Hello Dave Brandon?
OH SNAP FUTURE AD (POSSIBLY)
In the initial post on the topic, I lumped Dave Brandon in with a few folks who had been mentioned for the job but weren't likely to be strong candidates for one reason or another. Brandon's reason: his political aspirations. If the guy is going to run for governor or the Senate or something, he can't be Michigan's AD.
Since then I've acquired the following pieces of information from a source close to the situation, as they say:
- His political aspirations are real but have been put on the backburner because the state GOP doesn't want him to run for governor.
- Assuming politics are out of the equation—not 100%, but likely—Brandon would jump at the job.
- Brandon worked very closely with both Martin and Coleman on the stadium renovations and during the football coaching search. He's a known quantity in the AD and a guy the people at the top of the pyramid are comfortable with.
- The tinfoil-hat wing of the internet that's suggested Brandon is a part of the shadowy anti-RR cabal hypothetically headed by Lloyd Carr could not be more wrong. Brandon was a key supporter of Rodriguez's candidacy. He and RR have dinner regularly. 3-9 engenders some frustration, but one of the items cited was Rodriguez getting "too friendly with the media".
This is not someone who has anything but the program's best interests in mind. Brandon would represent an RR faction* win.
If Brandon wants the job I'm betting he's the front-runner. While the two BCS ADs have more direct experience running a department, Brandon is more familiar with the main folks at Michigan. He's been a regent and a CEO of a major corporation; he's worked with Martin on important projects within the department. And he was a walk-on at Michigan. Contrary to the previous post, I think Brandon is the most likely choice until I hear specific contradictory information.
PRE-CLARIFICATION: None of this information comes from the Michigan side of things; I don't know what they're thinking. I'm thinking I know what they're thinking.
*(Assuming that there is any actual anti-RR faction within the athletic department.)
On De Carolis And Long
So there are some complicating factors with the guy who seems like an easy #1 choice. A couple tipsters indicated that his departure from the Michigan athletic department was less than amicable. A former Daily writer explains:
I had a chance to interview Don Canham in 1991 when I was on the staff at the Michigan Daily. He was quite pissed with Bob DeCarolis then about quotes DeCarolis had given which showed up in a book by Murray Sperber on college athletics about how Canham put the athletic department in the red in having the Canham Natatorium built. DeCarolis thought it was a money-wasting project to feed Canham's ego. Doubt that would be held against him given that he stayed in the athletic department until 1996 and it wasn't like he pissed on Bo's grave as Harbaugh essentially did when he said he was steered into Mickey Mouse classes while playing football at Michigan. But, from what I just read in The Wolverine that feud with Canham is certainly not a distant memory.
Same guy also had some interaction with Jeff Long:
I think Jeff Long was probably the athletic department's first "Director of Football Operations." (akin to the position Scott Draper has today). Probably the job was essentially created after Long's GA tenure expired but he was liked by Bo and his staff to keep him around. He obviously made the most of the opportunity given where he is today. As student managers, our orders and assignments mainly came from Jeff Long and Jon Falk. Overall, Long was a decent, hard-working, straightforward guy back then who was easy to deal with and didn't have any hidden agendas.
If folks are over the Sperber incident from almost 20 years ago and De Carolis gets offered the job, he'll likely take the job. He's frustrated with Oregon State's inability to fill its 45k stadium:
"There's still uncertainty," De Carolis said Wednesday, expressing frustration in particular over attendance at football games, "no doubt about it. The free fall has stopped but I think it's going to be a challenge."
De Carolis did not intend to call out Oregon State fans, but he came very close when discussing the school's inability to fill 45,674-seat Reser Stadium.
"I've never seen a state like this, where it's one or the other, you're a Duck or you're a Beaver," De Carolis said. "Well, if (OSU alumni) are so proud of that, why is it so hard to keep this thing going? We have a hell of a football product -- a hell of a football product -- and we can't sell out the stadium?"
"Where are all the Beaver fans?"
The same Oregon-based reader who sent that link also mentions that local sports talk radio has discussed the possibility and they think an offer means De Carolis is gone.
On MAC Folk
At this point I'm pretty sure the two guys in the MAC are going to have to wait.
The rotate. Illinois will look to the future on Saturday by rotating in redshirt freshman Jacob Charest, who you can see making sweet love to your whole body with his mind to the right. Hey, baby, Jacob Charest would like to know if you like emo bangs and nonchalant poses from his trip to North Korea. Yeah, baby, Jacob Charest wore his Illini uniform to Pyongyang Stadium. Because Illini up, that's why.
Charest is a 6'4" pro-style QB out of North Carolina who was a middling three star a couple years back. When Juice got pulled (again) against Purdue, Charest came in and did this:
Charest made his debut Saturday, playing in three series while going 4 of 8 for 52 yards. Zook said he was impressed with the way Charest threw downfield.
Read: "Zook said he was impressed that Charest had better accuracy than a random number generator."
So… good or bad? I guess you'd always rather be going against a team that's trying to find a quarterback and is on their third attempt—Eddie McGee is now working at wide receiver—of the season. And Williams was beyond terrifying last year against Michigan. On the other hand: Michigan's clear weakness this year is the secondary, and anyone more capable of taking advantage of that secondary than Williams is bad.
It probably won't matter since Illinois's line is so terrible: the Illini are #112 in sacks allowed despite a below-average number of passes. (212; NCAA average is 228. So it's not a huge outlier or anything; the point is that their stats aren't distorted by a lot of late-game passing because they're bad.)
