it's a major award
As per usual with first UV of season, some of this is a bit dated because of preview week.
I HAVE HEARD THE PEOPLE. I acknowledge that the people demand I eat a lemon. I will eat a lemon, because I guess I'd rather be the guy who eats a lemon on a technicality than doesn't eat a lemon on a technicality. I request that you, the people, acknowledge that my call that Desmond Morgan would be pushed out of Michigan's starting lineup appears to be a good call after he was probably Michigan's best LB in game one and led the team in tackles despite not technically starting. I plead nolo contendre to this lemon, basically.
We'll do it this Sunday at the podcast taping as part of this kid's quest to awarenessize people about weird food allergies that people don't understand at all yet, something Ace has been dealing with for years.
A new challenger appears! Elliot Mealer's Hoke impression is solid gold:
I dream that we will get enough of these to have a Hoke Impression Bracket someday.
Also gold. The Gameday Mean Tweets segment may have been shamelessly lifted from Jimmy Fallon, but lift away, sirs:
[EDIT: apparently this is an autoplaying video, so no embed. Here is the link.
I formally request you steal the thing where Ron Swanson reads tweets from young female celebrities next.
The ND cheating thing: resolved? Well, first: the investigation's tentacles reached out and added safety Eilar Hardy to the Kendall Moore, KeiVarae Russell, Davaris Daniels, Ishaq Williams quartet. Message boards are naturally buzzing with rumors ranging from they're all done for the year to they're all back by Michigan. As of three days ago the investigation was "reportedly complete"—that's when Hardy got suspended.
Everyone involved here was supposed to be out the door when it happened. FWIW, I had a good source suggesting that was the case as well. I didn't mention it because when Bruce Feldman is reporting something piping up with a "me too" is some Darren Rovell business, but now that there's doubt about the final outcome here it seems pertinent.
If there are reinstatements that impact the Michigan game they're going to have to come quickly, what with most of these guys missing nearly a month of practice. As of today's ND presser there was no update. Could you insert these guys on one or two days of practice? (Friday is a walkthrough.) Getting late.
One guy who is out. Austin Collinsworth did something to a knee ligament, missed the Rice game, and is projected to miss the Michigan game. As of three days ago he was out two to four weeks and getting some of that horse placenta action:
“There's a chance we could have him for week three,” Kelly said. “He had a PRP [platelet-rich plasma] treatment on the weekend, so we'll see what happens."
Rice is a spread, so ND was in a nickel package most of that game. They brought in Elijah Shumate next to sophomore Max Redfield; Mattias Farley played nickel the whole way. Shumate busted on the Rice touchdown. Shumate was a touted recruit, as you might expect.
One guy who doesn't read MGoBlog. That would be Scott Satterfield, the Appalachian State coach:
“This game was not what (Michigan) had shown all last year,” said Mountaineers coach Scott Satterfield. “Why they did that, I don’t know. … It was all game. Even the last drive, they were playing man.”
They did that because they had been doing it all offseason. I don't think it's unreasonable for you to read, like, one article about Michigan's defense this year.
Oh that makes more sense then. After Wisconsin finished gacking the game away to LSU, Badger head coach Gary Andersen said he "didn't know" why Melvin F-ing Gordon got three carries after a 63-yard romp in the second quarter. It turns out there is a reason for this other than Andersen being hypnotized by Les Miles's scary voodoo eyes:
Badgers coach Gary Andersen said on Monday that his junior running back suffered a hip flexor strain during the game. Gordon later told reporters that the injury occurred late in the second quarter. …
"I should have let them know, let Coach A know and stepped up and told them, 'Look I need to be in there," Gordon said, according to Fox Sports Wisconsin's Jesse Temple. "I put that on myself."
So that makes a little more sense. Also making more sense: Joel Stave's arm injury has caused Wisconsin to shut him down. He was not available to relieve the overwhelmed Tanner McEvoy. Cold comfort to Wisconsin fans today, though. Jamiemac has a breakdown of the game—Warren Herring going out was a huge problem.
At least the game spawned an LSUfreek all-timer?
Here's a breakdown of the Beilein offense. No doubt you will see this again as Ace goes over it in detail for you after his high school football responsibilities have been completed, but here's 15 minutes of John Beilein's offense categorized by play type:
Wildcats continue dropping like flies. Northwestern DT Sean McEvilly, he of the most disappointing name pronunciation in the league, is out for the year with a foot injury. This is a problem. You no doubt remember Michigan's offensive line looking functional against the Wildcats last year. Now take a starter off that line.
Also in personnel issues affecting distant games, Maryland loses receiver Levern Jacbos and some other guy. They are still set on receivers thank you.
McGary clarification. Many folks picked up on part of the McGary VICE interview in which he seems to say "so what, I committed a literally victimless non-crime" about his draconian NCAA suspension. This is a hot take even if it is a correct hot take. But he's really talking about people annoying him on social media:
"I still get people on Twitter and Instagram still commenting on stuff, saying, oh, you did drugs. Well, you know what, I did, whatever. So what? I learned from it. It was in college. They'll understand when they're in college."
