well that's just, like, your opinion, man
I have returned from vacation and, naturally, there's a lot of catching up to do. Michigan added a camp commit in Channing Stribling while every Big Ten school picked up at least one pledge over the past two weeks. Yes, even Indiana, which is now officially on the board. Changes since the last rankings:
6-11-12: Nebraska picks up Kevin Gladney. Northwestern picks up Sam Coverdale. Indiana picks up Isaac Griffith.
6-12-12: Caleb Benenoch decommits from Michigan State.
6-14-12: Penn State picks up Brandon Bell.
6-15-12: Iowa picks up Malik Rucker.
6-16-12: Nebraska picks up Nathan Gerry.
6-17-12: Nebraska picks up Gabriel Miller. Wisconsin picks up Hayden Biegel and Jazz Peavy.
6-18-12: Minnesota picks up Alex Mayes.
6-19-12: Ohio State picks up Johnny Townsend. Northwestern picks up Eric Joraskie.
6-20-12: Michigan picks up Channing Stribling. Michigan State picks up Darian Hicks. Nothwestern picks up Xavier Menifield.
6-21-12: Illinois picks up Caleb Day. Iowa picks up Derrick Mitchell Jr. Minnesota picks up Owen Salzwedel.
6-22-12: Illinois picks up Bryce Douglas. Iowa picks up Sean Welsh and Andre Harris. Northwestern picks up Hunter Niswander. Minnesota picks up Chris Streveler.
6-23-12: Illinois picks up Darius Mosely.
|Big Ten+ Recruiting Class Rankings|
|Rank||School||# Commits||Rivals Avg||Scout Avg||24/7 Avg||ESPN Avg||Avg Avg^|
^The average of the average rankings of the four recruiting services (the previous four columns). The figure is calculated based on the raw numbers and then rounded, so the numbers above may not average out exactly.
NOTE: Unranked recruits are counted as two-star players.
On to the full data after the jump.
Stribling The Stripling
Channing Stribling via MNBN
The most notable development from Michigan's summer camp was of course the offer to and commitment from NC CB Channing Stribling. The Hello post was pretty light on scouting content because there wasn't any before Michigan's camp kicked off. Let me try to fill in a couple of holes. First, Maize and Blue News has a bit on Stribling's post-offer activities:
In more than 10 years of attending the Michigan summer camp, Channing Stribling pulled something today that we don't remember seeing before. A rarity at the very least. In the past, the rule of thumb was that if a player earned a scholarship offer at the camp, they were done. Whether they committed or not, it was sort of a “mission accomplished” type of event and the player would either head home or stick around to watch without competing. Not so with Stribling.
The young defensive back pledged to the Wolverines this morning, then went out and kept working to improve his game. He continued to attentively go through drills and was even running full speed demonstrating the wide receiver position for other campers, where many are often inclined to take it easy. In the sweltering 90 degree temperatures he had to endure, it speaks well of the work ethic of the Wolverines’ latest commitment.
247 got some quotes from his coach($):
“One of things that made him attracted to them is his size. I think he might grow another inch. Long arms. He controls his body very well. You see a lot of kids in high school that size, they have a tough time managing where everything is going, but Channing does a great job with body control.”
He is declared the "epitome of an athlete." Coincidentally, that is the working title of Charlie Weis's soon-to-be-published memoirs.
GBW's Kyle Bogenshutz has an excellent article on how Stribling went from random guy in a gray helmet to Michigan's latest commitment($):
“I think the first day after we did drills and we did Air Force ball [ed: must be a drill] and I started doing little moves,” he explained to GoBlueWolverine, “and they asked me what my name was—and I told them I was Channing Stribling, and they started looking at me more the next few days." …
“It was the next day, that next night after Air Force ball, that they asked me to go meet the defensive coordinator. And I met him and he said he’s going to look at me the next few days,” said Stribling.
Unfortunately paywalled, but if you've got the subscription check it out.
Stribling's commitment may have yoinked a scholarship offer from 2013 OH CB Aregeros Turner, who impressed($) but did not leave camp with an offer. Despite having offers from Washington, Tennessee, and Illinois he still told 247 Michigan was "probably like my top school or at least top two right now." In the event of a DB decommit (not likely) or an open slot he may be a guy to keep an eye on.
2014 Caremeter: further incremented
In non-Stribling news, Michigan offered a handful of 2014 kids. Most prominent amongst them is MI WR Drake Harris, a dual-sport star with a Michigan State offer in basketball but possibly a higher ceiling in football. Sam Webb's News article this week is on Harris:
"(Brady) Hoke sat down with us and was reiterating again how much he liked Drake," said Harris' father, Mike. "It was nice. He definitely made Drake feel like they really want him. It was fun for him. We had a good time down there. Hoke is straight up and real, and I like guys like that. He let me know what he thought and I like that. It was definitely a great feel."
He's still figuring out what he wants to do in college.
Other 2014 offerees included FL WR Corey Holmes (first offer) , OH LB Joe Henderson (first offer), PA S Montae Nicholson (PSU, Pitt), and DC CB D'Andre Payne (Auburn, Arkansas, Georgia, OSU, VT).
Cass Tech CB Damon Webb would have been amongst them if Michigan hadn't fired one off a week earlier after seeing him at the SMSB camp. He impressed again. Pargoff:
Rising junior Damon Webb of Detroit (Mich.) Cass Tech continued to live up to the hype, showing up for the afternoon session and performing exceptionally well. He breaks and closes so quickly and attacks the ball in the air that there were times it appeared quarterbacks had mistaken him for their primary target. As we noted after the Sound Mind Sound Body Camp, he is easily a top-100 prospect for 2014.
The rest of these guys are just names at this juncture. We can try to fix that. Webb on Nicholson:
This ball-hawking safety had to be the leader in interceptions during his time on campus Tuesday. He showed great range and made quarterbacks pay for any passes they hung in the air.
At 6-3 and 200 pounds, Nicholson is big enough to play strong safety, but his exceptional leaping ability and ball skills make him tailor-made to roam the field at free. The surprising thing about this talented youngster is his camp performance was below his own standards.
That begs the question — if he earns a Michigan scholarship on one of his "off days," how good is he when he's on?
For his part, Holmes tweeted out a "mission accomplished" after landing his offer. He then told 247 Michigan had the "early edge($)" with him:
“The offer just kind of gave me butterflies because I have always been a big Michigan fan,” said Holmes. “It was my goal to earn an offer there and I’m really glad I could accomplish it. Michigan is definitely my top school right now.”
He wants to get his commitment out of the way before his senior season, which still gives him a full year to come to a decision. Pargoff:
Corey Holmes continued to display excellent speed, quickness and athleticism as he did yesterday, but his performance late in the morning session was marred by dropped passes. He definitely has all of the athletic ability needed to earn a scholarship offer from the Wolverines, but he needs to become more consistent with his hands.
He goes to St. Thomas Aquinas, a school Michigan has recruited frequently over the last decade or so. They've had little success when it comes to actually securing Aquinas kids but that's usually because they've gone to Notre Dame instead. It's a school that sends a lot of guys North, is what I'm saying.
Payne says some nice things about Mallory($) and vaguely positive things about Michigan but it seems like he's a long way from figuring things out. He says he'll be in for a visit to see what the game atmosphere is like. Henderson is a 6'4", 220 pound guy as a rising junior so he would be a SAM at M.
Meanwhile, 2014 IN WR Dominque Booth did not get his camp offer but feels one is coming($) after a couple of games in his junior season.
Quarterbacks : wolves :: scholarship : t-bone steak equidistant from them
Michigan has not thrown out any offers at quarterback yet but after getting a look at MI QB Chance Stewart and OH QB DeShone Kizer one or both is probably going to get the call soon. Tremendous caught up with Stewart after the camp:
Chance was at Michigan all day Tuesday after earning an offer from Wisconsin last Sunday. Chance felt like he performed really well at Michigan, and even "threw better than I did at Wisconsin".
