the season has truly begun now
As i've mentioned before I've been coaching AAU basketball and one of the kids that i've had since he was in 5th grade is now gaining national attention in both basketball and football. Shaun Wade, 2017 Point Guard + Cornerback, listed at 6-2 175 lbs on Rivals + 247. He's ranked nationally for his class in basketball but the offers in football started pouring in last month. At 6-2, for a freshman PG, he's also a nice size for corner.
He's already received football offers from Clemson, UNC, Virginia Tech, UCLA, Utah and the seemingly omnipresent, Ohio State Buckeyes. MSU has even asked for his contact info. Rivals does list UM as a school showing interest but no offer. He wants to play both sports and wants to hear from Michigan, mainly because of me. His mom says he only likes them because im his BFF (lol). So i'm in a position of influence, so to speak, and I want to see if there's anyway I can make sure he's actually on their radar. He plays for traditional football powerhouse (Trinity Christian, Jacksonville, Fl) where schools are ALWAYS there but UM just isn't really one of them.
Here's basketball highlights from national invite only camps, Fab Frosh and John Lucas, so the competition is stiff in the video. This will be his first year starting varsity for football, so footage is scarce for now but they are offering for a reason.
Please advise if you have any tips on how I can help him get UMs attention, aside from simply telling him to play well.
What happened to just going to the game and watching the game without all this other extra stuff? This is rather dumb.
You can put your HDTV by your own, private pool in Florida and not have to pay five figures per game.
There's something called "home field advantage". Brazil national soccer (football) gives that phrase new meaning:
But this World Cup is being played in Brazil. No country has beaten Brazil on its home turf in almost 12 years. Brazil’s last loss at home came in a friendly on Aug. 21, 2002. That game against Paraguay, incidentally, is one the Brazilians may not have been particularly interested in winning. Brazil had won the World Cup in Japan earlier that summer; the Paraguay match was the team’s homecoming. Although Brazil started most of its regulars, by midway through the game it substituted out almost all of its stars.
To a find a loss at home in a match that mattered to Brazil — in a World Cup qualifier, or as part of some other tournament — you have to go back to 1975, when Brazil lost the first leg of the Copa América semifinal to Peru. None of the players on Brazil’s current World Cup roster was alive at the time.
Found an article outlining the demands of the NFL for the Host City of the LII Super Bowl in 2018.
The demands are amazing and would make even Dave Brandon recoil in horror (ok, maybe not.../s...or not /s)....so many demands with the terms of "no cost to the NFL" appearing 150 times in a 153 page document.
Some excerpts and highlights of the demands:
There's even a section outlining a "familiarization trip" for the NFL, its sponsors, broadcasters and other partners 16 months before the Super Bowl, and the host committee is responsible for "all travel expenses" for the 180 people on that three-day trip.
And the obligations set forth by the NFL from the city include many prudent ones dealing with security and operations, to somewhat ridiculous ones like bowling venues being offered at no charge, specific ATM machines that accept league-preferred debit and credit cards and team hotels televising the NFL Network a year before the game.
The Brand The Brand The Brand!
What a great experience! As you know from last year’s write-up, not only is this a great way for women to try their hand at football, it is also a fund raiser for Patient and Family Services at the Cancer Center; 2014 was a record year, raising $100,000 for Patient and Family Services ($20,000 more than last year). This year was the 3rd year for my friend and I at the WFA (and 1st with fellow MGoBlogger "B" who really knows her shit) and we’ve really learned how to maximize our interactions with the players. I will give you a breakdown of the day and as many of the details I can remember; I even asked most of the questions that were suggested, so I will have those answers, too. This is long, so go to the bathroom and get your beer now.
We arrived and met the seniors and a few others (Joe Bolden, Jarrod Wilson) in the autograph line. We weren’t allowed to take photos here – they want to keep things moving. Then we wandered and met some of the coaches – Mark Smith, Chris Singletary and Roy Manning. I spoke with Singletary about Ty Isaac and he is excited that Ty decided to come here. He will be on campus in a couple weeks (as will the rest of the freshman). Manning is a great guy and has so much enthusiasm! He is very excited about the upcoming season (of course). I was admiring his M ring and he was telling us that it is his favorite ring (wears it every day), even more so than his Big Ten Championship ring, because it is the ring you get when you graduate from Michigan as a football player. He was kind enough to let me take a photo.
