it's a major award
Now that Kelvin Grady's twitter prediction of a weekend announcement has passed, and we hear from Angelique that Brandon and Miles are meeting Tuesday (why not Wednesday Dave? Not like time is a issue is it?) I would like to return to recruiting and ask the question posed in the headline, particularly to those that follow recruiting more closely than I do.
So today is the 10th, and signing day is 2/2. Let's say something surprising happens and we hire someone tomorrow night and announce it Wednesday. So a new coach officially begins on the 12th. A a staff has to be assembled, even if some come with him. That takes a few days. Realistically the staff isn't in place until the weekend. So even on my accelerated schedule for a new hire, the staff doesn't really recruit until the 15th or so. That gives them roughly two weeks to 1-familiarize themselves with the committed recruits through film and persuade them to stay, and 2- try to fill the class (approx. 8 spots open) with new recruits--a harder job since Frost/Hart/Lyons have all committed elsewhere during this transition. Is it even possible to do this in a 2 week timetable?
On tonite's episode of Top Coach we'll be going to Ann Arbor, MI. As usual your host for the evening is Ms. Erin Andrews. Our head judge is Mr. Lee Corso. Joining us tonite as a guest judge is Mr. David Brandon, Athletic Director at the University of Michigan.
As you are aware, coaches Fitzgerald, Peterson, and Harbaugh have already decided the ratings for this show were too low and umm left. But the show must go on.
So, contestants, for your quickfire challenge tonite each of you will attempt to lead your team to victory. However, there's a twist - there will be only two minutes left on the clock. Yes, it's the dreaded two minute drill challenge. Each team will begin down 8 points and with only a single time out remaining.
Coaches, your challenge begins…. Now!
Coach Patterson is off to a strong start. He's already gotten his team to the 30 yd line. Will they get a TD here or stall out?
Coach Miles looked to be stuck at his own 40, but took his TO to think it over. They came back and aired it out on 4th and 3. Now they have a first down at the 12. Man that guy sure has guts Erin! Wait, did he just eat some grass? I love a coach that eats grass!
Looks like Coach Hoke is methodically working his way down the field. He's at the 50 and his RBs are dutifully cranking out 3-5yd at a time. That's some smashmouth football there Erin. Gotta wonder if he'll have enough time though.
Coach Gruden is steaming on the sidelines. His guys just took a holding call and they're now 3rd and 15 at their own 35. Would ya look at that - I love a coach with energy like that.
OK Lee, calm down.
Oh! And Coach Miles has his TD. They line up for the 2 pt conversion and… wow, nice bootleg option and the QB sneaks over for the conversion.
Coach Hoke looks like he's stalled out at the 20. With 1:02 on the clock he's taken his TO and has one last shot to get this in the endzone. Man I love his style of in your face smashmouth football!
OK Lee, we get it. Smashmouth. Good.
And with 1:08 left Coach Patterson has gotten the TD and the 2 pt conversion. He's tied it up. Really good looking ball being played by his guys. You know these small school guys have really been comin on strong lately. I love the moxie!
Coach Gruden is really workin over the refs. Meanwhile, his team is now at the 30 and threatening to score. Boy I would not wanna be those refs right now. Look at that glare. He's gonna pop a vessel at this rate. I love that intensity!
Checking back to Coach Patterson and it looks like he's gonna play for OT. He kicks it long. Oh no! the return man get's pile driven at the 30 and fumbles! What a stroke of luck for Coach P. You know Erin, that's good coaching right there. His guys went for the kill and got it.
Really Lee, just chill.
Meanwhile, Coach Miles has lined his guys up for the kick. The kick is away, but what's this? He actually had the kicker send it high but short. He's got his true freshman track star/WR sprinting underneath the ball. He goes up and comes down with the kick. What a ballsy call. The other team was definitely not expecting that kick. Wow! Where's my mascot helmet? Cuz that was just great!
Erin, why does Coach Miles keep looking at you like that? Do you know him or something? That weird smirk he keeps shootin this way is a little bit odd...
Shut up Lee.
OK. Coach Hoke is back from his TO and has them lined up. The QB drops back and… Oh! Caught at the 15! It's gonna be close. They're gonna have to measure. Oh no! Inches short. Looks like that's it for Coach Hoke in this challenge. The other team takes a knee and that's it. Tough break there. I love the way his kids played for him Erin. That guy sure can coach.
With 39 ticks on the clock, Coach Gruden's boys are now at the 15. Here they go. Nice little play action and he lobs it into the corner…. Touchdown! They line up for 2 and… it's good! They kick it off it looks like this one's going to OT as the other side takes a knee. Erin, why do they keep chanting Chuckie? What does that mean? I'm confused.
Coach Patterson has his boys lined up for a game-winning 40 yarded. The kick is up, and through. The win is his.
Let's see how Coach Miles is doing.