He was able to talk a little with the Michigan coaches about a potential offer and they told him "they had to evaluate a couple other guys at their camp, and after camp they will figure it out". he went on to say "they said we would be in contact by the end of the week".
Michigan and Wisconsin would be Stewart's top two if Michigan does pull the trigger, and given what Stewart told 247($)…
“I really hope I can pick up that offer because Michigan is a special place to me. They have the best of the best in everything and I feel like Coach Borges and I really communicated well and he helped me become a better player at camp.”
…I don't think Wisconsin would have much of a chance, especially since he says he wants to make a decision as soon as possible.
TomVH and Chantel Jennings make it sound like it's edge Stewart($) in an article on offensive top performers:
2014 Chance Stewart -- Looks the part of a top quarterback. He had a few struggles but took well to coaching and made some nice throws. He's a Michigan kid who's familiar with the program.
2014 DeShone Kizer -- Had a shaky start but brought it back together towards the end of the day on Wednesday. He got his technique down and threw well in the final one-on-ones.
The timeline Kizer was given($) also suggests the staff might prefer the instate kid:
“(Borges) explained to me that he didn’t want to offer an 2014 quarterbacks before camp, and he doesn’t feel he has ‘that guy’ yet,” Kizer said. “He wants to see a couple of games at the beginning of the season and see if I improve from camp before he makes any moves.”
Either way, if Michigan picks up a four-star-ish guy after Shane Morris that's moving towards the Gutierrez-Henne-Richard embarrassment of riches (that was just enough to get Michigan one starting QB—lottery tickets, man).
A window of Derrick Green hope
You know what they say about getting a kid on campus and Seeing What Happens($).
“I want to get out there again to speak with the head coach,” Green said. “I’m definitely going to get back there. I want to go up there and see what (Brady Hoke) has to say – what he likes about me, why they want me, and just to get a feel for who I might be playing for one day.”
That visit won't happen until the fall, though, at which point Michigan may be ultrasounding athletic-looking pregnant ladies.
The Distant Future, The Year 2000
Michigan pulled the trigger on what I believe is their first 2015(!) offer when they slyly implied but did not promise 2015 KY RB Damien Harris that he would get an offer in August of his senior year… which is still two years away for the rising sophomore. Obviously this dude is a manchild. Webb:
At 5-11 and 195 pounds, he is powerfully built, but still very fluid; he does yoga to maintain that fluidity. In drills and 7-on-7 action he showed great burst and caught the football very well. One really can't fully appreciate how talented and physical Harris is without the pads on. One look at his film and those things become abundantly clear. Michigan clearly thought so. So too did Fresno State, Ohio, Wake Forest, Kentucky, Illinois and Tennessee.
Damien Harris of Berea (Ky.) Madison Southern was easy to spot among the running back group. Standing in at around 5-10, 200 pounds, the young rising sophomore already has the build of an upperclassman. He showed off plenty of speed and skill to go with that. While it seems incredibly early to offer a 2015 prospects, it shouldn’t be a huge surprise that the Wolverines pulled the trigger to do just that. He really was that impressive.
I think Webb or Trieu mentioned that Harris was a Michigan fan who geeked out when Mike Hart was one of his position coaches at the camp. I'm guessing we'll see an article from one of the premium sites that can confirm or dis-confirm this in the near future.
Next week's event
That would be the visit($) of FL WR Alvin Bailey, Leon McQuay III teammate and four-star slot receiver. FSU is a considerable favorite; maybe Hoke can shake that assumption.
Recently offered CA WR Darren Carrington commits to Oregon.
Etc.: Michigan does not offer a kicker. 2014 five-star Jabrill Peppers says M will make his top ten($). Damon Webb says he's been a Michigan fan his whole life($) and commiting early is a "possibility" but he doesn't think it will happen.
I'll miss you, Birds+Books APR image header, except I'll probably still use you
APR threat: downgraded. My annual fretting about the first-year Rich Rodriguez number has been a full-post kind of thing the last few years. This year it gets downgraded to a UV bullet because of this number: 984. That's Michigan's most recent one-year score, and it's shiny enough to get Michigan over the 930 Mendoza line even with that 897 anchor. Hurray for everyone.
Unless Michigan experiences another flurry of transfers—unlikely—the next few June days on which everyone reports APR scores because it's the middle of June will be opportunities to reflect on what a swell guy Brady Hoke is. Officially standing down on APR alert.
Michigan's other sports are all doing well, as per usual.
Playoff: almost officially happening. It seems like we've had articles about the inevitably of a four-team playoff for months now. At some point if the thing is so inevitable people would stop writing about it. No one's writing about players being required to wear helmets this fall. Anyway, it seems like there has finally been a meeting with an actual single endorsed plan. It is this (emphasis added):
While the B.C.S. commissioners did not announce the details of how they would pick the teams for the four-team playoff, a source with direct knowledge of the decision said the plan is for a selection committee to “more than likely” pick the four best teams.
There will be a preference given to conference champions in the selection, but how much is yet to be determined. Strength of schedule will also be strongly considered. There have yet to be any discussions about how the finances will be split among the teams.
The selection committee will subject a sport steeped in regional biases to a different type of controversy, although one that will likely die down a bit now that there will be semifinal and final games. The two semifinal games are expected to be played within the bowl system and the national championship will be bid on like the Super Bowl.
In a joint statement, the 11 conference commissioners and the Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick said that they had reached a “consensus behind a four-team, seeded playoff, while recognizing that the presidents will certainly present their views, including a discussion of a Plus-One.”
That's lip service. Presidents are going to rubber stamp it. Pop champagne? It could be better but it's a huge improvement. Other than the Big Ten's self-defeating opposition to home playoff games leading them to perpetual road travels, I'm cool with it. FWIW, even without preferences for conference champions, the SEC would only have grabbed multiple bids three times.
As for where the first one will be, bet on Dallas.
Why not both? This is a revamped sports bar split into MSU and Michigan halves.
VERNON TWP. — Uncle Buck’s Northern Exposure is making a dramatic change in format — from a nearly topless dance club to big-screen sports bar.
In fact, it was an overload of drama, says owner Ken Canfield, that prompted the change, including a different name: Crossroads Sports Bar.
Missed opportunity there.
Hockey schedule: again with the front-loading. Michigan's released the hockey schedule, which again has an extremely light back end. Nine of Michigan's final 12 games are away from home (one is at the Joe) and there are just six home games (and the U18 game) in 2013. Not like they could do anything about that what with the conference going away next year. Price of leaving.
Michigan plays no road games in the slim nonconference portion of the schedule. They've got two against RIT, another one-off versus Bentley, the game at MSG against Cornell, and the outdoor GLI. They'll open against Tech and get WMU or MSU in the second game.
I hope this isn't an indication of where Michigan's nonconference schedule will go when they join the Big Ten. It probably isn't. Red has sought out tough competition as frequently as possible since the program got its footing, and with a whopping 14 games to play with—16 if M makes the trip to Alaska—they should have room for annual series against the big powers.
Context at Maize and Brew.
Should you flip your defense or not? Generally the answer is "not" these days because of spread hurry up stuff. You may remember Michigan doing this a bit early in the year, but that was a stop-gap measure:
Why to Flip
Flipping the defensive positions based on strength of the Offensive formation started as a way to keep teaching simple.
Rather than having to teach a Defensive End to play either lined up either inside a Tight End or outside shade on a Tackle, you could teach him to always align to the strength, meaning he spent all of his time on the Tight End.
The teaching got simpler, as players had to know less about the entire game, and more about their own little piece of tunnel vision. It became easy to know very little about the game while still being a very good and knowledgeable player about your own position.
No more, because if you flip your bits people will run hurry-up on your face and get you confused. Better to have a general understanding these days than a hyper-specific focus. That's a subtle way in which the game's generally increasing specialization is taking a step back.
