At press time, Harbaugh had sent Michigan’s athletic department an envelope containing a heavily annotated seating chart, a list of the 63,000 seat views he had found unsatisfactory, and a glowing 70-page report on section 25, row 12, seat 9, which he claimed is “exactly what the great sport of football is all about.”
A Youngstown reporter is asserting that Michigan is on the verge of hiring Youngstown State DBs coach Mike Zordich:
I'm told that YSU Assistant Mike Zordich is leaving the Penguins to take a assistant coaching position on Jim Harbaugh's staff at Michigan
— Chad Krispinsky (@ChadK426) January 13, 2015
This would be bad news for Roy Manning. If Zordich is in fact in, there's just one staff member left and that would likely go to some sort of TE/OL coach, whether that's Jimmie Dougherty or someone else.
Zordich is an interesting guy: a Penn State alum who had an 12-year NFL career and only started coaching in his 40s, first in high school and then a brief tenure with the Eagles as a QC coach in 2009 and 2010 and then as safeties coach the next two years; he's been at Youngstown since. Bo Pelini was going to keep him on, FWIW.
HOLDING STEADY. I haven't gotten anything that would change my stance her\e since yesterday. That, of course, is this:
I did get a terrifyingly titled email ("John Harbaugh –> Jim To Oakland = $5 million") that turned out to be a third hand report that if Jim wanted to go to the Raiders the 49ers were planning on extracting the full freight of his contract from him. I have lectured this person on titling emails.
Other than that it's just more of the same. I can't quite say it's a done deal but I would be shocked if this did not happen.
THEY'RE OUT THERE. Feldman reports that Michigan officials are going to be in San Francisco today and tomorrow.
#Michigan brass & search firm will be up in the Bay Area this weekend as part of the Jim Harbaugh pursuit, per source.
— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) December 27, 2014
I've heard this is not so much a negotiation as just picking him up. Terms are settled.
ANOTHER MOVE. In the last couple days, even Rivals—the most cautious of the three paysites—has moved off their 50/50 and declared things to be 85% likely, and then said they'd call it if it was election day, and then that "this is happening" which HEY BUDDY THAT'S OUR PHRASE TO FLOG INTO THE GROUND. Balas now says it would be "beyond surreal"—squared!—if it did not happen.
In any case: the most conservative set of Michigan insiders has the lampshade on its head and is trying to drink shots through it.
ANOTHER REPORT? It's unclear whether this report from Harbaugh's (currently) local ABC station is independent or not. It uses SOURCES in its title (#sources) but the text is may only be referencing Joe Pequeno, the Arizona sportscaster who is this search's most random insider. This may be actual SOURCES, though:
Friday night, the unconfirmed reports began surfacing that Harbaugh will meet with representatives from the University of Michigan and one source says that a deal is already done.
The phrasing there makes it hard to tell if they're actually talking to people or just taking other stuff and not mentioning or linking it because BLOGS. Take it FWIW. Local news is not often the kind of place that breaks these things, but if San Francisco-based folks are hearing the same things Michigan-oriented ones are that's another quality sign.
Source says verbal agreement in place for Jim Harbaugh to become new Michigan coach. No contracts signed, but UM feels real confident.
— Joe Pequeno (@JoePequenoCBS5) December 27, 2014
That was just a few minutes ago and did not spur the ABC report.
THEY DON'T WANT TO GO ON THE CART. Rapoport raporeports that the Raiders are going to try.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 27, 2014
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 27, 2014
(Rapoport knows the Raiders are always in the Bay Area. Also, check the extensive reply lists on those tweets for a quick compare/contrast with the La Canforas and Kawakamis of the world. Rapoport doesn't seem to have the best sources here but at least he's a professional.)
I don't think that's going to change much of anything. While the Raiders have been restricted by NFL tampering rules it's not like Harbaugh doesn't know they're interested and prepared to hand him full control. I don't buy the random tweet claiming a Sirius XM report that the 49ers have given the Raiders permission to contact Harbaugh, since it hasn't been replicated anywhere credible. Radio is always the worst for breaking news. Half of it is bunk and the other half is misheard. In this case, that would be tampering.
If Michigan wasn't already operating like their guy was in the bag I'd be more concerned, but with the entire department and folks like DJ Durkin acting like it's a fait accompli this looks like the Raiders trying to save face with their fanbase. Or just doing the usual Raiders stuff and having no idea what the score is.