He does say what he did was "the opposite of harming somebody" and "just don't get caught," which is a take hot enough for me.
More Pastujov hype. This one is for the older brother Nick.
Michigan commit Nick Pastujov plays a perfect mix of aggression and skill. Difference maker when breaking down the play, soft hands.
— Sean Lafortune (@SeanLafortune) August 24, 2014
Solar car! Michigan wins again yo.
Blind recommendation. This just went up so I haven't had a chance to read it but Smart Football on the MSU defense is going to be worth your time.
Another nail in the already quite-nailed coffin. Patrick Omameh is probably going to be Tampa Bay's starting right guard this fall. So Michigan had a line with three NFL players on it in 2012 and Denard Robinson and couldn't run the ball except with Denard Robinson.
I can link this now. Jane and Ace talked about their experience of the Horror on EDSBS.
The second half is a haze of Michigan pushing their way back in miserably slow fashion. I spent much of it staring at the clock. I had no idea how many emotions were building until… Mike Hart gave Michigan a one-point lead with a remarkable, weaving touchdown run from around midfield with under five minutes left. One of my roommates, standing next to me, literally wept with a mixture of joy and relief.
(Jane: I had left the stadium by then. I couldn’t do it. I saw where this was going, and I strongly believed that if I went home and went to sleep, I would wake up and this would all be a horrific dream. As a small child, I used to have nightmares that a raptor dressed as a postal worker ate me while my parents stood and watched. I have significant experience in bad dreams. I watched the rest of the game on ESPN’s Gamecast.)
This is literally the only thing I have read about the 2007 game despite the entire universe breaking their longform budget to provide opportunities for me to do so.
Do you think you may be getting ahead of yourself, sir. AP:
Michigan power running game looks like glory days
Have we learned nothing from last year's "IT LOOKS LIKE ALABAMA!" quote from Gerry DiNardo?
One sign this may not be a very clued-in article: the repeated use of fictional house divided child "De'Veon Bell." Not that I wouldn't take De'Veon Bell on my team. That would be like trying to tackle a centaur.
Etc.: Saturday game replay. All explanations of why the Appalachian State rematch was scheduled have far too few fantasies about scorpion pits for my taste. Will Leitch on being a part of the studio audience. Scouting Christian Hackenberg. Nussmeier gets an 11: nuts and gum.
Want an amateur NPSL soccer team in town? Here's an indiegogo for it.
Scrimmage video. Fan-based, so wobbly.
Perverse incentives create perverse results. It is of course completely nuts for Michigan to play Florida in Dallas. The stadium is smaller, the fanbases are far away, and the pageantry of college football is largely replaced with sterile NFL lawyer spaceship accoutrements. But people do it because they get the money.
After Wisconsin scheduled LSU in a goofy neutral-and-neutral situation, Jim Delany issued a memo that the Cedar Times Gazette has unearthed:
Delany’s letter, which was obtained by The Gazette, highlighted the league’s support for neutral sites provided at least half of the series occur within the Big Ten footprint and under the league’s television agreements. Delany wrote an arrangement would be “disapproved” if a Big Ten game was not designated as the home squad in at least half the games or if it was a one-game event that took place outside the league’s television umbrella. …
“We applaud and very much appreciate your efforts in doing so, as this should create value for your teams and fans as well as for our television partners and, therefore, for all Conference members. But please keep in mind the above policies that are important to all of us as we share collectively in the revenue generated by our televised games."
I'm not sure what "disapproved" means here. Could be "we will not let you do this"; could be "we will raise our mighty eyebrow at you but take no other action."
In any case the memo indirectly indicates why neutral site games are popular: the two teams participating can split the TV money between themselves instead of between themselves and Indiana and Purdue and a bunch of other teams that are not in fact playing. When there's a Jerryworld game, ESPN and Jerryworld get the rights and then give home-team-sized slices to both participants. The Big Ten doesn't like that.
The Big Ten can pound sand. Scheduling real games would be so much easier if the teams in them actually saw the benefits without having to leave campus. There is zero reason that a Michigan-Florida home and home should be less lucrative than a neutral site game for the people involved.
Thankfully it sounds like Michigan's trip to Jerryworld in 2017 will be their last, by league decree. It's for the wrong reason, but these days that's all you can hope for.
Hatch things. Good Morning America had him on:
I am going to judge you on your word. Big Ten coaches given one word to describe their teams!
Illinois’ Tim Beckman: Family
"Can you help me find them? I'm not supposed to be out after 7 PM."
Indiana’s Kevin Wilson: Cusp
That's not an adjective. The Hoosiers are not seeming particularly cusp this morn.
Iowa’s Kirk Ferentz: Developmental
Neither is this unless it's followed by "-ly disabled," but I like that Ferentz managed to be even more boring than boring. He's probably in a band called White Toast and that's one of their songs.
Maryland’s Randy Edsall: Hungry
Boring, and not in a fun Ferentz way. Boring in a boring way. Randy Edsall is in a band and their one song is "this is not a band it is just a boring man telling you to eat your vegetables."
