Going to be a dodgy year on the OL. Steve Lorenz reports that Grant Newsome has a "minimal" chance of playing in 2017. That is not good. If that's the case you just about have to slide Ben Bredeson outside and run with something like Bredeson/Kugler/Cole/Onwenu/Somebody.
You'd think the leader to be Somebody would be redshirt sophomore-to-be Nolan Ulizio. Ulizio didn't look particularly good when he got in this fall; I've heard that he had mono and was down to 260 at one point. He bounced back during the fall but only to 280. He could surge forward once he gets to the right weight.
A bountiful draft. The NFL's website names Michigan the team poised to send the most talent to the NFL draft:
Early rounds: EDGE Taco Charlton, CB Jourdan Lewis, S Jabrill Peppers, DE Chris Wormley
Middle rounds: TE Jake Butt (injury), WR Amara Darboh, OT Erik Magnuson, RB De'Veon Smith
Late rounds: OG Ben Braden, WR Jehu Chesson, LB Ben Gedeon, DT Ryan Glasgow, S Delano Hill, OG Kyle Kalis, CB Channing Stribling, S Dymonte Thomas
I'd be surprised if Braden and Kalis got picked but everyone else has a real shot of going off the board. Charlton appears to be surging up draft boards to the point where debatably silly things are being said about him:
Mel Kiper says on conference call that Michigan's Taco Charlton is the best pass-rushing defensive end in the draft.
— Kyle Meinke (@kmeinke) January 19, 2017
This is a draft with Myles Garrett in it, so that's a thing.
Harbaugh stories. Chase Goodbread collects them from Michigan players at the Shrine game:
"One time, he told us as a kid he got hit by a mail truck and was in a cast, and was still playing football with it. Then they had to rebreak it -- I can't remember if it was his foot or his arm -- because he kept playing on it and made it worse. I mean, who gets hit by a mail truck? It could only be you, coach Harbaugh." - DB Dymonte Thomas
Screaming works? 538 tracks penalties by which sideline they're thrown on and the results are not encouraging if you're the kind of person who believes people are in charge of things for a reason:
This is NFL data and so not directly applicable to college, but you'd think college refs would be even more susceptible to these sorts of things since they're drawn from a wider pool and are probably less capable on average than NFL refs.
So: the defense gets called for "aggressive" penalties ("unnecessary roughness, personal fouls, unsportsmanlike conduct, and horse-collar tackles" per the article) 30-40% more often when there are people complaining nearby.
Meanwhile the holding graph is very strange since the effect inverses once you approach the goal line. The only mechanism there is revenge(!) as side judges who are now far away from the screaming maniacs exact their price. Maybe it evens out for holding.
Not that anyone calls holding anymore. This was one of the main takeaways from the Film Room broadcast of the national title game: Alabama scores thanks to an edge block on which a defender is yanked to the ground; someone exclaims that is a hold; the assembled coaches all laugh about the fact that nobody calls holding any more.
Tracing Michigan's ground game issues. De'Veon Smith is performing impressively at the Shrine game practices:
One of the best players at the East-West Shrine this week has been Michigan running back De'Veon, Smith and he had a tremendous practice on Wednesday. ... Both his route and the blocking earned Smith some a lot of praise from the coaching staff. In the team scrimmage, he also broke off a few chunk runs, weaving his way through defenders with quickness, balance, and vision.
Scouting sources told WalterFootball.com that Smith could be the best offensive prospect on the East team, and he has had a tremendous week to help his draft stock.
East Day 3 practice - RB De'Veon Smith (Michigan) had a great day. Very good in pass pro, hands, physical, compact build.#shrinegame
— NFL Draft Blitz (@NFLDraftBlitz) January 18, 2017
It would be nice if Michigan's problems were because of Smith since he's out the door and Michigan has a number of guys who look like viable replacements; I don't think that's the case, and his rising draft stock concurs. Michigan has a major build job on the offensive line to undertake. Related: TTB has a breakdown of the guys who Michigan recruited and their destinies.
I guess this is fine. Football is set to get a slightly early signing period:
The Division I Football Oversight Committee is moving forward with a proposal that would open a 72-hour signing period for high school recruits in December. The timeframe would correspond with the current December signing time for junior college recruits.
But the committee isn’t recommending an early-signing time for recruits in June.
That "early" period is still after everyone's season, so most of the coaching changes will have already transpired. I didn't like the rumored June signing period since it was inane to lock guys in before they could take official visits and before the firing season.
While the June date didn't make it, an artifact of those earlier discussions may have wormed its way through anyway:
As part of the committee’s proposal, rules on official visits for recruits would also be modified. Recruits would be allowed to take official visits from April-June of their junior years, two months earlier than initially proposed.
That's good for Michigan, which will be able to get early-deciding kids on campus more easily now.
Midterm CSB rankings. Michigan-relevant players ranked by the NHL's central scouting board:
- F Josh Norris: #46
- D Luke Martin: #67
...and that's it. Mike Pastujov, who was hyped as a potential first-rounder, is not on the list. The cavalry is not coming next year.
