"He makes it really easy on you as a coach because he has tremendous football instincts," Michigan tight ends coach Jay Harbaugh said. "Things come really naturally to him. He doesn't have to see things too many times. He has a good sense for how things should look and feel, and he's a tough, physical guy."
Stephon Tuitt, All-American defensive end and all-around terrifying human
Notre Dame opened the season with a 28-6 victory over Temple that could've either been much worse or much better, as both sides missed plenty of opportunities to put points on the board. To wit:
- The Irish scored 14 points on a pair of Davaris Daniels TD receptions in the first five minutes of the game, the failed to score a single point on their next three drives, all of which ended in Temple territory.
- Temple, meanwhile, mounted an impressive ten-play drive in the first quarter that ended with a missed 32-yard field goal. Their next drive covered 54 yards in 13 plays, with the final play being—you guessed it—another missed field goal, this one from 43 yards out.
- After finally breaking through and scoring a touchdown to cut ND's lead to 14-6, Temple's extra point was blocked.
- Notre Dame looked to have an easy touchdown when Daniels got behind the defense (again) on a third down play early in the second quarter; Rees put the throw right on the money, but Daniels pulled up lame with poorly-timed groin injury. He sat out the rest of the game, robbing ND of their best receiver; he'll be back this weekend, though, and could've returned to the game if needed.
- On the opening drive of the second half (score: 21-6 ND), Temple had a first down at the Irish six-yard line. That started this sequence: overthrow on wide-open corner route, dropped TD pass over the middle, high snap that ruined the third-down play, desperation chuck falls incomplete when ND brought huge pressure on fourth down.
That last drive effectively ended any chance of Temple making the game competitive, as Notre Dame drove 94 yards in seven plays to give the game its final margin. In the end, the Irish scored "just" 28 points on 543 yards of total offense—Kyle Brindza added another missed field goal in the fourth quarter—while the Owls managed just six points on 362 yards. This one could've been very competitive had Temple not attempted to play man coverage on Davaris Daniels for both of Notre Dame's early touchdowns; at the same time, this could've been even more of a blowout if the Irish could've converted on a few more of their long drives—each of their kickers missed a field goal, and Kelly called for one hell of a Zookian punt in the first half.
Anyway, on to the breakdown. If you're curious to see what's changed from last year, here's the Notre Dame FFFF, 2012 version.
TOMMY REES BACK
Spread, Pro-Style, or Hybrid? Spread. While ND was almost exclusively a shotgun team in years past under Brian Kelly, however, they're now running a whole bunch of pistol; it's the new hotness, apparently.
Basketball on Grass or MANBALL? Basketball on grass. Almost all of Notre Dame's runs feature some form of zone blocking.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the breakdown.]
"Wait, I just looked at Mattison. He had about three or four of these [tape recorders] here. Can somebody explain that to me? I get up here and [omg there are so many.]"
You talk softly. Honestly.
"I don't understand."
"Speak up!? I've never had anybody tell me that was a problem."
What did you like from the first game?
"Well, we had some very nice plays. We ran some plays that were executed very very well. We had a reverse that was done pretty well. We had a couple play-action passes that were nicely done. We had some outside zone plays that got the corner nice, and we [were able to make] one-cut and run. I think those things were good. The biggest issues were interceptions. That's got to go away, because that's going to come back and haunt you, and then we had some penalties. Most of them were from first time players. Not all of them, but some of them were first-time players. We had a false start. We had a premature snap one time. So, you know, I hope that's first game stuff. It'll go away as we play more."
How does Drake Johnson's injury change the running back position?
"Well it's just one less guy. He was the first guy up after Fitz [Toussaint]. He was playing well and he was really learning our offense from the perspective of protection. He was a guy that was able to do some of the things Fitz could do, [Thomas] Rawls could do, guys that have been in our system for a while. So that hurts. That hurts. He's a good player who's going to become a better player as he plays more. Hurts our depth and we lose a guy that's not only a good offensive player but a good special teams player, too."
As always, you can see the 2010 Michigan Recruiting Board for all the updates.
