who fails upward better: Whitlock, Kiffin, or Brandon?
Somewhat light update this week, though delayed until Thursday due to a busy Wednesday. All-time updates can be found on the 2010 Michigan Football Recruiting Board. Don't forget about the 2011 Michigan football Recruiting Board, although there is no 2011 news in this update.
I've added TX DT Jatashun "Big Tex" Beachum (pictured at right) to the board, as he plans on visiting Michigan ($, info in header). He's currently committed to Arkansas as a running back(!) and is a 280-pound dual threat QB(!) in high school. That's one heck of an athlete that the Wolverines are pursuing on the defensive line.
Both MN OL Seantrel Henderson and PA DT Sharrif Floyd opted against visiting Michigan last weekend, which seriously damages Michigan's chances at both of them (though it may be a better thing that they didn't sit through the rain to see Michigan get pounded). The Daily Gopher thinks Michigan is hanging on near the back of Henderson's top schools, though that was with the assumption he would visit Ann Arbor. As for Floyd, he went to Ohio State instead, and he has a new top five:
In no particular order, they are: Florida, Ohio State, North Carolina, South Carolina and USC.
Last Line of Defense
Michigan's woes in the secondary, compounded by the dismissal of Boubacar Cissoko from the team yesterday, have a number of recruits giving Michigan a hard look. CA CB Tony Jefferson, currently a UCLA commit, plans to take a Michigan visit for next week's Purdue game, as mgoblog's own TomVH said Tuesday. UCLA (where he is currently committed), Florida, and Miami are his other finalists.
Added LA S Carvin Johnson to the board, as he took an official visit to Ann Arbor for the contest against the Nittany Lions ($, info in header). He really enjoyed the visit, as well ($, info in header). Johnson has a Michigan offer, and favors the Wolverines pending a couple more official visits. Carvin is on the left in the photo, next to Wolverine commit PA DE Ken Wilkins (image courtesy of Josh Helmholdt in the Detroit Free Press).
FL CB Tony Grimes has had Michigan near the top of his list for quite some time now, and the Wolverines may be in a similar position for his teammate, FL DE Clarence Murphy. However, neither is ready to make a decision any time soon:
"I'm just letting things come to me in recruiting," Grimes said. "I'm more focused on my play on the field, but I am staying in touch with certain college coaches. The recruiting stuff will all play itself out in the end. I'm in no hurry to make a decision."
Added Murphy, "We are probably just going to continue to focus on high school football right now and then once it gets towards that deadline, we are going to put our heads together after we take our officials and (determine) where we want to be the next three to four years."
Grimes is one of Michigan's top prospects at corner, and adding a pass-rusher would be icing on the cake.
Elsewhere in Michigan leans, PA CB Cullen Christian enjoyed his visit to West Virginia. The Mountaineers are probably Michigan's biggest competition for Christian.
Moving to a prospect that the Wolverines don't have a great chance with, CA S Dietrich Riley is favoring Tennessee, Notre Dame, Florida, and USC. I think the title "Riley Down to Four" might be overstating the case, but any other school is definitely facing an uphill battle. Michigan is one of four schools vying for his final official visit.
OH LB Steve Mehrer visited Ann Arbor last weekend ($, info in header). His best current offer is Bowling Green, so he's probably way down the list of possibilities. OH TE Alex Smith has Michigan in his final two with Cincinnati. ESPN has (rather unwisely) made it impossible to link to their "On the Trail" recruiting updates, so no link, but CA RB Anthony Barr has eliminated Michigan, and I've removed him from the board.
[Editor's note: I was working on a post similar to this today that examined the past five years of defensive recruiting with a particular focus on the secondary. This is broader but I may as well not reinvent such a well-put-together wheel. I will take this opportunity at the top of the post to rephrase something I stuck in a mailbag. Here are the members of the secondary in the recruiting classes that comprise this year's team:
2005: None. (Harrison, Sears, Richards all gone.)
2006: None. (Mouton, Brown moved to LB.)
2007: Warren, Woolfolk, Williams, Rogers. (Chambers gone.)
2008: JT Floyd (Smith moved to LB, Cissoko is gone.)
Excluding true freshmen, Michigan has five scholarship players for four starting spots, none of whom are seniors and one of whom is a positional vagabond who was a huge reach even at WR. Attrition has something to do with it, but poor recruiting—the 2006 class didn't have a single corner, and the 2007 class had two reaches and one Notre Dame defection—had much more. With Woolfolk's move Michigan has one scholarship safety on the roster outside of true freshmen. Not to go all ND-fan-talking-about-Ty here, but lord I don't know if anyone could dig themselves out from that.]
[OP note: Part II lives here].
How did it ever come to this?
|NFL All-World Guy||Young Beast||Solid Guy|
|True Freshman Blue Chip or Serviceable backup guy||Old-guy bust who's kind of serviceable now|
|Former Infinite Safety Disaster, now above-average tweener guy||Young guy who's progressing but prone to massive young-guy mistakes||True freshman wunderkind who is still a true freshman|
|Long-time judgment-impaired starter who projected to possible Butkus Watch List but instead regressed and lost job to a walk-on||Nuclear missile equally likely to strike his own territory as his enemy's||Kind of this 3-star redshirt soph who plays exactly like that|
|NFL-ready junior guy||Current Infinite Safety Disaster, who is worse than the walk-on||Legacy who is halfway decent and was our FS until a few weeks ago|
|Dust mite true freshmah who was a running back until a few weeks ago||True freshman recovering from knee surgury who can't be that great if he hasn't seen the field||Redshirt freshman with clear talent deficiency to be serviceable|
(Where = Walk-on)
With Boubacar Cissoko's dismissal from the team, we now have a number that every Michigan fan might need to commit to memory:
Everybody got that?
