to play football, not to play trumpet
In honor of Ferentz. Last year after neither starting quarterback did much good in their bowl game, Iowa released an unprecedented post-bowl depth chart listing C.J. Beathard as the starting quarterback over Jake Rudock. The PR gesture had two effects: 1) placated Beathard's dad who'd been making threatening transfer noises in a Tennessee paper, and 2) gave Rudock a concrete sign to seek playing time elsewhere.
In honor of Kirk Ferentz's noble and unselfish dick move, I hereby give you a post-bowl Fee Fi Foe Film diagram of just Michigan's guys. Rudock, you'll note, has again been put in his proper place: among the stars.
While we're at it, I figured I might as well clean up the roster data spreadsheets I use to keep track of things like what happened to Michigan's recruiting classes, attrition, redshirts, position switches, and starts, with historical data going back to the 1997 team. Link is here.
Check the tabs for 2016 scholarships, starter data and walk-ons. I'll keep this updated over the offseason if you'd like to use it for diaries or fact-finding. For example if you want to see how attrition cut into Michigan's classes since 1994:
Or with a little more playing around…
— Seth M. Fisher (@Misopogon) January 12, 2016
IT'S THAT TIME OF YEAR AGAIN, EVERYBODY. They've let Tim Beckman out of his tiny pool, gently removed the arm floaties, and put him in front of reporters. Let's see how that's going!
DID YOU THROW THE BALL OR NOT AHHHHH
Illinois kept this person because he led their football program to a better than average performance for them, which is usually why you keep a football coach. Funny ol' world.
OKAY BUT SERIOUSLY. Whenever I see Tim Beckman put in a low-pressure situation and asked softball questions he looks like a dog that doesn't know whether you're going to throw the stick or beat him with it. How does this person get past a job interview, let alone a Head Football Coach job interview?
That is a high pressure situation in which questions like "why on Earth would we pick a guy with one good season in the MAC with an outlying turnover ratio to coach our team?" get asked. Was the answer Illinois sought "uh, team performance leads to excellence in all our endeavors"? Did they not notice when he repeated that when they asked him what he wanted for lunch?
Help me understand. I do not understand.
Also at Big Ten Media Days. Harbaugh finna get himself shivved bae*:
— Sean Churchill (@SeanChurchy) July 31, 2015
Also, and always, Beckman.
*[I think? I may have just said "Harbaugh I fart on myself" in teentwitterese.]
Also also at Big Ten Media days. Never let it be said this is not journalism.
"Saade is a self-taught taxidermist and says that the job can actually be quite lucrative." Got a lot of dead chipmunks around the house. Dunno why. Mother keeps saying something about mah sleepwalking. Mother says she don't wanna say when I ask why such a thing would happen. Mother says waste not want not. Mother don't remember which team won that crazy overtime game from a few years back on account of her blackout. Mother is pretty sure though. Mother is always right.
Mother says this is how it's always been and how it always will be, mother and the chipmunks and the always recovering on-side kicks and never ever havin nobody named Braylon she knows about, no nothin. That ain't even a name she says. Who ever heard of a name like that. Who ever heard of that.
Sometimes I think I ain't sleep-murderin no chipmunks but I know better than to say so.
You know, for a turkey that's on the lam there seem to be a lot of photos of it in the same place. God, I wish this had happened when I was in college.
If I could fight a turkey on my way to discrete math I would be so happy.
"Do not try to approach the turkey," she said. "We've gotten calls from people who have been trapped and unable to move because he's cornered them."
The symptom. It's hard to blame Devin Funchess for his occasional lackadaisical play last year. If I was suffused with ennui it's hard to imagine what he was going through. But that's the thing about coaching: it is your job to get people to play to the best of their ability. Brady Hoke did not do this, and Funchess was the best example last year.
Here is confirmation of that from what's annually the best thing to come out of Big Ten Media Days, Mike Spath's article where he offers anonymity in exchange for real talk:
"They had a guy that on paper was just a nightmare because he was so tall, and big - he was supposed to be a tight end but they played him at wide receiver [Devin Funchess] - and man all week our coaches just kept saying, 'We've got no one that can match up with him. No one that can stop this kid.'