The day started off with some speeches, one of which was a particularly moving speech by Tiffany Hecklinski and her experience with cancer treatment at U of M (good, obviously, and side note: she and her husband Jeff are wonderful people). We were then given a basic introduction about where different players are positioned on each side of the ball. We were then broken up into groups and sent off to do all the different stations: Wide receivers, QB, O line, D line, Kicking/punting, Running backs, Linebackers, safeties/corners, Referees, Schembechler Hall, Locker room, Equipment and Weight room. Once again, we did position specific drills at each position station. Some stations were more amenable to discussions with the players and others weren’t. I won’t bore you with the details of each drill, but I will share the info I got. If you want to see some of the drills and parts of speeches, you can go to mgoblue.com and watch the short video.
Kickers/long snappers: I asked how they got into kicking and long snapping. All of the kickers have a background in soccer. Will Hagerup was encouraged to try FB by his older brother. Matt Wile and Kenny Allen were encouraged by their dads to try FB. Kenny went to a FB kicking camp and came away with national attention and he said, “I never looked back”. Sypniewski said he did long snapping because he tried it once and was pretty good at it, so he went with that. Hagerup is the starting punter and Wile is the place kicker. Ask and ye shall receive!
Running backs: I was with Henderson (#37; he is listed as LB, but he told me he is playing special teams, punt returning). He said the offense is installed and just working on fine tuning. My friend and I spoke with Dennis Norfleet (who cut his hair) and he didn’t sound too enthusiastic about how his summer training is going. We asked if we will be seeing a lot of Norfleet in the fall and he really hedged and dodged the question but looked forward to spending time with his baby girl (actual baby, not girlfriend). After discussing with DH later, maybe he is dropping on the depth chart or other “fort-related” issues are occurring.
QBs: I asked what all that black, cut up rubber in the turf is for – it is for cushioning. It drives me crazy, though, when it gets in my shoes. Also asked if the receivers notice a difference between a righty and lefty QB and they do. There is different spin on the ball, so the receivers have to adapt to that.
Weight room: Naylor started off by telling us that “we’re not all meatheads who like to lift weights, there’s a lot of science behind it”. The summer regimen is 4 days of weights, 4 days running (this is Monday-Friday) with optional Saturday. They also have optional yoga on Tuesdays and 30-40 guys do that. The strongest in sheer pounds that can be lifted is Kyle Kalis (over 400, I didn’t catch the exact number), but in weight lifted relative to body weight, the strongest is Dennis Norfleet. Nussmeier did have some changes he wanted to see out of the weight training and they have incorporated those changes (we didn’t get specifics on that).
Locker room: This had some interesting stuff. First, all the lockers had a sign taped to them and this is the sign:
Basically, it is about not being a bystander when you see something bad going on (like taking a wasted girl upstairs, or beating up an opposing fan, etc…). I don’t think it is a mistake that this is up on the day the ladies are here. There is also this article from the paper in Nashville:
It is titled “An open letter to rookie Titans” by Beverly Keel and it is about how to fit in in Nashville by being a responsible adult who is responsible for your actions.
There is some lettering on the wall that is new:
It means that it is a privilege to be on the team and you are expected to give 120% to the team. Finally, there is a large placard to remind them who is the best team in the state right now:
Hopefully this is a useful motivational tool.
Schembechler Hall: This is really nice, so for those who haven’t been to the museum, please visit, you will enjoy it. Here are some photos:
The wall with the large black screen is an interactive touch screen display with many different programs you can go through. It is really cool. Be warned, if you do go and choose the program to explore the life of the player, there is a portion where you have to touch the different pieces of equipment to dress the player. Guess where you have to touch to put the pants on the player? That’s right, you have to touch the junk! My friend was touching everywhere but there and, finally, the coach who was with us had to show us where to touch to activate it. Maybe they should have thought that out a little before releasing for the public to see.
