local media outlet is his mere presence on the team, there's also a reason for that.
His interceptions and punt returns speak to both his athleticism and ball skills. His defense's performance against some pretty good talent in New Orleans area, with him as the star of said defense, speaks to the fact that he could probably start for Michigan Saturday if he showed up in Ann Arbor tomorrow.
With a dearth of quality bodies (...or any bodies) at safety for Michigan right now, any defensive back is a good defensive back. The staff clearly loves him and thinks they've uncovered a sleeper, given the early offer. He'll probably be a special-teamer in year 1 (or after a redshirt), and work his way into the defensive rotation by his third year on campus.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
None. Michigan still needs a million more defensive backs of all varieties. A prospect like this certainly won't do anything to scare away more highly-rated guys, and if he does, the Michigan coaches need merely pop in a lowlight tape from this year's defense. He does potentially help out down the road, without scaring anyone away.
You'd like to see the remainder of Michigan's defensive back pickups be of the 4/5-star type, but given the early offer, this is a "trust the coaches" pickup.
Etc. Shoutout to mgouser umhero for making my Googlestalk slightly easier. Posbang this post, folks.
This was a regular feature at my old site, and it will make occasional appearances here, though not nearly with the frequency of before. The nitty gritty details are after the jump, but the overview is here for your perusal:
|Big Ten Recruiting Class Rankings 2009|
|Rank||Team||Commits||Rivals Avg.||Scout Avg.||ESPN Avg.|
Rivals numbers are "RR Rankings," with unrated guys getting q 5.0. Scout numbers are simply stars, with 1* for unrated guys, ESPN's numbers are their arbitrary grades, with unrated players deemed worthy of 40 points. Full data after the jump.
First, a request for assistance:
I don't know if you or any of your readers might be able to help, but I'm trying to find a recording of a song. I saw a poster for some sheet music at Mr. Stadium Laundry that contained a song called "The Michigan Drinking Song." From what I've been able to find from my Google searches, it was written around the turn of the century and was voted "Favorite College Song" in the 1905 Michiganesian and included in "The Michigan University Songbook" published in 1904. It was written by M.B. Cooper.
My friends and I find it hard to believe that there's no recorded version of this song, and if it's not too much trouble, we'd really like to find it. Thanks for any help you can provide.
I don't know if I can help, but may be a reader can?
Moving on to other matters:
Have you considered year-end awards for the best diaries, board posts, or other community contributions? If so, and if it happens this year, I’d like to nominate Misopogon’s “How Tate Stacks Up Against M QBs of 2005-2008” for best diary – because, you know, holy crap. In fact, maybe the award should be called the Misopogon?
That would be something the community should do, as it's community content. I'm not sure anything can be derived from the board since it moves so fast and has so many tiny posts, but some recognition for the fine diarists who provide a lot of value to the site is in order. After the season I'm planning to implement a subscription option where for a nominal monthly fee you can get rid of the ads, and if there's some sort of user-generated awards thing I'll throw some freebies out to the winners.
Are Roh and Kovacs outside linebackers in disguise? I know they aren't perfect fits, but given our lack of depth and GERG's willingness to move people around, do you think that the coaching staff is at least thinking about this a little?
Also, in the other football, will/should Dempsey start at forward now?
Roh: no. Roh is 230, maybe 240 right now and will add 10-30 pounds over the course of his Michigan career. He's a defensive end all the way and will probably be a four-year starter at deathbacker if he doesn't end up moving to Graham's spot. Kovacs: maybe. I don't know if I've kicked this around on the blog yet, but I have mentioned it on WTKA: I think Kovacs might move to the Stevie Brown SLB/nickelback/spinner position next year if they can find any freakin' safeties. I think that's unlikely given the depth chart at safety and the recruitment of Hawthorne/Jones to play the Brown spot, but if they move a couple guys and someone steps up it's at least a vague possibility. I think Kovacs's skills are well suited for what Brown's currently doing. They're better suited to that than they are the deep centerfield he's been playing; moving Woolfolk to corner has just sprung a different leak in the secondary.
