fair point that
Everyone’s talking about Jabrill this week, so what’s it like for you having him on offense? What does he do for you?
“Well, he’s very explosive. You can see when he gets the ball he explodes and it’s a great option to have to be able to work him into the offense and an opportunity for a few plays on the offensive side of the ball. If he does or doesn’t, it’s nice to have that club in your bag.”
I know you don’t get a ton of time with him, but is he special in the way that he can not spend a whole lot of time with the offense and still pick things up?
“Yeah. I mean, he’s a football player, so he’s got that DNA that you can kind of tell once he fixes a problem- just special. Great football awareness.
“It’s really- dealing with him is like dealing with a pro football player. He just kind of looks you in the eye and takes what you’re telling him, understands it, and then puts it into action. He’s just got great football awareness and great football savvy. He’s a football player. I’ve said that before, so it’s exciting to have him.”
Do you customize the playcalling based on whether Drake Johnson or De’Veon Smith’s in the game?
“No, we don’t. No, we don’t. We feel like they all have strengths and weaknesses, but we just call the game as we call it and put those guys in the best opportunity up front and the receivers and the quarterback so no, we don’t like specifically say, ‘Hey, do this, do that.’”
What’s Jake’s [Rudock] status at this point?
“He was good yesterday. He threw the ball around, breaking the huddle. He looked good. Looked good to me.”
You expect him to play?
“Yeah, absolutely, yes. Really do.”
[After THE JUMP: “We’re changing this thing, and it’s going in the right direction and we’re really pleased with where we are.”]
Upon Further Review still has a sponsor. You should really listen to the radio show because Matt has an ad with his kids now where it sounds like they have been dragooned into talk about daddy's business that never fails to crack me up. They just want to play Madden.
FORMATION NOTES: I did an inconsistent job of it this week but I plan on denoting all 6 OL setups with "heavy" going forward. You can deduce which snaps were 6 OL when there are only four skill players listed this week, although I might have missed a couple.
The new things this week were mostly Peppers related. This was "Ace twin TE Peppers H":
This was "Emory Tight":
As a reminder, "Pistol" implies a tailback and a TE so Pistol FB is this:
As far as Minnesota goes they generally went with a 4-3 even or over. The most notable thing about their D was the MLB, who lined up a yard or two deeper than the other guys, as you can see in the above shot.
Also Minnesota's goal line formation was goofy. Just four guys on the line.
I still called this "goal line."
PERSONNEL NOTES: Line per usual with the exception of Grant Newsome, who had several snaps as a sixth OL. Poggi didn't play; he was left home with pneumonia; stay away from Ricky Doyle please. As a result Michigan played largely without an H-back, instead going with a lot of two inline TE sets.
WR was per usual except DaMario Jones got in briefly with Drake Harris out. Ways got a target on the first drive but then was absent; Chesson and Darboh got almost all the PT, with Perry the third guy in three WR sets.
Isaac and Higdon did not play at RB, where it was mostly Smith early and mostly Johnson late with some Derrick Green in the first half.
[After THE JUMP: here is Speight to save the day / no he shouldn't be the starter]
Now that we’re in November, I finally feel like it’s time to start talking about the CFP – yes, the committee released its rankings last night and yes, they’re predictably valueless, name-brand garbage. Ranking teams based on what they’ve done so far is asinine: the Big 12 still hasn’t played any of its marquee games (a savvy bit of scheduling, at least in terms of valuable late-season exposure, consider Baylor’s three-game stretch of Oklahoma, @ Oklahoma State, and @ TCU in a three week span) and judging teams off an incomplete resume means nothing, especially when each individual result is so crucial.
We should be looking at things differently; the rigidity of traditional rankings doesn’t make sense – it should be a question of “which team will have deserved it?” At this point, it’s impossible to know. Consider some of the games this weekend:
Florida State @ Clemson. Both of these teams have dominated the ACC in the recent past – this Atlantic division contest feels like the de facto ACC Championship game and undefeated Clemson’s toughest remaining test.