Michigan’s Brady Hoke: Together
…now that our first round left tackle is gone
Michigan State’s Mark Dantonio: Committed
…pass interference and still weren't found out
Minnesota’s Jerry Kill: Hungry
This would be boring except for this video of Jerry Kill eating a tiny burrito:
Nebraska’s Bo Pelini: Exciting
Accurate. Nebraska is not great but they are a cat explosion waiting to happen.
Northwestern’s Pat Fitzgerald: Focused
…until the fourth quarter.
Ohio State’s Urban Meyer: Fast
Accurate, in fact tells you something about desired composition of team, relatively un-boring.
Penn State’s James Franklin: Perseverance
Again with the non-adjectives.
Purdue’s Darrell Hazell: Hungry
Would be boring but in this case I think Darrell Hazell may be saying that his players are literally hungry because they can't figure out which hole to put the food in. "NOT THAT ONE," Darrell Hazell screams for the third time today, "THAT ONE ISN'T EVEN A PART OF YOUR BODY."
Rutgers’ Kyle Flood: Hungry
wait why is this guy even listed
Wisconsin’s Gary Andersen: Youthful
Well… yeah. Joe Namath ain't walking through that door.
Meanwhile, Spurrier said "decent" because hail Spurrier. Mark Richt said "wow" for some reason. I ain't saying that Dave Brandon goes around wearing Mark Richt's skin. But I ain't saying otherwise, neither.
Would you say that your decisions are film and evidence-based? Hoke:
"The evidence for making decisions is on the film," Hoke said Saturday night after the team's public scrimmage. "It's evidence-based. Based on film."
No word on the moisture status of his upper lip.
Another "students are gone" article. This one from USA Today is standard-issue. It never ceases to amaze that athletic directors can say this…
"I don't think it's a targeted demographic problem; I think it's more of a (high-definition) TV, living room, leather couch problem and we have to give the people a reason to come to our live product," Washington athletics director Scott Woodward said. "It is something we're going to have to address and deal with."
…and then marvel at the fact that it's tough to sell tickets that have spiraled upward relative to inflation, nearly tripling since 2000. Surely there is an athletic director out there who can figure out why they might be having attendance problems. Take 2, and then take this other 2, and somehow we have to reach 4.
The article has another pile of lukewarm solutions that aren't going to fix much of anything. One thing that could help: stop treating students like enemies. Michigan gets the vapors when a student says the word "sucks" and tries to drown it out; the ushers in the student section are constantly harassing anyone who does anything that looks even slightly like liability. You've got a choice here: loosen things up and accept the fact that you're going to have slightly higher insurance premiums, or continue to turn off your future customers with adversarial relationships between students and your main point of contact with them.
[Via Get The Picture.]
Etc.: MSU WR MacGarrett Kings doesn't even get standard-issue one game DUI suspension. Notre Dame previewed by Paul Myerberg. An overview of where the various NCAA lawsuits stand. The Kessler suit is The Big One. I'm in a sidebar of this ESPN story on the state of Michigan. NOPE.
MVictors interviews Dan Dierdorf. Genuinely Sarcastic comes back for a post about Michigan football that naturally includes a section on Stalingrad. Notre Dame scandal is always a good opportunity to rip Notre Dame.
The big one. With Braxton Miller out for the year, Ohio State needs a new quarterback. It looks like it is going to be JT Barrett, a well-regarded but not elite recruit out of Texas. His OC talked about him when he was declared the #2 recently:
"Gets the ball out quickly. Very efficient. Smooth release. Very accurate. Extremely cerebral. Very magnetic leader. I think the kids kind of gravitate towards him."
"We've got to work on strengthening his arm. He's a distant third to Braxton and Cardale in terms of just rearing back and trying to throw it through a wall. But he makes up for it in his anticipation and his accuracy and all that. You don't have to have a howitzer to be successful in college football. I'm very pleased with his continuing growth."
He has sort of won the job by default, though. OSU has had surprising issues recruiting QBs. Cardale "I ain't come to play SCHOOL" Jones and middling true freshman Stephen Collier are OSU's other options.
Shaky QB play has not prevented OSU from beating Michigan lots in the recent past, unfortunately, and Meyer runs a system that's pretty forgiving to young guys because big chunks of it are "you: run".
Frank Clark profiled. Clark's background is highly improbable:
Frank Clark can't provide a last known address in Los Angeles. He and [his mother] Teneka, along with his two older siblings, were nomadic. They rambled around town, sleeping in a shelter one night, in a random friend’s house another night. Teneka had drug problems, Frank explains, and this was the fallout.
“I’d walk for hours with my mother, wondering where we were going next, what we were going to do next,” Clark said.
He was handed a plane ticket in 2003 and deposited with relatives in Cleveland, whereupon he grew large and went to Glenville:
“Frank wanted to do everything except what I wanted him to do,” Ginn said.
Ginn wanted Clark to play defensive end and the two locked horns.
“So I fought with Frank from his sophomore year to his senior year,” Ginn said. “In his senior year, he finally decided to listen.”
That is the flip side to Csont'e York. Clark had issues even at Michigan, stealing a laptop and getting a year of probation after being put in a diversionary program, but has come through them and stands on the verge of a Michigan degree and an NFL career. That is how you want it to work when you draw the NCAA up.
