Hypothetical activities by a 67-year-old Jimi Hendrix if he were still alive | Lies, Deceit, & Stuff
I spent most of today trying to play with this diary by airvipermb, which spent some time yesterday on the front page before I knocked it back. For those who don't remember the Jimi-headed versions from last year, the OP did a tremendous job of going through Big Ten rosters and putting down how many upperclassmen each team was projected to play as starters and on the two-deep. What this doesn't do is provide any predictive information.
For that reason this isn't front page material. Not yet at least. But I'd like to help it get there.
First, upperclassman starters in 2011, in table format. I changed it to percent; starter % of upperclassmen is out of 11, two-deep is % of upperclassmen out 22. Because I'm pretty sure this is how airvipermb did it (likely reasoning: too hard to find data otherwise) a redshirt sophomore is an underclassman while a true junior is an upperclassman.* Your most experienced Big Ten two-deeps next year (UPDATE: added deltas):
|Team||'11 Starters||Delta||'11 Two-Deep||Delta|
The author was optimistic but this says Michigan's defense is still the youngest in the conference excepting younger siblings. Does that matter? The O.P. suggests it does; the data say NSFMF.
Here's how this all looked last year:
|Team||2010 DFEI %ile||2010 Yds/G||2010 Starter%||2010 Two-Deep%|
I showed the Yards per game because that's the sorting metric the author used. I'm gonna talk DFEI from here on since I'm an advanced stats fan but if you're not such, mentally upgrade Penn State and Wisconsin for hard-nosed grind-it-out game planning, and downgrade Illinois, Indiana and Purdue for "not getting it." It doesn't matter because these numbers are all over the place:
HOWEVA, if you do the same thing on pure recruiting the results are also bouncy. Here's 4- and 5-stars recruited by Big Ten teams from '06 to '08, out of 22 spots available:
Actually this is pretty un-bouncy except Nebraska and Iowa outperformed by a lot and Penn State and Michigan (infinite ARGH!!!) underperformed. Iowa is our super-duper experienced two-deep so maybe that explains them and Michigan's young roster explains Michigan. But then what's Penn State's problem? This study doesn't say. Future study: I would love it if we could get a spreadsheet of all of the Big Ten players on the 1- and 2-deep.
* Let's use Nebraska 2010 as an example for how this can throw us off. You appropriately call them a great defense and rank them second to Ohio State, which I think we can concur on. Here's Nebraska's defense as of this date last year. I count six upperclassman starters there. However Cam Merideth, Baker Steinkuhler, Sean Fisher, Will Compton and P.J. Smith are all from the Class of 2008, i.e. they're redshirt sophomores. Also from that class: Alfonzo Dennard, counted as a junior. See the problem? You've got returning starters three years removed from high school counted the same as Courtney Avery (a true freshman who was a QB in H.S.) last year, despite there being vast difference between their respective expectations of experience-based contribution.
Still Raining, Still Dreaming
Jimi eat galaxy.
Until a few hours ago, it looked like the SEC was ready to swallow up one of the last quasi-worthwhile bits of the Big XII that doesn't have its own channel. This of course sparked another round of speculating how many galaxies the Big Ten must own to keep up, from oakapple and justingoblue. This being the Big Ten, it's not who would come (except Notre Dame) so much as who can fit the academic criteria without being a.) Ivy League, or b.) Athletically challenged.
Justin took it from an academic expenditure perspective, which is an interesting way to get around having to use academic rankings like U.S. News & World Report's, and avoids the weirdness from endowments-based ranking. The candidates are Duke, UNC, Virginia, V-Tech, Pitt, Rutgers, Cuse, Mizzou and Notre Dame, though all but Duke, UNC and Pitt would be near-bottom in the conference at research spending.
For the wargames route, consult oakapple, who took a more pragmatic, dominos (NTD's) effect approach. After six previous dominos it's the Big Ten's turn and…
VII. What Does the Big Ten Do?
The short answer, at least for now, is: probably nothing. The Big Ten is already in a position of strength. It has no particular need to expand. There are only two institutions that could improve the Big Ten’s current product: Texas and Notre Dame. The Irish have chosen repeatedly to remain independent, and for reasons noted above, the Longhorns are more likely to choose the Pac-12.
Galactic plans are on hold until such time as the Pac 487 annexes China and the Big East is trying to teach the French to play football, or Zoltan demands such, whichever happens first.
Scoreboard! Thanks to M-Wolverine at Fan Day, and M-Wolverine's camera.
EGD had some thoughts for a Top 10 (which means 11 not 12) other ideas for Jerel Worthy tattoos. I'm surprised nobody suggested just getting a chip drawn on his shoulder. I'm also surprised it wasn't the 2008 scoreboard, because that's exactly what my MSU friends/family still troll me with (the reminder of 2008 is what stings). Anyway these are good but I want pics! Those of you with Photoshop/GiMP, or who are Samara Pearlstein, get on this!
And THE_KNOWLEDGE is apparently using up the last miles on his current time machine lease to predict the standout of the 2012 class will be… well I can't ruin it.
