"Northwestern fans can be both heartened and disheartened by the loss to Minnesota just like how nineteenth-century resurrectionists were heartened when they pried a heart from a freshly-buried corpse and then disheartened it when they sold it to a disreputable anatomist."
Figured this was appropriate for this week and how much attention that front four is getting in the media, justifiably so due to their effectiveness.
First when you come to Iowa as a dlineman you are left on the island since it is pretty much a standard four man front with little, if any, blitzing. They like twists and line stunts, but it sort of feeds a unit mentality of "it starts and stops with us". Take that comment FWIW.
Second, they still love to bulk up less regarded recruits and position switch guys to DT, particularly LBs. Last year it was King and Kroul who were 3* LBs in high school. This year it is Karl Klug (2* LB), Mike Daniels (2* DE) and Christian Ballard (4* TE) in the middle. On the edge, they tend try for at least one more highly regarded DE where you have Adrian Clayborn (4* DE) and Brodrick Binns (3* LB) on the other side. This approach creates a fairly athletic line, but is not possible with a good SC program (which they have) and gives me some hope that we can have the same sort of luck.
With that being said, I think we can still get them to the edge, I am less optimistic able much up the middle as there LBs run downhill behind that line. Unfortunately it will look a lot like last week so we will need effective passing to help the run game.
This was a big weekend for visitors, and although Michigan lost no one was disappointed with their trip. Michigan hosted three prospects on official visits, Kellen Jones (commit), Marquise Williams, and Devondrick Nealy. Here are reactions from Jones and Nealy followed by updates on a few defensive(!) prospects.
5'10", 175 lbs.
Slot Receiver/Running Back
Jefferson County, Florida
This was Devondrick's first official visit of the season. He's headed off to Minnesota next, believe it or not. He was excited before hand to make it up to Ann Arbor, and the visit seemed to exceed his expectations.
The visit was tremendous. I didn't commit, but it was close though. After this visit Michigan is my top school, for sure. Everything they have to offer outside of the football program was incredible. They broke down the academics part and it was great. I could really see myself at Michigan. The excitement came from the football program, but I was also excited about everything outside of football they have there.
So good luck Minnesota. Nealy now has Michigan at the top of his list followed by (in no order) Minnesota, Arkansas, and Auburn. He will take all five of his official visits and make his decision once they're done. Anything can happen, but it's good to get the early lead. I was also told by someone recently that Nealy had befriended now Michigan commit Demetrius Hart at a camp in Florida. Nealy apparently likes Demetrius, and likes the idea of being a tandem on offense with him as well.
6'2", 215 lbs.
St. Pius X, Texas
Current Michigan commit Kellen Jones came up for an official visit by himself to see more of the social side of the program. He was able to take that in and get to know some of the players a little better.
The visit was fantastic, despite the fact that Michigan lost of course. We hung out with Denard Robinson and Devin Gardner. It was cool to do that, I really like those guys. Denard said he hates losing, and if we wouldn't have been there he would just be by himself in his room. They were just telling me that you can't come up here and mess around, it's all in for football and academics, and I loved that.
Kellen loves Michigan, and despite living in Texas understands the rivalries and everything about the program. This visit gave him more of a personal sense to it, and allowed him to build friendships with current players. He also got a better view of where he fits into the defense next year.
Coach Robinson was saying that they see me as a Jonas Mouton type of player. Playing sideline to sideline, maybe a little inside, and a little outside too. I got a good chance to be with the coaches which was great. Coach Barwis is always fun to be around.
Since Kellen is a current commit, and loves Michigan, he got a chance to interact with a few other recruits and get their perspective on things too.
I talked to Delonte Hollowell (commit), and he's just like me he loves Michigan. I was there with Marquise (Williams) too, and he said Coach Rodriguez has been recruiting him since he was a sophomore. He really liked the environment, I think he was having a great time. He and Devondrick both were amazed with Mike Barwis, too. They both had a really good time.
I think it was a bonus to have Kellen there on an official visit. He's a yes sir, no sir kind of kid and is always excited to talk about Michigan. It sounds like he did a little recruiting, and it may have worked.
6'0", 190 lbs.
Wayne Lyons is the number four safety in the country, and recently decided that Michigan is back in his top list with Stanford, UCLA, Florida, Tennessee, and Nebraska.
I started talking to the coaches from Michigan a lot more, and realized that they do have a true need for me. I talk to coach Dews most of the time. He tells me how it's a good place, and that I would really fit in.
Lyons has already been to Notre Dame and UCLA, he also has a visit already scheduled to Nebraska at the end of October. That leaves two spots left for an official visit, and he's still not sure if Michigan will get that visit.
I'm thinking about making that one of my official visits. They're not necessarily on the outside, they're making it in there. It's just because I've been talking to the other schools for awhile now and I've already seen the other campuses. They're coming on though.
It seems like it would be a good idea to visit Michigan if he has already seen the other campuses. Michigan is making up ground with him, and I have a good feeling about him taking a visit.
