From Portage Northern.
PREVIOUSLY ON DRAFTAGEDDON: Many defensive linemen went off the board early, and then there was a big run on tailbacks inexplicably kicked off by Venric Mark. Trash was talked about Shilique Calhoun, because that's how we do this business. Trash was not talked about MSU in general because obviously.
ROUND 5 - PICK 1: Trae Waynes, CB, MSU
O: QB Braxton Miller (OSU), RB Melvin Gordon (UW), WR Stefon Diggs (MD)
D: DT Carl Davis(IA), CB Trae Waynes (MSU)
BRIAN: To kick off the fifth, I'll grab the last member available from last year's lights-out MSU secondary: Trae Waynes. I trashed Calhoun, and I think justly, so let me explain how MSU is so good on defense: their secondary is impeccable. The safeties are super aggressive, often forced into man coverage as BISB mentioned. This means that the corners are on an island constantly. Waynes was opposite future first-rounder Darqueze Dennard and more than coped, with three INTs and very few derp moments. You have to be good to be in island man coverage all damn day and be part of the #2 secondary in the country when it came to YPA.
The NFL is also itching to get their hands on Waynes. Fox's Peter Schrager likes him better than Dennard and projects him 11th. Pete Prisco says he might be better and has him 26th. And why not? He's 6'1" and his fake 40 is so so fake at 4.3. Even if Ace was betting on a tailback dropping to him, NW LB versus MSU DB should be no contest.
ROUND 5 - PICK 2: Ameer Abdullah, RB, Nebraska
O: RB Ameer Abdullah(NEB), WR Devin Funchess (M), LT Brandon Scherff (Iowa)
D: DE Shilique Calhoun (MSU), LB Chi Chi Ariguzo (NW)
ST: KR/PR Ameer Adbullah
ACE: Dammit, Brian. Waynes was the other guy I was considering with my last pick—my decision came down to the respective depth at linebacker and cornerback—but you have a point here about Waynes' pure talent level. I might've over-thought that one.
Thankfully, Seth Millen either really under- or over-thought the Mark selection, so I still get to mock somebody and get one of the best backs in the country. Abdullah led the conference in rushing yards and averaged over six yards per carry last season even though his quarterback was either Taylor Martinez playing through turf toe so bad he failed an NFL physical eight months later, Tommy Armstrong Jr., Ron Kellogg III, or—for one glorious five-yard completion—something called a Ryker Fyfe.
In addition to being a superlative runner, Abdullah's a solid receiver out of the backfield; he cracked 100 yards of offense in all 13 games, and hit the century mark on the ground alone in all but two of them. If you've got a little time to kill, here are 14 minutes of Abdullah highlights from 2013 set to a quality selection of hip hop instrumentals—you won't be bored:
Mark's 2013 highlights, meanwhile, come in JPG form:
Oh, I almost forgot: Abdullah's also a really dangerous return man, averaging 26.1 yards with a TD on 47 career kickoff returns and 10.2 yards with another TD on 31 punt returns. Nebraska didn't utilize him as a returner last year because of his workload at running back, but there are no such limitations in hypothetical MGoB1G fantasyland.
RB/KR/PR Ameer Adbullah it is. Hello, Heisman candidate in the fifth round.
[AFTER THE JUMP: HAAAAAAAAAIIIRRRRRR, Seth drafts more Northwestern skill players for some reason.]
ALL RIGHT FINE IT STARTS NOW. If you weren't around four years ago or four years before that, when the World Cup rolls around I cover the USMNT like it is the subject of this blog. I'll be interested to see if the ratio of people pleased by this to people disgusted because 'Murica has gone up.
But whatever man. It's the offseason, and I like the World Cup a lot.
That's that for Landon Donovan, who didn't even make the 23. This made me a little EMOTIONAL last night, because I mean seriously.
This man was in a Mexican lottery commercial trying to sneak into Mexico wherein he says "it's easier to win in Mexico," which brings a threat of violence until he explains he's just talking about the awesomeness of Gana Gol. And then he gets kicked out because Mexicans hate Landon Donovan.
Before the existence of Donovan it was impossible to envision Mexican fans hating any specific USA player more than he hated whatever it was the jerseys stood for in their minds, because he killed them in a way no USA player was capable of before. Because Donovan was a little weird, a little effeminate he got saddled with unflattering nicknames like "Landycakes" as soon as anything went wrong with his career. And he may even have (momentarily) lived up to that nickname when he went a little stir-crazy last year. But never forget: Mexico feared Landon Donovan.
And then there's all this other stuff.
The Analytical Hat in re: Donovan
I still don't get it unless Klinsmann's doing it for You Must Step Up purposes. Brad Davis's inclusion is solely because he can play Tiny Beckerman on set pieces and the (very) occasional cross a high-level opponent will let him swing in. He's a legit A in that department; Donovan is at worst a B+ and is also Landon Donovan.
The only thing that makes sense other than hand-waving motivational stuff is that Donovan's performance on the infamous "beep test" was so bad that they couldn't look the rest of the team in the eye and bring him. I don't mind dragging Green along since player #23 is never going to play, so locking that guy down and prepping him for 2018 is worthwhile.
Brad Davis, though? I look at this roster and see no way he's getting in a game. Might as well bring Landon.