So about that image above. First you should know I've been looking for an excuse to associate Ohio State with Cartman ever since Brian made him Steve Spurrier in 2005. And that makes us…*
I'm so off the point, which is to introduce a ✔++ diary by TSS where he calculated the Body Mass Index of the entire Big Ten (plus some Catholic school I would argue is Butters). Really it doesn't say much other than who's got the biggest team of big guys in the Big Ten, but since this is the man-meat conference after all that's relevant.
This Diary of the Week has a lot going on in the subplots and that's what I love about it. For example which positions are packed into one body type and which have a huge variance in player size?
Your answers are receiver and … dammit TSS: "DL"? That's probably a whole bunch of redshirted freshmen who haven't gotten their T's and E's yet.
As a user noted in the comments BMI is about telling bloggers they need more exercise, and probably not so valuable when you're talking about Barwicized athletes who spend entire semesters working on adding muscle mass. As to usefulness of weight watching in general, if a slimmer, older, more athletic Will Campbell looks like this…
…again in 2011 and 2012 because of a weight regimen I am all for it. As a blogger I still feel like we have no way of measuring more than 18-year-old body < 21-year-old body, but this is a new and noble attempt to do that and I applaud.
*If you've been paying attention at all to South Park and Big Ten football you will have realized by now that as much as we'd like to be straight-man Stan, we are Kyle. As in balancing academics with still being one of the cool kids, embarrassed by our East Coast heritage, wondering what happened to the days when little bro was a prop for "kick the baby," and overly prone to bouts of crushing ennui when Cartman fakes out the principle with fake contrition and is rewarded with his $10 million. Wikipedia on Kyle:
Kyle often displays the highest moral standard of all the boys and is usually depicted as the most intelligent. When describing Kyle, Stone states that both he and the character are "reactionary", and susceptible to irritability and impatience. In some instances, Kyle is the only child in his class to not initially indulge in a fad or fall victim to a ploy. This has resulted in both his eagerness to fit in, and his resentment and frustration.
We Don't Need No Education
In other must-read diaries recently, here's one from IncrediblyBLUE, from when he played for Hoke at Ball State. Astoundingly, in this entire story not once is Hoke described as pointing at something---he makes his staff point at things for him:
"To help you guys remember this, I made these numbers.” Coach Hoke then holds up two pieces of paper with a very large ‘1’ and ‘2’ printed on each piece respectively. “So guys,” he bellows, “Remember….Academics…#1,” he says, while holding up the sign that says ‘2.’ Aaron Wellman stands next to him pointing to the sign. Coach Hoke then switches to the #1 sign and continues, “Athletics….Number 2!” This time Wellman is using a two fingered point at the sign that says #1. Everyone in the room is laughing and nodding their head. Coach Hoke then puts back up the sign that says #2 and says again, “So, academics here,” and switching signs back to the #1, “Football here. Does everyone understand that?”
A few posters got a little nervous at non-quotes making light of "voluntary" practices – and I admit I got a little squeamish too – but I assure you there's nothing in there for a local columnist with a grudge to invent a scandal out of. The next story promises "4AM sandbag carries at the stadium in sub-zero temperatures." Well shit.
Denard-Back or Dual-Threet?
So here's what I've been working on lots.
It's a tracker for the 4-star and higher quarterbacks recruited from 2002 to 2010 based on a question posed in some thread a few weeks ago when both erstwhile 2009 commits Beaver and Newsome popped up in transfer news. There are two tabs, one for drop-backs and another for dual-threats. Feel free to browse through and edit – it's easy to see how far I got.
The point of this exercise is to test the hypothesis that going back to a Pro-Style offense has a (clear?) benefit in greater predictability from recruiting high-profile players at the offense's most important position. If we take as a given that Michigan's Michiganness will net Michigan the highest rated X-type of quarterback, high predictability means those guys will end up the best QBs of their classes in college performance. If there's higher variability, as is hypothesized for dual-threat QBs, the ability to nab the top guys is less of an advantage. The hypothesis goes if you have fewer traits to focus on (poise, accuracy, decision-making, arm) it's easier to rate, and you're less likely to have one essential trait end up a game-changing weakness.
I'm not far enough along on the drop-backs to make anything like a conclusion or even see a pattern yet so you can be my helpers. After all what's Dear Diary all about if not
profiting from other peoples' labor collaborating the efforts of MGoCitizenry!
Thanks dahblue for the great shotz.
Etc. from a Long Offseason
I bumped this by m1jjb00 up from the boards and it only got 3 likes. I mean he left out Harry Newman from the core circle of awesome (just 'cause it's not called the Heisman doesn't mean it wasn't a walk-away Heisman), but otherwise his comparison of alumni worthiness for a Michigan Ring of Honor is so worth a look.
THE_KNOWLEDGE is holding tryouts for a General Disarray to his Professor Chaos. All you have to do is correctly predict the outcome of Michigan's 2011 games, plus the bowl games OSU will be banned from. Note: I'm not copyediting TK posts because his formatting is part of the shtick, and how can I judge what they do with commas in the 23rd century?
I bitched at a Gopher working for DetNews (who hasn't written me back – Henning tell him how it's done, man!) about why we don't need a mascot.