"It was motivating and I was foaming at the mouth, but I built him up into this goliath that was going to take my best effort, and he took a lot less than that. He didn't seem to care at all about helping his quarterback out.
"Everything about him was half-speed. It was sort of like what they used to say about Randy Moss - when he knew the ball wasn't coming his way on a play, it was like he wasn't even out there."
Randy Moss made it work, and Funchess ended up a second-round pick. But you read that and it's just like… I knew that. And I knew that it didn't come from Funchess, it came from the program.
Ferentz finally under the gun. Matt Hinton surveys the situation at Iowa, which is still technically part of the same conference Michigan is:
“It’s been five years now of unremarkable football, is probably the best way to put it,” says Marc Morehouse, who took over the Hawkeyes beat at the Cedar Rapids Gazette in 1999, the same year Ferentz arrived in Iowa City, and who has seen more than his fair share of unremarkable football. “I’ve covered Ferentz since he’s been here, and the ‘hot seat’ concept has come up in the past, but I’ve never taken it seriously. … I’ve never bought into it, but this year, even in November, even in January after [the bowl game], I’m buying into it. OK, this is a real hot seat now. This is a hot seat year, no question about it.”
Ferentz has doubled down here by letting his starting quarterback depart for a team technically in the same conference. If Rudock does well and Iowa remains Iowa-esque, Ferentz will go from "can't afford to fire" to "can't afford to keep" in a flash.
All of this makes for a fascinating alternate history in which Michigan goes with the coach Lloyd Carr recommended if they were making an external hire. Things probably go better for a while. Does Ferentz take better advantage of Michigan's ability to recruit? Are they again that kind of 8-4, 9-3 team that Michigan was for big chunks of the 90s?
The end of civilization. Not with a bang but with a pun.
— Adam Jacobi (@Adam_Jacobi) July 31, 2015
Etc.: They promise to actually pay attention to the illegal men downfield rule this year. Now I like it when the Onion writes something about Michigan! A whopping 37% of top-100 players who aren't one-and-done transfer. Kellen Jones has been to Michigan Oklahoma Clemson Wisconsin Tampa Panama Mattawa La Paloma Bangor Baltimore Salvador Amarillo...
HTTV on Kindle! We have a Kindle edition of the book. We had to drop a lot of the pictures and formatting because of Kindle restrictions and we don't have to print it, so it's a bit cheaper than the book itself at $9.
If you are a Kickstarter backer who would like the Kindle version in addition to the DRM-free digital copy provided to all backers, please give us a little time to figure out how to give it to you. We'll send out an update when we've figured it out.
Books themselves are being lovingly folded right now and should start shipping soon. Because of the way this works there will be a sizeable spread in delivery times (they get mailed out in batches as they're finished), but we are going to hit our mid-July goal.
More Battle. Apparently this is serious:
Would be more surprised if Tyus Battle doesn't commit to Syracuse by weekend's end than if he does commit.
— Jerry Meyer (@jerrymeyer247) June 19, 2015
It is difficult to imagine that Syracuse is suddenly the choice since they have a coach who's already announced he's retiring and are stung by NCAA sanctions, but that's basketball recruiting for you. If Battle does indeed defect and this head-fake costs Michigan Josh Langford I'm going to be pretty pretty annoyed.
Sounds like work. Kirk Ferentz is the first—only?—Big Ten coach to come out against satellite camps.
“What it really gets down to is just how you want to use your time. Me personally, I’m hopeful — and the NCAA will probably react — my personal preference is I’d like to see camps probably be limited to campus. On top of that, I would support not allowing any outsiders coming to work your camp.”
Iowa has actually done two or three of them already, but…
"We did three this year, and I don’t think we made the news for any of them. We don’t really broadcast it."
The noise you are hearing is an Iowa fan snapping a pencil with his mind.
Cost of attendance calculations. The NCAA's "Power 5" conferences adopted legislation to extend scholarship benefits to cover the full cost of attendance. What does that mean? There is a number that schools maintain called "cost of attendance" that has nothing to do with sports. It's for calculating financial aid, that sort of thing. Now that it's been dragged into a realm it doesn't really belong, people are noticing that the numbers vary a lot—and not very sensibly. Massive rent areas like Palo Alto or Ann Arbor often have nearby universities with low COA numbers; meanwhile Auburn has one of the highest numbers in the country.
