Mike Lantry, 1972
I know of everything that is going on with OSU, but what is going to come out of this? I live in Omaha, and some family members of mine think that the cars and tatgate will be considered as seperate violations, Most of us know that the death penalty will never be used again, I've also heard that they could go with no schollies for a certain amount of time, this being the worst case scenario. So, what is everyones opinion on what is going to happen?
Colorado offensive lineman Paul Thurston decided to take a trip out to Ann Arbor on Monday with his father. The 6-foot-5, 274-pound lineman took in Michigan's campus for the first time and told me about how the trip went. Here's a look at his film and what he had to say.
TOM: You're from Colorado, so it's not like this was a two hour car ride for you. What made you decide to visit Michigan so early?
PAUL: Well, we went up Monday and just got back today. I know Michigan, they're a big time program and the scholarship offers aren't going to be around forever. I thought it would be best to get over there and when things heat up I'll have already seen them and know what they're about.
TOM: You said when things start heating up. Does that mean you have a timeline for when you want to decide?
PAUL: Yeah, I'd like to do it before the season or during the season. So probably around July, August, or September is when I'll make my decision.
TOM: What did you know about Michigan before this visit, or what made you so interested in them?
PAUL: Probably the big time tradition they have there. These coaches I'm sure they'll get back to that again. When I got the offer it was definitely a place I was interested in.
TOM: Ok, so tell me about the trip then. What all did you get to see?
PAUL: It was my first time in Ann Arbor, and when we got there we went to the athletic complex. I met all the coaches, talked with Coach Hoke, talked with Coach Funk, and took a tour of the facilities. The next morning we got a tour of campus, saw the academic center, and we saw the Big House. That was pretty crazy. Then after that we talked to Coach Hoke again.
TOM: The Big House was crazy? How did it compare to other schools you've seen so far?
PAUL: Yeah, the Big House was crazy. You go to a place like Nebraska and they have a pretty big stadium, but then you walk on that field in the Big House and that place is huge. I was in there talking with some of the coaches about what it's like on gameday with all the fans.
TOM: You mentioned talking to the coaches, what were they talking to you about?
PAUL: They were telling me where I'd be playing, where I'd fit in, and where they stand. Talking with Coach Hoke he was able to tell me some things about the program, chat, and just get to know me.
TOM: Where did they tell you that they want you to play? Tackle or guard?
PAUL: Coach Funk said I'll probably go in and play left tackle. If I can play there, then good, if not then they might move me to guard or right tackle.
TOM: Your dad went with you on the trip, how did he feel about it?
PAUL: He really liked it. He said it's definitely a top place and a good place to go.
TOM: We talked about your timeline, but do you have any leaders at this point, or does anyone stick out to you so far?
PAUL: No, I don't really have any leaders yet. I'm coming back from all these visits and trying to get everything on paper. I think I'll take a couple more visits, I'm not sure where yet, but it's coming together slowly. We'll see who starts talking to me.
TOM: What are the most important aspects for you when you're evaluating a school?
PAUL: Some of the big things for me are a good weight program, if they can get me ready and get me ready to compete. If I like the coaches and my position coach, and how long the coaching staff will be there.
TOM: After this visit how do you think Michigan stands for you?
PAUL: They definitely fit all three things I'm looking for. I talked to the weight coach and he has everything I'm looking for. They were telling me that they don't plan on going anywhere either.
TOM: Was there anything that stuck out to you on the visit, or anything unique?
PAUL: Well, I actually got a call that I was selected to play in one of All American games while I was in Ann Arbor, so that's something I'll remember.
Mrohblue's MGoBoard question, "How long before Hoke has UM in BCS game??" has prompted me to post some data I previously compiled for personal satisfaction. I hope you will find it just as satisfying.
I am sure Michigan can/should pull off 10 wins this upcoming year, and it's not just because the Wolverines nearly pulled off 7 wins in 2008 while utilizing a 3rd string QB lining up behind one previously starting OL, throwing to one previously starting WR or TE, or handing off to one of 2 previously starting RBs; with depth being drawn from a team of less than 70 scholarship players. (Compare this to the 2011 offensive transition that will feature 4 of 5 OL starters and 4 of their 5 backups, the top 8 WR, top 5 RB, top TE, and the nation's most dangerous QB... all from a top 5 Offense from the year 2010.)