FWIW, the coach who posted this noted that a number of guys are using field and boundary calls to set their defense instead of opponent alignment. (IE, you line up to the wide side or short side of the field no matter what the offense does.) FWIW, Mattison is one.
More uniform concepts. This time Notre Dame does it to themselves:
The second comment is an image of Chris Hall—life's winner—and his glorious Tom Hammond tie. Well done.
Etc.: UMHoops gives the 1,000-foot view on Michigan's five-man 2012 basketball recruiting class. Rothstein horning in on my season intro column by discussing Hoke's inadvertent marketing genius. Baumgardner has a series on key moments from last football season. I disagree with Baumgardner's take on the 49% TD against Iowa—he seems to think the issue there was whether Hemingway was in, but the real problem was the nose of the ball hitting the ground.
Close followers of this site are well aware that for all his faults, Rich Rodriguez was not handed a classic, loaded Michigan roster when he arrived. If you followed his recruiting at all you know he didn’t do the Wolverines any favors with his recruiting during his three years in Ann Arbor. Based on 11 years of recruiting and roster history, I have compiled a look at how Michigan’s talent and experience have ebbed and flowed since 2006 and how many elite caliber classes like the currently assembled 2013 class it will take for Michigan’s talent base to catch up with the nation’s best recruiting programs.
For those interested in how the roster values were calculated, I’ve added a section to the end to explain the methodology.
The Lloyd Peak
How long before he retired he knew when the end was is hard to know, but Lloyd Carr certainly had the roster set up for a great 2006 and 2007. In 2006 Michigan entered the season with the highest rated roster in the Big Ten and trailed only LSU and Miami (YTM) for top marks nationally. Both sides of the ball were well represented, ranked third nationally on both offense and defense. The stacked lineup led Michigan to the brink of their first BCS National Championship game before losing to top ten talent teams in the final two games of the season.
After a disappointing finish to 2006, the roster was even more setup for a big send off for Lloyd Carr in 2007. The roster trailed only USC in terms of overall talent and the offense had a sizeable lead as #1 nationally. Unfortunately, the losses on the defensive side dropped the defense out of the top 10 and were exposed in the first two games, ending Michigan’s national title hopes before the calendar turned to October.
The RichRod Hangover
The 2008 version of Michigan was not a team lacking talent (except for quarterback), but it was a ways from the talent level in Ann Arbor the previous two seasons. The defense rose a bit to sneak back into the top 10, where the loss of the Henne/Hart/Long dropped the offense from #2 in the nation to #16. By the 2010 season things hadn’t gotten better but they hadn’t gotten worse, either. The offense and the defense consistently ranked in the top 15 nationally but the results, especially the GERG effect on the defense never matched up with the talent-level on campus. The roster left for Rodriguez didn’t do him any favors but it was also far above the record and defensive performances that came from it.
The High of Hoke…
…will have to wait. As great as the Hoke recruiting era has begun, it will likely be a few seasons before the dividends begin to payout. The next two seasons will be the two where the roster effects of the Three and Out era will come due. This season the talent level will drop down into the 20s overall and likely stay there for the 2013 season as well before a big jump two years from now when the majority of the Hoke classes move from observers to contributors.
Michigan Vs The Rivals
Michigan dominated the end of the Lloyd era versus all the big three rivals but by 2008 Ohio and Notre Dame both moved into a better roster position. Despite the head to head losses, Michigan maintained an overall roster advantage over Michigan State. That nearly closed over the next two seasons, before the Hoke recruiting pushed Michigan out front once again. By 2015 Michigan should move close to par with Ohio and Notre Dame for the first time since 2008.
Michigan Vs The Best
Despite a lull coming up over the next two seasons, Michigan is poised to move into the upper echelon of national programs in terms of overall program talent. If Michigan can maintain top 5 level classes, by 2015 Michigan will move into the elite group of rosters in the country. Michigan’s projections begin to look a lot like that opening day opponent, with a five year delay. Nick Saban had similar rosters his first two seasons that Michigan is facing in the coming years, before taking off into elite status. Hopefully Michigan doesn’t need to go through the roster manipulation to get there, but with the first two Hoke classes, Michigan is making the first step to achieve a similar roster look as the team that has won 2 of the last 3 national championships.
What it All Means
Even the most die-hard numbers guy like myself knows that at the end of the day these are just numbers on a computer screen and the game is played on the field. The numbers are far from everything. Coaching, luck, player development and other factors are all major contributors to team success. With that said, the composition of the roster does mean a lot. As far back as I have reliable data for roster composition (2005) only Auburn has won a National Championship and not been ranked in the Top 10 for roster talent, and it took one of the greatest individual single-season performances ever for that to happen. Conference championships can be won with middle of the road talent for the conference. Last year Wisconsin won the Big Ten with the 7th highest rated roster in the conference. But over the long haul talent will win out.
Michigan will have more to overcome in the talent department than at any other time in the internet era. 2012 and 2013 will be lean years by Wolverine standards. Thankfully, we have the kind of coaches that have a high likelihood of mitigating that drop through their other talents of player development, in game coaching and for the future with recruiting.
Unlike Lindy’s I’ll do my best to give you a rundown of how I arrived at the valuations for each roster. Each player when recruited is ranked by each service. If they fall out of the Top X for any site, I do my best to approximate a ranking based on stars, position rank and grade where available. That rank is then translated into points. The formula I use is -4.5*ln([Rank]+11)+36. The specific formula was generated to more heavily weight the top players and produce an output where a consensus #1 rated prospect is worth a total of 99 points (summed across the four sites) and bottom of the barrel anonymous 2 stars are worth only a couple points.
Using this system, Michigan’s highest rated recruit was Prescott Burgess in 2003 at 90 points, Kyle Kalis was tops for the incoming class at 69 points and Shane Morris is currently at 79 points. Players are then weighted based on years in the system. Freshman only add 25% of their points to the roster total. 2nd year players (red-shirt freshmen or true sophomores) add 75% of their recruiting value to the overall total and all players in at least their third year in college football get 160% of their recruiting value. These numbers were derived based on actual usage of running backs (split of carries), quarterbacks (split of attempts), receivers (split of catches) and defenders (split of tackles) and then normalized so that the total roster number would approximately equal the sum of the unweighted recruiting points.
The total only counts players still on the roster at the beginning of the season. On the recruiting side a thousand points is usually at least a top ten or better class (The 2013 class is sitting at 1034 points). From the charts above you can see that the best rosters reflect 4-5 great classes and are 4-5,000 points.
Gerund fans rejoice, as NC CB Channing Stribling picked up a camp offer and pulled the trigger immediately. Tremendous is first past the post.
Gene, tell us what we've won!
8 in white. Via the News-Record.
|2*, NR CB||NR||NR||3*, #95 ATH, #40 NC|
Kid may as well be wearing a Guy Fawkes mask. Only one site bothered ranking him in the range of BCS-level college prospects and even they throw up their hands at what position he'll play in college. ESPN has no evaluation for him. The only 247 article on his profile is an honorable mention from a camp designed to find under-the-radar prospects. He was under even that radar. Scout hadn't posted an article on him until he showed at Michigan's camp. Rivals wins a prize for being the most up on the kid by posting one short article($) on him in February. You get the idea. This is a classic camp sleeper.
It's pretty obvious why: at 6'2", 165, Stribling is liable to break in half if the wrong gust of wind catches him. He's a CB/WR at Butler and will come to Michigan as the second very tall corner in the class (OH CB Gareon Conley is the other) after getting raves from the seemingly infinite camp observers.
Some of those raves follow. Tuesday recruiting already featured Sam Webb's take on him as a "camp riser($)":
Channing Stribling, CB, Matthews (NC) Butler, 2013 – How this kid is such a relatively obscure prospect while playing for such a powerhouse program is a mystery. Standing 6-2 and maybe 165-pounds, this Tar Heel State product is extremely fluid (despite his length), and possesses quickness that belies his size. Though not a blazer, he has good football speed. Furthermore, he has really good leaping ability and ball schools. Some schools might be scared away by his slender frame and lack of elite top end speed. Others, meanwhile, might see pure potential… a youngster that could become more explosive once he adds more muscle to his slender frame.