Shameless answer to the irrelevant Dempsey question: absolutely. Dempsey is mostly a striker in the EPL and has done his best work with the Nats after late-game moves up top. The alternative is… um… Conor Casey? I'd rather see Holden or Torres on the field. Maybe that's because I missed the brace against Honduras. But, no, probably not.
After the 3-9 debacle last year, obviously recruiting wasn't going to be as impressive this year. But what do you think about the defensive recruiting (or lack there of) at key positions?
I know Michigan is in on a number of good cornerbacks including Cullen Christian, Tony Grimes, and Rashad Knight (Though Christian could play safety and Knight is being recruited as one), but it seems like the staff is recruiting too many "project" players who will switch positions in the coming years before they settle in. The fact of the matter is this team has no real free safety type (Woofolk moved to CB), and the primary safety commit, Marvin Robinson, is headed to the Stevie Brown/SAM linebacker position.
Also, the defensive line has a number of players who fit the Craig Roh mold (Wilkins for sure, Paskorz maybe?), but a lack of a real Graham-like DE. Talbott is a very explosive player who I think will be underrated. Couple that with Antonio Kinard as the only LB commit (have you seen our LB play?) does this concern you at all? I think it's important that the mgobloggers realize this staff is far from perfect and not every recruiting choice they make is perfect.
Moving players from one high school position to another is a fact of life, as high schools will often throw their best players at crazy positions in an attempt to take advantage of their athleticism. The craziest position to date is Brandin Hawthorne's existence as a high school defensive end. Ideally you'd like to see guys coming in who have experience at their chosen position, but it's not like those guys get a ton of great coaching in high school anyway, or have any idea what they can get away with when everyone around them is about as athletic as they are. Michigan is clearly not in an ideal situation.
I think you'll see (PA DE Ken) Wilkins end up at Graham's spot down the road. Graham is currently 270 pounds and Wilkins is already 240 in high school; he'll end up putting at least 20 pounds in his first couple years here, at which point the move will be obvious, and what you'll see is Michigan pick up a bunch of defensive backs—5 or 6—with the intent of putting everyone in a blender and figuring out where they fit later. Some position moves are scary; safety-to-corner isn't. The linebackers are a concern; if Michigan doesn't pick up both Furman and Olaniyan the class will be disappointing there. And I don't think they'll get both.
Obviously the staff is not "perfect," but neither is the opposite extreme accurate: Rodriguez is not going to bring in classes like this year every time out. When he had a full year to recruit and didn't have a 3-9 anchor around his neck, Michigan brought in the #6 recruiting class, one laden with four-star guys. Almost every one of the recruits Rodriguez picked up in the brief window he had to finish Carr's last class was highly rated by one service or the other. This year's an anomaly, and the class will probably finish at the tail end of the top 20, not coincidentally the same area Notre Dame's post-crater class ended up.
Some background on FBS teams being allowed to play FCS opponents.
Until 2005, schools could count only one I-AA game every 4 years toward becoming bowl eligible. Obviously, this only applies to schools that go 6-5, and has no effect at all on schools with any other record from 11-0 to 0-11.
Here is an October 2004 article about this issue that includes begging from the Southern Conference commissioner to allow one counter every year. Here is the decision in April 2005 where the NCAA decides to allow one I-AA game every year to count towards bowl eligibility, tied into an increase to 12 games.
It really seems like that 12th game was intended to be a game against a I-AA school. Unless I am mistaken, I recall some I-AA schools were threatening the NCAA with a lawsuit for limiting their scheduling options. I could not find a record of this, unfortunately. Maybe I am confusing this with the "exempt games" issue.
I don't think the NCAA has the power to say "only play other FBS opponents." They don't have that much control over in-season scheduling. The conferences can mandate this, but not the NCAA. The NCAA can only say "these games don't count toward bowl eligibility," but the FCS schools would fight that, and they would probably win.
I don't know if you find this interesting, but there has been a good deal of discussion of this point on mgoblog, and there seems to be some misunderstanding of what the NCAA can and can not do.