His boys have been working the sidelines to get into FG range. The clock now reads 23 seconds and they're at the 25. Nice little pass over the middle to get to the 14 yd line. But the clock is ticking. They get up to the line and spike it. 9 seconds left. Coach Miles calls the play… he has them run it to the middle of the field to give the kicker a better angle. Wait, what?!?! A running play? Now he's desperately trying to call a TO but doesn't have any left. Confusion on the sidelines. And that's it. In position to win it, but cursed by poor clock management. Erin I... well I just don't know what to say.
Well Coach Patterson clearly won this challenge. Still, great efforts by each of our contestants. There's no longer immunity, but in recognition of your win Coach, you've been granted a two year contract extension. And in the elimination challenge you'll be given home-field advantage.
Hey Erin, why is Coach Miles still smilin at you even though he lost?
Shut up Lee.
As you know there can be only one Top Coach. The winner will get a brand new Head Coaching contract worth $3M+/yr with the University of Michigan. For your elimination challenge we will be heading to the Big House. There you'll be performing a set of tasks vital to being a Top Coach. Afterwards we'll review your results at judge's chalkboard and one of you will be named Top Coach. Good Luck.
After the break we'll see how our contestants do in their elimination challenge.
Mr. Brandon, you haven't said a word yet. Anything you'd like to add?
Well... ummm... no.
OK then. More after the break!
Get in on Top Coach mania. Text your vote for the winner to 6462564 (your carrier's standard message and data rates may apply.)
First thing's first, I think I did a pretty thorough job, but if you think any of my numbers need to be corrected, just say so in the comments. This can be a group effort.
One of the most common objections heard from Michigan fans with respect to the potential hiring of Les Miles is that he's demonstrated a penchant for oversigning. ESPN's Outside the Lines produced a segment about a month ago widely linked to on this board highlighting LSU's use of this practice under Miles. If it matters to you my take is that it's abhorrent that a head coach making a multimillion dollar salary and with tremendous institutional backing could go into some poor kid's home and sell the promise of a college degree and then spit the kid out when he becomes expendable. I would hate seeing someone who'd do that become the head coach at my alma mater both for the sake of the kids he'd recruit and for the fact that he'd be the most public face of my school. Game theory be damned.
I got into an argument with psychomatt earlier about whether LSU was set to oversign again this year. I cited http://www.oversigning.com which says LSU currently has 8 more commits than it will have a place for. Psychomatt disputed these numbers. So, fair enough. Let's take a closer look.
As chronicled by the OTL report LSU trimmed down right before fall camp to get down to 85 scholarship players to start the year. Since, one player was dismissed from the team and none have transferred. The player dismissed was fullback Dominique Allen. He had a scholarship, was dismissed for an undisclosed violation of team rules, and Miles noted interestingly at the press conference that walk on James Stampley was clearly the number 1 fullback anyway.
That gets us down to 84.
Now, to the roster analysis:
There are 9 outgoing scholarship seniors. They are: Terrence Tolliver, Lezerius Levingston, Josh Jasper, Derek Helton, Richard Murphy, Jai Eugene, Joseph Barksdale, Kelvin Sheppard and Drake Nevis.
All other seniors on LSUs website are either expressly denoted as walk ons or have completely blank bio pages and no varsity letters. Exception: Dan Graff, listed as a player-coach (?!) who joined the team as a sophomore walk on. I'm confident in counting on him still being a walk on.
Potential 5th year candidates
- Josh Dworaczyk- has started every game for them at left guard this year. Will almost certainly return.
- Will Blackwell- was the starter at the beginning of the year at right guard before injuring his ankle. He recovered to play in the final 3 games. Probably back.
- T-Bob Hebert- took over Blackwell's starting job when he went down and spent the previous year starting at center. As a multi year starter he'll be welcomed back.
- Stevan Ridley- LSU's top back this year getting 249 carries and 1,147 yards. If he wants to come back he can. And he probably will come back at least according to where he's currently projected to go in the draft and to general message board scuttlebutt.
- Stefoin Francois- Started every game at linebacker, will be welcomed back. Not thought to be a draft risk.
- Ron Brooks- backup cornerback/strong safety and contributor on special teams. Played all 12 games, but started none. Put up decent numbers, though, 28 tackles 5 tfls and 3 PBUs. With Peterson leaving on the one hand and the number crunch on the other let's give him a 50-50 chance of being back.
- Jarrett Lee- 2nd string qb. It might be conceivable they'd let him go, but because Miles in his infinite wisdom, put Russell Shepard at wide receiver (seriously if he comes RIP Dilithium), their current 3rd string option is a freshman walk on. Zac Mettenberger (highly touted Georgia castoff) is about to come aboard though. But still, who likes having a redshirt freshman walk on as your 3rd string? Lee's getting invited back.
- Jordan Jefferson- Starting qb. He's welcome back.
- Patrick Peterson- Thorpe winner. All world cb. NFL. Gone.