The unquestioned man, then
Not that there was much of a question before, but minus Donovan and coming off this display of Keyser Soze-level will…
I'm also told when beep test ended Michael Bradley was still going. Only happened once b4 in #USMNT history when Donovan and Hejduk did it.
— Jeff Carlisle (@JeffreyCarlisle) May 22, 2014
…Michael Bradley is the engine the team is built around. I mean.
"This will be a World Cup where teams that do well will suffer. We want to be the team that can suffer the most."
This is a man with an armband whether he has it or not.
I've expressed my opinion on this repeatedly elsewhere, but to reiterate: the USMNT looks its best when Bradley is paired with an outright holder and allowed to range upfield as far as he wants. With someone else maintaining a screen to help prevent breaks, Bradley has the fitness to recover when the US is caught out. When Bradley can become part of the rushes upfield on the regular, his passing, vision, and late runs into the box give the US attack verve it lacks otherwise. Bradley also does excellent work providing the kind of high pressure that leads to dangerous turnovers and central backs hoofing it upfield. There is no substitute.
Unfortunately, Klinsmann fave-rave Jermaine Jones is around and likely to start despite his inability to be that player. When paired together it's Jones flying up the pitch more often than not, and generally to little effect other than taking a long shot. Bradley stays back and plays well, but has much less impact on the game. And at this point it's clear that Klinsmann either can't or doesn't want to rein Jones in.
I would prefer Cameron or Beckerman, but with Goodson cut and Gonzalez shaky Cameron is at least the #3 center back and will compete to be #2. Meanwhile Beckerman struggles mightily against speed. The thing he has going for him is that the US has clearly focused on having quick outside backs, which may allow for Beckerman to do his positioning and passing thing as others cover for his lack of range.
Outside backs: fast
Yedlin also brings hair to the table, so much hair that GIS asks you if you'd like to search for not just "Yedlin hair" but "Yedlin hair 2013."
The US cut Parkhurst and Evans to include DeAndre Yedlin, a 20-year-old with one cap to his name, and Timmy Chandler, who hasn't been on the team in six months. And, yeah. Had to do it. Evans and Parkhurst were consistently exploited by low-level players because they simply could not keep up with them, and since they were no less likely to get skinned by the likes of Ronaldo you might as well roll with the guys who can catch up to him after.
Pair with DaMarcus Beasley and you've got a set of gentlemen who can keep up when pressed. Are things going to go spectacularly well there? No. But Evans seemed like a disaster waiting to happen at the World Cup level and I'm saying there's a chance things are okay with Chandler and Yedlin.
Again, I would prefer Fabian Johnson at right back but with the cut of Donovan he is the most obvious choice for left wing. In fact, he is about the only choice.
Who's on the left?
Johnson and Beasley have played a lot on the left side of the US formation. Nobody else on the roster has. And nobody else on the roster seems like a natural fit there. Bedoya and Zusi are right-sided players, Johannsson and Green are striker types, Diskerud is a central player… what happens if injury or cards knock out either one of the presumptive left sided starters?
A: the other one plays left back and the US tries something along the lines of what it was doing with Eddie Johnson playing "left wing" as an in-cutting player trying to get a shot off with his stronger right foot. That could be Dempsey if the US is in a two-striker formation with Bradley its defacto attacking mid; it is most likely to be Johannsson, who has a combination of speed and deftness on the ball that no one else on the roster does except possibly Green, who is… wait for it… really green.
The only thing about that in-cutting formation is that it does place demands on your left back to be a high-placed defacto winger… and demands on your right back to be quite good defensively. (Like the 4-3 under is halfway between a 4-3 even and a 3-4, a setup like this is kind of halfway between a 4-4-2 and a 4-2-3-1.) In the event that Johannsson ends up as a left winger that might be a spot where you play Cameron at right back.
Chance to start against Ghana rankings
- Michael Bradley
- Tim Howard
- Clint Dempsey
- Fabian Johnson
- DaMarcus Beasley
- Matt Besler
- Jozy Altidore
- Jermaine Jones
- Graham Zusi
- Geoff Cameron
- Timmy Chandler
- Omar Gonzalez
- DeAndre Yedlin
- Aron Johannson
- Kyle Beckerman
- Alejandro Bedoya
- Mix Diskerud
- Julian Green
- Brad Guzan
- Chris Wondolowski
- John Brooks
- Brad Davis
- Nick Rimando
WAG at what it looks like
Don't take this bit too seriously, as Klinsmann has shown a penchant for changing things based on opponent. Bob Bradley would settle on a thing and roll it out over and over; Klinsmann has been experimenting.
But the most likely things is the 4-2-3-1 he's been rolling out on and off since his arrival:
Johnson Dempsey Zusi
Beasley Besler Cameron Chandler
I would prefer something like the 4-4-2 diamond they tried out in a recent friendly, with Bradley dropping back when faced with opponent possession and Dempsey moving under Altidore to provide an outlet and link to Altidore up top.
WITH THE BALL
Beasley Besler Cameron Chandler
WITHOUT THE BALL
Beasley Besler Cameron Chandler
I do think the Johannson-as-left wing scenario is in the mix, in which case Johnson would likely bump Beasley at left back and Cameron may flip to RB and allow Gonzalez to enter.
How I'm feeling
Nervous, man. This was supposed to be the last hurrah for this generation of players, but there are only five guys on the whole team who were at the last World Cup. This is uncharted territory for everyone save Dempsey, Bradley, Beasley, and Howard. I mean:
The last time Landon Donovan didn’t start for the US in the World Cup, Thomas Dooley was the captain and Preki came off the bench.