Bonus: Arrelious Benn has been fighting an ankle sprain since the first game of the year and played with a shoulder sprain against Purdue. He'll play this weekend but is not 100%.
Ortmann carries around a phonebooth on his back. Via Rittenberg, this table of woe from before the Penn State game:
Suboptimal, and probably worse after Forcier got little help from his receivers. The pocket stuff isn't quite that grim as the table implies since this only accounts for throw of over ten yards—I was in the midst of firing off an email suggesting those numbers had to be wrong when I finally understood the qualifier—but, yeah, pretty grim.
This is a confirmation of a number of this: Forcier's bad in the pocket, the receivers aren't helping out much, and so forth and so on. Michigan should really slant its playcalling towards Lloyd-style conservatism, which only maddens when you're running around with a senior Tom Brady, not sophomore John Navarre.
Mumble mumble bands thing. Michigan State may have lost Saturday, but they won the halftime show:
The Numa Numa song is kind of awesome arranged for marching band, isn't it?
I'm still not sure what the MMB played, as I couldn't hear 3/4ths of it. Was it supposed to be four different thematic versions of the Victors? The one I heard had some vague Victors-y parts but it didn't sound like the fight song itself. I was confused by it.
He descended on a cloud and grumbled out some grumbles for us, we used it to season the tacos. Lloyd Carr, perhaps prompted by Rick Leach's intemperate outburst on WTKA a week or two ago, has emerged from the Fortress of Solitude to deliver his benediction:
"Rich is a young guy, (and) he's got a great background for such a young guy," Carr said during his interview with Frank Beckmann and Jim Brandstatter. "What we're seeing here offensively throughout this season is a great thing for the future of Michigan football.
"The transition a year ago you could expect (the struggles) because what they were looking for in a quarterback. Certainly what we have here is exciting. I'm excited for the future." …
"I've had a lot of conversations with Rich Rodriguez down through the last 18, 20 months, and I told him from the beginning if he needed me for any reason, just call me," Carr said. "I did not want to be a coach who's at practice and hanging around and answering questions from the media about what I saw. I didn't think that was good for Rich or our program."
This will slightly staunch the internet paranoia, but only slightly. As always, I wish to avoid this topic as thoroughly as possible. I have zero credible information about it, and learned during the coaching search that different factions can have incredibly different versions of reality.
On the notice. Chengelis's article on the import of this notice Michigan received from the NCAA starts off by broaching the possibility of major infractions but the end of it puts the event that just transpired in context:
Experts said that might well not be a major development.
"I think this is just a natural sequence of events that should occur when you have numerous former and current players making allegations that there have been rule violations, in this case, practices too long," said Rick Karcher, a sports law expert at the Florida Coastal School of Law.
"It's just a first step."
The next step would either be a determination by the NCAA that the accusations are baseless, or a formal "Notice of Allegations" detailing precisely what is supported by evidence.
It appears this is something that was obviously going to happen, and since NCAA investigators have been working with Michigan the past couple months it seems like this is a letter telling Michigan what it already knows. Basically status quo.
Just 40 more years and they'll get the hang of it.
Charts. A diarist at Black Shoe Diaries diarist is rivaling Misopogon with his charts and interesting research. His focus is on Big Ten passer efficiency over the last decade, with a special focus on Penn State that won't be surprising to anyone who's watched PSU play over the last decade. PSU QBs were consistently horrible except for that one year Mills had before his arm fell off until Darryl Clark broke all of our preconceived notions about JayPa. A couple more general takeaways:
- The last few years Big Ten QBs have dropped off a cliff, with this year a bounce-back.
- Passer efficiency continues to skyrocket. Check out some meh QBs of recent and not-so-recent vintage:
Approximately same rank, 12 extra passer efficiency points for the guy slightly worse.
That latter one is a reason to relax pass interference rules, I think. Another reason: right now they are arbitrary.
Etc.: Tempo-free stats make the NBA bigtime. Florida is the current possessor of a hypothetical college football title belt dating back to the first game ever played; Michigan is an eight-time hypothetical champ, most recently in 2004 when they beat… Purdue?
First, a request for assistance:
I don't know if you or any of your readers might be able to help, but I'm trying to find a recording of a song. I saw a poster for some sheet music at Mr. Stadium Laundry that contained a song called "The Michigan Drinking Song." From what I've been able to find from my Google searches, it was written around the turn of the century and was voted "Favorite College Song" in the 1905 Michiganesian and included in "The Michigan University Songbook" published in 1904. It was written by M.B. Cooper.
My friends and I find it hard to believe that there's no recorded version of this song, and if it's not too much trouble, we'd really like to find it. Thanks for any help you can provide.
I don't know if I can help, but may be a reader can?
Moving on to other matters:
Have you considered year-end awards for the best diaries, board posts, or other community contributions? If so, and if it happens this year, I’d like to nominate Misopogon’s “How Tate Stacks Up Against M QBs of 2005-2008” for best diary – because, you know, holy crap. In fact, maybe the award should be called the Misopogon?
That would be something the community should do, as it's community content. I'm not sure anything can be derived from the board since it moves so fast and has so many tiny posts, but some recognition for the fine diarists who provide a lot of value to the site is in order. After the season I'm planning to implement a subscription option where for a nominal monthly fee you can get rid of the ads, and if there's some sort of user-generated awards thing I'll throw some freebies out to the winners.
