You make a good point about McGuffie. It's obviously still a huge loss, but it's certainly far from dire. Mostly, it just looks worse than it is. You hate to see any highly-touted player leave.
Transfers Affect Nothing but Depth
Rumors are flying about the potential transfers of three more players at the end of this 2008 season. This comes on the heels of two of the most notorious transfers in recent memory, Ryan Mallett and Justin Boren.
Sam McGuffie, RB. McGuffie sent his letter of intent late on signing day 2008. He was a strong Michigan commit during his senior year, but that faded as time passed. He was apparently enamored with the Cal Bears on signing day and unsure of whether to go ahead with his Michigan commitment or sign with Cal. He stuck with the Wolverines. Even before signing day, Michigan fans touted him as the Wolverines' next great running back. Many guessed that he would be the starting running back at the beginning of his freshman season, leaping in front of returning players like Carlos Brown, Brandon Minor, and Kevin Grady. Indeed, he started the year as the #1 running back, taking advantage of untimely injuries to Minor and Brown. In the second game of the year, he gained 178 yards against Notre Dame in the rain and garnered even more support from fans. However, due to a lack of power, the improving health of Minor, and a concussion against MSU, the majority of the touches were given to Minor, who seized the opportunity. I expected Minor to start from the beginning and was disappointed when he lost what I thought should have been his job. Minor's fumbles were a drawback, but he also had big-play potential. As the season has progressed, though, it is interesting to see the blind fervor with which Michigan fans have rooted for McGuffie. In my mind, he will undoubtedly be a good college running back...someday. But entering the Ohio State game, he sits fourth in yards per carry with 4.1; he is behind Michael Shaw (5.8 ypc), Minor (5.2), and Brown (4.6). Perhaps that is due to the poor offensive line play early in the season, but it is an interesting stat nonetheless. I have an uneasy feeling that a significant portion of McGuffie's following is due to his race. His high school stats and highlight videos are truly remarkable, but other gifted running backs in recent memory (Darrell Scott and Noel Devine come to mind) haven't received the same level of national acclaim coming out of high school. I also find it interesting that Michigan message boards have reflected panic in the fan base even though McGuffie might not even be the best back in his class (I'm talking about you, Michael Shaw). McGuffie had late doubts about coming to Michigan but stayed; Shaw had been committed to Penn State but realized Michigan was the better place. Would we be hearing the same uproar if Shaw were transferring instead of McGuffie? According to a reliable source on this board, McGuffie had asked to switch positions to slot receiver, which I found interesting because I had suggested that he move to slot receiver in my post-Toledo diary. Maybe he's homesick, maybe he's upset about his playing time, maybe he doesn't think he can cut it as a Big Ten running back. Regardless, I doubt Michigan's team will suffer greatly due to his loss. There is plenty of talent left, either currently on the team (Minor, Brown, Shaw) or in the class of 2009 (Teric Jones, Fitzgerald Toussaint, Jeremy Gallon, Vincent Smith).
Zion Babb, WR. Depth is somewhat of a concern at wide receiver, but Babb's 3-star pedigree didn't exactly excite the fanbase. Babb is a player with good speed and athleticism; there have also been rumors that he doesn't work very hard and dogs it at practice. If those rumors are true, it's no wonder Babb found himself behind players like James Rogers and perennial benchwarmer Laterryal Savoy. With young, emerging players like Junior Hemingway, Darryl Stonum, Martavious Odoms, and Toney Clemons, it's not a surprise that Babb wants to take his talents elsewhere. His athleticism might serve him well with different coaches and with more opportunities to make plays in game situations. I would not be surprised to see him have a successful career elsewhere.