Making it work. The NFL has gone from dismissing Chip Kelly to imitating him, says Chris Brown at Grantland, and interestingly for Michigan fans he specifically cites a number of tackle over formations the Eagles went with a year ago as part of Kelly's success:
Why is this a component of Kelly's offensive genius and Borges's failure? Tempo. The Eagles run a high-paced no huddle system that only allows the defense to substitute when they do. The defense is under constant pressure to recognize and adjust to new formations on the fly. In this and another example the end result of going tackle over is confusion and blown assignments because of the pressure Philly's tempo puts on the opponents. Brown's key insight:
This breakdown occurred not because Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers doesn’t know how to match up against an unbalanced set. (He does. I think.) It happened because, against Kelly’s offense, it doesn’t matter what the other coaches know. The 11 defenders on the field need to be able to identify the unbalanced set and call the right adjustments, on the fly, at a super-fast tempo, while worrying about 50 other things.
When you go at Borges tempo, you get a different result:
4 DTs and an SDE with PSU's best player (Jones) lined up over your tackle over. Penn State did this only three or four times in that game but that they were able to do it at all is a condemnation; meanwhile there was absolutely no way that PSU was going to blow an assignment when Michigan was barely getting the play off before the clock expired.
High tempo takes defensive coordinators out of the game and puts the responsibilities they generally have on the players on the field—a big advantage at the NFL level and and even bigger one in college.
Meanwhile you hear dinosaur coach types talk about how the spread makes your defense soft, but you never hear them talk about how living at walking pace makes your defense unprepared to face teams like Indiana.
All of the shirts all of the shirts. Jared Shanker takes a look at how many kids redshirt at last year's conference champions, and comes back with the startling news that over the last three years all of seven MSU recruits have played as freshman—12%. Alabama and FSU are at 45%, with Oklahoma and Oregon at 33 and 35%, respectively. Other powers are closer to the FSU/Bama numbers than anything else, with only South Carolina coming anywhere near MSU—they play only a quarter of their freshmen.
A lot of this has to do with recruiting rankings. FSU and Bama tend to get freshmen who are physically ready to compete right away, and Bama in particular tends to toss guys out the door if they're not panning out. MSU has limited access* to high-level players and is trying to get the most out of each one. They've done so successfully.
What about Michigan? I went back and checked:
- 2011: 8 out of 20 played in the Hoke/RR emergency transition class by the standards of this study, but circumstances conspired to hew this class down before it even reached the opener. Three players (Kellen Jones, Chris Barnett, and Tony Posada) didn't even make it to game one; Greg Brown transferred midseason.
- 2012: 12 out of 25 played, with Terry Richardson and Amara Darboh redshirting their second years.
- 2013: 13 out of 26 played. (I'm not counting long snapper Scott Sypniewski for this purpose).
Michigan's numbers are skewed by the disastrous 2010 and sort of disastrous 2011 recruiting classes, but seriously about a third of those burned redshirts the last couple years were questionable at best: Dymonte Thomas, Da'Mario Jones, Csont'e York, Ben Gedeon, and Taco Charlton contributed little in 2013; Joe Bolden, Amara Darboh, Sione Houma, Royce Jenkins-Stone, and Terry Richardson did little in 2012.
How much of that is down to recruiting promises is unknown, but it just seems silly not to give yourself a fifth year option. Hopefully Michigan can start upping their redshirt percentage now that they have stabilized the roster.
*[This is changing somewhat this year, but for the period covered in this study it was certainly true.]
They had a competition, and now they don't. Utah names Travis Wilson its starting QB. Wilson had a rocky 2013, throwing 16 interceptions to 16 touchdowns and losing his job after a 6 for 21 performance against Arizona State. He did have a nice YPA for the year (7.7), but he also threw a Demetrius Brown-like six interceptions in a 34-27 loss to UCLA. Woof.
Wilson beat out Oklahoma transfer Kendal Thompson, FWIW, so maybe he's improved.
I can't do better. Get The Picture nails the headline on this quote:
The NCAA has reached the point on unfavorable legal rulings that retiring University System of Maryland chancellor William Kirwan, co-chair of the reform-minded Knight Commission, said he now views Congress as “our last, best hope for getting anything right with intercollegiate athletics.”
Oh god the tedious Knight Commission, constantly seeking ways to divert the surplus of revenue athletes to the academic side of colleges, go away.
Etc.: Michigan's student advisory council rejection letter ain't come to play school either. Here's to hope, says the Hoover Street Rag. High school QBs now planning to graduate in three years so they can transfer without penalty if it doesn't work out at school #1. MSU loses OG Connor Kruse for a significant period of time, one that probably does not eliminate him from the M game.
Michigan crushes another Italian team.
On Csont'e York. It was inevitable that once the York video was released there were going to be a lot of strong reactions to it. I deleted a number of things that were over the line, and expected to.
I left up a bunch more that weren't quite delete-worthy but did make me feel uncomfortable. Most of those were uncomfortable because they weren't sad. Many called him a coward, others were almost gleeful in their eagerness to ship the guy out. Those threads don't reflect well on our community here.
