fair point that
It may be in the 20s and snowing this week in Ann Arbor, but baseball's opening day is just 10 days away. And with baseball comes great hope that perhaps this last year of pain in Michigan sports may be washed away. The team comes in off a disappointing season plagued with depth issues, injuries, and just a few too many strikeouts but looks to be vastly improved in depth on both the mound and field.
As the first in a series of seasons previews, I've interviewed Michigan's coach Rich Maloney. Some highlights:
- Freshman Derek Dennis will be starting at shortstop and batting ninth. The hope is he'll be our #3 hole hitter in the next two years.
- Freshman Patrick Biondi will be starting in left field and leading off. The kid has "special speed." The kid ran a 6.44 – 60 yard dash. The average MLB player is between 6.7-6.9. Biondi will be laying down plenty of bunts looking to get on base.
- The rotation as set up today would be Oaks, Burgoon, Matt Miller, and Brandon Sinnery. Coach sees Sinnery making a huge jump this year. Katzman is coming off surgery and won't be available to start games to start the season. He may be ready for the bullpen by season's start.
- At closer, we're going by committee from the sound of it. Sinnery may be used as closer if he doesn't get a weekend spot. Bobby Brosnahan is fully healed from Tommy John surgery and could be a left handed closer. He also has a shot at a starting spot. Kolby Wood also has a chance. Woo depth!
- Coach really would love a football player to try out for the baseball team. They were co-recruiting a player last year with football, but the recruit chose elsewhere.
- We're hosting Texas Tech for a midweek series in 2011. That's… like huge for Northern baseball.
- It's somewhat disappointing that the Big Ten Tournament is going to be in Columbus every year for the next three. Coach says they have to treat it like any other road games, just like Vanderbilt or any other tournaments.
- Kevin Krantz and freshman Cam Luther may be getting considerable time on the field.
More good stuff inside the podcast, so give it a listen. You too can catch up with the team Wednesday February 10th at the Junge Champions Center (between Crisler and Michigan Stadium) at "Meet the Wolverines Night." There will be photo and autograph opportunities as well as snacks and beverages for all of you broke college kids looking for free food and entertainment.
The kids are in and the winter sports are slowly strangling whatever hopes you had, so the next major event you won't stare at a bottle of pills after is spring practice. Time for primers. Positions I'll be looking at hard in a month or two:
Fifth-year senior Mark Ortmann graduates. Ortmann was no Jake Long but by the end of his career at Michigan he was a solid pass protector and okay in the run game. If Michigan can get an equal performance from a freshman or sophomore that's a win.
The favorite is redshirt sophomore Patrick Omameh, who drew into the lineup late last year when David Molk went down with injury and the right guard spot became persistently unsettled after David Moosman slid over to center. Omameh made a few impressive plays downfield…
…and was generally functional. Though he ended up at guard last year that was an effort to get Michigan's best five linemen on the field more than anything else. Omameh has always been regarded a left tackle prospect.
Omameh's main competition will come from two redshirt freshman. Taylor Lewan was a late-blooming prospect from Arizona who got acres of hype—the Long comparisons were rife—and has an enormous ceiling. Omameh has experience on Lewan but if those two are far and away the top two candidates for starting jobs they might leave Omameh at guard and insert Lewan. Michael Schofield is another redshirt freshman who was well-regarded as a recruit and will have a shot at the job, but he may be better suited for right tackle.
Hoping for… Lewan. Jumping into the starting lineup as a freshman would be Long-like for a guy who has drawn Long comparisons, and it would presumably allow Omameh to slide over to right tackle to help lock down the area from which most of Tate Forcier's wild-ass scrambles were born.
Expecting… Omameh. With three starts to his name and no current starters a threat to move to left tackle, Omameh is a prohibitive favorite.
The aforementioned Moosman was Michigan's most consistent offensive lineman the last two years when not forced to play center due to Molk's injuries. Though he was consistent, he wasn't great; his prominence says more about the state of Michigan's line the last couple years than his future in the game. He wasn't invited to the NFL combine.
Since Moosman spent most of the year at center and his replacement was a combination of Huyge, Ferrara, and Omameh with the latter performing the best, Michigan should expect improved production here.
Assuming the tackles are not in such surplus that Michigan can toss them about the interior line willy-nilly, Michigan faces a choice between old and young. The old guy in the mix is fifth-year senior John Ferrara (right), a guy who was flipped from defensive tackle in Rodriguez's first year at Michigan and saw spot starts in 2008. He was supplanted last year by a couple of guys who displayed serious limitations, but he's more seasoned than the other options.
The other options are a pair of highly-touted southerners. Redshirt sophomore Ricky Barnum decommitted from Florida just before signing day and was actually the second-team left tackle last year. The assumption here is that Omameh was more ready to play and left tackle was not open, so the best backup lineman practiced at the most available spot—right guard after Molk went down—and the second best practiced at the toughest. That would be Barnum. He came highly touted and after two years prepping he's the most likely guy. If it's close, Michigan will probably go with the younger player.
The other prime candidates are Elliot Mealer, who saw a little time last year as a backup, and redshirt freshman Quinton Washington. The soft-spoken Washington picked Michigan over South Carolina late in last year's recruiting cycle and drew lavish praise from the coaches:
"To my understanding, he's their number one lineman they are going after in the nation. That's point blank what coach Rodriguez told me Friday night."
Washington is a rare combination of size and linebacker-erasing agility and could be a major star. His ceiling is very, very high. If he doesn't win a job this year he will be the heavy favorite to replace Steve Schilling in 2011.