Are Roh and Kovacs outside linebackers in disguise? I know they aren't perfect fits, but given our lack of depth and GERG's willingness to move people around, do you think that the coaching staff is at least thinking about this a little?
Also, in the other football, will/should Dempsey start at forward now?
Roh: no. Roh is 230, maybe 240 right now and will add 10-30 pounds over the course of his Michigan career. He's a defensive end all the way and will probably be a four-year starter at deathbacker if he doesn't end up moving to Graham's spot. Kovacs: maybe. I don't know if I've kicked this around on the blog yet, but I have mentioned it on WTKA: I think Kovacs might move to the Stevie Brown SLB/nickelback/spinner position next year if they can find any freakin' safeties. I think that's unlikely given the depth chart at safety and the recruitment of Hawthorne/Jones to play the Brown spot, but if they move a couple guys and someone steps up it's at least a vague possibility. I think Kovacs's skills are well suited for what Brown's currently doing. They're better suited to that than they are the deep centerfield he's been playing; moving Woolfolk to corner has just sprung a different leak in the secondary.
Shameless answer to the irrelevant Dempsey question: absolutely. Dempsey is mostly a striker in the EPL and has done his best work with the Nats after late-game moves up top. The alternative is… um… Conor Casey? I'd rather see Holden or Torres on the field. Maybe that's because I missed the brace against Honduras. But, no, probably not.
After the 3-9 debacle last year, obviously recruiting wasn't going to be as impressive this year. But what do you think about the defensive recruiting (or lack there of) at key positions?
I know Michigan is in on a number of good cornerbacks including Cullen Christian, Tony Grimes, and Rashad Knight (Though Christian could play safety and Knight is being recruited as one), but it seems like the staff is recruiting too many "project" players who will switch positions in the coming years before they settle in. The fact of the matter is this team has no real free safety type (Woofolk moved to CB), and the primary safety commit, Marvin Robinson, is headed to the Stevie Brown/SAM linebacker position.
Also, the defensive line has a number of players who fit the Craig Roh mold (Wilkins for sure, Paskorz maybe?), but a lack of a real Graham-like DE. Talbott is a very explosive player who I think will be underrated. Couple that with Antonio Kinard as the only LB commit (have you seen our LB play?) does this concern you at all? I think it's important that the mgobloggers realize this staff is far from perfect and not every recruiting choice they make is perfect.
Moving players from one high school position to another is a fact of life, as high schools will often throw their best players at crazy positions in an attempt to take advantage of their athleticism. The craziest position to date is Brandin Hawthorne's existence as a high school defensive end. Ideally you'd like to see guys coming in who have experience at their chosen position, but it's not like those guys get a ton of great coaching in high school anyway, or have any idea what they can get away with when everyone around them is about as athletic as they are. Michigan is clearly not in an ideal situation.
I think you'll see (PA DE Ken) Wilkins end up at Graham's spot down the road. Graham is currently 270 pounds and Wilkins is already 240 in high school; he'll end up putting at least 20 pounds in his first couple years here, at which point the move will be obvious, and what you'll see is Michigan pick up a bunch of defensive backs—5 or 6—with the intent of putting everyone in a blender and figuring out where they fit later. Some position moves are scary; safety-to-corner isn't. The linebackers are a concern; if Michigan doesn't pick up both Furman and Olaniyan the class will be disappointing there. And I don't think they'll get both.
Obviously the staff is not "perfect," but neither is the opposite extreme accurate: Rodriguez is not going to bring in classes like this year every time out. When he had a full year to recruit and didn't have a 3-9 anchor around his neck, Michigan brought in the #6 recruiting class, one laden with four-star guys. Almost every one of the recruits Rodriguez picked up in the brief window he had to finish Carr's last class was highly rated by one service or the other. This year's an anomaly, and the class will probably finish at the tail end of the top 20, not coincidentally the same area Notre Dame's post-crater class ended up.
Some background on FBS teams being allowed to play FCS opponents.
Until 2005, schools could count only one I-AA game every 4 years toward becoming bowl eligible. Obviously, this only applies to schools that go 6-5, and has no effect at all on schools with any other record from 11-0 to 0-11.
Here is an October 2004 article about this issue that includes begging from the Southern Conference commissioner to allow one counter every year. Here is the decision in April 2005 where the NCAA decides to allow one I-AA game every year to count towards bowl eligibility, tied into an increase to 12 games.
It really seems like that 12th game was intended to be a game against a I-AA school. Unless I am mistaken, I recall some I-AA schools were threatening the NCAA with a lawsuit for limiting their scheduling options. I could not find a record of this, unfortunately. Maybe I am confusing this with the "exempt games" issue.
I don't think the NCAA has the power to say "only play other FBS opponents." They don't have that much control over in-season scheduling. The conferences can mandate this, but not the NCAA. The NCAA can only say "these games don't count toward bowl eligibility," but the FCS schools would fight that, and they would probably win.
I don't know if you find this interesting, but there has been a good deal of discussion of this point on mgoblog, and there seems to be some misunderstanding of what the NCAA can and can not do.
Mostly included for the interesting background. I disagree that the NCAA doesn't have the power to do what it wants here, as the two sets of schools exist in different divisions sponsored by the NCAA. You might as well say the NCAA doesn't have any power to regulate that D-I and D-II schools can't play each other. The NCAA sets limits on the number of games that can be played in all sports, provides exemptions for various things it would like to promote, and actually organizes the different divisions. I'm sure some I-AA teams could sue, but I find it hard to believe they'd win.