Mostly included for the interesting background. I disagree that the NCAA doesn't have the power to do what it wants here, as the two sets of schools exist in different divisions sponsored by the NCAA. You might as well say the NCAA doesn't have any power to regulate that D-I and D-II schools can't play each other. The NCAA sets limits on the number of games that can be played in all sports, provides exemptions for various things it would like to promote, and actually organizes the different divisions. I'm sure some I-AA teams could sue, but I find it hard to believe they'd win.
I posted a thread on this topic but wondered about your thoughts. Is it too early IYHO to classify the 2008 defensive recruiting class a disappointment? Although they are only in their second year, ideally (apart from Martin) some would be pushing the upperclassmen for playing time, and as we know they are not, in some cases falling behind walk ons. Thoughts?
IMHE, it is too early to classify the 2008 defensive recruiting class a disappointment. But it is not too early to look at it with trepidation because it seems like we'll be thoroughly concerned about it midway through next year. A brief dossier:
- Beasts: Mike Martin
- Contributors: Boubacar Cissoko, JT Floyd
- Idling away: Brandon Smith, Kenny Demens. UPDATE: Also JB Fitzgerald.
- Gone: Taylor Hill, Marcus Witherspoon
So… first of all, it was only seven guys in a class of 24, and two of them were gone about two weeks after class started. Two more are linebackers stuck behind a walk-on, two more are backup defensive backs in a very poor secondary basically behind a walk-on since their poor play necessitated the Woolfolk move, and Mike Martin is a beast. These guys are going to be juniors or redshirt sophomores next year and it looks like Michigan isn't going to get a whole lot out of them. Cissoko's come back from the brink and may yet develop into something, and maybe we can expect one of the linebackers to pick it up after Ezeh and Mouton leave, but the early returns aren't great outside of Martin.
UPDATE: Forgot about Fitzgerald, who's had a reasonable career path so far given that he was behind a couple of starters; he rotated in for Ezeh a bit last week.
You probably already covered this but:
It is suggested that Rich Rod can do more with less and our current lack of high star recruits is related to the 3-9 record so as Rich Rod began to put winning seasons together at West Va did his recruiting classes increase in its ranking? Does/will a Rich Rod program attract a highly ranked recruit or does his program with its level of intensity scare them away (ie Justin Boren = Seantrel Henderson)?
When Rodriguez was hired I touched on this in Rodriguez's Profile In Heroism:
That 2008 class would finish #23 as well, so there was a noticeable uptick in WVU's recruiting rankings towards the tail end of Rodriguez's career there. (The 2006 class was very small, and recruiting rankings are always biased towards large classes; that dip is an anomaly.) Bill Stewart and Doc Holliday (mostly Holiday) have continued that trend. How much of that is courtesy WVU's increased national profile and how much is on the supposed recruiting aces on WVU's new staff no one will ever know.
Meanwhile at Michigan, Rodriguez added nine recruits to Carr's final class and all of them except one or two, IIRC, had four stars on one of the two major sites. His second class finished #6 nationally after Rivals accounted for losses to academics and baseball and whatnot (cough cough Ole Miss). Rodriguez, clearly, likes high profile mofos about as much as any other coach around, and when positioned at a school like Michigan can do a pretty good job of acquiring said high profile mofos. The reputed intensity of the program might be a turnoff to some but to others, like Craig Roh, it's a selling point.
Long term I expect Rodriguez will recruit on about the same level as Carr did. This class isn't going to be a great one because of 3-9, not any desire or deficiency on Rodriguez's part.
More on that:
Given our early season success, it is apparent that this season has more upside than most of us had anticipated – both in terms of wins and the corresponding (generally) positive media attention generated. In your opinion (e-pinion?), if we were to theoretically get to 9-10 wins (including a bowl game), will the fact that we took so many commits early have limited the upside of our recruiting class? It seems like a lot more guys who weren’t giving us a look prior to the season are now at least considering it, and we may or may not have room for everyone we would have liked to have taken.