— Bill Barnwell (@billbarnwell) May 23, 2014
But I guess I'd be nervous anyway.
Catcher/7th hitter Lauren Sweet is hitting .364 in the NCAA tourney. [mogblue]
College softball's biggest problem as a sport is that the offense/defense balance that's so important to compelling athletic competition is tipped too far by a great pitcher. Florida State has one of the best, Lacey Waldrop, who came into the super-regional series (IE the semifinals) with a "you're breaking the sport!" ERA of 0.90. Michigan was fresh from a grueling regional in Arizona and a late flight, and would have to face Waldrop and the 53-6 Seminoles on their home field.
Michigan won 17-3 in a mercy. Haylie Wagner didn't look very sharp either, but this time it was Megan Betsa's turn to bail her out, entering in the 2nd and allowing just 4 of the remaining 18 batters to reach base and stranding all of them. Michigan's own player of the year candidate, shortstop Sierra Romero, had two hits; the other Sierra (Lawrence) and Lauren Sweet both had three. The best-of-three series continues this afternoon at 4:00 p.m. on ESPNU; if FSU wins that the rubber match will be right after. Read South Bend Wolverine's super-regional series preview before entering.
Of the rest of the recent diaries, I highly recommend L'Carpetron Dookmarriot's* look at other possible D1 programs that could take up lacrosse. MGoChippewa asked what would have happened if Alex Legion, hoops 4-star who decommitted when Amaker was replaced, had stuck around. My guess is the scenario would include him transferring a year later when Manny Harris refused to give him the ball. The Padog basketball previews continue with Michigan, MSU, OSU, Nebraska.
*To Mr. Dookmariot I recommend the old blog of the K&P writer who made up your name.
Best of the Board
|Nope, this doesn't save the 2013 season.|
WHEN YOU WISH UPON DENARD
Imagine a world in which Denard, who clearly needed a redshirt, got a redshirt and could return in 2013. In that world…the offensive line would still be terrible, and Borges still wouldn't have known how to use him.
So imagine a world in which Chad Henne, who probably could have used a redshirt, got a redshirt while Matt Gutierrez started. In that world Henne… probably loses his redshirt when Clayton Richard chooses baseball mid-season, and then in 2006 he's trying to beat out a senior three-year starter in Gutierrez and probably doesn't. Does he even stick around, or does Henne transfer to Penn State or something?
So imagine a world in which Antonio Bass wasn't hurt and 2008 rolls around and there's this fifth year senior around who maybe moved back to quarterback because Mario and Arrington and Mathews had WR handled, and Rodriguez finds him and they lock eyes…
This thread could get fun.
|The University of Michigan Athletic Office is proud to announce the Mort Plotnick Department of Photoshopping.|
GOOD NEWS(!)…ABOUT MICHIGAN(!)…FOOTBALL(!)
1484 put together a list of recent tweety-nuggets from Lorenz/Tremendous/Aquaman concerning some big time recruits:
- 5* CB Kendall Sheffield would like to visit
- 4* DE Kyree Campbell was waiting on an offer, already set a visit
- 5* CB Iman Marshall is friends with Canteen, very likely to plan an official
- 4* Grant Newsome likely deciding between Michigan and PSU
- 5* 2016 OL Liam Eichenberg has set a return date for another Michigan visit
- Michigan is still a factor for 5* DE Jashon Cornell
Michigan recruiting in May: still awesome.
EVEN A BLIND MAN CAN DO IT
Tulane has a long snapper who's legally blind (can't see out one, can barely see out the other). This is very impressive for the kid, Aaron Golub. Having the gumption to say "you know what, adversity, you can go screw because I want to play football," and then doing that successfully is a lesson to everyone to stop complaining about their comparatively weak shit. On the other hand, this is the absolutely worst time to call long snapper "arguably the most underappreciated position on the football field." I mean…
By the way, the most underappreciated position on the football field is center. You're right smack in the middle of every play, you're responsible for knowing your play and the opponent's play, you have to be able to snap the ball to various depths, you're typically lined up against a 300-pound monster you can't start blocking until you're done snapping, and you're going to end more plays than anybody as the last dude in the pile.
And I'm not just saying that because I'm getting epic amounts of crap from Ace in our Draftageddon email thread right now. Really.
ETC. Way OT but an EPA administrator (Steve L.) once told me when I worked for an environmental trade pub that bionic photosynthesis is humanity's best hope for cheap, clean energy. According to him, you take sunlight, water, carbon dioxide, and readily available surface minerals, and the waste product is oxygen. There's a long way to go but the University of Michigan (and Pitt) may have done just that.
Your Moment of Zen:
Speaking of inspiring feats, Brock Mealer can now stand…
…on one leg.
LAST TIME ON DRAFTAGEDDON: I saw a pale horse ridden by a guy who thinks Shilique Calhoun is a first round NFL draft pick.
ROUND 3 - PICK 1: Stefon Diggs, WR, Maryland
O: QB Braxton Miller (OSU), WR Stefon Diggs (MD)
D: DT Carl Davis(IA)
BRIAN: Stefon Diggs is recovering from a broken leg that snuffed out his year 7 games in, but we've already got plenty of evidence that Diggs is the most explosive WR in the Big Ten. A five-star recruit with offers from everyone, Diggs put up 848 yards as a freshman and was on pace for 1090 before the injury last year. He made the All-ACC team as a freshman and is being projected as a first rounder a few places despite the leg and the uncertainty about whether he'll come out.
