if you seek an image of the most Wisconsin OL ever, enter here
Akron Buchtel safety Jarrod Wilson (6'2", 190 lbs) has been relatively quiet about his recruitment lately. With around 15 offers already, Wilson has seen his recruitment steadily increase as we approach summer camps. I caught up with Jarrod's head coach and former Wolverine Ricky Powers. Here's a look at Wilson's film and what his coach had to say.
TOM: We haven't heard too much about Jarrod lately. I know he's kind of quiet, but do you know if he's close to narrowing his list down?
COACH POWERS: Jarrod is a smart kid, and I know he's planning on narrowing it down soon here. I don't know who it will all be narrowed down to, of course Michigan will be on the list. I think he'll have schools like Michigan, Stanford, and Notre Dame which shows you his intelligence.
TOM: What have the Michigan coaches been saying about him, and have they come down for an in school visit yet?
COACH POWERS: The [Michigan] coaches really like Jarrod. They're going through the process, making sure Jarrod knows that he's wanted and that they really like him. They haven't been down here yet, but I'm sure they will be soon.
TOM: To go back a little bit you said he's a smart kid, what all does that entail?
COACH POWERS: He's an extremely smart football player and a smart kid period. His football IQ is really high, he'll line everyone up on defense for us. We call him the quarterback of our defenses. He's probably going to be our starting quarterback going into camp, which I hope changes. Corey [Smith] is probably one of the best receivers I've ever seen, he's just a smooth receiver and his routes are flawless. I'm not just saying that because I'm his coach either, I really believe that. I also believe wherever they go they will both graduate.
TOM: You mentioned Corey Smith, Jarrod's teammate. I know they had originally said that they wanted to be a package deal and they were going to school together, is that still the case?
COACH POWERS: No, they're not a package deal. I think they wanted to do that at first, but one may not fit with the other. Corey is a great kid too, but he might have a different situation than Jarrod.
TOM: To add on to that, Jarrod does have a Michigan offer while Corey is still waiting for one to come through. Do you think they will end up offering Corey as well?
COACH POWERS: I don't think the coaches have seen a lot of film on Corey yet. I think they want to see without a doubt that he can play at Michigan. They want to see if he fits and is right for them first.
TOM: Since you are a former Michigan football player do you have any past relationships with the current coaches?
COACH POWERS: I know Coach Mattison, who is recruiting Jarrod. I've met the new head coach and I love him. His heart is in the right place and he knows what Michigan is about. One thing about Rich Rodriguez that not a lot of people get is that he did what he knew how to do and what he was successful with, it just didn't work though. I do think Brady Hoke is bringing an energy that Michigan has been missing for a long time. You can see how excited he is about it. Michigan has always been great and sometimes I've wondered if everyone is excited about it. I think he's in at a great time and I hope people understand what he brings to the table.
TOM: Is it difficult for you to separate being a coach for Jarrod and Corey from being a former Michigan athlete?
COACH POWERS: What I do with my guys, it's going to be their decision. I provide them with as much information as I can. Look, Michigan's not for everbody. The average guy can't go to Michigan. Can these two be Michigan guys, heck yeah. But I don't want to push them there because it's not my choice. If they ask me I would tell them my experience at Michigan. I know just seeing Coach Hoke I think Michigan is going to be an awesome place. Jarrod will be able to see that. He'll be able to look around and see that. None of these other schools are slouches either, they bring a lot to the table. I think Michigan is a special place, but they need to figure it out for themselves.
TOM: With Jarrod's recruitment, do you know if he has a timeline to make his final decision?
COACH POWERS: I think he has a timeline, but I try not to talk to him about it too much. He's quiet, but he's a great kid and he really will break down different things to make a decision. He'll make the right choice.
Well not really, but certainly causin them to look elsewhere.
"Now is the best time for Hoke to hit the local recruiting trail hard since he's technically undefeated against rivals MSU and Ohio State. He is selling early playing time at many positions and working with a clean slate. In addition, Hoke can bring in a full class of 25 players, or possibly more, if the Wolverines backdate scholarships."
As most of you undoubtedly have, I’ve been struggling to figure out my expectations for the 2011-12 football season. On the defensive side of the ball, things are looking up. On offense, however, there are signs of inclement weather, which may pose problems come September.
Galactic Punter II aside, special teams remains the foul abode of ancient demons and Boschian nightmares. On the other hand, it's still very, very early. So I tried to work through the most plausible scenarios rationally, to assess their relative likelihood based upon what we know now, and where things may be headed. No fancy statistics or charts here, just old-fashioned logic and informed speculation. Take that with a grain of salt, and please tell me what I’ve got right and what I’ve got wrong.
