to play football, not to play trumpet
Harbaugh wears ties for these kinds of events
IS IT HAPPENING? More unconfirmed reports that it's happening, including a number of people sending me a receipt for ties from Van Boven—a local upscale men's retailer—destined for one Jim Harbaugh in California. HE GOT SOME TIES is in the THEY'RE SHOPPING FOR A HOUSE vein of circumstantial evidence, except… somewhat less convincing. But I'm pretty sure Jim Harbaugh just got some ties from Ann Arbor. Or at least someone who knows him sent him some.
Please do not send Jim Harbaugh ties unless he's coming back, readers.
In less speculative connections: players on the team are pretty optimistic. Some recent grads have the same agent as Harbaugh and they are feeling good about it, and it's filtering out as they tell the people around them. The telephone chain is pretty long here (Harbaugh to agent to recent graduate to current player) and there's a natural inclination to turn "it might be happening" into IT'S HAPPENING along the way, but… yeah, players on the team are thinking it's happening.
I have totally unconfirmed reports that there's a verbal agreement and the only thing that could nix it would be an NFL team coming in with a ludicrous deal. I don't know if that should make you feel better or worse, because a ludicrous NFL deal is definitely a possibility. Conflicting reports on whether Hackett and Harbaugh have actually met/talked or if this is still at the agent stage. I don't buy the verbal agreement bit—too much telephone for that to be meaningful.
I can state that there is stuff going down at the regents/AD level, with meetings scheduled today and Monday. It is possible some of these meetings may turn into public events. Something is happening. Is it IT?
FWIW. I find the react posted by thosewhostay7 to be pretty credible; people have been questioning whether I still buy it. I'm not saying it's gospel, but it is a data point, one that agrees with other stuff I've heard: Harbaugh is just now seriously considering his future, Michigan wants this done by January 1st, and that even if an NFL team promises him the moon the fact remains that he has an owner who is likely to meddle. "Autocracy" is in fact what college offers, for the most part. Bayesian reasoning, man: this is not as good as getting a call from Hackett but it's enough to move the needle some.
This is in conflict with the done deal stuff, yes. I think the done deal stuff is less accurate than the above. I know you don't want to hear some of it; don't shoot the messenger. My current status: considerable, but fearful optimism.
ROSS IS NOT GETTING INVOLVED IN THE BAD WAY (FOR NOW). Ross puts it out in the media that he's not interested in being an NFL suitor for Harbaugh:
Despite widespread media speculation that the Dolphins will pursue 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh, owner Stephen Ross has shown no indication that he has any interest in making a coaching change, sources told the Miami Herald on Thursday.
Furthermore, the organization has no desire to be used as leverage in Harbaugh’s upcoming negotiations — which some see as inevitable based on Ross’ previous relationship with Harbaugh.
Given previous speculation that he would jump in if Michigan was out, that's good news. For now.
MORE ON TIMING. December 23rd has been kicked around as a potentially important day; it is, but not because it's Harbaugh's birthday. I mean, it is important because it's Harbaugh's birthday. If he comes that's New Christmas. In terms of the coaching search, though, it's important because it's one of two scheduled meetings between Hackett and the team. That's a point at which we might get unofficial word, or at least a vibe on whether it's happening.
The second meeting is scheduled for the 28th. You will no doubt read something into that whether I tell you to or not.
THE PRECISE NUMBER. Bruce Feldman and John U Bacon both said the Godfather money mentioned by the NFL press is not accurate. If so it's not that far off, as I've heard numbers ranging from 45 to 49 pretty consistently and Webb is saying that is the number, period. PFT is on point with their article, noting that the offer is disputed "because of course it is." This coaching search, everybody!
The number that is likely in dispute is how many years it is, as that has ranged from six to eight. Have heard that in lieu of a traditional buyout, the contract is backloaded to encourage Harbaugh to finish out the deal.
Either way we are talking Saban money, enough that if Harbaugh does stay in the NFL it isn't about said money.
LET'S READ EVERYTHING INTO PRESS CONFERENCE QUOTES. Harbaugh did not say "screw you guys, I'm going home" yesterday, but in terms of reasonable presser outcomes this was pretty good:
-Q: Have you been offered a contract by the University of Michigan?
-HARBAUGH: As you know, I only talk about the job that I have. We’ve been together a long time. Always been my policy.
-Q: Trent mentioned recently that you and he met briefly this week and agreed that you’d talk about everything at the end of this season. Was that something you asked for? How did that come about?
-HARBAUGH: As you know, Trent and I have discussions every day. So…
-Q: You said in the off-season that your intention was to coach out this contract. Is that still your intention?