Hoping for… Realistically, Barnum. He should be ahead of Washington at this point and Washington getting the nod over him would probably say more bad things about Barnum than good things about Washington. In fairy land where Michigan embarks on a four-year journey with Lewan as Jake Long 2.0 and Washington as Steve Hutchinson 2.0, Washington. No offense to Ferrara, but I'd take a starting spot for him as a very bad sign.
No one. Whoever's here this fall should be better, whether it's the same players with more experience or someone displacing them.
The reason this position is listed prominently is performance of the two semi-incumbents. Perry Dorrestein and Mark Huyge (right, holding the hell out of a Penn State lineman) were functional in the run game but revolving doors in pass protection. A not so random protection metric from last year:
PROTECTION METRIC: 14/29. Huyge –5, Schilling –3, Minor –2, Ortmann –1, Shaw –1, Koger –1, Moosman –1, Omameh –1.
That is by far the lowest percentage in UFR history. The culprits are the usual by now: Huyge on the edge, Schilling getting blasted back into the pocket, and several other folk having individual moments of struggle.
That happened to be a game that Huyge played right tackle; when Dorrestein got the start he was the guy leading the way with big minuses.
Michigan had little choice but to rotate those two last year. This year they have options. The aforementioned Lewan and Schofield come off redshirt years; Omameh will probably move back to tackle in spring, too. All these guys have been talked about already.
Hoping for… in the scenario where Lewan erupts, Omameh.
Expecting… early, a rotation similar to last year's. Huyge takes over late and his pass protection remains a major issue.
Brandon Minor and Carlos Brown were polar opposites in many ways but shared a knack for getting injured constantly. Despite having not one but two senior tailbacks, Michigan was forced to go to true freshman Vincent Smith late last year as both veterans looked on dourly from the sidelines holding various aching extremities.
Kevin Grady is also gone, though he was mostly a fullback last year.
Production should be about even; Brown and Minor were hardly at full speed last year.
They are diverse and sundry. With Vincent Smith out until fall with an ACL tear, five or six players will battle for carries. Mike Shaw is the one you've seen before. His freshman year was exciting, but his promise dipped as a sophomore. Shaw runs wildly. He's a zippy guy with the occasional fantastic move…
…but his vision is lacking and he's had fumble issues. This spring will be a turning point in his career. If he gets left in the wash by freshmen he's headed for kickoff return duties and not much else. Chances are he improves enough to be a part of the rotation; he has Brown-level speed.
Other folk are murkier. Mike Cox displayed impressive balance on a couple of garbage-time carries against weak opponents but has done nothing else so far and fell behind Smith almost as soon as he hit the practice field. He could find use as a short-yardage back or Soul Train extra. Cox is the only other player in the spring tailback derby to have seen a carry at Michigan.
The other three players are freshmen, be they redshirt or true. Fitzgerald Toussaint, the redshirt, is the most likely to have a breakout spring. He enrolled in fall—Smith got in early, giving us an early glimpse—and then broke his collarbone. That forced him out of a month of practice and relegated him to scout team duties, but before that he was a jump-cut maniac at Youngstown Liberty who racked up three or four 50+ yard touchdowns per game. When I profiled Toussaint prior to his enrollment, I was higher on him than Smith:
While I think Vincent Smith can be a good back in the Michigan offense, Toussaint has the bigger recruiting rep, better track numbers, and heart-stopping highlights; my bet is that he's the most successful tailback out of this class. I love the combination of moves, zone suitability, and flat-out speed cited by ESPN and demonstrated at track meets and football games.
And while Smith has outpaced even this site's positive take on him in year one, the main thing I'll be looking for this spring is Toussaint translating his sprinter's speed and audacious cuts to Michigan Stadium.
True freshmen Austin White and Stephen Hopkins have enrolled early and will get their shots as well. White is a slot/tailback who might be reminiscent of a Dorrell Jalloh or Darius Reynaud; he comes with less hype than Toussaint and I assume he will redshirt. Hopkins is the lowest-rated back of anyone on the roster but at 6-foot and 230-240 pounds there is a distinctly vacant role on the roster he might be the man to fill. Michigan needs a short-yardage moose.
Hoping for… Smith's healthy return and Toussaint living up to his crazy film.
Expecting… pretty much that, with Shaw factoring in as needed.
My assumption remains that Devin Gardner is headed for a redshirt. Still, getting a look at the future of Michigan's quarterback position will be a priority for many. Roy Roundtree and Martavious Odoms have a stranglehold on slot receiver, but an extended look at Jeremy Gallon with an eye towards "please God, send us a punt returner" will be welcome. On the outside, Junior Hemingway is a lock and it will take some doing to displace Darryl Stonum. With Ricardo Miller, Jeremy Jackson, and Jerald Robinson all in early there's a chance someone displays an ability to adjust to deep balls.
Finally, I wonder if any of the tight ends can catch now.
Kevin Williams is a junior defensive tackle from Springfield High School, in Ohio. Williams is one of the best prospects in Ohio’s 2011 class, and is looking to end his recruitment early. I caught up with Kevin, and his coach, and here’s what they had to say.
COACH VINCE MARROW: As a sophomore, he was the best defensive player for this team. I was thinking about taking a job at Syracuse, and I ended up coming here to Springfield. Kevin’s parents transferred him here to play for me, which was exciting.
In high school, it's either the athletes are going to have to pick up weights, or put on weight. Kevin is 6-foot-2, 275 pounds, and only 16 years old. He's ready for D1, and hasn't even hit his full potential. I think he’ll probably grow one or two more inches. He honestly could probably start at Toledo this year, as a junior. His speed, strength, and explosiveness are very good.
