|WHERE||The Orange Bowl,
December 30th, 2016
|THE LINE||M -7|
Michigan and FSU are both vying to prove to the world that they are the top five team they were purported to be before the season, so the Orange Bowl has some stakes. You know the picture above, and you know that it came after Michigan beat a very good Alabama team in this game. Playoff or not, there will be a flaming spear in the field tomorrow and that means quite a bit.
Not that I have to tell anyone who's playing under Jim Harbaugh that.
Run Offense vs FSU
FSU has a good-but-not great defense prone to breakdowns. S&P+ has them 18th in the country overall; they're 31st against the run. FSU is relatively good at preventing "successful" plays and bad at preventing big ones. They rank 103rd in S&P+'s explosiveness metric, though the raw numbers are more positive. They're middle of the pack in the ACC at 20+ yard runs ceded.
A whole season picture may be excessively harsh, however. FSU was bombed in back to back games by Louisville and South Florida early in the season; since they've crushed various bad ground games and suffered the likes of North Carolina and NC State to squeeze out four yards a pop. Michigan's rush offense is 42nd in S&P+, not in the same class as UL (1st nationally) or USF (8th), and they can expect a struggle.
DT Derrick Nnadi drives the bus for FSU; his PFF +24 as a rush defender came in just 480 snaps. That's about 50% better than any of Michigan's diverse and sundry interior DL on a per-snap basis. FSU's production falls off after that, with a couple of guys around +10 and then some other folks who have scraped above zero. Brian Burns, a five-star recruit rushed to the starting lineup, is the weak point. This is because he is a 220 pound WDE.
The rest of the defense has been decidedly meh, especially with starting safeties Derwin James and Ermon Lane ruled out. LB Josh Sweat has been up and down, offsetting a solid run grade with dismal pass rush; fellow starting LBs Matthew Thomas and Ro'Derrick Hoskins are almost perfectly average. The secondary is poor in rush D, and with some young or inexperienced players trying to fill Lane's shoes there's a decent chance a run that reaches the third level finds air.
Getting there is rather the trick for a Michigan rushing offense that's scuffled late in the year. Michigan has two good OL in Mason Cole and Erik Magnuson; the remainder of the line has been sketchy at best. While FSU presents a couple weaknesses OSU didn't have, Nnadi is about as good as Iowa's Jaleel Johnson, and Johnson dominated his matchup on the interior.
Michigan will move the ball in fits and starts; expect some big plays and some second and thirteens.
KEY MATCHUP: BEN BREDESON versus A MONTH OF PRACTICE TIME. Best bet for Michigan is for Bredeson to get radically better a la a few players from last year's bowl game. Nobody else has the kind of upward mobility he does, and if Michigan doesn't get a better performance out of their OL than they did against OSU it's going to be a lot of grunting for little product.
[Hit THE JUMP for oh man this OL versus Michigan's DL]
On September 7, 2013, Ryan Glasgow stepped onto the turf at Michigan Stadium in front of 115,109 fans (and another 8.65 million watching at home) for what was undoubtedly the biggest game of his life. Six minutes and 30 seconds of game-time later, Glasgow stepped into the turf at Michigan Stadium; just a redshirt freshman playing in his second game, he was double-teamed by future first-round NFL Draft pick Zack Martin and future third-round pick Chris Watt on the second play of Notre Dame’s second drive with such brutal swiftness that one of his shoes got stuck in the turf and failed to make the six-yard journey downfield with the rest of Glasgow.
The Notre Dame game was the first in-season wake-up call for a player whose time at Michigan has been shaped by a series of well-timed conversations and self-aware redirection. “We’re watching film that Sunday, getting coached hard—I mean, just got absolutely destroyed, but I think that served a purpose,” Glasgow says. “It kind of made me realize this is college football. People will just destroy you on the other team if you’re not ready to play.”
That there have been plays for a coaching staff to critique involving Glasgow in a Michigan uniform is amazing considering the mind-bending alternative, and that has nothing to do with his status as a former walk-on or any depth issues present in the early Hoke years. That Glasgow played football at all is shocking considering his parents’ stance on the sport.