TCU @ Oklahoma State. Neither team has lost, though both have looked plenty suspect on the defensive side of the ball; it’s easily the toughest opponent either team has faced thus far and should provide some clarity atop the Big 12 regardless of who wins.
LSU @ Alabama. The most-anticipated SEC contest of the year pits LSU – still undefeated and boasting a complete-looking squad – and Alabama, who would effectively be eliminated from CFP contention with a loss.
It’s not that ranking Alabama fourth overall is nonsensical (I mean, it is nonsensical,* but it doesn’t really matter) – of course, the Tide will have made a compelling case for a bid if they eventually win the SEC. They haven’t done so yet. Necessarily, one of LSU and Alabama will be taking a big hit to its evolving body of work this weekend: if Bama holds serve at home and defeats Leonard Fournette and company (far from a given, seeing as how they’ve lost a home game to a less-than-elite Ole Miss team already), we could be looking at two one-loss SEC West teams at the end of the year; if LSU wins, they’ll be in prime position to run the table the rest of the way… unless they lose to Ole Miss, who still just has one loss in conference play and holds an invaluable tiebreaker over Alabama.
The race for the division title in the SEC West could still go in so many different directions and it’s important to consider that while projecting the playoff race. The committee’s willful choice not to look ahead makes the rankings disingenuous; I get that they’re not in the business of predicting games (and, by extension, not in the business of predicting the playoff) and any discussion of the top four right now – or, even better, “if the season ended today” – pointedly forgets that there’s still much, much more football to be played. There won’t be six undefeated teams between the Big Ten and the Big 12, like there is now. Imagining a reality in which there are is stupid.
*Alabama’s best wins are against Tennessee (4-4, #17 in F/+), Wisconsin (7-2, #23), and Texas A&M (6-2, #26). Georgia (5-3, #45) was ranked eighth in the AP poll when Alabama went into Athens and routed the Bulldogs; we now know that UGA is pretty trash… does the committee think they’re good? Do they think Tennessee’s good? Do they remember that Alabama lost to Ole Miss (7-2, #15)? I mean, a weekly rankings TV show is a shameless ratings grab but still. STILL.
[After the JUMP: actual analysis(!)]
Over the past two games the passing numbers for the opposing quarterbacks were obviously a lot higher. Is there something that you can pinpoint on that to change?
“Well, the Michigan State game you’re facing a really good quarterback. They made a lot of plays and we made a lot of plays ourselves in that game, but you’ve got to give credit to the quarterback over there.
“Last week, I’m not taking anything away from Minnesota [but] we just laid an egg defensively, especially in the secondary. We just played poorly. That contributes to a lot of the passing yards this past week.”
Do you attribute that to rust from a bye week or…?
“You know, we’ve all tried to figure it out. Nobody knows but we’re fighting through it and certainly we’ve talked about it, we’ve addressed it, and we are working on getting better starting yesterday in practice.”
Anything you saw specifically on some of the breakdowns that led to long pass plays?
“I just, again, think our guys in the backend didn’t play as aggressively as they have in the past; weren’t going after footballs, had bad eye control, and just losing their guys. Did not play well.”
Connor Cook is ancient history at this point, but was he one of the better quarterbacks you’ve seen this year?
“Oh yeah. He’s a real good quarterback. I mean, he puts the ball places where it’s hard for other guys to catch. He’s good. A lot of credit to him. He’s gonna be- you’ll be watching him on Sundays for sure.”
[After THE JUMP: The wings on the helmet will tell on you if you lose eye control]
With such a surehanded Jug grip, Falk thinks Jabrill would make an excellent assistant equipment manager.
Mr. Peppers do pretty much anything better than the people who usually do that thing. We've been told he can play corner, nickel, safety, linebacker, returner, holder, kicker, punter, receiver, running back, quarterback, and do your taxes. I have no doubts he could write this blog better.
Peppers can't be everywhere, but Michigan did use the bye week to put him into the offense in interesting ways. So I thought I'd show all of them. Happy Peppers fun time everybody!