While I think that York's second chance has to come somewhere else given the severity of what he did, I would appreciate it if everyone would keep in mind that even a kid who did a dumbass thing remains a person. There's an unfortunately paywalled profile of York from his time as a recruit up on ESPN. Chantel Jennings:
In August, he'll enroll at the University of Michigan and become the first person in his family to attend college. He has made it through the death of his mother, a number of family moves, and out of Detroit with a positive attitude. And through all of this, what he keeps closest to his heart is his family.
"My little brothers and sisters, I think about them," York said. "It has always been in my head that I have to do this for them. This isn't just for me. It's for my family. That's all I think of."
The reason York did what he did started with the people around him as he grew up and the primary emotion should be sadness that a kid couldn't keep it together. Once we're on to third chances I can see the disdain begin to creep in legitimately. Now, though, I just think of the times when I've been on the verge of a bad decision and struggled not to make it.
Kleenex at the ready. Austin Hatch and John Beilein profiled:
Three years ago, lying in a hospital bed in Traverse City fighting for his life, Austin Hatch's relationship with John Beilein went beyond a player-coach situation.
Nine days after pledging his verbal commitment to Michigan in June of 2011, Hatch was involved in a tragic plane crash that took the lives of both his father and stepmother and left him in a medically-induced coma.
At that point, no one was concerned about Hatch's basketball career. The main focus was saving his life.
And, unknown to Hatch at the time, one of those people standing at his bedside -- fighting along with him -- was Beilein.
Huge, they say. Michigan is apparently set to announce two home and home series:
Michigan football is set to announce two huge home and home opponents this week.
Terry Foster and Mike Stone met with Michigan Athletic Director Dave Brandon today and that’s when Brandon dropped the news that this announcement will happen later this week.
FWIW, apparently there was a connected guy on the Rivals board saying the opponents were Stanford and Duke in a since-deleted post. No idea if that's accurate or not; obviously only one of those teams would even sort of qualify as "huge." And with Stanford there's always the possibility that they return to historical norms by the time the game rolls around. I kind of doubt that's accurate anyway—tough to see Stanford taking on Michigan when they've got a nine-game conference schedule plus their now-annual game against Notre Dame. But anyway, stay tuned.
By the way, that post has a poll asking who you'd like to see Michigan play that includes Nebraska and Wisconsin, which was momentarily absurd until it wasn't. Marshall, another option, remains so.
WELP? Prepare for the Colening.
Hoke just said on the radio we should "expect to see" Mason Cole this year, and called him a left tackle. It's happening, folks.
— Bryan Mac (@Bry_Mac) August 14, 2014
Everybody get up. But especially you. Aubrey Dawkins can get up, yo.
I sold Aubrey Dawkins short describing him athletically to be poor man's GR3. Not yoked like GR3, but he has his hops pic.twitter.com/lmka0lrRgk
— Sam Webb (@SamWebb77) August 13, 2014
When Michigan took MAAR and then still went after Dawkins that was an indication they liked him more than his rating would imply, and In Beilein We Trust.
That shot came from an open practice Michigan held before their Italy trip during which Kam Chatman impressed:
Michigan’s most highly touted freshman is multifaceted and college-ready. The general consensus among the scribes perched up on the observation deck was that Chatman will be a day-one starter, barring anything unforeseen.
The 6-foot-7 wing drilled smooth left-handed 3-pointers as a standstill shooter and off the dribble. He looked comfortable and capable making decisions with the ball. He finished in traffic.
Quinn's colleague Nick Baumgardner concurred:
First thing that struck me was Chatman. High-level shooter, can handle, finish, isn't skinny. He'll start right away.
Both Chatman and Dawkins spent time doing post drills as they prepare to play Novak/GRIII undersized 4. DJ Wilson is also going to be a 4 of the not-undersized variety but is still being held out with his pinky injury.
Unfortunately, Michigan won't be streaming any of the Italy games.
Brutal departure/injury spree. Unlike Nebraska's, this one actually matters for Michigan: Northwestern tailback Venric Mark will transfer; leading wide receiver Christian Jones is out for the year with a knee injury.
Mark, of course, tortured Michigan two years ago with his quickness. Jones is less of a loss since Northwestern tends to plug and play at WR but he was still their best guy in yards per target by some distance. Looks like it's Prater time? Naw, man, it's never Prater time. Until it is. But probably not. Because a Rutgers transfer is the guy Inside NU is promoting for the job.
A man familiar with the situation. Michigan doesn't get much mention in CBS Sportsline's group preview of the Big Ten except for incessant Jabrill Peppers talk in the "best newcomer" category, but the one guy who singled out Michigan as an underrated team is an interesting one: Auburn fan Jerry Hinnen, who's seen both Al Borges and Doug Nussmeier up close and personal. His take on M:
Most underrated team: Michigan. The Wolverines have to visit both Michigan State and Ohio State, keeping their odds of winning the East low, but they might still be the third-best team in the league. A healthy Jake Ryan and a loaded secondary should give Greg Mattison his best defense yet, and going from Al Borges to Doug Nussmeier might be the biggest offensive coaching upgrade in the FBS. If the offensive line has a pulse, 10 wins will be in play.