Glasgow’s parents, Drs. Steven and Michele Glasgow, decided when their children were young that they didn’t want them to play football. Hoping to steer their kids toward something less violent and aggressive, they first presented them with the opportunity to play other sports as an outlet for their energy. In second grade, though, Ryan turned the pressure up on his father.
He approached his father one day and told him that he wanted to play football. The local youth league didn’t start until kids were in fifth grade, so it came as something of a surprise that Ryan was pitching his case so early. Ryan’s father told Ryan to talk to his mother, and Ryan informed him that she said Ryan needed to talk to him. He told Ryan they stood together on the issue and would prefer he not play, and Ryan went for the ace up his sleeve. “I said, ‘Why do you want to play football?’ And this floored me, actually, and this was a manipulative thing that he said,” Ryan’s father says. “He said, ‘Dad, I want to play football because you played football.’ I said, ‘Well, that’s not going to work, Ryan.’” (Dr. Glasgow played football at Penn.) His father told Ryan that he and his brother Graham were physically gifted enough to play many other sports.
Ryan dropped his head and started walking away when his father asked if there was another reason he wanted to play. He turned, his eyes lit up, and he said, ‘Dad, I want to run into people!’ His father then asked if there were any other reasons Ryan wanted to play. He had one more reason at the ready: ‘I want to knock ‘em down, dad,’ His father burst into laughter and told him that he could play. Ryan couldn’t believe what he just heard. “I said, ‘Look, if you think the greatest thing in the world is going out there and running into people and knocking people down then yeah,’” Dr. Glasgow recalls. “‘I mean, if we’re not letting you play football then you’re just going to be doing that some other way, so at least you should be out there with coaches in an organized sport and learn how to channel it and sort of go from there,’ and that was it. That was how they got permission to play. We had really planned on not letting them play; it was a very important thing to him.”
[After THE JUMP: “They can test how fast, how high, how much you lift, but some kids, they’re just football players.”]
[ed-Seth: Special thanks this year to Matt Gase, Michigan grad and CEO of Eat Well Embrace Life, for being a most excellent sponsor of Joe Pichey’s most excellent recipes. I don’t know if I’d have tried his stuff if he wasn’t a sponsor, but now that I have I freak out when my wife forgets to pick up more. He’s also got some plain ones out there now that I plan to try.]
As soon as I knew we were playing in the Orange Bowl against the Seminoles, I started thinking CUBAN PORK. I asked a few friends that may or may not be cheering for the other side if they enjoyed a good CUBANO while attending FSU. They all agreed that it’s a Florida staple. That made my decision easy for the last recipe of the 2016 season. This one can even be done in the oven and will make your house smell INSANELY good.
[Hit THE JUMP for a very buttered bun]
Previously: Florida State Offense
As it turns out, not having a functional passing game against Florida State's defense is a serious issue. Florida, a subpar-at-best running team, managed a respectable 4.6 yards on 23 non-sack rushes against FSU. On their 41 dropbacks, however, they gained only 149 yards through the air and lost 46 on six sacks for a total average of 2.5 yards per pass play.
Michigan, with a month to prepare a superior offense, will fare better than Florida. They'll still deal with the same core issue: how do you slow down FSU's pass rush enough to consistently move the ball?
Personnel: Seth's diagram [click to embiggen]:
FSU is dealing with serious injury problems in their secondary. Star free safety Derwin James was lost early in the season; starting strong safety Nate Andrews tore his pectoral against Miami; replacement Ermon Lane, who made a midseason move from wide receiver, is out after suffering a foot injury in practice. What had been arguably FSU's strongest position group is now piecing a lineup together with scotch tape and chewing gum:
With Lane out FSU will likely move Trey Marshall back from the star position, and move true freshman Kyle Meyers into his spot. Meyers has played quite a bit this season with Marshall moving back and forth between the safety and star positions, as well as an injury that kept him out of the NC State game.