STAFF STUFF. I'm pretty confident that Greg Mattison is indeed going to be part of the new staff. I've got multiple reports that he's planning on staying in town and would like to continue, and Mattison has a long history with various Harbaughs. DJ Durkin seems all but assured as well given what we've heard about him, but I don't have anything that's been shared with me privately to add to the obvious. Scout has a freebie with some pretty strong indications that Durkin's on his way:
Word from a rival SEC assistant is that scenario [Durkin to M] is much more than rumor.
“He is waiting for Harbaugh to call him within the next 24 hours to make him the defensive coordinator at Michigan,” the assistant said.
I'd also bet a dollar that Ty Wheatley joins the staff as a RB coach with something like "run game coordinator" or "co-OC" tacked on and a salary bump from generic assistant coach.
[NOTE: Last time I bet a dollar in searchbits (on Mullen being plan B) a number of people thought this was a coy way to say "this is a lock"—it's not. It just means I bet a dollar. I have reason to think that thing is happening but would not bet, say, the MGoWife on it.]
Past that I don't have any names that I think are particularly likely. Mattison sticking might be bad news for Roy Manning, who is a LB coach by trade. Mattison and Durkin are both capable of handling LBs, and Mattison fills the ace recruiter and holdover the guys trust roles. I still think Manning's got a shot since every staff needs a guy on it who knows what this means…
— Ty Isaac (@TyIsaac) December 26, 2014
…but I haven't heard much about him sticking.
247 brings up an interesting name($): Vince Marrow, currently the tight ends coach at Kentucky. Marrow's had a deeply weird career, with a few years as a fringe NFL player followed by short stints in NFL Europe as a player and coach, a year in the Arena league, a year as Toledo's TE coach, a singe year as a HS head coach, a TE coach job with the Omaha Nighthawks(?!), two years as a GA at Nebraska, and finally his three years at Kentucky under Mark Stoops as the TE coach/recruiting coordinator.
Why is a guy like this on the radar? Kentucky's Ohio recruiting. Kentucky has been killing it in the state under Marrow, beating out Big Ten teams not named Michigan or Ohio State for prospect after prospect. With Harbaugh likely to be the QB coach Michigan has a spot to play with for a guy like Marrow.
Rivals just brought up Stanford DC Lance Anderson as a likely staff member, but getting both Durkin and Anderson seems extremely far-fetched. Anderson's unit kept Stanford afloat this year, so he's not getting a demotion. Durkin seems all but certain, so is he really coming for a co-DC slot? Is Durkin? Are we not even handing Mattison title frippery appropriate to his station? There are obviously a number of connections between Anderson and Harbaugh, but unless Durkin's waiting on a DC spot that's not guaranteed to be his—highly unlikely—that fails common sense checks.
WHY. The NFL doesn't understand this.
Last thing: The fan fervor for Jim Harbaugh at Michigan cannot be duplicated by the NFL or many actual religions. This I can attest to.
— Tim Kawakami (@timkawakami) December 27, 2014
That's why it's happening.
ETC.: Utah's coaching staff has been raided over the past week or so and now a local radio guy says it's "highly unlikely" Whittingham returns. Weird stuff, though radio disclaimer applies.
Colin Cowherd tweets out Seth's Harbaugh photoshop, hopefully teaching Seth to watermark things in the future. Iman Marshall interested? Stability a good thing, and a thing the Raiders aren't into offering.
Harbaugh on Brisco County Jr., because we all need to be reminded of these things.
Quarterback is not the only difference.
Something you may not wish to address in season but in watching this team I had this thought:
Solid run defense, inconsistent pass defense, an offensive line with talent struggling to gel, solid backs, receivers and tight ends. Hmmm, sounds like 9 or 10 wins from Carr again. What is missing is a solid, low turnover, accurate, quarterback. Completely unfair?
Cumong man, that's completely unfair. You're comparing this offensive line to those featuring Jake Long or a half-dozen other NFL players, with zero freshmen of any variety on them unless they're Hutchinson-level talents. The backs don't make the right cuts and almost never make yards on their own. The tight ends are not good right now except for Butt, and Butt is still working his way back from an ACL tear.
There's no part of this team not subject to mental breakdowns that are hard to accept four years in. This includes quarterback, but since it seems like any QB under Hoke goes backwards it all ends in the same place.
BUT IS HE BETTER THAN A WISTFUL ORANGUTAN?
In the wake of the ND game i have found my anger directed more at Dave Brandon than anything for whatever various and stupid reasons. The conventional wisdom seems to be, "hey, but revenues are increasing so, even though football is terrible and the stadium experience is horrible, Dave Brandon is great at growing the business." I think that is non-sense. I looked at revenues from 2002 through 2013 (graphs and numbers in attached spreadsheet) and the trendline attached to the revenue data shows Brandon has not out performed Bill Martin. Growth in revenue looks very on trend from Martin's tenure.