And Hoke Saves Lives made a hype movie that's almost as long as a Wisconsin drive, and like things to cheer about last year itself is half-Illinois:
The soundtrack doesn't do it for me. However if you turn off the YouTube volume, then hit play on the Flaming Lips' cover of Dark Side of the Moon right on the 3-second mark, it totally lines up! Run, rabbit, run!
I'm sorry that this space has yet to address Ohio State's latest run from justice. A lot of that is I'm still so flabbergasted I don't want to be held accountable later for whatever I write while suffering from apoplexy. Also life bler bler time to really pour through the documents and link all. Anyway in the service of having something here's flabbergasted e-pinion.
The NCAA's response came out last week and it's 139 pages of "aw shucks guys coulda happened to anybody." Noticeably lacking is anything that's been mentioned since, oh, late January. If you want the Cliffs Notes, and you do, user jbr12 kindly posted Michael Scarn's longer-than-an-actual-Cliffs Notes review of the Tressel interviews.
The focus is entirely on the Cicero e-mails and it seemed to me the staff was basically trying to get an answer to one question "did you ever think before the 2010 season that 'Oh these kids committed violations?'" But the whole time Tressel is telling them his primary concern was that the kids were part of this drug ring, and then six to seven weeks pass and Tressel learns the Tat5 were not part of the investigation into Rife and he's relieved. They ask why he didn't tell his bosses then and Jim says he, um, was ready to help the Feds. And nothing. I'm not a lawyer but I've seen a few depo's and this moment just astounded me.
By avoiding the most obvious Failure to Monitor and Lack of Institutional Control in ever ever, consider this used, and officially going back in the pile.
To my biased reading, the investigators were taking the (latest) OSU party line in focusing on the cover-up, and Jim was saying his major concern is that he thought his players were likely part of a drug and murder ring.
Nothing about the cars or where the equipment they gave to Rife was coming from…nothing that would possibly implicate anyone but Tressel. The questions did not at all seem intended to find what culpability Smith and Gee and the school might have had. Given the posture of the program since this stuff came out that's a very loud silence.
There is now only the slightest glimmer of hope that the NCAA may look again at the mountain of evidence everyone else piled up nice and neat for them since last January on the free "test drives" and unregistered cars since 2002, many more players trading memorabilia outlined in the SI article, the clear implication of equipment staff involvement based on the volume of material traded, the statements of those who claim Tressel told way more way sooner to his superiors, and the outrageous chutzpah of OSU's president and AD through the whole process, from "he fires me" speech to a 10-day "investigation" which came back and said "it's a training exercise."
If you imagine the Russian Ambassador saying this while the Times is sitting on the table between them with the headline "Russian Captain Intends to Defect," that's a pretty good description of OSU's findings. Which the NCAA…accepted?
What of the 180-degree blame shift of convenience when their initial "sweet spot" of a two-game suspension became Tressel resigning and promising to never return to college football except to recruit for OSU and be at the unveiling of his statue. If there's nothing more to see here, why was Terrelle Pryor, who had already promised to return and serve his 5-game suspension for everything in that report, suddenly out the door and no longer associated with the school when details of his cars and tats and so many free dinners became public knowledge?
That glimmer – the one I mentioned a few paragraphs up before the rambling took over -- is from Pac12 commish Larry Scott, via SF sportswriter Jon Wilner:
And he’s well aware that the NCAA didn’t find Ohio State guilty of Lack of Institutional Control or Failure to Monitor — even though its head coach knowing played ineligible players and then lied about it.
“You can be sure I’m tracking it,” he said.
In fact, he called Emmert after tOSU news broke on Friday.
The takeaway? Scott said there’s “a misperception in the media about the finality” of tOSU situation.
While he declined to get specific, I took his comment to mean that Emmert indicated the NCAA could tack on penalties in the cash-for-memorabilia case.
Scott has USC’s back on this one, no question.
Thin, man. Thin.
This is the part in the movie where you thought the Russian crew was all captured and Sean Connery is making friends with Alec Baldwin, and then the cook shoots the guy from Jurassic Park and he dies never having seen Montana. Then the bad-guy Russian sub shows up and that one dude's like "I think someone just shot a torpedo at us!"
Because we can't just hope a defection in their ranks is going to make this whole thing end happy until the cook is shot and their submarine blown out of the water. Meaning it would be all nice and justice if the Soviets were actually called out for being lying, cheating, and blatantly unapologetic scoundrels, but it's not our job to see that the U.N. doesn't make a fool of itself; it's our job to beat the damn reds.
Because Why Waste a Good Chart?
Yesterday Tim front-paged Rescue_Dawn's study of the Midwesterness of Michigan rosters under coaches since Mr. Schembechler. First I'd like to point out that this is the kind of effort that makes the user-generated content such a cut above on this site. The map especially – that is utterly fantastic!
That said, the conclusions are the opposite of correct. The money shot of the article (other than map of awesome) is a pie chart showing the makeup of all Schembechlerian rosters…
…followed by Mo, Llo, and Ro pies whose national slices don't look like they were cut by my wife during another Carb Inquisition.* The takeaway from these charts is that Bo's teams were made of real men grown right here in the Heart of America. NSFMF.