I'm not particularly worried about that injury. Diggs returned to drills and 7-on-7 in early April, and broken bones are not the kind of thing you might worry about long term. He says he's faster than he was before despite being only 90%, and even if that's not true... I'll live with it.
The main issue with Diggs is that his production is dependent on his quarterback and his quarterback plays at Maryland and therefore will die six ways and be replaced by a linebacker midseason. Probable starter Caleb Rowe had 131 attempts last year and completed fewer than half of them. But in terms of my team, he's a perfect fit. Miller's good over the top and commands so much attention that WR screens feature one on one matchups. He's a guy who would be able to get a ton of free yards paired with Miller. Dana Holgorsen called him a "Tavon Austin clone"... except like four inches taller. As a bonus, he had two KR TDs as a freshman.
ROUND 3 - PICK 2: Devin Funchess, WR, Michigan
O: WR Devin Funchess (U-M), LT Brandon Scherff (Iowa)
D: DE Shilique Calhoun (MSU)
ACE: I could drag out all the stats on how Funchess blew up once Michigan realized he's a wide receiver, period. I could tell you how awesome it is to have a 6'5", 230-pound living matchup nightmare on the outside. I could discuss in exacting detail how Funchess, just a true junior, should have by far his best season in 2014. I could mention the (terrifying) possibility that he'll be a first-round NFL Draft pick at this time next year.
But you know all that. So let's just admire the freaky athletic ability for a little bit:
Is this a homer pick? I won't say no, though Funchess is the leading returning receiver in the entire conference.
Do I feel bad about it whatsoever? Noooooope.
BRIAN: That's no homer pick, man. Funchess is also getting first-round hype and with good reason. Not the reasons that the people picking Funchess in the first round have, like "is a tight end," but Funchess was the other guy before a big dip in available talent at WR.
ACE: Yeah, I mostly just wanted to set up that Archer reference. I would've taken Funchess here even if he played for Rutgers. Okay, maybe not Rutgers, but literally anyone else.
BISB: Anyone else? I'm picturing Funchess catching passes from Danny Etling, which would be a "Denard as pocket passer"-level crime against man-panda.
sorry, I heard "crimes BY man-panda" –ed
ACE: I stand by my original statement.
Also, I am now dead.
[AFTER THE JUMP: additional man-panda crimes! Seth Dumars!]
You won't see it in the Kickstarter but we just got a big pledge today toward making this year's Hail to the Victors season preview and feature mag.
Draft Street, you ROCK!
Our online fantasy sports partner must know a good bet when they see one, cause they're doubling down on us hitting our goal, and covering the difference between 3rd and 1st class shipping so you'll get your books sooner and in better condition.
Our gratitude is immense; if you want to show yours, I think they'd just like you to keep playing. They have games for all sports—college/NFL/NBA/NHL/PGA/etc.; check out the MLB games going on now. They're also offering to cover a free MGoShirt from our store to one new person who signs up this week.
Did he leave a message? Here's what the sponsor wrote us when he offered to do this:
"Hey guys, it's Larry from the DraftStreet team. We are really excited to team up with you guys to be a part of the MGoBlog annual. We look forward to this magazine every season and even pass it around the office during the year to help our scouting of the Michigan players and the guys they're facing.
If your readers haven't signed up for DraftStreet yet I would highly recommend they check us out. They can sign up for a free MLB draft right now and pick 8 players from 8 tiers. If anyone has any questions please feel free to contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. GO BLUE!"
What's This Then? HTTV is MGoBlog's annual 128-page print magazine, now in its third year of us publishing it on our own. About 30 of those are dedicated to a positional preview of Michigan's 2014 team, and another 20 are team-by-team breakdowns of all the scheduled opponents, with special attention paid to ND/PSU/MSU/OSU. Most of those were Ace, but PSU was done by Mike Pettigano, the Brian of the PSU blogosphere, and BiSB did ND and OSU.
The rest are features. Brian wrote his ode to Gallon, I wrote the decline and fall of the Big Ten Empire, Space Coyote introduces the Nussmeier's offense like so…
…and Mathlete has promised the his study on highly touted prospects will be in today. Dooley's annual article is on the 1964 team (he scored an interview with Bump!) and Kryk's is on Bo's last. There's a couple more features I'm forgetting at the moment. Oh: Craig Ross takes us from the origins of the game to Bennie Friedman. And a former Daily writer investigated where the Wave came from (actually not Michigan but a Michigan game). Anyhoo it ends with our regular roundtable.
Why Kickstarter? We fund each one through Kickstarter so we'll have the capital upfront. No loans = lower cost to make it.
Why do I care about your sponsor? Because we have to pre-pay for the shipping. Last year we had a lot of issues with mailing because the new printer sent them 3rd class bulk, which saved a lot of money but also got some books out reeeeeealllly slow-like, sometimes damaged. We HAVE to go 1st class, but that takes a bit chunk out of us that we didn't really calculate into the initial overhead. Problem solved.