Equipment: With a new Equipment Manager comes new equipment. He is changing the shoulder pads for everyone. He is changing the fabrics that are being used. They are switching to “hydrophobic materials”, which, I would think, would hold sweat in, but he says it wicks sweat away. Also, every layer has compression built in, so they are wearing 2-3 layers of compression clothes. They have 3-4 helmets per player – 1 for practice, 1 for day games and 1 for night games (more sparkly for the lights). Each player gets to choose his own face mask. There are different styles of mask for each position and within each position, the player is free to choose. There are lots of different shoes that vary by field surface and weather conditions. The kickers usually wear soccer shoes.
Referees: We had the same 2 NCAA refs here this year. As it turns out they are Division 2 refs, but they must be the A team because they officiated the Division 2 Championship last year and had the rings to prove it! They told us that this year there will be 8 officials on the field, rather than 7. This is to add coverage of the defense. Currently, 5 officials are assigned to watch specific things on the offense, which leaves only 2 to watch the defense (or “miss all the holding calls” as one of the ladies in my group put it). With 8 on the field, 3 will be able to watch the defense. There are 2 women officials at the Division 1 level and about 2 dozen in Division 2. We watched film on targeting and learned that the angle of observation makes all the difference in the call. The refs are graded at each game and annually. They need to pass an annual test, as well as a physical exam.
Lunch: We had a great strategy worked out for lunch and we sat with Shane Morris, Jack Wangler, Mike Wroblewski (psychology) and Mike Ferns (pre-med, wants to be an orthopod), so that was pretty cool. I asked what game time was most preferred and Morris and Wangler prefer noon starts. They are trapped in the hotel until 2 hours before game time, so it is pretty boring if there is a 7:00pm start. They have meetings, film to watch, etc…, but they prefer getting to the game and getting it done with.
I asked the guys at lunch if they were surprised by the coaching change and how they found out about it. They were as surprised as everyone and found out when everyone else did. I asked about music in the stadium and Morris told me that the music before the game is determined by the players and last year’s music was chosen by Devin Gardner. None of those guys reads MGoBlog (actually another older lady walked by and asked that, so you’ve got a secret, older lady readership!).
Eventually, Morris got pulled away to do a billion autographs, so we moved tables and chatted with Will Heininger and Ondre Pipkins. I ate with Pipkins 2 years ago at WFA, which was his actual first day on campus as a freshman. We asked how he’s grown and changed since that time (and I have to admit, I love his answer, he really seems so mature now). He said he never imagined that he could change so much, not only physically, but mentally in a 2 year period. He felt that he has gained a lot of maturity, especially dealing with his injury last season. He feels he is ready to play and is excited about the upcoming season. I was asking him about the uniforms and how do you stay warm when it is cold (“You’re moving and playing, you stay warm”) and somehow sleeves came up. D-line doesn’t get to wear sleeves – he doesn’t know why, maybe toughness, maybe less to grab, but still, no sleeves. Later we were watching game film from the Iowa game last year (coldest game played in Hawkeye Stadium) and there are no sleeves on the D-line. Now I am impressed!
We talked with Heininger about his work with mental health, of course. Then we moved on to Jake Ryan and Blake Countess. We were talking about eating and calories, etc... I was l laughing about ladies counting calories and JMFR said, “We count calories, too, but in the opposite way.” I asked Countess about what surprised him the most about being a FB player at Michigan and he answered “Time – every minute of your time is counted for, for something.” There was no mention yesterday about the core surgery, so I didn’t get to ask. I also asked how he dealt with his prior injury and he said he spent his time “becoming a master of defense”. He studied film and learned the craft so he was ready when he came back.
Next we had our scrimmage in the Big House! I will just say that Freddy Canteen’s team cheated and Roy Manning’s team totally burned them on the double reverse 3 times! Finally, we got to review film with Mattison and Nussmeier. Mattison reviewed the “Wolf Blitz”, which is a blitz from the wide side of the field. The terminology was not lost on my husband, who had a big laugh when he read all of the schemes sequentially: yes, he has the maturity of a 12-year-old.
