let me show you how we handle punks in the district, punk [Patrick Barron]
Everywhere I turn this offseason, it seems someone is writing another article lauding the aggression, complexity, blitzes, and disguises built into Don Brown's defense. These attributes have obvious upside, but are we overlooking what could be a very steep learning curve for this defense? Can we really expect these guys to flawlessly execute such a reportedly complex defense within the first year?
There will be transition costs; there always are. When you're real good and have real good players those can be overcome. Last year's offense had a bunch of transition costs and still rocketed from 82nd in S&P+ to 30th; in FEI they went from 100th(!) to 33rd. This leap occurred despite weekly UFR diatribes about how various people on Michigan's offense still didn't really know what they were doing.
It going to be tougher for the defense to have anything similar since they were already very good. It's hard to improve much from 20th (FEI) or 2nd (S&P+). The leap from DJ Durkin to Don Brown is probably extant; it is certainly less grand than the leap from Brady Hoke to Jim Harbaugh. Meanwhile Brown's defenses have tended to tread water in year one:
There's a ton of noise in that data since we're not accounting for returning starters and the like. It still suggests that a great leap forward should not be expected.
On the other hand, Don Brown has never been handed even half of the talent he's got this year and it's almost all very experienced. Michigan's starting D consists of eight seniors, a redshirt junior, Jabrill Peppers, and Rashan Gary. While these guys haven't worked on certain things Brown does, they've at least encountered them from time to time; they can also spend the bulk of their offseason working on that stuff since you can take it as read that they've got man free coverages down.
It is a concern, but the schedule is reassuring. I'll take a series of early biffs against teams Michigan beats by 21 instead of 28 if the payoff is a defense that is finally, finally, finally equipped with the state of the art in shutting down a spread n shred. The talent available should mitigate some of those hiccups—a coverage bust doesn't hurt you if the QB is running for his life—and once those get smoothed over, Michigan's ceiling is higher.
Let's go moo
In my travels throughout the internet I came a cross a rather unique rendition of 'Let's Go Blue' that I thought should be shared. There is a man named Farmer Derek, a high level Bard no doubt, who serenades his cattle and posts the songs on YouTube. At the end of his version of Royals by Lorde he goes into Let's Go Blue and the cattle respond in kind. I don't know what should be done with this video, if anything, but I believe it should be shared and thought you should be notified. Cheers.
Sincerely yours in football,
This is a great service to the fandom, Pinball Pete:
[After THE JUMP: not cows responding to Let's Go Blue so why even bother]
The Michigan-Notre Dame football series will resume on Sept. 1, 2018, when the Irish host the Wolverines in the season opener before a Oct. 26, 2019, date at Michigan Stadium.
As the previous post notes I'm surprised that it's at ND in 2018, from the perspective of both teams. I'd rather have ND on the schedule than Arkansas no matter which team gets a home date. Meanwhile having the ND game 2019 in the meat of the conference schedule is odd. Michigan has Penn State before that game and Maryland after.
The first person to reply to this post with "to hell with Notre Dame" or anything close to it will be banned. [Eric Upchurch]
The AP is now confirming that Michigan and Notre Dame will resume playing football against each other in the near future, as first reported by this dude:
Michigan-Notre Dame football series is set to resume in 2018, per source. Official announcement expected tomorrow around noon.
— Ryan Krasnoo (@RyanKras) July 7, 2016
Krasnoo says Michigan will eat a two million dollar buyout of "the Arkansas game", which I take to mean the entire 2018/2019 series since cancelling just the 2018 game at home seems super super unlikely.
The AP report says that the 2018 game will be played in South Bend, which would be crazy for Michigan and pretty odd for Notre Dame. Thanks to Good Ol' Dave Brandon even years going forward feature MSU/OSU on the road. Replacing a home game against an SEC team with another road game against a tough opponent doesn't make a ton of sense. Also thanks to the contract Brandon was blindsided with, ND got the final game before the series hiatus.
Meanwhile Notre Dame already has season-ticket tentpole games in 2018, when both Stanford and Florida State travel to South Bend. They've got USC at home in 2019; their second best home game is against Virginia Tech and third best is either Virginia or BC. It doesn't make sense for either program to have the series start in South Bend. We'll see, apparently soon.