Malzone Gets The Bump
Because way too many people my age think Kanye wrote a great horn line for "Touch The Sky"
After updating their top 100 on Monday, Rivals continued this week with a revised Rivals250 and newly minted four-star prospects. In the former, Shaun Crawford (#111) and Tyree Kinnel (#193) both had very minor drops, while Darrin Kirkland Jr. moved up from #183 to #167. In the latter, Alex Malzone led off the list of non-Rivals250 prospects to earn the four-star bump:
Malzone has consistently upped his play over the last year, doing so again most recently at the RCS Detroit, where he brought home the quarterback MVP award. We already knew he had a strong arm and his team's state title last fall showed he has the intangibles as well. What Malzone showed at the Rivals Camp was pinpoint accuracy on his throws, showing he has taken ownership of his arm mechanics. College coaches were also impressed by his workout this spring, and he accepted an offer from Michigan in May. - Josh Helmholdt, Rivals.com Midwest Recruiting Analyst
While the Michigan commitment certainly earned Malzone a closer look from recruiting analysts, it sounds like he was well on his way to that fourth star with or without the Wolverine pledge. As I said in yesterday's roundtable, I expect ESPN and 247 to follow suit eventually. Either way, Malzone is now officially ineligible for MGoBlog Sleeper of the Year status.
Crawford Update: Mixed Messages
According to Josh Helmholdt, after speaking with the coaches, Shaun Crawford still considers himself a Michigan commit:
— Michael Spath (@Spath_Wolverine) May 22, 2014
Considering he visited Notre Dame last weekend, that'd be a departure from the usual way the coaches have handled these situations—if a prospect takes visits, they're not considered a commitment—but perhaps they've reevaluated how they'd like to handle this type of scenario.
Or, potentially, not. Rumors abound that the Crawfords aren't at all pleased about Michigan's visit policy, and Sam Webb no longer considers Shaun a commit:
— nezz21〽 (@nezzy21) May 19, 2014
I doubt that is just Sam's opinion. Notably, Crawford is no longer listed among Michigan's 2015 class on Scout. There's a rumor on the GBW board that Crawford may not visit Ohio State, which would be good news; that may also be an indication he's leaning towards ND, however. Hopefully this situation clears up one way or the other before too long, as I dislike the soap opera aspect of recruiting as much as anybody.
[Hit THE JUMP for news on several new offers, updates on top targets in both the 2015 and 2016 classes, and much more.]
The T-shirt arms war is being lost. This aggression will not…
…uh. This aggression will be tolerated. Just point that somewhere else, PCP-raging hell-coyote(?).
One dollar this is not a thing. Former Oregon QB Jake Rodrigues is transferring, and Michigan has just been mentioned as a school that has "reached out" by Scout West Coast recruiting guru Greg Biggins. Michigan would have four other available QBs by the time he was again eligible, so it doesn't seem likely he'll be heavily pursued.
The one thing that makes it seem even vaguely possible is the lack of a redshirt on Shane Morris. Rodrigues would have to sit out one year and then would be able to play three, which would restore one-a-year balance to the Morris-Speight-Malzone wave of QBs. Still: doubtful.
FWIW, Michigan did offer his first time around. He went off the board to Oregon in May, so Michigan didn't have much opportunity to make an impact.
I know I said I'd make these separate posts… but there's not enough for a full basketball recruiting post, so I'll just mention it here. CA PF TJ Leaf did visit briefly after playing at an AAU tourney in Indiana before catching his flight back to California:
"Michigan likes to run a point guard, a center and then three players who are versatile and can create," he said. "The coaches have brought up Glenn Robinson to me a couple times before as far as a comparison, but nothing too specific. They say I'm a perfect fit for the offense and I agree. I really like that about Michigan and I also really like the fact that Coach Beilein is under contract there until the 2019-2020 season. I don't have to worry about him not potentially being there if I was to play there."
Glenn Robinson plus about three inches (and minus three inches of vertical) sounds pretty good to me. Sounds like Michigan has sold him on both fit and the fact that Beilein ain't Tom Crean when it comes to legions of fans just waiting for an excuse to pull the lever on his ejector seat.
Michigan would be "at or near" the top with an offer and is looking to decide in January or February.
/waves tiny punt flag. For the Nth consecutive year the Big Ten leads college sports in filthy lucre. I used to think this was terrific until it became clear that the relatively narrow gaps in revenue are meaningless when it comes to competing in the sports that drive all the interest.
Purdue can offer ten million dollars to alum Kevin Sumlin and he's not leaving A&M, and even though SEC outfits have somewhat less money they also run significantly fewer teams than the Big 10 does on average. As the money has spiraled upwards the Big Ten's national reputation has spiraled down. So congratulations, various high-level administrator types who can now afford a third house. Everyone else should shrug.
See also: BTN on basic cable in New York now. That it got done so quickly without terms being disclosed suggests the BTN is coming in at a much lower price than it does elsewhere in the footprint, because obviously. Also the money, it does nossing.
But at least they're working out how to throw less of it away. The Iowa Gazette has a look at bowl ticket guarantees and the changes the Big Ten is finally imposing on them. First a boggling statistic given stubhub exists:
Top-10 teams Ohio State and Clemson rank among the nation’s most devout bowl travelers. However each school absorbed more than 11,100 tickets of their 17,500-ticket requirement to the Orange Bowl. Yet the Orange Bowl posted an attendance of 72,080.