I've coached some NFL, and played in the NFL for 9 years. I played for Buffalo, the Bears, Carolina, and the 49ers. I really think he's the best defensive tackle in the state of Ohio. He had 17 sacks, 21 tackles for loss, and 151 total tackles this year, as a junior.
[ed: to Kevin now.]
TOM: Who do you currently have offers from?
KEVIN: I have offers from Boston College, Michigan, Nebraska, Bowling Green, and Indiana so far.
TOM: Who are you hearing from, and expect offers from?
KEVIN: I’m expecting one from Florida State, too.
TOM: Were you a fan of any team growing up?
KEVIN: I’m a big fan of Michigan, Notre Dame, and Florida. I went to a Michigan basketball game when I was younger. We got to go out on the field and play around in the Big House. It was so overwhelming; I’ll never forget that.
TOM: Have you made it up to Michigan for a visit, or camp? When will you be up there?
KEVIN: No, not yet. I’m going on the 20th to their junior day.
TOM: What are your strengths, and what are you trying to work on?
KEVIN: My explosiveness off the ball is one of my biggest strengths. I’d like to work on my hands a little bit, and getting my handwork down.
TOM: How has it helped you having a coach like Coach Marrow, being an NFL guy?
KEVIN: Yes, it’s helped a lot. We go through drills every day. When I was at Central, I was basically just potential. He’s helped me bring that potential out, and turned it into ability. He gives me the whole ins and outs of the recruiting process. He’s been there, and gone through it, so he’s helped me a lot. His son went through it last year, and is at Alabama now, so he knows what to do.
TOM: Is there a certain scheme that you would like to play in, in college, or do you think you’re versatile enough to play anywhere?
KEVIN: I think I can play in any scheme. I can play interior, or I can bump out and play defensive end. That won’t really matter to me.
TOM: How do you see your recruitment panning out? What is the timeline for you?
KEVIN: I plan on making a decision by spring, definitely before summer. I plan on graduating early, so I want to make sure I just have the decision out of the way.
TOM: Do you think distance will play a factor in your decision?
KEVIN: It really won’t play a factor. I have family in Florida, around here, so distance won’t matter too much. I would like to experience new things. Michigan is close, though, so that would be nice to have my family be able to come see me play.
TOM: How are you going to make your decision. What are the biggest factors that will play into your decision?
KEVIN: Just where ever I feel comfortable. I’m looking for the place that gives me the feeling of comfort. I want to have that home away from home.
TOM: What about Michigan stands out to you?
KEVIN: I love their tradition. Like I said, when I went to that basketball game when I was younger, it was just a crazy feeling. To know that much history is there, it’s overwhelming.
Michigan 11-12 (4-7 Big Ten). And the FAIL train chugs along.
In the first half of Saturday's game Michigan's offense was out of sync, but it seemed like the defense was playing pretty darn well. Michigan forced a couple shot clock violations by the Badgers, and mostly prevented them from getting very good looks at the hoop.
Of course, despite the decent defense, Wisconsin managed to shoot 69% from three-point range and 68% overall from the field. Sometimes, it's just not your day. Sometimes, the opposition nails a half-court shot at the buzzer, and it doesn't even surprise you. On days like that, there's no way to win.
Once Wisconsin gets a lead, they're masters at choking the life out of the game, slowing it down enough that it looks like everyone is trudging through mud. Michigan's offense was completely lost in the second half. Stu Douglass and Zack Novak were too tentative to take shots, DeShawn Sims was getting double- and triple-teamed every time he got the ball, and Manny Harris couldn't to get a good look at the basket—not that it prevented him from shooting.
As much as it looked like this Michigan team had turned a corner around the time of the UConn game or during the near-miss against Michigan State, these last two games are the final word: this is a lost season. All that's left is to salvage a bit of respectability by finishing with a winning record and scraping into the NIT. Even that looks like a difficult task at this point.
- Seriously, Stu Douglass, you miss 100% of the shots you don't take. Dishing it to Manny when you have a clear shot in the lane is something a point guard really shouldn't do. A "point guard mentality" is not about dishing to teammates all the time, but giving the team the best opportunity to score on a given play.
- Darius Morris continues to impress. 3/4 shooting with 3 assists and only 1 turnover is very good, and his defense was good as well. Once he gets some off-season work on his shot, he could become a star over the next couple years.
- The Wolverines had five players go more than 30 minutes, and six others less than 10. Quality bench depth :(.
- This Michigan team isn't good, that much is obvious. I still wonder how different things would be if a couple of the close calls had gone the other way. Confidence has become a huge issue at this point.
Michigan travels to Minnesota for a game that looked winnable a few days ago, but not so much anymore. The Thursday (7PM/6PM Central) contest is now looking more like a cripplefight, with Michigan reeling and Minnesota coping with the loss of Royce White.
John Beilein is one of the better coaches in gameplanning with a long layoff between games, and Michigan's bench situation means a bit of rest could be helpful as well .
Sylvia, go to the dry cleaners and get me my indignation pants. Fire up the typewriters, stentorian columnists of America, because FL DE and Auburn signee Corey Lemonier has got a gun!
Don't forget that he probably has scurvy.
Even more Dorsey still. The WLA has a guest post up from a person with "extensive real-life experience dealing with juvenile offenders." His has some numbers on how likely an average juvenile offender is to re-offend…
My research indicates that after two years, generally speaking, a youth has a four percent chance of re-offending. To put it another way, a youth has a 96% chance of not re-offending. Mr. Dorsey, having been free of criminal activity for two years would seem to fall into this category. Even Jamie Mac would take those odds.