If FSU wants to keep the physical Marshall close to the line of scrimmage to help out against the Wolverines downhill rushing attack, then it will be sophomore defensive back Calvin Brewton that will play opposite of sophomore A.J. Westbrook. Brewton has played sparingly this season, but he has played more than true freshman Carlos Becker.
Florida wasn't able to test FSU's safeties at all in the passing game; that shouldn't be the case with Michigan.
Base Set? 4-3, often with a standup weakside DE; FSU uses the same "BUCK" term for that position that DJ Durkin used in his time at Michigan.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the breakdown.]
Much of the information in this post is provided by Pro Football Focus.
So, yeah, that guy might be a problem.
Personnel. Seth's diagram [click to embiggen]:
While FSU's most serious injury issues are on defense, they're making some adjustments on offense, too. Senior left guard Kareem Are is expected back in the lineup after missing the last two games with a concussion. His replacement in those games, redshirt freshman Cole Minshew, is now locked in a battle at the other guard spot with redshirt junior Wilson Bell, who's also dealing with some legal issues. Minshew grades out as the best of the three, albeit in a much smaller sample size, so we have him projected to start over Bell.
The other injury situation to keep an eye on is at receiver. Funchess-like jumbo wideout Auden Tate was spotted in a non-contact jersey at Monday's practice. They're also likely to make a change at kicker. Logan Tyler, who's 1/2 on the year, is taking first-team reps over Ricky Aguayo (brother of Roberto), who's 17/24 but looked awful against Florida, missing well short on a 49-yarder and getting a low live-drive 44-yarder blocked.
Spread, Pro-Style, or Hybrid? Hybrid that leans pro-style. FSU spent a lot of snaps in the gun with three wideouts on the field, but they also go under center and play a fullback on about a quarter of their snaps.
Basketball on Grass or MANBALL? FSU has a pretty diverse running game. They like getting Dalvin Cook to the edge and they'll do it in a variety of ways: zone stretch, toss sweeps, and counters, along with a couple screens, got him into plenty of space against Florida.
Hurry it up or grind it out? Right in the middle; FSU is 55th in adjusted pace.
[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the breakdown.]
According to his Twitter bio, Michigan long snapper Scott Sypniewki won’t be returning to the program for his redshirt senior season in 2017. Sypniewski has been Michigan’s starting long snapper since 2014, appearing in 34 games over the past three seasons. Redshirt sophomore PWO Andrew Robinson appears to be next in line to take over as Michigan's starting long snapper.
Sypniewski’s departure leaves Michigan with 25 available scholarships. They have 26 recruits currently committed; with the usual expected (and unexpected) offseason attrition, the 32-man class we’ve heard rumblings about seems feasible from the perspective of available scholarships.
Singleton already has experience playing in the Big House. [Patrick Barron]
This is the first tab I opened when preparing this post:
Paramus (N.J.) Catholic 2017 linebacker Drew Singleton is a “no doubt” prospect when his time comes, according to his head coach Chris Partridge.
The 6-foot-2, 215-pound Singleton played as a freshman in a run to a state championship last fall, and will blossom this fall as a starter.
“He’s special,” Partridge said. “He’s a freak.”
Chris Partridge would move on to Michigan, where he's now the linebackers coach, after Drew Singleton's sophomore season. This evening, Singleton announced that he'll once again be Partridge's pupil, choosing Michigan over Clemson, Michigan State, and a host of top-tier offers. Even though Singleton missed the vast majority of his senior season with an ACL tear, his rankings suggest he's still regarded as a "no doubt" prospect.
Here's his video announcement:
4*, #4 OLB,
4*, #4 OLB,
4*, 82, #3 ILB,
4*, 95, #5 OLB,
4*, #3 OLB,
Singleton has maintained a lofty standing in the rankings despite missing the majority of his senior season. Only ESPN has him outside the top 100 overall; they ranked him 201st in their initial release and had him as high as #125 in their April update. Encouragingly, the site that has by far the most scouting available on Singleton, Rivals, is the one that ranks him the highest; he made it as high as #33 overall in their rankings before sliding back while sidelined with the knee injury.