Next week's recruiting update will take a step back and look at remaining needs in the class, and the likelihood that they get filled.
Welcome Will Hagerup
As covered on Sunday, WI P Will Hagerup committed to Michigan during his official visit to Ann Arbor. Hagerup is the nation's #1 or #3 punter, depending on which service you trust. He'll fill the Space Emperor's role when Zoltan graduates following this year. For more information on, Check sunday's post.
In other puntin' news, AZ P Jordan Morgan (not that Jordan Morgan) was in the house for the Wolverines' victory over Indiana. With Michigan taking a commitment from Hagerup, however, Morgan is probably no longer on the radar except as a preferred walk-on.
Needs Moar DB Talent
CA CB Joshua Shaw has replaced an SEC team on his list with a Big Ten one ($, info in header). He's also scheduled a visit to aforementioned Big Ten school. Using our critical thinking skills, we can deduce that the Big Ten school is Michigan, which he had previously said was just on the outside of his top group.
Another big time corner has long been favoring the Wolverines, and things haven't changed for PA CB Cullen Christian. If Ohio State offers him, they'll move into his top 5, but the Michigan still holds the top spot. He'll likely visit for the Penn State game.
FL S Demar Dorsey is committed to Florida, but still considering Michigan. His pledge to the Gators is being "firmed up," so it's unclear whether there's enough of an opening to grab him.
Michigan was dropped a while back by SC CB John Fulton, but the Wolverines' good season has moved them back into his consciousness ($, info in header). Michigan is still on the hunt for elite DBs (if you've watched them play, you know why), and their pool of options is expanding.
Michigan is in strong position for VA LB Aramide Olaniyan, who visited for the Notre Dame game. There have been lots of articles to that effect, with no actual new information, so this should be the last one unless there's an actual update.
CT LB Khairi Fortt is announcing a decision on Monday. All conventional wisdom points toward Penn State, but Michigan is on his list of finalists. Still, I'd be shocked if he picked the maize-and-blue.
...and now for some video on MD LB Josh Furman, a more realistic option for Michigan:
King's Travels and other Tales of Defensive Linemen
The odd saga of NC DE/DT Gabe King continued last week, when he moved from North Carolina to Oregon. He had been declared ineligible to play his senior season in the state of North Carolina, and will be able to play at South Eugene High School in Oregon. I guess this lends credence to the conventional wisdom floating around that he's a lock to end up on the West Coast, no?
As miniscule as Michigan's chances were before the move, they've shrunk even more now. Look for King to end up at Oregon or Cal, barring a complete shocker. Considering he's "walking distance" from UO, they're likely the favorite.
As discussed in last week's update, MN DT Beau Allen has been offered. Michigan will have to fight a number of programs if they are to land him, including Notre Dame ad Stanford.
In other defensive tackle news, PA DT Sharrif Floyd is still considering Michigan, although he doesn't have plans to take an official visit:
“Those aren’t my final five,” Floyd said. “I wouldn’t even call them my top five. They are just the five I scheduled for my official visits. I’m also looking at Ohio State, Michigan, Boston College and West Virginia.”
So Michigan is in a murky Top 9-ish situation for Floyd. The 5 officials he has planned are Florida (two weeks ago), USC (last weekend), Penn State, South Carolina, and North Carolina. The chances of landing him aren't great, but they're (slightly) better than zero.
Miami DT commit Louis Nix is wavering, and is considering Michigan for an official visit. The Wolverines are in a second group behind the Hurricanes and Notre Dame, but if he does manage to make it to campus, Coach Rod and Co. have a chance.
The interior of the line apparently isn't the only place Michigan is still looking for help. They looked to the school of CB target Tony Grimes, and offered his teammate, FL DE Clarence Murphy ($, info in header). Surprise, surprise, that's rocketed the Wolverines near the top of his list ($, info in header). His other offers come from schools like Wisconsin, Maryland, and Florida International, so Michigan could put themselves in pretty good position.
For the future
The 2011 news has been slow in the past couple weeks, but FL RB Demetrius Hart is a kid who many expect to eventually pick Michigan. He went off in his high school game on Friday. The evidence of said performance begins about a minute into this poorly produced video. [Editor's note: OH SNAP.]