(click makes it big)
Now this is not at all accurate because like Rescue_Dawn I used data from Bentley and they don't distinguish from walk-ons** and those inflate the local numbers but contribute a disproportionately small amount of playing time. But it tells an important story that the total figures for each coach do not: trends.
Here, have a spreadsheet. The straight line at the top shows the trend (% of total) under each coach's career of total roster Midwest makeup. The squiggly line is the % of total year by year (and uses the same Y axis). The rest is not % but the total number of players on the team. I also split up the states a little differently based on which conference(s) were most local for recruits. Midwest= MN, WI, IA, IL, IN, OH, MI, PA, & Canada; Northeast= New England, NY, NJ, DE, DC, MD, WV, VA, NC; Nebraska's in the central, Arizona's Pacific, etc.
You have to kind of mentally extend the previous coach into the next one but the trends show you important things that total % do not. Perfect example: it looks like Rodriguez did a good job keeping a Carr-level smattering of guys from Big XII country. Those guys: Banks, Steve Watson, Jared Van Slyke, Darryl Stonum, Troy Woolfolk, T-Robinson, Stephen Hopkins and Brandon Herron. 75% of that were Lloyd's guys.
You can also see evidence of pipelines, starting with Bo building the East Coast, then getting more and more from the South through the '80s. He and Moeller then got a thick chunk from the Plains States while Lloyd developed (not seen here 'cause I threw it in with Midwest) Pennsylvania and the West Coast.
Ultimately what you're seeing is coaches who were ALL opportunistic, using the national brand to recruit nationally when they could, taking advantage of Midwest recruits' biases when they couldn't, and otherwise being strategic but strategic like a company looking to grow new revenue streams who still mostly focused on its core product.
If you're looking for a coach who believes the world ends at the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, your man is Bump Elliott, and that worked terribly because back then the South was still segregated and their best men were winning championships for all of our rivals. Bo's the guy who either saw Michigan into the age of national recruiting, or took us there, depending on your view of agency.
* Nobody expects a Carb Inquisition. The secret is surprise. And smaller portions. And a fanatical devotion to pointing out that "carbohydrate" is Latin for "wet coal."
** And among many other laughs list a Terry T. Albott, and Obinna Ezeh, and completely cannibalize the Opong-Owusu family. Seriously: Cherie Opong-Owl.
A whole lot of "defense will be better" diaries this week. Rather than steal their thunder, HIT PLAY to listen to my favorite song off my favorite album of all time, and once the strings and charts come in, start clicking things. (Mp3 courtesy of band's official page)
Your gentleman caller
Well, he's been calling on another
He loves his forbidden fruit
And as it dribbles down his chin
"Baby I've been drinking with some friends now how about a little kiss"
Rub his nose in it, what a mess
And he's playing dumb
Doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo
I'm not looking for a lover
All those lovers are liars
I would never lie to you
You say you wanna get even
Yeah you wanna get your bad man good
Well, are you in the mood?
You bad girl
Does it feel good
Being bad? and get worse
do do do do do do do do
But in the morning
On the sober dawn of Sunday
You're not sure what you have done
Who told you love was fleeting?
Sometimes men can be so misleading
To take what they need from you
Whatever you need to make you feel
Like you've been the one behind the wheel
The sunrise is just over that hill
Whatever I said to make you think
That love's the religion of the weak
This morning we love like weaklings
The worst is over.
Doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo
Doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo
Doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo
Doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo
Doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo
Doo doo doo doo doo doo doo doo
- NCAA Total Defense: 110th (of 120)
- NCAA Scoring Defense: 108th
- Rushing Defense: 95th, but that's just to set up the…
- Passing Defense: 112th
- Turnovers Gained: T-77th
- 3rd Down: 95th
- Red Zone: 87th
- Fremeau: 108th
The worst is over.
Lots of good diaries this week. I'm breaking them up so we can comment, and you know, provide content and stuff.
So three guys from Detroit go to hell. The Devil's walking around doing his rounds to make sure everyone's getting the proper amount of torture and finds the Detroit guys sitting out in the open, drinking beers, grilling, and generally smiling at the hell fires.
The Devil is like "what are you guys doing?" and the three Detroit guys calmly explain that they're from Michigan, the land of snow and ice; when you get a warm day you gotta enjoy it.
So the Devil decides to turn the heat way, way up in that sector – enough to melt the rock – and moves on. Later he figures the Detroiters are good and cooked, and goes back to check on them, only to see them out in the middle of the lake of fire, having found a bunch of motor boats and tied them together, drinking and sunning themselves and fishing. The Devil's like WTF and the Detroiters explain again about the snow and ice and enjoying a nice day.
So the Devil's like I gotta screw these guys: He turns the temp way down, to absolute zero. And after enough time he comes back to check on the Detroit guys and there they are throwing a huge party, screamin', hollerin' whoopin', and just celebrating like crazy. The Devil's is apoplectic: "What the HERE guys?"
And they all look at him blankly like this should be obvious and are like "Dude: Hell froze over."
"The Lions must've won the Superbowl!"