Now, numbers without context are hard to understand. If it's a completion percentage, well, that's not horrible but it's not bad, right? If that's how many questions you got right on your Anthro-Bio mid-term, well, not so great.
The question we will try to answer in this Diary, is what does that number mean when it's the percentage of defensive recruits over the last five classes who are still on your team?
Really? 58.33 percent? How?
Defensive Recruits No Longer With the Team: 2005-2009
|Eugene Germany||2005||DE||****||6.0||Left team|
|James McKinney||2005||DT||****||5.9||Left team|
|Johnny Sears||2005||CB||***||5.6||Left team|
|Chris Richards||2005||ATH||***||5.5||Left team|
|Carson Butler||2005||DE||***||5.5||Moved to TE, left for NFL|
|Chris McLaurin||2005||DE||***||5.5||Left team (health)|
|Jason Kates||2006||DT||****||5.8||Left team|
|Cobrani Mixon||2006||LB||****||5.8||Left team|
|Quintin Patilla||2006||LB||***||5.7||Left team|
|Quintin Woods||2006||DE||***||5.6||Left team|
|Artis Chambers||2007||S||***||5.6||Left team|
|Marell Evans||2007||LB||**||5.2||Left team|
|Boubacar Cissoko||2008||CB||****||6.0||Left team|
|Marcus Witherspoon||2008||LB||****||5.8||Did not qualify|
|Taylor Hill||2008||LB||****||5.8||Left team|
|Adrian Witty||2009||CB||**||5.3||Did not qualify (may return)|
That seems really bad. Like really really bad.
Is it bad?
It's obviously no surprise that Michigan has faced a lot of attrition since RR came on board. Each case is it's own particular. But all told, it seems to me that we are seeing something here that is way out of whack. And I'm not sure it's RR's doing. And though that seems like a lot of attrition, I'm not sure that's the whole story.
I'm going to break down this list by class. Perhaps in the micro we can see what happened to the macro...
(or perhaps you are already poised to scroll to comments and write "tl;dr" -- if so, get a sandwich and meet the rest of us down at the very long sub-header)
Class of 2005
|Eugene Germany||2005||DE||****||6.0||Left team||no|
|James McKinney||2005||DT||****||5.9||Left team||no|
|Johnny Sears||2005||CB||***||5.6||Left team||no|
|Chris Richards||2005||ATH||***||5.5||Left team||no|
|Carson Butler||2005||DE||***||5.5||Moved to TE, left for NFL||no|
|Chris McLaurin||2005||DE||***||5.5||Left team (health)||no|
Nothing left. This isn't just age -- you'd expect at least a couple of 5th year seniors to stick around. This class was decimated early and often, leaving Terrible Taylor as the only major defensive contributor. Harrison, who would be very nice to have around today, burned his redshirt during Safety Armageddon. Logan was the only other graduate. For Sir Carson Butler's career at Michigan, consult the minstrels.
Moral of this story: losing the top two recruits on defensive line made things dicey. In the first attempt at refilling the cornerback cabinet, Carr picked up Harrison and a couple of fliers (Sears, Richards) who didn't work. [More after the jump!]
Cissoko and the defensive backfield
- Boubacar violated team rules, and Rich Rodriguez simply enforced Boubacar's decisions by removing him from the team. Players know that's it's a privilege to play on the team, not a right.
- It wasn't explicitly asked, but Rodriguez's tone made it seem at times as though the window was still open for Cissoko to be reinstated. However, he said that they would help him try to get his career back on track at another institution, with no mention of a potential return. Further inquiries received the "let's talk about guys who play for Michigan" response.
- Despite losing Cissoko, Justin Turner is still on track to redshirt this year, and he's practicing exclusively at cornerback. Troy Woolfolk will stay at corner full-time, and James Rogers has moved to the position (which we knew a few weeks ago). JT Floyd is starting to get healthy again.
- Defensive back is still an area of concern for the team, but at this point, it will have to be addressed through recruiting.
- Brandon Minor practiced very little yesterday. That is related to the ongoing ankle sprain, not the bruised heel from Saturday's game.
- Odoms didn't practice yesterday, but he responded well to treatment, and is expected to practice today.
- Junior Hemingway practiced full contact yesterday.
- Tate mentioned that his shoulder was a little sore following the PSU game. However, he's fully healthy and will practice this whole week.
- It's better to have 2-3 backs that can carry the load than having to rely on one guy and being in trouble if he goes down. Minor's injury is part of the reason there has been so much rotation at RB.
- Greg Mathews had his best game against Penn State, and has been playing well overall lately. He's usually a quiet guy, but has been a more vocal leader in practice this week. RR speculates that may be due to seeing his career coming to an end.
- Carlos Brown was put at kick return to have two explosive options, and prevent teams from being able to just kick away from Stonum. He will stay on kick return.
- Odoms was removed from punt return only because of injury. When healthy, he will probably go back there.
- Despite having two different styles of QB, Illinois won't change their schemes too much on Saturday. They'll still have a spread offense, but probably run a little more with Juice, because he has a lot of running ability.
- The team's focus has been good all season. Even when they don't play well in games, it isn't due to a lack of focus or preparation.
- Kevin Leach and JB Fitzgerald got a little more playing time at linebacker on Saturday than they had been. That will probably continue.
Personnel notes: As noted Monday, Michigan had an actual substitution package: on passing downs Williams would be replaced by Cissoko. For obvious reasons, that's unlikely to continue down the road. The rest of it was as usual, with the line rotating regularly and no one else coming out ever. One exception: late in the game Obi Ezeh was yanked twice, first for a play and then for the rest of a drive, in favor of Fitzgerald. Each time he got to the sidelines an exasperated Jay Hopson tried to explain something to him.