Michigan sold 40.7 percent of its ticket allotment to the Tempe-based Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl. Wisconsin and Minnesota sold barely one-third of their tickets to the Capital One and Texas bowls, respectively. Among Big Ten schools only Iowa (78.2 percent at the Outback) and Michigan State (94.5 percent at the Rose) sold more than half of their allotted tickets this year.
Despite no running game, no quarterback, a late-night December bowl game, and the high probability the market gets flooded with cheap tickets to a game far from sold out Michigan still sold almost half of their allotment. We love vacations, I guess.
Anyway, all those losses are pooled with the bowl payouts and then everyone gets an equal slice, so any "TEAM X LOST MONEY ON BOWL Y" headlines you read are fictional, at least for the Big Ten.
As for changes:
“We’re paying less money in a guarantee, but there will be years where they’ll make more money,” Outback Bowl President Jim McVay said. “There’s a shared revenue deal where the schools are going to keep all the money over a certain threshold."
The schools are going to get less terrible tickets, and of course it's now the Big Ten in charge of where schools go (for the most part). With the newly diverse slate of bowl locations it's no longer just Florida Florida Florida, so people can go other places for the warm-weather vacations they inexplicably crave.
Paternalism! MLive finds some former Michigan players and asks them about paying guys. They are generally against it*. David Cone:
"I think that (allowance) number should come up a little bit. It should. I came from a middle class family, it couldn't have covered Michigan, but they could help me out if I didn't want to eat what the team was eating, I could eat something else. (But others couldn't, and) that number has to come up.
"But I don't think kids should be paid differently. If they're paid differently, then it's a salary. If it's a salary, then you're an employee. And if you're an employee, you can be fired."
That argument is just so frustrating. It is the opposite of reality. Two BU hockey players just got "fired". It happens to a half-dozen Alabama players annually. Kansas State refuses to release Letitia Romero so she can transfer. Employees can enter into contracts that guarantee X in the event they get fired—Charlie Weis is laughing right now about this fact. There is a ton of law about the rights of employees in this country, and none about the rights of student athletes. Reclassifying them puts them in a position of power.
Cone is in favor of a player having right to his likeness, so at least there's that.
"If we give these kids money, we're opening up a can of worms for a different set of problems," former Michigan safety Marcus Ray said. "Casinos, expenditures on drugs and alcohol, giving them the means to finance some of that stuff."
This kind of thinking bugs me. We are perfectly happy to have baseball and hockey players sign contracts with huge signing bonuses without worrying that they'll end up playing Pai Gow in a den of ill repute. Everyone treats the first round of the NFL draft as a watershed moment where you buy your mom a pink Cadillac, but what happens when you're Denard Robinson instead of Teddy Bridgewater? Maturation is a gradual process that everyone approaches differently, and if there are some guys who will waste whatever's provided them (hello, Allen Iverson) that's unfortunate but it's no reason to prevent the guys who will just send it to mom from benefiting properly from their hard work and talent.
*[This is not a unanimous opinion. At the event we had last year with Chris Perry, Marlin Jackson, and Jerome Jackson all three were in favor of some level of payment. Marlin has a quote in this one on the conservative end of things; the other two guys were more strident, IIRC.]
Dey tik r jebs! Mikey Weber got one of those photoshops from Michigan.
u of m cold with these edits pic.twitter.com/kNH5paw29t
— Uncle Mike (@mikeweber25) May 21, 2014
It has been asserted that the photoshoppist* misspelled "All American" as "All Amercian," but I have it on good authority that this is a long game that ends with many hilarious references to the South Park episode "Goobacks" and convinces Mikey Weber that he should attend Michigan because of a cartoon about immigration from the future that probably came out when he was like eight or something.
Also I don't think Weber noticed it.
*[I am less careful about spelling photoshoppist than rappist.]
Interesting. The Eagles are embarking on a draft strategy wherein they draft almost exclusively guys who have graduated. Six of seven draftees this year were college graduates, and that is not a fluke:
Allen, who made the Big Ten Conference's all-academic team while at Wisconsin, is one of six Eagle draftees to be on track to graduate out of the seven players they selected. In today's game, that is unusual: This year, 98 college players went pro after their junior season, a record that marks a 34% increase from 2013 and an 85% increase from 2010. (That total doesn't include players who had playing eligibility left but had already graduated.)
The Eagles' operative theory is based on Patriot and Colt outfits laden with graduates that were successful. They seem to think that football is hard and complicated so smart people are better at it. Also people who go do things even if they are hard.
He told Kelly "the guys with degrees have what you are looking for. They are driven. If it's between two players, a degree might tip the scale. But at the time, I don't think he was even thinking of the NFL."
If there's something behind that it should benefit Michigan, which tends to take the high school equivalent of the guys the Eagles are looking for in the draft. Just as soon as our smart guys are old, anyway.
Welp. Mike Babcock says any rumors about him and Michigan are bunk. All I can say is that the reason I thought it was possible was because guys high up in the Michigan hockey program thought it was likely. Quite high.
|Kenton, OH – 6'4", 240|
|Scout||3*, NR overall
|Rivals||3*, NR overall
NR OLB, #42 OH
|ESPN||4*, NR overall
#21 OLB, #14 OH
|24/7||3*, NR overall
#33 OLB, #18 OH
|Other Suitors||MSU, Tenn, Neb, NW, Mizzou|
|Previously On MGoBlog||Hello post from Ace.|
|Notes||Has a twitter.|
There's no senior reel per se but a guy seems to have taken video of everything Kenton did last year, so a youtube search for Furbush brings up a ton of tiny clips.