If you look at Michigan's AD revenue from 2005 versus some other athletic departments (texas, OSU, florida, Alabama, Oklahoma) our athletic department hasnt outperformed them either. Those five ADs revenue increased 84% from 2005 til 2013, Michigan's increased...83%.
Look, the data i gathered isn't perfect, I don't love the way USA today presented the 2005-2013 data. I've sort of cobbled together the 2002-2004 data from U-M budgets. The way i have presented the data is somewhat problematic (i should index 2005 to 100 then see the changes from there), but I don't think it changes the overall picture.
The point is I am really bothered with the conventional wisdom saying Brandon is doing really well increasing revenue. He is merely riding a wave that started long before here was hired and affects all of college football. Raising ticket prices doesn't make you a business genius. He gets zero credit for increased television revenues, which are the two overwhelming drivers of the whole enterprise.
These are things I am sure you are aware of but i have not seem them articulated on the blog.
It should also be noted that the portion of the surge from 2009 to 2011 not due to increased BTN payouts was largely the luxury boxes coming online. Michigan offered them for cheap the first year and then increased the price to the regular level in year two.
So even if you are measuring Michigan athletic department success by revenue—a completely bonkers thing to do—Brandon is completely average in this department while being literally the worst AD in the country at public relations. A wistful orangutan could have been Michigan's athletic director since 2010 and revenue would still be way up. And students would love him!
[After the JUMP: Manning plausible as a CB coach over time? Mysterious red clad team-thing. Where to go in the event of an apocalypse. (The real apocalypse, not bad football.)]
A brave man once requested me
To answer questions that are key
'Is it to be or not to be?'
And I replied 'Oh why ask me?"
It's Korea out there in user-generated content land, and it's my job to triage. The only way to make it through sane is Hawkeye-level satire, and making fun of people who take themselves seriously, and not looking too hard at the antics of certain people from Toledo. Okay Radar, state your business, in one word or less:
- Reshp1: 289 yards for zero points.
One word or less.
- Glewe: Mental toughness.
That is two words.
- Glewe: Mentaltoughness.
Ah, you're a football coach I see. Try an English word.
Didn't you go already?
- Dnak438: I wrote another one.
Oh. Well thanks. I'm still putting it in etc.
[After the jump: the pain grows stronger, watch it grin.]
Early hockey entries: a trend? One applicable to basketball?
With both Zach Werenski and Noah Hanifin (BC) graduating high school a year early to play for their respective schools, do you think this might be an emerging trend among schools looking to secure top end talent? Or at least secure them for more than a season?
Also, seems like there could be applicability to basketball. If he's academically eligible, bring a guy a year early. A lot of the high-end recruits are probably about as college ready at 17 as they would be at 18. Is this a possibility for schools or do you think Werenski and Hanifin are the rare exceptions?
Don't forget BU's Jack Eichel, who is joining Werenski and Hanifin in college this fall after accelerating. That's three, and that's a trend. And it's one that makes sense. The USA NTDP U-18 plays a schedule heavy with exhibitions against college teams, and they're competitive. You could take the top guys on those teams and put them on a second or third line and they'd be fine, if not better.
Then you probably will get them for a second or even third year instead of one, two, or—increasingly likely as the prospects get more and more touted—zero. One of the most interesting aspects of this new version of early enrollment is that all of these guys are leaving the NTDP a year early. That does not happen often because the NTDP contract comes with a clause that forces you to repay the costs of your first year in the program if you leave before the second.
Given that it seems like this is a concerted effort by the NTDP and college hockey to get the top 15 pick types in the program to college before the OHL can try to sink its hooks in.
As for applicability to basketball, it is something that comes up occasionally as players move in and out of recruiting years in an attempt to find the best fit. Usually this means going back a year, though. And since a lot of high end basketball players were strategically held back so they'd be bigger and stronger than everyone else, moving ahead a year is often just moving back to your natural spot.
But the real problem with accelerating basketball players a year is the academic situation of the top players. In hockey, many of the players are at tony private schools or, in the NTDP's case, Ann Arbor's well-funded Pioneer High. American prospects generally have some money in their family—hockey is expensive—and as a result have gone to good schools for the bulk of their scholastic career. Accelerating is evidently within the capabilities of both the schools and the players.
That combination is undoubtedly a lot rarer for basketball players. These days large chunks of the top prospects are at places like Findlay Prep, which are dogged with eligibility issues. Often those are because the players who arrive at Findlay have been miserably served by their local high schools. There's an entire cottage industry dedicated to taking promising basketball players and beating their transcripts into shape the NCAA might accept. Doing that in a year less and packing an extra year of credits in is going to be a bridge too far for almost everyone.