That is Michigan's great hope.
Looking pretty good down the road. More high praise for a hockey commit:
Griffin Luce is a tough as nails defender with an excellent stick and innate positional sense. Manage the puck,eats minutes. Michigan commit
— Sean Lafortune (@SeanLafortune) August 14, 2014
Unfortunately, that is an addendum to an article running down the top prospects the OHL's Kitchener Rangers have. Luce checks in third after being drafted in the fifth round despite his NTDP commitment. Details:
Steady, instinctive blueliner with great size and poise. Textbook hitter and defender backed by solid positional sense. … Thrives in the dirty pockets of the ice, using his size and strength advantages to win battles and gain possession. Excellent one on one defender, keeps an active stick, extremely efficient at getting sticks on pucks. Difficult to drive the net or gain an outside lane on, manages gaps efficiently and takes advantage of his massive wingspan. … Projects as a tough, physical, stay at home defender who can contribute at both ends of the ice. … Would be a top paring defender if he ever comes to the league.
Sounds like the kind of shutdown D Michigan hasn't had in a long time. I mean, Trouba, but Trouba was here and gone in a flash.
Kitchener does manage to snipe guys frequently, but in Luce's case Michigan should be okay. He's headed to NTDP and not currently projected to be a pick so high that he would get signed immediately and then reassigned. Also, his dad is the Panthers' director of scouting and played in the OHL himself—when they chose college it was an informed decision.
This is going to be a problem. The NCAA has just been hit with an injunction that says it cannot cap scholarship values below the federal government's full cost of attendance, so eventually those numbers are going to have to come up. The issue: those gaps vary widely between schools:
Ohio State: $3,346
Penn State: $4,000
Somehow it's more expensive to live in the middle of nowhere than an actual city or in Ann Arbor's notoriously expensive student housing market. Meanwhile, Tennessee has the biggest gap in the power five at 5,666.
It doesn't seem likely that Michigan's going to stand for a system where a kid going to Penn State gets 7k more over his four years, and there's no way in hell Georgia (1.8k) is going to go for a system where half the SEC is offering 10k+ more. So then what?
The power conferences have one way to normalize cost of attendance across all 65 schools: let every school go up to the highest cost of attendance figure, which in this case is Tennessee’s $5,666.
But that has its own set of problems. First, many schools would then be permitted to exceed cost of attendance, some by thousands of dollars. Not only is that philosophically troubling for the NCAA, it also complicates matters with financial aid offices. If a portion of an athletic scholarship exceeds cost of attendance and is not paid through the financial aid office, what is but payment for services rendered?
The shakiest part of the O'Bannon decision is definitely the proposed remedy, which forces the NCAA into a choice they don't want to make.
Etc.: You can see the Lego Movie at Michigan Stadium if you're a season ticket holder. The Pac-12 wants you to know it schedules hard and should be rewarded for it. Gopher blog predicts 31-13 M win over Minnesota. Fresno State tries to keep up with the Joneses.
Practice video. From Maize and Blue News:
Jane previews Michigan! Oh man this is just so dead on:
We long for a past that we hated while it was happening, in which Michigan would go 9-3 or 10-2 and people would complain like Michigan was a waiter who we couldn't find when we just wanted the goddamn check. If a Michigan fan tells you that they liked Tom Brady when he was playing at Michigan, they are lying because no Michigan fan ever liked whomever was starting at quarterback until Denard Robinson. We hated Elvis Grbac. We hated Brian Griese. We hated John Navarre. We hated Drew Henson. We hated - HATED - sad robot Chad Henne*.
I tended to like Michigan's quarterbacks who were not underclassman Drew Henson, and I knew the one guy who really really liked John Navarre. Like, he was super-enthused about John Navarre. And eventually correct!
More insider business. A gentleman who is probably too identifiable for his own good comes back with a very legit-seeming practice report that he's posted on a couple of different boards. The 247 version, all errors sic:
DL looked great, really great. all the hype is backed up. Pipkins looks the part, even coming off the injury. on friday he was easily the most impressive NT that they had, that by no means is discounting mone, hurst, or henry. Their depth and talent at the position although young, is very, very good. Even pallante looked good!! yes, he is small, but ive spoken to a few players who say he is as strong as a senior and one of the quickest most technically sound players there.
I imagine that if that's true we'll see at least one of those four guys (Pipkins, Mone, Hurst, Henry) at three-tech, which currently has Wormley and no one else who's gotten much hype.
That's not good. Nebraska lost three defenders for the season a couple days back, including two starters: Michael Rose and LeRoy Alexander. That'll help when Michigan… uh… we don't play them this year, or until all those guys graduate. CARRY ON.
That's not… uh… relevant. Reporting from media day!
“The job that he does and the job that he’s done since the day he got here, has been unbelievable,” Mattison said with a sweaty upper lip. “Me personally, there is no way I would have come here if it wasn’t for Brady Hoke.”
That typed itself, I bet. I bet Brendan F Quinn was mesmerized by the lip and when it came time to write the article that phrase slipped itself in there and if you ask Brendan F Quinn about that passage he will be shocked that it exists. You see, I've been there, down on ol' Lip Mesmerization Farm. It's a strange, sweaty place, but you get used to it.
