This seems like the type of post I should save for that time when life defies all logic and we somehow see Sheridan take the field.
a terrible blight on our fine country
no, no, maybe
1. Does the CCHA rejecting Alabama's bid start to pave the way for Penn State to go varsity?
Probably not. All the reasons Penn State varsity hockey was unlikely the last time this blog addressed the topic still apply minus one: no conference to go to. Now Penn State could slot into UNO's spot in the CCHA and play a bunch a games against Big Ten teams and Notre Dame, which would put their program on decent footing financially. The CCHA, meanwhile, would be much more likely to accept a name school like Penn State.
That's a big hurdle gone and improves the chances of Penn State varsity hockey from 0% to something nonzero. But the rest of the pile of reasons it's not likely to happen—expense, Title IX, likely doormat status at the start—still apply. We can also toss "endowment-crushing economic collapse" on the heap now.
There is one wild scenario in which I could see some movement: the Big Ten Network wants content on Friday and Saturday nights and thinks that the CCHA with Penn State would be enough of a financial draw that they chip in.
[Side note/question: the CCHA's persistent attachment to Fox Sports Net is weird, since FSN craps all over college hockey whenever they've got a Wings game from 1985 to replay. I can only assume there's a contract that doesn't expire quite yet, because the BTN would be a natural fit for the league. Every team not in Alaska is in the footprint, and nothing else ever happens on Friday night.
Also, the glorious high definition of last year's BTN-broadcast Ohio State game left me crippled the next time I tried to squint at a Fox Sports' two-pixels-a-second stuff. Complicating factor: Fox is 49% owner of the BTN.]
2. Back in 2004, what (if any) were the reports out of practice in terms of the quarterback situation? I don't think it even occurred to me before he took the field that Henne might be the starter for the first game. All of the praise heaped on Tate so far made me want to check for a comparison.
Unfortunately, this blog started up just before the Rose Bowl that season and I can't go back and tell you definitively. What I remember (and this may be wrong; commenters are encouraged to provide their own take in the comments) is that Henne was recognized as an incredibly advanced high school quarterback and there was considerable uncertainty as to whether Gutierrez or Henne would get the job.
However, Henne was a surprise starter. I remember the muttering in the pregame warmups as it became clear that Gutierrez wasn't throwing and Henne was running the first-team offense. It was clear Gutierrez was injured and IIRC the base assumption was that Henne only had the job until such time as the real starter got healthy. This was not a correct assumption.
Just wondering, how many scholarships we have next year? I thought I heard we had 20, but then we had a whole slew of kids leave the program. Don’t we get those scholarships back? Shouldn’t we be thrilled when these kids leave the program when they can’t play for us anyway?
I just looked on Rivals and it says we have 18 kids committed. If we still stand at 20, that means we’ve pretty much hitched our wagon to these 3 star kids (who are probably better than that, based on their fit in our schemes) instead of waiting until some of the bigger name kids commit in Feb.
Do we have more than 20 scholarships?
Thanks for the help!
Yes, Aarronn—last name Herrmann FTW?—Michigan gets those scholarships back. Did you miss the constant bitching about this fact re: Alabama? This blog's current count stands at 20 but that's under the following assumptions:
Some of those are highly likely to be faulty: Bryan Wright and the Coner are not going to get fifth years unless they have incriminating photos of the coaching staff. And there's six months between now and signing day; it's likely a couple players leave the team for reasons of playing time, academics, or injury. (I had a dream last night that three more players left the team, FWIW, but I think they were all Marell Evans again.)
That will push Michigan's class to 23, 25, or even more. Add in a decommit or two and Michigan's still got a ways to go before its class is complete.
You're not wrong about hitching the wagon to three stars, though. This class is going to lag behind the average Michigan class, as discussed earlier. As long as Michigan fills their open scholarship and retains this class, though, it'll be a minor hindrance unless it happens again next year.