I posted a thread on this topic but wondered about your thoughts. Is it too early IYHO to classify the 2008 defensive recruiting class a disappointment? Although they are only in their second year, ideally (apart from Martin) some would be pushing the upperclassmen for playing time, and as we know they are not, in some cases falling behind walk ons. Thoughts?
IMHE, it is too early to classify the 2008 defensive recruiting class a disappointment. But it is not too early to look at it with trepidation because it seems like we'll be thoroughly concerned about it midway through next year. A brief dossier:
- Beasts: Mike Martin
- Contributors: Boubacar Cissoko, JT Floyd
- Idling away: Brandon Smith, Kenny Demens. UPDATE: Also JB Fitzgerald.
- Gone: Taylor Hill, Marcus Witherspoon
So… first of all, it was only seven guys in a class of 24, and two of them were gone about two weeks after class started. Two more are linebackers stuck behind a walk-on, two more are backup defensive backs in a very poor secondary basically behind a walk-on since their poor play necessitated the Woolfolk move, and Mike Martin is a beast. These guys are going to be juniors or redshirt sophomores next year and it looks like Michigan isn't going to get a whole lot out of them. Cissoko's come back from the brink and may yet develop into something, and maybe we can expect one of the linebackers to pick it up after Ezeh and Mouton leave, but the early returns aren't great outside of Martin.
UPDATE: Forgot about Fitzgerald, who's had a reasonable career path so far given that he was behind a couple of starters; he rotated in for Ezeh a bit last week.
If you can help out finding articles on any of the commits, e-mail me, and I'll try to include your contribution.
MI QB Devin Gardner
Last week: Inkster defeats Steubenville 36-29. It snapped a multi-year regular season win streak for the Big Red.
Inkster's season seemed over when Steubenville took a 29-28 lead with 1:19 left to play, but Michigan-commitment Devin Gardner completed a 63-yard bomb to Vorheese Zanders with 39 seconds left.
Gardner completed 14 of 25 passes for 275 yards and four TDs. He also ran 11 times for 55 yards and a score.
This week: Inkster (5-3) @ Dearborn Edsel Ford in Round 1 of the State Playoffs.
|Devin Gardner 2009|
|East Kentwood||L 33-52||19||30||389||3||1||63.33||12.97||10||102||2||10.20|
|St. Edward||W 14-7|
|Highland Park||W 27-22||9||16||127||2||2||56.25||7.94||11||74||2||6.73|
|Bay City Central||W 27-20||7||13||132||1||0||53.85||10.15||15||95||1||6.33|
|Muskegon CC||W 34-19||4||9||110||0||0||44.44||12.22||99||1|
|St. Ignatius||L 20-49||1||0||1|
SC QB Conelius Jones
Last week: Spartanburg breaks its losing streak by knocking off Hillcrest, 31-20.
Jones capped Spartanburg’s first possession of the second half with a 45-yard touchdown run to make it 17-0.
“The team had a lot of energy before the game, and we came out (after) halftime with more energy,” said Jones, who had 10 carries for 90 yards and two touchdowns.
Jones photo by Mike Bonner of the Spartanburg Herald-Journal.
This week: Spartanburg (3-6) @ Boiling Springs.
|Conelius Jones 2009|
MI RB Austin White
Last week: Stevenson pounds Livonia Churchill 42-10.
Stevenson was led by senior Austin White, who rushed for a game-high 211 yards on 19 carries.
This week: Stevenson (7-2) hosts Northville in Round 1 of the State Playoffs. The Spartans rocked Northville 31-0 earlier this season.
|Austin White 2009|
|South Lyon||W 37-0||8||173||3||21.63||0||0||0||-|
|South Lyon East||W 47-20||16||234||5||14.63||0||0||0||-|
TX RB Tony Drake
|Tony Drake 2009|
|Plano East||W 45-19||15||167||1||11.13||0||0||0||-|
|Lake Highlands||W 42-27||19||226||2||11.89||1||6||0||6.00|
TX RB Stephen Hopkins
Last week: Game preview. Marcus falls to Coppell 21-42. Hopkins ran 22 times for 96 yards. For the first time this season, he was kept out of the endzone.
This week: Marcus (4-2) v. Flower Mound at SMU.
|Stephen Hopkins 2009|
|Plano West||W 35-25||28||128||3||4.57|
|Tyler Lee||W 17-7||22||118||1||5.36|
|Southlake Carroll||L 30-41||28||150||1||5.36|
LA Slot WR Drew Dileo
Last week: Parkview Baptist beats West Feliciana 23-7.
Drew Dileo added 50 rushing yards with one TD. He also recovered a fumble to set up one fourth-quarter TD.
...and 1 badass stiff-arm, pictured at right courtesy of The Advocate's John Oubre.
Parkview drove to the WFHS 19 to open the game after a 51-yard kickoff return by Dileo.
This week: Parkview Baptist (6-1) v. Baker.
|Drew Dileo 2009|
|Christian Life||W 60-14||1||50||1||50.00|
|Church Point||W 54-0||2||40||1||20.00|
|Port Allen||W 32-7||11||65||0||5.91||3||92||2||30.67|
|West Feliciana||W 23-7||50||1|
MI WR Ricardo Miller
Last week: Pioneer falls to Dearborn Fordson 21-24.