Formation notes. My lingo is probably all screwed up now but Michigan did this a lot:
I called this "4-4 under" but here I think this one is an over shift—the line is actually moved towards the TE side of the formation—and that Michigan was not playing this based on where Penn State was but where the ball was. Steve notes that Michigan shifted the line to "field"—the wide side—over 80% of the time in the first half. So under-over is not really the distinction. Michigan is lining up shifted to the wide side of the field with both the LBs and line, relying on the idea that Graham will obliterate Poti so badly that Penn State won't even try to run that direction. This was basically correct.
This eight-man front with Warren playing off allows Michigan to play man or zone with Warren part of your two-deep. This is an obvious response to Iowa's third and 24 conversion: freak out and try to get away with Warren as a part-time safety. This formation was the one in which all the ARGH long handoffs occurred. Burgeoning Wolverine Star picture-paged one of these happening and Steve noted it too: the responsibility on the long handoffs is Williams's, and he kept getting chewed out for the screwups here. On the play linked above Williams looks into the backfield instead of hauling ass for the receiver, but on later plays he just hauls ass and doesn't get there. Maybe this works if you're Taylor Mays, but Mike Williams was evidently incapable of pulling off this assignment. Steve blames Williams; as you'll see below I just think this is unworkable with the personnel Michigan has and go all RPS* –1 on Robinson.
Play ID note: a helpful high school coach illuminated the difference between the "Power O" and the "Down G"; on Power O a backside guard pulls around, usually into a hole between a kickout block from a tackle or TE and the interior down block. On Down G a playside guard pulls around and the play goes further outside, with the guy who's kicking out on a Power O down-blocking instead.
On with show.
*(Rock, Paper, Scissors.)
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|O37||1||10||Ace 4-wide||4-3 over||Pass||PA deep hitch||Warren||14|
|Michigan actually shifted to the strength of the formation here. [ed: as noted above, it will become clear why only later.] PSU goes play action, sucking two guys (Mouton and Williams) up into Quarless, but it doesn't really matter since they're going to this comeback route against Warren, which is open(cover -1); immediate tackle afterwards. TE was wide open, too, with Ezeh trailing ineffectually (cover –1).|
|M49||1||10||Ace 4-wide||4-3 under||Run||Inside zone||Williams||41|
|Michigan shows a true two-deep, not the border-field alignment. Martin is doubled and shoved back on a play that's clearly designed to go inside, but he splits the double team(+1) after they push him back a couple yards, causing Royster to shift his tactics. Mouton(-1) has gotten way too far inside and given up a huge cutback lane that should never be there; Williams(-3) comes up way, way too far inside, losing “leverage” on the ball—i.e. letting the dude outside of him—and turning eight yards into 41. It is possible that Graham(-1) had the responsibility here on the outside and it wasn't Mouton's screwup on the first level.|
|Apparently a straight ahead, man-blocked run designed to go right off tackle. Graham(+1) blows through his blocker, forcing Royster outside; Mouton(+1) has shot into the hole and takes on the fullback two yards in the backfield, tumbling over him and tackling inadvertently; Ezeh(+1) avoided an OL and zooms up to make sure there's no way Royster can keep going if he keeps his feet.|
|M10||2||G||Shotgun 3-wide||4-3 under split||Pass||Corner||Brown||10|
|Michigan shows one deep safety and runs man coverage; this is the sort of thing that Clark was talking about when he said M didn't disguise coverages. No late shifts or anything, so this is really obvious that Brown is not going to be able to cover(-1) Zug on this, given his inside leverage on the guy. He's inside of the player, has no support, and is just going to lose this matchup no matter who he is. Very poor from Robinson(RPS -1).|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 7-7, 9 min 1st Q.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|O35||1||10||Ace 3-wide||4-4 under||Pass||PA Out||Brown||17|
|Again going to the slot receiver, who is in man coverage against Kovacs(-2, cover -2). Kovacs just bails and bails and has no chance of coming up on this. Kovacs as a deep safety is just not going to work in this sort of coverage, but it's pick your poison. Ezeh(-0.5) could have helped but got sucked up by the play action. Martin(+1) had busted past his guy and clobbered Clark as he threw (pressure +1).|
|M48||1||10||Ace Twins Twin TE||4-3 under||Run||Inside zone||Graham||5|
|Graham(+1) slants inside the TE, beating both blocks and forcing a cutback behind; Mouton's run himself out of the play but that's understandable; Williams(-1) fills late despite having no responsibilities deep because both TEs are clearly blocking Graham, turning this cutback from zero into four.|
|Zone blitz sees Roh drop off as Ezeh and Brown come and Graham/Martin stunt around. This is sufficiently confusing to the OL that both guys get through, basically, but Ezeh(-1) has failed to get to the correct side of his blocker and thus does not maintain his rush lane, opening up an avenue for Clark to escape what would otherwise be a sure sack. I mean, Ezeh is clearly setting up to go around the other way as Graham stunts free behind him and then he just loses his mind, attempting to go up the same hole Graham does. Fail. Just fail. I've got this set up for a Picture Pages tomorrow.|
|M34||1||10||I-Form Twins||4-4 under||Run||Power O||Mouton||7|