Another rising senior to do very well among the defensive backs was Channing Stribling of Matthews (N.C.) Butler. He is more of a long and lanky athlete with excellent height and reach, but he will need to add weight to play at the next level. Nevertheless, he showed excellent athleticism and was able to hang with the best receivers there.
Aaaaand that's it as far as scouting type stuff. As I said, Guy Fawkes.
As befits a who-dat camp find, Stribling had few offers at the time of his commitment. 247 lists NC State but that's dubious; when he talked to Scout($) yesterday he told them he had offers from Ball State and some FCS schools. Here are the schools he felt were at least looking at him:
"I am still waiting on my first offer to arrive but the interest has been strong for a while and I am hoping my first offer comes soon," said Stribling. "I have been talking the most to North Carolina, North Carolina St, Duke, Miami FL, Minnesota and Florida. I have taken visits to both UNC and Duke already and I am looking to see Florida and Miami FL here very soon. I believe more schools will become interested as I attend more camps and give coaches a better chance to evaluate my talents."
He had a productive junior season, catching 37 passes for 636 yards and eight TDs with 37 tackles, six interceptions and 14 PBUs on D.
FAKE 40 TIME
Listed at a fairly realistic 4.56 at NCSA. One FAKE.
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
Flimsy indeed in this case. Michigan's latest forays into who-dat camp corners have worked out pretty well, what with Courtney Avery establishing himself a contributor already and Jeremy Clark getting the upgrade from grayshirt to regular shirt. [Ed-S: Even the obvious comparison, James Rogers, did end up becoming a contributor]. Stribling's a risk but in these cases where the coaches have seen the guy up close and personal for three days the "trust the coaches" mantra is more than an annoying rhetorical device. The people with the most in-depth, up-to-date information on Channing Stribling are Michigan's coaches.
So he's got a shot. He'll have to wait for it, obviously, with a redshirt to pack on some pounds all but certain. At his size he could play WR or S if corner doesn't work out; Michigan would very much like him to stick at the position they're projecting him for right now since 6'2" corners are rare commodities.
I also predict I figure out what FINAO stands for by the end of his career.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
What rest of the class? Michigan's sitting on 22 commits as of late June and will add two, maybe three more. Stribling likely closes out defensive back recruiting—enjoy Vandy, Leon McQuay.
Michigan is now looking for a strongside defensive end, I guess, and another wide receiver who will hopefully be LaQuon Treadwell. That would take them to 24, a number that would require Michigan to lose four more guys before February. If they lose another they'd be hunting for BPA. They may be doing so already with the slot vaguely ticketed for SDE.
Hey kids: I am headed out to NYC today. That plus knee rehab equals no time (no time). Mathlete will hit you up later today. It's June, be chill. Posting should continue as normal after today.
From reader Will Gallagher comes this item:
Hi there. I'm watching a Japanese movie and halfway through, I was surprised to see the main character wearing a blue shirt with maize lettering that says "The Lord is my Shepherd, but Bo is my coach." Just in case you needed any more MGoShirt ideas. Screenshot included.
I've asked after what this movie actually is… but probably can't put it in the store since it's obviously someone else's idea. [ED: "Rainbow Song." From 2006, which makes that shirt even weirder.]
For now, the Asian pop culture reference scoreboard stands at Iowa two (a terrible indie video and Girls' Generation), Michigan one. Unless you want to count a dozen Korean pop stars snuggling with your helmet more than a shirt, which fair enough.
Dollin' up the boxes.
I have neither enough points to start a thread nor the requisite photoshop skills to make this look right, but see attached and tell me if that is or is not an improvement... I like the full "UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN" myself, but could be talked in to the block M. It needs something, with the stands full you can't even tell its Michigan Stadium.
I think the emailer is right: the boxes, while gorgeous on the outside, leave a little something to be desired once you're inside the stadium. They could use some maize trim and a simple, non-halo-esque logo or notification that this is a university. Professionally photoshopped, of course.
Another thing to do is to put the retired/legends numbers on one of the boxes like they do many other places. Before the boxes, Michigan never had anywhere to put said names. Now they do.
Also, when are we going to get the long-waited crazy person bleachers on top of those things? "See Michigan play football from the moon!" That's a freebie, Hunter S Lochmann. Call me. We'll push that envelope… to the moon. Call me, seriously. I have ideas for days.
Unrelated. I tried, but there's no way to even pretend this is relevant.
Amazing. BHGP's Horace E. Cow finishes his fake pro combat series with Ohio State, and it's a doozy:
Click. It is amazing.
Basketball offers. As expected, they went out to Keita Bates-Diop and Devin Booker on Friday. Neither dropped immediately but both made encouraging noises. Booker gave various sites a variation on this quote:
Where does Michigan rank among the schools who have offered you or otherwise contacted you?
Michigan is definitely a top runner. I don’t know about an exact rank, but they’re definitely going to be there throughout the whole recruiting process. They’re up there.
I got all excited about the version of the quote($) he gave to Rivals that called Michigan "a strong frontrunner" and I took that to mean they were the front-runner, but the overall picture is more circumspect than that. Booker seemed taken aback when UMHoops asked if he was committing this summer. Booker's verging on five-star status—31st to Rivals, 23rd to ESPN, 29th to Scout—everywhere and would be a big pickup.
As for Bates-Diop, the vibe seems to be Michigan or Purdue and somewhat soon.
Brockdate. The Toledo Blade updates us on Brock Mealer's situation and recent charitable activities:
"I talk about perseverance," Mealer said. "I talk about the things that come from hard work, about accepting challenges rather than avoiding them. For me, that's about faith. Having a tragic thing happen, but remaining faithful."
Mealer and his family -- including part of the family he's come to know in the Michigan football program -- hosted and took part in the David Mealer Memorial Classic on Monday. In its third year the golf tournament has raised more than $20,000 for various charities and medical causes, and its designated beneficiaries this year are the emergency room department of the Fulton County Health Center in Wauseon and Athletic Angels, a charitable foundation run by former Michigan strength and conditioning coach Mike Barwis; the charity's emphasis this year is to provide personal training for individuals with paralysis.
26 of the 120 golfers were Michigan football players, a veritable festival of shots shanked backwards off the tee. You will tear up on senior day this year when Brock is standing next to Elliott. This is a warning.
LEAVE THE FALCONS ALONE. Those Peregrine falcon chicks that picked up the first names of various Michigan football coaches had an accident:
Three of the four newly hatched peregrine falcon chicks that live atop University of Michigan Hospital are in rehab after dropping from their nest onto a landing above the second floor of the hospital.
The chicks appear to be unharmed but are in rehab so specialists can help them develop flying muscles, said Michigan Department of Natural Resources Specialist Christine Becher.
If I see them at my next physical therapy appointment I'll advise them to follow the example of Yost and adopt the last names of the various coaches. No one has actually given name X to chick Y yet, but it's logical to assume that the one who didn't fall off the building is the one who took the last name of the coach, not the first name. None of this would have happened if these chicks were named uniformly.
Fascinating, captain. Holly asks "what is the Big Ten equivalent of PAAAOWL, anyway?" And… well, what is it? The best I can come up with is saying something mean about Jim Delany.
“It’s unbelievable,” Di Giuseppe told New England Hockey Journal from his hotel room in Toronto, where he is attending the NHL Scouting Combine this week. “When you start looking at NCAA programs, one school stands out: the University of Michigan Wolverines. Growing up, I never really looked at going there, but as time went by, and I began to look at maybe taking a different route, there was no other choice for me.”
A junior year maybe? He is very young.