No age gap now. Another article on how the offensive line is going to be better because they all like each other:
"There was an age gap last year, and it was just there," Bosch said. "It was just something that was obviously noticeable. You could tell 'these were the seniors, you were a freshmen.' That's how it was."
No chance of that this year, because there are no seniors. For the record I think the line will be better this year because they will be trying to do one thing instead of all things and not necessarily because they are more together. Or that they are Galvanized By Criticism:
Those stats and the barrage of negative press regarding Michigan’s offensive line have helped galvanize the linemen. Jack Miller, a redshirt junior who started the first four games at center last season, said they are more than aware of the doubters.
No doubt they will Shock The World and Not Listen To The Haters. I mean, Miller's following quote is twisted pretty hard to get into that narrative:
“Between last year and this offseason, you’d be hard-pressed to miss that if you pay attention to anything,” Miller said. “You run into fans who say stuff — ‘What’s going on with that offensive line?’ But that’s the way it goes with any program of this caliber. We know that. We know that’s part of the gig here, and that’s OK. Some of it is rightly so. We need to live up the expectations that people have here.”
A good rule of thumb: when someone cites chemistry as a reason for something it's because they don't know. Chalking it up to the undefinable cannot be disproved or really even argued.
Getting on the the WJC team. College Hockey News profiles Downing and Motte as they try to avoid being late cuts this time around. USA coach mark Osiecki on Downing:
“We’re still trying to identify what (Downing’s) strengths and weaknesses will be,” Osiecki said. “He has a bomb from the blue line, that’s for sure, there’s no doubt about that. His awareness from the red line back has continued to show improvement. It’s hard for a defenseman to jump into summer hockey. You haven’t done much defending at all, and he likes to get into the offense when he can, but he’s getting back to it on the defensive side of things.”
Downing says he's put on 25 pounds; hopefully he'll be more of a physical presence than he was last year, when he was more lanky than intimidating. Motte dumped in a hat trick in the USA's 9-1 thumping of Finland, playing with uber-prospect Jack Eichel.
For his part, JT Compher is not so much fighting to make the team as fighting to be named king:
While a few players have stepped up, it's obvious Compher has emerged as the frontrunner to be captain of the team.
"He's done a really nice job," Osiecki said. "There's a group of those kids that are similar, but you talk to any of the support staff, the trainers, the equipment personnel, and they say he's very vocal and takes charge of the group. We have to start that now and develop that relationship between him and the coaching staff."
I am looking forward to the Copp/Compher axis truly owning the team this year. Jack Eichel:
"He does everything on the ice so well," Eichel, a teammate on the USNTDP U-18 team in 2012-13. "He's a guy that you can just try to model your game after. He just so good wherever he is, in the faceoff circle, in the [defensive] zone, he's great killing penalties, great on the power play. He's a role model to me and I really look up to him. He's a great kid and a great leader. He works so hard everywhere. Everyone else tries to match him. A guy like that on your team, it's really good. Everyone tries to work as hard as him, and if everyone works as hard as J.T., you know you have a good team."
How do two stars get drafted? By adding half a person.
Ra'Shede Hageman, No. 35 overall, gained 60 pounds
Hageman was a well-regarded but raw tight end recruit who grew from a listed 6'6, 250 to 310 pounds while at Minnesota, moving to defensive tackle. He's expected to make an instant impact for the Atlanta Falcons.
Jimmy Staten, No. 172 overall, gained 86
Staten was a 6'3, 217-pound two-star defensive end in high school when he signed with Middle Tennessee State. The Seahawks drafted him at 6'4, 303.
At least nine other drafted two-stars increased their body weight by 20 percent between high school and the Combine.
You really shouldn't criticize recruiting services for missing on guys like Staten or Buffalo first-rounder Khalil Mack—everyone else did. There are always going to be guys who blow up in college.
Etc.: In news that you take for granted these days, all of Michigan's freshmen are enrolled and full go. A look at what Loeffler wants to do at VT. Autonomy details. Annual Michigan drill thingy. Gasaway on the O'Bannon ruling.
1994: when the universe was right-side up. Via Wolverine Historian:
This game featured a halftime interview with one Gerald Ford:
It's over. Everything is over. The FAKE 40 scale has been broken. They said that man could not claim a 40 time with more than five FAKES attached. They said a lot of things. Well, I present you with the first level eight (eight!) FAKE 40 time:
— Northwestern Sports (@NU_Sports) August 7, 2014
Unstoppable run-god Trevor Siemian? That does not sound right. Rodger Sherman figures that whether this is true or false this is the beginning of the end for Pat Fitzgerald. I agree. This has destabilized the entire structure of the sport.
IS IT MAIZE? This poster-type thing makes Michigan's uniforms look far less highlighter-y than they have in the recent past:
Delonte Hollowell front and center
All discussions about this inevitably center on the fact that you can make the same color look vastly different depending on lighting and various other photo doodadery, so let's just stipulate that. But maybe it'll look like a color instead of a fire truck this year.