|This is never going to be an I-form, with the two RBs lined up right next to each other. Michigan doesn't read it and when Royster motions out, Ezeh(?!?!) follows him instead of Brown, the obvious choice, after significant confusion. Van Bergen(-0.5) gets downblocked, opening up a hole. Brown is trying to take on a pulling guard and can't do much other than get blocked; Mouton(-0.5) failed to read the play until it was a bit too late and ends up making contact five yards downfield with a guy in his face; the pile falls the wrong way. Michigan got beat by the playcall here, fooled into sucking Ezeh out into space against Royster instead of sending Brown, the logical guy, out there. (RPS -1)|
|M27||2||3||Ace Twins Twin TE||4-3 under||Run||Down G||Mouton||4|
|Downblock on Graham(-1) by a tight end ends up pancaking him; Mouton(-1) accepts a block from Quarless and can't do anything to prevent this play from hitting it up for the first down.|
|M23||1||10||Ace||4-3 under||Run||Inside zone||Graham||-2|
|Graham(+2) slants right by Quarless on the snap, exploding into the backfield and crushing Royster without assistance from anyone else. RVB(+1) also beat his guy and was there to vaguely assist on the tackle.|
|M25||2||12||Shotgun 3-wide||4-4 under||Pass||Jailbreak screen||Warren||8|
|Royster motions out for an empty backfield. Well executed by Penn State, but Warren is playing ten yards off and wandering back at the snap, which means he meets Moye 6 yards downfield and gets bashed; the first instance of M just giving PSU yards at the snap. (Cover -1) Not sure if Warren or Williams deserves a ding here. –0.5 for both.|
|M17||3||4||Ace 3-wide||Nickel even||Pass||Fade||Warren||Inc|
|Michigan sends both MLBs up the middle and don't get there; Michigan tips this, I think, with the position of the safeties, so Clark knows he has this over Warren, in press coverage. Moye has a step and the size to go over Warren if this is accurate, but Clark overthrows it. I won't cover -1 this, because it was okay. I thought about RPS -1 here, too.|
|Drive Notes: Field goal(34), 7-10, 3 min 1st Q. Penn State's kicker has an enormous head.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|O37||1||10||I-Form||4-4 under||Pass||Long handoff||Warren||8|
|I don't know if this is Warren's fault or not, which I'll explain later. [ed: or earlier, as the case may be.] In any case, Warren's playing forever off (cover -1) and has no chance of holding this down. RPS -1. This was the first of these.|
|O45||2||2||Shotgun 4-wide||4-3 under||Pass||Bubble screen||--||8|
|Wide open from the start; don't know if Mouton has responsibility here or not but they've got bubbles on both sides and neither is really covered. (cover -1, RPS -1)|
|M47||1||10||Shotgun 3-wide||4-4 under||Pass||PA Deep post||Warren||Inc|
|Play action zone read on which Clark keeps it, fakes the keeper, and then backs out to pass. Herron eventually looses himself after he realizes it's a pass and hits Clark as he throws; Clark had decent time. The eventual throw is into double coverage that Kovacs is in okay position on, but help from Warren(+1 cover +1) makes this covered; receiver falls of his own volition. Warren in a deep half here, you'll note, and in way better position to actually help on the play than Kovacs.|
|M47||2||10||Ace Twins Twin TE||4-3 under||Pass||Scramble||--||1|
|Clark looks for the bubble but the receiver is trying to block; busted play. Clark scrambles for a yard.|
|M46||3||9||Shotgun 3-wide||4-3 under split||Pass||Screen||Van Bergen||1|
|Michigan shows and brings the DEATH BLITZ of seven guys, except RVB and Martin back out, with RVB(+2) making a fantastic play by reading the screen, darting past two blockers and seeing the third take a futile stab at blocking him, and tackling(+1) at the LOS. Warren was coming up and this would have remained short even without the tackle from RVB since he'd killed the blocking, but he didn't even chance it. (RPS +1)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 7-10, 14 min 2nd Q.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|O27||1||10||I-Form||4-4 under||Pass||Long handoff||--||8|
|I don't understand this. Warren is ten yards off, basically another safety, and Michigan expects to defend this by shooting Williams into the flat, which might work if Williams immediately runs out there, but he doesn't. (RPS -1, cover -1) Free yards. BWS picture-paged this.|
|O35||2||2||I-Form Twins||4-3 under||Pass||Fade||Kovacs||Inc|
|Royster motions out; this time it's zone so Warren moves out. Woolfolk(-1) jumps up on the little out route, which opens up a deeper fade route run by Moye. It's open(cover -1), but Moye falls down and the ball ends up hitting him in the foot.|
|TE pulls across the formation to act as a lead blocker; Williams is out there providing some contain but can do little but force the play inside. He does, where no one picks him up because Mouton(-2) sucked inside. It's bad when your linebackers' suckiness is part of the gameplan.|
|O46||1||10||Ace 4-wide||4-3 under||Run||Inside zone||--||4|
|Martin(-1) gets blown back by a double, allowing Royster to hit it up behind him; Ezeh(+0.5) reads the play and comes under the blocker attempting to get out on him, tackling with help from Mouton(+0.5) and making this an eh gain.|
|50||2||6||Ace||4-4 under||Run||Inside zone||Graham||-5|
|Michigan must have called the right thing to murder this play because Graham(+2, RPS +1) shoots into the backfield right by a PSU OL and Martin isn't far behind. Graham meets Royster four yards in the backfield; he escapes but Roh and Martin clean up.|
|O45||1||10||Ace 3-wide||4-3 under||Pass||Sack||Roh||-3|
|Roh(+2) is excellent on the stunt here, selling the outside move and then shooting inside with spectacular speed to dart through the gap Van Bergen(+1) makes. Roh is in on Clark and sacks him, albeit tenuously. If Clark escaped he was dead meat anyway with Martin closing in and linebackers close enough to prevent a long run. (Pressure +2.)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 7-10, 9 min 2nd Q.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|M40||1||10||Ace Twins||4-3 under||Pass||Waggle comeback||Kovacs||Inc|