-HARBAUGH: Umm… Yeah, I’ve said I’m going to finish this ’til the end. My focus is the same as the players’ focus, it’s the same as the coaches’ focus, the focus on the practice field, the focus in meetings, by our players, by our coaches and by me.
That is our focus–this football game against the San Diego Chargers. And playing well and winning. That’s where our energy and focus is.
San Francisco beat writer and licensed internet troll Tim Kawakami thought there was something a bit different with Harbaugh:
I've been around Harbaugh a lot. I've asked him a ton of questions. This was the calmest I've ever seen him. http://t.co/bppIIxl3CD
— Tim Kawakami (@timkawakami) December 18, 2014
You wont have Harbs to kick around anymore? Let's read into that excessively, okay? Okay. It's agreed. Based on a licensed internet troll's opinion of Harbaugh's body language, Harbaugh is a lock. Glad we could come to this opinion together.
YOU OWE US A DOLLAR. Steve Addazio signs an extension based on rumors that Michigan might be thinking about thinking about considering making him a part of their long list. This turns into:
This development removes Addazio from the search for a new coach at Michigan, where he was considered one of the prime candidates after San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh. Michigan didn’t make direct contact with Addazio, but a source said the school reached out to gauge his interest.
My eyes roll so hardcore at that. Yes, Michigan pinged Addazio's agent. They pinged David Cutcliffe. They pinged a number of people who aren't in need of an extension right now. None of that means anything except you are on the long list. Football Scoop of course took this as evidence that their previous take on Addazio was gospel and I mean… cumong man.
A lot of this is people talking to coaches. Why would coaches know anything about Michigan's search unless they are actively involved in it? Coaches are not sources.
I AM NOT IN HARBAUGH'S BUSHES. I had to miss my weekly spot on WTKA because I'm out of town, leading to a joke about how I'm in San Francisco. I am not, please don't blame me if everything falls apart. It is not because I'm creepin'.
A REMINDER. Chatsports is not credible, even if they've moved on from the Ace Williams moniker. Good luck at prom this spring though.
development: Boren does not haz it. brilliant photoshop via TTB
Development. A killer post on BHGP analyses schools' NFL draft performance relative to what you'd expect given their recruiting rankings. The conclusions:
- Stars matter. No surprise. Guys with five stars are more than four times more likely to be drafted than those with three.
- Michigan is average. They've had 21 draftees and expected 20.6. This places them 29th amongst 66 BCS teams. I'd bet Michigan would have done very well if this study focused on a time period five years earlier; in my imagination their "development ratio" starts off near OSU's, gradually drops as the OL degrades late in the Carr era, and implodes in the aftermath of massive attrition under Rodriguez.
- USC, Ohio State, and Iowa outperform. Interesting diversity at the top, as the #1 school is also the #1 recruiting school—impressive—and three through five are Iowa, Cal, and Wake Forest. Clemson is sixth, further proving that the Tigers have been the worst-coached BCS team of the last decade.
- Duke sucks. Duke sucks.
- U-S-BIGTEN. I'm going to gank this chart:
Rank Conference Recruits Drafted BCS Expectation Development Ratio 1 Big Ten 172 150.4 114% 2 Pac 12 166 152.0 109% 3 Big East 94 87.8 107% 4 ACC 183 177.2 103% 5 SEC 216 223.8 96% 6 Big 12 157 189.7 82% 7 Non-BCS 121 295.4 40%
If you're interested in going to the NFL, avoid the Big 12 and head north. Also, I'm guessing that non-BCS number suggest that Rivals' drilldown rankings (e.g., three stars being rated 5.5, 5.6, or 5.7) have some merit.
- U-S-RICHROD. West Virginia has the highest "win ratio" amongst BCS teams despite not sending anyone to the league, and while that's an artifact of being the best team in the Big East over the period surveyed WHY DID YOU HIRE GERG AARGH
I have a slight beef: study author UpUpDownDown looks at these numbers strictly through the lens of player development. He breaks conference numbers down further into offense and defense, and then further breaks down offense into skill and offensive line, finding the Big Ten murders everyone on the OL and on D while the Big 12 struggles immensely in those two categories. This is attributed to playstyle, specifically the Big 12's addiction to passing spreads.
I think there may another element at work: scouting services overrating certain sections of the country and underrating others, particularly the Midwest. Rivals (the source of the rankings used) doesn't even have a Midwest analyst. Meanwhile, OL rankings are particularly inaccurate since many high school kids need to put on 50 pounds before they can play in college. The flipside—skill position players more easily projectable—sees a much, much lower spread amongst conferences. The worst-performing conference is the ACC at 94% of expectation; the best is the Big East at 108%. That's a much lower spread than you see in the D and OL numbers, one that looks like an even distribution distorted by a little randomness.