Many, many recruits have their heights and weights overestimated. The only organization that more brazenly overstates such things than high school football programs is the WWE. But yes sir, I believe that Noah Furbush is a large man. I might even believe he is from Parts Unknown.
Just watch those clips: Furbush is unidentified most of the time, so as you watch the ballcarrier the experience is one of wondering where the hell that defensive end came from. Except when he's playing defensive end. Then he came from defensive end.
Furbush is already an rather enormous linebacker at 6'4"+ and 240-ish pounds, without the benefit of a college S&C program. And there are a lot of evaluations that suggest his 6'4", 240 may even understate things. The phrase "every bit of" tends to get thrown around. Allen Trieu:
This kid is every bit of his listed size. When we saw him in person, his stature really stood out. He’s not just tall, but he’s long and pretty filled out and has big hands.
The first thing that jumps out about Furbush is his size. … He's every bit of his listed 6-4, 230 pounds, if not a little bigger.
As a result, there is a lot of chatter about Furbush being a future DE or the kind of OLB who is closer to a DE than not—think ND strongside LBs, or Jake Ryan. None of this is coming from Furbush or Michigan, though, who recruited and accepted his commitment with the idea that he would be a middle linebacker, or even a weakside linebacker. I know, man. Weird.
Defensive end is frequently suggested elsewhere.
- DUANE LONG, 247: "I am looking at Furbush now as a defensive end. He is a long kid with a really good frame. If he really is 6-foot-4, 240 pounds, it is just a matter of time before he is 255. Not many kids stay at linebacker at that size."
- TENNESSEE COACHES: "Furbush, who claims to have been timed at 4.6 seconds in the 40-yard dash, said he’s being recruited by Tennessee to play the Leo position, a hybrid defensive end/outside linebacker spot in the Vols’ 4-3 base defense." [ed: OSU also uses the Leo; it's just a fancy name for what we've been calling WDE in the 4-3 under.]
- ALLEN TRIEU, SCOUT: "Michigan is going to try him at middle linebacker, which he hasn’t done a lot of but he could also play SAM or defensive end. He’s a tough, blue-collar type player who goes 100-percent and shows good closing speed. I really like him as a pass rusher and a blitzer. I think he does that much better than he does dropping into space."
There are a few people who think he's got the skills to be an inside linebacker. 247's Clint Brewster is more enthusiastic than the rest of his rating team, stating he's "definitely a four star" in his evaluation and talking about LB skills… albeit OLB ones:
… plays with great aggression and intensity. He runs through ball-carriers with a real nasty disposition. Furbush would be a great fit in the 3-4 defense. He can play over the tight end and has the athletic ability to drop and play in space. Furbush has excellent acceleration to the ball and explodes through tackles. He has excellent instincts and plays with a very high football I.Q. He doesn’t over pursue and does his job on each play. Furbush has outstanding pass rush technique and excels coming off the edge, getting after the quarterback. He shows excellent first-step-quickness. … It was tough to find improvements Furbush can make because it looks like he is coached really well and also plays with outstanding aggressiveness. He has what you look for at linebacker.
All right, even the LB-positive evaluations tend to make you think he's an LB/DE hybrid.
His coach has even higher praise…
“I think as a player he’s going to bring exceptional athleticism,” explained Mauk. “He’s got exceptional explosion, power and is a very physical player. He’s very athletic and has got good speed, good burst and he makes a lot of plays.
“He’s also long and athletic at 6-foot-4, 235-pounds and moves and reacts and changes direction extremely well.
“I think he’s athletic enough to play linebacker,” he said. “But also tough enough and physical enough that if they need to put him down and rush the passer, I think he would be really good at that as well.”
…but coaches being coaches sometimes they judge based on their level of competition instead of projecting kids to college. Elsewhere Mauk is quoted saying Furbush "runs like a defensive back," which seems impossible.
Outside of his coach, most evaluations focus on that explosion and ability to get in the backfield. Long again:
He is an explosive player and comes off the snap like a shot. He shows the top end speed to run down plays on the other side of the field.
Mark Porter of Bucknuts:
…you like his explosion and the way he just destroys the ball carriers with his first four or five plays. He really strikes people and strikes them pure. That’s harder to do than you think. He has that innate ability to destroy people when he hits them."
Sullivan's live report:
had a very physical, nasty streak to his play … good burst from the linebacker position, even if his top-end speed is never going to blow anyone away. He was able to get into the backfield and finish plays repeatedly… stayed very disciplined.
Tim liked him as a two-point SAM linebacker best, FWIW.
At Kenton Furbush rotated through SAM, MLB, and DE, because you can do that in high school when you can throw your teammates into the ballcarrier if you get bored. Furbush actually played most of this season with a cast on his hand, which did little to slow him down. When it was time to take the thing off, he removed it himself with hedge clippers.
Michigan identified Furbush early. They were his first offer; MSU, Tennessee, and a dozen or so others had followed by the time Furbush committed in July. Ohio State had him into camp and there were some reports that he had impressed (there was one photo from the camp that communicated just how huge he is that I regret not being able to find again) and was being seriously considered if some of OSU's targets ended up elsewhere, but without the offer Furbush wasn't waiting around.