We reviewed how they used it in the opening drive against Iowa last year, as Iowa has a tendency to run a naked bootleg from the left hash on a first down. So, you should watch that play – it worked out as a touchdown for us. He said you wouldn’t normally open with a blitz, but when they saw that they were on the left hash on a first down, they knew it would be naked bootleg. That’s why you watch film. QED.
The talk by Nussmeier was great and I will give you a short summary. He is a stats guy, big time. Nussmeier sounds like a guy that would have an interesting conversation with Mathlete, knows what has to be done and you don’t have to be sexy to get it done. First objective of the game: WIN! How are we going to do that?
1. Score 35 points. If the offense scores 35, and the defense scores 7 (via a turnover), more than 90% of the time you will win.
2. Average 4 yards/rush. This gets you in good position for 3rd downs and keeps the defense off the field, so they are fresh.
3. Aim for 48% 3rd down conversions. In a 12 year analysis of NCAA football, teams with 48% or greater 3rd down conversions are typically top 8 or better teams. FSU was 3rd or 4th in the nation on 3rd down conversions, and look how they did. Many people are enamored with fast pace, hurry up offense, but statistics don’t bear that out as a predictor of success. If you look at the teams with the most snaps per game, there are both good and bad teams at the top of that list. The % of 3rd down conversions is statistically a better predictor of success.
4. No turnovers. “It’s about the ball. It’s always been about the ball, it will always be about the ball.” The goal is to end every possession with a kick (preferable PAT, but also FG or punt). If you have no turnovers and you get one turnover, you will win 70% of games. If comparing 2 QBs, one with 12 completions out of 20 attempts, no TDs, no INTS, he is more likely to win than the QB with 17/24 with 2 TDs and 2 INTS (even though QB 2 may have a better stat line). So, ball control and good decision making are the themes. We aim for causing 2 turnovers as statistically you will win 90% of games.
5. 9 explosive plays per game. What’s an explosive play? >12 yards running or >16 yards passing. This is about trying to force the other team to go farther to score and keeping us out of our end (if between our own 10 and goal, it’s called a “coming out” play). We don’t want to be coming out. Use 2 explosive plays to get out and we can be near the 50 and out of danger. If we are in a coming out situation, we want 2 immediate 1st downs. Of course, we want to force the other team into coming out situations.
6. Average 7 yards/pass attempt. This is about telling the kids about a philosophy or style of play. We are going to play fast, physical and explosive. We are going to throw the ball downfield.
7. Red Zone (which Michigan defines as the 25 yard line, not the 20). We want 100% scoring in the red zone with 75% TDs. We are going to have “big edges” on those plays (basically more people on the line so it is harder to get around everybody), “go north-south and have aggressive passing”.
8. Penalties. Limit penalties to 1 out of 30 plays. It is about discipline and detail. He does not include holding in this because he says the way hands are allowed to be used, holding could be called on almost every play and it is hard to predict when it will be called. Overall he wants only 2 non-holding penalties per game.
9. The best play in the game: Victory Offense. He showed a little clip of the end of the CT game, with the coach looking really hang dog sad. He said, “No matter what Coach Mattison tells you, this is the best play in football.” He intends to end every game with this!
So, I know talk is cheap, but I like his talk. Aggressive and explosive plays! I think it’s going to be a great season! I hope you enjoyed my summary of Michigan’s Women’s Football Academy. See you next year!
Not sure why all our injuries seem to focus so heavily on our top 10-12 players every year. Seems like Blake had a surgery per Mlive. Since it was not done immediately after 2013 season one has to assume the team doctors thought it would heal on its own over time but did not.
Michigan junior cornerback Blake Countess recently underwent a surgical procedure to repair a core injury suffered during the 2013 season, according to a team spokesman. Countess, a 5-foot-10, 183-pounder from Owings Mills, Md., is expected to make a fully recovery, and is expected to be back at 100 percent for fall camp this August.