Was there a question about this? The GLI has been extended to 2014 under the usual format (Michigan Tech/Michigan/Michigan State/Wildcard), something I've never seen reported before. Accompanying quote:
"The Great Lakes Invitational tournament has become a long-standing tradition with our program and other schools in the state," Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon said in a statement. "We are pleased that this annual holiday tournament will continue for the foreseeable future."
Not to be paranoid, but does this make anyone else think the tournament might either be going away or facing changes in the somewhat near future? Of late the GLI has acted as a bridge between Michigan Tech, the one in-state school not in the CCHA, and the rest of the state. When the various Michigan schools are spread across three conferences, it seems like Wildcard should always be Ferris or Western or Northern or Lake State and at that point we might want to start talking about a larger tournament.
I've mentioned this before. It's fun to Play For Stuff and now there's a need for the Michigan schools to get greater exposure to each other. The GLI could morph into the end of that tourney.
Proposed format reminder:
- Grab either BGSU or Notre Dame for an eighth team.
- Form two groups of four with MSU and M split, Ferris and WMU split, and fill out the groups with the WCHA and honorary Michigan team. Example group: M, WMU, NMU, BGSU. Example group two: MSU, Ferris, LSSU, MTU.
- Each team plays two games against each group opponent—the WCHA teams in the same division can have an early-season conference series double as their Michigan Cup series. Top two in each group advance to the GLI.
- GLI is as is, with group winners avoiding each other in the first round.
The GLI trophy, whatever it is, now means something pretty cool. You could rescue the Mason Cup from oblivion if you want. (I'd prefer to not continue glorifying a man who spent his career trying to murder entertaining hockey no matter how nice and successful he was, but you may not be so opposed.) Michigan also has six of their 14 nonconference games set every season. The only reason not to do it is a slight amount of money Michigan and Michigan State won't be getting by loading up their nonconference schedules with the Bentleys of the world. Yay money!
To be fair, I think every school in the Dakotas has something like that on Minnesota. Maybe the new world of college football playoffs will tell us what's in the computer formulas. Mark Donnal's team won the camp championship at the NBPA thing. Athlon predicts Michigan will win the Big Ten this year. MVictors on the departed Bob Chappius. Zach Travis on M finally beating OSU.
Michigan's camp is going on right now. It's happening as you read this. There are photos. You have to believe me.
2015 ONT/TN QB Michael O'Connor w Gardner, Borges via Maize and Blue News
Things are… well, probably not happening very much since Michigan's already got 21 commitments. Touch the Banner put together a list of the various attendees if you want to know who's scheduled to be there. A couple of the more interesting 2013 names:
Darren Carrington - WR - San Diego (CA) Horizon: Carrington is a 6'2", 187 lb. quarterback and wide receiver. He's the son of former San Diego Chargers safety Darren Carrington, who played in their Super Bowl loss to the San Francisco 49ers. He received an offer from Michigan last week, so his main reason for camping would seem to be for seeing the campus and meeting the coaching staff. (Highlights here.)
Caleb Day - ATH - Hilliard (OH) Darby: [Day] is a 6'0", 188 lb. athlete who could play lots of positions in college, including running back, wide receiver, cornerback, or safety. Michigan hasn't offered yet, but he really seems to be hoping for one from the Wolverines. He does, however, have offers from Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Ohio State, and several others. Day looks a little too stiff to play cornerback at a big-time program, but I could see him fitting in at any of those other positions. Michigan has bigger fish to fry at running back (Jordan Wilkins, Derrick Green) and wide receiver (LaQuon Treadwell), and they're pretty set at safety. However, Day could be a backup option at any of those positions and reminds me of a slightly less skilled Dymonte Thomas.
TN RB Jordan Wilkins is mentioned above and is tentatively scheduled to be in this weekend, something we know thanks to David Dawson badgering Wilkins on the twitter. He looks like Michigan's best shot at a blue chip-ish tailback with Ty Isaac out of the picture and Derrick Green looking like a serious longshot. That's not a good shot since the kid nearly committed to Auburn last week, mind you.
As of today the top sleeper name appears to be NC CB/S Channing Stribling, who is a gerund fan and wisp of a man from Butler High School, the alma mater of rather good Michigan safety Jamar Adams. Webb on him($):
How this kid is such a relatively obscure prospect while playing for such a powerhouse program is a mystery. Standing 6-2 and maybe 165-pounds, this Tar Heel State product is extremely fluid (despite his length), and possesses quickness that belies his size. Though not a blazer, he has good football speed. Furthermore, he has really good leaping ability and ball skills. Some schools might be scared away by his slender frame and lack of elite top end speed. Others, meanwhile, might see pure potential… a youngster that could become more explosive once he adds more muscle to his slender frame.
Might be one to watch as it seems Michigan is looking for one more guy in the secondary.
In less positive news, Cass Tech DT (and Illinois commit) Kenton Gibbs hasn't made it in and probably won't thanks to an injury. That makes it unlikely he ends up getting the offer he wants. Maize and Blue News notes that John Runyan Jr, a 2015 kid, was in attendance.
Camp continues all week.
Hey, look, it's OH LB commits Ben Gedeon and Mike McCray.
For whatever reason, this photo reminded me of Gerry Dinardo showing up to Michigan practice in 2008 or 2009 or whatever and saying something vaguely like "usually when you go to Michigan you know it, but if you took away the helmets you would think I had recruited this team." I don't think that's going to be the case in 2014.
2014 Caremeter Update
The caremeter might kick into overdrive—or at least drive—this week what with camp. These days camp is for rising juniors, and Michigan's got a bucketload of them coming in. The vast majority of the kids listed on the TTB post are 2014 players. The spot to watch is probably linebacker, what with all three Cass guys, IL LB Clifton Garrett and IN LB Gelen Robinson fighting for what looks like a limited number of spots. Michigan will graduate only Cam Gordon and Mike Jones next year, and that's only if both of those guys get fifth years.
The headliner Sunday($) was actually 2015 kid Michael O'Connor, that 6'5" Canadian QB who's transferring to a toity private school in Tennessee to up his level of competition. He's still waiting on an offer from Michigan but already has an MSU offer and made the usual positive but non-committal noises($) after his camp experience yesterday.
Meanwhile in non-camp activities, 2014 OH LB Michael Ferns took a visit over the weekend and seemed BLOWN AWAY(!, also $) by the experience. TomVH caught up with him to get a telling quote:
"I heard Ann Arbor is a great place, and getting up there, being in town, everything was great," he said. "I don't want to say too much, but (the visit) was a 10. I was shocked by the whole deal. It was really good."
And here's the de rigueur locker-room-and-gloves shot:
Sam Webb relates that Ferns went home($) afterwards instead of visiting Michigan State as planned, because obviously. He's planning to get out to Notre Dame, then shut it down for a while; with Penn State and Ohio State previously thought to be front-runners this is going to be a knock-down, drag-out Midwest power fight.
Michigan's also offered 2014 IL OL Jamarco Jones.
Even More Things About SMSB
Josh Helmholdt has a list of under-the-radar prospects he caught at the camp with a mention of MI WR Jack Wangler (yes, that Wangler):
WR Jack Wangler, Royal Oak (Mich.) Shrine Catholic: Wangler has put a lot of work in this off-season with his Maximum Exposure teams, going head-to-head against some of the top defensive backs in the country. Wangler is always going to be a possession receiver; but his speed is coming along, and he has been timed as low as the 4.5 range for the 40-yard dash. The 6-foot-2, 190-pound Wangler is a physical receiver and a technician when it comes to route-running.
CB Jourdan Lewis, Detroit Cass Tech: Some of the best one-on-one matchups during the event involved Lewis - on both sides of the football. The 5-foot-11, 170-pound Lewis is going to Michigan to play cornerback, but he is also a BCS-caliber wide receiver prospect. Lewis is so quick with his cuts that he creates instant separation from defensive backs, and he also has great hands. Both attributes also serve him well at the cornerback position.