…and perspective on the "risk" we're talking about here:
There are a whole bunch of people out there that are wailing because Mr. Dorsey might besmirch the good name of the U of M.
Mr. Dorsey is coming into a highly structured, overwhelmingly positive environment. His cousin and positive peer will be there. He’ll have tutors and advisors and Barwis. He’ll live in a supervised residence in a city that almost forgets crime even exists. He’ll be pursuing an education that could set him for life just as likely as an NFL contract might. And the downside is that he might, might give the U of M a black eye? Wow. Life really is getting cheap nowadays.
Rodriguez's discipline track record should be judged as a whole, and with few significant incidents in the last five years it's a good one. Demar Dorsey isn't going to change that by himself, and the focus should Michigan doing whatever it can to extract him from the negative environment he was in previously. It doesn't always work—Pacman Jones—but that doesn't mean it's not worth trying.
Wojo, meanwhile, has a take on the matter that meets his usual standards of sanity. Wojo has other positive aspects, as well, but it's the not being totally insane that stands out these days.
War of the Roses. There are a ton of positions on defense where a half-dozen kids will go head-to-head for starting jobs this spring but only one spot with real uncertainty on the other side of the ball. That's tailback. Fred Jackson on his group:
“I got five or six guys here that I got to make a decision on at the end of spring to see how we’re going to shape up for camp,” Jackson said. “I don’t know what to expect from of a lot of them, but I think we have enough talent to have an excellent group. It’s just a fact that I have not had a chance to put them all on an equal playing field yet, and once I do I’ll know a lot more.”
I'm slightly worried that Jackson isn't comparing any of his guys to Adrian Peterson crossed with a killer whale, which in his language means "barely functional Big Ten player," but we'll probably get some quotes like that after spring practice.
Hello: goodbye: hello: goodbye: hello. Goodbye. Jim Harbaugh is at Stanford, as you well know, and hauled in a pretty decent recruiting class despite a whopping 19 decommitments. That makes Michigan's 2009 class look downright peaceful, and comes with Stanford coming off an excellent (for Stanford) 8-5 year in which their moose tailback almost won the Heisman.
Jim Stefani on what might be going on:
This begs an answer to the question as to why Harbaugh and staff are accepting so many verbals from prospects who are not yet admitted. Perhaps it is in hope that will eventually qualify. Perhaps it is to build recruiting momentum by putting together a class that looks great on paper and would attract additional prospects. Maybe if Harbaugh goes through a couple of difficult seasons he could in part justify the poor performance to the Stanford administration by arguing that his limited success is due to the limited recruiting universe that he can avail himself of. He could pull out a list of all the kids that he received commitments from and tell his boss that if these kids had been accepted into Stanford the team would have performed much better.
I think Harbaugh has little choice but to recruit a bunch of guys he thinks might get in to Stanford and hope the admissions committee admits them. His alternative is to give conditional offers that kids can't commit to pending admission and watch them head elsewhere. It'll be interesting to see how long Harbaugh is willing to put up with those meddling adults before heading to greener pastures.
Strange days. So what's Bill Frieder up to these days?
The Sacramento Kings owners are Joe and Gavin Maloof and long story short, they got me into skateboarding and I run a huge skateboarding event called the Maloof Money Cup. This is competition skateboarding. We’ve got it on national television and it’s the world’s greatest skateboarding event with the richest purse. We have a half-million purse at each place.
That is… unexpected.
Minus ten million for cheese. I noticed this too when throwing together a Sporting Blog post on disappointing recruiting classes. Three Big Ten teams ended up in the top five, but one of them was not Wisconsin despite the Badgers ending up a bizarre 86th in their team rankings. This is why:
Take a look at who the Badgers signed; it’s not USC, but pretty decent group, right? Scout has it ranked at 33rd. Rivals? No lie, it’s #86. Now, I’ll just use one example here to keep this brief. Ken State is ranked 5 spots higher than Wisconsin on Rivals. They have fewer commits, and a much smaller average star rating. It’s incoherent to suggest that most, if not all Kent State commits would immediately flip to Wisconsin if they received an offer from the Badgers.
It's not that Rivals hates all of Wisconsin's recruits relative to Scout, because the Badgers finished behind a don't of teams with way worse star ratings and fewer commits. Wisconsin's 51st in star average, and would obliterate say… UTEP. Or Vanderbilt. Or Toledo. Or a couple dozen other teams they somehow finished behind. Bret Bielema's criticism of the guru industry seems well-founded, at least in his specific case.
Now I get it. Tim Brewster's "extension" does not have a raise except for some incentive clauses and reduces Coach TRY FIGHT WIN's buyout to 200k per year left. He's probably safe for this year and next, but then it's axing time.
So I think he's going to try to knock down all the pins. During the couple years I was doing standup comedy at half-ass open mics around town, one of my compatriots had a funny bit about how he couldn't really consider bowling a sport because analysis always boils down to "…so I think he's going to try to knock down all the pins."
What this reading consists of, then, is a mystery indeed:
“Bowling was probably the hardest class I had last semester,” [Austin] White said at the National Signing Day press conference. “You know, if I had like 20 pages of reading for Meteorology, I would have 40 for Bowling. And then there was a bunch of terminology and phrases that I had never heard before.”
Like… strike? Spare? Turkey? I bowl about as well as Barack Obama but I bet it's not too hard to pick up on the lingo. What does page 40 say? What about page 4?