Artis Chambers, S. Chambers entered Michigan in the class of 2007 and earned immediate playing time on special teams. Unfortunately, a record keeping error was made that negated his eligibility for the remainder of his freshman year. The Rodriguez regime seemed less excited about Chambers's abilities and relegated him to the bench for most of the 2008 season. Chambers was ineffective early in the season as a strong safety/weakside linebacker hybrid and hadn't played much since that experiment failed. This is a blow to the safety depth chart for Michigan, which loses two safeties this year (Brandon Harrison and Charles Stewart). As it currently stands, the 2009 Michigan team will have junior Steve Brown, redshirt sophomore Michael Williams, redshirt freshman Brandon Smith, redshirt freshman JT Floyd (who may be a corner instead), and an influx of true freshman safeties (Isaiah Bell, Mike Jones, Justin Turner, perhaps Vlad Emilien, some of whom may be destined for corner or linebacker). Even though Chambers probably would have been buried on the depth chart by Mouton at WILL, Brown at SS, and Williams at FS, he could have provided depth in case of injury or underperformance. I doubt Chambers will be a star anywhere, although I wish him luck. He stuck through the transition and has obviously decided he doesn't fit with these coaches. That's much more than I can say for...
Justin Boren, G. The son of former Michigan linebacker Mike Boren, Justin came in and played sparingly as a true freshman in 2006. He started at left guard and blocked a Minnesota defender out of the back of the end zone in 2007, one of the coolest plays I've seen. Rumors flew about why he decided to transfer to Ohio State in the spring of 2008. His reasoning was that the Rodriguez staff represented a loss of family values. Some said that the coaches cussed too much. Others suggested that he didn't like the Barwis workouts. The most feasible rumor I heard - although I have no assurance of its voracity - was that Lloyd Carr had promised to offer a scholarship to Justin's younger brother Zach, a fullback/linebacker/defensive end type, who would be graduating high school in 2009. Rodriguez and his staff deemed the younger Boren unworthy of a scholarship offer, which upset the Borens. This could explain the "lack of family values" that Boren mentioned to the press. Justin Boren subsequently became a Buckeye and Zach is an OSU commit as well. In Justin's stead, Michigan plays a guy who was a defensive tackle at the beginning of the season.
Ryan Mallett, QB. Mallett came to U of M from Texarkana High School as the quarterback savior, a 6'7" gunslinger with a supersonic rocket attached to his right shoulder. He played fairly well as a true freshman in 2007 when senior Chad Henne got hurt; everyone in Wolverineland expected Mallett to be the next great QB. It was a match made in Heaven. Except Lloyd Carr decided to retire, Michigan hired a read option coach, and Mallett didn't think NFL scouts were big fans of the read option. He headed off to Arkansas as soon as Rodriguez was hired. Meanwhile, Michigan's passing game has been anemic with redshirt freshman Steve Threet and walk-on sophomore Nick Sheridan. Mallett would have had a couple reliable targets in Greg Mathews and Martavious Odoms, plus a couple big-play guys in Stonum and Hemingway. But the two best receiver options for 2008 - Mario Manningham and Adrian Arrington - headed off to the NFL. I'm guessing Michigan's passing game would be more efficient and more dangerous with Mallett at the helm, but considering he only completed 49% of his passes as a freshman and he is probably less mobile than either Threet or Sheridan, I doubt his presence would have made much of an impact on Michigan's current 3-8 record in 2008. Still, if my plans for the future entailed playing in the NFL, I would probably also shy away from a guy whose biggest quarterback success story was Shaun King; then again, Arkansas's best QB in recent memory is a cokehead wide receiver for the Jaguars, so maybe Mallett figured, "If I'm going to be a failure, I might as well fail close to home."
I tend to lean toward Mallett being quite a bit better than either QB this year since I think he's so slow that Rich wouldn't have had a choice but to ditch the vast majority of his read option plays and run more of a simple shotgun spread deal, which I think is what he ran in high school and would have probably picked up fairly easily. I know there is Brian's theory that Threet would have started over Mallett had he stayed, but I just don't think I agree with that. Don't underestimate what an advantage a year of experience and an offseason of working on known flaws would give Mallett over Threet and Sheridan, not to mention his far superior recruiting rankings. His transferring cost us at least a game or two in my opinion.