Shooting a gun with no bullets in it. There is a Mississippi state senator who thinks he has a magic wand:
Mississippi Rep. Trey Lamar (R-Senatobia) has proposed a new House Bill that would surely benefit Ole Miss’ current recruiting woes: The National Collegiate Athletic Association Fairness in F.A.C.T Investigation Act of 2017.
Lamar, a former Rebels walk-on running back from the early 2000s, is pushing a bill giving the NCAA one year to complete its investigation once it notifies a school of possible rules violations, according to a report from WCBI News.
NCAA: "Or what?"
TREY LAMAR: "Or I shall name a bill at you a second time!"
This is not how state government works, Trey Lamar. FWIW, various coaches at AFCA project that Ole Miss will find out their fate in 2-3 months, and that it will not be pretty. Or it will, because NCAA.
Etc.: Fired Alabama DL coach Bo Davis talks to AL.com, attempts to spin a tale about how his firing was for one violation of the bump rule, cumong man. Analyst Rick Finotti gets the head job at DIII John Carroll. Dumb, but important. The playoff is good. Willis Ward and the track captaincy. Recruiting rankings are getting better because of Hudl. Yost, 1946.
What, are you worried Spartans are gonna be all "Typical Wolverines, whining about the refs."?
[Interference on Desmond.gif] [Spartan Bob stops the clock.gif] [etc.] Things that happen happened. Plus can you name a Spartan anyone actually takes seriously?
Granted. But is this hypothetical Spartan in your life Vannini, or this Youtube commenter?
Wow. That's— uh, that is…
…a person whose opinion does not matter.
I was going to say my brother-in-law. But they outgained us!
Special teams matter.
Still can't we be above blaming the refs? Steel in the spine and all that. It won't change the outcome of the game. At most we'll get an apology from the Big Ten that's worth exactly as much as Rutgers in a post-cable bundling media landscape.
Nice one. I'm not making a "Michigan should have won…" argument, because every play matters. The last play had a huge effect on the outcome. Connor Cook throwing perfect back shoulder passes and Aaron Burbridge being an NFL-caliber receiver was very relevant. Jake Rudock being bad at deep balls was relevant. If they'd won, Michigan's stops on 4th downs were relevant. All of it is relevant, and the game, as they say, is over.
So then what's the point?
The point is to assess how good this Michigan team is at football. IE were they significantly better than a Michigan State team that nearly lost to Purdue and Rutgers, and was absent its Rimington-quality center plus half the legs of its bookends, and is fielding a pretty awful secondary. But I'm also doing this for some more personal reasons:
- For myself, and for posterity, I want a thorough canvassing of the things I saw and thought I saw.
- I want to point out where the refs are getting a bad rap. Not everything we thought we saw was a legit gripe, and some of the legit gripes may have been hard for human refs to see in real time. Since complaining is inevitable, let's get it right.
- Right now I feel like a truck ran over my dog and then half of the people in my life came over to gloat as if they were driving this truck. This is part of my healing process.
And you're going to show we got hosed?
Can't promise it. That was my certainly biased hypothesis in the stadium, but I'm not going to be able to find every incremental hold and would-be pass interference. I want to tackle the things people were talking about.
Clip the plays people bitched about, watch the hell out of them, gauge the relative expectations we should have for the officials on those plays, and use the Markov Drive Analysis tool to calculate a rough expected points swing.
This tool is based on NFL drives but it serves for what we're doing here. It gives you a basic expected points for every down, distance, and field position. For example if you have 1st and goal on your opponent's one yard line, the expected points is 6.32. A 4th and 10 on your 40 is about zero.
If I've left out any plays (including and especially those where something went Michigan's way) let me know and if I deem it worthy I'll add it to the post.
I'd rather not be part of this.
Then don't hit...
Marve: available? Robert Marve's ACL isn't completely torn this time so he may give it a go this weekend, which would give Purdue a second option if TerBush struggles. Emphasis on "may":
Marve said he participated in the full practice for 1st time since his latest injury. As for the game "I hope I can help out some" #Purdue
If he ends up in the game that's probably good news since it sounds like it will be a desperation move by the Boilers.
dangit should have titled this section "marvailable?"
Oklahowat. Of all the crazy things to do to save a couple lousy bucks:
Four-star offensive tackle Matt Beyer (San Antonio/Reagan) had been mentally preparing for two weeks, but that didn't make the news any easier to take.
Beyer said he was told Tuesday by Oklahoma offensive tackles coach Bruce Kittle that his scholarship offer to Oklahoma will not be honored, Beyer confirmed to SoonerNation on Thursday night.
Beyer, who committed to the Sooners on July 2, has been forced to give up football because he was diagnosed with the spinal-cord condition cervical stenosis about three weeks ago.
The Bylaw Blog notes that OU could sign him and immediately give him a medical scholarship. So… like… why not do that? Your program + Rinaldi profile of this guy – cost of scholarship > Your program + perception you're heartless + cost of scholarship. I don't get it, man.