Bask, man. Bask
I usually skip those ubiquitous Power Rankings articles that force e.g. Yahoo columnists to come up with (un-)clever one-liners about each team so they're not just posting a table, because without 19 words on Brian Wilson's beard etc. the thing just looks like an arbitrary table. The exception is when my teams are doing well, for the same reason Scrooge McDuck takes daily dives into his silo of gold and people in Michigan will never pass up a chance to put their face in the sun.
When your team is sweeping its region in recruits and steals a 5 star at its greatest position of need from an evil arch nemesis, no matter where everyone thinks you are, you bask. Never mind that part about the offense regressing from arguably sweet because of a scheme change, and a defense that needs to come up 10 levels just to get out of hell. Just follow where Brady Hoke points and get to the good stuff.
The recruiting binge that followed Hokeamania reached a new crescendo this week with our first committed 5-star (except not yet on Rivals), launching a new Diary genre: Let's Rank Our Class. Tim does it regularly for our conference (and teams that play half a Big Ten schedule but claim independence). TomVH took a shot at it last week, figuring how we'd finish. And now the diarists are having at it.
Looking at this list, I created a simple way to estimate where each teams class could end up if they recruited about 2/3 as well as they have so far and every team ended up with about 25 recruits. We all know this will not be the case and especially for a team like USC but their recruiting class to date deserves to be on this list.
That's from Hill.FootballRecruits, who has Michigan finishing 5th behind Texas, Auburn, FSU and Florida. If you take his Top 12 (based on Rivals) and project onto a graph that is really hard to make on Excel you get:
(click gets you larger)
So that's pretty good, especially when you figure Kalis will be a 5-star in short order. While we're at it, Big Ten:
How much better is Michigan's recruiting than our rivals' this year? Soooo much! And consider a few weeks ago that block of reddish-orange used to be affixed to the end of Ohio State's not nearly as impressive 2x4; tatgate's the table saw, Hoke's the wood glue.
Just for the sake of torture, here's Michigan's 2012 class (in mid-July (!)) versus the hellfires of yesteryear:
Er, if that's hellfires either I've been caught dead at the Jobbie Nooner, or the Lions just won the Superbowl. Only it's mid-July 2011 right now, not mid-February 2012, and Michigan is more likely to add more orange and red to the left side of the axis before all's said. The other thing you can see is that the 3-stars are very yellow-green, contrasting sharply with the greenie-green and even bluish shades which broke that up in the late-Carr classes. This is what we mean when we say the 3-stars aren't like the 3-stars of yesteryear. If indeed Rivals has been recently underrating high 3-stars in the Midwest due to the lack of a scout, perhaps this class is a shade more yellow than we're giving it credit for.
Play us out, Six Zero's Overly Entitled Wolverine Mascot…
This is exactly how I imagined it would go down, except for the part where Roh is lining up behind them. I mean, that would be silly!
Before I get into the historical journey, a word on OSU's idea of appropriate sanctions (pdf): I must be really biased. I mean, I know as a Michigan fan I am not going to be impartial when it comes to Ohio State anything. My understanding of NCAA's "sweet spot" for penalties is to take the perceived benefit of the violation and double it as a negative. If five guys played ineligibly, 10 schollies amortized. If a bowl game was involved, 2-year bowl ban. Here's Gene Smith's latest sweet spot:
In its response to the NCAA, the university addresses the NCAA’s specific allegations and also highlights steps the university has already taken, including:
• Suspending five players for the first five games of next season;
• Accepting Tressel’s resignation;
• Vacating the football program’s wins in the 2010 season, including its Sugar Bowl victory in January 2011;
• Self-imposing a two-year NCAA probation; and
• Implementing additional measures to enhance the university’s already extensive monitoring, educational and compliance programs.
Notice how nothing from the above will have any long-term effect on the program. The suspended players were already suspended. Tressel already resigned (and having him promise not to coach anyone else just gives OSU exclusivity on his legacy). The probation and fixing the oversight problem by raising their monitoring of players' cars all the way up to the level of a sleepy MAC school are givens. As for vacating wins, to this History baccalaureate that's an empty gesture which creates more problems for historians than the school. If you never see this:
The Queen of England has admitted that William the Conqueror provided improper benefits to Norman knights when seizing the throne of England in 1066, therefore the monarchy is hereby striking the Battle of Hastings from the History books, and removing the Bayeux Tapestry.*
…then why do teams get to cross out history? If the Final Four banners from the '90s still hung at Crisler, wouldn't that just be a greater reminder of their tarnishing?
Through my very biased eyes, it looks like they're asking to walk away with less than Michigan got for clerical errors on practice time. Other than the duh parts, there is nothing here that's substantive.
If I understand this correctly, OSU is basically responding just to the original notice of allegations, and leaving it to the NCAA to prove anything beyond the Original Tat Five and Tressel's e-mail cover-up campaign. Now it's the NCAA's turn: if they don't reschedule the Aug. 12 meeting with the Committee of Infractions it means they don't think they can make the bigger case. Everyone who doesn't live in Ohio knows there's something funky with the borrowed cars, but Ohio State's betting the NCAA can't prove it now that Pryor can't be forced to testify. It's a hardball move, a mobster's move, and puts the NCAA Committee of Infractions in the tough spot of either choosing to respond with the heartless indignation they used on USC, or the wilt. I honestly couldn't tell you what they'll do.