1. Roses-Tinted Glasses
Scenario: Basically everything goes right. Mattison’s schemes and emphasis on fundamentals produce not improvement, but a seismic shift in our defensive performance. We tackle, we swarm and we don’t lose contain. The young, middling recruits of yesteryear turn into MEN who play MANBALL. Over on offense, Borges shows his utilitarian side, keeping plays and formations that were effective last year, but also introducing new schemes that dramatically improve our scoring efficiency and flexibility against stout defenses. A running back or two establish themselves as go-to guys, putting less pressure on Denard’s feet and keeping him healthy. Denard does still dazzle us with his running ability, but he also looks comfortable in the pocket and shows maturity as a passer. Hagerup ensures we dominate the battle for field position, and thanks to Matt Wile, we can actually kick field goals!
Record: 10-2, or a really good 9-3 in a parity-filled year, a chance to play for the inaugural Big 10 Championship game and a possible trip to Pasadena.
Odds: 9/1. Given our recent luck with injuries, a big and uncertain transition on offense and the gauntlet-style conference schedule we face, I’d rate this as possible, but highly unlikely. Too many things would have to come together: too many gaping holes on defense filled with underwhelming sophomores and rusty seniors, too many apparent problems in our execution of the West Coast offense wrapped up quickly and emphatically, too much pressure on a true freshman kicker and too many depth issues at key positions all over the field solved with fairy dust and magic wands.* Of course, surprise performances do happen from time to time. How about PennStatein 2008-9? That was a team that had been decent but kind of “meh” the year before, and had a host of pre-season issues making a championship campaign unlikely. Another example closer to home would be our 2006 team—lots of returning starters but some uncertainty based on staff changes. Still, those were teams that could consistently win with defense. We’re just not there yet. And besides, if there’s one thing we’ve come to expect in 4 of the past 5 years, it’s the ruthless smashing of dreams by Angry Michigan-Hating Gods. Don’t get your hopes up.
*An 11-1 scenario would also likely require some help, in the form of criminal charges beyond the pale of re-instatement in East Lansing, Apocalypse Tressel in Columbus and locust plagues just about everywhere else in the conference.
2. Remember the Alamo…er…Outback Bowl!
Scenario: Mattison’s coaching and more experience on the DL and in the secondary produce immediate dividends on defense. We upgrade from “historically bad” to “somewhere in the middle.” Teams just can’t score on us like they used to, we hold steady on 3rd down with some regularity and tackling is as tackling does. We adjust to life in the West Coast offense pretty well, do better in the field position battle than last year and manage to kick some field goals here and there. However, we do suffer from some transitional pains on offense, and, despite improvement, are still not great on defense.
Record: 9-3 or 8-4, with a signature win over “Little Brother” or “Ohio.”
Odds: 6/5. As I see it, this is the most likely scenario. We win a couple we’re supposed to lose, but lose at least one we’re supposed to win. Iowa and MSU, in particular, look ripe for the pickin’. Perhaps we even beat the boys from Tatville! That said, we should probably splash ourselves with the cold water of reality: our schedule is still brutal.* Going 5-3 or 4-4 against ND, SDSU, MSU, Northwestern, Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska and OSU seems like a plausible outcome for a team with a still-explosive-but-somewhat-slowed offense, a still-questionable-but-fast-improving defense and an extra year of experience and conditioning for our pantheon of returning starters. Beyond that lie clouds, fantastic things to stare at and imagine as corporeal, but are in actuality little more than concentrations of moisture in random shapes. This is where we appear to be headed, or perhaps more accurately, this is where we should be headed. So wax nostalgic about the Lloyd Carr years, friends, for they may be back.
3. Gator Vu All Over Again…
Scenario: Our defense may get better, but it’s still not up to snuff against proper competition. Our offense, on the other hand, has a rockier-than-hoped-for transition to Borges’ West Coast scheme. The combination of these two factors doom us to a different kind of the same mediocrity we experienced in 2010. Or, things do go according to plan, but injuries rear their ugly head and things fall apart during the toughest part of the season. Either way, at times we put it all together, and at others, nothing seems to work.
