He's just that awesome.
"Rodrick Williams Jr.'s 10-month old, 2-foot-long savannah monitor named "Kill" gets the RB some strange looks when they go for walks together."
Freerolling. Contest time: Draftstreet.com has put together an MGoBlog freeroll for their weekly fantasy game. They use salary-cap style drafting: you've got 100k to spend on 2 QBs, 3 RBs, 2 WRs, a TE, and two flex players with players priced by expected performance. This weekend Denard has a massive 17k pricetag, but you can get Fitzgerald Toussaint and his hopefully-more-than-two-carries for 4k. You get the idea.
A hundred bucks gets distributed amongst the top five finishers and I will hit the winner with a t-shirt of their choice as well. Sign up before noon Saturday to get eligible. I'll remind folks tomorrow.
you and me both, Mr. Beilein
Countdown: McGary. Mitch McGary says he's down to Michigan, Duke, and Florida and will be deciding within the week:
As for my recruitment, I’ve got some big news for you guys. T.J.’s not the only one committing next week. I’m planning to make my commitment next week sometime too.
Sam Webb says Michigan is still the leader, but he's not deploying the gut feeling. Let's go, McGary.
Did oversigning just die? Everyone's focused on the pittance schools are about to fork over to their players as schools move towards full cost of attendance. But this is a potentially huge change that was also just announced:
The Board also approved multi-year grants up to the full term of eligibility, though one-year grants will remain the minimum. A prescribed minimum award value should apply to all scholarships (percentage amount to be decided in the coming months), and institutions could increase the allotted aid during the period of the award.
The current restrictions and processes for reducing or canceling aid will be maintained and only non-athletically related conditions for reduction or cancellation will be permitted in aid agreements. Student-athletes will continue to have a hearing opportunity for any reduction or cancellation of aid.
IE: you can now offer scholarships of up to four years and you cannot cancel that scholarship for "athletically related conditions." Someone tweeted that "this might be used as a recruiting tool" to Andy Staples… which… horror!
That doesn't eliminate St. Saban Memorial Hospital but it does give schools that intend to keep their players around a leg up on the axemen of the world. B+.
Also there is this, something I've advocated:
Presidents also voted to allow institutions to provide financial aid to former student-athletes who remain at or return to the institution to complete their degrees after they have exhausted their eligibility.
That's long overdue. I wonder what the details of that are… could that be used to get a master's degree in something potentially useful after the kid has found out he's not a pro and has the time to get something other than a General Kinesiology degree.
Other changes include bumping JUCO eligibility requirements up a bit, moving the APR cutoff to 930 effective in 2014 and banning teams below that threshold from postseason play.
No mention of that infuriating scholarship cut proposal. Hopefully that's dead and in a ditch. If so, bravo for the NCAA. That package of changes is a huge move to the good, and it came about in about six months.
Radio. This morning's WTKA appearance in two parts: part one, and part two. That is how parts work. I defend Carr from a guy who really dislikes Carr, talk even more about Three and Out, have a really interesting conversation with Craig Ross (who knows Carr fairly well) about the man himself, listen to a very strange call from New York that connects college football to the global financial catastrophe, and bomb the Free Press. Oh, and we talk about Purdue and Craig's irrational hatred of "Horseface" Danny Hope.
Seriously, people, you need to listen to Chuck at the beginning of part two. You will not regret it.
Exclusive. Angelique, of course, lands one with Hoke. The no headset thing is for realz:
Q. I get asked a lot if you're like Bo Schembechler or Lloyd Carr. You're not. So who are you?
A. I don't know. It doesn't matter to me what people want me to be. I'm going to be who I am. I can remember when I took the Ball State job, talking to Bo, and he had two things he told me. One, he told me to move over to the offense, and I asked him, 'Coach, why? My expertise is on the defensive side of the ball,' and he said, 'Well, you control the game offensively.' I told him with great respect I would think about it. But I've always been able to hire great coordinators, guys who understand what we want to do. And the other thing Bo said was, 'Be yourself.' So I just try and be myself.
Q. Which is?
A. A D-line coach.
Q. But you're not anymore.
A. Yeah, but I am.
Q. What does that mean?
A. Pretty simple.
Q. You're pretty simple or the concept is pretty simple?
A. I'm pretty simple as long as I think about the kids because that's why we get to do what we get to do. It's for the kids, and it will always start there.
I love that. No headset uber alles.
Dirt sandwich. Michael Beasley is suing guys:
The Washington Post reports that Minnesota Timberwolves forward Michael Beasley is suing his former agent and his former AAU coach for conspiring to create a situation in which they could represent him once he became a professional player. The lawsuit alleges that the agent, Joel Bell, and the coach, Curtis Malone, first sank their teeth into Beasley when he was 14 years old.
The lawsuit comes less than a year after Bell sued Beasley for wrongful termination and breach-of-contract.