He's a good fit for the Pattern, of course. Coach again:
“He’s got a great work ethic and is very dedicated and hard working always trying to improve and get better. He’s got great group leadership skills and is a guy who’s got good morals and is a great student as he places a heavy emphasis on his academic work."
Whether or not Furbush can stick on the interior he has a lot of good arrows. He's a lot closer to a finished product physically than a lot of guys and has a violent upfield acceleration that is likely to stick with him. His rankings aren't great but Michigan's eagerness to offer says something. Furbush didn't play defense until he was a junior and blew up physically without ever showing up at a camp to announce his new found big skrong muscles. It's not often you get guys showing up to games and going "whoah" because a guy is bigger than he's supposed to be.
That might prevent him from doing what Michigan thinks he'll do; it's a pretty good sign for his usefulness somewhere or other. And if they're right…
Etc.: Queensbury rules.
"I would consider myself a pugnacious competitor on the football field," he said.
Why Brennen Beyer? Beyer was a high school OLB who has bounced between SAM, WDE, and now even SDE with middling success. Though Furbush is already almost as large as Beyer is as a senior, Beyer was a higher-regarded recruit because his hand technique was already quite advanced. Both guys are 6'4"; Beyer shows the kind of decent ability in space that allows him to be an asset on zone blitzes that I imagine is Furbush's reasonable upside.
If the coaches are right about Furbush at MLB it's either time to break out the kazoos or Johnny Thompson comparisons.
Guru Reliability: Low. Furbush ignored the camp circuit and played at a school that does not have a ton of high-level recruits. He was basically unheard of before Michigan offered. And despite being the only service to give Furbush four stars, ESPN has no scouting report for him.
Variance: High. Positional uncertainty. Very easy to see him getting sucked into the tweener vortex.
Ceiling: High. If 6'4" MLB works out that's pretty nice.
General Excitement Level: Moderate. Boom or bust prospect.
Projection: Your guess is as good as mine. Michigan will try the MLB thing for his freshman year because in the over that's where he fits until he's 260, if he does end up hitting that weight. A redshirt would make sense for a guy who's going to take some time to find a home.
Down the road, if Michigan goes back to the under he ends up at either SAM or WDE unless he is actually Brian Urlacher—unlikely. Once he gets much above 250 he's either going to have to be an athletic freak or move down to the line, and that'll take a couple years max.
Camps are forming around Malzone: is he a program savior who just happened to be born in the right state rooting for the right team, or is he a Plan B kind of guy you'd expect to go to State in a heretofore "normal" year? Where would you put him on the Cone-Henson Scale?
Explanation of the Cone-Henson Scale of Quarterback Recruit Excitement Level:
Cone is the guy you get when Henne just completed his freshman season, and you only hope to see in freestyle rap videos or junk time against Delaware State; Henson was the late-'90s equivalent of top overall player in the country. He who cannot be charted not charted--went back to '98 so it won't be the "Cone-Mallett" scale. I have them ranked worst to first within the categories, which are:
- Need the Dudes: David Cone ('05), Justin Feagin ('08), Jermaine Gonzalez ('00), Spencer Brinton ('01transfer), Russell Bellomy ('11), Jason Forcier ('06)
- Seems Like Our Kind of Guy: Steve Threet ('07 transfer), Wilton Speight ('13), Tate Forcier ('09), Clayton Richard ('03), Andy Mignery ('99), Matt Gutierrez ('02), John Navarre ('99), Shane Morris ('13)
- Hey-O!: Devin Gardner ('10), Chad Henne ('04), Ryan Mallett ('07), Drew Henson ('98)
Ace: I'd say Malzone fits snugly into the middle category. I expect that by the end of the recruiting cycle, if not sooner, he'll be a four-star or close to it on all of the recruiting services—Scout already has him there, the Rivals guys are hinting he'll get the bump when the non-Rivals250 four-stars are released Wednesday, and ESPN left him entirely unranked despite a glowing evaluation. 247 at least ranks Malzone, but has him behind a few players with very limited offers—the pro-style QB three spots in front of him on their position rankings holds this offer sheet: Arkansas State, Charleston Southern, Georgia State, Marshall, Middle Tennessee State. I think Malzone's gonna jump that guy.
|In '96, Jason Kapsner was a recruit on par with Mallett. Michigan didn't take a QB in '97 but people figured with Kaps, Dreisbach and Brady on the roster, Henson might have to wait until 2001 for the roster to clear out. [SI]|
Also supporting Malzone as an "our kind of guy" recruit is the timing of his commitment; if Michigan didn't feel he was capable of being a quality college starter, they wouldn't have offered him eight months before Signing Day in a class with room for just one quarterback. Also, Malzone seemed like a prospect who would've committed to Michigan regardless of when they offered—being a Wolverine was clearly a lifelong dream of his—and U-M evaluated plenty of highly ranked QB prospects; there was no reason to offer when they did if they didn't believe he'd be able to supplant Morris (or Speight) when the time comes.
Finally, there's his film, various camp evaluations, and recent offers; all point to Malzone as an accurate passer with solid arm strength and the intelligence to quickly absorb and take command of a playbook. The area most cited for improvement last fall, Malzone's baseball-influenced mechanics, had become a source of praise by this spring's camp season. His height (6'2") and lack of a Henne/Mallett/Morris-level cannon will probably keep him from being an NFL prospect; that doesn't so much matter at the college level, however, and I see no reason he can't succeed as a starter at Michigan.