Conversely, is it possible that OSU has limited the upside of their class by taking too few players prior to the season now that they are in a state of semi-turmoil? (Maybe I’m overestimating internet grumbling here, but the current pub can’t be doing great things with recruits.)
Apologies for the over-use of parentheses, and thanks in advance for any thoughts!
Phillip Zinda ‘05
Well… yes, theoretically. But probably not really. I've followed recruiting a long time and it's almost an iron law that an implosion-type season will be followed by a relatively weak recruiting class.
Holding out in the hopes of turning your fortunes around doesn't help that much. With the accelerated recruiting timetable, kids you like but aren't great would go off the board and then you'd be hoping 1) your turnaround would happen like whoah and 2) there would be enough open-minded folk out there to fill up your class. Not likely in the current environment. I do expect that Michigan's turnaround will provide a small bump, but these days the relationships you build happen when players are juniors or younger, at summer camps early and summer visits and fall unofficials as juniors.
1) I am a little worried about the defense and time of possession in the spread offense. Do defenses on spread teams get more worn down (more plays, etc)? Are there examples of excellent defenses on spread teams from the past? I can't think of any off the top of my head.
2) Has anyone attempted to empirically test the changes in noise level on the field after the lux boxes went up? I would imagine somebody has measured decibels in the past (although I wonder if decibels is the best measure of the impact of crown noise on an opposing team.
Thanks for all your hard work on this.
1) Do you count Florida or Oklahoma or Texas as spread teams? Last year Florida's defense was better than its offense. Oklahoma's warp-speed attack wasn't as successful but there are some false assumptions built into total yardage numbers. Oklahoma and their opponents averaged almost 13 possessions a game last year, 20% more than Texas did. Adjust for that reality and viola:
Oklahoma’s offense is now rated a more reasonable shade under 11% better than Texas’ offense. And whereas Texas’ defensive advantage was nearly 27% it is now just over 8% in the new analysis.
That still wasn't great, as Texas finished 51st in total defense, but how much of that had to do with the Big 12's offensive explosion last year? It's hard to tell.
As far as pace and time of possession and Michigan go: this year, 90-yard touchdowns or kick return touchdowns are going to result in defense fatigue, walk-ons hitting the field, and poor defensive performance. It's not a coincidence that the defense gave up two long touchdown drives immediately after Notre Dame had a long field goal drive and Stonum returned that kick. So, yes, the severe lack of depth this year might make it more sensible to keep things at a leisurely pace. Long term, though, powers should be doing what Oklahoma did last year. More possessions reduces overall variance by increasing the number of trials and makes it unlikely an inferior team can hang with you.
2) Not to my knowledge.
I'm not sure to what extent you've already addressed this, but I am wondering what your thoughts are regarding Devin Gardner next year. From what I've heard/seen Gardner is a phenomenal athlete, and has recently improved his throwing motion to the point where I believe rivals has him the highest rated QB in the country. I really appreciate what Tate has brought to the table this year, but I think he is limited by his physical abilities. I don't think it's reasonable to sit Gardner just because Forcier is doing a good job if Gardner lives up to his potential. Do you see a two quarterback situation in the future? Assuming Forcier continues to play well, and Gardner keeps playing like the #1 QB recruit in the country, what do you foresee happening in the next 3 years at the quarterback position?
Michigan should try its hardest to redshirt Gardner next year. Getting two years of separation between him and the freshmen will be really important down the line. He's not likely to be better than Forcier fresh out of high school, especially if he doesn't enroll early. (Current status of that: maybe, maybe not.) In 2014 you have these choices at quarterback: fifth-year senior Devin Gardner or Anyone Else. I'm going with Gardner.
Assuming Michigan does manage to get a redshirt on the guy, in 2011 and 2012 he'll be available. At that point you probably turn Robinson into a bizarre hybrid of Antwaan Randle-El and Percy Harvin* and Gardner into Tim Tebow circa his freshman year. Forcier plays the Chris Leak role. Implementing a Michigan version of the Gator Heavy gets Gardner playing time, fills a potential hole in Michigan's offense, and promises the occasional awesome jump pass. Also… goal-line sets with both Forcier and Gardner on the field promise to be chaotic fun. Fade to Gardner? Wolverine Heavy? Hell, let's throw Robinson in there too and do a triple-reverse play action jump pass. WOOOOO.