* Yes, I know Bayeux is in France. It's a metaphor.
From 2007 to 2010 the offense was deconstructed and rebuilt, the secondary was nuked, and the linebackers plinked along with terrible coaching. Faced with replacing Woodley and Branch (plus consummate other-guy Rondell Biggs), the 2007 outlook for defensive line might have been scary had the next generation not been there ready to rock. Well the next generation was there, and they were ready to rock, and as a result Michigan's defensive line churned along through the Dark Times.
Not that everything was rosy. By 2010 the depth beyond the starters was a trio of senior disappointments who, while not disastrous in the way that various walk-ons and freshmen were in the secondary, were a pretty big drop-off from the regulars.
Re-Stating the Premise:
Why are we 'Predicting the Past' again? This series is meant to be a long reply to those board posts that pop up a lot between Spring and Fall practices where we list the young guys and recruits on the depth chart and predict wonderful things for the future. The idea is to take our collective DeLoreans back to 2007 and get a sense of how those expectations turn out. Are the alarmists justified when they see highly regarded juniors backed up by just a smattering of guys who got a 3rd star with their Michigan offers? What happens to the "studs" versus the 4-stars? Next week is a summary piece where I'll try to find any common threads. Bonus: some of the situations that characterized '07 are relevant today. Double-bonus: walk down memory lane.
Tackles: Terrance Taylor (Jr/Sr), Will Johnson (Jr/Sr), Marques Slocum (Fr/So), Jason Kates (Fr/So), John Ferrara (Fr/So), Renaldo Sagesse (Fr/Fr)
Attrition: Alan Branch (2004), Chris McLaurin, James McKinney and Eugene Germany (2005), Quintin Woods (2006)
Incoming: Mike Martin
LaMarr Woodley and Alan Branch made Michigan's defense one of the best in the country. Looking to open up opportunities for these two (and cover the loss of space-eating DT Gabe Watson), M in '06 moved back to a 4-man front with now-ready Terrance Taylor as 1-tech and Rondell Biggs as other-guy DE. The setup was not so different from Mattison's 4-3 over, and played to the team's strengths. Taylor could sit home and clog, Biggs could hold up his edge, and this left Woodley to scream in from 2011 Roh's spot while Branch feasted upon single-blocking guards from the 3-tech spot.
Opposing offenses were left with the choice of using more backs and ends as blockers, or leaving one of Michigan's monsters one-on-one with some mortal likely to require extensive therapy afterwards. When feeling particularly maniacal, Crable could blitz from the SAM. If an opposing quarterback was lucky, he might be able to launch a back-foot prayer before his respiratory system collapses. Yes, this is a setup for that picture.
After '06, Woodley graduated and Branch rode those single-teams to an early NFL departure. The other DE spot was losing its two-deep, graduating Biggs as well as fellow "solid" DE (and RVB Dutch-acronymical predecessor) Jeremy Van Alstyne. Except for Branch, a post-'06 exodus was expected, and the staff had been hard at work building the next generation.
Going into 2007 with one returning starter, the line was young and expected to take a step back as the sophomores took over. DL recruiting was a big thing for M for both '05 and '06, though attrition had already done a lot of damage to that. The '05 group had the highly rated Taylor from Muskegon, plus winter enrollee high-4 Eugene Germany, 4-star 3-tech James McKinney, and a sleeper rush end in Carson Butler. The '06 class, already having lost some of the oh-five-ers, had the high-4 star Adam Patterson, 5-star in-stater Brandon Graham (considered an LB but a move to DE was expected), and four depth dudes in space-eating 1-tech Jason Kates plus three middly 3-star types in Greg Banks (SDE), Quintin Woods (WDE) and John Ferrara (3-tech).
Then those classes got thwacked by most of the Decimated Defense's Carr-era attrition. Germany was a 4.5-star '04 USC recruit who got squeezed out by Carroll's oversigning and ended up enrolling at Michigan in winter as an '05 guy. In March '07 he was kicked off the team for taking part in the St. Patrick's Day Nerd Massacre, an incident quite similar to the annual Dantonio Dorm Raids at MSU except involving 17% less of the team (other culprits: DB Chris Richards, and Manbearfreak). He ended up at Minn-Duluth and was the best player on a team that made a surprising run to the DII Top 10. McKinney had some medical issues early on, and groused after the '07 spring game about his depth chart spot. By this point in '07 insiders were on to what became an Aug. 12 transfer; he was later dismissed from Louisville. McLaurin left in '06 due to health issues. Quintin Woods didn't qualify. Butler had moved to TE, earned the moniker of 'Manbearfreak,' and was thought to be following Richards and Germany out the door for the Nerd Massacre.