Pioneer quarterback Miles Sorise threw three first-half touchdown passes -- 31 yards to Brandis Yarrington, 38 yards to Michigan-bound receiver Ricardo Miller and 23 yards to Mark Hugan...
Sorise led Pioneer back on two late drives, finding Miller after he got past a Fordson defensive back who tried to jam him at the line.
This week: Pioneer (7-2) hosts Temperance Bedford in the 1st Round of the State Playoffs. The Pioneers fell to Bedford 21-28 earlier in the season.
|Ricardo Miller 2009|
|Arthur Hill||W 58-20||1||20||0||20.00|
OH WR Jerald Robinson
Last week: Canton South beats(!) Alliance 34-12.
Jerald Robinson also had a 45-yard touchdown run for the Wildcats. Robinson finished with 65 yards on five carries.
This week: Canton South (2-7) @ Carrollton.
MI WR Jeremy Jackson
Last week: Huron beats Ypsilanti 19-13.
This week: Huron (5-4) missed the state playoffs, and Jackson's senior season is over.
OH WR DJ Williamson
Last week: Harding pounds Youngstown East 43-6.
This week: Harding (5-3-1) v. Akron North.
OH OL Christian Pace
Last week: Avon Lake beats Brecksville-Broadview Heights 39-10.
This week: Avon Lake (6-3) @ Amherst-Steele.
OH DT Terry Talbott
Last week: Wayne beats Centerville 42-20.
This week: Wayne (6-3) @ Springfield.
PA DE Ken Wilkins
Ken Wilkins, a Michigan recruit, caught two touchdown passes from Andrew Steratore but the first-team all-state defensive lineman from 2008 hasn't seen much time on defense.
This week: Trinity (3-5) v. Ringgold.
PA DE Jordan Paskorz
"Tackle Joe Raimondi and tight end Jordan Paskorz [a Michigan recruit] have really stepped it up," DeMatteo said. "Both have done a fantastic job on the offensive line."
This week: Hampton (4-4) v. Highlands.
OH LB Antonio Kinard
Last week: Liberty falls to Howland 18-0.
Liberty was lead by Robert Smith-Harris who rushed for 11 yards, and Antonio Kinard who caught a 42 yard pass from Nick Mattocks.
This week: Liberty (4-5) v. Girard.
FL S Marvin Robinson
Last week: Lake Region falls to Lake Gibson 14-51. Robinson is out with an injury.
This week: Lake Region (0-7) v. George Jenkins.
OH CB Courtney Avery
Lexington senior quarterback Courtney Avery completed 12 of 19 passes for 171 yards and one TD in a steady rain. He also scored on a shifty 25-yard run for a 10-0 lead at the half.
This week: Lexington (6-3) v. Ashland.
OH CB Terrence Talbott
Last week: Wayne beats Centerville 42-20.
This week: Wayne (6-3) @ Springfield.
WI P Will Hagerup
Last week: Whitefish Bay loses to Milwaukee Lutheran, 21-28.
This week: Whitefish Bay (5-4)
2011 OH CB Greg Brown
Last week: Ross dominates Lima Senior 45-17.
The scoring onslaught began with Brown, whose 6-yard TD capped an 8-play, 48-yard scoring drive on the Little Giants' first possession of the second half.
Full stats updated when the Fremont Ross Football website posts them.
This week: Ross (5-4) @ Sandusky.
|Greg Brown 2009|
|Benedictine||W 28-21 (OT)||6||99||1||16.50|
|Findlay||L 40-43 (3OT)||8||122||1||15.13||0||0||0||-|
|Marion Harding||L 0-21||0||0||0||-||4||13||0||3.25|
California DB Tony Jefferson recently announced his intention to take an official visit to Michigan, although committed to UCLA. Jefferson is a four star safety with a fake [ed: !!!] 4.5 40 time. As I mentioned in a different thread, my computer broke again, so this will be somewhat brief, and in a different format. I spoke with him about the change in his recruitment, and here are some bullet points about what he said:
- Wherever he goes, he will be enrolling early, which means he will be deciding soon.
- His visit will be November 7th for the Purdue game.
- "The coaches (from Michigan) have been talking to me for awhile now, and they've really turned up the intensity. That's part of why I'm taking a visit. I've been talking to coach Singletary and Rich Rodriguez. They've basically been telling me that I'm a priority for them, and they really want me."
- "I've been watching their games, and I really like the way they've been playing defense. I know at Michigan I could get a really good education, and always be fighting to play in a bowl game; I like that."
- "I have a really strong feeling towards Michigan. I get along really well with their staff, and Tate Forcier has been talking to me alot. He's a San Diego boy, and he's been telling me about how much he loves it."
- He said that UCLA hasn't done anything wrong, he just doesn't want to second guess himself.
- His final list is UCLA, Florida, Michigan, and Miami.
- An interesting side note: He has a lot of family in Florida, and confirmed that if he committed to Florida, his family might move there.
It seems like Florida has the best shot, but he seemed sincere when he said he has a strong feeling towards Michigan. Since he's never been on campus, you never know. The coaches have definitely shown him they want him, and he mentioned that it means a lot that they're showing so much interest. He'll visit Florida on November 28th and will decide shortly after.
I'm not sure if this is news or not, but it kind of sounds newsy. Sort of.