Etc.: Even more podcast can be had at "The Michigan Man Podcast." I do my best Mel Kiper impression with Michigan's defensive recruits. Interested in rap about Demar Dorsey that slams Certain People in the media? Of course you are. Don't get super excited about Manny coming back yet.
"My only hope is that the big Lebowski kills me before the Germans can cut my dick off."
2/6/2010 – Michigan 2, Wisconsin 3 – 16-13-1
When I first started following Michigan hockey, Michigan had this unbelievable streak of not giving up third period leads. It stretched back and back and back and was some ridiculous number that may have been in the triple digits and the last team to actually overcome a Michigan lead in the third period was Illinois-Chicago, a team that didn't even exist anymore.
That record fell by the wayside some time ago and now seems as distant of a memory as UIC hockey itself.
It's not like it's a surprise at this point but I'd really prefer a straight-up stomping to taking the lead in the third, thinking about a manageable stretch run if the team takes care of Bowling Green on Tuesday, dreaming about extending Michigan's record run of tourney appearances to 20, and then giving up two power play goals to the same guy in the same spot within a few minutes of each other.
If they'd just get run out of the building you can get over it and move on. The basketball team has had the decency to do so of late, releasing me from the obligations to care about Wisconsin's unconscious three-point shooting aside from instant reactions like "Jesus," "oh come on," "you cannot possibly be serious," and "did someone slip me LSD?" (Have you ever seen a guy launch a half-court shot and thought to yourself "oh God, that's going in too"? At one point in the second half I complained that Wisconsin was shooting 70 percent from three and thought I was wildly exaggerating to make a point; they were actually 11/15 at that point: 73 percent.)
I digress. The hockey team has made a specialty of this sort of thing. A late penalty doomed them against Ferris State. They managed to blow a one-goal lead against a dire Bowling Green team by conceding bang-bang third period goals. Bryan Hogan wandered out of his net to blow a tie with BU with 2:30 left. Hogan got pulled and his backup conceded what I hear was an unbelievably soft goal at the GLI. You've got an Alaska tie and the 5-4 win over State on the other hand, but the State win almost doesn't count since they blew a 3-0 lead to get themselves in the predicament they overcome. Michigan has lost ground late in games.
It's not really a surprise given the way the team has played. They're wildly variable, sloppy, penalty-prone, etc. But when the names get called on Hockey's selection show and Michigan is, in all likelihood, absent, it will be the last ten minutes of the third that did them in.
Michigan's dropped to 19th in RPI and 20th in the Pairwise. They have to win six of seven down the stretch to give themselves a chance, I think. They might be able to win five and then lose in the CCHA final, but that will be touch and go. Probably. The PWR has so much jitter that any prognostication more than a week or two from the end of the season is vague. It comes down to the TUCs.
- Apparently the Michigan coaching staff was very unhappy with the late penalties on Summers. MVictors tweeted Mel Pearson's response: "You won't see that call 9 out of 10 times." I don't know about that. Like Greg, I assumed Pearson was talking about the second call, when Summers was penalized for a routine defensive play when he was in good position. I thought the tripping call was legit.
- My main ref bitch is that Wisconsin should have had at least one guy gone for dangerous plays along the boards: the hit on Hagelin that was called a cross check should definitely been five and a game and the elbowing call Scooter took was borderline at best.
- No Lee Moffie? If you're going to put in Llewellyn, I guess that's fine, but Moffie's been playing really well and I'd think an error-prone Greg Pateryn would be the guy to get the gate. Maybe he got injured against BG.
- At this point how Louie Caporusso ever scored 24 goals is the mystery, not his season-long slump. His dangles don't work and he tries them all the time. He did have some nice forechecking moments against Wisconsin, but that's kind of the point, isn't it? Even if TJ Hensick had some crazy forechecks in a game no one would remember them because he would have done a bunch of other crazy stuff.
- Good for Scooter to get that goal; he's deserved it the way he's played this year. Might be playing himself into an A for his senior year.
- Torrent is here if you're a masochist or Wisconsin fan.
STANLEY CUP BABY PEERS INTO YOUR SOUL
STANELY CUP BABY: Hey.
TOM HAMMOND: Hey.
|WHAT||Michigan v. Wisconsin|
|WHERE||Ann Arbor, MI|
February 6th, 2010
|THE LINE||Michigan -1*(!?!?!)|
*Line provided by online sports betting site Sportsbetting.com.
When Last We Met
The Wolverines led for much of the game, despite the traditionally... difficult... officiating atmosphere in the Kohl Center. Wisconsin was throwing up 3-pointers with little success, and shot very poorly in the game overall. However, the Wolverines fell apart down the stretch, allowing the Badgers to claw back into the lead, and emerge with a 54-48 victory.
DeShawn Sims starred for the Wolverines, scoring 23 points on just 14 shots from the field, while collecting 13 rebounds. Manny Harris scored 11 points in 36 minutes, and Zack Novak also played for 36 minutes, though he had a poor shooting day, missing all six of his attempts from the field.
Since Last We Met
Michigan has been the ultimate tease, showing improvement against Purdue and Michigan State, though they emerged winless. That tease was brought to a new level with a blowout victory against Iowa, but the charade was exposed in a thorough beating in Evanston against the Wildcats.
Wisconsin, on the other hand, is adjusting to life without Jon Leuer, struggling against Penn State (an overtime win) and Purdue (a three-point loss), but laying the hammer down on Michigan State by shooting lights-out and turning over the Spartans 13 times.