What's the deal with Manning?
So, looking at coaching changes, is putting Manning, who has never coached DBs as the CB and nickel coach an effort to:
A) get your most dynamic recruiter to your most dynamic, desired athletes and keep them with him when they get to campus
Probably not. Coaches usually take an area rather than a position. The position coach does come into it but after much of the legwork has been done. And Michigan was recruiting CBs just fine before the move.
B) get a guy who has played and coached more physical positions (RB, LB) to take some physicality and tackling ability to the DBs
Maybe? Moving to what seems to be an aggressive man press defense means that a guy who knows what you should to to get under a guy and rock him back can apply his experience. It also minimizes some of his inexperience at the position. If the position is about getting in a guy's grill and reacting to what's in front of you that's something that takes less holistic knowledge of what to do in situation X in a zone.
C) minimize the role of Curt Mallory, who has been rumored to be looking at a head coaching gig elsewhere
Not sure if "minimize" is quite the right word, because just by the numbers he had five guys while the most anyone else had before the move was two. But yes devolving some of those responsibilities seems like a good idea.
D) get rid of overlaps in coaching staff. Hoke will work with Smith on DL, Mattison takes over LBs, Manning and Mallory take DBs. basically your 3 most dynamic recruiters (HC Hoke, Mattison and Manning) all head up a unit on D.
I do think this is a reasonable idea. When Montgomery, Hoke, and Mattison were all dealing with the DL that was three guys for four starters with the other two guys handling seven. Now everyone has about the same number of guys.
E) all of the above
Parts of three of the above.
I like 'em both.
Would you rather see Michigan win a football national championship or the USMNT win a World Cup? I'm a lifelong Michigan fan like most of your readers but I think I would rather have the World Cup. At this point I have more pride and anticipation when watching the USMNT in the World Cup. What are your thoughts?
I like 'em both.
A couple of readers who would prefer not to be identified passed along this:
We are pleased to announce a special offer for our Season Pass Holders. To show our appreciation for your loyalty to Radrick Farms and the University of Michigan's Athletic Department, we are offering complimentary tickets for you and a guest to attend up to two football games at the Big House!
We have LIMITED tickets available for the following games on a first-come, first-served basis:
- UM v. Appalachian State on August 30th
- UM v. Miami of Ohio on September 13th
If you are interested in attending these games, you must let us know at least THREE weeks prior to kick-off.
Football's just around the corner, but World Cup fever (including your soccer columns) has me paying a little more attention than usual to soccer. Last year I caught bits and pieces of NBC's EPL coverage on Saturday mornings while counting down the minutes to actual football and was thinking maybe this year I'd find myself watching more of it.
Here's my question: Who should I root for? Should I pick a team to follow? Pick a team to root against? Root for current/future USMNT players? Root for bicycle kicks or red cards? A quick guide to "What to watch on Saturday mornings before real football kicks off" would be a fun read.
Looking forward to your season previews!
There's not a whole lot of American flavor in the EPL these days, just a couple goalies and various people trying to keep their teams from getting relegated. There was a good eight years or so where Fulham was relying on Brian McBride and then Clint Dempsey as their primary goalscorers, but now not so much.
You can't root for the Yankees, and you probably shouldn't root for whichever random club has been picked out by a petrosheik and driven towards the top of the league through no merit of its own. And you don't really want to pick out some team that stands a good chance of relegation within five years, because a team that gets relegated won't be seen by an American until it comes back up.
With that in mind, options:
EVERTON. Tim Howard, a strong finish last year (fifth, just outside a Champion's league spot), they like Landon Donovan, you know their manager from ESPN, they've been in the top flight since 1955, and haven't won since 1987. Wear blue.
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR. Named "Tottenham Hotspur." That's all you need to know. Also have been in top flight forever but hasn't won since 1961. White and blue color scheme M-friendly. Have the money to potentially do something but generally don't. Had Clint Dempsey for a bit.
STOKE. Brek Shea and Geoff Cameron. Probability of relegation is low in immediate future. Long term… they will probably go down at some point. Currently have Peter Crouch, the 6'7" robot-dancing beanpole former England striker.
LIVERPOOL. Along with Arsenal, the most tolerable team that regularly participates in the Champions League. Advantages over Arsenal: still plays at Anfield instead of stadium named after Middle Eastern airline, you might be tired of Nick Hornby, Arsenal's manager is a French guy who wears a ridiculous puffy coat whenever the temperature drops below 70.