|Again working on Kovacs(-1), who gives the receiver a ton of time and space (cover -1) as Clark gets the edge without anyone in the vicinity (pressure -1). Clark leaves the throw short and the receiver can't dig out a semi-tough catch (a 2, if you're wondering).|
|M40||2||10||I-Form||4-4 under||Pass||Long handoff||--||7|
|Here Williams takes off to the short side of the field immediately and still doesn't close it down; I don't know WTF this scheme is supposed to be but it just doesn't work. (Cover -1, RPS -1). This was also picture-paged by BWS.|
|M33||3||3||Shotgun 4-wide||Nickel even||Pass||Circle||--||Inc|
|Michigan rushes... two. This works, I guess, as the DTs drop off into the hitches(cover +1) and cause Clark to delay. The DEs are closing in, though Clark can just slip up in the pocket to buy more time and doesn't, causing a throw. It's a bit low and dropped as one of the hitches turns his route into a circle. Warren was drawing up to hit the receiver... maybe not a first down if completed. But maybe yes a first down. The third and final picture-paged play from BWS. (RPS +1)|
|Drive Notes: Punt(!!!), 7-10, 5 min 2nd Q. I know it worked. That does not make it right. Penn State sucked out.|
|O40||1||10||Ace 3-wide||4-4 under||Pass||TE Seam||--||60|
|This is just a straight release downfield with Ezeh in man against a guy he can't cover. There is no safety help, because Michigan is in this weird split package they'd run all game that gets people open short for long handoffs and open deep for easy touchdowns. Things and people to blame: Herron –2 for not getting a chuck on the TE. This is something Michigan's done all year and this is just a bust. Ezeh –1 for getting smoked on the coverage. And Kovacs –2 for not getting into his deep half despite not having another deep threat anywhere. (Cover -3)|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 7-19, 4 min 2nd Q.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|O18||1||10||I-Form Twins||4-3 under||Penalty||False start||--||-5|
|Royster motions out; Warren out there on him. Not that it matters.|
|M13||1||15||I-Form||4-4 under||Run||Down G||Roh||1|
|Roh(+1) reads the pull and doesn't let the TE seal him, which forces the play outside; Ezeh(+1) blasts into the lead blockers, also forcing the play back inside; Royster's already tripping over Roh when Graham's pursuit engulfs him.|
|M14||2||14||I-Form||4-4 under||Penalty||False start||--||-5|
|Fake the long handoff then give it inside to Beachum; Graham(+1) has penetrated, shoving the OL back three yards and forcing Beachum to cut behind him, where a bunch of Michigan players, some drawn by the PA fake, converge.|
|M11||3||17||Ace 3-wide||Nickel even||Run||Delay||--||4|
|Give up and punt.|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 7-19, 2 min 2nd Q. End of half, big kickoff return afterwards.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|M43||1||10||I-Form Twins||4-3 under||Pass||Corner||Williams||31|
|I don't understand this coverage that gets Warren sucked up, covering no one in what appears to be man zero coverage. Quarless beats it easily to the outside, Clark finds him, and it's a big gain. (Cover -2, RPS -1).|
|M12||1||10||Ace Twins Twin TE||4-4 under||Run||Inside zone||Williams||0|
|Williams sent on a blitz that gets him through totally unblocked as Quarless, who motioned to one side, comes back to block the other. Royster runs right into him and this could be a four-yard loss, but Williams can't wrap up and Royster bounces to the original LOS. (RPS +1)|
|M12||2||10||Shotgun empty||4-3 under split||Run||QB draw||Graham||2|
|Mouton blitzing from the outside so Graham(+1) has a rush lane more inside of that; he reads the draw, beats the tackle to the inside, and tackles just as Clark reaches the line.|
|M10||3||8||Shotgun 3-wide||Nickel even||Pass||Corner||--||10|
|Michigan brings the safeties up to the line, showing a blitz well before the snap; Clark checks and Michigan does not check in response. Zug just runs a rounded out in the endzone that Clark knows will be there. Brown, lined up inside, can't get there, and Clark hits him as Michigan blitzes seven (cover -2, RPS -2). Same play as the earlier TD.|
|M3||2pt||G||Shotgun empty||Nickel even||Pass||Slant||Banks||Inc|
|A zone blitz from Michigan sees both DTs drop into coverage again, which cuts off Clark's first read on the slant (cover +1). Blitz is about to get home so Clark chucks it anyway to a covered(+1) Moye; Woolfolk(+1) there.|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown(2pt failed) 7-25, 12 min 3rd Q. Clark was right about the coverages. It's clear he knows exactly what Michigan is going to run before the snap and Michigan's personnel can't make up for it. All Zug has to do is run a really easy route against a guy lined up inside of him and woop touchdown.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|O25||1||10||Ace 3-wide||4-4 under||Run||Inside zone||Graham||13|
|Starts off in Penn State's fake I-form with Royster motioning out, Ezeh goes with him. Failure (RPS -1). Graham(-2) runs himself upfield and out of the play when Williams is blitzing, which means two guys are just running past the backside and there's a huge cutback lane.|
|Clark has some time but not a ton before Graham and Martin get past blockers and start converging; with options downfield covered(+1) he comes to a checkdown; ball is dropped by the FB.|
|O38||2||10||Ace 3-wide||4-4 under||Pass||Slant||Ezeh||23|
|Fake I-form, again Ezeh(RPS -1) attempts to go out and cover. His coverage is terrible(-2), as you might expect, as he gives Royster so much room he's not there to tackle on the catch, and then he misses a tackle(-1, Ezeh -1); Kovacs(-1, tackle -1) then misses another one.|