If you need an explanation of the stats, check out Ken Pomeroy.
|Michigan v. Wisconsin: National Ranks|
|Category||Michigan Rank||Wisconsin Rank||Advantage|
|Mich eFG% v. Wisc Def eFG%||225||39||WW|
|Mich Def eFG% v. Wisc eFG%||172||72||WW|
|Mich TO% v. Wisc Def TO%||20||221||MMM|
|Mich Def TO% v. Wisc TO%||63||3||W|
|Mich OReb% v. Wisc DReb%||257||3||WWW|
|Mich DReb% v. Wisc OReb%||207||290||M|
|Mich FTR v. Wisc Opp FTR||333||116||WWW|
|Mich Opp FTR v. Wisc FTR||12||227||MMM|
|Mich AdjO v. Wisc AdjD||100||6||W|
|Mich AdjD v. Wisc AdjO||38||23||W|
Difference of more than 10 places in the national rankings get a 1-letter advantage, more than 100 gets a 2-letter advantage, more than 200 gets a 3-letter advantage, etc.
Thinking at the most facile level, a 6-point road loss could easily become a home win, but that hasn't been how it goes with the Michigan-Wisconsin series in the John Beilein era. In all three road games, Michigan has hung tough, and in both home contests, they've been blown out.
The Four Factors clearly favor the Badgers here, and I think the trend of Michigan playing close in the Kohl Center and getting blown out in Crisler is unfortunately going to continue. KenPom only likes Wisconsin by 5 (and Vegas actually favors Michigan, for some reason I don't know - free money, that), but I think a double-digit beatdown of sorts is in order.
Now that signing day for the 2010 class is over, focus shifts to 2011. With just one player in the 2010 class on the offensive line, OL will be a major focus. Anthony Zettel is a junior offensive lineman from West Branch, MI who was recently offered by Michigan. I caught up with Anthony, and here’s what he had to say.
TOM: It’s obviously early in the process, but what offers do you have so far?
ANTHONY: I have an offer from CMU, Michigan State, and I just got my offer from Michigan. Notre Dame actually called, and invited me to their junior day, too.
TOM: What position are you being recruited for?
ANTHONY: I play offensive tackle now, so they’re recruiting me for the offensive line, but also for the defensive line. I play defensive end, but I think I would be better in college at the tackle spot. I can plug holes better, and my speed would be better for that position. CMU, MSU, and Michigan are all recruiting me for both sides of the ball. They’re not sure where they want me to play yet.
TOM: Tell me about you as a player. What are your strengths, and what are you working on?
ANTHONY: I’m on the Michigan summer workout plan right now, so I’m trying to get stronger and faster. Our team did the workout plan this summer, but I’m doing it by myself right now. I want to increase my size, but keep my athleticism. So far, I’ve increased most of my maxes, but I’ve really helped my speed and vertical. I should be up to 265 by the end of the summer. Some coaches have told me that I play a little high, so I need to work on that, too. But, I think I have pretty good technique, and my footwork really helps me a lot.
TOM: Being from Michigan, who were you a fan of growing up?
ANTHONY: I’ve been a Michigan fan my whole life, and I still am. I have to put that aside for recruiting, though. I want to look at other schools, too, and see other places. I want to see what everyone has to offer.
TOM: What did the coaches say when they offered you?
ANTHONY: Well, they’ve been saying they were going to offer, and they said it would be around signing day. It came, and my coach pulled me out of class, and told me had some news for me. We called the coaches back, and coach Frey told me they were offering.
TOM: You’ve been in Ann Arbor quite a bit already; do you plan on being back for another visit anytime soon?
ANTHONY: Their junior day is February 20th, so I might be going back up for that. If I don’t make it up then, I know I’ll be back up there some other time. I’ll be there often over the summer, and the school year.
TOM: Do you have a schedule for your recruitment?
ANTHONY: No, I just want to see what everyone has to offer, and when I feel comfortable, I’ll make my decision. I’m not sure when I’ll decide.
TOM: Since you are a fan of Michigan, does this offer put them in the lead?
ANTHONY: Yeah, Michigan has always been there with me, but I would put them first. I did really like Michigan State when I went on a visit, but it just seems like Michigan was a little better. I really like how high level of facilities they have. I’ve liked all the coaches I’ve met at every school, but it just seems like Michigan has always been a little
You think we'd let one of the more controversial Wolverines in recent history go without getting the full treatment? Ladies and gentlemen, it's time to meet speed-demon, head-hunter, swag-dancer Demar Dorsey.
|4*, #19 S, #203 overall||4*, #13 S, #162 Overall||5*, 85, #2 S, #12 Overall|
Dorsey burst onto the scene when he blew up as a junior at the Under Armor combine:
Despite being committed to Florida for more than two months, little else was known about the 6-foot-1, 175-pound prospect.
That all changed with his appearance at the combine. Dorsey wowed observers by first running a 4.31-second 40-yard dash before bettering that on his second attempt with an unbelievable 4.25. The ultra-athletic junior also vertical jumped 39.5 inches, recorded a 4.1-second shuttle and broad jumped 10 feet 1 inch to show that his abilities stretch far beyond just speed.
Those testing numbers are très impressionnant, and Dorsey was tabbed as a future star. The Palm Beach Post certainly thought so:
Rivals and Scout have not yet released their 2010 prospect rankings, but expect Matt Elam, Demar Dorsey and Dowling to be five-star prospects.
Miami Herald ranked him #9 in Broward County before the summer of his senior year, and bestowed some praise upon him:
Having watched this gifted athlete play a number of times, you continue to see why some schools like him as a safety, while others love his speed and cover skills enough to put him at the corner position.