If there was a regional bias in recruiting rankings, hard-to-evaluate OL would be the place it would show up most prominently. I think there is. Your ratings are just wrong when Wisconsin has two four-star linemen in the last five years, as they do on Rivals. They are not evaluating linemen correctly. I'm not sure what Big 12's hole of suck on defense represents but I'd be more convinced it was a playstyle thing if they were running 3-3-5s or something. Going up against Blaine Gabbert and a bunch of other passing spreads doesn't make much difference to anyone but a few linebackers, it seems.
In any case, it's a really interesting post you should read all of.
We have done derped. We have lost our superiority when it comes to not erecting embarrassing billboards:
One: Paul Reiser probably came up with the text. Two: it's on I-94, which goes from Canada to Indiana without even brushing up against Ohio. Three: it's derp enough to put up a billboard after you win something. It's extra super derp to do so after not winning since 2003. Five derps out of five.
Recruiting digression. Brady Hoke : linebackers :: Rich Rodriguez : slot receivers. Michigan now has eight in two classes and speculation naturally turns to where these guys all fit. Specifically, can any of them play somewhere else?
The answer for all four in this class appears to be "no" unless Bolden or Jenkins-Stone pack on a lot of pounds and end up at WDE. Ringer's six-foot and Ross six-one and they'll both end up around 230. On a football field guys that size play LB, FB, or RB and nothing else. Even Bolden and RJS are stretches at DE. Those guys are linebackers one and all.
Last year's class, if you don't remember:
- MI QB(!)/LB Desmond Morgan.
- TX LB Kellen Jones
- OH LB Antonio Poole
- OH LB/TE Frank Clark
According to Rivals, none of these guys is more than 6'2" and Morgan is the heaviest at 225—the others are all at 210. No one's mentioned safety for any. So… these are all linebackers too unless Clark swaps to TE, which is going to be at least as crowded as LB if Ron Thompson signs up to be the fourth tight end in the last two classes.
Someone's going to lose out and get flipped to fullback; other than that, all these guys are linebackers for life. That gives Michigan 13 next year, which is a bit excessive for three starting spots. Or at least it would be if we weren't currently enduring a wasteland at the position. I'd guess the 2013 class is homeruns or one random three star picked up late.
Further recruiting digression. The top ten kids in the state are probably Ross, RJS, Devin Funchess, Mario Ojemudia, Aaron Burbridge, Dennis Norfleet, Terry Richardson, Ron Thompson, Dan O'Brien, and Matt Godin. (Ben Braden might be in there somewhere, too.) Michigan has three, is presumed to be the heavy leader for two more (Godin and Thompson) and is in a short group of leaders for Ojemudia, Richardson, and O'Brien. If the chips fall the right way Michigan could get 7 or 8 of the Michigan top ten, which is not only far better than Rodriguez ever did but would be better than Carr's best instate efforts by some distance.
Part of that is it seems like Michigan is producing better football players these days—everyone in that top ten save Norfleet has a Michigan offer, or would have one if his grades were better (Burbridge). That never happened under Carr. A big chunk appears to be Hoke doing work.
Too good to be true. Red might have believed he'd get his whole team back after exit interviews but Mark Burns of the Daily has responded to/fueled/confirmed rumors that Brandon Burlon is gonzo. Some speculation is that he's seriously pisssed off you guys that he was passed over in favor of Clare for the Frozen Four games.
Losing Burlon hurts, but at least Michigan seems well-covered on the back end. Clare will draw into the lineup regularly and the spot opened up by Langlais's graduation will be filled by incoming freshman Brennan Serville, a guy rising up NHL draft boards. He should go in the middle rounds.
Meanwhile in hockey news of a bizarre and speculative nature, Mike Babcock's son is winding his way from the USHL and crazy rumors that Michigan will take him and Babcock will coach him after Red leaves have duly cropped up. Yost Built collects those.
The Appalachian State debacle was my third day on campus. My freshman tickets sat me in Section 16, far away from my fellow students. I sat next to a white-haired old man--whose natural hair color might've been blue--and his son each week. My enduring memories of that first game are conveniently sparse; my first memory is of Chad Henne zipping a passing to Mike Massey in the opening drive. I saw it all from my bird's eye seat in Row 96 of Section 16; it was perfect and logical, a rational manifestation of our pre-season top 5 ranking. Then, the defense took the field.