Summary. The Rodriguez transition as expressed by Smurfs:
That is all.
Second edition? There's been a disconnect between the recruiting buzz on incoming defensive end Jibreel Black (major talent, say mods at the usual sites) and the recruiting services who placed him on the three/four-star borderline. Michigan's coaches had been after Black from early on in his recruiting cycle and pursued him through two(!) commitments to other schools, so they seem to be on the former side.
The star of the night, however, was Jibreel Black. He was constantly in the backfield and pretty much controlled the entire second half. He’s not the biggest guy (6’2” 255) in the world, but then neither was Brandon Graham. And when pressed for what was going to happen the next time he plays in the Horseshoe as a Wolverine, Black didn’t hesitate to answer.
“I’ll be doing the same thing,” he laughed. “Pryor better watch out.”
Insert all the usual caveats about all-star games here—who knows if the kid he was going up against is even going I-A, for one—but anything that causes an observer to mention Brandon Graham in the same sentence as someone with eligibility remaining is all right by me.
Antonio Kinard had a pick six and was reputed to have played well; the other Michigan recruits didn't draw much mention except someone calling the matchup between Courtney Avery and 6'7" OSU WR signee Tyrone Williams "unfair." His quarterbacks were exceptionally good sports about it, though, and he finished with just two catches for 19 yards. Tim has more detail in a mini-Friday Night Lights post coming up later today.
Catching up with defectors past. Penn State's quarterback situation is not so good. Kevin Newsome, who you may remember as one of the defectors in the defection-laden class of 2008, is the only scholarship quarterback on campus right now. His competition is Matt McGloin, a walk-on(!), and neither is burning up the field:
McGloin (10 of 23, 110 yards) threw two interceptions and should have had a third – a drop by new defensive back Chaz Powell – returned 90 yards for a touchdown in the first half.
Newsome, a righty with a near-sidearm throwing motion, finished 5 of 12 for 50 yards and lost 12 yards rushing. Dual threat? Not so much Saturday.
Neither is the offensive line, apparently:
To be fair, the QBs didn't have much time to set their feet. Or duck. …
“We're trying different combinations and we're trying to get the best five guys in there,'' Paterno said during a news conference right before the scrimmage.
“The tackles are a concern for us. … We're not really sure who the tackles are going to be.''
Before you go cackling to your Penn State friends, remember that 1) Penn State's defense is not Michigan's defense and 2) IIRC, the author of this article is one of those dinosaur local columnists whose schtick is relentless negativity.
However, a softened version of the snark above has been related by generally positive outlets like the PSU's Scout and Rivals sites. It's safe to say that a certain level of disquiet exists in Happy Valley. Many people are openly speculating about how JoePa is going to have to grit his teeth and start one of his two true freshmen this fall. One of them, Paul Jones, did enroll early. Whoever starts is going to be protected by a couple of converted guards at tackle.
In other spring games:
Is it good news or bad news that MSU's game, which was an actual game, ended 17-10? I don't know. Kirk Cousin remains an effective passer. The offensive line gave up eight sacks but the starters were split across teams.
Notre Dame beat Notre Dame 27-19, spawning a number of thread on the message board about how they were terrible and will die against us in the fall. The ND side of things is less resigned to doom. You could even call them encouraged. I think your walk-on second string QB going 18 for 30 for 223 yards, 3 TDs, and 1 INT is not so good, but as always to read too much into spring games at your peril.
Give credit to Carlton Brundidge, the kid is putting in work. The only knock on him in the past has been the lack of a consistent jump shot from three point range, but that looks to be coming along nicely. With defenders playing a sagging zone designed to stop Amir Williams, Brundidge was hitting from deep with ease. As always he still finished going to the rim off the dribble, but Brundidge really looks improved shooting the deep jumper.
UMHoops has video of Brundidge going off for 44 in last weekend's AAU tournament, in which his team made the final before falling. It's impressive even if #15 on the opposition has a dedication to defense that can be described as "hilariously lacking."
Q: What was the best Globetrotter experience you had?
BA: “You don’t realize what the significance of the Globetrotter experience is until you travel abroad. When I went to Stockholm, Sweden and there was a capacity crowd in the arena to the tune of 18, 19,000 sold out, I said ‘Wow.’ You don’t realize that you’re a part of something so much bigger than yourself.”
This is all right and good. Sweden loves the quintessentially American Globetrotters. America loves Carl Hagelin. We'll call it even. Full profile coming later today.
Updating crush rates. MCalibur updates his QB fragility study, finding that 1) last year was a bad year for everyone except pocket statues and 2) there's still no statistical significance in the numbers. Note that this doesn't mean people who assert running QBs get injured more are definitely wrong:
At first blush it looks like there’s a difference in the injury rates of level 1, 2, and 0/3 but the fact of the matter is that there is insufficient evidence to support this. I actually ran hypothesis tests this time and that was the outcome (failure to reject the null hypothesis that A=B=C=D). Note that this does not mean that no difference exists, simply that there is no reason to conclude that a difference does exist. The differences observed are statistically insignificant.