How did they come to that conclusion? A lengthy Montgomery Advertiser article explains why. It has essentially been indexed to inflation from a large number determined a long time ago:
Reynolds, who has worked for Auburn for 16 years, said he inherited a cost of attendance figure when he began working for the university and has routinely increased the tuition, board, and personal figures in accordance with the Consumer Price Index, as calculated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, with transportation being increased in accordance with the CPI inflation rate, and room being the average cost of all available on-campus housing, currently 4,539 beds.
"This is a financial aid budget," he said. "This isn't an athletic scholarship budget."
The $5,586 in Auburn's cost of attendance is divided into $2,728 for personal expenses and $2,858 for transportation, according to the budget Reynolds provided to theAdvertiser, and remains unchanged from a year ago.
At some point the Power 5 is going to have to come together and figure this out, because there's no way they're going to let a four-year gap of up to ten thousand dollars stand.
A nation of Joe Tillers. Back in the day, (probably) Joe Tiller used to bomb his colleagues behind their backs in entertainingly catty anonymous Athlon articles. It hasn't been the same since he retired to wherever walruses fade away, but the re-emergence of Jim Harbaugh in college has revitalized the genre. ESPN's Travis Haney interviewed a dozen or so coaches, offering anonymity in exchange for salt($). He got some. Bret Bielema asked to be identified and said Harbaugh was rad:
“I have had great respect for Coach Harbaugh for what he built at Stanford and as a man who isn’t afraid to speak his mind,” said Arkansas coach Bret Bielema, who specifically asked to be identified on the record. “Too many people in today’s world love to voice opinions and beliefs when convenient. Few represent who they are and what they believe daily.”
And… I developed respect for Bret Bielema? Odd day.
Others did not think Harbaugh was rad:
“I think he’s nuts. He loves to stir the pot. He’ll have a very short shelf life – but he’s a very good football guy. I will be interested to see how he does there,” a Pac-12 coach said. “[Former 49ers and current Bills offensive coordinator] Greg Roman has always been the brains behind the operation. [Harbaugh] has been at private schools before so I’m interested to see how he does at a public school. There’s a huge difference in how things are handled.”
Greg Roman, Brains Behind The Operation. No offense to Greg Roman but all you have to do to dispel that is look at Harbaugh's coaching tree, which is already more impressive than most.
Others refer to Harbaugh as "Rain Man-ish," which… okay, accurate. Whole thing is insider but worth it.
Speaking of Rain Man-ish. Former 49ers tight end Delanie Walker:
"He dressed up in full gear and practiced the whole practice – pads, helmets, everything on. He had the whole uniform on,'' Walker said of Harbaugh. "We came out and said, "Who is that dude out there? And it was Jim Harbaugh. He had some old high top cleats on.
"He did pretty good. He just couldn't throw the deep, deep pass."
Walker thinks Greg Roman is not the brains behind the operation:
"I think he is going to be great (at Michigan),'' Walker said. "People buy into his philosophy. Every team he has ever been on has been good, right? So you tell me what he is going to do. Young kids love to have a coach who is crazy."
Just like Domino's clap clap clapclapclap. The Michigan athletic department's annual budget shows a shortfall for the first time since Tom Goss was athletic director:
Michigan's athletic department had a deficit of nearly $8 million this year, marking the first time in about a decade it operated with a loss, according to interim athletic director Jim Hackett, but he assured the budget for 2016 will be balanced.
Since Goss was working without PSLs or the Big Ten Network, that is truly impressive. Hackett explained why there was such a big shortfall:
"The result of football ticket sales being down (and) added compensation for settlements this past year caused us to have a deficit of about $7.9 million. We covered that with operating reserves, but we've got a balanced budget proposed for next year."
Michigan had to give away almost 20,000 tickets for the Maryland game, then pay Brady Hoke after they fired him, then continue paying Brandon his 100% guaranteed contract, then gather up every nickel in a five-state radius to present to Jim Harbaugh. The first three are Dave Brandon's fault. The last is a pretty good idea:
"We can tell you today, season ticket sales, which are just a portion of the stadium, will probably hit an eight-year high. We just started selling our packets, with combined games (Wednesday) online, (and) we've had almost 18,000 tickets that were sold for some of the single games. We're very optimistic about our fall and what promises there."