ARSENAL. Along with Liverpool, most tolerable team that regularly participates in the Champions League. Advantages over Liverpool: you might rather like Fever Pitch, haven't won since 2004, just like Michigan.
Rooting against is obvious: Chelsea and anyone from Manchester. United is the Yankees, Chelsea plays desultory bore-ball and is backed by a Russian kleptocrat, Manchester City is Qatar FC, basically.
On Monday, Michigan secured its first commitment in about five months when consensus 4-star defensive back Garrett Taylor decided to verbally pledge to the Wolverines. Taylor is the #1 prospect in the state of Virginia and he makes it three years in a row that the Michigan staff has pulled an elite talent out of the Richmond area, with Derrick Green and Wilton Speight preceding him.
Taylor is a big-time talent, boasting nearly 40 offers from virtually every major university in the country. Opposing coaches gave high praise about his abilities on the field, as well as a small glimpse of his reputation off of it.
|Taylor's a 4-star prospect with a 5-star's offer sheet.|
"Garrett is a special player with outstanding ability at corner. He is tall and long for a corner which gives him an advantage when dealing with the taller receivers. He was definitely a defensive presence who we had to game plan around. He seems to be a great young man away from football as well."
- Head Coach Clint Alexander, Woodberry Forest School
"Garrett Taylor is a very good player who is tough to compete against. He has the ability to take away a teams best receiver which is what St. Christopher's and Taylor did to us this past fall. As a player, Garrett is big and fast with a good skill set. Combine that with his physical playing style and it becomes a real challenge for opponents to be able to line up against him."
-Head Coach Mark Palyo, Collegiate School
When speaking to Garrett personally it was easy to see why the Michigan coaches were so fond of him. He’s a very intelligent young man with a lot of maturity for a guy in high school. He spoke about his decision and his main recruiter, who happens to be his position coach now as well.
I’m feeling great about my decision! Coach Manning is a great coach and a great guy. I’m really glad I’ll be able to get coached by him. He’s just very down to Earth and honest, there is no nonsense with him which is what my family and I want. All of the Michigan coaches really feel like that. That’s what I loved about the staff.
This sentiment is consistent with every recruit I talk to. The coaches have developed an amazing sense of family and the players and recruits really respond well to it. Couple that with the other things Michigan can offer and it’s no surprise why campus visits make such an impact. Garrett agreed.
|Home is where the M's are.|
When I was there I just felt at home. They had everything that I was looking for academically and the coaching staff was great. I feel like I will fit in really well in their defensive scheme and could possibly play early. The coaches said they recruited me for my size and length at corner and they think that I’ll fit in well with the group that’s going to be there. With Stribling already there and Peppers coming in we could be scary good. I knew about the players that would be there and it was definitely attractive. I’m excited to come in and compete for playing time. Playing with players like that will only make me better.
As soon as Taylor committed, fellow Virginian and current Wolverine Wilton Speight tweeted about how Richmond is becoming quite the pipeline to Ann Arbor. I asked Garrett about what draws fellow and former recruits to Michigan from Virginia and if he had any connections that might help in the future.
I can’t really think of anything specific other than it’s just such a great school. I mean it literally has everything you could be looking for. As far as other recruits I’m kind of close with [2016 WR] Scott Bracey just out of the respect we have for each others game and skill. Other than that I’m not really a huge social media guy in terms of connections with other recruits. I use it more for me and my friends from school.
With recent Michigan commits like Shane Morris, Wilton Speight, and Michael Ferns being some of the best recruiters in the country, Taylors statement might come off as a letdown, but don’t worry, he’s willing and able to embrace any role necessary.
I don’t use social media like that right now but if that’s what’s needed and the coaches ask me to do it, I’m all for it. They haven’t really said anything to me about that yet.
Garrett chose Michigan over dozens of schools but it came down to a battle between the Wolverines and the Stanford Cardinal. Garrett explained why Michigan had the final edge.
Michigan’s business school is very prestigious. It’s at the top in the country just about every year. They knew exactly what tracks I needed to take in order to build a good resume for law school too, so that was the difference.
Taylor fits The Pattern(tm) when it comes to the type of kids that the coaches want to bring in. He’s mature, smart, stable, and talented. He will add to a highly touted group of defensive back recruits by the time he arrives on campus which will be in the fall of 2015. Taylors high school doesn’t allow early graduation so he will arrive in Ann Arbor on the traditional timeline as opposed to the increasingly popular early enrollment track. The 2015 class will be small in size but great in quality if the coaches continue to land players like Garrett Taylor.