Brian,One thing I have noticed is that you freak out at the possibility of Nick Sheridan starting the season opener or any other game during the rest of his time at Michigan. My question is, Would it be all that bad if he did win the starting job come September 5th? Now before you wonder where I have been for the last 18 months, hear me out. If Sheridan has improved immensely during the spring, summer, and first few days of preseason and he outright beats both Forcier and Robinson, shouldn't that be encouraging? Now we do have 2 or 3 legitimate QB options. Wouldn't it be a good thing if Magee and Rodriguez could open up a majority of the playbook to a junior who actually has game experience and has started a D1 game?I was at the spring game and was able to see Forcier and I have been keeping up on what his teammates have been saying about him and I am very excited and I am trusting this year will be much better than last. However, they are saying good things about Sheridan as well. I think it would be great if Forcier was slowly worked into more and more snaps during games and by Eastern or Indiana, he's the starter.I guess I just won't be surprised if Sheridan or Forcier starts vs. Western.Your further thoughts and reasoning behind not wanting Sheridan to ever play again except in mop-up duty.Thanks,Adam
I don't mean to slam Sheridan, who's just a guy put in an impossible position trying to make the best of everything. And I don't mean to slam Adam, who seems like a perfectly nice, if insanely optimistic, guy.
That said: were you under a rock last year? Do you remember what happened? I hate Godwin's law right now. I mean, what is your instant reaction to this AnnArbor.com video headline:
Michigan quarterback Nick Sheridan discusses - rather, avoids discussing - what he brings to the table
I know what it is. I know it in my bones. I know it in the bones of my bones. If you try to tell me it's not the cheap, obvious joke I will call you a liar.
I know you specifically disclaimed this sort of response, but… you're not allowed to do that. It is the correct, inevitable response. If Rodriguez chooses to play Sheridan at any point when Forcier is still mobile, that's either a huge failing in judgment or recruiting.
A brief recap of last year: 46% completion rate, 4.5 YPC, 2 TDs, 5 INTs. That's far, far worse than any true freshman starter in recent college football history save Jimmy Clausen, and Sheridan was a redshirt sophomore. He's a walk-on with zero recruiting profile with no indication he's got any upside. Why would he improve "immensely"? Why wouldn't Tate Forcier improve at a similar rate? Why isn't Forcier obviously ahead where Sheridan was last year given their vastly divergent spring games*? What part of the playbook can Sheridan, who's slower and has a weaker arm than Forcier, run that someone else can't?
Even immense improvement would only get Sheridan to the level of your average freshman quarterback. And even if that happens and it's close between Forcier, who should be better than your average freshman just because he's been bred to be a QB, and Sheridan—doubtful—you'd have to be nuts to go with a redshirt junior over a true freshman. You'd have to be triple nuts to go with a redshirt junior who completed 16 of 49 for under 150 yards in the last two games of the year and was clearly, totally inadequate in the process. You'd have to be sextuple nuts to go with him a year after you picked him over a superior quarterback based on practice performance that turned out to be a mirage.
Sheridan was asked if he felt he was being written off, and responded like so:
“No,” Sheridan said. “Not at all. Nope.”
Well… I'm writing him off. I am Time Warner. Sheridan is AOL. If he proves me wrong, well, fine. I suggest you join me in the most obscure country ending in –stan we can find.
But he definitely won't. Absolutely. I'm positive about this. Stop suggesting otherwise. Football coaches have to take team morale into account when they craft their public statements and have to keep their hotshot freshmen on their toes to keep them focused. That doesn't mean we have to believe them.
*(By this I mean Forcier's 10/13 + 50 yards rushing + 5 TDs in 2009 versus Nick Sheridan's interception-fest in 2008.)
This seems like the type of post I should save for that time when life defies all logic and we somehow see Sheridan take the field.
Book my ticket to Kazakhstan. I like!
I think the answer might be that FSN does a pretty good job for the WCHA on channels that are not FSN-Detroit and maybe the CCHA holds old hope that FSN-Detroit will finally come around like the other FSN networks have (e.g. FSN-North). They really do a fantastic job for Minnesota, Wisconsin and the Colorado schools. Just one possible explanation.
I remember freaking out when Henne was tabbed the starter. According to the game recap, that happened on Thursday before the Miami (NTM) game.
I also remember (maybe way off base here) thinking that Richard would likely displace Henne. Perhaps I just have a thing for lefty Morman QBs (love you Steve Young!)
The Henne-Gutz saga is still one of the great mysteries of Carr-era football.
I had a friend who was team manager tell me that Henne was just better in practice that fall, and Gutz's minor injury gave both Lloyd and Gutz an easy excuse to explain Henne starting against Miami. I.e., Henne would have started whether Gutz had an injury or not.