U-M Receives Notice of Inquiry from NCAA
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- University of Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman today (Monday, Oct. 26) announced that the University has received a "Notice of Inquiry" from the NCAA, indicating it will continue its investigation of allegations made about the U-M's intercollegiate athletics football program. The investigation is being conducted in cooperation with the University.
Statement from U-M President Mary Sue Coleman
"As I said at the onset of this review, we place the highest importance on the well-being of our student-athletes and the integrity of our program. We continue to work with the NCAA to ensure that a thorough and objective investigation occurs."
Statement from U-M Director of Athletics Bill Martin
"We continue to cooperate with the NCAA on this matter, which is why we reached out to both the Big Ten and the NCAA as soon as we heard the allegations. We remain committed to following both the letter and the intent of the NCAA rules."
I don't think this means anything other than "there is an investigation," but I could be wrong. I'm sort of on the radio (LINDA!) at the moment so can't research if this is serious or not.
- Injuries: David Molk has a torn ACL and is out until the summer. He will have surgery and miss spring practice. David Moosman will start at center for the rest of the year, and Rocko Khoury and Tim McAvoy will get more reps at center as well. Martavious Odoms is day-to-day with a knee injury. There is no ligament tear, and they're expecting him back. Junior Hemingway has a knee bruise, and he's day-to-day. Brandon Minor bruised his heel (on the opposite leg that has been giving him ankle problems this year). He's day-to-day as well.
- Defensively, there were more technical errors and missed assignments than usual. Sometimes, it's a matter of guys trying to do too much and losing responsibility. The coaches are always evaluating every scheme and personnel choice. Sometimes adjustments work, and sometimes they don't. Rodriguez has full confidence in the defensive coaching staff.
- Denard and Tate are both naturally confident young men. Struggling in games may rattle their confidence a bit, and it's up to the coaches to bring it back up. They can't worry about dropped balls, and should only be concerned with what they can fix. They are still learning to use their eyes properly on passing plays.
- Holding is a point of emphasis for the referees this year. Rodriguez has seen a lot of calls that he doesn't agree with this year - both in favor of and against Michigan. Another thing Rodriguez is upset about is being called for too many men in the backfield. The team was lined up properly and still got called on Saturday - he'll send that play in to the conference for review.
- The coaches can see the places on the team where talent is lacking. They'll develop the younger guys, but also address the talent issue in the next two recruiting classes. They'll primarily recruit high schoolers, partially because it's difficult for Junior College credits to transfer to Michigan.
- Illinois is a pretty good team, they've just been unlucky at times. They're still very talented.
Ryan Van Bergen
- On a down-to-down basis, the defense isn't bad. It's the big plays that have really hurt Michigan this year. Everyone needs to lay their assignments to reduce the big-lay threat of opposing offenses.
- Van Bergen and Molk are roommates, and Molk's injury is unfortunate, but "it's a part of the game." Molk will help the team vocally since he can't do it on the field.
- The defensive line is a tight-knit group, and they're fun to play with. If Brandon Graham happens to win a postseason award, he's promised to give the credit to the rest of the defensive linemen.
- The comments from Penn State that the defense looked confused about where to line up were inaccurate. The team knew what they were doing, and some of the movement was shifting to confuse Penn State's offensive line.
- Illinois is still similar on offense to what they were last year. Despite the numbers, they still have explosive potential. They make a lot of mistakes though, and Michigan will have to capitalize on that.
- Moosman is ready to help the team by moving to center full-time. He needs to calm down and remain collected to succeed at center, since he has to direct the entire offensive line. Hopefully, he got all the bad plays out of his system already.
- The snap through the endzone was the culmination of a bad series by the OL and the offense in general. There was a miscommunication between Tate and Moosman, and Moosman takes the blame for the safety.
- Since Moosman went to high school outside Chicago, he was asked if he was interest in going to school at Illinois. "I visited Illinois, saw what it was all about, and decided to come here." ICE BURN.
- Carlos's health is good. The headaches from the concussion have gone away. Brown also had "another issue" in spring ball, related to a head injury.
- The team struggled with the little things against Penn State, and it all added up to result in the loss. Part of that was the fumbling. Brown made a mistake to switch carrying hands on his own fumble. Fred Jackson has a lot of ball security drills that he'll make the players go through this week.
- Carlos doesn't think Tate Forcier has hit a "freshman wall." He's still the same player he was through the first 4 games of the season, and he's going to pick up that pace again.
- With Carlos's career almost over, it's crazy to think that he only has 4 or 5 games left. The team's goal has to be making a bowl game to extend to the 5th game. Brown's first career start came against Illinois, and he's hoping to have a good time down there this weekend.
- Woolfolk didn't mind switching back and forth between corner and safety during the game Saturday. The package where he plays safety and Cissoko comes onto the field is called the SWAT package by Greg Robinson. It's designed to get the best pass coverage onto the field. Sometimes when the defense lines up in man coverage, it's the CB's decision to press the receiver or play off.
- The Penn State game wasn't a matter of one or two plays changing the result. Unlike Michigan State and Iowa, the Wolverines were just outplayed for 4 quarters. It was a definite eye-opener for the team to have that happen.
- The defense is capable of greatness, but they just aren't consistent enough. "We allow people to score [with mistakes], it's not that they're scoring on us." If MIchigan can eliminate the little errors, this could be a good defense. There wasn't confusion for the team, just guys not fully executing their assignments.
- Woolfolk has thought about returning kicks since he's one of the fastest guys on the team. However, in his only KR experience in high school, he muffed the ball and the other team recovered. His high school teammate Darryl Stonum told the Michigan coaches to avoid putting Troy back to take kicks.