PLAY 1: Empty End-Around
Personnel: Peppers + QB, 2 WRs, 2 TEs (looks like Ace)
Peppers is a: Z receiver
Formation weirdness: Peppers lines up as a receiver and Butt is a flex TE to the same side as the Y-TE, A.J. Williams, who also is split off a good yard from the edge. This will come in hand. The result is an empty 4-wide look; safeties back off.
The play: End around. Peppers starts his motion just before the snap so the defense has barely reacted to it. Mason Cole pulls, other two uncovered OL release, and Kalis and Braden have to reach their guys.
How it worked out: The split of Williams comes into play here as the playside end is shooting that gap and gets caved [A.J. Williams heart bubbles!]. Braden and Kalis both got playside of their guys for just enough to delay while Peppers bursts past. All the 2nd level defenders except the MLB are expecting pass and don't react until Peppers has already turned the corner. They get blocked really far downfield. However Glasgow couldn't get a good angle on the SS, who gets a tackle in space after the 1st down.
[Hit the JUMP for two more of these]
Walker Decommits From Ohio State
Five-star NJ RB Kareem Walker had maintained his commitment to Ohio State even in the wake of a reportedly great official visit to Michigan a few weeks back. That is no longer the case.
I've decided to decommit pic.twitter.com/T6HZ77p4Bg
— AlightyReem (@_KareemWalker) November 4, 2015
According to TomVH, it's "not likely" Walker will take a visit back to Ohio State. This puts Michigan squarely in the driver's seat in Walker's recruitment, and the Crystal Ball picks are coming in heavy for the Wolverines, including from Guys In The Know like Lorenz and Wiltfong ($). Even though Walker plans to take more visits, this shouldn't take too long to play out; he plans to enroll early at the school of his choice.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the roundup.]
Via the mothership:
And the relevant bits from the release:
The terms of Beilein's extension call for him to earn a base salary of $400,000 with additional compensation of $1,470,000 per year for TV, radio, internet, shoe/apparel sponsorships, consulting, promotion and other services. In separate deferred payments, Beilein will receive an additional $1.5 million annually through the University's Supplemental Defined Contributions Retirement Plan.
The contract also provides opportunities for supplemental pay based on a range of performance measures from winning the Big Ten regular-season title and tournament championships as well as selection to and victories in the NCAA Tournament.
The perception already was that he was here through retirement—Michigan would be insane to let him go—but it was time to do this again because his last contract, signed in 2013, would have expired when this year's freshmen are seniors. When this one runs out he'll be 68.
A sign of things to come?
In Jordan Morgan, Mitch McGary, and Jon Horford, Michigan had the good fortune of rolling with a deep and productive group of big men for a couple years. Last year's trio of Ricky Doyle, Mark Donnal, and Max Bielfeldt lacked the experience, skill, and physicality of that group, and there was a noticeable effect on Michigan's performance at both ends of the court.
While Bielfeldt was allowed to move on to a big-desperate Indiana squad for his graduate year, Doyle and Donnal should be better players as sophomores, and DJ Wilson provides hope that Michigan will get more from its bench up front this season. If there's a hole in this lineup, it's at center, but Doyle displayed enough potential last year that this position can quickly turn into a strength if a viable backup emerges.
Measurables: 6'9", 250
Base Stats: 18.2 MPG, 6.1 PPG, 61/0/59 2P/3P/FT%, 3.2 RPG, 12 blocks
Key Advanced Metrics: 17.9% usage, 117.4 ORating, 10.4 OReb%, 11.9 DReb%, 55.5 FT Rate, 2.6 block %
If you listened to the season preview podcast or the recent hoops-centric MGoRadio, you know the writers of this blog are very excited about Doyle. A series of unforeseen events—Mitch McGary's suspension and subsequent departure, Jon Horford's transfer, Mark Donnal looking overwhelmed—caused him to go from unheralded recruit to starting center for a Big Ten title hopeful, and while Michigan's season didn't go as planned, Doyle rose to the challenge better than anyone could've expected.
[Hit THE JUMP.]
Assorted thoughts about the demise of the best thing. This was going to be a UV and then it got out of control.