QB Shane Morris, Warren (Mich.) De La Salle: Morris led a solid group of quarterback prospects at the event but clearly stood out as the top player at his position. The Rivals100 prospect is really in control of his game right now, and his passes are coming out of his hand beautifully with velocity and accuracy. He was told by Michigan quarterbacks coach Al Borges, who was working the event, to throttle it back some on day one, but overall Morris varied his speeds well during the event.
The Five Star Challenge, Rivals's tastefully-named rival to the Opening, will also feature a number of Michigan commits and targets. So many that Michigan is named one of five teams to watch for this thing along with Auburn, Alabama, USC, and Texas. As the header says: nice company.
Details of Michigan commits and targets:
Michigan currently has the top recruiting class in the Rivals.com team rankings so it is no surprise that it has several commits in action at the Five-Star Challenge. Three future Wolverines -- linebacker Mike McCray, athlete Jourdan Lewis and offensive lineman David Dawson -- will be on the North squad, while offensive tackle Chris Fox will suit up for the West. Lewis is one of the fastest-rising prospects in the Midwest and will prove his versatility by playing cornerback. Dawson has also seen his stock take off this spring, picking up a ton of offers even after committing. McCray is ranked as the No. 55 overall player in the country and will attempt to prove he belongs in the discussion with Reuben Foster, Jaylon Smith and Matthew Thomas as five-star linebackers. Wide receiver Laquon Treadwell, defensive end Malik McDowell and defensive end Da'Shawn Hand are also big Michigan targets.
If McDowell Is going to establish himself a five-star sort he'll have to keep pace with the Hands of the world, and this is probably the only opportunity he'll have this year. Also of interest will be how McCray and Fox do. Fox hasn't hit the camps much and Rivals is considerably higher on McCray than others. Rivals even has a video featuring a Fox matchup with yes-that's-really-his-name Auburn DL commit Dee Liner:
I know. I can't believe that's his name either.
FL WR Alvin Bailey, a four-star slot type who would be a change of pace from Michigan's coming horde of long-limbed 6'3" guys, popped up on Michigan's radar around the time his teammate Leon McQuay III named his odd top three featuring Michigan, USC, and Vanderbilt. Bailey hasn't gone on any visits yet but he wants to get things over with within a month, so he's visiting a bunch of places. His goal($):
"I am planning to go to Michigan, West Virginia, Clemson, Florida State, Georgia, South Carolina, and that is about it," Bailey said. "I will probably start taking those trips in the next couple weeks."
After taking those trips, the Rivals250 prospect is hoping he will be ready to select his future home.
"I want to make a decision after I visit those schools," Bailey said. "I want to decide around the end of July probably."
That constitutes a tentative top six for Bailey. If McQuay was already in the boat there'd be reason for optimism here; without it that's a heavily Southern list. It's going to be hard to get him above the Mason-Dixon line.
Tremendous says a reliable source relates that CA WR Sebastian Larue is close to a decision and has a top three of Michigan, Oklahoma, and USC. He hasn't visited, so that's unlikely to go Michigan's way if it does come.
Etc.: 2015 Cass Tech QB Jayru Campbell has insanely early offers($) from Notre Dame and Alabama now. 2014 MI QB Chance Stewart gets a Wisconsin offer($). Iowa offers Cass Tech LB Deon Drake($). McDowell isn't going to camp at OSU($). Michigan makes Eddie Vanderdoes's top 15. Woo? Nebraska offers and lands a longsnapper. It's longsnapper madness.
Somewhere in Ohio right now is a printer watching helplessly as thousands of beaming Denards drain their most expensive ink pots. They are Buckeyes, and acted like total Buckeyes at times, probably because to a Buckeye a few months of going to bed with this image on your mind is excruciating:
You are not a Buckeye, and therefore to you it is beautiful. It is Hail to the Victors 2012. It's 8 1/2 inches wide, 10 3/4 inches tall (a good bit larger than HTTVs of yesteryear), and 128 pages long. It is a production of MGoBlog. MGoBlog staffers wrote it, edited it, produced it, published it, and took most of the photos in it. Our regular apparel partner, Underground Printing, is the one distributing it. More importantly, MGoBlog readers supported it through an astoundingly generous response to our KickStarter campaign. There are no ads in it (this time), just a sponsor page at the end to recognize the folks most responsible for this book existing longer than the company that used to publish it.
You can have it. It's $12.50 plus shipping (
I think that's $3.00 EDIT: S&H is $4.99 and tax is $1.05, so $18.54 total to get it mailed) and will be put in mailboxes starting June 30. There are plenty to go around. Consume!
Here's how it happened: By about last August last year, frustrated that the old publishers still hadn't paid us or the rest of the contributors for the 2011 book, I approached Brian with the concept of taking HTTV indie. I've been in the publishing business and Brian never lost the contacts that made HTTV a flagship series since 2007. We figured how many copies we sold in years previous, what it would cost to produce it ourselves, and whether we could, at minimum, afford to cover our expenses plus pay back last year's contributors for last year. That concept became deadly serious when it turned out the reason the old publisher wasn't paying anybody was because they were folding.
The Kickstarter was Brian's idea. It took some time for us to come up with a number, finally settling on $20,000, a little less than half of our projected expenses ($44k – which turned out to be close enough), figuring if we have enough to cover up-front expenses we can sell enough to make up the rest; if we raised less, oh well it wasn't going to happen. The kickstart was finally posted in late March. This is when the thing went from omigod I hope our wives are cool with five-figure debt, to omigod you guys! You guys, who committed to your copies so fast if I didn't know better I'd think Mattison was telling you it'll make you a Baltimore Raven. In a day we met our funding goal. In two days we'd doubled it. In a week we had broken even on the whole thing. In the end you did this:
I'll save you the details of what came next, except to say captioning is like trying to write the great American novel using Twitter, and there was a point when we realized every article was 25% too short because our page size had changed. Also there are two typos that will haunt me forever, and a few Easter eggs for longtime MGoReaders to find.
Here's what you bought yourself, by which I mean here's a preview of what we put in this actual physical book which you can own and put on the coffee table or bathroom rack or read on planes and other places cheap Internet cannot travel:
- LETTER FROM THE EDITOR by Brian Cook. Non-randomly selected words/phrases from the last sentence of each paragraph: Real Talk, fergodsakes, millennium, dysfunctional, song.
- THE TEAM, THE TEAM, THE TEAM, by Brian. A 30-page, position-by-position look at the 133rd Michigan Football squad, with depth charts, last year's stats, predictions, and a few record books that might be rewritten this year.
- RECRUITS TO KNOW, by Brian. Doesn't include some of the guys who made it into the position previews. Ojemudia's laser eyes are tame when compared to those of RJS. It was short on space so if you don't like anything from Ringer to Houma, that was me.
- THE ENEMY, THE ENEMY, THE ENEMY, by Jerry Hinnen of CBS Sports, and MGoBlog's Ace Anbender (Notre Dame) and Heiko Yang (Ohio State). This is a 24-page, team-by-team preview of the 2012 schedule, with extra pages devoted to rivals (not you, Minnesota) and other big games (not you, Illinois). For OSU I enlisted editing assistance from Ramzy Nasrallah of Eleven Warriors, who set us straight on a few things and was ignored on others. Unfortunately Brian's intro page had to be cut from this so maybe we'll post that later.
- TULIPS, REAL ESTATE … SEASON TICKETS, by Michael Elkon of Braves & Birds looks at Michigan's rising ticket prices and donation demands versus a home spate that sees every directional MAC school more often than Wisconsin or Penn State, and poses the obvious: where does the bubble burst?
- SOME OF PART OF THE OTHER SIDE OF THE STORY, SORT OF, by Craig Ross is a response to John Bacon's Three and Out and the closest we'll probably ever come to a Lloyd-angle view of those events.