Beasley's allegations in this countersuit are lengthy and complicated.
To boil it down: The Post reports that Beasley and his mother allege that Bell helped cover the costs of Beasley's participation in a high-profile AAU team, including transportation, lodging, other family expenses and $2,500 in cash. The lawsuit also reportedly alleges that in return for that help the agent and coach took steps to ensure that Beasley would sign with Bell once he turned pro after one season at Kansas State, including paying for his mother's rent and car payment after she moved to Kansas to be near Beasley.
The NCAA's next massive reform should be providing some framework for agents to work with players to get some of this stuff above the table for the benefit of everyone. If agents have some access, bad actors can lose that access. Agent prohibition is working about as well as actual Prohibition.
Mattison on missed tackles. Bruce Feldman talks with Mattison, and Mattison says the same boatload of interesting things he usually does:
"I don't want to talk about anything that was done before. I know what we believe in defensively. You have to keep it inside and in front. There is never, ever an option of not going hard to the football. And the key words are 'to the football' and where the football is going to be. If you see the ball breaks outside and a big lineman is chasing, he's never gonna catch it: 'Don't chase it, cut it off! Go where it's gonna be!' We practice that every single day all the time. Every single practice play if that lineman is not running at an angle where he can go make the play, he is going to hear about it. And if he does it too much, he won't be in there. Our guys have bought into that. They truly understand now that that's how you're supposed to play when you wear the winged helmet on defense."
GERG version of this: murph murph murph murph murph.
This, however, is pure luck:
It wouldn't seem like a stretch to think all of the preaching about taking proper pursuit angles, running to the football and gang tackling is the reason why Michigan is tied for tops in the country with 14 fumbles recovered. That also comes out of just 16 loose fumbles. Other teams around the Wolverines in that category high in the NCAA rankings actually have a much lower percentage of fumbles recovered. (Last year, the Wolverines were 87th in fumble recoveries with just seven, which came from 12 free footballs.)
14 of 16 fumble recoveries is insane, and fumble recovery rates are the most random things in football. I don't think they can be attributed to coaching even a little tiny bit.
He's just that awesome.
14 of 16 fumble recoveries is insane, and fumble recovery rates are the most random things in football. I don't think they can be attributed to coaching even a little tiny bit.
That's not 100% accurate. The ratio is like BABIP (batting average on balls in play) in baseball: it's mostly luck but there's always three groups of guys who consistently come out above-averge: slap hitters with preternatural bat control, 2. guys who play in larger ballparks, and 3. power hitters who force the defense to play back. Conversely the guys who can hit any fastball but spend a few months chunking breaking shit into the dirt end up lower. There's a ton of noise but it's not totally luck.
In fumble recoveries who and where matter: the top seems to find teams whose fumbles occurred in the running game, and among the better defenses. That latter is some coaching. Defense is about getting more guys to the ball -- when those random-ass fumbles occur, if the linebackers have all beaten blocks and swarmed to the ball are in position to recover, if they're a bunch of pancakes strewn about the field, less chance of recovery. A muffed punt is more likely to be picked up by the punting team; a downfield fumble more likely to go to the defense; a fumbled snap or a ball popped loose amidst a mass of blockers most likely to get retrieved by the offense.
I've been thinking about this for a while. I understand that on an individual basis, whether or not the ball bounces to me and I recover it is extremely random. But if a given team is constantly flowing to the ball, gang-tackling, what-have-you on defense, then it would seem that that team would be more likely to capitalize on fumble recover opportunities. Granted, 14 of 16 still seems really high, but I don't think it's unreasonable to say that a team's play has *some* ability to affect its fumble recovery success rate.
If team A is coached to have its defensive linemen chase the ball on every play and team B is lackadaisical or lazy about such plays, I would absolutely expect team A to recover more opportunities.
That is all. Just yes.
I would also humbly add that teaching kids to tackle and to strip the ball contributes to more fumbles. That is coaching, not luck.
The "recoveries are random" stats folks absolutely agree that forcing fumbles is a skill. It's just the recoveries that don't appear to be a repeatable skill of a defense (at least according to the stats).
Guys have done regression analyses that have shown no correlation year to year between fumble recovery %'s.
Brian's not arguing that all fumbles are random, he's arguing that fumble recoveries are random, since the bounce of the ball is usually unpredictable and the persons causing the fumble are rarely the ones to recover it.
I do think teaching your defense to not give up on plays and to swarm to the ball probably contributes to recovering more fumbles.
I haven't seen any data on this, but it seems more often than not a fumble is recovered by someone other than the tackler or the fumbler. The more guys a defense has in the vicinity of the football, the better the chance that a defender comes up with the ball.
...other statistical phenomena appears often on this site.
I will grant that there is some coaching that could lead to a higher level of fumbles recovered per fumbles "caused," but it's hard to quantify that and it also leads to the question, how well do we swarm as compared to other teams?