- Arrelious Benn is a very physical and strong receiver - Woolfolk joked that the DBs will have to get in a lot of reps on the bench press this week. Illinois overall is a big, hard-nosed team. Michigan can't have execution errors and expect to win.
Per Tim's press conference twitter, David Molk has a torn ACL and will miss the rest of the season. Here's a kitten:
Feeling better? No? Oh.
I assume Michigan will go back to the line configuration they used last month when Molk was out with a broken foot. Left to right, that was Ortmann, Schilling, Moosman, Huyge, and Dorrestein. First guy off the bench now is probably John Ferrara, who saw some time in the Iowa game when Huyge wasn't playing well or had a minor injury.
Though Molk missed a ton of time and saw only three plays before getting knocked out against Penn State, he's not eligible for a medical redshirt. One play against PSU killed any possibility of that, and medical redshirts are only available for players who haven't already taken a normal redshirt. There is some possibility the NCAA might provide a hardship waiver if Molk suffers another season-ending injury, but even that's doubtful.
10/24/2009 – Michigan 10, Penn State 35 – 5-3, 1-3 Big Ten
In my memory I have one hazy previous version of that thing from Saturday: I remember James Whitley was returning punts. He'd put a few on the turf here and there already but people were still in the "that's not enough data" phase and willing to give him a chance. On this day, whatever day it was, it was a little wet and Whitley fumbled. And fumbled again. And fumbled again. He finally got yanked and I think his replacement fumbled. I don't remember the opponent or the final score but I do remember that Michigan fumbled 12 times on the day and the stadium had 110,000 people in it who would have set a world record for most eye-rolls at an event if only someone was tracking it.
I don't know if it's a self-preservation technique for my brain, but Saturday's game is almost as hazy as that decade-old debacle. I have to squint to remember anything more specific than a single play on which a tight end drops a pass that Denard Robinson fumbles to a Penn State player who throws to a ridiculously wide open player that a linebacker is attempting, and failing, to cover. On the extra point, David Moosman snaps it through the endzone or something. I think the brain is attempting to prevent itself from getting bashed against the wall. I think the brain is wise to do this.
As the man says, mama said there'd be days like this.
When Michigan had just beaten Notre Dame and it seemed like the Irish were a team destined for an easy BCS bid instead of one that will win or lose on the last play against anyone except Nevada, hopes bloomed across the Wolverine diaspora. Personally, I remember contemplating an Alamo or Outback with Tim on the giggly post-Notre Dame podcast, and that was an explicitly keep-your-pants on sort of prediction.
How are everyone's pants now? Firmly adhered to various bits of your anatomy, I'm guessing. Stayin' there for at least two weeks. Waiting for Michigan to outgain an opponent in a conference featuring letters other than M, A, and C before relaxing to non-tourniquet levels.
So, yeah, Penn State was kind of a comedown. At this point it's undeniable: Michigan isn't good. Though well removed from the nuclear apocalypse they were last year, this is probably the second- or third-worst team at Michigan in 40 years, give or take a 2005 or 1984. That's disappointing after the mirage of the first few games, but it's not surprising. The reasons why have been detailed in this space and many others, before the season and during it: freshman quarterbacks, new defensive coordinator, terrifying defensive depth chart. Preseason predictions of 7-5 factored in the idea that Rodriguez was a good coach in a big hole.
And though Michigan's on pace to meet those expectations, it was the sort of weekend where I studiously avoid the internet for a day afterwards and am then immediately, repeatedly reminded of why when I break the boycott the day after. Many caps, much emotion, etc. I've got a few emails in the inbox from folks who annoyed the commentariat and got neg-banged under the 20-point threshold at which you can start your own threads, most of which say I can kiss the ass of the user in question*. You've been on the internet. You know. It's always the last thing that happened that will always keep happening forever.
Your personal level of outrage depends on how much blame you apportion to Rodriguez, Carr, Bill Martin (for handing a Carr team to Rodriguez), and/or general bloody-minded fate, and how quickly you think 3-9 turns into a good football team. Ugh. Isn't it tedious to go through this again? Anyone who's read this blog for a while knows it falls—or at least attempts to fall—on the ruthlessly logical side of things, adds this latest game to the pile of data, shifts its opinion a little bit, and continues believing that Rich Rodriguez is a good coach put in a really tough situation.
As Michigan progresses further into the Rodriguez era the amount of blame that can be laid at the feet of people other than the head coach decreases. It's not to the point where much of it is Rodriguez's fault, in my e-pinion. There are many teams that have looked bad with freshman quarterbacks and many more that have looked atrocious starting five underclassmen, one of them a walk-on, on defense. Michigan is in the middle part of the curve here, and if you're pointing to extreme outliers like Paul Johnson and complaining you are purposefully shutting out data that disagrees with your thesis and—well, and here we go again. I argue against the legions of people on the internet who don't like it when Michigan loses and have poor impulse control, the reader agrees for a bit and then gets annoyed that this column is wasting its time on that sort of thing, etc etc etc. We did this last year. A lot.
This is the first time we've done it in 2009, eight games in, and that represents progress of a sort. The progress on the field is equally obvious: hack out the game against Baby Seal U and Michigan is averaging 80 more yards per game than they did last year; they've only gotten throttled once. They haven't lost to a 3-9 MAC team. They beat a team with a winning record. They aren't going to be 3-9 themselves. By the standards of Michigan past this is a disaster of a year, but the only relevant team in relation to this one is 2008. This year is not evidence Rodriguez is a bad coach.