Despite that attrition, and just two DLs in the 2007 class, the immediate future had Michigan stacked at DE and serviceable inside on the 1-deep, but thin on the 2-deep with a major 2008 haul expected to shore that up. The key players all had time logged in previous DL rotations, promising a step back but a smooth transition nonetheless. Tim Jamison had earned playing time as a true freshman in '04 – before Branch did actually – but lost that season and much of '05 to injury. Brian in his 2007 preview:
Tim Jamison is finally the weakside defensive end after three years of nonstop hype interrupted by injury and Rondell Biggs. It is time to step up, as they say. Jamison's featured as a pass rush specialist for the last few years and has done well. Last year five of his thirteen tackles were sacks. Given the constant torrent of practice hype, Jamison's recruiting rankings, and his evident ability in small doses, Jamison should also be an instant star.
With his RS junior and senior years ahead of him, the WDE spot was set through '08. Opposite him, 5-star sophomore Brandon Graham earned time as a true freshman in '06, but as a flabby 290-lb. tackle. Graham slimmed to 262 for '07, and was expected to end in SDE competence with a chance of greatness down the line.
Adam Patterson was supposed to be a big deal. A high 4-star, Patterson was tagged as Woodley's heir apparent in '05, despite a (in retrospect important) quiet senior season in high school. He was a Lloyd Carr Inexplicable Burned Redshirt in '06 and saw erratic garbage snaps.
At DT, Taylor had established himself as a strong, compact, but not very mobile DT, basically what we want Quinton Washington to be (though that's wrong because Q is pretty mobile). The lone returning starter on the D-line, Taylor was expected to be rather close to his ceiling as a super-strong but no athletic redshirt junior, though that ceiling was All-Big Ten. Will Johnson had earned extensive playing time as a freshman and sophomore, even in place of Branch. The coaches loved him and while not Branch, Johnson was expected to more than ably fill Branch's 3-tech spot through 2008.
Depth-wise, Marques Slocum was finally past a two-year, FCK LION-enhanced qualifying odyssey. An OL recruit before, now Slocum was a backup DT with freshman eligibility.
The depth guys were all recruited as depth guys and expected to be depth guys. Among them Greg Banks seemed to be the closest to something that could draw in regularly to the lineup. Ferrara was the hard-working DT-type who invariably brings up comparisons to Grant Bowman. Kates as a 400-pound thing you put in the middle of the defense because nobody can move 400 pounds anywhere it doesn't want to go. In true freshmen, Renaldo Sagesse was a big Canadian who was already in his 20s as a true freshman and thus drew into the lineup immediately. Ryan Van Bergen was a 4-starry 4-star, ranked about even or just above the committed 2012 DEs. Or Anthony Zettel maybe.
For 2008, Novi's Mike Martin (fringe 150 and rumored strongman) had signed on June 5, and M was fighting Ohio State for similarly rated Garrett Goebel. Recruiting hype on Martin:
Out of high school he’s a smaller version of Terrance Taylor, a shortish but stocky NT sort who was a state champion wrestler and powerlifter. A true freshman at DT would normally be cause for concern but Martin is reputed to be a gym rat much better prepared for the rigors of a college weight program than most. His highlight film is pretty impressive, as he shoots through the line and drags down ballcarriers like he’s a middle linebacker.
Detroit Martin Luther King HS's 5-star Nick Perry, a rush DT, visited Ann Arbor on July 2 and named Michigan his leader over USC, Miami (YTM) and MSU, though Dantonio was hard after him.
All told the D-line was set for 2007-'08. After that it would be up to the next generation, meaning one of the 3-stars has to pan out inside or the '08 class provides.
How Did That Work Out?
For awhile, meh. Then came Barwis and…
D-Line is a little different than the other positions. Typically (unless GERG is running a 3-3-5) it's four guys versus five OLs. If you have a weak point and three solids, the offense can double-team your weak link and the rest look more pedestrian. If the offense has to throw two OLs at one star to save their backs' lives, it gives the other DLs more chances to blow up the play. It was hard to judge any DLs for much of 2010 as GERG put them into 3-man rushes so often.
This is most evident when you look at Terrance Taylor next to Alan Branch, versus Terrance Taylor next to Will Johnson. Taylor was exactly what we said he would be. He was no Suh and shouldn't have been the main guy inside, but as a second guy who does his job he didn't disappoint. I've never been able to find it again but at some point Carr called Taylor the "fullback of the defense," which if he actually said that and it wasn't my mind making it up would be apropos.
In 2007 I got down on Will Johnson – my snide nickname for him was the "Yellow Brick Road." This was mostly because I wanted to blame someone for Michigan being unable to stop a shotgun zone running game, which usually seemed to run right by Johnson. His UFRs were usually okay-ish (5+, 3-) but he got splinched often against Wisconsin (mixed in with some great plays) and was ineffective against Ohio State. Versus bad interiors (Minnesota, Penn State) he was spectacular. In the Horror and against Oregon he was victimized by doubles. Less Barwicized than the other linemen in '08 he nonetheless progressed to graduate as a totally acceptable interior player.
Ferrara played the younger-Bowman role of workmanlike backup okay, but in '08 he was called upon to (not terribly) fill the depleted offensive line when neither Tim McAvoy nor the recycling bin he was competing with proved effective.