While our defense is certainly far far better than last year, I haven't felt that we are all that great at getting to the ball. It's not like we're watching 2006 or 1997 vintages of the Michigan D, where you felt that on every tackle there were about 8 guys in position to make a play.
As to the quantitative side of coaching effect on fumble recoveries, my guess is that it is miniscule. I know this is merely anecdotal evidence and not some grand study on the issue, but I decided to look at Alabama and LSU's stats this year. These are two defenses that fly to the ball and are lethal. If coaching has a large impact on fumble recoveries, you would expect these two schools to do very well. So far this year, Alabama has recovered 5 of 11 fumbles and LSU has recovered 7 of 17.
"14 of 16 fumble recoveries is insane, and fumble recovery rates are the most random things in football. I don't think they can be attributed to coaching even a little tiny bit."
Even a tiny little bit? I admit that it is mostly random, but theres coaching can help. See: last year, when fumbles were caused when one guy managed to be in position, and were often picked up by the offense in the open field, vs this year, when fumbles are caused by Michigan players in position, surrounded by lots of other Michigan players in position who are there to fall on the ball.
Is the coaching good enough to account for 14/16? Of course not, but it has definitely made a difference.
It wasn't until I got to know some D-1 athletes (not even revenue sport athletes) in college that I appreciated just how hard they work and how much of university/academic life that they miss out on. What Brian posted above about post-eligibility scholarships is potentially great news.
I propose a new segment, "This week in WTKA: Let your fingers do the walkin' and your crazy do the talkin'" that picks the most ridiculous call of the week.
Week one winner: "Chuck who connected the fall of the Soviet Union to 9/11 to Three and Out"
Phil can only win every 3rd week.
Was that Colin Cowherd or one of those ESPN radio talk guys? I swear that I've heard that voice before. The guy was also unusually comfortable being on the radio and articulating his views (however oddly).
I'm not kidding when I ask this, though I realize that it's unlikely.
If it was a prank they did an impressive job pushing the limits of plausibly bizarre without crossing the line.
Chuck if you're out there buddy, we all hope the world gets better. Seriously.
The two thoughts that went through my head as I listened to that New York caller and his bizarre diatribe were: how much longer will Ira let this guy ramble on before finally cutting him off and how in the H*ll were Brian, Ira and Craig able to maintain their composure (i.e. not laugh audibly on air) while all this was going on?
On a different WTKA note: I was pretty surprised when Craig Ross called Hope his least favorite coach and tagged him with the moniker of "horseface." Craig, likely a result of being a lawyer-type, is usually pretty reserved in his comments and that was unusually blunt for him.
That was one of the most interesting WTKA segments with Brian in awhile, from guest to callers. Definitely worth a listen if you missed it.
Not recovering fumbles besmacks of what's wrong with this country. You pay a coach 35 millon dollars during a depression and you expect his team to recover fumbles, hell they didn't even expect this in the Soviet Union.
in Soviet Union, fumbles recover you.
Thanks for that podcast and your blog posts. Rosenberg really is a coward. If I ever see that guy in my life I will tell him so to his face without hesitation. He is a complete fraud and an embarrassment to his profession and a failure as a man in general.
The part in the book where he talks about how hurt he is that someone went on Amazon and trashed his book is just bizarre. What world do you live in when you can: A.) take a huge and wildly unfair shot at the head coach of the Univ. of Michigan in the biggest newspaper in Detroit but then B.) cry when people on the internet attack you?
the amazon reviews of _War_As_They_Knew_It_ , that was some funny stuff.
Boy that second caller really flew off the rails. I had to skip that part after he started talking about losing people on 9/11. I'd love to see a flowchart of how that train of thought went because I'm totally lost.
Every single practice play if that lineman is not running at an angle where he can go make the play, he is going to hear about it. And if he does it too much, he won't be in there.
Pursuit angles. We haz dem!
murph murph murph murph murph
Is this the sound of a stuffed animal being rubbed into someone's face?
Won't the ability to commit a 4 year scholarship have a big effect on recruiting? Won't top recruits demand them? Will coaches be comfortable enough with their depth to offer those to lots of recruits. I've only just begun to think about the practical effect of this. It's potential implications are intriguing.
1 year scholly's would seem like a slap in the face - where the recruit would say - 'school X isn't showing me any love - they only gave me a 1 year'.
It would create a dichotomy between the two offers akin to free agency in the pros where nobody would turn down a 4 year deal for a 1 year deal assuming equal $.
I think, if coaches could offer all 85 as 4 year scholarships, then the 4 years would become the norm. If a recruit got a 1 year scholly from a big school, would they view it as essentially a tryout?
BTW if this outcome happened, I think it would be a good thing, as medical exemptions would be the only way for SEC teams to get out of scholarships, short of colluding with the university to make up bullshit academic problems.