Look to Mr. Rittenberg's list of Big Ten returning starters for 2011 to get a general overview of the Big Ten's experience gap. Our beloved Wolverines are the most experienced group in the Big Ten, returning 20. Of note, the 4 programs on our 2011 schedule who are/will be traditional favorites to finish among the conference's top half include MSU, Iowa, Neb, and OSU. This traditionally difficult block of teams return only 13, 10, 12, and 13 starters, respectively. Also of note, we will have our hands full with ND and NW who return 18 and 17 starters, respectively. (That assumes that Brian Kelly's competitive mean-streak translates to Michael Floyd being magically available for Michigan's first home night-game.)
But when looking at whether a team will be the hammer or the nail, the proverbial hammer's head is the Offensive front 6 (OL and TE) or the Defensive front 7 (DL and LB.) Looking at what Wisconsin's 2010 OL was able to accomplish against a young Michigan DL (especially after they purposefully took Mike Martin out of the game) is a great example of experienced big uglies taking (talented) newbies to task. That Wiscy OL featured 2 Sr, 3 RS-Jr, and a So.
Who will we hammer this year?
|OL / TE||D Front 7||DL||LB|
As you can see, no one has a clear experential advantage over Michigan in the trenches this year. Not only does Michigan return more total starters than any of its foes, 10 of our returning starters are trenchmen perfectly balanced across the O and D.
By the Numbers:
The teams who will give our offensive Front 6 a challenge: Notre Dame, Minnesota, Purdue, the Illini, and Nebraska.
The teams to challenge our defensive Front 7: SDSU, NW and the Illini. Of course, ND, Purdue and OSU all return a respectable 4 out of 6 on the offensive front line.
Note that only ND, Purdue and the Illini are on both of those lists.
WMU, MSU and Iowa will all be overrun by winged helmets on both sides of the ball. That's RBs stuffed, QBs with no time to breathe, and our RBs unleashing an absolute Denarding. EMU will be able to at least rely on its lines to keep the game closer than it should be, and SDSU brings back some real talent on the offensive side of the ball but a very weak-looking defense - posing the threat of a shoot-out. But those 5 games should be our gimmes. We have a heavy advantage on either O or D against Minnesota, Nebraska, and Ohio State (and are not outgunned on the other side of the ball) = 3 more wins. The Illini return a lot along the lines, but only 3 total starters behind the lines. Win. Our nastiest games will be Notre Dame, NW, and Purdue who each return solid lines in addition to a solid number of skill players behind the lines.
I am only sweating ND, SDSU, NW and the Nebraska/OSU 2-week finale. Four of those are home games. Beat Notre Dame, and we are on our way to a 10-win season. Lose to them, and our second Big Ten game (Northwestern - away) becomes the lynchpin to making a BCS berth. We need 3 out of 5 of these "sweat games." I like our chances.
**Edit: According to Scout.com's listing of WMU's returning starters there are 3 returning along the O-line/TE (including our very-own-former Dan O'Neill)and 7 (!) returning along the D-Front-7. That's a massive difference from ESPN's reporting of 2 and 4. They are one of the more experienced trench-teams we will see this season... I'm going to have to go back through Scout's analyses and see if there are any other examples of ESPN's poor reporting skills.
Inspired by this thread. So what do you think are the best nicknames in U-M sports history? What are some of the ones you grew up with? What were the worst/lamest? Any and all sports, of course.
Obviously, we have nicknames like Shoelace (awesome), Tractor (RIP), and the Butterfly (ugh). Graham Brown was known as Moose. I remember whenever Jerod Ward scored, they'd put up the "Hot Rod" graphic in Crisler.
This is also an education in Michigan sports history for me, as I was pretty much clueless about it until I started attending U-M in the mid-90s. Before that, I was all about the Georgia Bulldogs and Atlanta pro sports, having been born and raised in the ATL.
The local paper in Iowa City is reporting an offer by the Hawkeyes to Brian Allen, a freshman(!) offensive lineman(!). I have never heard of offering an offensive lineman that early, I am sure it sets a new benchmark. However, Kirk loves wrestlers on his oline, which this kid is a good one, and has enough street cred with oline prospects so what the hell. I think Lane offered a scholly to a seventh grade QB so I guess nothing should surprise me at this point.