- THOSE WHO STOOD, by Seth Fisher, is my saccharine retelling of the careers of Team 132's most prominent seniors while assessing their ultimate place in Michigan history.
- CONFIDENCE MAN, by Chris Brown of Smart Football and Grantland takes us into the mind of a Mattison to discover how, over the course of one season, he managed to turn Michigan's defense into a Michigan defense (TM), by focusing on playing Michigan's defense.
- PREDICTING PERFORMACE by The Mathlete of MGoBlog uses the best predictors known to stats to guess at the performance of M's 2012 offense, defense, and overall difficulty of the entire schedule.
- FOURTH DOWN AND NOWHERE TO GO by jamiemac of Just Cover Blog is a discussion on the astounding level of play Michigan got last year on its 3rd and 4th and short situations, how this was secretly just as important as turnovers in how the season went, and whether it's repeatable for 2012.
- HARRY WHO AND '32 by Greg Dooley of MVictors takes us back to Gerald Ford's sophomore season, a time when the NCAA made as much sense as the Big Ten's postseason priorities, and an athletic little quarterback named Harry Newman led the Wolverines to a National Championship.
- THE HUMAN HURRICANE: FIELDING YOST is a long excerpt from John Kryk's next book. The book is on the Point-a-Minute dynasty; the article is the part about how Yost got to be the man who made it.
- HAIL TO THE ROUNDTABLE between Cook, Fisher, Ross, and Dooley discusses the current staff, the defensive turnaround, breakout players, Hokeisms, fusion cuisine, and 2012 predictions.
- COMIC SECTION: CHARLIE'S FIRST MICHIGAN GAME by Six Zero of The Blockhams
Plus the roster that was sent to print before I could confirm Gardner's # change was the real deal, and a cover and back cover and section images designed by MonuMental, and a table of contents that I wrote and sent off before I realized we could add 4 more pages and thus which erroneously says the Sponsors Page is on the inside back cover when it's actually just the last right-side page of the book. And the Sponsor Page. About that…
Upchurch | Because they bent over backwards, get it?
The following appear in the back of the book (not on the inside back cover like it says in the table of contents) for going far beyond a pre-order and a t-shirt during the HTTV Kickstarter. If you know any of these folk you should walk up to them at a socially awkward moment and sing Muppets in celebration of them (don't do this):
|816 Hill ~Class of 2002||Jonathan Giroux||Ken Mickey|
|Andy and Ken Anbender||David Glasser||Mike Curtis Agency-
Farm Bureau Insurance
|Zac Barry||John Granger||Milty|
|Alexander Bash||Nikki Guglielmo||Edward Mitchell|
|Joe Beaulieu||Jason G Heitman||Mike O’Byrne|
|Jeff Becker||Kirk Hemmen||Paul|
|Scott Bishop||Greg Henchel||Pharker|
|Jonathan Borman||Steve Higgs||Jeffrey M. Raab, LSA ‘96|
|Brooks||Drew Hill||Walt and Connie Reebel|
|Ben Davis and||Peter F. Holland||Josh Rockey|
|Christie Brown||Tom Hoover||Joshua Ruland|
|Cory S. Brown||Kyle Hubbard||Safran Family|
|David Callahan||Nathan Isenberg||Brad Schafer|
|Brian W. Callahan||William and Claire||L. David Schenk III|
|Carey Family||Johnson||Brian Shull|
|Scott Childers||Captain Cory Kastl/
Cadet Garrett Kastl
|Damian P. Silver|
|Michael Cromwell||Andrew Kim||Frederick Cogswell|
|Jerry Current||Matt Kramer||Simmons IV|
|Matt Duane||Donald J. Kunz||Malcolm T. Simpson|
|Eric Dunn||Adam Lanseur||Bo Snyder|
|Chris Eagle||Kevin “ILL” Legel||Hariharan Sundram|
|Joseph Eichhorn||Matt Lenhoff||Ben Swihart|
|Epic Win Apparel||Mark Liinamaa||Jeff Taepke|
|A. Espinoza-Diaz, CoE ‘98||The Linn Family||Jeff Timberlake|
|Joseph Fix||Lud, LSA ‘05||Jason Tolbert|
|Dana S. Fletcher||Kelly Lytle||Trueblueintexas|
|Will Fluharty||Greg Macklem||Bill Weiner|
|Alan M. French||Evan Makela||Eric M Wilfong|
|Crew Gary||Bob Manza||Rahul Yaratha|
Hawaiian War Chant Level (they gave more, and thus get quotes):
Arthur: Harbaugh, you owe my brother $25.00.
Jeff Baiocchi: Go Blue!
Michael A Barton: F--- the bigger boat! Get more ice and rye, a lot of rye, Drapers coming over.
Matt Candler: Go Blue!
Dahman Law: Dahman Law, unabashedly supporting the legal and blogging interests of Wolverines all across enemy territory, and soon in Michigan. Check us out at dahmanlaw.com.
Jonathan Gaines: “Dad, is it weird that I pity Sparty more than I hate Ohio?”-teenage daughter after 2011 Big Ten Football Championship game. -WFBlue
Michael Hacker: Hacker Bros. BBQ. You can’t drink all day if you don’t start in the morning.
Don Hubbard: Go Blue!
Scott Jacobs: S. Jacobs LSA ‘92
Bob Kennedy: Go Blue!
Jerome Lim: Go Blue!
Jamie MacMillian: JustCoverBlog.Com, providing college and pro football commentary, breakdowns and analysis since 2009. Your 2012 football season wont
be the same without us on your reading list
Jonathan McDonald: I firmly believe this publication will equip Michigan fans with an unprecedented decided schematic advantage. Go Blue!
JP: JP Gaztambide... Puerto Rico en la casa. VAMOS BLUE!!!
Steve Reynolds: Keep that UM fandom growing, Angela!!
Some additional names need to be mentioned here. Courtney Fathers of CorkBoards, our art monkey who held out hope of actually sleeping in the month of May way longer than we thought she would. Eric Upchurch, who provided most of the photographs for the book, and who blew most of what we paid him on special equipment he believes can capture the entirety of a Denard smile without the glare. To other contributing photographers in order of appearance: Drew Hoover of Bama's student newspaper, the Crimson White, Communications Specialist 1st Class Chad McNeeley of the U.S. Air Force, the University of Notre Dame Athletics Department, Shotgun Spratling of Neon Tommy, Daryl Quintaig of Illinois student newspaper The Daily Illini, Mark Boomgaard of Spartannation.com, Derek Tam of NU Intel, "Proud Buckeye" James D. DeCamp, and the University of Michigan Bentley Library. And a special thank you to the players, coaches, staff and fans of 133 Michigan football teams for remaining steadfastly worthy of so much ink.
We're going to try again next year, probably with another Kickstarter, wholesale distribution, interior ads, and I expect 1,000% more Devin Gardner.
Brian Santa, Ace and I thought it would be great if we could go to this game. We promise to be extra good this year.
Offense line matters. Toward the end of last season it became increasingly clear that you could use trench matchups (O-line vs. D-line, D-line vs. O-line) as a heuristic for how teams would do against each other. Which is to say that it wasn't a great year for the league's skill positions.
Nebraska was an outlier. Coming into the season the Huskers were the B1G's version of Virginia Tech. They were loaded at every skill position save wideout, but they were relatively mediocre on the lines, particularly on offense. Their issues became pronounced on defense early in the season when DT Jared Crick got injured against Washington and on offense later in the season when injury robbed them of their starting tight end and a guard or two.
By the time they got to Michigan they were doing things like this:
screencap via BWS
And then all of a sudden it didn't matter that they had a speedy running quarterback and a bulldozer of a tailback. The Wolverines defense could choke them to death three yards behind the line of scrimmage every other play.