|M39||1||10||Ace Twins Twin TE||4-3 over||Pass||Bubble screen||Woolfolk||Inc|
|Pass ends up dropped but Woolfolk(+1) had beaten his blocker cleanly and was probably going to tackle this for a minimal gain(cover +1).|
|M39||2||10||Ace||4-3 under||Run||Inside zone||Ezeh||2|
|Ezeh(+1) shoots into the backfield—blitzing—and gets in on Beachum; he misses the tackle(-1), turning a loss into a decent gain.|
|M39||3||8||Shotgun 3-wide||4-3 under||Pass||Sack||Graham||-8|
|Graham is lined up way, way outside of even the TE. TE releases, Graham(+3) bursts past the tackle's feeble attempt to block him, and sacks Clark with some help from Van Bergen. (Pressure +2)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 7-25, 9 min 3rd Q.This is the dangerous play that should not happen.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|M22||1||10||Ace Twins||4-4 under||Run||Down G||Brown||5|
|Center and playside guard pull around as PSU downblocks RVB and creases the line. Mouton(+1) does a good job of getting to one of the lead blockers and closing down the space but Brown(-1) is hesitant, perhaps expecting the TE to release—although he waits way too long after it's clear he won't—and provides a crease outside of Mouton, away from the pursuing Ezeh. Ezeh does continue to flow down the line and tackles(+1) well.|
|Warren(-1) in man coverage against Moye. He turns his hips upfield in anticipation of a fade, does it way too early, and leaves this wide open(-2) for a touchdown.|
|Drive Notes: Touchdown, 10-32, 7 min 3rd Q.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|O25||1||10||I-Form||4-3 under||Run||Zone stretch||Ezeh||6|
|Banks(-1) gets sealed on this play but the LBs are both flowing down hill very quickly, which means Mouton(+1) doesn't get blocked by the first OL and absorbs the G releasing into the second level. He does a pretty decent job of avoiding the block and being a pest. Ezeh(-1), totally unblocked, sets up outside and lets Royster crease the two LBs. (Tackling -1)|
|O31||2||4||Ace 3-wide||4-3 under||Run||Power O||Heininger||1|
|Heininger(+2)(!) is slanting on this play and gets right past the backside tackle into the gap that the pulling guard has vacated. He slants right into Royster and tackles(+1) despite having an OT on his back. Another outside blitz from Williams plus a DE, this time Roh, getting too far upfield, would have given Royster plenty of room had Heininger not made this play.|
|O32||3||3||Ace 3-wide||Nickel under||Pass||Fade||Warren||Inc|
|Warren(+1) in excellent coverage(+1) so Penn State tries to throw it to the back shoulder of the WR, which is tough, especially when Moye's kind of clunky. Pass is well short and inside and incomplete. Six rushers on this play forced an early throw; Michigan fortunate PSU wasn't looking at a freakin' wide open Quarless on a little hitch.|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 10-32, 5 min 3rd Q. Graham(+3) blocks a punt.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|O20||1||10||Ace Twin TE||4-4 under||Run||Inside zone||Sagesse||7|
|Coupled with an end-around fake; DL does a decent job but Sagesse(-0.5) spins only half way, allowing Royster to hit it up in a small crease; Ezeh(-0.5) and Mouton(-0.5) passively accept blocks and aren't much help except as traffic cones.|
|O27||2||3||Ace 3-wide||4-4 under||Run||Power O||Graham||-2|
|Fake I-form; this time Mouton goes out on Royster. Finally. Ezeh has been yanked for Fitzgerald. Graham(+2) blasts into the backfield like a shot, dominating Poti and actually getting into a guard pulling away from him; he then attempts to tackle Royster with two guys draped on him. Can't quite do it but Brown is unblocked in the hole and happy to clean up.|
|Jebus, Graham(+1) is actually a guy they're trying to block and he still almost kills Clark on a screen. Michigan has made the DTs passive, so they're in position to absorb blockers; Mouton(+1), in a short zone, reads the play and forces it back into Martin. (RPS +1, cover +1)|
|Drive Notes: Punt, 10-32, 2 min 3rd Q.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|O20||1||10||Ace Twins Twin TE||4-4 under||Pass||Waggle deep post||Kovacs||Inc|
|Play action rollout on which Roh(+1, pressure +1) gets to the outside on, forcing Clark to pull up and threatening to sack. Clark decides to bomb it deep into double coverage(+1), with Kovacs(+1) in better position to bring this in than the receiver.|
|O20||2||10||I-Form Twins||4-4 under||Run||Zone stretch(?)||Van Bergen||8|
|I don't recognize this blocking scheme. It appears the playside OT and C get to block players lined up away from them, which is like the opposite of a reach block, and get their guys. Graham avoids a cut on the backside and should kill any cutback but for Van Bergen(-1) getting seriously owned by the LG. Brown(-1) accepts a block, delaying everyone, and Mouton(-1) overruns the play, opening up a cutback lane for Royster. Graham(+0.5) does recover to tackle from behind.|
|O28||3||2||Ace Twin TE||4-4 under||Run||Inside zone||Graham||2|
|Graham(+1) again beats his blocker well to the inside and would crush this play if he wasn't tackled by the LT. Very frustrating. As it is, there's a couple guys on the ground where doom would have been otherwise and Royster manages to burrow through it and a couple other guys for a first down.|
|O30||1||10||I-Form Twins||4-3 under||Run||Down G||Williams||5|
|Graham(+1) beats a blocker and is into the backfield, forcing Beachum to delay as he passes. Mouton(-0.5) ends up cut by the fullback and passed by; Williams(-1) whiffs a tackle(-1) and turns two into five.|
|O35||2||5||Ace Twins Twin TE||4-4 under||Run||Inside zone||Van Bergen||11|
|Michigan really selling out on the front side of the play; Van Bergen(-1) is chopped to the ground and opens up a cutback lane. Ezeh(-1) has run himself out of the play after Brown went to cover the TE in motion, and is so out of position he can't even tackle after a gain. Beachum falls before Kovacs can attempt a tackle.|