Michigan should get out of paying much or all of what it owed Brandon, as well. That dude somehow scoring a CEO job that should pay him more than he was getting as AD means that Michigan won't have to compensate him unless he gets fired from that gig too.
He's worse! /checks coaching hires… He's not good! Chip Brown lays the wood to Texas athletic director Steve Patterson in a 5,000 word piece with startling revelations like:
Steve Hank, chief revenue officer of Texas athletics, told HornsDigest.com the 6 percent average increase (actually 5.7 percent, he said, but it was rounded up) was based on a formula that involved the value of each seat “spread across” the entire, 100,119-seat capacity of Royal-Memorial Stadium.
But when comparing exactly what football season ticket holders paid in 2014, including their contribution to the Longhorn Foundation to retain those tickets, to what they are paying in 2015, season tickets were increased an average of 21.5 percent.
Sources said football coach Charlie Strong, who saw his and his coaching staff’s personal ticket allotment cut from eight to four last year, fought to increase the salaries of his eight quality control coaches from $24,000 to $50,000 after last season.
Texas has the lowest salaries in the Big 12 for its quality control coaches – even behind last-place football finisher Kansas ($45,000).
Strong’s request was denied by Patterson, and six of Texas’ eight quality control coaches who had built relationships with the rest of the staff, left to find better paying jobs, the sources said.
But he did hire Charlie Strong and Shaka Smart. Despite being quite evidently an idiot. People in charge of things are just in charge of them.
Let's check in with Iowa City. Hell no they ain't happy after a narrow escape against Ball State and then the missed-it-TO-made-it sequence to lose to Iowa State for the ninth time under Ferentz. The ninth time!
borrowed from a great American pic.twitter.com/9APTZQtYLZ
— PlannedSickDays (@PlannedSickDays) September 16, 2014
It's kind of like Michigan if Brady Hoke was permanently unfireable. They're probably going to be okay-ish, they are frustrated with their archaic program (and Iowa is way more archaic than Michigan except when Iowa plays Michigan), fans would probably like to move on. But, uh, not happening:
If Iowa were to fire Ferentz for convenience, the school would continue to owe him 75% of his annual guaranteed salary for the remaining years in his contract. …
Ferentz’s base salary has climbed each year since 2010, hitting $2.07 million for the current season. It stays at that level for the next five years. Ferentz also receives supplemental income in the amount of $1.48 million per year, bringing his total salary up to $3.55 million per season. That means if Ferentz were fired at the end of this year, Iowa would owe him $13.3 million, to be paid in monthly installments between now and 2020. That amounts to
roughly $2.7 million per year.
And this is a guy arguing that Iowa can totally afford to dump him. It is possible. Charlie Weis is still getting paid by Notre Dame; the Irish offered him a total of 19 million to go do anything else. (All will be forgiven if one day Weis cites Foul Ole Ron as one of his inspirations.) It's just hard to see Iowa pulling the trigger given that they've put up with all the stuff they've already put up with from Ferentz so far, including the rhabdo event and going 4-8 more than a decade into your tenure.
And then there's the question facing Michigan fans who want a change: is there anyone out there who seems like a good idea? Or is it Terry Bowden sweepstakes time again?
Alabama will just tell you stuff. Because it doesn't matter if you get the kind of stuff that laymen will understand, Alabama's just like "okay here let's talk about it," which makes for interesting articles about the Tide facing a blizzard of screens in their early games against overmatched foes and how you go about dealing with that:
"When they're throwing fast, get your hands up," defensive end Jonathan Allen said. "If they throw a screen, you have to retrace. That's what really defeats the screen is when the linemen retrace and run to the ball. That'll really take away from the screen. So our job's just beginning as soon as he throws the ball."
This is not rocket science. It is part of a respectful-seeming conversation happening about football in front of the media that the media can then go use to write interesting stories, thus increasing the overall happiness around the program slightly.
And this is Alabama, home to the notoriously prickly Nick Saban. I can't imagine how frustrating it must be to be on the Michigan beat. I can count the multitudes who have fled.