*(Seriously, multiple negbang victims have deployed "kiss my ass" in their emails. Does this signify that most of the victims are of a certain age? I can't imagine anyone under 30 telling someone to do that; the kids these days are more likely to break out the heavy artillery. One very tenuous suggestion that the older you are, the less patience you have. Which, obviously.)
- Rodriguez bitches, I've got a few:
I'm fine with deploying Robinson, but Michigan has to be more flexible with him. The difference between second and nine, when a Robinson run is still a plausible threat, and third and nine, when it isn't, is obvious: second down is an open seam that Koger (argh) drops; third down is a horrible interception. Bringing Robinson in is fine—he was effective, the third and long was the result of a penalty and a drop—but once it's a passing down, Forcier's got to come in.
Aigh spike. I thought the running plays that got Michigan down to first and goal were plausible; I was iffy about the call on first and goal, and disliked the second-down call, but understand that at that point you're really operating at speed and split-second decisions aren't always correct. From the three with the clock running and no timeouts my instinct is to pass because one way or the other the clock stops afterwards. After fumbling, though, a spike with 13 seconds left is pretty maddening. If you're going to run the ball, you have to have a pass play ready to go that you can just call.
I still think that Rodriguez's game theory stuff is pretty good, far better than Carr's; at least the mistakes he makes are of the quick-decision, (usually) slightly-too-aggressive variety. He didn't punt from the freakin' 33, as JoePa did Saturday and Carr did plenty.
- Did anyone else have a strangely positive impression of the run game after it was all over? The box score is illuminating: Brown, Minor, and Robinson combine to average 4.3 YPC; Forcier ends up with ten yards on 14 carries because of a lot of sacks. Brown also had a 20 yard run called back for an illegal formation. I'll take that against Penn State; the main problem with the run game this year has been an inability to get Minor and Brown more carries. They should be combining for 35 carries, not 20.
- Bonus: that was accomplished with Molk missing all but three plays.
- Meanwhile, Royster had 100 yards but averaged just 3.1 YPC after his 41-yard opener, which I'm pretty sure will be a huge screwup by Jonas Mouton. That's the defense's MO: pretty good physically, doesn't get pushed around consistently, prone to massive breakdowns.
- I don't think Forcier was nearly as bad as the numbers. He got crushed by drops, which were legion and extremely important. Third and long conversions clattered to the turf after bouncing through people's arms. Those are something close to turnovers in terms of overall negative impact on the game.
- Also close to turnovers: turnovers. Note that this site's suggested that turnovers are largely random but there are two things that consistently cause them: pressure and inexperienced quarterbacks. Michigan's got plenty of the latter. I expected Michigan to move towards the middle this year but remain somewhat negative. They've not done the former. They're 105th in turnover margin at almost –1 per game.
- Obi Ezeh's job might be coming under threat. Multiple times in the second half he was pulled for Fitzgerald, first for just one play and then for a few; each time Hopson pulled him aside and explained various things to him. I don't really blame him for the Quarless touchdown; what the hell was Michigan doing send him in man coverage on Quarless without safety help? Was there supposed to be safety help? I don't know.
- Robinson's tendency to send six or even seven guys on third down is catching up to Michigan. There was the first Moeaki touchdown, on which Iowa had a playcall specifically designed to burn an all-hands blitz, and then there were a couple instances against Penn State where an all-hands blitz was easily anticipated and exploited; Graham Zug was the main beneficiary. That was the main thing that got him open. Careful what you wish for, I guess.
- What in the hell is with Donovan Warren playing ten yards off the line of scrimmage? Penn State had eight free yards whenever they ran a long. I was iffy on Robinson when he was hired. While I'm willing to give them a chance and it's obvious that there's almost no way this defense could be good, stuff like that and the bubble screen mania against Michigan State are really disturbing. I have no idea what you could be running in which it's a good idea to play your top cornerback so far off the LOS that you're giving Penn State second and two.
- Not that anyone affiliated with Penn State will notice, but they were the recipient of some questionable calls. Didn't matter, obviously.
- Cissoko returned and Michigan showed its first semblance of a situational substitution all year: on obvious passing downs he would replace Williams and Woolfolk would drop back to safety.
- Speaking of Williams: he's basically the only scholarship player left at safety, and I know he was a four-star but you can't just point to one high-rated recruit and claim things should be better; recruits don't always pan out. To really be assured of talent at a position you need two or three high-rated guys, or at least veterans.
- The play on which Donovan Warren was shoved into Junior Hemingway needs to be a penalty. As we saw, it's dangerous as hell. Kick catch interference should extend to people you're blocking into the returner.
|Last week's ballot|
Pretty self-explanatory this week. A few teams move up, primarily because I was undervaluing them last week (Iowa, Arizona, Pitt). Sadly, that probably makes me a pretty good candidate for Mr. Manic-Depressive this week, but that's how it goes sometimes.
There isn't too much I'm uncomfortable with. I think the top 10 is rock-solid, although near-stumbles by 'Bama, Florida, and Iowa might give Texas an opening. As usual, the last few teams in the poll are barely hanging on. If anyone can come up with other teams that have a legitimate argument for being included in the poll, let me know in the comments.
Resumes after the jump, your feedback in the comments.