Nebraska finished fifth in the conference in yards per game (379.9 ypg, 66th nationally) and fourth in scoring (29.2 ppg, 49th nationally), which was disappointing given the preseason advertising. Part of that comes from the intangible aspects of transitioning into a new conference, but a lot of it had to do with the fact that their offensive line wasn't very deep or very good even though they got by decently in the Big 12 where teams generally sit back on defense and try to outscore you on offense.
The point is the Huskers are going to have to recruit a lot more big uglies if they want to gain elite status in the B1G. So far they haven't really done that,
|#5 Nebraska - 8 Commits|
but I guess it is still only June.
Obligatory Taylor Martinez shotput Youtube clip:
If you ever want to know how to throw like this, grab a football and pretend there's a foot-long string connecting it to your ear.
The actual preview part.
I would get the presser transcripts done so fast if I were there.
Nebraska's B1G debut in 2011 didn't go completely according to plan. They lost three conference games -- at Michigan and at Wisconsin in spectacular blow-outs and vs. Northwestern in game that even Brady Hoke couldn't believe happened. Other than that they had the singular highlight of clobbering Michigan State. They also beat Ohio State, but I'm sure Huskers fans talk about what happened during that game the way Michigan fans talk about what happened during the Sugar Bowl.
If the Huskers want to prove that their are truly of the B1G elite as they were billed to be, they need to put on a more convincing show and reach Indianapolis this season. They need their defense to stop underachieving, and in addition to to keeping their offensive line healthy, they need their offense as a whole to learn how to deal with adversity. Nebraska was frankly underwhelming on defense last season despite the number of star players, and their offense crumbled often on the road whenever they fell behind in the count. Much of that can be attributed to problems in leadership and coaching, so whether or not Bo Pelini is worth his paycheck, his evaluation period begins now.
- Sept 1, Southern Miss
- Sept 8, @ UCLA
- Sept 15, Arkansas State
- Sept 22, Idaho State
- Sept 29, Wisconsin
- Oct 6, @ Ohio State
- Oct 13, WIFEDAY
- Oct 20, @ Northwestern
- Oct 27, Michigan
- Nov 3, @ Michigan State
- Nov 10, Penn State
- Nov 17, Minnesota
Another part of the problem last year was the scheduling -- Nebraska's B1G slate was ... shitty. The Huskers played all five of the Bigs: Michigan, Michigan State, Wisconsin, Penn State, and Ohio State, three of which were away games. No other B1G team faced more than four upper tier teams, even if you count Nebraska itself as one.
The matchups don't get any softer this season, but Nebraska will benefit marginally by having just two of those teams on the road and eight home games total. A well timed bye after Wisconsin and Ohio State should help the Huskers regroup for the bulk of the conference schedule.
Even with a visit to UCLA in week two, I see Nebraska sweeping their nonconference opponents. They'll likely lose to Ohio State and one if not both of the Michigans, but any more than three or four B1G losses would be highly surprising.
This schedule is as favorable as: Swimming 1000 yards, downstream.
X's and O's, Jimmys and Joes
"What was that?" "Idunno I've never seen that before."
Style: Spread/option, but a lot more option than spread.
Key losses: backup RB Aaron Green (105 yards, 4.4 ypc, 2 TD) , WR Brandon Kinnie (257 yards, 1 TD), C Mike Caputo, LT Yoshi Hardrick, RT Marcel Jones.
Top returners: QB Taylor Martinez (56.3%, 2089 yards, 13 TD, 8 INT), RB Rex Burkhead (1357 yards, 4.8 ypc, 15 TD), RB Ameer Abdullah (150 yards, 3.6 ypc, 3 TD), WR Kenny Bell (461 yards, 3 TD), WR Quincy Enunwa (293 yards, 2 TD), TE Ben Cotton (189 yards, 0 TD), TE Kyler Reed (257 yards, 1 TD).
Nebraska's offense was a lot like Michigan's offense last year -- frequently unstoppable on the ground, temperamental through the air -- but not quite as good. Like the Wolverines, the Huskers were adjusting to a new offensive coordinator with a second-year starting quarterback who was equally capable of breaking open the game or inciting a fan to break his TV screen on any given play.
Not much will change going into 2012. The offensive line may get better, which would allow Nebraska's talented and experienced backfield to do some fancier stuff, but the backbone of their offense -- option -- will be predicated on whether Taylor Martinez makes the right reads and decisions. Lots of offseason fluff has been devoted to his throwing mechanics and accuracy, which is silly. The bread and butter of the Huskers offensive identity is the option run game, and that's equal parts athletic talent/skill and decision-making. So far Martinez hasn't proven himself to be that good at the latter.
The good news for him is that Rex Burkhead, the quintessential workhorse that Nebraska can always feed the ball to from the I formation when all else fails, returns at tailback. The Huskers should be mindful of his mileage, though. 38 carries against Iowa was cool last season, but after Cody Green's transfer, Nebraska a high ankle sprain away from being Iowa.
On the "needs improvement" list: receivers. None of the Huskers receivers were that good last season, and it's pretty safe to say they won't be unearthing any new talent this fall. Again, because of the nature of their offense and the play-action potential, it may be unnecessary, but preventing opposing safeties from sucking up against the run every play would make things a lot easier.
This offense is as frightening as: A musket. Fear level = 6.
No. 94 Cameron Meredith
Key losses: DT Jared Crick, LB Lavonte David, CB Alfonzo Dennard, S Austin Cassidy (61 tackles, 2 INT)
Top returners: DT Baker Steinkuhler (25 tackles, 2 sacks), DE Cameron Meredith (56 tackles, 5 sacks, 1 INT), DE Jason Ankrah (17 tackles, 1 sack), LB Will Compton (69 tackles, 1 sack), LB Sean Fisher (21 tackles), CB Andrew Green (38 tackles, 1 INT), S P.J. Smith (33 tackles, 1 INT)
Nebraska's disappointing defense in 2011 was much weaker against the run (158.5 ypg, 64th) than expected. They suffered from the loss of DT Jared Crick, who tore his pectoral muscle against Washington and eventually sat out the remainder of the season after Ohio State two games later, but to be honest, they were underwhelming even before that happened.
Against the past they fared okay (192.2 ypg, 19th), but you can mentally adjust that for how good you think B1G passing offenses were last year.
This season they lose the stars -- Crick, David, and Dennard -- but return a solid squad. Cameron Meredith was impressive last year and should continue to trend up. There's not much to say about anyone else.
Perhaps the most intriguing development for this defense was the hiring of defensive coordinator John Papuchis to replace Carl Pelini prior to the Capitol One bowl. Papuchis was the D-line coach under Bo Pelini while he was defensive coordinator at LSU during the 2005-2007 seasons, the last of which ended with a national championship. The reuniting of the Papuchis/Pelini duo should rejuvenate the Huskers defense, and with a full offseason of coaching, there should be tangible results in 2012.
If anything, it adds some oomf to recruiting, which means that Nebraska could be very good in a few years.
This defense is as frightening as: a 12-year-old kid who wets his bed, is cruel to small animals, and likes starting fires. You are a 28-year-old woman who reminds him of his mother. Fear level = 7, trending up with time.
Loses ball in 3 ... 2 ...
Key losses: No one important.
Top returners: K/P Brett Maher (44.5 ypp, 19/23 FG), KR/PR Ameer Abdullah (29.3 yards/kickoff, 7.1 yards/punt)
They should be really good! When they're not fumbling kickoffs.
I would bring my fancy camera and take sweet wide-angle photos. If I were there.
Record: 9-3 overall, 5-3 B1G.
Against Michigan: Lincoln is a difficult stadium to play in, and Michigan has been pretty bad on the road, so I'll give Nebraska the edge for that. Without a Mike Martin ragdolling backup offensive linemen, the Huskers will probably put up more points than they did last year. Going out on a limb here -- if Michigan wins, it'll be really close, like 27-24.
Their chances of winning the B1G are as good as: Swimming 1000 yards, downstream, in a race vs. Michael Phelps, who has just donated blood.