The bad thing was handled well
Before we talk about Grantland at its best, let's talk about it at its worst. In January of 2014, Grantland published a story about a transgender golf-club purveyor. The story made a convincing case that this person was a fabulist and crackpot, and then at the end threw in an "oh by the way" that this person had killed themselves. It was clear the reason was at least indirectly this very article that you are reading right now. It was breathtakingly tasteless.
The internet noticed, eventually. The backlash to this story was proof that a lot of people will share a longread™ without actually reading it, so twitter was filled with a series of people saying "what a great story" while their mentions filled up with "did you actually READ this?!?!" over the course of the next few days.
Grantland—and by "Grantland" we are talking about Bill Simmons and whatever inner circle told Bill Simmons to hire all the people he hired—took stock. A few days later they responded in two parts. One was an essay by Christinia Kahrl, a transgender baseball writer for Regular ESPN, that detailed the various ways in which everyone had fucked up. The second was an essay from Simmons himself that detailed exactly what happened and how they had fucked up. While Simmons put his name on it because that was what the situation demanded, it's better—more accurate—to read the thing as a collective document from the inner circle that brought Grantland to life. To my eyes it is appropriately contrite, honest, and forthcoming about things.
There are a ton of media companies that will ignore criticism of their work no matter how clearly shoddy it is in retrospect. Not to invoke the dread specter of politics, but a recent three-part NYT series on immigrant-owned nail salons turns out to be about 110% bullshit; the Times issued some blather about how they stand by the story and moved on. Grantland seemed to take their problems seriously:
Caleb’s biggest mistake? Outing Dr. V to one of her investors while she was still alive. I don’t think he understood the moral consequences of that decision, and frankly, neither did anyone working for Grantland. That misstep never occurred to me until I discussed it with Christina Kahrl yesterday. But that speaks to our collective ignorance about the issues facing the transgender community in general, as well as our biggest mistake: not educating ourselves on that front before seriously considering whether to run the piece.
When confronted with a major issue the impulse at Grantland was to tell everybody exactly what happened and adapt so it doesn't happen again, something that is a distinct late-Gen-X shift in approaches to these things. That'll be the standard way to handle these events in 30 years. Not so much now.
My wife literally wailed about where Brian Phillips was going to go when I told her that the jig was up, and I still think that Grantland at its worst was kind of Grantland at its best.
[After THE JUMP: hiring strikes, it's not about the money, snobbery, and a third way]
Let’s go through the last two plays. I know that’s probably what you’ve been doing [He just finished a lengthy phone interview –A.], but what I really want to talk about isn’t the last play but the second to last. When they motioned what were you thinking, and did you expect that to happen?
“I mean, you can kind of tell by an offensive lineman’s demeanor what kind of play to expect, and they were all in loaded stances the whole game when they were coming off a run and they were sitting back. I was kind of confused at first when they were in their tight bunch set and everyone’s like really close splits but didn’t look like they were ready to fire out.
“So the center I was going against was a pretty big guy so I could barely see the quarterback. So I hear him say something and he moves back and I’m like, ‘What is going on?’ so I’m trying to peek around and see what set he’s in. Was he in empty? I believe he was in- was he in an empty set?”
“Yeah, yeah. Eventually, yeah.”
He starts with a back in the backfield and then motions him out.
“So then we’re like- my thought process was this is either going to be a QB power, a QB draw, or a QB run of some sort or it’s going to be a pass because I know they like to sprint out. I decided to come off the ball as hard as I could when I saw the ball snapped and Mo Hurst, being as quick as he is, shot right in the backfield on their sprint-out play, and Willie [Henry] discarded his guy pretty quick, too, and he decided it wasn’t a good idea to hold onto the ball much longer.”
“James [Ross] was glued to his guy, the guy he was trying to throw back to, the tight end, which we had prepared for that all week. So yeah, Mo basically made that play and Willie and James, and I was really confused on the empty spread thing. I could barely see where the quarterback was so yeah, that’s about the second to last play.”
[After THE JUMP: Breaking down the goal-line stand]