- Alex Russian- Cone like tight end turned backup snapper. It's a wonder he isn't gone already.
- Mitch Joseph- in LSU's 3 man tight end rotation. Started 4 games this year. Let's say it's 50-50.
Only case with any ambiguity is Dennis Johnson, but after going through message board stuff I'm 90% sure he's a walk on.
So giving Les more wiggle room than he probably deserves let's count the maybes as both out. So in total we'll say that's 4 RS juniors not coming back. Obviously that +9 seniors +1 free schollie = 14.
Potential 3rd year draft entrants
I couldn't find any 3rd year guys LSU fans seem worried about losing early to the draft. Correct me if I'm wrong.
As Brian explained here , outside Alabama, medical hardships aren't very common. In fact, between 2008 and 2010 SEC schools that don't love houndstooth on average gave out slightly more than one each.
Recruits who fail to enroll
LSU currently has 21 commitments and is still in on some prospects. Let's hypothesize they don't gain or lose any commits between now and signing day, although it's probably more likely they gain. From 2005-2010 (Les' tenure) LSU has signed 144 players of whom 135 qualified academically and enrolled.* That makes for a 93.75% matriculation rate. Obviously using this rate to project into the future has its limitations, Miles might have changed his recruiting philosophy and taken on more high risk kids this year, but given how much he oversigned by last year and that 28 of the 29 in that class enrolled, I doubt a huge variation is likely this year. Anyway, using that figure we can project that 1 player not qualifying is the most likely outcome, having 2 not qualify is the second most likely outcome and having none fail to qualify the 3rd most likely outcome. Let's go with taking one out since it's the most likely statistically and they might end up with more commitments anyway.
You don't really need me for this, it's simple math. But giving Les more wiggle room than he probably deserves this is what we get 84 - 9 - 4 + 20 = 91. Miles is looking at being 6 above the limit right now.
Is this really a big deal?
I can hear people say it now: But, but, that's not accounting for players who choose to transfer voluntarily or make boneheaded decisions in the offseason and get kicked out justifiably!
To reply: Yes
Any oversigning analysis shouldn't account for that. For a coach to take a kid's signature, or even a commitment, when he doesn't have a spot for him is fundamentally wrong. Even if he thinks it's more likely than not that the spot he needs will free up in time, he promised a player much younger than him, usually much poorer and less powerful the opportunity to get a degree and play the sport he loves and by accepting that signature or commitment he doesn't have a spot for he's putting that at risk. It's grossly reckless and highly irresponsible. No institution of higher learning should be associated with it. And really, if a football program ends up a few scholarship players short is it the worst thing in the world? Those scholarships would instead go to deserving walk ons. And what's wrong with that?
Angelique (Detroit Free Press) has put out an update this evening (morning?) stating that a source has told the paper that Michigan will meet with Miles on Tuesday:
ESPN.com reported Saturday night that according to sources, Michigan has expressed interest in talking to Miles. They are expected to meet on Tuesday, a source with knowledge of the situation told The Detroit News on Sunday.
(bold added for emphasis)
This is the man I want as our next football coach:
Or maybe even this guy:
Now don't get me wrong, in no way am I advocating genocide, the atocities they caused, or the innocent people they killed. I'm just saying that I want the next head coach to be crazy. Like completely batshit crazy. I want a paranoid schizophrenic that thinks the alumni and fans are out to get them from day one. Because, simply put, for whoever coaches here that isn't named Jim Harbaugh, they will be. I want someone that has their finger on the button and doesn't give two shits what the rest of the world thinks, they'll start WWIII just for kicks. The uncertainty as to their next move will keep opponents afraid and on their heels, and we will move in and attack the jugular.
If that kind of crazy comes in the form of the Mad Hatter, grass eating, voodoo practicing Les Miles, so be it. Do what you have to do, and bring the witch doctor with you from the Bayou. But man that voodoo better be strong when he shows up in Ann Arbor. If it comes in the form of the Mad Scientist, lock players in dark enclosed spaces and lose your job Mike Leach, I'm fine with that too. If it comes in the form of practicing at unheard tempos to DJ'd music and other distractions so that you melt the brains of opposing teams come game time a'la Chip Kelly, even better.
I want someone who doesn't give a damn about the possibility of losing their job. I want someone who will pull out all the stops, throw in trick plays out to wazoo, like lining up offensive linemen as WR, fake punts, going for it on 4th and 3, statue of libery plays, and anything their wild minds can devise. I want someone with nothing to lose.
(Insert cheap cliche' line about dog in backed into corner being dangerous) I don't want that dog simply to be dangerous. I want that dog to be fucking rabid. I want to strike fear into the hearts of teams that oppose us. Uncertainty will be the weapon we use from here on out. Fear will keep the Big Ten in line, fear of our football program.
So according to a completely unfounded rumor on twitter Bob Stoops has been offered the Michigan job.