Meanwhile at Michigan. The university's notoriously expensive FOIA department strikes again:
Michigan attempted to charge CBS $410 for a FOIA request looking for data into basic 4-year scholarship #'s. More than anyone else, by far
— Nick Baumgardner (@nickbaumgardner) September 16, 2014
The only two possibilities here are that Michigan is breaking the law or that they run the most inefficient FOIA office in the country, which implies things about the efficiency of the rest of the unduly-closeted operation. Either way this should change. If you end up talking to Schlissel ask him which possibility is the truth.
And yes more dead horse spread punt stuff but this answer is just …
Hoke asked about why he doesn't use the spread punt: "I've always been a pro style punt (coach). ... I really don't want to talk about it."
— Nick Baumgardner (@nickbaumgardner) September 10, 2014
Okay. What would you like to talk about?
One of the ultimate people in charge of things. Spencer Hall roasts Goodell and shows why the people in charge of things are just in charge of them:
Remember now what a blank social boffin the NFL strapped to its face to begin with: a Senator's son from a safety school who quite literally never worked anywhere else but in the sports job he got directly out of college. Roger Goodell's resume is a hollow blandishment of institutional servitude. He fought in the arbitration wars; he coordinated the events. Calendars were heroically arranged.
Do not expect that having a job means anything. Every great organization will one day hire the moron who will destroy them.
People in charge of coin tosses are just in charge of them. If you missed this from Saturday, whoah:
That's Texas electing to kick after UCLA deferred, the ref explaining this, and Texas's captains going "sounds good to me!" Shockingly, Charlie Strong did not kick them off the team immediately. I would have.
Apparently this happens about once a year? I could never be a coach. I would assume that things like brushing your teeth were outside of my purview and lose games because of it.
Also in CFB oddities. So this was a trick play:
"What should I do on this play to draw attention to myself, coach?"
"Have you seen Showgirls, son?"
"No. Unless the answer is supposed to be yes. Then yes."
"Son. I'm going to need you to flop around like an electrocuted fish like when Nomi—"
"How about I just fall over?"
"I am just going to fall over."
Arkansas threw at the "tackle", who was eligible, and two different guys on Miami intercepted the same pass. Should have flopped around like an electrocuted fish.
And the oddest oddity. Boston College ran for 452 yards against USC! That is not the grand total of Eagle rushing yards in all Boston College games against USC ever! It is one game from Saturday! What?
you could see the Eagles wear down USC's discipline and will with one play in particular, applied heavily over the course of the game: the zone read with a lead arc block by a tight end.
The common way this play is run is with the QB choosing to handoff or keep the ball. If he keeps, he's attacking the edge based on a read of an unblocked defensive end, with a lead blocker for him on the edge.
BC kept USC off balance with a bunch of other stuff; it was an arc block on the zone read keep that was the killer time and again.
Etc.: Matt Hinton's weekly has landed at Grantland, and is recommended. We don't feature because no one pays attention to 34-10 MAC games. That UGA-SoCar first down is the definition of margin of error.
Guy with name as difficult to spell as Coach K bombs Coach K. I don't really know why Paul George exploding is a big deal in this context; if not playing for USA he would have been doing something else that put his leg in danger.
Greg Davis totally-not-a-photoshop via BHGP, obviously
Due to the nature of available video, the lack of teams that are remotely comparable to Michigan either in style or skill, and the strange ways of the universe, I once again am here to do an opponent breakdown using a game involving Northwestern. Yes, Northwestern lost. Yes, it happened in overtime. It's not your fault, Northwestern fans. It's not your fault.
Anyway, Iowa drove for a touchdown on their first drive, scored just three points in the rest of regulation, missed a potential game-winning field goal in the fourth quarter, threw an interception with a chance to get into field goal range at the very end of regulation, and then scored the eventual game-winning touchdown on their first possession of overtime. This is a team that leans on its stellar defense to carry most of the load while their offense attempts to bash its way downfield; that said, this isn't last year's Iowa offense, which is a good thing for Iowa.
Spread, Pro-Style, or Hybrid? Pro-style. Iowa utilizes a ton of two-TE sets, runs most of their offense from under center, and goes into the shotgun almost exclusively for obvious passing downs.
Basketball on Grass or MANBALL? Iowa ran almost entirely zone blocking concepts in this game, with the exception of a couple I-form power plays that weren't effective beyond getting two or three yards. Their linemen are very well suited to zone blocking, as you'll see below.