Record: 7-5 or 6-6, and a rematch with the
Odds: 9/5. Sadly, this is another plausible scenario, and an obstacle to our return to Big 10 relevancy. Basically, start with all the factors outlined in the Outback scenario, and then add a few drops of cyanide. Said cyanide can take multiple forms. Take, for example, the home-and-away factor in the pivotal 8 games mentioned above: ND, SDSU, Nebraskaand OSU are at home, and MSU, Northwestern, Iowa, and Illinoisaway. Location held constant, all those away games are winnable; playing them away makes them less so. The home games, by contrast, include the two we’re least likely to win no matter where they are played. Despite everything I said in the last entry, this is a problem. Another one is depth, and what a few unlucky injuries could mean to the best-laid plans of mice and men. Can you imagine us going 3-5 or even 2-6 across that stretch? I can. Of course, our roster doesn't appear as frighteningly thin as it was last year,* and all that experience will count for something. Hopefully it will. If not, 2011 could look a whole lot like 2010.
*It didn't look quite that bad in May 2010 either.
4. A Moonwalk to Oblivion
Scenario: In this final scenario, everything that can go wrong does. Mattison’s coaching can’t turn this ragtag bunch into anything even approaching competence, and Borges goes all square-peg-meets-round-hole on our offensive personnel. Our RBs continue to sputter, and our WRs, it turns out, really aren’t suited to a West Coast offense. Denard gets injured, or regresses into an interception machine. We still can’t kick a damned field goal.
Record: 5-7 or worse. No postseason and another hard sell on the recruiting path.
Odds: 9/1. We can sleep relatively well tonight, because this isn’t too likely. But it does happen sometimes. In 2009, Charlie Weis took a Notre Dame team stacked with upperclassmen and promptly went 6-6. Though our expectations aren’t as high or as delusionary, our schedule is likely tougher. We’ve also had a string of bad luck and poor coaching decisions the past few years, which contributed to our historically bad defenses and—in 2008 and 2009—our sputtering offenses. If this string of luck and poor decisions continues (albeit in different form), it would severely complicate the transition currently under way. As I see it, this would take another injury-and-attrition apocalypse like the one that produced our Decimated Defense in 2010 combined with another “shock-therapy” transition on offense like we had in 2008. To be frank, I don’t think it’s too likely for lightning to strike twice in two years, and a return to 2008 production is unlikely, given differences in personnel.* All that said, our vat of returning starters, apparent upgrade in defensive coaching and reassuring noises from Borges about using shotgun sets and QB keepers make this is about as likely as going to the Rose Bowl. In other words, not very.
*But the consequences would also be more painful, given what we expect from Denard n’ Co.
Inevitably, some readers will draw connections to our recent coaching change and the on-going feud between the Rich Rod loyalists and the Hoke brigade. I do have my opinions on this topic, but I’d rather not go there. Suffice to say, Rich tried his best to put something special together here, and it just didn’t turn out the way he hoped. Dave Brandon made a decision to change things because he didn’t see a roadmap to sustained success, and felt the Michiganbrand was suffering as a result. Only time will give us a concrete idea as to whether Brandonmade a good or bad decision. I’m not trying to comment on the wisdom of that decision, or lack thereof.
Is Kovacs at FS or SS this year? He is listed as the starter at FS on the unofficial two deep and at FS in the depth chart by class on mgoblog.
Based on Kovacs past performance at FS, I had assumed that Carvin Johnson was the FS and Kovacs the SS. Also, all posts I've seen on mgoblog including the mailbag today have Carvin Johnson at FS.
ESPN's Adam Rittenberg posted a short piece about the National Football Foundation's Honor Society and I was surprised to see that Michigan was the only team in the Big Ten + Nebraska not to have at least ONE selection. The conference had 29 selections including six each by the Hoosiers and Buckeyes.
How can that happen at one of the conference's top-two academic institutions?
Michigan offered Illinois DT Jaleel Johnson yesterday and I caught up with him to talk about the offer. Jaleel has been open about wanting a Michigan offer for some time, so he was excited when it came through.
The [Michigan] coaches were in school yesterday during school hours. They didn't watch practice, but they verbally offered me and told me that they want me to come out for a visit. I'll be making that visit sometime in the near future, over the summer. I do like Michigan, but I would like to get a feel for the school by going up and checking it out.
I asked him where he was at in his recruitment and what he knew about Michigan so far.
I'm pretty far into my recruitment, I have 11 offers now. I plan on narrowing down my list sometime during my season and then making my decision in the winter. I know that Michigan has the defensive coordinator for the Baltimore Ravens, which is a team that I like. I also believe they have won the most Big Ten Championships. The rest will be about getting to know the coaches.
I think Michigan has a good shot with Jaleel, like he said he needs to see campus first and get to know all the coaches. Here's a look at his film if you haven't seen it already. Jaleel's other offers include Arizona, Illinois, Iowa, MSU, and Wisconsin.