- S Karlos Williams - Karlos told coach Smith that he will be taking an official visit up to Michigan once his season is over. His situation is interesting because he's committed to FSU, where his brother plays. He always says "You never know" when I ask if there's a possibility he will decommit from the Seminoles. Some kids just tell me that they're committed and he just want to take a look. "You never know" makes me wonder. Still, it will be hard to pry him away from FSU.
- LB Sean Duggan - Sean decided to take a visit up to Michigan this weekend, and it was his first college game experience. He said the atmosphere was crazy, and it definitely helped Michigan. He's down to Michigan, Boston College, Duke, and Virginia, and will be back up to Ann Arbor in December for his official visit. Boston College is the main competition.
- S Avery Walls - Recently took a trip to Oregon and was at Cal for an official visit this weekend. He leaves Monday night, and I have a phone call scheduled with him Tuesday. This was the last visit he will take, and he should be ready to announce his decision within the next few weeks, unless something has changed that. I still think Michigan is in good position, but the Oregon visit does give some cause for concern. He ended up missing the first half of the Oregon game, FWIW.
- Here's a list of prospects Michigan is still after in the Rival's Top 250 list.
- Iowa visitors - Full list will be posted soon. Some names of who's planning on making the trip, to tide you over: DB Dallas Crawford, WR Sammy Watkins, WR AJ Jordan, TE Drew Owens, and WR Hakeem Flowers. 2012 prospects: DE Chris Wormley, RB Will Mahone, QB Demetrious Davis, WR/DB Chris Davis.
Due to broken foot, per ESPN. Presser reveals he is not listed on Michigan's depth chart.
Post updated as more concrete information becomes available
For those of you that listened was that the worst press conference after a big game ever? I know RR's not going to call guys out and give us coach speak, but that was really a big freakin nothing. Those questions were softer than Charmin. I noticed last week Tim had much more coverage in his notes than I saw when I watched it, so do they ask more questions on the side?
It is our nature to assign narratives to games. Against UConn it was brutal offensive efficiency. Against Notre Dame it was the first appearance of clutch Denard. UMass and Indiana it was praying our offense would have the ball last and Bowling Green was relief that we finally took care of business.
For me, Michigan St was a game of 7 plays. There were seven big plays on Saturday, and all of them went Michigan St’s way. There was plenty that didn’t go right in between, but those seven plays, but the seven plays masked what in some ways was a better performance than it felt, and in some ways worse. Denard’s three interceptions, two in the end zone (-10 points). Edwin Baker 61 yards, +5. Le’Veon Bell 41 yards, +4. Cousins to Dell for 41 yards +4. Cousins to Dell again, 44 yards, +3. Those seven plays, a 26 point swing. Only two plays for the offense +3 or higher, no running plays worth more than 1.4 points. All of the big plays went Sparty’s way.
What we hoped was not true now appears to be so: this team will not win Big Ten games without exceptional offensive performances. We are who we are at this point.
Rush Off: +5
Pass Off: 0
Rush Def: –15
Pass Def: –10
Field Position: Michigan +4
Denard was +3 on the ground and a +1 through the air.
Shaw and Smith were both +0 and Hopkins was +1 on two strong carries.
Cousins was +13 combined.
Baker was +7
Caper was +3
Bell was +7
I went 4-1 against the spread last weekend in my picks. I did not pick MSU, Purdue, Wisconsin or S Carolina to win like three of them did, but all four managed to cover as I predicted. Only Indiana let me down. The game went down as I predicted but the Indiana offense couldn’t quite put together enough garbage time points to cover the spread.
Michigan’s poor showing on Saturday, along with increases from Illinois, Ohio St, Purdue and Wisconsin, move the win projections down a game and a half or so. That is a huge drop for one week.
Win odds drop across the board, Illinois is probably over valued but after back to back strong showings they look to be better than expected this season. Wisconsin is starting to come closer to conventional feelings, but is still too high.
Team – National Rank – Win Odds
Iowa – 26 – 54%
@ Penn St – 57 – 59%
Illinois – 23 – 48%
@ Purdue – 77 – 73%
Wisconsin – 52 – 72%
@ Ohio St – 9 – 17%
Projected Big Ten Standings
1. Ohio St
2. Michigan St
9. Penn St
Just like last week, Illinois and Wisconsin feel like they are reversed, but to date, the computer likes what Illinois has done a lot and still isn’t sold on the Badgers.
This is not a complaint regarding Denard, we would be serious trouble without his emergence.
I was wondering if his throwing motion is seeming to slip now that he has 6 games of wear on him. He is getting the ball there in many cases, but seems to look a bit different to me in his motion. I felt his mechanics looked better earlier in the season. I would attribute any breakdown to him just getting worn down physically as a first time starter (he even mentioned he was not hitting the holes running) and even mentally with the crazy amount of attention. A bye week would have been great to simply regoup and rest. Maybe it is just over analysis.