I am intrigued by your newsletter. 2016 AL SG Josh Langford is arriving on campus today. It is possible there has not been enough chatter about this. Everyone's focused on Tyus Battle after Battle's camp appearance, but Langford is just as highly touted of a prospect, says highly positive things when asked about Michigan, and now 247's Jerry Meyer has put in a prediction for M on their Crystal Ball. He offers a brief explanation as to why:
Duke had been considered the leader in his recruitment but the Blue Devils have only showed minimal recruiting interest to this point.
Sources tell 247Sports that Michigan and Kansas are the two schools in the strongest position with Langford. … A physical guard at 200-pounds or more, Langford loves to attack the rim and also has a versatile and skilled game that would fit great into John Beilein's system of play.
Langford's quotes about Beilein are on the rapturous side, and apparently there's some substance to that.
Meanwhile, Michigan is asserted to be the leader($) for 2016 CA PF TJ Leaf by Scout analyst Evan Daniels. Asserted to be the "slight" leader. That is still an improvement over the perception that Indiana or UCLA was on top.
Leaf's Crystal Ball is a total mess, with five different schools listed—a recent Duke offer has caused a lot of picks for the Blue Devils to come in, there's a random CBS Sports writer projecting Florida, etc. Leaf just visited Arizona, as well. His recruitment could go any direction from here. Michigan probably needs another visit before Leaf's announcement in March or April to feel good. The current plan is for Leaf to take an official in February.
DRIII. Jeff Eisenberg has a rather lengthy article on the second-newest Wolverine, Duncan Robinson. How does a guy go from D-III to Michigan? Bad luck and hard work.
He stood only 5-foot-7 entering his freshman year at Governor's Academy in Byfield, Mass. He suffered an ill-timed back injury that hampered him during the all-important summer before his senior year at Exeter. And even after his growth spurt, he still needed to build the muscle necessary to absorb contact and finish at the rim. …
"His goal is to be an impact player," Tilton said. "He's not a kid looking to play a small role. He'll put the effort and energy in. I have not coached a kid with more passion for the game of basketball. He has a tremendous work ethic. He spends hours and hours on his craft. Basketball is his social life, and that's why he has been able to put himself in this position."
It'll be fascinating to see how this decision works out. Michigan passed on Nevada's Cole Huff when it looked for all the world like he would end up transferring in and seem ready to shut down 2015 recruiting entirely with Robinson in the fold. All Hail Infallible Beilein, of course, but 6'8" two-guards shooting 45% from three do not grow on trees.
Almost ready to shut down 2015 recruiting. 6'6" combo guard PJ Dozier just announced a top five and a plan to visit Michigan this fall, and if he has been shut out by the Robinson commitment he is not aware of this fact:
“Some people will say I like this school because they’re this type of school and I’ve watched them forever. But P.J. is selecting a school that is the correct way in what is going to be the best program and the best fit for him so Michigan is definitely a strong, strong possibility.”
Michigan does have a spot in the 2015 class, and if a guy on Dozier's level—#31 on the composite—wants to take it you probably let him even if it removes the possibility you get a similarly-ranked 2016 guy.
Well yeah. Listen to this man, he is a wizard.
"It's no longer about education," Snyder said. "We've sold out to the cameras over there, and TV has made its way, and I don't fault TV. I don't fault whoever broadcasts games. They have to make a living and that's what they do, but athletics -- that's it. It's sold out."
I am skeptical it was ever really about education but yes probably more so than now; "sold out" is correct.
I would be okay with this. Stunningly, a plurality of coaches in the Power 5 support doing away with cupcakes entirely:
Of the 65 Power Five coaches from the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12, SEC and Notre Dame, 46 percent (30 coaches) favored playing exclusively Power Five opponents while 35 percent (23 coaches) were opposed. About 18.5 percent (12 coaches) were undecided.
"About 18.5." Significant digits, man.
Anyway, they did away with the requirement that you have to win six games to go to a bowl, significantly greasing the skids towards a "yes" vote. Pac-12 coaches were the most gung-ho in favor, with only Rich Rodriguez opposed; the ACC was the only conference where more coaches were opposed to the idea than in favor; The Big Ten split down the middle. Hoke was not quoted but was listed as in favor.
Joe Dumars' last transaction. Brendan Quinn notes that the DRIII transfer saga was kicked off by none other than Joe Dumars's firing:
After the Pistons fired general manager Joe Dumars in mid-April, a six-week search for his replacement finally landed on Marist College head coach Jeff Bower.
Bower accepted the position, vaulting from a low-major college coach to an NBA GM.
That left Marist scrambling for a new coach as the summer churned toward key recruiting periods. The coaching search in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., ultimately landed on Mike Maker, a 48-year-old who had led tiny Williams College to a 147-32 record and two national championship game appearances in six years.
With Maker gone, Robinson started looking around. May this transaction be more in the 'Sheed department instead of the "everything after the Billups trade oh and also the Billups trade" department.
Etc.: Thanks, Landon. Autonomy passes. No one knows what that means yet. Impact figures to be minimal in basketball. Scrimmage details. You have to register, because you need to be bombarded by emails. The NFL is suddenly open.