Morgan head thing. Michigan is very cautious about head injuries:
Morgan said the word "concussion" never was used by doctors, but his symptoms were enough that he was held out against the Minutemen.
"Just got knocked and was a little out of it for a little bit," the sophomore said Tuesday. "A lot of it was precautionary, just doctors making sure on everything. But I haven't had any symptoms since and I'm feeling good.
"I haven't had a head injury, so I didn't know what to expect I guess going into it. But the doctors were really positive and honest through the whole thing and I was real upfront and told them exactly how I was feeling every day."
A plague of missed assignments. ND film review was ugly. Not for me. Not just for me. Also the players:
Against Notre Dame, the Michigan offense had 23 of those missed assignments, according to redshirt junior tackle Taylor Lewan, a number he called “unbelievably high.” The mistakes could range from missed blocks to improper reads to poor communication.
“You should have one or two maybe in a game,” Lewan said. “I’ve never seen (23 missed assignments) happen before, personally.”
Yeesh. Two were on the Smith INT, I'm sure, and various others are in Denard's lap. I hope they get these things fixed, because I don't like watching games like the Notre Dame game. Also I enjoy oxygen and water.
Epic troll? So I'm thinking about making some sort of George Clinton joke about this article on Denard Robinson…
Denard Robinson's funk 'lasted for days' after Michigan loss to Irish
…and end up looking at the comments. I've just read a bunch of "Ken M" trolling posts and this sets off the alarm bells:
Chuck Luck · Top Commenter
"Denard Robinson's funk 'lasted for days' after Michigan loss to Irish".
Glad this young man is not in the military, people die when their fellow soldiers act like this.
In a nutshell. The SF Weekly profiles Bleacher Report and in doing so captures the thing's essence:
The exemplar of contrarian thinking offered within the site's curriculum is a Bleacher Report article titled "Why Tom Brady Is the Most Overrated Quarterback in NFL History."
This piece epitomizes much of what frustrates the site's detractors. The article's author, an affable 19-year-old college sophomore named Zayne Grantham, tells us he still thinks Brady is an overrated "system quarterback" who largely succeeds thanks to his team's capable defenses. (The New England Patriots advanced to the Super Bowl last year with the 31st-ranked defense in terms of passing and overall yardage in a 32-team league.) But even Grantham doesn't believe Brady to be history's most overrated quarterback: "In hindsight, I may not have used that headline. I'll be one of the first to say he's one of the best quarterbacks we've ever seen."
And there you have it: Anyone baited into responding to these hyperbolic stories finds themselves debating a non-starter argument with a teenager from Shreveport who doesn't even buy the premise of his own article.
Somewhere in the Bleacher Report salt mines is the next generation's Drew Sharp, who will be forced to write slideshows about the top tittays in tennis and why LeBron James is bad at basketball until he gets paid 600 dollars a month to write SEO filler under predetermined headlines. Don't tell me you don't believe in the narrative of progress.
Shades of that Illinois game, except weirder. Remember way back in the day when refs botched two massive fumble calls against Illinois and publicly apologized afterwards? This got Michigan fans in a lather because they'd experienced their share of refereeing mishaps without getting a reassuring pat on the shoulder, and did nothing to actually correct the issue. Well, in the Big 12 they've "apologized profusely" for this:
That's a lot more ambiguous than two clearly wrong calls against Illinois. Q: why are Oklahoma State fans taping horrible angles on TV the best we can do here? Shouldn't there be some cameras on the LOS, like, for all games?
[UPDATE: Big 12 says "never happened."]
Compher "marquee." The USHL just had a prospects game and reviews are rolling in. This is from The Hockey News:
J.T. Compher, LW – U.S. NTDP (USHL)
Along with Fasching, Compher is the marquee name on the NTDP this season and though he doesn’t have his teammate’s beastly size, Compher gets in the mix. At the AAPG, the University of Michigan commit demonstrated a dogged determination around the puck, never giving up on a play. He’ll be one of the team’s leading scorers this season. Draft eligible in 2013.
Exit CCHA. MLive has a good article on the end of the CCHA. Relevant bit on the Mason Cup:
“I’ve been asked a lot about that. Does the final winner take it? Just like the Stanley Cup, there are two Mason Cups. There’s one where (current CCHA tournament champion) Western Michigan has it on display and we have another we keep on display at the Joe (Louis Arena) during the season.”
Pletsch said no option is being kept off the table. He said he has contacted the Hockey Hall of Fame to gauge the interest there. He said he has also thought about giving the Mason family one of trophies to keep.
In a respectful gesture Pletsch said he has even reached out to the Big Ten about possibly donating the trophy to the league that ultimately led to the CCHA’s demise.
“If they wanted it we would consider donating it to them,” he said.
I doubt any of the other five teams in the newly formed Big Ten are going to be enthusiastic about that idea. Given the hodgepodge of trophies they created for football, the new trophy will probably be the Comley-Markell-Gadowsky Cup.
Etc.: As part of my trip to Georgia I got to deploy my best Marvin the Paranoid Android impression in an AIRBHG t-shirt. Stuffing the Passer. Hockey season preview from Yost Built.