That's fair, although I doubt the tone would be much different if we were 4-7 right now instead of 3-8. I agree that Mallett probably would have started, but there still would have been the problem of an unproven receiving corps. And I wonder if our running game would suffer from a straight-up shotgun spread rather than the read option/zone running game. Mallett wasn't Navarre-like in his immobility, but I'd put Threet and Sheridan ahead of him on the Michael Vick Scramblometer.
Also, Threet is completing 51% and Sheridan is at 49%, so if Mallett improved his accuracy at all, we'd already be better in that department and have a QB with a stronger arm.
Yes, Mallett would have been a better passer, but seriously, Mallett's running makes both Sheridan and Threet look like Pat White. There would have been zero threat of keep reads with Mallett at quarterback and defenses could have very easily adjusted to take advantage of this. Any benefit of Mallett's better arm is offset (if not more than offset) by his complete lack of mobility.
This season has been a monument to pounding square pegs into round holes.
I think you make a valid point about depth. Babb and Chambers got minimal time this year. While WR is a position that seems fairly deep, I really haven't been impressed with most of the wr's other then Mathews, Odoms and Hemmingway (before he got hurt). If Babb wasn't able to earn conistent playing time, is it that great of a loss? Similiar story with chambers. Brown and Stewart did a great job of continuing the fairly new tradition of UM having really bad safety play. If Chambers could beat them out, what does that say about him?
While RB does have some nice depth, I thought McGuffie against ND showed what he can do when he has the ball in space. Unfortunately, there just hasn't been much space for UM running backs to work with this year and McGuffie is to small to pound/grid out a little more yardage like Minor.
While UM definitely needs to build depth, imo, they need to upgrade the quality/talent that is on the field in a big way. I realize this team is fairly young, but out of the 22 starters, Graham (and maybe Taylor and Minor - depends on the team for Minor) might start on one of the Top 10 teams in the country. Essentially UM is starting around 20 guys that would be second stringers, if not 3rd or 4th stringers, on the top teams in the country.
...Taylor Hill. Also, sort of M. Witherspoon (he didn't really transfer, although he is on another D-I team now). I also realize that neither of these guys ever played a snap for M, and their decisions probably weren't "notorious," but still... let's just say we would be much happier if they were still with the team.
I didn't forget them, but Witherspoon was a non-qualifier and Hill never played a snap. He was also generally considered to be a project because of his size and lack of a position.
1) The fascination with McGuffie has nothing to do with his race. It has to do with a stunning highlight film that millions of YouTubers saw + stunning HS stats + 5 star UM recruit. OK?
2) Depth...only? what about Competition between positions? Recruiting? Perception of the program when major players transfer out (as if the program needs more black eyes).
Michigan is in the worst possible position right now, to have good players transferring out. Just calling it the way it is.
1. No offense, but you are wrong. How do I know? At the moment, there's a forum topic titled "the great white hope...gone." Almost every non-Michigan fan I talk to (and there are a lot where I live) says, "You guys got that good running back. And he's white!" And for some reason you think he was a 5-star recruit, despite the fact that zero recruiting services gave him more than 4 stars.
2. When I said it only affects depth, that's obviously an understatement. It does little to affect this TEAM. Like I said, McGuffie may not be the best RB in his class. And Chambers and Babb were both buried on the depth chart and obviously weren't providing much competition. Besides that, other players will come in and take their spots - guys who WANT to be here - and will give them competition.
There are some people who clearly like Sam more because he is white. That doesn't mean it's impossible that people like him strictly for his YouTube highlights, or his performance against ND. I bet there are some non-white Michigan fans who were (or are, hopefully) excited to see what the kid could do wearing blue.
I'm white, but I like to think that I'm into Sam because of his freaky talent and not because of his skin. I'm excited about Michael Shaw and Sex Panther Robinson too, after all.
Agreed. I'm not saying all people like him more because he's white. But we're in denial if we think race is completely absent from McGuffiemania.
I know several people who were excited because he was white, plus during the Wisco game there was a guy sitting a couple seats away from me who kept saying how awesome it was the was white.
Of course, I know several fans who have taken the opposite appraoch, doubting how good he really is because of his skin color.