Same thing as everyone else.
In case you were wondering why ESPN thinks he's the #12 player - at any position - in the country, check out their evaluation of Dorsey, which is positively glowing:
Dorsey is a remarkable athlete that has a great combination of athleticism and toughness.
As a defensive back he is the entire package; a great blend of skill and natural talent. Very fast on run support with excellent closing speed. Gets to the ball carrier in a hurry and delivers the wood when he hits. Really explodes on contact and drives the legs throughout he tackle; really punishes the ball carrier.
So, yeah, it's fair to see, with an evaluation like this, why ESPN considered him the #12 prospect in the nation. They love the kid, and can't say enough positive things about him. They even mention that he'd be an excellent player on the other side of the ball, as well.
For those questioning his speed, he ran a 10.60-second 100m dash at a track meet as a junior, finishing second only to some guy you may have heard of, who just so happens to be his cousin*:
"I was kind of disappointed in myself to run a 10.44, but I will accept that,'' [Denard] Robinson said. "Running the No. 2 time in the nation is pretty good. I was trying to run a 10.3, but there was strong wind. I'm working harder on it and expect to hit a 10.3 by states.''
Boyd Anderson's Demar Dorsey finished second in 10.60.
That's speed to burn, folks, and he's shown it translates to the football field. He would go on to run a 10.55 time later in the year.
Early in the process (and apparently late in it as well, according to Rich Rodriguez), Dorsey was thought of primarily as a corner, who may be able to move to safety in the future.
Dorsey’s speed has coaches everywhere drooling. His coverage skills may be a little raw, but scouts believe he has the ability to play safety if he bulks up a little. Dorsey also had offers from FSU, Miami, UNC, and Wisconsin.
SoFlaFootball took in some 7-on-7 action by Dorsey's Boyd Anderson team, and came away impressed with his ability to play the deep safety role:
Dorsey is flanked by one of the best cornerback tandems in South Florida with Cliff Coleman (2010) and Harmon Brown (2011), and Dorsey is able to roam the middle of the field and make plays. He came away with two interceptions that were tipped by teammates as he came swooping in.
...and you bet your ass I added Harmon Brown to my 2011 watch list. What does Dorsey say of his own abilities?
"I can cover very well and I like to come up and hit," said Dorsey. "I am a very aggressive corner. I'm long and tall so I like to be aggressive jamming."
In addition to having all of the physical attribute required to be an elite player, Dorsey also hates losing and works hard to avoid it.
"Whenever we lose I try to come back harder and practice harder," said Dorsey. "I just try to better myself and help carry the team."
That second part speaks to something that Rich Rodriguez has talk about over and over again. He wants guys on his Michigan team to love football and love winning, and they have to be willing to put in the work to achieve their goals.
*(Maybe? It's unclear whether or not Robinson and Dorsey are actually related even though Dorsey has claimed so.)
Dorsey originally committed to Florida during his junior football season, and his final selection was between Michigan, Florida State, and USC. That's basically a who's-who of programs who have excellent secondaries (coughcough and Michigan coughcough), so this kid had the best offers you can possibly get. I could run down some of the other programs who really wanted the kid, but don't the Florida and USC offers say it all, really?
Dorsey's teammate Cliff Coleman, on the Boyd Anderson secondary going into last season:
"We call ourselves the no-fly zone,'' said Coleman, an electric kick returner who took back three punts and two kickoffs for touchdowns last year. "Teams are not going to get anything through the air. All of us can cover and we can tackle. We believe we have the best secondary in the state. Now we have to go out and prove it.''
Despite all the hooplah, Boyd Anderson struggled in the 2009 season, going 6-6 with a loss in the second round of the Florida 5A State Playoffs. So that didn't work out, but "No Fly Zone" seems to be an emerging nickname for Dorsey.
As far as individual stats, this site is incomplete, but credits Demar with the following:
31 rushing attempts for 203 yards (6.55 ypc) and 1 touchdown (add at least 1 carry, 65 yards, and another touchdown), 8 receptions for 142 yards (17.75 ypc) and two touchdowns, 5 punts for 124 yards, and no stats defensively or in the return game.
The Detroit News says he racked up 75 tackles and 4 interceptions, to go along with 540 receiving yards.
FAKE 40 TIME
Brian said on the radio yesterday that Dorsey's reported times automatically get five FAKES out of five, with a 4.35 on Scout and an Under Armour Combine-verified 4.25 to ESPN (as noted above).
I take issue with Mr. Cook here. but this kid was the fastest at every combine he went to, and was anointed the "Fastest 2010 Football Recruit in the Country" by one source. I'll bump it down a notch, and give him merely four FAKES out of five.
[ed: sub-4.3s are 5/5 FAKES guaranteed.]
There's as much video of Dorsey dancing and singing things that I think white people aren't supposed to understand as there is of him playing football:
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
This kid is one hell of a player. He will get extensive special teams duty as a true freshman (including as a potential return man), and even has the opportunity to challenge for a starting position in his first year on campus. He has elite speed, something that Michigan is really lacking on defense outside of Troy Woolfolk.
If Dorsey can keep his nose clean at Michigan, and progresses with the mental aspects of the game to compliment his physical talent, he should be able to challenge for All-American honors in his final year or two on campus.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
This class is completed, and Dorsey was the last person to join. As the 2010 class had 6 DBs in it, including Dorsey, the 2011 class doesn't have as much of a pressing need, and Greg Brown and Delonte Hollowell have both already signed up. Any secondary positions left in the 2011 crop will probably be reserved for elite talents with the needs at linebacker, nose tackle, and offensive line.