The dude separated his shoulder a few days before the season started and had surgery on said shoulder later in the year. Yeah, I remember sitting in the stands that day thinking, why the hell isn't Gutierrez starting? But it was later resolved. Do you honestly think Carr/Gutierrez et al would lie?
I still wish Gutierrez would have played that season as quarterback.
Gutierrez had a labral tear. He was still able to throw, but had much less velocity than before. Carr finally decided shortly before the opener that Henne had to play in front of him.
Gutierrez initially hoped the labrum would heal on its own, but halfway through the season he opted for surgery.
i'm pretty sure that it wasn't announced until game time.
my recollection as well. I remember having heard that Henne was pretty advanced for a freshman, but I think we all expected that 2004 was Gutierrez's season. I was still expecting him to return until the start of the 2nd game.
i don't even recall an announcement. i just remember being at the game and seeing him go out for the first snap and thinking "wait, what the hell? why's henne out there?"
I still remember driving to that game and hearing on WTKA at about 10:15am that Henne had been announced as the starter... and thinking, holy cow, freshman starting at QB. I don't recall anyone hearing about it before Saturday morning, though.
I think you mean lefty Mormon Spencer Brinton, and not lefty agnostic Clayton Richard. (I have no idea about Richard's faith, if any, but pretty sure he wasn't/isn't LDS)
Seeing him up close pitching for the Padres, he looks a little LDS but I can't be sure.
So what you are saying Brian is that you don't think Sheridan will be our QB?...
As much as I used to believe you have to give guys a chance to mature, I agree and thought after the witnessing several lame duck passes Sheridan threw last year that if we EVER see him on the field again it will be a very very very bad day.
However, I do remember when Griese was starting out and had that run-in with the window at Keepers...everyone thought he sucked and never wanted him to be our QB. I know he was a preferred walk-on, but he was pretty bad starting out too. I'd like to think he has improved enough to come in and not be the suck of last year, but I'm hoping the only #8 I see between the sidelines in Maize-n-Blue is a linebacker...
Not Touchdown Cafe.
that this is "all based on how you feel."
And I think it'll be Forcier, but I think DRob will have a *huge* impact. Go to rivals (if you can) and read Chris Balas's account of practices. It goes a little somethin' like this:
-Robinson scampers for 68 yd. TD
-Robinson ran for 2 TDs and threw for 2 TDs
-Robinson ran a QB sweep for a 74 yd. TD
I mean, the kid is just making play after play, mostly with his feet, but still...doesn't this remind you of a little-known freshman QB back at WVU circa 2005?
For real? I don't read rivals, but didn't realize that Shoestring was lighting up practice. Also, props for The Knowledge-style summary. Yes.
It's Shoelace, thank you very much.
I love your optimism, but Robinson just doesn't know the offense well enough nor is refined enough to make a "huge difference."
Let me pluck from a Rivals post:
"[Robinson's] going to play some, and certainly not because he can pass (he’s still learning and his head is still swimming)."
Expect a little more than the ISQB, but not much more.
I will go on the record as predicting that all 3 QB's -- including Sheridan and Denard FAST Robinson -- see meaningful snaps, and not just because of injuries.
Tate has lots of potential, but he's in an impossible situation. A Clausenesque first year isn't outside the realm of possibility.
Please tell me why I should have more hope than 5-7.
A Clausen-esque freshman year would require the wholesale fail on the line that ND experienced. They gave up 4.8 sacks per game(!), last in the country. The run game was 115th. They graduated people from that line.
Michigan's line proved they were far better than that over the last half of 2008 and returns everyone who played.
Fair enough. That is a key point.
I guess I'm just thinking that very few freshman QBs have much success out of the gate. And we're probably not going to be in a position to be conservative and just let our defense win games. And that's not Rod's style anyway.
From Dr. Saturday:
"It's a mixed bag, except for this: All of the quarterbacks with good records -- say, at least eight wins, even in cases (like Leak and Stafford) when that was considered a disappointment -- were role players with a lot of talent around them, and even quality efforts by surprises like Griffin and Tuitama didn't do much to lift their teams out of mediocrity."
My rational is thus summarized:
(1) I don't know if our talent is enough -- especially on D -- for Rod to dilute the impact of the QB and let our inherent superiority win us games.