There's a tighter consensus on Singleton's size: he's listed at 6'2" and 214-218 pounds on each of the four sites. He'll probably be a WILL at Michigan, though he's got the range and coverage ability to potentially play SAM.
[Hit THE JUMP for scouting, video, and more.]
The basketball program apparently wanted in on Commitmas, too. Michigan picked up their first hoops commit for 2018 yesterday when three-star Detroit East English Village Prep point guard David DeJulius chose the Wolverines mere days after getting the offer, which came on the heels of DeJulius pouring in 46 points in front of John Beilein.
While a Michigan offer didn't materialize until this week, Beilein had his eye on DeJulius for a long time, per TMI's Brice Marich:
“They have always been recruiting me, but just offered me a week ago,” DeJulius told The Michigan Insider. “I always grew up wanting to go to Michigan and I wanted to commit then when they offered, but I wanted to think and make sure it wasn’t just from my emotions. I wanted to think it through and make sure I was making the right decision. There is no better decision than this because it is such a great environment, great education and great program.
DeJulius said Beilein has watched him play "like 20 times" dating back to his freshman year, and assistant coach Saddi Washington was recruiting him back when Washington was at Oakland.
DeJulius is the first commit in the 2018 class. There's room for two more as the scholarship count currently stands; it's near-inevitable that one or two more spots will open up. He's the third point guard Michigan has taken in three classes, following freshman Xavier Simpson and 2017 commit Eli Brooks.
|4*, 83, #22 PG||
3*, 89, #22 PG,
3*, #32 PG,
Rankings for the 2018 class are all over the place as the various services catch up on scouting prospects. ESPN is the highest on DeJulius but has nothing in the way of a scouting report; Scout gave him a cursory two stars; Rivals and 247 split the difference.
DeJulius is listed between 6'0" (Scout, 247) and 6'2" (ESPN) and 188-190 pounds. While he's probably a point guard, at least primarily, he could slide over to the two in Beilein's system as well.
[Hit THE JUMP for scouting, video, and more.]
Caleb Swanigan [Gold and Black dot com]
Part One (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, MSU, Minnesota) found here.
Teams are listed in alphabetical order.
There weren’t high expectations for the Cornhuskers entering the season, and they look as if they’re one of the worst teams in the Big Ten. They opened the season with four straight wins – including a victory over a solid Dayton squad at a neutral site – before losing six of their next seven. Most of those losses came to quality teams, but a home loss to Gardner Webb on Sunday was an unfortunate sign – and they barely beat Southern two days later. Nebraska made the NCAA Tournament in year two of the Tim Miles era, but they look destined for their third straight losing season since then and it’s easy to wonder whether he’ll be able to right the ship in Lincoln.
The offense is the problem for Nebraska this year, especially the shooting: NU is outside the top 300 nationally in eFG% and are just hitting 28.6%(!) of their three-point attempts on the season, the third-worst mark of any major conference team. Outside of Tai Webster, few Huskers can get to the free throw line for easy points, so the Nebraska offense is frequently mired in scoring slumps. Webster has been a pleasant surprise in his senior year; the Kiwi guard has upped both his usage and efficiency and is distributing the ball as well as he has in his entire career. Ed Morrow, a sophomore power forward who also plays some center, has been Nebraska’s second-best player and is a force on the offensive glass.
Anyways, it would be a surprise if Nebraska wasn’t near (or at) the bottom of the conference standings come March.
[Northwestern, OSU, PSU, Purdue, Rutgers, and Wisconsin after the JUMP]
The tradition continues. See previous for Why.
: I am trying to surprise my husband with a bowl trip this year but I don’t know how to communicate where we’re going. I thought we were going to the Orange Bowl, but then I looked it up and it said some sort of credit card company.
Words are used to convey meanings that the listener is already conditioned to understand. The words enter the ear canal and are interpreted by the brain into cognitive thoughts.
For example here’s how you refer to all of this year’s bowl games in English:
(bold are the ones where they’ve done away with the real names. All times are EST. Click each logo to get the full size. Use however you like.)
* semi-final games.