And, thirdly, there was a lot of talk last winter that there was reverse discrimination regarding his recruiting ranking. The thought was had he been black, he would have been rated higher.
Me? I dont care about any of that stuff.
I am sad he's leaving, but we have strenghth at that position and if its best for him to go elsewhere, then I am in favor of that. He's just a kid whose homesick. This has happened before and it will happen again.
From what I understand, Rivals typically gives 5-star ratings to players they project to be potential first round NFL draft picks. I know it's only his freshman year, but can anyone definitively say McGuffie has looked like a first round draft pick? Being fourth on the team in YPC and having an inability to break tackles doesn't exact scream "future NFL star" to me. Again, I think McGuffie will be a good college back in the right system, but I don't necessarily think he'll be an Adrian Peterson or a Darren McFadden or a Reggie Bush and maybe not even a Felix Jones. Time will tell, I guess.
When I read this headline, I was confused: "Affect, like the adjective affective, refers to the experience of feeling or emotion." - wiki. I certainly feel lots of emotion when a spotlight recruit like Sam wants to exit the program and the university. And Sam leaving would have lots of "affect" in the lockerroom and on the recruiting trail. I believe Magnus meant to use the word "effect", not "affect".
When one of the hardest working guys in camp and practice - a guy who keeps his head down and his mouth shut and only talks about the team and not himself wants to exit, that does not speak well of the state of affairs - no matter what race the kid is from - and will both effect and affect M's evolution going forward. My two cents. . .
–verb (used with object) 1. to act on; produce an effect or change in: Cold weather affected the crops.
Affect with an A.....basically means 'influence'
If you can sub influece in for Affect and the meaning of the sentence holds and makes sense, then the usage is right.
I think Mangus' use of Affect is correct.
But, I was only a B student in English, so take if fwiw.
No wonder you were a "B" student. You spelled my name wrong! My feelings are sad. :o(
"i have affection for UM football" (not effection). effect refers to the pysical, not the emotional.
jamie - both my brothers are IU grads and we are having in-depth discussions comparing Crean's challenge with IU basketball to Rod's challenges with UM fooball. you should write a diary entry. . . .curious what your perspective is.
.....not to thread jack, but I will write something to that affect, er, effect, I mean, affect.
Seriously, I plan on doing hoop diaries all winter as I love college baskets about as much as CFB.
In the next week or so, I plan on writig a Big 10 power poll....and IU will be in a categoy all to themselves, labelled "2008 UM football" because the same situation is playing out down in Bloomington.
How the programs got to that point are different, but the rebuilding situation both new coaches find themselves in are the same.
Although, I dont think IU fans will freak out as much this winter as UM fans have......there are 0 expectations down there right now, while many UM fans still expected a winning record to some extent.
Ha! Too funny!!
Hey, you take a lot of shit for your diaries, but I wanted to say keep on writing, I enjoy your insights.
This was a great look at the impact of some of our recent departures. I laughed at the Matt Jones reference.
And, i agree that Sam is not the best back in his class.....i actually think he was over used early on, although some of that was due to injuries to others and the coaches struggling to fit the right fits on the field. I think Sam has hit the proverbial freshmen wall and its compounded by all the other issues in his life going on right now.
To me, its only natural that he has feelings towards transferring.
Boren may have been the biggest loss of the bunch, just because of how thin things are along the OL. The same could be said at QB, but Mallet isn't a very good fit for this offense. I wouldn't be surprised to see both Mallet and McGuffie have big careers elsewhere, though.
I thought Boren was going to be very good. Unfortunately, now he's going to be very good for OSU.
Magnus, for someone who prides himself on sound reasoning and football cred, it's amazing that you assign so little importance to depth.
The absence of Chambers, Babb, and McGuffie doesn't hurt our on-field production. Our safety play sucked and Chambers didn't play. Our wide receivers were banged up (Mathews had a bum ankle, Hemingway has missed most of the season) and Babb didn't play. McGuffie's loss, while the most significant, leaves us with three seniors, one stud sophomore, and several intriguing incoming freshmen. If we could afford to lose a player anywhere, it's at running back.