Doing a thing tomorrow. I'm speaking at the UM Club of Livingston County's scholarship fundraiser. Thing is in Brighton, costs 25 bucks if you're not a member and 20 if you are. They promise me a projector with which to dazzle* and amaze** with. It's for a good cause, come on out.
*[you keep saying that word]
**[you also keep saying that word]
More satellite stuff. As the camp season moves along and more and more people see Harbaugh in action the tone of media coverage seems to have shifted. Harbaugh shows up, has an enthusiasm unknown to mankind, works his ass off in drills, and people in attendance go "huh." Marc Tracy has a NYT article that goes over the Rutgers camp experience in some detail, and Harbaugh impressed some people in Houston.
Observations: Harbaugh is more active/hands-on at these camps than any head coach I’ve seen. Also, several unique drills/competitions.
— Sam Khan Jr. (@skhanjr) June 14, 2016
Also Ohio. The Vindicator:
His speech was part instructional of what was about to happen on the practice field and part old-fashioned church revival, with football being the religion this day for young men that came as far away as Canada.
Harbaugh then spent the next three hours working a style that displays a boyish love of his job. The drills he led were mainly a mix of running tests in which he crowned a champion at the end of each, loudly announcing the young man’s name into a microphone that fit his hand like a glove.
The more people who go to these things, the more of them find out that Harbaugh seems to mean what he says when he talks about spreading football. That's not to say there isn't another motive, but Harbaugh isn't teaching a bunch of middle-schoolers because he thinks there will be recruiting payoffs.
Harbaugh: 'It's not about recruiting. If it really helped recruiting that much, ppl would've been doing it forever.'
— Nick Baumgardner (@nickbaumgardner) June 9, 2016
"I play in the six-technique, so I play in front of the tight end more,” he said. “I love that. I feel like a tight end can't block me. If the tight end is blocking me I'm doing something wrong. That's all I've got to say about that."
Terminology changes over and over again and regimes move in and out; around here that means he's moved from WDE to SDE. That leaves just Chase Winovich and Reuben Jones amongst veteran options at WDE and thus implies that Taco Charlton is going to move back to the weakside and start. (He played SDE in the Ford Field practice and the spring game.) That'll probably mean Chris Wormley, an unparalleled tight end obliterator, will go back to SDE. Your other option there is Rashan Gary. So… Marshall probably has another year to prep before serious playing time as an upperclassman. An approximate three deep on the line:
|Chris Wormley||Ryan Glasgow||Maurice Hurst||Taco Charlton|
|Rashan Gary||Bryan Mone||Matt Godin||Chase Winovich|
|Lawrence Marshall||Hurst||Wormley/Gary||Reuben Jones|
That could work out okay.
Marshall also discussed some of the reasons it seems like he's been in the doghouse since his arrival, claiming that his work ethic "has tremendously improved from my freshman and sophomore years." Hitting 270 is solid evidence of that.
Hudson deployment. From Penn Live:
"I think as soon as I get there, I'm going to have an impact on the team," Hudson said. "I'll be at strong safety my first year, and then my second year, they're going to be putting me on offense and giving me some plays and stuff.
When Hudson committed I'd assumed he was ticketed for the nickel spot Peppers was at last year; his "LB" spot this year is probably going to look pretty similar except with more QB decapitation. Now, it seems like there are several options there in 2017 and beyond, and few at safety. Hudson will probably be a true safety for most of his career.
A SEC schedule solution that's pretty great. Jason Kirk and Bill Connelly propose a shift away from divisions in the SEC, which the Big 12 has enabled by agitating for a championship game despite having only ten teams. The upshot is that everyone gets three permanent rivals and then plays the rest of the league every other year. They've tweaked it so the schedules are balanced for the current state of college football, and while there will be some drift things tend to remain the way they are.
A Big Ten version is possible, but the proposal above is aimed at an eight-game conference schedule; the Big Ten has gone to nine. An attempt at three permanent rivals all the same has some goofy matchups:
non-negotiable in italics
Unlike the SEC it's very hard to create these matchups with any semblance of even-ness. Purdue, Illinois, Indiana, and Northwestern are all but impossible to split up, and consistently bad. Minnesota gets it in the eye. Rutgers too.