(2) Even QB's more highly touted than Forcier (e.g., Stafford, Mustain, Juice Williams) that have had lots of talent around them haven't put up gaudy numbers.
I (and I think most people are with me on this) are not asking for gaudy numbers. I will be more than happy with competent numbers, and quite satisfied with average numbers. Either of those will be a huge step forward from Sheridan last year.
...But this year we don't need the QB's to single-handedly win games. We just need them to not lose games and keep the offense moving.
Also, Claussen got hit like 4 times or something ridiculously low in HS. So combine that with the focus on running the spread in practice pre-season or w/e charlie did for just the first game, and not much on hitting, and you had a QB that had basically never been hit behind a line that was terrible. It ended predictably.
he had surgery to remove bone spurs in his right throwing elbow. it was pretty obvious that he wasn't at full strength.
and, yeah, there was that tissue-paper OL thing going on, too. Forcier (hopefully) won't have to deal with either.
The reason we won't have a Clausenesque year is because we actually have a competent line and run game. While I think Clausen was over-hyped, he was put in an impossible situation for any qb to succeed in.
What would be the problem with a Clausenesque first year?
138/245 1254 yds 56.3% 5.12 YPA 7 TDs 6 Ints 103.85
With maybe 500 yards rushing and considering that he probably won't be taking every snap. I would call that a successful first year. Tate shouldn't have to carry the offense or throw 20 TDs to get this team to 8 wins.
Also Michigan can back sign up to 3 players to last years class if they early enroll, I think that is a certainty so conceivably they could sign 27-28 players. Not sure they will but given the depth they could take a few flyers on the D.
You can sign all the players you can to last years class but if you are over the 85 scholarship limit you are over the limit.
One of the best lines this summer
i was coaching my son's soccer team that morning and sprinted to my car to catch the radio show opener...brandstatter and beckmann led with the news, and they were both simply and completely stunned. brandstatter (in particular) said that henne had looked terrific, and more advanced than your usual freshman, but there hadn't been any indication that he was anything more than an extremely talented kid that would get some reps as the season wore on. he did not give the impression that this was some sort of smokescreen - more like "well, it's a bad situation, and he's probably not completely ready, but we've got to roll the dice."
that's my recollection anyway. i distinctly remember my pulse racing on hearing the news.
Tebow's got nothing on him!
Woo Hoo! Go Blue!
you fargin' sneaky bastige!
Johnny Dangerously reference?
how about indiana becoming varsity in a couple years??
not sure IU even has a club team (Jmac?), but Illinoise could go varsity with PSU. then we could drop an bottom feeder CCHA team.
like MSU. ZING!
They have yet to bother taking that step in football, why hockey?
i LOLLED. +1
I spent last fall in a beer-induced coma. From the sound of things, I don't want to be told what happened. I am optimistic that I won't fail my LFT at my next physical; Sheridan starting would flip that to pessimistic and cause my liver to become fattier than Jabba Weissenburger.
AFAIR, Gutz was the man going into the 2004 season. he was a RS SO 4* QB from a great HS program in Cali. He also looked very competent in the limited action he saw as the mop-up guy in 2003. there wasn't much talk of henne getting significant PT at all. Then, Sat at 11.30a came and Turico said Henne was the starter due to the injury to Gutz's shoulder. It was a 'holy shit' moment if there ever was one.
later, it was rumored that the injury happened the thursday before and henne started running w/ the 1st team then.
I was there and i remember flipping out. I was one of the few people in my section who even knew who Henne was.
I feel like that was one of the most fun seasons of michigan football in recent memory. A true feshman running back AND quarterback coming into their own, along with Braylon mangling every defence he encountered.
I appreciate what Sheridan has done for the football team, but it's time to look toward the future, and that's Forcier or Robinson. This is going to be a run heavy team anyways, so get the true freshmen in to get experience and develop them. Our QBs don't need to be slinging it like Bradford or McCoy.
FWIW, I went to the San Diego State game that year
I was also hammered that whole weekend, so I could be off.
* One of the worst games I have ever seen in any sport at any time. UM's 24-21 victory was upheld by two, TWO missed chip shot field goals by SDSU. Kind of like The Horror, only in reverse.
(shudders, reaches for bottle in lower desk drawer)