On the ends, Jamison was not made for spread defending. Then he exploded against Ohio State in 2007, the only thing about that game that's not worth forgetting. He lost a lot of "bad" weight between his junior and senior years and was a plus guy on the 2008 team.
Brandon Graham in summary:
Graham missed the first two games of 2007 (you know how those went) but when he was inserted in Game 4 the defense all of a sudden could stop the run. However Graham was still a bit out of shape and this showed when MSU ran him ragged in the 2nd half with double teams. Then Barwis came in, deconstructed B-Grammy into small parts, and chose the most Woodley-esque to rebuild him. The result: by mid-way through '08 teams were staying away from Graham's side of the field with Woodson-esque regularity. In 2008 and 2009 Brandon Graham was probably one of the best players in college football; a dark horse Heisman campaign for Brandon (then and now I believe Suh should have won that one) appeared on M boards in late 2009. By the time he left as a fringe Top 10 draft pick (he went 13th overall), Brandon had gone from vague hope of another Woodley to winning a head-to-head comparison with a Lombardi winner.
Other wonderful news: Mike Martin = The Incredible Hulk. And Ryan Van Bergen, whether at DT or DE, has proven an effective starter since his redshirt freshman year (and the consummate likeable team guy to boot). You know these guys, and Brian's about to go into detail on the 2011 preview so I'll leave it there. Here's a mid-2010 season eval on RVB:
Van Bergen has also checked in around expectations. He wouldn't look out of place on Michigan defensive lines of yore when the defense was actually good. He's not making a ton of tackles (just twelve) but has two sacks and four of Michigan's eleven QB hurries on the season. He's been hovering around the +4/+5 area that's a decent to good day for a 4-3 DE, and since he's not a 4-3 DE those numbers point towards an above-average player. He was even an impact player against MSU with a drive-killing sack and solid play against the run. He tied Martin's numbers on the day.
RVB is also reportedly the only living human to actually catch and sack Denard Robinson in 3 out of 3 attempts, though this is disputed by Robinson. [EDIT: embedding disabled. Fast forward to RVB's number]:
Adam Patterson was the real disappointment, football-wise. A Top-100 recruit in his day, Patterson's quiet senior year of high school now seems a portent. Adam finally played regularly at DT in 2010 after receiving a 5th year for an injury redshirt in '09, and he was not so good. Best guess on him is the speed and size that came before his classmates and made Patterson so devastating as a junior in high school did not mature beyond that. His frame never filled out, and that made him eminently moveable by doubles. When Martin was knocked out/hobbled for the latter part of last year by a late MSU cheapshot, Patterson got to play extensively (he found out minutes before the Purdue game he would start) and Michigan was ripped by teams doubling up on the inside. That said Patterson stuck it out through the transition, and was always good for positive quotes about his teammates – how many Top 100 players can you think of who will stick it out for his teammates after all of that?
Neither Banks nor Sagesse were any better than their quiet recruiting profiles, which that's not their fault either. Coaching might have been wanting here too – Banks had a tendency to not work down the line of scrimmage when the play went away from him, which further exposed the young secondary and linebackers. Both were behind walk-on wee wittle guy Will Heininger in '09, and would have been again perhaps if Heininger hadn't missed 2010 for injury.
Other than that it was basically what could be gathered in 2009 and 2010 recruiting. Rodriguez & Co. picked up certifiable crab person Craig Roh (right), rated only moderately shirtless because of his size but otherwise a Ryan Kerrigan-level guy. Michigan also picked up a 5-star 2009 in-state Gabe Watson-like guy in William Campbell, but to date Campbell's technique has never managed to catch up to his talent. Whether the new, DL-oriented staff can turn Campbell into a effective (3-tech) DT this year could determine the fate of the 2011 line.
Nick Perry turned out not to be among them* – the 2008 class ended with just Martin on the line, and two 2009 DT recruits chose to back out of their verbals on Signing Day. M whiffed on an SDE-type in Anthony LoLata (since transferred), and have let in-state 4-stars slip away to Penn State in consecutive years. But brought in a smattering of 3-star guys in 2010 and 2011 who run the gambit from promising borderline 4-stars who probably just needs to add weight (Jibreel Black, Richard Ash) to lots of depth-y fellas. In other words, it looks a lot like 2007 all over again.
Ultimately your defensive line from 2007 to 2010 was saved by several extraordinary gentlemen, all recruited under Carr: Super All Star Brandon Graham, Mike Martin, and RVB, and when those guys weren't available the line suffered. Craig Roh is the most likely star to emerge from the Rich Rod classes, especially as he returns from being miscast as a linebacker in a 3-3-5 to the terrorizing edge rusher in a 4-3 under so like where he was most effective as an underclassman.
* This pissed me off so much at the time that my friends used to call out "Nick Perry!" to psyche me out of disc/darts tosses. This has now morphed into "Steve Perry!" because you try throwing a dart with this in your head.
Rescue_Dawn has updated his recruiting map. Behold the Mighty Midwest Kingdom of Hoke the Magnificent:
Since we don't count republished press releases and TomVH can't win it, this is your default Diary of the Week. Not that he doesn't deserve it.