How many years on average does a top recruit usually stay in college ball? Any idea?
insisting that 11 guys (12 in EL) head for the ball can only lead to more recoveries. How many times do we see a ball bouncing around with players from each side touching it. So many, many times it football it is nothing more than he with the most helmets wins.
If I get to draft, I'm taking all LBs. They can do anything, and get it all done. It is right there in "Linebacking for Dummies", right in between attacking the line with reckless abandon and not having any consideration for one's body.
Of the three people in that studio, Craig Ross is not the person I expect to use the term "horseface." And Chuck was awesome. I personally have a fervent belief that Lane Kiffin is literally everything wrong with America in one man, so I like how Chuck thinks.
Guhhhh I hate it when people lump all kinesiology degrees under the umbrella of easy degrees for football players. Football players are all in sports management. Movement science (my major) is cold hard science with profs doing good research. I can't even think of any football players in movesci.
Back in my day ('95-'98), there were enough football players in the Kines program that it was derogatorily known as "the study of relaxation". In hindsight, my time on campus was a hell of a lot more relaxed than a football player's three or four years, even though it was the Carr years.
(Also: Now that I've unfairly ripped on your degree, it's only fair that I mention that I got a CS degree, which was at the time (and still?) a joint program between LSA & Engineering. Which is to say, I was too much of a nerd for a humanities degree, too much of a slacker to pass organic chem. Feel free to rip on my degree now.)
Oh no I know about kinesiology's rep from a while back, but movesci has spent a lot of money to build good labs and hire big name professors. Public perception doesn't seem to have changed, but in academic circles we have a good reputation. So I guess that's what should matter more for my eventual goals haha.
CS now can either be taken as a purely engineering degree or a joint program between LSA and engineering. Most people go the engineering route, but I do know a guy that did the joint LSA/Engineering route because you don't have to take as many calc classes, or something to that effect. You no longer have to take organic chem in any engineering major unless you are a Chem-E or Biomed (I think).
That said, I will never rip on a CS degree.
Fumbles can't be attributed to coaching?
Just kidding. Pretty sure you are. Pretty sure.
brian, we can hear you laughing at chuck. it's awesome.
also, chuck says that the bigger thing isnt' the fall of the soviets, but rodriguez losing.
I graduated with a Movement Science degree, and I'd say you're pretty much spot on about the transformation of the program. It doesn't help our reputation that the majority of athletes enter the School of Kinesiology as freshman only to leave after two years to get a general studies degree. Other Universities treat their Kinesiology degree as a general studies, which further degrades the public's perception of a Movement Science degree, but, as you said, it is rather reputable within academia and is a great degree to get if you plan on going to a health professional school of any kind. Also, pretty sure Austin Panter graduated in MoveSci, which would make him the last scholarship football player to graduate with the degree.
Is my hero. Anyone who can use "besmack" in a sentence, tie in Michigan football to college athletics to the recession to ESPN and to 911 then back to the recession and then to the former Soviet Union is a genius. That he was able to get the whole thing out relatively coherently without being stopped - pure gold.
"Braylon Edwards's throat would have exploded outwards as Bo came into it."
Brian Cook on WTKA <3 u brian
In this post you say you defended Lloyd Carr and love something Brady Hoke said. I'm confused. According to what I've learned from recent comments sections, you -- and most everyone else on this site -- is a Lloyd-Hater, a Hoke-Hater, and an unabashed RR-Lover and -Apologist. Could people's opinions actually be more complex and nuanced than the commenters suggest? So confused...
That's Soviet Russia thinking, you fucking Commie. Love it or leave it!
I didn't hear the defense of car on the pod-cast, it does seem there is a lot of criticism of Carr from Brian on this site and in his comments in general. But I haven't noticed Hoke-Haters. Where does this observation come from?
General tenor of the RR-Lover accusations is that RR-Lovers hate all things not RR, which would include Hoke. Brian's need to constantly invoke "Hoke uber alles" = response to Hoke-hating charge. I didn't listen to the podcast, I was just commenting on Brian's description of it. Lloyd did deserve a lot of criticism for certain things; but criticism =/= hatred, which is what a lot of commenters seem to think.
What are the chances that institutions that currently use a defacto 4-year commitment will switch to year-to-year commitments for mid- to low-tier recruits? Seems like this could make cuts more common at some institutions because there is no longer an implied contract.
If it's the last part, about it being for the kids (which is how I took it since you cut it off there), I understand, that's certainly lovable. But when Brandon basically said the same thing at Hoke's opening press conference, that the program is about the kids, you took it as a slap in the face and got upset about it. So, just the mellowing of time, or was it the overarching feel of just being a guy doing a job you liked, and not that the program is about the kids?
(Or maybe after the book, agendas and politics it's just refreshing to remember that).