NY Ath Quentin Gause is hearing from Michigan, and it may not be a coincidence that the Wolverines are the first school he mentions. A commitment is a long way off, but Gause may be leaning Blue at this early stage. He plans to take a set of unofficial visits when his high school season ends.
Michigan appears to be fading for OH TE Alex Smith. "Spartans winning with recruits," unfortunately for them not on field. I believe I forgot to mention this last week, but I removed CJ Olaniyan, who has committed to Penn State, as well as the similarly-committed NY DE Dominique Easley. Josh Helmholdt says most recruiting visitors will come to the Penn State or Ohio State games. I missed this a while back, but OH WR commit DJ Williamson had ankle surgery at the beginning of the month ($, info in header).
Note: In an effort to remove the enormous and uninviting block of text from the top of the recruiting posts, I've excised the recruiting board update from the post itself. It can still be seen on the actual board.
Elsewhere in Committed Prospects...
OH CB Commit Courtney Avery is already known as a multi-talented player: On top of being a defensive back, he's also a startlingly accurate quarterback for his Lexington team. Add a new segment to the resume, as he's also a very accomplished hoopster.
Avery, who originally planned to play football and basketball for Stanford, will focus solely on football at Michigan. Did another national championship leave him second-guessing the decision?
"I'm going to miss basketball, but I'm comfortable with the decision I've made," he said. "This was just a chance to go out and play one final time.
"We started a dynasty together and we wanted to finish it together."
The AAU national championship was his team's third in a row.
Devin Gardner is now a 5-star, and the #4 overall QB on Scout (moves that I predicted would happen, though perhaps not this early). He also passes William Gholston as the #1 in-state prospect.
Cornelius Jones leads Spartanburg to a 13-0 scrimmage victory.
Slightly Longer Shots
AZ S Marquis Flowers "knows two visits he plans to take" ($). Considering the article is written by a staffer from The Wolverine, we can assume that one of those two visits is to Ann Arbor.
Michigan is likely done recruiting running backs unless they can land an elite prospect (i.e. Eduardo Clements), but should they need a backup plan, FL RB Cassius McDowell is probably a good bet. A good friend and former teammate of Denard Robinson, he's the new leader of Deerfield Beach. Also interesting is the fact that the Bucks ran a Wing-T offense last year, but will transition to a spread in 2009. Great timing, guys.
OH S Latwan Anderson has West Virginia, Michigan State, and Georgia atop his list right now, with the Mountaineers leading the way. Michigan seems to have slipped out of his recruitment, though he plans to take his visits before deciding.
CA RB Anthony Barr, who had up to this point had only been on the periphery of Michigan recruiting attention, has included the Wolverines in his final five, along with USC, UCLA, Notre Dame, and Cal. He's a big dude at 6-4 and 223 lbs, so perhaps the Wolverines like his upside at linebacker? He won't decide until his football season is completed.
MD LB Josh Furman will definitely take a visit to Ann Arbor, along with planned visits to Maryland and Virginia Tech. He will announce his decision at the Maryland Crab Bowl, which The Google Machine says takes place on December 19th.
One of the last remaining players interested in Michigan from the DeMatha contingent is S Lorenzo Waters. He includes Michigan in his top four, along with Maryland (the favorite), Miami (That Miami), and Wake Forest.
Other People's Money (and Four-Stars)
OH TE Alex Smith has been "committed" to Cincinnati since February, but the solidity of that commitment has not been constant over time. At this time, he is in an off-again phase with the Bearcats, and the Wolverines have an opening:
As positive as that experience was, it did not propel the Wolverines over a familiar hurdle of theirs when it comes to recruiting tight ends -- scheme.
Despite the assurances offered, Smith remained skeptical about how prevalent a role the tight end will play in Michigan's new offense...
Michigan's best chance at dispelling what it contends is a common misconception about how it uses tight ends will come on the field this fall. Getting Smith back on campus so he can witness the increased productivity of the current tight end tandem of Kevin Koger and Martell Webb will be a major priority. Smith plans to oblige the request, but he plans to do the same for a few other programs as well.