*(Hhhyarrrrr! It has four legs and four arms and can run around the sun!)
After reading the Dinosaur Schematic Advantage and the Smart Football smackdown of Tressel, I've been thinking about what this means for the U-M/OSU rivalry in both the near and long term. I know it's early to already be thinking about this year's game (then again, maybe it's never too early), but do you see this current Michigan team being close enough in talent to OSU to be able to win it based on home-field and schematic advantage? There are obvious concerns with the defense and depth, but maybe Tressel isn't capable of fully exploiting them?
And for the long-term, do you believe that Rich Rod's innovation and tactical mind will be able to make up for the institutional advantages that OSU has (money, better home state, less competition for recruits in-state comes to mind) to give Michigan an edge in 2-3 years when the program has maximized its potential? My best case scenario is a Carr over Cooper or Tressel over Carr -style domination eventually. I would love to hear your (mostly speculative) thoughts.
Mike Forster, Class of '05
The short term in a word: no. Ohio State's good at lining up and out-executing folk they have a talent advantage over and that will be true in spades when their offense is on the field. And their defense is going to be very difficult for Michigan to handle with so many young kids everywhere and without a true deep threat on the roster (unless Stonum gets way better or Hemingway is faster than he seems).
In the long term: that is, indeed, the best case scenario. It's not likely to happen just because of math: both recent streaks have seen their share of flukes where the other team should have won but for life-on-the-margins type stuff. The edges of binomial distributions are uncommon. And those streaks were helped along by poor coaching from the other side of the aisle. Tressel may not be Urban Meyer but he's not Lloyd Carr over the last few years of his term. His decline phase is just beginning if it's beginning at all and at his age (56) he can probably coach another 8-10 years before becoming an anchor.
Last night, Paul and I took in a game at Canton South High School, the home of 2010 wide receiver commit Jerald Robinson. The Wildcats took on the Dover Tornadoes, one of their big rivals in Ohio's Division 3. Since this was a pretty big game, the local TV stations were in attendance, and the game was televised live in the area.
The game got off to an unceremonious start for Canton South, as their first play from scrimmage was a snap over the quarterback's head, recovered by Dover near the 3 yard line. The Tornadoes easily punched it into the endzone, and Robinson returned the ensuing kickoff near the 30 yard line. Two plays later, lightning struck again, as their running back fumbled the ball, and Dover recovered yet again, easily converting another touchdown.
From that point forward, Canton South had to throw the ball to stay in the game, something that was tough to do with an overwhelmed quarterback in his first game. When I predicted whether Robinson would be able to move up in the rankings, I said the QB play would be a factor - so don't expect him to have much of an opportunity to move up.
Robinson was targeted a couple times early on slants, and ran one reverse for 7 yards, but later in the game, he was hardly getting the ball thrown his way at all, and oftentimes wasn't even running routes as the QB rolled away from his side of the field. I would guess that he got slightly injured early in the game (and he did have his ankle rolled at one point but got immediately back up), and couldn't cut as well as he'd like. Later in the game, when they started throwing his way again, it was almost exclusively on fade routes, which were mostly well-defensed or poorly-thrown. Defensively, he didn't always appear to put in the utmost effort, and though part of that may be a matter of scheme (don't let anybody get behind you, no matter what happens), he also seemed hesitant to tackle at times, and his better upside seems to be at wideout. He finished with 2 receptions for 6 yards, 1 solo and 6 assisted tackles, and one 7-yard rush.
The Wildcats mounted a valiant comeback effort on the back of two catch-and-run touchdown receptions by James Lucas, the team's #2 receiver, but the deficit was too much for them to overcome, and they ended up on the wrong side of a 27-14 result. The teams were fairly evenly matched (especially with South not being able to use their whole playbook playing from behind), and if they played again, the result could just as easily go the other way.
Video Highlights (Photo Gallery included in next week's Friday Night Lights feature).