Even so I like the idea of having relatively balanced schedules for everyone, playing everyone at least every other year, and picking the top two teams with conference record of opponents the tiebreaker. Also, blowing up the schedule again would allow Michigan to undo the most lasting damage of the Dave Brandon era: the MSU/OSU home/road fiasco.
Sign her up. This woman has a legit shot at our linebacker two-deep.
We'll have to deprogram her first obviously.
The sixth year odyssey continues. MSU already failed to get Damon Knox the sixth year they promised was coming, and now it comes out that Ed Davis won't even get a degree until August(!?), despite the fact that he's already been on campus for five years. MSU can't apply for a sixth year until that degree is completed, two weeks before MSU's season opener. As we've mentioned before, Davis's case is hamstrung by the fact that MSU's own website notes he was scout team player of the week twice when he was redshirting and MSU's confidence about all three of these guys appeared to be very much unwarranted.
FWIW, the third dude, OL Brandon Clemons, has in fact sent the paperwork in already.
Okay, Drew. You know what's awesome? I haven't thought about Drew Sharp for more than a glancing second in years. But Detroit's miserable hatemonger gets on the radar today for the most hypocritical thing I've ever seen:
You win today. Now return to sleeping at press conferences.
Etc.: NFL.com names Jabrill Peppers the most versatile player in the country, which yeah. Someone complained about no Bedyoa mention in the Copa post. I have an article for you, sir. LSU bans opposing bands from playing at halftime. Rumors that Baylor is trying to bring Briles back appear to be mostly unfounded. Hockey rules committee proposes adopting 4-on-4 OT. No word on the guy who can't wear skates whose goals count double yet. Harbaugh is an extrovert.
It's not quite official, but the head coaches of both ends of the rivalry more or less announced today that Michigan-Notre Dame will resume in the near future. Brian Kelly was more specific than Harbaugh:
“We’re going to make that happen,” the seventh-year Notre Dame head football coach said Thursday, relaxing in his office. “We’ve got some work to do, but we’re going to make it happen.
“It’s something (ND athletic director) Jack Swarbrick and I want to do, and we’re going to get that game back together. We’ve got some challenges, but I think we can pull it off.”
“We want to do it as soon as we can,” Kelly said. “We’ve got Michigan State home-and-home the next two years (2016-17), and then we’re hoping to. We want to get in on the schedule as quickly as possible after that.”
For his part, Harbaugh said they'd been working on resuming the series for "7, 8, 9 months" and that there were Ts to cross and Is to dot. Hoping those details include a rivalry trophy portraying Dave Brandon hunched over a computer, typing furiously.
Michigan currently has home games against Arkansas and SMU lined up for 2018 and an open date September 8th. It's an MSU/OSU away year and they should get the next home game in the series. ND currently has two openings in 2018, with Ball State scheduled for September 8th. They already have a couple of highly attractive home games in Stanford and FSU; their 2019 home schedule is currently pretty weak, with USC and not much else of interest. Resuming the series with a Michigan home game in 2018 appears to make sense for everybody.
The main problem: adding a game at ND in 2019 would lock Michigan into just five home games, which I assume is unacceptable. If the Arkansas return game gets moved—or that series gets flat-out canceled—they can get up to six. That would still be the fewest home games Michigan Stadium has seen since the move to 12 games. The ever-increasing blizzard of TV money makes it more likely Michigan can weather that financially, but it's a problem. One that the two sides appear to be working through.
Photo: Danny Wild/USA Today
FBSchedules.com reported this afternoon that Michigan will face Army in the 2019 home opener:
Michigan will host Army at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor on Sept. 7, 2019, according to a copy of the game contract obtained from the Army Athletic Association under a Freedom of Information Act request.
The Wolverines will pay the Black Knights a $1.5 million guarantee for the game, which will be the 10th overall meeting between the two schools. Army leads the series 5-4 and has won the last four meetings, the last coming in 1962.
While Army does hold a 5-4 edge in the series, it's Michigan that has won the last four. All nine games took place between 1945 and 1962, when Army was still a football power.
This is probably Michigan's replacement for what would usually be a MAC game. M opens the 2019 season at Arkansas, the latter half of a home-and-home series, and hasn't yet filled the other open non-conference spot. Starting in 2016, the Big Ten moves to a nine-game conference schedule, which leaves room for three non-conference games.