|O46||1||10||I-Form||4-4 under||Pass||Long handoff||Warren||3|
|Warren(+1, tackling +1).|
|O49||2||7||Ace 4-wide||4-3 under split||Run||Delay||Roh||6|
|Not exactly sure who or what to blame here. Martin takes a scoop from the C and the backside G so I think this is supposed to go in a gap between Martin and Graham; Martin and Fitzgerald do a good job of closing that hole off, so it's Roh(-1) who fails to close down the backside gap, and Martin(-0.5) who gives a little too much ground, allowing Beachum to plow forward for near first-down yardage.|
|M45||3||1||I-Form||4-4 under||Run||Naked boot||--||12|
|Williams(-2) loses contain like whoah and there's no one else on third and short.. (RPS -1)|
|M33||1||10||Ace||4-4 under||Run||Delay||Sagesse||15 (Pen -10)|
|Sagesse(-1) runs upfield and ends up getting pancaked by a momentary double as the C hurls him to the ground. This draws a shaky holding call from the umpire that erases a big gain. Mouton was in the area but Ezeh(-1) ran himself out of position again, and gets yanked, again.|
|M43||1||20||Ace 3-wide||4-4 under||Pass||TE drag||Williams||Inc|
|Underneath receivers run the “mesh” play that TT likes so much and Michigan has had big problems with so far this year; here Williams(+1) stays home on the one crossing route and is in position to break up and sort of kind of nearly intercept (cover +1)|
|Looks like there's a crease of sorts but Royster delays, hitting it, possibly because Heininger(+1) has shoved the RT back and then come inside, getting he hell held out of him but at least making the hole look closed off. When Mouton hops outside (OMG contain!), Royster darts back in and because of the hold can pick for a few yards.|
|M39||3||16||Ace 3-wide||Nickel even||Pass||Throwaway||--||Inc|
|Clark has plenty of time (pressure -1) but first and second options are open (cover +2) and a brief scramble results in Clark just chucking the ball OOB to avoid a sack.|
|Drive Notes: Punt, but a roughing call, 10-32, 9 min 4th Q.|
|Ln||Dn||Ds||O Form||D Form||Type||Play||Player||Yards|
|M29||1||10||I-Form||4-4 under||Run||Zone stretch||Martin||4|
|Good job by all three playside DL, as Graham(+0.5) does pretty well against a double, Martin(+0.5) gets playside of his guy and beats him, and RVB avoids a cut and flows down the line. Williams blitzed, taking out the FB. He fights inside and gets a hit on Royster that should stop him and does; RVB(-0.5) then overruns it and allows Royster to spin behind—great play by him—and turn nothing into something.|
|M25||2||6||Ace Twins Twin TE||4-4 under||Run||Delay||Martin||5|
|Mouton does an excellent job to read the play, shoot past the guys doubling Martin(-1), who gets blown too far off the ball, and shoot past the pulling TE into the backfield, but he then overruns the play. So no plus as Royster's not that delayed. Williams(-0.5) stumbles coming to the line, preventing him from hitting Royster with force, and Martin can't stand up to him, allowing Royster to fall forward.|
|M20||3||1||I-Form Big||4-4 under||Run||QB sneak||--||1|
|They get it.|
|M19||1||10||Ace Twin TE||4-4 under||Run||Delay||Warren||3|
|TE motion ends up with Michigan over-shifted to the strong side of the formation. Herron(-1) runs upfield against what's likely to be a run play, opening up a cutback lane when Ezeh(+0.5) fills a small gap between RVB and Martin smartly. Warren(+1, tackling +1) comes up very well to tackle after a minimal gain, partially because Beachum makes a rookie mistake and tries to cut it outside instead of just slamming into a CB trying to tackle him.|
|Ezeh blitzes, absorbing the center and getting playside of him, forcing a cutback. Graham(+1) stunts directly into that, tackling for a minimal gain(+1, RPS +1).|
|M17||3||8||Ace Twin TE||4-4 under split||Run||Zone stretch||--||6|
|PSU clearly doesn't care, and okay whatever now it's FG time.|
|Drive Notes: Field goal(28), 10-35, 5 min 4th Q. End of charting.|
Aren't you Mr. Cranky Pants?
Well, maybe I am. Maybe I'm not. To determine that I think we need a—
|Graham||21||4||17||At some point in the second half I emailed Dr. Saturday that Brandon Graham was an All-American and the rest of the defense hated me.|
|Heininger||3||-||3||…though this suggests that Penn State's RT spot is something of an issue.|
|Roh||4||1||3||Got a sack against the real side of the PSU D.|
|Herron||-||3||-3||One of three culprits on the 60-yard TD.|
|Van Bergen||4||3||1||Also not a great day.|
|TOTAL||34.5||14||20.5||Pretty mediocre day outside of Graham.|
|Ezeh||4||7||-3||Iowa progress gives way to the disappointing usual.|
|Brown||-||2||-2||Zug TDs not really his fault.|
|Fitzgerald||-||-||-||Didn't do much.|
|TOTAL||8.5||17.5||-9||Run filling = very good. Pass defense = very bad.|
|Warren||4||2.5||1.5||Got burned on one TD.|
|Williams||1||5||-4||Plus more bad news if you think the long handoffs are on him.|
|Kovacs||1||6||-5||Just can't play a deep half.|
|TOTAL||7||14.5||-6.5||It gets worse.|
|Pressure||6||2||4||Even when PSU went deep Clark was about to get hammered when he threw most of those.|
|Coverage||13||23||-8||PSU exploited the safeties and the linebackers all day.|
|Tackling||5||5||0||First even tackling day; think that's bad.|
|RPS||6||13||-7||Robinson got pwned.|
[A reminder: RPS is "rock, paper, scissors." Michigan gets a + when they call a play that makes it very easy for them to defend the opponent, like getting a free blitzer. They get a – when they call a play that makes it very difficult for them to defend the opponent, like showing a seven-man blitz and having Penn State get easy touchdowns twice.]
I guess I am pretty cranky.
Why are you such a grump? Iowa put up 30 points and 367 yards of offense to Penn State's 35 and 396 , and Michigan managed to escape that game with way better numbers.