This is a lesson David Berri could stand to learn. Still, whatever increase there might be in running quarterbacks is minimal if it exists at all:
After six years of data, the guys who run more than anyone else are 2-3% more likely to get injured than pocket throwers and the least-injured quarterbacks are guys who run a little.
Word coming out of State College this weekend among the locals is that they should lower their expectations. Talent positions on offense should be loaded, but line and QB are not in good shape. There's lots of new blood on defense too... but I think there's still some playmakers over there, esp. on the defensive line.
White Out or not, this could end up being a very favorable match-up for us next season.
Kevin Newsome might not be a QB for very long. They have 2 highly rated guys who will be true freshman this fall, one of which enrolled early. My bet is that Newsome switches positions or bails within a year or two.
That said, the fact that Penn State's QB situation is pretty bad this fall is comforting. They usually have a good defense, but they did lose 2 or 3 of their best defensive players from last fall. A win in Happy Valley would do wonders for our 2010.
Whatever the case, it's kind of a blessing that Newsome decommitted. Sure, there's still the possibility he could end up being great, but we had better QB's to work with last year, and they'll be better this year. I guess it's nice to not be embarrassed for once, even if it means nothing in the grand scheme of things.
Btw, what happened to the post about the best love songs? Did that somehow manage to be too OT?
Ann Arbor is a classy broad.
"Get off my plane!" - Ricky Stanzi, Air Force One 2
with better coaching he would have turned out to be a better QB. He's still a great athlete, and the poor guy chose to decommit because some NFL "mentors" told him Michigan couldn't prepare him for the NFL as a QB, and that he would just be some glorified Runningback or something. It's really too bad he didn't actually look at facts and see that PSU's last two QB's had been 1) drafted as a Runningback, and 2) (5-star bluechip recruit Anthony Morelli) undrafted. I really do wish the guy bestofluck and all, and I don't want to criticize a kid for picking a certain school, because that's his business. It just sounds like his decision may have been made on bad advice and information.
First of all, I just want to make it clear that I'm not criticizing the kid and I do wish him the best. I definitely do not wish failure upon the guy.
You make a good point. Would things have ended up differently for him had he been coached by RR and Rod Smith? Possibly. PSU has had good college-level QB's of late, even if their success hasn't translated to the pro level. While Morelli wasn't so good despite his high recruit ranking, Michael Robinson and Daryl Clark were pretty good for the Nittany Lions, and I don't think that they were very highly rated recruits (I know that Clark was 3*). But I think it also helped that Forcier had good training before.
What's interesting is that Brian had a really good, almost prophetic take on all this last year. After Forcier replaced Newsome, Brian said that Forcier carried more of a guarantee of success, at least for 2009. And it's true: he had more experience and confidence than the average frosh and was great until he got injured. As Brian guessed, we were better off last year with a new QB with tons of skill but had already hit his peak, than with a talented yet undeveloped and very raw QB who could end up anywhere from being the next Vince Young to not panning out at all.
Ann Arbor is a classy broad.
"Get off my plane!" - Ricky Stanzi, Air Force One 2
I was at the spring game, but I was initially trying to watch the defense, and haven't watched the video at all to fix my memory,
But it seems like a lot of the successful plays selected for the Denard video were pass plays to Roundtree.
The spring game was more to build excitement than practice, so yes reading much into execution is not a good thing.
That said, I don't remember any bad passes from Denard, and since he poses such a huge run threat on top of that, I'm subjectively moving myself from the Tate Experience and Execution Camp, and into the camp of "Dilitihium Denard and his band of Slot Ninjas"
Afterall I don't watch Michigan Football religiously because it's the rational thing to do.
From the limited time I watched, the bigger problem was the O-Line. That said, you have to ask yourself, will PSU's O-Line really suck come fall? The more encouraging sign for a potential win is how poorly the D played, especially in the secondary. They moved a WR who earned real playing time last year to DB because "he could help the team win". After two years of building up depth Michigan fans know what that quote really means.
"Anyone who isn't confused, really doesn't understand the situation." - Edward R. Murrow
Completely honest evaluation of Robinson's spring game
...Which, as we all know, is accurate to a 'T', given the spring game status in the circle of life.
Robinson scares the bejeezus out of me, and I'm convinced he'll be the starter come fall. I know those are just highlights, but he's making his reads and evaluating his options without a sense of panic; it's like Coach Rodriguez has hypnotized him to repeat "Patience, grasshopper" over and over again. He seems to have made that blazing speed serve as a final read, as it were, and he moves around just enough to make his reads. I don't know how a defense would blitz him.
When he does throw, he's decisive and the ball gets there in a hurry. He showed he could make short, medium, and long-range throws. I hate to throw around words like 'unstoppable', but that's what comes to mind. If I were a Michigan fan, I'd be absolutely giddy right now.