Hurry it up or grind it out? I don't mean to alarm you, but Iowa has gone to a no-huddle offense. I repeat: IOWA HAS GONE TO A NO-HUDDLE OFFENSE. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.
Yes, that is the Hawkeye offense full-blown tempo-ing Northwestern for a critical fourth-down conversion despite the umpire inexplicably standing on top of the ball and allowing the Wildcats to get set. This was the key sequence in a drive featuring Iowa playing at a pace resembling Penn State's up-tempo stuff until they hit the red zone, when they got more deliberate and scored a touchdown. They maintained the no-huddle throughout the game, though the pace slowed as the game wore on, in part because Iowa held a lead for much of the game.
Quarterback Dilithium Level (Scale: 1 [Navarre] to 10 [Denard]): Jake Rudock is by no means a burner; he's nimble enough to escape the pocket and do some damage with his legs (like in the video above), however, and Iowa even ran a couple zone reads with him. I'll give him a 6; he's rushed for 220 yards on 40 carries (5.6 ypc) with five touchdowns once sacks are removed.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the breakdown.]
We’re back from last week’s foray into the Pit of Despair. Unfortunately for you, I’m on vacation next week, so you’ll get Round Two of the search for the height of ennui. And I think it will be harder to stomach than the first bunch. Armanti Edwards will feature prominently, as will Rich Rodriguez. Just remember: this will hurt me more than it will hurt you. In the meantime, as usual if you come across any social media happenings worth noting, send them to @Bry_Mac.
Michigan rules the Twitterverse
A Michigan Man remains connected to his community. Very connected.
(via Business Insider)
Michigan football (@umichfootball) is the most followed official team account in college athletics. Michigan basketball (@umichbball) is the fifth most followed official team account in college athletics. Between the two accounts, they have, uh… math… a lot of followers. Like thousands. So bravo to Michigan’s digital media folks. I award you one (1) Internet. Michigan State’s football and basketball accounts are next in the B1G at #13 and #15, respectively. I guess the rest of the conference really needs to get its crap together. /Urban’d
Reporters suspect college student may have gotten drunk and slept in one time
Johnny Manziel was in the news this week when he was reportedly sent home from the Many Manning Men Passing Camp for showing up late and hung over. The whole topic has been done to death, so I don't really want to talk about it, but there is one reaction worth noting. Mark May has had enough of Johnny Football's disgraceful actions, and isn't afraid to say so.
Alright Johnny Football enough is enough this is your last wake up call STOP BRINGING SHAME TO THE GAME !
— Mark May (@mark_may) July 16, 2013
You may think "SHAME TO THE GAME" is a little harsh, but you've gotta respect a guy who won't tolerate people disregarding the social norms while purporting to represent the greater football community...
(H/T to A&M’s SB Nation site, Good Bull Hunting, on the find)
In case you missed the fun part of that, May was charged during his college days with, among other things, "inciting to riot" and "terroristic threats." He apparently went on a Will Campbell hood-destroying escapade, except that BWC's shenanigans were cheeky and fun while May's shenanigans were, to use a technical legal term, "light terrorism." Some people (read: all people) might think this makes Mark May look like a gigantic hypocrite when he gets all huffy when a college student shows up to something hung over. But May responded, pointing out that (a) only people who have DONE bad things can CRITIQUE bad things, and (b) f*** your punctuation and logic.
Thats why I can critique experience
— Mark May (@mark_may) July 16, 2013
Hard to disagree with that kind of logic, because by the time you find the logic, it’s next Tuesday and we’ve moved on to other things. It's worth noting that he hasn't tweeted a single thing about Aaron Hernandez or Jeremy Hill, and I haven't seen him comment publicly about them. Murder* and battery** don't bring shame to the game. That distinction falls to being a self-indulgent, self-important immature prima donna and/or typical college student (again, not a debate worth having AGAIN), because lord knows football can't survive with one of THOSE in its ranks.
**Not allegedly. He did that. That's assault, brotha (but not really, but there's no applicable Adam Sandler quote for battery so we'll just pretend).
[A jump, after which either sharks or Bacari Alexander will fall out of the sky.]