"In no order I'm liking UNC (prior visit), Michigan (prior visit), Wisconsin (prior visit), Miami, LSU and Kentucky (prior visit)," he reported. "Two or three (will receive visits), for sure. I don't know how many I need to take because after going places, I know what they have to offer and there's no real need to go back. I still want to (make a commitment) pretty early (in the season).
So, it looks like Cincinnati is basically out. As long as Michigan uses the tight end effectively this fall, the Wolverines are probably at the top of Smith's list. Smith is also quoted as saying that Michigan is his mom's #1 choice. HOWEVA, Michigan isn't in Smith's top list in this Kurelic article…
When asked to name his top choices Smith said, "Cincinnati, then Wisconsin, then North Carolina, and Kentucky is in there too."
…though he does list Michigan first when asked what schools he'd like to visit in the near future.
In the Trenches
After the commitment of OH DT Terry Talbott, the need at this position is likely for one more high-level DT.
FL DT Louis Nix, a longtime commit to the hometown Miami Hurricanes, has opened his recruitment. He will officially visit Notre Dame, and will also consider Michigan along with Florida and Florida State.
There is some confusion over the official visits of PA DT Sharrif Floyd. Michigan fans are up in arms that Bill Kurelic wrote an article with Ann Arbor not among his destinations. I wouldn't worry too much quite yet, though, as he sounds less than definite in those plans (emphasis mine):
"I'm going to take all five official visits," Floyd said on Tuesday evening. "I'll probably visit Penn State, Ohio State, South Carolina and Florida, something like that."
So, less than certain. He's also said in the past that he definitely will not take an official to Penn State, so this can all get quite confusing. For now, I'd say Michigan fans should be in wait-and-see mode with Floyd. Additional fluff on Floyd, noting that he'll play offensive guard this year, along with maybe a bit of linebacker(!).
On the other side of the line of scrimmage, though a top-5 list a couple weeks ago did not include Michigan, FL OL Torrian Wilson has narrowed his list to three, with Miami, Stanford and Michigan remaining. The Wolverines had been his favorite earlier, but Miami has come on strong, and will probably be the team to beat. And let's check out some video from SoFlaFootball, for good measure:
Season preview fluff on OH OL Commit Christian Pace:
Christian Pace, a 6-4, 270-pound two-way tackle, was first team All-SWC last year and will attending the University of Michigan on a football scholarship in 2010.
He also plays defensive tackle. For the record, that's by far the tallest I've seen him listed (most reports say 6-2ish, though he's listed at 6-3 on the recruiting sites). Avon Lake also scrimmaged against Midview over the weekend (Friday to be precise), and posted a photo gallery on their website. The only good Pace photo from the gallery can be seen at right.
Wrapping up the OL talk is the official visit docket of one Seantrel Henderson. The top OL in the country will take official visits to Ohio State, Oklahoma, USC. Florida, and Notre Dame. Michigan is absent, as you can see. Not that I think the Wolverines will be added, but I take this list with a grain of salt since it comes from the mouth of his father, not Seantrel himself. It also includes Notre Dame, while Henderson the younger has been adamant for some time that he's not interested in the Irish. Either way, MIchigan is likely no longer a player.
Michigan still leads (still!) for PA teammates Brandon Ifill and Cullen Christian, though Ifill says Maryland is even with the Wolverines. Byrnes wideout Nick Jones wants to make an Ann Arbor visit. Michigan seems to be out of it for OH S Kurtis Drummond. MI DE CJ Olaniyan seems to really like... Oklahoma State?
Removed FL LB Christian Jones. Michigan is outside of his top 6 ($).
FL RB Demetrius Hart confirms that Michigan is his only verbal offer so far, and though he seems to favor Michigan, he no longer plans to make an early decision. He will, however, try to enroll early at the school he ultimately chooses.
FL QB Teddy Bridgewater doesn't really like calling the signals. Does that mean a move back to wideout for college? If so, Michigan interest might not be worthwhile.