I think it was that all the stuff Penn State was doing came so easy. The Zug touchdowns, the Quarless touchdown, all the long handoffs: all of those plays required nothing more than Penn State not screwing up with wide open receivers. To Clark's credit, he hit all those guys. He then laughed about the primitive defense that Michigan was running, and on review I totally agree: Michigan telegraphed their now-predictable third and long redzone blitzes and got killed. They showed the long handoff was there and got killed. They put Obi Ezeh in man coverage on the edge against Evan Royster and got killed.
That's what the big minus in RPS is there for: I think Robinson got owned by Penn State's offensive brain trust (which is Galen Hall, not Jaypa). This game was slightly reminiscent of the Purdue game a year ago where Michigan switched to a new system and got their brains beaten in by it.
Also, Penn State spent ten minutes of the fourth quarter trying to kill the clock and went on a death march of a drive. It got helped out by a bad penalty on the punter, Penn State successfully strangled the clock. The PSU numbers are basically three quarters of action.
Well, what do you suggest we do?
I don't know. I am sort of mad at Robinson for making it easy by not breaking tendencies with two weeks to prepare. But when you've got Kovacs as your deep safety, what can you do? Kid's smart and can be an effective player in the box but obviously lacks the athleticism to be a deep safety in the Big Ten. This is not a surprise, he is a freshman walk-on. Michigan's not even rolling out third-option fifth-year senior walk-ons like Josh Hull and his Hullstache…
…we're rolling out first-option (IE: no one is injured) freshman walk-ons who are technically redshirt freshmen but didn't even get to be on the team last year because they had a knee injury and so are really just off-the-street hi-who-are-you-get-in-there-Cavanaugh-oops guys. Which makes for cute stories but not good defenses.
And he's obviously better than the other safety! Arrrrgh. I think I need to do me one of those "this is why we suck" lists that shows safety recruiting over the last five years.
Meanwhile, the linebackers remain a disaster and I still think it might be Hopson's fault. Those four spots on the defense are just killing Michigan. They can't cover TEs. They can't have sensible two-deep coverage. They regularly overrun plays on the ground that the DL has destroyed. Williams whiffs tackles and both safeties are totally unsuited for deep coverage to the point where Michigan is trying to use Warren as some sort of hybrid CB/S just so they can run two-deep without a guaranteed touchdown, just a high chance of touchdown.
I guess I suggest we wait and hope things are better next year because eight guys returning should make up for the loss of Graham.
The slightly poorer set of folks not named Graham: Greg Robinson, Mike Williams, Jordan Kovacs, and pick a linebacker.
What does it mean for Illinois and the rest of the season?
Well, Brandon Graham is going to do an awful lot to stop opposition offenses and he needs some help. Kovacs as a deep safety (oddly, in Michigan's system this is the "strong" safety) doesn't work, Williams as a deep safety doesn't work, Floyd as a cornerback doesn't work, Michigan has two Big Ten level secondary members and guys who might not start for a good MAC team elsewhere. There is no hope for that the rest of the season.
I've given up on the linebackers, and it sounds like the coaches are getting there, too. The line is actually pretty good, non-Graham off day against Penn State nonwithstanding.
Your top ten:
First place votes spread out like weeds in the wake of unimpressive performances from the two SEC powerhouses, though the TCU folk don't bother justifying their rationale because it's pretty hard to justify TCU #1. The rest of the poll at CBS Sports.
|Last week's ballot|
Changes from draft:
I looked at moving Texas or Florida past Iowa, or moving Texas ahead of Florida, but I couldn't justify it. There was a lot of hand-wringing about Iowa in the comments, but their whole body of work is more impressive than the other two, IME. Penn State, Wisconsin, and Arizona are definitely all high-quality wins, especially considering they were all 10ish-point margins of victory. The Arkansas State and Northern Iowa games are slight demerits, but Florida and Texas haven't been without their scares this year, either. Add in the fact that Iowa State is respectable(!!!), and the Hawkeyes have put together a heck of a season so far.
I knocked BYU out of the poll in favor of West Virginia, and moved Utah down to the last spot. LSU moves ahead of Boise State on a deeper set of wins. That puts Oregon adjacent to the Boise State team that beat them. If the Ducks can beat USC this week, I think we can justify moving them past the team with the head-to-head win and better record.
I still feel a little weird having Houston in the top 15, seeing as how they got blasted by UTEP, but their set of wins is surprisingly impressive (a little less so with Texas Tech losing to A&M in embarrassing fashion).
I considered Central Michigan, but they have beaten absolutely nobody outside of MIchigan State, and they do have a loss on the year (albeit a quality one to Arizona).
The writing was on the wall for this one, but some playing time against Penn State made it seem like Cissoko had come through his recent issues and would rejoin the team in good standing. Not the case, unfortunately:
Michigan sophomore cornerback Boubacar Cissoko has been kicked off the team.
Coach Rich Rodriguez, through a team official, confirmed Tuesday he dismissed Cissoko for a "violation of team rules."
That's obviously a severe blow to Michigan's already paper-thin secondary, both for this year and going forward.
UPDATE: Details from Wilcher:
Cissoko's high school coach, Thomas Wilcher of Detroit Cass Tech, said Cissoko was dismissed from the team for missing class, missing workouts and missing study table.
"That's what he was suspended for in the first place," Wilcher told The Detroit News. "He's upset. He's going to transfer as long as he can meet the requirements."
Wilcher said Cissoko had a difficult time handling the "social structure" at Michigan.
"He couldn't handle it," Wilcher said. "He's always been a quiet kid. (But) he needs to do what needs to be done as a student-athlete. Nobody is bigger than the program."
He was probably on zero-tolerance and missed something, or somethings, yesterday and or today. I really hope he does manage to transfer somewhere; if he doesn't and he leaves ineligible that's another double-blow to Michigan's APR.
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.