This was going to be a bit in UV but kept going. More Dorsey!
The Free Press got its FOIA muscles going again and found out that Dorsey confessed to a couple 2007 robberies as part of a group of five kids. He was placed in a diversionary program. The crime he was acquitted from was a 3 AM incident where he was in a car with four other kids and one of them hopped out to rob some guy; the kids all blamed each other and the cases were dismissed. So… 20% chance he actually did it if you don't believe the clean years after that mean anything. Considerably less if you do. 100% chance Dorsey needed to get far away from some folk.
You'll note that this makes one of Drew Sharp's statements from Signing Day accurate and leaves the rest in the realm of the reprehensible. Dorsey clearly had a rough past and hung with the proverbial wrong crowd, but amongst the many reasons this is the wrong crowd is it seems very bad at not getting arrested. His two years on the right side of the law and his very decision to GTFO are indications he's made a break.
I'm torn about the fairness of the article. On the one hand, it seems to think this is "acknowledgement" that Dorsey got breaks other kids wouldn't…
“All cases are individuals. We are dealing with kids,” [assistant state attorney Maria Schneider] said. “The vast majority of kids stop offending. I hope this is one of them. But if he’s not, we’ll find out soon enough.”
…when he was placed in a diversionary program while three others went to trial. Those three others were 17 and 18 and were already on probation. Dorsey was 16 and not. A second 16-year-old was also involved but what happened to him is unknown, which means he was—drumroll—almost certainly placed in a juvenile diversion program. (Except his records got sealed like they should.) The guy who Dorsey robbed was told that the kid might have a future so can we go easy, and Schneider didn't dispute it, so there's that. Still, the article spends a lot of time arguing—yes, arguing—that Dorsey's potential as a football player isn't a decent reason to keep him out of the criminal justice system.
On the other, it runs a quote from Dorsey front and center:
“My goal right now is to show everybody I’m not that person who I was a couple years back then, hanging with the wrong crowd and stuff like that, showing that I’m more focused,” Dorsey said Thursday in an exclusive interview with the Free Press. “I’m focused. I’m ready to move on with my life to bigger and better things.”
And Ann Arbor, he says, is the place to do it.
“I feel like that is a great place for me, where I can start all over and make something out of nothing, make nothing into something,” he said.
That's the point. Maybe Dorsey won't make it, but he's been clean for two years and deserves a shot. If he caught a break because he had a shot at going to college, that was a good bet by Broward County. He did, and now he's going to Michigan. It's up to Rodriguez and Dorsey to make it pay off.
The worst thing about all this pressure is that a Dorsey MIP is now a big deal in a way that Kevin Grady getting frighteningly drunk and falling asleep in his car is not. If Dorsey doesn't keep his nose clean at Michigan, the rest of the team can have a spotless record and the storyline will be Dorsey this and Dorsey that. That's a hell of a burden, one that few players with "checkered legal pasts" have to deal with. When Roderick Jenrette came to Michigan State, he was carrying two burglary arrests with him—about which more later—and no one knew. His troubles were explained away by Mark Dantonio and people either respected his privacy as a juvenile offender or were lazy or were just stunned by how magnificent Dantonio's jaw was, and he was left alone.
For whatever reason, Demar Dorsey wasn't afforded that luxury. I have my theories as to why.
Maybe that's a good thing. Maybe that will help him walk the line.
The larger context. So this article is basically fine, if too insistent on making a case against the local state's attorney for not treating a 16-year-old kid harshly. But compare this seven-page story that flags down everyone on all sides with the Free Press's pathetically credulous story on Michigan State's Posse Roundup & Engineer/Woman Beatdown— or "fight" or "altercation" or "pillow hugs" if you're the Free Press.
Dell Sr. said his son did not participate in violence at Rather Hall. He, however, did say his son initially lied to coach Mark Dantonio about his presence there.
"I said, 'Man, why didn't you just tell the truth and say you were there and didn't participate in any of the physical stuff?' " Dell Sr. said. "He said: 'I don't know. I should have just told the truth.' "
That was it as far as quoted sources went: parents of Michigan State players.
Cunningham and Dell each pleaded guilty to one count of misdemeanor assault and battery in East Lansing district court Wednesday.
How about the pathetically credulous article titled "Legal strategy at issue in Michigan State altercation" that asserted the criminal charges filed against nine Spartans were probably just crap to get "the truth"—about which see "bzzt" link above and the additional charges levied to Oren Wilson and Myles White? Or the pathetically credulous acceptance of Mark Dantonio's bald-faced lie about Roderick Jenrette, who had been arrested for robbery mere days before he arrived on Michigan State's campus?
It wasn't until Jenrette was booted for the team for hugging a unicorn at Rather Hall that anyone bothered to look into his double-robbery past, and this was a 2008 recruit who was arrested August 1st of… 2008! Dantonio took the bizarre step of sending Jenrette home to "work on family issues" and no one bothered to see if maybe there was something up with this kid. These are the same crimes, same state, hell even the same position, except one kid was two years past his trouble and was treated to a front page column questioning him and the other was two days past it and ignored. I'm sure I don't have to draw a picture.
I got a zinger in my inbox that's a good summary:
When did Demar Dorsey become Kwame Kilpatrick in the eyes of the Detroit Free Press?
Anyway, just throw this on the ever-growing pile of evidence that the Free Press has a double standard. Soon we'll be able to put a ski lift on it.